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Showing posts from February, 2012

As if to prove my point about living in tough times:

This just in from the Telegraph UK:  it's okay to kill babies after they've been born.  Really, it's quite logical: 

The authors of this paper, Alberto Giubilini of the University of Milan and Francesca Minerva of Melbourne University, argue that "both fetuses and newborns do not have the same moral status as actual persons". Secondly, they say that "the fact that both are potential persons is morally irrelevant". Thirdly, they write that "adoption is not always in the best interest of actual people".

In summary – and it really is this brutal – newborn babies are not actual people, ergo killing them is not immoral.

Pray hard, folks.  Clearly things are gonna get worse before they get better.

Tough ladies for tough times

No one with an iota of religious faith would disagree:  things are tough in America right now.  From the Huffington Post "jokingly" referring to Catholics as cannibals and pedophiles,  to the President and his minions trying to get us to foot the bill for other people's elective choices regarding birth control and sterilization, to having to defend our beliefs to every atheist the press decides is its darling this week.....well, it's clearly tough times.

What to do?  Rejoice!  I know, seems a little odd, but I have it on good authority (Jesus) that this type of stuff is good for us:  Blessed are they who are persecuted for the sake of righteousness, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.Blessed are you when they insult you and persecute you and utter every kind of evil against you [falsely] because of me. Rejoice and be glad, for your reward will be great in heaven. Thus they persecuted the prophets who were before you. - Mt. 5:10-12
Also, we have a bunch of friends o…

40 Days of Gratitude: Day Seven

I am extraordinarily grateful to my parents for many, many things, but I believe I am most grateful for their example to our family of married love.  For nearly 60 years, they were an awesome witness of God's unfailing love for us and for His Church:  forgiving, joyful, life-giving, charitable, faithful, hopeful.  It has given our entire family not only a witness, but a standard to live up to.  Their marriage has blessed many, many people.

40 Days of Gratitude: Day Six

Besides being extraordinarily grateful that I am Catholic, I am also grateful for not being Amish.  See, I don't do "rustic" very well.  My idea of "roughing it" is a room that is NOT next to the pool.  I can't imagine being surrounded by all of our wonderful modern conveniences like showers and refrigerators, radios and cars, and not being able to use any of them.  I would be the worst Amish person in the world....God in His great goodness knew that....

Feelings and Faith

We Americans like our feelings.  We spend a lot of time talking about them, wallowing in them, protecting them and exploring them.  We post them on Facebook, buy cars because of a promise from the manufacturer that a certain brand will make us feel a certain way, flip pages in magazines searching for articles and products that will make us feel better about ourselves, our lives, our families.

Feelings are fine, but they often don't matter much.  In fact, sometimes, they don't matter at all.

When I was teaching high school religion, I often told my students,  "If you don't remember anything else I teach you, remember this:  love is not a feeling.  It's an action.  It's what you are willing to do for the good of another."

My case in point was often an example like this:  It's 3 a.m.  You are woken from a sound sleep from you daughter or son who, standing next to your bed, says, "I'm sick."  Do you FEEL like getting up and taking care of t…

A new look at old stories

From Brainpickings.org: children's classic stories illuminated as minimalist posters.  See which one you like best.

40 Days of Gratitude: Day 5

I am grateful for the joy of being feminine.  God, in His great goodness, made us male and female, and I love being a girl.

Necessary emphasis should be placed on the "genius of women", not only by considering great and famous women of the past or present, but also those ordinary women who reveal the gift of their womanhood by placing themselves at the service of others in their everyday lives. For in giving themselves to others each day women fulfil their deepest vocation. Perhaps more than men, women acknowledge the person, because they see persons with their hearts. They see them independently of various ideological or political systems. They see others in their greatness and limitations; they try to go out to them and help them. In this way the basic plan of the Creator takes flesh in the history of humanity and there is constantly revealed, in the variety of vocations, that beauty-not merely physical, but above all spiritual-which God bestowed from the very b…

Happy Birthday to the Man in Black

Today would have been Johnny Cash's 80th birthday.  I enjoyed this article about one of his best-known songs, "A Boy Named Sue". 

Mr. Cash is an iconic American figure.  His style, song-writing, and ability to convey emotion is unparalleled in modern music.

Easy like Sunday morning

The lyrics to the Commodores song - with the exception of the title - have nothing at all to do with how I feel about Sundays.  I love the laziness of Sunday mornings - nothing to accomplish except to get to Mass, no chores waiting, no rushing to get out the door for school or work.  I get up when I want, play on the computer, cuddle with the cat and make a pot of tea.  Oh, the tea!  Not a hurried, dump some hot water in a commuter mug tea, but an honest-to-goodness pot of tea to relax with and enjoy.

I can take a long shower.  Watch CBS' Sunday Morning.  Catch up on some email.  Check to see if spring is here yet (it's not).

Ooh that's why I'm easy
I'm easy like Sunday morning
That's why I'm easy
I'm easy like Sunday morning!


During Lent, Sundays are a little reprieve from our Lenten fast.  Since Sundays are always days of celebration (like a mini-Easter every week) and never a day of penance, we can choose to forego our Lenten fast.  It's a little …

40 Days of Gratitude: Day Four

Okay, maybe this is a bit shallow, but my iPhone makes both my work and home life much easier, and more organized.  Plus, who doesn't like to carry a bit of fun around with them everywhere they go?

40 Days of Gratitude: Day Three

Today I am grateful for an order of Franciscan Sisters who are very dear to me and my family.  Their faith, holiness, love, humor and counsel have sustained us in so many ways.  Our children have grown up with this example of selfless love and joy, working alongside the Sisters on their farm, baking bread in their kitchen and playing games with them in their fields.

A genuine blessing in my family's lives, and I am grateful.

"Hold still, you've got something on your forehead"

Loved this from NPR:  "Excuse me, you have something on your forehead" - a photo essay on Ash Wednesday.

3 Good Things Thursday

1.  Thought-provoking Lenten questions from And Sometimes Tea:  what's keeping you from making spiritual progress?  More importantly, what can you do about it this Lent?

2. Do we Catholics owe Mr. Obama a big "thank you"?  Dr. Janet Smith says we do!

3.  I know we're only one day into Lent, but I'm betting some of you are already struggling with your chosen Lenten penance.  Well, read this:   a day in the life of Pope Benedict.  Given the fact that he's 84 years old, and his typical day begins at 5 a.m. and never ends before 11 p.m., your sacrifice will seem like a cakewalk!

40 Days of Gratitude: Day Two

This is my desk at work.  I am extremely grateful for my job.  I get to work with amazing people:  smart, funny, faithful people, and delve into topics that fascinate and enthrall me,and hopefully enrich the lives of others.  My job is meaningful and fun.  I am truly blessed.

Hard Spiritual Lessons

My evening prayers included this:

God, our loving Father, you forgive our every ill.
You forgive our guilt; lead us to mend our ways.
You fill our life with good things; fill us with love and mercy toward one another.
You remember we are dust; raise us with all our beloved dead to life in Christ.

All good - all hard.  We are guilty of sin against God and others, and we need forgiveness.  We need to be merciful to others - even when we don't want to.  We have to face our mortality, and the mortality of those we love.

Sometimes, it seems that ALL our spiritual lessons are hard ones.  At least that's the way I've been feeling lately.  Life itself is burdensome, and God seems far away.  Faith is a quickly unraveling string, and my hold is tenuous.

What to do?  I don't know what others do when they are close to despair, but I go through the motions.  I pray when I don't feel like praying.  I sing when my throat is parched.  I praise when my heart is heavy.  I call upon the…

40 Days of Gratitude: Day One

I am starting this Lent with a very heavy heart.  Dark-haired daughter is not doing well;  we can't seem to get her stabilized mentally.  It's very stressful and very discouraging.  Even worse, it seems to color everything - my whole existence.  Nothing in my life seems good or right, and of course, that's very wrong.

In light of this, I am taking up my own 40 Days of Gratitude.  I'm going to post every day of Lent something specific in my life that I am grateful for. 

Today:  my children.  They are each a special gift in their own way.  They've also each been challenging in their own way.  We have, as a family, been through a lot, and it isn't always good.  It's tough living in a house with five special needs kids - some more 'special' than others.  But they are good people, and compassionate.

I will just share one proud mommy moment.  A few years ago, Youngest Son (who was in middle school at the time) came to me after school and said,  "Mom…

Weird Lenten Ideas?

I thought some of the suggestions from Lifeteen were a little odd, frankly, but some of them have merit (given that your intention is to focus on God and not just trying to out-do the next guy in some sort of Lenten show-down).

So, weird Lenten ideas:



Put a popcorn kernel in your shoe every dayDon’t use your appsGive up texting and call whoever you need to talk toWear the same 4 outfits for all of lent (Uh, really??  I don't think I could do that, sorry to say...)Everyday do 20 (or 100) pushups and offer it up for someone who’s sickLeave a post-it with a positive message on it wherever you goEvery day take a picture of something or someone you’re grateful for and hang the pictures in your room (my favorite)

Joyeux Mardi Gras!

Total Rip-off Tuesday

Where-in I "rip-off" another writer on the web, giving due credit, of course.  Today's choice:  Russell Shaw and why people don't like the Catholic Church:

The Catholic Church adheres to an ethic of substantive human purposes — things like life, truth, and justice — that establish the parameters of ethically acceptable choices and behavior. To do the right thing is to act within these boundaries; to do what is wrong is to act outside them.

The secularist mindset, by contrast, favors a libertarian ethic of process and procedure — values like democracy, equal opportunity, and that epitome of the process ethic: the “right to choose.” To be sure, most people rightly live by a mix of values of both kinds — partly substantive, partly procedural — but the differences in emphasis are real and often extremely important.

According to the process ethic, there is in principle no such thing as absolute right and wrong — no substantive good that can’t be violated in a pinch…

Lent: it's coming!

And I bet you still haven't thought about what you're going to do, right?  Or maybe you figure you'll give up chocolate like you do every year.  Or, maybe you have thought about it, and just haven't figured out what Lent will look like for you this year.

Here are 40 ideas that will definitely help!

Mary Cassatt Monday

Mardi Gras 1956

Found this charming photo of children in a 1956 Mardi Gras parade at Galleria Mar Dore'; photo by John W. Mizenko.

To ponder before Lent begins

The darkness asks us questions.
You are out there and we do not see.
You invite us into the night,
the stillness, the loneliness, the desert place.

We cannot see our shadow;
the cold damp of unknowing rises up from beneath
our feet.
We tread cautiously, tentatively.

We are afraid,
afraid of ghosts
haunting us with spectres of guilt
and shame.

We would like to run back,
reach the river bank,
swim the Jordan,
sit in the sun by the sea,mending our nets.
But you have brought us here
- with no bread.

When we look we can see only ourselves,
our darkness.
When we read,
it is invisible words which cannot be grasped,
thoughts we cannot clutch,
hope we cannot capture.

Yet the wild honey remains a taste in our mouth,
a memory for a new day.

Why have you brought us here?
What miracle will you perform for us?

The darkness sighs around us,
dense with your unseen presence,
close to our breathing,
close to our breathing.

O darkness, enlighten us,
embrace us with your invisible love.
Let us see your glory in the ashes.
Ta…

Where does your right stop and mine begin?

If one person’s freedom depends on the infringement of someone else’s freedom, the first claim is illegitimate. To hold otherwise is to reject the principle of equality.
Women have the right to contraception (and any other product) in the sense that they have a right to spend their money on it or to try to persuade someone else to do so. There can be no right to force (or have the government force) others to pay.

Read the entire article at Reason.com.

What Lent is NOT

1.  Lent is NOT a weight-loss program.  If you are planning on giving up a certain food, drink, or eating habit, focus on it for the right reasons.  While weight-loss may be a pleasant by-product, our focus in Lent should be to get rid of those attachments which have us enslaved in a sinful way, distracting us from God and other critical parts of our life, such as prayer and family.

2.  Lent is NOT a competition.  We shouldn't be comparing our sacrifices to others', noting how much better OUR Lenten practice is than theirs, or worrying that we're not quite measuring up to someone else.  In fact, we shouldn't be thinking about others' practices at all: ...take care not to perform righteous deeds in order that people may see them; otherwise, you will have no recompense from your heavenly Father. When you give alms, do not blow a trumpet before you, as the hypocrites do in the synagogues and in the streets to win the praise of others. Amen, I say to you, they have re…

Carnival!

Emilio Estevez Interview

I loved "The Way" (here is my review), and am happy to see this interview with Estevez, who seems to be maturing nicely!

By the way, if you didn't catch it in theaters, it's now out on DVD.

3 Good Things Thursday - Mardi Gras Edition

1.  King Cake!  The King Cake is typically a sweet, bread-like cake, decorated with the traditional Mardi Gras colors of green, gold and purple.  As a surprise, a coin, a tiny crown or a small toy baby doll is tucked inside.  The one who finds it is crowned King!  Check out this recipe.

2.  "Mardi Gras" literally means "Fat Tuesday".  It's the day when the fats (butter, oil, etc.) would be used up, so that the house would be free of these goodies during the Lenten season.  For a nice explanation, check out American Catholic.

3. "Carnival"!  Although now associated with parades and floats, this too is a Catholic tradition:  the last enjoyment of rich foods before the Lenten fast. Some believe it derives from the medieval Latin carnem levare or carnelevarium, which means to take away or remove meat.

Why I should be able to order red wine in a Muslim-owned restaurant

Let's say Dear Husband and I head out for a fine dinner on the town.  We've heard of a new place with great food, and are eager to try it out.

When we arrive, are seated and handed the menu, we see that there is no alcohol listed.  None.  Not a drop.  We ask our server about this, and he replies,  "The owners are Muslims.  It is against their religious beliefs to have alcohol on the premises or to serve it."

Aghast, we are!  Red wine is healthy!  No less an authority than the Mayo Clinic says so!  It is part of Dear Husband's and my health regimen to imbibe one glass of red wine with our evening meal.  Not having it available is - well, threatening to our health!  We demand red wine now!

The owner comes out.  He explains that drinking or serving alcohol is a violation of his religious beliefs, but promises us a delightful meal, sans alcohol.  "NO!  Not good enough.  You are forcing your religious beliefs on us - how dare you!"

Perhaps, the owner sugges…

Mardi Gras!

I admit:  I love Mardi Gras!  Oh, not that bourbon-soaked, hedonistic Spring Break thing, but the actual Catholic celebration of Mardi Gras.

Just for fun, I thought I'd post a few things over the next week regarding Mardi Gras and its celebration.

Today, from The History Channel:

According to historians, Mardi Gras dates back thousands of years to pagan celebrations of spring and fertility, including the raucous Roman festivals of Saturnalia and Lupercalia. When Christianity arrived in Rome, religious leaders decided to incorporate these popular local traditions into the new faith, an easier task than abolishing them altogether. As a result, the excess and debauchery of the Mardi Gras season became a prelude to Lent, the 40 days of penance between Ash Wednesday and Easter Sunday. Along with Christianity, Mardi Gras spread from Rome to other European countries, including France, Germany, Spain and England.
Traditionally, in the days leading up to Lent, merrymakers would …

Total Rip-off Tuesday, Redux

This was just too good for me to pass up:

I ask you today once again to respect life, for there is no greater gift. Respect life, yours and the lives around you. For when we lose respect for life, we lose respect for humanity, and when we lose respect for humanity, we lose respect for God’s creation, and when we lose that, we have lost everything.


From "A Muslim View on Respecting Life", by Suzy Ismail.

For the feast of St. Valentine

"We can cure physical diseases with medicine but the only cure for loneliness, despair, and hopelessness is love. There are many in the world who are dying for a piece of bread but there are many more who are dying for a little love. Let us not be satisfied with just giving money. Money is not enough, money can be got, but they need your hearts to love them. So spread love everywhere you go." ~ Blessed Teresa of Calcutta

Why I eat oatmeal for Lent, and hate every minute of it

I have a distinct hatred for a couple of food, and oatmeal is one of 'em (I hate hot dogs, too, just for the record).  Yet, when Lent rolls around, I stock up on the stuff.

A long time ago, I read a biography wherein the young lady who was the subject of the book ate soft-boiled eggs (which she hated) daily, as a form of sacrifice for someone.  Sort of a "back-up" to her prayers.

Then, years later, I was instructed by my spiritual advisor NOT to "give up" anything for Lent.  She directed me to other spiritual practices, but believed that I was not in any shape to renounce something at that point.  She was right.  However, I still wanted to actively do something for Lent, and remembered the young girl and the soft-boiled eggs. With that as the inspiration, I ate oatmeal every morning for breakfast during Lent, as my Lenten sacrifice. 

Lent is bearing down on us.  Have you started to prepare?  As Catholics, we usually "give up" something for Lent, but…

Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof

From St. Peter's List - 10 Signs that sayl, "I stand wit the Church."  I thought these were great!

Mary Cassatt Monday

Suffering and the Cross

Lord, when suffering dims our memory of your love for us, grant us the light to recall the power of your cross.

Catholics and Contraception

When I was in 4th grade CCD class ("CCD class":  catechism class for little ones - to teach the basics of the faith, if you don't attend a Catholic school), my volunteer teacher was trying to show us how to pray the Rosary.  The Rosary is one of the most basic, fundamental of Catholic prayers.  EVERYONE - even non-Catholics - at least recognizes a Rosary, even if you don't know how to pray it.

As the teacher started the lesson, I got puzzled.  I raised my hand: "That's not right.".  My teacher, in a sigh of relief, said, "Do you know how?  Here, show us" and I did.  I was 9 years old.

Why do I share this?  Because it illustrates the problem of Catholic catechesis:  we have several generations of Catholics who just don't know their Faith.  How sad.

The problem, though, isn't that 30 year olds don't know how to pray the Rosary (although that's a problem);  it's that a majority of Catholics use contraception, and don't rea…

Crap, I'm tired....

I probably shouldn't blog with a glass of vodka next to me, but what the heck....it's been a long couple of weeks.

I'm really tired.

I'm tired of pussy-footin' around on attacks on my faith, my religious and civil liberties.

I'm tired of people who work with my daughter (teachers, social workers, etc.) that think they know more than I do because they have a bunch of letters like "MSW" behind their names.  Let me tell you:  I'm smart too, but beyond that, I am an expert in something no other person is an expert in:  my kids.  I know what is best.  You're here to help, facilitate, file paperwork, and support.  You are NOT the expert. 

I am tired of hatred and vileness and personal attacks from strangers.  I get it:  you hate me.  Move along now.

I am tired of the lack of civil discourse between intelligent people.  Play nice or go home.  Or continue your rants, furthering the proof of your lack of intelligence.  You pick.

I am tired of being c…

From StandTrue.com

I had the great good fortune to meet Bryan a couple of years ago, when I was teaching.  He came and spoke to the high schoolers, and made a tremendous impact on many of them.  I admire him, his work and his passion for justice.

Liebster Blog: Love is in the air!

I was chosen to receive this by two very gracious gentlemen:  fellow bloggers at Outside the Asylum and Linen on the Hedgerow.  I am  happy to pass along the honors.

(When you get this, please do the following: Copy and paste the Major Award to my blog. Link back the person who gave me the award. Pick out five favorite blogs with less than 200 followers, and leave a comment on their blog to let them know they have received the award. Hope that the five blogs chosen will keep spreading the love and pass it on to five more blogs.)

Here are my choices:

1.  Journey of a Catholic Nerd Writer:  The honesty and intelligence of this young Catholic blogger is endearing!
2. Pentimento: Consistently features terrific writing, a variety of topics and has an eye-pleasing blog.  It's the whole package.
3. And Sometimes Tea:  Best when she's ranting, she's one of the few bloggers who can write a really long post and keep the reader engaged.  (Don't know how many followers she has,…

3 Good Things Thursday

1.  Nurses.  I have always had a soft spot for nurses, as my mother is one.  I've had to deal with a lot of nurses over the past few weeks, and they have all been stellar.  Truly, this is a vocation.

2.  Santorum Sweep.  I'm not yet sure if he'd make a good President, but I like Rick Santorum.  He is an honorable man, and I like that the race had a bit of a shake-up.

3.  Bishops with backbones.  I remember, in the not-so-distant past, that our US Bishops rarely spoke up regarding the Faith or toed the Magisterial line.  Now, we've got a number of terrific men willing to draw a line in the sand.

St. Josephine Bakhita

Today is the feast of St. Josephine Bakhita, a woman who knew more than her fair share of heart-ache, suffering and persecution. She is the patron saint of Sudan.  The following is from the Creighton website:

Josephine Bakhita was born in Sudan in 1869 and died in Schio (Italy) in 1947. This African flower, who knew the anguish of kidnapping, slavery and torture, bloomed marvelously in Italy, in response to God's grace, close to the Daughters of Charity.
Bakhita, which means "fortunate one," is the name given her by her kidnappers. Sold and resold in the markets of El Obeid and Khartoum, she experienced the humiliations and the sufferings of slavery, both physical, mental and moral.
Fortunately, Bakhita encountered a good owner, who didn't use the lash when giving orders and treated her in a loving and cordial way. She later celebrated the sacraments of Christian Initiation and was given the name, Josephine, on January 9, 1890. Bakhita joined the religious in…

Still don't think Obama hates us Catholics? Read this. UPDATED: LINK FIXED

"Catholics Need Not Apply"It was bad enough when local businesses barred Catholics from certain jobs in the early 20th century. Now the White House has put “Catholics Need Not Apply” signs up in two key places:
Last Spring, Health and Human Services issued a rule that bars the Church from helping refugee and human trafficking victims who are kids separated from their parents. The regulation says to work with them you have to be willing to perform abortions on them. The State Department’s USAID bars groups from feeding the hungry, clothing the naked and caring for the sick overseas unless they promise to give them condoms, too. This makes it impossible for Catholics to participate.
Read Tom Hoopes' excellent article here.

I KNEW there was a reason my teenager was acting like that!

Teenagers' brains are different....really.  Have you ever wondered why they act like that??  Here's why!

Total Rip-off Tuesday

Wherein I "rip-off" another writer.  Today, the author of the book of Job:
Then Job answered the LORD and said: I know that you can do all things, and that no purpose of yours can be hindered. “Who is this who obscures counsel with ignorance?” I have spoken but did not understand; things too marvelous for me, which I did not know. “Listen, and I will speak; I will question you, and you tell me the answers.” By hearsay I had heard of you, but now my eye has seen you. Therefore I disown what I have said, and repent in dust and ashes.

It's a bad time to be Catholic...or is it?

"What people don’t realize is how much religion costs. They think faith is a big electric blanket, when of course, it is the cross.” - Flannery O'Connor

Things are tough out there for Catholics.  Obama is trying to get us to cover birth control as health care, stifling military chaplains along the way, the Komen Foundation gave us whiplash with all its shenanigans last week, and I personally saw how hateful and evil people can be when it comes to standing up for one's beliefs.  We are called prejudiced for opposing those things that strike at the very heart of our culture, our personal liberty and our religious freedoms.  Men like Rick Santorum, who has been freely elected as a public servant, is subjected to truly horrible personal attacks, and there are some who stoop so low as to poke fun at the death of his child.

Wouldn't it be easier just to quit all this and give up?  "Thanks for everything, Pope, but things are just getting too tough for me.  Me and my f…

Patronage of St. Edith Stein - Christ and the Cross

One cannot desire freedom from the Cross when one is especially chosen for the Cross.
St Teresa Benedicta of the Cross, OCD (Edith Stein) 
Hard as it may be, when choosing Christ, one must also choose the Cross.  Being  a Christian requires us to carry a heavy burden sometimes, but only and always with Christ.

Mary Cassatt Monday

What constitutes "health care"?

Wow.  It's been an astounding couple of weeks.  Not only has our family's personal experience been nearly surreal, we've also been watching the two biggest life-issues stories in a long time:  the battle between how the Komen Foundation chooses to spend its money and the political clout of Planned Parenthood, and the Obama Administration's heavy-fisted pursuit of denying personal and religious liberty to certain organizations.

This is from Kishore Jayabalan at the Acton Institute:

What if Obama is actually making a principled argument that abortion, sterilization and contraception services are a fundamental aspect of women’s health that cannot and should not be denied to anyone, regardless of their own religious or individual convictions? Perhaps the White House believes, as most progressives do, that these stodgy, uptight opponents will eventually, inevitably, be overcome and we will one day wonder what all the fuss about. If so, the administration is doing mu…

Stabat Mater

At the cross her station keeping,
Mary stood in sorrow weeping
When her Son was crucified.
While she waited in her anguish,
Seeing Christ in torment languish,
Bitter sorrow pierced her heart.
With what pain and desolation,
With what noble resignation,
Mary watched her dying Son.

Three Good Things Thursday

Can't say it's an easy week to come up with good things, but here goes!

1.  The big news:  Susan G. Komen cuts off Planned Parenthood.  Now maybe my sisters and I can make that breast cancer walk....

2.  Pedicures.  For as much as a girly-girl that I am, I'd never had one...until yesterday.  It was AWESOME!

3.  Meals:  with the hellacious past 10 days, we haven't starved.  Friends and family have brought us soup, pot roast, pizza, chicken and rice.  Never underestimate the power of a meal in a crisis.  Not just food for the belly, but food for the soul.

Letting others pray for you

To say I am having a hard time praying right now would be like saying Obama stands a wee bit to the left:  a vast understatement.  Really, my only prayer is standing next to Mary at the foot of the Cross and clutching her hand.  I don't have any words, I don't have anything to say or ask for.  I'm just standing there, holding on.

I'm letting others pray for me.  And I know many, many people are.  My sister-in-law, who has passed away, once told me one of the jobs of your guardian angel was, in Heaven, to introduce you to all the people who had prayed for your throughout your life - those known to you and those not.  I am expecting to be greeting many souls.

I was talking to one of my dear friends, L., who is Muslim, while my daughter was still missing.  I told her I was trying to pray but couldn't find any words.  She sent me this from the Qu'ran:  “Our Lord! Take us not to task if we forget or miss the mark. Our Lord! Do not place on us a burden like what You…