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Showing posts from October, 2012

"When you are an adult..."

My children, as with most teens and young adults, want very much to make all their own decisions, with complete independence (aka meddling) of Dear Husband and myself. They dream of a world where they can do whatever they wish, whenever they wish, and the parents that have gotten them this far in life would simply nod quietly in the background, muttering, "As you wish."

Ha.

We have had, over the course of the past few years, about 8,344,203 discussions about tattoos and piercings in our house. Popular culture what it is, these things look quite attractive to young people to whom the word "permanent" seems to mean "until I'm tired of it".

Whenever these discussions come up (as one just did), our response to the child in question is, "You can do whatever you want when you are an adult." Said child this weekend responded with, "Well, now I'm 18!" as if that meant a damn thing.

No, dear. Let me clarify: "An adult means you ar…

Degenerative Disc Disease, or how to scare yourself silly doing Google research

I have degenerative disc disease. In my neck. That's not a good thing.

I've actually had symptoms for a few years, but they were so mild, I didn't think much of them. I just thought I was spending too much time on the computer, or sitting oddly.

Then things got a bit more rough. You know, it sort of gets your attention when you can't feel your fingers. At first, it seemed like a pinched nerve, but that wasn't it. I got sent off to a pain clinic, and have been through several bouts of steroid shots. They've helped a bit, but not enough. On my last trip, I was told I was a "candidate for surgery" (wait, I didn't even know I was running for that office!). Thursday, I go in to "discuss my options". Goody.

I know I'm getting older and this s*%^ happens. I get that I have a tremendous hereditary disposition for arthritis. I get that. Unfortunately, I've had major surgery before, and I also get what a horrid, awful, terrible experience it …

Total Rip-off Tuesday: John Zmirak

Wherein I rip-off another writer on the web. Not taking credit, just sharing good stuff.

Today's choice is a guest blog post from John Zmirak in the in the National Catholic Register:


...ultimately this really isn’t a battle over birth control, natural law or even religion, it’s about what America means: At heart of our Constitutional democracy is the freedom of individuals, even those with unpopular opinions, to pursue the good as they choose—and their right to form groups outside the government and push back against its policies. That’s why we have Amish communities, Catholic schools, associations of kosher butchers, hippie home-schools, gun clubs, organic farms… and all the other free institutions that build up our “ordered liberty.” Take all that away, quash every organization that displeases the federal government, and what you have is a country full of naked individuals, shivering in every wind that blows from Washington, D.C.
We must make other Americans feel the c…

Prayer request

Our family is planning a fundraiser soon to help pay for bills from Dark-Haired Daughter's assault earlier this year. We have some legal and medical bills that must get paid.

Please pray that we have a BIG turnout and a successful fundraiser.  Thanks!!

Modern Art Monday

Look! The Weekend!

Rape and Abortion

Yet another politician has gotten himself into dangerous territory over the topic of abortion and rape, this time Republican Richard Mourdock

“I know there are some who disagree, and I respect their point of view, but I believe that life begins at conception,” Mourdock said at a debate with Democratic opponent Rep. Joe Donnelly and libertarian Andrew Horning. “The only exception I have to have an abortion is in that case of the life of the mother.”

Mourdock added: “I just struggled with it myself for a long time but I came to realize: Life is that gift from God that I think even if life begins in that horrible situation of rape, that it is something that God intended to happen.”
Oh, vey.

I *think* I know what he meant to say, but he said what he said. Do I think that God intends violent acts to be visited upon people? No. Do I think an innocent child should die because of that act? No.

I don't really know the circumstances surrounding my children's conception (in case …

Tallest Son's take on the debate last night

Barry O: Here's what I've done and been doing
Rommy: Here's what I'm going to do and all of your wildest dreams will come true and here's a puppy.

Total Rip-Off Tuesday: Caryll Houselander

Wherein I "rip-off" another writer. Not taking credit, just sharing good stuff. Today's choice, the incomparable Caryll Houselander:

Stop trying to think out a solution for the moment: there isn't one. One day there may be: God will then show it to you. In the meantime, accept it all as BEING the big thing for God and his Church that he asks of you - that, and the depression too. You will find the relief of merely accepting, instead of struggling, wonderful; and I include in this,  accepting anything in yourself, during the crisis, which seems to you a falture or fault. Don't EXONERATE yourself, but just say you are sorry, briefly, to God, and add that your name is dirt - that's what is to be expected from you - but you're sorry, you are forgiven, and it is over.

During the war I was simply terrified by air raids, and it was my lot to be in every one that happened in London - sometimes on the roofs of these flats, somtimes in the hospital...I tried to build…

What it means to be rich in what matters to God

In the matter of
God's goodness
we have got to be
irrational.
This is the way it is
with love, for instance,
and with any other
deep down, visceral persuasion.
We go beyond reason,
we do not trust
appearances.
All surface indications
to the contrary
we have got to believe that
God is good,
unfailingly good to us.
Even in the thick
of troublies,
in moments of
dire tragedy,
calamity,
disaster,
God is being good.
This is illogical,
it is nonsense
but it is true.
His goodness
is never one whit diminished,
obscured
or blunted.

- Monsignor James Turro

Bi-weekly catechism moaning

It's clear that after two classes with my darling 7th graders (and I mean that: they are great kids), that by and large, they are un-churched. They don't know a darn thing about their Faith or really Christianity in general.

I gave each of them a card last night with a name or phrase on it; for instance, one kid got "Cain" and one kid got "Abel". They had to find their "match" and tell me two things they knew about them. Out of 14 kids, 4 managed to do it. "Daniel" and "Lion's Den"? Never heard of it. "Matthew, Mark" and "Luke, John"? Uh....

So.

I'm trying to remind myself that I don't have to - and cannot possibly - teach them everything. I have to teach them what I can teach them in the time that we have together. But I better be on my game, and I am praying furiously for guidance from the Holy Spirit.

We've got a lot of work to do.

Modern Art Monday

Friday Fun

There's always that one lady in the office....


Three Good Things Thursday

1. Youngest Son is working on a mural at his school and is quite enthusiastic about it. Since he's been struggling with depression, this enthusiasm is most welcome!

2. Dear Husband gets to make a retreat this weekend. It's been a long time since he's done this for himself, and it will be a much-needed respite.

3. We just found out that one of the people working with Dark-Haired Daughter is a lady who's worked with her in the past, and is beloved by our family. We couldn't be happier that she's back in our circle of care!

What are three good things in your life today?

Momtastic or Momtrocious?

Momtastic: Brings home pizza for dinner
Momtrocious: Makes you clean up the kitchen and take out the garbage afterwards

Momtastic: Blocks off an entire Saturday for prom dress shopping
Momtrocious: Won't let you get the cut-down-to-there, slit-up-to-here one you REALLY, REALLY want

Momtastic: Buys you a cell phone
Momtrocious: Activates the GPS so she knows where you are all the time

Momtastic: Lets you go to that homecoming party
Momtrocious: Calls the parents ahead of time to make sure they'll be home, chaperoning

Momtastic: Makes cinnamon rolls for breakfast on Saturday
Momtrocious: Actually expects you to get out of bed and do chores on Saturday

Momtastic: Says "yes" to new clothes
Momtrocious: The clothes have to come from Goodwill

Momtastic: Tells you:  "go ask your dad"
Momtrocious: Already knows what dad is going to say

Momtastic: Gives you $10 for the week for allowance
Momtrocious: Won't give you any more for doing extra chores, whining, com…

Oh, boy! Boy, oh, boy.....

I've got three sons. I have no idea how their minds work.

It can be tough being a mom to boys. I know how girls work: I am one. I know that we like to snuggle in bed, watch a mindless movie and chatter. We pick out nail polish. We fight over clothes - what's modest, what's mine. I know that a pint of chocolate ice cream can fix just about anything. I get all that.

Boys. Huh.

I'm having a tough time with Youngest Son right now. He's struggling with a lot of stuff, some of it really big. He's always been sort of the strong, silent type, but now he's blowing off steam in unhealthy ways. Of course, I am a favorite target.

Raising teens in today's world is not for the faint-of-heart. Raising teens with special needs, mental health issues and genetic disadvantages requires the faith of Mary, the courage of Aragorn, the endurance of a triathlete, and the beer of Guinness.

I'm at the point now where I'd *like* to give up. I won't - there's too …

Total Rip-off Tuesday: Hubris: "We can do this better than Jesus!"

It never ceases to amaze: a group of people who decide that they can found a church better than the one Jesus did, yet purport to be his followers:
...it’s part of a new independent Catholic movement, the American National Catholic Church, and bills itself as a home for "Contemporary Catholics."  Founded in 2009 by a bishop and a group of priests seeking a more inclusive religious experience but not ready to leave the Catholic tradition completely, the ANCC aims to follow the spirit of reform established by the Second Vatican Council (1962-1965). While the sacraments and many fundamental beliefs remain identical to those of Roman Catholicism, the ANCC presents a more progressive version of Catholicism: divorced members can take Communion, women and gays can be ordained, and priests can marry.
Mass is conducted in the "Novus Ordo" liturgy that was widely practiced in Catholic parishes until last year, when revamped -- some say clunky -- language was…

Modern Art Monday

Down for the count, and making it count.

A friend of mind just had to have eye surgery, which turned out to be a bit more extensive than was originally thought necessary. Now, she has to lay on her right side for 7 days while the surgery takes hold. Yup, 7 days in bed, on her side. She can get up for bathroom breaks. That's it.

Ugh.

I went to visit her yesterday and she was in pretty good spirits. I mentioned to her that now she had plenty of time to pray, and she replied, "If I can muster prayers for anyone besides myself." I don't blame her; I'd be praying for patience to rain down on me like a hailstorm. My poor family would probably be praying the same.

It's easy, when we're in the midst of pain or a crisis, to forget that it's an excellent time to pray, and not just to pray, but to pray for others, and to offer up our suffering for the sake of others. So many people are hurt, angry, lonely, depressed, scared, mired in sin.....and have no one to pray for them. Others we know carry treme…

"Passion and joy"? Now, that's malarkey!

Vice President Joe Biden's repeated laughter during Thursday's debate was a reflection of the "enormous amount of passion and joy" he brings to the job of serving the American people, White House press secretary Jay Carney said on Friday.
Biden has drawn criticism for cracking up when Paul Ryan was talking about everything from Medicare to tax cuts to Iran's quest for a nuclear weapon.
"The person I saw up there last night is somebody who is absolutely passionate about fighting for and defending the middle class... and who comes to his job -- this many years in to serving his country in the Senate and now to the White House -- with an enormous amount of passion and joy," Carney said.



No, the man is just an idiot.

Friday Fun

Three Good Things Thursday

1. It's Thursday already! How did that happen? This week is flying by.

2. Lunch with a girlfriend today - time to be savored!

3. Dark-haired Daughter has completed her therapy and treatment and is moving home on Friday. Whoo-hoo!

What are three good things in YOUR life today?

Walking with Christ

I spent the last two days weighted down with a migraine. I've only had two that were so bad I had to go to the doctor for pain and nausea shots - yesterday was one of those.

It would be nice if our walk with Christ was simply the type of walk the Apostles must have enjoyed day-to-day: chatting, learning, asking questions and soaking up His Presence. They must have joked around, laughed, been puzzled and pushed to the limits of their understanding, but all in all, it must have been good to just BE with Him.

Until it wasn't.

Then it got hard. They heard Him say He'd suffer and die. He'd have to give His life, his own flesh and blood. They couldn't stay awake. They ran away. They watched from afar as He was tortured for hours and finally killed. Their walk with Christ seemingly ended with fright, betrayal, loss.

It's like this for us too. When things are going well for us, it's nice to walk with Christ. We say our prayers, we go to Mass, we study Scripture an…

Total Rip-Off Tuesday: "It's a Girl!"

I typically quote another writer on the web for this post, but I wanted to share something a bit different today. I don't know if you're aware of it, but many countries in the world are in the midst of what is called the "daughter deficit". Couples, for cultural reasons, prefer boys, and will often abort female babies and even kill daughters after birth.

There is a new film project called "It's a Girl!" that addresses this issue. I'll warn you, the trailer is a bit tough to watch, but knowledge is power.




Tales of Woe from the Catechetical Front

I have a feeling this may be an on-going series throughout the year. Friday night, a friend of mine called, rather distraught. She's a really good religion teacher, has years of experience teaching religion in Catholic high schools, and truly loves the Old Testament. She's incredibly frustrated that she now has to teach (to high school freshmen, mind you) the entire Old and New Testament in ONE SEMESTER. Impossible. But that's the standard.

I have volunteered to teach 7th grade catechism this year at a local church. We are covering prayer and the sacraments. We meet every other week for two hours. Yeah.

First class last night: I tried my darndest to get the kids to come up with the story of Moses when talking about the idea of "covenant". "What did God ask Moses to do?" Silence. "It had something to do with the number 10....?" Silence. I finally dragged it out of them.

Later in the class, I wanted to have them look up something in the book of…

Modern Art Monday

If only you could see things my way....

Three Good Things Thursday

1. A prayer booklet my niece sent me. It was perfectly timed and perfectly needed.

2. Truffles - the chocolate kind. I bought three yesterday. Ate one yesterday, one today and one for tomorrow. Yum!

3. Having a puppy around. He keeps stealing my shoes, but he's quite adorable, snuggled up next to me....

Anxiety in the middle of the night...and in the morning...around lunch...

I got up in the middle of the night last night to do what most of us have to do in the middle of the night, and  heard rain. My first thought was (and I wish I was making this up): "The roads are going to be slippery. I hope Tallest Son and I don't get into an accident in the morning."

That's what anxiety does to you.

Here's what the Mayo Clinic has to say about anxiety as a clinical diagnosis:
Constant worrying or obsession about small or large concernsRestlessness and feeling keyed up or on edgeFatigueDifficulty concentrating or your mind "going blank"IrritabilityMuscle tension or muscle achesTrembling, feeling twitchy or being easily startledTrouble sleepingSweating, nausea or diarrheaShortness of breath or rapid heartbeat There may be times when your worries don't completely consume you, but you still feel anxious even when there's no apparent reason. For example, you may feel intense worry about your safety or that of your loved ones, or…

Happy Feast of St. Francis

“Where there is charity and wisdom, there is neither fear nor ignorance. Where there is patience and humility, there is neither anger nor vexation. Where there is poverty and joy, there is neither greed nor avarice. Where there is peace and meditation, there is neither anxiety nor doubt.”

"Don't worry; I have everything under control!"

The funny thing about having things under control is that...I don't. I want to. I really do. I want everything to go my way, under my direction, according to my plan.

Huh.

Heather King, a Catholic writer, said that Christ "didn't force or judge, just invited me to do a little better, then put the challenges in my path to teach me how." I am sure Christ did the same for me, but I was too stupid and hard-headed to notice.It has taken this truly horrid bought of depression and anxiety (which I'm still fighting) to get my attention.

There's the "let go and let God" school of thought, and then there's the "God helps those who help themselves" ideal. There must be some balance, but I've always placed all my eggs in the latter basket. Oh, I pray and ask for help, but I don't think I really mean it. I think I mean, "Hey, God: I'm gonna be doing this today. Clear the road for me, okay? Get everybody out of my way so things wil…

Here's your choice: be nice or be rude

Every day, you get to pick: be nice or be rude. You can be nice to the kid at Starbucks who is working as fast as he can in the morning rush, or you can be rude.

You can be nice to the elderly driver putzing along, or you can be rude.

You can be nice to the co-worker you don't like very much, or you can be rude.

You don't even need to say or do anything to be nice or rude: thoughts count.

So here's the thing. Let's say you're a regular reader here. You know I'm struggling with anxiety and depression. And yet you choose to leave a snarky and ANONYMOUS remark. Gee, thanks. You made my day.

Be nice or be rude.

Feast of the Guardian Angels

From Fr. Adolphe Tanquery: "Our guardian angel keeps us in constant touch with heaven. To derive full profit from his guardianship we can do no better than direct our thought frequently to our guardian angel, making him the object of our veneration, our confidence and our love."

"Constant touch with heaven": That's pretty heady stuff. When was the last time you talked to your guardian angel - the one who keeps you in constant touch with heaven?

Total Rip-off Tuesday: Liturgical Dance

Wherein I "rip-off" another writer - not taking credit, just sharing good stuff.

Today's choice is an excellent article about liturgical dance. But just to get us off to a silly start, please enjoy Stephen Colbert:



Now, back to reality: John J. Beuscher, in The Catholic World Report has written a fascinating historical overview of "liturgical dance". It's a great read. Here's just a bit of it:

One of the roots of today’s liturgical dance lies in the revolt against spare Calvinist, Reformed worship, which made itself felt in the late Romantic ambiance of 19th century Europe. In Victorian and Edwardian England, this was manifested, among other ways, in the art of the Pre-Raphaelites, in the antiquarian yearning for folk and rustic forms of song, dance, and design, and in the self-conscious decadence of Oscar Wilde. In the Anglican Church, it was manifested in surprisingly widespread interest in the luxuriantly exotic, such as spiritualist trance mediumship…

Modern Art Monday