Wednesday, November 29, 2006


Now is the time for all Mothers of Basketball Players to band together and demand a Schedule from the coaches. Because tomorrow is the last day of November, and I have to start making a new Meal and Transportation Plan for December--but I can't, because I don't know when Middle Sister will have her basketball games. I've already got Big Brother's Fuller-Than-He-Likes-It indoor track schedule (this is a boy who has always valued his free time).

Suffice it to say that Planic has set in. That is the emotion you feel when you need to Make a Plan that will allow you to Keep Your Sanity for the next 31 days, but you can't, because a big piece of the puzzle is missing.


Little Brother has been riding his tricycle up and down in front of our house (and one neighbor's) for a few minutes. Then he came in and asked me to give him a newspaper, so he could play Paper Boy. I found a few ads from this morning's paper, rolled them up, put a rubber band around them, and warned him to stay out of the street. He is happily "delivering" the paper to our neighbor, then picking it up, riding up and down, and delivering it again.

Here's A New One On Me

Today was the day Little Brother and I volunteer in the school lunchroom. There's one little boy in first grade who asks, every day, for a "metal spoon" (come on, Mom, give the kid a spoon for his yogurt!) It's got to be metal, too, not plastic. So we just tell him to bring it back when he's done.

He comes back to return the spoon, wiping it off on a paper towel. Then he says, "If I wipe off the spoon real good, do I have to give it back?"

The Birthday Meme

I was tagged by Jennifer at The Catholic Path.

Here's how you play:
1) Go to Wikipedia
2) In the search box, type your birth month and day but not the year.
3) List three events that happened on your birthday
4) List two important birthdays and one death
5) One holiday or observance (if any)

My birthday is July 28.

3 events:
1821, Peru declares its independence from Spain
1914, World War I Begins when Austria-Hungary declares war on Serbia
2002, 9 miners in Quecreek, Pennsylvania are rescued after 77 hours underground

2 important birthdays:
1844, Gerard Manley Hopkins
1945, Jim Davis (creator of the comic Garfield)

1 death:
In 2004, Francis Crick, co-discoverer of the structure of DNA

System Administrator Appreciation Day
Various saints including Pope Innocent I and Saint Ada

Tag! You're it!
Amy at R.C. Mommy
Michelle at Rosetta Stone

Tuesday, November 28, 2006

No Surprise Here

You Belong in Fall

Intelligent, introspective, and quite expressive at times...
You appreciate the changes in color, climate, and mood that fall brings
Whether you're carving wacky pumpkins or taking long drives, autumn is a favorite time of year for you

It's true. I love fall. I'm not much of a pumpkin carver, though.
H/T to Laura and Julie for this quiz.

Monday, November 27, 2006

Pray for the Holy Father This Week!

We should, of course, be praying for him every week. But this week is particularly important due to the threats made against Pope Benedict if he made his trip to Turkey.

Here's a special prayer for the next 4 days, from the Knights of Columbus:
Heavenly Father, from whom every family in heaven and on earth takes its name, we humbly ask that you sustain, inspire, and protect your servant, Pope Benedict XVI, as he goes on pilgrimage to Turkey – a land to which St. Paul brought the Gospel of your Son; a land where once the Mother of your Son, the Seat of Wisdom, dwelt; a land where faith in your Son’s true divinity was definitively professed. Bless our Holy Father, who comes as a messenger of truth and love to all people of faith and good will dwelling in this land so rich in history. In the power of the Holy Spirit, may this visit of the Holy Father bring about deeper ties of understanding, cooperation, and peace among Roman Catholics, the Orthodox, and those who profess Islam. May the prayers and events of these historic days greatly contribute both to greater accord among those who worship you, the living and true God, and also to peace in our world so often torn apart by war and sectarian violence.

We also ask, O Heavenly Father, that you watch over and protect Pope Benedict and entrust him to the loving care of Mary, under the title of Our Lady of Fatima, a title cherished both by Catholics and Muslims. Through her prayers and maternal love, may Pope Benedict be kept safe from all harm as he prays, bears witness to the Gospel, and invites all peoples to a dialogue of faith, reason, and love. We make our prayer through Christ, our Lord. Amen.

Thanks to Dan at Faithmouse for the graphic honoring the Pope's new Coat of Arms.

Advent Encouragement

In yesterday's church bulletin, I was delighted to find a "Family Advent Calendar." On it are actions or prayer intentions to do for each day of Advent. These items range from "Pray for those who live in nursing homes" and "Pray for our soldiers all over the world" to "Be a Peace Maker at home today" and "Do an act of kindness for another person" and "Collect some canned goods for the food pantry" and "As a family, say two Hail Marys." None of these take a long time or a lot of money to do, but each of them is another step that can be taken as we Prepare The Way, and family members of almost any age can participate in some way.

I appreciate that someone took the time to put such a calendar together. It is important for families to do a little something together each day of Advent, when possible, to prepare our hearts--and it's nice that our parish is helping us get started.

UPDATE: In this week's National Catholic Register there is a wonderful article called "30 Days, 30 Ways" that speaks about evangelization. I'm not sure what's up with the website as I can only see the first part of the article there--so try to get your hands on the print edition and read all of it.

Can I Get That Coffee in an I.V.?

Little Brother invaded my personal space and hogged my personal pillow at an awfully early hour this morning. He came bouncing into the bedroom announcing, "Mommy! It's three-oh-OH!"

I mumbled that there are TWO "three-oh-ohs" in a day and this is NOT the one I want to see. I made him take a side trip to the bathroom before letting him into the bed, where he spent the rest of the night smacking me in the face and bumping my kidney with his knee.

Good thing none of my errands today take me more than 2 miles from home. I'd probably be a danger on the road on a longer-distance trip. Pass the caffeine.

Sunday, November 26, 2006

Little Brother's Soundtrack

Little Brother is sitting on the floor, enjoying the last few minutes of playtime before bed.

As usual, he provides his own musical accompaniment to his games involving Dinosaurs, Knights and Army Guys (plus the odd Rescue Hero.)

I'm enjoying tonight's lyrics, sung quite melodically:

"Alleluia, alleluia, alleluia, Lego, Lego, Lego, alle, alleluia, alleluia, alleluia..."


To: My Family
Re: College Football Season

Another season of college football has come to an end for me.

It wasn't a pretty end, either, but the season is over. It was mostly a good season and I'm thankful for that. It's always fun to see your favorite team win. Plus, I know the reputation I've come to have for being impossible to live with slightly disappointed when my favorite team loses. In view of that, I'm sure you are all thankful for Notre Dame's 10-2 record this year.

It would have been better if the season had not begun and ended on ABC. I'm convinced that the ABC announcers have it in for Notre Dame. Last night's "wearing of the Trojan helmet" from the announcers' desk was my first clue that things hadn't changed. So, to Big Brother, who had to listen to my outraged rantings every time the announcers dissed My Team, thank you.

To my husband, Middle Sister, and Little Brother, who went upstairs to watch a game show and play cards so I could watch last night's game without a four-year-old's interference, thank you. (Or was that so Little Brother wouldn't hear Mommy swear?)

To all of you who let me escape for a day when I suddenly had the opportunity to See a Notre Dame Game In Person, thank you. For me, those opportunities come only once a decade, so you're good for several more years.

To Big Brother who makes me great ND sidebars, you rule in Photoshop. Thank you.

To Big Brother's friend (AKA Casanova) who wisely figured out that it's smart to say "Go Irish" around me rather than betray your preference for The Other Team, especially when you sometimes depend on me for early-morning rides to school, smart move. The Irish are the best.

I'm well aware that my fanaticism loyalty to Notre Dame football makes absolutely no sense to any of you. It's what growing up in an Irish Catholic Subway Alumni Family can do to a person. And it got worse when I became a real alum.

So, thanks for putting up with all that. You have Mom back on Saturdays, now. There will be a Bowl Game, but that's subject to our Christmas plans. It's not necessarily Must-See TV.

Besides, basketball season is just getting started.

Friday, November 24, 2006

It's the Catholic Schools

You paid attention during 100% of high school!

85-100% You must be an autodidact, because American high schools don't get scores that high! Good show, old chap!

Do you deserve your high school diploma?
Create a Quiz

No autodidact here....I had 12 years of Catholic schooling from 6th grade through grad school. Guess the 7 years spent in ugly uniforms were worth it, academically.

H/T to Catholic Pillow Fight.

The Ultimate Compliment?

Middle Sister was snuggling up to me on the couch earlier. "Mmmmm, your clothes smell nice," she commented.

"Just like--DISH SOAP!"

Thursday, November 23, 2006

We Interrupt Dinner Preparations... advise one and all that it is highly inadvisable to taste-test the onion dip and follow it up with a big sip of coffee.

Happy Thanksgiving to all, and may your turkey, stuffing, and mashed potatoes all be ready to eat at The Same Time.

Wednesday, November 22, 2006

Thanksgiving Commandment: Thou Shalt Not Pulverize the Stuffing

I always use my grandmother's stuffing recipe for my turkeys. I have this recipe in her handwriting, and a friend of mine laminated it for me so I could have it forever.

The recipe does not call for those boxes or bags of prepared "stuffing bread." Instead, it involves spreading out two sandwich loaves all over the kitchen table and letting the bread get good and stale. My kids helpfully wander through every few minutes and inspect the bread for staleness. They also willingly sit around the Very Big Bowl and break up the bread once it's stale enough.

Big Brother just wandered through and asked, "When can I help crush the bread?"

"No, no, no, no, NO! You do not PULVERIZE stuffing, or you will wind up with this really disgusting mush inside the turkey."

He was properly contrite, as he's old enough to appreciate the importance of Following the Family Recipe. Plus, he loves stuffing.

I can't wait until the morning when I get to open my brand-new box of Poultry Seasoning.

I am SUCH a stuffing geek.

Maybe He's Trying To Deflect Blame?

This morning as my husband was putting on his shoes, he took one right back off, fished around inside, and came up with a tiny gray Lego helmet.

I told the kids at breakfast, "This morning Dad found a Lego helmet in his shoe."

The Big Kids both had the same response: "OUCH!"

Little Brother wanted to know, "Did it WALK there?"

Monday, November 20, 2006

I'm Feeling Grateful

...that I have the kind of neighbors I can call at 8:00 on a weeknight when they're in the middle of getting kids off to bed, so I can borrow an ingredient I forgot I needed in order to make this for tomorrow's dinner.


Michelle's story about her daughter's clothing angst reminds me of something that happened a couple of weeks ago.

It's only a matter of time before my daughter stops wanting to be seen with us. I can see it coming.

Little Brother always wants to wear things belonging to the Big Kids, or things that look just like the Big Kids' clothes. (Imitation is the sincerest form of flattery, after all). About a month ago he wanted Big Brother's track jersey. I couldn't let him wear that to play in, so I dug up Middle Sister's old basketball jersey--the one from two seasons ago where the numbers were already starting to peel off--and popped it over his sweatshirt. He was thrilled. He wore it everywhere, even the supermarket. Of course, I didn't let him wear it to church, or where nicer-dress clothes were required, but just for our regular errands, I didn't see the harm in it.

Then, a couple of weeks ago, I was getting ready to take Middle Sister and Little Brother to Wegmans, which is a rather "upscale" supermarket. How upscale? When it opened last winter, I was practically the only shopper who didn't have a fur coat. I go there weekly to get their fantastic produce and take advantage of their low price on milk. Anyway, Little Brother ran to get his jersey, so I helped him put it on.

Middle Sister was horrified. "Mom, you're not going to let him go to Wegmans in that!

Do you think that was why she kept volunteering to go get some other item from some other aisle, for me? It was an extraordinary level of helpfulness, for sure.

Obviously she doesn't remember the time she went to the supermarket wearing a bathing suit, ballerina tutu skirt, party hat and magic wand, with snow boots on her feet. (No, I didn't get a picture. Wish I had, though!)

Want to Learn a Little about Third Orders?

There's a very well-done article in the Columbus Dispatch on the topic of Third Orders.

I'll admit to having a certain family pride, as it were, about the Secular Franciscan Order, but several others exist as well.

H/T to and also with you for pointing the way to this worthwhile article. I intend to express my thanks to the Columbus Dispatch for such a wonderful piece. It's not often that this happens in a mainstream newspaper, and it's certainly commendable.

Friday, November 17, 2006

Flying High

It's All Airplanes, All The Time at my house right now.

Today I made two trips to a local airport. Big Brother is a member of the Flight Club at his school, and the club was meeting at an airport to take the boys on some short flights. I didn't have the whole day to stay and watch, so I just dropped off and picked up.

Today my kid flew an airplane. He actually took the controls and FLEW THE AIRPLANE. His feet haven't touched the ground since.

This is my cautious child, who 5 years ago would get a stomachache from the prospect of choosing between two fun alternatives. Last night, as Senior Patrol Leader, he conducted his Boy Scout Troop's Court of Honor. Where did all this courage and confidence come from? He is FLYING AIRPLANES.

Little Brother was almost as thrilled as Big Brother. He got to see the traffic helicopter from the local news land. He saw at least 10 small aircraft landing or taking off. He was so close (yet behind the fence) that the pilots were waving at him and he jumped up and down, dressed for the occasion in his "flight commander" sweatshirt and carrying his Hess biplane.

Next Friday we'll be back, because Big Brother won a free 30-minute flying lesson. He can't wait.

Thursday, November 16, 2006

Curiosity Will Kill the Mom

Sooner or later my children's eagerness for scientific experimentation is going to be the death of me. Just now, I had to instruct two of them:

"Get that (digital fever) thermometer out of the FREEZER!"

If you're thinking that Little Brother was involved in this escapade, you'd be way wrong.

Tuesday, November 14, 2006

Accent? What accent?

What American accent do you have?
Your Result: The Northeast

Judging by how you talk you are probably from north Jersey, New York City, Connecticut or Rhode Island. Chances are, if you are from New York City (and not those other places) people would probably be able to tell if they actually heard you speak.

The Inland North
The Midland
The South
The West
North Central
What American accent do you have?
Take More Quizzes

Wow, this was accurate! I grew up in North Jersey about 15 miles west of New York City. Now I live near Philadelphia.

H/T to Father Martin Fox, who doesn't think he has an accent either.

You're a Mean One, Mr. Grinch

There's been a lot of talk about various stores that will or will not use the word "Christmas" in what is blatantly Christmas advertising.

I have nothing against "including all holidays." But as I said in the combox at Ian's site where this is being discussed,
I don’t mind so much when the stores say “holidays.” But I think the Dollar Tree commercial I saw yesterday sums up what really burns me. They say “holidays” and they decorate in green and they have red and green elves hamming it up in the ad. I’m fairly sure they’re not talking about EITHER Hannukah or Kwanzaa there. So don’t be so fake as to act like you’re “including” everyone else when it’s obvious that you really mean Christmas. I have other dollar store choices if I need to visit a dollar store.

We all have the power to decide where to spend our money. We vote with our wallets. I intend to vote with mine, AND to take a little time to let the establishments I patronize know that I appreciate their policies. That’s the part that really makes the difference.

What these shortsighted businesses don't realize is that they are profiting from Christmas in a BIG way. Would it kill them to acknowledge it?

Laura has links to the Franciscan Friars of the Renewal, and to the Catholic League for Religious and Civil Rights, both of which are posting a "Grinch List" of businesses, towns and others who refuse to acknowledge Christmas.

I've already thrown some of my business toward Kohl's, which will be using "Christmas" in its ads. And I've sent them an email thanking them for this, encouraging them to continue, and informing them that I'm a happy customer there.

I realize that sooner or later I might have to shop in one of the "Grinches" but I will do my best to make sure that most of my shopping is done in stores that aren't afraid to say the word "Christmas."

UPDATE: I got a nice reply back from Kohl's.
Thank you for taking the time to share your feedback with us. We are glad that your recent experience with us at was a pleasant one. You can be assured that Kohl's recognizes Christmas as an important holiday. The spirit of Christmas is warmly embraced by Kohl's through "Merry Christmas" greetings from our associates, welcoming Christmas music that is played throughout our stores, and great seasonal gifts like those you will see in our upcoming advertisements. While we cannot share any specifics of our upcoming promotions with you, we are pleased to announce that the word Christmas will be predominantly featured in at least 6 of our sales flyers between mid-November and New Year’s Day.

DO take the time to let the stores you patronize know why you're there. Let them know that it's worth it to them to acknowledge the Reason for the Season!

Monday, November 13, 2006

Say a Prayer

My husband just got word from one of his work buddies--this guy's son S, who is Middle Sister's age, is in the hospital with meningitis. It's still undetermined which variety of meningitis it is. S has a younger sister as well. Please keep him and his family in your prayers, as well as the medical team. Saint Anthony, pray for them.

UPDATE: S. is home and doing better. Thanks for your prayers!

Because He Can

The burning question around here tonight, from Middle Sister:

"Mom, why is Little Brother playing Legos in the bathroom?"

My Hero

My husband has this amazing ability to detect, from his office 50 miles away from our home, that I'm feeling a little extra fried at the end of some days. So he'll call to say he's on his way (that's my cue to start dinner) and sometimes he offers to just get pizza if I haven't yet started dinner.

And sometimes he goes one better. Today he called to let me know that he'd remembered that we're eating early tonight, because Middle Sister has basketball practice. Middle Sister answered the phone. When she hung up, she said, "Dad said to tell you that he wants to take me to basketball tonight and watch me practice."

This is TOTALLY better than pizza. This is saving me from an hour of sitting on the gym floor (even if I do get to read a really good book while I'm there), and then rushing home to be on time to host the SFO Council meeting. Dinner's easy tonight anyway.

Oh yeah. He's a keeper.

Dream a Little Dream

Little Brother just made his sleepy way down the stairs and climbed into my lap.

"Good morning," I said to him. "Did you have a good sleep? Did you have good dreams?"

"I didn't have ANY dreams!" he answered.

"No dreams?"

"No," he said. "You get dreams when you wake up, and then you go back in your room and go back to sleep because you're still sleepy, and then you get a dream."

Sunday, November 12, 2006

If She'd Seen the Movie, This Conversation Would Never Have Happened

Middle Sister just handed Big Brother a Post-It.

Big Brother: "Hey! That's MY Post-It! Stop stealing my Post-Its!"

Me (muttering): "I invented Post-Its."

Middle Sister: "You DID?!"

She's too young for Romy and Michele, though.

They're Gross Around Here, Too

This is for Rachel, who may believe that it's only boys who have the ability to be gross.

Middle Sister, at the dinner table: "Ewwww, there's a booger in my milk!"

Anyone want to do the dishes here tonight? I'm not sure I can stomach it.

From Today's Homily: The Value of a Life

From what I've read around the corner of the blog-world that I frequent, a lot of people heard about whether the gift someone offers is more valuable than the one offered by someone else, simply because the gift is larger. That ultimately leads to the reflection on the worthiness of a gift given "from want" rather than "from excess." And it's a very important point to consider, especially when we think about how we give, how we spend our time, how we give of ourselves.

Our priest had a different take on the matter, however. He asked us to consider, "Is one life more valuable, more special, than another?" We all know where that kind of thinking can lead.

Friday, November 10, 2006

Tag Team Bread Success!

I've been working on this "internet tag team bread project" with The Kitchen Madonna for several days now. We'd both been in search of a good pumpernickel recipe.

My last year of high school, I worked at a bakery which seriously spoiled me and my dad. We both love bread. I got to take home $3 worth of baked goods each workday, and a loaf of rye was only 90 cents! And Dennis The Baker made a wicked raisin pumpernickel. Dad hasn't been able to find anything like it since the bakery closed.

When The Kitchen Madonna mentioned that she was looking for a good onion pumpernickel recipe, I had to get in on the pumpernickel action. Maybe, I figured, if I could get my hands on a good basic pumpernickel recipe, I could add some raisins and let Dad tell me if I got it right.

We decided to work on a Serbian Pumpernickel recipe. It looked pretty easy and the ingredients were easy to find. And it only took me 5 days to get ALL the ingredients into my house.

This made A LOT of bread. I put it in regular loaf pans instead of doing a "free form round" loaf, and wound up with 3 loaves. Won't my neighbors be happy?

Discussing the aftermath of the mixing and kneading with the Kitchen Madonna, I discovered that we'd both made the same mistake in reading the recipe!

I just taste-tested this bread, which smells delicious and tastes even better! No butter needed for mine. This bread is great all on its own. It's a little sweet, thanks to the molasses, and more than a little caraway-tangy.

Future Pumpernickel Tweaks on my end (because I just can't leave a recipe alone):
I want to add some Caramel Color* to the bread. I like my pumpernickel to look darker than this.
I want to reduce the recipe, ultimately to "one loaf at a time." Even two at a time would be better.
Any idea on when I should add in the raisins? And when should The Kitchen Madonna put in the onions? (I'm thinking that raisins can come in after the first rise, but onions should go in right at the start.)

*I purchase Caramel Color at a local Asian supermarket. I can't tell you the brand, or the ingredients, because other than the word "CARAMEL" on the label, nothing's in English.

Wednesday, November 08, 2006

Prayer: Everyone's Talking About It

In just the past couple of days, both Danielle and Michelle have posted on prayer and the challenges that parents face as they strive to nourish their prayer life while raising busy families. Sarah wrote about it a few weeks ago.

Both Michelle and Sarah focus on the Rosary in their discussions. I am not a regular pray-er of the Rosary, I must admit. I keep my finger Rosary in my pocket, not so much to use as a Rosary, but to call myself to prayer whenever I notice it in there.

As a Secular Franciscan I am expected to use the Liturgy of the Hours (specifically, Morning and Evening Prayer) daily. Did you know that priests are obligated under pain of sin to pray these prayers? The laity are not obligated in this way, but this is a particular form of prayer that Secular Franciscans are encouraged to practice. Certainly it is not the only one that we may use. I've been professed 5 years, and around the SFO longer than that, so I've been using the Liturgy of the Hours more or less faithfully for at least the past 7 years.

Morning Prayer is generally not too much of a problem, though I can find that if I don't get up and get started with prayers, I'll get started doing other things like packing lunches and being the Human Alarm Clock and making sure the kids get on the school bus and defrosting something for dinner and putting laundry into the washer....and before I know it, it's almost lunchtime and I have not yet greeted the Lord in prayer.

It's Evening Prayer that is my personal struggle. I had always done this at night, right before going to bed. Then, just before I was professed, the priest who was the Spiritual Assistant for our SFO fraternity taught us all that "Evening Prayer is not to be prayed at night. That's what Night Prayer is for. Evening Prayer should be prayed around sunset, or the dinner hour." Well, here's where the kind of perfectionism Michelle was talking about has reared its ugly head with me. Try finding a quiet place for 15 minutes in my house anytime between 4 and 8 PM. There's homework, and picking up Big Brother after his cross-country run, and dinner prep, and eating dinner, and cleaning up, and Middle Sister's basketball practice....and before I know it, it's bedtime and I wind up praying Evening Prayer at night.

And then I remember that a priest once mentioned, "If you're too busy to pray, you're too busy."

I know I have the choice here to either: beat myself up over this, find a way to pray Evening Prayer even a little earlier than I do now, or just let it ride and figure that it's better that I am using an opportunity to pray than wasting it. But more and more I'm thinking that it would be best to find a better way to make this happen. I'd like to make the effort to pray Evening Prayer earlier than I do, and maybe stay better awake in the process (for the record, lying in bed with 3 warm blankets and the Liturgy of the Hours is not conducive to alertness in prayer). Maybe after the dinner stuff is done, and everyone is settling in to their evening activities of reading, study, email, or games, I can disappear for 15 minutes. Because frankly, it would do me good to pay the "Magnificat" a bit more attention.

And maybe, if I sit in the nice clean kitchen for my prayer time, someone else in the house might find me there, and want to join in once in a while.

So my mission tonight, after dinner, is to make my kitchen table nice and clear, and dedicate the close of the day to the Lord. There might be background noise, but that's my life. I certainly don't want to wish away my noise-makers.

Lord, Hear Our Prayer

A fellow blogger needs our prayers. She's been battling illness for quite some time. Please pray for Epiphany today. I will be offering my "Pocket Rosary" and also praying to St. Anthony of Padua for her intention.

I'm joining with several other bloggers out there, including UKOK who has linked to a previous post explaining Epiphany's struggles.

The Difference Between Boys and Girls, Again

Cutie-Pie (age 2) is visiting from Over the Back Fence. She came over asking to play "Astronauts" with Little Brother. But soon, I heard Little Brother protesting:

"I'm NOT a baby. I'm an Army Guy."

Monday, November 06, 2006

Really Good Stuff

I've been doing a bit of reading lately that is really challenging me to meditate on my vocation as a wife and mother.

First, there's the Kitchen Madonna's blog and website. At one point, she mentions, "There is value in being a stealth vehicle for the virtues of the Mother of God." Chew on THAT for a while! That sentence sums up the Kitchen Madonna's ministry and challenge.

Then, there is a wonderful writer I discovered through Danielle Bean's blog. Genevieve Kineke has a blog and a new book, Authentic Catholic Woman
Authentic Catholic Woman

I was reading this book tonight as I waited through Middle Sister's basketball practice. (Almost 2 hours a week of reading time, even if there's noise and only a hard gym floor to sit on, is still a bonus of reading time for me!) Kineke uses incarnational theology (trace that one all the way back to St. Anthony of Padua--hey, this stuff is Franciscan!) I love all the examples from the lives of the saints that she provides, and how we are urged to link our actions with the sacraments of the Church, because we mirror the Church in our own domestic churches.

It's a real feast for the soul. Join me, dig in, and enjoy!

Think. Pray. Vote. Pray Again.

Don't forget to use the resources:
U.S. Catholic Bishops, "Faithful Citizenship"
EWTN's Catechism for Catholic Voters (thanks, Danielle!)
Catholics United for the Common Good (UPDATE: I have my doubts about this one and so do my commenters. Use carefully.)

Don't forget to pray for the candidates, for our nation, and for yourself, that you may be open to the guidance of the Holy Spirit when you are considering your choices.

And don't forget to vote!

H/T to Mark, S.J. at You Duped Me, Lord for the voter resources.
H/T to Dan at Faithmouse for the "Vote for Life" banner.

Sunday, November 05, 2006

While We Have Time, Let Us Do Good

I'm going to put this graphic into my template someplace, soon. The phrase at the bottom has become a very familiar phrase around my parish in the past year or so. It was the pastor's favorite way to close his homilies and letters in the bulletin. I think it's a wonderful reminder. Don't wait! Do good things NOW!

For a while I had been thinking that since, as the pastor, Father Dan probably got more than his share of complaints, it was about time someone gave him a pat on the back. I'm glad that I did that, while I had time. I mailed him a card with my thanks in it, just a few weeks ago.

Today I found out that due to health problems, Father has resigned as our pastor and the Spiritual Assistant of our Secular Franciscan fraternity. He will be leaving soon. It's a great loss for our parish, since he had been instrumental in many changes, big and small, that were breathing life into the parish again. Right now we're under diocesan scrutiny as it is decided what parishes will close, or merge, or whatever. And now we are without a leader whose dedication, energy, and obvious faith were really necessary attributes in a time like this.

I appreciate Father Dan's advice and encouragement. I appreciate his candor. I appreciate his willingness to acknowledge that sin and evil exist, that we are always in danger of attack from the Devil, and that we can have the strength to overcome that. I appreciate the institution of weekly Evening Prayer, Benediction and Exposition of the Blessed Sacrament; the "Beauty of Our Faith" classes that were just beginning; the efforts to get the parish together for fun events as well as faith events. It was Father Dan who first encouraged me to use my pocket rosary.

While Father Dan was here, he did good. May God bless him with a return to good health. Please pray for him, and for our parish as we have no leader at a crucial time. His absence will be deeply felt.

Wednesday, November 01, 2006

An Open Letter to the Wal-Mart Corporation

Mr. H. Lee Scott, Jr.
President, Director & CEO
Wal-Mart Stores, Inc.
702 SW 8th Street
Bentonville, AR 72716-8611

Mr. Lee:

What has happened to the Wal-Mart I once knew? Your company always advertised itself as a “family store.” Everyone thought of Wal-Mart as a place where families could get what they needed and save some money in the process. My family has been shopping at Wal-Mart for years, for household necessities, medications, baby items, toys, stationery and clothing items.

Lately, though, I’ve heard some reports about Wal-Mart that have caused me enough concern that I have not shopped in a Wal-Mart or SAM’S Club since August. I will not shop in one of these stores again until the concerns have been addressed.

I care about where I spend my money. And I choose not to spend my money in stores that aggressively promote a pro-gay agenda, supporting the NGLCC; I choose not to spend my money in stores whose parent company donates to Planned Parenthood, the nation’s largest abortion provider. This is not what a “family store” does. This is not the action of a company that used to pull CDs off store shelves if they were deemed inappropriate.

Wal-Mart has sacrificed the good of families in favor of its own bottom line. What you have not considered is the loss of goodwill among people who believe that the pro-gay agenda is wrong, that the pro-abortion agenda is wrong, and are willing to vote with their wallets on such matters.

For the good of my family, I will not shop at Wal-Mart anymore, until these policies are changed.

For the good of my friends’ families, I will spread the word.

And I will continue to pray that the hearts of those who make such decisions about Wal-Mart will be changed, so that your company can once again be regarded as a “family store.” When that happens, please let me know, and I’ll be back.

H/T to Jean at Catholic Fire. This is going out in today's mail.