Tuesday, October 31

Bob and Larry Unbound!

Phil Vischer is reporting on his blog that NBC hasn't asked for references to God and the Bible to be edited out of the next few episodes to air (which include Madame Blueberry and King George and the Ducky). He has no idea why they decided to leave them be, but I think it's a good thing. Thank You, Lord!

Also, in case you missed it, NBC will also refrain from airing Madonna's mockery of the crucifixion. Maybe they realized that pre-emptively cutting God out of a children's cartoon when nary a peep was made about it while leaving in what nearly 800,000 people complained about because it mocked God was a kind of contradiction. I know that when I wrote to NBC about Madonna's performance, I asked them about the two things while also asking them why they seemed bound and determined to purposely offend such a large portion of their viewers.

Who knows? Maybe enough people pointed that out to them. I know I couldn't possibly have been the only one to do so.

Ten-Year-Old Demons, Twelve-Year-Old Slutty Witches

It's distressing to see how many young children - and I'm talking elementary and perhaps young middle school kids - are dressed up for Halloween in costumes that are purely evil or purely slutty. I saw tiny ladybugs and duckies burst into terrified tears at Hubby's office today when the ten and eleven year olds with the blood-oozing, skeletal-looking, screaming-ghost-face masks came around the corner. One dad escorted his two daughters, one was a little witch and the older one - perhaps 12 - was in a miniskirt with little swathes of fabric hanging from it, low-cut top, colorful wig, FISHNET STOCKINGS, and what would have been called Go Go boots when I was a kid. She was a teenaged witch, I guess. Heavy makeup, too.

The second time she walked by (with her DAD!), Hubby and I looked at each other and said at the same time, "Never."

Seriously, people, do you have ANY clue when it comes to this? When I was a kid, costumes were of superheros, cartoon characters, and fairy tales. Ghosts and witches were there, too, but no bloody skeleton heads with strands of creepy, long, black hair hanging off the top were available to children. Heck, I don't remember much of that for adults! No one would dream of dressing their elementary-aged daughters up in "witch" costumes that look more like something a hooker would wear!

Meanwhile, Big Girl was Shelob and Little Girl was Saint Scholastica. Big Girl caught Mass yesterday on EWTN and learned about taking back our Holy Day, and she'll be searching for a saint to dress up as for next year.

I'll have pictures of Shelob up later, but I'm not sure I'll put up the pictures of Little Girl. You can see her face too easily, and I'm skittish about that. You'll see why Big Girl gets her mug on the web, though, when you see what she looked like.

Now it's off to put the little angels to bed.

All Hallow's Eve Carnival Edition

The Magdelene Diaries is hosting this week's Catholic Carnival. There are lots of goodies, and none of them will give you tooth decay!

Go and check it out!

[picture credit]

Sunday, October 29

Why I Have Not Left

I do not want to give details here, but I do want to make a comment on why I stay in a parish where things are, shall we say, less than orthodox. Seriously, don't ask. This is enough of an occasion of sin for me without adding gossipping.

I know more than a few families who have left our parish (as well as nearby ones) because of heterodoxy. They have not left the Faith - they wouldn't dream of it - but have, instead, gone to other parishes (usually one in particular) where they know the pastor is of a more orthodox bent. Many of those people encourage those who are in a parish where they are unhappy with the heterodoxy there to leave - come to Saint Orthodox Parish over here, they say.

Hubby and I actually contemplated this a couple of years ago, seriously entertaining the idea and even attending some of the other parishes in the area.

There are a couple of reasons why we decided to stay. First, and foremost, we are not supposed to parish-hop. Unless we've gotten permission from the bishop, we are supposed to stay put. It's not like we live on the edge of our parish. We are a mere 2 1/2 miles from the church. So we couldn't say that maybe we're really in that parish over there.

Secondly, to be honest, about the only parish that seems to be orthodox in the area is not a Latin Rite church. You are not supposed to switch rites unless you are either not in an area where your rite is available or unless you have permission to switch rites. Neither of these apply to us. Besides, we ARE Latin Rite Catholics, and we have no desire to make a permanent switch. This isn't to say that we don't enjoy going to Mass occasionally at the Eastern Rite parish across town, but we are aware that when we do, it's a visit. It's not home.

Lastly, we will stay because it is not good for us to run from this. My father said to me (when the first conflict came up more than two years ago) that it is our duty to help fix it from within, not take flight and leave everyone else in a heterodox mess. (Not his words completely, but that was the general idea.) God has put us here for a reason. God has placed us in this parish for a reason. As Hubby put it to me, "This is how God takes care of His Church and heals it."

Our parish has had these problems for far longer than we've lived here. It's not new; it's just new to us. So we will stay and fight the good fight. Even if it makes for some suffering moments while we do.

Just think of the souls we can release from Purgatory if we offer it all up!

In the meantime, please pray for all parishes that are having diffuculties. Pray that priests will be unafraid to proclaim the true teachings of the Church. Pray that we will all learn to be more obedient to our bishops. Pray for the priests that are struggling with their assention to the Faith and the Church. And pray for those who criticize those priests, too. Because when we gossip about the priests (even online), we hurt the Church. And, because the Church is the Mystical Body of Christ, we also hurt Christ Himself. Our gossip about these things puts the lashmarks on His back, the thorns in His precious head, and the nails through His sacred hands.

May God bring healing to us! May God protect all parishes that are struggling and are under spiritual attack!

Saint Michael the Archangel, defend us in battle. Be our protection against the wickedness and snares of the Devil. May God rebuke him, we humbly pray, and do thou, O prince of the heavenly host, by the divine power of God cast into Hell Satan and all the evil spirits who prowl about the world seeking the ruin of souls. Amen.


Please pray for my parish as a whole. And please, if you could, pray for me. I am struggling GREATLY with some serious issues here, and I have been upset most of the morning. It's not going away, and while I know and beleive that Christ holds us in the palm of His hand, I do not understand his plan or his timing.

Our diocese, and especially this area of it, needs lots of prayers.

Also, while you are thinking of my intentions (if you are), please also throw in some prayers that Virginia's marriage amendment passes. God knows it's under assault, and it is not getting the kind of support it should be getting in some areas. We've only got a bit more than a week, and I am feeling very negatively about its prospects.

Thanks in advance, and God bless you.

Saturday, October 28

Seen on a T-Shirt

...on a boy that looked to be about ten or eleven.

A picture, like a restroom sign, of a male figure with two female figures, one on each side, leaning in.

Caption under the picture?


(Honestly, what - if anything - are parents thinking?)

When I saw that kid, I thought, "Stay the hell away from my daughters."

Friday, October 27

Another Story of the Building of the Culture of Life

Amy Welborn has a link to a story that just puts me in total awe. Most of us talk a lot about buildling the Culture of Life. This family has been building it for 52 years. And they say they've been blesssed.

Thursday, October 26

Missourah's Amendment and the Great Battle of the GooTube Video Ads

First, there was the manipulative Michael J. Fox's ad for Clare McCaskill. (The "Missourah" thing was an obvious move to pander to people, and I'd bet it backfired.)

Then, there was the rebuttal from a plethora of honest people who want you to know what Amendment 2 in Missouri is all about. (See American Papist for a decent round-up on what Jim Caviezel said at the beginning.)

And now, there's this, from thepoliticalpitbull.com.

And, Political Pit Bull points out this video, too.

Yup, Scrapple Face. Scott Ott rocks!

On a slightly more serious note, please pray for a defeat of this amendment. It would enshrine a great evil in the constitution of Missouri, and it would definitely affect everyone, no matter what state you live in. If it passes there, it will be coming to a state near you.

For an excellent discussion of the entire thing, head over to Mary Meets Dolly. Rebecca is the BOMB! (Is that still a good thing? I'm not sure any more...I'm getting old.) She outlines very clearly the difference between embryo research and adult stem cell research (which is ethical and moral and is supported by Pro Lifers everywhere, including the Catholic Church).

Videos above not working? Click below to view each one:

Fox video
Rebuttal video
Political Pit Bull video
Michael J. Embryo video

Wednesday, October 25

Joke Time!

I thought about sharing this with Julie, but why should she get to post all the good jokes?


There was once a small rural community--so small, in fact, that the only church in town was a small Baptist church whose pastor had to double up as the local barber to make ends meet.

A man living in this small community had invested wisely and was enjoying his newfound comfort. This man got out of bed one day to go through his daily routine. He looked into the mirror as he was about to shave and said to himself, "I make
enough money now that I don't have to shave myself. I'll go down to the barber and let him shave me from now on." So he did.

He walked into the barber shop and found the preacher/barber was out calling on shut-ins. The barber's wife, Grace, said,"I usually do the shaves anyway. Sit down and I'll shave you." So he did.

She shaved him and he asked, "How much do I owe you?"

"Twenty-five dollars," Grace replied. The man thought that was somewhat expensive and that he might have to get a shave every other day. Nonetheless, he paid Grace and went on his way.

The next day, he woke up and found his face to be just as smooth as the day before. No need for a shave today, he thought. Well, it was a $25 shave.

The next day he awoke to find his face as smooth as a baby's bottom. Wow! he thought. It amazed him, as he normally would need to shave daily to keep his clean-shaven business look.

Day 3, he woke up and his face was still as smooth as the minute after Grace had finished. Now, somewhat perplexed, the man went down to the barber shop to ask some questions.

This particular day, the pastor was in, and the man asked him why his face was as smooth as it was the first day it was shaven.

The kind old pastor gently explained, "Friend, you were shaved by Grace, and once shaved, always shaved."

Received from Good, Clean Funnies.

Tuesday, October 24

It's That Time Again!

Yup, time for the Catholic Carnival! Owen has the whole deal over at his place.

Thanks to Esther for the lovely picture!

Winners in the Motivational Poster Contest

Lapped Catholic has announced the winners. Congratulations to fellow homeschooler Amy for her win in the inspirational category!

Four Words Meme

Esther, A Catholic Mom in Hawaii, tagged me for this meme. The idea is for me to write what the following four words mean to me, and then to tag four others. Here goes...

  1. Meekness: I had to think a bit about this. The meek shall inherit the earth, you know. Am I meek? No. Seriously, I have been having a problem in the pride department. Meekness is the opposite. Meekness is like Saint Therese, the Little Flower. She was not liked by some because they felt her piety was a show put on to impress someone. Instead of trying to justify her behavior or make others understand her better, Therese just offered up her hurt feelings as a sacrifice. When I was learning about her sacrifice beads, I learned that she would offer up every little thing for Christ, even if it was as simple as smiling at someone she'd rather frown at, or saying a kind word when she felt like complaining. I could learn a lot from her, and her examples in these simple things is what I want to be more like. And that is, to me, meekness.
  2. Modesty: I never gave this much thought growing up. My dad was always on our cases (two daughters has he) about the length of our skirts, the amount of skin that showed in our bathing suits, the length of our shorts in summer, etc. He was worried about modesty, but didn't know how to explain it. Now I am struggling with teaching it to my girls. But what I try to tell them is that they should be modest in dress and action. They accept that, at 8 and 5, but when they get older, there will be more. They'll need to learn that if they want men to respect them, they must respect themselves. That if they are covered up so as to help men avoid an occasion of sin, it's a good thing, but if their actions are in contrast to that, it won't help. Learning to be an example of this when everything told me (as a teenager and young adult) that being sexy to men was the ultimate test of my femininity has been difficult. I look to some of the older Catholic women I am friends with for cues, as well as women my age who I admire. I have a friend who is a convert that I look to for a lot of information. She's younger than me, but, boy Howdy!, does she know her stuff. And she inspires me to learn more and be a better Catholic, and that includes in the area of modesty.
  3. Miracles: I love to read about miracles, and most of the miracles we read about tend to be the big, splashy kind. But my favorite ones are sometimes more subtle. Like the miracle that is my husband. He grew up going to a Methodist church, lapsed into atheism in his teen years, rededicated his life to Jesus shortly after we were engaged, and then, nearly 13 years after we married, became Catholic. I'd like to say that I helped convince him to become a Christian and a Catholic. I'd like to be able to say that I put forth some great argument that made the lightbulb go on for him. But it wouldn't be true. The plain truth is that I tried that to no avail. It was only when I turned to God and admitted that I couldn't do it - it would have to be Him - that Hubby had a change of heart. Or at least that he told me he was going through one. This is a great miracle. And, truthfully, his conversion to the Church really worked about the same way. After a while of trying to convince him that he should convert, I finally said a prayer that he'd become Catholic and then left it to God to do the rest. I knew he would eventually, and there were times that I wished I'd taken up his offer to convert when we got married (he would have done it for me, not out of belief), but I ultimately let God work on him. Years of Mass, lots of reading...and God, nudging him here and there. It's hard to believe what a big difference there is in him now. I really believe that most miracles are like this. What seems like a little thing is really something that Heaven celebrates tremendously. (I wonder if a conversion is viewed with greater joy than something that we marvel at, like the Eucharistic miracles we read about, or a cure from cancer or something.)
  4. Mary: Ah, my Mother! Growing up, I loved thinking about her, but I wasn't able to explain well our devotions to her as an adult. When we moved to Florida when I was 19, I found myself, for the first time, face-to-face with many, many people who had no idea what Catholicism is about. And some of them were former Catholics! I knew it was okay, but I felt uncomfortable showing any veneration for the Blessed Mother. And then I read Hail, Holy Queen, and that changed forever. Mary is our mother, she is the Queen of Heaven. She is the fulfillment of the Davidic queen, who ruled the kingdom with her son. She intercedes for us, just as any mother would, praying for us constantly. Jesus gave us, the disciples He loves, to her as her children. And there have been times that knowing that she was a mother has given me great comfort. When I was pregnant with Big Girl, I leaned on her heavily. I was frightened, and thought about her putting herself in God's hands. I tried to do the same. Other times, I ask her to watch over my children when they aren't in my care. My girls both wear the brown scapular, and I remind them that Mary watches over them when I cannot. In short, Mary means to me that we are under the mantle of her protection, and that she looks after us. And that is a great comfort to me. I thank God for the wonderful gift of His mother!

Now for the tagging...And I am supposed to pick four new words. (Man this is hard!)

How about we see what Owen, Amy, Jeff, and Cathy have to say. And the words for them are trust, truth, Tradition, and Triduum.

Have fun, and leave a link in the com boxes when you're done!

Medjugorje "Visionaries" Disobey Bishop

Well, the "litmus test" has been taken, and failed. Dawn Eden has reported that the "visionaries" of Medjugorje are continuing to proclaim visions in spite of the fact that their bishop has asked them to stop.

New Advent's blog had this to say back in July (with a hat tip to Jimmy Aiken):

There have been good fruits in Medjugorje, such as possible healings, an apparent increase in conversions and renewed attention to prayer and the sacraments. But there have also been numerous bad fruits -- including the following situation, described last weekend by the local ordinary, Bishop Ratko Peric:

[I]n this local Church of Mostar-Duvno, there exists something similar to a schism. A number of priests that have been expelled from the Franciscan OFM Order by the Generalate of the Order, due to their disobedience to the Holy Father, for years now have been forcefully keeping a few parish churches and rectories along with church inventory. They have not only been illegally active in these parishes, but they have also administered the sacraments profanely, while others invalidly, such as Confession and Confirmation, or they have assisted at invalid marriages.

This type of anti-ecclesial behaviour is shocking to all of us. At the same time, this scandal of sacrilegiously administering the sacraments, especially of the Most Holy Body of Christ, must shock all the faithful as well who invalidly confess their sins to these priests and participate in sacrilegious liturgies. We pray to the Lord that this scandal and schism be uprooted as soon as possible from our midst.

Fortunately, Bishop Peric has just given us all a way to judge for ourselves:

Therefore I responsibly call upon those who claim themselves to be “seers”, as well as those persons behind the “messages”, to demonstrate ecclesiastical obedience and to cease with these public manifestations and messages in this parish. In this fashion they shall show their necessary adherence to the Church, by neither placing private “apparitions” nor private sayings before the official position of the Church.

It's a simple litmus test in the Church, confirmed by centuries of practical experience: if the apparitions are true, they'll stop now.

And one commenter summed things up well when he said this:

The visions at Medjugorje are really vexacious. Many things draw some belief from me and from many in the truth of the apparitions, but I would certainly stop believing in the supernatural possibility of these events if disobedience to the Church really occurs. It is only Satan who can inspire disobedience to the Church of Christ so flagrantly as whown by the examples quoted above. Our Lady only inspires humility, and therefore obedience, and not otherwise.

Another brought up this point:

Our Lady recognizes the authority of the Church. At Lourdes, Fatima, and in Mexico, she told those to whom she appeared to obey those over them in the Church - even when it seemed to be disrespectful to her personally.

She doesn't seem to consider her legitimate messages from her Son to be more important than her Son's Church, and I think that this is a very good test of whether this is really she.

Friday, October 20

oh. my. God.

"That he hath given his angels charge over thee, and in their hands shall they bear thee up, lest perhaps thou dash thy foot against a stone."

Julie D. has pointed out a book that makes a tremendous point about why we are not supposed to just pick up the Bible and read and interpret Scripture on our own. Like her, I'd never heard it put quite this way, but it makes so much sense.

Here's a bit of the book, called Catholic Passions, that she posted:

Early church leaders insisted that the Scriptures be read and understood within the context of the church's tradition. They had learned by experience. Many of the problems and heresies of the early church had stemmed from a rejection of this principle, as charismatic leaders and sects advanced wild theories and fanciful speculations they said were based on the Bible.

"The Devil himself has quoted Scripture texts," Jerome noted ruefully, referring to Satan's temptation of Jesus in Matthew's Gospel. "We could all, while preserving the letter of Scripture, read into it some novel doctrine." [ED: link added by me]

But God did not send his word into the world only to leave it alone to be interpreted according to the whims, dictates, and tastes of whoever heard it. That is why the word was given to us in the church. This is the message of a dramatic scene in the Acts of the Apostles. The Holy Spirit tells the apostle Philip to strike up a conversation with an official of the queen of Ethiopia's court. Seated in his chariot, the official is reading the prophet Isaiah. "Do you understand what you are reading?" Philip asks. The official replies, "How can I, unless someone guides me?" So Philip interprets the Scriptures -- "starting with this scripture, he proclaimed to him the good news about Jesus." Then the man asks to be baptized.

This book looks like something I'd love to have!


Rebecca at Mary Meets Dolly (subscribe, I tell you, subscribe!) points out three "men of the cloth" who say that tiny human embryos are tools provided for us by God to use as we see fit.

Yes, people are tools if experimenting on them means that I might get a cure for some disease.

Morals? Ethics? Who needs 'em? It's all about me, you know!

"Look, Ma! I'm a tool!"

Thursday, October 19

Looks Like I Will Still Be Able to Watch "Heros"

Hat tip to Amy Welborn for this one.

Fox News is reporting that NBC will not show Madonna's mock crucifixion (instead opting for a different camera angle to avoid the scene) during her concert to air November 22. Which means that I won't need to boycott NBC, which means I can still watch Sunday Night Football and, even better, "Heros," which is one of my new favorite shows. Hooray!

Of course, it still stinks that it took nearly one million complaints just to get this when NBC won't let Bob the Tomato and Larry the Cucumber quote the Bible. And no one complained about that.

But at least they aren't going to insult Christianity too badly. (Madonna is still pretty insulting in general, but that's a different story.)

Wednesday, October 18

Battle Against the Ladybugs, Cont'd

I've decided to offer up my difficulties with the ladybugs, and hopefully God will accept my offering up of the beginning of the day, when I didn't think to do so. Who knows how many souls can be freed from purgatory just from my irrational fear of harmless bugs? (Yes, unless you count the skeeve factor of the things crawling all over my house, these little things are harmless. They might even help with the aphid problem, though I don't know where all of them are when I need them during aphid season!)

Also, I'm kind of hoping that He doesn't decide to give me much more to offer up here, because I am seriously skeeving out. My skin feels all crawly and stuff, and I just want to run away and hide until Hubby can get all the bugs out of my curtains. And living room. And kitchen. And away from the door. God forbid I get any in the bedroom. I will wind up sleeping in my car.

I got a little school done today, but haven't accomplished ANYTHING in the kitchen or as far as laundry goes. I spent a good chunk of my day battling the stupid bugs. Vacuuming the door, then the curtains and window, then the door again, and back to the curtains.
I'll try to catch up now that I've sprayed a bunch of stuff on the doorframe (inside and out) and the outsides of the windows downstairs. I left for about two hours to look for weather stripping (got some brass stuff that will make a solid seal around the front door) and the bug spray. When I got back, there were probably another 40 to 5o of the critters on my door and just as many in the living room on my curtains.

I took some pictures of them in my vacuum canister, which is now outdoors so Hubby can empty it for me. First time since I bought this vacuum that I wished I had a bag on it.

Please, Jesus, have pity on me!

Information on the "Ladybugs"

Aparently, they are not real or true ladybugs. This link has some information, but I found part of this very useful as to why they are swarming the front of my white, southern-facing, two-story home that is in the Blue Ridge Mountains.

Thousands of the bugs also find ways into my walk-out basement. I have swept them up by the snow-shovel-full (literally). My basement faces south, and the insects are attracted to light-colored structures with southern, sunny exposures that are on a hillside.

The beetles come in around the screen door upstairs, too, and the next thing you know, I've got hundreds of them crawling on the walls and across the ceiling.

Okay...thank God I don't have them THAT badly! But I don't like that I've already vacuumed up more than 100 of them today.

Weather stripping and insecticides with either pyrethrins or permethrin are also helpful, says this woman.

Part of her five steps to help tame the swarms had this:

Vacuum up the beetles with the vacuum cleaner attachment.

This may be somewhat time-consuming but it is a non-toxic and safe method to remove the bugs. As far as I'm concerned, time-consuming doesn't seem so important when thousands of lady beetles are invading my house.

When vacuuming up large numbers of Multi-Colored Asian Lady Beetles, be sure that you don't leave the attachment hose draped across the vacuum cleaner in preparation for the next vacuuming session, otherwise the beetles will soon find their way out of the vacuum bag and will be crawling around the house again. One woman from my hometown says she solves this problem by stuffing a paper towel into the end of the vacuum hose.

When I read that last part, I grabbed a couple of paper towels and sent Big Girl up to stuff it into the wand, which is draped across my vacuum cleaner, ready for the next vacuuming session.

More information on the Multicolored Asian Lady Beetle can be found here. (That's also where I got the nifty picture.)


Anyone who knows me knows that I have a real phobia when it comes to bugs. My basic answer is that anything with more than four legs is NOT my friend.

As it always seems to do when we get a warm spot in October, the lady bugs have hatched and are SWARMING about the yard. And I noticed that we suddenly had about two dozen in the house. At first, I called Hubby at work and admonished him for letting them in the front door when he left for work. I asked him to use the garage door until the stupid lady bugs stop swarming, which will likely be after the next serious cold snap.

I looked at the door, which the girls had just "cleaned off" for me (by catching the bugs and releasing them outside) and noticed that there were more than before. Then I saw something that has me freaking out.

They are coming from outside, through small tears in the weather stripping.

I will be headed to the big blue box or the big orange box to buy a BUNCH of weather stripping, which I might now call bug stripping, to have Hubby replace it when the lady bugs go back to sleep tonight. And I will continue to show no mercy as I vacuum up any that are in the house. If the girls can catch and release them first, so be it, but I had more than two dozen in the curtains and on the door, and every time I pass it, there are more at the door.


I hate the warm week mid-way through October.

I Cannot Resist Any Longer...

I finally clicked on over to Ask Sister Mary Martha and got to read this great post about Halloween! Get some perspective on the holiday and read what she has to say about it!

I am seriously going to have to subscribe to that site now.

Apple-Cinnamon Potpourri

Also known as the 89th Catholic Carnival! Deo Ominis Gloria has all the posts, including one called "I Hate Large Homeschooling Families." Yup, you read that correctly. Go see what you think. Other entries include posts on Saint Teresa of Avila, "homophobia," and leaving it all behind for Christ (just like the Gospel story of the young rich man).

Everything looks great, so go on over and take a look around the Carnival.

Tuesday, October 17

Little Girl's Diorama

Little Girl also did a book report/diorama. Hers is trascribed below. I helped her with more of hers than I did for Big Girl. (For example, Little Girl needed some help with cutting out the people so that they were close-cut, and I helped glue things into the box a little bit.)

This is Jack and Annie with General Washington as he prepares to cross the Deleware (or has just crossed?) on Christmas. We used sticks from a branch that fell off our tree to make the trees after we decided we didn't know how to draw good trees without leaves. Jack is running towards Annie, who is talking to General Washington.

Revolutionary War on Wednesday

by Mary Pope Osborne

In this book Jack and Annie go to the time of the Revolutionary War. They try to find something to send. They help General Washington. I liked this book because the time travel was cool.

Little Girl hasn't got her lower case letters down just yet, and I think she actually left out the "g" in Washington's name, but she dictated the report to me as I wrote on the board. She then copied what I had on the board onto lined paper. For her second report, it's very good. She is really enjoying doing various book reports, and she reads about as much as her sister does, which is to say, a lot!

Big Girl's Diorama

It has been finished for a while, but I have been remiss in uploading pictures of Big Girl's diorama. She wrote a short report on the book, which I have transcribed here. All I asked for this report was a couple of sentences that describe the general problem that the Boxcar Children faced and the solution to it.

Her written report is taped to the back of the diorama. (In case you are wondering, I just now noticed the error with the possessive "team's" where she meant to write plural. We'll review that rule together to shore up her writing.)

The Boxcar Children: The Soccer Mystery

By Gertrude C. Warner

One day the Boxcar Children signed up for soccer. While they were playing some team's [sic] had trouble, like one of the best players got locked in her locker. Soon, they found out it was one of the other team's players.

For her next report, she is typing a blog post. (The girls have their own blog, but I do not link to it from either of mine.) This will get her to write a longer report, but under the guise of this new and fun game, namely, the blog. Her report is on a biography of Ben Franklin, and she must include three major events or accomplishments of his life, as well as the dates and places of his birth and death. Franklin's grave was one of the things we got to see when we went to Philadelphia for Independence Day.

Occasions of Sin

There are times when I get mad about something that happens at my parish. Or within the Church at large. And sometimes, I discuss what upset me with someone else who is sympathetic to my plight. Let's get hypothetical here, just to give an example.

Suppose I am at the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass at my parish, and my pastor decides to discuss The Last Temptation of Christ (the book) during the Homily. He goes into the plot of the book and why he likes portions of it. (Just to pull something out of the air here.)

Later, I am with a friend and tell her about this. I am frustrated, and worry that my children's education (which I take great pains to make orthodox at home) is in jeopardy. We talk about what to do with this blatant heterodox behavior. Then my friend shares with me a problem she had with my pastor that is related. We talk about her problem, how it relates to mine, and then start moving on to other problems we've each had. It's just between the two of us (and whatever we might share incidentally with our husbands). We know that it's pretty much stopping with us.

But what did we do? Well, I took part in conversations like this over a period of time. My thought at the time was that I was basically sharing information. I was also venting a bit, and I wouldn't have denied it then, either. I was glad I wasn't the only one with problems X, Y, Z with people A, B, C.

Then one afternoon, I was examining my conscience before Confession. I was using the Ten Commandments as a guide.

Thou shalt have no gods before me.
Thou shalt not take the name of the Lord thy God in vain.
Keep holy the Lord's Day.
Honor thy father and mother.
Thou shalt not kill. ...

When I reached the Fifth Commandment, I initially thought, "Well, obviously I haven't killed anyone." But was that true?

An old story popped into my head.

There was an old woman in a small village who was slightly odd in some ways. A man in the village had a quarrel with her, and to take revenge on her he spread a terrible rumor about her. He told a few people his story, and let it take its course.

Later, he felt badly about it, and wanted to set things right. So he approached a wise priest and asked what he should do to fix things. "First," answered the priest, "you need to go tell everyone you spoke to that you were wrong. Then find everyone that heard the story from someone else, and set them straight, too. When you've done that, I want you to write down the story on paper and burn the story up. Take the ashes of what was the story and the set them free on the wind."

"Father," the man said, "I understand the first part of your instructions, but what does the paper and the ashes have to do with it?"

The priest smiled gently and answered, "When the ashes have blown away, I want you to collect them all again."

"That's impossible!" the man cried.

"And so it is also impossible to completely heal what you have done with your story."

And I thought of my venting and complaining. And I realized I'd been gossipping.

Sometimes, I let my comments be heard around people who might not have had any other problem with person A, B, C. They might not have known about X, Y, Z, but I made sure they did. And that person's reputation is forever marred because of what I said. Forever.

Killing someone's reputation counts as a sin against the Fifth Commandment.

How often do we say something or write something (or blog something) that damages another peron's reputation for the simple reason that we wanted to get something off our chests? How often do we gossip about someone just because we found someone else who is as interested in it as we are? And how often is it a priest that we do this to?

One thing that I saw a while ago, and I honestly can't recall where I saw it, was a story about a mystic who saw Christ in a vision. He was lamenting that some people slandered priests, and Jesus said that we should not speak ill even of a priest who is in error. Christ still stands with him at the altar when he offers the Sacrifice of the Mass. (By the way, if that was your post, leave a message in the com boxes about where to find it, please.) As a priest said to me, even a dirty fork will bring the food to your mouth. I believe it was Saint Francis who said that he'd kiss the hands of any priest, even the biggest sinner, because it is the hands of a priest that brings the Blessed Sacrament - the Holy Eucharist - to us. No other can do this. And even a priest who doubts his own faith brings forth this miracle, whether he is sure of it or not.

When we talk about our brothers and sisters in the Faith, especially priests, do we give them the respect they deserve? As priests? No matter how bad we judge their actions to be, we are no better if we gossip about them. Christ still stands at the altar with them as they offer Him to the Father. Let us be careful what we do and say, so as not to become an occasion of sin to others!

Euthanasia Blues

Hat tip to Mark Shea. I only got about a third of the way through before I decided to post this.

If that didn't work for you, click here.

Monday, October 16

Can You Pass Third Grade Geography?

The first time through, I didn't realize I was being timed, so I failed. Second time, knew about the timer and stopped seeing if the kids could do it. Passed with time to spare.

Test your knowledge.

Friday, October 13

Happy Birthday Big Girl!

This Sunday, October 15, will be Big Girl's eighth birthday. I find it hard to believe that she really is eight! It seems like just a short time ago that I held her in my arms for the first time.

And her born-again birthday is October 18, too. That was the day she was baptized into God's family.

I love my Big Girl so very much! She is smart, funny, and kind. She strives to do what God wants of her. Her personality is so distinct, too. She and her sister are just alike in some ways, and they get along so well, but she is also very, very different. For example, for Halloween last year, she was a mummy and Little Girl was Cinderella. This year, she is going to be a spider (Shelob, actually, though she hasn't read LOTR yet), and her sister will be Saint Scholastica (because we have a nun's habit I made in black, and Scholastica wore the black Benedictine habit). Little Girl twirls around in dance class, happy as can be, and Big Girl played touch football with the boys at the co op today and soccer in the homeschool rec league this evening.

I'm so proud of her! What a wonderful blessing my Big Girl is to me!

Happy birthday, Big Girl! I love you so very much! I can't wait to see how you grow up in grace and stature!

The Lord bless you and keep you.
The Lord lift His countenance upon you
And give you peace.
The Lord make His face to shine upon you
And be gracious unto you.

Thursday, October 12

"Praise the Lord!"

Thanks to Esther for posting this gem at her blog.

There was a little old lady who was very spiritual who would step out on her porch every day, raise her arms to the sky and yell, "Praise the Lord!" One day, an atheist bought the house next door to her, and he became very irritated with the spiritual lady. So after a month or so of her yelling "Praise the Lord" from her porch, he went outside on his porch and yelled back, "There is no Lord!"

Yet, the little old lady continued. One cold, wintry day, when the little old lady couldn't get to the store, she went out on her porch, raised her hands up to the sky and said, "Help me, Lord; I have no more money, it's cold, and I have no more food."

The next morning, she went outside, and there were three bags of food on the porch, enough to last her a week. "Praise the Lord!" she yelled.

The atheist stepped out from the bushes and said, "There is no Lord; Ha! Ha! Ha!, I bought those groceries!"

The little old lady raised her arms to the sky and said,"Praise the Lord, You sent me groceries and You made the Devil pay for them!"

Wednesday, October 11

That About Sums It Up...

Hat tip to Mark Shea for pointing this out.

Counter the Ms. Petition (reminder)

Don't forget to sign the petition! You need not be someone who aborted and regret it or even someone who thought about aborting and did not. The text of the petition will read:

We, the undersigned, believe that life begins at conception, and that the dignity and life of every human being must be respected from conception to natural death. We believe abortion is a grave immoral act and constitutes murder of a human being, and that women and unborn children deserve better. Therefore, we urge our government and representatives to hear our voices as we oppose America's current abortion laws.

Sign the petition today, and pass on the word about it! The goal is to have at least 5,000 signatures (which is how many women signed the Ms. petition).

Happy Birthday, Dad!

Today is my father's 59th birthday!

He has been married to my mom for 38 years, a father of two daughters, a Pa Pa to four grand-daughters (with another on the way!), a brother to four brothers and one sister, a cousin to countless (!) cousins, godfather to Little Girl...and a really all-around terrific guy!

He taught me my prayers, he taught me how to behave at Mass, he taught me to love Jesus.

He taught me neat tricks in math, he taught me to drive, he taught me how to be stern and gentle at the same time.

He taught me how to throw a ball (so I don't throw like a girl), he taught me to love sports (go Yanks!), he taught me to ride my bike.

He also taught me what kind of man I wanted to marry. One just like him. (And I did.)

Happy birthday to the best Daddy I ever could have wanted! I love you, Dad!

Tuesday, October 10

Prayer Request

My sister posted a message about this family. Please keep them in your prayers.

Catholic Carnival Time!

Jay is hosting the Carnival this week at Living Catholicism, and it's a doozy! Too many posts to mention, but we've got everything from posts on the Sacrament of Matrimony to chastity to hope found in the news to the Rosary and its power.

For more information on the Carnival (and how to participate), head over to the main Carnival page.

Monday, October 9

My Kids Are SO Deprived of Socialization

Big Girl will be eight(!) this Sunday. We were trying to plan a birthday party for her, and it looks like we'll be having to have two parties. It seems that, when we count up her friends at our homeschool co-op and soccer and other places, we come up with more than 25 children to invite to her party.

You can tell that our homeschooled children just have no socialization at all, can't you?

When I was in elementary school (public school, mind you), I don't think there were 25 kids who would talk to me, let alone be good enough friends to be invited to my birthday parties. Heck, I'd be hard-pressed NOW to come up with that many non-family people to come to a party for me!

I have to agree with my friend, who likes to come back at the "socialization" question with this (she has six children, with her seventh on the way):

My children have five other kids around them at all times. I am the one without any socialization, not them!
My girls might not have that many siblings, but they certainly aren't lacking in friends!

Friday, October 6

Thursday, October 5

The Truth

I have sitting on my desk a copy of the DVD "The Truth" by Father Larry Richards. I listened to his Confession CD a couple years ago and just love listening to him. He says at the beginning of the DVD that everyone is probably thinking that he doesn't look like he sounds (he gets that a lot), and I actually thought that when I went to the site for The Reason for Our Hope Foundation to check out the information there.

I just finished watching this video and thought it was really wonderful. Father Larry is quite a dynamic speaker, and he just has a terrific way of getting through to me.

One of my favorite parts of the talk was early on when he was talking about God loving each of us because we are precious to Him. He likened it to our grandmothers, who try to give us money while we play "the game" of not accepting it right away. He said that one time his grandmother did this and while he was trying to turn her down, she started to cry. "You hurt me when you don't let me give you gifts," she said. (Is it possible we have the same grandmother?) While meditating on Scripture passages telling us how God loves us (we are His and precious to Him), Father Larry thought of God crying much like his grandmother did.

"You hurt Me when you don't let Me give you gifts."


Now that I've watched this, I am thinking of asking Hubby to take a look and see if he can get it to his boss, who is a fallen-away Catholic. Actually, his boss has been going to a Baptist church lately and is getting all kinds of anti-Catholic ideas fed to him (the Church doesn't follow the Bible, etc.), and Hubby has been praying for him and witnessing to him. It's interesting that my husband, the man who claimed to be athiest a mere fifteen years ago, is now witnessing and teaching someone who was raised Catholic about the truth of the Catholic Faith.

I think that anyone who has questioned whether Catholics are Bible-believing Christians need to take a good look at this DVD.

You can order this and many other resources at the website for The Reason for Our Hope Foundation, plus you can make a straight-out donation (that is also tax-deductable). There, you can also listen to a wonderful story about the man from Crete.

Counter the Ms. Petition

Part of the Ms. article is the fact that they are sending these 5,000 names to Congress as a petition. I found this response to Ms. at Mark Shea's blog:

Amy Pawlak unleashes the Power of the Blog!

She writes:

You probably came across the story regarding Ms. magazine publishing a petition of 5,000 names - women who've had abortions and aren't ashamed of it.

This petition will be sent to Congress, the House, and the White House.

I feel it's important that a counter petition - hopefully with 5,000 and more names - also be sent. Judie Brown, president of the American Life League, wrote in a commentary that when she saw a Ms. announcement of the project, "the evil practically jumped right off the page."

If you could link to the petition I'm generating, I'd appreciate it. I know it will probably be a drop in the bucket, but I'm so bothered by this "feature" that I have to do something.

Thanks and God Bless!

Click away, and pass it on.

Pretty Pictures

Faith and Country has a post with beautiful line-by-line illustrations for the Hail Mary prayer. Here's the first one, but be sure to check them all out.

My Own Thoughts on the AP Article

I read the article, obviously written to put the women who signed the petition and Ms. magazine itself in the best light possible, and one story really stuck out for me.

Tyffine Jones, 27, of Jackson, Miss., said she had no hesitation about signing _ although she lives in a state where restrictions on abortion are tough and all but one abortion clinic has been closed.

Jones said she got an abortion 10 years ago _ enduring harassment from protesters when she entered the clinic _ in order to finish high school. She went on to become the first member of her family to graduate from college, and hopes at some point to attend law school.

"I wanted to do something bigger with myself _ I didn't want to be stopped by anything," she said in a telephone interview.

As a mother, I find this kind of insulting, as though what I am doing is something small. My sister had a friend who got pregnant when she was 16. She not only married her boyfriend (and wound up having other children, too), but also finished high school. Her life was not ruined by her son's birth. And, in spite of the fact that the boy died when he was about ten or so (he had cancer), her life was better for him.

I can't stand the way these pro abortion feminists pit mothers against their children. They say that if you have children then your life isn't worth as much, you aren't doing as much, are not doing something as big as the women who abort. My sister got pregnant when she was floundering in college and living on her own. She moved back in with my parents, buckled down and got an RN degree. She now works at one of the best hospitals for women and children in the nation, assisting OB's with delivering babies. She got married three years ago and is expecting her third child. Her oldest daughter, my god-daughter, was one of the biggest blessings in her life.

What abortion does is make it easy for parents to dump their children, and I'm not just talking about the aborted babies, either. I'm talking about adults with daughters who get pregnant. Instead of being forced to help their daughters, parents now have the option of tossing her out if she doesn't have an abortion. Parents don't have to do anything to actually ASSIST their pregnant and scared girls - they can merely tell them to abort.

Total abdication. This is what birth control and abortion has brought us, people. Children are the mistakes you make when you fail to obstruct the natural purposes of your reproductive systems. Children are "wanted" and "unwanted" now. They are a commodity. They are expendable. They are things to want, get, have or not want, get, have.

God help us all!

Beautiful Post at Dawn Eden's Blog

Tragic Christian writes a reponse to the Ms. article that has women admitting to their abortions, highlighting the one the AP picked out (most likely because it will probably be viewed more sympathetically): a woman who aborts her imperfect child diagnosed prenatally with Down's.

Here's a sample, then I expect you'll want to click on over and read the rest:

From the AP story about Ms. Magazine's abortion petition:

Another signatory ... described her difficult decision last year to have an abortion after tests showed that she would bear a son with Down syndrome.

"I felt it was my right to make the decision, but having that right doesn't make the decision any easier," she said. "It was the hardest decision I've ever made"...

I'm a man, so I'm not supposed to have an opinion about abortion. Instead, let me tell you about the wonderful morning I had yesterday, taking my 2-year-old daughter Dot to speech therapy and physical therapy. Her major interest right now is reciting the colors (which she does in English and American Sign Language, yet) and reciting the names of her boyfriends in her early start toddler class ("Edgerrrrr! Androooo!") and informing me they wear "backpacks." She waved at everyone she saw that day with a cheery "Hello!" and smiled a gap-tooth smile under her mop of red hair. They smiled and waved back. What a cutie!

Oh, sorry — she has Down Syndrome. Reboot. Let me try again:

Bringing her to term was obviously a big mistake! What a tragedy SHE is! How inconvenient for everyone involved! We can't possibly get her into advanced placement classes, or an Ivy League college! What'll we say to our neighbors? Better off just to make the "hard decision" to get rid of her. Ignore my first paragraph. Just forget I said anything ...

Wednesday, October 4

Humor Break

I thought what with all the serious stuff going on here, I'd lighten things up with a joke from Good, Clean Funnies. (A link to the joke is in the post title, and if you poke around that site, you can sign up for daily jokes in your e-mail. They are truly clean jokes with a happy, light spirit.)

Anyway, here's today's joke:

A group of high school coaches went to a coaches' retreat. To save money, they had to room together.

No one wanted to room with Coach Daryl because he snored so loudly. They decided it wasn't fair to make one coach room with him the whole time, so they voted to take turns.

The first coach slept in Daryl's room and came to breakfast the next morning with tousled hair and bloodshot eyes. One asked, "What happened to you?"

The first coach replied, "Man, that Daryl snored so loud, I couldn't sleep, so I watched him snore all night."

The next night it was a different coach's turn. The following morning, the same thing happened as the second coach appeared with hair standing up and eyes bloodshot. One asked, "What happened to you? You look awful!"

He said, "Man, that Daryl shakes the roof. I watched him sleep all night."

The third night was Frank's turn. Frank was a burly ex-football player. The next morning, he came to breakfast bright-eyed and bushy-tailed. "Good morning," he said. The other coaches couldn't believe it. One asked, "OK, so what happened?"

Frank replied, "Well, we got ready for bed. I went and tucked Daryl into bed and kissed him good night. I heard he watched me sleep all night long."

Such an Ugly World

Hat tip to Mark Windsor for the link to this article. I see this kind of thing all the time, and even though I homeschool it's still a big concern for me.

“I didn’t like the part in the restaurant,” Hannah, my 6-year-old granddaughter, said. We were leaving a screening of Sony’s new animated feature, Open Season, and I was trying to remember any scene in a restaurant.

When she said it was “too messy,” I realized that she meant an early scene where the movie’s lead characters, a suburban bear and a one-antlered deer, run loose in a mini-mart. After they rip open candy bars, gulp down slushies (bypassing the use of cups), and get a tongue tangled in the hot dog roller, the place is a sticky disaster.

I said, “I didn’t like the next part, when you see the bear through the window, and then he throws up on the window.” The memory of that fountain of candy-flecked green rose to mind. “Oh,” she said. “I didn’t know that was supposed to be throw-up.”

Grandparents have had all kinds of post-movie conversations with kids over the last seventy years or so, but this is probably the first time it’s included a lesson on identifying vomit.

Indeed. I've been saying for years that I'm tired of movie-makers feeding our children's lowest instincts and loading almost every single kids' movie with one bathroom joke after another. What is described in the rest of the article convinced me that this movie is one we will not be going to see, let alone rent.

Even when you carefully choose a movie (like the G-rated Cars), you never know what's going to happen in the previews. When we saw Cars with the girls on Father's Day, the previews were started off with ads for Sprite. Now, if you don't watch a lot of sports, you might have missed the S&M-laced ads Sprite was running over the summer. In one, that is so creepy that I can't even watch the entire thing, a man, wrapped in plastic wrap, lies on a table. He has a lemon on one eye and a lime on the other. There is some faucet sort of thing over his mouth. Some slutty-looking woman comes in and lets a drop or two out of the faucet while he squirms around.

That was the ad shown before a G-rated movie. If you really want to, you can watch it here.

As soon as I saw it begin, Hubby and I ordered the girls to cover their eyes. They're good kids, and they did it right away. (Sadly, they are used to that because of the inappropriateness of so many ads during sporting events; we often will have them cover up while we try to change the channel quickly.) But I wondered about the effect this ad had on all of the other kids there, nearly all under 12.

It's an ugly world out there, and it's really becoming difficult to show my children the beauty in it.

By the way, if you want to watch some great movies with your kids, Netflix is a great way to do it. My girls have one DVD on our three-at-a-time list dedicated to them. Aside from the usual kids' fare (like recent Disney movies), we've been watching some old classics. Movies the two of them have really loved include:
  • Yankee Doodle Dandy
  • Lilies of the Fields
  • Pollyanna
  • Bright Eyes
  • Singin' in the Rain (we watched this one three times before we could send it back)

Waiting for them when they get back is Captain January. Shirley Temple might just turn out to be a new favorite for them.

Watching these movies with them has been our way of showing them that being entertained doesn't necessarily mean that Mommy and Daddy need to endure 2 straight minutes of farting and belching or bathroom jokes about poop and pee. You can be funny without it. Really.

Motivational Poster Contest

Remember my two motivational posters? Well, I did it for a contest - one that I originally thought was going to be just an "attaboy" kind. Turns out that The Lapped Catholic is giving away real prizes! The catch is that there need to be ten people entered in each category - humorous and inspirational - for prizes to be awarded.

After you check out the rules, go make a poster and enter!

Tuesday, October 3

Step Up to the Carnival!

It's time for the Catholic Carnival again. This isn't any kind of exclusive club. If you're a Catholic blogger and want to submit a post for the carnival, you can learn more about it here.

This week's Carnival is being hosted at just another day of Catholic pondering, and includes posts on education, pilgrimages, and a full-length video of a Latin Mass! Recorded in 1941 at Our Lady of Sorrows, the video is one of a high Mass narrated by Archbishop Fulton Sheen. (Sounds cool, huh?) There are also posts on prayer, Humanae Vitae, and more. (Yes, I even have a post this week, which I didn't even realize was tied in to Respect Life Sunday in some way.) Plenty of variety for you this week.

No wonder Sarah is calling it a tapestry!

Head on over and enjoy!

Another Motivational Poster

I created a motivational poster at the generator and posted it to my other blog (see sidebar for the links), but decided to make another for this blog, too.

Better Late Than Never

Mark Shea had another beautiful guardian angel story here.

Another Guardian Angel Story

Esther has a neat one about a priest and his angel.

Monday, October 2

In Honor of Today's Feast Day

Jeff Miller linked to this post, which reminded me of a post on my other blog, Ramblings of a GOP Soccer Mom, where I told a story about my daughter's guardian angel.


Little Girl just called me from Williamsburg with a joke that she learned from her Pa Pa. (This is exactly how she told it.)

Q: What do you call a dog with no legs?

A: It doesn’t matter anyway because it wouldn’t come!

Why am I Catholic?

Originally found at Evangelical Catholics, specifically this post (where there is also an explanation).

Hat tip: Drew at Shrine of the Holy Whapping

Also found at YouTube from the same folks:

Things Heard from the Back Seat

On Saturday, we drove the girls out to Williamsburg for a week of spoiling and fun with Grandma and Pa Pa (my parents). They read, played with their toys, played car bingo (using the boards from Cracker Barrel), watched a DVD, and talked to each other. Once in a while, they'd engage us, too.

At one point, seemingly out of nowhere came this question from Big Girl:

"Mommy, what are eternal twins?"

Later, as we drove under skies with big, puffy clouds, Little Girl started to sing:

"I see Columbus clouds! I see Columbus clouds!"

I just love being a mommy.

Feast of the Guardian Angels

Angel of God,
my Guardian dear,
To whom God's love
commits me here,
Ever this day,
be at my side,
To light and guard,
Rule and guide.

Who are your heros?


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