Tuesday, October 30

Do You Know What Tomorrow Is?

(UPDATE: Blockquotes fixed. Some of Joel's words looked like they were my own comments. Sorry, Joel!)

Joel has a phenominal post at On the Other Foot about Reformation Day. Best summary of it I've seen, as well as a superb evaluation of how Catholics should view the anniversary of Martin Luther officially splitting from the Church and forming his own.

I have to say, though, before you go off to read the whole thing (please do!!) that this part rings quite true:

No event in the history of western Christendom gets people as worked up as the Protestant Reformation. Catholics think of it as a tragedy, when whole countries departed the One, Holy, Catholic and Apostolic Church into schism, if not outright apostasy. Protestants treat it almost as the real founding of Christianity, as seminal as the First Vision is to Mormons. Both of them make a bigger deal out of it, I think, than is necessary.

I have seen this myself. Not much, mind you, but it really ranks up there for some people. Think of how Catholics view Pentecost (birthday of the Church) if you aren't sure what I mean. Again, not everyone treats it as such, but I have seen it. Some of the threads of conversation at Francis Beckwith's posts on his return to the Catholic Church certainly had more than a few who seemed to view it in this manner.

But don't take this as the only tone of Joel's post, please. Indulge me a bit as I give you another sampling:

But the main difference is that the Protestant Reformation wasn't all about doctrine. Yes, that's right. It was less doctrinal than any other schism had been except the East-West split in 1054. The Reformation was as much a political struggle as a religious one, and really, I don't think doctrine would have entered into it had Luther's attempted reforms been more quickly implemented. Trouble was, nobody listened to him. It didn't help that the pope was attempting to unite European leaders to fend off Muslim armies, which took a lot of precedence over some German backwater. But because he went unheard, Luther had to get louder and more offensive, claiming that the Church didn't have any real authority over him anyway. If one of his assertions was shown to be contrary to scripture, he simply edited scripture. The Council of Trent eventually vindicated him on a lot of things, but by that time the damage was done.

It's hard to blame Luther. Simony and political intrigue were as much a part of Church life in his part of Germany as the sacraments. Priests were ill-trained, bishoprics were bought and sold, and the piety and gullibility of ordinary people were being played on by sharks like Tetzel. Luther was, I think, an honest man who really grieved for the Church he loved, as children will grieve for an alcoholic mother. If you look at his writings, he started out expressing devotion to the Church and to the pope; it was only as his cries for reform went unheeded that he headed off into heresy and eventual schism.

I rather believe that had the Church done the necessary housecleaning in Saxony, today St. Martin of Wittenberg would be called a Doctor of the Church and ranked alongside Aquinas and Augustine. (If nothing else, his hymns should have gotten him canonized.) Since it didn't happen that way, we have his legacy to deal with, and it's a dilly.

Like I said, this is one worth reading in its entirety. Go let Joel know what you think!

Carving a Pumpkin Tonight?

Note: After the previous post on Pullman's The Golden Compass, this might strike some as strange. Please do a search of Catholic blogs explaining Halloween and how it's not evil or sinful to dress up in costumes and get candy. (I might have even done something about it here or at the Soccer Mom site.) Right now, I haven't got time to get it here. (Maybe later, kiddies.)

If you're carving a pumpkin tonight, you might want to do more than paint it (good for little kids) or do the triangles-for-eyes thing. You might want to get fancy and have your kids say something like, "Wow!" or "OOOOH!"

If so, try out some pumpkin carving templates that you can attain for free. (There are even Christian-themed templates, if you wish. Those look too hard for me, or just too blah.)

Sorry that I haven't got clever names for these links, but the hyperlinks ought to work when you click on them. And they all ought to open in a new window.



http://www.pumpkinmasters.com/free_patterns_main.asp (I like the cat and moon on that one.)



These are from HP, and had a link so long I thought I'd have mercy on you.

Or, if you want to highlight that tomorrow is All Hallows' Eve (Look, you got a link for Catholic information, anyway!):


One more:


Have fun making beautiful artwork with the kiddies tonight! And don't forget to save and roast the seeds!

Update: Mark Shea has an e-mail posted from someone who has a whole site dedicated to a Christian defense of Hallowe'en! And the guy has another website, too!

Christian Parents: Be Aware of Compass Themes!

(Update: Below, I have added a link to Paul's post on the topic and inserted the link to the L.A. Times article. Sorry for leaving that out the first time.)

I've posted before about The Golden Compass and the trilogy from which it comes. Philip Pullman himself has said that this series is about "killing God" and it is basically the anti-Narnia.

Now, I might just have to borrow the book from the library and find out for myself, but in the meantime, I am getting my information from trusted sources. I've now found that the famed Snopes has a page up about the books and forthcoming movie.

What bothers me is the line that they are "dumbing it down" or "removing the anti-religious parts" for the movie. This makes no difference when children watch it and then get the books from the library or for Christmas. Then they get the full-tilt anti-Christian propaganda.

Don't be snowed on this one. This series of stories, as well-written as they might be, are about killing God. They are about indoctrinating our children with atheism.

Other recent stories in the news:

Pullman has not been shy in the past about verbalizing his beliefs — or, some might say, nonbeliefs — and his intentions in writing the "Dark Materials" novels.

The novelist has said they are in response to C.S. Lewis' "The Chronicles of Narnia," the popular children's fantasy series of which "The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe" is the first book — written by Lewis to teach Christian ideals to kids.

"I loathe the 'Narnia' books," Pullman has said in previous press interviews. "I hate them with a deep and bitter passion, with their view of childhood as a golden age from which sexuality and adulthood are a falling away." He has called the series "one of the most ugly and poisonous things" he's ever read.

One amazingly dim piece I read on the movie (and books) was from the L.A. Times. It contained this bit of "logic":

Pullman's refutations aside, Catholic theology in the books is depicted as sinister and the villains are often cardinals and priests. The "Church," or the "Magisterium," answers to the "Vatican Council," and kidnaps children, tortures witches and aims to suppress all natural impulses and control the world. In one book, "Dust" is described as the physical manifestation of Original Sin.

In the film, however, there's no mention of the Church or Catholicism. The bad guys are known only as the Magisterium, which in fact is the term the Roman Catholic Church uses to describe its body charged with interpreting "the Word of God." Weitz, who described himself on one fan site as "a lapsed Catholic crypto-Buddhist," explained those changes to fans in 2004 as a way to allay the studio's early concern that the "perceived anti-religiosity" of "His Dark Materials" would make the franchise "an unviable project."

With all this, how can they say that it has no anti-religious (or anti-Catholic) themes? How can Nicole Kidman, who professes to be Catholic and came back to the faith recently, star in a movie that is based on a book so blatantly anti-Catholic??

And why do these Hollywood people not think that the same children whose parents would feel okay about them going because it's supposedly not anti-Christian will later pick up the books and get the full dose? It's like a vaccination!

You make the decisions for your family, but make an informed one. If you're a Christian, check out what Christian organizations are saying about this movie and the trilogy of books on which it is based.

Previous posts at Domestic Vocation on this topic:

[image source]

Monday, October 29

Shop Victoriously! (24 Hours Left)

I kind of like eBay's new ad campaign ("Shop Victoriously!"), but nothing beats this ad, which I saw more than a year ago. It actually makes me cry. Okay, so that's not that hard, but if this doesn't at least give you a nice, warm, fuzzy feeling inside I don't know what's wrong with you.

Now nothing I've got at auction on eBay is as nostalgic as your lost childhood boat, but I do have a couple of neat movies on VHS (if you're Old School), and a really nice party dress, too. Time's awastin'! Go and see!

What a Pain in the Neck!

I first want to thank everyone who sent up a prayer for me last week. I was in pretty bad shape on Friday, and the doctor must have felt really badly for me because he got the massage therapist to give me a free 15 minute rub-down before I left the office. It's strange because everything was very dream-like. I literally could not turn my head but a couple of degrees in either direction, couldn't tip it back at all, and had trouble even tilting down any. Eating was painful, as I couldn't get my mouth open much and even swallowing hurt. (Did you know you used muscles on the outside of your neck for that??)

The doctor prescribed Torodol and Skelaxin (which I kept calling Skelegrow) for the pain and to relax my muscles, respectively. The pharmacist said to be sure to eat first because the Torodol can make you sick if you don't. So I ate as much as I could (not much) and learned that even three hours later, you can still be negatively affected by that stuff. (ugh)

Thank God Soccer Dad was home again! But poor guy: I got to the airport just as he was leaving baggage claim, put the car in park, walked to the other side of the car and said, "Don't kiss me, don't hug the girls. Get in and get me home before I throw up!"

We were home for about 90 seconds before I did so.

WELCOME HOME! Aren't you glad to be here after two weeks away??

I made sure to eat a BIG breakfast (3 pieces of French Toast) before I took the Torodol again, and by Saturday night - a long Saturday without a BBQ or birthday party - I was feeling better, though I still hogged the recliner and used a heating pad on my neck. But I was able to sleep in my own bed Friday and Saturday, even if I had to wake up completely every time I rolled over just so I'd be directly on my side with the pillows just so. I was woozy Sunday, and every time I closed my eyes at Mass to pray, I nearly fell asleep. (CCD was fun like that. It's a good thing I felt inspired to plan three weeks at once!)

By last night (Sunday), I was feeling MUCH better, though I admit that cheering during the UCF/Southern Miss game hurt my neck a bit. And today, I feel almost completely normal, save for one spot on my sternocleidomastoid that I strained while squeezing water out of my hair on Saturday morning. I can turn almost normally, and I can even tilt my head back pretty well!

Thank You, God, for helping me! Thank you, readers, for praying for me! Thank you, Soccer Dad, for taking such good care of me all weekend!

Last Minute Deals on eBay!

I put some listings up before the evil neck injury (update on that later - but thanks for the prayers! I'm feeling MUCH better!).

Time is nearly up on them, so...

You can see all of my eBay sales, if you'd like.

Thanks for looking!

Friday, October 26

Day Three

I woke up two days ago with a neck cramp, and I thought nothing of it. I just couldn't comfortably turn my head one direction. I decided that I'd offer up any pain I had for the souls of my grandparents. But as the day went on, it became worse and worse. I took some aspirin and went to bed. Sometime in the middle of the night, I woke up with excruciating pain and slept the rest of the night in the recliner, which lessened it just a tad.

Yesterday, I woke up with a very bad neck cramp and could not turn my head at all. By the end of the day, I'd ingested as many Ibuprofin as the label allows, used a heating pad, switched to ice after reading on WebMD that I should have done that in the first place, and found that, by the time I stood crying in the hallway because the girls hadn't put their pajamas on yet, I could ALSO not tilt my head back. I had a talk with God about not realizing that I was supposed to suffer with this neck pain the entire time they are in Purgatory! I also asked Saint Therese, Saint Claire of Asissi, and Saint Bernadette to help me to bear it well. (I did bear it pretty well until the bedtime incident, though my thinking was kind of cloudy at times. Funny how when you can't move well nothing seems to work well in your body.) I slept in the recliner again last night and continued to put an ice pack on for 20 minutes per hour.

This morning, it felt a little bit better, but I know that it will most likely get worse throughout the day. I'm trying to hurry the girls through breakfast so I can go to urgent care at my doctor's office. We're bringing coloring, reading, etc. I am not making coffee because I can't tilt my head back enough to drink it. I'm still trying to offer this up, but I'd really like a little relief. Our big BBQ will have to be cancelled if I wake up like this tomorrow, though I'll still have Big Girl's belated birthday party. But right now, I'm praying that the doctor can come up with some wicked good painkillers that will get me through this pain. I've never had a neck pain that is this bad or lasts this long. Even swallowing hurts the muscles down the sides of my neck. Yesterday, there were times when opening my mouth to eat was painful.

So...if you could, please send prayers up for me. God's will, always, but I'd really love it if His will includes me not wanting to cry all day because I can't move.

Wednesday, October 24

Update from Texas!!

I just got this update from my family in Texas. My Nana is visiting there right now, and I had a chance to speak to Nana and my Aunt Uncle (maybe that's what I'll call her!) on Nana's birthday (October 18). Aunt Uncle sounded very good, though she said she is rather tired a lot and her memory isn't what it used to be (chemo and radiation do that to you).

Anyway, here's the update, then I've got to boogie before the girls kill each other up there. (I changed her from B**** to Aunt Uncle, since my actual uncle, her husband, is also a B****.)

Howdy, all.

Where does the time go??? As hard as it is for me to believe, [Aunt Uncle] was discharged from rehab "inpatient" status a month ago. I apologize for not having sent out an update sooner, and this one will itself be brief because I have to pick up the boys from school soon.

She's doing "fine". She's been going to outpatient rehab three times a week, for almost 2 hrs each day. I think her general physical abilities have deteriorated slightly over the past month, probably because you have to keep working not only to get better but also to keep what you have. As a result of chaos and occasional nausea on her part (more on that below), in-house rehab has not matched what she received while she was staying at the rehab center. She/we'll have to do better on that.

Meanwhile, last week was the first week of 'phase 2' of the cancer treatment. She takes chemo for 5 consecutive days every 4 weeks, at twice the dose of her chemo during the radiation treatment. Last week went fine until Saturday, at which point the cumulative chemotreatment made her pretty sick. That carried over to Sunday, but she was finally able to keep food down around 3 PM on Sunday.

Either the radiation or chemo has affected her taste buds to the extent that many foods no longer taste good. Instead, they taste horrible. As a result of this, her food intake has been limited to some soups, yogurt, etc.

She wanted me to thank people for calling to check on her and to talk to her, but she says that she's just too pooped to keep up her end of the conversation. Between some of the antinausea meds she's taking and the physical rehab, she's usually pretty worn out.

More later. Thanks for all your prayers and for the calls, cards, etc.

Love, B****** and the gang

P.S. She LOVES spending time with A*****, our new grandson. Babies are definitely the cure for the blahs.

I can definitely relate to anti-nausea drugs making you tired. When I was on Thorazine for the HG, I was like a zombie, I was so exhausted. When I wasn't actually doing something, I was sleeping. Ugh.

Thank you for your continued prayers for my aunt and our family.

Hogwarts' Controversy (Adults Only, Please)

Okay, I have now been reading the hubub for a couple of days about Dumbledore. (See Flying Stars for some excellent discussion that is remaining blessedly short, as well as Catholic and Enjoying It! for some more balanced commentary.)

When I first heard/read about it, I thought, "Ahh, okay. I thought so." Yes, something made me think so in one of the last few books. But since it isn't in in the books at all, I am treating it as backstory. Backstory that I really didn't want to know or need to know. Backstory that I kind of wish weren't revealed in front of a group that contained children as young as 8, but...

And, hey, let's take an aside here. My nine year old is not reading these books on her own yet - I am stopping at the end of Year 3, and I am reading them to her - so what's up with an eight year old finishing them? Yikes! Personally, I'm thinking that these books are a bit much for children that young, aren't you? Okay, mental field trip over. Back to business.

Some people have blown this out of proportion. On both sides. First of all, and these are the worst, as far as I'm concerned, the shove-it-in-your-face homosexual movement is touting this as an I-told-you-so moment. "See?" they say. "This book touts this man as a good gay man. See how lovely being gay can be?"

Except that isn't what the book does. It's a backstory, something not in the books at all. And, judging from the reaction of some people who have read the entire series, not something obvious. Let's not go there, okay?

Now, here on the pro-Harry side, some people have been so wounded by this that they can no longer read the books because they can't get past that. You know what? It's fine. You might be able to get past it, though, given time. It does come across as a bit of a slap in the face after the whole "Harry is a Christian work" story. But, as I said just above, it's backstory. I'm dabbling in writing something, and when I was in the middle of this story, something occured to me about a character in it. It actually has nothing to do with the story at hand - yet - but it just kind of came up. As Mark Shea put it, fictional characters sort of develop on their own sometimes.

This revelation shouldn't steal the story for us. We liked the books, right? She obviously wrote a few of them with this realization that Dumbledore is gay, and we still liked it, right? It shouldn't change how we feel about the story. About the author, okay. Maybe so. But this seems to me, from her at least, to be just this "aside" thing about him. For Rowling - and I got this from reading the transcripts posted in the comments section at Nancy Brown's blog - it's not a big story or a central idea.

Let's take, for another example, Tolkien's great work: The Lord of the Rings. Soccer Dad and I loved the book. We loved the movies. We really, really hope that Jackson gets to do The Hobbit because we know he loves Tolkien's work, too. He treated the story with love and care.

And he cast a homosexual as Gandalf.

Now, I didn't know this about Ian McKellen until after the movies were out. At least two of them, anyway. After I had my initial "ick" factor reaction, I let it go. Why? Because McKellen was superb as Gandalf. And the movies are beautiful. And I plan on sharing them with my girls when they are old enough to watch them (which comes after being old enough to read them).

If you are thinking of tossing your Harry Potter books because of this revelation, I have two requests.

First, wait and see if you cool down over this. I know, it's not likely to blow over quickly, given the homosexual advocates' tenacity and tendancy to pound away at things like this. But wait anyway. If you were able to watch and enjoy The Lord of the Rings in spite of Ian McKellen, you might be able to eventually read and enjoy Harry Potter in spite of this backstory.

Second, if you absolutely cannot wait and cool down and are bound and determined to throw away those books, I don't have a set. You can mail them to me, and I'll pay for the shipping. ;)

Watching Shows with Younger Siblings

Big Girl and Little Girl are watching a show I recorded off EWTN called "We Are Catholic." It's Italian, I think, and very, very elementary. Big Girl only recentely stopped liking it because the sound isn't quite synched with the video, due to the dubbing. But Little Girl still likes it, and about halfway through the program, Big Girl stopped it and got ready to erase it from the DVR.

"I don't like this show, so I'm getting rid of it."

"Wait!" I called. I looked at Little Girl, who was sitting kind of passively on the couch near her sister. "Little Girl, do you still like this show? Did you want to watch the whole thing?"


"Okay, then; Big Girl, you let her watch it, but before you do, I want to tell you a quick story."

I told them about how when I was about 9, my little sister was still into Sesame Street. I hated it. But I watched it with her because she really liked it a lot. The only thing I looked forward to was the pinball machine cartoons.

Well, naturally, the girls don't know what I'm talking about, so I looked it up and showed them this:

Right now, Big Girl (who was unimpressed with that low-quality counting cartoon with the strange music from ages ago) is doing a crossword puzzle while Little Girl finishes the show.

But I'm going to go wash the bathroom floor before dinner while humming that catchy tune.

One More Listing for Today

I've got a lot to do to get ready for the BBQ/Birthday bash this weekend, including hanging curtains that I first need to sew! However, I took a minute to list one more item on eBay today.

Once upon a time, I lost a lot of weight, and I wanted - well, really needed - a new dress for Christmas. I wore this one (link opens in a new window), along with a really nice cardigan, and elicited such comments as "WOW!" and such from my dear husband the Soccer Dad.

But now, I've no real need for such a beautiful cocktail dress, and so it's on eBay, much to Soccer Dad's chargin. But some lucky gal is going to get to buy it and look smashing for all of the upcoming holiday parties! If you or someone you know is about a size 6 or 8 and is looking for a nice dress that is still pretty modest, check out my latest eBay listing. The dress has a high neckline and the hem is right at knee-level. If sleeveless isn't your thing, you can do what I did and wear a nice black cardigan with this, or a shoulder-shawl-thing. (Like my technical fashionista talk there?)

While you're there, you could also check out the other listings I've got on eBay this week. More to come, too. I've got a very nice silk sportscoat that Soccer Dad no longer needs that I'll be listing soon.

eBay Listings

I've got some new eBay listings up, and I'll be putting up some more clothing a little later on today or tomorrow.

Included in the list are two Ann Coulter books (hardcover), in case you wanted to check them out.

If you don't mind, stroll on over and see what I've put up.

Saturday, October 20

Girls' Day Out, Mammograms, and Planned Parenthood

I'm signed up for Yahoo Alerts, which pop up on my screen from time-to-time. Today, I got this doozy:

Girls Day in Decatur DECATUR-
A whole group of girls took the afternoon off for some much needed pampering and most importantly a free health check up. The day was put on by DMH, Planned Parenthood and the Decatur Housing Authority. It focused on women who may not be able to afford health screenings or beauty days. ...

It ends there, but the irony of the event continues at the link (above the story):

...The ladies grabbed on to gift bags but say it was about rallying the girls together to fight breast cancer.

"Most of all we are celebrating the fact that everyone should get signed up for your mammogram if you haven't already had yours i had mine yesterday so I'm just pushing the others in," said party goer, Barbara Smith.

Some of the women there said they don't have doctors so this was a great way to make a not so fun visit for a mammogram into a fun day with the girls.

Okay, where to begin?

First, it's a real shame that so few people realize the pro-abortion agenda of Planned Parenthood. I talked to a mother once who was genuinely surprised that when her teenaged daughter went there after discovering she was pregnant, the girl wound up being councelled to get an abortion (and had an appointment, to boot). Our parish was able to help her daughter get a few of the baby items she needed, as well as point her in the right direction so she can get further help now that the baby - a boy - has been born.

Second, the fact that numerous studies are ignored that link abortion and the Pill to breast cancer is just another reason I think Planned Parenthood has no place in a "health day for women and girls." (Especially since they would be oh-so-keen on giving out birth control to or performing abortions on my popsies without my consent or knowledge.)

Third, I feel NO sympathy for "women who may not be able to afford ... beauty days." I'm so sorry, but I can't afford beauty days, either. (Not that I'm particularly interested in a "day of beauty," but I do miss my pink-and-white manicures from days gone by.) What kind of stupid thing is THAT to add into this idea?

Don't get me wrong. Women need to get check-ups ("the annual," as I call it) and mamograms, and I'm all for assisting women who need them. However, Planned Parenthood probably helps to cause a lot of breast cancer (80% is not hereditary, and a recent study shows that women who use birth control have a much higher risk, as well as women who have experienced abortions). And they get away scott-free with what they do by manipulating language ("choice" not "abortion", "product of conception" not "baby", etc.) and just plain lying.

Also...we aren't even talking about girls here. It was for women. (I got that after reading it again.) In a press release, you can't be too careful with your language. Saying that it's for "girls" in the headline is different than saying it was a "girls' day out." Sloppy. Very sloppy. Of course, with that last grammatical nightmare of a sentence, it's not too surprising. (Honestly, I don't have a degree in journalism, but I'm positive I can do better than that. If only I could get a job writing from here, in between school lessons.)

Thursday, October 18

Poor Little Girl! (Updated with Actual Pictures)

(Note on update: For some reason, the pictures I posted with Picasa did not want to stay posted. I've put the pictures back in again using Blogger's uploading tool.)

This evil stool:

Did this to Little Girl's chin:

We put ice on it last night, but this is the first good look my daughter got. Her reaction was, "Wow. That does look bad!"

I expect it will be green by tomorrow, since last night it was merely a small black line in the center of what is now that icky-looking bruise.

Photography Bleg

Dad gave me his old camera (Thanks, Dad!!), and I am thrilled. Bought the battery for the F-stop. Installed. Got ready to change rolls of film and can't get the back open. (Will ask Dad for instructions on that.)

But, here's my bigger problem. I have no owner's manual for this camera, and I can't get one from Minolta (or KonicaMinolta) because they don't do that any more. Imagine! KonicaMinolta doesn't do cameras!!

Anyway, my bleg for the day is this:

Please let me know if you know of anywhere I can access a .pdf file or anything of the sort that gives me some semblance of an owner's manual. I just would like to learn a bit more about using a manual camera, especially since the last time I used this one was probably about 14 years ago.

Many, many thanks!

Torre Turns Down Yankees for One-Year Deal

Whoooo...my beloved Yankees are going to have some serious goings-on in the off-season.

From the story:

The Yankees offered Torre a one-year deal with a base salary of $5 million and incentives that would have increased his salary to $8 million based on postseason performance. Under that offer, if Torre reached the World Series in 2008, an option for 2009 would have vested.

"We felt we needed to go to a performance-based mode," team president Randy Levine said. "We thought it was very fair. It clearly was at the top of the market, but we respect Joe's decision."

Torre, who had held the job since 1995, made an unannounced trip from New York to the team's spring training complex in Tampa, Fla., accompanied by general manager Brian Cashman and chief operating officer Lonn Trost. Levine said Torre turned down the offer during the meeting, which lasted about one hour.

"It is now time for the New York Yankees to move forward," Levine said.

We'll miss you, Joe. Thanks for all the great years!

Another 40 Reasons to Have Children (With Updates & Links as They Come)

Some repulsive woman in Europe regrets her children, writes a book about it, and becomes even more wealthy than she was already (from writing a book about how to slack off at work - golly, this woman gets better all the time). She wonders why her kids are more interested in Harry Potter than her book, which she gave to each of them - at 13 and 10 - to read. (Hint: The Harry Potter books see children as intrinsically worthwhile and your book doesn't.) Various bloggers start compiling lists of their own 40 Reasons in favor of parenthood.

I can't resist trying to get in with the "in" crowd (I've never really been a part of it, but I keep trying!), so here's my own list. Maybe Soccer Dad will find a minute to add his voice to the crowd, too.

40 More Reasons to Have Children

1. You can't understand unconditional love until you look at the trusting eyes of your infant.

2. "I love you" takes on a whole new meaning.

3. Sudden bravery: timid women can suddenly become bears in defense of their babies!

4. Realizing that God has entrusted a living soul to you and your husband!

5. Realizing that God has not left you alone to tend that soul.

6. Tiny fingers grasping yours as you feed her in the middle of the dark, silent night.

7. Piles of drawings and love notes that say things like "I LOVE YOU MOMMY LOVES LITTLE GIRL" - and having them taped up around the computer, all over the bedroom, in the bathrooms, in the hallways...

8. Priceless art looks a lot like crayon on computer paper instead of oil on canvas.

9. You really don't need those shoes as much as the growing-like-a-weed children! And you suddenly find that you don't mind having ratty old sneakers.

10. Your children are ready to call and complain to Wal Mart that they cannot nominate you for Teacher of the Year because you homeschool.

11. Soft baby skin against your own.

12. That sweaty spot under your chin that comes from the baby falling asleep on your chest while you were dozing.

13. Remember how great it was the first time you received Holy Communion/went to Disney World/sat on Santa's lap/grew something in the garden/rode your bike without training wheels/sat on a horse alone/jumped a wave at the beach? It's junk compared to watching your children experience the same childhood joys for the first time! (Who would have thunk that the character parade at Disney World was a cause for tears??)

14. You don't have to feel guilty for singing Veggie Tales songs.

15. You also don't feel guilty any more for reading The Giving Tree again and again.

16. You get to read all the children's books you missed the first time around!

17. Your children think you are the prettiest woman in the world.

18. They also think you are the best artist in the world.

19. You suddenly appreciate your own parents much more and realize that they weren't really too strict most of the time.

20. Cuddling under a big fleece blanket while watching movies together.

21. Remembering why it's fun to play in the snow.

22. Listening to their prayers.

23. Watching them do a silent acting show where they dress up to be Indians and take turns hunting and then use the stuffed puppy dog as a "deer" because they have no stuffed deer and then they gut the stuffed puppy and roast it on a spit that is actually a stick-horse and then proceed to eat it but that is not as funny as when they decide that the deer should be bigger so the younger daughter becomes the deer and gets shot with an arrow and gutted and eaten in the second act and you have to control yourself and not laugh too much or pee yourself because that will only serve to embarrass them. (shhhhhh...don't tell them I told you that)

24. Little smiles that light up the entire world.

25. When you add more children to your family, the love mulitplies - not divides.

26. Thanksgiving, Christmas, and other big holidays would be very lonely if you didn't have anyone to share it with.

27. Your mundane childhood is so much more interesting to your children than it is to you.

28. Laundry was never as fun as it was when I was folding those teeny, tiny clothes - especially the socks!

29. First steps.

30. Birthday parties at your house where you have Yard Olympics and the kids have to do a relay race and run in Dad's boxer shorts and T-shirts.

31. Realizing that a party in the park or a party where kids trip um, run in Dad's boxer shorts is actually at least as much fun (if not more) than the party with the juggler or the magician.

32. Watching them win at sports. (Or watching them lose with grace.)

33. Your husband is never as manly as he is when he is being Daddy with the kids.

34. Your dream vacations actually consist of doing things with your family instead of sunning yourself on a beach alone with your husband. And you don't care. You actually like it better.

35. Your husband becomes the strongest man in the world, and your daughter tells you that if he weren't already married to you, she'd marry her Daddy. Because he is perfect. (Which you always suspected, anyway.)

36. When your husband travels for work, you've got plenty of company!

37. What other reason do you have to read Beatrix Potter books out loud?

38. You get to skip through Wal Mart's parking lot while singing "Here We Go Looby-Loo."

39. You get to watch your husband skip through Wal Mart's parking lot. (No singing.)

40. Some day, when you are old and gray, little babies will come and visit you again, brought to you by the very same people who were once so small and tiny. And you'll get to experience so much of this list again. And, if you are blessed with a long life, again with your great-grandchildren.

I want to dedicate this list to my Nana, who turns 88 today. She is the mother of six children, grandmother to 12, great-grandmother to five. She had (I think) 12 or 13 children in her own family, too. I'm sure she could come up with her own list of at least 40 reasons. Probably more.


Now, then, let's get this list going as a meme. You parents out there, add yours to the list, and let's gather these together in one great, big post. Leave your links in the com boxes, please. (Be sure to leave the exact link to your post, or we won't be able to find it later!)


More lists (in addition to the ones to which I linked in the main post - there are three there):

The Bookworm

Montessori for Everyone (who has 75 reasons!!!)

Catholic Wife and Mother

Heather Claypool

Baby Steps (I think my favorite - because it's so true - is this: "13. Having children makes you extremely aware of the things in your home and how wholesome they are. The radio sounds different when you know your child is listening and absorbing the messages in the songs and ads. The television looks different when you know that those images are being recorded by a little mind. It makes you more aware of the filth in our culture & more motivated to keep it out. This is not only good for the Littles in the home, it's also good for the Bigs.")

Wednesday, October 17

The Man Meme

Seen at Amy's place, who saw it at Aimee's place.

(No, sweetheart, it's about my man, not for my man. Sorry.)

The Man Meme

1. Who is your man? Nathan

2. How long have you been together? 17 years on December 1

3. How long did you date? 3 years

4. How old is your man? 38

5. Who eats more? Definitely him.

6. Who said “I love you” first? Nathan can correct me if I'm wrong, but I think he did. If not with the exact words (which is what I think, too), he definitely tole me in not so many words. I remember laying on the floor of his townhouse before we were even dating (I had another boyfriend at the time) and telling him about being a teacher. "I want you to teach my children," he told me. When I commented that he should live close to me for that to happen, he said, "I know. I want to live the next pillow over." If that isn't "I love you" in disguise, I don't know what is.

7. Who is taller? Nathan, by 6 inches.

8. Who sings better? Me.

9. Who is smarter? I think he is. We're both pretty smart, but he likes to tease me because I read slower than he does (it's not an easy feat to read faster than me). He calls me "Dullard" affectionately. :) Also, he would likely argue this answer, which makes him pretty smart.

10. Whose temper is worse? We are both slow to anger with each other, but I think his is a little worse than mine.

11. Who does the laundry? Me, but he irons his own clothes. He usually does a better job ironing because I have no patience.

12. Who takes out the trash? I do, except when I ask Big Girl to take it out. (Hey, being nine comes with special privileges!)

13. Who sleeps on the right hand side of the bed? Me.

14. Who pays the bills? Me, with the money he earns.

15. Who is better with the computer? Me.

16. Who mows the lawn? I do unless the self-propeller isn't working, then he does the half with the giant hill.

17. Who cooks dinner? Me.

18. Who drives when you are together? Isn't that just the man's job?

19. Who pays when you go out? Well, no matter who picks up the check, it's always the money he earned at work that pays for everything. Unless relatives send us money and we splurge by going out to eat.

20. Who is most stubborn? Um...toss-up there.

21. Who is the first to admit when they are wrong? Another toss-up.

22. Whose parents do you see the most? Mine, partly because my parents can't stay away from our children. (My mother is under the impression that the granchildren are her own children.) Also, my mom and dad live a lot closer than his mother.

23. Who kissed who first? I think we kissed at the same time. I might have made the move first, though. He did not argue.

24. Who asked who out? See number 6.

25. Who Proposed? Nathan, on December 4, for our anniversary, which he said he wouldn't do. Both knees, beautiful ring, totally floored me. Also, it was preluded by a nice poster of a Dodge Viper. (He probably could have asked me with that! LOL)

26. Who is more sensitive? That is actually hard to say. I cry much more easily, but he is a great big softie inside. I remember someone once said that men are like M-1 tanks. Very tough outside, hard to get into, but easy to break once inside. One stray elbow and you've destroyed a very pricey toy. I have to agree. I act more sensitive, but I know I could easily devestate Nathan if I weren't careful.

27. Who has more friends? He does, hands down. I'm an introvert.

28. Who has more siblings? Tie. We are both one of two children. Two boys in his family, two girls in mine.

29. Who wears the pants in the family? Hubby gave me a great card for our anniversary in August. The front reads "Happy anniversary from the one who wears the pants in the family..." and the inside reads "...to the one who picks them out." He's the head of the family, and I'm the neck. ;)

If the spirit moves you, go on and leave a link to your meme answers in the com boxes!

Tuesday, October 16

Quiz Time!

Reeses Peanut Butter Cups

Very popular, one of you is not enough.

Like Sarah, who found this via Barb, this is my husband's favorite, too. :)

Wonder what the Soccer Dad would be...

Maybe he can take time out of his busy business trip schedule to find out. :)

Oh, I also decided to take this one:

You Are a Ferris Wheel

Deep down, you are a fun, whimsical, and easygoing person.
You often enjoy life for what it is, and the littlest changes in course can be quite thrilling.
In relationships, people tend to feel what you feel. It can be liberating at first...
But after a while, the people closest to you end up feeling a little trapped.

Your life has perfectly normal cycles of ups and downs.
However, you can't help but sometimes feel that you're missing out on the most exciting aspects of life.
You only are happy when you're experiencing the highest of highs.
Your low points just make you feel depressed, restless, and bored.

At your best, you feel on top of the world with a great sense of perspective.
You believe that anything is possible, and that you are happily looking down on everyone else.
At your worst, you feel like your life is going in circles. You often feel like you're not going anywhere.
This is sometimes psychologically disorienting. And sometimes it brings on a sense of hopelessness.

Thing that Make Me Love Soccer Dad All the More!

While holding Babiest Niece on vacation, he offered to steal her from my sister and her husband.

"We always wanted a large family."

Note: This is not actually true. When we were first married, I thought about three or maybe four. He thought only two. We never decided definitively, but if it weren't for the HG, we would definitely have a bigger family.

But I love that he said that. Because it's now so true. And I love that he is such a terrific father to our girls.

All mushy now. Gotta go before I start crying. ;)

Catholic Carnival Posts: Playing Catch-Up

The last two Catholic Carnivals can be found here (last week's) and here (this week's).

Sorry for the blah post, but all the exictement is really always at the Carnival itself!

If you are interested in hosting or posting in connection with the Catholic Carnival, head here for more information, or check my sidebar for links for the online submission form contained in the Carnival widget!

Now I'm off to do the rest of vacation laundry and try to get some schoolwork in with the girls. (Why is it that coming back from vacation makes it harder to get on track again!?)

Monday, October 15

Guess What I Did Nine Years Ago?

It is truly hard to believe that my baby girl, my little bitty mouse muffin, is now nine years old!!

It's been nine years since I first laid eyes on my Big Girl, and I was in love with her already. Nine years of heart-stealing moments. Nine years of fun and excitement. Nine years of your silliness and fun sense of humor. Nine years of hugs and kisses. Nine years of blessings!

Thank God for you, Big Girl. You have made our lives so much better just by being.

We love you!

Love always,

Mommy and Daddy

There and Back

Ah, yes! Home, sweet home!

We really did have a lovely time in Myrtle Beach for my dad's 60th birthday, where we also celebrated my aunt's birthday (yesterday) and Big Girl's birthday (today). We went to Dixie Stampede, where my girls got to show off how well they can chase chickens and my father got to show off his horse-shoe tossing skills - with toilet seats. We got to see Dad's older brother, who now lives in Wilmington, NC, and my sister and her family - hard-working husband included! - were able to join us for the entire week. Her husband watched one morning as their three-year-old dynamo ran in figure eights through our unit (through our bedroom and bath, back into the kitchen, into the second bedroom, through the bathroom connected to it, through the third bedroom, back to the kitchen/living room area, back into bedroom #1...etc.) and asked, "When does she slow down?" Little Sis answered him, "She doesn't slow down until she is asleep. Why do you think I'm insane when you get home??"

"Sign her up for soccer next season and let's burn off some of that energy!" was his response. (Middle Niece really does need some physical outlet!)

I managed to resist the urge to show off my girls to my doubting uncle, but they did fine on their own. ("A pleasure to be with," cooed my aunt as they were leaving.) Big Girl was excited to know that my godfather, the uncle in question, is older than her Pa Pa. If Pa Pa is as old as dirt, we said, then the uncle is...

"Jurasic Dirt!" cried Big Girl. (When I asked where she got that one, she said her usual line. "From my own head.")

My mom's sister and her husband, both devout Catholics now, loved our girls' devotion, too. The girls got to show off some of their schoolwork to grandparents and aunts and uncles (though not the doubting uncle), and were just plain wonderful.

Oh, and Mass! Good golly, if you are ever in North Myrtle Beach, be sure to go to Mass at Our Lady Star of the Sea! I was in tears throughout the Mass, and barely controlled myself enough to answer "Amen" at Communion! They used LATIN and GREEK! They used Gregorian Chant! The choir was in a loft above us and they chanted something truly beautiful as we received Communion, so that I didn't feel that my prayers were a competition to the music. The priest spoke on respect for human life (since it was Respect Life Sunday), and he mentioned birth control, abortion, stem cell research and euthenasia!!! Holy Cow! Can I adopt this priest? Can we make exceptions for cloning here???

After Mass, I turned to Soccer Dad and said through tears, "That was all I wanted. Some Latin prayers, holy music, a tiny bit of chant. I don't need the Tridentine Mass or everything in Latin. I don't need everything to be Gregorian Chant and ancient. Just some of it. Just the old prayers."

I nearly stole the music aid paper thing to show to our music minister.

It is absolutely unbelievable how differently you can feel at a Mass when you have just a little bit of the ancient and holy around you. It makes you really understand that you are walking to Calvary and receiving the Lord of lords - Body, Blood, Soul, and Divinity.


So vacation is over, and we have no plans to go anywhere for months and months. I can just be my little Hobbit self and sit home and bake and get ready for Christmas. I think the next time we go anywhere will be for the March for Life, which we will probably attend as a family this year.

Thank You, Lord, for bringing us safely there and back.

Friday, October 5

Jay Anderson is On Notice! (Updated)

For this.

I teased Big Girl last night that I cannot go to her soccer game tonight because the Yankees are playing. She was not amused.

Go Yanks!

UPDATE: On this same topic, Jay lets us know that LeBron James shows his great taste in baseball teams.

Thursday, October 4

How Wrong Can They Be?

I saw this at Julie's blog, and decided to try it out.

They say this about me [all comments by me are bold and in these brackets]:

Based on your drawing and the 10 answers you gave this is a summary of your personality:

Your house tells the world that you ought to be a leader. [Eek! I am so not the natural leader!!![] You are a freedom lover and a strong person. You are shy and reserved. [This much is true, but it conflicts with something they say later.] If you've drawn a cross on each of windows, you always want to live alone. [Um, not really. I've always wanted a big family, but I like little panes of glass on the windows.] You are very tidy person. [Uh...I think they'd disagree if they saw my REAL house.] There's nothing wrong with that because you're pretty popular among friends. [I'm not sure what to make of this; I've never been someone who is really popular with lots of friends.] Your life is always full of changes. [No...it's usually pretty much consistent.] You will avoid being alone and seek the company of others whenever possible. [Nope! Introvert here.] You love excitement and create it wherever you go. [Actually, I am much more like a Hobbit. I like being home and safe and boring.] You see the world as it is, not as you believe it should be. You added a flower into your drawing. The flower signifies that you long for love. [Not much longing...I've got love!] It also safe to say that others don't see you as a flirt. You don't think much about yourself.

Play here.

Homeschooling, Pudding, and Apologetics

Next week, my father will turn 60, and in honor of that happy occasion (as well as the plethora of other October birthdays we have in our family), many of us are gathering in Myrtle Beach, South Carolina, for a vacation.

Among those who will join us at some point during the week-long break will be my father's brother, a retired teacher. Like many teachers from public school, he is not particularly fond of homeschoolers. Actually, I think a more fair way to put it is this: like many public school teachers who have had little to no contact with them, he is not particularly fond of homeschoolers.

A while back, my father made a comment about a homeschooled child who did something - won a spelling bee or geography bee or whatever. My uncle replied with comments about how socially backwards homeschoolers are. I won't get too detailed, especially since it was rather rude.

My father, doing his best to remain calm, answered, "Really? What do you think of Chris and Nathan's girls?"

"Oh, they are great! How are they, anyway?" blah blah blah.

"Great. Christine homeschools them, you know. So are you saying that my grand-daughters are..." You can insert the rude comments here. :)

Talk about FAST backtracking!

Now, my wonderful and adoring husband, Nathan the Soccer Dad, has an aunt and uncle who worked (his uncle still does so) in the public school system. While he's never said so to me, I know he's not particularly fond of homeschoolers. Something about less money for the school system. (He isn't real keen on parochial schools, either, in case you wondered.) Personally, I almost wish he'd bring that point up with me, because I'd ask him what he needs the money for if my kids aren't in the school. But he never does. However, I know that he also kind of looks at our family as different. That's okay, really. We are different, though our girls are so surrounded by friends who homeschool that they don't know it. But Soccer Dad and I both went to public school, and we know how different we are.

For me, this poses an interesting problem. Because I know that some of my family isn't totally on board with homeschooling (I think another of my relatives, an aunt, might also be skeptical), I have this great temptation to prove something to them. I want to show off. I want them to understand that my children are learning plenty, that they are smart, happy, healthy, and incredibly well-socialized.

But I must resist the temptation to have them show off their knowledge too much. Sure, I think it is a good thing for them to show relatives some of what they have been doing - we'll be bringing along some of their finished work to show off to Grandma and Pa Pa next week. But there is a difference between having them recite their Latin prayers because my parents are exicted about them learning so much and having them recite their Latin prayers to have a so-there moment with my credulous relatives. It's good for them to - on their own - explain what they are doing in school and show their work to someone. It's bad for me to encourage them to do so in front of - and specifically for - my family who is not sure this homeschooling thing can work.

I think that part of my problem lies in being defensive about it at times. But if I just let them be - if I just let them naturally be themselves and have that schooling just kind of come out on its own in these situations - it will make a far greater impact than if I have them recite all the Latin vocabulary they know or sit and read their books out loud so everyone can see how smart they are. If I can allow them to be themselves, no one will doubt that they are just as - if not more - well-rounded as any of their public schooled cousins are. The proof will be in the pudding.

My mother-in-law told me that I shouldn't worry about how anyone reacts or if they think negatively about our homeschooling. She told me that they'll just see how the girls are doing, they'll witness the fruits of my labor, and eventually, they might even change their minds. At the very least, they'll at least see that I haven't ruined my children or deprived them by not sending them to public schools.

My mother-in-law is a wise woman.
Really, this translates well into how we share the Faith with others. We certainly should evangelize, but at the same time, shoving the Church down someone's throat will only serve to push him away. As Saint Francis is supposed to have said, "Preach the Gospel always and if necessary, use words." We must not just profess our faith with our tongues, but also live it out. Faith without works is dead. One of the reasons my husband renewed his faith - came back to Christianity - was because of the actions of the people around him. At the time, we were friends with lots of Evangelical Christians, and by the way they lived their lives, he had a wonderful witness. While it took many years for him to come into full communion with the Catholic Church, I never forget that it was the living of the Gospel by Christians that started him back on that journey.

At the same time, we must always be ready to defend the Faith. We must educate ourselves on the Church and Her teachings. We must not stop with the end of Sunday school and say, "Our catechisis is finished now." It is never finished! Just as I must always be ready to give reason for our homeschooling or to explain why our girls are not locked away at home without any friends, I must also be ready to give explanations for the Church.
We know that we are called to obedience, and this is completely true. We must obey the Church because Christ founded Her to guide us, just as the Holy Spirit guides the Church. Sometimes, we don't understand a teaching and obey out of raw obedience. This is fine, but suppose someone asks you why you don't use birth control. Can you explain it at all? Have you made any attempts to learn why the Church teaches what She does on this? Suppose someone asks you about salvation and if you are "saved." Do you have any answer at all, or will you stare at him like a deer in headlights? Can you explain anything about how Catholics are born again? (Hint for the uninformed: Through the waters of Baptism.)

No one can know everything about the Church - She's 2000 years old! - but we can all know something about Her. We need to make sure that we continue to learn all we can about the Faith. Even if our parish has little in adult catechisis, nothing prevents us from taking up that challenge on our own! Even if you have little to no money, if you are reading this, you are on the internet, and you can get information for free. Catholic Answers, the Bible Christian Society, the Church in History site ... these are just a few of the many orthodox resources out there for Catholics to learn about the Faith. You can go to Aquinas and More and start small: order a Baltimore Catechism for yourself. It's cheap - under $5 - and it's written for children, so even if you have trouble getting through theological works, you can read this. And those Baltimore Catechisms you get today are not just lists of questions and answers; they have terrific explanations. Try Seton's religious education series for some good, solid teachings, too. I have learned so much just by using this series to teach religious education to my children!

If Today is the Feast of Saint Francis

...should I try to bless the fish with holy water?

(This pondering was brought up by Elena's post about blessing her pets today.)

Something to Procrastinate With

I am so supposed to be packing today. But look what I decided to do instead.

1. YOUR ROCK STAR NAME: (first pet & current car) Ralphie Townandcountry
2.YOUR GANGSTA NAME: (fave ice cream flavor, favorite cookie) Mint Chocolate Chip Chocolate Chip [That's a mouthful!]
3. YOUR “FLY Guy/Girl” NAME:(first letter of first name, first three letters of last name) C-Joh
4. YOUR DETECTIVE NAME: (favorite color, favorite animal) Blue Bunny [also an ice cream brand]
5. YOUR SOAP OPERA NAME: (middle name, city where you were born) Susan Fort Bragg
6. YOUR STAR WARS NAME: (the first 3 letters of your last name, first 2 letters of your first) Johch
7. SUPERHERO NAME: (”The” + 2nd favorite color, favorite drink) The Red Margarita
8. NASCAR NAME: (the first names of your grandfathers) Andrew Roberto
[I don't know what happened to number nine.]
10.WITNESS PROTECTION NAME: (mother’s & father’s middle names ) Diane Michael
11. TV WEATHER ANCHOR NAME: (Your 5th grade teacher’s last name, a major city that starts with the same letter) Pender Pittsburgh
12. SPY NAME: (your favorite season/holiday, flower) Spring Daisy
13. CARTOON NAME: (favorite fruit, article of clothing you’re wearing right now + “ie” or “y”)Cantelope Scrunchie
14. HIPPY NAME: (What you ate for breakfast, your favorite tree) Coffee Maple
15. YOUR ROCKSTAR TOUR NAME: (”The” + Your fave hobby/craft, fave weather element + “Tour”) The Reading Rain Tour [or] The Reading Rainbow Tour [if PBS doesn't sue]

Seen most recently at Tormenta Forester's place.

Wednesday, October 3

Ties in Nicely

I got an e-mail today from my oldest friend's parents. (Sarah isn't old, but we've known each other since the seventh grade.)

She married late - only two years ago next month - and she and her husband immediately started trying to have a baby. Soccer Dad and I put them on our intentions list, specifically praying for them during Mass when we remembered those who are sick because that seemed the best time to ask for this intention. She and I are only five days apart in age - and we both turned 37 this year.

So, the e-mail.

My friend and her husband welcomed their daughter into the world this morning! Sarah is recovering from her C-section and the baby is fine.

And so that brings me to another Sarah I know - though only via the internet - who is also getting ready to welcome a new baby into her family. Online Sarah is hosting her final pre-second-baby Catholic Carnival, and she has themed it around a Celebration of Life.

While you check out the Catholic Carnival that Online Sarah put together, please keep both Sarahs in your prayers. (And the fathers and babies, too. Especially the fathers, since no one seems to pay much attention to them in all the newborn excitement.)
This post made me think of this email my mother just forwarded to me the other day. (I removed personal information for privacy.) My family has some very long-living people in it. My great-grandmother was 97 when she died, my grandmother who is still living (my Nana) will be 88 on October 18. I think my other great-grandmother was in her 90's when she died, too, but I was a very small girl when she did. (And was freaked out a bit to see Christine's prayer card in Dad's side table drawer! She and I shared a name, but since I don't remember her at all and was kind of young, I didn't know what the card was from.)

Anyway, here is the "News of Great Joy" from Mom's family:

Believe it or not,

Gertrude *********

will be celebrating another birthday next week on

Thursday, October 4th, 2007!!!!

She will be

106 years old

She is in excellent health, loves living at ********************* Health Care Center, and enjoys all the activities.

She wins at Bingo a lot, still presents her travel slide shows twice a month, loves arts and crafts, enjoys sing -alongs, relaxes over jig-saw puzzles and is presently rehearsing for a Halloween play. (More details on that next week.)

To look at her, you'd never know she broke a hip 18 months ago. Her smile is seldom missing. She's quick with snappy come-backs when someone's kidding her. Although her memory for details is sometimes lacking, she's quick to grab a pen or pencil and jot down things she wants to remember. There isn't a day when I'm visiting her that someone doesn't say to me, "Your mother is awesome!" or "Your mother is something else!"

We try to keep her aware of all the news you send our way about you and your families. She has many scrapbooks and often puts photos you send, or copies of e-mails, in them. She still sends birthday cards to her 29 great-grandchildren (which incidently range in age from 18 years to 5 months).

If you would like to send her a birthday card, her address is:

*******************************, NJ *****-****

We hope you and your families are also doing well. ALL family members are included in her prayers.

Love, Ruth

Amazing! 106!!! I don't know if I've ever met my great-great aunt, but what I wouldn't give to be able to sit with her (and my girls) and pepper her with questions about her life. A real interview. Maybe I'll write to her and send her pictures of our family, so she can see some of her long-lost distant relatives. :)

By the way, the following all happened in the year 1901 (courtesy Wikipedia):

January 1

World celebrates what is regarded by some as the start of the new century.
The British colonies of New South Wales, Queensland, South Australia, Tasmania, Victoria and Western Australia federate as the Commonwealth of Australia. Edmund Barton becomes first Prime Minister.
Nigeria becomes a British protectorate
French rugby team play their first Test against the New Zealand All Blacks.
January 5 - Typhoid fever breaks out in Seattle jail, the first of two typhoid outbreaks in USA during the year.
January 7 - Alferd Packer is released from prison after serving 18 years for cannibalism
January 10 - The first great Texas gusher, oil discovered at Spindletop in Beaumont, Texas
January 22 - After reigning for almost 64 years, longer than any other British monarch, Queen Victoria died at the age of 81. Her eldest son, Prince Albert Edward, Prince of Wales becomes King, reigning as King Edward VII until 1910. His son, Prince George, Duke of York becomes Duke of Cornwall.
January 28 - Baseball's American League declares itself a Major League

February 20 - The legislature of Hawaii Territory convenes for the first time.
February 25 - J. P. Morgan incorporates the United States Steel Corporation.

March 2 - The U.S. Congress passes the Platt amendment, limiting the autonomy of Cuba as a condition for the withdrawal of American troops.
March 4 - US. President William McKinley begins second term.
March 6 - In Bremen an assassin attempts to kill Wilhelm II of Germany.
March 17 - A showing of 71 Vincent van Gogh paintings in Paris, 11 years after his death, creates a sensation.
March 31 - United Kingdom Census 1901

April 25 - New York State becomes the first to require automobile license plates.

May 3 - Great Fire of 1901 begins in Jacksonville, FL.
May 5 - Official end of the Caste War of Yucatán, although Mayan skirmishers will continue sporadic fighting for the next decade.
May 9 - Australia opens its first parliament in Melbourne.
May 17 - The Stock Market crashes for the first time. This is also the 6th worst crash.
May 25 - Club Atlético River Plate is founded in Argentina.
May 27 - In New Jersey, the Edison Storage Battery Company is founded.

June 2 - Katsura Taro becomes Prime Minister of Japan
June 12 - Cuba becomes US protectorate

July 4 - The 1,282 foot (390 meters) covered bridge crossing the St.John River at Hartland, New Brunswick, Canada opens. It is the longest covered bridge in the world.
July 24 - O. Henry is released from prison in Columbus, Ohio after serving three years for embezzlement from the First National Bank in Austin, Texas.

August 5 - Peter O'Connor sets the first International Association of Athletics Federations recognised long jump world record of 24ft 11¾ins. The record will stand for 20 years.
August 21 - The Cadillac Motor Company formed in Detroit, Michigan, USA

September 2 - Vice President Theodore Roosevelt utters the famous phrase, "Speak softly and carry a big stick" at the Minnesota State Fair.
September 5 - The National Association of Professional Baseball Leagues (later renamed Minor League Baseball), is formed in Chicago.
September 6 - American anarchist Leon Czolgosz shoots and fatally wounds US President William McKinley at the Pan-American Exposition in Buffalo, New York. McKinley dies there eight days later.
September 7 - The Boxer Rebellion in China officially ends with the signing of the Boxer Protocol.
September 14
With the death of William McKinley, Theodore Roosevelt succeeds him as President of the United States.
Huo Yuanjia, martial arts practitioner, defeated all four of his challengers, one from France, Britain, Russia, and Japan.
September 26 - The 16th President, Abraham Lincoln, is exhumed and reinterred in concrete several feet thick.

October 2 - Royal Navy's first submarine launched at Barrow.
October 4 - The American yacht Columbia defeats the Irish Shamrock in the America's Cup yachting race.
October 16 - U.S. President Theodore Roosevelt invites African American leader Booker T. Washington to the White House. The American South reacts angrily to the visit, and racial violence increases in the region.
October 23 - Yale University celebrates its bicentennial.
October 24 - Michigan schoolteacher Annie Taylor goes down Niagara Falls in a barrel and survives.
October 29
In Amherst, Massachusetts, nurse Jane Toppan is arrested for murdering the Davis family of Boston with an overdose of morphine.
Capital punishment: Leon Czolgosz, the assassin of US President William McKinley, is executed by electrocution.

November 1 - Sigma Phi Epsilon was founded in Richmond, VA
November 9 - Prince George, Duke of Cornwall becomes Prince of Wales and Earl of Chester.
November 15
Miller Reese Hutchinson patents Acousticon, a heavy Hearing aid prototype
Alpha Sigma Alpha was founded at Longwood University
November 27 - U.S. Army War College is established.
November 28 - The new state constitution of Alabama disenfranchises black voters via literacy tests and the grandfather clause.

December 3 - US President Theodore Roosevelt delivers a 20,000-word speech to the House of Representatives asking Congress curb the power of trusts "within reasonable limits".
December 10 - Marie Curie receives doctorate. The first Nobel Prize ceremony is held in Stockholm on the fifth anniversary of Alfred Nobel's death.
December 12 - Guglielmo Marconi receives the first trans-Atlantic radio signal in Newfoundland, Canada; it is Morse code for the letter "S."
December 20 - The final spike is driven to complete the Mombasa-Victoria-Uganda Railway in what is now Kisumu, Kenya.

In the United Kingdom, Factory Act puts an end to child labour under 12.
Winston Churchill enters the British House of Commons
In Germany, Eugen Hollander makes the first known facelift to a Polish noblewoman
Scotland Yard creates a fingerprint archive
Cleveland Indians founded, under the name "Cleveland Blues".
Europium is isolated by Eugène-Anatole Demarçay.
First prototype Harley-Davidson created
Okapi discovered (previously known only to local natives)
Independent Maya of Eastern Yucatán surrender to Mexico
American Standard Version Bible first published.
Intercollegiate Prohibition Association established in Chicago.
Mordecai Ham, American evangelist enters ministry.
Pablo Picasso begins his Blue Period.
Shō Tai (Shang Tai), the last king of the Ryūkyū Kingdom in modern Okinawa, Japan, dies.

Second Boer War

Not a single famous person born that year is still alive.
Who are your heros?


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