Saturday, September 29
Friday, September 28
Excellent stuff! I plan on playing it for my girls, who at this point in life (6 and 9-in-two-weeks-and-three-days) absolutely can't stand Elmo. I bet they'll like this one.
Thursday, September 27
I took this with Big Girl and Little Girl. (Might make Soccer Dad take it later on, though.)
Take the 100 Acre Personality Quiz!
Here's Big Girl:
Take the 100 Acre Personality Quiz!
Here's Little Girl:
Take the 100 Acre Personality Quiz!
Up later: women's dress clothes (various sizes) and a silk jacket for a man.
Wednesday, September 26
Maybe I can put up one or two color posters in the commons (narthex) during the ticket sales, too. You know, for during the week.
My goodness, I might need to go to Confession for all the Tenth Commandment issues I have with handing this over to the winner!!!
Tuesday, September 25
A couple of articles I came across recently reminded me of a lot of the "life wisdom" ideas I came across when I was an atheist. I was always seeking to know more about our existence, I suppose you could call it a quest for the meaning of life, so I took a keen interest in finding out what the great minds of our time had to say about how we can find purpose and fulfillment in life (without getting into any of that religious nonsense of course).
Unfortunately, in pretty much every case I walked away feeling depressed about what I just heard. All of the secular advice was along the lines of "live for today" or "help others" or "don't be afraid to live your dreams" or "be a good person". It sounded great, but I couldn't get around the fact that we're all going to die. As I saw it, what does it really matter if I'm a good person or a bad person, if I am happy or sad, since the entity that I think of as "me" is going to cease to exist in a relatively short time? When discussing the matter with other atheist or agnostic friends, the conversation usually went something like this:
ME: What does it matter if I spend this weekend volunteering at the soup kitchen or burglarizing people's houses? I mean, I am not going to exist for very much longer! Why should I care?
THEM: It's about your legacy. Imagine how many people you could help at the soup kitchen, and how many people's lives you'd negatively impact if you stole all their stuff.
ME: But they're going to cease to exist too.
THEM: Well, your actions could have far-reaching effects into future generations.
ME: OK, let's take the 5-billion-year view. Let's fast-forward to when the sun is a red giant that's either swallowed up planet earth or burnt it to a crisp. Then does it matter if I spent my weekend feeding the homeless or stealing stuff? Does anything I ever did matter?
For me, this is what it boiled down to: when the last life form is gone from the earth, did anything that ever happened here matter? My answer was: obviously not. To my way of thinking, "meaning" was confined to the human brain. It was something we people came up with. So when people were gone, so was any kind of significance to anything that ever happened or would happen. The Holocaust, the great wars, the hidden good and bad that played out in people's private lives -- I couldn't figure out how to make a logical case that any of it mattered once earth is a smoldering rock. Once we all cease to exist, if there's no force outside of the material world in which some part of us lives on, we might as well have never existed.
She came to realize why this felt so wrong when she came to realize that God exists. (I recommend reading the whole piece because it's really terrific!)
Today, Wesley J. Smith has linked to an article from
What I find amazing is the paradoxical thinking at work here. Mankind is worthless and not special, but, at the same time, mankind is also going to destroy the planet! While holding man in contempt, Spector also holds man up as some kind of superior being that is capable of destroying the earth. As if we have the power to truly destroy it. We might make it less inhabitable, or even completely uninhabitable in some places, but destroy it completely? I'm not sure we have that ability, to be honest.
The interesting thing is, Christian thinking not only places value on all human life, but it also places value on being good stewards of the natural world. We are to have dominion over it, but the Good Book says that true leadership (or dominion, if you will) is based on service. So we are to care for God's creatures and all of Creation. We aren't to abuse the earth, for that wouldn't be good stewardship. But, at the same time, we are more special than the animals. We aren't called to spare them from being eaten. Quite the contrary! The Old Testament has God telling the children of Israel to eat of their sacrifices, the New Testament has Christ telling Saint Peter to eat all kind of animals, including the ones said to be "unclean" in the Old Testament.
Back to the original article: Smith rightly points out that, should earth become devoid of human beings, who would care? Who would appreciate it? In his words:
But what difference would it make if humans weren't around to appreciate it? Think about it: The dinosaurs lived for hundreds of millions of years and yet their grandeur was never once recognized in all that time. It took the exceptional species--us--to see the wonder. Similarly, if the bubbling creeks bubble and we aren't there to sigh in contentment, the planet might as well be as lifeless as Venus.
"What?" I thought to myself Thirty-one is a prime number...how will this work?
So Big Girl counted off on her fingers as she put them up, one at a time.
"10, 15, 20, 24, 25, 26, 27, 28, 30, 31!"
This set us all of into gales of laughter, but Big Girl wasn't done yet.
"I also have two quillion hands!"
"That's impossible," I said, "because you have only 31 fingers -"
"No," she interrupted. "Some hands don't have any fingers."
Nooooo...I'm Christine. Silly me! But I do welcome you to the very first Veggie Tales Themed Catholic Carnival! (Thanks, Sarah, for the idea!)
In The Ballad of Little Joe, Joe wonders why, if God thinks he's special and loves him very much, he is stuck going through such difficulties in his life. After all, his jealous brothers shoved him down a mineshaft, sold him to some desperadoes, and then he winds up being jailed for a crime he didn't commit in the land where he's enslaved. But God does remember Joe and hears his prayers from jail. His position of power in the new land gives him the opportunity to save his new countrymen as well as his entire family. He's reunited with his repentant brothers and his father, who had been mourning him as dead.
What are we to do, then, when we are faced with a spiritual dryness? At The Third Way, Melissa has some advice for us on how to rekindle our spiritual fire. She also reminds us that plenty of saints have gone through periods like this, as the world recently learned of Blessed Mother Teresa. Likewise, Frederick (with some help from Saint Augustine) shows us that an old fable about the eagle teaches us that we must break ourselves against the Rock that is Christ and become new men. It's not easy, it's not pleasant sometimes, but in the end, we emerge more ready for the Kingdom. And shouldn't that be our ultimate goal: to know, love and serve God in this life to be happy with Him in the next?
Esther risked everything to speak up and save her people. We don't often risk as much when we speak up for the unborn, but sometimes it's still scary. We can face ridicule, and people who we thought were our friends might turn against us for our stance in favor of the sanctity of life. Christine gives us a short post that just drives home a point about abortion: it hurts women. What kind of ridicule Ellen Burstyn might face for speaking up about what she called her lowest point in her life is unknown, but we should keep her - and all other abortion survivors - in our prayers. Leticia knows something about standing up for life, too. She has some stories about encounters she had while hosting a pro-life table at her local county fair. One thing I admired so much about this post was how Leticia was able to respond so well to everyone's stories, as well as to objections. I pray that I'll be as articulate in such situations. Thomas, too, takes a look at people like Esther, and discusses how the reasons given by Planned Parenthood for opening an abortion clinic in Aurora (which they tried to do with deceptive paperwork) only point to a desperation in our country, which Thomas says does not really exist, thanks to pro-lifers.
Where's God When I'm S-Scared? Life is a scary journey sometimes, and when we are in the midst of it all, we are often tempted to quote Psalm 22. But just like Junior learned in the very first Veggie Tales show, we can know that God is there with us, too. In her post at Mary Meets Dolly, Rebecca discusses what happens when couples who learn that their unborn babies have genetic defects receive counselling - and what happens when they don't. Likewise, Heidi, too, discusses fears that some parents face, but it's one that I didn't expect to read about. What happens when you adopt a child and then face depression? In When Moms Grieve: The Dark Side of Adoption, she gives us a look at a little-acknowledged fact for adoptive couples: it's not all happiness and sunshine. What's really helpful here is that Heidi also offers advice to help people in such a situation. (And I've got multiple friends who are in the process of adopting, so this is an article I will probably pass on to others.)
In Duke and the Great Pie War, we see a love story involving two people whose families are at war. Loving someone else - even in our own family - is not supposed to be easy all the time; sacrifices must be made if you are truly loving someone for the long haul. But such sacrifices are made gladly when you love others as God loves us. Son shows us that fasting is an act of love, just as Jesus' Sacrifice on the Cross was the ultimate act of love: not done because of feelings, which are fleeting, but done for the benefit of someone else. What really drove it home for me was when he said, "Ascending the hill of Calvary, [Jesus] puttered on by the fire of unquenchable love, not by the smoke and fumes of some lower passion. There was nothing to gain for him but what he gained for us." And do we love Christ as He loves us? Chris ponders this idea and asks us to question if our prayers to God are those of someone deeply, madly in love with the Creator of us all. What is the Substance of Prayer?
Sarah tells us of love, too. There are lots of cute e-mails that float around with translations of men's language. Most of them are a bit snarky for my taste. I mean, how do we expect our husbands to act if we continually tell them they are rotten? But Sarah's post is a kind of love-letter to her husband: she hears not only what he says to her, but also what he could say to her - or think about her - but doesn't because he loves her. (I see a lot of Soccer Dad and me in this post, too!) Of course, a post like this is all part of just another day of Catholic pondering.
The Church is our family, too: the Church Triumphant (in Heaven), the Church Militant (here on Earth), and the Church Suffering (in Purgatory). Esther - queen of the blog A Catholic Mom in Hawaii - reminds us that we are supposed to be praying for the Church Suffering and gives us several things we can do to alleviate their suffering.
Rack, Shack, and Benny knew what God expected of them. The believed in Him and wanted to do everything He asked of them. Shouldn't we be the same? In her post Deus Caritas Est, Tiffany tells us that this statement from the Holy Father in his first encyclical is not a contradiction of his former position as "God's Rottweiler." It's actually a perfect (and to-be-expected) fit!
The Sumo of the Opera had to learn how to persevere, just like Dawn did when she was setting up her homeschool area. Her big problem was how to get through the school day without stopping constantly to do household chores while still having her supplies on hand when she needed them. I could certainly relate to her struggles to find the balance between homemaker duties and homeschooler duties! Cathy Weidel discusses Pope John Paul II's perseverance at the end of his own life in her post “Catholics are enjoined to pursue all means to prolong life," which discusses an Italian article that seems to imply that the pope engaged in a kind of euthanasia. She also has something to say about a TIME article that mischaracterizes the Catholic reverence for life. This is not an article that will go softly into the night, and I expect that those involved heavily in the Culture of Death will latch onto it.
Poor Larry nearly had a nervous breakdown when he discovered that the cancellation of "Silly Songs with Larry" was The End of Silliness?! No more music!? No more silliness? What would we do without it? Elena of My Domestic Church read a post that lamented what seems to be silliness at Mass; but while Elena understands the original poster's desire for sacred silence, she also sees some of the noises that might be distracting as signs of life and God's love in His Church. And on the same note (ha - that was punny!), David has a post that discusses the grace that is involved in the creation of a great work of art, music, or theater. Great art can help us reach out and touch the hand of the Infinite!
Madame Blueberry loved to shop, but would she have shopped at your Catholic bookstore? Ian wonders about some of the Catholic bookstores he's seen and gives us a bit of reverse psychology in his post that helps us to know Why People Shouldn't Shop at Your Catholic Store. If you are thinking of starting up a Catholic store, Ian has had several posts on the topic to give you a hand in discerning if it's truly what God wants of you, not to mention what to do if it is! And, in case you didn't know it, Ian knows what he's talking about when it comes to running a store, since he is the owner of Aquinas and More.
Bob and Larry help us to learn about forgiveness in God Wants Me to Forgive Them!?!, and one thing that is important in forgiving others is remember that God forgives us when we are repentant. All Christians believe this fundamental truth, but Catholics do have a different perspective on the idea because of the Sacrament of Confession. In Still Waters Run Deep, I discuss a conversation Big Girl and I had about Confession after our night at Awanas with her friends. She told me of a beautiful image she has of what happens during Confession that nearly brought me to tears! It's found here at Domestic Vocation.
When we are out in The Wonderful World of Auto-Tainment, we have a lot of options. What some people might not realize is that there are plenty of options for bibliophiles who want to read spiritually uplifting materials. Steven specializes in reviews of Catholic and Christian literature at his blog Book Reviews and More, and this week he submits for us a review of an old favorite of his: Sacred Visions, a collection of science fiction/fantasy short stories.But if you're more into the musical aspects of Auto-Tainment, Brian of Christus Vincit has some beautiful audio of an amazing pipe organ and choral Mass at Church of the Holy Family (the United Nations Parish)! For the story and audio links, head over and read his post entitled While I'm on a Roll With Praising People's Work. If for nothing else, though, go over to see "a five-manual organ of 76 ranks built by Robert M. Turner, 1996." It's amazing! (But do stay for the music.)
Well, kids, that's all for now. I hope you enjoyed the first Veggie Tales Catholic Carnival. If you're interested in learning more about the Carnival or hosting one at your blog, you can go here for that information. (No, you don't have to make a theme! I'm just a bit crazy is all.)
Remember kids, God made you special, and He loves you very much.
Monday, September 24
Remember to get your submissions in if you want to be included! The deadline is tonight!
(Check my sidebar for information on the carnival and how to submit.)
Friday, September 21
If you don't mind, go check out my auctions at eBay. I've got "Friends" DVD sets, a few VHS movies, and a couple of board games. I might get around to listing a few books in the next few days, but I'll put up another reminder if I can do it.
Thursday, September 20
Naturally, that bothered Big Girl, but not because she doubted the Sacrament; it bothered her because she wasn't sure how to explain and help her friend to understand.
I started off by telling her that what her friend does every night is actually an old Catholic custom. We can, as a part of our bedtime prayers, examine our consciences and then say an Act of Contrition. It is actually a very good practice to be in, and I am hoping that I can get our family into such a habit.
We discussed a bit of the history of Confession, about Jesus breathing on the Apostles and saying, "Receive the Holy Spirit. Whose sins you forgive are forgiven; whose sins you retain are retained." We talked about the laying on of hands and its history throughout the Bible - how it's a very real imparting of power on behalf of God. We talked about how the Bible implores us to "confess [our] sins to one another." We discussed that Jesus forgives our sins through the priest; He acts through him to forgive us. Basically, we reviewed the material that Big Girl had already learned. But it was mostly new to Little Girl, who begins her first grade Catechism in earnest next week. (With Seton's first grade religious education, she'll begin her preparation for First Confession and First Holy Communion.)
But then, Big Girl told me something really beautiful. She said that when she goes to Confession, she imagines something very clearly in her mind.
She envisions herself kneeling before the priest (or behind the screen), eyes closed, hands folded, head bowed down so that the curve of her nose rests on her hands. She is awaiting absolution, and as the priest puts his hand up to make the Sign of the Cross and bless her, Jesus is there, too, kind of misty, and behind the priest. As the priest continues with absolution, Jesus goes right through the priest, as though He is becoming One with him at that moment. And then, they forgive her together.
I told her it was a beautiful picture. It's accurate! It's wonderful! And I said that it was just the thing to think of at Confession.
And this is the child whose spiritual life I worry about?
I think that still waters run deep. And I think she's getting much more than I thought.
Wednesday, September 19
I'm praying that I'll be up to the task, since when I look at the Awana information, I see that there are differences in theology. Most of them are minor, but when children are still being formed, one can't be too careful. I think the biggest error is the one relating to salvation; the Awana program teaches, like many Protestant denominations, that you cannot lose your salvation. This page on salvation finishes with this:
Once I am saved, I am saved for eternity.
Once saved, I cannot lose my salvation. No creature or thing can take it away from me. I cannot lose it by any action of my own.
God says: … I give unto them eternal life; and they shall never perish. (John 10:28)
For God so loved the world, that He gave His only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in Him should not perish, but have everlasting life. (John 3:16)
Clearly, this is not what the Church has taught for 2,000 years, and so if we cover nothing else before we go tonight, we'll cover this one. (And it's actually pretty easy for me to cover, since I taught about it at the co-op last year in my apologetics class.) Now, mind you, there is little difference between Catholic theology from what I understand and the rest of this page, but this is a big deal. It's important to me that my girls understand the nature of sin and that mortal sin is, indeed, discussed in the Bible (though not specifically named as such).
I also am emphasizing that any apologetics the girls wind up doing is done with great charity. No one wins converts by saying things like, "What do you mean you think the Lord's Supper is a symbol? Are you crazy???" And since children can be rather blunt, I am trying to help them to temper their potential (and probably instinctual) reactions to differences in doctrines.
Now if I could only remember where I put the Faith Defender cards...
Update: It wasn't that bad. Mainly, they played games and then instead of the "counseling" (I guess kid-friendly Bible study, etc.) they caught up on the lessons. Big Girl did have a friend challenge her about Baptism being essential to salvation and about Confession. From what she said, she held her own because for the Baptism discussion, she told me of two different things she said in response. Can't give verses for it, but that's fine for a child of 8, right? We can work on it as we go. I know she's getting plenty of the Bible, and she is learning the Faith very well, too.
I do have to say one thing, though. I had at least three different people - total strangers, mind you - who asked me if I attended church. They were absolutely ready to invite me to services.
When was the last time a Catholic asked you that? As a Catholic, and I'll include myself here, when was the last time you invited someone to Mass?
I was really touched by everyone's faith, and it was very sweet when people kept asking me if I had a church. I'd smile and say yes, I do. We go to (insert our parish name here). Now I'll tell you this. I was absolutely a Catholic after that because our parish is named for Our Lady. :) Plus, whenever we prayed, I crossed myself. Not to be showy, mind you, but because it's just what I do and it's second nature. I did resist the urge to wear my Hail Mary shirt, though. *wicked grin* I might wear it Friday to the soccer game instead.
Tuesday, September 18
In which Red Neck Woman tackles the topic of priestly celibacy, and we learn that priests and other religious who take vows of celibacy are bringing about God's Kingdom here on earth.
(Can you tell I read Pooh recently?)
I think my favorite part of this post was the list RNW found at Scripture Catholic. Here's a sampling, but for the full list, as well as RNW's insights on the subject and a link to a New Advent article on the same topic, go here.
Matt. 19:11-12 - Jesus says celibacy is a gift from God and whoever can bear it should bear it. Jesus praises and recommends celibacy for full-time ministers in the Church. Because celibacy is a gift from God, those who criticize the Church's practice of celibacy are criticizing God and this wonderful gift He bestows on His chosen ones.
Matt. 19:29 - Jesus says that whoever gives up children for the sake of His name will receive a hundred times more and will inherit eternal life. Jesus praises celibacy when it is done for the sake of His kingdom.
Matt. 22:30 - Jesus explains that in heaven there are no marriages. To bring about Jesus' kingdom on earth, priests live the heavenly consecration to God by not taking a wife in marriage. This way, priests are able to focus exclusively on the spiritual family, and not have any additional pressures of the biological family (which is for the vocation of marriage). This also makes it easier for priests to be transferred to different parishes where they are most needed without having to worry about the impact of their transfer on wife and children.
1 Cor 7:1 – Paul teaches that it is well for a man not to touch a woman. This is the choice that the Catholic priests of the Roman rite freely make.
1 Cor. 7:7 - Paul also acknowledges that celibacy is a gift from God and wishes that all were celibate like he is.
In all, there are fourteen Scripture verses cited and summarized. I've added the links for you on the above, so you'll need to pull out your Bible for the others.
Monday, September 17
Because Locks of Love needs at least that much at a time.
I was hoping the girls would go in with me on this, but so far, they aren't ready to do it. But after looking at the gallery of recipients, maybe they'll change their minds.
Apologies for having taken a little longer to send out an updated health report, but what with school having started for the boys and everything else, things have been pretty busy.
Where do things stand? Well, the cancer treatment seems to be going pretty well. I don't like "not knowing" just how effective it is, but it's good that B***** has had few problems with it. She occasionally feels nauseous, and I think at least part of that comes from the chemo. It's administered in pill form, rather than intravenously, and is generally pretty easy to take but I do think it leaves her queasy once in a while. Fortunately, she can take medication to control this side effect. The doctor at the rehab facility says that the radiation causes some swelling of the brain tissue, and this probably also contributes to her feeling tired much of the time. The radiation finally caused some of her hair to come out, in areas where the irradiation was taking place. Rather than have a prominent bald spot on the top/side of her head, B***** decided to have all her hair cut off. This was an emotional thing for her and it was great that she had the assistance and support (crying together) of a dear woman who is part of the crew at the rehab center, and who herself is a cancer survivor. Now having a hair-free dome, B***** prefers to wear hats or scarves rather than opt for a wig. The guys and I think she looks good as-is, but she prefers to wear a hat when out of her room. Her friend (who held her hand through the haircut) gave B***** the pink baseball-style cap she'd worn during her own cancer treatment. Sometimes, B***** wears a USMC camo "boonie cover" that S*** gave her, but it fits a little loosely now that there's no hair between it and her skin.
Also on the cancer treatment front: B***** has 6 more radiation treatments and then she's done with that phase. They'll take place Mon-Fri of this coming week and then the final one will be Mon, 9/24. She'll continue her daily chemo regimen to that point and then it, too, will end. At that point, I understand they'll wait a couple of weeks and then begin a modified chemo treatment, at a higher dose that is administered for five consecutive days every four weeks for a year. That's about all I know for now on that front. We'll provide additional information if/when we get it.
On the rehab front, B****'s walking continues to improve. Her balance is much better and she is getting steady and confident with transfers between bed, wheelchair, walker, etc. She has a nice, tight grip with her left hand, but sometimes it doesn't like to let go. The rehab folks have some interesting procedures for working both her leg and her arm in ways that encourage her brain to resume control. It really is amazing. The other day, she flexed her toes and foot "up" while walking, which is a natural and proper way to walk. That happened "subconsciously", and shows that the wiring is there, but B***** can't yet make it happen consciously. She's also become the terror of the pool. One of the activities they use for pool therapy is to play volleyball or basketball. I think the idea is that the patient concentrates on the "game" and the patient's subconscious abilities take over and improve things like balance. However, B*****'s subconscious also includes all the moves she developed while playing with her brothers and our sons. For example, the therapists want her to stand and shoot baskets. B*****, unfortunately (?), can't do that. Every one of her shots is a jump shot. Harder to block, I assume. It is supposedly quite a sight to see one of the therapists trying to keep B***** feet on the bottom of the pool, only to be herself launched the next time B***** takes a shot.
We believe that B***** may be discharged from the rehab facility just after her radiation treatments come to an end. At that point, she'll be an outpatient, continuing to recover at home while returning to the rehab center a few times a week.
So, that gives everyone about 10 days to send those cards and pictures to her at the rehab center! Her room has been incredibly brightened by all the cards that you've sent, and by many pictures and drawings that have been included. Everyone who visits loves the view, and B***** is talking about making a collage to "capture" it for future enjoyment at home.
Don’t miss this great chance to be part of an awesome work of art! Send her a snapshot (or mug shot) of you and yours, hopefully having fun ...
(address removed by me)
Do your thoughts, prayers, cards, and your love matter? You bet they do. I am deeply touched by the love that's out there - it feels like a wave, just lifting us all up. As you pray for B***** and for us, so do we pray. Prayers of thanks, and prayers asking that God watches out for all of you, and that He fills your lives with things that count. Miracles happen. Please take a few moments to read the note below, which was recently sent to B*****. I've removed names, but the message is unchanged. Out of bad things, many wonderful things can come. Just work at it.
Love, (Uncle) B**** and the gang.
You have cancer.
I don’t dare say, “I know how you feel.” With my cancer diagnosis, I wasn’t married. I had no children. And anticipating the birth of my first grandchild was the farthest thought from my mind.
For me, I had the perception if invincibility which accompanies our twenties. Immortality? Of course, I’d survive – there was never a doubt in my mind… well, maybe a few….
I wavered hearing the insensitive radiologist blurt out, "We can’t treat you… the cancer’s all through your body.” Then as slowly and as inconspicuously as I could, I walked back to my room. Alone, as dignified as possible through the corridors of Hopkins wearing PJ’s, a long, blue velour robe, and white, bootie slippers. As I neared my room, I bypassed the nurses’ station, where so many healthy, young women – my own age – sat. Never before had a single room been such a private haven. Cancer… advanced… stage 4. I locked myself in the bathroom, sat on the floor and cried.
I wavered in the aftermath of chemo. The hour-long drive home from Hopkins with my sister, Lori, as my chauffer consisted of her driving while I wretched into a bucket. Dry-heaves took over long before we ever made it to Grove Point.. Once home, I laid on the bathroom floor – next to the toilet – for the next 72 hours, dragging my head up to the toilet when the next wave of nausea occurred.
I wavered the moment I arrived at work and told my colleagues I wasn’t feeling well… something wasn’t right. Relieved, they asked me – the fashion maven – if I realized I was wearing the same clothes as the day before. Tan suit with the peplum waist, green blouse, yep, same outfit – something was wrong. I turned around and drove the hour-long drive home. By the next morning, my right arm was useless. I couldn’t get out of bed. Lori got me dressed and into the car for the drive to Hopkins. I had a stroke.
I wavered when a 24/7 antibiotic regimen replaced the chemo. Somehow, with my reduced immunity, an infection occurred around my heart. The doctors believed the heart pumped off a piece of infection which traveled my blood stream to my brain, causing the stroke. Nothing like having your skull cut open to make you waver just a bit… guess you can relate!
And sometimes I wavered under sheer exhaustion… from physical therapy, from wondering if I’d recover the use of my right side, from not being self-sufficient.
Without me knowing, my life changed dramatically the first moment the word “cancer” was spoken. It’s a legacy I’ve carried in the near quarter of a century since then. Without cancer, I wouldn’t have met and married ___. Without cancer, our son’s birth would never have been so miraculous. Without cancer, how would I have learned the depth of my inner strength? … the strength and commitment of those around me? … the outpouring of love and generosity from complete strangers? Without cancer, I never could have joked that I was cured because God simply got tired of hearing all the prayers for me! Without cancer, I would have never been forced to evaluate my life and have such a fine gauge for determining priorities: health, family, happiness, balance.
Rick Warren, author of The Purpose Driven Life, wrote, “Life is a test. Life is a trust.” Beth, you are being tested… your family is being tested… your friends are being tested. And I firmly – devoutly – believe God sets nothing before us for which we lack the strength. But, life is also a trust. You’ve been entrusted with many gifts, including a loving husband (whose sense of humor will carry you through the rough spots!), four wonderful sons – and a daughter-in-law! – and now, a baby on the way! Our lives are a measure of what we do with the gifts entrusted to us, as well as a reflection of our growth as we endure the tests… And along the way, we may even get to experience a few miracles!
B*****, please find comfort in the prayers – from around the country – being said for you and your family… and let the outpouring of love and generosity surround you, amaze you, and give you strength!
(name withheld by [Uncle] B****)
Friday, September 14
This is the current radar image for Virginia.
As you can see, it's not pretty. Unless you like green. Or mud.
But even if you do, the chance of thunderstorms combined with the pretty green rain and the icky brown mud do not make it good weather for the weekly Metric Football Game.
So it's cancelled.
Big Girl is bummed because she was to play defense this afternoon (a new position for her).
I am bummed because I have half a dozen oranges and two dozen half-pint bottles of water and a big bag of baked Lay's snacks to hand out at the now-cancelled game.
I think we'll have a lot of oranges at practice on Tuesday.
Thursday, September 13
Go to Amazon, click on Books, and then advanced search and type your first name in the title field. Choose the most interesting or amusing title.
Okay...I'm going to ignore the first two books that come up (which are, actually, two different printings of the same book, and I'll bet you could guess what it is right away). Let's see what else there is. I am wading through the books, which include anything with an author whose name is Christine. (Great.)
Shall I pick Christine Falls, a book that looks like it's anti-Catholic?
Or the autobiography of Christine (or, as God knows him, George) Jorgenson?
Oh, come on! I really didn't want to have Stephen King!
Ohhhhh, here we go! Kangaroo Christine, book number 135 out of 77, 052 titles!
(Disclosure: I skipped a cookbook with a woman's name in the title because it was just her jam and jelly recipes. And man, does Christine Feehan write a lot!)
Then I started reading Regina Doman's blog. And I started reading other blogs of homemakers. And I realized that beautifying my domicile would make it less of a house and more of a home. And so, mid-summer, I bought a table cloth. It was earthy tones - with pale blues and lilacs and greens and cream and tan and white - and I liked it. It felt pretty and it felt special to sit at the table with it, even if we were just doing schoolwork on it.
A couple of days ago, I realized that fall is coming. We finally got a couple of cold fronts that are bringing about temperatures that are far more normal for Virginia than we'd had over the last month. I decided that Soccer Dad would buy me flowers, and I picked up a nice, big bouquet at Sam's to put on the table. That was actually the time I realized that I needed a cold-weather tablecloth. The beautiful oranges, brilliant reds, and deep yellows really clashed with my lilacs and light blues and pale greens. (In a word: ick!) So I went off in search of a new tablecloth for the kitchen.
Before I went to the table cloth aisle at Wally World, I went down the kitchen rugs section first. Jen turned me on to another blog (as if I need that!) that focuses on being a homemaker. There, they talked of beautifying your home and having a nice rug to stand on in the kitchen. I'd been thinking of getting a comfort mat for in front of the sink, where I seem to stand a good deal of the time, but this rug was on clearance and just jumped out at me. I had already decided to get a tablecloth with reds and tans to carry me through 'til Spring, and since the colors are right on this rug and it has coffee on it, I tossed it into the shopping cart.
You have got to know that even a year ago, I'd have told you that a runner on the table was silly. What's it for, I'd probably ask you. But I looked at it and realized that I knew what it was for now. It's for making your plain tan vinyl tablecloth look prettier and to tie in with the snazzy, new throw rug near the sink! Yeah, baby! I looked at all the red ones (I was somehow determined to go with red), contemplated just buying material, realized that I would not get it done before Spring and even if I did it would not look that great and would probably be a crookedy squiggle going down the table, and settled on a nice inexpensive one that put the entire table cloth bill under $15.
I'm really excited about doing small things to make the house more beautiful. I really am feeling happier and happier about creating a home for my family to relax in and feel cozy in. I have gone to some houses - very nice ones - that aren't really homes. They are merely houses. They are decorated, to be sure, but they have a certain coldness to them. Even if they are decorated with items found on trips taken by the homeowners, sometimes you get a feeling. It doesn't feel homey. It's not a place to come in and kick off your shoes (though they might ask you to take off your shoes, but that's different, isn't it?); sometimes, it's not a place where children are welcomed. I don't want my house to be that way. I want it to be a home. I want it to be usuable. I want everything to be family-friendly. And when you walk in, I want it to feel like that to you, too, even if you've never been here before. I guess it's all about the atmosphere.
Below is a video of the Maronite Divine Liturgy, though it's not the specific one we celebrated this morning. One of the things that is so beautiful is that much of the Liturgy - and most importantly the Consecration - is said in Syriac, a dialect of the Aramaic which our Lord spoke. The Liturgy is ancient, and I believe it even predates the Roman Rite, as it was founded in the Middle East very early in Christianity's history. The Maronite Rite has been in constant union with the pope, and the Sacraments there are the very same Sacraments we receive in the Roman Rite. As a matter of fact, the parish I went to this morning has been where I've been going to Confession for a couple of years.
Apparently, Kathy Griffin has just enough people out there who like her show enough to give her an Emmy. Personally, I've never understood why she's famous. But that's not even really important right now.
Last week, when she won, she had some interesting things to say. At least, that's what they want us to think on the news. Here's a bit from the article that I found on it:
In her speech, Griffin said that "a lot of people come up here and thank Jesus for this award. I want you to know that no one had less to do with this award than Jesus." She went on to hold up her Emmy, make an off-color remark about Christ and proclaim "this award is my god now!"
Catholic League President Bill Donohue condemned the remarks on September 10, calling them a "vulgar, in-your-face brand of hate speech."
Let's take just the first paragraph to start. From what I know of her "humor," Griffin told the truth. Jesus probably had nothing to do with that award. I believe that her off-color remark might have been using the F-bomb, but I honestly can't remember. (That's sad, it's only been about three minutes since I heard them talk about it on the TV.) Anyway...the last comment - "This award is my god now!" - is also no surprise. Let's face it, we all have our own gods. Money, TV, the (ahem) internet, food, cars ... the list goes on and on. For Griffin to say that her Emmy is her god is probably one of the most honest things she's ever said! Problem for her is that she most likely thinks she was only making a joke.
Donohue, God bless him, defends our Faith when no one else is paying attention. But sometimes he makes mountains out of molehills, and we all look foolish. Instead of railing against her, he ought to point out just how accurate her comments are. I understand he'd like an apology from her for the comments, but I do hope he's not holding his breath. I mean, when you get wound up about this without being able to see the irony of the whole thing, people find it difficult to take you seriously about anything you say. So when something really awful is said or done, no one wants to pay attention.
Oh, and when I looked at the site for The Catholic League, I found just what she said. Classy. You kiss your mother with that mouth, Kathy? But, then again, what do you expect from someone who, when "Extreme Makeover: Home Edition" won an Emmy last year, flipped them off and screamed that they could ... um ... do the same thing she told Jesus to do? And is still proud of that moment? I mean, she flipped off people who do this!
Again, this is nothing to be surprised about, unless you want to be surprised that she was honest.
Wednesday, September 12
Well...not really, but I was really in the mood to say that this time.
Sarah is hosting the Catholic Carnival again, and it's here!
Her themes are always a big treat, so be sure to head on over and see what she's done with the place this time.
And, just as a heads' up...she convinced me to host the carnival soon and gave me an idea of a theme I could work the carnival into. But that will be a secret that only she and I know. If I told you, I might have to kill you afterwards. ;)
I'd give you a list of things to look for, but I tell ya' there's too much good stuff to pick only a few. Go and admire the Ohio State analogies at Sarah's place.
Suddenly Christoper Robin began to tell Pooh about some of the things: People called Kings and Queens and somthing called Factors, and a place called Europe, and an island in the middle of the sea where no ships came, and how you make a Suction Pump (if you want to), and when Knights were Knighted, and what comes from Brazil. And Pooh, his back against one of the sixty-something trees, and his paws folded in front of him, said "Oh!" and "I didn't know," and thought how wonderful it would be to have a Real Brain which could tell you things. And by-and-by Christopher Robin came to an end of the things, and was silent, and he sat there looking out over the world, and wishing it wouldn't stop.
But Pooh was thinking, too, and he said suddenly to Christopher Robin:
"Is it a very Grand thing to be an Afternoon, what you said?"
"A what?" said Christopher Robin lazily, as he listened to something else.
"On a horse," explained Pooh.
"Oh, was that it?" said Pooh. "I thought it was a --- Is it as Grand as a King and Factors and all the other things you said?"
"Well, it's not as grand as a King," said Christopher Robin, and then, as Pooh seemed disappointed, he added quickly, "but it's grander than Factors."
"Could a Bear be one?"
"Of course he could!" said Christopher Robin. "I'll make you one." And he took a stick and touched Pooh on the shoulder, and said, "Rise, Sir Pooh de Bear, most faithful of all my Knights."So Pooh rose and sat down and said "Thank you," which is the proper thing to say when you have been made a Knight, and he went into a dream again, in which he and Sir Pomp and Sir Brazil and Factors lived together with a horse, and were faithful Knights (all except Factors, who looked after the horse) to Good King Christopher Robin ... and every now and then he shook his head, and said to himself "I'm not getting it right." Then he began to think of all the things Christopher Robin would want to tell him when he came back from wherever he was going to, and how muddling it would be for a Bear of Very Little Brain to try and get them right in his mind. "So perhaps," he said sadly to himself, "Christopher Robin won't tell me any more," and he wondered if being a Faithful Knight meant that you went on being faithful without being told things.Then, suddenly again, Chrsitopher Robin, who was still looking at the world, with his chin in his hands, called out "Pooh!""Yes?" said Pooh."When I'm --- when --- Pooh!""Yes, Christopher Robin?""I'm not going to do Nothing any more.""Never again?""Well, not so much. They don't let you."
Pooh waited for him to go on, but he was silent again."Yes, Christopher Robin?" said Pooh helpfully."Pooh, when I'm --- you know --- when I'm not doing Nothing, will you come up here sometimes?""Just Me?"
"Will you be here too?"
"Yes, Pooh, I will be, really. I promise I will be, Pooh.""That's good," said Pooh."Pooh, promise you won't forget about me, ever. Not even when I'm a hundred."Pooh thought for a little."How old shall I be then?""Ninety-nine."Pooh nodded."I promise," he said.Still with his eyes on the world Christopher Robin put out a hand and felt for Pooh's paw."Pooh," said Christopher Robin earnestly, "if I -- if I'm not quite --- " he stopped and tried again --- "Pooh, whatever happens, you will understand, won't you?""Understand what?""Oh, nothing." He laughed and jumped up to his feet. "Come on!""Where?" said Pooh."Anywhere," said Christopher Robin.* * *So they went off together. But wherever they go, and whatever happens to them on the way, in that enchanted place on the top of the Forest, a little boy and his Bear will always be playing.
On Friday morning, at 8:00 (until 10:00, says the schedule), EWTN will be broadcasting a Mass said in the Extraordinary Form of the Latin Rite (known prior to this as the Tridentine Mass). From what I can see on Dish Networks schedules, it will not be repeated at noon and seven, as usual, and so if you want to watch it, you’ll have to be sure to see it live or record it somehow. (I will be recording it on my DVR that morning so we can all four watch it that evening.)
I have decided to stop calling myself a stay-at-home mother.
I am now going to use the far-superior "home-maker" when people ask what I do. Because I'm more than a babysitter.
(UPDATE: Link fixed. Sorry, all! Oh, and I found this blog through the amazing mother of three, Jen.)
Tuesday, September 11
Beijing, Sep. 11, 2007 (CWNews.com) - Bishop Han Dingxiang of the Yong Nian diocese in Hebei province had been in custody for nearly eight years after his most recent arrest, the Cardinal Kung Foundation said. He had been imprisoned on 11 different occasions during his life, spending a total of about 35 years in prison, labor camp, or under house arrest.
(Click the headline for more.)
Hat tip: Ian at Aquinas and More, who pulls no punches
More information on the underground Church in China can be found at The Cardinal Kung Foundation and Spero News (which has backstories linked, as well).
How about if you start your Christian life that way?
Jennifer never ceases to amaze me. She is a really amazing woman and I look up to her so very much.
I love Big Girl's team and her coach, but I am totally amazed at the practice being on tonight. I expect we'll all need a bath when we get home.
(*German for "mud-soccer World Championships" ... or for nutso crazy people)
...I somehow came across this:
...which led to these, which I think Soccer Dad will love, given his addiction to "The Office" (and I'm surprised he hasn't found these):
You can see all kinds of strange Veggie/Adult TV pairings here.
Monday, September 10
I think that besides the outrageousness of what he builds to catch one scrawny road runner, I enjoy the way the laws of physics mainly work against him. The flat rock flips over and is suspended in mid air... does he just walk away and look for another method? NO!!!! He pokes, prods and then JUMPS on the suspended rock. You have got to love the fact that he gets so hung up in why his latest scheme didn't work that he pushes everything else out of his mind until he figures out what went wrong. Usually resulting in pain.
Admittedly, he brings some of this on himself. If you constructed a 2000 foot vertical drop railway, I don't think you would need a rocket to get up to speed. Gravity would pretty much do the grunt work for you. If you want Newton's formula for gravitation, you can click here.
Well, I'm off to watch a little Monday Night Football. Have I told you that I LOVE football season?
- What is your name? Christine
- 4 letter word: crud
- Vehicle: Chrysler
- TV Show: Cops
- Boy's Name: Charles
- Girl's Name: Catherine
- Alcoholic drink: Cosmopolitan
- Occupation: chiropractor
- Something you wear: cotton capris
- Celebrity: Cheryl Teigs
- Food: chocolate chip cookies!
- Something found in a bathroom: Car and Driver magazine
- Reason for Being Late: Couldn't find the car keys!!
- Cartoon Character: Coyote (Wile E.)
- Something You Shout: Come here!!! (I’m a mom…whaddaya want?)
Each week, usually on Fridays, my husband and I sit with our girls and say a Rosary together. We begin by reading the list of intentions that our homeschool co-op has asked for prayers about, as well as our own intentions, and when we are finished, we read a litany of saints that include patrons for the various intentions on the co-op list. (I put the intentions list together and link to this site, which is where I learn which saints are patrons for which causes.) This week during the Rosary, I concentrated very hard on certain intentions, especially my friend who is now in danger of losing her family and for our friends who are mourning the loss of their unborn son.