Saturday, January 31

Gone...All Gone

Our DVR's hard drive died.  I can't watch anything, I can't record anything, and I can't pause or rewind live TV.  

And they can't fix it unitl February 5!

Anyone remember what Sunday night is?

Friday, January 30

Kind of Puts "I am the Bread of Life" to Shame, Doesn't It?

I wish my parish would occasionally sing something this grand.  But we can't even do that for First Communion because the children are all spread out on different dates, so there's no specific "First Communion Mass."

Hat tip to First Things blog

Thursday, January 29

The Builders Will Come Back

Travel Man and I love to read, and so do our girls.  But we also love to read to them, even though they are advanced enough to not need help with most things.  (See my posts on Weekends with Will from the Summer for more on that!)  And they love to be read to!

Travel Man found something really neat while on Common Sense Media: City of Ember, by Jeanne DuPrau.  It was fascinating from the start!  The basics are this: a city that relies on electric lights for any and all lights (power is generated by a hydroelectric plant below ground) seems to be in its waning years.  There were The Builders long ago who built the city, and some Believers hold on to them coming back to save the citizens of Ember.  Two children make a discovery that convinces them there is a way out of the city, and they work to solve a puzzle and discover the way out.  

It's incredibly discriptive, too.  I was really, really impressed with the level of detail that seems to be all but missing in most literature for children.  

But another thing that is really intriguing about the book is the lack of God and religion.  No one talks about God, though the Believers think that The Builders will come back some day soon.  However, as any good Catholic knows, God's law is written on our hearts, and we are created to know, love, and serve Him in this life so we can be happy with Him in the next.  And this really shows throughout the book.  There were opportunities to discuss this basic Catechism lesson, as well as conscience and guardian angels.  Plus, there are online resources that made it fun to practice map reading and work on the puzzle with Lina and Doon (the protagonist children in the book).  

Another interesting thing about the book is the citizens' limited knowledge.  Sprinkled throughout the story are tidbits of the outside world.  For example, Doon is an avid reader, and he learns some old phrases that no one remembers the origins of.  "Hogwash" means "nonsense," but no one knows why.  What is a hog, and why do you wash it, and why is that nonsense?  The more of these tidbits you read about in the book, the more you understand the isolation of Ember's citizens.

What's really great is that it's the first of four books, and as soon as this one was over (Travel Man finished it last night), I was salivating for the next book*!  Looks like we'll have to find a copy and start in on it ASAP.

*Link contains spoilers for City of Ember!!!

Wednesday, January 28

You Charmer, You!

Esther gave me a very nice award.  :)  I've been very bad about responding to these lately, but I feel guilty (Catholics do guilt very well), so I'm going to try to pass this on.  I'll be adding the picture to the sidebar ASAP.

“These blogs are exceedingly charming. These kind bloggers aim to find and be friends. They are not interested in self-aggrandizement. Our hope is that when the ribbons of these prizes are cut, even more friendships are propagated. Please give more attention to these writers. Deliver this award to eight bloggers who must choose eight more and include this cleverly-written text into the body of their award.”

Well!  Who to pick?  Let's try this list out.

  1. Jennifer at Conversion Diary 
  2. Julie at Happy Catholic
  3. The Anchoress, as if she would read my blog!  ROFL!
  4. The Raving Theist, who deserves something big for his big decision.  (Maybe I should get him a picture with something manly in it, like gears or power tools or football players or something.)
  5. The Crescat, for having the flat-out best Catholic eye candy out there!
  6. Christina, the Hot Carmel Sundae, even if her posts are fewer these days
  7. Faith and Country, for consistently beautiful photography (check out the recent winter-blues-beating garden pictures!)
  8. Stacey at Housewife in Flip-Flops, because not much beats her stories about Ace for a good humor break

Bravest People at the March for Life

There were no fewer than 100 men and women who shared their stories on the steps of the Supreme Court building after the March for Life.  If you are suffering because of a past abortion, you are not alone.  Some resources are listed below to help you on the path to healing and forgiveness.  Know that you are in our prayers always.
Help for healing after abortion:
Local support can be found here.

International help can be found through this link.

Here are some more website resources about the aftermath of abortion.

Tuesday, January 27

Are Migraines a Blessing?

This is a post I'd probably like to revisit.  Right now, I can't do it much justice, but maybe we can converse a bit about your ideas on this topic.

Are my occasional migraines a blessing to me?

I waited too long to eat this morning, then sat at the computer too long.  So, I've got a touch of a migraine.  Or something.  I took some Excedrine for it, but it's lingering a bit.

However, I've discovered that when I get a headache like this, I feel kind of ... slow.  And I sort of feel more vulnerable, a bit closer to God.  I also wind up feeling a great desire to just BE with my family.  Not doing anything in particular, just BEING.

Now, I'm off in a few minutes to fill in for Travel Man at basketball practice this afternoon, so I'll be with the girls during that time, and then I think we'll just have a quiet dinner and some snuggles before they head to bed.  But I'm wondering what it is that typically gets me in this mood whenever I start getting a bad headache.  Is it God telling me to slow down (and forcing my hand a bit)?  Or am I just more aware?

Do you ever get to feel this way when you're under the weather?

March for Life, Part 5

Naturally, there were lots of Catholics there.

More pictures on the way, including the bravest people at the March, bar none.

March for Life, Part 4: Clothing

There were some neat T-shirts, sweatshirts, and stickers adoringing people, too.

March for Life Pictures, Part 3

There were some very powerful signs all over the place.

A lot of these stop signs had "Thank You, President Bush" on the back.

More March Pictures

A lot of signs used the president's own words to show his hypocrisy when it comes to his Culture of Death outlook.

You might remember that phrase from the "prayer" offered after the inauguration.

You. Are. Awesome!

Hat tip: The Anchoress
(The Anchoress has such a great blog, AND she turned me onto some of the best coffee ever!)

Monday, January 26

March for Life

Our whole family went to the March this year.  Below are some pictures from the March.  First up is the sign that Big Girl designed and Little Girl helped paint and carry.

As you can imagine, there were plenty of signs begging President Obama to not sign FOCA if it is passed.  (And asking, naturally, Congress to not even pass it to begin with.)

Travel Man had not been to a March before and was overwhelmed by the youth of the crowd.  Make no mistake - Pro Lifers are not a bunch of old people who want to stomp on everyone's fun! ;)

EWTN was there, as usual.  (In fact, we managed to be on TV - AND SEEN by our friends with whom we stayed - as we marched up Constitution Avenue.)

It was a beautiful day.  Clear, breezy, but in the mid to upper 40's.  I'll never forget that my first year marching it snowed more than 6 inches!  

There were plenty of signs that used the president's own words to point out the hypocrisy of his position on abortion.  (Bob Dornan's speech was magnificent in this respect!)  I'll post these pictures a little later, in another post, becuase Blogger is not being friendly about allowing me to upload right now.

Sunday, January 25

Twenty Thousand Times Ten (At Least)?

"Tens of thousands" is how one news outlet put it.  It was HUGE.  I suppose they aren't exactly wrong about the tens of thousands, but it's really not very accurate.  It's like saying that there were at least 200,000 people at the inauguration.  Not wrong, but not exactly truthful. had this to say:

Contrary to Mainstream Media, Hundreds of Thousands at Giant Washington March For Life

Nellie Gray says larger number this year a reaction to Obama election

By Matthew Cullinan Hoffman and Steve Jalsevac

WASHINGTON, D.C., January 23, 2009 ( - Hundreds of thousands of pro-life demonstrators marched through the U.S. capital Thursday, protesting the deaths of almost 50 million unborn children by surgical abortion since the practice was legalized nationwide in 1973.

The March for Life, held on the anniversary of the Supreme Court's Roe v. Wade decision that struck down state laws nationwide, attracted large groups from around the nation, including Catholic dioceses and parishes, organizations of priests and laity, and various pro-family and pro-life organizations.  Well over half of the participants were under thirty years old, including a very high percentage of adolescents.

March for Life chief organizer Nellie Gray told LifeSiteNews the crowd definitely appeared larger than normal this year. She said there were "definitely over 200,000" participants and noted that one television station reported that there were 300,000 participants in the march. Gray also said the march normally takes about one and a half hours to pass one point, but this year it took over two and a half hours, indicating a large increase in numbers. [emphasis mine -ed.]

Read the rest here.

Friday, January 23

Pictures Coming

I took approximately one bazillion pictures at the rally and March for Life.  We were so early, and were only about 100 yards from the stage.  (We could have been closer, but didn't want to be too close.)

The girls just wanted to MARCH, darn it!  I've got some neat pictures of signs and some of the many, many religious there.  There were at least two dozen different bishops from the Catholic Church, as well as Orthodox and Jewish representation.  An AME preacher was especially good, turning the "Change" mantra around on President Obama.  

The March was as moving as ever, and I'll try very hard to convince Travel Man to post about it.  (It might be a while, though; he's got a really big meeting next week and a busy week ahead of him.)

Wonderful New Resource

Find it here!

Wednesday, January 21

Political Note

I loaded a video onto YouTube (been floating around in my head for a while).  It's political in nature, so you can see it here:

And it might not last.  Apparently, I already got caught for using copyrighted material.

And it is BLOCKED and is not showing up on my YouTube channel.  Wow.  It was done in about 45 minutes.

Tuesday, January 20

Good-Bye, Mr. President, and Thank You

I know some people who really dislike President Bush. I certainly don't agree with everything he's done, but he's been a good president, and I see him as someone who is pretty principled. His ratings are in the toilet, yet he continues to do what he thinks is the right thing. Some people say he's not pro-life enough, that he ought to actually be AT the March for Life. Personally, I cannot imagine the security measures that would need to be taken for him to mingle amongst 150,000-plus people. But he's given us a message every single year he's been president. Think we'll be getting any of that for four to eight years? Trust me, you'll look back and see him as much more pro-life than you give him credit for today.

In the meantime, if I could talk to him, I'd say thank you. Thanks for all of the things you've done for the country, and may God bless and keep you now and the rest of your life. I'll miss hearing from you on Thursday.

Take care, Mr. President.

Monday, January 19

Fascinating Book

I'm reading a book called Shattered Dreams, an autobiography of a woman who grew up as a Fundamentalist Mormon and was the second of ten wives to her Fundamentalist husband.

I have to say that the whole Mormon/LDS doctrine is just very strange. And I feel horrible for this poor woman - she was just so brainwashed about "The Principal" that she just succumbed to it - even against her better judgement. (A brief history of Mormonism can also be read here.)

It's the kind of book that just sucks you in when you start it. Engrossing!

Culture of Life in Action

A family has seven children, but has finalized their adoption of eight siblings who were in foster care. They did so because the children had been split up, and the couple didn't like that idea.

What a beautiful story!

Who's Going?

Our ENTIRE FAMILY is going to Washington, DC, this week. It will be Little Girl's and Travel Man's first March for Life, and we'll be snapping pictures left, right, and center all afternoon.

I'm grateful because we have good friends in the area that we are visiting for two nights, and because Big Girl's best friend is their oldest child. Best Friend Girl is also getting to go along. (Her Catholic school gives an excused absence to any child who attends the March.)

So, I'm squeezing in as many working hours as I can this shortened week in addition to homeschooling. So blogging might be a bit light. But we'll have pictures galore over the weekend!

Also this weekend: Little Girl has a First Communion workshop and we'll get to sign her up for a date. I'm really hoping we can work in the 9:00 Mass on Pentecost Sunday. That way, family can come for her dance recital, too, which is the night before.

Saturday, January 17


It seems as if our pump froze last night.  

We're off for breakfast out (COFFEE!!!) this morning.  What fun.

Friday, January 16

Prayers and Deals

Circuit City is going out of business.  They will begin liquidating their stores this week.  (I've heard their liquidation starts tomorrow, but when a friend's husband called to ask, the woman said flatly, "I don't know when it starts.  And I just lost my job.")

If you are taking advantage of their liquidation, please also remember to keep those who work there (and for their call centers) in your prayers.  Even just last week, the company I contract through was looking for people to man Circuit City's call center hours, so there are more than just the store clerks and corporate muckity-mucks who are losing their jobs.  Lots of unseen people will, too.  They count about 35,000 lost jobs, but a lot of those call center people might not even count in that number.  They are, actually, contracted independent businesses.  And for some, that is a main source of income.


These are my actual glasses.  I couldn't remember what brand I wound up with.  Big Girl picked them out, Travel Man approved them.  (He is, after all, the one who has to look at my face all the time.)

Now if I can just get rid of the last of my migraine, I'll be good.


My glasses are in!  I was getting horrible headaches, apparently because my glasses were too strong, and I ordered them Tuesday night.  I got a call this morning that they are HERE! 

Well, not HERE yet, but I'll go after lunch and pick them up.

I'm so excited!  They look a lot like this:

Has Anybody Seen Flick?

This was funny, but I do hope the kid is okay now.

I Triple-Dog Dare You: Boy Gets Tongue Stuck on Pole


In a scene straight out of the movie "A Christmas Story," a 10-year-old Hammond boy got his tongue stuck to a metal light pole.

Message to Our Children

Marilla came briskly forward as Matthew opened the door. But when her eyes fell of the odd little figure in the stiff, ugly dress, with the long braids of red hair and the eager, luminous eyes, she stopped short in amazement.
"Matthew Cuthbert, who's that?" she ejaculated. "Where is the boy?"
"There wasn't any boy," said Matthew wretchedly. "There was only her."
He nodded at the child, remembering that he had never even asked her name.
"No boy! But there must have been a boy," insisted Marilla. "We sent word to Mrs. Spencer to bring a boy."
"Well, she didn't. She brought her. I asked the station-master. And I had to bring her home. She couldn't be left there, no matter where the mistake had come in."
"Well, this is a pretty piece of business!" ejaculated Marilla.
During this dialogue the child had remained silent, her eyes roving from one to the other, all the animation fading out of her face. Suddenly she seemed to grasp the full meaning of what had been said. Dropping her precious carpet-bag she sprang forward a step and clasped her hands.
"You don't want me!" she cried. "You don't want me because I'm not a boy! I might have expected it. Nobody ever did want me. I might have known it was all too beautiful to last. I might have known nobody really did want me. Oh, what shall I do? I'm going to burst into tears!"
Burst into tears she did. Sitting down on a chair by the table, flinging her arms out upon it, and burying her face in them, she proceeded to cry stormily. Marilla and Matthew looked at each other deprecatingly across the stove. Neither of them knew what to say or do. Finally Marilla stepped lamely into the breach.
"Well, well, there's no need to cry so about it."
"Yes, there is need!" The child raised her head quickly, revealing a tear-stained face and trembling lips. "You would cry, too, if you were an orphan and had come to a place you thought was going to be home and found that they didn't want you because you weren't a boy. Oh, this is the most tragical thing that ever happened to me!"
-Anne of Green Gables

I've often wondered what children think about when they hear their mothers say that it's important that they have a right to abortion, that it's okay to kill an unborn child when it's inconvenient to have a baby.  What kind of conditional love does that signify to a child?  

In the same vein, what does it say to children when we talk about the eugenic movement and IVF?  We can build the perfect child!  But what does that say to our children who weren't made-to-order?

Ad hat tip: Jean

Seven Quickies

Thanks again to Jen for hosting!


Big Girl uses Garage Band to record her spelling sentences so she can give herself the test on Fridays.  We forgot to set her up with a podcast on Thursday, so she's sitting and doing her podcast now.  One sentence was "Politics is basically one big argument."   (The spelling word is "argument.")  I found that to be one of the funniest things I've heard her say in a while, but I couldn't laugh or I'd mess up her podcast!


This work week has been light for me, which has been nice.  I couldn't pick up enough hours when the schedule was released, so I wound up with nights off all week.  Hooray!  I have enjoyed sitting with a beer or glass of wine and watching shows with Travel Man.  But this won't last long, as I managed to be good enough at what I'm doing to be in a group that gets guaranteed hours.  So I'm up to 13.5 next week (with two and a half days off for the March for Life) and 20 the week after.  No rest for the wicked!


Speaking of the March, the whole family is going this year.  Little Girl has figured out that abortion means that babies die.  It's a sad revelation, and as each girl learned that fact, I watched a part of their childhood just die.  What kind of person thinks that would be an okay thing to do? is what their eyes seem to say to me.  The only answer I can offer them is that some people are confused, and we must pray for them.  This will be the first March for Travel Man and Little Girl.  Lucky for us, the weather looks to warm up to the 40's by the time March for Life day arrives.  And, yes, I'll be taking pictures and posting as many as I can.


I wonder if there will be more protesters this year.  We are arriving just after Barack Obama is inaugurated, and a lot of people are coming in for that.  Not all of them are friendly to us, and some, I predict, are downright hostile to the Pro Life message.  (I find that sad, too.)  I do hope that we aren't innundated, though I know for sure we won't be outnumbered.  Be prepared, though, for our numbers to be counted as "in the thousands" rather than giving a real headcount.  One year, there were more than 200,000 people there, and the mainstream media said we numbered "in the thousands" (even Fox can't get this right).  Any protesters against us, though, I predict will be overstated or made to look like as large a group as possible.


We are blessed to have friends who live in the DC area (Chantilly, VA).  We get to visit with them when we go to the IHM conference and the March for Life.  We'll be leaving Wednesday afternoon for the March and coming back on Friday afternoon.  They are good friends, and super-nice people.  Our kids all get along, too.  I'm very excited about going and visiting them!  I've also got a long-time friend who lives in Alexandria, and I'd love to visit with her (and her family) if we could.  I'm wondering if they'd want to meet us for dinner on Thursday.  I haven't seen her since before she had her daughter, who is fast approaching toddler-hood!  Hard to believe that we were 12 year olds in the seventh grade when we met.  I have known her for more than 2/3 of my life now.  (Holy cow, do I feel old thinking about that!)


It's about as cold here as I've ever experienced it.  (In Southwest Virginia, that is.)  Right now, the Weather Channel says it's about ... well, check this out.

Yes, I know it's colder elsewhere, but I'm really not used to this kind of cold around here.  


Our parish is having two weekends of postcard signing for the Fight FOCA campaign.  This weekend is the first, then Respect Life has a baby shower next weekend, then we have another weekend of signing postcards.  I'm nervous and excited and worried.  But also glad.  It's not always easy getting our message out there (Respect Life), and we are being given a great opportunity here.  Please pray for the success of the bishops' postcard campaign - we need to make our voices heard.  Also, if you want to participate and make your voice heard, you can also click on the link on my sidebar here at the blog.  While FOCA is not looking like it will be brought up for a vote right away (as in January 21), it is still something we ought to be worried about.  After all, never has Congress been so disposed to the idea of passing FOCA and never before has a president-elect made a promise to sign it if it gets to his desk.  (No, he cannot do so by executive order, but it's still a threat.)  Remember, too, that to sign postcards at your parish, you do NOT have to be a registered voter.  That means that minors can also sign.  Let's flood their offices!  Make your voice heard!  [For further information, you can see this fact sheet from the USCCB or this legal analysis of FOCA from the USCCB.]

Thursday, January 15

Beautiful Cards

Micki at Holy Cards for Your Inspiration always has beautiful (and often antique) holy cards on display.  She chooses a new one each day.

Today's card is especially beautiful, and I wanted to share it with you.

Be sure to subscribe or go there daily to see all of the cards and get a daily dose of beauty.

(a) Christine is a Logical Person

(b) Christine took a logic test.


Christine got a perfect score.


I saw that Sarah took the Logic Test, so I did, too.

Got 15/15.  100% baby.

I'm a logical gal.  But I already knew that. 

Wednesday, January 14

Bad for You

The Pill is bad for you.  So the Church has said for decades.  And now, so says the co-inventor of the Pill.

The article is fantastic, and I'm just going to let you go read it at the source.  Seriously.  Go.  Read.

Don't Mess with Mother Nature!

If there's one thing that environmentalists can learn, it's that God has a way of helping nature adjust to stuff.  For example, feral cats, probably deemed to be bad because the evil humans put them out there, were part of the delicate balance to this island's ecosystem.  In an effort to save the birds that live there, the cats were removed without thought as to what might happen.

Result: Rabbits are overpopulated now, and they eat all the vegetation that offers protective cover for the birds.  Now the birds are more endangered than ever.

But this lesson remains unlearned.

Several conservation groups including the International Union for Conservation of Nature and Birds Australia said the problem was not the original eradication effort itself — but that it didn't go far enough. They said the project should have taken aim at all the invasive mammals on the island at once.

"What was wrong was that the rabbits were not eradicated at the same time as the cats," University of Auckland Prof. Mick Clout, who also is a member of the Union's invasive species specialist group. "It would have been ideal if the cats and rabbits were eradicated at the same time, or the rabbits first and the cats subsequently."

And they have a new plan.

Wren said plans to eradicate both rabbits as well as rats and mice from the island will begin in 2010. Helicopters using global positioning systems will drop poisonous bait that targets all three pests. Later, teams will shoot, fumigate and trap the remaining rabbits, she said.

Anyone care to bet that this will mess things up further?  I mean, gracious!  There is just absolutely no chance at all that some animal that isn't meant to be killed off en masse would eat that poison, right?

Things to Include in the Homily at My Funeral

Father Trigilio reports on the funeral Mass of Father Neuhaus, and has this glorious excerpt from Father de Souza's homily:

Father de Souza's sermon was one of the finest I have ever heard and it was the most apropos. He began where most priests and deacons woefully and adversely omit: "we pray for the merciful judgment of Almighty on God on the immortal soul of Father Neuhaus for any sins he committed in life; for speedy purification of his soul; and for divine reward for all his goodness and acts of charity while he sojourned here on earth." 

More on the funeral here.

Boom, Baby!

I can't even remember what we were talking about, but Little Girl was saying something about my awesome cooking powers* and finished it off with, "And then...boom!  It's done."  Or something to that effect.  Travel Man and I had the exact same reaction at the exact same time.

"Did you just say boom?"

Big, gappy grin.  "Yeah.  Boom."

*My awesome cooking powers last night, and the girls said it is the best thing I've ever made for them, consisted of two boxes of Kraft Mac and Cheese, one pound of ground beef, and some Italian-style diced tomatoes with a touch of fat-free, mild, shredded cheddar cheese.  This, Big Girl has determined, is the best thing I cook.  Ever.  When I asked, "Ever?  Really?!?" she answered, "Well, except for Thanksgiving and Christmas dinners...."  She knows what meals take effort and which don't.  But she likes the low-effort ones best.

Tuesday, January 13

Curiouser and Curiouser

There's a local store in town that carries a lot of D&D stuff, and we went in to investigate things we can incorporate in our Crusades unit that Travel Man is working on.  (We plan on modifying D&D and going on various campaigns that would imitate the Crusades and other historical events.)

Anyway, this store also has some educational toys and lab projects, which look really cool, but one toy really caught my eye.  It was the same as this toy pictured below:

Yes, Jesus with glow-in-the-dark hands.

File Under: Things You May Never See Anywhere Else Online

Submitted to Fail Blog:

Despereaux in Real Life

Those who have read the book (which is FAR superior to the movie) will know what I mean when they read this:

Man Allegedly Tries to Sell Daughter Into Marriage for Beer
Police have arrested a Greenfield man for allegedly arranging to sell his 14-year-old daughter into marriage in exchange for $16,000, 100 cases of beer and several cases of meat.

It's not a tablecloth, a hen, and a handful of cigarettes, but it's close.

Important Information!

Hat tip: Joel (of Crummy Church Signs)

I could survive for 57 seconds chained to a bunk bed with a velociraptor

The Wheels on the Bus Go 'Round and 'Round

Compare this campaign (highlighted by the Raving Theist) and this campaign (highlighted by Esther, Catholic Mom in Hawaii).

Which one gives you a better feeling when you read it?

And, hey, why would atheists have a problem with us and our beliefs?  After all, if this is all there is, and it's all about enjoying life NOW, then leave us alone to enjoy our lives while believing in God.  

Party poopers.

Monday, January 12

Hello...This is Your Guardian Angel Calling!

Saturday night, I had a thought: 

Maybe I should get the envelopes ready for the collection tonight.

Nah...I'll just write them in the car tomorrow morning.

So, on the way to Mass, I pulled out my checkbook and the collection envelopes.  I discovered that I was out of checks.  And it was too late to do anything about it.  I looked in my purse and tried to find what we'd normally put in the collection in the grocery budget envelope.  I had a $100 bill.  That's a tad more than what we budgeted in for church this month.  (Why didn't I ask the guy at the bank to give me smaller denominations?)  So when the basket was passed during the offeratory, the girls put in their envelopes, and I sat there like the dummy I am and smiled meekly at the usher.  Uh, yeah, my kids have money and I don't.  hee hee.  Sorry.

Lesson: When your guardian angel tells you to do something, you should do it.

Hodgepodge Link-O-Rama

I've got a bazillion links saved up in Bloglines, so I thought I'd post them all.  After all, why keep my hoarded-up blog posts to myself, right?  A lot of these are links I thought I'd expound on and wax poetic when I had time, but alas!  I have no time.  So here they are.  Make of them what you will.

  • Sister Mary Martha discusses the different kinds of gluttony.  (Travel Dad might want to look into this stuff for his Crusades stuff that he's working on.)
  • Father Philip has a link-o-rama of his own - all good Catholic sites.
  • First Things has a post on the 40th anniversary of Humanae Vitae.  (I told you I'd been hanging on to this stuff!)  Turns out the pope was right.  (Shocker, I know.)
  • First Things also had a bit about the shenanigans going on in the Minnesota Senate race.  Did you know that the review board was acting in a biased manner, and (shocker, again!) it all seemed to be in favor of Franken?
  • Again from First Things: Father Richard Neuhaus wrote a while back about his conversion.  It wasn't apologetics, but a personal story.  Fantastic.  God grant rest to his soul.
  • Here's one I haven't gotten to finishing yet, but Kevin talks about a mother and her daughters who were martyred during the Spanish Civil War.  Plus, he discusses FOCA and other interesting items.  
  • Paul had a couple of items I've been saving.  First, a funny summary of the debates before the election (in case you missed it).  (The video seems to not be there, but the link provided gets you to a hysterical parody news site.)
  • Paul also discusses why he, as a Catholic, believes in Santa.  I skimmed it, and want to save it for the time when Little Girl is ready to stop believing.  (I think she strongly suspects something, but doesn't really care to investigate further, unlike Big Girl's attitude towards the whole thing.)
  • The Anchoress has some recipes for awesome Mystic Monk smoothies, which I cannot make because my blender is broken.  So I'm saving the recipes until I can make one.  She also had recipes for Oreo Truffles (which I found at Wal-Mart, but which she improves upon in her post).  In a non-cooking-related post, Anchoress also shares a really touching picture some sisters painted (and wrote about).  The image is of Eve and the Virgin Mary - and it just warmed my heart!
  • Nancy Brown has weekly lectionary coloring pages.  What a motivation for little people to pay attention to Mass when they have a worksheet to do later!
  • I'd never heard of the Nutrition Diva, but Julie says she likes her.  N.D. says that high fructose corn syrup is not the anti-Christ.  Really.
  • Sarah mentioned that the Knights of Columbus have a book club, and you can sign up to get the monthly books sent automatically if you'd like.  Travel Man wants to do this.  (Is that a surprise to anyone?)
  • Maureen Wittmann always has lots of snazzy stuff I like.  Home-based speech therapy (Little Girl has trouble with "r" even now, in second grade), environmental and outdoor education, and upcoming podcasts on how to teach with real books.  If you're a homeschooler, Maureen's blog is a fantastic resource!
  • I don't have an iPhone or iPod Touch yet, but I plan on getting an iPhone in about a year.  When I do, I'll download the Brievery App pronto!
  • Darwin Catholic has a neat post up about Ebenezer Scrooge.  What was his business, anyway?
  • Faith and Country has a couple of those neat Fatherhood ads (PSA's, really).  They are so cute, and remind me a lot of Travel Man.
  • NFP can be used to avoid pregnancy in grave circumstance.  But what does that mean?  The Ignatius Press Blog looks into how that phrase is translated.
  • Dawn at Because I Said So has a link up to a cookbook she says has helped her get dinner on the table for her family of eight.
  • Math-U-See has made some improvements in the new editions of their books.  I'm looking forward to seeing when we finish off the math we're working on now
  • Sonitus Sanctus had a lot of good links to MP3s and podcasts that I've been meaning to get onto my iTunes list: Latin prayers, Theology of the Body, general catechisis, How the Church Built Western Civilization, Where We Got the Bible (which is also a great book!), and Blessed Mother Teresa's 1994 Prayer Breakfast Speech!!
  • Stories like this one from Fox News make me sick.  The Culture of Death is all around us.
  • The Knights of Columbus have a knack for finding all the stories I want to read.  They've pointed out that the Vatican is pointing to the Pill as a reason for male sterility (not to mention that the co-creator of the Pill also says it's been a catastrophe!), that the Holy Mother Church is also very concerned with Gaza and the plight of all people there, including the mostly-forgotten Christians, that schooling is a changing area of culture between school choice and homeschooling, and that there is unrest in California over Proposition 8 and that there are those who would seek to impose their will on the state and her people despite the vote.  Oh, yes, and that whole thing with the politics in Illinois.  But is that really news, or just same-old, same-old?
  • Yes, the news can be depressing when you pay attention to it.  Thank goodness for Uncle Jay!  I'm saving up a few of his posts from late last year to watch later.  
  • Apple Hot News is the place to get your real news on Apple (as opposed to rumors, which don't always pan out to be true, you know).  They also offer hot tips on apps that are interesting (like this grocery one) and neat things you can do to make it easier to do stuff with your Mac.
  • LOLCats (I Can Has Cheeseburger?) are always good for a laugh, and I really liked this one, cuz I can really relate.
  • McSweeny's (sorry, can't recall who pointed that out) is hysterical.  Here's one of the latest, Kids' Letters to Obama.
And that's it.  Now I've cleaned out my Bloglines and dumped it all here!  Just like the kids clean their room.  Get it out from under the bed, dump it in the closet, and close the door!


Friday, January 9

Seven Quick Takes

Is it Friday already?  Time for Seven Quick Takes, hosted generously at Conversion Diary.


I blogged earlier about how having a schedule helps me stay on track and accomplish more.  I'd forgotten how much I really need a list to get things done.  Now I need to work on getting the list in front of me here, at the computer, so when I'm finished with work, I'm less tempted to stay online and fool around.


Which reminds me of this: I have a long way to go to be a better mother, to get where I want to be.  I have a tendancy to be very selfish with my time, wishing for more "alone" and "for me" time than my schedule and responsibilities really allow for.  Everything around us tells us that we need to have XYZ for ourselves.  "Your needs shouldn't be put aside!" culture tells us at every turn.  But that is completely the opposite of what God asks us.  Again and again, Christ tells us to put our needs last, not first.  


And that brings me to what I hope will help me.  I have ordered a copy of In Imitation of Mary.  Travel Man read In Imitation of Christ and found it to be quite the humbling experience.  I'm sure that I am nowhere near where I ought to be, let alone at the point where I resemble the most perfect creature in the history of Mankind!  So I anticipate some very painful humbling.  I'm ready for that two-by-four, Lord.  Sock it to me!


And I know ... be careful what you wish for.  But I really do wish for this, to become more like the Blessed Mother.  Our Lady has so much to teach me, and I've really felt her reaching to me recently.  Whenever I pray the Rosary, I find myself thinking, "What can Mary teach me through this Mystery?"  (And, admittedly, it is not often enough.  I need to stop putting it off each day.)  I've actually learned a lot and found new things to meditate on when I approach the Rosary in this way.  Let's face it, I've been praying the Rosary, off and on, for more than 30 years.  Seeing something new is a wonderful way to renew my love of this beautiful prayer.  

As an example, with the Joyful Mysteries, when I contemplate the Annunciation, I think about Mary's obedience to God.  She had absolute trust in God and that He would provide for her.  There was no question from the Blessed Mother about what would anyone do to her if they discovered her unmarried and pregnant.  No question about if she'd be safe, or if Joseph would still take her in as his wife.  No question about any of those things.  Nor did she hesitate, except to wonder how it was going to happen that she, a consescrated virgin (scroll down to "Presentation of Mary"), would have a baby.  "How can this be?" she asks.  This is the kind of trust I must strive for with God.  This is what Mary wants me to learn from her when I contemplate this Mystery.  I can do this with nearly every one of the Mysteries of the Rosary, and it's a process through which I can learn quite a bit.


Jennifer mentions the funny images on the cat food bag at her mother's house here.  I have had questions about pet food, too.  How do the people making the food know it's delicious and juicy?  Do they have testers who try it and report back?  And how bad is your life if you are the guy who eats cat food and dog food to try out the tastiness and juiciness of the different formulas?


Speaking of pets, our hopes for killing off the chipmunk population by getting a cat have been dashed.  While visiting my grandmother, Big Girl suddenly came down with a very nasty cold that suddenly disappeared the morning we left again and were about an hour away.  The only thing I could think of was that she was playing with Nana's kitty.  A lot.  So we are pretty sure that Big Girl is allergic to cats.  Bummer.  I'll have to work on my death-looks more and see if I can't kill the stupid pests by staring at them really hard.  So far I haven't had luck with this method, but I'll let you know if it works.


Little Girl's dance recital date has been announced, which means that we're going to try to get her First Communion date set up to be the same weekend.  Her big wish is for the family she loves to be able to come and see her perform in the end-of-year show.  Hopefully, not too many of the other kids want the same date, since it's all scheduled so that no more than two or three children receive at the same Mass.  But I'm looking forward to searching for her First Communion dress.  If Big Girl's dress doesn't fit (and this is the ideal to the girls - to share the dress), we'll hit the stores in late March and see what we can find.  

When she thinks about it, Little Girl actually vibrates with happiness.  It's really a sight to see.  


Have a super weekend, everyone.  God bless!

Thursday, January 8

May His Soul Rest in Peace

From Catholic Culture:

News Briefs


JANUARY 08, 2009

Father Richard John Neuhaus, the founder of First Things magazine, essayist and commentator, and author of numerous important works including The Naked Public Square and The Catholic Moment, died Thursday morning, January 8, at the age of 72. Father Neuhaus, a Lutheran cleric who entered the Catholic Church and became a priest of the New York archdiocese, was an adviser to prelates and presidents and spiritual mentor to a wide circle of friends, an enormously influential figure in discussions of Church-state affairs, and a key leader in Catholic-Evangelical dialogue. He died from complications of cancer.

Source(s): these links will take you to other sites, in a new window.

(Updates will be at the Catholic Culture site, which is linked at the top of this post.  More is here, too.  And don't forget First Things, Father Neuhaus' magazine.)

Eternal rest, grant unto him O, Lord.  

May his soul and all the souls of the faithful departed
through the mercy of God rest in peace.  Amen.

Life's Better with a Schedule

When I started my classes to certify with Apple, I really lost my organization for ... well, everything.  I've been digging my way out of the hole I was in and have started back in with lesson plans, lists, and other organizational tools.  

It helps.

The girls and I are on track with those lesson plans, which I did for the whole month of January, and I've been able to keep up with a lot more of life in general.  I've also doled out new jobs for the girls this month, including putting Big Girl in charge of her laundry (and her sister's).  For this, if she keeps up each week, she can get $2 commission.  That's on top of her other commissioned chores, which she gets a daily rate for when done.  (Payments are done weekly, but we have charts that the girls put stickers on to keep track.)  Also, we've moved from a daily reminder to do stickers to making it the girls' responsibilities to put them up when they are finished.  "If you don't clock in at work, you don't get paid," Travel Man told them.  And they learned that the hard way when they forgot to note that they finished their chores last week.  Their allowance suffered, and I just flat-out didn't pay attention to what they'd done or charted.  They have been meticulous this week.

So, giving them more responsibilities and organizing with schedules and lists has helped me be more organized and get more done.  

And now, if you'll excuse me, I'm off to do laundry, make some breakfast, and do a bit of schoolin' with the kiddies.

Wednesday, January 7

New Header

Yeah, baby!  I love my iMac!  The new header is the result of Pages '08 plus iPhoto plus preview, which allows me to save a PDF as a JPG file.

And that means I can upload it to the site and get the snazzy new header.

Prayers, Please

I read this earlier today, but didn't post about it. But please pray for Father Neuhaus; he may be near death today.

No Holiday Mail for Heroes

I am so bummed out.  I got all excited that we could send Christmas cards to soldiers, and I thought they would be going local.  Turns out that the Holiday Mail for Heros had a caveat that I did not know about until today.

 Holiday cards should be addressed and sent to:

Holiday Mail For Heroes
P.O. Box 5456
Capitol Heights, MD 20791-5456

Cards must be postmarked by December 10 , 2008.  Cards received after this date will be returned to senders.  For more information, please visit You can also leave a message on the Red Cross Service to the Armed Forces Facebook Wall.  [emphasis mine -ed]

I had no idea until I got all six cards our family sent out.  How on earth did I miss that part of it?

Of course, that's because anything after that won't get there by the "end of the holiday season."  But Christmas goes until the feast of the Baptism of our Lord, which is Sunday.  (Or, if you're going the other route, until the Epiphany, which was yesterday.  I've heard both.  Take whichever you like better.  My tree is up until this weekend, anyway, because Epiphany was in the middle of the week.)

I guess I'll have to pay more attention next year, eh?
Who are your heros?


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