Friday, October 31, 2008

Digitribute - Dia De Los Muertos

Thanks, Stephanie - this means more than I can say...

"Eddie" is my beloved grandma, who died last yeat just after her 90th birthday. I was too pregnant to travel to her funeral, which crushed me. She taught me how to play cards when I was very young, and she patiently allowed me to beat the snot out of her every Thanksgiving, Christmas, Easter, and summer vacation for about 20 years. (We never got to get serious about bridge, though, because we didn't have sufficient numbers of partners). I was a social butterfly and party animal in high school and college, but all invites were turned down if Grandma was in town. When we interred her ashes last summer, my b-i-l, a marble and stone guy, made her a little casket just so we could place a mini bottle of Jim Beam, a crossword puzzle, and a deck of well worn cards in with her. I was the only one in the family who knew of those last wishes - and I made damn sure I honored those promises I made to her as a teenager.

What saddens me most about her death was that she fell away from the Faith during WWII and was too angry to come back, even as the end approached. My biological grandfather left her, my mom, and uncle for a French field nurse he met while overseas during the war. Instead of reuniting with her husband at the end of the war, she received divorce papers instead. She remarried in the early 1950's and had two more sons with Bob, my late grandpa. Her parish priest "excommunicated" her (I know, I know...) and would not allow her to set foot in the church. Annulments were expensive and near-impossible to obtain back then. She spent the rest of her life angry and feeling not good enough/unwanted by the Church, which was a terrible blow to the family. My great-grandmother's family was an extremely devout French-Canadian family (parishioners of Ste Anne de Beaupre for over 100 years until she married and emigrated to the USA), and my great-grandmother was devastated by what transpired, both the divorce and the subsequent, less-than charitable treatment of my grandmother. She ensured that my mom and her brothers attended Catholic school and brought them to Mass each week so she could pray for my grandma while simultaneously glaring daggers at that parish priest in the southwest suburbs of Chicago.

So please offer a prayer for Eddie and the peaceful repose of her soul at Mass on Sunday, and for her mother, my great-grandma Anna Trudeau Linton, who kept the Faith alive in the family.

And again, Stephanie...THANK YOU!!!

Tricky, not treaty

My Andale hit counter died at 10,084 hits! Anyone have suggestions for a replacement?

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

If it's not one thing...'s my mother.
She's coming to town tomorrow, which means one of two things: 1) I will suddenly give in to the urge to paint a room/start some other ridiculously messy project; or 2) go into a baking frenzy. It's some sort of defense mechanism. Last time she was here, I did both.
I am sure there's some perfectly rational explanation in an abnormal psych textbook somewhere. In the meantime, the Pane Toscana has been mixed and is in its preliminary 18-hour rise phase.

We will eat well this weekend, at any rate.

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

You GO Mike!

A break from the usual's sinless confession time:


One of the best linebackers ever, a Chicago Bear legend, and now the SF 49'ers head coach. He is a class act all the way around, very old-school, and probably REALLY p*ssing off the wildly overpaid, high maintenance players on his team . Here, he's taking responsibility for the loss in his coaching debut, then taking one Vernon Harris to task - and rightly so, the selfish git! - I just hope it doesn't get him fired:

The AOL headlines today were screaming: "Coach has meltdown, rants at player" which is total bs. He's being very direct and speaking from the heart, but I actually thought he was rather restrained. As anyone who's ever seen "the eyes" when he lined up back in the day could tell you, he looked downright mellow in this press conference.
Seriously, what would you do if you saw this 275-lb. bundle of intensity and 110% commitment hurtling at you?
(Answer: Depends?!?)
Again, I just think the world of him and I think he'll be an amazing, even legendary coach if given the leeway to get these young snotty players and their entourages under control.

Now, I love Lovie, too, don't get me wrong, but having Mike Singletary or Gary Fencik as head coach of my beloved Bears has been a dream of mine since each man retired. Loving my Bears may not be a sin, but I will admit, loving the 1986 "Superbowl Shuffle" video (which I still own) probably is.

(P.S.: RIP, Walter Payton - I have spent more than a few teary-eyed hours watching YouTube fan tributes to #34)

Voting Your Catholic Conscience

Go to to listen to Bishop Gracida's radio address.

(I tried to upload it for you all, as permission is granted to do so, but got repeated Blogger error messages - if you can manage to capture it on your blog AND on your email lists, go for it!)


Desperate times

Today is the Feast Day of St. Jude, (a.k.a., Jude Thaddeus or Jude of James) with whom I became great friends spending 9 days before each final exam week on my knees during law school, and whose friendship I have renewed along the way several times since then.
St. Jude is invoked in in desperate times, and for seemingly hopeless causes. This is due to the political climate in his day, as well as the fact that his name was often confused with Judas Iscariot, so I suppose if you had a go-to apostle, he wouldn't be the one and thus, you'd have to be pretty desperate if you were going down the ranks and calling on him! But his short chapter in the Bible packs a lot of punch.

The Epsitle of St. Jude addresses some interesting topics:
  • He warns and exhorts the faithful to be wary of false prophets and their heretical teachings

  • He advises that the heretics, wicked angels, and inhabitants of Sodom* will be met with terrible punishment in the end, as will those who fall away and follow them
  • He encourages Christians to remain faithful to the teachings of the Apostles, even in the face of persecution from without and contentious times within Christianity
  • He tells the faithful how to deal with those who have fallen away - with mercy - both by action (through aid and conversion) and in prayer (those whose obstinacy in sin is beyond the ability to help)
  • His doxology is considered to be the most beautiful in the Bible:

(24) To the one who is able to keep you from stumbling and to present you unblemished and exultant, in the presence of his glory, (25) to the only God, our savior, through Jesus Christ our Lord be glory, majesty, power, and authority from ages past, now, and for ages to come. Amen.

* Jude is the one who actually calls sodomy/sexual perversion a sin (verse 7), so you'll occasionally see "Jude 7" signs at anti-gay marriage/anti gay pride demonstrations.

Given the current state of things in our nation, what the polls are indicating for next week, well, could there BE a more appropriate Saint on the calendar today? Maybe it's a bit late to start a novena, but you could certainly add his novena prayer on at the end of your Rosary novena:
Most holy Apostle, St. Jude, faithful servant and friend of Jesus, the Church honors and invokes you universally, as the patron of difficult cases, of things almost despaired of,

Pray for me, I am so helpless and alone. Intercede with God for me that He bring visible and speedy help where help is almost despaired of. Come to my assistance in this great need that I may receive the consolation and help of heaven in all my necessities, tribulations, and sufferings, particularly -(make your request here)- and that I may praise God with you and all the saints forever.

I promise, O Blessed St. Jude, to be ever mindful of this great favor granted me by God and to always honor you as my special and powerful patron, and to gratefully encourage devotion to you. Amen

(Follow with an Our Father, Hail Mary, and Glory Be)
St. Jude is traditionally depicted holding a club (or an axe or halberd) to symbolize the means of his martyrdom, and/or with a flame over his head to depict his devotion to the Holy Spirit as expressed in his Epsitle. He is the unofficial Patron Saint of this blog and its author - I call this last prayer card "St. Jude By the Brook." :-)

Monday, October 27, 2008

Redistribute THIS, Barry...

As John Adams famously said, facts are stubborn things.

Seven years ago, Barry (back when you could call him that) talked on local Chicago radio about the Civil Rights Movement and the Supreme Court's failure to adequately implement "redistributive change."

Earth to Joe Biden - no, he wasn't kidding then, and he isn't now.

As a petty little aside...

If you listen carefully, Barry's diction was a lot tighter back then in 2001 than it suddenly became after 2004. He said words like "socie-tee" rather than "socie-teh." Not to go all Henry Higgins on you, but it has annoyed me to no end that in order to broaden his appeal to the non-elitist, non-millionaire Democratic electorate, he's adopted a quasi-urban, pseudo hip-hop patois so he sounds "cooler" or something.

This carpetbagging poseur is so cheap and eager to pander that he'd have truly disadvantaged urban voters believe that he's one of them by adopting a fake accent. What they don't realize is that they're being talked down to by this HI boarding school alum, white family raised, Ivy-League educated snob who cares only about their votes, and gives not a fig about their lives.

Drives me FRIGGIN' NUTS!

Sunday, October 26, 2008

Our Composer in Residence...

Friends, we have greatness in our midst.

As Election Day approaches, our favorite Neanderthal, Cavey, has composed some alternative lyrics to improve on a few rather dreadful old tunes...pop over and take a look, but if you are easily offended...okay, well, maybe don't. Whatever the case may be, I say it's great to have a smile on your face and a song in your heart.

Thanks Cavey!!!

Friday, October 24, 2008

Sarah Palin's Proposals for Special Needs Kids

From the Washington Post - article here. Some of the comments are so brutal.

In addition to her own cute little special needs son Trig, she has an autistic nephew. She may be new at dealing with these issues within her own family, but I think she knows the deal. I really believe she means what she says, would fight hard see her proposals through, and could make a huge contribution by forwarding these causes through obtaining funding increases for research and education.

(PLEASE, Lord...hear our prayers!)

Thursday, October 23, 2008

All things being equal?

The presidential election polls are contracting again...or are they? Did the gap between the candidates really ever get as wide/BO get as far ahead as claimed in the last few weeks? I have absolutely no faith in the reportage on the election, and none in the polling process because I think it's easy to choose who you call as a pollster.

I've never been polled, have you?

And here's a chilling thought. If the polls are indeed skewed in favor of BO, and then reality strikes on the 4th and he loses, the leftists will go NUTS and claim that the Republicans stole the election yet again, and all that nonsense. James Carville (not one of my favorite pundits) intimated last week that there could be violence and rioting if BO doesn't win. I don't like him much, but I have to admit that on this point, I agree with him.

I'm really not looking forward to November 4th and its aftermath, no matter who wins. All we can do is pray for the right outcome. I'm joining the Ignorant Redneck in his proposed 3 days of fasting and prayer prior to the election - I hope some of you will consider doing the same!

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

The Eyes Have It

Like Kasia, I am languishing under the covers...another kid-inflicted cold seems to be creeping in, darn it. I also seem to be posting more substantive things in others' comboxes, so I'm too worn out to be interesting here. So until I get the grey matter back on task, here's another goofy quiz, but oddly, it's not too far off the real "moi":

Your result for Are You a Jackie or a Marilyn? Or Someone Else? Mad Men-era Female Icon Quiz...

You Are a Bette!

You are a Bette -- "I must be strong"

Bettes are direct, self-reliant, self-confident, and protective.

How to Get Along with Me

  • * Stand up for yourself... and me.

  • * Be confident, strong, and direct.

  • * Don't gossip about me or betray my trust.

  • * Be vulnerable and share your feelings. See and acknowledge my tender, vulnerable side.

  • * Give me space to be alone.

  • * Acknowledge the contributions I make, but don't flatter me.

  • * I often speak in an assertive way. Don't automatically assume it's a personal attack.

  • * When I scream, curse, and stomp around, try to remember that's just the way I am.

What I Like About Being a Bette

  • * being independent and self-reliant

  • * being able to take charge and meet challenges head on

  • * being courageous, straightforward, and honest

  • * getting all the enjoyment I can out of life

  • * supporting, empowering, and protecting those close to me

  • * upholding just causes

What's Hard About Being a Bette

  • * overwhelming people with my bluntness; scaring them away when I don't intend to

  • * being restless and impatient with others' incompetence

  • * sticking my neck out for people and receiving no appreciation for it

  • * never forgetting injuries or injustices

  • * putting too much pressure on myself

  • * getting high blood pressure when people don't obey the rules or when things don't go right

Bettes as Children Often

  • * are independent; have an inner strength and a fighting spirit

  • * are sometimes loners

  • * seize control so they won't be controlled

  • * figure out others' weaknesses

  • * attack verbally or physically when provoked

  • * take charge in the family because they perceive themselves as the strongest, or grow up in difficult or abusive surroundings

Bettes as Parents

  • * are often loyal, caring, involved, and devoted

  • * are sometimes overprotective

  • * can be demanding, controlling, and rigid

Take Are You a Jackie or a Marilyn? Or Someone Else? Mad Men-era Female Icon Quiz at HelloQuizzy

It's only a 2-question quiz - try it out and have a little fun!

Housekeeping - blogroll

Well, I had a little spare time on my hands, so I finally sat down yesterday and added the new blogroll feature at the sidebar. Problem is, I got several phone calls and one nappus interruptus/trip to the boy's room in the process and kept losing my place as I went down the list.
I think all my usual suspects are there, but if you're missing, or if you'd like to be added or - sniff - deleted, your wishes are a mere combox away, my friends.

Monday, October 20, 2008

An Aspie's Ode to Stinky Diapers

A burst of new song overheard last night in the living room during a rather malodorous diaper change:

It isn't funny to be stinky
'Cause stinking isn't funny

It doesn't bother you
Because your nose is stuffy
And it's not funny to sneeze
When your little nose is runny

Quit rubbing all that snot
On your nekkid tummy

You don't have to smell you
Stop laughing, it's not funny...

Followed by:

"MA-MMMMAAAAA! He's disgusting! I need help!"

After clearing the toxic waste spill, I ran upstairs to write it down before I forgot it. Oh, did I laugh!!!

Sunday, October 19, 2008


All right, between the last debate, and herding a birthday party full of screaming and weeping 6th graders through a haunted field in the cold (seriously, it was meant for young kids, and was not that scary!) followed by a disappointing SNL appearance by Sarah Palin last night (why couldn't they let her be her natural and funny self was McCain was at the press dinner the other night?), I am too drained and filled with dread at what will come to pass in 2 weeks to post anything some more silly stuff, this time swiped from our dear friend Tara's blog:

You Are Cayenne Pepper

You are very over the top and a bit overwhelming.

You have a fiery personality, and you can give anyone a good jolt.

You can easily take things up a couple notches, no matter what crowd you're running with.

Perhaps it is no coincidence after all that the Beloved has been calling me his "HotChiliMamma" since time immemorial - it is now official! (Silly, silly man...but also quite smart, in his own subversive little way....)

Saturday, October 18, 2008

Happy 11th Birthday!

To our our own Little Flower, she of the Fatima apparitions, who plans to be a midwife and perhaps a nun one day, unless she finds the cure for her personal cross - Asperger's syndrome - which she plans to do in her spare time.

Not by chance, this is also the feast day of St. Luke, patron saint of physicians and surgeons, and author of the most beautiful of the Gospels, imho.

We're having a pizza party, heading out to a scary corn maze/cheerleading fundraiser, then doing cake, ice cream, and presents back here at the Casa de Brookdwellers. More fall fun! Hope you all have a great day, too.

Friday, October 17, 2008

Hail Mary (En Français)

I dreamed in French last night for the first time in a long time. I was in a cathedral trying desperately to remember how to pray the rosary and how to say the Hail Mary in French. Pourquois? Je ne sais pas. But here it is for posterity:

Je vous salue, Marie pleine de grâces ;
le Seigneur est avec vous.
Vous êtes bénie entre toutes les femmes et Jésus,
le fruit de vos entrailles, est béni.
Sainte Marie, Mère de Dieu,
priez pour nous pauvres pécheurs,
maintenant et à l'heure de notre mort.

I fell asleep while praying last night (hey, it was happens!), so maybe that dream was the continuation of what I'd started but not finished. Please pray for me and a personal intention I have regarding my Beloved and my young Brookdwellers. More to follow when I figure out what the answer is.

Thursday, October 16, 2008

Silly stuff

Sometimes you've gotta take a break from the usual stuff. H/T to the most excellent Vincenzo...

You Are a Brownie

Decadent and intense, you aren't for the weakhearted.

Those who can deal with your strong flavor find out how sweet you really are.


Wednesday, October 15, 2008

St. Teresa of Avila - Doctor of the Church

Another superstar Saint's feast day - a worldly girl, a flirt, a self-confessed sinner, just like the rest of us - but uniquely gifted by a deep, mystical union with her Friend, Christ Jesus, with whom she had a powerful and amusing discourse:

Sometimes [...]she couldn't avoid complaining to her closest Friend about the hostility and gossip that surrounded her. When Jesus told her, "Teresa, that's how I treat my friends" Teresa responded, "No wonder you have so few friends." But since Christ has so few friends, she felt they should be good ones. And that's why she decided to reform her Carmelite order.

(Link to article here)

St. Teresa's vibrant spirit and her sense of humor leap off the page when you read her Life, or Autobiography, which I heartily recommend! She sets us the difficult spiritual task of mastering mental prayer and describes the four stages of the soul's ascendency: devotion of the heart - you focus your attention and love on Christ and his Passion, devotion of peace - where your self-will is given over to God in your everyday life, and what worldly tasks you have to do are mere distractions from your purpose of prayer, devotion of union - entering into spiritual union, i.e., understanding God's will and accepting it without regard to the self, and devotion of ecstasy - where you literally lose sense of yourself and your physical body and are in a state of full spiritual communion with the Lord. (I paraphrase, of course, but this is my understanding from my 10-year-old notations in the text)

And here is her prayer - deceptive in its simplicity - so hard to do in "real life"

Let nothing trouble you
Let nothing make you afraid.
All things pass away.
God never changes.
Patience obtains everything.
God alone is enough.

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

Political Miscellany

3 weeks to go...

Here's a few items to get you thinking.

People who are for Obama but have no clue what he stands for or who his running mate is.

And then there's this - from the WSJ. "The Great Obama" - very funny!


And some additional tidbits from our new blog friend Steve

What will become of us?!?

Monday, October 13, 2008

Not quite the petting zoo...

Ok - I'm in my ragey place now. What would you do if your kid came home and told you all about this?!?

These kids are SIX FRIGGIN' YEARS OLD!!! A teachable moment my @ss!!!

I can't continue with this post. Too appalled for charitable words.

Saturday, October 11, 2008

VERY URGENT prayer request

UPDATE: Little Marie Breda passed away on October 13th, a little after noon. Please pray for the repose of her soul and for her grieving family. I don't believe it was a coincidence that she left Earth on the 91st anniversary of the last apparition and Miracle of the Sun at Fatima. She came from a very devout family and was lifted up to Heaven by so many prayers from all over the world - including yours. Thanks to everyone for taking the time to read her story and to pray for this little angel and her family. The last journal entry is so touching.

From our dear friends back in San Diego - their fellow parishioners are going through a terrible ordeal - their little daughter aspirated a bead at a party after Mass last weekend. Please read the journal entries here , pass it on, and PLEASE pray for the comfort and consolation they so desperately need.

Blessed Mother Teresa - please pray for this child of one of your spiritual daughters...

Thursday, October 9, 2008

Where's Wa[ck]o?

I was watching the news this morning at the office and some knucklehead described as a "Senior DNC Advisor" was shouting the usual party line crap over the top of the interviewer.

Which got me to thinking. The silence from the DNC Chair, HOWARD "SCREAM" [oops] DEAN has been deafening these past few months, hasn't it?

Coincidence? I think not. The party must be terrified of him, so much so they've gone to extraordinary measures to shut him up. But that begs the question...what in the world have they done - or threatened to do - that has so effectively stifled him?

If the Republicans want to win, all they have to do is draw Howard Dean out and get him to start flapping his crazy'd be sure to piss off the electorate - whatever bitter, nutty, vituperative bile he'd spew out.

Some intrepid reporter needs to scour the mountains of VT, (or maybe the Himalayas, or the caves of Pakistan, perhaps the solitary section of the Supermax in CO?) and root him out.

Good times! Great fun!

Wednesday, October 8, 2008

The Rest Of The Story

As mentioned in my St. Francis of Assisi post, and I've been wondering whatever happened to Fr. Francis Mary Stone. It appears (presuming authenticity of this website) that he has moved on and is a new dad. He will be writing about it in an upcoming autobiography.

Whatever it was - sin, motivation, disconnect from vocation - that led him away from the priesthood to where he is now (aside: it's so surreal to me, having met him in person in AL with the girls in tow, having a nice chat, and receiving Communion from him with him just 2 years ago - the news just bowled me over, never could've imagined that coming...), he's taken responsibility for the consequences of his actions. I don't think, with a baby on the way, he could rightly have done otherwise as a Catholic man. I would like to think everyone familiar with this situation and reading this post seeks not to judge, but rather to understand with charity.

Best of luck to you and prayers for peace and happiness in your new life, Dave.

Tuesday, October 7, 2008

Prayer Request

My heart is...fractured. If I admit it's broken, I will never recover.

Words from an old love letter I received from a dear friend - the man I would likely have married if I had not met the Beloved when I did. Seriously. We had a brief but unforgettable 3 week dating career (after much wearing down on his part) when I was 20 and he was 28 - a HUGE difference back then. He was so urbane, so worldly, so well traveled...and driving an ice cream truck as a summer lark college job like I was in the summer of '88, and waiting tables in a tapas joint so he could go back to Madrid for another year of goofing around before starting on his Master's degree. Me, well, I was swept completely off my feet by the intelligence and wit of this "older man." Yet at the same time, I was in my hard-core upwardly mobile future wife and yuppie wannabe phase in the '80's, and could not take the uncertainty and lack of a steady job. So I put those material concerns first and broke things off badly. Not cruelly, but in the way of a 20 year old in way over her head - unexplained silence. That's when I got the letter quoted above.

Ever the optimistic Irishman, he scaled back and muted his overt pursuit and kept in touch with me over the next several years. We even went on a group expedition deep into Mexico with a bunch of friends, and then he gave into his perpetual wanderlust, joined the Peace Corps, and went to Sri Lanka for two years. I agreed to sit down and "discuss our annoyingly platonic relationship" with him when he returned. (Quote from another, later letter.) "Quien sabe?" (who knows?) I wrote back.

A few months before he came back, I met the Beloved and never once have looked back. I told my friend of the whirlwind courtship and engagement. He was stunned, but congratulated me, and made a point of coming to visit me and meet "the lucky bastard." We met at a mutual friend's house and talked for hours, waiting for the Beloved to be done with work so we could all go out for dinner. In those hours, I saw a huge change - an added calm, gravity, wisdom and maturity in him that was lacking before he left - things he learned after traveling through Sri Lanka and India and witnessing "black holes" of human suffering on Earth. I knew then, as I do now, that if there'd been no blind date with the Beloved, I'd be married and hanging out at a US Embassy somewhere exotic, pretending not to know what my husband did for a living.

After an evening out with my past and my future menfolk, he pulled me aside, gave me a crushing hug, and said "Well done, Princess. I am no match for him, and worse yet, he's so nice, I can't even hate him." We both were teary-eyed. Even after I was married and a mom ("just letting you know you can keep your options open...just sayin'!" with the Beloved sitting right there and cracking up over dinner in Pasadena) we remained connected. I went to law school, he went to UMiami for his PhD in Latin American studies and went to work for the State Department. We've emailed a few times a year ever since.

Well, my dear friend "TK" passed away unexpectedly in his sleep this morning, after a ferocious 6-year battle with "atypical thymic carcinoma." Yep, an evil, rare cancer of the thymus gland. He leaves behind his Beloved wife and a four year old little boy - the baby they never thought they'd have after his diagnosis.

I am sure that wherever TK is, whether he's inside or outside the Pearly Gates, he's surrounded with other joyous, laughing, legendary Chicago Irishmen who didn't grow up until they were 35...listening to Jimmy Buffett, knocking back a few cervezas, and having a great time.

My heart is fractured tonight, too.

Love and will miss you until I see you again, TK.

May Our Lady Of The Rosary meet you with a smile and send consolation to the hearts of your dear family.

Monday, October 6, 2008

The Feast of St. Bruno

Today is the Feast Day of St. Bruno, a revered educator at Rheims who eventually fled to the hills of France and founded La Grande Chartreuse, a.k.a., the Carthusian order. One of his former students, Pope Urban II, dragged him back to Rome to be an advisor on the reformation of the clergy, but Bruno soon asked to be released. Pope Urban II offered him a Bishopric to keep him close by, but Bruno declined and headed back to the hills, this time in Italy. He died on this date in 1101.

The essential rule of St. Bruno (I don't know if it's an official "rule" or not) is that life should be lived as a prayer, preferably in quiet and solitude. This is what the Carthusians have been doing in groups of like-minded bretheren for nearly 1000 years. may be a good day to watch "Into Great Silence" again in honor of St. Bruno and his order, come to think of it. If you haven't yet seen this film, put it on your short list for a quiet weekend viewing. It's incredible.

Statue of St. Bruno from St. Peter's Basilica - he has his own dedicated transept could spend a month in Vatican City and not see enough.

Barack and the BAIPA, Part III

From Jackie Parkes:

What more needs to be said?

Holy Innocents, Pray For Us!

Sunday, October 5, 2008

Sunday Night Trivia

Interesting and thought provoking tidbit I just caught on the news:

On this date in 1947, Harry Truman gave the first nationally televised presidential address.

The subject?

Two years after the war was over and prosperity was beginning to abound in the USA, the President asked Americans to abstain from meat on Tuesdays and Thursdays in order to assist Europe's recovery efforts.
And Americans, used to rationing and cutting back to aid the greater good at home, stepped up to the plate and did it for the people of Europe, some of whom had been deadly enemies not too long before. We shared what we had with nations struggling to recover from years of social, economic, and agricultural devastation.

After Mass this evening, a VERY traditional/orthodox friend of mine (we are each others' oasis in the DOR) came up and grabbed me to tell me how angry she's getting as the election draws near, how frightening the discourse is, and how people all around us - including so many of our Catholic acquaintances - just DO NOT GET how terrible an Obama administration would be for this country. The visiting priest came up and joined in our conversation, and we discussed today's Gospel. I asked them, and I'll ask you. Are we as a nation, as a world, attacking the servants and killing the heir? Are we throwing away our chance to enter the kingdom with both hands?

I truly cannot imagine the people of this nation, at this time, in this culture of decadence and entitlement we've created, answering Harry Truman's call to help others in this day and age. Tough economic times are upon us, and will be for quite some time to come. People are going to be displaced and desperate.

What will you do? Not that you have to become a communist or give away all you have beyond what you need, but what kind of contribution can you make, be it financial, volunteering, or becoming more active in the community or in government to help ease the suffering and solve the problem? Most people will do nothing, protect their own interests, and sit back complaining about how awful and unfair it all is.

I don't want to be one of those people.

Fall Fun

I love this time of year!

Look at that face...I'll leave this one up for a few days.

St. Faustina

Really, this first week of October is Catholic Saints All-Star week!

Today is the feast day of the holy mystic who brough us the Divine Mercy devotion, Sister M. Faustina of the Blessed Sacrament, a young, meek, physically weak Polish nun who was a spiritual powerhouse. Like St. Therese, she was committed to the salvation of souls, and received Divine inspiration from our Lord...
From her diary on February 22, 1931:

“In the evening, when I was in my cell, I saw the Lord Jesus clothed in a white garment. One hand [was] raised in the gesture of blessing, the other was touching the garment at the breast. From beneath the garment, slightly drawn aside at the breast, there were emanating two large rays, one red, the other pale...After a while, Jesus said to me, Paint an image according to the pattern you see, with the signature: Jesus, I trust in You (page 47).
I want this image…to be solemnly blessed on the first Sunday after Easter; that Sunday is to be the feast of my Mercy (page 49).”

“By means of this Image I shall be granting many graces to souls” (page 570).

Pray the Divine Mercy Chaplet right at your computer - see link at sidebar!

The Agony...

....Happy 100th Anniversary, Cubs. Swept in the first round by the crappy record having Dodgers. Nice going.

And now for The Ecstasy....Illinois 45 Michigan 20. In your FACE!

(No offense, Larry....ok, maybe a little.)

St. Francis of Assisi

Late night out tonight, so I'm a little past the proper date, but it was 4 years ago today that we were in Assisi for the feast day of St. Francis.

Some of the banners from the various city-states
A Sister nurse looking across the piazza at the festivities from the hospital window
My dear girlies at the top of a "shortcut" to the nearest gelato shoppe
It was beautiful, moving, and best of all, my girls got to experience a 900+ year tradition, walk the same streets that St. Francis and Sta. Chiara (St. Clare) did, and they absorbed a lifetime of love and respect for their faith in 10 days.

La vida e bella!

P.S./Afterthought: I wonder how Fr. Francis Mary Stone (former EWTN personality) is feeling, how he is doing, and what his life is like on this first feast day of his namesake since he left the order. That whole mess still really saddens me...

Saturday, October 4, 2008

Thursday, October 2, 2008

So....what did you think of the debate?

Poll at the sidebar.

First impressions: interesting stuff from both on gay marriage. Very interesting.

Sarah Palin's most cringeworthy moment: not knowing/improvising on the Constitutional role of the Vice President as President of the Senate. Yikes.

Joe Biden's: (tie) 1. Trying to persuade all listeners that he "gets" what middle class life entails, both economically and socially. Puh-leeze.

2. Claiming that his "beautiful house" is his only investment. Did you SEE the man's gleaming white crown and bridge work every time he smirked while Sarah Palin was talking?!? There's THOUSANDS of dollars invested in those Chiclet choppers.

New dinner recipe over at the Bistro blog, btw, if you can get some nice asparagus this weekend.

Me and My First Baby meme

For all you mommies out there...feel free to have at it!

1. Were you married at the time? Yes - 11 months

2. What were your reactions when you found out you were pregnant/approved? Very pleasantly surprised, then elated, then overjoyed

3. How old were you? 25 throughout

4. How did you find out you were pregnant? Home test

5. Who did you tell first? My Beloved, of course - I have never seen someone blush from the neck up before. It was adorable. Once I was sure he wasn't suffering an aneurysm

6. Did you want to find out the sex? Oh yes

7. Due date/Expected arrival date: 2/28

8. Did you deliver/meet your child early or late? Induced 2 weeks early due to pre-eclampsia

9. Did you have morning sickness/anxiety? Only a little queasiness for a short time (the only throwing up was the result of ill-advised guzzling some diet grapefruit soda because I was out of ginger ale). Unlike many expectant women, I am actually at my nicest, happiest, and calmest when pregnant. No hormonal moody stuff, which I think some women take way too much advantage of. Same thing with cravings and overeating. Of all times to be selfish and unreasonable...I mean, you've got the miracle of life growing inside you! How does that entitle you to be awful to other people or become a glutton? But I guess I'm in the minority on that one.

10. What did you crave? Tuna on wheat sandwiches throughout, apple pie with vanilla ice cream at the very end. (Kid #2 was carne asada burritos, just the meat, with sour cream added, chocolate milkshakes, and fresh strawberries - all of which were in perpetual supply in Southern California, thank goodness)

11. Who irritated you the most? See #9. Generally, any stranger under the age of 80 who grabs your belly needs to be slapped, however.

12. What was your first child’s sex? Girly-girl

13. How many pounds did you gain throughout the pregnancy? Unfair. I gained 30 in the first 7.5 months, then in the last 6 weeks when the pre-eclampsia hit, I gained at least another 30 of pure fluid retention. I stopped looking at the scale after awhile. Fortunately most of the water gain came right off. The rest took awhile.

14. Did you have any complications during your pregnancy? Pre-eclampsia (fluid retention, high blood pressure, horribly swollen hands, legs, and feet)

15. Where did you give birth? Hospital

16. How many hours were you in labour? 36!!! (Induced at 7 pm, gave birth at 7 am 2 days later.)

17. Who drove you to the hospital? The Beloved

18. Who watched/went with you? Same

19. Was it vaginal or c-section? The former

20. Did you take medicine to ease the pain/self medicate to calm your nerves? Oh yeah - epidural followed by morphine. I am not a pain person, I have no shame and absolutely no desire to prove how tough and she-womanly I am where there's meds to be had. I'm tough enough in other ways.

21. How much did your child weigh? 6 lbs 14 oz.

22. What did you name him/her? Due to my privacy policy when it comes to my kids and the 'net, I will only say it is a lovely, classical, Old Testament name that I picked when I was 7. When the Beloved and I were engaged and in preliminary childbearing negotiations, I told him I already had a name picked for a girl. He said that was too bad, because he had a name that he'd chosen long ago, and I'd have to either pick that, or we'd have to have more than one girl (duh!). I pulled the "if I'm carrying the kid, I'm naming her" card, so he'd better let me know what name he thought his second daughter might be allowed to have. Turns out it was the same name I'd always wanted. (Awwwww!!!)

23. How old is your first child today? 14 and fabulous

Wednesday, October 1, 2008

St. Therese of Lisieux

Isn't she beautiful?

Today is her feast day. Most people who read this blog already know all about her, but even so, click on this link for a brief description of her life. Her parents will be beatified later this month. What a family!

Exactly four years ago today, I began reading her autobiography, Story of a Soul. I was in a villa we rented in Tuscany, on vacation with the Beloved and girls, fighting off jet lag. I finished the first half in one night, and the rest the night after. To me, her story and message was about more than just exemplifying saintliness and perfect submission of one's will to God's will; it was about growing up. Letting go of your own selfishness, immaturity, and self-centeredness. Something I'm still working on at 40, and something I'm trying to impart to my girls as they are coming of age.

We bought the recently released movie, Therese, which may not be an earth-shattering, award winning masterpiece, but it is beautifully done and great for families - and girls at this age. I recommend it, and of course, I recommend Story of a Soul (the image below is from Tan Books).

St. Therese pray for us, send us flowers of your wisdom from heaven!