Sunday, July 28, 2013

a rainy Sunday night

Yes, last night was a bust --just too tired.

On this rainy Sunday, I offer you my list of Thanksgiving.

I am thankful tonight for:

1. The Holy Sacrifice of the Mass, and especially the blessing and grace to have a TLM nearby, and that I am able to make it there now.

2. The Sacrament of Reconciliation. The grace to have that place to physically run to and spill out my worst moments and receive grace and love in return. And learn humility.

 3. The lessons God teaches me personally, always with love.

4. The sound of my kids laughing.

5. All the comforts I have, though I know better than to cling to them, I appreciate them nonetheless.

6. Rainy Sunday nights.

7. A goofy kitty to love, and who does his job well. No mice!

8. A good husband.

9. The grace to not feel as though I am too old to have dreams and think about what I want to be when I grow up.

10. Good books.

11. A nice cup of hot tea, brought to me by the Good Husband.

12. Having my kids, their respective other halves and my grandson to love.

13. Music, gardening and cooking

14. Dear friends.

Friday, July 26, 2013

A.P.A.D. #5. what? you were mean to your brother?

I found this inside a book that I have had around for years and decided to re-read.

It is a little folded paper, and here is what is on the inside:

From my eldest and now mother of my grandson-
Ah. priceless.

Thursday, July 25, 2013

A-post-a-day #4. Yes,but God said it first.

Recently, I have been noticing how so many new, trendy-type things are actually rooted in basic Christian theology.  A few that come to mind are:

The Ted Talks video about The Art of Asking. Done by a woman in a music niche pretty much all by herself, and the idea presented as though never thought of by anybody before, ever.

                   Except here -- You do not have because you do not ask God. When you ask, you do not receive, because you ask with wrong motives, that you may spend what you get on your pleasures. James 4:2-3

                    And here: "Ask and it will be given to you; seek and you will find; knock and the door will be opened to you." Matthew 7:7

                   Oh and don't forget Matthew 21:22:  If you believe, you will receive whatever you ask for in prayer.”

                    Or -- If any of you lacks wisdom, let him ask God, who gives generously to all without reproach, and it will be given him. James 1:5

 Oh I know it is necessary to have right motives and all that jazz, but I am just pointing out the original thinker-upper of the asking principle.

Another principal is mindfulness. Associated with Buddhism and specifically writings by  Thich Nhat Hanh, I can't help but think that being present in a certain moment, or a certain day, is something God recommended to us from the start.

This is the day which the Lord hath made: let us be glad and rejoice therein. Psalm 188:34

But they who wait for the Lord shall renew their strength; they shall mount up with wings like eagles; they shall run and not be weary; they shall walk and not faint.  Isaiah 40:31

And the account of the still, small voice in 1Kings 19:11-13
11 The Lord said, “Go out and stand on the mountain in the presence of the Lord, for the Lord is about to pass by.”
Then a great and powerful wind tore the mountains apart and shattered the rocks before the Lord, but the Lord was not in the wind. After the wind there was an earthquake, but the Lord was not in the earthquake. 12 After the earthquake came a fire, but the Lord was not in the fire. And after the fire came a gentle whisper. 13 When Elijah heard it, he pulled his cloak over his face and went out and stood at the mouth of the cave.
Then a voice said to him, “What are you doing here, Elijah?”

And most of all : Be still and know that I am God. Psalm 46:10

Being still, meditating, being mindful of what some would call their inner voice,  I would call the voice of God, (this being a conscious direction of our own will. If a person deliberately refuses to seek the voice of God, then He will not impose Himself, yet he does pursue all of us with love, patience, persistence and faithfulness. but all it requires is the asking, again. Matthew 7:7).

I don't think we are the creators of the peace within, but we are able to find the place of peace and serenity each moment if we direct our hearts to Him.

I said it poorly. But basically, to sum up--

 I am the Alpha and the Omega, the First and the Last, the Beginning and the End.  Revelation 22:13

Wednesday, July 24, 2013

A-post-a-day #3. In which I had to resort to a book review.


Hello again! First and most importantly, let me thank God for temps that start with 7s and 8s. Those numbers are so very my favorites right now. Not to say that I am not looking forward with bated breath to 5s and 6s, but I know we have August and September before us, so let me just be very happy where we are.

During the making of last evening's post, I did break my toe. I was moving pictures and things to different areas of the house, didn't see the leg of Ben's drum stool, of course I was barefoot, and BAM, shreik, move on...but this morning...ow ow ow, purple, swollen. Be careful out there people. Blogging should only be attempted by the pros.

Feeling like I am getting run down again. Sore throat, tired.

A very quick book review. I just picked up a book I have had around for years and haven't read in at least eighteen. It is called Deadline, by Randy Alcorn. He is also a co writer of the book Courageous that was made into a film.

Deadline is definitely Christian fiction with lots of clear Evangelical theology throughout. (Randy Alcorn is a prolific writer and pastor). I know that starting out, but wanted to see what I thought about it, having swum the Tiber ten years ago.

Most of it was pretty predictable, though the bones of the story were good. But there were two things that stood out.

1. He treated Catholicism with respect, even quoting St. Francis Xavier (though stripping him of his title), in his "My God I love Thee" prayer. It was in modernized English; the setting was in heaven, with St. Francis reading his prayer aloud in praise. So even if he didn't afford St. Francis Xavier his title in words, he acknowledged his Sainthood by his presence in heaven.

2. This book came out in 1994. All the many societal issues we are talking about to this very day: abortion, Planned Parenthood, gay issues, fetal tissue, organ donation; all these and many more are taken on in this story. Alcorn cites tons of facts and statistics throughout. In that respect, it could have been written yesterday.

I would give the book three and a half stars, if I had any stars around to give, and could figure out how to break one in half.

On the positive side, it had good twists, the plot was decent, and sometimes it is good to know one is reading something coming from a Christian perspective, and won't deliver anything unsavory.

The down side was that it spelled everything out. If it was a part in the plot about abortion, there would be a character that went on and on giving the Christian standpoint complete with stats, sometimes for a page or two. I don't mind the topic, but I would rather the plot contained the information without sermonizing. Let us pick it up rather than have it fed to us by the shovelful.

Anybody having a good recommendation for something to read? I know I can go over to Manny's blog for a plethora of titles. He is kind of a Professional Reader. So, I thought I would cast out my request to the rest of us amateurs. Meghann usually keeps me going with titles too :) Some of my favorites!

See you tomorrow!

Tuesday, July 23, 2013

A post-a-day #2. rearranging the house and the heart

Like my daughter Meghann, I buy plants first, ask questions later. Such as, "where will this possibly go?"  This beautiful baby hydrangea had take-me-home vibes coming off it in waves. I guess it felt the Arrangement of living at Trader Joe's in Center City wasn't working out. It needed a commitment. It proceeded to look at me with its little plaintive pink and green blooms till I couldn't withstand it any longer.
The light out front is right by the textbook (east-facing) so, we'll see. The heat wave last week with temps over 100 degrees required several waterings a day.

Right next to him are my Michigan ferns. So named because Meghann dug up a few for me to bring home. They are also very thirsty. I visit these and the hydrangea every morning first thing. It is nice to have this little piece of Michigan here in the South of Philly.

 I also have this lovely wall sconce, given to me by Meghann, which she took right off her kitchen wall! She has something else in mind for that spot, and she knows of my affinity for wrought iron.

 After taking this picture, I felt it needed to be flanked with a little more color, so I swapped out the picture on the left with this one.

A little blurry, but another nice momento from my last visit with Meghann. We each painted the tree painting at a fun art class that included beer. And for me, sunburn.

Taking away the first picture necessitated putting it elsewhere, so it ended up in my kitchen.

 --which displaced another few things--some went over here--

 which left this one piece out--

Aannnnd--okay! I give up. I stubbed my toe on a chair and hammered a finger. I give! 
*breaking news* no, really, I mean it. The stubbed toe is indeed broken.

One other little fun thing I want to share is my back "yard." It is where I keep all the rest of my growing things and hang up laundry and read and sunbathe.

my "tumbling tom" --from -- you guessed it -- Michigan. Kalamazoo Farmers Market, to be exact.

I keep the little jewels here until we are ready to eat them.

Here is what I look at while sitting out there.


 miniature roses
 The little rustic corner that makes a very pleasant vignette. The ivy in the pot is a rescue from an almost dead plant. The "weeds" growing around everything migrated out of the bed. These were also brought home from Michigan last year. (We thought we had dug up tiger lilies). Actually they are called "common-day flowers." Little purple-blue flowers open in the morning and close later. And some basil and a few colors of begonias. A cat gets in there every now and then and uproots the pink begonias. If it so happens that my neighbor is reading this--please stop letting your kitty out to use my little corner of Escape-from-the-city as his potty.

And this is what I look up at and out from under. It is peaceful.

All this adds greatly to my peace of mind and helps me take time out from the goings on of the world.

Along with doing the Marian consecration--

--this one--

 I am reading this.   
My copy is not this fancy

It is not a super quick read, but not difficult either. Just very pithy. I can read and re-read it, and always be taught something new.

Here is where I am in it right now:

"To humble myself I resolve to do such and such things, to suffer such and such humiliations. I desire to change my life and henceforward to follow my Creator and to find honor in the state of being he has given me, employing it entirely in obedience to his will..."

As I have said to Bob many times, the vocation of parenthood affords one the automatic blessing of having built-in humiliations and opportunities for making sacrifices. We are taught daily about how to go beyond ourselves, and if seen as the good that it is, it is a light burden indeed.

The part about finding "honor in the state of being he has given me," has been unusually eye opening. I mean, yes, yes, we all know it is an honor to be a spouse, a parent, a child of God in any vocation--BUT-- to think of where I am, where you are in your life right. this. minute. as something he has given to us. Now that is something to consider.

Anyways, I just barely made it in time to still date this post today!

See you tomorrow!

Monday, July 22, 2013

A-post-a-day #1. note to self. put bottle of chill pills within easy reach.


This will have to be one of those dashed-off posts. This usually means stream-of-consciousness stuff ahead.  So don't say I didn't warn you.

Recently, I posted on how, at very nearly 52, I am just beginning to feel comfortable being myself. As with many proclamations I have made, the world set out to prove me wrong.

 I found myself feeling hurt by things people said, things people didn't say. I am frequently feeling embarrassed or tongue tied. Revisiting sadness over lost friendships. Wrestling over making decisions, because one choice or another makes me feel guilty. Guilt is not bad, if it is emerging from a healthy, well informed conscience, but I am talking about beat-yourself-over-the-head guilt that is rarely productive.

So, in giving the matter some grave thought and prayer, I came to a truly insightful,  inspired decision on how to best cope with these feelings.

 Do nothing.  


 Yep! That's right. Say, "so what!" to my dang feelings! ( I have given this advice to others before, so now I get to take my own medicine). (Or not take any medicine, as the case may be).

I could get all biblical on you and call it Waiting On the Lord. And go find the verse that says God is never late, as some count lateness. But that would be Doing something.

Or talk about how immersing my self in works of charity, prayer, service and fulfilling my vocation can put those thoughts in better perspective. True dat. But talking is kind of active too.

So, I am off to do nothing for a bit. 

He is my hero.

If you would like to peruse the other bloggers that have joined in the Post-a-Day for the week, here is where you can see the list. Or join in yourself!

See you tomorrow!

Saturday, July 20, 2013

Pleading for decency in Philadelphia

Yesterday, I was honored to join in a prayerful protest outside the Medical Examiner's headquarters in Philadelphia. The subject of the protest was that the babies aborted by Kermit Gosnell, then mutilated and kept in containers such as mayonnaise jars and orange juice cartons, or in his freezer, are still in the possession of the Medical Examiner. This despite the request by Priests for Life, supported by many other major prolife groups, to claim the babies' bodies and give them the respectful burial they deserve.

Present were: Father Frank Pavone, Father Dennis Wilde, Brian Kemper, of Stand True Ministries,(formerly of Operation Rescue), Rev. Patrick Mahoney, of Christian Defense Coalition, Raymond Burke, Kristan Hawkins, President of Students for Life, and many students, seniors and in-betweeners, like myself. They came from New York, DC, Virginia, Georgia, one family drove in from Schnecksville, Pa. And those are just the ones I spoke with. All to stand out in the blazing Philadelphia heat and offer prayer and petition to honor the remains of the babies. After a few statements, we prayed for each baby by name (remember Father Pavone led a ceremony to name each one, here.

The group of leaders than approached the building with the intent of delivering a letter requesting the babies' remains. They were summarily locked out, police were called, would not help by delivering the letter, and on the Fox News coverage in the evening, apparently the Medical Examiner "already has plans" to respectfully "dispose of the bodies.

Here are a few of my own pictures.
 Brian Kemper, Father Pavone and Rev. Patrick Mahoney, gathering info before the event.

conferring together, also with Kristan Hawkins

Of course, the only news coverage.

Father Wilde who led us in prayer while the group tried to gain access to the building.
 Directly before giving their statements. The woman in the yellow top is the Fox News correspondent. (so sorry for forgetting your name, dear! --she also delivered the story on air last night around 6:30)

The group praying.  I was really touched and humbled by the lovely people I met there and their willing sacrifice.  As I stated before, some came long distances through rush hour beltway traffic. The students were especially sweet, one of whom was very solicitous of me, offering me a ride to my pretty-far-away car.

God Bless her-argh! I forget her name, but He knows who she is. :)

Here are a few links to the media story, which contains more details:
This one about the Medical Examiner story, and this one for the background of the Gosnell story.

At the end of the news story regarding yesterday--there is this statement:

We are issuing a national all call for pro-lifers to come here to stand for the dignity of Gosnell’s victims. It will be called a “Cry for Dignity” and take place on August 25 and 26 in Philly.
In the meantime, we urge you to make your voice heard by contacting the Medical Examiner’s Office at 215-685-7445 and asking for the release of these babies for burial.

Lord, have mercy.

ps--here is another article on the Priests for Life website

and here--in the aftermath

Tuesday, July 16, 2013

This is who I am

Here is what my son is busy doing.

And this.
He brought his drums upstairs to play music with friends for his 18th birthday. A modest request, in keeping with his personality. They had a nice day and evening. I am blessed with all my kids and love to see them happy.

 I am at a place in my life where I think I am finally comfortable being myself. I have not been able to say this for one reason or another since I was a kid. Oh, I don't blame anybody. In fact, I realize more and more just how blessed I am to have been able to emerge from many kinds of sin and adversity, able to live and love and bless God. To be able to get up each morning, strap on my brown scapular, look in the mirror and say, "This is who I am," without scores of qualifiers and apologies.

 I truly identify with the woman at the well. Though I still sin, I am not a slave to sin, and I have an ally in the sacrament of Reconciliation, by His grace in which I am always a work in progress.  I am not free of every fault, burden, or bad thought pattern, but I am free from the shackles of guilt, self loathing and shame. I can stand before my Father with trust that He has me in this place in my life and will uphold me as I cling to Him. 

 It is big for me to even utter those words: that I am free. Even if I sometimes have anxiety while driving, even when I agonize over the sad and scary choices of loved ones, even in all my many missteps and sins, I know this to be true. I don't have to be afraid -- of anything. As long as I am able to give God my 'yes,' (sometimes this is very easy, and other times, I have to renew my resolve hour by hour), I know I am in the palm of His hand. 

I am currently going through my twice yearly or so Marian Consecration. So much freedom comes, paradoxically, when I aspire to learn to give myself as Mary did, totally. As St. Augustine said: "It often happens, that the office of giving gives us the merit to receive." And what I so often receive is the gift of peace. You know when God is giving you a gift of peace when it is there in the midst of every kind of peace-killer, like: anything in the news, a child going through serious issues, another recovering from surgery, a friend who is battling cancer, an ill brother too far away, and various and sundry financial challenges. Lest you think by 'peace,' I mean that I float through every moment of every day on a cloud while strumming a stringed instrument and singing hymns of praise, I am not. By 'peace, I do mean a deep knowledge of God's presence and the help of the saints and angels, and trust in His love for me in each moment.

And the occasional feelings of consolation.

And definitely some singing. 


Tuesday, July 9, 2013

Philadelphia and the Gates of Hell

I am too tired to even think about writing. It has been a very full couple weeks. More about that another time. Right now, I think this article is important to read and share. Beware: there is graphic description.

Bill Donohue may not be the easiest person to listen to, but he gets his facts straight. It is sadly acceptable sport to do anything and everything to try and defame the Church as a whole. It is acceptable to target innocent priests, extort money, and blanket blame over the whole shootin' match. It is to the point where anyone, no matter how little credibility they have, can accuse a priest, the accusation will stick, and he will not be afforded the same rights or defense as any other American citizen. And it is all socially accepted, even applauded. Anti-Catholic sentiment is as common as cornbread and just as savored. I choose to believe that most who join in do not grasp the entirety of that which they have aligned themselves.

The priests that did commit terrible criminal acts, rightly inspire outrage. They are Christ-Bearers, expected to live at a higher standard. We look up to them as shepherds. But, it is never okay to falsely accuse anyone and see them punished. To see this happening to innocent priests, one has to also see the evil that would like to see the Church crippled. Thankfully, God has assured us in Matthew 16:18 And I tell you that you are Peter, and on this rock I will build my church, and the gates of Hades will not overcome it.