Saturday, January 29, 2011

Cooking in the Garden

Every home should be a garden where people grow (and since we're Christians, we're trying to grow more holy and all--hence the blog's title).

I grow in the kitchen. It takes patience to have helpers who spill with flair and stand right in the exact spot you need to be (even when they move). Since I am not a patient person--I think I was born tapping my foot--I need this kitchen with only one functional counter. Every time I don't give in to my impatience I am growing more patient. Every time we eat a less than stellar meal, we all grow in charity and perseverance. The kitchen is not just my family food center, it is the exercise of my will against my weaknesses, my creativity harnessed to the yoke of service, my...well. Yeah.

Every time I get really lofty thoughts about my role in the home, I lose my patience and grow in humility.

Here's Jeff Young, The Catholic Foodie, who said it way better.

The Best Kept Secret of the Kitchen

Cooking as a Charism
If you’re like me, family life in your home is usually hectic, especially at meal time. Or when preparing for meal time.
Goodness! There are days when we wonder how we are going to eat. There’s no one home to cook. And there’s no way we’re stopping for fast food (that’s anathema at our house). Those times make for late nights and rushed eating, sometimes even forgetting to bless our food before we eat. Not good.
Though the world often stresses us out with its unrelenting frenetic pace, the home - and especially the dinner table - should be a refuge, a place of peace and communion. But this is not always an easy task.
So, what’s a mom or dad to do?
Well, I would suggest prayer first. Can’t do anything without God’s grace! Beyond that, I suggest a modest change in perspective. What does that mean? It means we need to look at our work in the kitchen as a gift, an act of charity.

Click here to continue reading... 

The Annual Walk of Ninjas!

It is amazing how this event happens every year, gets larger every year, and yet all these people are invisible to the mainstream media. "You didn't see anything." Must be Ninja stealth.

400,000 care enough to walk in the cold and even more than that work diligently to provide alternatives for all those women who feel they have no other choice. 


Credit where credit is due, in Amarillo there was coverage! Way to go. News was news!

Friday, January 28, 2011

This post brought to you by the letter...

...that is refusing to work on my keyboard. I think it has expired.

I've spent the day thinking profound thoughts like, "Should I dust more aggressively?" and "I think dust ate the little wires that reside under my missing letter for breakfast." and "I live in Texas, after all. We're known for our dust." Those are real, honest to goodness thoughts of mine. I also remembered that a few days ago I was airing out the house when a dust storm blew through. "That was probably it," I thought, "One last gasp or two for my beloved little letter and then kaput, it was a goner."

Now you know why I blog. It is to share the profundity. 

Yes, indeed.



So I guess I should get into town and peruse the aisles of the box stores looking for a deal on a keyboard. I'll probably meander along looking at a mouse with one button or iPads before I get the $12 board and meander home again. I have a weakness for gadgets, I must admit. Though I have relatively few of them thanks to my iron will (and wimpy wallet). 

I will have this fixed in a jiffy, I guarantee.  Even though on-line life has been interesting today, even though I found myself resorting to synonyms I'd forgotten I'd ever known, and even though it's been quite fun and a bit mentally stimulating to avoid, substitute, or rewrite around this little and relatively unsung letter, this letter is a part of me.

My name isn't the same without it.

And I kinda miss it.

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Why it matters...

Prayer is often more about the pray-er than the prayer. Here's some stats to prove it.
People who pray every day (whether or not they go to church) are 30 percentage points more likely to give money to charity than people who never pray (83 to 53 percent) And people saying they devote a "great deal of effort" to their spiritual lives are 42 points more likely to give than those devoting "no effort" (88 to 46 percent). Even a belief in beliefs themselves is associated with charity. People who say that "beliefs don't matter as long as you're a good person" are dramatically less likely to give charitably (69 to 86 percent) and to volunteer (32 to 51 percent) than people who think that beliefs do matter.
--Source The Loser Letters: A Comic Tale of Life, Death, and Atheism by Mary Eberstadt quoting Arthur C. Brooks Who Really Cares: America's Charity Divide; Who Gives, Who Doesn't, and Why It Matters.

Saturday, January 22, 2011

From over at What Does Mike Think?

Mike says...
I will pay for your abortion...

...but I won't support killing a unique human being. So if you can prove to me that what is inside you is not a unique human life I'd be happy to pay for the abortion. You must prove that it is:

  1. Not alive. That is, it doesn't require nourishment, grow (perform cellular reproduction) or exhibit other behavior of a living organism.
  2. Not human. That is, it belongs to another species.
  3. Not unique. That is, it is merely another part of your body. Its organs work for you. In other words, its heart is pumping your blood through your body, its brain is controlling your voluntary actions, its stomach is digesting your food.

And me?...
Let me just add, I'm not going to pay for a sexist attempt to render a woman sterile for the sole benefit of making her convenient and sexually available without consequence to the men in her life. Since the woman suffers the consequence of increased breast cancer risk, of grieving the loss of her child, and often the complications of her future fertility, too, the "abortion without consequence" really only applies to the man who, in our culture, is considered a gentleman if he hands her a couple of crumbled Franklins when he drops her off at the door to the clinic.

Abortion liberates men


In which I try and fail usually to find meaning in doing laundry and other stinky tasks. It'd be easier if it involved mountain climbing or battle or some other more obviously ennobling struggle or at least going outside once in awhile right, like I don't complain when it is summer and I'm hanging on the line.
Going for the gold!

Monday, January 17, 2011


Here's something I've been noticing in my long road of conversion: only Catholics seem to really sin.

We have sinning down to a science. It's categorized very scientifically by its relationship to your soul, the effects  your sin has on the world, the consequences attributed to sin, all kinds of ways and means of classifying sin. And so it should be scientific: The Catholic Church invented our science system. (Oh yeah? Yeah...)

Over the years of talking to various groups, none of them seems to have a handle on the various forms of missing the mark. With the exception of the conversations with the Jewish folks I've known. They know from human frailty.

This is by no means a lofty or even an accurate list, but I'd sure like to discuss this with anyone who's interested. Human weakness intrigues me. Probably because of my daily (hourly, breath by breath) struggles with mine. I got the same old, same old sins I've struggled with each and every day I decided I didn't want to be a slave to my every whim.

My Observations

Protestant versions of the human struggle to improve:

  • Variation One Sin is general. We are all "sinners" in the general sense, but me specifically and right now specifically? No, I've been saved. I don't sin.
  • Variation Two Sin is general. We are all "sinners" in the general sense, and pretty nasty, too, but Jesus throws a cloak over me and I'm good enough. My sins don't matter. I've been redeemed.

NeoPagan versions of the human struggle to improve:

  • Variation One Sin is a Christian thing. If you mean actions counter to self-improvement and enlightenment, I'm well on my way. I cycle back to old issues, but I'm always on a new place on the spiral. Onward and upward.
  • Variation Two I'm beyond sin. Other people might think they sin, but that's just because they aren't far enough along the path (like I am). 

Atheistic/Humanistic versions of the human struggle to improve:

  • Variation One Sin is a waste of time. We all are basically working toward survival of the genes and whatever gets us evolving is fine. Do what you want. If your genes survive, fine, if not you're out of the pool.
  • Variation Two Sin is what society agrees it is. It's different for everyone and every culture. If you don't like it here, change it or leave it. 
I may have missed something in my journeys through these various groups. (Admittedly, I wasn't an Atheist ever, merely a bad and poorly catechized Humanist.) Other than the touches of arrogance here and there, the main problem I saw was that people were all considered to be bad from their starting point--or neutral at best. Or that children were somehow revered as "pure human" and "perfected" until society screwed with them. These views all ran counter to my intuitive understanding of human nature. The more I found out how the Catholic Church views people and our nature, the more I realized they'd been what I'd been looking for all along.

So, instead of just giving you my opinion, I'll just restate in my own words a brief (there's 2,000 years of this stuff, folks) description of what the Church has to say about people.

  • We're created good. Yeah, hold a baby. You can tell that one right away.
  • But we have a tendency to screw up. Sure, check in on that baby as soon as she can start making any kind of behavioral decisions and you've got "naughty" on the radar.
  • We're all sinners and we're all in this TOGETHER. We can screw up, be sorry, try again, and still be in the same building? You can be forgiven for stuff and then move on? Together? That was a revelation for someone who grew up in a world where as soon as sin entered into the picture, someone got fired, you changed churches, or there was a church-ectomy and part of the congregation split off to be a better church than the rest of you. Let me tell you what a revelation that was coming into the church in the years after the fallout from the Priest scandals was in full force. (I came in Easter 2003)
  • We have to struggle or we're a slave. Someone gave me a simple definition of sin. It's when you love yourself more than God. I get that completely. When I don't get my butt off the computer chair and immediately go admire that 5 year old's Play Dough flower because, by golly, I have a blog people read, I'm not serving my family. I'm serving my pride. It ain't pretty. God blessed me to be a married woman in a family and that is how I best serve Him. It's so easy to get tangled up in that pride, I'm telling you. Like any sin, you indulge it once and you've got the burden of a little practice to overcome the next time. Indulge in it frequently and you are building up so much momentum, you're becoming habituated. After it's a habit, you are pretty much stuck in a groove and a slave to that impulse because you're bound to react the same way every time that impulse hits.
Well, that barely skirts the topic, but I'm done writing for now. It's late and all. Besides all that Blogger just ate my really cool ending. I'm too tired and lazy to recreate it just now. You'll have to trust me that I managed to pull it all together in this neat little package for you. I'm really cool that way, you know.

And no that doesn't count as Pride. It's sarcasm.

....and just maybe Sloth.

(Dang it!)

Random Cooking Tips

Tip #1
On the off chance you are making muffins in the near future, here's a tip. If you don't have enough batter for a full batch, fill the remaining muffin spots halfway with water. This helps the muffins bake evenly. I'm guessing it has to do with the way heat conducts, but I'm not sure. I just know it works, especially in an oven (like mine) that has hot spots.

Tip #2
We've all been mid-way through a recipe and found that we were low on an ingredient and must make a substitution. Be sure to jot it down. If you ran low of sage and decided to go with cilantro instead it's good to record if it turned out well. That's how recipes are improved upon. Don't depend on your memory. A year from now you'll remember that you substituted something green for the sage and might pull out the parsley instead. Speaking of, I note the disastrous substitutions, too. I make a frowny face next to the note. I don't want to repeat my mistakes, after all. I make enough of those the first time around.

Friday, January 14, 2011

Pope John Paul II Beatification

Pope John Paul II is popularly regarded as John Paul the Great and as a saint. The Vatican has not officially declared either yet. He is, however, well on his way to being declared a saint. The beatification is the third step in a four step process toward sainthood. The ceremony will take place on May 1, 2011, the Feast for Divine Mercy--a devotion he popularized.

This particular saint is one I am very happy to see attaining the final reward. The 20th Century was steeped in the soul and bloodshed of atheistic regimes and the Sexual Revolution, and he fought well against them. While I shudder to think what this current century will bring, I know this story ends well eventually, and I have hope in more remarkable people answering God's call to sainthood.

On Saints and Sinners:
The Church derives it's authority to declare a person a saint from Christ Himself (Mathew 18:18). For more information on the process and the authority of the Church, click here. For my part, I take vast comfort from the fact that the Church is willing to say, "Yes, this obviously special person is in Heaven" but never, "This obviously evil one is in Hell."  The Church is not willing to use it's authority to damn anyone and wisely leaves that decision to God. I like to think that perhaps God, in His love for each of us, has such a tender and incredible mercy that He offers us the opportunity to change our minds and choose Him even at the moment of our death. Since I am also a latecomer to the vineyard, I am more than happy that all those who work are paid in full, even if they come in one bright and final instant (Matthew 20). 

Links to Articles on John Paul II's Beatification

The Full Text of the Decree of the Miracle Attributed to John Paul II's Intercession

Friday, January 7, 2011

Lisa Graas asks for clarity on questions I've wanted to know answers to...

Sarah Who?
It seems a Tweet from Palin's Twitter account on the Don't Ask Don't Tell policy got some people wondering who Sarah Palin is. What does she stand for? What are her issues? How would she vote on any given issue? Lisa Graas asks some pointed questions.
Click here for Lisa Graas

My position on Sarah Palin is that I don't know her. What little I do know is this: she didn't finish what she started. It seems to me that she's after bigger game than whatever is currently in front of her. That, in turn, makes me wonder if she has anything to say to the issues dear to my heart. The more power hungry a politician is, the more slippery he or she tends to be. I just don't trust her. I was interested in McCain choosing her as a running mate at first, and then I lost interest completely when she bailed on her job--the governor gig.

I'm really not saying anything much about her views and positions on issues I care about because I can't. She's not done a whole lot of anything that I can point to, things like voting or writing position papers. What I do know is that she is likely not on the same page as I am on Immigration. Most Republicans aren't. Again, I have no proof, though, just from soundbites here and there. Nothing substantial.

There is less of substance on other important issues as well. Everyone assumes Palin is pro-life. Why is that?  Because she had a child with disabilities and hasn't pressured her own unwed daughter to abort? That's not much to go on. The voting record isn't there, nor has she written anything I've found. Anybody know of anything? Has she clarified her position somehow, somewhere? If not, why keep it vague?

I've had these misgivings about her since the elections. I'm glad to see I'm not alone...

Lisa Graas asks for clarity... (link to article)

Monday, January 3, 2011

Holy Family Homeschool First Friday Devotions

This Friday, for our First Friday devotions, our home school group will be going to Mass at 8 a.m. at St. Francis Catholic Church, followed by Confessions with Father Barnabas. We will then take the short hop over to Panhandle to St. Ann's Nursing Home to pray. First we will say hello to the residents and exchange prayer intentions. Our teenagers will give a brief introduction to the Rosary and its Scriptural and Christocentric nature to refresh everyone on the true nature of this prayer. Because of the number of people who want to pray with us, we will say the Rosary twice, once in each of the two lobbies.

For those of you who remember sweet Muriel, she will be looking forward to seeing us all again. You know how much she loves children!

Friday, January 7, 2011

Mass with Confession following
8:00 a.m. 
St. Francis Catholic Church
Amarillo, TX

10 a.m.
St. Ann's Nursing Home
Panhandle, TX

Please contact me at or call me or Rozanne if you need a ride or have questions!

Saturday, January 1, 2011

Happy New Year


Wow, the numerologists are really freaking out raking in Google Ad revenue today! To spare you the effort of googling this and generating income for them, I'll sum it up for you:

The Angels Spirit Guides, Aliens have hidden secret numerical knowledge in the Bible Torah, Telephone Book that is fit for only the chosen evolved, enlightened, gullible few. This secret Gnostic. generated while stoned knowledge reveals that this date has special spiritual, providential, no significance! Your greatest wish fear, need, random impulse will be realised through great fortune catastrophe, random chance!
Just kidding at least I am kidding. What it really means is 15. In Binary. Happy New Year.