Tuesday, June 28, 2011

It's a drought year...

...and my internet is spotty, too. This may or it may not post. I've got a connection for 5 to 10 minutes at a clip every 20 minutes or so. A wire is bad or the satellite got tweaked in the amazing winds we've been having around here lately.

The good news is we got about an inch of rain last night. That puts us at one inch for the year. No one complained about the power going out in the storm or all the new arrangements the wind made out of outdoor furniture and equipment. Everyone today was saying, "Thank God!" and comparing numbers--"We got about an inch here, what did you get?" "An inch and a half!" And today I think almost everyone I met was smiling!

The bad news is that sleep has been awfully shy of my big, loud family lately. If it hadn't been for the good news, tempers would have been shorter than a Hollywood marriage. Even the kids were happy about the rain, though.

On a related note: frog kissing season has begun at last, as the storm brought out a handful. They are toads, actually, but each one must be tested for potential prince-ness without the finer points of species identification interfering with a young girl's quest for her happily ever after.

So, it's been a Tuesday of girls kissing frogs, boys painting mud racing stripes on the van, and the dog tracking mud into the house. That is how life looks after months of drought. Just give us an inch, we Texans, and we'll smile a mile wide.

Sunday, June 26, 2011

Corpus Christi

We were just standing around, hoping for another free lunch when things got weird.
"What did he say?"
"I think he said we have to eat him."
"Did he say drink his...?"
"Oh that is foul!"
"That guy's insane."
"Are we supposed to bite him now or kill him first?" *nervous laughter*
"That's not funny!"
"I'm out of here!"
"Me, too!"
"Some king! King of lepers and crazy people!"
"I'm done!"
"Me, too. Idiots!"
"He really took us in there for a bit..."

They've been leaving ever since. John 6 is hard. It's impossible. Still true though.

Friday, June 24, 2011

7 Quick Takes

Jennifer Fulwiler, the blogger of Conversion Diary, had her lovely wonderful beautiful baby! I'm not going to post a picture for purely marketing reasons (I want you to go look at and subscribe to her blog).

1 - The Adoption Worker said, "Call your lawyer!" which means we are nearly done pushing the state's paperwork and have to start pushing our own. She also began talking about the judge and a date--which means we are very, very close!

2 - She is only 4 years old and has a case file over 700 pages long. I'm in the 300s. It's required reading. Even though I know this story and there is nothing new here, it's hard reading.

3 - The child described in the case files looks very different than the daughter asleep down the hall. My daughter is not wary and untrusting and given to tantrums like the poor child in these pages. Circumstances can really change a person. Sometimes, not all the time, but sometimes all it takes to fix a person is to improve the circumstance.

4 - Would you consider adopting an older child? Would you consider becoming a foster parent? I have to ask because it might be you who needs asking. Not everyone is called, but the called do need calling. Sometimes all that is lacking is the invitation. You have been invited.

5 - We usually homeschool throughout the summer, but the past few weeks have been a vacation of sorts. With the adoption and the new house coming next month, it's going to be really hard to get it the ball rolling. I think I'm going to have to grind the grind and get going anyway.

6 - We bought the trap, baited it, and the skunk got our last chicken anyway. My husband went on-line, stared at a few chicken coop pictures and then sat down and designed a coop that we can shut up and lock at night. He's smart like that. The problem is solved as long as I remember to go lock up the chickens when they've roosted. Maybe I should needlepoint a chicken on my pillowcase to help me remember this new chore.

7 - For the entire week I have exercised every stinking 100-degree day. Yay for me and self-discipline and the neighbor who won't let me get away with sloth! I'm actually waiting around for said neighbor to come by for our walk and talk. Two miles, fast paced, and all the world's problems get solved in the process. Exercise is a good thing when it's over.

Due to the demands of the newest Fulwiler, 7 Quick Takes is hosted at Betty Beguiles this week, 
a new-to-me blog! 
I think I have a new addiction!

Thursday, June 23, 2011

One of these kids is getting adopted...

By the end of July she will be as legally a Martin as she is in every other sense of the word--brave little darling!

Today is the second of the three required visits from the social worker, so I'm going to vacuum and putter around nervously. All day. 

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

Wifey Wednesday--Nag at Work

Don't forget to go to To Love Honor and Vacuum to check out more Wifey Wednesday posts!

You know how Joan of Arc got visits from Heaven? She was told to go ask the king for some guys to help with a nasty infestation of Englishmen. Mission accomplished even if those English didn’t take it well. How about Benedict? He saw the religious order he’d found lasting until the end of time.<--he got to see that, too. “Stay holy, write a rule of life, and keep working hard!” So far so good on that mission, too.

Me?  I don’t get visions of Heaven in my insights. I get Heavenly Hints from Heloise instead. Stuff like “Nagging won’t work.” No cherubim infused clouds for me. Just honest to Goodness criticism.

It’s probably because I don’t obey very well that I don’t get the bells and whistles of Heavenly wonder. Save that for the people who actually profit from instruction. People like Paul. “Hey! Quit that persecuting! Work for me!” No one throws rocks at my head when I do the right thing; people actually act nicer. Even after getting my very own way and getting a nice, smiling husband the entire day after I tried not nagging just once, I thought I might try the nagging a few more thousand times. I just had to check to see if my way could still work.

I like to think I’m made of sterner stuff,  but in my better moments I do realize that improving me in my marital vocation is akin to training a dog—every time I even glance in the right direction, someone had better toss me a bone.

So, really, you need to take marital advice from me. I’ve tried everything other than what works first. I know from experience that I am an idiot, what is stupid, and how best to make a mess of things. I also know what works and what is right.

Rule #1
Nagging doesn’t work
You already know that. What you might not know is that your bad behavior excuses bad behavior on his part. Well, it doesn’t really, but he thinks it does, so when you behave in a way beneath the dignity of a good Christian Wife, guess what? He is less inclined to treat you with the dignity deserving of a good…Behaving badly never turns out well.

Rule #2
Be nice.
Think of the business world. When you want something from a coworker, you usually refrain from pouting, criticising, and foot stomping. Indeed, you may actually behave nicer than normal when you are needing help from people. Why mention this? Because you need to apply those same social skills to your husband.  

Before you seethe in the combox, let’s talk physics for a second. When two parts rub against each other, heat builds up and wear occurs. To avoid a breakdown, lubrication is applied. Manners are the lubrication we apply to human interaction. The more heat and friction there is, the more lubrication is necessary to keep things running smoothly. Idiot humans that we are we generally use our manners on strangers more readily than on our family where we need it most. People at home rub each other more raw than anywhere else, so you need to be more polite at home than anywhere.

Psychic moment! I know what you are thinking! “I shouldn’t have to be polite at home! That’s where I should be able to relax!” FYI: The word relax does not mean things like “act like a harridan” or “verbally scathe.” Your marriage will improve if you think thoughts like, “I feel friction in this situation. I must apply lubricant!” instead of “I deserve time off from niceness!” Trust me on this one, I’ve tried it the other way.

Rule #3
You may, however, nag Heaven
You can, indeed, use those finely honed nagging skills somewhere! In prayer! After years of fruitless stubbornness and arguing, I’ve found that if my husband doesn’t act after three requests, he isn’t likely to act anytime soon. Instead of arguing, I give the man his three chances, then I drop it with him and take it up with God. The most profound thing I’ve ever discovered about prayer is that it works. When I pray instead of argue one of three little miracles occurs: he does it my way, or I see it his way, or we see a third and better opportunity! Praying more means we are arguing less. It also means we are happier, generally. We’re also not missing those third options as often so things are better all around.

So, I’m done nagging you, too. Go forth, blow his mind with how nice a wife he picked, and be happy.  
Yes, dear. You are reading it!

Monday, June 20, 2011

Because it's Monday...

...and my youngest niece is spending her very first Monday in college. Hi Kelsey!

Hint: Doing without sleep in college is very good preparation for that future married-with-young-children phase of your life.

Saturday, June 18, 2011

My Son Has a Super Power

You simply have to read this post by the Attack of the Redneck Mommy blogger. Her son has a super power: invisibility. He is disabled. His disability is visible, so he is unseen.

I want to drag into the glare of honest criticism as a mom of a special gift like my son a few points.

1- You can use any excuse to laugh or rail at the disabled. The more shallow of you use the fact that the child's looks or sounds or drools makes you exempt from being decent. The more subtle of you use the fact that mommy is an annoying Republican as your excuse. When you laugh at the Trig jokes, mothers like me hold our children a little closer. We are protecting them from the likes of you because we know how easy it is to delete the word "Republican" from your excuse and insert any other word--for me it might be "Catholic" or "blogger" or even just "annoying." Once you cross the line of decency, it's crossed. It isn't funny. Not even when the mommy is.

(You may want to brace yourself for this one, folks. It's a hard truth.)
2 - It has always been a capital crime in our societies to be disabled in some way. We used to expose our special children. Our more modern and enlightened evolutionary impulses insist we abort them before they are born. We who have given our special children a stay of execution for various reasons (for some, yes, it was a mere matter of timing) know, deep inside, that the world is appalled at us. Your laughter stirs a fear in us mothers that is directly related to this unacknowledged knowledge.

3 - My son is singing the Kyrie in this moment. In this very moment when I am very near tears at the heartlessness of the world toward him, he sings in Latin, "Christ have mercy. Lord have mercy." It is one of many reasons he is such an incredible gift to me and to you, ugly world. My son who will always struggle, who is the ultimate outsider, who is such a gift, he gives me hope for you and yours.

From The Attack of the Redneck Mommy (go thou hence and read)

My Son Has a Super Power

My son has a superpower.

He is invisible.

Most disabled people are, you know

They are born with it, alongside twisted limbs or broken minds.

My son, he can’t walk, or talk, or eat

He can’t hear and he will never fly. But

He is invisible.

You may not have seen him. But he saw you

He smiled at you. A smile

Bright as a ray of light shining through a cracked window.

He looked at you.

Hoping you would see past the invisibility tattooed on his skin, cloaked around his wheelchair.

He stood beside his siblings

His cousin and he smiled. For you.

You didn’t see him.

Or you wouldn’t see him.

Was it the drool on the side of his mouth which

scared you off?

Was it the twisted way he held his hands?

Or the way his head flops slightly to the left?

He smiled still

As you overlooked him, tossing pieces of candy into the bags

Other children held out.

His bag, empty


He smiled still as his aunt explained why he sat at the bottom of your stairs.

“His legs don’t work.”

He smiled when you refused eye contact with him and handed a piece of candy to me to give to him.

Refusing to touch him.

Refusing to come out of your warm bright homes to see him.

My invisible monkey boy, he smiled for you.

I stood beside him, willing you to see him

Wanting my pride, my love for him to be a beacon for your eyes.

Wishing for your eyes to land on him and see his value.

To see him.

For him not to be invisible.

House after house

We tried.

Door after door, princesses, vampires, Spidermans

 they all wished they had super powers as they begged for treats

My boy,

he tricked them all.

He still smiled

even when you didn’t see him,

couldn’t see him,

wouldn’t see him.

Everybody should have a superpower.

Nobody should be invisible.

If I could pick a power

I’d use it to shine the light on every person with disabilities,

I’d make you see.

My son. He is NOT


I see you, kid.

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Friday, June 17, 2011

7 Quick Takes

Do I look like a lollipop to you, skunk?
1- A skunk has been killing my chickens and only eating their heads. Apparently, when skunks go bad, this is what they do; they gnaw off the heads of chickens. Until we found the strangely disfigured corpses and mentioned it to neighbors we had no idea it was a skunk. We thought it was aliens. We are in Texas, after all...in the country...living in a trailer. You know...bait.

2 - Have you wondered where all the Cheesy Posts have gone? They've temporarily dried up: the goats, I mean. Those girls were supposed to have been bred and kidded this winter, consequently producing tons of milk this summer. That deal fell through. By the time we got them *ahem* taken care of this spring we were in the middle of a nasty drought and had to dry them up earlier than planned. So, we've not had extra milk for a year. The last really good cheese I made was the March before last. *gasp!* I've been contenting myself with ricotta and yogurt, a bit of mozzarella here and there. I miss being cheesy.

3 - I have not had to mow this year partly because we've been putting the goats on tie outs to eat the weeds and partly because nothing is growing out there in this relentless, arid heat. Saint Isidore, pray for us?

4 - Necessity is the mother of invention, so I thought I'd cue you in on how a great idea gets born on the farm. I'm blogging, stuck on number 4 of 7, wondering if I should mention the drought again. Maybe I could attempt a lame joke or even two and knock out number 5 while I'm at it: The drought was so bad I put the potatoes in with the flower garden to save on water. The whole too-lazy-to-dig-in-another-spot-thing hardly factored into it at all or maybe One of these days it'll rain and I can stop thinking up stuff like dumping my dishwater on my potato plants. Wait I use a dishpan; I could actually do that.<---that's it!

5 - My inner grammarian insists that you notice the suave use of complicated punctuation throughout this post. Can you see a semi-colon up there in the last sentence? There's not a parenthesis anywhere NEAR it. Now that's cool!

6 - My inner geek used up all of her exercise time looking up funny grammar and punctuation cartoons on the internet. Oh the things I sacrifice to be a good blogger for you. None of them were funny enough, sadly, but it wasn't an entire waste of time. At least I didn't have to think of an excuse not to exercise. ;)

7 - I did some housecleaning on the blog last night. The sidebar is now in better shape. Checketh thou it out!

Jennifer Fulwiler
Thanks to Jennifer Fulwiler, a fellow Texan, for hosting
7 Quick Takes Friday 

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

And I quote...

"Being annoyed is good practice for real life," John, aged 7.

When I close my eyes and listen, I'd swear he was a clone.

The Verses I Never Saw -- Marcus Grodi

HT to JoJo at God Blog for finding this one!

The Verses I Never Saw – Marcus Grodi

(click here for the link to the original post at the Coming Home Network www.chnetwork.org)

June 7, 2011

One of the more commonly shared experiences of Protestant converts to the Catholic Church is the discovery of verses “we never saw.” Even after years of studying, preaching, and teaching the Bible, sometimes from cover to cover, all of a sudden a verse “we never saw” appears as if by magic and becomes an “Aha!” mind-opening, life- altering messenger of spiritual “doom”! Sometimes it’s just recognizing an alternate, clearer meaning of a familiar verse, but often, as with some of the verses mentioned below, it literally seems as if some Catholic had snuck in during the night and somehow put that verse there in the text!
The list of these surprise verses is endless, depending especially on a convert’s former religious tradition, but the following are a few key verses that turned my heart toward home. This article is a reprint from the topic I covered on the July 31, 2006 broadcast of The Journey Home on EWTN.
1. Proverbs 3:5-6
Trust in the LORD with all your heart, and do not rely on your own insight. In all your ways acknowledge him, and he will make straight your paths.

Ever since my adult re-awakening (read “born-again experience”) at age 21, this Proverb has been my “life verse.” It rang true as a guide for all aspects of my life and ministry, but then during my nine years as a Presbyterian minister, I became desperately frustrated by the confusion of Protestantism. I loved Jesus and believed that the Word of God was the one trustworthy, infallible rule of faith. But so did lots of the non- Presbyterian ministers and laymen I knew: Methodists, Baptists, Lutherans, Pentecostals, Congregationalists, etc., etc., etc . . . The problem was that we all came up with different conclusions, sometimes radically different, from the same verses. How does one “trust in the Lord with all your heart”? How can you make sure your not “leaning on your own understanding”? We all had different opinions and lists of requirements. A verse I had always trusted suddenly became nebulous, immeasurable, and unreachable.
2. 1 Timothy 3: 14-15
I hope to come to you soon, but I am writing these instructions to you so that, if I am delayed, you may know how one ought to behave in the household of God, which is the church of the living God, the pillar and bulwark of the truth.

Scott Hahn pulled this one on me. “So, Marc, what is the pillar and foundation of truth?” I answered, “The Bible, of course.” “Oh yeah? But what does the Bible say?” “What do you mean?” When he told me to look up this verse, I suspected nothing. I had taught and preached through First Timothy many times. But when I read this verse, it was as if it had suddenly appeared from nowhere, and my jaw dropped. The Church!? Not the Bible? This alone sent my mind and essentially my whole life reeling; the question of which Church was one I was not ready to broach.
3. 2 Timothy 3:14-17
But as for you, continue in what you have learned and have firmly believed, knowing from whom you learned it and how from childhood you have been acquainted with the sacred writings which are able to instruct you for salvation through faith in Christ Jesus. All scripture is inspired by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, and for training in righteousness, that the man of God may be complete, equipped for every good work.

Verses 16-17 were the texts I and others had always turned to buttress our belief in sola Scriptura, so to this I quickly turned my attention. Among many things, three important things became very clear, for the first time: (1) when Paul used the term “scripture” in this verse, he could only have meant when we call the Old Testament. The New Testament canon would not be established for another 300 years! (2) “All” scripture does not mean “only” scripture nor specifically what we have in our modern bibles. And (3), the emphasis in the context of this verse (vereses 14-15) is the trustworthiness of the oral tradition Timothy had received from his mother and others—not sola Scriptura!
4. 2 Thessalonians 2:15
So then, brethren, stand firm and hold to the traditions which you were taught by us, either by word of mouth or by letter.

This was another “too-hot-to-handle” verse Scott threw in my lap. The traditions (Dare I say, traditions) that these early Christian were to hold fast to were not just the written letters and Gospels that would eventually make up the New Testament, but the oral tradition. And even more significant, the context of Paul’s letters indicates that his normal, preferred way of passing along “what he had received” was orally; his written letters were an accidental, sometimes unplanned add-on, dealing with immediate problems—leaving unsaid so much of what they had learned through oral teaching.
5. Matthew 16:13-19
Now when Jesus came into the district of Caesare’a Philip’pi, he asked his disciples, “Who do men say that the Son of man is?” And they said, “Some say John the Baptist, others say Elijah, and others Jeremiah or one of the prophets.” He said to them, “But who do you say that I am?” Simon Peter replied, “You are the Christ, the Son of the living God.” And Jesus answered him, “Blessed are you, Simon Bar-Jona! For flesh and blood has not revealed this to you, but my Father who is in heaven. And I tell you, you are Peter, and on this rock I will build my church, and the powers of death shall not prevail against it. I will give you the keys of the kingdom of heaven, and whatever you bind on earth shall be bound in heaven, and whatever you loose on earth shall be loosed in heaven.”

There is so much to discuss in this verse, so much I never saw. I always knew that Catholics used this to argue Petrine authority but I wasn’t convinced. To the naively ignorant, the English words “Peter” and “rock” are so different that it’s obvious that Jesus was referring to the faith Simon Peter received as a gift from the Father. For the more informed seminary educated Bible students, like myself, I knew that behind the English was the Greek, where one discovered that Peter is the translation of petros, meaning little pebble, and rock is the translation of petra, large boulder. Again an obvious disconnect, so so for years I believed and taught specifically against Petrine authority. Then, through the reading of Karl Keating’s wonderful book, Catholicism and Fundamentalism, I realized the implications of something I knew all along: behind the Greek was the Aramaic which Jesus originally spoke, in which the word for Peter and rock are identical—kepha. Once I saw that Jesus had said essentially “You are kepha and on this kepha I will build my Church,” I knew I was in trouble.
6. Revelation 14:13
And I heard a voice from heaven saying, “Write this: Blessed are the dead who die in the Lord henceforth.” “Blessed indeed,” says the Spirit, “that they may rest from their labors, for their deeds follow them!”

For years, as a Calvinist preacher, I recited this verse in every funeral graveside service. I believed and taught sola fide and discounting any place for works in the process of our salvation. But then, after my last funeral service as a minister, a family member of the deceased cornered me. He asked, with a tremble in his voice, “What did you mean that Bill’s deeds follow him?” I don’t remember my response, but this was the first time I became aware of what I had been saying. This began a long study on what the New Testament and then the Early Church Fathers taught about the mysterious but necessary synergistic connection between our faith and our works.
7. Romans 10:14-15
But how are men to call upon him in whom they have not believed? And how are they to believe in him of whom they have never heard? And how are they to hear without a preacher? And how can men preach unless they are sent?

I had always used these verses to defend the central importance of preaching and why I, therefore, had given up my engineering career for seminary and the great privilege of becoming a preacher of the Gospel! And I was never bothered by the last phrase about the need of being “sent,” because I could point to my ordination where a cackle of local ministers, elders, deacons, and laymen laid their hands on my sweaty head to send me forth in the Name of Jesus. But then, first through my reading of the history and writings of the Early Church Fathers and second through my re-reading of the scriptural context of Paul’s letters, I realized that Paul emphasized the necessity of being “sent” because the occasion of his letters was to combat the negative, heretical influences of self-appointed false teachers. I had never thought of myself as a false teacher, but by what authority did those people send me forth? Who sent them? In this I realized the importance of Apostolic [those who have been sent] succession.
8. John 15:4 and 6:56
Abide in me, and I in you. As the branch cannot bear fruit by itself, unless it abides in the vine, neither can you, unless you abide in me.

He who eats my flesh and drinks my blood abides in me, and I in him. The book of the Bible I most preached on was the Gospel of John and my most preached on section John 15, the analogy of the vine and the branches. I bombarded my congregations with the need to “abide” or “remain” in Christ. But what does this mean? I always had an answer, but when I saw “for the first time” the only verse where Jesus himself defines clearly what we must do to abide in Him, I was floored. “He who eats my flesh and drinks my blood abides in me and I in him.” This led me to study a boatload of verses in John 6 “I had never seen before,” and in the end, when it came accepting Jesus at His word on the Eucharist, I had only one answer: “Where else can we go? Only you have the words of life.”
9. Colossians 1:24
Now I rejoice in my sufferings for your sake, and in my flesh I complete what is lacking in Christ’s afflictions for the sake of his body, that is, the church.

I don’t know if I purposely avoided this or just blindly missed it, but for the first 40- years of my life I never saw this verse. And to be honest, when I finally saw it, I still didn’t know what to do with it. Nothing in my Lutheran, Congregationalist, or Presbyterian backgrounds helped me understand how I or anyone could rejoice in suffering, and especially why anything was needed to complete the suffering of Christ: nothing was lacking! Christ’s suffering, death, and resurrection were sufficient and complete! To say anything less was to attack the omnipotent completeness of God’s sovereign grace. But then again, this was the apostle Paul speaking in inerrant, infallible Scripture. And we were to imitate him as he imitated Jesus. It took a reading of Pope John Paul II’s encyclical on the meaning of suffering to open my eyes to the beautiful mystery of redemptive suffering.
10. Luke 1:46-49
And Mary said, “My soul magnifies the Lord, and my spirit rejoices in God my Savior, for he has regarded the low estate of his handmaiden. For behold, henceforth all generations will call me blessed; for he who is mighty has done great things for me, and holy is his name.”

Finally the hardest hurdle for so many Protestant converts to get over: our Blessed Mother Mary. For most of my life, the only place Mary came into the picture was at Christmas—and dare I say, as a statue! But I never referred to her as “blessed.” Yet Scripture says all generations will call her blessed. Why wasn’t I? This led me to see other verses for the first time, including John 17 where from the cross Jesus giave his mother into the keeping of John, rather than any supposed siblings, and by grace I began, in imitation of my Lord and Savior and eternal brother Jesus, to recognize her, too, as my loving Mother.

Tuesday, June 14, 2011

True Friends

When I was an unrepentant heathen I thought I'd be happiest following my own will. What happened, naturally, was that I became more and more willful and less and less happy.

Now that I am trying to become who I was made to be and not reacting to my every whim, I am much happier. As much improved as I am, I had a longer way to come than most, so I am well aware, most of the time, that I follow God's will imperfectly and am apt to need redirection in unexpected moments. God has blessed me with the type of friends who are willing to help me in this regard. They won't let me get away with pettiness and smallness without gently calling me to something better. I'm happy to report that this is not a frequent occurrence.

Being so close to my old habits of sinfulness, it's usually me who has benefited from spiritual redirection from my friends. Not so the other day when I heard: "Why do people like that even come to retreats?"

Whoops. In that split second, I was tempted to let the comment pass. What if she got mad at me? Is it really that bad? Since it smacked of pride and since I knew she'd do the same service for me, I took a breath and dove in. "We're all 'people like that,'" I reminded her. She readily agreed, corrected herself, and added, "They're just not sinning my sins." No big deal. We continued on, discussed the nature of sin, large and small, and in doing so bettered ourselves a bit, or at least bolstered our resolve not to backslide on our backsides. I was glad I braved the subject.

We're all falling so short of perfection that we need almost continual redirection, so I am grateful that I have this woman for my friend. Not only is she trying her best to serve God, she's ready to stand corrected if she doesn't. She is cheerful about it all and much more gentle in her redirection of me. I wish all the world had such a treasure.

Happiness is often found in a true friend.

Friday, June 10, 2011

7 Quick Takes--The Dusting and Hot Air Edition

Jennifer Fulwiler
Thanks to Jennifer Fulwiler, a fellow Texan, for hosting
7 Quick Takes Friday 

1--We are meeting the Adoption Worker for the first time today. For all my new readers (hi there!), we have 5 children. A few by birth, one by adoption, and one foster baby who is now to be ours by adoption. We're excited. I'm also dusting.

2--As it seems like the number of people popping over to take a look into this little blog is now more in one day than the number of people who read it the whole first year, I promise not to let it all go to my head. Not to worry, my Guardian Angel has a pin to pop any sudden outcrops of hot air.

3--Did I mention the dusting? I'm so nervous this time. I've been through one adoption, three births, and 10 foster children already. You'd think I'd be a pro at all this parenting stuff by now. Is there such a thing?

4--fidget, fidget, fidget

5--Blogging is taking a tremendous act of the will at the moment. I'd much rather run the vacuum, but I'm determined that this will help soothe the nerves.

6--I'm not usually a nervous person. Usually I'm a bossy person. Calmer and bossier.

7--Can you all pray for a retreat going on in Amarillo this weekend? "Would you mind?" she asked trying hard to not appear bossy.

Thursday, June 9, 2011

A Fast Day

Wimpiness is not next to Godliness.
Today is the day that I Fast For Life and I have a confession to make: this family has been eating an awful lot of spaghetti on Thursday. I've 

Don't get me wrong--I'm still abstaining from foods other than bread and broth on my day. How I've been cheating is by removing the temptation to break my fast. The point being I'd rather eat anything other than spaghetti, even bread and broth. I've been wimping out and I know it. So I'm changing that as of today.

Tonight instead of cooking something my family loves and I do not, I'm going to cook one of my personal favorites. I will not even taste test it. (It's goulash, if you're curious.)  

P.S. I know that we're not supposed to put on sackcloth and ashes when we fast, but voluntary sacrifice is almost a foreign concept in our culture. It could do with a bit of explanation and discussion--if only to encourage others in the spiritual practice. Join me?

Monday, June 6, 2011

Because it's Monday...

Not to leave the Protestants out...LIFT that Bible, FIND the verse that will get your heart rate up (Ephesians 5: 22), RAISE those hands and praise (2...3...4)! Switch Bible to right hand and repeat!

C'mon Catholics, we could do with some weight training once in a while, too. FIND that Bible, DUST it off, LOOK for that verse. CALL that Baptist friend. ASK what page Ephesians is on (6...7...8).

Saturday, June 4, 2011

Secular judgmentalism! New and improved!

All right, world out there, you have a real point. We Christians are all hypocrites. We fall miserably short of the goals of our religion. Some of us don't even seem to be trying. Good point. Excellent.

Most of us are trying, though. That's the thing. People like me? Yeah, I'd be much worse and harder to deal with without religion. I know from personal experience I was a really awful jerk as an unrepentant heathen. I'm still a really awful jerk, but now I apologize every once in awhile.

It's not much of a brake on me, but it's better than the no brakes thing I had going on before my conversion. It's really not my religion's fault that I am a jerk. I was a jerk before. I'm a slightly less jerky jerk now. The reason I'm not more improved is because I'm lazy not because of any fault of my religion. My faults are still my fault.

At any rate, for all of you out there holding up your nose, pointing fingers, and calling names like "hypocrite" and "they're no better than anybody else," you know you're right. Thing is, we do, too. We know we aren't better. We're trying to be better, but we know we all fall short. Some of us are closer to the mark in some areas, some in others. We're all pretty bad at this.

The only real difference between a Christian and a nonChristian is Christ, so there you go. Enjoy all the finger pointing and hypocrisy on your side of the fence. We'll be praying for you. We'll be over here trying our best at better.

Using other people's shortcomings as an excuse not to even try is not the best way to live, but you can keep at it. I did for years. I felt really superior doing it, too, so I know just how you feel.

Feel free to be better than me. Anytime!

Friday, June 3, 2011

7 Quick Takes Friday--Ascension Edition

Jennifer Fulwiler
Thanks to Jennifer Fulwiler, a fellow Texan, for hosting
7 Quick Takes Friday 

Even though our diocese moves Ascension Thursday to this Sunday, my family and my neighbor's family celebrated with dinner. We'll be getting together again on Sunday, too. You know us Catholics. Any excuse for a party.

When a feast day falls on my Fasting for Life day, I still eat bread. This Thursday I had bread cooked on the grill by my friend Rozanne. It truly was too good to be considered "fasting,"

Rozanne, who never eats coleslaw, ate coleslaw. She even kept some to eat later. My husband made up this recipe. It's the best.

I love the imagery of the Ascension. The Apostles are standing around, gobsmacked, because they just saw something that blew their minds. They are called back to reality by an Angel saying, "Okay, boys, enough with the staring into the Heavens. Get busy."

As a Protestant, I had a more mythical idea of the events of the Bible. I never thought of them as real people, as history. The Apostolic Age was separated from our time and God no longer acted in the world. It's likely due to the fact that I was so young when I ceased being Protestant to be an unrepentant heathen. Now, though, as a Catholic, I often put myself in the sandals of the people I read about. I can see me more readily in the "sinning" and "falling short" passages, though. I still wrestle with my golden calves.

Which reminds me. All but one of those men died horrible deaths. The first 400 years of Popes were all martyred, too. Ugly deaths. Kind of blows the whole "Christianity was created merely to garner power" meme out of the water, doesn't it?

Which also reminds me: Because John was the only Apostle who didn't die a martyr, I used to think he "got away scott free," but lately I've had the insight that all of his friends died horrible deaths. He watched his Best Friend die on the cross, then lost the rest one by one. How hard must the news of each been to bear?