Friday, November 30, 2012

7 Quick Takes

7 quick takes sm1 7 Quick Takes Friday (vol. 198)


Today is the last day of November, so today we are taking down the last of the month long All Soul's Celebration. I don't want to mislead you into thinking that we are so vigorously diligent about celebrating the Liturgical Year, we have simply made a point of picking and choosing those celebrations that our Domestic Church shall emphasize. Our family believes very strongly that attaining Heaven is a grand accomplishment, indeed the ultimate accomplishment, and so we give over some space in our home and our lives every November to give thanks and praise for such a wonder as a life well lived and a Savior such as ours.


To be honest, last year we did November better. We sang saint songs most nights, then read stories about their heroic lives. This year we had a special dinner with friends and family to kick off the celebration and tied saint cards to a tree branch mounted in a vase. We talked about each child's patron saint here and there, but we weren't as good about bringing the saints' good examples to mind daily. It was a little lackluster this year. That said, the best thing about family celebrations is that memories are made even of the mundane. The next best thing about family celebrations is that there is always next year.


On to Advent. Another very Catholic celebration is the month long fast and preparation for celebrating Christ's Incarnation. Christmas and Advent for Catholics is both a celebration of His coming into the world as a baby and His coming again at the Second Coming. Our readings this month will focus both on the Old Testament prophecies of Christ and the New Testament descriptions of the Day of Judgement. Like all things we Catholics do, there is layer upon layer of Truth to be discovered here. This season asks, "Are you ready?" How are you making ready to invite your Lord into your home, heart, and family in a more intense and personal manner over the next several weeks?


Unlike our All Souls celebration throughout November, our Advent is intense. Our children like the presents of Christmas, but the time of year they love the most is this. Part of our Advent celebration includes lighting our Advent candles each night, singing a hymn, sharing aloud acts of charity and kindness we have done throughout the day (more on that in a special Advent post), reflecting on Bible readings, and intense prayers for a renewal of our relationship with Christ. The other part of our Advent is focused on our stewardship. We begin with a month-long winnowing down of our material possessions, passing along any items that are not treasured, utilized, or necessary so that others may receive the blessing of the use of them (we got an early start on that this year actually). We also clean and polish our belongings and our home. When Christmas finally comes, we have made ready and made room both physically and spiritually. Christmas and all the prayers of thankfulness and praise and the cookies, candy, and caroling, actually begins on December 25. It does not end there as it does in the Protestant and secular calendars, but instead it carries us through the secular New Year and beyond.


Yeah, so...this is us.

Because we sound pretty awesome in theory, I'd like to share with you a photo from our family photo shoot. We call it "The Stomp" and my husband is still convinced we should send it out as our family photo this year. We settled on sharing it on Facebook instead.

The story behind it is this. My husband broke his foot on this summer's trip back East, so he had to attend his sister's funeral in a cast. While still in Virginia, there was even talk of surgery and pins which thankfully was not necessary. This photo shoot took place days after we returned home, so not only was he in physical pain and attempting to overcome it, he and the whole family was still in shock and sadness from the sudden loss of our sister, our auntie, my son's Godmother Catherine. We were all feeling strained.

But this? This painful moment was the one that reset the entire tone of the photo session. Once my husband got over the pain and saw that Hannah Lou had caught the exact moment of the stomp on film, he laughed so hard the whole family dissolved into seven little puddles of giggles. Eight if you count the photographer. It is one of my favorite family moments, forever.

This is us for real, imperfect, stepping on each other's toes, and coming together enough to make a picture or two out of hundreds look good. We Martins often don't make it pretty, we might not even get it done, but we're in it together at any rate. And by the way, between this picture and the last one taken that day, one of those heavy stools you see us using as props fell over onto my foot. Those sweet looking kids took both parents out!


In other news, we have a kitten. His name is Jabberwocky Hawkeye Smith. Hawkeye is the cool name my son picked out from the movie The Avengers. Jabberwocky is the ironic name I picked out for his loud mouth. Our dear friends picked him especially for us because he was not a talkative kitty. Fact is, until he came to live with us, he just didn't have much to say.

P.S. The Smith is just to prove my point that he is a kitty, no relation.

P.P.S. Don't think we have anything against cats. The dog doesn't even rate a last name.

P.P.P.S. Please send all your kitty and/or dog defending hate mail to


Enjoy the rest of the pics!

The two who started all the Martin Mayhem...
"Plotting to take over the world."

"Charmed, I'm sure you are!"

"Do you have a favorite freckle?"
"Just wait until I hug you. You'll be in my power!"

"I have a joke for you!"
(They all end with "...on your head!")

All it took was 227,346,017 shots to get it in one take!

Wednesday, November 28, 2012

Pardon the Interruption

For those of you who enjoy the weekly Wifey Wednesday posts, please pardon me while I attend to some wifely duties today in lieu of blogging about them. Advent is right around the corner and I have to unpack a few more boxes and varnish the living room floor before Sunday (we moved last January, but we're renovating and therefore still half packed).

When I come back I'll have some (hopefully) interesting topics, such as "What do you practice?" and "So, he wants to talk about Bigfoot" after the regularly scheduled "7 Quick Takes" to take us into the weekend!

Saturday, November 24, 2012

The Best Writers

Good newsmen write well about the extraordinary
while great poets write about the ordinary extraordinarily well.

Friday, November 23, 2012

7 Quick Takes


So you made it to Black Friday. Are you Christmas shopping? After eating pie for breakfast, I'm off to visit a friend today, kids in tow. I don't fight in the stores for bargains. I'd rather just jump in on those last minute online bids like all the other introverts or maybe even do without.


I am considering renaming my son Mr. Smartypants. After teaching himself to read and not telling me about it until after we'd gone to war over it, now it's all a great big joke. We've modified his reading program to a speech program, and he's continually finding ways to outfox me. The last successful attempt was teaching him how to make the short a sound clearly. It went like this:

Momma points to the letter a, "Show me how you say this?"
"You know this sound."
"What's the sound it makes?"
"Not the name, the sound. What's the sound?"
"Uh!" *giggle*
"The sound of this letter, honey!"
*giggle* "Ah!" *giggle*
"Quit fooling around, please. Say the sound."
"Aayy!" *dies laughing*
"Not the na...oh!" I slap my head as it dawns on me that he's said all the sounds he knows an a can make except the short a sound. "You got me, Mr. Smartypants! You got me!"
His middle name might need to be Stinker. Smartypants Stinker Martin.

Saying goodbye...

He's not always a little stinker, though. I've been cleaning out my baby gear to give to an expecting friend. She'd had to jettison hers when she moved her big family into a tiny house. My Boppy Pillow, the one that makes breastfeeding easier, came out of storage and went through the wash to prepare it for her. Simon found it on top of the boxes of baby clothes waiting to be loaded into the van. He brought it to me, put it around my waist, laid his head on it and sighed. I rubbed his back saying, "I remember, too, buddy." It was a sweet way to say goodbye to that part of our family life.


On an entirely different note, in case you missed this little gem, Marc Barnes over at The Bad Catholic wrote on Nothing. It's definitely something! It's "Better Than Nothing."

"The Joker is cooler than Batman.
It’s a problem of poetry more than anything else."

"A killing spree may shock society, but it is a boredom to the universe, who ultimately kills everyone. To objectify a woman into a sex object might give men a thrill, but it is pathetic to the universe, who is busy rendering her into a corpse."
Editor's Note: Please be so kind as to remember that Marc ignores all death threats unless they are submitted in Iambic Pentameter.


The day after Thanksgiving is an excellent time to talk about the higher qualities of drudgery (especially if you've read that post from Number 4). I don't like doing dishes and yet I must. And by hand. I can't explain it beyond saying there is something redeemable in the very act of restoring temporary order to a busy kitchen. Suds therapy, I guess. My husband and I both find the quiet moments with warm water and suds mundane, soothing and restorative. "Let me wash the dishes!" and "I need to go do dishes!" are words heard often in our home during periods of high stress. Please take no offense if I take a dishrag and a bottle of Dawn in hand if we are drowning in a discussion of our messy lives. It is no criticism of your housekeeping. I am merely attempting to bring order to the Universe by restoring order somewhere I can actually reach.


I guess it is no mistake that I've taken to placing my prayer requests list within sight of my kitchen sink. Currently there are two divorces and one breakup on it to pray for. Order from chaos, indeed. Some things are beyond the restorative powers of warm water and bubbles, so I hand them over, sometimes several times daily.

My hero!

On a smaller note, my husband has figured out a way to fit our refrigerator into our kitchen. The spot in our farmhouse kitchen was too small for a modern fridge, but with a judicious use of a sawzall saw and the loss of a few inches of counter space, my work triangle will no longer include ducking into the laundry room! Whoot!

Wednesday, November 21, 2012

Wifey Wednesday: Two Tips for a Smoother Thanksgiving

Today's post, like most everything going on today, is going to be rushed and crammed in somewhere between the last minute dashes to the grocery store and the pie baking. We can get very flustered by the added work of a special day. Among my friends we have a name for that harried, distracted, and near frantic pre-holiday mindset: Terrible Martha Syndrome. Yes, it's named for the Martha of the Gospels who has Jesus Himself for dinner, but gets distracted by the work of feeding His disciples and unthinkingly grouses to the Lord about all the trouble she's having to go through for Him (Luke 10:38-42). We do this all the time to our friends and family. Our troubled face and impatient manner communicates loud and clear, "Do you have any idea how much bother I have to go through for you people?"

I'd like to help you with what helps me in those Terrible Martha moments. In and amongst all the cares of the day, try to remember two things: laughter is the best medicine and this particular day will never come again. Enjoy the craziness as much as you can. Everybody in the country is going crazy. It isn't just you.


Laughter is the best medicine. Tears and laughter are the only two things you can do to relieve stress. Yelling and giving vent to negative emotions actually increase the emotion. (Please pardon me for not citing the studies today--I'll plug them in when I'm less harried!) Big feasts and extra people in the house at breakfast are fodder for either pure comedy or pure tragedy. Usually both! In any given moment of high emotion you can either laugh, grouse, or cry. Grousing won't help, crying will wreck your mascara, but laughing will make it better. Put your arm around that aggravating kid and give vent to the giggles. My husband often reminds me that he can forgive me much because I can make him laugh. If you can't manage a giggle, try a loving smile instead of a frown this weekend just once and see if it doesn't make the moment better.


This day will never come again. This may seem like a claxon call to stress out about making the day perfect, but it isn't. I'm actually reminding you that you will never have a chance to have Thanksgiving with a five year old again, so go ahead and let her top the pie. That crooked pie can be one of the best memories of your feast! Don't shoot for perfection, shoot for keeping any particular moment from being a bad memory of when mommy blew her cool.

Christ never told Martha not to do the work. Instead he chides her for her attitude about the work. "Martha, Martha, thou art anxious and troubled about many things: but one thing is needful" (Luke 10:41-42). Do the work, my friends. Just remember that the work is not the point. The meal is not the point. Your relationship with Him and with each of these precious people is the point. Enjoy them this day. The meal is merely the setting for all the jewels of your family to shine particularly prettily for a little while. Treasure them and remember to treasure those mishaps that are bound to happen. They are what your family will laugh about in years to come.

"Remember the year that daddy dropped the turkey?" can be said in a hushed secretive whisper of remembered awe or it can be said with a ring of remembered laughter as a reminder of the ridiculous that lurks behind every great endeavor. Let the ridiculousness of the day be a source of laughter and not of shame and have a great holiday this year. Even if it comes off as mediocre, it's your unique version of mediocre and therefore a family treasure!

In moments like this you can laugh or cry.  Or both!

Tuesday, November 20, 2012

Gluten Free Dessert? Easy!

Don't panic! You can come up with a dairy free, gluten free, soy free desert for your allergy sensitive guests this Holiday Season without making a special (expensive!!) trip to the health food store. Rice Crispy Treats are good, frostable, and malleable enough to make into any shape you like, including the traditional squares.

The recipe is simple:

Rice Crispy Treats

1/4 cup oil, margarine, butter, shortening, or lard
40 large marshmallows (4 cups of the minis)
5 cups rice crispies

On low heat over the stove, stirring constantly, melt the fat and the marshmallows. Do not allow mixture to boil. When the marshmallows are completely melted, turn off the heat and stir in the rice crispies. Coat them evenly with the marshmallow mixture. Using a canola or olive oil based cooking spray (read the ingredients first), spray the mold you want to press the treats into (cupcake tins, 9 x 12 bake pan for traditional squares, bundt cake pan, etc.). Let cool. Remove from mold, frost if desired.
Glaze frosting: 2 cups powdered sugar, 1 tsp vanilla, 2 to 3 Tbs iced water. Mix well. Spread onto treats.

If you are trying to keep away from dairy, wheat or soy be careful of the cooking sprays and the fats you use. Cooking sprays can have everything from wheat to dairy, so read carefully, and don't be afraid to call the person in question and read the ingredients list aloud so they can okay it! Some shortenings use soy. Butter has dairy. Margarine can have dairy and soy. If you need to avoid all of the above you can use another oil (olive oil would not register well on the palate while almond oil or sunflower oil would enhance the flavor) or even plain old lard. When in doubt, check with the person who has the sensitivity. They'll let you know.

Some inspiration from around the net...

Cute gluten free variation from here.
This became a ghost or Squidward. See here.

Tuneful Tuesday

Sometimes a song just hits all the right notes for no particular reason. This is one of those. I like it for no other reason than I like it. When I was in high school and listening to "Classic Rock" stations, this would come on infrequently, but when it did I would have a great day. No matter what. Music is like that. It acts on you.

So, here. Have a great day.

Monday, November 19, 2012

Saturday, November 17, 2012

Housework It, Baby!

Rolling in the deep cleaning
Nothing makes me feel quite like Cinderella than mopping and singing to Adele. I may not have birds and mice flitting around my head, but I do have some soul.

"Throw your toys through every open door!
Walk in my dust pile and find out what this broom's for!!"

Friday, November 16, 2012

7 Quick Takes


Who else is reading The Hobbit aloud to their families this month?  I can't be the only one! 

Coming to theaters December 14, 2012


Because I am neither a Conservative or a Liberal, but tend to desire aspects of both in order to avoid the evils of each, I have lost several on-line friends over the past few weeks. To those of you who are still around, thank you for not making complete agreement on everything a prerequisite to friendship. Some things are going to need discussion and discomfort to hash out. As all the election shouting dies down, I'll be trying to keep in mind that we live in the real world where nobody sees eye to eye on all things, even the important ones.


For a quick diversion, I want to share with you one of my favorite pieces of movie music. I'm too picky to enjoy this particular movie in its entirety--I would rent this simply to fast forward to these Kraken attack scenes. I love the panic driven horns!


Here's another much beloved music piece. I spent several days hunting this one down, thinking that the Italian was Spanish and thereby spelling it wrong in the search engine. I sing to life, too. Love it!


Today we are having homemade Egg Drop Soup for dinner. I'm not sharing the recipe yet for two reason: we aren't done tweaking it and it requires canned chicken foot broth which most of you will not have on hand. It's not a pretty sight, that ingredient. In fact, having the jars out on the counter cooling after being in the pressure canner may qualify as leaving up the Halloween decorations (if we'd ever decorated for it).

 Raise your hand for chicken feet!
Me! Me! Me!


So now that you know we eat weird, maybe you are up for another weird fact about the Martins. We don't respect privacy. I thought you should know this just in case you ever come over and try to use our bathroom. Right now there are seven of us and one of them, so my son has dubbed us The Barging Martins. We have no manners. Fair warning.
"Honey? Are you busy? I want to show you this new dance step I learned!"


It's finally safe to say that I made it all the way through the week on the blogroll over at Standing on my Head. No one came over here and demanded my removal. Next to the likes of Jennifer Fulwiler and Simcha Fischer I'm feeling my inner Guy Fleegman, I'm jazzed to be on the show, but...

"I'm just Crewman #6! I'm expendable. I'm the guy in the blogroll
who dies to prove how serious the New Evangelization is. "

Wednesday, November 14, 2012

Wifey Wednesday: 3 Ways to Protect Your Relationship

Protecting Your Relationship

When the married couples you know get it right, the world is a better place. I simply have to share a moment of awesomeness from a young couple I know.

The husband of the couple is the Godfather of our oldest daughter. We chose him when he was still single. I mean, think about it, a 20ish man in the military as the spiritual backup for our daughter? If that doesn't tell you that he's a cut above, let me just tell you: he's a cut above. His wife is of the same stuff.

It shows in their relationship, too. Neither one of them worry much about what other people think of them. They are not full of the modern psychobabble that causes them to second guess the priorities they give to their relationship. They have made each other and their child the center of their lives and make no excuses to anyone about it. I think it helps that they were both faithful to one another from the beginning: meaning they lived chaste lives before and after they met. It has kept the complications from creeping in. Can you imagine? A marriage without baggage! It changes the whole ballgame.

The simplicity of their relationship shows up in the subtlest ways. Take for example this phone call from the other day. The wife of the couple called me to arrange for a Godfather and Goddaughter snow cone get-together. When it came time to talk details of timing and meeting places she said very casually and cheerfully, "Let me let you talk to my husband. Just a moment!" and handed the phone over.

That may not sound like much, but let me clue you in on some of the subtle ways this phone call indicates that they both habitually and naturally protect their marriage. In this particular instance their marriage was reaffirmed as precious in three subtle moments. In each of these, a clear boundary was established between the two of them and everyone else in the world, including me. The three relationship preserving techniques they used were: "Marital Force Field Activated!", "It's Us!", and "No exceptions!" Let's look at each of these more closely...

-- 1 --
"Marital Force Field Activated!"
When she initiated the call instead of him, she activated a subtle boundary like a marital force field of protection around them both. Her making the call established that she and I are the primary contact of the couple. I have the same habit. With all my married friends, unless I have to discuss specific business with him (like a birthday or Christmas gift for her) I make all my calls to her when I have to talk to them. It puts a social boundary between maried members of the opposite sex. Naturally!

But think about it, for a moment. We are taught in our modern days that we aren't supposed to do such a thing. It's clingy, possessive, old fashioned, or cited as evidence that the husband is too lazy to make telephone calls. Actually, it is just plain old fashioned common sense. Remember that the Catholic penitent promises to God at the end of every Confession to "avoid the near occasions of sin." That means we are bound by that promise to make a prudent attempt to keep ourselves out of temptation's way. Habitually chatting on the phone or getting together to hang out with members of the opposite sex is one of those near occasions and should be curtailed when possible.

In this modern era when the divorce rate is skyrocketing, it's just smart to avoid such situations. This young wife's telephone manners of initiating this call made the entire conversation more comfortable for me and for him in this regard. She stepped in and claimed their social status as a couple. "We are one!" this little act stated, right off the bat. Force fields up!
    Go ahead, be old fashioned:
    Marriages lasted back then

-- 2 --
"It's Us!"

When she said, "Let me let you talk to my husband!" before handing the phone over, this couple declared in a subtle and nonconfrontational way that there was a very clear boundary around the two of them. He was right there next to her, she right next to him, the entire time. The call was a call from them, not just him. It was a mannerly reminder that they belong together and all interaction with others is filtered through the relationship they share. "We are one!" they declared again, quite naturally. So naturally, in fact, that I doubt either was even aware of making that statement.  

-- 3 --
"No exceptions!"
It doesn't matter that she and I are friends, that he is the Godfather to my daughter. Many a woman and many a man has allowed for someone outside the marriage to come in between the two who are married because the exception seemed so logical. "She's my best friend." "He was friends with her before she met me." "He's my brother." Couples need to understand that the only person who can squeeze into the marital bond without damaging or destroying it is a Person with a capital p: Christ. Any other person, other than the children the relationship engenders, belongs clearly on the other side of the line that defines the difference between Us and Them.

The phone call was a success in more ways than one. The couple made me proud to know them, gave me some blog fodder, and established that my husband and I were smart in our choice of Godfather for our girl. Oh yes, and I am very happy to state that the Goddaughter was treated to a snow cone and bragged for days about having the bestest Godfather of all. I have chatted several times on the phone with his lovely wife about it and other things, among them that I was going to brag about her here. It is nice to know that, young as they are, my husband and I have friends like these. Friends who strengthen our marriage by the good example of their own.

Tuesday, November 13, 2012

Tunes for Tuesday

If they are writing music of this quality for video games, can we not improve the pop scene now?

Some of the visuals are from the game itself. Cool, huh?

P.S. Yeah, I know! For a video game!!

P.P.S. No, I've never played it. Are you kidding me?

Sunday, November 11, 2012

The Southern Gal's Mumble Rule Does Not Apply Here

Usually I can sit over here in my dusty little corner and mumble away about Catholicism and the New Evangelization without attracting too much attention--with the exception of my eight year old son. He is still impressed that I can write something that one can (theoretically) access on the Internet. I've got two more years of coolness on my mom meter by last count.

I thought my little joke yesterday would go under the radar. I thought I would simply point a few of my readers his way and manage to churn out an extra post this week in the same tongue in cheek fell swoop. I thought wrong. I found a comment on the post today and a nice message in my inbox from THE Father Dwight Longenecker himself. I also found myself on his blogroll!

Guess that means I've got some cleanup to do around here. "Grab that garbage sack, honey! We're getting company!"

Better yet, I'd better get some writing done...

Saturday, November 10, 2012

Fr. Dwight Longenecker's New Blogroll is Up!

"One does not simply 'get' on a blogroll"
Father Longenecker posted his list of requirements today to earn a slot on his blogroll:

If your blog or the one you recommended isn’t there it’s not because it is not worthy, but because it wasn’t what I was looking for. What was I looking for? See below:

1. Non-Patheos – We must assume that the gang at Patheos Catholic are already wonderful bloggers (he said modestly) You can check out the other excellent blogs on Patheos by surfing the site.
2. Good Writing – What I’m looking for is wit, style, a sharp new angle. The new media must entertain as well as enlighten.
3. Personality – A blog is a personal journal. We want your particular and peculiar voice.
4. Regular Writing - A blogger has to post every day. Sorry!
5. Joie de Vivre - Joy of Life. I don’t care what your moans and groans are. I’m looking for someone with a merry eye and a spring in their step. If they have a moan I want it to be expressed with sarcasm, wit and a sense of proportion
6. Knowledge – we want information as well as insights
7. Conspiracy Theories – only when used as fodder for silliness…

If readers have other suggestions–entries to the combox please!

All I have to do is post daily because besides the worthiness, knowledge, good writing, and personality requirements, I got this list owned! Sloth (and actually getting recommended) is the only thing holding me back!

Image Source: Big Fat Greek Wedding
Of course, we may have to gussy up a little first.

I actually make a habit of reading Standing on My Head, but you know what I didn't find when I looked on MY blogroll? Yeah...fixing that!

Friday, November 9, 2012

7 Quick Takes


Okay, inventors. Now's the time for that anti-virus program for families. Because now would be good. Or actually two or three days ago before we were infected (again) with the latest bug going around.

"Hi, honey! How was work? No, don't come in. Just...hang...on...while...I get this scan thingie going...There!...Aw, well, it looks like you're infected. Here take your dinner and sleep in the car until we can get you disinfected. Yeah, your immune system will take a few days to download the antivirus program and clear it out. You'll be fine. Yeah. Drink plenty of fluids out there. The hose isn't frozen yet. Warm spell. Yeah, so we're good here."

Before you hit that hate spam "Send" button, in real life I let him in the house. That's just the fantasy temptation I had while updating the anti-virus software for the computer. I gazed upon Frodo's ring...

"Love me and despair! Your germs have no welcome here!"


So we're all coming down with something here. Whoop-di-doodily-whoop, y'all! It's the weekend at the Martins!

You'll want to check out the image source for this pic: Duct Tape Your Sister to a Wall

You know it's true.

Well, the Dow is dropping. Employers are laying off employees again. "Hope it changes!"


Some of you have already heard me on this, but for those of you who haven't, read up before you complain to me about the Bishops and priests not doing their jobs before this election. Look at this graph.
Image Source: Pew Forum on Religious Life
As you can see, those who attend church regularly, voted for Romney. I'd say that is a clear indication that the message about conscience protections was delivered by the Bishops and the priests. Heard and understood. Good job, clergy.

Why didn't that message get out to the public square? Who's job is that, you ask? It's the laity's job. Yours and mine. The priests and the Bishops don't circulate much. We do. If the message was delivered from the pulpit, as this poll shows it was, and the message didn't get out as the election results shows that it wasn't, then this election was lost by us, folks. You and I sitting in the pews. It's time to quit complaining and start evangelizing.


The election is over, so now what? Wallow for a day or two and then get busy.

First task at hand? If you were blindsided by this election result, you need to add some friends to your Twitter and Facebook accounts: any one who disagrees with you. Quit preaching to the choir and quit being obnoxious in your debate style (note to self).  Dialogue doesn't mean dancing a victory dance over the grave of your Facebook thread after you have shut someone up. It means praying over each Tweet and post and swallowing your pride when the insults come. Turn that other cheek, keep your fingers off your keyboard while you do it, take a deep breath and an even deeper prayer and keep talking.

We are the New Evangelization.


Last thought on the election: Tuesday evening many of us were perfectly happy to do God's will. By 10 p.m. Eastern, many of us were not so happy. I've been asking myself this over the last few days, "Will you only be God's friend when it is easy or when His will is aligned with yours?" This has been my answer: our religion was born on a cross, nourished by the blood of martyrs, flourished in the catacombs, and I thought this was going to be easy?

His grace is sufficient.


We're good here!

Tuesday, November 6, 2012


Without life, there is no liberty. Don't sit by and let either pass you by. Go forth and vote.

Monday, November 5, 2012

Because it is Monday


Need more optimism because it is Monday? Gotcha covered...

Hat tip to Catholic Memes for getting the word out on this little gem.

Friday, November 2, 2012

All the Souls Having Lived, Died, or Never Been

I have not just been quiet on this blog. I have been quite quiet.

Last week I drove over twelve hours to consult with the Pope Paul VI Institute in Omaha, Nebraska, partly to find out if my fears of an early Menopause were true and ultimately to find out what was causing the endless grind of fatigue and thyroid malfunction. I could have done it all over the phone and through consultation, but I needed to look the doctor in the eye while he told me what I didn't want to hear. I also wanted to have all the testing done on my metabolism problems with nothing lost in translation because my four year old daughter has now been diagnosed with thyroid malfunction. It is now no longer just about me and my health. I am building a medical history for her. It was worth the trip in many ways.

This journey started two years ago when all signs pointed to an early loss of fertility. I was not resigned to it. I am still not. I have so wanted another child of my body. I so did not want to be so early sterile.

Words do not adequately express my emotions at all this, coupled as this is in miscarriage and being denied the privilege of raising most of the children I have fostered. No words fit here. Moving on through this paragraph, as through each moment, is the only option other than a continued silence. So I am moving on, attempting to reconcile what I learned this past week, that I should never have been able to conceive and carry three so easily. That instead of, in spite of, grieving for the loss of my fertility, the reality of any living children from my own body is evidence of a profound blessing.

Miscarriage and early sterility is, in fact, what my body naturally defaults to. This is what I learned. I also learned that there is a treatment plan for me that will alleviate some of my symptoms even if it does not produce more than that, so things shall get better. I have been standing at the closed door of another pregnancy for several years now. It is time to stop knocking.

My hands are shaking while I write this. I have lost four children to miscarriage, two more to the effects of The Pill. I have handed even more beloved children, foster children I was not privileged to raise, back to the hands of a dubious fate. My silence is wrapped around a wordless, endless keening of the spirit that will not translate to anyone who has not suffered loss. It has faded like a song barely heard, playing out in the open rooms and chambers of my heart, an unsung lullaby for each precious one.

Instead, I shall continue to knock at a neighboring door. It is the door to fostering, to adoption. It, too, has brought me blessings beyond compare, two daughters of my heart, and it, too, has brought loss. I have fostered ten. Eight children, eight blessings, eight precious ones I have put into the arms of another, obediently but unwillingly.

Those of you who have lost know that part of the song of a family is the space between the verses, the silence of those who are not there to sing. You know that it is no wonder we see ghosts when our hearts long to fill the empty spaces that the dead leave behind.

So, on this day, the one where we celebrate all the souls of our loved ones, I am full of long silences. I am waiting for something, hoping for hope, and holding on to all the little hands that are mine to hold. I lit a candle for all the ones who have gone. I went to the cemetery to pray. I went to Mass yesterday. I Confessed to God that I wanted everyone back, every one, and more.

I wish I could end this with a note of triumph or strength, with a powerful revelation from God that in time, yes, we will all be together again with our beloved dead. A testament of Faith like that would be so nice right about now. Sure, all of that is true, it is all very good.

Instead I can only say that this moment is already moving beyond me. Time slips through our fists, even when we cling. I feel the slip of wind and time tuning me to another call, a daughter wandering out of bed, a dog begging at the door. To each call I am obedient.

My heart turns with the hand to the task. This is how I turn to God again. Like this. As I get up and do what I am called to do.