Thursday, February 28, 2013

Goodbye Father




I remember the day that Pope Benedict XVI was elected. The words “Habemus Papam!” rang out from my television set and I sat down and burst into tears. I was pregnant at the time and emotional anyway, but I was hit pretty hard with the death of John Paul II. In 2005 I was still freshly Catholic, still trying to figure out how to manage a day to day Catholic life. Simply knowing who the Pope was helped.

Pope John Paul II was an intellectual powerhouse. He was a man strong enough to fight Communism from the inside. He was consistent. He was also charismatic. That helped, that charm. When I wanted to slack off in my efforts to attempt at holiness, that twinkle in his eye would leap out at me from a photograph or a television screen and dare me to be better. I don’t know how he managed to make a personal connection through a lens, but he did. I think the motherless, brotherless, fatherless loneliness that he had conquered had something to do with that ability. With that look of his, that gentle smile of his, he could touch that loneliness in all of us that he knew so well. He had battled to the very depths of it and found that he was not alone and he found a way to share that message with the world. We are never alone.


The election of the new Pope in 2005 was something new to me. I knew nothing of the process, nothing of the men who might be elected. I was an avid EWTN listener and viewer, but tended to tune out anything that didn’t involve doctrine directly. Joseph Ratzinger was an unfamiliar name to me. When the regular press called him the Rotweiler I thought, “Well, maybe the Church needs that type of Pope right now.” Time for a stern hand.

Then that first encyclical came out, “God is Love.” I was surprised. “This from the Rotweiler?” It didn’t sound very attack dog-ish to me. After that I started noticing him more. His look was very much like my newborn son’s, there was a gentle hesitance to him that was the mark of a more introverted personality than his predecessor. There was a twinkle in his eye, too, but it was the delight of a grandfather, the light of love. I began to see that he was very right to begin his Pontificat with a discussion of God’s love. This man radiated Fatherly love.


His writings are much easier to crack open initially than John Paul II’s. He has a more teacherly gift of being able to break down the intellectual flights into simple explanations. The words he chooses are like a dock built over deep water. You can stand on it and enjoy the view from the surface or you can dive in and explore the depths. His predecessor’s writings are like the mountain trails he so loved. Each step into John Paul II’s writing is an effort and both the climb and the view take your breath away.

But I am not a scholar at the moment. I am a mother and a wife. I’ll take my Popes personally and familiarly. They are Fathers to me and to my family.

This spiritual father is leaving me due to an aging body and at the same time my earthly father is sickening day by day with dementia. I am avoiding the news pics of Benedict leaving Rome because I must watch my own father slip away a little at a time. I have a choice in this and I choose not to watch.

I am taking it personally. I can’t help that. I don’t want to watch him leave. It's not that I'm feeling abandoned exactly, but it is too akin to that slightly orphaned feeling I get when my dad can’t remember the end of the sentence he was speaking. One father’s mind is failing him, the other his body. I don’t want to feel this alone.

So, I am ending this gentle man’s papacy the same way that I began it, by sitting down in tears because there’s just no helping myself. He’s going away.

He’s going away. My dad is slipping away. What else am I to do?

Then I think of that other Pope, my first Pope and I know to wait, hope and trust. Pope John Paul II would understand my feelings perfectly. He would also dare me to do something useful with the feeling. Don’t worry, Papa, I won’t waste it.


John 14:27
“Peace I leave with you, my peace I give unto you: not as the world giveth, give I unto you. Let not your heart be troubled, neither let it be afraid.” (KJV)

Wednesday, February 27, 2013

The Contraceptive Mentality in Marriage: Tim Ohmes' Conversion Story

We brought it up on the podcast tonight and, as promised, I am reposting Tim's amazing conversion story. It is long, but it is so worth it.

Click here for a link to Tim's story...

Listen here for Tim's story in Tim's own words on the Podcast.


Listen to internet radio with Deeper Truth on Blog Talk Radio

Tonight's show is not up yet. I will link it as soon as it is available.

Tuesday, February 26, 2013

Storm Pics

The storm started in the wee hours of Monday morning with thunder, lighting and a blast of wind. That wind got up to 74 mph and didn't let up until yesterday afternoon. It was so bad and so loud that when it finally calmed down to the 30 mph range our ears rang for an hour or more afterwards.
They closed the roads, but a few vehicles braved the elements.
Now that it is all over, everyone is waiting on the water content numbers. I haven't heard any complaints from a single Texan about the storm. Water is water no matter how tall!

Storm's over? Time to go play!

She insisted on wearing a dress in and amongst the layers!
We discovered that the wind had done some funny business. We had bare dirt in places and drifts in others. This is the inside of our garage (note the open door)...

We loaded up the garage to protect all this stuff!

This is our goat who managed to keep in once piece. We thought for sure she'd kid mid-blizzard. See how the wind left a bare swath around her shed?

Her feed bucket was snatched out of Andy's hands and blew away during the storm.
We'll probably find it on our next hike in Palo Duro Canyon.

This drift was our favorite place to play. It's just under five feet tall and was formed on the north side of the house. The snow was frozen and packed hard enough to keep the adults from breaking through, too.

That's the feed shed behind them. The roof is about knee level to the kids.

We made it through safe and warm. We didn't even lose power though the Internet went out when the ice overtook the satellite dish.

Safe and Sound Here!

We've dug out our garage and it's my husband's regularly scheduled weekend, so we are going to sit out the thaw here at home, painting a bathroom!

Saturday, February 23, 2013

7 Quick Takes


--1--

I love history. I love novels. Historical fiction is a joy for me if the writing and the history are done well. Anachronisms drive me batty. I can’t say that they are entirely possible to avoid. Our modern viewpoint is bound to intrude here and there, but blatantly compromising history through ignorance or through marketing considerations causes books to become airborne around here.

Post Sexual Revolution mores stand out like beacons of silliness in the Fourteenth Century. In the real history of the actual people referenced in a book I chanced upon, the consequences for their moral choice was banishment from the kingdom. In the novel that was glossed over as if it were of no consequence. Can you imagine years of your life cut off from your friends and family and homeland as no big deal? Me, neither.

Novel tossed.

(And no, I'm not giving free publicity to it by mentioning it by name.)


--2--

My mother is out of the hospital and felt well enough to come by to see the grandkids Friday. Walking is now a part of her must do list. If you’re wondering why she was in the hospital, she unknowingly had pneumonia. If you’re wondering how she could not know she had pneumonia, she has Cystic Fibrosis. If you’re wondering what Cystic Fibrosis is, click the word. If you’re wondering how she can have that disease and be in her 70s, you’re not the only one. She’s a medical astonishment, but she’s better now.


--3--

First World Announcement

Whoo! Whoo!
Celebrate good times!


We now have bathrooms! (Note: plural s on the direct object!) That’s right, we’re a two potty party over here! The second bathroom is finished except for the painting. I’d say the lines to use the bathroom are reduced at our house, but since all the kids want to exclusively use the new toilet, everyone is still waiting and whining outside one bathroom door. If you come over for a visit, use the bathroom at the back. No lines. No waiting.


--4--

Large Family Announcement

Whoo! Whooer! Whooest!
Celebrate even better times!


At 7:45 February 12, 2013, all the laundry at my house was done. All of it. I had to make a note of that somewhere. The last time this happened my washing machine was broken and I ran all 15 loads simultaneously at the laundry mat.

Please note that the date is actually from last Tuesday. We had a slew of bed wetting that very night and throughout the next week, so I was so busy washing bedding and blankets last Friday that I totally forgot to make this announcement in last week’s Quick Takes. Those of you who have families of 3 or more kids totally understand why the accomplishment bears announcement even when evidence of it did not last a full 24 hours.

I did it. I folded it. I put it away. All of it.


--5--

Speaking of folding laundry, I was calculating how many times I’ve been through the entire Bible the other day. I’m on my fourth time through, not counting Daily Masses. If the first sentence doesn’t make sense to you, folding a pile of laundry bigger than your head is mind-numbingly stimulating: you will think of anything to keep yourself mentally occupied. If the second sentence doesn’t make sense, you have to know that the Catholics hear the entire Bible in Sunday Mass every three years (it only takes one year for Daily Mass attendees), so I figured out how many times I’d heard the Bible since I’d converted. I counted up the years, then divided by three.

How many times have you been through the Bible? Anyone actually sat and read  through the whole thing? If you don’t count the Epistles, the book of Numbers, Leviticus, and Matthew 1, I’ve read it all the way through, too!


--6--

If you haven’t read this yet, read this. It will help you when you are thinking that you’re the only one who feels this way. All my friends who have children reacted to this piece with a “That’s me!” reaction. All of my friends who have children with special needs reacted the exact same way.

Which brings me to this point I’ve made before: parenting children with special needs is not a different kind of parenting, it’s just more intense. We’re doing exactly what good parents do for children, we are just having to do it longer or harder for this child than that one. Parenting is parenting and children are children. We don’t stop being human just because our bodies or our minds work quirky.

Here We Are
by Simcha Fisher


--7--

On a related note, here’s a story poem that someone shared with my husband and me shortly after we received the news that our son likely had Autism. It helped.



Welcome to Holland

by Emily Perl Kingsley

To view this poem, click here...

Wednesday, February 20, 2013

The Divorce Cure?


My son asked about adultery today and I was all ready to yank the last vestiges of media from his life to save him from the Big Bad World when come to find out he'd heard about it in Church.

"Stupid Commandments," I grumbled to myself as I tried to figure out a way to discuss sexual sin with an innocent. I punted, "It's when people act like they are married to each other when they are married to  other people."

His brows came down into a frown. "That would be bad," he said.

"It's very bad," I agreed.

It led to a discussion of divorce, naturally enough, and a promise exacted from my son to never pretend I was married to anyone but his daddy. He also promised solemnly to do the same for his wife.

I'm glad he's already thinking and praying for my future daughter-in-law. I pray for her, too. Living in a crazy world where half of all marriages end in divorce, everyone could use some prayer.

Which brings me to this startling statistic. Though the divorce rate for the general population is 50%, it is 5% for couples who practice Natural Family Planning (more on that in next week's podcast) and it is 0.3% for couples who pray together (source: Our Catholic Marriage). In other words, one couple out of 300 will wind up divorced if they take the time to pray. The couple who prays together really does stay together.

I find that heartening. I also find it terrifying.

I have been naked and frisky in front of my husband, I have been sick with all manner of illnesses, and I have both given birth and miscarried before his very eyes, but I have never felt so exposed and vulnerable than when we have opened up to God together. Let's just say that there is intimacy and then there is Intimacy.

According to Scripture it is the heart that prays and what is the heart?


The heart is the dwelling-place where I am, where I live; according to the Semitic or Biblical expression, the heart is the place "to which I withdraw." The heart is our hidden center, beyond the grasp of our reason and of others; only the Spirit of God can fathom the human heart and know it fully. The heart is the place of decision, deeper than our psychic drives. It is the place of truth, where we choose life or death. It is the place of encounter, because as images of God we live in relation: it is the place of covenant. (CCC 2563) 


Praying with your husband means bringing him there.

Kinda scary. As modern wives we're used to bringing him into our bodies, into our day to day life, even into our thoughts and hopes and dreams, but are we called to bring our husband into our very Truth, to that place in our soul where each breath God asks of us is sighed out, "Yes!"?

Yes, yes, yes.

The two shall become one, yes. We two shall become a reflection of God, a unity of Three Persons, so yes.

Couples do this, they really do. My sister and her husband do this. My neighbor does this. In fact, not praying together is kind of a modern thing with couples.

About as Modern as the 50 percent divorce rate.

There is help out there. To break the ice, you can get started with a sincere and nightly recitation of the prayer Christ taught us, the "Our Father." When you are ready to move on, there is this resource: Coupleprayer.org. It's ecumenical in nature and designed to get you praying daily. It's also just a little bit fun.

Just like we worked our way past the awkwardness of learning how to be intimate with each other as Newlyweds, we worked our way past the awkwardness of learning how to be Intimate on this level as Oldlyweds. We worked to make daily prayer together a habit. We knew it was worth it.

Seriously, bumping a 50/50 chance of success to 300 to 1 odds?  Discovering couple prayer is like finding a cure for divorce! Who wouldn't want that?

For more on Couple Prayer and some good old Christian common sense, tune in to tonight's Garden of Holiness Podcast at Deeper Truth.


--------------------------



This has been a Wifey Wednesday Post. To have an even more Wifey Wednesday visit Sheila Wray Gregoire at To Love Honor and Vacuum.



Saturday, February 16, 2013

Lent: So Glad It Only Comes Once a Year

For several years running I gave up complaining for Lent. It took me that long to do it right. I gave up complaining out loud two years in a row. After that I worked on quieting the inner complaints. Last year I gave up complaining to God Himself. The habit of grousing has its back broken enough after all that hard work that I am able to nip it in the bud with just a little effort whenever I notice myself falling into it again. I developed a new improved habit to replace it. Moving on. I want more of that!

Next!

For various reasons, I decided to give up the fa├žade of toughness that is my habitual response to the pains and arrows of the world. Toughness is not a sin, no. Nor is a shell around one's softer spots a bad idea. The only problem is when the habit of relying on a tough outer coating interferes with other strategies that are just as necessary to a happy and healthy life. I was finding I had more faith in my ability to protect myself from Life than in God's desire to give me what is good for me. When that habit of relying on myself superseded a reliance on God, it became disordered. 

I am disordered when I habitually use my wit to distract with laughter those who stumble uncomfortably close to the truths of me. I am disordered when I selfishly wield my Socratic questioning skills to open up the other person and use their natural desire to talk about themselves as a shield to hide myself behind. My barbed snark is the final weapon and it proves fatal to any budding friendship not healthy enough to live until the apology can take the sting out of the wound and stop the hemorrhage. Wit, getting others to talk, and sarcasm are not inherent evils. They are talents that can be invested badly, invested well, or buried in the ground. 

I've not buried them. For the most part I use them well. Yet, they are also part of the armor I use to keep this Hermit Crab crabby. As weapons, they are offensive, and in matters of the heart friendly fire wounds deepest. My heart has long stopped needing such a vigorous guard since I am better able to discriminate friend from foe. This Lent my guard is called to stand down and accept new orders. The Medic has been called.

I won't go into the details of how hard a Lent this has been. Let me say vaguely that I am battle weary from fighting off friend and foe and now I must engage against myself. Let me protest that my old wounds have scars that open up when pulled in a new direction. The barest hint of fresh air on that sort of thing stings and smarts and makes me wish I'd left well enough alone. Finally, let me say it's been a heartache, of course. Heart surgery hurts. The stone must be crushed and crumbled and removed before the heart of flesh can beat again. I am mixing my metaphors and yet I am still ending this paragraph. See? A certain amount of hardness can be used for good.

Here we are three days into Lent and I am exhausted and beyond my strength. I have Confessed and been shriven and admonished with the phrase, "You do not trust in God enough." I was assigned a penance to last all through Lent, too. God isn't kidding around! And just when I was thinking, "Well, I asked for this. Time to buckle down to it." I got hit with a nasty cold and an ear infection. I've had more than enough already, thank you. 

Time to rely solely on the only thing that is ever reliable: the only Person who is ever reliable.

Jesus, I trust in You. 37 days and counting. 

Good thing I haven't given up complaining this year.


Friday, February 15, 2013

7 Quick Takes





1



Have I mentioned that I love my laptop? I am able to integrate writing around family life a whole lot better with it. At this very moment I am on my way to the little town where my spiritual director lives. It is absolutely awesome. My husband is driving, the kids are chatting, and I am blogging. Wild.


2



I had a revelation about Hell and God this morning as I contemplated dragging my carcass out of the warm bed into a 55 degree house. Our thermostat is cranky, by the way, and tends to shut off if it is jostled. We have five children, two dogs and four cats. We jostle. Cold mornings are a regular occurrence, but that’s not the point.

The point is I had no desire at all to get up out of bed early nor to brave the chilly floor and house. I was lolling in bed, eyes closed, listening to the radio in the dark, attempting to muster the desire to muster. Inevitably I dosed off for a second. It was only for a second, but I had that panicky startled wake up and determined then and there to get a move on. I reached up and turned on the light.

My eyes, totally given over to the dark, suffered the light. It was barely painful, but in addition to the cold and the fatigue, I felt the eye ache on a personal and a resentful level.

That’s when it hit me. Though Hell is described as a torment, Heaven would be an even worse torment for those who hate the Light. It would burn and ache and drive spears into the souls of those who hate it.

These are my thoughts first thing this morning. Can you tell I am in dire need of Confession here?  What a crank! I sincerely hope to be more cheerful as soon as I clean out some muck and goo.


3

Loving That Post-Confession Feeling!

Ah, much better. I feel like a million bucks. It’s a good thing this post is in 7 Quick Takes format or I’d have to trash the first two because of the abrupt change in tone. Like life, these little blurbs can take a complete turn around in authorial attitude rather well.


4


At breakfast my oldest daughter, age 7, asked Father if she could start studying for First Communion and First Confession. She’s been asking about it at home for several months now and we’ve wondered if she is ready, second guessing ourselves. Father settled the matter rather quickly after asking her several questions to determine her readiness. In addition to her, he asked us several questions about Simon. Father is going to work with us to get Simon able to use the iPad in the Confessional to assist their communication. Simon is talking but his diction is such that he is incredibly hard to understand. Father, knowing this, is eager to use the technology that will make Simon able to do it now when his heart is ready rather than waiting on his speech skills to catch up. We are very excited to announce we are starting Sacramental Preparation at our house!

5

Honestly, I don’t know why I haven’t learned to write stuff down. My husband will say, “Oh you need to blog that!” and I’ll smile and agree and I won’t make a move to jot the incident down. I always regret it when Friday comes. “Honey, do you remember that thing we were going to put in the 7 Quick Takes?” “Yeah, it was funny. What was it again? Did you get it written down?”

No.

6

Pretty soon I’ll be moving this blog over to Wordpress. I’ll have my own domain name and everything. Jeff Young at The Catholic Foodie is helping me make the transition, so you can see his name as a blog contributor. Wouldn’t that be the coolest thing ever? Maybe I should ask him for some insights about food meeting faith.

7


For the next few weeks the Podcasts will be exploring modern marriage and the problems we experience. We (Tim and Rozanne Ohmes and my very own husband Andy and I) will be touching on Genesis and the Theology of the Body as we discuss struggling with NFP.

This week Rozanne and I will first attempt to give you the best cure we know for marital ills: praying together. For my Wifey Wednesday post this week I’m going to give you links, suggestions, and the stats on couples who pray together. The Podcast on Wednesday at 9 p.m. Eastern will go into more depth about Couple Prayer. You won’t want to miss it.

Wednesday, February 13, 2013

Sackcloth and Ashes


One of the nice things about having a blog is that you get to stand on a soap box any time you get an urge to string more than 140 characters together. So, I’d like to take a moment to pretend all the network and cable media are out there listening so that I may educate them about what they either do not know, don’t care to know, or pretend not to know: the Catholic Church is not a political entity or a democracy. It is neither a denomination nor a bunch of sinless saints either, though that last one is something it really ought to be.

No, the Church, most closely, is a family, a big one. The members, past, present, and future are in various stages of sanctity from the most depraved sinner who refuses to step foot in the door, to the grossest hypocrite enthroned in the pew front and center, to the saintly old lady offering her sufferings unnoticed from the back pew.

Like any large family we squabble. This one with the beam blinding him wants to take the mote out of that one's eye. You know how it goes. Some of us are best buddies, some of us best enemies, and some of us just can't stand sitting in the same car with others of us, much less the same pew. "His politics are touching me!"

The only thing we have in common is Christ, the Eucharist. Well, Him and sin. We all fall short in some way and we all need Him. I guess that makes three things we have in common. But that's it.

I forgot the other Sacraments. We have Baptism in common and Marriage, Confirmation, Last Rites, Holy Orders, and Confession. Some of us really need to make that list way more common, but I digress.

We don't even speak the same language, aside from Latin, so it really is hard for us to have a decent conversation across the dinner table or the Altar. Who needs it anyway? We go to Mass to hear, not to be heard, so really, that's not as big a problem as it could be.

Our biggest problem is ourselves, that "falling short” business. Our second biggest problem is that whole “bear wrongs patiently” injunction. Nobody but a saint could manage that with people like *insert name here* around.

Oh. Right. Sainthood. Holiness. That’s what we’re supposed to be shooting for. That’s that mark we keep on missing.

Which brings us to today. It’s that time again, time for repentance. It’s time to fast, rend our garments, get all ashy and penitent. Yes, my sweet Evangelical friends, of course we could do this any time and on our own initiative just like David did. We can also do it when the Powers That Be call us to do it just like Nineveh did. Or we could do it this way, too, the way most of us are much more likely to do it, just like our elder brothers and sisters, the Jewish faithful, do each year, we can be called to a scheduled and seasonal ritual of repentance.

Which brings us to Mass and Ashes today and you, my usual audience of people who read to the last paragraph or so. You’re used to endurance, so this season may just be your kind of thing. This year it you may be called to offer up your regular seat and parking space to someone new showing up for their Ashes. You may be called to offer up the knee jerk response of jerks just because our faith happens to be in the news. And hardest of all you may even be called to give up a gentle and faithful Papa to ill health and old age long before you are ready.

It’s going to be a long haul this year. We’ve got a lot to offer this year. Might as well get to it because it seems that now is a very acceptable time, like it or not.


Monday, February 11, 2013

Because it is Monday


For the record, I support his decision. John Paul II taught us one lesson about end of life issues and heroism. This Pope is teaching us another.

I hope to post on this topic this evening in a more serious tone.

Saturday, February 9, 2013

7 Quick Takes



--1--



The Garden of Holiness will be changing soon. It will have an updated look and I'll be better able to organize the different features: recipes, homesteading posts, marriage and parenting topics, podcasts, and fashion tips so they are more searchable. Stay tuned!

--2--



In Texas the old timers’ names for meals can be confusing to outsiders. The midday meal is called lunch if it is light and it is called dinner if it is cooked. If lunch is called dinner then dinner is supper. Supper is lighter and often leftovers from the day’s dinner. We use lunch and dinner both to name the midday meal depending on the fanciness of the feast. If it's just sandwiches, it's lunch. If there was an oven involved, it's dinner. We often have loud conversations across various rooms of the house that sound like this.

Mom: "Come and eat!"
Kid 1: "What are we having? Is it lunch or dinner?"
Mom: "It's soup. It's lunch."
Kid 2: "I wanted dinner!"
Husband: "Oh, aren't we having lunch? This is cooked."
Kid 3: "I didn't want it cooked!"
Mom: "Would you people just eat!"

You just have to be born here for it to make sense. My parents were born here so I have the habit of it, but I'm not sure I'm fluent as a native speaker of Texan.


--3--

No matter what we wind up calling it we almost always eat breakfast, our main meal at midday, and a lighter meal at night. My husband’s work schedule means he leaves in the late morning, so I cook breakfast everyday, get the day rolling, and then cook our dinner to serve before his workday starts. That second meal together is invariably rushed, so the meal we get to relax together as a family and enjoy each other’s company is breakfast, so it is a big deal at our house. I have tons of good breakfast recipes that I thought I’d share.

--4--


Pumpkin Rolls

This was a new one we made up on the spot using pizza dough and pumpkin. It was inspired. I’ll have to cook it again in order to get the measurements more exact because like all good creations, I added this and that and wasn’t too specific about amounts.

You can use any pizza dough recipe or a ready made dough from a can. I'd give you my recipe but when I make pizza dough I make it with 12 cups of flour, so I didn't include it here.

Take enough pizza dough for one pizza and roll it out thinly into a rectangle. Take a cup of pumpkin and 1/2 cup firmly packed brown sugar and mix. Spread over your rectangle of dough. Roll up the dough into a tube. Cut the tube into 1 to 2 inch rolls and set them onto a prepared baking pan (either greased or parchment papered). Bake rolls at 350 for about 15 to 20 minutes.

Glaze with 1/2 cup powdered sugar and about 1 TBS pumpkin mixed. The glaze should drizzle with the consistency of cinnamon roll glazing and then dry solid.

You can play with this recipe, adding or taking away sugar. Next time I’m using cinnamon in it.


--5--

Pumpkin Bread

This recipe is adapted from taste of home

3 3/4 cup flour
3 cups sugar
1/4 tsp ginger
1/2 tsp allspice
1/4 tsp cloves
1/2 tsp nutmeg
2 tsp cinnamon
2 tsp baking soda
1 tsp salt
4 eggs
2 cups pumpkin
1/2 cup olive oil
handful of dried cranberries
handful of dried cherries
1 cup chopped nuts (optional)

Combine dry ingredients in a large bowl. In another bowl whisk together the eggs, pumpkin, and oil, Stir mixture into the dry ingredients until moistened. Fold in the dried fruits.

Spoon into two greased loaf pans. Bake at 350 for 70 to 80 minutes until a toothpick inserted near the center comes out clean. Cool for 10 minutes before removing the pan to wire racks to finish cooling. Makes 2 loaves.

--6--

There will be no Podcast this Wednesday as we enter into Lent. As a matter of fact, this month I have been Podcasting for one full year. Whoot!

--7--



In two weeks, my dear friend Rozanne Ohmes will be back on the Podcast. We're starting a new series of talks. We are talking Contraception and NFP. Our first show on February 20, 2013, will cover intimacy in a surprising new way, then in the next show on February 27 the ladies will tackle the problems of modern marriage in light of a contraceptive mentality. The following week of March 6 our husbands will tackle the same topic from the men's perspective. Don't miss it!

Tuesday, February 5, 2013

Oat Bread Recipe

Rozanne's Oat Bread

Ingredients:

2/3 cup dry whole oats (or oatmeal)
1 cup boiling water
2 Tbs brown sugar
1 Tbs olive oil
2 tsp salt

Place the above ingredients into a bowl. Add boiling water and stir. Let sit until cool.

Proof:
2 tsp yeast
1 1/2 cup warm water

6 cups flour

Once the oat mixture is cool to the touch, add the proofed yeast and water. Add all to the flour in a large mixing bowl. Mix or knead until dough is no longer sticky to the touch. Let rise in a greased bowl. Shape into loaves and let rise again. Bake loaves at 350 degrees for 25 to 35 minutes.

Here is last week's bake. I doubled the recipe.
I double this recipe and get 4 large loaves. It's almost enough bread for the week. This week's bake is pictured below in the rising stage. It's a tripled batch because I needed some rolls to go with a hearty beef stew.


This week I tripled the batch in order to have four loaves and 12 rolls.
These are rising on the back of my stove.


As soon as I get two more loaf pans, I'll be tripling it regularly and baking once a week. That'll be nice once the summer heat hits.


Sunday, February 3, 2013

7 Quick Late and Busy Takes




I am late posting my 7 Quick Takes this week because we are fulfilling the last requirements for reopening our home to fostering and adopting. My takes this week will be reflecting that!

--1--
Transcripts

One of the easiest items we had to provide was our high school transcripts. Apparently the State of Texas had a run on foster parents who couldn’t read and therefore couldn’t assist in the schooling of foster children. Knowing full well that literacy can not be proved by a diploma, I feel a little frustrated by the requirement. It isn't the requirement itself and I don't mind fulfilling requirements, but every time I hear the reasoning behind this, I comprehend more fully why subsidiarity works better than big
bureaucracies.

--2--
Well Water Tested

This isn’t as hard as it sounds, nor as expensive. We simply have to remove the screen, clean the spigot, and then bring a sample of water into the lab. That's on the agenda Monday.

--3--
Rabies Shots for All Pets

This is in our own best interest and would have been done anyway. We have neutered everyone and shot them all up full of vaccines. We have two dogs and four cats, so the vets know us well. I am one of those people whose curiosity is aroused easily, so I am now the proud owner of the knowledge that best practices for cat vaccines is to give them in the hind legs. Cats' immune systems sometimes attempt to isolate a problem area from the rest of the body. When the immune system attempts to isolate a vaccination site, it can turn tumorous and malignant. The vet tech said, "It's a lot less fatal to remove a hind leg than a head, so we do our shots back here!" She pointed me to a ton of studied on it, which will interest my husband. He's more into the gruesome medical details than I am.


--4--
Speaking of Gruesome


We have mice. We thought we'd gotten rid of them with zealous use of traps, but wouldn't you know it, as soon as it warmed up, they woke up and went on the hunt for food and water. In our kitchen! Did I mention we had a warm spell during the social worker's visit? She saw three mice. That's the bad news.

The good news is that I'm related to half the town, so of course I have a cousin in the extermination business. Not only do I get rid of the mice, I get to visit with my cousin and catch up on news. In fact, I told his secretary (his wife) to schedule the consultation close to a meal time and I'd feed him while he was over.

--5--
Swap Bedrooms

The girls room had an outside door. Foster children are not allowed to have access form their bedrooms to the outside. We can’t seal he door because our house is L-shaped and that would mean one part of the L wouldn’t have an easy exit in case of fire. The simple solution was to swap rooms with them.

Most of my week has been involved in moving our room and office out of the huge bedroom we were in, organizing the girls' belongings and redoing the decorating. We’re almost moved in. The girls are thrilled, which surprised me. We'd chosen very dark colors for the room because Andy had been on the night shift and needed to tone down the daylight as much as possible. The room is a battleship gray, officially called Timberwolf Gray, with a dark purple trim. I thought my little princesses would balk, but they have the concept of "neutral" down pat already.

--6--
Saw The Hobbit

We needed the break and it was my dad's Christmas present to Andy and I. He treated us and our oldest. We loved it. Still, I wonder at the physics of Middle Earth. Does it have the moon’s gravity? All that falling down chasms and surviving. Hobbits bounce marvelously, apparently. Dwarves, too, have the near miraculous ability to ride splintering, shattering wooden structures down a fall of what looked to be at least 800 feet without breaking a bone or pulling a splinter out of an eyeball. Orcs are not so gifted. They died wholesale which led me to wonder idly during the “under the mountain” scene, how many unique and interesting ways could an orc fall into an abyss? Interesting was 3. Unique was also 3. After the number 3, I seemed to have lost count. Must have lost it in all the excitement. My Precious.


--7--


New Evangelists Monthly



New Evangelists Monthly

I'd like to draw your attention to New Evangelists Monthly. It is a new endeavor hosted over at Convert Journal. On the first Saturday of the month, participating Catholic bloggers post their best posts from the previous month. If you are looking for a convenient way to peruse some of the best of Catholic blogging, this is for you. Just like 7 Quick Takes, it puts lots of great blogging right at your finger-click.