Wednesday, July 22, 2015

My Son Michael-- 31 Years..

Those of you who know Mike personally know that his birthday is not today. I don't always get to things on my blog right away. And, I am not going to give identity thieves information that might aid in their cowardly and dastardly deeds. :-)

Mike is my firstborn son who recently turned thirty-one years old. He is three in the picture below.

I believe he specially liked that shirt. (But maybe it was I who especially liked it.)

Mike's favorite color when he was about that age was orange. Yes, orange. He was a lively guy.

Never stopped moving from the moment he was conceived, I am sure. Before birth it was constant movement. Same thing after birth.

Mike lifted his head and looked forward while still in the hospital. I am not kidding. The nurses were flabbergasted. They had never seen that before. Two nurses were walking down the hall wanting to check something from the window. They stopped at our room and said, "Oh, this is Michael's room. We can look out his window." I guess he was already making friends in the nursery. Yes, that's Mike. Now he knows people everywhere. In Europe he would run into people he knew. It was incredible. The man has probably more friends than anyone else I know.

As a toddler Mike never stopped moving. Never. Not for a second.

I suppose that explains the energy he now has for dancing, oh, maybe four or five hours without a break at weddings?

So here he is at thirty-one with his lovely fiance Esther.

The photo below is minutes after they met for the very first time. Good move, Mike, asking Esther to dance. Very good move.

I think Esther has the energy and stamina to keep up with Mike. And that's a good thing. She has many other good qualities as well, which I will probably go into another time.

So Mike is thirty-one years old. It doesn't quite seem like yesterday that he was born, but it sure doesn't feel like thirty-one years.

My life was forever changed on that day and all for the better. (Motherhood is my favorite writing topic.)

Mike, may God bless you today and all the days of your life. May all your prayers be answered, and may you be rewarded for all the joy and love you have brought to our family these thirty-one years.

Wednesday, July 15, 2015

My Son Is Getting Married!!!

My oldest son is engaged to a lovely woman named Esther. Yes, Esther. How cool a name is that?

So my daughters and I put on a shower for Esther.
Anne and Esther with the food all ready to be eaten. The flourless chocolate cake in front of them is Esther's favorite and Anne's work of art.
The buffet table. I know my mother was surely pleased that we were using her punch bowl! (OK, I know, I'm hopelessly sentimental.
Esther's mom, Esther, and me. 
It was delightful to be able to have Esther's mother join us, all the way from Alabama!

Daughter Mary, Esther, and daughters Anne and Liz

So pleased to have my favorite niece Monique and Jim's girlfriend Elle also join us. They were also an enormous help.

The mothers with the daughters!!

It was a lovely day. Here are my two dear friends Ann and Sally together with Elle and Monique.

I loved that there were four of my friends attending, together with their daughter-in-laws!

Esther with her mom (and empty boxes from the already opened gifts. :-)

Mary gathered all the bows together to serve as the bouquet at the rehearsal.

Esther and Patti share a light hearted moment.

Here are Esther and Mary with the bow bouquet.

My daughters worked so hard on this shower. May I brag about them? They were amazing. They were leading. I was doing what they were telling me. It was so delightful to see them in charge of a lovely event. (And I kind of liked not being the one in charge. I really did.)

Friday, July 10, 2015

When You Have Procrastinated Getting Your Hair Cut Forever

So....I tend to procrastinate when it comes to getting my hair cut. Maybe it's because I'm cheap. Maybe I'm distracted. Maybe my attention is just usually focused on other things. Maybe I'm lazy. Whatever.

Several months ago I realized it was high time for a haircut. But I measured my tresses and realized they were almost long enough to donate to Locks of Love, a non-profit organization that provides hairpieces to disadvantaged children under age 21, suffering from long term medical hair loss from any diagnosis. You need to be able to put your hair in ten inch ponytail/s to donate.

Well, since I was almost there I decided to grow it a little longer. After all, at my age, very soon no one is going to want my hair. And why not let something good come from my lack of diligence, whatever the cause, in tending to my hair.
Here I was the morning of my appointment.

Definitely had the ten inch minimum.

And here I am after a sweet haircut from Anastasia Sendo at You Only Better Salon in Ypsilanti.

It's not too as short I thought it would need to be. And some dear child gets to use my hair. Win-win.

Thursday, July 09, 2015

Independence Day!

 I would like to be able to claim that I have instilled in my daughters a profound awareness of the privilege of being an American.  I'm hoping that they are proud to be citizens of the greatest country in the world and that they thank God every day for the freedom that is theirs.

 But it may just be that they have a flair for the dramatic. :-)

Not sure. But, without question, they were certainly displaying some national pride this Fourth of July.  And I would be less than honest if I didn't acknowledge that I'm very proud of them and that I got quite a kick out of their fashion choices in celebration of this year's Independence Day.

In the evening there were the necessary sparklers and mild fireworks. (Mild, at our house. The rest of the neighborhood sounded like a war zone.)

Elle (Jim's girlfriend) giving some serious instructions about the sparklers while Mary poses for the picture. :-)

God bless America, land that I love...

Friday, June 26, 2015

The Supreme Court Decides....That They Get To Decide.

The enormity of today's Supreme Court decision is such that I can barely think, but I'm going to give it a try.

The Supreme Court has invented yet another Constitutional right just as they did in Roe v. Wade and many other cases since. These inventions make a mockery of the Constitution and the separation of powers it requires. Only Congress has the authority to make laws and yet the Supreme Court has repeatedly taken that authority unto themselves.

As Justice Scalia said in his dissent:
Today’s decree says that my Ruler, and the Ruler of 320 million Americans coast-to-coast, is a majority of the nine lawyers on the Supreme Court. The opinion in these cases is the furthest extension in fact— and the furthest extension one can even imagine—of the Court’s claimed power to create “liberties” that the Constitution and its Amendments neglect to mention. This practice of constitutional revision by an unelected committee of nine, always accompanied (as it is today) by extravagant praise of liberty, robs the People of the most important liberty they asserted in the Declaration of Independence and won in the Revolution of 1776: the freedom to govern themselves.
There is no "right" in the Constitution for people of the same sex to marry. It isn't there. The justices have made it up. Americans should be outraged that 5 justices would take it upon themselves to redefine an institution that has been the basis of human society for millennia. But, hey, they know better. This ruling is an insult to freedom.
Scalia goes on:
But the Court ends this debate, in an opinion lacking even a thin veneer of law. Buried beneath the mummeries and straining-to-be-memorable passages of the opinion is a candid and startling assertion: No matter what it was the People ratified, the Fourteenth Amendment protects those rights that the Judiciary, in its “reasoned judgment,” thinks the Fourteenth Amendment ought to protect.13
In other words, this decision actually asserts that the Supreme Court gets to decide laws.

Again from Justice Scalia, (the voice of reason):
This is a naked judicial claim to legislative—indeed, super-legislative—power; a claim fundamentally at odds with our system of government. Except as limited by a constitutional prohibition agreed to by the People, the States are free to adopt whatever laws they like, even those that offend the esteemed Justices’ “reasoned judgment.” A system of government that makes the People subordinate to a committee of nine unelected lawyers does not deserve to be called a democracy......
SCALIA, J., dissenting every State violated the Constitution for all of the 135 years between the Fourteenth Amendment’s ratification and Massachusetts’ permitting of same-sex marriages in 2003.20 They have discovered in the Fourteenth Amendment a “fundamental right” overlooked by every person alive at the time of ratification, and almost everyone else in the time since. They see what lesser legal minds— minds like Thomas Cooley, John Marshall Harlan, Oliver Wendell Holmes, Jr., Learned Hand, Louis Brandeis, William Howard Taft, Benjamin Cardozo, Hugo Black, Felix Frankfurter, Robert Jackson, and Henry Friendly— could not. They are certain that the People ratified the Fourteenth Amendment to bestow on them the power to remove questions from the democratic process when that is called for by their “reasoned judgment.” These Justices know that limiting marriage to one man and one woman is contrary to reason; they know that an institution as old as government itself, and accepted by every nation in history until 15 years ago,21 cannot possibly be supported by anything other than ignorance or bigotry. And they are willing to say that any citizen who does not agree with that, who adheres to what was, until 15 years ago, the unanimous judgment of all generations and all societies, stands against the Constitution.

I hope you didn't skip over Justice Scalia's words because they are right on the money.

Today's ruling was an incredible judicial overreach. I'm hoping it will finally lead to a Constitutional amendment limiting the terms of justices, or even better, making the offices elected.

The utter arrogance and judicial overreach of the opinion aside, may I say that I am finding the simplistic platitudes that so characterize the proponents of gay marriage quite tiresome.

Example: "I know gays who love each other. Therefore their relationship and the intimate expression of it should be equated with marriage." (This is not a quote from a particular person. Just how the "logic" goes.) Say, what? They love each other. Heterosexual couples love each other. Therefore they are the same. How on Earth is this conclusion drawn? Love is not the defining element of marriage. I love my dog. I love my children. Marriage is a very specific institution that for millennia has been the bedrock of civilized society. If you want to argue in favor of same-sex marriage convincingly you've got to give me more than this.

I'm sorry. The whole thing is making me sick. May the Lord have mercy on our country for rejecting His authority as the Creator and specifically on the Supreme Court justices who decided the issue was theirs to decide.

Wednesday, June 24, 2015

Mother's Day 2015

I had a lovely Mother's Day this year. In fact, I believe it was probably the best Mother's Day ever!!  Yes, that good.  I'm only sharing this now because before this I was not at liberty to talk about it.

We had dinner at Zingerman's Roadhouse, one of my very favorite restaurants in Ann Arbor because of the delicious food, the clearly identifiable gluten free dishes, and the capable wait staff who understand that those who cannot eat gluten really CANNOT eat any gluten. I really appreciate how thoughtful and well-informed they are.

My oldest daughter and son-in-law had dinner with us, as well as my two youngest daughters and my son John.
Here I am with Liz..

And here I am with Mary....

And now with John, who we are happy to have back on American soil!

It was starting to be a pretty typical Mother's Day. Great dinner and time with my family.

Then, as I opened gifts, Anne dropped the bombshell. Once someone shows me how to transfer photos from my phone to my computer I will show you my reaction. I completely fell apart.

My last gift was a tiny bag with something made of white cotton all rolled up. I unrolled it to read the words Anne had written on the onesie, "Grandma's Favorite. December 2015"

I'm going to be a grandma!!!!!!!!!!!  I was so filled with joy, so completely overwhelmed that I could barely stop crying.

Here we are. The parents and the grandparents of the tiny baby who will make his/her appearance this December.

We could not be happier. As I said, best Mother's Day ever!!!


Monday, June 22, 2015

Passages of Laudato si' You May Not Hear Mentioned in the Media

There are passages in the Holy Father's most recent encyclical that are not likely to get much media attention. Here are a few that really struck me...

46. The social dimensions of global change include the effects of technological innovations on employment, social exclusion, an inequitable distribution and consumption of energy and other services, social breakdown, increased violence and a rise in new forms of social aggression, drug trafficking, growing drug use by young people, and the loss of identity. These are signs that the growth of the past two centuries has not always led to an integral development and an improvement in the quality of life. Some of these signs are also symptomatic of real social decline, the silent rupture of the bonds of integration and social cohesion.

From Paragraph 47...

 ....Real relationships with others, with all the challenges they entail, now tend to be replaced by a type of internet communication which enables us to choose or eliminate relationships at whim, thus giving rise to a new type of contrived emotion which has more to do with devices and displays than with other people and with nature. Today’s media do enable us to communicate and to share our knowledge and affections. Yet at times they also shield us from direct contact with the pain, the fears and the joys of others and the complexity of their personal experiences. For this reason, we should be concerned that, alongside the exciting possibilities offered by these media, a deep and melancholic dissatisfaction with interpersonal relations, or a harmful sense of isolation, can also arise.

  From Paragraph 49....This is due partly to the fact that many professionals, opinion makers, communications media and centres of power, being located in affluent urban areas, are far removed from the poor, with little direct contact with their problems. They live and reason from the comfortable position of a high level of development and a quality of life well beyond the reach of the majority of the world’s population. This lack of physical contact and encounter, encouraged at times by the disintegration of our cities, can lead to a numbing of conscience and to tendentious analyses which neglect parts of reality. At times this attitude exists side by side with a “green” rhetoric. Today, however, we have to realize that a true ecological approach always becomes a social approach; it must integrate questions of justice in debates on the environment, so as to hear both the cry of the earth and the cry of the poor.

From Paragraph 50.... Instead of resolving the problems of the poor and thinking of how the world can be different, some can only propose a reduction in the birth rate. At times, developing countries face forms of international pressure which make economic assistance contingent on certain policies of “reproductive health”....To blame population growth instead of extreme and selective consumerism on the part of some, is one way of refusing to face the issues.

75. A spirituality which forgets God as all-powerful and Creator is not acceptable. That is how we end up worshipping earthly powers, or ourselves usurping the place of God, even to the point of claiming an unlimited right to trample his creation underfoot. The best way to restore men and women to their rightful place, putting an end to their claim to absolute dominion over the earth, is to speak once more of the figure of a Father who creates and who alone owns the world. Otherwise, human beings will always try to impose their own laws and interests on reality.