Wednesday, January 31, 2007

Memorial of Saint John Bosco

A colleague of Saint John Bosco had this to say about him: "His love shone forth from his looks and his words so clearly, and all felt it and could not doubt it... They experienced an immense joy in his presence."

Through the intercession of Saint John Bosco may our love shine forth to others, especially to our families, and may they experience immense joy from our presence. (No matter how far from this ideal we may often be...LOL)

Tuesday, January 30, 2007

Saint John Bosco

"It is easier to become angry than to restrain oneself and easier to threaten a boy than to persuade him. It is more fitting to be persistent in punishing our own impatience and pride than to correct the boys." Saint John Bosco

Saint John Bosco-- what a sweetheart. Still, when I read this quote I think but mothers do need to correct their children... perhaps it should be done though with less persistence than the punishing of our own impatience and pride. Something for me to think about.

Monday, January 29, 2007

"To change the world we must change ourselves." (To a woman angered by sinfulness in the world)

I am enjoying more of Saint Francis de Sales....

"We must hate our faults, but with a tranquil and quiet hate, not with an angry and restless hate; and so we must have patience when we see them, and draw from them the profit of holy abasement of ourselves. Without this, my child, your imperfections, which you scrutinize so subtly, will trouble you by getting still more subtle, and by this means sustain themselves, as there is nothing that more preserves our weeds than disquietude and eagerness in removing them....

To be dissatisfied and fret about the world when we must of necessity be in it, is a great temptation. God's Providence is wiser than we. We fancy that by changing our ships, we shall get on better; if we change ourselves."

from "Thy Will Be Done: letters to persons in the world" by Saint Francis de Sales

Oh to have a Saint Francis de Sales as a spiritual director....He sure speaks to me. Once while ranting and raving about the world with my brother I asked him, "Why are we doing this?" He replied, "because it makes us feel superior." Ouch. I think he was right. The devil uses whatever means he can to distract us from true conversion....

Saturday, January 27, 2007

"Have patience with everyone, including yourself." (to a woman beset with many tasks)

Since Barb has expressed an interest in reading more of Saint Francis de Sales I thought I would post this sweet quote from "Thy Will Be done: letters to persons in the World."

"Have patience with everyone, but chiefly with yourself; I mean to say, do not trouble yourself about your imperfections, and always have the courage to lift yourself out of them. I am well content that you begin again every day: there is no better way to perfect the spiritual life than always to begin again and never to think you have done enough. "

Saint Francis de Sales

Friday, January 26, 2007

I'm just getting over a nasty virus that knocked me out for a day ( I hope it will just be a day!). (fever, chills, headache, congestion, exhaustion) Everybody, take your vitamin C! We especially need it in these cold states, right? And maybe in the UK? What do you say, Deb and Maria? Now Esther in Hawaii probably doesn't need it. (smile) Germs probably get blown away in the ocean breezes in paradise. Oh, I know, people probably manage to get sick everywhere :) Everybody, stay well!!

Wednesday, January 24, 2007

Saint Francis de Sales

Memorial of Saint Francis de Sales
You must not only be devout, and love devotion, but you must make it lovable to everyone. Well, you will render it lovable if you render it useful and agreeable. The sick will love your devotion if they are charitably consoled by it; your family will love it if they find you more careful of their welfare, more gentle in little accidents that happen, more kind in correcting, and so on; your husband, if he sees that as your devotion increases you are more devoted in his regard, and sweet in your love to him; if he sees that as your devotion increases you are more devoted in his regard, and sweet in your love to him: your parents and friends if they perceive in you more generosity, tolerance, and condescension toward their wills, when not against the will of God. In short, you must, as far as possible, make your devotion attractive...
Saint Francis de Sales
from:"Thy Will Be Done: letters to persons in the world"

Monday, January 22, 2007

Roe v. Wade-- Lord, have mercy.

"We are created in the image of God...from the time there is conception, there is the life of God...That is why it is so wrong to destroy life, to destroy the image of God.

Blessed Teresa of Calcutta

"A voice was heard in Ramah, sobbing and loud lamentation; Rachel weeping for her children, and she would not be consoled, since they were no more." Matt 2:18

May the Lord have mercy on the United States. The blood of millions of utterly innocent human beings is on our hands. Our Lady of Guadalupe, pray for us.

Sunday, January 21, 2007

"Happy Feet"

Yesterday we took the girls to see "Happy Feet." We do not usually go to so many movies in so short a time. There were just several we really wanted to see.

"Happy Feet" is full of very cute penguins, some really fun song and dance numbers, and beautiful arctic scenery, and some great action scenes. I have to say I liked the first half better than the second. All of the above features made the first half a really delightful show. After that some very worn out 70s themes came into the story. An old leader penguin criticizes Mumble for dancing and not singing and the old be-your-own-person, reject-traditions, the-old-don't- know type emotionalism is introduced into the story. Add to that a dose of environmentalism (the humans are ruining everything again) and the second half really gets a little tiresome. You find yourself thinking, "What happened to the cute little penguin story." It's not too in your face, though. I'd say there's nothing truly offensive. It just starts to take itself a little too seriously in the second half. Still, there were enough good features that I'd say I did enjoy it except for it feeling a little too long.

Our family agreed that we enjoyed "Night at the Museum" more. (I'm trying to post a picture of the film with a trailer but I seem to be doing something wrong. Here's another try.

Friday, January 19, 2007

Night at the Museum

Hubby, the girls and I went to see "Night at the Museum" tonight. I have to say I thought it was pretty good. It did have a lot of action and was very fast moving, which are not my favorite movie qualities. Still, it was clever and kind of fun. And we saw it on an Imax screen which was very nice. I would recommend the film.

Thursday, January 18, 2007

This is my dad.

Finally, a birthday to celebrate with my mom.

Happy Birthday, Dad!

Happy Birthday, Dad
from left to right: Me, my sister, my dad, and my brother. We were up in northern Michigan this past summer. I can't believe he's gone.

Wednesday, January 17, 2007

Tomorrow is my father's birthday.

Tomorrow is my father's birthday and I plan to go visit his crypt with flowers and say the rosary. I will also go to his house and take care of some things. I expect it to be bittersweet. I am already feeling the power of the emotions.

A friend of mine had a Mass said for the repose of my father's soul today. Four of my children and I attended the Mass. My friend did not know that tomorrow is my father's birthday. It must have been the Holy Spirit.

Life is short.

Tuesday, January 16, 2007

Snow Day!!!

Today we had a snow day!!!! There was an ice storm last night and the streets were pretty slick this morning, I guess. Both the grade school and the high school were closed. I was so tired. We all slept in and it was heavenly.

The trees and bushes are all glass-covered and lovely. The wintry glory of God is all over everything. The bushes in front of my house look just like this one. We even have a few frozen berries. What fun. I love snow days.

Monday, January 15, 2007

For those longing for motherhood-- a story of hope

After I lost my first baby to a miscarriage my Aunt June told me the following story about Mrs. Clark.

Mrs. Clark was the offspring of Irish Catholic immigrants. She very much wanted children. Her first pregnancy ended in a miscarriage. She lost her next two babies as well to miscarriage. She conceived again and carried this baby to term.... only to experience a stillbirth. Her doctor told her to avoid another pregnancy, that she would never carry a live baby to term. Mrs. Clark did not give up.

She became pregnant again and carried this baby to term and brought him into the world alive!! It was a boy whom she named Matthew. He would many years later become my Uncle Matt, married to my Aunt June. My Uncle Matt was a man of great love and kindness, a man I am convinced is a saint. But that is not the end of the story. Mrs. Clark never lost a baby again and went on to eventually become the mother of ten healthy children. God is good.

There is always hope.

Sunday, January 14, 2007

Charlotte's Web

Tonight my three daughters and I went to see "Charlotte's Web" while my husband and sons stayed home to see the opening episodes of "24."

"Charlotte's Web was good. We enjoyed it. It was fun. It was wholesome. It was well done and it was a G!!! I recommend it. I especially like Charlotte's description of her egg laying as her "magnum opus." I have always liked that. The idea is so counter-cultural. To think that a mother's bearing and raising of her children could be her greatest work!!! (And not something she does on the side, subcontracting the mundane details to someone with less intelligence, skills, and drive than Mom.) The raising of her children is a mother's greatest work, like it or not, feminists.

Plus it was fun to just be out with my three daughters!! (Some examples of my greatest work!!)

Saturday, January 13, 2007

That maternal instinct...

Today we took my oldest back to Notre Dame after his Christmas break. I have said good-bye to him many times. At 17 he entered the U.S. Merchant Marine Academy. He once boarded a container ship and didn't return until having made two round trips across the Atlantic, and spending Christmas at sea. He's 22 now and a few months from college graduation and I still got choked up saying good-bye to him. It was no longer because of fears for his safety or concerns about his level of maturity and judgment. It was just because I would miss him. It was so nice to have him home. It was hard to leave him. Is that just the presence of that maternal instinct, that attachment, that inexplicable love we have for our children?

Friday, January 12, 2007

An Alzheimers Story-- A Rosary Miracle

The rosary is such a powerful prayer.  I have been amazed again and again by the incredible outpouring of grace it causes.

In the last few years of my mother's Alzheimer's Disease we made an incredible discovery. Someone had mentioned to me that even those in advanced stages of dementia people can sometimes remember prayers that they have always known, that somehow that information is stored in a very deep part of the brain.

We decided to say the rosary with my mom. Her condition was very advanced at this point. She was slumped over in a wheelchair all the time, staring blankly into space. It was not even clear if she could actually see, she was so unresponsive. She made no eye contact. There was no indication that Mom was actually in there, if you know what I mean.

We took her into a little chapel and I turned her chair so that I could watch her. Several of my children were with us, including Elizabeth, my youngest, who had never known her grandmother when she was well. We started the rosary. 

My mother almost immediately started to respond. She opened her eyes more. She straightened her back and shoulders, even leaning forward a little. She looked around the room, moving her eyes as well as her head as if to say, "Who is saying the rosary with me?"  I was so astonished I could hardly keep vocalizing the prayers.

Then, the woman who had not spoken in many years started to move her lips!! She could not articulate anything but she was trying. As she did this Elizabeth, who was about 5 or 6 at the time, gave her grandma a hug over the side of the wheelchair. My mom... leaned over and puckered her lips in an obvious attempt to kiss Lizzie on the head. In tears, I told Lizzie what had just happened. Then Liz started crying, and said, "I always wanted Grandma to kiss me.

You just can't tell what is going on inside a person with Alzheimer's Disease. For us, this was a clear indication that there was much more there than what one might guess. It was a miracle.
And another example of the incredible power of the rosary.

Tuesday, January 09, 2007

An Alzheimer's relationship

Michelle has written an interesting post on the movie "The Notebook." Recalling the movie brought back so many memories of my parents' relationship during my mother's Alzheimer's Disease. My mother developed Alzheimer's in her 60s. By the time they celebrated their fiftieth wedding anniversary in the nursing home, I realized that the disease had taken up more than a quarter of their years together.

My father cared for my mother in their home for about the first five years of the disease. She advanced very rapidly to late stage Alzheimers. By year 5 she no longer recognized her own home and frequently didn't know us. In about year 6 she could no longer walk. Around year 7 she lost the ability to talk and to feed herself. She was in the nursing home, a very nice one, for ten years. Every day my father visited her. He ate dinner with her. When she could no longer feed herself he would feed her. When her ability to swallow was deteriorating he would feed her pureed food 1/4 teaspoon at a time. It took a good hour to feed her a whole meal. By that time, it was a good day if she made eye contact. He still showed her affection. He still kissed her. He still talked to her. He bought her ice cream. In the nice weather he would take her for a walk outside. He paid for her hair to be done every single week.

He also instructed the staff to not put a "do not resuscitate" order on her chart.

He explained to me that the reason was not because he wanted to prolong her life past the natural course of it. He just wanted to make sure that no one thought he was waiting for her to die because that might effect the quality of care she would be given. There is no question in my mind that she received excellent care because of my father's attention. Every day he asked the nurse, "What is the patient/staff ratio today?"

I will write more about their relationship soon. It was just on my mind because of Michelle's post. For years my father never received a smile from my mother. I don't think she had the ability to smile in the last few years. It didn't matter to my dad. He wasn't there for the reward. He was there because he loved her and it didn't matter if she could give nothing in return.

Monday, January 08, 2007

Heels and a feminine look

On one of the days over Christmas when I wasn't feeling very well I saw on cable a show called, I believe, "How do I look?" It was about a woman who was "learning to get more in touch with her feminine side " in terms of her clothing choices. She liked to wear basketball shorts and white t-shirts. She was shown by three designer types how she could dress more feminine. I thought OK. Basketball shorts and white t-shirts. Yeah, She could dress more feminine.

But these three made a big deal about heels. She liked tennis shoes. (So do I.) They said she must learn how to walk in heels. When she came out at the end all dolled up the host of the show (a woman) asked how she liked the heels. The woman said "They hurt my feet." The host laughed and said, "Welcome to our world."

I can see how heels can make a woman's feet look attractive, dainty, feminine, etc. But they DO hurt! I hate them. They're hard to walk in and they hurt. They seem like an unhealthy and unnatural thing to do to your feet. I have a few pairs of low heels for very dressy occasions, but I avoid them if at all possible.

Can a woman be "in touch with her feminine side" and not wear heels? Can she still look womanly? I hope so because I sure don't want to start wearing stiletoes now. Besides, I think I can say with a great deal of certainty that Our Lady did not wear heels. Is she not our perfect role model?

Friday, January 05, 2007

How does one tell if one is excessively attached to blogging?

Are you too attached to blogging if:

When someone is showing you something on the computer you get progressively more irritated because it is delaying the start of your blogging time?

Someone starts to talk to you while you're blogging and you feel the same way you do when you're in the middle of a phone conversation and someone else starts to talk to you?

You start blogging and your son comes up to you and asks if he can check email and you sarcastically say, "Do you see someone already sitting in front of the computer?

Obviously, I have some repenting to do. I do think blogging is good for me though. I think it was Saint John Bosco (if I'm wrong, please correct me) who used to immediately put down his pencil when someone interrupted him while he was writing. Seems like a good discipline. Perhaps I'll try a variation.

Thursday, January 04, 2007

I've been tagged.
Catholic Wife and Mother tagged me. . . (I don't really know how to do this.)

1. Favorite devotion or prayer to Jesus. The Mass, of course, and Eucharistic adoration

2. Favorite Marian devotion or prayer. The rosary

3. Do you wear a scapular or medal? yes

4. Do you have holy water in your home? usually

5. Do you "offer up" your sufferings? yes

6.Do you observe first Fridays and first Saturdays. No, But I would like to.

7. Do you go to Eucharistic Adoration? How Frequently? Yes. I have one hour per week scheduled at my parish's perpetual adoration chapel and one hour on Fridays at my children's high school. If I do not have a scheduled hour I don't get around to it. I need them on the calendar.

8. Are you a Saturday evening Mass person or a Sunday morning Mass person? We go on Sundays, the later Mass usually, but occasionally I like to go on Saturday.

9. Do you say prayers at mealtime? Yes.

10. Favorite saints: Saint Therese, Our Lady, Saint Jude, Saint Anthony, Saint Joseph, the patron saints of all my children (who are not already mentioned) Saint Michael, Saint Anne, Saint Rose, Saint Helen, Saint James and Saint John, Saint Peter, Saint Daniel, Saint Paul, Saint Rita of Cascia, Saint John Bosco, Saint Francis of Assissi, Saint Elizabeth, Saint Elizabeth Rose,

11. Can you recite the Apostles' Creed by heart? Yes. ( I think I'm saying it right.)

12. Do you usually say short prayers (aspirations) during the course of the day? Yes, often. Sometimes I say the Fatima prayer. I often say, "Mary, Queen of Peace, pray for me. And of course "Good Saint Anthony, come around the_____ is lost and can't be found."

13. Bonus Question: When you pass by an automobile accident or other serious mishap, do you say a quick prayer for the folks involved? I usually say a Hail Mary.

Added bonus question: Have you named your Guardian Angel? Yes. I call her Nora. I don't know why. I asked for her name and that's the one that came to mind.

I'll tag Patti Ann and Denise

Wednesday, January 03, 2007

The Sugar Bowl

In keeping with my recent habit of expressing support for a team that eventually loses I must say,

Go Irish!!!!!
You never know with Notre Dame. If Our Lady intervenes as she sometimes does, anything can happen. (although it's not looking good so far.....)

Tuesday, January 02, 2007

Family Games

There are two games that I especially like to play with my family. There are probably more than two, but two come to mind right now-- Scrabble and PDQ.

I like Scrabble because there is plenty of time to talk, it's challenging, and involves words.

I like PDQ because it's fast, (You can play a game in about 5 minutes.), it's challenging, and involves words.

Does that sound like a contradiction? I like Scrabble because it's slow and PDQ because it's fast? Sometimes you need a fast game and sometimes you need a slow one. Right?

What games do you like to play with your family?

Monday, January 01, 2007

Rose Bowl!!!

Contrary to what you might think from various posts on this blog, I am not a graduate of Notre Dame. I am a graduate of University of Michigan.....

Go Blue!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!