Friday, December 31, 2010

Merry Christmas and Happy New Year

We had a lovely Christmas with everyone home, including Anne and my new son-in-law Zach. Family times. I just love to have all the kids home.

Here was the living room Christmas morning.

The kids need to stay at the top of the stairs until we start the music "Joy to the World." Then they come downstairs each carrying at least one Baby Jesus for the various nativity scenes. My nephew Luke (below) has the outdoor Baby Jesus. (which he did take out to the nativity scene in the front yard :-)
Then we light the Advent candles and sing Happy Birthday to Baby Jesus before everything starts. We all blow out the Advent candles as though they are birthday candles.

At 2:00 daughters Liz and Anne had planned "reindeer games." The notice of said games was posted the day before.
They were so much fun....word games, drawing games, and even a poem writing contest. We had 90 seconds to write a Christmas poem. Then judges Anne and Liz decided who had the best poem. Zach won with a poem that was so hilarious we were all falling off our chairs. (I may post it later.)

I hope you all had a Blessed Christmas and I pray you will have new year full of grace!!

Thursday, December 23, 2010

Urgent Prayer Request

Please pray for a little girl named Bridget. She is a very sweet, dear girl who has cancer.

She underwent neurosurgery on Monday and is now suffering from some pretty serious complications. Please pray for her. She comes from a large good Catholic family.

Father Solanus Casey, please pray that Bridget will be completely healed and able to come home for Christmas.

Please pray that the Lord will grant to Bridget's family the Christmas miracle they are pleading for. Lord have mercy. Come and reward your people's hope.

Oh Boy. I'm really tired. I've had a very busy month.

Everyone is home. It's wonderful.

I've made lots of cookies. I have a ham and turkey ready for Christmas. I have maybe half my presents wrapped. I have all my shopping finished.

My house is not clean. It's not bothering me.

My sister and her family have arrived.

I'm eating too much.

I have not neglected my prayer life as I usually do when I get busy. God is good.

My brother is planning a Christmas carol sing-a-long for Christmas day. I think it will be very fun.

Im sorry I haven't written in such a long time. I'm fine. Just busy and drawn to other things. I hope you are all doing well.

If I don't get a chance to write again before Christmas I wish you all a blessed, peaceful, and joy filled Christmas. May the holiness of that night that transcended all time be upon us all.

Tuesday, December 07, 2010

Transportation Security Administration

Personally, I think the new virtual strip search machines at the airport are an outrageous violation of the Constitution's protection against unreasonable searches. If this is not a violation what would be?

The Wall Street Journal in its December 4-5 edition printed an editorial that stated, "The head of the Transportation Security Administration says inconvenience is a small price to pay for safety." Well, Mr. Pistole, I think inconvenience is a small price to pay for safety too. But we are not talking about an inconvenience. We are talking about a gross violation of personal privacy. I have zero tolerance for bureaucrats who defend their actions with rhetoric that conceals the actual issue. Mr. Pistole, you know what this is about and it's not about "inconvenience."

I was also alarmed to hear his comment about an "underwear bomb." Now I thought the entire justification for this, in my opinion, ridiculous policy was the Christmas Day bomber. I thought this machine was supposed to prevent that from happening again. (Never mind that the terrorists have plenty of other ideas to use...) When asked if we even know if these screenings would detect such a bomb Mr. Pistole said that they "never put it on someone and tested it."

What??!!?? They never put a bomb like that on someone to see if it would be detected by these machines? Why not? They're spending millions of dollars on these privacy violating machines and they didn't test to see if it could detect the very device they say is the reason for the policy?
Is this incompetence on the part of the TSA or is the Christmas Day bomber not the real reason for the screenings. I think an explanation is in order.

Furthermore, I have another few questions. Now I'll grant you I may have not read enough about these things and maybe these questions have indeed been answered.

These images are supposed to not be saved on the computer screen. Is there a method for the operator to override that automatic protocol and actually save it? It seems there would be such an option to save it in the case of questionable scans. What safeguards are in place to ensure that the operator does not choose to save an image for another purpose?

If there is such an override option is it possible to email that image somewhere-- like to the TSA offices? Surely there is, since if someone brought a weapon or a bomb the picture would be needed as evidence. What safeguards are in place that would ensure that such email capacity, if there is one, is not abused?

And where is the ACLU? I understand that they do not like the new screenings. When are they going to file a lawsuit? A nativity scene in the town square is a threat to civil liberties deserving of legal action and these screenings are not? Seems just a little bit inconsistent to me.

OK. Thanks for letting me vent.

Friday, December 03, 2010

Red in the Flower Bed: An Illustrated Story about Interracial Adoption

Tribute Books has asked me to write a review of the children's book Red in the Flower Bed: An Illustrated Story about Interracial Adoption by Andrea Napa. And so I give you the following:

In 2001 Andrea Napa adopted a little girl, Leah, from Vietnam. It is to this daughter Leah that Andrea has dedicated her book. "For my dear Leah, whose journey in her young life has already taken her to far away and unexpected places."

Red in the Flower Bed is a sweet book. The story is a simple one of a seed in a faraway place which is dropped by a flower onto dry ground. The flower, realizing the ground is too dry, allows the wind to transport it to a garden that is especially right for it. The seed germinates and grows into a beautiful red poppy, delighting all the other flowers with its new and different color. The daisy exclaims, "There is now red in the flower bed. And best of all, look down the row...We have a complete rainbow."

A lovely metaphor for the international and interracial adoption process, the story is told in simple rhyme that could be easily understood by even a young child. I encourage you to view the trailer below...

The endearing illustrations and lovely message of hope and Providence make this a suitable book for children of all ages.

I almost wish the subtitle had not been added. It is, of course, important to the author as it is indeed a symbolization of the story of Leah's adoption. But the message could have an even broader appeal. It could, for example, invoke the saying "Bloom where you are planted." And I can see the allegory also giving comfort to children who have just experienced a family move, especially a move to a foreign country. The symbolism could be taken even further to unfamiliar and even scary situations where children might find themselves. Ironically, Leah, of whom the seed is a personification, did indeed find herself in such a situation when she was diagnosed with cancer in 2006. (She is, thankfully, now in remission.) That one can bloom and be loved and valued in the most unexpected and surprising of places is indeed a positive and powerful truth.

I recommend this book because of it's cheerful illustrations and enduring theme of hope...a lesson that is applicable to a number of life circumstances, even beyond the adoption process.

You can read an excerpt here. This is a dear book.

Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Thanksgiving Pix

My lovely niece Monique made this beautiful cake. She even made the fondant from scratch!! Very talented 16 year old. You gotta love her.

Loads of family games, thanks to the leadership of my eldest who always has fun ideas of games for us all to play.
And, best of all, everyone was home and my sister and her two sons even came from St. Louis. I love having a houseful.

We had a wonderful Thanksgiving. I hope you did too.

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Happy Thanksgiving

Happy Thanksgiving!

I hope you will all have a wonderful Thanksgiving. Very busy here. I am so happy to have a full house. My sister is coming from St. Louis. My son from South Bend with his girlfriend. Jim will fly in from Dallas. Anne and Zach are driving from Atlanta.

Blessed be God for all he has given us!!!

Thursday, November 18, 2010

I am so looking forward to Thanksgiving. Jim will be coming home from Dallas. Mike will be here from South Bend with his new girlfriend. Anne and Zach will probably not make it unless they find a last minute deep discount fare. :-( But they will be home for Christmas so we can look forward to that!

It's starting to get cold. Only a few things left still alive in my garden. I called my friend Sally (who was a horticulture major in college) to ask if we really need to clean out flower beds for the winter. Want to know the truth? I never do it. I let everything die and in the Spring start over again. But it seems a lot of people do clear their beds. Sally says it doesn't matter for the flowers. In fact clearing them out can prevent delightful reseeding surprises in the Spring...which I have experienced. I nearly always have a volunteer tomato plant from the year before. And then there are those snapdragons. I haven't planted a snapdragon in several years and yet each year one or two pop up in the garden. So sweet.

So. Maybe my yard doesn't look so great right now. But Sally thinks it'll be OK. And that's been my experience. In fact, maybe there's a small advantage in that all those dead plants become compost?

Or maybe I'm just good at rationalizing my preference for curling up with a good book....

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Philippians 4:8

"Finally, brethren, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is gracious, if there is any excellence, if there is anything worthy of praise, think about these things."
Phil 4:8

Yesterday during my adoration hour I thought about this passage. Then I thought it would be a very good passage for me to memorize. Then...I "just happened" to find it quoted in the meditation I was reading!!

So...of course, I memorized it.

This morning I've recited it maybe 5 or 6 times now, several before I even got out of bed. Yeah. I think the Lord is telling me something. Do ya think?

Thursday, November 11, 2010

I'm still alive. LOL

I'm sorry I have not been blogging. I just have honestly been too busy with other things. Still planning to get back to it.

This past weekend was Parent/Family weekend at U of M. Even though we live right here we decided to attend some of the events to support John and recognize all the work he is putting into his degree which he will finish this year!
Brunch in the Union Ballroom was very nice and brought back happy memories of just a few months ago when Zach and Anne had their wedding reception in this very room

Mary was able to attend with John her very first college football game with seats in the seventh row. And was it ever a game!! They won 67-65 in triple overtime!! It was Michigan's highest scoring game in 131 years! I was so glad they won and so happy that Mary was able to see a fantastic game.

Mary's quote of the week: "When you watch football on TV the field looks huge and the players very small. When you're right there in the stadium the field does not look that big but the players look huge." I know exactly what she means.

Friday, November 05, 2010

Visiting Atlanta!!

So sorry to have been so silent here for a while. Nothing's wrong. Just got little behind in life. You know how it is.

We had four days to work with. My daughter and her new dear husband have moved to Atlanta. It's an 11 hour drive, 12 if you stop like we do.

We decided to head South.

Several days before our departure the heater and AC in the car broke. So... in the early morning as we left Michigan we were freezing. And in the second half of our trip we had to open windows a little because of the heat. LOL

Downtown Atlanta. This is the World of Coke, a really fascinating place all about Coca Cola. In the picture are my three daughters and my new son-in-law.

Mary, Anne and Zach. Is he sweet or what?

World of Coke included a 4D movie. Here we are all ready for the experience!

Piedmont Park in downtown Atlanta. It was a lovely place and we so enjoyed our long and peaceful walk there.

Yours truly in the middle. My daughters are each at least two inches taller than I.

Yes, it was 24 hours of driving for three nights and two days with Anne and Zach. Totally worth the effort. And I love that I can now picture where they are. We had a great time!!

Friday, October 22, 2010

The Firing of Juan williams

NPR has revealed its true stripes. I am disgusted.

I like Juan Williams. I disagree with him almost all the time. But he's smart. He's gracious. He's a thinking liberal. He doesn't always tow the party line.

The video below is what got Williams fired. (supposedly)

All he said was that he can get nervous when an obviously Muslim person (because of their dress) gets on a plane with him. I don't think there's a person in America who hasn't felt like that at times. We know all Muslims are not terrorists. We also know that you can't tell a terrorist by appearance and that it is, in fact, radical Muslims who are trying to kill us.

Williams honestly expressed a feeling. It wasn't even an opinion.

I am disgusted with the sanctimoniousness of NPR.

Thursday, October 21, 2010

Love your students...

From In Conversation with God, yesterday's reading:

"To teach John Latin, it is not enough to know Latin-- one must also know and love John."

May all teachers strive to know and love their students! (One very obvious advantage of home schooling...)

Saturday, October 16, 2010


This is the little girl in a Haitian orphanage awaiting the completion of paperwork for her adoption by my friend Cathy K. and her husband.

They have estimated this paperwork will take two years. TWO YEARS!!!!

RoseBeth is in an orphanage that is only feeding the children with orphanage that is turning away other children.

Don't you just think someone should be able to do something to expedite this paperwork. This little girl, only three years old, has a mother and a father waiting to love her and three sisters no doubt waiting to hug her to pieces.

Would you pray? I'm asking for the intercession of St. Jude that this paperwork will somehow be completed quickly and that RoseBeth will soon be united with her family who already loves her so much.

Such a cutie. You gotta love her!!

Thursday, October 14, 2010

The Miracle of the Miners' Rescue

Suzanne from Suzanne's Shorelines has alerted me to the following article from Catholic Exchange which describes more of the faith life of the miners, the Holy Father's gift to them of rosaries, and the "coincidental" date of their rescue, October 13, the anniversary of the miracle of the sun at Fatima. All during the month of the rosary, I might add.

Check out the article. Now I am even more inspired at their rescue.

One of the miners was reported to have said that he had met both God and the devil in that mine. And he chose to follow God.

God bless them all and the people they love.

The Rescue of the Miners!

I thought the rescue of the 33 miners in Chile was very inspiring.

Yesterday I watched quite a bit of the coverage. (And got a lot of laundry folded!)

I think what was really touching me was the respect for human life that the whole effort represented. I don't think anyone asked if all of these people wanted to live. I don't think anyone asked how productive they are in their lives. No. I don't think anyone questioned at all that every effort should be made to rescue these miners. The inestimable value of human life was clearly just understood.

I loved the demonstrations of faith... the miners who fell to their needs in prayer immediately upon exiting the capsule, the miner with the name of Jesus written on his sleeve, the mother who clasped a banner of Our Lady of Guadalupe to her chest and then displayed it right before embracing her son. Surely, it was the intercession of Our Lady that brought her son back to her. It seemed to me she wanted to publicly thank our Blessed Mother. (The son also fell to his knees, clearly thanking God.)

It sounded like maybe they had prayer meetings in that chamber! That word wasn't used but from what the commentators were saying that's what they sounded like! The miners had asked for Bibles to be sent down. And I don't think it was to "pass the time" as one of the newscasters suggested.

This was a miraculous rescue. I thought it looked very evident that God's protection was on these miners and that they are safe as an answer to their own prayers and the prayers of their loved ones.

May God bless every one of them and continue to protect and heal them as they recover from this experience. May His grace flood both them and their families! God is good. Always.

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Prayer Request for Rose Beth!!!!

Rose Beth needs to come home. She is a little three year old orphaned girl who survived the earthquake in Haiti. She has a family waiting for her!!!

Cathy K. and her husband, former members of our parish, are waiting to adopt Rose Beth. The paperwork is in progress, but they are being told that the process will take two years. TWO YEARS!!!! Two years of paperwork. I know Haiti is in ruins. I know they are still experiencing horrible conditions. But don't you wonder why this process can't be expedited?

The K. family has a photo of her and are just dying to bring her home. I told Cathy I would ask for prayers that somehow she would be able to come to their family sooner. I'm hoping Cathy will email me her photo. This little girl is cute as a button. I mean, your heart just aches for her to be held by her mother.

Please, please pray that this process can be accomplished sooner and that Rose Beth will be able to go home to her mom and dad and three sisters!!! Thank you so much.

Monday, October 11, 2010

Women's Retreat!!

I came back yesterday afternoon from a wonderful retreat with the women of my parish. What a blessing it was.

For me, the recurring message was that we are not the savior. Jesus is. We do our part and leave his job to Him.

He is there. Always. Especially in our deepest needs. We do not need to do x, y, and z for Him to be at work in our lives. We do not summon Him to us. He is there, taking our cares upon Himself.

Yeah. Time to recognize in the depth of our hearts that without Him we can truly do nothing. And with Him? All things. In our weakest moments his mercy is the greatest. It's not up to us.

It was a beautiful retreat.

Tuesday, October 05, 2010


Well, here are my girls just before leaving for the homecoming dance. I was so proud of them. They did each other's hair and had a great time laughing together.

I can't believe they're not little girls anymore. Well, I can believe it. It's just that it seems not that long ago that they were doing this kind of thing at age three and four-- playing dress-up. Except that then there was no curling iron. Yeah.

It used to be that we had "the big kids"-- my two oldest, "the little boys"-- number three and four, and "the little girls"-- these two. Now I have the four who are adults and the two who are almost adults. Sheesh. It's amazing.

Friday, October 01, 2010

Has anyone had trouble accessing my blog? My friend Patti has been having trouble.

Fall Beauty

On the Feast of the Little Flower how very moving that I should find in my garden what will most likely be "the last rose of summer"..... St. Therese, please pray for us. And thank you for the roses you continue to shower over the earth. Thank you for always hearing our prayers.

One of the rather invasive but lovely morning glories that reseeded in my garden this summer. I love them even though they're trying to strangle everything. :-)
One of the last petunias....
The hardy little zinnias, still blooming here and there. I had not realized how these little things will spread. Really enjoyed them this summer.
And the climbing wild rose that has been hanging out by the gate to our yard for over twenty years now. Who knows how old it already was when we moved in. It still has a few blooms left.
On the walkway to my front door.
I think this must be the offspring of that little snapdragon that lasted forever in previous years and continued to reseed over and over again. This one is a few feet away but just came up out of nowhere. It's the same color, I think. It must be from that plant. I haven't planted snapdragons in a couple years.
God is good. Always. The Fall is so beautiful. Things are dying, but there are new blooms too. And the Michigan Fall colors are just getting started. The glory of God, as always, is over everything.

Friday, September 24, 2010

Lustworthy Clothing

If trustworthy means being worthy of, or warranting trust, I think I can coin a new word:

Lustworthy: worthy of, warranting, or inviting lust.

Why, oh why, is it so very difficult to find dressy clothing for teenage girls that is even reasonably modest or worthy of the dignity to which a young girl is entitled? Why is nearly all of it "lustworthy?"

For some time I have blamed the fashion industry. Last night I had a different idea.

I went to the mall to look for homecoming dresses for my girls. I am not exaggerating when I say that nearly 100% of the dresses we looked at did not express the dignity I want my daughters to have. It was very difficult to keep saying no and to put them in the position of being able to find NOTHING that I thought was suitable for a young girl to wear. Well, OK, there was one dress that was OK and maybe one other. That's it.

I sat next to another mother outside the dressing room, waiting for our daughters to model dresses. Her daughter came out in a dress that, I don't know how else to say it, but years ago only a streetwalker would wear something like that. In fact, I don't know how much more provocative you could get. It was skin tight, stretched over her torso, barely covering the very young breasts, and as short as a dress could possible be and still be called a dress. I'm sure she could not bend over in it.

I nearly gasped. The child's own mother said, "Oh. that's really pretty. I really like that." I had to keep my jaw from dropping I was so shocked. The child herself, probably no more than 14 or 15 years old, looked very uncomfortable, almost embarrassed. It was clear that the poor thing felt very awkward. The mother continued to tell her how much she liked "the blue one" and how pretty it was.

When did pretty come to mean sexually provocative? Was it around the same time that a pretty woman came to be called "hot?" I felt terrible. Terrible for the young girl and terrible for the confused mother.

Is it the fashion industry's fault that junior departments are filled with dresses that would once have been called "sleazy?" Maybe we bear some responsibility. Maybe we mothers need to speak up more. Ask for different styles. Complain (respectfully) about the poor selection. I have rarely done this myself. But if these styles weren't selling they would not be on the racks. Hmmm. I think maybe we need to make our voices heard.

Thursday, September 23, 2010

Mother Teresa Stamps

Have you seen these beautiful Mother Teresa stamps?
The picture, which I understand is a painting, is just lovely.
They were introduced just this month but I understand when the idea was first introduced the atheist group "Freedom from Religion" was very opposed. In fact, they urged a boycott of the stamp.

Well. One has to wonder why a stamp with the image of a woman, whose charitable contributions to the world are recognized by everyone, could be offensive. So you don't share her faith. So what?

Maybe seeing an image of Mother Teresa on a stamp provides Our Lord with an opportunity to remind these atheists of the reality of natural law that is written in their hearts. Perhaps that is why it is so disturbing to them? Perhaps it causes them to contemplate that which makes them uncomfortable. Perhaps it draws their attention to the God-shaped hole in their hearts.

Oh Lord, through the intercession of Mother Teresa, may these lovely stamps draw the hearts of all to you, may it be a reminder to everyone, especially to atheists, that you are Love itself, and that it is your glory that is reflected in all that we admire in Mother Teresa. May she intercede for all the unbelievers who are offended by these stamps.

I bought four sheets of them, and I encourage all of you to do the same.

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

John is starting to improve. Initial mono. test was negative. I'm still wondering.

I actually was able to pick up my house some today and did a little cleaning too. It's so nice to not be frantically trying to complete a long to-do list.

I bought myself three new pairs of pants yesterday that actually fit me. Yes!

And as long as I'm just mentioning some random points, may I comment on Karl Rove? ( I know most of you don't seem very interested in politics. Know something? I just love following politics. I really do.

OK. So, Karl, can you give it a rest? Why all the animosity to Christine O'Donnell? (O'Donnell has won the republican nomination for Senate in Delaware. Karl Rove was against her candidacy and advised the tea party activists to vote against her. they ignored him.) She was very much a long shot and she won!

Karl, the election is over. She has the nomination. Are you a republican or not? Are you going to keep badmouthing her with the intent to make sure that your prediction that she is unelectable turns out to be true? What is your motivation? I, for one, am sick of hearing you talk about it. It's very unbecoming. In fact, it's almost embarrassing. Strong men have no problem admitting they were wrong. If you can't acknowledge you were wrong, at least stop talking about it. No one wants to hear any more about it and we certainly are tired of hearing you put down a member of your own party for no reason other than what appears to be a defense of your own ego.

Monday, September 20, 2010

Poor John is quite sick. You know your adult child is sick when they call and ask if they can come home. When Mary conveyed this message to me I asked, "You mean so we can take care of him? Of course!"

So I drove the 15 minutes across town to get him. I have one son three hours away, one son twenty hours away, and John fifteen minutes away. I'm so glad that the one who is sick is the close one. Both his roommates have mono. Oh dear. Needless to say he will be tested.

Made a simple chicken noodle soup recipe. It was quite good! I used canned broth and bought a broiled chicken from the grocery store. The whole chicken pretty much supplied the 3 cups of cooked chicken.

I love my pediatrician's office. Just called them. I now have an appointment for John in less than 2 hours.

Prayers are appreciated for a quick and accurate diagnosis.

Sunday, September 19, 2010

Why God Matters-- A book Review

Father and daughter, Deacon Steve Lumbert and Karina Lumbert Fabian, have written a lovely little book called Why God Matters: How to Recognize Him in Daily Life, published by Tribute Books. Theirs are stories of the journey to holiness in the events of ordinary lives-- lives to which we can all relate.

Karina writes, "My journey to truly living my faith has been one of small steps ever forward..." This book fills in the details of many of these small steps she has taken. Interestingly, Karina's life became a model for her father who converted to Catholicism and then became a deacon. Lessons learned by Karina and those learned by Deacon Steve are presented in alternating chapters, with intriguing titles like, "Martyr for the Trivial," "Out of the Depths of Despair," and "Does God Send Flowers?" (And does he send flowers? Yes!)

Deacon Steve writes, "Where are you in your faith? On the outside looking in? On the borders wanting to move closer?....Ask God to help you discover ways to get there." Simple? Yes. Profound? Yes.

"What's your martyr issue?" asks Karina. "Take some time today and dwell over it, but not about how you've suffered. Instead, offer it to God, then think about really solving the problem. Of course, the first step is to simply pray, 'Lord, let this end in me now.'" Who cannot relate to the struggle to avoid tripping over life's little molehills.

Each chapter begins with words of wisdom such as the following:
You know well enough that our Lord does not look so much at the greatness of our actions, nor even at their difficulty, but at the love with which we do them. --St. Therese of Lisieux
The affairs of God are accomplished little by little and almost imperceptibly. The spirit of God is neither violent nor hasty. --St. Vincent de Paul
Cast yourself into the arms of God and be very sure that if he wants anything of you, he will fit you for the work and give you the strength. --St. Philip Neri
The conclusion of each chapter is a brief suggestion or commentary followed by relevant Scripture and Catechism quotes. The book is worth getting for these quotes alone. They make the lesson of each chapter jump right out at you.

I recommend this book. It's an easy read, scarcely a hundred pages. The authors, in their genuineness, have produced a simple and positive message of hope and encouragement.

Friday, September 17, 2010

Prayer Request!

My brother Rich has had a sudden onset of severe abdominal pain. Please pray that this be nothing serious, that he and his family would be at peace, and that the Lord would help them to receive all the graces he wants to give them in this crisis. Thank you!!

And today just happens to be his birthday!! May the Lord indulge him on his birthday with abundant grace....

For Stay-at-Home Moms..

Today's entry in In Conversation with God includes the following quote from Conversations with Monsignor Escriva.

"Each woman in her own sphere of life, if she is faithful to her divine and human vocation can and, in fact, does achieve the fullness of her feminine personality. Let us remember that Mary, Mother of God and Mother of men, is not only a model but also a proof of the transcendental value of an apparently unimportant life."

It is important for stay-at-home moms to remember this, given that we live in a world that places no value and does not even consider that there might be such a thing as "transcendental value." We must not let ourselves start to think that work without prestige and without a paycheck is in some way lacking in value. What is done with and for love will always hold the greatest value in the eyes of God. May Mary be our example.

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Suzanne from Suzanne's Shorelines posted the following quote on Facebook.

"Those who replace the personal, moral Christian God with a mysterious
"supreme being" render null the conflict between good and evil, and so
rob society of the impetus to constantly pursue the good: "If God does
not have His own will, then good and bad end up being indistinguishable." Pope Benedict XVI

Don't you just love our Holy Father!!

This is so true!!! If God has no will, then good and bad are indistinguishable. And yet we know in our hearts that good and bad are indeed distinguishable. Even those who claim to believe in a kind of moral relativity do believe in a right and wrong. They believe in a truth. Otherwise, how could they assert that morality is relative to the person? If they believe that that is true then they believe in a truth.

Surely, this concept is a strong piece of evidence of the existence of God. We all believe in a right and a wrong-- even those who claim otherwise. We believe in good and evil. We recognize it, all the time, in our lives. A mysterious power could be good or evil or even neutral. How about the power of a black hole? Could such an enormous and mysterious power be considered superior to the power of Love? Is it greater than Love? No. Love is much more expansive, much brighter, much more real. In fact, love is more powerful. We all know this, although we can't explain it.

The Supreme Being must also have free will. It must be personal. Which is a higher state--that of a rock or that of a dog? A dog is higher because it has a kind of consciousness and free will. It has a brain that chooses, within certain limitations. Which is a higher being-- a dog or a human? A human is higher because it has greater reason, because it can create, as in music and art. It is higher because it can choose the good, even when that choice is contrary to its own self-interest.

Clearly, a Supreme Being must be personal or it could not be higher than a human being. A Supreme Being must be supreme---higher than a human being. We all acknowledge that there is a hierarchy of living things. A Supreme Being must be great, in every way, must have a higher capacity in every way, than those qualities of a human that make the human greater than all other animate objects.

Could the Supreme Being be an inanimate force as in Star Wars? How could it? It would be lacking in all those qualities that give a human being greater capacities than all other living things. Something that is not even living doesn't even come close. A Supreme Being must be supreme in every way.

OK. Nuf philosophizing for the day....LOL

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

God is so indulgent with us.

Lately I have been enjoying the view from my bedroom window while lying in bed at night. It's not a window with a view by most standards. It looks over some rooftops. But from my pillow I can look up and see the stars and sometimes even the moon. I love moonlight.

I often think, as I look at the glorious sky, how anyone could doubt the existence of God. How could such beauty be an accidental arrangement of molecules. My home never looks good by accident. It only looks good through deliberate effort on the part of me and my family. Deliberate effort. Doesn't happen by accident. And my home compares in no way at all to the glory of the universe.

Blessed be God. May all come to recognize his goodness and his greatness.

Friday, September 10, 2010

Michigan Notre Dame Game

Well, tomorrow Liz, John, and I are going to do something fun!!

We're going to the Michigan Notre Dame Game!!!!!!!!!!!!

In South Bend!! Which is where Mike lives so we also get to visit Mike!

Here is pictured the Michigan Union on the campus of the University of Michigan.

The Union was also the site of Anne's wedding reception, I might add.

My two youngest daughters and two of my nephews are lounging in front.
Also pictured is the golden dome of the University of Notre Dame with Our Lady looking over the campus.

I am a graduate of Michigan. So is my sister. So was my father and grandfather. And my son John is a current student!!! John is also an avid Michigan football fan and has been since he was very young.

My son Mike is a graduate of Notre Dame. And I love Notre Dame. (OK. Yes. I know. They made some big mistakes a year ago. And I think it's safe to say that all is not to Our Lady's liking on the campus) But there is a lot of good at Notre Dame. There is a lot of grace. You can feel it. I believe that her hand is on the university. And so I love it.

Who do I cheer for? John says the stronger case is for the U of M. He's right. But the emotional attachment to ND, believe it or not, is stronger. I think it has to do with associations with Our Lady and with the kind and gracious treatment Mike and I received there as parents of a student. (Rather in contrast to Michigan, I might add) It has to do with a campus where ALL the employees are polite and kind, accommodating and competent. There is the basilica dripping with the glory of God and the grotto where the reverence of the students can bring you to tears.

Anyway, enough analysis. It's just football, right? In spite of John's objections I think I'll wear something for each team and be happy. Happy that no matter who wins, one of my children will be thrilled. And that's enough for me.

Go Irish! God Blue! Go Blue! Go Irish!

Wednesday, September 08, 2010

Happy Birthday, Blessed Mother!

Happy Birthday to our Blessed Mother and Queen!!

From In Conversation with God today I read the following inspiring passage:
She is the most beautiful fully human soul ever created, second only to the Incarnation of the Word. (St. Alphonsus Liguori) God give each person the necessary strength for a specific mission in the world. Given Mary's exalted vocation, her grace from the time of her conception surpasses that bestowed on all the angels and saints together....St. Bernard deduces: Mary's sanctity and beauty were so superlative that it was fitting God be her son and she His Mother. St. Bonaventure affirms: God could have made a greater world, but he could not have made a mother more perfect than the Mother of God.

Thank you, Lord God, for the gift of your mother.

Monday, September 06, 2010

Missing Jim....

This was Liz's first day of high school and Jim's farewell morning. Pretty emotional day.

But their spirits were good.
And it always helps if your brother can get goofy. LOL
This is the chapel at Jim's university.
Jim and my good friend Patti who is his godmother. It is definitely a good friend who will spend 20 hours driving with you so you don't have to drive home alone.
Jim is just so delightful to be around. We all really miss him a lot.
I don't know. Mothers all know that you raise your children to be able to leave you and become independent adults. But when it happens it feels very unnatural and almost like a part of you is being pulled apart. I guess that is the mother/child bond that changes. It doesn't disappear, but it becomes quite different.

Bottom line-- we're all just really missing him a lot.

Jim, don't forget you're from Michigan. You know. That mitten state that has the delightful summers and dramatically beautiful winters? And the gorgeous falls and sweet, sweet springs? Yeah. We want you back when your education is finished....(according to God's will, always.) Love ya!!

Thursday, September 02, 2010

Anne's wedding!

The two sister-bridesmaids...

Today she left for Georgia where her new husband will be going to chiropractor school. I am really missing her. She hasn't lived at home for quite a few years, but she's always lived nearby and stopped by regularly.

She's a wonderful daughter and has always been a delight to have around.

We miss you, Anne!! (and she's only been gone a few hours...LOL)

Tomorrow I'll write about missing Jim who has been gone now for a week. (Really missing him too!!)

Monday, August 23, 2010

Next Event? Taking my youngest son to college!

This is the summer to beat all mothering summers for me.

First, Liz, my youngest, graduated from the grade school where I've spent half my time for the last 13 years or so.

Then Jim graduated from high school. And how exactly did that happen while I was looking the other way?

Then my oldest daughter was married to a wonderful young man.

Now my new son-in-law and she will be moving to the Atlanta area for the next few years!

And tomorrow I must start the drive across the country to take Jim to college.

Within a a ten day period two of my children who have never lived in another town will be living more than ten hours away. One of them will be more like 20 hours away.

September may be my month of emotional meltdown. Prayers appreciated.

Thursday, August 19, 2010

Wedding Planning Advice :-)

First of all, let me just say that it's a lot of fun wearing a hat like the one below (bought it at Michael's). You don't get to be in that role for very long. I got a kick out of it. LOL

But what you see below is the assigning of tables for the reception. Just in front of my hat is a map of the Union Ballroom with tables in place and numbered.

We numbered each paper plate too and placed it on the table according to the map. Then we placed a post it note with each guest's name on it and fixed it on the plate. You have to rearrange these things a LOT of times. Every change brings about maybe 7 or 8 other changes. Anne read this suggestion somewhere. Moving the post-its is a lot easier than crossing out names on lists!! And if you can't leave them out you can always stack the plates up and spread them out again the next day. Oh, and don't try to stick them around the edge like I first started to do. They stay put much better if you just stick them on the center of the plate.
And leave a lot of time to do this. It takes hours and hours! These are your guests. You want them seated with people they like. Everyone should be with at least some people they know, if at all possible. Proximity to the head table needs to be considered and relatives placed as close to you as you can. You might want dancers near the dance floor. Coffee drinkers near the coffee bar. Relatives you rarely see get placed at or near your table! And don't put together people who don't get along! I left these plates like this for days and each day I usually made a few changes.

Hopefully, the final assignments were the best we could do. I hope so. But you never know how things may change. Four people, for various reasons, could not come even though they had RSVP'd. Would you believe all four were at the same table?? That left one table with only five or six people. Oh well. I hope they enjoyed the company they had. :-)

This was actually a fun part of the planning process that I thought was really important. And with this technique (paper plates and post-its) that Anne had read about, I thought it went quite well.

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

Now for my brother, or "Rich and the Haunted Lighthouse"

During our vacations in northern Michigan each summer we often visit the Old Presque Isle Lighthouse.

It's an interesting old lighthouse, built in 1840.

There are fun things to do on the grounds like pumping water from a still functioning hand pump. (Liz in the picture)
Or ringing this bell on the back patio... (Monique and Mary here)

Here is my brother Rich with his two children Mitch and Monique...

As it turns our, the Old Presque Isle Lighthouse is believed by many to be haunted. Well, that's all my brother needed to hear. I don't like heights so I didn't climb up to the top. I stood at the bottom ready to take pictures as my family arrived at the top.

Soon I could see Rich in the window.

He was right next to the light here. Suddenly he jerks himself backward as though he was being pulled from behind. His own hand is pulling his face back as he opens in mouth in a feigned scream. His frame slowly starts to disappear from view as he pretends he is being pulled downward. (I am already dying from laughter.) As his face is almost gone from view he silently and desperately mouths "help!" (Now I'm looking around hoping no one is calling the police.)

His hand slowly slides down the glass, palm flattened tight against it. The hand goes up, then down, as though he is struggling. His face appears one more time, wide eyed and terrified, and then slowly and jerkily disappears from view. (I can hardly breathe I am laughing so hard.)
When he finally exits the lighthouse at the bottom he comes out staggering as though completely exhausted from this struggle. Moaning, he falls to the ground, face first and then turns over.
I don't know if you can see it in this picture but he even managed to get grass in his mouth as he lay there as though unconscious.
I was completely in tears and looking for the restroom. No one. NO ONE can make me laugh like my brother can.

If you read among the ghost stories of the Old Presque Isle Lighthouse a story about a man mysteriously attacked and dragged down the know what really happened. LOL You gotta love brothers.