Thursday, April 30, 2009

Small Successes


1)I am 37 weeks 2 days today! And I have begun packing my hospital bag, I washed the layette, I have diapers and newborn pacis. My pre-op appointment is tomorrow!

2)Shelby's dresser is organized for summer. Which really Jeff did, but that means we only have Joey's to go through.

3) I made my brother happy by giving him a Mountain Dew. He is a Marine stationed about an hour north of where we live and he came with my parents to visit. We had some Mountain Dew's around the house and I sent him back with a few cans which made his day.

Wednesday, April 29, 2009

There are still Pharisees in Our Midst

I consume vast quantities of Catholic media. Especially online. I find it enriching, enthralling, and sometimes, altogether irritating.

I am a true believer in free speech. It allows me to have this blog, but comments, well comments test my resolve in this area.

I recently came to realize that part of my irritation with comments on Catholic media sites is that there are still Pharisees in this day and age. There are some sites that I can no longer go to because of the prevalence of the Pharisees.

The simple definition of who the Pharisees were in the Bible is that they were religious scholars and elders who basically ran the religion. I don't hesitate to say that they were the "religious police squads" on par with those we see in fundamentalist Islam now who publically flog teenagers or men without beards or people who play music.

The Pharisees we encounter today online are men and women who are well versed in the Bible and the Papal addresses and encyclicals and everything Vatican and Vatican II. These people are not evil. They are not intending violence toward others, but they are spreading a poison of sort.

Tell me if you haven't seen this: someone posts a question to an open forum or a response to an article that includes a question. Some people respond in general then there are a couple of responses that quote scripture or some other official church document and basically say, it's open and shut this is the answer and there are no exceptions ever and anyone who doesn't follow this to the letter is going STRAIGHT TO HELL!!!!

I usually have to navigate away for a few minutes to compose myself.

The Pharisees in the Bible often tried to "trap" Jesus with their knowledge and stature in society. Remember when he cured someone on the Sabbath? Now, Jesus had it a lot easier than we do, because, hey he's the Son of God and has the answers. We don't always. If anyone tries to refute the statement that the online Pharisees posts, they are backed into a corner and often intimidated with the knowledge the former has over the latter. I often resist the urge to respond. Right or wrong, I know I won't be able to change this person's mind, only God can.

Here is what I do know, from the Bible:

1) Jesus hung out with prostitutes and tax collectors (including Matthew, his apostle). He did not refuse anyone who came to Him. He hated the sin, NOT the sinner.

2) When Jesus had a woman brought to him with the charge of prostitution/adultery his response to those who wanted to stone her: let he among you who has not sinned cast the first stone.

3) The Pharisees turned Jesus over to Pilate, blinded by their own knowledge and pride in it. They failed to see the gift they were given.

When you read a comment from the Pharisees, the most important thing to do is pray for them. Pray for their sanctification.

Tuesday, April 28, 2009

Are you going to mow the lawn next?

That's what Jeff asked me when I was cleaning our storm door of dog nose prints and toddler hand and face prints on Sunday while my parents and brother were down for a visit.

I NEVER nested in my first two pregnancies. I'm not sure why. I made efforts at cleaning, but not the "clean until the bleach fumes knock you out" nesting that pregnant women go through. Maybe it's because I was working while pregnant. Maybe it just was not part of my life then.

I don't consider myself to be nesting now, but our house is remarkably cleaner than it has been at any other time and I am doing most of it. Things that used to not bother me, like pet hair on sofas and hand prints on windows, do now. Sweeping my kitchen floor is now the daily routine more than once!

I do not do outdoor chores mostly because my husband has worked in landscaping, knows what he is doing, and does it very well. He was joking about mowing our lawn. In fact, he carried the joke further that since it was 80 degrees outside, I should mow the lawn and he could take a picture to show his 36 week pregnant wife mowing the lawn and send it to the newspaper to see what kind of reaction it would get. Probably no worse than in 1996 after Hurricane Fran tore Raleigh apart and on the last day of National Guard debris collection, a local news crew caught footage of my 80+-year-old great-grandmother and our across the street neighbor who was in a wheelchair bringing debris over to the collection site while my three able-bodied, teenage brothers looked on not helping...according to my brother Mike, who is a Marine now and was visiting Sunday, they were supervising the effort. I guess Jeff could use that excuse too?

Monday, April 27, 2009

Prayers for Roxana Saberi

Roxana Saberi is the Iranian-American journalist who is imprisoned currently in Tehran, Iran under espionage charges. Roxana is on a hunger strike right now and her trial was questionable to say the least. Please pray with all of us for Roxana's safe release that she may return to the US.

Monday, Monday

Today is the last day of NST testing for this baby. Friday we have our pre-op appointment and then next Wednesday is my appointment at the hospital to complete paperwork and hopefully bloodwork as well! Then the following Thursday we have a baby!!!!

Of course, this Monday marks the last official day that Jeff will be doing any "traveling." He is going to the Crystal Coast aka Morehead City for a teaching job fair. A couple of weeks ago, Jeff passed Praxis II which means he is now "highly qualified" in our state for lateral entry positions without student teaching. However, every county in our state is now on a hiring freeze. Meaning no new positions are being created at this time and in some cases, unfilled positions are being eliminated. Unfilled positions are his best bet and there are a couple in the county he is in today, but at the same time, we aren't holding our breath. His best bet for employment will still come after completing a student teaching internship in the fall. I am a little bit nervous though about the internship (we should find out who his partnership teacher is today) because it is in the fall and very few teaching positions open in the spring! In fact, one of his classmates in his alternative pathway to teaching program took almost a year and a half to get a position last fall before all the cutbacks!

Being that I am so close to delivery and that is the biggest thing we have on our plates now. I am focusing on that, but think it's novena time to St Joseph and St Gregory the Great for job success for a teacher who needs a classroom!

Friday, April 24, 2009

A Few of My Favorite Things for Friday

1) Sounds strange but meal planning! It brings Jeff and I together and forces us to work toward something very small, but important each week!

2) Posting old pictures for my husband on facebook. After much prodding from a former classmate of his, I found a picture from their graduation night and posted it. Then I found a picture of other high school friends from a concert and more and more. You would not believe how excited these people are about seeing old pictures of themselves. My husband laughs at them (the pictures and the people's reactions). Who knew we could bring such a small moment of joy in their lives!

3) "Not baby! Joey!" "No! Daddy!" These are Joey's reactions to various pictures we show him. If we show him a picture of himself about 70% of the time he will say "Not baby! Joey!" Now if they are pictures of him or Shelby as very young babies, he will say baby and if we tell him Joey or Shelby he yells, "NO!" The second response comes from me showing him some of the old high school pictures I found of his father. Ones where his father has hair. If I show him the picture and say, "Daddy," and point to him, Joey shakes his head and yells, "No!" then runs off and finds a picture of his daddy with no hair and points to him and says, "Daddy!" Do not fear, Jeff thinks this is a very sweet development.

Thursday, April 23, 2009

Have We Become A Nation of Sore Losers?

This week a woman from the town right across the big bridge from me was crowned Miss USA. Ironically my husband was watching while I was in the other room watching hockey playoffs (wait, young beautiful women in bathing suits and evening wear, maybe not sooo ironic). I have become pretty good at calling pageants over the last few years and picked her out as definitely making the top 5 if not taking it all. My husband picked 4th runner-up Miss Utah to win.

Anyhow, no sooner had Kristen Dalton accepted her crown than first runner-up Miss California gone to the press to claim that by her saying she was against same-sex marriage she lost the crown. Wait, how exactly does she know that? Don't the contestants have no idea where they stand when they answer the notorious interview questions? Couldn't someone else have given a different answer to the same question and still lost?

Could her answer be the reason she was first-runner-up and not Miss USA? Sure, but, can we be certain? No, we can't. Remember the five finalists each randomly picked a question out of the hat. There are more than five judges. What if she had lost and that question not have been asked? What would her reasoning have been then?

We are a nation of competitors. We all want to be the best. There is nothing wrong with that. However we must always remember that we cannot win at everything. Miss California answered the question honestly and that indicated she did not feel as though she would be judged down for doing so. Why, then, afterward, did she feel the need afterward to say that she was robbed of the crown for her honesty? I can't answer that. But what I do know is this, there are 51 contestants for Miss USA (50 states and the District of Columbia) and only one is crowned the winner. The first runner-up is instated if Miss USA cannot perform her duties for any reason (including going on to win Miss Universe). There are 49 other contestants behind that first runner-up who would love to be in her shoes.

I want to raise my children in an environment where yes, they are urged to try their hardest and do their best, but also to realize that winning should never come at any cost and that there is a way to not win and be gracious about it. I don't necessarily believe we should always give a trophy to every kid. I do believe we should award outstanding achievement. But when we feel we have to make excuses or put our reason for not winning on someone else, something is wrong. Yes, cheaters should be exposed, but the winner of this competition did not cheat. And as viewers from television, we can't say for certain that every judge scored this contestant down? Like I said, if they did or didn't we can hardly prove. Miss California felt she should have won, no doubt, but so did 49 other women, many of whom didn't get the chance to put their hand in the fishbowl.

Small Successes


1)I cleaned my sofa and loveseat with upholstery cleaner! It looked beautiful for about five minutes until my nineteen-month-old, who is suffering nasal allergies, wiped his nose on it and my dogs jumped on it, but it felt good for those five minutes!

2) When both toddlers woke up at 3 am yesterday (!) I decided to make the best of it and serve up grits and bring out their comforters and pillows, turn on Barney and tell them we were having a slumber party. It actually worked. They both snuggled and watched Barney till Daddy got up three hours later!

3) I have actually gotten a little organized BEFORE this baby arrives. How I managed to do this with the toddlers on the loose, I have no idea. As of my 36 week visit yesterday, baby is BIG, still and healthy and despite him being so big and large, I am not dilating yet, THANK YOU GOD! I am not that organized yet!

Wednesday, April 22, 2009


Life happens. I am a big proponent of that saying whether to describe an unusual or otherwise unwanted event, but also to describe the unborn.

Recently, over at FFL, there was a post regarding Sarah Palin's "pro-life hesitation." The thrust of Danielle's post was that we who profess to be pro-life should understand that life is not always the easiest choice. That it can be an uncertain and terrifying choice and when someone chooses life, we need to support them in their undertaking.

My response to the post as the mother of a "special needs child" and a woman who was told in her current pregnancy that my son had the possibility of birth defects generated some very supportive comments. I was touched to have reached a few women in that way.

The post addressed that Sarah Palin had, because of her age, an amniocentesis performed which revealed that Trig, her son, had Downs Syndrome. Amniocentesis is just one of a battery of tests that can now be performed to diagnose in utero any variety of genetic conditions. With each pregnancy, I am required to sign a clipboard full of paperwork explaining what I am rejecting by not opting for any prenatal testing. I am not against testing per se, but often times the way in which it is carried out.

Testing, for my sister-in-law, who had her first and only child in her forties, was a scare tactic. She was inundated with the likelihoods of all the genetic defects and barely a word was mentioned to her about the false positives these tests could reveal or that these tests were never a guarantee that "everything is alright." Being an only child herself and not understanding all of the medical terminology or consequences (she said she found out only afterward the risk of miscarriage with the amnio) she succumbed to all testing. She and my brother-in-law had planned on having two children, but after my nephew's birth, she decided the risk was too great based upon her experience with this one pregnancy.

Testing, for Will's Godmother, Gina, left more questions that answers. She decided to undergo the testing because her mother had lost both a brother and sister as small children to cystic fibrosis. The likelihood of a caucasian having the CF carrier trait (meaning not the disease) is 25%. Gina's husband was African American and had a significantly reduced rate of being a carrier. Gina turned out not to be a carrier but the test results which her ob touted as an "insurance policy" came with the disclaimer that there was not a guarantee the child could still have a genetic abnormality. Her husband was floored. All they had heard was the positives of the testing.

I also read more and more about false positives in testing, especially for Downs Syndrome. One story I recently read in a magazine at the OB's office described a woman who had undergone the AFP (triple scan) test which is touted as diagnosing 80-90% of Downs Syndrome children and the test showing the anomaly. She also underwent the newer nuchal fold testing which showed a slightly enlarged nuchal fold (the flap of skin on the back of the neck) also a sign of Downs. She was told that there was "no judgment" in her decision one way or another. She chose to have the baby who was born without Downs. She was speaking out to tell others that even with positive tests, false positives are a possibility and she questioned how many babies were being aborted at 16-18 weeks because of one AFP test.

Pregnancy is "supposed to be" a joyous time of preparation and expectation. Much of the mystery is now gone. We no longer have to wait until birth to know the sex of the baby. We don't have the innocence left to accept whatever child God has waiting for us. I faced the unusual ire of many when I did not find out the sex of my first child. These were mostly people who wanted to buy the baby clothes and didn't have the patience to wait until after the baby was born.

Unfortunately, for all too many women, pregnancy is a time of worry and concern. Whether due to their age, or genetic results, or the nature of how their pregnancy occurred, many women feel abortion is their only alternative. The post on FFL showed clearly that there are problems even within the pro-life movement of how to best support a woman who has a "troubled" pregnancy for one reason or another. A lot of women focused on why adoption was not more readily offered to some of these women which reminded me of a girl I knew in college. Her older sister had become pregnant while still in high school and when she went to a Catholic crisis pregnancy center, she was told by workers there that only a selfish "child" would keep her baby and deprive it of a two-parent household. I am a proponent of adoption, but this outraged me. A woman in the FFL combox actually addressed this happening to her as well. And someone also addressed how women in crisis pregnancies are treated as immoral pariahs vs someone who needs help.

Here is the thing, when we identify ourselves as being pro-life, we often fail to think about all that entails. I can say from first hand experience that until you are sitting across from a doctor being told that your child potentially has major birth defects, you do not know what will go through your head. I can't imagine being very young with no insurance and no parental support finding out you were pregnant. The friends I had in high school who became pregnant chose to have their babies, some with parental support, others without, including one who crashed on the couch of whatever friends' parents supported her decision when her parents did not up until her sixth month, when her parents had a change of heart. Knowing now how difficult it can be to parent a child as an adult with resources and a spouse, I have a whole new respect for how these girls did it back then. The reactions some of them received after choosing to have their babies as "jezebels" hardly spoke well of some of the pro-lifers labeling them as that. The truth was, they were kids who through their own decisions, some they realized only in hindsight were not the right ones, were very quickly becoming adults.

When I identify myself as being pro-life, that means that I am not simply against abortion (I am) in all circumstances, but that I am willing to help those who reach their hands out because they have chosen to have their child and need help figuring out how they are going to make ends meet or know they want a different life for their child and need to know how to make that happen or are thrust into the situation of accepting that the child they are expecting may come with health conditions they did not bargain for and finally, if they have already gone through the pain and horror of an abortion helping them to find a way to heal. It is not my place to judge any of these women whose pregnancies occurred under less than ideal situations and are now struggling. It is not me who doles out the penance they must serve. That is up to God. It is my job to realize that God brought them into my life so that I may help them in the best way for them. And if by my own testimony to women facing uncertainties about the health of their unborn babies saves just one baby or helps one mother feel there is hope, maybe, just maybe I'll be able to stand in front of God and say, "Yes Lord, I did something good for the least among us."

Tuesday, April 21, 2009

The Breath of Prayer

Is no answer to prayer the answer "no"?
I have no idea.
I cannot profess to know the will of God,
but I have committed my life to fervent prayer.
I would like to say unceasing prayer,
and I'm working on it,
but sadly the flesh is weak.
Kristen recently left a nice post on the answer to prayer.
The next day the following article by Catherine Marshall came to me in an email.
(cutting and pasting appears to work)

Several years ago I reached a point in my journey
when I no could no longer petition for anything.
I didn't know what to ask for.
I just prayed. I began to connect to God from the beginning.
I began to connect each breath with the God breathing in to Adam.
My devout Catholic self decided that it was time to join other believers in prayer,
so I joined Breakthrough intercessors offering prayer for others.
Since a little girl,
I've always been floored by the expression "He doesn't have a prayer".
For it seems to me,
that as long as a body has breath,
he has a prayer.
It's his choice.
In these last several years I have prayed and adored many a holy hour
before the Blessed Sacrament
with the words of Thomas:

My Lord, My God.

And that seems to cover it all.

Peace unto you in this Holiest and most Blessed of seasons.
He is Risen, indeed.
Alleluia! Alleluia!

A Few Little Somethings About William...

His birthstone with be an.....Emerald

His birthflower will be a.....Lily of the Valley

photo credit

His zodiac sign will be....Taurus

photo credit

And if his birthday is May 7 as scheduled...he will share a birthday with Tim Russert, Johnny Unitas, Darren McGavin, Eva Peron, Johannes Brahms, Pyotr Ilych Tchaikovsky, and Robert Browning.

Sunday, April 19, 2009

Justice for Maria and Gabriel

This week, at the airport in our town, former US Marine Cesar Laurean landed to be transported for his trial for killing Maria Lauterbach and her unborn son Gabriel. Actually, Laurean will only be tried for Maria's death as the state of North Carolina has no laws currently that will allow prosecution for baby Gabriel who was killed in his mother's womb.

I am not interested in a death penalty debate other than to say, I am against the death penalty in all cases including this one.

What I am interested in is getting that law passed in North Carolina that would allow a person to be charged with murder in a case such as this. I have written my representatives and senators. But I know that more needs to be done. At this point, the best thing I know for sure I could complete would be praying for the legislators to make the right decision.

Maria was not far off in her pregnancy from where I am now. My heart aches for her family that lost a daughter, sister, niece, cousin and this unborn baby. And I know that there will be no justice for Maria or baby Gabriel, until we show the true value of his life which began in the womb.

And Now We Enter My Busy Time of Year

NHL playoffs. While I am floored that my Rangers beat the Caps. I am more amazed that I love hockey at all.

My mother's family is from Buffalo, so I guess it's not totally unrealistic that I would like hockey. But it is still highly unlikely. That is because I grew up in the southeast from the age of four and while there is an NHL team in the state I have lived in since I was four, that team got here when I was about 16.

Somehow, I always loved the frozen sport. I fell in love as a young teen with Mark Messier. And it is still an open joke that I married my husband because he has the same haircut as Mark.

But even when my Rangers don't make the playoffs, I am glued to games. I cannot get enough of the ice, the skates, the checks, the fanfare...there is a game on now. I must get back to it.

Divine Mercy Sunday

photo credit

For the sake of His sorrowful Passion
Have mercy on us and on the whole world.

Saturday, April 18, 2009

When We Fall

Have you heard about Mel Gibson? He of the Passion of the Christ fame is getting divorced.

Here are questions I have personally been fielding over the last few days:

Isn't he Catholic? Why yes he is.

I thought Catholics don't believe in divorce? No we don't.

Won't he be excommunicated? No, his wife was not Catholic, so although he was married in the Catholic church he can still receive the sacraments, mainly the Eucharist. However, if he wished to be remarried in the Church, like Nicole Kidman and every other Catholic on the planet, he would be required to obtain an annulment.

Do you think this will make people think less of Catholics and the Catholic church? Yes and no. For those already anti-Catholic, it will, of course, stoke the coals of the fire that such a high-profile professed Catholic has fallen in such a major way. For some on the fence, it may diminish the Church's standing, for some it may not. For practicing and believing Catholics it is sad as all divorce is. It does not change what we believe or practice.

When any of us falls, it is not an easy thing to deal with. We must admit we have sinned and we must ask God's forgiveness. Those things are hard enough. If our sin is public and we are a high profile person, our penance must be public as well. And that could be brutal. We must face public shame and ridicule. We have to accept this.

What people who are not Catholic do not realize though is that God and his Church do not give celebrities a pass. We are all the same in God's eyes and when we fall, we all must answer equally. Mel Gibson is no stranger to controversy and public penance. We cannot know the penance God will require.

While we certainly know that Gibson's fall will not shine any bright happy lights on Catholics, we can be assured it will not tarnish her reputaiton to the point that we will cease to exist or be a powerful force for good in this world.

Friday, April 17, 2009

And so we come to everyone's favorite subject of late...

Susan Boyle's Britains Got Talent audition.

A lot of people don't know she just made it to the next round, she has not won. A lot of people also had forgotten about BGT's first winner Paul Potts who was similarly laughed at until he opened his mouth and sang.

Let me first of all say, I never saw Susan Boyle as unattractive or old. Just normal. A woman trying to make it in the world like any of us. The shock in Simon Cowell's face I did not take as a sign of, "How could someone so unattractive sing so beautifully," but more as, "wow, what a beautiful voice and pure talent!" I took it as a sign that even someone as cynical as Simon still has the human ability to be amazed by true talent.

Now that doesn't mean that others couldn't have thought differently when they saw her or read Simon's reaction differently. And I don't begrudge American cynics who think that Boyle would never have made that audition in the US. The truth is we don't know why Simon's reaction was what it was or if she would have "made it here."

Why is it we cannot be happy that a truly rare talent has been discovered and allowed to shine? Is there are reason we must over-analyze everything in life? Can't a cigar just be a cigar?

I hope Susan Boyle releases a cd. I would buy it for sure. I hope she wins Britain's Got Talent. And I really hope she and Mr. Potts could tour together so I could see them both in person. Am I biased. Yes, I love their voices and their spirits and their belief that they could be more than they ever dreamed possible.

Can You Say No Graciously?

Here is an excerpt from an email I got recently from a good friend:

I am only asking this because you are a good friend and have small children. Have you ever said no to help?

My sister-in-law is our only family in town and since J***** was born she is always offering to babysit so I can "get out of the house" for a haircut, manicure whatever non-Mommy thing. It is a sweet gesture and I truly do appreciate the intent, however, when I have taken her up on it, I come home to my house being a wreck! She usually helps herself to food (not a problem) but does not clean up after herself and leaves toys all over the house not to mention when she changes a diaper, she doesn't dispose of it. Period. She leaves it wherever she changes the baby. It's to the point now that if she asks it is more stress on me than just being at home alone with the baby ever could be. The last couple of times she offered, convienently I had other plans that included the baby already. Do you know of a way I could nicely decline her requests without hurting her feelings?

I think we have all had a friend, family member, fellow church member or whomever whose favors to us often come with a price we didn't exactly pay up front for. I felt horrible reading this email. First of all, I don't really believe there is a way you can be sure you will not hurt someone's feelings in any situation. I think of one of my favorite movies, You've Got Mail, when Meg Ryan says she hates the phrase, "It's not personal," because all it means is that it is not personal to the person saying that.

That being said, you should throw good manners and consideration out entirely!

First of all, I think one should consider what kind of favor the person is offering. If it is something that is really necessary to you (for example watching kids when you have a doctor's appointment or something to complete that you otherwise could not do with children present) I would probably let go of whatever inconvience this comes with unless it is something potentially dangerous to said children (ie--smoking in your home, driving around without carseats, etc.) If it is more of a courtesy gesture, such as the one my friend mentioned, perhaps suggest a pre-scheduled monthly or weekly event. Maybe once a month grandma or whoever can have the children come play at her house or take them to the movie or the park for a couple of hours so Mom can have a break. That way you know ahead of time what is expected and it could even be a time that the kids and the person watching them look forward to. Now, if the favor is something that really is outdone by the "collateral damage," personally I would thank the person for the offer and gesture and assure them that if the need arises you'll let them know but you're covered for now. The best example I can think of for this happened to my next-door neighbor who, after her third child was born, received an offer from a family member to watch all three kids while she took a nap for an hour. When my neighbor awoke, the two unpottytrained (the newborn and her almost two-year-old) babies were soiled through the diapers and clothes, her older child had been allowed to make a "sandwich" which involved him using a knife without supervision and food was all over the kitchen and living room as well as broken plate. For one hour of sleep, it wasn't worth it. So when this relative asked again, she declined saying she now had the kids on a matching nap schedule that gave her time to rest too but if something happened this person would be the first one they would call.

The second thing I would examine when considering if you should accept or decline the favor and how is your relationship with the person. And by relationship, it shouldn't be whittled down to saying yes to relatives no matter what and no to friends only. Sometimes, family understands better and some friends may no longer be. Now, if there is a serious problem arising from the favors this person is performing, again, the relationship issue matters much less. But, again, we should take into consideration if the person will respond better to a quick no-thanks or an offer of some kind of arrangement.

Finally, I would say, you do have to examine why the person is offering. Is it a genuine good-will offer? Is it someone who you know will want a favor in return that may not be something you're totally comfortable with? Is is a family member or Godparent who would really like to spend more time with you or your child? I don't like to think of people having motives behind their behavior, but there is no better way for a relative to get time with a new baby than by offering to do a household chore that they may not actually do well. A regular visit time with no expectation of this person doing anything other than visiting the baby would solve that problem.

So, are there anythings you've ever had to say no to that put you or the other person in an awkward situation? Do you use a standard answer when someone repeatedly offers a service you aren't willing to pay for? I'd love to hear because as I've said, we've all pretty much been there before and I'm sure we could all learn from each other's successes at saying no graciously or failures.

Thursday, April 16, 2009

Small Successes


1) My toddlers are learning to take turns and share! Don't ask me how or why now, I don't know if I did anything at all to promote this...but it's happening!

2) I was able to travel to my brother-in-laws for Easter even with BH contractions, constant pressure and a 2+ hour drive both ways in which I was most uncomfortable. And the toddlers behaved in the car!

3) Jeff passed the Praxis II! This means he could lateral entry teach and that if he can't get a lateral entry job he is guaranteed his certificate to teach in December! Now why is this my small success, in addition to helping him study and with his homework, I have been on a prayer crusade for him to pass. He had missed the exam the previous time by one point. I prayed for that one point, and he got 13 higher!!!! We received this news this past Tuesday. Happy Easter indeed!

Tuesday, April 14, 2009

A Dog By Any Other Name

Today the first family is officially welcoming Bo, the Portugese Water Spaniel to the White House.

The pictures show a puppy with a multi-colored lei on who is very cute. We all know the story that President Obama promised the girls after the campaign that they would be allowed a puppy. And after the election Obama said publically he wanted a "mutt" making an analogy to himself. Then the Obama's found out that one of their daughters has an allergy which did put some restrictions on the dog choices.

I know a lot of people are worried that now people will want the Portugese Water Spaniels because the first family has one the way Dalmatians become popular when a new version of 101 Dalmations comes out. My husband is one of these people who wonders if that phenomenon will occur. The same debate began ranging when Stump won the Westminster Kennel Club show this year. Would the sussex spaniels suddenly become all the rage?

Our dog Charlie, is a rescue. I would never have had him come into our lives any other way. He was aloof and distrustful. He kept his distance. Shortly after adopting him, I had surgery, and then when Charlie saw that things could be tough, really tough, and we weren't going to give him up, he began to follow me everywhere. He opened himself up and bonded. It occurred to us at that point that some of the other families that had tried to "adopt" Charlie (his foster mother said he had been returned to her four times before we adopted him) probably did not give him enough time to warm up. We were willing to stick it out longer and found he was as much a part of us as we were of him.

Our dog Gilligan, on the other hand, is a pure-bred beagle with papers. We bought him at age six weeks. Gilligan is bound to us for different reasons. We are all he ever knew. He was cool with another dog joining the family, he had many reservations when babies started coming home. Now, he has a 19-month-old "master" who bosses him around and tells him he is not allowed to sleep in this spot or that he should take off the muzzle we put on the dog in order to clean his ears because he snaps otherwise (as if the dog would not take the muzzle off if given opposable thumbs and the oppurtunity). Gilligan is a crotchety old almost eight-year-old, but he was perfect training for having a baby and sleepless nights, just at an accelerated rate. Gilligan also, as a pure-bred, suffers epileptic seizures. Little did we know just how that would prepare us for parenthood as well and the unexpected tests it brings.

It is obvious from Bo's arrival at the White House that the girls are smitten with him and the President and Mrs. Obama are thrilled that their daughters are so happy. Dogs, no matter what breed, or how they come into our lives, offer us a possibility of love so pure, so freely given it is hard to dismiss. I saw a bumper sticker the other day that said, "Dear God, Please help me to become the person my dog already thinks I am." Even without pregnancy hormones, it would make me tear up. When my cousin Andy was being diagnosed with a brain tumor, he had a dream and the message "dogevol" was given to him. "Love God." When I look at that through the eyes I have as a dog owner, I realize that God loves us so much, he gave us not only His son that we may have eternal life, but an animal whose name is God spelled backwards to help us remember just how much He loves us.

No is the Answer to a Prayer

Last week I wrote about unkind comments and buried in that post was the fact that sometimes God answers prayers by saying no.

God hears all prayers. God answers all prayers. Sometimes not in the way we would like.

I live in an area dominated by Protestant churches and evangelical ones. Many of them broadcast services on television. Whenever I catch a snippet, there is usually a well-meaning minister telling the congregation that whatever they ask for they will always receive. While I know this is well-meaning, it is also somewhat disingenuous. After all, what if two members of the church are both going for the same job. Only one person will get it. And both are praying for it. When one gets it and the other one does not, does that mean God loves that person less? No, of course not.

It says in Matthew: Ask and it will be given to you; seek and you will find; knock and the door will be opened (Mt 7:7-8). Does this mean that God should give us all we ask for? No, it means that if we do not ask, seek and knock, we will not receive what we are asking, seeking, and knocking for. But it doesn't guarantee we get them either. After all, God knows better than we do what is best for us.

It is very difficult to understand, much less accept when God says no. Especially when it is something we have worked hard for, or wanted that we are being refused. It is then, that we must pray with fervor for acceptance of God's will. The best prayer to pray in these times is the Lord's Prayer. It is there that we hear the words, "thy will be done" which to me are the hardest words of all to pray at anytime. Let's not mince words, surrendering to God's will is so not easy. After all, even Jesus asked in the Passion for God during the agony in the Garden, "My Father, if it is possible, let this cup pass me; yet, not as I will, but as you will." (Mt 26:39) And there is only one story of true acceptance of God's will no matter once aside from the Passion. His name was Job.

Monday, April 13, 2009

What are your staples?

I talk a lot about meal planning here. Probably because it's one area I feel really in control of. I hope I have also mentioned that even the best laid plans sometimes fall through. Like when one of us forgets to get meat out of the freezer on time! To plan is great, to improvise divine.

We all have the basics that exist in just about every refrigerator, eggs, milk, bread, butter, etc. But aren't there some staples that vary a bit more depending on your family's tastes. Staples that you keep in supply because you just never know when an appointment will run late causing you not to get your more elaborate already planned meal in action in time or you find that the crucial ingredient didn't make it into the cart when two children were arguing over a special dessert causing you to mark it off the list and not pick it up?

Here are a couple of ours:

1) Noodles--of all kinds, because they are fast and easy and go well with...
2) Jars of premade sauce--which we stock up on when we have coupons or they go on sale. We prefer to make our own, but it helps to have some around.
3) Pre-pattied hamburgers--again, when they go on sale we stock up. The frozen straight to the grill kind.
4) Old fashioned oats and grits-- they take about five minutes and my kids love them!
5) Soft tortillas--which go well with
6) Shredded cheese--and
7) Salsa--cheese quesadilla's are an easy throw together when all else fails.

What about you? Anything you panic over when you run out of even if it's not on the menu?

As Well As Can Be Expected

That's how I describe Easter Sunday dinner.

I didn't host and Jeff didn't cook. So we come out on top right there! We had hoped to bake homemade bread to share, but that, unfortunately did not come to pass. :(

We traveled two hours up the road (which, yes, at almost 35 weeks pregnant was pretty uncomfortable and tiring) to my brother-in-laws house for Easter dinner. Shelby had her normal initial adjustment issues when we first arrived, but found there was a piano in the house and was okay from there on out. Joseph was delighted to find the "d,d,d,d" or dogs at the house and proceeded to boss them around the way he does our dogs. He also fed goats and met kittens for the first time. And he whacked his cousin in the eye, luckily I didn't see it. Jeff was right there when it happened and handled it appropriately. Not seeing it didn't make it any less mortifying, after all Joey is the youngest. And no one has ever hit him!

The food was good, the company was good. Did I mention I didn't have to host or cook?

Sunday, April 12, 2009

He is RISEN!! Alleluia!

photo credit

When the sabbath was over, Mary Magdalene, Mary, the mother of James, and Salome bought spices so that they might go and anoint him. Very early when the sun had risen, on the first day of the week, they came to the tomb. They were saying to one another, "Who will roll back the stone for usfrom the entrance to the tomb?" When they looked up,they saw that the stone had been rolled back;it was very large.On entering the tomb they saw a young man sitting on the right side, clothed in a white robe,and they were utterly amazed.He said to them, "Do not be amazed! You seek Jesus of Nazareth, the crucified. He has been raised; he is not here. Behold the place where they laid him. But go and tell his disciples and Peter, 'He is going before you to Galilee; there you will see him, as he told you.'"

Mk 16:1-7

Saturday, April 11, 2009

From the Easter Vigil Gospel

When the sabbath was over, Mary Magdalene, Mary, the mother of James, and Salome bought spices so that they might go and anoint him. Very early when the sun had risen, on the first day of the week, they came to the tomb. They were saying to one another, "Who will roll back the stone for usfrom the entrance to the tomb?" When they looked up, they saw that the stone had been rolled back; it was very large. On entering the tomb they saw a young man sitting on the right side, clothed in a white robe,and they were utterly amazed. He said to them, "Do not be amazed! You seek Jesus of Nazareth, the crucified. He has been raised; he is not here. Behold the place where they laid him. But go and tell his disciples and Peter, 'He is going before you to Galilee; there you will see him, as he told you.'"

Mk 16:1-7

Friday, April 10, 2009

From Today's Gospel

Jesus went out with his disciples across the Kidron valley to where there was a garden, into which he and his disciples entered. Judas his betrayer also knew the place, because Jesus had often met there with his disciples. So Judas got a band of soldiers and guards from the chief priests and the Pharisees and went there with lanterns, torches, and weapons. Jesus, knowing everything that was going to happen to him, went out and said to them, "Whom are you looking for?" They answered him, "Jesus the Nazorean." He said to them, "I AM." Judas his betrayer was also with them. When he said to them, "I AM," they turned away and fell to the ground. So he again asked them,"Whom are you looking for?" They said, "Jesus the Nazorean." Jesus answered,"I told you that I AM. So if you are looking for me, let these men go." This was to fulfill what he had said, "I have not lost any of those you gave me." Then Simon Peter, who had a sword, drew it, struck the high priest's slave, and cut off his right ear. The slave's name was Malchus. Jesus said to Peter,"Put your sword into its scabbard. Shall I not drink the cup that the Father gave me?"

So the band of soldiers, the tribune, and the Jewish guards seized Jesus, bound him, and brought him to Annas first. He was the father-in-law of Caiaphas, who was high priest that year. It was Caiaphas who had counseled the Jews that it was better that one man should die rather than the people.

Simon Peter and another disciple followed Jesus. Now the other disciple was known to the high priest, and he entered the courtyard of the high priest with Jesus. But Peter stood at the gate outside. So the other disciple, the acquaintance of the high priest, went out and spoke to the gatekeeper and brought Peter in. Then the maid who was the gatekeeper said to Peter, "You are not one of this man's disciples, are you?" He said, "I am not." Now the slaves and the guards were standing around a charcoal fire that they had made, because it was cold,and were warming themselves. Peter was also standing there keeping warm.

The high priest questioned Jesus about his disciples and about his doctrine. Jesus answered him,"I have spoken publicly to the world.I have always taught in a synagogue or in the temple area where all the Jews gather, and in secret I have said nothing. Why ask me? Ask those who heard me what I said to them. They know what I said." When he had said this, one of the temple guards standing there struck Jesus and said, "Is this the way you answer the high priest?" Jesus answered him,"If I have spoken wrongly, testify to the wrong; but if I have spoken rightly, why do you strike me?" Then Annas sent him bound to Caiaphas the high priest.

Now Simon Peter was standing there keeping warm. And they said to him,"You are not one of his disciples, are you?" He denied it and said,"I am not." One of the slaves of the high priest, a relative of the one whose ear Peter had cut off, said, "Didn't I see you in the garden with him?"Again Peter denied it. And immediately the cock crowed.

Then they brought Jesus from Caiaphas to the praetorium. It was morning. And they themselves did not enter the praetorium, in order not to be defiled so that they could eat the Passover. So Pilate came out to them and said, "What charge do you bring against this man?" They answered and said to him,"If he were not a criminal, we would not have handed him over to you." At this, Pilate said to them, "Take him yourselves, and judge him according to your law." The Jews answered him, "We do not have the right to execute anyone," in order that the word of Jesus might be fulfilled that he said indicating the kind of death he would die. So Pilate went back into the praetorium and summoned Jesus and said to him, "Are you the King of the Jews?" Jesus answered,"Do you say this on your own or have others told you about me?" Pilate answered,"I am not a Jew, am I? Your own nation and the chief priests handed you over to me. What have you done?" Jesus answered,"My kingdom does not belong to this world. If my kingdom did belong to this world, my attendants would be fighting to keep me from being handed over to the Jews. But as it is, my kingdom is not here." So Pilate said to him,"Then you are a king?" Jesus answered,"You say I am a king. For this I was born and for this I came into the world, to testify to the truth. Everyone who belongs to the truth listens to my voice." Pilate said to him, "What is truth?"

When he had said this, he again went out to the Jews and said to them,"I find no guilt in him. But you have a custom that I release one prisoner to you at Passover. Do you want me to release to you the King of the Jews?" They cried out again,"Not this one but Barabbas!" Now Barabbas was a revolutionary.

Then Pilate took Jesus and had him scourged. And the soldiers wove a crown out of thorns and placed it on his head, and clothed him in a purple cloak, and they came to him and said,"Hail, King of the Jews!" And they struck him repeatedly. Once more Pilate went out and said to them, "Look, I am bringing him out to you, so that you may know that I find no guilt in him." So Jesus came out, wearing the crown of thorns and the purple cloak. And he said to them, "Behold, the man!" When the chief priests and the guards saw him they cried out, "Crucify him, crucify him!"
Pilate said to them,"Take him yourselves and crucify him. I find no guilt in him." The Jews answered, "We have a law, and according to that law he ought to die, because he made himself the Son of God." Now when Pilate heard this statement, he became even more afraid, and went back into the praetorium and said to Jesus, "Where are you from?" Jesus did not answer him. So Pilate said to him,"Do you not speak to me? Do you not know that I have power to release you and I have power to crucify you?"Jesus answered him,"You would have no power over me if it had not been given to you from above. For this reason the one who handed me over to you has the greater sin." Consequently, Pilate tried to release him; but the Jews cried out, "If you release him, you are not a Friend of Caesar .Everyone who makes himself a king opposes Caesar."

When Pilate heard these words he brought Jesus out and seated him on the judge's bench in the place called Stone Pavement, in Hebrew, Gabbatha. It was preparation day for Passover, and it was about noon. And he said to the Jews,"Behold, your king!" They cried out,"Take him away, take him away! Crucify him!"Pilate said to them,"Shall I crucify your king?" The chief priests answered,"We have no king but Caesar." Then he handed him over to them to be crucified.
So they took Jesus, and, carrying the cross himself, he went out to what is called the Place of the Skull, in Hebrew, Golgotha. There they crucified him, and with him two others, one on either side, with Jesus in the middle. Pilate also had an inscription written and put on the cross. It read,"Jesus the Nazorean, the King of the Jews." Now many of the Jews read this inscription, because the place where Jesus was crucified was near the city; and it was written in Hebrew, Latin, and Greek. So the chief priests of the Jews said to Pilate, "Do not write 'The King of the Jews,'but that he said, 'I am the King of the Jews.'" Pilate answered,"What I have written, I have written."

When the soldiers had crucified Jesus, they took his clothes and divided them into four shares, a share for each soldier. They also took his tunic, but the tunic was seamless, woven in one piece from the top down. So they said to one another, "Let's not tear it, but cast lots for it to see whose it will be," in order that the passage of Scripture might be fulfilled that says: They divided my garments among them,and for my vesture they cast lots. This is what the soldiers did. Standing by the cross of Jesus were his mother and his mother's sister, Mary the wife of Clopas, and Mary of Magdala. When Jesus saw his mother and the disciple there whom he loved he said to his mother, "Woman, behold, your son." Then he said to the disciple,"Behold, your mother." And from that hour the disciple took her into his home.

After this, aware that everything was now finished, in order that the Scripture might be fulfilled, Jesus said, "I thirst." There was a vessel filled with common wine .So they put a sponge soaked in wine on a sprig of hyssop and put it up to his mouth. When Jesus had taken the wine, he said,"It is finished." And bowing his head, he handed over the spirit.

Here all kneel and pause for a short time.

Now since it was preparation day, in order that the bodies might not remain on the cross on the sabbath, for the sabbath day of that week was a solemn one, the Jews asked Pilate that their legs be broken and that they be taken down. So the soldiers came and broke the legs of the first and then of the other one who was crucified with Jesus. But when they came to Jesus and saw that he was already dead, they did not break his legs, but one soldier thrust his lance into his side, and immediately blood and water flowed out. An eyewitness has testified, and his testimony is true; he knows that he is speaking the truth, so that you also may come to believe. For this happened so that the Scripture passage might be fulfilled: Not a bone of it will be broken. And again another passage says: They will look upon him whom they have pierced.

After this, Joseph of Arimathea, secretly a disciple of Jesus for fear of the Jews, asked Pilate if he could remove the body of Jesus. And Pilate permitted it. So he came and took his body. Nicodemus, the one who had first come to him at night, also came bringing a mixture of myrrh and aloes weighing about one hundred pounds. They took the body of Jesus and bound it with burial cloths along with the spices, according to the Jewish burial custom. Now in the place where he had been crucified there was a garden, and in the garden a new tomb, in which no one had yet been buried. So they laid Jesus there because of the Jewish preparation day; for the tomb was close by.

Jn 18:1—19:42

Thursday, April 9, 2009

Small Successes


1) I have found that the new Pledge product for pet hair is amazing and my furniture looks great!

2) I have resisted posting anything about the NCAA results as part of my facebook status. This sounds kinda silly, but in my part of the country, it's very serious for a lot of people.

3) My unborn baby weighs over 5 1/2 pounds and we are 34 weeks pregnant. Despite not feeling great, I am managing to grow a very healthy little boy!

From Today's Gospel

Before the feast of Passover, Jesus knew that his hour had come to pass from this world to the Father. He loved his own in the world and he loved them to the end. The devil had already induced Judas, son of Simon the Iscariot, to hand him over. So, during supper, fully aware that the Father had put everything into his power and that he had come from God and was returning to God, he rose from supper and took off his outer garments. He took a towel and tied it around his waist. Then he poured water into a basin and began to wash the disciples feet and dry them with the towel around his waist. He came to Simon Peter, who said to him, "Master, are you going to wash my feet?"Jesus answered and said to him,"What I am doing, you do not understand now,but you will understand later." Peter said to him, "You will never wash my feet." Jesus answered him, "Unless I wash you, you will have no inheritance with me." Simon Peter said to him, "Master, then not only my feet, but my hands and head as well." Jesus said to him, "Whoever has bathed has no need except to have his feet washed, for he is clean all over; so you are clean, but not all." For he knew who would betray him;for this reason, he said, "Not all of you are clean."
So when he had washed their feet and put his garments back on and reclined at table again, he said to them, "Do you realize what I have done for you? You call me 'teacher' and 'master,' and rightly so, for indeed I am. If I, therefore, the master and teacher, have washed your feet, you ought to wash one another's feet. I have given you a model to follow, so that as I have done for you, you should also do."

Jn 13:1-15

Wednesday, April 8, 2009

Isn't It Just Amazing

I've been a devotee to quite a few saints in my time. St. Jude comes to mind most readily. There is more than one time I've felt like I was a hopeless cause, not to mention situations I encountered!!!

Once my I became married and had children, I became a hard core devotee of the Infant of Prague and have adopted him as our family patron. I don't know what led me to the Infant Jesus, but I have one memory of him burned in my soul. I had to have been at least two and this happened somewhere in New York. That I know. A church we were attending mass at had some type of shrine or devotional place to the Infant of Prague. Either one of my parents or a relative was walking me around the church and we saw it. I remember thinking it was the most beautiful doll (remember, I was two) I had ever seen. I am sure I mentioned this to whomever was with me and they told me it was Jesus. But Jesus was the man on the cross with the crown! This was a baby!

I have often felt that Infant has held a special place in my heart because He represents the love children have that is beautiful, simple, and unconditional. He holds the world in his hand with tenderness and care. It is in this way that my children love me. To think that God could love me like that, despite all my worries and deficits, is nothing short of amazing.

As an adult I learned that financial difficulties as well as urgent requests were the specialty of the Infant of Prague. And I am always amazed but at the same time not when I hear of something being attributed to the Infant of Prague. He has never let me down.

I am hoping to soon have a statue for our home. And a place to put it where two fearless toddlers and rough and tumble dogs will not try and disturb him. For the only greater comfort I could have other than praying to him, would be seeing his face each day.

From Today's Gospel

One of the Twelve, who was called Judas Iscariot, went to the chief priests and said,"What are you willing to give me if I hand him over to you?" They paid him thirty pieces of silver, and from that time on he looked for an opportunity to hand him over.

On the first day of the Feast of Unleavened Bread, the disciples approached Jesus and said,"Where do you want us to prepare for you to eat the Passover?"He said, "Go into the city to a certain man and tell him, 'The teacher says, My appointed time draws near; in your house I shall celebrate the Passover with my disciples.'" The disciples then did as Jesus had ordered,and prepared the Passover.

When it was evening, he reclined at table with the Twelve. And while they were eating, he said, "Amen, I say to you, one of you will betray me." Deeply distressed at this, they began to say to him one after another,"Surely it is not I, Lord?" He said in reply,"He who has dipped his hand into the dish with me is the one who will betray me. The Son of Man indeed goes, as it is written of him, but woe to that man by whom the Son of Man is betrayed. It would be better for that man if he had never been born." Then Judas, his betrayer, said in reply,"Surely it is not I, Rabbi?" He answered, "You have said so."

Mt 26:14-25

Tuesday, April 7, 2009

Sweet Words are like a honeycomb...

so starts one of my favorite Proverbs.

I have written here many times of the unkind comments that many families struggling with infertility face from others.

Lerin reminded me this week about the unkind comments we who have more than one or two children also face.

I will admit, I have been the victim on both sides of this fence. More recently, I have faced the ire of strangers for having two toddlers and being pregnant.

I have often commented on how people rudely assumed after Joey was born that we were done because we had a girl and a boy. Even if we were done, God wasn't. That's why we are having Will.

Many people feel as though we should have stopped after one since Shelby was diagnosed as PDDNOS. Oddly enough, some of the most vocal people in this camp, are parents of other PDDNOS or ASD diagnosed children. I went to a parent meeting one time in which I was the only mother of a girl on the spectrum (not unusual) and also the only parent of more than one child. One mother actually said to me ,"I can't believe you could be fair to either child in this situation!" I have been assured by Shelby's therapists that these parents are by far in the minority, that most families they work with have more than one child and happily welcome new children. A very good friend who we were close to before having children whose son has Asperger's syndrome often commends us on having more than one child as well and wishes she had had her son younger and given him the gift of siblings. So, there are definitely two sides to that story as well.

When someone says something to me I try to have a charitible answer ready. I have heard it all, "You know how that happens, right?", "But you had the perfect set-up!", "Aren't you exhausted?", "Are you done yet?", "Aren't you going to be outnumbered?" and "You know there are ways to prevent that." The last one I heard last Friday at Big Box Mart where I was shopping alone and the woman who said it actually pointed to my son growing in my belly. As insulted and hurt as I was, God gave me grace enough in that moment to realize what a truly ignorant person I was confronted with. And in that moment I had the perfect answer, "Why would my husband and I want to? We get a beautiful baby at the end of it!" The woman was clearly taken aback. We were at the check-out line and she was in front of me. After she left, the cashier looked at me and said, "Wow, that was great!" I just smiled and said thank you.

I realize that for many I may meet, my pregnancy may also cause pain inadvertantly. As many of my friends began having babies early in my marriage and month after month went by with no results, while happy for my friends, I also felt a pain that no one I knew could relate to. I know the feeling well of wondering why others are deserving of the blessing of children while you are not. It is very hard to accept that God's answer to that prayer may be "no" or "not right now" when the desire to have children is so strong. I have not readily been the target of comments that may stem from that type of pain or anger, although I have met women who have heard them.

People are imperfect and our responses are often imperfect, especially to situations that we do not understand. I wrote a small successes post a few weeks ago about praying for the sanctification of others. I honestly believe that a small prayer for the person who makes a rude, judgmental or otherwise silly comment will help in some way.

So, for those out there struggling to become mothers and those who are abundantly blessed, hold your heads high and keep on praying. God will hear those prayers.

From Today's Gospel

Reclining at table with his disciples, Jesus was deeply troubled and testified,"Amen, amen, I say to you, one of you will betray me." The disciples looked at one another, at a loss as to whom he meant. One of his disciples, the one whom Jesus loved, was reclining at Jesus' side. So Simon Peter nodded to him to find out whom he meant. He leaned back against Jesus' chest and said to him,"Master, who is it?"Jesus answered,"It is the one to whom I hand the morsel after I have dipped it." So he dipped the morsel and took it and handed it to Judas, son of Simon the Iscariot. After Judas took the morsel, Satan entered him. So Jesus said to him, "What you are going to do, do quickly." Now none of those reclining at table realized why he said this to him. Some thought that since Judas kept the money bag, Jesus had told him,"Buy what we need for the feast,"or to give something to the poor. So Judas took the morsel and left at once. And it was night.

When he had left, Jesus said,"Now is the Son of Man glorified, and God is glorified in him. If God is glorified in him, God will also glorify him in himself,and he will glorify him at once. My children, I will be with you only a little while longer. You will look for me, and as I told the Jews, 'Where I go you cannot come,' so now I say it to you."

Simon Peter said to him, "Master, where are you going?"Jesus answered him,"Where I am going, you cannot follow me now, though you will follow later." Peter said to him,"Master, why can I not follow you now? I will lay down my life for you." Jesus answered, "Will you lay down your life for me? Amen, amen, I say to you, the cock will not crow before you deny me three times."

Jn 13:21-33, 36-38

Monday, April 6, 2009

From Today's Gospel

Six days before Passover Jesus came to Bethany, where Lazarus was, whom Jesus had raised from the dead. They gave a dinner for him there, and Martha served,while Lazarus was one of those reclining at table with him. Mary took a liter of costly perfumed oil made from genuine aromatic nard and anointed the feet of Jesus and dried them with her hair; the house was filled with the fragrance of the oil. Then Judas the Iscariot, one of his disciples,and the one who would betray him, said,"Why was this oil not sold for three hundred days' wages and given to the poor?" He said this not because he cared about the poor but because he was a thief and held the money bag and used to steal the contributions. So Jesus said, "Leave her alone. Let her keep this for the day of my burial. You always have the poor with you, but you do not always have me." The large crowd of the Jews found out that he was there and came,not only because of him, but also to see Lazarus, whom he had raised from the dead. And the chief priests plotted to kill Lazarus too, because many of the Jews were turning awayand believing in Jesus because of him.

Jn 12:1-11

Sunday, April 5, 2009

Don't Mess With Perfection

Okay, so my mother wanted to rebutt my Peeps post with her s'mores post. And my answer to that is why mess with perfection? Nothing was wrong with s'mores before...

Seriously though, this is an answer I give to many people I meet who are leaving the Catholic church.

The most common complaint I hear is that the Church is trying to control their lives. There are a lot of requirements, I must admit, but should God lower his standards? And what is wrong with trying for something better. We all know that God loves who we are as we are, but He also wants us to be the best we can be. Why should we rest on just good enough, when we know we possess the ability to be better?

Why would you want to leave the Church that is committed to giving you the blueprint to heaven, to helping you get there? Why would you want to be a part of anything that said, "You're okay?" and leave it at that.

From Today's Gospel

The Passover and the Feast of Unleavened Bread were to take place in two days' time. So the chief priests and the scribes were seeking a way to arrest him by treachery and put him to death. They said, "Not during the festival, for fear that there may be a riot among the people."

When he was in Bethany reclining at table in the house of Simon the leper, a woman came with an alabaster jar of perfumed oil, costly genuine spikenard. She broke the alabaster jar and poured it on his head. There were some who were indignant."Why has there been this waste of perfumed oil? It could have been sold for more than three hundred days' wages and the money given to the poor." They were infuriated with her. Jesus said, "Let her alone. Why do you make trouble for her? She has done a good thing for me. The poor you will always have with you, and whenever you wish you can do good to them, but you will not always have me. She has done what she could. She has anticipated anointing my body for burial. Amen, I say to you,wherever the gospel is proclaimed to the whole world, what she has done will be told in memory of her."

Then Judas Iscariot, one of the Twelve, went off to the chief priests to hand him over to them. When they heard him they were pleased and promised to pay him money. Then he looked for an opportunity to hand him over.

On the first day of the Feast of Unleavened Bread, when they sacrificed the Passover lamb, his disciples said to him,"Where do you want us to goand prepare for you to eat the Passover?" He sent two of his disciples and said to them, "Go into the city and a man will meet you, carrying a jar of water. Follow him.Wherever he enters, say to the master of the house, 'The Teacher says, "Where is my guest roomwhere I may eat the Passover with my disciples?"' Then he will show you a large upper room furnished and ready. Make the preparations for us there." The disciples then went off, entered the city, and found it just as he had told them; and they prepared the Passover.

When it was evening, he came with the Twelve. And as they reclined at table and were eating, Jesus said,"Amen, I say to you, one of you will betray me, one who is eating with me." They began to be distressed and to say to him, one by one,"Surely it is not I?" He said to them,"One of the Twelve, the one who dips with me into the dish. For the Son of Man indeed goes, as it is written of him, but woe to that man by whom the Son of Man is betrayed. It would be better for that man if he had never been born."

While they were eating, he took bread, said the blessing, broke it, and gave it to them, and said, "Take it; this is my body." Then he took a cup, gave thanks, and gave it to them, and they all drank from it. He said to them,"This is my blood of the covenant, which will be shed for many. Amen, I say to you, I shall not drink again the fruit of the vine until the day when I drink it new in the kingdom of God." Then, after singing a hymn,they went out to the Mount of Olives.

Then Jesus said to them, "All of you will have your faith shaken, for it is written: I will strike the shepherd, and the sheep will be dispersed. But after I have been raised up, I shall go before you to Galilee." Peter said to him, "Even though all should have their faith shaken, mine will not be." Then Jesus said to him,"Amen, I say to you, this very night before the cock crows twice you will deny me three times." But he vehemently replied, "Even though I should have to die with you,I will not deny you."And they all spoke similarly. Then they came to a place named Gethsemane, and he said to his disciples,"Sit here while I pray." He took with him Peter, James, and John, and began to be troubled and distressed. Then he said to them, "My soul is sorrowful even to death. Remain here and keep watch."He advanced a little and fell to the ground and prayedthat if it were possible the hour might pass by him; he said, "Abba, Father, all things are possible to you. Take this cup away from me,but not what I will but what you will." When he returned he found them asleep. He said to Peter, "Simon, are you asleep? Could you not keep watch for one hour?Watch and pray that you may not undergo the test. The spirit is willing but the flesh is weak." Withdrawing again, he prayed, saying the same thing. Then he returned once more and found them asleep, for they could not keep their eyes open and did not know what to answer him. He returned a third time and said to them, "Are you still sleeping and taking your rest? It is enough. The hour has come. Behold, the Son of Man is to be handed over to sinners. Get up, let us go. See, my betrayer is at hand."

Then, while he was still speaking, Judas, one of the Twelve, arrived, accompanied by a crowd with swords and clubs who had come from the chief priests, the scribes, and the elders. His betrayer had arranged a signal with them, saying, "The man I shall kiss is the one; arrest him and lead him away securely." He came and immediately went over to him and said,"Rabbi." And he kissed him. At this they laid hands on him and arrested him. One of the bystanders drew his sword, struck the high priest's servant, and cut off his ear. Jesus said to them in reply,"Have you come out as against a robber, with swords and clubs, to seize me? Day after day I was with you teaching in the temple area, yet you did not arrest me; but that the Scriptures may be fulfilled." And they all left him and fled. Now a young man followed himwearing nothing but a linen cloth about his body. They seized him,but he left the cloth behind and ran off naked.

They led Jesus away to the high priest, and all the chief priests and the elders and the scribes came together. Peter followed him at a distance into the high priest's courtyard and was seated with the guards, warming himself at the fire. The chief priests and the entire Sanhedrin kept trying to obtain testimony against Jesus in order to put him to death, but they found none. Many gave false witness against him,but their testimony did not agree. Some took the stand and testified falsely against him, alleging, "We heard him say,'I will destroy this temple made with hands and within three days I will build another not made with hands.'"Even so their testimony did not agree. The high priest rose before the assembly and questioned Jesus,saying, "Have you no answer? What are these men testifying against you?" But he was silent and answered nothing. Again the high priest asked him and said to him, "Are you the Christ, the son of the Blessed One?" Then Jesus answered, "I am; and 'you will see the Son of Man seated at the right hand of the Power and coming with the clouds of heaven.'" At that the high priest tore his garments and said,"hat further need have we of witnesses? You have heard the blasphemy. What do you think?" They all condemned him as deserving to die. Some began to spit on him. They blindfolded him and struck him and said to him, "Prophesy!" And the guards greeted him with blows.

While Peter was below in the courtyard, one of the high priest's maids came along. Seeing Peter warming himself, she looked intently at him and said, "You too were with the Nazarene, Jesus." But he denied it saying," I neither know nor understand what you are talking about." So he went out into the outer court. Then the cock crowed. The maid saw him and began again to say to the bystanders,"This man is one of them." Once again he denied it. A little later the bystanders said to Peter once more, "Surely you are one of them; for you too are a Galilean." He began to curse and to swear, "I do not know this man about whom you are talking." And immediately a cock crowed a second time. Then Peter remembered the word that Jesus had said to him, "Before the cock crows twice you will deny me three times." He broke down and wept.

As soon as morning came, the chief priests with the elders and the scribes, that is, the whole Sanhedrin held a council. They bound Jesus, led him away, and handed him over to Pilate. Pilate questioned him, "Are you the king of the Jews?" He said to him in reply, "You say so." The chief priests accused him of many things. Again Pilate questioned him,"Have you no answer? See how many things they accuse you of." Jesus gave him no further answer, so that Pilate was amazed.

Now on the occasion of the feast he used to release to them one prisoner whom they requested. A man called Barabbas was then in prison along with the rebels who had committed murder in a rebellion. The crowd came forward and began to ask him to do for them as he was accustomed. Pilate answered, "Do you want me to release to you the king of the Jews?" For he knew that it was out of envy that the chief priests had handed him over. But the chief priests stirred up the crowd to have him release Barabbas for them instead. Pilate again said to them in reply, "Then what do you want me to do with the man you call the king of the Jews?" They shouted again, "Crucify him." Pilate said to them, "Why? What evil has he done?" They only shouted the louder, "Crucify him." So Pilate, wishing to satisfy the crowd, released Barabbas to them and, after he had Jesus scourged, handed him over to be crucified.

The soldiers led him away inside the palace, that is, the praetorium, and assembled the whole cohort. They clothed him in purple and, weaving a crown of thorns, placed it on him. They began to salute him with, AHail, King of the Jews!" and kept striking his head with a reed and spitting upon him. They knelt before him in homage. And when they had mocked him, they stripped him of the purple cloak, dressed him in his own clothes, and led him out to crucify him.

They pressed into service a passer-by, Simon, a Cyrenian, who was coming in from the country, the father of Alexander and Rufus, to carry his cross.

They brought him to the place of Golgotha— which is translated Place of the Skull —They gave him wine drugged with myrrh, but he did not take it. Then they crucified him and divided his garments by casting lots for them to see what each should take. It was nine o'clock in the morning when they crucified him. The inscription of the charge against him read, "The King of the Jews." With him they crucified two revolutionaries, one on his right and one on his left. Those passing by reviled him, shaking their heads and saying,"Aha! You who would destroy the temple and rebuild it in three days, save yourself by coming down from the cross." Likewise the chief priests, with the scribes, mocked him among themselves and said, "He saved others; he cannot save himself. Let the Christ, the King of Israel, come down now from the cross that we may see and believe." Those who were crucified with him also kept abusing him.

At noon darkness came over the whole land until three in the afternoon. And at three o'clock Jesus cried out in a loud voice, "Eloi, Eloi, lema sabachthani?"which is translated, "My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?" Some of the bystanders who heard it said, "Look, he is calling Elijah." One of them ran, soaked a sponge with wine, put it on a reed and gave it to him to drink saying, "Wait, let us see if Elijah comes to take him down." Jesus gave a loud cry and breathed his last.

The veil of the sanctuary was torn in two from top to bottom. When the centurion who stood facing him saw how he breathed his last he said, "Truly this man was the Son of God!" There were also women looking on from a distance. Among them were Mary Magdalene, Mary the mother of the younger James and of Joses, and Salome. These women had followed him when he was in Galilee and ministered to him. There were also many other women who had come up with him to Jerusalem.

When it was already evening, since it was the day of preparation, the day before the sabbath, Joseph of Arimathea, a distinguished member of the council, who was himself awaiting the kingdom of God, came and courageously went to Pilate and asked for the body of Jesus. Pilate was amazed that he was already dead. He summoned the centurionand asked him if Jesus had already died. And when he learned of it from the centurion, he gave the body to Joseph. Having bought a linen cloth, he took him down, wrapped him in the linen cloth, and laid him in a tomb that had been hewn out of the rock. Then he rolled a stone against the entrance to the tomb. Mary Magdalene and Mary the mother of Joses watched where he was laid.

Mk 14:1—15:47

Saturday, April 4, 2009

God's Remedy for Child's Cough

When I work the pediatric advice line, a common question is
"What can I give my child for cough?"
Well, guess what Mamas? Great grandma was right! The Bible was right!
God made it and it's still good!
In fact, for children over 1 year a study conclusively proved honey to be more effective than Dextromethorphan the over the counter cough suppressant.
For children over one, 1/2 to 1 tsp. as needed.
for children under 1 year- warmed apple juice.
under 3 months, see a doctor.

This is the advice we give parents per our telephone protocols.
I use all of these things myself.
I can personally attest to saline nose drops. (I have a "Nettie Pot")
and honey. Professional vocalists have used honey for years.
I can also attest to black licorice for throat issues and
fennel as a natural decongestant (works great in tea or chicken soup).

On a recent visit with our son, Mike, who is in the US Marine corps, we were staying together in a hotel room. Mike was coughing nonstop. We thought we'd be up all night. I made him a cup of hot sweet tea and gave him 5 sticks of black licorice,
he did not cough once after that.

A few years ago all of the effective cold remedies were removed from over the counter to behind the counter to be signed for. Many products were discontinued because pharmacies simply did not have room. This was largely in part to the use of pseudoephedrine products in illegal meth labs. I was a sinus pressure sufferer. I found remarkable relief from Sudafed Non Drying Sinus. When they removed pseudoephdrine and replaced it with phenylphrine(it was left over the counter in this formulation), I was no longer relieved. For a long time I was angry because I suffered physically due to the activity of criminals,
but I've come full circle.
Don't waste your money on over the counter cold remedies. The benefits do not outweigh the risks.
I now revel in the fact that I am blessed with the knowledge of the ages.
Many "home" remedies are now given deserved respect
They are made by Grace.
They were used in ancient times and are mentioned in the Old Testament:
Olive Oil
God's chosen people had the edge.
Their meds were manufactured by God.

Peace and All Good to You!

Peeps now Come in Chocolate...


And now, for the most DISGUSTING part of Easter

Maybe you love these little chicks and bunnies, but they are so nasty to me. Always have been. I have tried them stale, microwaved, frozen and fresh. Blech! And my three brothers agree with me.
Yet, every Easter, they would appear in our baskets. We would grumble and complain but they always were there. One year, my brother Mike and I went to our mom and actually told her not to put them in. She looked at us in horror and said, "But it's tradition!"
Remember when I blogged about tradition recently. Yeah, add this one to one that does not appear in our home. Another Easter tradition we don't continue is Easter grass. As a small child it galled me the way it stuck to everything and was a mess that kept on going for months. Ditto for tinsel at Christmas.
People are either love 'em or hate 'em for the most part with Peeps. I have met a few who have never tried them. And a very few who remain neutral. For me, I think it's the combo of that overly sugary coating on the marshmallow. I am weird about textures. That doesn't do it for me. A lot of people don't like the marshmallow specifically, not me. I love it in rice krispie treats and s'mores, but in things like Peeps and moonpies, can't seem to do it!
Now, the really ironic part about all this, is that I LOVE seeing the Peeps in the store as their shapes and colors are always one of the first indications of whatever holiday we happening upon. I find it kind of cool that there is a "Peep culture" out there that demands these treats year round. On top of that, I find people who only like and will eat Peeps at Easter. And believe it or not I understand that VERY well. After all, Reese's Peanut Butter Eggs are not only my favorite Easter candy, they are my favorite Reese's Peanut Butter Cup product and to me they do taste different and better.

From Today's Gospel

Many of the Jews who had come to Mary and seen what Jesus had done began to believe in him. But some of them went to the Pharisees and told them what Jesus had done. So the chief priests and the Pharisees convened the Sanhedrin and said,"What are we going to do? This man is performing many signs. If we leave him alone, all will believe in him, and the Romans will come and take away both our land and our nation." But one of them, Caiaphas,who was high priest that year, said to them,"You know nothing, nor do you consider that it is better for you that one man should die instead of the people, so that the whole nation may not perish. "He did not say this on his own, but since he was high priest for that year, he prophesied that Jesus was going to die for the nation, and not only for the nation, but also to gather into one the dispersed children of God. So from that day on they planned to kill him.

So Jesus no longer walked about in public among the Jews, but he left for the region near the desert, to a town called Ephraim, and there he remained with his disciples.

Now the Passover of the Jews was near,and many went up from the country to Jerusalem before Passover to purify themselves. They looked for Jesus and said to one another as they were in the temple area, "What do you think? That he will not come to the feast?"

Jn 11:45-56

Friday, April 3, 2009

From Today's Gospel

The Jews picked up rocks to stone Jesus. Jesus answered them, "I have shown you many good works from my Father. For which of these are you trying to stone me?" The Jews answered him,"We are not stoning you for a good work but for blasphemy. You, a man, are making yourself God." Jesus answered them,"Is it not written in your law, 'I said, You are gods"'? If it calls them gods to whom the word of God came,and Scripture cannot be set aside, can you say that the one whom the Father has consecrated and sent into the world blasphemes because I said, 'I am the Son of God'? If I do not perform my Father's works, do not believe me; but if I perform them, even if you do not believe me, believe the works, so that you may realize and understand that the Father is in me and I am in the Father." Then they tried again to arrest him; but he escaped from their power.
He went back across the Jordan to the place where John first baptized, and there he remained. Many came to him and said, "John performed no sign, but everything John said about this man was true." And many there began to believe in him.

Jn 10:31-42

Thursday, April 2, 2009

Small Successes


1) Limiting computer time is becoming a reality believe it or not.

2) Shelby has gone to sleep three nights in a row with no paci! And yesterday we gave up the paci for the full day!

3) Joseph sat on the potty last night. I find it amusing that the paperwork on potty training our pediatrician gives out says that potty training is acheived when a child can go to the bathroom on their own without an accident but mentions nothing about having a child who can wipe themselves. BTW- he didn't actually go, but we are starting him getting comfortable with the idea.

From Today's Gospel

Jesus said to the Jews: "Amen, amen, I say to you, whoever keeps my word will never see death." So the Jews said to him,"Now we are sure that you are possessed. Abraham died, as did the prophets, yet you say, 'Whoever keeps my word will never taste death.' Are you greater than our father Abraham, who died? Or the prophets, who died? Who do you make yourself out to be?" Jesus answered, "If I glorify myself, my glory is worth nothing; but it is my Father who glorifies me,of whom you say, 'He is our God.' You do not know him, but I know him. And if I should say that I do not know him, I would be like you a liar. But I do know him and I keep his word. Abraham your father rejoiced to see my day; he saw it and was glad." So the Jews said to him, "You are not yet fifty years old and you have seen Abraham?" Jesus said to them, "Amen, amen, I say to you, before Abraham came to be, I AM." So they picked up stones to throw at him;but Jesus hid and went out of the temple area.

Jn 8:51-59

Wednesday, April 1, 2009

From Today's Gospel

Jesus said to those Jews who believed in him,"If you remain in my word, you will truly be my disciples, and you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free." They answered him, "We are descendants of Abraham and have never been enslaved to anyone. How can you say, 'You will become free'?" Jesus answered them, "Amen, amen, I say to you,everyone who commits sin is a slave of sin. A slave does not remain in a household forever, but a son always remains. So if the Son frees you, then you will truly be free. I know that you are descendants of Abraham. But you are trying to kill me, because my word has no room among you. I tell you what I have seen in the Father's presence; then do what you have heard from the Father."
They answered and said to him, "Our father is Abraham." Jesus said to them, "If you were Abraham's children, you would be doing the works of Abraham. But now you are trying to kill me, a man who has told you the truth that I heard from God; Abraham did not do this. You are doing the works of your father!" So they said to him, "We were not born of fornication. We have one Father, God." Jesus said to them, "If God were your Father, you would love me, for I came from God and am here; I did not come on my own, but he sent me."

Jn 8:31-42