Thursday, January 31, 2008

Voting: A Vocation and a Duty

How many times have you heard a politician recite the following?:

"I'm personally opposed to abortion but...I support the law of the land as affirmed by Roe V. Wade."

To this I respond: Sorry. That dog won't hunt. Not any more.

Our elected officials no longer get it both ways. The pro-life position requires proponents to bear witness through action and results. It means using talent and power to protect human beings in all stages of life. Womb to the tomb. A true pro-life stance is not championed by a tepid, conditional declaration and a tacit acceptance of the status quo. Take, for instance, Rudolph Giuliani's flimsy, non-committal position:

" a country like ours, where people of good faith, people who are equally decent, equally moral, and equally religious, where they come to different conclusions about this, ... I believe you have to respect their viewpoint. ... I would grant women the right to make that choice (to have an abortion.)"-- Fox News interview

Skillful verbiage, to be sure. The success of moral relativism always depends on a masterful delivery. But how is it that so many fellow Catholics fall for this centrist wish-wash? And are our clergy holding Giuliani and other Catholic leaders (such as Ted Kennedy and Nancy Pelosi) responsible for these shameful, do-nothing positions?

As for our part...We, the laity, have a responsibility to battle sin. One of the most effective ways to do this is by voting in alignment with the doctrine of our Church. If the candidate is not absolutely pro-life, then we must withhold our vote. Even if said candidate is "the lesser of two evils". Even if they hold admirable positions on other, key issues. What's more, we must vote for the pro-life candidate whenever the opportunity presents itself. We can learn much from Evangelical Christians in this regard. Their voting power is united, consistent, and powerful. Fath
er John Corapi, a respected and nationally recognized speaker weighs in with this:

"Catholics today in the United States represent the single largest religious voting block in the country, yet we have had relatively little effect in recent years. The reason is that an enormous number of Catholics are not faithful to their lay state in life."

In this time of political discernment and potential change, we are called to witness our faith and to give voices to those who have none. If we, a faith community, are not willing to protect the very young, the very old, and the infirmed, why bother concerning ourselves with border control, national security, education, the economy or even the environment? Why are so many Catholics, of all people, standing mute, while human beings, the presumed beneficiaries of government and politics, are willfully destroyed? Father Corapi makes a salient point about the untapped power, the sheer opportunity within our grasp:

"Abortion...could never exist in this once great country if the Catholic lay faithful were witnessing their faith powerfully and without compromise."

Let these words be our guide in the upcoming primary elections and all others to follow.

Tuesday, January 29, 2008

The Party Is Over. Isn't It?

My 5-year old received this in the mail today:

Playing games? Eating brownies? You don't have to ask him twice!

I have to give this little boy's mother themommymemoir All Heart-No Pretense Award. How wonderful to just let this be what it is--a kid's birthday party... When I witness this type of simple, in-the-moment parenting, I feel humbled. And inspired.

By the way, don't you wish that adult parties had an end-time? No awkward clanking-of-dishes or the "gee, I sure do have a lot going on this week" declaration in order to mozy your mirth-makers toward the front door. No wondering if you've overstayed your welcome or, conversely, if you have offended the host by leaving prematurely. There's none of that social guesswork at kids' parties. It's all stipulated from the get-go.

For my husband, there is never such a quandary. For him, it's party 'till the break 'o dawn or his wife's break down, whichever comes first...This is not to say that I don't enjoy parties--I do. Really. But I get my fill and then, well, I'm wondering what's on the Drudge Report. Or what books are on my nightstand. Or just how far I can extend Pi.

Jim just shakes his head in resignation. In his world, the merriment continues as long as even one hang-dog soul remains in an upright position. And do not get me started on his family's goodbye ritual. Suffice it to say, I've learned after thirteen years of marriage that if I want to leave, I need to give him a head's up at least one hour out. In fact, my husband's (and most of my in-law's) rite-of-goodbye often rivals the duration and festivity of the party itself. God love these talk-crazy people.

I love 'em too, actually. A lot.

And as far as a party-end time... I know it's never going to happen...I guess it really is a social convention for the less-than-four-feet crowd. In the meantime, I've always got Pi.

P.S. So far, I've made it to 3.14159265

Monday, January 28, 2008

A Keeper

Found this post-it note on my computer today...

Totally unsolicited--complements of my little Kindergarten man. In the words of his favorite fictional heroine--Junie B. Jones, "Wowie, wow, wow".

Sunday, January 27, 2008

On "E" Tonight

It was a long weekend capping off an equally long week. Time to start over tomorrow. I feel a little war torn after a night of defending my faith and my Church to a family member who is utterly disenchanted with Catholicism. It always saddens me when the Church sustains yet another casualty as a result of the priest/pedophile nightmare. It's doubly upsetting when the casualty is someone known to me. I understand her frustration when she says cannot bear the thought of one dime of her tithe being appropriated to suit settlements associated with the scandal. I've often thought the very same thing.

Just over six years ago, my RCIA instructor imparted a thought that has helped me through my moments of doubt where the Church is concerned. She said that we must think of our Church as a family. A very good, kind, loving family. But an imperfect one. And simply because a family has problems does not mean that you up and leave. You stay, you work it out, you make it better. You do the best you can. Because ultimately, no person or thing can ever replace your family.

In the meantime, this convert, this mommy, this wife, needs some sleep. Badly. More thoughts on this later.

Thursday, January 24, 2008

Hey Chippy!

Chippy Gillespie?

My three-year old JoJo has decided that the mommy's new name is Chippy. Recent example:

Mommy: Hurry! We're late. Get your shoes on now!
JoJo: OK mommy, in a minute...
Mommy: No, now! Let's get a move on.

Fish and chippy?


I should correct her but I have a hard time keeping a straight face when she says it. Where she got this? Absolutely no idea.

That Number We Don't Like

You know---the number. And it's not 777. It's the number before 7 and after 5. Three of them in a row. That's as much as you're going to get me to type. I can't help it. I'm spooky like that.

I'll just cut-and-paste this chart so that I don't have to type that number. Take a look. It's awfully funny, even if the author is toying with disaster, scoffing at the dark side's company logo. Said author, by the way, is unknown.

A Fun Collection of Beastly Numbers

Click to enlarge

Over-The-Top You Say?

For those of you who think this mommy is just a wee over zealous in her religious convictions... I've got a reality check for you. And yes, I do think the Catholic quips are funny.


* You think Jesus is too liberal.
* You enjoy talking to people in King James English.
* You have your application in for the Trinity.
* You are building your own pulpit for your living room.
* You think hair tonic is Biblical.
* You believe Moses could have shaved.
* You thought Naked Gun was a Clint Eastwood movie.
* You built your own ark model.
* You pointed out all the errors in Jurassic Park according to Genesis.
* You think Monopoly teaches greed.
* You support Hare Krishna's in the airport because it means your denomination can have a booth across the hall.
* You think Mormons are mistaken but they sure do dress nice.
* You think genuflect is a type of mirror.
* You wish you could preach like Louis Farrakhan.
* You can prove that unscrambling "Santa" is "Satan."
* You know that Jesus was born in April but probably would have liked a tree anyway.
* You exchange any currency that has three 6's in a row.
* You think credit cards are a tool of the devil to identify you to the Anti-Christ.
* You think that bar codes are demonic.
* You enjoy Wal Mart.
* You take National Geographic and draw bikinis on all the naked people.
* You think People Magazine is pornography.
* You found back masking on Amy Grant's albums that chant.
* You think that Gregorian Chants are a tool of the devil
* You think laughter is a tool of the devil.
* You think that tools are tools of the devil.
* you think that tools are devils.
* You think the J. C. Penny catalog is pretty snappy.
* You think Victoria's Secret is an Illuminati conspiracy.
* You know the writing on the statue of liberty's tablet was put there by a Mason.
* You have a chart of the hidden symbols of the dollar bill.
* You thought Jerry Falwell was liberal.
* You think Mother Theresa was stocking away all her money and getting away on wild weekends at Cannes.
* You say "Darn."
* You have all of your radio buttons tuned into religious stations.
* You enjoy Muzak.
* Your idea of a hot weekend is to attend an anti-Catholic seminar.
* If you've ever helped in a baptism and you thought they should stay under water longer.
* You won't wear a robe even in the bathroom.
* You won't wear colored underwear.
* You think the guy with the hair and John 3:16 sign at golf tournaments is liberal.
* You think Deviled ham is a conspiracy of the Illumnati.
* You think Bingo was a pretty good game until the Catholics took it over.
* You think Charlton Heston was great in the Ten Commandments. . .but you repent of watching it because movies are a tool of the devil.
* You say Amen more than once an hour.
* You pray so long your food gets cold.
* You think doctors are a tool of the devil.
* You think teachers are a tool of the devil.
* You think science is a tool of the devil.
* You think Burt Reynolds was great in Smoky and the Bandit. . . but you repent of watching it because movies are a tool of the devil.
* You have a fish on the back of your car, your boat, your bicycle and your briefcase.
* You become an Amway dealer to evangelize in disguise.
* You like being an Amway dealer.
* You think A.A. is liberal.
* You have your name stamped on all your Bibles.
* You have more than 10 Bibles.
* You think that Catholics actually pray to little plaster statues.
* You think Notre Dame football team are all secretly Jesuit priests in an Illuminati conspiracy.
* You think Amy Grant is a tool of the devil.
* You think underneath the Pope's skull cap is the mark of the beast.
* You have evidence "They" are rebuilding the temple in Jerusalem.
* You name your children after the apostles.
* You name your child Ichabod, Shalmaneser, Jeremiah or Ezekiel.
* You have a Bible Cover that looks like a doily.
* You won't own a credit card because "they" might use to give you a "mark of the beast."
* You rail against Catholics for statues but wear a cross around your own neck.
* You always bring bean casserole to a church pot-luck.

--author unknown.

Wednesday, January 23, 2008

Kindness Crisis

This issue is so shameful it makes my blood boil!

Within the last few months, a popular men's magazine (with which I'm only vaguely familiar) declared that the actress Sarah Jessica Parker is the "most unsexy woman in America". They may have even said she is the "most unsexy woman in the world". I don't recall their parameters with great specificity and I'm not in the mood to research the particulars.

This is not a post where I intend to argue on behalf of the actress's beauty or lack thereof. I'm also not discussing the merits of her acting, the roles she chooses, or her morality. Some people think she hangs the moon and others, well...not so much. Whatever. Leave those concerns for the folks who want to devote their time and efforts to the lives of celebrities. This is themommymemoir, not

What makes me apoplectic, however, is the unabashed cruelty of these remarks. Did these goons forget that Sarah Jessica Parker is someone's wife, someone's mother, and someone's daughter? Would they want their wives labeled this way? Their sisters? Why is she the target of these frat boy pundits and their editors? And why is such unchivalrous, ungentlemen-like behavior tolerated?

Apparently, bullying sells magazines. In droves. But what a sad testament to the state of our cultural morality. How are we teaching our young men to value and respect women when this prolific cruelty is a bankable commodity? And what are our young women to think about themselves when they witness such brazen, misogynistic bullying?

Of course, kindness starts in the home. Children have to know that it's not OK, EVER, to intentionally humiliate another human being. Even if that person is in a relative position of power, prestige, or wealth. Even if it seems harmless or funny. And children must witness their parents' commitment against bullying, in all forms. Blatant, subtle, "humorous" or otherwise.

As an aside, I saw Sarah Jessica Parker's fragrance ad in a magazine yesterday. It's been around for some time so it didn't catch my first. And then I noticed the text.

Lovely on the inside. What a refreshing sentiment. I could be wrong but something tells me that the "on the inside" phrase is a recent addition to the ad's text...What a subtle, dignified response to those mean spirited boy-men from that creepy, cheesecake rag. A tasteful reminder that beauty is also about heart, mind, and soul. It's about a radiant inner confidence that speaks volumes about character. It's about having the courage to fully own what one is given and making the best of it. And mostly, it's about rejecting a celluloid, manufactured standard of beauty that is devoid of natural grace and femininity.

Bravo to Sarah Jessica Parker.

Now that's celebrity behavior to emulate. Finally.

Tuesday, January 22, 2008

A Day of Penance and Prayer

"In all the dioceses of the United States of America, January 22 shall be observed as a particular day of penance for violations to the dignity of the human person committed through acts of abortion, and of prayer for the full restoration of the legal guarantee of the right to life."

The personal is indeed political. And I assume we agree that the promotion of social justice, or lack thereof, is not a cultural norm for the rank and file Catholic. While the conversation surrounding abortion is unpleasant at best, we are remiss in our devotion to Christ's mission when we remain silent. Or when we turn a deaf ear to those who may seem...well, fanatical about the issue. Something tells me that even this post will be the cause of an eyeball roll among some of my own friends and family.

So be it.

On this day of penance, we should reflect on our culpability and our silence. Let's show as much contrition for our own inaction, apathy, and resignation as we do for the act itself.

I'm told the total number of American soldiers killed in the war in Iraq is roughly equal to the number of daily abortions.

Our silence equates to complicity.

Friday, January 18, 2008


Every single American should hear his speech, in its entirety, at least once.

The beauty, the art, and the POWER of words.

Wednesday, January 16, 2008

Christmas Card OCD - Recap!

Thanks friends for enduring my annual Christmas card shakedown. I have to admit--it worked. We got a haul this year! It's good to know that if my peeps aren't feeling the greeting card love, I can manhandle my way into their hearts...By the way, Oracle has been known to employ similar methods. Her brother endearingly refers to her brand of influence as the "choke chain of love".

We mommies know that the free will thing is overrated. Every Christmas, we'll get you into the spirit of the season one way or another. The Borg from Star Trek said it best: resistance is futile. You will be assimilated.

While I truly appreciate each and every greeting that you send, I especially enjoy the photo cards--which get posted right outside the mommy headquarters (see photo). I eventually get around to taking them down (just yesterday). Of course it pains me because I can't bring myself to simply toss all of those beautiful pictures. So, into another box they go. It's no wonder that our house is packed to the rafters. Some day they're gonna have to dig me out. But for now, I'll just keep adding to the collection. Plans for next year's card campaign are in the works. Brace yourself.

I do believe we are now officially done with holiday discussions, preparations, analysis, musings, reflections, rantings, and wrap-ups. And no, we're never done with the wonder of Christ's birth. I'm just talking about all of the surrounding whoopity-do-dang-dingle.

Saturday, January 12, 2008

No Dance Class...For Modesty's Sake

I've recently pulled my daughter out of a community dance class because I objected to the costumes that the children would wear at recital time. The costume slated for my daughter wasn't particularly immodest--it was just tacky and had a very "kiddie pageant" kind of feel to it. The little girl in the brochure had oodles of make-up on with her hair professionally styled and hair-sprayed to high Heaven. She was supposed to be some sort of miniature Southern belle. Scarlett O'Hara for the under-four-feet set. Cheesy sums it up best.

What really got me was the costume that the next age group was supposed to wear. A spaghetti strap top with a bare midriff was the crowning glory of this getup. I wouldn't let my daughter play in this type of clothing let alone PERFORM in it.

Even in my "golden-buckle-of-the-Bible-belt" community, it appears as though the park district staff think I'm over the top on this issue. Oh well. JoJo is only three but modesty is a concept she already understands. And I can clearly see that the "battle" against external forces starts now and is probably only one of many in years to come. Lucky me!

Friday, January 11, 2008

Prayer For Peace...My Own This Time

Borrowed from A Cup of Tea With Anne, another noteworthy Catholic mom blog...

I really needed this one tonight. I think every married woman needs this from time to time:

Lord, help me to be a good wife. I fully realize that I don’t have what it takes to be one without Your help. Take my selfishness, impatience, and irritability and turn them into kindness, long-suffering, and the willingness to bear all things. Take my old emotional habits, mindsets, automatic reactions, rude assumptions, and self-protective stance, and make me patient, kind, good, faithful, gentle, and self-controlled. Take the hardness of my heart and break down the walls with Your battering ram of revelation. Give me a new heart and work in me Your love, peace, and joy (Galatians 5:22, 23). I am not able to rise above who I am at this moment. Only You can transform me.

Show me where there is sin in my heart, especially with regard to my husband. I confess the times I’ve been unloving, critical, angry, resentful, disrespectful, or unforgiving toward him. Help me to put aside any hurt, anger, or disappointment I feel and forgive him the way You do---totally and completely, no looking back.

Homeschooling...Help Me Understand

Friends, I just don't get the homeschooling concept. For those of you who partake, this is by no means an attack. It's simply an attempt to understand a way-of-life that I find baffling. Up until the last 5-10 years or so, homeschooling was pegged as a fundamentalist, evangelical endeavor. More and more, however, I hear of Catholic families joining the learn-at-home ranks. After perusing several of the Catholic mom blogs, I was amazed by the sheer number of homeschoolers. Really surprised, actually.

I'm a conservative, Catholic, SAHM who strives to raise my children (with my husband of course) in a moral and loving home. We blow it from time to time, we're not perfect parents by any means, but we give it our best shot and keep trying. What's more, we both strongly believe in Catholic education. Both of us attended Catholic grammar and high school. My son is in Kindergarten at our local, parish school and his sister will join him when she begins three-year old pre-school next Fall.

I could compose a really lengthy post on what I perceive to be the downside of providing your children's education yourself, in your own home, day in and day out. But I wouldn't feel any more informed in doing so. So, I'm asking you blogging, Catholic SAHMs to provide me with insight as to what you perceive to be the benefits/downsides of homeschooling your children. And I guess the burning question is why you are not supportive of traditional, parish-based Catholic schooling? After all, Catholic education is still considered by many to be the gold standard. Why has it seemed to lose it's appeal with so many of you?

Thursday, January 10, 2008

I Wish I Had Said It...Feminist Irrelevance

Well, I sorta did say it in another post. But here's the quote of the day from the queen of all punditry (with regard to Gloria Steinem's love-fest op-ed on Hillary Clinton):

"Steinem's fawning, gaseous New York Times op-ed about her pal Hillary this week speaks volumes about the snobby clubbiness and reactionary sentimentality of the fossilized feminist establishment, which has blessedly fallen off the cultural map in the 21st century..."
-- from Camille Paglia's Hillary Without Tears post,

Cupcake Contraband

Despite JoJo's weekend birthday, I didn't want her to miss out on a celebration with her little friends at pre-school. Some cupcakes, treat bags and we're good to go, right?

Not so fast. Many schools are now justifiably sensitive about peanut allergies. So, children are often no longer permitted to bring homemade treats for in-class celebrations. Parents now have to send their kids to school with the store bought, slacker mom variety. This is because the school staff needs to be able to inspect an ingredient list to verify that no peanuts are used in the product. I don't like it but I understand. Grrrrr.

Not the end of the story. I march my eager and proud three-year old JoJo into school on Tuesday. No further than the lobby, a staff member pulled me aside in order to conduct the ingredient interrogation. My store-bought cupcakes did indeed have an ingredient list but because the label was ripped—the cupcakes were a no-go. The reason, you ask? I was told that the missing part of the label could have contained the cupcake factory disclaimer indicating that the product could have been made in a factory where the equipment may have been used to make yet another product that may have contained peanuts. As far as the treat bags…they were closely inspected and while not fully meeting regulatory standards, she let it go because the candy was "probably all right". But I definitely got the "don't-let-it- happen-again-eyeballs".

Folks…I'm all about protecting children. I understand that allergy induced anaphylaxis can kill a child. And I'm sure that the school has received legal advice that it must enforce a rigorous policy where food allergies are concerned. But it's really absurd and even a little sad that the vast majority must miss out on a childhood pleasure on the off and VERY REMOTE CHANCE that one child MIGHT have peanut allergies. Allergies so severe, in fact, that the slightest residue could induce a lethal response. I know, it's a possibility and yes I've heard all of the horror stories. But have we gone a little over-the-edge here, all in an effort to protect our children from every conceivable malady, infliction and Act-of-God?

This isn't just a cupcake issue. It sure seems like our children are missing out on a lot. My son will never know what it's like to just play alone in the front yard. Or spend an entire summer afternoon riding bikes with his friends without the obligatory parental chaperone. When he does ride his bike or scooter, I'm in close proximity and his protection gear rivals that of an NFL linebacker. If I fail to implement the recommended safety guidelines and (gasp) use my own judgment, I'll be subjected to the bony finger of suburban mommy contempt. Yes, I admit it. Whether he or JoJo need all of these safeguards or not, I tote the party line for fear that I may be judged as lax. Or worse. And no mother worth her salt wants any such label.

All of this begs the question: Are things really so much worse, so much more perilous than say, twenty years ago? I'm not sure. I do hazard to guess that our perception of danger has surely increased. And I'm not entirely convinced that our hyper-vigilance has made our children quantifiably safer. Neurotic, perhaps. Over-protected, maybe. But safer…that's a tough call.

As far as JoJo's school party—this mommy scrambled to the nearby store and purchased a regulation, standard issue cupcake replacement. Crisis averted.

This one anyway.

Wednesday, January 09, 2008

I Wish I Had Said It....Obama

Barack Obama is really good at creating a lot of excitement for big, bad ideas.

--Don and Roma Morning Show, WLS am 890, 1-9-08

Tuesday, January 08, 2008

Pro-abortion P.R.: A New Angle

Driving behind a nondescript family sedan yesterday, I immediately noticed the following bumper sticker:

Prayerfully Pro-Choice

Unbelievable. On second thought, I really shouldn't be surprised. You just have to wonder though..What spin doctor conjured this pearl of an oxymoron? Who or what is the driving force behind this absurd alliteration?

Clearly, some pro-abortion ranks have "softened" their communication strategy. It's "cool" to be conservative as of late. And, since prayer is often linked to the those who are faithful, and by extension conservative, some publicist probably thought that "prayerfully pro-choice" was the way to go. Most savvy communicators realize that the militant "hands off my body" mantra has a dated and harsh ring to it. Apparently the tactics are now changing.

Take a moment to "google" the phrase. There are many Protestant groups as well as individuals promoting this pretzel logic.

I talk about God because God and I are very close. God gives you choice. God gives you freedom of choice. That’s in the Bible."— Whoopi Goldberg, The Choices We Made,quoted in RCRC’s Prayerfully Pro-Choice: Resources for Worship.

Hmmm. I'll agree with you on one thing Whoopi. He does give us free choice. But I might remind you and others that He also holds us accountable for those choices.

I'm not going to belabor the point here. Anyone who is pro-life recognizes the patent inconsistency of the "prayerfully pro-choice" sound bite. Once again, I'm brought back to Hannah Arendt's assertion that evil is frequently cloaked in banality.

As we approach the Sanctity of Human Life Week this month, I urge those who share the pro-life position to maintain assertive voices, especially in light of this latest, shameful rhetoric. Speak for those who are the weakest and least protected among us.

Sunday, January 06, 2008

It's Official...JoJo is Three!

This seems so recent to me....

And yet here you are, already three! I can hardly believe it. Happy birthday sweet girl. You'll always be my baby.

Friday, January 04, 2008

New Computer Smell

It almost rivals new car smell.

There's nothing like the aroma of a fresh-from-the-packing-crate computer. The docs are crisp as new money and the connectors and cables are in that honeymoon period where I actually show a slight concern for them. Soon enough, all of those needed but forgettable extras will be mysteriously drawn into mommy's random electronic drawer--otherwise known as the Bermuda Triangle of computer peripherals.

Drum roll please...Jim is transferring all of my data from the desktop dinosaur onto my brand spanking new, razzle dazzle laptop that I got for Christmas from the DH. It's sooooo cool. It's a modern marvel. It's got a 17" wide screen monitor, wireless everything, built-in TV tuner. With our wireless network, I can blog anywhere I want within the house. I can put it on the counter in the kitchen or in the bathroom or laundry room or the basement and watch any programming that we get through cable. It's got a built in camera/microphone/speakers. The audio/video is incredible. The apps are all new and have about a million functionalities that I have to become familiar with. It's docking station is really trick too--in case I get a hankering to work at my old standby desk area off of the kitchen.

Ethan, being the true and proper spawn of a couple of geeks, was surveying the laptop and trying hard not to reveal his inner-lurking, green eyed monster. My dear child mentioned that he and McKenna could just take the laptop and "you can just keep the old computer since you're used to it". When that approach failed, he just went for the "I really, really want it because it looks so new and cool".

Dream on shrimp. No laptop for a five-year old. But he does get street cred for giving it a shot.

Despite my son's Veruca Salt moment, the mommy is very excited about the new addition to our family. So, I'll be back in a few days to give Jim some time over the weekend to get this thing a hummin'. And I'll be reporting on JoJo's third birthday--of course. In style!

Thursday, January 03, 2008

Sister Mary Martha Says...

I don't know anything about her background or what order she belongs to. But I do know she is an absolute scream. I stumbled on her site and I am fully addicted. She's a writer's writer and mega funny to boot! I'm sure I'll be sharing her quotable quotes from time to time. This one is classic

"....I have a hunch she's not Catholic. Which means she's missed the bandwagon and has hopped into a Yugo, in terms of spiritual guidance..."

I'll have to use that one sometime with my ever growing list of evangelical friends. Not sure any of them would take kindly to having their brand of worship likened to the most bare-bones vehicle ever made. Then again, I see Sister's point. The Yugo served a purpose; it did the job. Sort of. Just barely. On second thought...maybe we won't mention this little quip to our fundamentalist brethren.

Never mind that. You can read this post and many more on her truly wonderful blog: Ask Sister Mary Martha

Who Doesn't Need One of These?

OK...I know I said I would lay off promoting stuff for awhile, but I have to share this latest must-have:

Hail Hail, the Gang's All Here Emergency Pass to Heaven

Turns out, Sister Mary Martha has a product line. Well of course she does. Here is her description of the above pictured saint bracelet:

If you manage to make a good confession before you kick the bucket, you'll make it to heaven to matter how rotten you were(if you are truly sorry. The trick is you have to have a priest to absolve you.)

So you'll definitely want this useful bracelet. The front is littered with heavenly help and the back gives instructions to the EMT's who are scraping you off the street to CALL A PRIEST.

On the front of the medal we have Jesus and Mary Themselves, St. Anthony (so you don't lose your soul, too), St. Christopher (patron saint of travelers) and the Holy Spirit to guide your soul in the right direction, just in case you've laid in the ditch too long.

On the back the Miraculous Medal and Our Lady of Perpetual Help. What a bonanza!

Available for very reasonable prices through her on-line store Heaven Help Us, which resides on the Etsy handmade goods site. Check it out: more Sister Mary Martha stuff.

Wednesday, January 02, 2008

A Long Time Ago...Is Now

"...She thought to herself, 'This is now.'...She was glad that the cozy house, and Pa and Ma and the fire-light and the music, were now. They could not be forgotten, she thought, because now is now. It can never be a long time ago..."

These are the recollections of a sixty-five year old woman, recounting her childhood thoughts from many, many years earlier. The author is the late Laura Ingalls Wilder and these are the closing words from her beloved children's classic, Little House In the Big Woods, originally published in 1932.

How I love all of the Little House books. (Her autobiographical fiction is often confused with the 1970s TV show "Little House on the Prairie". The show was very loosely based upon a narrow time period described in the books and its writers took great creative license with story lines.) Mrs. Wilder's writing, prosaic and pure, has captured the imaginations of countless children and adults alike. I have read the entire series so many times I have lost count. What resonates with me now, as an adult, is the subtle skill with which Wilder depicts the bounty, the adventure of every day, family life. She extols not only the virtue but the necessity of family harmony, and how it was tantamount to the very survival of America's pioneers . Wilder never romanticizes the past but rather, softly celebrates the love that is possible within families, despite hardship, regardless of adversity. A girl of 11 and a woman of 41 can glean inspiration from her storytelling.

The other night I briefly took mental inventory of my family while they were busy doing the things that families do. Ethan and Jim were building something-or-other with Star Wars legos; McKenna was twirling around in front of the fireplace. It was bitterly cold outside this December evening but our house was warm, safe, and content. I wanted to freeze the moment. If I achieve nothing else, I know I gave my kids a loving, safe home. Not perfect by any means. But a soft place to land when needed.

There are so many instances in our lives when we wish that time would literally stand still. What is so surprsing is that these moments aren't usually centered around orchestrated celebrations or hyper-planned vacations. They just sneak up on you and unfold. Like the time that Jim and I, along with Shana, Pat, Lupita, and Eric, camped at Little Basin in the Bay Area. We took a hike at night and something prompted us to all lie flat on our backs, all in a row, and just admire the show of stars that clear, crisp night. No one spoke for several minutes and I remember thinking how perfect this brief, uncharacteristic moment was. How happy I was for no reason other than everything was just exactly the way it should be...

While Ethan drifted off to sleep tonight, I read a few chapters from Little House in the Big Woods. I realized that my now will be my children's long time ago. Of course, they have no sense of this reality and that is, at least in part, the wonder of childhood. They, too, believe that now is now. It can never be a long time ago.

Tuesday, January 01, 2008

Solemnity Of the Holy Mother of God

If there is ANY feast day that the Mommy Memoir should document, it is today. Our Blessed Mother, the epitome of motherhood, is honored this New Year's Day--the Octave of Christmas. We celebrate her motherhood--which was both divine and virginal.

She is every mother's role model and inspiration. While she is not a deity, she was and is without sin and champions the needs of humanity in Heaven. We believe that she intercedes on our behalf with God.

I know this in my heart. She has come to my aid often.