Wednesday, September 24, 2008

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

Matthew 17:20 and Padre Pio

"For truly I tell you, if you have faith the size of a mustard seed, you will say to this mountain, 'Move from here to there,' and it will move; and nothing will be impossible for you."

Thank you Lord for your Body and Blood! St. Pio of Pietrelcina, pray for us!

Monday, September 15, 2008

Addendum: Stress and Virtue

After I wrote the post below, I thought to myself, "My heavens, anyone who reads that needs to know at least a part of, what Paul Harvey used to call ,'the rest of the story'".

Well, the abriged version is this: stress takes such a huge toll on our ability to live virtuously. In my family, on many occasions, we have fallen into the three-pronged enemies of good living -- the world, the flesh and the devil. Whether Catholic or not, it is not easy to be good. In fact, one of our family mottos is "Be good, even if it is hard". And, that is not from the Latin <:

I feel so passionately that the Catholic Church is the fullness of the Christian faith and, really, the easiest way to holiness, because I am so weak, not because I am so strong. Read: I have "tried everything else" and Mother Church is balm for the soul; She is the eternal means of our salvation. So many other spiritual "remedies" (from secular self-help to psychoanalysis to much of modern medicine to a too big part of American politics to New Age to Socialism to Masonic lodges to Scientology to pseudo-Christian churches to lots of U.S. Academia to lots of journalism to much of television to some diets and sundry workouts and on and on and on...) are weak solutions at best, and, at worst, deceptions.

P.S. I have not tried all of the above "remedies"; but, in some way, being a citizen of the US of A, I have knowledge of them all. Clearly, the above mentioned vary in degrees of error and vice.

Virtue's Reward

If it were given to a man to see virtue's reward in the next world, he would occupy his intellect, memory and will in nothing but good works, careless of danger or fatigue.
– St. Catherine of Genoa

Like many parents, I have spent alot of time thinking about the best motivators for my children. Well before I read Alfie Kohn's book Punished by Rewards, I had prayed to God to give me the grace and strength to serve as the model my children deserve. I know that our actions often speak louder than words. I know that stickers and money and charts will soon fizzle if the kids see that their supervisors are uncaring or distracted. I know that good living is its own reward and that children will follow the lead set by their parents, their first and foremost educators. The polemics raised in Kohn's book are actually answered in Familiaris Consortio, one of Pope John Paul II's encyclicals (This document and much of his other writings cover these perennial themes of love and obedience to God's will.).

Enter concupiscence (a very fine discussion of this is found in the current catechism)....our intellect is darkened and our will disordered due to the effects of original sin. This is an apple few want to crunch on. Yet, imagine the myriad benefits to society if everyone would stop and think about the origins of human nature and, most importantly, the ultimate destiny of the human person. I got to thinking about all of this after spending a blessed quarter of an hour with JB, reading Chapter 3, "Creator of Heaven and Earth," in her Faith and Life book. As she read aloud to me, "Is God a creature? No, God alone is uncreated. He had no beginning. God is the cause of all creation."

She looked at me with those beautiful, baby-blue eyes of hers and asked me, "But, who created God?" She asked, but she knew. And, there was mystery and marvel in her question and the discussion that followed.

First things. We are missing the old discipline of philosophy. Socrates loved learning, and he knew who was the Author of life and learning. Socrates was sentenced to death for telling his contemporaries that their mythic figures --their gods and goddesses-- may be entertaining, but that they did not express the eternal truth of the one, uncreated, and utterly holy God. He was forced to drink his poison, but he did not die a pagan. He did not live as a pagan, even though he lived among pagans. Paganism abounds in 21st century America. We wonder why our children and youth struggle so to live out the virtues; yet, as a culture, we are very oriented toward vice. Much of it masquerades as myth and mystery, but all the old heresies are alive and kicking. Flannery O'Connor wrote some of the most chilling and memorable fiction this country has known, and it was her deep-seated conviction that American culture had forgotten the true meaning of the human person. Who created us? What do we owe to the One who has given us life? Are we passing on to the next generation a thorough understanding of freedom? Are we spirit as well as matter? Does the soul live forever? If so, why do we rob the soul of grace by refusing true religion?

When we do not understand sin, we do not understand virtue. It takes heroic virtue to raise a loving family in this day and age. May we bless God by revisiting our understanding of "life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness." These goals are worthy goals for our children; the means to achieve them are found first by God's grace through Holy Mother Church. The Church, as a mother, teaches us to love others as our Lord loved us -- both by dying on the Cross, and by giving Himself to us as spiritual food in the Eucharist.

How perfect! I just opened JB's cursive practice, and it landed on Proverbs 12:1: He that loveth correction loveth knowledge, but he that hateth reproof is foolish.

Sunday, September 14, 2008


Thank you, Sarah Palin, for giving me hope! I love this country, and my heart swelled when I watched her acceptance speech on U-Tube last week with my husband. I was just over at Amy Welborn's blog and linked to "The Anchoress," which I used to read, and good reading it is.

Friday, September 12, 2008

Stella Maris, pray for us!

We are headed off soon to our coop on Marine Biology. J, JB and I just read the Pauline sisters daily entry on the "Most Holy Name of the Blessed Virgin Mary." In this book, St. Bernard is quoted as having written the following:

"As you struggle through the stormy sea of life, do not turn away from Mary, star of the sea. If the winds of temptation blow your little boat, or if you are headed toward the rocks of suffering, look at the star -- call Mary! If you are tossed by waves of ambition or envy, look at the star -- call Mary! If anger or greed rocks the little boat of your heart, look at Mary! If you are getting
discouraged because of your sins, think of Mary! In dangers and difficulties, remember Mary --
call Mary! Do not let her name be far from your lips. Keep the thought of her fixed in your heart! She will keep you from losing your way. She will protect you so you have nothing to fear. She will guide you to Jesus, your Savior!"

Tuesday, September 9, 2008

Good eats!

I was looking at E.Foss's blog and found this Chicken Masala recipe (Indian and good to celebrate St. Teresa of Calcutta). And, her baked mac and cheese looks good too. We are trying to save money by planning our meals.

I want to get back to having black beans and rice once a week with pan sauteed chicken breasts, baked chicken legs or fish or pork. We eat too much dairy and red sauce and breads -- I love how the Saving Dinner recipes suggest brown rice with alot of their meals. Admission -- I cannot pull the weekly SD menus off yet. It is inspiring! (Also, I want to add good quality cod liver oil as one of my many supplements.)

Discovery -- buying plain yogurt and flavoring it with good, local honey. I ate so many peaches this summer sprinkled with wheat germ and yog and honey. (One of these days, I am going to have to make my friend Angela's recipe for homemade yogurt from local, fresh milk.)

A few nights ago, I was reading The Bad Catholic's Guide to Good Living by John Zmirak and Denise Matychowiak, a book sure to get that down-deep, belly laugh. They published a recipe for Devil's Food Cake to celebrate the feast of the Archangels on September 29th and here it is:

They say in the book that the following recipe was inspired by a Charlie Trotter creation:
2/3 cup grapeseed oil 1 t baking powder
1T plus 1t ancho chili powder 1/4 t salt
2t vanilla extract 2/3 cup cocoa
1 cup sugar 4 ounces bittersweet choc., melted
2 eggs 1/2 cup sour cream
1 cup pumpkin puree powdered sugar
1 cup plus 2T flour

Preheat oven to 350 and oil and coat an 8 inch cake pan with cocoa. Heat oil and ancho together until pepper darkens. Allow to cool. Add vanilla. Strain into bowl with sugar. Beat 5 minutes. Add egg and pumpkin. Mix until thoroughly blended. Sift together dry ingredients and blend into sugar mixture. Add chocolate and sour cream. Mix well. Pour into cake pan. Smooth top and bake about 35 min. Serve with dusting of powdered sugar. Serves 8-10. My note: it would be fun to make a paper stencil of one of the archangels to lay on the top before dusting with p.sugar.

Pictures!!! (from JB's Macbook)

My Kids And I Are Having A Very Fun Time Doing Art Well Except For M. J has Made A Box, A Very Colorful Box For His Little Army Guys. And B, that is Jb but She Decided To Change Her Name  To Beth So She Is Now Beth. Ha Ha that Was Me, Beth The Whole Time. LoL Wait! Now REally Quick I want To Show You a Blog That My Friend and I made This Blog Here Is My  MoM! 

LOVE, LOVE, LOVE...It is not always as easy as it looks.  I am blogging from my daughter's Macbook, as I still am too lazy to figure out digital cameras and PCs.  Well, we are getting ready to mobilize to drive up to Alpharetta for J and JB's art class.  We have had an arty day, so far!

Some learning notes:  KOLBE is working great, so far, for M.  I am proud of her discipline.  A surprise hit for us are the three books I ordered this summer from Seton media (Spelling 2 and 5 and Grammar 5).  We got a pile of Henry and Mudge books from the library yesterday, and they are funny, engaging --wonderful!  JB started her weekly math lessons with Mrs. R.  CHALLENGE starts next week and M started CCD last night at the parish.  I must be learning a thing or two -- I am beginning my "junior year" as a hschooling mom -- 'cause I got the ball rolling in late July, and now we are hitting a good pace, a good balance of activities, prayer and academics.   B is rolling through her Saxon 5/4 as I write this -- go B!!!  St. Peter Claver, pray for us! Help us to be slaves to Jesus and His Church.