Sunday, November 30, 2008

Happy First Sunday of Advent

Happy New Year! Today we begin the Liturgical New Year in the Catholic Church. And how to we begin? By waiting! By being watchful! By preparing! We emphazize both the coming of Christmas day and the second coming. If you check out the Mass readings for today at the side of my blog, you'll see that the Old Testament reading (First Reading) is from the book of Isiah--clearly he is awaiting the birth of the Christ. In today's Gospel, we are reminded to keep watch and await faithfully the Second Coming of Christ. I love how we do both at this time of year.
Obviously it is difficult to keep a traditional advent in our culture, what with Christmas carols being played everywhere now, and the focus on buy buy buy. But the next time and every time I hear or read __ shopping days until Christmas, I am going to ask myself "If it is __ days until Jesus's second coming, is he going to find me ready for Him? What do I need to do so that He find me watching and waiting for Him? Am I preparing for His coming either in the Isaiah sense or the Second coming sense, or am solely I getting ready for red and green holiday? "

Come Lord Jesus, Come! I'm getting ready! I look forward to you Coming! I love you!

In the words of Tiny Tim, God bless us, everyone. Lovingly, not so tiny Helen.

Saturday, November 29, 2008

The Cross and the Water Tower

You all know that Sherri and I are from Illinois. Well, I was reading about a book called The Cross and the Water Tower. It is a children's book, and takes place in Wauconda, IL in 1989. It is based on a true story about how atheists pressed the courts to take the Christmas cross off the water tower, and how the villagers protested the removal by putting up crosses of their own. I have only read the summary, not the book, and I am already inspired, and proud of my fellow Illinoisans. Apparently we can do more than elect lousy governors (George Ryan, Rod Blagojevich). We can do some things right! Yaaay Illinois! Wooo Hooo! I. am. from. Illinois. (And so is Sherri). I have never been so proud to be born and bred in Illinois as I was to read this story. Please click on the title of this post if you want to see their website.

Thursday, November 27, 2008

Something Additional to be Thankful For

I am grateful that my husband fell asleep at work a couple of weeks ago. Because of that, he went for a sleep study. Bob got the results yesterday, and stayed for another sleep study wearing a breathing mask. The results of the first test were that he stopped breathing 350 times during the night, once for at least 50 seconds (how this is even possible is beyond my mathematical abilities). This is why he is alway tired, he never actually fully gets to sleep. The doctor said that without the breathing mask, he would have a heart attack or stroke within five years. I am thankful that he fell asleep at work, because that is when we both took his tiredness seriously.
He doesn't have a mask yet. The new test has to be processed, then the right equipment ordered, yada yada yada. I am sure that God, who has been so gracious as to lead him to a diagnosis now, will keep him safe through the next couple weeks. And I am going to wake him up every hour to ask him if he is breathing (wouldn't you if you were me?)

I was going to put up a video of a turkey singing "I Will Survive", but it just doesn't seem funny anymore. God bless you.

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Shall We Dance?

I am thankful for...
My mom
My husband
My uncle
My aunt
My cousins
My friends both face and cyber.
Food on thanksgiving and everyday
My home
My health, and the health of my loved ones
Polka music
Happy Thanksgiving everybody!

Confession time. I thought of Jesus after number five, but figured he deserved to be first, so that is where I put Him.

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Shout Out to Sherri, Who Posted The Questions I am Answering on Her Blog Last Week


Name 3 things you or your family do/eat/practice/watch/listen to at Thanksgiving that others may consider interesting/strange/stupid/questionable.

(feel free to explain)

Can't think of 3? Give me your #1!

My friend Sherri at Matter of Fact posted these questions on her blog last week. I couldn't answer them because I was preparing for a birthday party and too excited to give it much thought. All I cared about was cleaning up for the party. Twenty guests. It went well for the most part. I ran out of beer, so someone went on a beer run. Someone told a racist joke so I had to stare them down and make them feel like trash without causing a scene at my mom's and uncle's party. Luckily I have my dad's angry face, which means I look like I am going to have a stroke right then and there, but I don't make a sound. Everyone there just looked like deer caught in the headlights while my face twisted so that my mouth was on my forehead. Finally, when I regained the power of speech, I said what everyone was waiting to hear. "Does anyone need any ice? I think I need to refill my own glass and cool off!" Everything seemed to go back to normal then. Only the jokester seemed fidgety, which is the way I wanted it.
Anyway, I promised Sherri I would do a post on her questions when the party was over, and here it is. The first thing I do is make breakfast for the four of us (Mom, Bob, and Uncle) . If I make turkey soup and mom's homemade stuffing, they get cold cereal and milk for breakfast. If I make packaged stuffing, I take a breakfast vote (maybe even the night before, in case they want Overnight Frenchtoast), majority rule. It looks like among four there could be a tie, but there wouldn't be because I vote last. That means three different votes, I cast deciding vote :-) Two people agree, and it is good enough for me. Then we watch the parade on television. I know, better Christians go to Church. Maybe we will this year, but the odds are in the parade's favor.
The turkey goes in the oven while the parade is on. I microwave the sweet potatoes at the same time. Two and a half hours before the turkey is ready, I put the sweet potaotoes, butter, and marshmallows in the crockpot. I make a crockpot sweet potato casserole. When the turkey comes out of the oven, I let it rest (it is exhausted after being in the oven all that time) and I make a green bean casserole in the microwave. I open a can of cranberry sauce. That's it. I am making the apple pie on Wednesday, so that will be good to go.
We used to eat elsewhere on Thanksgiving, but mom can't get into the car and go places, so I do Thanksgiving now. Every year I invite people besides Uncle, but it seems they don't want to come. I don't think it is my cooking. I think they think it is too hard for me to do a big dinner, have people over, and care for mom. I don't think they realize that in some ways it would be easier. I wouldn't bother with side dishes, just the stuffed turkey. I would assign someone to make the sweet potatoes (however they want), someone to make a vegetable (their choice), someone to bring dessert, etc. It really wouldn't be that much more difficult than making dinner and taking care of mom ever is. Oh well, people mean well, and I need to remember that.
My husband may watch football, depending on his mood. I told my Uncle to invite a friend of his who did not know where he would go for Thanksgiving. I told my Uncle that unless the problem is too many offers to choose from, he should invite him here, so we shall see. I might be up to five people.
We may put up the tree on Friday. I used to like to wait to Christmas Eve, but after mom's stroke I decided to extend the Christmas season as much as possible. I need to try to find a way to keep advent that isn't burdensome to others.
The only really strange thing is my mom's recipe for homemade stuffing. It includes the liver, stomach, and gizzards of the turkey. While that doesn't bother me, I think I'd rather KISS (Keep It Simple Sweetie) this Thanksgiving, and enjoy the parade and my family as much as possible, further proof that I am more Mary than Martha (not a good thing on Thanksgiving of all holidays!" Oh well! Mom, Bob, and Uncle love me anyway. It is part of their job description as Mom, Husband, and Uncle...

Sunday, November 23, 2008

Happy Christ the King Day

Today the Catholic Church celebrates the Feastday of Christ the King. It marks the end of the Liturgical year. Next Sunday is the first Sunday of Advent, which marks a new year for us Liturgically speaking. Happy Christ the King Day! Happy Sunday! God bless you!

Friday, November 21, 2008

By Popular Request....;-)

Hungarian Goulash in a Crockpot

2 pounds of veal cut into ½ inch cubes (I use round steak)
1 cup of chopped onion (I just chop the whole darn onion. Onions are good)
3 cloves of garlic, minced (ignore recipes that say 1 clove. The more garlic, the better)
2 tablespoons of flour
½ teaspoon of salt (put in as much as you want! You’re the cook!)
½ teaspoon of pepper (remember what I said about the salt)
4 teaspoons of sweet Hungarian paprika Pride of Szeged ( ignore recipes that say 1and1/2. Paprika is good. The more the better!)
¼ teaspoon of crushed thyme
1 bay leaf (Dad and I hate bay leaves, so we ignore this)
A couple of chopped tomatoes,or 1 fifteen ounce can tomatoes (My husband has diverticulosis, so I use tomato sauce, making it less authentic, but keeping my husband’s colon intact, priorities you know)
1 cup of sour cream.

Put the veal cubes (or round steak cubes), onion, and garlic in the crockpot. Stir in flour and mix to coat the meat. Add all remaining ingredients into the crockpot except the sour cream. Stir well. Cover. Cook on low setting for 8 to 10 hours. Add sour cream 30 minutes before serving by first putting it in a bowl, and adding juice from the crockpot into the bowl gradually, mixing the juice and sour cream until they are well blended. Now add it to the crockpot, and again, stir thoroughly. Serve over hot noodles (Polish kluskis are good, if not authentic. Spaetzle would be authentic. My mom was Polish, so we used Kluskis.)

My dad liked it with veal, making it purkay (spelled phonetically, not correctly) instead of goulash. I am too cheap to buy veal unless it is a birthday, major holiday or something, so I use round steak. Dad would be proud that I can now make a decent round steak. He would be for anything that makes round steak tastier. My parents never had a crockpot, but dad used to say it should be on a "slow fire". I once had a nightmare that he refused to eat my goulash because (I said a slow fire, not slow electricity!). In real life, he was for anything that made food good, and the crockpot does make good goulash. My comments at the top alongside the recipe correspond with the difference between "American" Hungarian goulash recipes verses my dad. My dad was an authentic Hungarian until October, 1963, when he became a naturalized citizen of the United States of America. After that, whenever anyone asked his nationality, he said "I am American. I had to take a test and I passed! What about you?" I love my dad. I miss him. May he rest in peace. God bless you.
I don't know who is playing this Csardas, by it rocks at two minutes and thirty seconds, and a little after four minutes. Don't worry, Annie, I have easier ones on C.D. for us to demonstrate at Mare's party in August. :-)

One Minute Writer

One minute writer has a great post today where she asks us to imagine our life were a musical. Title it, describe it , and review it. I loved this assignment. I have always felt that life should be like a musical. Now I am being encouraged to put it into words. That was so fun. I am now going to play Brahms Hungarian Dances and clean house. I will post the ghoulash recipe later. Love yall. God bless you!

Thursday, November 20, 2008

My Mom is Seventy-Two Years Old Today!

No, she does not read my blog. My mother is still convinced that the computer is an invention whose time will pass :-) Like eight track tapes. That's okay. She had a pen pal from the Philippines when she was young, so she gets my fascination with corresponding with people who are far away. She also gets that it is pretty cool that I can hear back from them the same day, respond, and we can do this several times throughout the day.
So why am I posting a Happy Birthday Polka on my blog if she doesn't check out my blog? I'm celebrating full force (the actual party is Saturday, and combined with a party for my uncle, who would beg me not to have a party for him if he knew about it, but he thinks it is just for mom, but I digress). I'm also going to play it for her throughout the day. She loves polka music! Apparently I caught it from her...

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

"Away With the Manger" was made into a one man show

Apparently the man in the video does a one man performance of the book I recommended yesterday. He is not coming to an area near me, but I thought those of you in Texas might be interested (or maybe not, nobody associated with the book or production even heard of me, so if your not interested, I'm not hurt or anything). If you are, go to the website shown in the video (
Lyrics to the title song are as follows written by Chris Fabry

Away with the manger, we just don't have room,
We've got enough tinsel and big red costumes.
We'd like to hear music that goes with the day,
But if you sing the words we'll make you go away.

We like all the snow and the wreaths on the doors,
We love Christmas sales at department stores.
We want to rejoice in our winter good cheer,
So keep your religion, it's "X" mas this year.

Away with the manger, the menorah as well.
We love the old fat guy with presents to tell
The story of Christmas our culture holds dear,
To buy it on credit, no interest till next year.

Okay, you can have your display this year,
Just include a Frosty and all eight reindeer.
We'll put up a tree too, the rules we can bend,
We've got equal right opportunities to offend.

Away with the manger, we've got a complaint,
Someone took issue with old Nick, that dear saint.
Be glad and be happy, your not in the lurch,
You can sing of that baby next week in your Church.

I asked Mr. Fabry for permission to put this on my blog (I went to his blog, isn't technology great?) and he kindly gave it. There are lots of song parodies in the book, but this is the one that starts the whole thing...I won't spoil it further.

I have never seen the performance I have just advertised in this post :-) I would if I could, but he isn't going to be coming around me. I only found this on you tube because I googled the title of the book to see if I recommended a book that is out of print. I did, it is, but you can get used copies quite reasonably. Maybe the library has it. I hope so. Nothing like recommending something no one can get their hands on. God bless you.

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Have Yourself a Politically Correct Nondenominational Winter Holiday

I probably seem like the Christmas Curmudgeon already. I am not really obsessed with the whole "PC is not for me!" thing. But I do enjoy poking fun at it. And I have read some poignant books about PC Christmas that would make me mad, except it doesn't surprise me. I think the best book I ever read on the subject is Away With The Manger by Chris Fabry (copyright 1996). He does an excellent job of pointing out that we must handle the P.C. crowd in a kind and Christian way. We won't reach their hearts by demonizing them. The plot of the story is very interesting, and the book is only 96 pages. I love to read, and would have loved for it to last for 400 more pages. Not everyone loves the printed word so much, but I think this book should appeal to everyone. He also has some revised lyrics for Christmas songs in it, making them secular. They are written tongue in cheek, of course. That is why I included the Spricket video. It reminded me of these lyrics. There is also a secular description of the first Christmas that had me laughing so hard I was crying. I know, a better Christian would have merely been crying...
Another book about the topic is The War on Christmas: How the Liberal Plot to Ban the Sacred Christian Holiday is Worse Than You Thought (copyright 2005) by John Gibson. This book is more than twice as long. It is not fiction. It contains several true stories. I found it well written and informative.
However, I found the Chris Fabry book more helpful for not only recognizing the plot, but advising how to deal with it in a Christian way. I know the Chris Fabry book is almost 20 years old, but it is timeless in terms of how we sometimes don't see each other with love as people Jesus died for, but as the enemy of Christmas. Gibson sees us as at War with secularism. Fabry sees the secularist as a wayward brother. The former is tempting, but the latter is more helpful.

Monday, November 17, 2008

Happy Happy Merry Merry

I think the guy in the video makes a good point. Many retailers are afraid of the word Christmas, though they want us to spend spend spend to celebrate it. Tossing the catalogs that say Holiday and not Christmas? I never thought of that, but it makes more sense than picking on the salesperson who says "Happy Holidays!". I have seen people chew out salesclerks who do this which makes me think "Yeah, they are so in the Christmas spirit now! Thanks for representing Christianity for me. Jesus and I thank you for that! It is not like we wanted this person to be happy, or think well of Christmas or anything. Thanks for helping!"
When I worked at McDonald's as a teenager, I was told by the managers to say "Happy Holidays!" so as to not offend anyone. I was to naive to question why a Jewish person who doesn't keep kosher anyway (hence eating at McDonalds') would be offended by Merry Christmas. Same with Muslims. If they eat at McDonald's, it is not like they are respecting their own beliefs, so why should I (go ahead Katdish, say "Oh no she didn't!")? And as for atheists, why should I care about offending them? It is apparent that they don't care about offending me. Anyways, I got yelled at by more than one customer "It's Christmas Da** it! Say Merry Christmas!" That would have me near tears and I had to keep from saying "Fine! Have a lousy holiday if you want. Seee if I care! Boo hoo hoo!" . At least Merry Tossmas sticks it to the company, not the clerk who is following company protocol.
BTW, when I go shopping around Christmas, and a clerk says "Happy Holidays!", I give them a great big smile and say "Merry Christmas to you, too!" as if I thought that was what they said. Then they usually smile back and say "Yeah, Merry Christmas!" After the 26th, when they are saying "Happy New Year!" I usually say "You can still wish me a Merry Christmas! I am Catholic, and we celebrate for twelve days! Wanna come to my Church?"
Creative Minority Report had a much cuter video with the same guy, but funnier. Click on the title of this post to see it!

Sunday, November 16, 2008

Come Cry With Me! (But in a Good Way)

I found this on Youtube. This is exactly from where I begin crying, to the very end, when I am bawling so hard you would think I was being beaten with a stick. When the wiseman says that the gift of pure love is what pleases the baby Jesus most, I just...believe it or not, I'm crying now! Gotta go. God bless you.

Friday, November 14, 2008

Christmas Questions

Thes quesions were posted on Katdish's blog "Hey Look! A Chicken!" early Friday morning. Her answers are also posted on her blog, where she encourages us to copy, paste, delete her answers, and add our own. You can do the same from here if you choose.

1. Wrapping paper or gift bags?
I usually go with gift bags, but this year I bought wrapping paper and promised myself to start wrapping early, a little at a time.
2. Real tree or Artificial?
Artificial. I am allergic to the scent of pine. Even before I knew that, I had an artificial tree. But now that I know, I use my allergy as an excuse :-)
3. When do you put up the tree?
When I was a a child, my parents put it up on Christmas Eve. Hungarian tradition. But a few years ago, when mom first had a stroke, I was afraid another one was on the way, and that would be her last Christmas, so we put it up a day after Thanksgiving. Mom is doing much better now, but I promised myself that the year I thought I was gonna lose her would not be our best Christmas, but every year after we would celebrate as if it were our last together (not from pessimism, but from thankfulness that we have another one again, you know?)

4. When do you take the tree down?
Hungarian tradition is to take it down on Candlemas, February 2. This is a celebration of the Lord Jesus being presented at the temple. It is also a Polish tradition, so it is one tradition my parents' cultures shared. I cherish that.
5. Do you like eggnog?

Yes. I like to drink it, and make French toast with it. It is also good in coffee (not the Coffee creamer kind, but the real thing!)

6. Favorite gift received as a child? My uncle gave me an illustrated picture book of the Saints for Christmas one year. I loved that book. The saints became my heroes, especially Saints Tarcissus and Agnes. They were martyred as children. I hoped that if I were called to die for my belief in Christ, I would be brave and true, like them. (Hey that was cheerful! Merry Christmas everyone! Who wants to be a martyr? Yay! Let's go hop on the bus and get to it then!)
7. Hardest person to buy for?

My husband develops a different interest every year, and if I try to get something related to it it is usually not what he wants.
8. Easiest person to buy for?
My mom. She is happy for anything! If I gave her lint from my pocket, she would keep it in a special place and cry a river if she lost it. Gotta love my mom!

9. Do you have a nativity scene?

I have several. I also have nativity cling ons for the window. This year my favorite uncle is painting a sun catcher with the Holy Family, wisemen, and shepherds on it. I always wanted one of them light up lawn sets, but my husband doesn't like to put out outdoorsy decorations. i can live with that. He lets me have my way a lot, so I need to sit back and not pick a fight over Christmas decorations.
Oh, and my mom made some beautiful throws with baby Jesus on them. She got the kits from Oriental Trading Company.

10. Mail or email Christmas cards?

Mail. Lots of my family don't have enmail. And I'm bad at the whole attachment thing on the email anyway. Who am I kidding, I haven't done it even once!
11. Worst Christmas gift you ever received?

At our prayer group Christmas party we pass around an unopened pig shaped microwave bacon cooker during our grab bag game. We got it the year before last, then last year the couple who does the party wasn't well enough to have it, so we are stuck with it another year. I'm getting rid of it this year if I have to host the party myself!

12. Favorite Christmas Movie?
The Little Drummer Boy. Sniffle, sniffle.

13. When do you start shopping?

As soon as possible. I think I'm done, actually.

14. Have you ever recycled a Christmas present?

Yes. My students used to give me candy. Lots of candy. A big girl like me shouldn't eat all that candy, so I passed it on to people who were hosting holiday parties. I might have given one to mom before she was diabetic, one to an aunt, kept one, and so on, depending on how much candy I got.
15. Favorite thing to eat at Christmas?

16. Lights on the tree?

Yes - my tree is pre-lit.

17. Favorite Christmas song?

"The Little Drummer Boy"

18. Travel at Christmas or stay home?

Stay home.

19. Can you name all of Santa's reindeer's?

Dasher, Dancer, Prancer, Vixen, Comet, Cupid, Donner & Blitzen, and Rudolf. And, of course, Twinkle Toes. Like in the Polka!

20. Angel on the tree top or a star?

Star. I did buy an angel this year though. I love angels... My guardian angel has been pretty nice to me. I'll tell you about it sometime...

21. Open the presents Christmas Eve or morning?


22. Most annoying thing about this time of the year?
Commercialism. Charlie Brown was so right on about this...
23. Favorite ornament theme or color?

Holy Family + Angels=Awesome.

24. Favorite for Christmas dinner?,

Turkey, cranberry sauce and stuffing with sweet potatoes. Kind of like Thanksgiving. Why not? Is there anything we should be more thankful for than Jesus?
25. What do you want for Christmas this year?
World peace. If I can't have that, I'd be happy with a baby. If I can't have that, I'd be happy for my family to just stay healthy and happy. We've had enough illness, death, and sadness in our past to really appreciate a year with none of that. That would be so great!
Oh, and President Obama can select Pro-life supreme court justices, and abandon his promise to pass FOCA. That would be great!

26. Who is most likely to respond to this?

Diane, Whitney, Sherri, Beth (actually Sherri and Beth would be responding to Katdish, since she did this first, but they would if I had done it first and then so would've Katdish. Follow that?)

27. Who is least likely to respond to this?

President Elect Obama. I'm gonna pray anyway.

28. What was your most memorable magical memory from your adulthood?

My mom loves the Hallmark musical snowmen that come out every year. Even when she was sick, she would giggle and light up whenever she pressed the button for them to sing and dance. I enjoyed watching her more than the snowmen. Now I get it for her evry year.

29. Have you ever been involved in a Christmas gift prank?

Not unless you mean Secret Santa stuff, then not coming clean to admit it was me. I would pretend I really thought it had to be someone else, or St. Nicholas himelf.
30. Favorite Christmas Cartoon?

The Little Drummer Boy (He seems to be my answer for a lot of things, doesn't he?)

Little Drummer Boy: Lyrics

Come they told me, pa rum pum pum pum
A new born King to see, pa rum pum pum pum
Our finest gifts we bring, pa rum pum pum pum
To lay before the King, pa rum pum pum pum,
rum pum pum pum, rum pum pum pum,

So to honor Him, pa rum pum pum pum,
When we come.

Little Baby, pa rum pum pum pum
I am a poor boy too, pa rum pum pum pum
I have no gift to bring, pa rum pum pum pum
That's fit to give the King, pa rum pum pum pum,
rum pum pum pum, rum pum pum pum,

Shall I play for you, pa rum pum pum pum,
On my drum?

Mary nodded, pa rum pum pum pum
The ox and lamb kept time, pa rum pum pum pum
I played my drum for Him, pa rum pum pum pum
I played my best for Him, pa rum pum pum pum,
rum pum pum pum, rum pum pum pum,

Then He smiled at me, pa rum pum pum pum
Me and my drum.

Being in the Moment

As you may have noticed in my note to myself at the sidebar, I am participating this month in NAPRAMOGO (or something like that), a month long, fifteen extra minutes of daily prayer event. To be truthful, before this, there were days I would forget to pray. Oh, i would say grace before meals, and an occasional short but heartfelt "God help me" or "God help them". But there were some days when I did not make time. I hope that when November is over, it will have become a habit for me to pray as soon as I get to my blog page, which is kind of my headquarters from where I reach out to the rest of the blogging world (doesn't those to words together sound like some sort of curse? "BLOGGING WORLD!" ).
Anyway, todays prayer exercise at was to just put myself into the presence of God, without bringing my laundry list of requests with me. It was more of a struggle than I would have thought, but the thought came to me that my problem was learning to be in the moment, not just in prayer, but in many places in my life. I talk to my mom and husband about later today, tomorrow, next week, or next year. I rarely just enjoy the moment and say "this is nice!" I couldn't even get through fifteen minutes of prayer without thinking "I should write down somewhere that I need to learn to be in the moment!" Still, I feel like I learned something about myself, and that if I don't push this to the back of my mind to deal with later, but struggle with the now now, it would be significant.
God bless you!

P.S. I did figure out that "in the moment" would be a good time to thank God and tell Him that I love Him. It was a much nicer time than it is when I add that in my laundry list. I hope that God doesn't mind that I am writing about the whole thing. Oh well, out of all my sins, I'm sure this isn't the biggest...

Wednesday, November 12, 2008


"With faith, comes love. With love, peace. With peace, blessings. With blessings, God is present. With God present, there is no need." According to the Bronner catalog, this is a Hungarian blessing. I believe them. I never learned Hungarian. My dad tried to raise me American, but not too American (meaning no boyfriends before graduation, no late night parties, no talking back, sanctioned fun only, etc).
Anyway, these words are on an ornament I am thinking of getting a relative of my dad's for Christmas. We have sort of been on the outs for several years because she said something hurtful to my mom. My mom forgave her almost immediately. Years later, I still refer to her as "my dad's relative" rather than Aunt Agnes. When mom makes me talk to her (yes, I am 39, and my bedridden mom can "make" me do things, I'm a wuss) I don't call her anything. I am polite, nice, and whatever else it takes to keep mom from lecturing me, but I am not forgiving. Forgiving her for hurting mom has been impossible. It has been impossible because I haven't wanted to forgive her.
That has changed. I don't know how or why. I saw this ornament in the Bronners catalog, Hungarian on one side, English on the other, and now I have to send it to her. I have searched my heart, and I am no longer angry. Mom has forgiven. She has pleaded with me to forgive. Now I have. And I so want her to have this ornament, made in her homeland, with her mother tongue written on it. Go figure. Stuff changes. I guess sometimes God changes our hearts when we aren't looking. I'm glad. Mine feels better. Forgiveness is a blessing to the forgiver and not only the forgiven. Who knew? Gotta go order an ornament now.. God bless you.

P.S. Bronners is not giving me any commission for mentioning their name. I just like being specific sometimes, vague others. Bronners, Bronners, Bronners.

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

My Newest Poll

Has anyone heard jingle bells at their local mall lately? I have. And I must admit, that even though I am initiating this poll, I am conflicted. Sometimes I think we should still be singing Christmas songs in July, because they are so uplifting and beautiful. Sometimes I think we need to respect the Church seasons, which means that advent ends on Christmas Eve, and the Christmas Carols should be limited to those that remind us Jesus is Coming, not those that state He is here. Then, on the other hand, I hear on my local radio station (all Christmas music, all the time, starting the day after Halloween), and I hear "The Virgin Mary Had A Baby Boy", and I think to myself, this could be the moment someone in there car remembers Christ, and prays to Him, and changes their life. This commercial station may have initiated a beautiful thing. Who am I to be annoyed by what I consider proper timing. So I ask you, what do you think? Please take part in the poll, and leave comments in the comment box. I am open. I am conflicted. I need a cup of coffee... But first...

(West Indian Spiritual)

The Virgin Mary had a baby boy,
The Virgin Mary had a baby boy,
The Virgin Mary had a baby boy,
And they say that his name is Jesus.

He came from the glory,
He came from the glorious kingdom.
He came from the glory,
He came from the glorious kingdom.
Oh yes, believer!
Oh yes, believer!
He came from the glory,
He came from the glorious kingdom.

The angels sang when the baby born,
The angels sang when the baby born,
The angels sang when the baby born,
And proclaimed him the Savior Jesus.


The wise men saw where the baby born,
The wise men saw where the baby born,
The wise men saw where the baby born,
And they say that his name was Jesus.

I know, more appropriate for waaaay after advent, but I wanted to share the lyrics. And it looks like I learned how to post a Youtube video! Yay for me!

Sunday, November 9, 2008

Six Geese A-Slaying

Last night I finished reading the new book by Donna Andrew, Six Geese A-Slaying. I enjoy her writing style very much, as her heroine, Meg Langslow, has a very ironic sense of humor. And the things that happen in the life of this heroine are slightly over the top. Actually, the things that happen could probably happen to anyone, just not so much weird stuff over and over. But then, unless the main character is actually a detective, isn't an acquaintance being murdered a rare weird thing to happen, and not something that occurs ten (the number of books in the Meg Langslow series) times. At least I hope so. Frankly, if I lived in Caerphilly, I would have gotten out of town after the first three murders (I know, I live in Chicago, but, praise God, no one I know has been murdered).
I don't mean to be critical of murder mystery series at all. I know that one has to suspend belief, like when watching a cartoon about Santa Claus (not that I don't believe in Santa, mind you, I just have noticed that the cartoons have conflicting information, and yes, I cry during The Year Without A Santa Claus). I like for the mystery to have a murderer that you can hypothesize is the the culprit from the evidence given without it being so obvious that it isn't funny. I also like funny main characters. Especially female main characters. And the quirkiness of things that happen to Meg are explained by her having lots of quirky cousins whom she is close to (or at least her mother is close to, and she is in the vicinity) and living in a small college town in Virginia. So she not only gets quirky neighbors, but her husband has quirky colleagues (professors) and students, who also have quirky friends and family.
I enjoyed the plot of the book. A Santa impersonator is murdered during the Holiday Parade. I won't spoil the story with details about the murder. I will mention that while I usually get miffed with the "Holiday" rather than "Christamas" parades and celebrations, the author actually did a good job of incorporating a Christian Christmas theme in the holiday parade, as well as commercial christmas, Diwahli, Chanukah, Kwaanza, etc. The parade actually had the Holy Family in it. I would rather see a "Holiday" parade that includes the Christian Christmas theme, than a Christmas parade that seems to celebrate shopping and the colors red and green. That's right, I don't mind seeing reindeer, presents, red, green, menorahs, Kwaanza candles, whatever you can think of, so long as I can see Jesus too. I'd rather see just Jesus, but I am tired of the Christmas comprise consisting of a tree and then being told they included my Christian beliefs. Not quite. Christmas isn't about Druid tree worshippers. (Yes, I understand the symbolism of the evergreen. I just want the real deal represented).
Well, like I said, I enjoyed the story, and I highly recommend it.

P.S. The geese are among the suspects!

Thursday, November 6, 2008

Chicken Pot Pie

I made this for supper Tuesday night, and my husband and mom loved it. Mom doesn't usually like Chicken Pot Pie, so I don't know if that means that this is a super recipe, or that it is nothing like real Chicken Pot Pie. It doesn't matter to us, we liked it. I used generic brand "Asian Style" vegetables, because that is what I had in the freezer. I'm sure "Italian Style", "Fiesta Style", "California Style", etc. are equally tasty.

Chicken Pot Pie
1 2/3 cups frozen mixed vegetables, thawed
1 cup cut-up cooked chicken
1 can (10 3/4 oz) condensed cream of mushroom soup
1 cup Original Bisquick® mix
1/2 cup milk
1 egg

Total Time: 30 min

1. Heat oven to 400°F. In ungreased 9-inch pie plate, stir vegetables, chicken and soup.
2. In medium bowl, stir remaining ingredients until blended. Pour into pie plate.
3. Bake uncovered about 30 minutes or until crust golden brown.
High Altitude (3500-6500 ft) Heat oven to 425ºF.

P.S. An idea for what to do with leftover Halloween Candy
I found on a blog called Brandiandboys (or something like that) a recipe which was to wrap a milky way snack size bar inside the triangular crescent rolls and bake as long as the cresent rolls take. I haven't tried it yet, but I plan to. I plan on using snickers. Helen likes snickers. Snickers. Yum.

Wednesday, November 5, 2008

Twenty Questions about the Election

Hello again! Sherri has done a great job of discerning questions we should ask ourselves about our participation in this election. It was a thought provoking piece because it made me think about what I think. My hopes for an Obama presidency. My fears about an Obama presidency. My satisfaction with my participation in the process. It was cathartic. If you click on the title of this post, you will be linked to her post. God bless!

It's Over

No, not the end of the world. It is the end of campaigning, and I am glad of it, even though the guy I voted for didn't win. I have long admitted to voting against my own interests. I believe that Obama will be better for the economy than McCain would have been. I just couldn't vote for a man who believes that it is above his pay grade to vote to save the life of a born baby. I will pray that Obama has a change of heart about abortion, and that he appoint pro-life judges, and back down on his promise to pass FOCA. I will pray that the Holy Spirit guide him as he makes decisions that affect the rest of the world as well as the United States.