Wednesday, February 25, 2009

Remembering Dignity When Showing Mercy

"this Lent I need to incorporate remembering the dignity of the person as I attempt to grow in mercy." That is more or less how I ended yesterday's post. (And how cool is that that I can quote myself?) I spent many moments yesterday envisioning what that would look like. The face that kept coming to my mind is my cousin's. We will call her Lavergne. That is not her name. I just like the name Lavergne. Okay, seriously, she hates attention, and if she reads my blog, she will hate seeing her own name. If she reads my blog with the fake name, she will just end up wondering why I never introduced me to a cousin she has so much in common with.
My cousin "Lavergne" is so shy, she couldn't take pictures at her own sister's baby shower. She was afraid people would be looking at her. She also had that fear when she stood up at people's weddings, but I was able to convince her that people stare at the bride, not the bridesmaids. Don't pat me on the back. I suspect that is why she never got married to her boyfriend of a couple of decades. She can't reconcile herself to a wedding where people will stare at her, or disappoint a family who is expecting a big wedding.
So, why do I picture her face as the picture of mercy and dignity? Well, it is hard to explain. It is not as if she was our own little Mother Theresa. St. Francis maybe. She loves animals. She wouldn't let her boyfriend, Josh (another fake name, yes) turn on the air conditioning when birds built a nest on it. She didn't want the baby birdies disturbed. He tried to convince her to let him move the nest. She was worried that mamma birdie wouldn't find them, or that a cat would get them. So, they suffered. It was a hot summer. Not Texas hot. Just hot for us. She feeds the squirrels. She feeds the birds. She goes to the park to feed God's little creatures.
And that, my friends, is where mercy and dignity come in. You see, while being delivery girl to tweety and sweety, she made some new human friends. These human friends are the homeless men who live in the park. She just made friends with them, which is weird to me, because she is so shy, and afraid of everyone. She can't ride a bus, for fear of strangers, but she can talk to homeless men in the park. Her logic is that they aren't strangers. She sees them everyday when she feeds the birds. Except now, she may bring them a sandwich, coffee, or a blanket. They have conversations. They may mention being cold. Voila! She gets them a blanket. They mention having their blanket stolen. Voila! She gets another blanket. (And when she was telling me about it, she felt as sorry for the guy who had to steel a blanket as she did for her friend who had it stolen). They may mention not being able to find something to eat. Voila! She gets them something. They may mention a need for socks, get the picture.
Now, it is true that this help isn't exactly getting them off the street. But if everyone who walked through that park, or sat to watch the squirrels chase each other, talked to these men instead of avoiding their eyes, what then?
Not one of us has to save anyone. Christ already did that. But if all of us treated these men as men instead of as if they were invisible, together we would make a difference. And we could do it with dignity, because we would do it out of love and friendship. Not for anything else.
I love you, "Lavergne". I didn't really think I would ever see you as a role model when I grabbed the camera from you at your sister's baby shower and took the pictures while you were busy being shy, but I do. You do more for those homeless men with one conversation and a pair of socks than any of your relations do writing a check. I am proud to be your cousin. If you are reading my blog post today, come on and claim me with your real name in the comment section. I am proud of you and would love to really share you, name and all, with my cyber friends.

Today isn't just any Wednesday. It is Ash Wednesday. The beginning of Lent. Apostleshipofprayer has a very good video about Ash Wednesday and Lent.

P.S. I know I said I would be off the internet on Wednesdays, but I wanted to share this. Besides, I used my fantastical preposting (or is it postposting) skills.

Tuesday, February 24, 2009

25 Interesting Things About Me

Sherri did 25 interesting things in her post today. Lots of others have before. I figure it is my turn. Here it is.....

1) I am bigger than two normal size people and a child. It is time to come clean, Sherri. I am not actually short. I am just short for my weight. I should be 7'4"....wait a moment. Women are supposed to be lighter than men, so I should be 7'6".
2) I am beginning eco atkins on Ash Wednesday. Sort of. I won't be going Vegan, just semi vegetarian. I read an article in the newspaper that semi eco atkins helps jump start the thyroid, which brings me to...
3) I have an underactive thyroid. For real. I have been on synthroid for years.
4) I have eclectic taste in music. I put polka as my favorite on my profile, but my favorites are constantly changing. Salsa. Mambo. Polka. Classical. Eighties Rock. One never knows what they will hear in my house.....I mean musicwise.
5) I love to swim.
6) My favorite flower is the carnation.
7) I get aches and pains in my lower back, ankles, and feet. I blame my weight. Duh!
8) When I was four years old, I visited Hungary with my parents. My uncle and aunt really liked me!
9)I am the youngest of eight cousins on my mother's side.
10) On my father's side, I am third youngest, or fifth oldest. It is a matter of perspective.
11) My sister died nine years before I was born. She was one month old. It made my parents very overprotective. Mom still thinks I can die of a cold if I don't see the doctor. Catherine had bronchial pnuemonia.
12) I like to wear velour clothing. I love the way it feels. Velour pjs. Velour sweats. Velour dresses. Velour headbands. I think the only think I am missing are velour undies, and velour shoes....
13) Due to heel spurs, I must wear orthotics at all times. That means only ugly shoes for me.
14) I am married to a wonderful guy. He loves me as is. He promised to love me if I change. I love him, and have promised unconditional love to him as well.
15) At one time, I was considering becoming a nun. I may post on that later. Remind me if you think it would make a good story, okay.
16) I like to read mysteries. I think my favorites are the Father Brown Mysteries, by G.K. Chesterton.
17) I am Catholic. I think you either all ready know, or you figured it out from my sidebar. In some ways I am rather conservative, in others, not so much. It depends on who you compare me to.
18) My favorite Psalm is Psalm 91.
19) My favorite hymn is Hosea. Today, anyway.
20) Jesus is my favorite man. After him, Bob is the winner, hands down.
21) I want to paint the kitchen and dining room lilac. My carpet is dark green.
22) I used to collect angel figurines. I don't anymore. Too much dusting...
23) I tend to let the house get cluttered. I am working on getting organized.
24) I teach CCD every other week. CCD means Sunday School, but not on Sunday.
25) I am afraid of rodents. All rodents. To me, a squirrel is a bushy tailed rat with a spring in his step.

26) I like bunnies. We have one in the back yard. We call her BunBun. She may be a he. We never checked. We like to make up stories about her adventures.

Okay. I hope those qualify as interesting things. Some of them you knew. Some of them you didn't. Have a great evening!

Monday, February 23, 2009

On Saturday I wrote a post sort of about what Lent means to me. In this post, I descibe giving something up, like donuts. But the season of Lent is about much more than giving up sweets in self denial. It is supposed to be about self denial for the sake of Christ. It is about seeing Christ in others, and offering them mercy. The Catholic Church offers a list of ways to show mercy. the corporal works of mercy is as follows:
Feed the hungry
Give drink to the thirsty
Clothe the naked
Shelter the Homeless
Visit the sick
Visit the imprisoned
Bury the dead

The spiritual works of mercy are:
Instruct the ignorant
Counsel the doubtful
Admonish the sinner
Bear wrongs patiently
Forgive offenses willingly
Comfort the sorrowful
Pray for the living and the dead

Now, ideally, we are supposed to be practicing this mercy every day of the year. Well, I don't know about anyone else, but I find myself drifting into other cares. Lent sort of wakes me up and brings me back....Ideally I am not going to stop doing these things during the Easter Season and Ordinary Time because Lent is over. Ideally, I am to have made self denial and mercy a way of life that keeps on going until next Lent, when I can then find ways to be more merciful still. Yeah, I keep saying ideally. That is because often enough I foul up somehow before we are even half way into Lent. I try to remind myself that just because my sacrifice could never be perfect, it doesn't mean it is useless. That is where the God and angel conversation come in again (see Saturday's post).

Now, here is a question. What if I were to do any of the corporal works of mercy with a sneer on my face? Would that be merciful? That question arises from a situation that my friend Katdish referenced on her blog Hey Look A Chicken.. The gist of the story is that some experimenters in viral advertising are using a homeless person, claiming they have a win win situation. Some of us find the way this is being handled as degrading to the man in question. I tried to assume the best about the perpetrators of the campaign in the beginning, but the more I think about it, the harder it is. Doesn't treating someone mercifully require being aware of their dignity? I started out thinking I shouldn't judge this campaign, since I am not doing enough. I moved on to thinking that just because I should do more, that doesn't excuse using someone the way the campaigners have used Tim.
Katdish's post caused lots of thoughts to start running through my mind, too many to include in one post. For now, I want to end this post with the thought that this Lent I need to incorporate remembering the dignity of the person as I attempt to grow in mercy. That sentence itself may sound confusing, but I trust you know what I mean.
There will be more on this to come, as I sort it out.
God bless Katdish and the people at her Church. They have been working on this already....

Saturday, February 21, 2009

I know that God doesn't really smoke cigars, but that is not the point....

Last night, my Church was hosting "Women At the Well", which, of course, is our women's ministry group. During this session, we had a guest priest speak to us about preparing for Lent. He talked about exorcisms, C.S. Lewis's The Screwtape Letters, and stuff like that. Most of it, I did not like listening to. I do not like to think about the devil. It is not that I don't believe he exists. I just want him to get as little attention as possible. Please don't get me wrong. I understand why Fr. Simon was talking about exorcisms. Lot's of people have wishful thinking about the devil. By that I mean, lots of people don't believe he exists. They believe in God, but not the devil. I really think the reason for that is wishful thinking, but I digress. I also understand that sometimes I might be engaging in wishful thinking myself by acting as if me ignoring him will result in him ignoring me. So I guess I got something out of this part of Fr. Simon's talk, but this wasn't my favorite part.
My favorite part of Father's talk was when he explained the reason for Lenten sacrifice. He said that God actually has no need for our sacrifice. He said it is we who need to practice saying no to ourselves. He said that the devil has us convinced that being able to choose what we want is true freedom, but that true freedom is being able to decide to say no to our wants. I was really impressed by this line of thought.
You see, I don't believe that God needs our sacrifices either. I always thought of Lenten sacrifices as being like those stupid cards I used to make for my daddy for his birthday. You see, I have no artistic talent whatsoever, yet I would attempt to make a card for my dad throughout grammar school. Many years these cards had flowers drawn on them. Hey, they were blue and purple flowers, therefore appropriate for a man. By the time I was in High School, I recognized my lack of talent. Daddy would ask why I didn't make a card, and I would say something about realizing that I draw poorly. Daddy would say how he always liked them, and I dismissed these comments as fatherly love. Yeah. You read that right. But what I mean is that I thought my dad was just saying that because he loved me, not that he meant that because he loved me. Can you guess what I found in a cigar box while cleaning out my parent's room when mom came to live with us? Yep. All those cards. Even the one where I did not know how to spell best, and wrote "Your the beast daddy in the whole world. I love you." He kept those crummy cards. I know they were crummy. I taught kids who had talent, and who didn't, and can recognize myself as one who didn't. But daddy cherished those cards.
I imagine God cherishing our sacrifices like that. I imagine a conversation between God and an angel going something like this.....
God: Awwwwww, look at my daughter, Helen. She is giving up donuts for Lent. Isn't she cute?
Angel: Uhmmm, it's a donut.
God: Yeah. Even the Bavarian creams she likes so much....
Angel: Yeah. You gave her Sunsets, flowers, a loving home, green grass, quenching water, your only Son, she gives you donuts. That does not sound even steven to me...
God: Of course not. She couldn't possibly do even steven. She is just human.
Angel: Yeah, a sinful human.
God: My Son took care of those sins......
Angel: That's right! So what are those donuts about?
God: They are about her loving Me and wanting to give Me a gift. Isn't that cute.
Angel: If You say so........

John 1:12-13 says "Yet to all who received him, to those who believed in his name, he gave the right to become children of God— children born not of natural descent,[c] nor of human decision or a husband's will, but born of God."

I guess that I picture that like my earthly daddy, God doesn't see my best as vile, but, because through Jesus I am His daughter, He lovingly sees my best as something cute. Lent is a time for me to remember that God gave me His best-His only Son. I ought to give Him my best. It could never be even steven, but God still may keep it in His very own cigar box.

Anyway, still, I liked Father Simon's explanation of giving up something for Lent being an opportunity to say no to my own wants. A sort of exercise to get me in shape spiritually for saying no to evil I desire. But I like mine too. I think we are both right. Or is that wishful thinking on my part?

Lent begins this coming Wednesday. I will probably share thoughts on Lent on and off for the next few weeks. But don't worry, I won't be getting all serious and stuff. I am going to enjoy giving up something as a gift to God, just as I enjoyed making ugly cards for my daddy when I was little.

Friday, February 20, 2009

Soothed by Whitesnake?

It's true. Music hath charms to soothe the savage breast. Ice on the car and in the driveway, a need to go to the pharmacy, and a long wait made for a crabby Helen.
Actuallly, coming home from the pharmacy, I was furious. I had to wait forty minutes for a prescription that I called in three days ago. Why? Because the lady ahead of me was given the wrong prescription an hour earlier, and she had to come back to have the right prescription done. I was furious for both of us. I didn't report the pharmacist, since the lady ahead of me really wasn't my business, but I was really ticked off. Especially when I heard the pharmacist say to her at the end "I don't know why the doctor prescribed that for your child. Most doctors prefer what I gave you....which is probably why I got confused...." The woman needs to take lessons in apologizing! I get that she wants to reassure the mom that her kid wouldn't have died from taking the medicine, but how about "I am sorry. Just so you know, what I gave you was a possible option for your child's condition, so he wouldn't have been harmed..." Even then, she isn't the doctor, so she couldn't know why the doctor preferred what he prescribed for the child. So anyway, I was furious for having to wait for something I had called in, and should have been able to pick up without any problem, and for the woman who has to spend an extra hour getting the medicine her child needs because of a pharmacist who not only made a mistake, but tried to make like it was the doctor's fault somehow.....
Then, driving home, Whitesnake's Here I Go Again was playing on the radio. There I go, singing along, remembering how cool I thought the person singing the lyrics sounded. I remember hoping I would be able to say I was cool one day....

Here I Go Again lyrics

I don't know where I'm going
But, I sure know where I've been
Hanging on the promises
In songs of yesterday
An' I've made up my mind
I ain't wasting no more time
But, here I go again
Here I go again
Tho' I keep searching for an answer
I never seem to find what I'm looking for
Oh Lord, I pray
You give me strength to carry on
Cos I know what it means
To walk along the lonely street of dreams
An' here I go again on my own
Goin' down the only road I've ever known
Like a drifter I was born to walk alone
An' I've made up my mind
I ain't wasting no more time
I'm just another heart in need of rescue
Waiting on love's sweet charity
An' I'm gonna hold on
For the rest of my days
Cos I know what it means
To walk along the lonely street of dreams
An' here I go again on my own
Going down the only road I've ever known
Like a drifter I was born to walk alone
An' I've made up my mind
I ain't wasting no more time
But here I go again
Here I go again
Here I go again
Here I go again
Cos I know what it means
To walk along the lonely street of dreams
An' here I go again on my own
Going down the only road I've ever known
Like a drifter I was born to walk alone
An' I've made up my mind
I ain't wasting no more time
An' here I go again on my own
Going down the only road I've ever known
Like a drifter I was born to walk alone
Cos I know what it means
To walk along the lonely street of dreams

All I can say is to that is that I am glad I am not "like a drifter, I was born to walk alone....". I am glad I have people walking the walk with me. And between singing a song from my youth at the top of my lungs, and knowing that happy is better than cool, I was in a much better mood....

Thursday, February 19, 2009

Things I Love Thursday---A Funny Joke

Steph at the Red Clay Diaries is participating in Things I Love Thursday. Well, I love a good joke. Here's hoping this is one.

Hello. Welcome to the Psychiatric Hotline

If you are obsessive-compulsive, please press 1 repeatedly.

If you are co-dependent, please ask someone to press 2.

If you have multiple personalities, please press 3, 4, 5, and 6.

If you are paranoid-delusional, we know who you are and what you want. Just stay on the line so we can trace the call.

If you are schizophrenic, listen carefully and a little voice will tell you which number to press.

If you have Attention Deficit Disorder, please press any numbers you can in rapid sequence.
It won't matter what the response is since you wouldn't remember it anyway.

If you are manic-depressive, it doesn't matter which number you press. No one will answer.

If you have Tourette Syndrome,please press 8.
The person responding will scream "Gaak! Twirk! Eep, eep! !@##! You, **=+#!"

If you are anxious, just start pressing numbers at random.

If you are phobic, don't press anything.

If you are anal retentive, please hold.

Tuesday, February 17, 2009

My first posts...

Okay, a bunch of my blogger friends are reposting their first blog entries so here we go. Yes, I know I linked to this on February 3, my blog's birthday, but here we go again..

In the beginning....
February 3, 2008
Several days ago I had a dream.  My dad gave me a journal.  It was not a special occasion, he just decided to give me a gift.  I responded by telling my dad that I haven't written since I was in college.  He seemed disappointed, and reminded me that I always wanted to be a writer.  I told him that was when I had silly dreams, and thought I had something significant to say.  I have realized that I am neither silly nor significant any more.  His answer to me was to write something.
So here I am, writing a blog.  I don't know whether he was speaking to me through my dream (he has been dead for 14 years) or if the wiser part of my brain is telling me I need a creative outlet.  But I have decided that it is time to  write.

Aww, not silly or significant, huh? Wasn't I cute, believing I had changed so much? In some ways, I still am who I used to be. Why does that seem like a new discovery? The idea that I am still me, twenty years later. I have changed, but I have not turned into someone else.

I Hate Spam
February 4, 2008
No not the luncheon meat. I have never tried that, but my husband says it is excellent fried. A friend of his likes it with peanut butter. No, I mean the type of spam that provides no nourishment or satisfaction of the palette whatsoever. I mean the sort of spam that has me standing on my cyberchair screaming "eek!"
I don't know how I've done it, but I have managed to be the recipient of some of the most vile e-mail product advertisements I can imagine (it is true though, that when it comes to filth, I do not have much of an imagination). I "unsubscribe" from the e-mail listings, only to have the same subject headers come up in by inbox. I am tempted to get another e-mail address, send the info to all my friends, and let the spammers have the old one, with me not so much as glancing at it. But what if the spammers get the new one? How far can I run in cyberspace? Is there a cyberrock or cybertree for me to hide behind? Until then, I may pretend that my delete button is a laser gun and zap the spam right in the return key.

Boy, I have a couple of recipes for spam now. Cool, huh? Yeah, too bad email spam for nasty things women don't need can't be dealt with as easily. I actually did get another email address, which worries me, because I sign into my blogger account with my old address, and I can't figure out how to switch. If blogger tried to contact me with my sign in email, I would be so unaware.....

Monday, February 16, 2009

We Missed It, And It Was All My Fault....

February 14 is the feast day of St. Cyril and St. Methodius. These two great men were missionaries who translated the Bible into the slavonic language. They also invented the Cyrilic alphabet. What greater love can be shared with anyone than the love of the Saviour? These two men definitely did that.

Valetine's Day was really nice. The day before, Bob gave me flowers (carnations, my favorite. Roses make me think of funerals, carnations make me think of corsages. Macabre, I know..), a balloon that plays "I Got You Babe", and a card. On "the day" he took me to see "He's Not That Into You", which made me glad I was to stupid to know how to play the game in the first place when Bob and I were dating. I'll tell you the story some time when we all could use a good laugh. Then, we went to Denny's for dinner. Very romantic, considering when we were dating, we always went to Denny's after the show so we could just laugh and talk until really late. Didn't hang out at his place with him until we were engaged. Well, thinking about gettin engaged, anyway...Yes, we just hung out. My badness was never in that way. I'll tell you what way another time.

So, next year, instead of sending Valentines, I may send out Cyrils and Methodiui. Does that mean I have to learn a slavonic language?

BTW In case you missed it on my St. of the Day button, today is the feast day of St. Onesimus. You know the one. From the book of Philemon in the Bible. If you missed it, it is a short book with only one chapter. The lesson on hope and forgiveness in this story is absolutely beyond my words...

Friday, February 13, 2009

After Tomorrow, It is On to Random Tuesday!

So, tomorrow is the day. Yeah, I have read many "we should show our love all year round" posts and comments, and I can't argue with that. Still, I like getting my card and going out to eat on Valentine's Day. I like having a special day to shake me up into reminding Bob that he is special. And I guess I enjoy the extra attention myself. This year, instead of picking out Valentine's gifts, we are getting new sheets for our new bed. You see, the mattress on our queen size wore out, and now we need a new one. Bob has always wanted a king size bed, so the time is now, not in a couple of years throw away a good mattress because we decided to get a new bed. Anyway, the king size arrives in about two weeks. Since we didn't have a king size bed before, we need new linen for the new bed. I did mention to Bob that if he wanted to buy me flowers, I wouldn't exactly refuse them....But the official gift is the sheets. I guess I'll have to wait for the next gift giving holiday for the Mamma Mia DVD. Click here to see my review of the movie when it first came out. Do you think I could convince him that we exchange gifts for Mardi Gras? St. Patrick's Day? St. Joseph's Day? Random Thursday?
On a side note, I reread that post myself. You know, I forgot that only a short time ago, I rarely drank......I mean like I had a sangria at a party every few months or an appletini at a wedding once a year. Now I discovered I like tea with drambouie maybe once a week in the evening. I wonder who I should thank for my new habit. Any suggestions?

Thursday, February 12, 2009

Inspired by a Noninspirational Song (I Think...)

I have to start out by saying that my mom hates this song. "How dare she call Jesus a slob!" is what my mom said when she heard it. She isn't the only person I know who has said this. I went to prayer meetings with people who found this song exceptionally offensive. I find it sad. I think she sounds like she is aching to believe......and my heart breaks.

Joan Osbourne

If God Was One of Us Lyrics

If God had a name, what would it be (Jesus)
And would you call it to his face
If you were faced with him in all his glory (Yes, but I may be too overwhelmed to speak)
What would you ask if you had just one question (Why do you love me enough to suffer as you did, and die?)

And yeah yeah God is great yeah yeah God is good
yeah yeah yeah yeah yeah

What if God was one of us (Jesus did become one of us)
Just a slob like one of us (if by slob, you mean ordinary person, He did)
Just a stranger on the bus (He walked everywhere, but I am sure He would take a bus if it helped bring someone closer to Him)
Trying to make his way home ("Foxes have holes and birds of the air have nests, but the Son of Man has no place to lay his head.")

If God had a face what would it look like (He wants me to see His face in yours...)
And would you want to see
If seeing meant that you would have to believe
In things like heaven and in Jesus and the saints and all the prophets

And yeah yeah God is great yeah yeah God is good
yeah yeah yeah yeah yeah

What if God was one of us
Just a slob like one of us
Just a stranger on the bus ((Actually, Catholic tradition is filled with stories of saints where Jesus appeared as a poor beggar, or leper, or other stranger in need, reminding us to see His face in each other...)
Trying to make his way home
He's trying to make his way home
Back up to heaven all alone
Nobody calling on the phone (That reminds me, I should talk to Him more in prayer...)
Except for the Pope maybe in Rome (While I am sure the Pope prays, so do many. )

And yeah yeah God is great yeah yeah God is good
yeah yeah yeah yeah yeah

What if God was one of us
Just a slob like one of us
Just a stranger on the bus
Trying to make his way home
Just trying to make his way home
Like a holy rolling stone
Back up to heaven all alone
Just trying to make his way home
Nobody calling on the phone
Except for the Pope maybe in Rome (And a whole bunch of us, who maybe need to call home more often, but we call)

I like the way the girl in the video sings this song better than Joan Osbourne. The girl in this video seems to be to be reflective, maybe even longing for God..

Speaking of the Pope and telephone calls, that reminds me of a joke. I am going to ask ahead of time that my Catholic friends not be offended. So long as we speak through Jesus, it is always a local call.....

Billy Graham went to see the Pope in Rome. While he was waiting, Billy noticed a red phone. As he was ushered in to talk to the Pope, he asked, "What's the red phone for?"

"That's to talk to God," came the reply.

"Really," Billy gasped, "how much does such a call cost - it's an awful long way?"

"$10,000 a minute, but it's well worth it." answered the Pope.

Some weeks later, Billy Graham went to see the Chief Rabbi in Jerusalem. He noticed that he, too, had a red phone. "I don't suppose," asked Billy, "that this phone is to talk to God?"

"Yes it is." came the reply.

"And how much does that cost?" Billy inquired.

"Twenty-five cents a minute," shrugged the chief rabbi.

"How come it's so cheap?" Billy asked, "the Pope has a phone like that and it costs $10,000 a minute!"

"Well," grinned the Chief Rabbi, "From here it's just a local call."

Tuesday, February 10, 2009

Internet Fast Begins By the Time You Finish Reading This...

Hi all! By now, you already know that I fast from the internet on Wednesdays and Fridays. I am starting earlier today, since I think I am feeling things I am reading a little too intensely right now and need to bring myself to a distance. I will ask my husband to look at my email this evening, so if you need to get in touch with me for prayer requests, or to seek my wisdom ;-) just put IMPORTANT!!!! in the subject heading. If Bob sees that, he'll let me know, and I will read and respond immediately.
Peace and Blessings.

Monday, February 9, 2009

Valentine's Day is coming....

Clipart Picture of a Valentine Card in an Envelope

Yes, yes it is. And, if Bob is consistent, I will be having a fabulous Valentine's Day on Saturday. Bob is great about letting me know he loves me everyday, but he knows what this day means to women, so he is really great about doing something special on Valentine's Day. And I appreciate that about him. I haven't had a disappointing Valentine's Day in 13 years...
However, when I think about St. Valentine, my thoughts are not of romance. Now, in the spirit of full disclosure, Valentine has not been on the Calendar of Saints for a long time, mainly because there is no evidence that he existed. That doesn't mean he didn't exist, just that we don't have evidence, so we don't know how much is legend and how much is true, and we don't want to tell fables as fact. Makes perfect sense to me.
There are several different legends about Valentine. One is that Emperor Claudius believed single men made better soldiers than married men, so he outlawed marriage for young men so that he would have a better drafting pool. Valentine was a priest who performed the marriage ceremony anyway. Claude didn't like that, so he had Valentine put in jail.
His jailer's daughter was blind. Valentine prayed over her and cured her. She was grateful and sent him letters which began "to my Valentine...". Valentine was martyred. People remembered his help in marrying couples, and voila, he becomes associated with romance...
And there we have one legend. But not my favorite one. My favorite one begins with St. Valentine being a priest who was very effective in teaching the people about Jesus, especially children. The children loved Valentine and came to listen to him teach about Jesus every day. Well, Claudius didn't like that. Spreading Christianity was illegal, and obviously Valentine was spreading Christianity big time. So Valentine was put in jail.
But the children continued to love Jesus and Valentine. They would bring notes of encouragement to St. Valentine, telling him how they love him and Jesus, which became known as Valentines.
While neither story has any proof, I like the later because it leaves no one out. It does not equate love with romance, but with thoughtfulness and encouragement. Any of us can cut out some paper hearts, write John 3:16 on them, and a note of encouragement for a neighbor, a grandparent, someone who is suffering with an illness....etc...
Valentine's Day is the perfect excuse to share Jesus with someone, isn't it? I gotta love St. Valentine for that, whether he is a legend or not...

Saturday, February 7, 2009

A Typical CCD Saturday

I have often describe CCD as Sunday School for Catholics, any day of the week we want. Technically, it hasn't been called CCD for years, but the term kind of sticks from acronyms of yesteryear....yesterdecade......even longer than that. Well, since I taught CCD today, I thought I would give you a run down of what we did. Then, you could all give me the nod, and say "Yep! Sunday School for Catholics, taught on a day they chose to..."

9:00-9:30 Prayer service in gym with all students. Bible reading (many gifts, same spirit), Psalm response, Gospel reading (servants and the talents), sermon. None of this was led by me, though we take turns doing readings. The program director always gives the homily (that's Catholic for sermon).
9:30-10:00 Remind the students that we will be going to Confession at our next class meeting. Reviewed ten commandments, and what happens during Confession.
10:00-10:30 Used doilies, stickers, and printed out John 3:16 references to make Valentines for loved ones. I allowed them to make as many as they wanted in half an hour. In the meantime, I told them the story of St. Valentine, and linked up the idea that we need to be using the day to celebrate God's love for us, and ours for him, as well as each other. I also reminded them that if they exchange Valentines at their regular school, they should not leave anyone out, since that would not be demonstrating God's love. I reminded them that this is an opportunity to demonstrate God's love to their classmates.
10:30-11:00 Presented the idea of role models, and discussed why Jesus is the perfect role model in the context of the Paschal Mystery. They are in fourth grade. They did pretty well, but don't imagine they were throwing the phrase "Paschal Mystery" around much, even though they were discussing it.

And that, my friends, is a typical CCD class for me. Prayer service, Catholic doctrine about Sacraments, project, and Catholic teaching on Scripture. The topics change, but more or less my format doesn't. Even though fourth graders are old enough to not need the project break, I think it gives us a chance to discuss how we share our faith in a less didactic way than "Hey kids, now go share the Faith....". I am sure you know what I mean. I think I would be lost with older kids, since they would probably think my projects are babyish, and then I would be stuck telling them to tell instead of showing them how to do....okay, that made more sense in my head than in print. I'm going now.

God bless you all, and have a great afternoon! Happy Sunday, tomorrow!

Oh, I found this on another site. I'd actually be a lousy artist because I can't draw a straight line with a ruler, and I will wear purple and yellow together just because it makes me giggle, but this was fun anyway....

You Are a Whiteboard

You are a dreamer, a visionary, and a straight up idea person. You are very creative.

Even if the things you think up are a bit wacky, they often are brilliant.

You are an adept problem solver. You are always tossing around dozens of ideas.

You would make a good artist, designer, or architect. You do best when work feels like play.

Friday, February 6, 2009

What Tree Shall We Pick From?

My recent post on Fellowship of the Traveling Smarty Pants.

The gist of it is, dabbling with the occult is bad. I know, big surprise! Still, some who believe in God deny the existence of the evil one because it makes them uncomfortable. Then they think things like ouiji boards, astrology, psychics and the like are fun, because they don't recognize it as a vehicle for the evil one, because they don't adhere to believing in an evil one. My post today on Fellowship of the Traveling Smarty Pants deals with some of my thoughts on this.

Thursday, February 5, 2009

Some Things Shouldn't Be Joked About, But I'm Gonna Anyway

As you ought to see tomorrow if you visit the blog "Fellowship of the Traveling Pants", I take the occult rather seriously. Very seriously. I run like H-E-double hockey stick from it. Still, I can't resist a good psychic joke. Ladies, learn this joke and tell it to your man February 15 if he forgets about the happy day (or before hand, if he tries to convince you he won't partake because it is a "greeting card holiday")

Jennifer visited a psychic of some local repute. In a dark and hazy room, peering into a crystal ball, the mystic delivered grave news: "There's no easy way to say this, so I'll just be blunt - prepare yourself to be a widow. Your husband will die a violent and horrible death this year." Visibly shaken, Jennifer stared at the woman's lined face, then at the single flickering candle, then down at her hands. She took a few deep breaths to compose herself. She simply had to know. She met the fortune teller's gaze, steadied her voice, and asked: "Will I be acquitted?"

Tuesday, February 3, 2009

Happy Birthday Random Musings

Today my blog turns one year old. I hardly know what to expect! I used to work at a day care center with two and three year olds. If my blog were turning two, I know I could expect it to run wildly around my dining room touching everything, screaming "mine, mine, mine........cookie?" But I never dealt with a one year old before. Oh well. They say new experiences help us to make new brain cells, right?
It is highly likely that you never read my first post. Click the link to see it. Can you recognize me in there?
My First Post

Monday, February 2, 2009

Happy Belated Birthday, Daddy

Yesterday would have been my daddy's seventy-sixth birthday. I know, I should have done some sort of blog tribute to him yesterday, but I didn't have time on Saturday, and yesterday being Sunday I did not want to spend time on the internet. There is no such thing as a little time on the internet. I was supposed to stay away from the internet on Wednesday, but my husband wanted me to email something to him, then I figured I am here, I may as well check my email, then answer my email, look a little something up to send, check out a friend......after twenty minutes, I finally grabbed hold of myself and said enough. My point is that there was no way I could do it Sunday and not catch a wave and surf, you know. I decided it wasn't a matter of life or death. Daddy would remain in St. Adalbert's cemetery whether I posted on his birthday or not. He'd be cool with it. He was practical that way.
You all know that my dad was born in Hungary. Small farm in a small village. Came to America. Just a tad paranoid after having lived in a Communist country so long. But did I ever mention his fierce loyalty?
One day dad and I were in the garage, and he hears a salesman making a pitch to the ninety year old home owner lady next door. He shushes me, and listens at the door of our garage. The salesman tries to convince our neighbor that something is seriously wrong, when it isn't, and my daddy grabs a shovel, hops over the fence, and starts swinging it at the salesman. The salesman asks him what business it is of his, as he runs around the yard, and daddy, in the thickest Hungarian accent you can imagine (he was very angry) says "any time someone tries to cheat my neighbor, it is my business!" I love love that memory! It was so him, in every little way. The temper flaring big time at injustice. The physical fitness to jump the fence. The ingenuity to use a shovel as a weapon. Not worrying about how he looks as he jumps a fence like a crazy man. His gentleness with me before, his kindness to the neighbor (he did the job she actually needed done for her, and refused to be given any money. "That is not what neighbors are for...".)
My dad did not drink beer, but he loved the Budweiser Clydesdales. Every time a commercial with those horses came on, he would point to the horses, and start talking about there beauty. The commercial from when I was a kid had the clunking noises from their hooves featured prominently, and he used to make the sound for me when he was kidding me. Good times. I am not going to run a "Happy Birthday" video a day late. Instead, I am posting the latest commercial with the Clydesdale. Even though daddy was from Hungary and not Scotland, I find it touching.