Sunday, July 31, 2011

The Laundry Mistress Speaks

9-year-old Laundry Mistress: "Why haven't I gotten my allowance wages in the past two months?"

Mom Head Mistress: "Maybe because you haven't folded the towels in the past two months."

9-year-old Laundry Mistress: "Well, I can't ever find them."

Mom Head Mistress: "They are right where they always the laundry basket on the bathroom countertop where they sit... never folded."

9-year-old Laundry Mistress: "Well, isn't it easier to just grab them out of the basket?"

Friday, July 29, 2011

Tribute to an Ordinary Woman

Today is was the feast of St. Martha.
I wrote a whole blog post in my head during Mass this morning.
Then life got in the way. Hectically so.
I haven't had time to write anything.
Hopefully, I'll find the time. Soon.
This weekend?

If I don't, that's ok. It means God does not will it.
And that's ok.
He's in charge, afterall.

Yet if I don't find the time, or the inspiration I had during Mass, I wanted to leave you with an impromtu photo of my fresh farm eggs and remind you that:

Martha was a very ordinary woman.
Just an ordinary housekeeper who kept house and  cared for her family.
Just a woman who cooked and mended and complained (sometimes).
She didn't do anything great. She didn't die a martyr's death.
But she became a saint by making daily work her life's prayer... and serving the Lord.
~ points taken from Fr. Jim's homily

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

The Saint of My Household

Catholics are oft to say, "I didn't choose my saint. He/She chose me."

I don't claim either. My saint didn't choose me and I didn't choose her.

She was given to me.

As a young girl I knew two things about the saint whose name I was given at baptism...
  • she was the grandmother of Jesus
  • many females (especially in my family) shared her as their patron saint
I went through life sharing her with my mother, my cousin, and many of the girls in my class. I failed to see anything special about her.

Ann...Anne...Anna...was as common as pictures in a museum.

Another mark against her was that she was old. Silly, foolish, and young; I wasn't impressed by an eldery saint. She wasn't young. She wasn't pretty. She didn't have an exciting story to tell.

Ann was as plain a saint as one could pick.

At my 8th grade Confirmation I didn't know much about saints other than my dad's saint St. Nicholas, my brother's saint St. Patrick, and my mom's saint St. Ann. Those were the saints of our household and they were the ones familiar and steadfast.

So I presented myself to the Bishop with my patron saint's name written in stone ink upon my nametag: St. Anne (carefully making sure they spelt it with that passionate "e").

Somehow, in naming my girls, St. Anne was never far away. My middle daughter was also given St. Ann to model her life after (without the "e" because her daddy said her name had enough letters in it and men don't understand the poetry in that added "e") as was my last daughter (whose saint is St. Claire) who was given Anna in her name by her older sister.

Saint Anne was not chosen within our family. She was given and has been given to the female members of our family. Her patronage is passed down like a family heriloom, a family rosary. Her name has graced our family Bibles and her protective gaze has watched over the wives and mothers in our family from one generation to the next.

She's old, but familiar.

She's a grandmother, which makes her ever dear.

She's plain, but so are we.

Her name is common, but when translated means "grace"; I like that. :-)

She's not exciting, but she's steadfast.

She doesn't have a great story to tell but she needn't. She is the grandmother of the world's greatest storyteller.

Before the new year began, I invited you to guess my Saint of the Year.

I wrote:
"Another novel little presence I think will be most helpful this new year will be to have a Patron Saint for 2011! What a nifty idea! This Saint's Name Generator is making its presence spun around in cyberspace so I thought, 'Sounds fun! Good time to stay focused on a good role model and guide!' Guess what saint I got!?

"Tell you all guess the saint I got for 2011 and we'll have a door prize. I think that's a great way to bring in the New Year. Don't you?

"Just leave a comment in the combox guessing which saint you think I got for 2011 and the first person to guess it right wins! :-)

"I'm putting a considerable amount of thought into what the door prize will be."
Then I promptly forgot to share with you which saint I got. And I never did think of an appropriate door prize.

You can probably take an impulsive guess on which saint I was given by the Saint's Name Generator.

That's right: St. Anne

I was surprised, yet not surprised. That was when I realized that when you are given something, you accept it. And embrace it. As a gift.

In all the guesses that were placed on my blog post...
  • St. Therese of Lisieux
  • St. Monica
  • St. Rose of Lima
  • St. Mary
  • St. Martha
  • St. Francis of Assisi
  • St. Giles
...the only guess for St. Anne...
"I was once told by a friend that she prayed for patience, but found out that understanding surpassed patience. My guess for the saint would be St. Ann...your patron saint...such a saint with both...patience and understanding...and definitely NO expectations but for being open to God's wish to bring into the world the child that would become his Son's mother.

Oma "
...was made by my mother. Isn't it weird how well our mothers get things right where it concerns us? So the door prize isn't a big deal afterall. ;-)
St. Anne is patroness of housewives and women in labor. In art, a door is the key that reveals who she is which is fitting since, through her bearing of the Mother of God, she is the door into which He was welcomed into this world.

She is the doorbearer...for my household and all who pray for her intercession. She held wide the door when her unmarried daughter came and told her that she was expecting. She held wide the door when Mary and Joseph visited her. She held wide the door for the Christ child to toddle into her kitchen on soft feet.

{My favorite picture of St. Anne by Murillo}
 Today is the feast day of St. Anne (and her husband St. Joachim).

St. Anne has proven, time and time again, to be a worthy saint of our household. Time and time again she opens wide to the door to my inquiries, my concerns, my pleas, and my prayers. And she answers as only a grandmother will. She was given to our family many years ago. She takes her role as grandmother very seriously.

More Reading on and Prayers of Intercession to St. Anne

Monday, July 18, 2011

Heart Summer Mondays!!!

1.) Ignored my house snubbing its nose  mess at me
2.) Texted w/ Chelsea a bit...she comes home tomorrow and is having a fabulous time in Georiga
3.) Checked email and FB
4.) Stuck head in freezer and decided what's for dinner
5.) Watched Good Luck, Charlie with Annie...there's something about this show that tickles me and seems so familiar (late-in-life parents, baby sister, older children, crazy mother, :-). I rubbed Annie's back, she rubbed my leg. We love summer mornings around here!
6.) Did a blog post
7.) Started washing bedding
8.) Potato & Cubed Ham Soup for lunch
9.) Annie found her Girl's Gourmet Cupcake Maker from a past Christmas and decided to make us some cupcakes
10.) Enjoying my chocolate cupcake w/ vanilla icing
11.) Switched over laundry
12.) Heading to office to type a few lesson plans
13.) Stop by Adoration Chapel
14.) Home to cook supper
15.) Netflix
Love Summer Mondays!

My Monday Morning Monologue

Last night I lamented the condition of my living room. In reality it is but a fingerprint of my entire house.
In the home of what is considered a "large family" in today's world my house would never be declared immaculate.
It's liveable, at best.
Last night my husband reminded me that in another month---or two---or three even---this house will be void three of our children.
 In one fell-swoop they will leave this nest in tentative ventures into the outside world. None of them are going far but they are leaving these four walls.
Our younger two girls are excitedly picking and repicking their new bedrooms. They are beyond dreamy when we walk down the bedroom aisles at the stores! Both have late-in-the-year birthdays. I see bedroom decorating plans smiling from the walls.

I will finally have an office/studio, something I've always had to share within our sitting room, our bedroom, and the main flux of the household. Never a room of my own. Never! Quiet, introverted me! God planted me in the middle of a busy, crowded life. Now all my writing, D.R.E. work, and our school mess books and papers will be held within the echoes of one room. I've never had this before. I'm a little excited. I think my husband is going to like having all my "paper dump" in one room more than he realizes.
And there are mentions (mere whispers) of remodeling. Hopefully by next year's end. Which means I have a year to start a notebook full of ideas and paint colors and room layouts...

...though reality tells me that it will take a year to do a complete upheaval of this house at large.
 It's a little scary, a little overwhelming, a little mind-boggling, a little sad.

Who has three children leave their home at the same time!?! And take furniture with them? And memories? And noise?

All I can say is the children aren't moving very far and this new chapter promises even more family members and more memories and more noise!

Our family is blessed!

Better keep my focus on the present and on getting this house ready to start Book 2 of Cajun Cottage!

Sunday, July 17, 2011

When Daddy Works Over 40 Hours

We cut short our shopping trip. Someone has to pay for these overpriced groceries and that call just came.

Daddy and daughter churn hands and walk across the July-baked parking lot to pick a cold treat off the Orange Leaf tree while I check out those overpriced groceries.

We head home. Over the cup's frosty edge of icy sweetness our nine-year-old questions the shift that the economy has played in her small world. "Daddy, why can't you own a restaurant?"

"A restaurant? Why?"

"So you won't get called out to work all the time."

The chid has already forgotten the callout the week before that went unanswered so we could set-up lawn chairs on the beach. The phone call is already forgotten. Not the July night, not the sky, not the sand, not the golden fireworks over the lake. Certainly not the memory. Just the phone call ignored in her daddy's pocket.

I don't remind her that we did own a restaurant once upon a lifetime before she was born and how much of our life it sucked, gnawed, and drained.

I decide to be practical and focus on the here and now. "Honey, Daddy works so we can buy our groceries and..." (because children don't concern themselves with practicals) "...treats from Orange Leaf and all those fun things you got to do today."

I stop short. Even as I say it I realize how my words can program my child to choose things and enjoyment over people and relationships. No one needs to recite an open litany to their child of how hard her daddy works for her care, well-being, and happiness. The child notices those things in the late evening callouts her daddy accepts without complaining. The click of the closet door, the zip of the uniform or briefcase, and the closing of the door behind him speaks louder than a mother's voice. There is safety in those sounds. Knowledge that one small soul is being diligently cared for in the sound of those footsteps that muffle down the hallway. Knowledge learned outside the classroom.

So what builds a bridge from that shore to the other? What builds the relationship? Ironically, it's the same care, concern for the well-being of that child, and desire to see happiness on our child's face which builds that bridge. No rehearsal necessary. It's the steady, everyday sacrifice that nurtures that relationship. The handheld walk across a blacktopped parking lot on a July evening is part of building that relationship.

No matter how brief the walk, the walk is what the child remembers.

These things are the pegs that build it solid and stout. Cups of yogurt are the buds planted along the bridge that beautify it. Not necessary but for small minds it's like finding a penny in the parking lot. 

Pennies from heaven have a hidden worth.

People can quote an eloquent life when money is a present commodity on the grocery list.

Poverty can be holy; it can also be ugly.

A child needs the assurance on bread on the table, a warm bed, and a safe roof where raindrops drum down as surely as she needs her daddy's hand in her own.

But when the grocery list runs dry? When the bridge cracks and is in need of repair? I've seen enough relationships suffer and weep because there was not enough basic for the basic. Certainly never enough for carefree walks, minute giggles, and yogurt smiles.

Poverty can be holy. The Bible tells us. Jesus showed us.

Poverty can also be ugly and lifeless.

So when is too much too much? And when is not enough just not enough?

It's in our handling and mentality of money.

An excellent book I've read on this subject is Gregory S. Jeffrey's Why Enough is Never Enough. A very easy read. I read it in one night and passed it to my husband.

Another book on understanding a simple life and God's will for this life is Happy Are You Poor : The Simple Life and Spiritual Freedom by Thomas Dubay.

These books will show you how an overtly fear of finances and worry over money can prove to be as unhealthy and detrimental as the worship of money. Anxiety over money is as sinful an idolatry as greed over money.

Our world would do well in realizing there is a difference between Poverty vs. Simplicity

Perhaps we will be forced to learn it in the near future. Perhaps some have already had to learn it. The outcome will depend on our mindset; whether we embrace our homes (what and who we have in them) or whether we tear our bridges down like young children do in a rage when they don't get what they want.

"...the difference can be pointed in the way that living simply is living well, even when it is done within the scope of the same budget which draws another family into the pit of poverty." ~ Domestic Felicity 

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

Article Blitz



A child’s education begins the very first time they hear those magical words.

I'm jumping on the covered-wagon and headed to DeSmet, SD to join a read along of Little Town on the Prairie (Chapter 7 is mine).

Any College Will Do relieved me of several high-expectations regarding my children's higher education


Married on a Crucifix---"In the town of Siroki-Brijeg in Herzegovina not one of the 13,000 inhabitants can recall a single divorce or broken family.What is their secret? One look at their marriage rite says it all."

Monday, July 11, 2011

P.O.P. Nature Study: Bibliomania

Bibliomania ~ page 185

This chapter of Pocketful of Pinecones by Karen Andreola finds us in the month of July, the family getting comfortably, busily situated into life at Blackberry Inn.

The family picks and cans the ripe strawberries.

While exploring her new home, Carol finds the study to be filled with books from floor to ceiling. She is delighted. Some of the books mentioned are:

* * * * *

Novels by Charles Dickens

Sir Walter Scott

The Bronte sisters

Jane Austen

Thomas Hardy

Henry James

Oliver Goldsmith

Shakespeare's plays and Lamb's Tales

Andrew Lang's fairy tales

Nathaniel Hawthorne's stores in Tanglewood Tales & Wonder Book

Novels by Gene Stratton Porter

Louisa May Alcott

Lorna Doone

Gulliver's Travels

Robinson Crusoe (to this day---my oldest son's favorite book!)
 Jungle Book


Treasure Island

Black Beauty

Commentary on the whole Bible by Matthew Henry

Pilgrims Progress

Famous Paints

My Book House

Several books on Nature some which are listed in the back of P.O.P. for those who have Karen's book.

Karen writes: "Books are the backbone of the homeschool. Many a mother enjoys a free hour to scan the shelves of a used bookstore for inexpensive treasures that will be put to good use---books for herself as well as for her children."

Here is a verse to write in your nature notebooks:

"Gather ye rose-buds while ye may,

Old Time is still a flying;

And this same flower that smiles today

Tomorrow will be dying."---Robert Herrick

Wednesday, July 6, 2011

The Simple Truth on Fr. Corapi

I was at my desk yesterday afternoon with my Facebook page open wide, waiting to hear the Casey Anthony verdict because I couldn't get a hold of my oldest daughter and I had taken ownership of my other daughter's phone because she was delinquent with her chores because of said-phone. That's when justice and the distribution of it falls into my hands.

So, anyway, I was sitting at my desk planning lessons for the new liturgical year where I serve to implement them within our church parish's religious education program. Like so many of you, I had my Facebook page open wide because I knew I'd hear the news quicker there than anywhere else. My expectations were ideal. People let you down. Facebook rarely does. (You can quote that with your tongue in check, my friends!)

Right before the verdict popped onto Facebook, I was accosted by an update on Fr. Corapi. Now I have never twitted, Facebooked, or blogged anything on the scandal behind Fr. Corapi or the injustice so many of his followers feel has befallen them. I never felt the need to. I didn't have the information or the insight for anything so large. I figured the case was in more capable hands than my own.

Personally I had secretly hoped that Father  John Corapi would be silent as Padre Pio was silent when wrongly accussed. I had hoped that, in time, everything would go back to normal, Fr. Corapi would be back on EWTN pleasing the masses of admirers. That didn't happen. What happened is this: Fr. John Porapi Resigns from SOLT

Sad state of affairs.

I also haven't commented because of a simple fact...I never cared for Fr. Corapi and never truly listened to him. Maybe that's why I didn't care for him. In my defense I did try listening to Fr. Corapi once. There was something I didn't like about his approach. At first I questioned if it was his stern voice that side-swiped me. I don't particularly care for stern, serious voices. But no...

Now, in hindsight, I realize it's the look in his eyes that cautioned me. My mother always says you can read a person by looking in their eyes.
Which is also ironic because I've never been a good judge of character. I have been known to be the only person laughing at someone's jokes when everyone else is walking away. I've been known to trust other people's opinions of someone over my own opinion. A few weeks ago my husband and I were at a camping dealership and I was skeptical of the salesman's tactics. Too sure of himself. I didn't trust myself, however, and, once we were in the truck, I asked my husband what he thought. My husband thought he was very honest and decent. Ok, wrong again, says I. I consider myself pretty oblivious to situations and people so I hesitate to judge anyone or accuss anyone wrongly.

So with this recent scandal within the Church I can only count it grace that God shielded me from any admiration of this man.

I also hesitated (still do) to post anything about the situation because I feel my postings and my blog should lift-up instead of tear down. There's also enough media about the scandal, why add more? But, since I've already begun...

I think Jennifer at Conversion Diary wrote the most charitable post: And the Truth Shall Make You Free

"The truth that Fr. Corapi led me and so many others to did not originate with him, or from any man. The Catholic Church isn’t a bunch of guys who sit around and come up with brilliant insights about Jesus; its doctrines don’t come from the pope, the bishops, the priests, Fr. Corapi, or anyone else – they come from God himself. The men who make up the Magisterium are simply the tools God uses to convey his message."

The simple Truth is that it is always God, never us. God creates, we are his tools.

The reason I am posting light of the Casey Anthony trial as because it grieves me to see people pulled away from the Church Christ gave us when He told our first pope, St. Peter:

18 And so I say to you, you are Peter, and upon this rock I will build my church, and the gates of the netherworld shall not prevail against it.

19 I will give you the keys to the kingdom of heaven. Whatever you bind on earth shall be bound in heaven; and whatever you loose on earth shall be loosed in heaven."

(NAB --- Matthew 16: 18-19)

While the gates of the netherworld have not prevailed against it, the Church sure has taken quite a bashing. Yet it prevails! The Mass, the one true worship of God before us, God behind us, God around us, lives!

While sitting at my desk my main concern was how many Catholic adults the Church would lose and how many of our young, questionable young people will not return to our religious ed program this year because another priest has let them down, has disillusioned their parents, has mocked us all!

This was my main concern. I see these young people come through the doors of our religious education building on a weekly basis. They are often cynical. They are quite knowledgeable. They can be critical. And they have been disillusioned by adults, rightly so.

And I wonder which of these young people will feel "justified" in not returning to the Church which our Lord and Savior began simply because one man failed them. Isn't that why most people have left the Church? Because other human beings have told them falsehoods and lied to them and failed them when, in fact, our Church is not about what these people proclaim but about worshipping our Lord and Savior. Church is about worshipping God. That's all! We owe Him, not the other way around. God doesn’t owe us beautiful music, a heart pounding speaker, a soul-searching sermon, or an answer to the wrongs of the world. If we are given these things, they are gifts, by His grace and mercy. Nothing else.

Yes, the Church is also about caring for its members. We care for the Church because of Jesus Christ within its members. The Catholic Church worships a mighty God. It does not put its priests on pedestals. They are not Pharisees. They are consecrated men serving the body of Christ.

And so I'm sitting at my desk pondering all this. I say pondering because worrying does no good. Then I pick up my pen again and go back to planning lessons surrounding the life of Christ and the liturgical year which commemorate that way of living. And I put pray on these lessons and give them to God.

Shortly after, I get a message from my daughter that she's feeling light-headed after a tooth extraction. I quickly post my haphazard guess on Facebook and check on my daughter...showing her that I am there for her, I am trustworthy, I am someone of my word. That is where trust in God begins.

* * * * *
Another post worth reading:
True Faith by Rachel Balducci

Tuesday, July 5, 2011

Justice for Caylee & the Whole World

Are we angry yet? Indeed we are! Rightly so. Is our anger justified? I think so. Even Jesus grew angry in the temple at man's greed and lust!

At this very moment millions of decent human beings are phoning, texting, twittering their anger. Most of us, I might add, are in a state of disbelief!

There are thousands of Internet discussions and posts and comments (not counting mine) happening right this minute concerning the Casey Anthony trial. Everyone is waiting for Nancy Grace to prosecute their screens.

The battle cry is JUSTICE FOR CAYLEE!

Ah, justice! That evasive justice that dear little Caylee Anthony did not get nor Laura Kate Smither nor Savannah (who went to CCD with my 9 year old daughter, but no longer) . That spiritual justice that all those followers of Fr. Corapi won't get. That justice that evaded the victims of Jack the Ripper. Same justice that will not persecute the bullies of your past. Justice not found in the cars of drunk drivers. Same justice that haunts the thousands of babies abused and killed and tossed aside like garbage. The real world is seldom just and ideal. So why do we keep searching for a just and ideal society? I can only speak from personal experience.

I have always thought I was an idealist. I was wrong. I'm a realist. True, I love ideals and reading about them and striving for them. Seldom do I attain them; the reality is never as pretty as those ideals in my head. What worth are those ideals in the mind of a realist? I’ll tell you their worth. They’re put there by God to get me through the muck of this world. They keep me going forward in an otherwise un-ideal world. They help me to strive towards something better than I am or that this world gives me. They help make me a better parent than Casey Anthony.

My idealist side is always questioning my realist side: “Would you think differently if your child was kidnapped and murdered? Would you hate the sin but love the sinner?”

Honestly I can't say how I would react. My idealist side says I would be stoic and charitable. “Father, forgive them.” My realist side is probably closer to, say, reality. They, whoever ‘they’ are, would probably have to sedate me and put me away in a locked room. I would be on a cocktail of drugs just to get me through the trial.

If my granddaughter was dead and my daughter was on trial and there was a questionable doubt? Let me just say I can understand why Cindy Anthony tried to take the rap. But I've also heard too many people who have had family members murdered who come back to say they got to a point in their life when they had to let go and let God. Eventually they had to let go and forgive the offender otherwise the stress and anger would have killed them, thus giving the offender two victims instead of one.

There's no justice there! There is a valuable lesson and I like to listen to those quiet voices of wisdom over the voices of anger that rise up to silence the voice of God. It is a valuable lesson to be learned by the rest of us if we just stop our ranting and listen to God’s plan for us.

And what is that plan? I hate to disillusion you here but man’s justice is not part of it. The first murder in this world was between two brothers. How’s that for God’s plan? I'm sure Eve wailed and lamented this injustice within her family. But then she turned around and gave birth to another son. That is where faith begins. Faith in the face of fear!

We go on living and loving and learning. And trusting God’s plan justifies our own actions.

Why do we expect justice now, when it wasn't even present in the book of Genesis? I don't think we expect it...people never fail to disappoint much as we long for it. Justice is not for this world. Justice is reserved for the Kingdom of God. That’s the plan!

Despite the realist in me, it is usually the idealist in me who posts on Facebook. Today was no different.
"Fr. Corapi and Casey Anthony aside...I'm going back to focusing on what matters in my family and my God."

Most people understood my post and related to my resolve. Most shared their support by hitting the "Like" button, not that I expected anyone's support but it was reassuring to see I wasn't completely alone. A couple of my friends were, understandably, caught off-guard by my post. And I understood their anguish. I understood their defense. I sympathize. While I understand what other Christians are saying, do you suppose if I shout my offense and injustice of the world from the top of my Facebook soapbox, it will change anything? Anything at all? Will it change society?

Probably not. Like it or not, justice is often not found in this world. We have only to look at 9-11 and what has ensued since that date to witness the evidence.

What I'm saying in my Facebook ponder is that, instead of shouting from the top of our Facebook rooftop like the rest of society, we should face our own families and our own church communities, bow low, and vow to improve this world within our own backyards and homes and churches.

Forget the world at large!

Did I say that?

Yes! Yes, I did!

I'm sorry but I can't change the world. I can't! And, truth be told, I don't see many politicians and lawyers and superstars doing a much better job of changing it (much less making it better) though they all say they will. Today's age of instant media has us all believing that mass hysteria is the only way to change society.

I beg to differ.

Rather than climbing the pinnacle of Facebook pondering, can't we come down to where God has planted us and bow down to those within our homes in servitude and turn to the people within our churches in asking for and receiving forgiveness?

Does this mean we don't need to seek, strive, push, implore, and pray for justice here on earth? Does this mean we never go out into the world at large and beat a healing drum?

Yesterday was a day that reminded us to keep seeking, striving, pushing, imploring, praying, and pledging...

"...allegiance to the flag of the United States of America and to the republic for which it stands, one nation under God, indivisible, with liberty and justice for all."

The 4th of July! A great day for our nation. A wonderful day for remembering what men of faith and character were able to accomplish by going out into the world...without the Internet at their disposal.

Again, there is nothing wrong with the pledge we recite in our country. It's our ideal. An ideal put before us that makes us seek, strive, push, implore, and pray to make a better life for ourselves and our children.
That ideal is important. We need that. And, surprisingly, it’s attainable. Sometimes the ideal becomes the reality.

But when our ideals fall like lumped clay at our feet, that’s when the realist in us needs to step forward and say, “Be still! Listen! Where is God's plan in all this? What is God's plan for me?”

These ideals are made by fallen people much like us. People fail us. People disappoint us. In the real world we must focus on the battle before us, not the whole war around us.

To quote Kimberly Hahn, "I'm changing the world one diaper at a time." That’s where God has called me to serve Him and it's through obedience to Him that I am able to serve where He has placed me.

Because of my duties to my household, my church, and my friends, I have not kept abreast of the Casey Anthony case or the Fr. Corapi incident. Not that I was blind to either or hard or numb. I knew I couldn’t make much of a difference and I am, for better or worse, a believer in minding my own business. Sometimes I wonder about myself if, in fact, this makes me cold, hard, numb, whatever.

A friend sent me a private message today on Facebook and I very much appreciated the care she took in sending me a smiley face over the airwaves. She mentioned: "I'm just glad we only have to answer for our own actions and not others. I think when we get wrapped up in stuff like the trial and we become a part of what the world wants. God tells us to be different from the world."

That’s the crux of our anger. We all want justice and we want it NOW! But God's time is not our time. When one has a Christian worldview such as my friend mentioned...being in this world but not of sometimes comes across as cold and a little unfeeling. People believe you have to be angry to be passionate about something, but anger is not of God. Christ didn't hurl his cross in anger and demand justice! He remained who he was, an innocent man who saw that God’s plan was greater than his own.

It's not to say that we all stand here and remain silent when other parts of Christ’s body are hurting. It isn't that we ignore the cry of the poor and suffering but, sometimes, in heeding to the call of so many we forget our own surroundings and leave our own souls unattended. That can prove disastrous. We must fight the battles within our own homes before we can expose the demons that run rabid over the whole world.

What happens when your life is grounded in Christ, is that you become sensitive not only to the victims but towards all God's children. I grieve for Caylee Anthony. I also grieve for Casey and her parents. I grieve for what happened and what will never happen. I grieve for the kind of mother Casey should have been but wasn't. I grieve for what the grandparents have lost in the life of that little girl. I grieve for their souls. I grieve for days spent in jail cells and dark thoughts and feelings of worthlessness. I grieve the hours of useless ponderings and regret. I grieve for tears shed and tears unshed. I grieve for the lawyers who live this reality every day. I grieve for the jury whose lives have been defined by the deeds of another. Mostly I grieve for Caylee and birthday parties that will never be.

What makes me saddest of all is that Casey Anthony portrays so many young mothers in America today. Not all but too many. Young mothers who leave their children to go to bars, strip clubs and drinking binges.Young mothers who don't want the commitment of having a child. Young mothers who continue to act like they are not mothers. Young mothers who move in with boyfriends who have no commitments or any ties to them or the child. Young mothers who have no respect for themselves or their children. Young mothers who think of their children to be dolled up and paraded then discarded. Young mothers who will look at Casey Anthony as a role model who gets a book deal then the movie deal and end up with the money, fame, and night life without the child to care for.

What makes me sick is the celebration of the defense team within sight of cameras. Smiles, laughter, hugs, high fives, ecstatic jumping, and cork popping champagne bottles.

What makes me cringe are all the dollar bills that will be spent when buying her book and viewing her movie and giving her the time of day that little Caylee was not given.

This is really not a case of whether Casey was found guilty or not. No one but Casey Anthony knows what truly happened. Still she is a marked woman. Just as Cain was marked by God, Casey Anthony will be marked for life. She may not stay in jail but people can make sure her life is a living hell...or not. People are the harshest of judges.

As far as the verdict, we are all guilty. Guilty of the attention, the time of day, and the book sales that we give Casey. We are guilty of public displays of celebration. That any of us (namely, the defense team) could celebrate so openly and proudly is a disgrace.

This is truly a case against society and its most defenseless citizens...the children.

Monday, July 4, 2011

P.O.P. Nature Study: Emma Cook's Garden

The family is settling into their new home, Blackberry Inn. The very name makes you think of summer.

Carol is reading a new book on the artisit, Audubon, and she shares Audubon's failures with son Don.

There is a beautiful, serene portrayal of the garden in this chapter starting on page 183. Makes me want to run outside an get to work on my little "peace" garden.
I'm very curious about the last paragraph on pg. 183...
* * * * *

Here it is for those without the book: (Pocketful of Pinecones by Karen Andreola)

"A slate and pebble path leads to the house's rain barrel. Because it is in the corner of the garden, it is handy for the waterbearer. On the far side of the garden is another rain barrel where the rain is also collected from the roof of the carriage house. This malodorous barrel brings an offense to the passerby, as it contains manure tea. Emma calls her fermenting concoction, 'Victoria's dressing.' The results of this dressing, so diligently applied, are lush flowers and vegetables."

* * * * *
Now, after being chased home from our weekend camping trip by a furious rain storm and difficult, pesky mosquitoes, I'm thinking these rain barrels wouldn't be too dandy an idea here in Louisiana. I have seen these barrels at the living Acadian village museums here in Louisiana. But not near homes in this day and age...though it sounds lovely and nostalgic in Karen's book. The mosquito control guys would surely point out to us that these barrels are proper breeding grounds for these insects.

From Donna: 
"My mother grew up on a farm and they had more than one rain barrel. The barrels had tight fitting lids to keep the water clean. The lids were only taken off when it was raining so the barrels could fill. So it doesn't seem like mosquitos would have access to the water."
* * * * * *

American goldfinch---Carduelis tristis

Bleeding heart---Dicentra spectabilis

Peppermint---Mentha piperata

Rose-breasted grosbeak--Pheucticus ludovicianus


* * * * * *


Have you ever seen the pictures of birds drawn by Audubon?
A homegrown tomato or strawberry (especially the first strawberries) is unparalleled in taste and texture to that of a supermarket version. Consider growing a fruit or vegetable with your children or visiting a "pick-your-own."

Make a Tomato Pie or your own Homemade Rotel Sauce with your tomatoes this 4th of July.

* * * * * *
Check out a book on Audubon to look through with your children.

Friday, July 1, 2011

Fill Your Vessel, Not Your Grave

My life is so full. Sometimes so full that I find myself in a room filled with boxes...boxes of projects and ideas and duties and obligations...and I feel trapped. My path to the window on the edge of the room appears blocked.

And I stand there ill-equipped, not knowing which box to open first. I stand undecisive, intimidated, unable to go forward, unable to execute a plan.

I've been this way for the better part of three years. I've had two people look me in the eyes and honestly ask me, "Why do you feel that way?"

I had no answer. And no excuse. It's their genuine concern that I remember, that filled the vessel God wants filled.

I've always loved Michael Hyatt's blog. Today's guest post by Todd Henry took me to the edge of my existence and, like the Ghost of Christmas Future showing Scrooge his own mortality and the seers at Fatima standing on the realm of a reality of useless living and unsung choices, made me face the box in front of me. Made me bend down. Made me open it.

Made me take a look.

And I found the box easy to open, easy to inspect, easy to unload. I'm ready for the next box. I'm creating a path to that window. I'm making my way. I refuse to let myself be buried by "...unfulfilled dreams, unwritten novels, masterpieces not created, businesses not started, relationships not reconciled."

* * * * * *

"I was in a meeting in which a South African friend asked, 'Do you know what the most valuable land in the world is?' The rest of us were thinking, 'Well, probably the diamond mines of Africa, or maybe the oil fields of the middle east?'

“ 'No,' our friend replied, 'it’s the graveyard, because with all of those people are buried unfulfilled dreams, unwritten novels, masterpieces not created, businesses not started, relationships not reconciled. THAT is the most valuable land in the world.'

Read the rest here: Why I Hope to Die Empty

* * * * * *

It's the motivation I needed to renew my personal goals, my personal commitments, my personal frame of mind.

Unlike the foolish servant who hide his talent while the master was away, I am ready to lay my treasures above the ground instead of below it. I don't want my grave to be any fuller than it needs to be.

P.O.P. Nature Study: Goodbye to Bridgeton

Carol and her family move from the town of Bridgeton to Blackberry Inn. A storm complete with sleet greets them at the inn. Carol can't help but wonder if it's a bad omen.

But inside the inn...Emma has fixed a delicious vegetable soup and biscuits for the travelers. The men go outside to unload the moving van and the children summon their mother to come outside. A beautiful full rainbow is sighted in the distance over a field and apple orchard.

Carol and Michael take this as a promise that their new life is worth trying.


Do we look for bad omens in life's journey? Or for beautiful promises of the blessings waiting ahead for us?

When was the last time you saw a rainbow? Use a prism at a sunny window to make a rainbow on the wall with your children.

Have you ever lain on your back in the grass to watch the clouds? Your children may welcome the idea of keeping a cloud chart for a few weeks.

Recommendations by Engageya

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