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Showing posts from July, 2006

Where do you fall in the parenting spectrum?

Marc Fisher has a terrific article in this past weekend’s Washington Post Magazine. Entitled “Are You a Toxic Parent?”, this provocative piece explores the spectrum of parenting when it comes alcohol and other substance abuse. There are so many subtopics within this piece that it is hard to know where to start any commentary so do read the whole article. However, the opening paragraph sets the tone:

True or False:

·Kids are going to drink anyway, so they might as well do it at home, under adult supervision

·Restricting teenagers makes no sense when they'll be on their own in college soon enough

·You'd rather be your child's friend than an authority figure

If you answered 'true' to any of the above, you are not alone.

But that doesn't mean you're right

Mr. Fisher chronicles the great divide between those parents who set firm limits and those who turn a blind eye to their kids’ indiscretions. The parents who ignore or even enable their children’s drinking have a va…

Rescuing St. Therese

Let me say right up front, Catholics do not worship statues or icons. I know this and believe this. However, I also know that certain pictures, statues, or icons move me more than others. Think of photographs of your children. Every picture of your child represents someone who is near and dear to your heart. However, certain photographs are magical. They capture the personality and spirit of your child. They make your child present to you even when he or she is physically absent.

My mother and I were poking about an antique mall. There was a white resin garden statue of St. Therese of Lisieux. She carried her identifying cross and roses. Now St. Therese is one of my favorite saints. Her “Little Way” reminds me that nothing I do is too insignificant to be offered for the glory of God. This particular statue attracted me. It was not great art, but her serene face was very calming. As I looked at the price tag I saw this lovely piece was labeled as a statue of the Virgin Mary. I felt so s…

A taste of home

I am back! After a lovely three weeks of flitting about the Southeast USA, I am home in Virginia again. My internet access was extremely limited by my parents’ very old computer (original version of iMac still using operating system 9.2) and dial-up internet service. Since I wasn’t carrying a laptop, I couldn’t even take advantage of the high speed service in the hotels. In all honesty, it was an inconvenience at times, but overall, it was probably good to break the connection for a little while and rediscover life outside of cyberspace. I think it will take a few days for me to get my writing back on track, but I am looking forward to catching up on the news and happenings in the blogosphere.

The lack of internet access was more than compensated for by my parents’ steady supply of Bluebell Ice Cream. Bluebell Ice Cream is what keeps me thinking we will have to eventually move from our Virginia home. We began the visit with the family gold standard for great ice cream, Bluebell Cookie…

Road Trip Update

After frantic last minute packing I did make it out the door for our road trip. Of course, soccer fans that we are, we had to stop around 2:00 and find a restaurant with a television so we could watch the World Cup finals. We managed to find a Max and Erma's outside of Charlotte, NC that was not very busy at that time of day so they were happy to seat us in the bar in front of the television. The bartender said they are supposed to keep the television on ESPN unless they have a customer request so our request allowed the staff to watch the World Cup. We were very happy to oblige. We had lunch cheered on the Italians for three hours. Of course it went to overtime then PK's. It set our schedule back a bit, but then we found that our Google Map time estimate was about three hours too long so we arrived in Atlanta much earlier than expected. We are off to check out Georgia Tech tomorrow. I am curious what Child #3 will think of it. She is just starting to do some serious college …

Road Trip!

I expect blogging to be very sparse over the next few weeks since I will be traveling most of July. We will be looking at colleges for Child#3 and making a trip to Houston to visit family and to get Child#2's belongings there for his freshman year at Rice this fall. In addition to Rice, Child #3 is looking at Georgia Tech and Clemson on this trip. Pray for safe travel and I will do the same!

Blast from the Past

Let’s do the Time Warp again! Last night I took my teenage daughter and two of her friends to see Journey and Def Leppard in concert. She and her buddies are ardent classic rock fans. She had been begging to see Journey since the concert was first announced. Unbelievably she won free tickets from the local radio station so we had to go. It is kind of fun, but also kind of eerie that the musical soundtrack to my daughter’s high school years sounds a lot like mine: Boston. Kansas, Journey. Queen.

This was an outdoor concert at Nissan Pavilion and we had a blanket on the lawn. There was a smattering of teens but the primary fans in attendance were my age. It was pretty comical to see these middle-aged moms and dads, often helped by a few beers, revert back to their teenage years and “rock on”. Of course my kids got a few looks too because they were dancing, waving their arms, and singing all the words just like the old folks. I don’t think many of the old folks knew that another generat…

St. Maria Goretti Prayers

Dilexitprior has a lovely set of prayers asking for the intercession of St. Maria Goretti. My children are now all teens or pre-teens. I am not sure my sons or daughter will actually pray these before they go to a dance or on a date, but I want them to understand mindset of chastity. These prayers are a perfect illustration of a chaste demeanor. Please share them with your teens!

Prayer Before a Dance

Dear Saint Maria Goretti! The world teaches that we must please others in order to be popular. Conscience demands that I please God more than one who asks an evil thing in the name of false love. Teach me by your example to instill into others a real respect for modesty and purity. Through your powerful intercession, help me to make of this evening an occasion for helping others to become spiritually stronger. Grant that others may see in me reason to change their ways, if that be necessary, and that I may have the courage to resist any temptation to sinful conduct. Let others be led close…

Dueling Ideologies in Richmond

Amy Welborn noted that there are two competing blogs covering Catholic happenings in the Richmond Diocese. This is in my backyard, so to speak, so I took notice.

The first blog is Richmond Catholic. This blog supports the orthodox Catholics in this beleaguered diocese. Until two years ago they were guided by one of the most liberal voices in the Catholic Church. The second blog , A Voice in the Diocese of Richmond supports those bemoaning the hint of orthodoxy that has appeared since Bishop DiLorenzo took over two years ago. Believe me, it is only a hint. I travel to this diocese frequently and never know what I will find. Read my description of the ”power point” Mass or the ”Yee Haw” Mass to get a flavor of what is a regular occurrence in this diocese.

Not every orthodox bishop is a Bishop Finn or even a Bishop Carlson. I know that Bishop DiLorenzo is well aware of the heterodoxy he has inherited. He is using his best judgment to gauge the most appropriate course of action to bring or…

The Lord's Bounty

Bless us, O Lord, and these thy gifts which we are about to receive from thy bounty

The Lord’s bounty has certainly been good to us these past few days. Saturday morning I found myself with no soccer games, Scouting activities, or committee meetings. So I availed myself of the local farmer’s market. The farmers come from Virginia and West Virginia to purvey their produce. There are also a few bakers with fresh baked loaves. The beekeeper from the National Zoo offers local honey. A nearby dairy sells fresh cheese.

I was literally overwhelmed with the variety and abundance. It took great self-restraint to limit myself to what our family could realistically consume within a week. I ended up with a few pounds of perfectly ripe peaches, a mess of green beans, a pint of blueberries, a pint of the biggest blackberries I have ever seen, and a dozen ears of sweet corn. I also treated my husband to a baguette of jalepeno-sundried tomato bread.

The tomatoes on my deck are ripening so Saturday nigh…

Pray for our military

Our nation dusted off its flags and sprayed fireworks across the sky in honor of America’s birthday. We grilled hot dogs, marched in parades and wore red, white, and blue. I hope we also prayed. My family attended Mass yesterday morning, primarily because my youngest son was scheduled as an altar server. He takes this task very seriously and appreciates the moral support he receives from having the rest of the family in the pews. However, I think I will make a point of trying to get the family to Mass on July 4th in future years as well. It seemed so right to be in church acknowledging God’s many blessings to our nation and praying for his continued grace.

My husband is still on active duty, but has not served in Iraq this time around. He did fly many combat missions during the Gulf War of 1991. My oldest is beginning his junior year in college on an Army ROTC scholarship. He hopes to pursue a career as an Army infantry officer. It was comforting to have our priest remember our milita…

Just a wee nip for the kitty

My daughter agreed to “cat sit” the neighbor’s cat while they are away on vacation. The job sounded unremarkable. Every morning go let the cat out of the house. Every evening go back, call “nummy, nummy” and the cat will come running to the front door. She lets it in, gives it food, and leaves him in the house overnight. Repeat this for the next seven days. No problem!

Except this is the epitome of the arrogant, uncooperative cat. “Nummy, nummy”, indeed. This cat has absolutely no inclination to come when called. Picking the beast up elicits the prototype for a hissy fit. He transforms himself into a hissing, spitting fur ball with claws.

Yesterday evening the cat was ensconced beneath a ledge behind a large bush. He was hissing and swiping a claw at us every time we peaked in on him. We couldn’t have reached him with our hands if we had wanted to. Our solution involved a little feline pharmacology. I have a small catnip plant growing in the garden. I occasionally offer a few leaves to …

St. Teresa of Avila supports "Mother Jesus"?

Today’s Washington Post carried a front page story about the ongoing discord in The Episcopal Church after the election of Katharine Jefferts Schori as the denomination’s presiding Bishop. Bishop Jefferts Schori has long alienated the conservative members of the Episcopal community with her vote to approve the election of the openly gay bishop, Gene Robinson as well as her support for the blessing of same-sex unions. However, what really got people talking is her use of the term “Mother Jesus” in her first homily after her election.

That bloody cross brings new life into this world. Colossians calls Jesus the firstborn of all creation, the firstborn from the dead. That sweaty, bloody, tear-stained labor of the cross bears new life. Our mother Jesus gives birth to a new creation -- and you and I are His children. If we're going to keep on growing into Christ-images for the world around us, we're going to have to give up fear.

The Post gives this account of her response to the c…

My Deprived Kids

Some might say my children are deprived. For most of their childhood we have not had cable television. In the last two years I subscribed to the bare minimum of cable television in order to get a cable internet connection. (Our current home is not eligible for the phone company’s DSL service) We do not get MTV, Nickelodeon, Disney, or a host of other cable channels. For this reason we have avoided a large chunk of the ridiculous drivel that passes as television entertainment. Recently, I was listening to mothers discuss one of the latest reality shows that engages their daughters, MTV’s My Super Sweet Sixteen.

This show documents the “travails” of wealthy teen girls as they plan their over-the-top sweet sixteen parties. Of course, each of the girls is presented with a new car for her birthday. The parents tolerate pouting and ingratitude as the gross materialism fails to satisfy these spoiled divas’ expectations.

Unfortunately, I am beginning to see these excesses creep into the lives o…

Papa Ratzinger and the Spirit of the Liturgy

My reading list is growing far faster than I can finish books. Right now my summer reading list may very well last until Christmas! Pontifications has posted excerpts from The Spirit of the Liturgy by then Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger. (Now Pope Benedict XVI) Before anyone passes judgment on the new English translation of the Mass or frets over Pope Benedict’s lack of enthusiasm for “folk” Masses, they must read this book. Once again, Pope Benedict the teacher clearly explains the what’s and why’s of the liturgy. Listen to this:

…The importance of music in biblical religion is shown very simply by the fact that the verb “to sing” (with related words such as “song”, and so forth) is one of the most commonly used words in the Bible. It occurs 309 times in the Old Testament and thirty-six in the New. When man comes into contact with God, mere speech is not enough.

…In the West, in the form of Gregorian chant, the inherited tradition of psalm-singing was developed to a new sublimity and purity…

Pizza Dough Spirituality

Michelle at the Rosetta Stone asks, “What is your New Month resolution?” As she points out, we don’t have to wait for New Year’s Day to make changes and our changes don’t need to monumental. This reminds me of my “pizza dough” spirituality. If you have ever made pizza dough you know it has to be treated gently. If you stretch it too fast it just tears. So to fit my blob of pizza dough into my pizza pan I have to carefully push and nudge it little by little until it covers the bottom of the pan. It is a slow, steady, patient process.

Shaping my spiritual life requires the same slow, steady approach. I can visualize an ideal state for my prayer life. I would make time for the rosary every day. I would attend Mass every day. I would read scripture every day. I would set aside a time for contemplative prayer and reflection every day. I would remember to examine my conscience and say an act of contrition every day. I would go to confession at least every two weeks. The list goes on and on. …