KITCHEN TABLE CHATS

Pull up a chair in my domestic church and let's chat!

I have worn many labels (Not in any particular order): Catholic, Wife, Mom,Gramma, Doctor, Major, Soccer Mom, Military Wife, Professor, Fellow.

All of these filter my views of the world. I hope that like St. Monica, I can through prayer, words and example, lead my children and others to Faith.
"The important thing is that we do not let a single day go by in vain without putting it to good use for eternity"--Blessed Franz J├Ągerst├Ątter

Wednesday, July 31, 2013

Just eat the yogurt!

Athena is my black Lab mix. She is six years old now and much more settled than she was as a puppy. What she has not outgrown is her tendency to make questionable digestive choices. Cardboard is a major food group for her--especially empty toilet paper rolls. I cannot even begin to list the various vegetable, animal, and mineral entities that she has found outside and ingested. Most of the time her sturdy Lab stomach handles the insults just fine. But every now and then her gut rebels. This usually means a middle-of-the night or early morning awakening to her tummy loudly rumbling,squeaking and squawking followed by a trip outside. The best cure for her indigestion is yogurt. Half a cup or so and she is good to go. Interestingly, it is a chore to get her to eat the yogurt. She sees me holding a bowl of yogurt and she is hightailing it back to bed or hiding behind a table. So I put a little on my finger and dot it on her lips. She licks it off. I dot some more and she reflexively licks that too. After about three or four dots of yogurt she laps it right out of the bowl and licks the bowl clean. This always makes her feel better. So why does she resist? She has to be coaxed and convinced to eat the yogurt every single time. One would think she could remember how nicely yogurt soothes her upset tummy.

I was pondering this today after another early morning yogurt routine. But then I had to sheepishly admit to myself that I am not much better than my dog. There are a lot of things that are very good for me and I know they are very good for me, yet I resist. Eating modestly and limiting my sweets feels so much better than when I over indulge. I have so much more energy when I exercise regularly. All of life's daily demands are so much easier to handle when my prayer life is in order. I know this. And I will eat healthily, exercise, and pray daily for a while. But then I start backsliding. Before you know it I am out of sync in one or all of these areas and it is so hard to put myself back on track. But I take a few positive steps and just like Athena, after a few tastes I am lapping up the renewed discipline.

I am going to keep Athena in mind whenever I find myself I slacking in my physical, intellectual, or spiritual discipline. There are no good excuses. I need to stop resisting and just eat the yogurt!


Sunday, July 28, 2013

Living Life

A nice lady and friend of my in-laws bought a Corvette when she was much younger and a bit more adventurous than she is now. Age and mobility issues have made climbing in and out of the Corvette impractical. It is a 1991 convertible and only has 44,000 miles on it. She begs you to take it off her hands for a minimal sum. What would you do?

Road trip! Now that my hubby has retired all the grown kids have laid claim to our extra vehicles. When I head off to work I leave him behind with no transportation. So we were in the market for something in which he could toodle around town. What better vehicle for a retired test pilot than a Corvette. So amidst all the wedding preparations we flew down to Houston and picked up some new wheels.

We did have time for some fun. We stopped in at the Rice University art gallery and saw "Unwoven Light" by Soo Sunny Park.

We ate at Freebirds


We stayed at a Holiday Inn Express


And we arrived safely home so all can play with Dad's new toy.






I've learned a few things about Corvettes. First of all, there is no trunk. It is not that it just has a small trunk. It has no trunk. That is all gas tank in the back. It takes a little bit to get the used to the sense of speed when you are sitting so low on the road. It is so powerful. I am used to driving a Prius. The acceleration of the Corvette feels like a rocket in comparison. Getting in and out is an exercise in flexibility. Not sure how you would ever do it in a skirt. But this car is fun. See the grins on these faces? This road trip in the midst of last minute wedding details was so worth it. Sometimes you just have to relish all the joy life has to offer.

Thursday, July 18, 2013

A kitchen table chat in Canada and thoughts about cohabitation

Yesterday I was privileged to be a guest on the Canadian Radio Teopoli with Fr. Bill Trusz. We chatted for an hour about the assaults on marriage, much as I had outlined in my latest HLI Truth & Charity forum article.  You can listen to the interview here by clicking on the  "listen to previous shows" button then clicking on the July 17 show.

I was very happy to once again cover the ground demonstrating that the current push to redefine marriage is only the latest in a continuum of assaults on marriage. We also talked about what we can do to stem the tide of marital perversions. The most important thing we can do is to joyfully and faithfully live our married lives. We need to project an infectious glee so that those around us say, "I want whatever they have." And what we have are marriages based on God's natural law.

"Preach the Gospel always. Use words if necessary." This quote is attributed to St. Francis of Assisi.  The challenge is to discern when words are necessary. Friends and relatives are cohabitating. These couples often fully intend to get married and sees no problem with jumping the gun and moving in together now that they are engaged. They do not recognize how they are making a mockery of marriage by living as if they are married without the benefit of the sacrament. I often keep silent. I do pray for them a lot. I pray that the priests who are doing their marriage preparations have the courage to address the moral peril of their choices. I pray that the parents can look past the pretty white dress and the grand celebration to the real meaning of the matrimony and counsel them accordingly. And I pray that they see the damage they do to their marriage by cohabitating first. Those who cohabitate before marriage significantly increase their risk of divorce. Marriage is about so much more than just loving each other. It is about loving each other in the service of God. Flouting His law is no way to serve Him. Why debase the beginning of your marriage with sin?

After all that I trust the Holy Spirit to enlighten them and pray that their hearts are open to receive wisdom.

Some may think that is a wimpy way to go. I can use my words with my own children. I can offer my words to readers. But sometimes, my words are wholly inadequate and would only sound like scolding in a setting where I have no standing to scold. Prayer is powerful. Imagine what would happen if we all joined our voices in earnest prayer for those couples who choose to cohabitate. In the words of Pope Leo XIII, written in his encyclical Arcanum:
We well know that none should be excluded from Our charity, We commend, venerable brothers, to your fidelity and piety those unhappy persons who, carried away by the heat of passion, and being utterly indifferent to their salvation, live wickedly together without the bond of lawful marriage. Let your utmost care be exercised in bringing such persons back to their duty; and, both by your own efforts and by those of good men who will consent to help you, strive by every means that they may see how wrongly they have acted; that they may do penance; and that they may be induced to enter into a lawful marriage according to the Catholic rite.


Thursday, July 11, 2013

30 days and counting

The church is reserved, the readings are chosen, the music is selected. Invitations have been sent, responses received. She has her dress. The caterer, reception venue, DJ, florist, cake baker, and photographer are all arranged. So what could be left to do? Oh my!

There are so many little details. The constant question from the male folks in our household is, "You do that for a wedding?" The program needs to be finalized and printed, favors need to be assembled, and crafty elements of centerpieces need to be finished.

Table seating needs to be arranged so that place cards need to be printed. This is an interesting exercise. The guests are coming from all different phases of life. Some overlap, but many don't. Some are friends from high school. Some are friends from college. Some are work friends. Some are neighbors. Some are church friends. Some are family. Some are his. Some are hers. So do you mix them up? Sort them by relationships? Sort them by politics? Sort them by geography?

I cannot imagine planning the wedding without the internet. How did I do it thirty years ago? You can find anything on the internet. Any etiquette question has a ready answer. Who knew that there is a company out there who makes every kind of tassel imaginable. You know those little tassels you find on the ends of bookmarks? They make them. Those tassels and elastic cords that hold programs together? They make those too.

I am wondering exactly what we will talk about in 31 days. The sometimes frenetic pace of wedding preparations has moments of joy and moments of whimsy. And yes there are moments of frustration. But I love our expanding family so all the preparations to join these two in the sacrament of Holy Matrimony are happily embraced. Every task is accompanied by a prayer so they will begin their lives surrounded by the grace of God.




Wednesday, July 10, 2013

Defining reprehensible

My latest Zenit article is up here. I explore how some can condemn Kermit Gosnell yet endorse infant euthanasia.

Open and shut

From this morning's Magnificat:

O Lord, you have told us to knock and the door would be opened to us. You yourself are the doorway into everlasting joy. Open your way before us a we set out on this day's journey and guide us to our journey's end, that, when evening comes, we may enter the courts of your presence rejoicing.
 Sometimes Mt 7:7 makes people think of God as the great Santa Claus. If you just keep knocking on the door he will give you everything your little heart desires. The truth is that God loves us too much to open doors that are not in our best interest. I once saw a photo of a closed door with the caption,"When God closes a door, it is time to stop banging your head against it and figure out what He really wants you to be doing."

One of life's great challenges is trying to figure out which doors are open and which doors are closed. Sometimes God does close a door. If that is the case then there is no purpose in continuing to try to jimmy the lock or break down the door. If we stop insisting on our own will and consider, for a moment, the will of God, we will see that there is a perfectly good door that is open and will lead us to much greater happiness than whatever is behind that closed door.

On the other hand, sometimes the door is open and waiting for us. God is calling. Yet we do not go through because we are constrained by fear, doubt, or sin. That open door will require sacrifice. It is not an easy path. Are we willing to trust God enough to say that whatever the cost, walking through His open door will be worth it?

Also from this morning's Magnificat:
The gate to the Lord's sheepfold is narrow and cut in the shape of a cross. Yet, Christ leads the flock safely through to the place of pasture he has prepared for us.
My prayer for today is that I recognize the doors that God has opened for me and follow Christ through them without fear or hesitation.

Tuesday, July 09, 2013

Irony: Washington Post reports on media bias

This article ran in this morning's print edition of the Washington Post under the headline: Al-Jazeera: Covering news or shaping it? I find this comical since it would be just as relevant to write a similar article under the headline Washington Post: covering news or shaping it?

Now I do not know if Al-Jazeera is really biased and loyal to the Muslim Brotherhood and ousted Egyptian president Morsi. I am really irritated that Al-Jazeera took over the broadcast rights to La Liga soccer so I have to search through Wiziwig for an online streaming source for Barcelona matches. Other than that, Al-Jazeera has little impact on my life.

What I do know is that the Washington Post, the New York Times, USA Today, and most other major news sources in the United States serve as nothing more than mouth pieces for the liberal ideology. Only after the presidential election do we get any coverage of the Benghazi scandal. They had to be shamed into covering the Kermit Gosnell trial. Sandra Fluke gets twenty folks to listen to her and it is front page news. A hundred people camp out in a Washington park and claim they are occupying it for some ill-defined cause and it stays in the news for weeks. Half a million folks march on Washington to stand up for life and there is near silence from WaPo. Not a word about the six thousand Catholics that gathered on July 4th to pray and make a stand for religious liberty. Not a word of protest that the HHS mandate was based on a kangaroo-court-like session of the Institute of Medicine. The Washington Post has even eliminated its ombudsman position that served as an avenue to protest inaccurate or unbalanced coverage of issues.

Granted, this morning's article was published in the Style section, so it is not presented as breaking news. Still, an expository piece by the Washington Post on the bias of Al-Jazeera  is like the National Enquirer dismissing Star Magazine as nothing but a tawdry tabloid.

Pot, meet Kettle.




Monday, July 08, 2013

Another battle in the same war against marriage

Some may look at the current defense of marriage against its redefinition to include same-sex couples as a unique struggle. Actually, it is only the latest in a long line of assaults against marriage. We can actually see a related attack in the Gospel when Jesus says:

He said to them, “Because of your hardness of heart Moses allowed you to divorce your wives, but from the beginning it was not so." (Mt 19:8)
In my latest article at the HLI Truth & Charity forum I look at relatively recent attempts to conform marriage to man's will instead of God's will. You might be surprised to see that the Holy Father was writing in defense of marriage in 1880. Please wander on over to the Truth & Charity forum and read the whole thing.

We need to defend marriage against all assaults, not just the most recent one.