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Showing posts from February, 2014

Small successes February 27

Little bits of this and that.

1.  I slowed down enough to notice signs of spring. In spite of the cold and persistent snow, little green shoots from daffodil bulbs are starting to peek through the ground. My pot of chives is also starting to show a little green. The wisteria bush has early buds. Spring will get here.

2. Discovered what upset my dog's tummy. I think she discovered a squirrel's stash of nuts. I have trouble every fall because she loves to eat acorns and she never seems to learn that they make her sick. I found her digging and protecting a collection of cracked nuts.

3. Pat myself on the back. Laundry is done, folded, and put away. In addition, I finally remembered to sew the button back on a pair of my husband's pants. It is a little task that can be done quickly, but I kept meaning to do it, forgetting about it, meaning to do it again, then leaving it undone. Pants are now repaired and back in the wear rotation.

4. On impulse, took a couple of homemade pre…


Sourdough baking is not a profound metaphor for anything. It is just something that I have recently discovered and am thoroughly enjoying. Since my last post generated a couple of questions about it, I thought I would offer some info.

First of all, I am a big time fan of King Arthur Flour. Even before I started sourdough baking, I only used King Arthur Flour. They are not paying me to say this. I just find everything I make is better when I use King Arthur Flour. I will tell you to shop around. I have seen huge swings in the price depending on what store I go to. Target seems to consistently have the best price. Note that you have to order a lot of the King Arthur extras from the web site since I have not been able to find them in the grocery stores.

The King Arthur Flour website also has the most amazing collection of recipes. If it is baked it is there. They also have a baker chat service to answer your baking questions on the spot. The blog and newsletter keep you up to date on all…

Small Successes February 20

Sometimes it is the little things we do that are the most important steps towards success

1. I received an order of seed packets today. Instead of just setting them aside and figuring I would get around to planting them sometime (and then remembering them sometime around May), I pulled out my seed starter kit and got them planted today. If all goes well, in 6-8 weeks I will have a good supply of tomato and pepper seedlings.

2. Used my sourdough starter to make whole grain sourdough bread. Conquering my fear of failure when I make yeast breads. It was very tasty!

3. Took a few minutes to be thankful for sunshine. It is a rare commodity these days so when it appears, it is good to pause and revel in it.

Go here to read about more small successes!

Boycott (fill in the blank)

We live in a fallen world and it seems nearly everything we touch is tainted by the sins of abortion, lust, human trafficking, failure to respect human dignity, a disordered understanding of marriage, etc. In the last few months I have seen calls to boycott Starbucks, Girl Scout cookies, Chevrolet, Coke, General Mills, and countless others. What is a Catholic to do?

My latest article at the HLI Truth & Charity Forum explores this question. I offer three points to consider when making a decision about product choices. First, will your purchase lead others to sin? This is what is meant by scandal. Secondly, will your boycott change the affected company's association with sin or prevent others from making that same association? Finally, is there a catechetical or evangelical impact from your boycott? Is it a teaching tool?

Let me know what you think!

Can't we agree that women and men deserve better than this?

This interview published in the Criterion, the newspaper of the Archdiocese of Indianapolis, is both heartwarming and heart breaking. It is inspiring to read about Marianne Anderson and her conversion to a pro-life viewpoint after working for over two years at the large Planned Parenthood facility in Indianapolis. Yet I feel grief when I read about the atrocities of the abortion industry.
The last statement in this interview should give us pause.

“The journey to abortion happens long before the girls show up at Planned Parenthood. These young girls who are 13, 14 years old—they’re looking for love and acceptance. By the time they get to Planned Parenthood, they’ve already been through some awful stuff.
“Where do you start educating these girls? High school? Junior high? It’s getting younger and younger.
“There’s something wrong with the family that this is happening, these single parent families, these dads in prison. The journey to prevent this starts way before they get to the door of …

Blog Commenting Policy

Some of you may have noticed that I have comment moderation on my blog. The reason for this is trolls. I love good reasoned discussion and have no problems with civil disagreement. On the other hand, I have no time for those who add nothing to the discussion and come to just sling mud.

Slate now offers an article that explains why people troll:
The research, conducted by Erin Buckels of the University of Manitoba and two colleagues, sought to directly investigate whether people who engage in trolling are characterized by personality traits that fall in the so-called Dark Tetrad: Machiavellianism (willingness to manipulate and deceive others), narcissism (egotism and self-obsession), psychopathy (the lack of remorse and empathy), and sadism (pleasure in the suffering of others).It is hard to underplay the results: The study found correlations, sometimes quite significant, between these traits and trolling behavior. What’s more, it also found a relationship between all Dark Tetrad traits…

Catholic Parishes and the Boy Scouts

Now that the Boy Scouts of America have insisted that openly gay youth are allowed as members of the Boy Scouts, Catholic parishes need to rethink their relationship with the BSA. This is a more immediate problem for parishes that charter Scouts than for boys who are members of the troops. When a boy openly declares his homosexuality he is declaring his support for a lifestyle that is intrinsically disordered. Otherwise, why would he feel the need announce his sexual preferences to the world? This is problematic for a Catholic parish since this is in direct opposition to Church teaching. The Boy Scouts of America leave no room for the chartering organization to object to this normalization of homosexuality. In fact, by forcing chartering organizations to accept avowed homosexuals as members, the BSA is accepting homosexual behavior as a normal and healthy. This becomes all the more apparent if you read the reports on the first openly gay Scout to achieve the rank of Eagle.  I have wri…

Praise, pride and envy

This is one of my favorite Family Circus cartoons and has been recirculating on Facebook lately. I think it is appropriate to consider the implications of this caption in light of the interesting discussions spawned by this post and the WaPo article that inspired it.

I seem to be in the minority of WaPo readers who believe that it is okay to have a pizza party with music to reward the students who made straight A's. Most of those opposed to this reward view the party as exclusionary to those who didn't make straight A's and therefore should be avoided. My argument is any reward is exclusionary. That is the point. We honor those who stand out on any given set of criteria. We exclude from honors those who don't. If an award is not exclusionary, it becomes meaningless.

If one reads the comments on the WaPo site, a great many comments begin with the phrase, "My child will never win this award because....." and you can fill in the blank with an assorted menu of p…

Cut the cable!

My hubby is amazing. He just finished installing this antenna and we are getting great reception and an incredible number of channels. Who knew so many channels are actually broadcast over the airwaves and not just cable? We get NBC, CBS, ABC, FOX, USA, ION, PBS, and a whole host of specialty channels. When he first talked about getting an antenna I was picturing the old aerial contraption from my childhood. Instead, this a flat pad that looks like a wired mouse pad.

A few months ago we got rid of cable TV and were streaming content to the television via the ROKU  or Chromecast. I already subscribed to Amazon Prime so we were getting plenty of streaming video content from that. I did splurge and subscribe to the ROKU channel Just Sports for $10 per month in order to get Spanish and Italian soccer which were no longer available on our cable stations anyway.  While we were getting rid of things we also got rid of land lines. We still get cable internet. All in all, we are saving $120 pe…

Lessons when you win and when you don't

I wrote a response to this article in the Washington Post. The article is a about a middle school in Silver Spring, Maryland that is having a dance and pizza party for students who made straight A's. There are those who feel this humiliates the students who did not make straight A's. They are concerned it is divisive and can lead to increased bullying. I think it is damaging to avoid honoring high achievers because we are afraid we will hurt the feeling of those who don't reach that level of achievement. My response to this article was:

Those wringing their hands over rewarding straight-A students at Eastern Middle School with a dance and pizza need to ask themselves if they really want the equal-in-the-extreme world of the Kurt Vonnegut Jr. story “Harrison Bergeron.” Should the school district seek to keep athletes from wearing letter jackets or other team clothing? After all, doesn’t this just rub salt in the wounds of all those who didn’t make the team? Would it require…

No life is better than adversity in life?

This evening my husband and I found ourselves alone for dinner so we decided to treat ourselves to a bite to eat at the local Lebanese cafe. It is a small place so it is easy to hear snatches of conversations at nearby tables without even trying.

A couple about our age was seated close by. They were talking politics and not at all concerned that someone might hear them or disagree with their views. Let's just say I am pretty sure our votes cancel out theirs. The woman eventually declared, "I just can't see how anyone cannot be pro-choice. In my years of teaching I have seen so many children in bad family situations and it would have been much better if they had never been born." As she described one of these situations to her dinner partner, it became clear that this woman teaches high school at the school from which my children graduated. The child she thought should never have seen the light of day was a sixteen year old boy who felt unwanted by his mother and her …