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Showing posts from December, 2014

Old Dog--New Tricks

I am trying to figure out how I missed out learning about the the food mill. I just bought one and it is wonderful! I've been making lots of fresh applesauce with the wonderful apples I've been getting from local farmers. With this handy gadget it is super easy. I just quarter the apples and fill up my stock pot until it is about half full. No peeling, coring or seeding is required. I add a cup of water, cover and simmer on the stove until the apples are very soft--mushy soft. Give the apples a stir every now and then to make sure the bottom apples are not sticking to the pot.  I position my food mill over another stock pot and ladle the soft apples in. I just start cranking the handle and beautiful applesauce comes out the bottom. Peels, stems, and seeds stay up top. You turn clockwise to get the applesauce but remember to give a frequent counter-clockwise turn to reposition the apples. You can process the applesauce for canning if you like, but I just ladled it into freezer…

Evangelize Like A Star

My latest article for Catholic Stand is up.  Head on over and read the whole thing.  Here is a snippet:

While the gifts of the Magi offer worthy and valuable meditations, I would like to concentrate instead on the star.The Wise Men were drawn to Christ by the light of a single Christmas Star. The star made no sound. There were no blaring trumpets or chorus of angels. There was only light. In that sense, the star’s role in the Christmas narrative seems passive and almost unintentional. Yet it was enough to inspire three kings to leave the comfort of their homes, traverse an unknown path, and bow down in homage to a child.

Lessons Learned

As I mentioned in the previous post, we have now reached the empty nest phase of our lives. Children still come through our doors but they are visitors, not residents. Overall, I feel very blessed by my children. I know I did the best job as a mom I could do at each stage of their lives. Of course, that does not stop me from musing about "what if's". There are definitely some things I would have done differently if I had the wisdom at age 25 that I now have some three decades later.

The Advent and Christmas seasons bring this to the forefront. I did always mark the season of Advent with a nativity scene and an Advent wreath. But I was probably ten years in to this parenting adventure before I really appreciated the value of the liturgical calendar. The rhythm of the liturgical seasons with their special feasts and traditions keep a family focused on God's time, not the world's time.

So just looking at Advent and Christmas there are some things I wish I had done …

An Empty Nest Advent

This has been a very different sort of Advent. For the first time since 1986, I have no children in the house as we wind our way towards Christmas. The good news is that the house will be once again filled on Christmas Day. But that does not change the eerie quiet of the last few weeks. There was no discussion of who lights the Advent wreath or where the penguin ornaments should be hung or whose turn is it to mark the Advent calendar. Even one grown child living at home gives me more incentives to mark and observe the season well. My husband went out with no kids to help him and bought the tree. He put the lights on and I put the ornaments on. Just two old adults getting ready for Christmas.

This is not necessarily a bad thing. This is just a different thing. After decades of Advents with traditions geared towards keeping children focused on the true meaning of Christmas it is interesting to continue the motions and realize that I am doing this for my husband and myself now. The musi…

Gratitude for Imperfections and a lost potato masher.

As a military wife for 30 years I dealt with the unpredictable life of short-notice relocations, deployments, and household emergencies. It just seemed to be the rule that major appliances break when my husband is away. Blizzards, earthquakes, tornadoes, and hurricanes are all more likely when I am on my own.

Perhaps because there was so much disorder that was out of my control, I was very protective of the order I could control. This was and is still especially true of my kitchen. (When my husband retired he was given strict orders to keep his engineering optimization tendencies away from my kitchen!) Family members only visited one or two times per year because we lived so far away. They would often try to help me in my kitchen. I found it very stressful. They did not know my system and it seemed a futile exercise to try and teach them the system when they were going to leave soon and probably not visit again until we were in a new house with a new system. Once they were gone, I fe…

A "Gruber" Moment?

Upfront admission. I dared to disagree with Simcha Fisher on her Facebook page a few months ago and was thoroughly castigated by her friends and  fans. I swore I would never try to have a reasonable discussion in a Facebook combox again. I was called uneducated, a wannabe writer, and a troll who was just trying to get clicks for her own blog.  Which is why I am writing here. Her most recent article for the National Catholic Register, Broken Windows and Depersonalization is actually very good. So it is really frustrating to see the following exchange between her husband and Register columnist Mark Shea in her Facebook comments about this article: 
Damien FisherThe Register commenters are living up to expectations. The real culprit in Garner's death seems to be the welfare state. Also, fatherless homes require a police state, so what are you gonna do? Plus, the protesters are making people late for work, which is really inconsiderate. 17 hrs · Edited · Like · 6

Where have I been?!

I have been at my keyboard but the words have been showing up in places other than here. I thought I would catch you up.

My most recent article is up at Catholic Stand today. I've covered the topic on this blog before, but it is always good to remember that we are all prodigal sons and daughters so when lost sheep return home for Christmas we should welcome them with love and mercy.

I still have a monthly column at Zenit.org. My November column looked at the many ways our culture diminishes femininity and demeans women.

In October my Zenit column argued against the perception that physical and intellectual challenges make life disposable. Read Down syndrome Does Not Make Life Disposable.

In September I looked at the next issue to be advocated by the architects of Obamacare: age based rationing of health care. See When Utilitarianism Designs a Healthcare System.

I have tons of ideas for blog posts swimming around in my head. I hope to get more of them on paper.

Advent blessings to …