July 2005 Archives

help her out, take the poll


The power of the human mind


The Examining Room of Dr. Charles: If Only for Seeds of Barley

I have yet to encouter this diagnosis quite that dramatically, but it isn't as uncommon as one might think. In a world where we assume that we have infinite control over our reproductive processes, it is humbling to be reminded that we don't have all the answers.

no, you can't go home again

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Earlier today, as I was driving around, I clicked on the radio to "A Prairie Home Companion". The music I heard took me back in time - the brass, the rhythms, the oompah and the accordians - I thought it was banda and eagerly awaited the back announce. But then they started singing and I realized that it wasn't Spanish, nor was in Portugese - no, it wasn't any language that I recognized. But the music itself was so achingly familiar that I almost wept with homesickness. Come to find out at the end of the music that it was the "Bride and Groom Polka" being sung and played by a traditional polka band out of Chicago!

Did I ever mention that I'm that rarity for my generation - a native Californian? Not only that, but my father was born in California and his father was and his mother's father was. And no, they weren't members of a Spanish Land grant family, though my grandmother's father's family once owned a large rancho in San Diego. It's been over 8 years now since we left California. Our last 13 years there, we owned and lived in a 1954 tract home in a cul-de-sac in the barrios of the San Fernando Valley. We shared a zip code with Pacoima, the stomping grounds of musician Richie Valens (birth name - Ricardo Valenzuela) - most famous for his phonetic rendition of a song his abuela taught him - La Bamba.

Living in los barrios was a little scary for us at first, and we never intended to stay there for so long. But houses for large families on a tight budget are always hard to come by, and so we stayed. The crime rate was really no higher than in other parts of the San Fernando Valley, meaning that you couldn't leave a bicycle unattended for more than 5 seconds or it would disappear. While we were moving in, my vacuum cleaner and a box labelled 'silverware' (actually very cheap stainless flatware) were stolen out of our living room. But once we got to know our neighbors, they looked out for us and we rarely locked the doors to the house. The garage, on the other hand......

Every weekend night, one or another family would have some kind of event. Even if it were only a small backyard cookout, there was always music. We grew accustomed to falling asleep to the sounds of banda, norteno, mariachi, and other less common styles of latin american music. Our closest parish (where we started out in but eventually left) had only 2 English Masses per week, but 7 Spanish weekend Masses and daily Mass was bilingual. Outside the local elementary school where one child went for 6th grade, you could find peddlers hawking hot tamales and champurrado from shopping carts before and after school. The billboards were mostly in Spanish, and the local chain supermarket carried fresh nixtamal, fresh masa, tripas, chicharonnes, and other mexican and latin american food items.

I visited the old neighborhood last year. The new owners of the house had put up cast iron fencing around the front yard and driveway. The roses that I planted in front, however, were still there and were thriving. The cul-de-sac looked a little dingier. A few miles away, in what had once been a large and mostly unused parking lot, entepreneurs had built up little concrete garage type buildings, and various small merchants sold a wild variety of items under awnings in front of the buildings. It reminded me of the mercado in Tecate or a similar small Mexican city.

It's hard to explain why places grab and hold on to me - especially when I have lived in so many of them in my life. I don't understand the process of how those memories are triggered, either. Very often it is from a snippet of music. "Hurt" by 9 Inch Nails will put me right back in Oklahoma, driving on the road between Tulsa and Tahlequah. Some kinds of bluegrassy country/folk music puts me back in Oregon, on the road between Eugene and Florence. I can close my eyes and listen to the music and see the road in my mind's eye. I have so many memories, visual and auditory, of the places I have lived. Even the ones I disliked, I can still remember so much and even the worst of them I have fondness for.

I don't fluster easily, but two standard questions will often throw me for a loop while I try to think out a reasonable yet honest answer, avoiding TMI. The first, "Where are you from?" The second, "How do you like New Hampshire?". I've been here now for nearly 5 years, but I still don't feel truthful if I say "I'm from Concord NH". And as for how I like New Hampshire, well that depends on the day and my mood! It isn't where I ever imagined I'd end up. Like any other place, it has its ups and downs. Yet I am very sure that if we ever leave here, I will end up missing it just as I miss almost every other place where I have lived.

I am getting tired of being homesick at random moments, but I guess that God is not-so-gently reminding me that my true home is not on this earth, that these days and these places are a gift from him but are temporal and not eternal.


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The above word was famous in my childhood as being the longest word in the dictionary. I have no clue if it still has that honor, but I thought it would be a good title for what I really want to talk about right now, which is one of the clauses of the First Amendment to the Constitution of the United States of America.
Article [I.]
Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances.
I would think that, given the positioning of this as the very first item in the Bill of Rights, the Founding Fathers were pretty interested in preserving the rights enumerated above. It is pretty amazing how few citizens of the USA actually know the exact language of this article, or even what the phrase means in a literal sense. I do hope that when our newest justice is confirmed, that he will continue to strictly interpret this clause.

Hopefully, we won't get to the point in the USA where governments think that they have the right and the responsibility to regulate religion. (wow, what a tongue-twister of a statement - sorry about the alliteration). I was recently sent information about some commentary on the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation that supposedly suggested that government regulation of religion would be a good thing. While I recognize that the print version of the story has been written and promulgated by a special interest group, it still seems to be pretty damning to me that the CBC found it of value to publicize this kind of comment:

"I envisage a congress meeting to hammer out a code that would form the basis of legislation to regulate the practice of religion. Like the professional engineers' P.Eng designation, there would then be RRPs (or registered religious practitioners). To carry the analogy to its conclusion, no one could be a religious practitioner without this qualification."
"I won't try to propose what might be in the new code except for a few obvious things: A key item would have to be a ban on claims of exclusivity. It should be unethical for any RRP to claim that theirs was the one true religion and believers in anything else or nothing were doomed to fire and brimstone. One might also expect prohibition of ritual circumcisions, bans on preaching hate or violence, the regulation of faith healers, protocols for missionary work, etc."

Sounds like he is after not only Catholics, but also Jews and Evangelical Christians here, and maybe even the Christian Scientists, Jehovah's Witnesses, Mormons, and Scientologists! Sounds real close to a call for the establishment of a state religion. It also reminds me of the situation in the "People's Republic" of China, where the Catholic church is underground and only the Patriotic Catholic Church is recognized.
I haven't listened yet to the audio of the full commentary so I have no idea of the context in which this was stated. I don't know if there was any rebuttal provided, either. I am not at this time condemning the CBC for airing this, but I do find the fact that at least one person has this idea to be quite alarming.
Question for my Canadian readers - do any of the Provinces (or does the country as a whole) have an Established religion? If so, does this have any effect upon public discourse?

Lee Anne update


In resonse to this from Erin
Fathers and mothers have different roles, absolutely. I think that one of the earliest steps to the confusion of these roles was that mothers voluntarily gave up their God-given gift of breastfeeding. Anyone (male, female, adult child, relative or total stranger) can give a baby a bottle. Bottle feeding was the earliest stage of the scientification of motherhood. Mothers no longed learned their craft from other mothers, and eventually came to rely upon 'scientific' methods for everything from infant feeding to toilet training and a whole lot more. The care of the infant and the child was there upon turned over to others besides the mother, leaving her to be simply a servant to the chores of the household. Her unique role was lost.

Don't get me wrong - I do recognize that for some rare circumstances, artificial infant feeding is a necessity and that the research into preparing adequate substitute foods has saved many lives. But in general, the first step to turning child care away from the mother starts with the baby bottle. The popes, throughout history, have always encouraged Catholic mothers to nurse their infants themselves if it were at all possible. (Father William Virtue did his dissertation on Catholic motherhood, it is a fascinating read and I wonder how much more he would have put in there if the TOTB had been more fully developed).

Fathers start taking on mothering when they feed the baby with a bottle. This has been going on for at least 80 years of which I am aware (I have both fiction and non-fiction from the 1920s where this is commonplace). Fathers started to encroach on motherhood by taking on first the 'fun' stuff - and eventually mothers reasoned that if they can do the fun stuff they should also do the drudgery stuff.

Fathers can nurture babies and children in some pretty unique ways that mothers can't. My dh was an excellent burp the baby guy, and he walked fussy babies so that I could get in a shower or a few bites to eat. My husband took all our children to work with him at various times - he has taught all of them how to handle one set of tools while I taught them to handle others. Both the boys and the girls have been taught to cook and to care for themselves and their environment. I don't think that it's unreasonable to expect that both men and women should be able to care for themselves in case of need.

Most jobs have a fair degree of drudgery involved. My days at work I spend much of my time doing the same basic physical exam on one woman after another. It would be pretty boring if I couldn't engage them in conversation and do some health teaching. Sweeping and mopping the kitchen floor, chasing a toddler out of the cupboards for the nth time, doing 7 loads of laundry, those are pretty exhausting and boring.
The big differences between paid employment outside the home and being a stay at home mom are pretty big. Two that come to mind are:
1) the concept of PAID! Our culture doesn't value the unpaid work done by anyone, be it the volunteers at church or the work of moms.
2) the opportunity to interact with adults. as a kid, I would see moms talking to each other over the back fence as they were hanging laundry - 3 dozen diapers a day and so on. the interaction was built in to the way things were done, but now we don't hang laundry and most households have no one at home daytimes

go read - now


poetry from one who posts way too rarely these days.
a sunday thought

July 25, 1968

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Humanae Vitae was promulgated. The opening sentence:

The most serious duty of transmitting human life, for which married persons are the free and responsible collaborators of God the Creator, has always been a source of great joys to them, even if sometimes accompanied by not a few difficulties and by distress.

remains true, if not always acknowledged.

I challenge those who disagree with the Church on this matter to read the encyclical, and to also read Casti Conubii
Again, from the opening paragraphs:

In order, however, that amongst men of every nation and every age the desired fruits may be obtained from this renewal of matrimony, it is necessary, first of all, that men's minds be illuminated with the true doctrine of Christ regarding it; and secondly, that Christian spouses, the weakness of their wills strengthened by the internal grace of God, shape all their ways of thinking and of acting in conformity with that pure law of Christ so as to obtain true peace and happiness for themselves and for their families.

To me, one of the more interesting parts of Humanae Vitae is where Pope Paul VI acknowledges the input of the commission he appointed to research the topic of contraception and marriage, and how he states clearly the reasons why he found it theologically important to counter the majority opinion. He established once again that the church is not a democracy. Truth is not esatblished by a vote.

Part of the controversy around HV can be traced to the fact that in those days, it could take months for an encyclical to be translated and distributed to the public, while in the meantime unofficial and semi-official sources could be freely distributed.

(the next few paragraphs are taken from a personal communication from Richard Fehring who is an NFP researcher and professor of nursing at Marquette University)

The “Majority Report” of the papal Birth Control Commission was leaked to the National Catholic Reporter- (NCR) – and the report was published by that paper on April 19, 1967. According to Robert McClory (professor of journalism at Northwester University and author of “Turning Point” the inside story of the birth control commission) a priest from the Dutch Documentation Center in Rome, Leo von Geusau, obtained copies of the Majority Report. At first he planned to release them to the French daily Le Monde, but was persuaded by Gary MacEoin, an American freelance writer in Europe that it would get better coverage in the NCR. He probably was right since soon after it was front page news in the New York Times. And according to McClory the Ford Minority report and the Majority rebuttal (in working form) was also leaked.
According to Professor Bernardo Colombo (Sociologist – and appointed to the Papal Commission in 1964 – i.e., in the second group) the members of the commission took an oath that the information and reports of the commission were to be kept secret and the information was to be given to Pope Paul VI only. Obviously somebody felt that leaking the information to Fr. Leo von Geusau – and the press was more important than his or her oath – and meant to push an agenda and not the role of the commission. Professor Colombo continues to do NFP research and writing. His brother Most Rev. Carlo Colombo was a papal theologian and also a member of the Commission – appointed in 1966 – along with somebody by the name of Most Rev. Karol Wojtyla.


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In 1955 (the year you were born)
Dwight Eisenhower is president of the US

Hurricane "Diane" claims 184 lives form North Carolina to New England

Rosa Parks refuses to give up her bus seat, which leads to bus segregation being declared unconstitutional

The AFL merges with the CIO, creating the nation's largest labor union

Dr. Jonas Salk discovers a vaccine for polio

The Scrabble board game debuts

Disneyland opens in Anaheim, California

Kevin Costner, John Grisham, Arsenio Hall, Steve Jobs, and Billy Bob Thornton are born

Charlie Parker, Albert Einstein, and James Dean die

Brooklyn Dodgers win the World Series

Cleveland Browns win the NFL champion ship

Detroit Red Wings win the Stanley Cup

Lolita by Vladimir Nabokov is published
well, I love Scrabble, I love Disneyland. Neonatal influence, anyone?
What Happened the Year You Were Born?
More cool things for your blog at Blogthings

another prayer request

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Hi, Alicia. It's me, Sandy, reader of your blog. My other emails to you have been lighter, happier ones. I would like you to please ask all those wonderful citizens of St. Blog to please pray for my mother-in-law. She was visiting us here in England and landed in the hospital. She has pancreatic cancer that has spread to her liver and lungs. We're all just devastated. She is going to have a stent placed in her bile duct so that it will drain. Hopefully, that will bring back her appetite and relieve the jaundice.

I could go on and on about what a wonderful lady she is. I love her like my own mom and she loves me like a natural daughter.

She is still trying to wrap her brain around this, as she had been thinking she was perfectly healthy, if a bit run-down and stressed from her job and caring for her parents. Her father only passed away in June.

I'm asking God for a miracle. That is all that can help at this point. She has spent the last 10 years working hard so that she could retire and see her grandchildren raised. I trust that she'll enjoy the view from Heaven.

Please ask all of your readers to pray for Clare (and the rest of us, too). She has always had a special place in her heart for St. Bernadette.

Thank you,
Novena To
Glorious wonder-worker, St. Peregrine, you answered the divine call with a ready spirit, and forsook all the comforts of a life of ease and all the empty honors of the world to dedicate yourself to God in the Order of His holy Mother. You labored manfully for the salvation of souls. In union with Jesus crucified, you endured painful sufferings with such patience as to deserve to be healed miraculously of an incurable cancer in your leg by a touch of His divine hand. Obtain for me the grace to answer every call of God and to fulfill His will in all the events of life. Enkindle in my heart a consuming zeal for the salvation of all men. Deliver me from the infirmities that afflict my body (especially.....). Obtain for me also a perfect resignation to the sufferings it may please God to send me, so that, imitating our crucified Savior and His sorrowful Mother, I may merit eternal glory in heaven.

St. Peregrine, pray for me and for all who invoke your aid.

Prayer to Saint Peregrine

O great St. Peregrine, you have been called "The Mighty," "The Wonder-Worker," because of the numerous miracles which you have obtained from God for those who have had recourse to you. For so many years you bore in your own flesh this cancerous disease that destroys the very fibre of our being, and who had recourse to

The source of all grace when the power of man could do no more. You were favoured with the vision of Jesus coming down from His Cross to heal your affliction. Ask of God and Our Lady, the cure of the sick whom we entrust to you.

(Pause here and silently recall the names of the sick for whom you are praying)

Aided in this way by your powerful intercession, we shall sing to God, now and for all eternity, a song of gratitude for His great goodness and mercy. Amen
St. Peregrine was born in 1260 at Forlì, Italy to an affluent family.He lived a comfortable life as a youth, and politically opposed the papacy. After he experienced the forgiveness of St.Philip Benizi, he changed his life and joined the Servite order. He was ordained a priest, and later returned to his home to establish a Servite community. There he was widely known for his preaching, penances, and counsel in the confessional. He was cured of cancer, after he received a vision of Christ on the cross reaching out His hand to touch his impaired limb. He died in 1345 and was canonized in 1726. He is the patron of cancer patients.

does a ft sahm need a college education?


read wonderful commentary here

And while you're on her blog, also scroll down and check out her recommended reading list for pregnancy.

from Catholic News Service

FARGO, N.D. (CNS) -- Bishop Samuel J. Aquila of Fargo has announced that engaged couples across the diocese will have to be instructed in the theology of the body and complete an approved course in natural family planning before they can marry in the Catholic Church.

He announced the new policy July 18. It takes effect Sept. 8.

meme of the day

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Erik's Rants and Recipes: Friday Five
Five Seasonal Questions

Imagine you are in one of these hot places, where the mercury hits 100+, as this is the underlying assumption behind all of the questions.

1. What is your favorite way to beat the heat?
total immersion in water
2. What is your favorite hot weather dish?
gazpacho with sangria on the side
3. What is your ideal hot weather music?
norteno or banda
4. What smells do you associate with hot weather?
mexican food, and the smell in the air just before the thunderstorm hits
5. OK. Enough is enough. If time and money were no object, where would you go to escape this infernal heat?
the mediterranean rivier or the pyrenees

Drudge with a rosary?


at least according to Amy Welborn
The Catholic Report
I've put it on the blogroll.

good news


On Catholic and Enjoying It! there is a new post after a several month hiatus - Mark is getting closer to finishing his book!

Pope St Gregory on Mary Magdalene


July 22, 2005
Memorial of Saint Mary Magdalene

Psalm: Friday 32

Reading I
Ex 20:1-17

In those days:
God delivered all these commandments:

"I, the LORD, am your God,
who brought you out of the land of Egypt, that place of slavery.
You shall not have other gods besides me.
You shall not carve idols for yourselves
in the shape of anything in the sky above
or on the earth below or in the waters beneath the earth;
you shall not bow down before them or worship them.
For I, the LORD, your God, am a jealous God,
inflicting punishment for their fathers' wickedness
on the children of those who hate me,
down to the third and fourth generation;
but bestowing mercy down to the thousandth generation
on the children of those who love me and keep my commandments.

"You shall not take the name of the LORD, your God, in vain.
For the LORD will not leave unpunished
him who takes his name in vain.

"Remember to keep holy the sabbath day.
Six days you may labor and do all your work,
but the seventh day is the sabbath of the LORD, your God.
No work may be done then either by you, or your son or daughter,
or your male or female slave, or your beast,
or by the alien who lives with you.
In six days the LORD made the heavens and the earth,
the sea and all that is in them;
but on the seventh day he rested.
That is why the LORD has blessed the sabbath day and made it holy.

"Honor your father and your mother,
that you may have a long life in the land
which the LORD, your God, is giving you.

"You shall not kill.

"You shall not commit adultery.

"You shall not steal.

"You shall not bear false witness against your neighbor.

"You shall not covet your neighbor's house.
You shall not covet your neighbor's wife,
nor his male or female slave, nor his ox or ass,
.nor anything else that belongs to him."

Responsorial Psalm
Ps 19:8, 9, 10, 11

R. (John 6:68c) Lord, you have the words of everlasting life.
The law of the LORD is perfect,
refreshing the soul;
The decree of the LORD is trustworthy,
giving wisdom to the simple.
R. Lord, you have the words of everlasting life.
The precepts of the LORD are right,
rejoicing the heart;
The command of the LORD is clear,
enlightening the eye.
R. Lord, you have the words of everlasting life.
The fear of the LORD is pure,
enduring forever;
The ordinances of the LORD are true,
all of them just.
R. Lord, you have the words of everlasting life.
They are more precious than gold,
than a heap of purest gold;
Sweeter also than syrup
or honey from the comb.
R. Lord, you have the words of everlasting life.

Jn 20:1-2, 11-18

On the first day of the week,
Mary Magdalene came to the tomb early in the morning,
while it was still dark,
and saw the stone removed from the tomb.
So she ran and went to Simon Peter
and to the other disciple whom Jesus loved, and told them,
"They have taken the Lord from the tomb,
and we don't know where they put him."

Mary stayed outside the tomb weeping.
And as she wept, she bent over into the tomb
and saw two angels in white sitting there,
one at the head and one at the feet
where the Body of Jesus had been.
And they said to her, "Woman, why are you weeping?"
She said to them, "They have taken my Lord,
and I don't know where they laid him."
When she had said this, she turned around and saw Jesus there,
but did not know it was Jesus.
Jesus said to her, "Woman, why are you weeping?
Whom are you looking for?"
She thought it was the gardener and said to him,
"Sir, if you carried him away,
tell me where you laid him,
and I will take him."
Jesus said to her, "Mary!"
She turned and said to him in Hebrew,
"Rabbouni," which means Teacher.
Jesus said to her,
"Stop holding on to me, for I have not yet ascended to the Father.
But go to my brothers and tell them,
'I am going to my Father and your Father,
to my God and your God.'"
Mary Magdalene went and announced to the disciples,
"I have seen the Lord,"
and then reported what he told her.

update on situation


and thank you St Gianna and all my readers who prayed about this

Thank you so much for your prayers for my sister-in-law. Her test results came back today and it looks like it is not leukemia after all, but that the abnormal blood readings were caused by her pregnancy. In the meantime the diagnostic ultrasounds shows that it is probably a girl. Your prayers and those of St. Gianna were certainly helpful in getting through the waiting and in such a good result!

In Christ,


(and, of course, it isn't in the missalette!)
Come, ye thankful people, come,
raise the song of harvest home;
all is safely gathered in,
ere the winter storms begin.
God our Maker doth provide
for our wants to be supplied;
come to God's own temple, come,
raise the song of harvest home.

All the world is God's own field,
fruit as praise to God we yield;
wheat and tares together sown
are to joy or sorrow grown.
First the blade and then the ear,
then the full corn shall appear;
Lord of harvest, grant that we
wholesome grain and pure may be.

For the Lord our God shall come,
and shall take the harvest home;
from the field shall in that day
all offenses purge away,
give his angels charge at last
in the fire the tares to cast;
but the fruitful ears to store
in the garner evermore.

Even so, Lord, quickly come,
to thy final harvest home;
gather thou thy people in,
free from sorrow, free from sin,
there, forever purified,
in thy presence to abide;
come, with all thine angels come,
raise the glorious harvest home.

another convert's blog

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Mere Catholic: News, analysis, and apologetics from a mere Catholic convert.

from her professional introduction:

Prior to becoming a mother in 2001, Misty's professional experience included seven years as a full-time writer and editor for trade and consumer publications. She has written about personal finance, civil engineering, medicine, government, and politics. She recently relocated to Roanoke from Northern Virginia with her husband, Tom, and their three children.

Just four years ago, Misty was a staunchly pro-choice, pro-homosexual rights atheist. Then a friend loaned her a book on natural family planning, written from the Catholic perspective. Several chapters of the book detailed the beauty, logic, and historical consistency of the Church's teachings on sexual ethics and marriage, factors which contributed significantly to Misty's conversion a year later. She was baptized and received into the church on the same day as her first child in November 2001.
She is also an NFP teacher through Northwest Family Services, the NFP
Coordinator for the Diocese of Richmond (VA)and speaks about, writes about,and teach NFP.



are some of my favorite people


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CNN broadcast a five-minute segment on NFP Friday evening.

Kudos go to Sara Butler and Bob Nardo, who did a phenomenal job advocating for our way of life.

You can download a video of the broadcast in QuickTime format at:
(17.7 MB file)
(6.9 MB file)

If you don't have QuickTime, you can get it for free.

Please note that you may need to wait a short while for the video clip to load before you can start viewing it.

It's that time of year

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I have a week of vacation time to use up - August 20 to 27 - and nowhere I can afford to go.I shouldn't complain. I've travelled more than I really have a right to - even if much of it has been in a car going from here to there.

scary noises

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there's a major thunder storm going through right now, and it sounds like I'm inside a cannon playing the 1812 overture. power keeps flickering, makes me glad that this laptop has a good battery and we have UPS on other stuff.
the rain is coming down like a cow peeing on a flat rock, and I hope that is doesn't wash out my garden. I actually have a few baby zuch s that I so want to grow up to eating size.
my husband is an hour's drive away on top of a building putting up a new radio site for the station. thank God for cell phones, I was able to reach him and tell him that the storm is headed his way so that they can safely get down and head back.
I know that this is nothing compared to what my friends in Florida have been going through, but you know? I much prefer major earthquakes to major weather.

blog issues


I was having some severe problems posting to the blog so it has been migrated to Movable Type 3.17. That solved the big problems, but I am still having some other issues. Every so often, for no discernable reason, the blog reverts to the July 8 edition. If I rebuild it all the newer posts will come back, but it is kind of frustrating none the less. If you happen to notice that it has reverted, please send me an email and I will rebuild it ASAP.
I have emailed the webmaster for advice and hope to have it figured out soon. Meanwhile, thanks for your patience!

St Gianna, pray for her!


a prayer request from a reader (Carrie):
I know you often post prayer requests from readers, and wanted to ask your prayers for my sister-in-law, Rose. She is pregnant, due in early January, and as part of her blood-work the OB found possible symptoms of leukemia. She is having a bone-marrow biopsy this Wednesday, July 13 for diagnosis. They already have a 2-year-old daughter, and the prospect both of Rose's prognosis and the effect of the treatment on her unborn baby is very frightening for the family. Please pray for a good diagnosis and for grace for the family to wait patiently and to deal with the outcome. Thank you!
Here is a novena prayer to St. Gianna
GOD, our Father, you have granted to your church the gift of Gianna Beretta. In her youth she lovingly sought You and drew other young people to you, involving them, through apostolic and catholic action, in the care of the sick and the aged, to help and comfort them.

We thank you for the gift of this young woman, so deeply committted to you. Through her example grant us the grace to consecrate our life to your service, for the joy of our brothers and sisters.

Glory Be .....

JESUS, Redeemer of mankind, you called Gianna Beretta to exercise the medical profession as a mission for the comfort of bodies and souls. In her suffering fellowmen and in the little ones, deprived for all support, she saw you. We thank you for having revealed yourself to this your servant as "one who serves" and who soothes the sufferings of men. Treasuring her example may we become generous Christian at the service of our brothers and sister, especially of those with whom you deign to share your cross.

Glory Be....

God, SANCTIFYING SPIRIT, who love the Church as your Bride, you poured into the heart of Gianna Beretta a share of your love so that she could radiate it in her family, and thus cooperate with you in the wonderful plan of creation, and give life to new children who could know and love you.

We thank you for this model wife and, through her encouraging witness, we beg you to grant to our families the serene and Christian presence of motherd committed to transform into cenacles of faith and love, rich with generous activity and sanctifying service.

Glory Be....

O GOD, creator and lover of mankind, you were close to Gianna Beretta when, affected by illness, she was in the painful dilemma to choose between her own life and the life of the child whom she was carrying in herself, a gift long-awaited.

Trusting you alone, and aware of your commandment to respect human life, Gianna found the courage to do her duty as a mother and to say "Yes" to the new life of her baby, generously sacrificing her own. Through the intercession of Mary, Mother of Jesus, and after the example of Gianna, inspire all mother to welcome with love the sparkle of a new life. Help us all to have a great respect for human life.

Grant us the grace we want … and the joy to find and inspiration in you Servant Gianna who, as a model spouse and mother, after the example of Christ , gave up her life for the life of others.

Hail Mary…

Catholic Carnival


A Bunch of Fives Meme

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Jordan nailed me on this one.
What I was doing ten years ago:
I was halfway through my CNM program at the University of Southern California. My eldest child was also at USC (we graduated the same day). We were down to only 4 of 6 kids living at home.
5 years ago:
We were getting ready to interview for possible work in New Hampshire after having realized that Oregon was not going to work for us as a family. I was also in the last stages of preparing several talks for a midwifery conference cruise.
1 year ago:
Living in New Hampshire, catching babies, teaching residents, and wondering about the empty nest that is approaching way too fast.
Hanging out on call, answering the phone from wanna be in labor ladies.
5 snacks I enjoy:
macadamia nuts with dried pineapple
salt and vinegar potato chips
5 songs I know all the words to:
actually, I don't know all the words to very many songs - but I know most of them to most of the ones I sing.....
5 Things I would do with $100 million:
pay off all our debts
Give lots of it away
move back to the west coast
send all my kids to school
5 locations I would like to run away to:
the pacific northwest
the southwest (esp. Flagstaff AZ)
the mediterranean
East Anglia (part of england)
5 bad habits I have:
playing scrabble instead of doing what I am supposed to
whining instead of acting
5 things I like doing:
playing scrabble
crossword puzzles
hanging our with my husband
cooking and eating
5 things I would never wear:
stiletto heels
anything from hat to shoes that is too tight or hurts
fishnet stockings
see through anything
strapless dress without a coverup
5 TV shows I like:
Journey Home (EWTN)
GK Chesterton (EWTN)
EWTN live
Storm Stories (Weather Channel)
Spongebob Squarepants (Nick)
5 Biggest joys of the moment:
hearing from my kids
being part of st blogs
catching babies for repeat customers
fresh fruit and produce
being appreciated for who I am
5 Favorite toys:
Palm Pilot
My car (2003 PT Cruiser)
fondue pot
Kitchen Aid
5 Next victims:
Yikes - who hasn't been tapped yet?
any volunteers?

the pontificator's reception


A project worth joining


Neither Right Nor Left
is a project using wiki software to try to get as much input as possible into defining our terms ourself, rather than having them defined for us. I am not terribly familiar with the wiki concept, but it seems to be true democracy in action. Click the link and join in if you are interested!

via red state moron


fear and trembling


For some reason this morning, I was thinking about Phil Ochs. Something in the news triggered my mind to the lyrics of his song Crucifixion.
The specific phrase that rattled my mind was "Beneath the greatest love is a hurricane of hate". I remember thinkg that in Marriage Encounter, we were taught that the opposite of love isn't hate, it's indifference. Now I'm sitting here trying to remember what little news item set my brain cells whirling, but it's completely lost. Funny how those things can happen on a long commute.

So I turned off the car radio and popped in a CD - I spent some time a few months back to make myself a couple of car mix CDs so that I don't have to carry my whole library with me everywhere. Car Mix one has an eclectic collection including Dave Brubeck, Johnny Cash, the Oxford Boy's choir singing Ralph Vaughn Williams hymns - and several cuts from What's That I Hear?: The Songs of Phil Ochs . Among the cuts I chose for this were Dave Massengill's rendition of Crucifixion, Outside of a Small Circle of Friends - Dave Van Ronk, Flower Lady - Ian Matthews, Pleasures of the Harbor - Rod MacDonald, and Highwayman - Steve Gillette. But I digress.

Crucifixion was written sometime between 1963 and 1965. Maybe Dawn would know the exact date - she's a storehouse of that kind of information. I know it was after November 1963 because it was originally inspired by the assassination of JFK. I know it was before 1965 because that is the earliest recording of it that I have been able to find. So, 1964.

It was the year of the last big rubella pandemic - and the argument was on for abortion for moms whose babies might have been affected. Now, many (most?) of you who read this were probably not born yet when this song was written. It was from a different era, a different way of life - not necessarily better or worse overall than what we have today - but different. The Pill was on the horizon, abortion was mostly illegal and definitely not socially acceptable, civil rights were becoming a topic of passion, and the war in Vietnam was just heating up. It was a presidential election year, there was a World's Fair in NYC, it was an Olympics year. There was hope and there was despair on the horizon.

I was nine years old, and that summer, we left Los Angeles to go first to New York for a few days (one day at the fair!) and then to fly to France (for a year's stay)with a side trip to England. I remember seeing all the mod stuff in London. The Beatles and the Beach Boys were all over the AM radio, and all the cool kids had Japanese transistor radios. The Chinese exploded an atomic bomb, and we alternated between the fear of atomic annihilation and the giddiness of the progress in science. It seemed that there was a new breakthrough every week, vividly pictured on the cover of Life or Look or the Saturday Evening Post.

Now let me share with you another bit of lyrics from the song that literally jumped out at me while listening this morning.
The eyes of the rebel have been branded by the blind
To the safety of sterility, the threat has been refined
The child was created to the slaughterhouse he's led
So good to be alive when the eulogy is read
The climax of emotion, the worship of the dead
And the cycle of sacrifice unwinds

Think about it. We now have in vitro fertilization - "the child was created"- and from the 'excess' we have the push for embryonic stem cell 'research'- "to the slaughterhouse he's led". The euthanasia movement, especially as exemplified by George Felos (see this chilling article in Crisis) gives one "the climax of emotion". The embrace of the Manichaean dualism (spirit good, body an evil trap) has become so pervasive in our culture that it even infects Christians who should know better.

I have great hopes that the Theology of the Body will help to correct or even reverse some of these changes in our culture. By recognizing that God made us as incarnate souls, as a unity, and that the body is intended to be a good thing, maybe we can get past some of the ideas that have rotted our culture from within. Maybe we can restore human sexuality to its innate sanctity. Maybe we can appreciate that human life is a gift, not a burden - even that life is at the one cell stage, even if that life is not one that seems bearable to an outsider. Maybe we can remove the death penalty from the innocents whose greatest crimes are that they are inconvenient, expensive, or suffering.

Or we can continue down the path which places the autonomy of an individual above all other moral values. God gave us free will, after all. He has told us what He thinks we should choose with that will, but he forces no one into His arms.

fellow blogger needs prayers


and a kidney, too, if you have one to spare
I'm the wrong blood type or I'd offer her one of mine
(I'm O, I think that she is A)

in solidarity


union jack.jpg
Today, we all fly this flag.

pulp fiction in 30 seconds or less


dear lord, why?


I got out of work this morning after 24 hours of solid work - a baby at noon, another minutes after midnight, and a full day in the office as well. Turned on the radio to hear about the news from London and listened for the hour drive home. All thoughts of sleep disappeared as I thought about how my colleagues in London, all the doctors, nurses, midwives, etc, are probably totally mobilized and working in the kind of organized chaos that inevitably follows any major disaster (natural or un-).
My thoughts went back to last year's Madrid train bombings and how worried I was about fellow blogger Robert Duncan. Robert came through that event OK and later was the driving force behind the revitalization of the Spero Forum.
Then I thought back to the 9/11 attacks, and how nurses and doctors waited for hours for an expected onrush of injured - only to realize that most had died.
Then my thoughts wandered to the other disasters through which I had personally lived - the 6.8 Northridge Earthquake (1/17/1994) being the biggest and closest to home for me.
God has been incredibly merciful, but the sheer volume and scale of human trauma that we have been through in the last few years is exhausting. One can't help but wonder if the four horseman of the apocalypse have indeed been sent forth. Or maybe it is just that we now learn of disasters within hours if not minutes of the first casualty reports.
I am weary, and I know that part of it is just sheer physical exhaustion, but also thinking about how much suffering there really is in the world. I know that I alone am truly helpless to make a big difference, but I can always pray. And I can also try to do as Mother Teresa suggests - small things faithfully.

It's the Fourth of July

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Which means that in the USA there are fireworks and celebrations. While I am proud to be a citizen of the USA, I have to admit that I have my doubts and reservations about the direction in which the 'noble experiment' of republican democracy has taken this country. I listened to a multiperson reading of the Declaration of Independence this morning on NPR - the words rolled, and I was struck by the many references to God, Deity, Divinity, etc. Still, I wonder how many of the flaws in our national character grew from that spirit of rebellion and self-determination.
Some where else today, I heard a comparison between the French Revolution and the American Revolution. Alexis de Tocqueville's Democracy in America was mentioned, and I went hunting for a copy (the internet is a great treasure trove) and I found this interesting quote in a chapter on Roman Catholicism:
One of the most ordinary weaknesses of the human intellect is to seek to reconcile contrary principles and to purchase peace at the expense of logic.
Purchasing peace at the expense of logic - isn't that what we have done so many times in this and the last century? Following the cult of moral relativism, the cult of radical autonomy, the worship of self-esteem, self-actualization, me me me?
By way of contrast, today is also the optional memorial of Blessed Pier Giorgio Frassati. He died July 4, 1925, of polio probably contracted from one of the poor he routinely attended. If you are suffering from malaise (as I have been lately) go read about Blessed Pier Giorgio. I think that I would rather celebrate his heavenly birthday than that of the USA lately.
None the less, we will be having a small barbeque. I managed to locate a 2 lb tri-tip roast and we will have a Santa Maria style meal. And the last of the local strawberries we picked this weekend will have their time of glory as strawberry shortcake. ( I also made 9 half-pints of jam). The rhubarb has been adversely affected by the weather and I only had a few bites so far. Our peach tree tried valiantly but some insect managed to devour all but one of the baby peaches. My garden is not happy, and neither am I. But at least we have some goodies from the CSA.
We won't go looking for fireworks - I may turn on the TV and listen to some fireworks music - maybe the broadcast from DC, maybe the Boston Pops. We'll see. And then, tomorrow, back to the daily grind.
Hope that you all have had a reasonably good weekend.

Email from father pavone


July 1, 2005

Dear Friends:

As you may have heard, Supreme Court Justice Sandra Day O'Connor has just
resigned her position. Justice O'Connor was frequently the deciding vote in 5-4
decisions. Please pray for Mrs. O'Connor and her family in this difficult time.
With her resignation, a Supreme Court vacancy has been created. We have every confidence that President Bush will appoint a nominee who will exercise the restraint necessary to judges to strictly apply the Constitution rather than
write new policies into it. Even so, we know that as you are reading this, the White House is being flooded with calls regarding the vacancy. Even if President Bush is predisposed to nominate a judge who recognizes the many levels on which Roe was wrongly decided, it is extremely difficult for politicians to withstand pressure that is heavily against their inclinations.

How important is this nomination? The Supreme Court is currently divided 6-3 in favor of Roe. This is an opportunity to gain an anti-Roe seat on the Supreme
Court and replace Ms. O'Connor with a strict constructionist who will apply the
Constitution rather than rewrite it.

That is why I am writing to you now. We need as many pro-lifers as possible to
contact the White House about the vacancy. Please call the White House Comment Line at (202) 456-1111 and tell President Bush that you strongly agree with his view that Justices on the Court should not write law, but apply it.
You may also contact the President via e-mail at president@whitehouse.gov or by fax at 202-456-2461. Because time is of the essence, it is best to use one or more of these methods of communication, as mail will likely be too late to have a serious impact on the decision. Please also forward this to all of your pro-life
friends and relatives. Any given call could mean the difference between protecting women and children in three years and not protecting them for decades to come.

Fr. Frank Pavone
National Director,
Priests for Life

my comment: I remember reading somewhere, about a month ago, that O'Connnor would resign before Rehnquist.

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