June 2006 Archives

please pray

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baby mirielle (pronounced by her mom as "mir ee ell ee" who was born with a tracheo-esophageal fistula, esophageal atresia, and possibly a heart defect. miri's condition is serious enough that she was airlifted to a major children's hospital and was expected to undergo surgery within 24 hours of birth. If all goes well, miri will be in the hospital for at least 3 months.

Name 3 things that you think are beautiful.

What was the last concert you attended?
My daughter playing with the NH Lakes Region Symphony - no wait, the last concert was actually her Senior Recital from the Concord Community Music School.

What is one thing that frightens you about getting older?
The thought of losing my family and friends to death, the thought of being alone on this earth without the human companionship that means so much.

Main Course
Tell us about one of your funny quirks or habits.
Moi? quirky? funny habits? Tell you what - how about my family and friends chiming in here!

If you could extend one month to 50 days (instead of the normal 28, 29, 30, or 31), which month would you want to lengthen?
None of them. If I were to reform the calendar, I would make it have 12 months of 30 days each with Christmas being the last day of the calendar year - and a 5 or 6 (leap year) day feast period between Christmas and the New Year.

For whom should we pray?


I sometimes listen to Protestant theologian R.C. Sproul on the radio. He has a 20 minute slot on the local generic Christian radio station from 1830 to 1850. I find much of what he has to say thought provoking, even when I get upset at how he often proof-texts the early Church fathers. But I digress. Today he was talking about some of the parables of Jesus, including the one of the unjust judge. I think it was in Luke 18. He was talking about the responsibility Christians have to obey the civil authorities, as well as areas where Christians have the responsibility to disobey.

It got me to thinking about one of my favorite semi-obscure Epistles, 1 Peter. Parts of chapter 2 were at one time interpreted to justify chattel slavery of human beings, but I think that this was a misinterpretation. The phrase that kept echoing through my brain was "Trust in Him who judges justly".
21: For to this you have been called, because Christ also suffered for you, leaving you an example, that you should follow in his steps.
22: He committed no sin; no guile was found on his lips.
23: When he was reviled, he did not revile in return; when he suffered, he did not threaten; but he trusted to Him who judges justly.

It is a call to us, to me, to you - that when we are wronged and accused and abused - when the civil authorities have exceeded their boundaries such that one of us suffers - that we are still to trust in our heavenly Father.
In the past, I have had patients who have lost custody of their children and are trying to get them back. Their stories are heartbreaking. Sometimes it seems, in listening, that everytime the mom meets one goal as set by the legal system, another goal is created. Now you have to realize that I only get to hear one side of the story, and that I often meet these moms only after they have started on the process - but some of the hoops and hurdles that these women have to go through strike me as somewhat excessive. I heard one lady joking, somewhat wryly, that she would like to start a support group for other moms in her situation - except that she was afraid that it would be used against her and the other moms as yet another tool to take away her kids.
Divorce and custody battles are another arena where hoops and hurdles seem to be placed between parents and children. Unmarried parents who separate have even a tougher time remaining parents to their children, whether custodial or non-custodial. We have a culture that looks on the physical aspects of child care (enough cubic feet per child, not having to share, new clothes for school every year, regular vacations, etc) as taking priority over some of the spiritual and emotional aspects. I guess that maybe it is just easier to measure the material aspects.
Anyhow. What I started to say is that not only should we be praying for the moms and dads and children who have had their family unity shredded by the legal system, we should even more so be praying for the social workers, lawyers, and judges who make these decisions. We should pray that they will truly have the best interests of the children and their families in mind. We should pray that they will not be so overworked, overwhelmed, CYA minded, or venal that they take the easy way rather than the right way. We should pray that they will not allow their prejudices to cause them to judge unjustly. And we should all pray that God will grant mercy as well as justice.

I hate picking titles for posts

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Sorry about the album coming up blank. I guess that it was time limited. I will see if I can figure out how to post at least one picture.

You know what the problem is with vacations? Eventually, you have to go back to work. And summer is busy baby-having season. Busy....

I would covet your prayers for a special intention - for which I will have an answer by the end of the week, I think.

Feel free to contact me via email at any time. The blog is public space and I don't always post everything I might want to, just because of that.

bloggers get together

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Saturday we drove from Rockport to Milwaukee, where we went to Mass at the Basilica of St. Josaphat with bloggers Dave and Amy Pawlak. That wasn't all that we did in Milwaukee - we also had a picnic lunch with my old friend (we were young moms together in 1980 and were also both childbirth educators) Ruth Ancheta. And we also ate dinner at a well known German restaurant on the advice of Dave and Amy.
Sunday, more or less on our way back to Chicago O'Hare Airport, we detoured to Marytown and spent time with Ellyn (Oblique House) and her husband Rick. It was time well-spent,even though we couldn't go in the chapel of the Shrine because of a conflicting event in progress. But we toured the Maximilian Kolbe museum and the gift shop.

It is really a blessing to meet fellow bloggers. There is a feeling that I am meeting a long lost relative or an old friend. Whenever I travel I do try to connect, even though it isn't always easy. Time is limited because the purpose of the travel is often time and energy consuming. But meeting old friends for the first time (how's that for an oxymoron!) is one of the real joys of travel.

BTW, I am back home in NH. Have a whole boatload of stuff to get caught up on, as well as stories I want to tell but can't seem to pull together. Oh well. God has a way of reminding me to keep my priorities straight.

checking in briefly

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I'm in Rockford IL, had an uneventful flight yesterday morning into Chicago-O'Hare, and a very wet drive into Rockford. Lunch Yesterday at a Barbecue place called Famous Dave's (I think that it is a local chain), dinner last night at Giovanni's. Some blissful time spent just soaking in the jacuzzi pool.
While the kids were in town for the graduation, they dragged all of us down to get portraits done - you can see the album here

A recent update from Nancy -(deleted by request -

Please continue to keep her in your prayers, and if you feel moved to send her anything, contact me for her address etc.

Jude 23


international midwifery news


Catching Babies in Malawi

Here is her blog about this.

hot here

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The graduation went well, the weather was reasonable if a little toasty, and all of us got sunburns even through SPF 30 or above sunscreen. Such is life for those with fair skin and freckles.
Life in a house that has suddenly expanded from 3 occupants to 9 occupants is hectic, though!

interesting new blog

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Is housework Spiritual?

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brief update on my life

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The youngest graduates from High School in a few days, the other kids start arriving tomorrow, and I will probably not spend nearly as much time on the computer. Real life trumps virtual. Pray that the weather is good Saturday because if the graduation is forced indoors we won't all have tickets.

I'm on vacation for nearly two weeks. My last call day was brutal but rewarding. I'm so glad that we are still doing VBACs - had a mom who had 2 normal births for large (9 lb, 10 lb) babies and then a cesarean for breech. She came in and labored beautifully and had her smallest baby yet - 8 lbs. And there were two other births in that 24 hour period - both straightforward with rapid and peaceful births. I had the chance to teach two different OB residents about what is called the "somersault maneuver" - it is a way to deal with a cord around the neck without having to cut it prematurely. Cord around the neck is very common (about one in three births) and is NOT the problem that the dramas make it out to be.
First vegetables from the CSA today. Yummy shrubbery. Lettuce, arugula, green garlic, spinach, and a 4 inch potted basil plant to go in the garden. I made tofu pad thai for dinner tonight - will have a houseful of vegetablarians soon.
After graduation and after the kids are gone again, John and I will be taking a long weekend. We will be in the area of Rockford IL - anyone in that general region who would like to touch base send me a private email.
see you whenever.


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Notes on birth from a physician's casebook (.pdf format, requires acrobat reader)
Note his comments on the 'dangers of the hospital'. And not all these moms were healthy low risk mamas.

hopeful news

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I got an email from Nancy today with some hopeful news. Things are still very much touch and go, and they still don't have the resources to hire a private attorney, but it seems that her court ordered attorney has really been working hard the last week.

Most of the children are still in foster care in separate homes, though. And the courts are still not allowing any of them any contact with their father. Please keep praying.

If this entry seems vague, that is intentional. I do not want to do anything that might inadvertantly make things worse again. But do know that your prayers and pleadings have had an effect, and keep it up!

double standard, anyone?


Valerie comments on a news report about religion and public schools.

It's the economy?!?

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Dave over at Improv posts a truly scary (to me at least) management decision in Job Hunt.

I wish that I could make Rerum Novarum mandatory reading for MBAs. As it is, I think that many of the textbooks in current use bear more resemblance to Machiavelli's "The Prince"

from The Clayton Tribune
Investigation Timeline

It gets a little confusing, but it looks like there was some pretty big malfeasance going on.

WRKO AM talk radio (Boston) recently had a call-in show where a father talked about the strategies that various public agencies had used to keep him away from his children. The show's phone lines were overloaded within minutes, to a degree that was apparantly unprecedented.

I guess that there is some ideology out there that assumes that dads are dangerous, simply by light of the fact that they are male. I know that there are exploitive men out there, that men can be predators of all kinds, but I also know that there are Godly and caring men - fathers and husbands - who are hurt and hurting from the attempt in our world to make them seem un-needed or even dangerous just because they have a Y chromosome.

why, oh why?

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Test may help pick time to induce labor

This test has been available for years, and was originally marketed as being a way to determine who was most at risk of preterm birth. I guess that they weren't making enough money off it...........

I get a lot of mamas who are STOP (sick and tired of pregnancy) and want to be induced. I won't induce a mom unless there is a legitimate indication. If a mom has a medical indication, you do what you have to in order to get the baby out. A test like this will let you know how easy or hard that will be, and maybe suggest whether or not cervical ripening would be a good idea. But the test costs more $$ and time than simply starting the ripening process.

I think that I have done maybe 2 'social' inductions in the last 5 years - and even those were of moms who were ripe and ready and would probably have done it on their own.

why businesses are in deep yoghurt


Waterfall 2006 - International Conference on Sequential Development
At first, I thought it was serious - but this site is almost as good as the Curt Jester.
Waterfall methodologies are those that progress in linear fashion through a series of stages - for example, Feasibility, Requirements, External Design, Program Specifications, Coding, Testing, Production.

The problem with waterfall methodologies is that they don't work all that well. Trying to create complete, perfect system specifications before you start any coding simply ensures you've wasted a bunch of effort, because once developers start coding, design flaws become evident and require that you revisit earlier stages.

Except that you can't, because that stage is complete and there's no budget for going back.

Relying on Experts?


Medical Guesswork

Even today, with a high-tech health-care system that costs the nation $2 trillion a year, there is little or no evidence that many widely used treatments and procedures actually work better than various cheaper alternatives.

And even when we do have evidence that more expensive isn't necessarily better, we don't have the will to make the changes. Otherwise we would use qualified midwives to attend 80% of all births.

The passion and the truth

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Pontius Pilate had a great line in the Passion of the Christ - and one that I think may be emblematic of our 'modern' culture. "Veritas - quod es veritas?" Truth, what is truth?

Ethical, moral,cultural relativism would have us believe that there is no objective truth. You have your truth, and I have mine. I have been told that the basic credo of neo-paganism/wicca/many 'new age' religious expressions is that everything is OK 'an it hurt no one'.

Never mind that it is pretty much impossible to take any action without taking the risk that some one, some where, will be hurt. It is often unintentional, that hurt, and even more often it is unforseeable. But it is real.

Those who do not believe in any grand truth are often willing to distort the small truths in pursuit of a goal, be it an altruistic goal or a selfish one. After all, if there are no absolute moral standards, no absolute truths, no objective reality, then the ends do indeed justify the means.

The agonizing decisions of moral theologians over the dilemmas can become as naught. If one's goal is lofty enough, then any sin might be justified, nay, even sanctified. I think that we can all think about the political folks who have lied, cheated, and stole their way into power. But I am actually more concerned about the everyday 'venial' types of untruths. You know, the ones we learned at our parent's knees - calling in sick to be able to watch the game, having your child tell a phone solicitor that you aren't home, claiming that the store bought cupcakes were actually home made. Petty lies. "Little white lies".

But left alone, the attitudes behind these pecadillos can come to permeate one's soul, to the point where a police officer plants or fabricates evidence in order to assure the conviction of a person "we all know is guilty anyhow". We have accountants being fired because they refuse to make the bottom line look like what the execs think it should, rather than what it really is. We have contractors adding in just a shade more sand to the concrete 'because it really doesn't make that big of a difference'. We have inflated damage claims on insurance policies. We have students who buy their essays on the internet.
I remember reading some where (maybe in Heinlein) that there are 3 ways to lie. One is to tell an outright falsehood, another is to tell the truth but only part of it, and the third and most subtle is to tell the truth, all the truth, but in such a manner that no one believes you. But in a culture such as ours where lying is an everyday and accepted part of public life, where there is no absolute standard for truth, I think that there is yet another way to lie. That way is to tell everyone what you think that the truth should be, and loudly and often enough to get buy in from a large enough group.

Look at all the recent scandals - falsified medical research. Falsified financial records. Cover-ups of all sorts of crimes and misdemeanors. We all need to get back to the basics - but without a unified sense that there are indeed some non-negotiable truths, how can we even decide what is basic and what isn't?

That is part of why I believe that we all need to look towards (among other things) the 'natural law'. You don't need to be a christian or a catholic to believe that there are basic principles written into the world around us. It is obvious that we have a law of gravity. Gravity is pretty much non-negotiable. We have technologies that can counteract some of its effects (airplanes and so on) but you or I can't just jump off the cliff and expect to float to a safe landing. No human being invented the law of gravity - rather observations of the way things work led to a discovery of this law, and to further refinements. Similarly, there are other laws that may be more subtle than gravity but just as universal - laws that apply not just to the physical universe but to the ways human beings relate to each other, to our place in the universe, to a right ordering of life.
I remember seeing a poster, probably 30+ years ago that I think applies to where we are right now as a culture.
John W. Gardner:
The society which scorns excellence in plumbing because plumbing is a humble activity, and tolerates shoddiness in philosophy because philosophy is an exalted activity, will have neither good plumbing nor good philosophy. Neither its pipes nor its theories will hold water.

gotta love google

quis custodiet

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At Nancy's request, I have removed identifying information from previous posts to the best of my ability.
As Nancy has said to me several times, she has nothing to hide. However, she has been informed that any events involving juvenile court issues are considered confidential and that the posts by her daughter Naomi and others need to be edited or removed. I am honoring this request. However, as we all know, in the internet nothing is ever truly lost due to the automated caching functions.
I haven't given up trying to figure out how to help. But turning over the rocks and shining daylight doesn't seem to be helping much, if at all.
Keep praying, folks. Keep praying.


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I have been informed that I may be in violation of the following Arizona Statute.
I am not an attorney, I have no official standing in any CPS case, and I am not a resident of Arizona.
My question (and it is a serious one). What is the boundary between a family's information (that they are free to share with whomever they choose) and "CPS information"? How is "CPS information" defined?
I have a strong respect for confidentiality, it is a part of my personal and professional ethos.
I also have no intention to violate any law, even to the level of a misdemeanor, so I may end up taking down or editing some of my previous posts.

8-807. CPS information; public record; use; confidentiality; violation; classification; definitions

A. CPS information shall be maintained by the department as required by federal law as a condition of the allocation of federal monies to this state. All exceptions for the public release of CPS information shall be construed as openly as possible under federal law.

B. If there is a reasonable need for the CPS information, the department, or a person who receives CPS information pursuant to this subsection, shall provide CPS information to a federal agency, a state agency, a tribal agency, a county or municipal agency, a county attorney, a school, a community service provider, a contract service provider or any other person that is providing services pursuant to this chapter:

1. To meet its duties to provide for the safety, permanency and well-being of a child, provide services to a parent, guardian or custodian or provide services to family members to strengthen the family pursuant to this chapter.

2. To enforce or prosecute any violation involving child abuse or neglect, including provision of the CPS information to a defendant after a criminal charge has been filed.

C. The department shall disclose CPS information to a court, a party in a dependency or termination of parental rights proceeding or the party's attorney, the foster care review board or a court appointed special advocate for the purposes of and as prescribed in this title.

D. The department shall disclose CPS information to a domestic relations, family or conciliation court if the CPS information is necessary to promote the safety and well-being of children. The court shall notify the parties that it has received the CPS information.

E. A person or agent of a person who is the subject of CPS information shall have access to CPS information concerning that person.

F. The department:

1. May provide CPS information to confirm, clarify or correct information concerning an allegation or actual instance of child abuse or neglect that has been made public by sources outside the department.

2. May provide and, on request, shall provide summary information regarding a fatality or near fatality caused by abuse or neglect.

3. May provide CPS information to a person who is conducting bona fide research, the results of which might provide CPS information that is beneficial in improving child protective services.

4. May provide access to CPS information to the parent, guardian or custodian of a child if the CPS information is reasonably necessary to promote the safety, permanency and well-being of the child.

G. Access to CPS information in the central registry shall be provided as prescribed in section 8-804.

H. To provide oversight of child protective services, the department shall provide access to CPS information to the following persons, if the CPS information is reasonably necessary for the person to perform the person's official duties:

1. Federal or state auditors.

2. Persons conducting any accreditation deemed necessary by the department.

3. A standing committee of the legislature or a committee appointed by the president of the senate or the speaker of the house of representatives for purposes of conducting investigations related to the legislative oversight of the department of economic security. This information shall not be further disclosed.

4. A legislator who is responsible for oversight of the enabling or appropriating legislation to carry out these functions. This information shall not be further disclosed. To request a file pursuant to this paragraph:

(a) The legislator shall submit a written request for CPS information to the presiding officer of the body of which the state legislator is a member. The request shall state the name of the person whose case file is to be reviewed and any other information that will assist the department in locating the file. The request shall also include the office of the department at which the legislator wants to review the file.

(b) The presiding officer shall forward the request to the department within five working days of the receipt of the request.

(c) The department shall make the necessary arrangements for the legislator to review the file at an office of the department, chosen by the legislator, within ten working days.

(d) The legislator shall sign a form, before reviewing the file, that outlines the confidentiality laws governing child protective services files and penalties for further release of the information.

5. A citizen review panel as prescribed by federal law, a child fatality review team as provided in title 36, chapter 35 and the office of ombudsman-citizen's aide.

I. A person who is not specifically authorized by this section to obtain CPS information may petition a judge of the superior court to order the department to release that CPS information. The court shall balance the rights of the parties entitled to confidentiality pursuant to this section against the rights of the parties seeking release of the CPS information. The court may release otherwise confidential CPS information only if the rights of the parties seeking the CPS information and any benefits from releasing the CPS information sought outweigh the rights of the parties entitled to confidentiality and any harm that may result from releasing the CPS information sought.

J. Except as provided in subsection K of this section, before it releases records under this section, the department shall take whatever precautions it determines are reasonably necessary to protect the identity and safety of a person who reports child abuse or neglect and to protect any other person if the department believes that disclosure of the CPS information would be likely to endanger the life or safety of the person. The department is not required by this section to disclose CPS information if the disclosure would compromise the integrity of a child protective services or criminal investigation.

K. A person who is the subject of an unfounded report or complaint made pursuant to this chapter and who believes that the report or complaint was made in bad faith or with malicious intent may petition a judge of the superior court to order the department to release the CPS information. The petition shall specifically set forth reasons supporting the person's belief that the report or complaint was made in bad faith or with malicious intent. The court shall review the CPS information in camera and the person filing the petition shall be allowed to present evidence in support of the petition. If the court determines that there is a reasonable question of fact as to whether the report or complaint was made in bad faith or with malicious intent and that disclosure of the identity of the person making the report or complaint would not be likely to endanger the life or safety of the person making the report or complaint, it shall provide a copy of the CPS information to the person filing the petition and the original CPS information is subject to discovery in a subsequent civil action regarding the making of the report or complaint.

L. The department shall provide the person who conducts a forensic medical evaluation with any records the person requests, including social history and family history regarding the child, the child's siblings and the child's parents or guardians.

M. The department shall provide CPS information on request to a prospective adoptive parent, foster parent or guardian, if the information concerns a child the prospective adoptive parent, foster parent or guardian seeks to adopt or provide care for.

N. If the department receives information that is confidential by law, the department shall maintain the confidentiality of the information as prescribed in the applicable law.

O. A person may authorize the release of CPS information about the person but may not waive the confidentiality of CPS information concerning any other person.

P. The department may provide a summary of the outcome of a child protective services investigation to the person who reported the suspected child abuse or neglect.

Q. The department shall adopt rules to facilitate the accessibility of CPS information.

R. The department may charge a fee for copying costs required to prepare CPS information for release pursuant to this section.

S. A person who violates this section is guilty of a class 2 misdemeanor.

T. For the purposes of this section:

1. "CPS information" includes all information the department gathers during the course of a child protective services investigation conducted under this chapter from the time a file is opened and until it is closed. CPS information does not include information that is contained in child welfare agency licensing records.

2. "Near fatality" means an act that, as certified by a physician, places a child in serious or critical condition.


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How would you feel if a total stranger gave your child his first haircut without your permission, without your knowledge, and without even taking pictures?



O Lord, Holy Spirit,
grant me sight to see the wondrous promise of divine love;
insight to see my own weakness;
delight in Your divine presence in my soul
which You have made Your temple through sanctifying grace.
I pray, O Holy Spirit,
that I may be not doubting;
that I be spared the pain of being alone
without trust or hope in Christ;
that my prayer may always be "My Lord and my God!"
I pray that I may acquire a sense of retreat
to prayer and recollection at various times in my daily life;
for prayer is the bond that joins us to Christ.
I pray that I may be aware of the physical needs of the poor
and that I may share what I can with them
in the charitable works of the Church.
I pray, O Holy Spirit,
that You will in Your mercy
grant me the favor I have sought in this novena...


Come, O Holy Spirit,
fill the hearts of Your faithful,
and kindle in them the fire of Your love.

What's your mothering style? I scored as:
INTP - The "love of learning" mother
“I keep the encyclopedia in the kitchen so we can look up things together while we eat.”

Intellectually curious and patient, the INTP mother relishes those times with a child when they are learning something interesting together. Whether they’re at the zoo or computer terminal, she sparks to answering his or her “whys” with in-depth responses or new knowledge.
The INTP mother is also objective and introspective. She listens to and discusses children’s ideas and questions as she would those of a peer, fostering self-esteem and confidence. Open and non-directive, she allows children the freedom to do for themselves and quietly encourages them to believe they can do it.
Independence, autonomy, intellectual development, and self-reliance are probably the INTP’s highest priorities for her children. An avid reader, she naturally imparts an appreciation and love of reading as well.
Drawn to all types of learning, the INTP may also value her mothering experience for all the new insights about life it provides her
(via Julie D.)



Last I heard, Nancy's legal fund over at www.rosesblue.com had close to $900 - most of it from small donations ($5 to $25). Thanks to all who have contributed.
I've been scarce and will probably continue to be so for a while. We are having Confirmation this Sunday (yes, on Pentecost) and just now was rehearsal, I'm on call again tomorrow and again next Saturday (that's 3 Saturdays in a row). And of course my usual Wednesdays on call.The things I do to get some time off! We have a journal club Monday night. We're discussing perineal repair... The OB residency program has invited those of us who teach the residents (that means me) to an awards event the following week. It's that time of year, I guess. John's birthday is next week, and Father's day is coming up, and I am getting just a little frazzled around the edges with my own life (to say nothing of the lives of those for whom I care).

The no-longer-a baby will be graduating from High School on June 17. All but one of her siblings are flying in to help celebrate. I guess it's a good thing that we have a big house right now, although most days it seems so empty lately.

John and I will be taking a short trip to Northern Illinois (Rockford area) the following weekend (June 22-25). Anyone in that area who would like to see if we can get together please email me privately. I'm not yet sure just what our schedule will be.

In other good news, we will get our first veges from the CSA June 14. I am so looking forward to fresh organic vegetables to inspire my creativity - although the first couple of weeks are usually greens, greens, and more greens. Who knows what effect the recent flooding rains have had on the crops, though.

Hard to believe that it is June already.



O Holy Spirit,
life and light of the Church,
give us thoughts higher than our own thoughts,
and prayers better than our own prayers,
and powers beyond our own powers,
that we may love and live,
imitating Jesus Christ,
our Lord and Savior.
Come to us, Holy Spirit,
come with the Father
and the Son
and grant me the favor I so earnestly request in this novena...

Vouchsafe to dwell within our souls
and quickly make our hearts Your own.
Quench in us the fires of hate and strife,
the wasting fever of the heart.
From perils guard our feeble life
and to our souls Your peace impart.
Let voice and mind and heart
and strength confess
and glorify Your name
and let the fire of charity burn bright
and other hearts inflame.


Come, O Holy Spirit,
fill the hearts of Your faithful,
and kindle in them the fire of Your love.

In the Boston GlobeA fresh shot

I have very mixed feelings about this.

music inspires a quasi-rant


Tonight was the Pops concert from the Concord NH High School. We were packed into the sweltering gym to listen to kids from every performing music group in the school gave us their best.

Once again, I marvelled that these kids do so very well. I am so glad that the public schools here haven't yet pulled the plug on the music and arts programs. When we left California, it was after watching the schools being systematically gutted of all the so-called extras (except, of course, football and the like). We were able to game the system somewhat and get our kids into magnet schools where they were able to have some of those extra opportunities, but so many parents did not have the savvy or the persistence to try to get a good education for their kids from the public schools, and they also did not have the money for private school or the resources to home school. When we moved to Oregon, the process of gutting the public schools was just beginning, and we were still able to get the kids involved in music and arts and so on. But we could see the budget cuts coming.

Part of the problem is that the funding for the public schools rests basically on one tax, the property tax - and the structure of property taxes was such that with the rapid inflation in housing values, families were being taxed out of house and home. But the property tax 'reforms' had the unforseen side effect of moving the funding for schools from the local districts to the state budget. Hence no more money for 'luxuries'.

Also, there is a tendency for the childless to resent paying for the education of other people's children. It is part of our fallen human nature to be selfish. But I cannot think of a better use for my property tax than to pay for the education of the future citizens of our country. And I want there to be local control and local accountability for the content and nature of that education.

I never homeschooled, but I have great admiration for those who do. Mostly because they are practicing the ultimate in local control and local funding of their children's education. But many homeschoolers benefit from the presence of public education and use some or all of the services it provides. Much like homebirthers also benefit from the availability of hospital and clinic based services. It's a good thing, I think, when we recognize that we are not insular beings, but that God created us to live in families that live in communities that try to take care of each other.

today's update

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another email from nancy:
(why do some docs think that cows milk is better for human babies than human milk?)

letter meme from child #1


Diane Sawyer reports on Foster Care
I won't be able to watch this tonight, but would appreciate any feedback from those of you who can watch it.
It looks as though it will take the approach that all kids who are in foster care are there because they don't have any alternatives other than being adopted out - and I don't know if there will be any honest examination of the biases of social workers regarding "christian fundamentalists" and other non-socially acceptable 'alternative lifestyles'.

an encouraging sign

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reaching out

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This morning, on EWTN radio's show Women of Grace, they were talking about 'white martyrdom'. So I picked up the phone and called in to talk a bit about Nancy's situation. We now have prayers from at least some of the listeners.
I really hate talking on the phone, especially on the radio. I hope that I didn't sound too discombobulated.
If anyone wants to listen to it, the rerun will be between 0200 and 0300 EDT (o7 to 08 UTC) on Friday June 2. You can listen online via realaudio or windows media.



Come, Holy Spirit,
creator of all things:
come visit our hearts with Your power.
Fill with grace, friendly guest,
the hearts which You have created.
You are called the Consoler,
gift from the hand of God,
source of life, light, love,
and flame, highest good.
You are the pledge of sevenfold grace,
finger of the Father’s hand,
promised us by Him,
and You make our tongues speak the truth.
Cast light on our senses,
pour love into our hearts.
Grant our weak bodies strength
that they may never grow weary of doing good
and grant me the favor I so earnestly seek in this novena...

Keep the enemy far from us,
give us peace always,
let us willingly follow in Your footsteps
that we may be far removed from sin.
Grant that through You
we may grow in knowledge of the Father and of the Son,
and that we may ever strongly believe in You,
the Spirit of both.
Praise and honor be forever to the Father on the highest throne,
in the risen Son of God,
in the Consoler.


Come, O Holy Spirit,
fill the hearts of Your faithful,
and kindle in them the fire of Your love.

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