alicia: June 2004 Archives

A thermometer with a brain

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High-Tech Rhythm

(actually, it isn't calendar rhythm, it is temperature only fertility awareness for NFP)

check this out


latest quiz

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(via sleepy mommies and a few other blogs)
You are an SRDL--Sober Rational Destructive Leader. This makes you a mob boss. You are the ultimate alpha person and even your friends give you your space. You can't stand whiners, weaklings, schlemiels or schlemozzles. You don't make many jokes, but when you do, others laugh out loud. They must.

People often turn to you for advice, and wisely. You are calm in a crisis, cautious in a tempest, and attuned to even the finest details. Yours is the profile of a smart head for business and a dangerous enemy.

You have a natural knack for fashion and occupy a suit like a matinee idol. Your charisma is striking and without artifice. You are generous, thoughtful, and appreciate life's finer things.

Please don't kick my ass.

she's landed!


She touched down in Paris and successfully negotiated changing planes to her final destination. We got an email from her saying that she is there, doing well, except for the headache from thinking in English when all around her are speaking French. She'll be thinking in French within a few days, I think. Meanwhile, in other adventures I walked out to my car at the end of my work day to discover a totally flat tire. When it was removed and the spare placed, we say a shiny screw with a Phillips head. Of course, all the places that fix tires were already closed for the day, so I drove the 50 miles home on the donut spare.
such is life.
sorry, no deep thoughts today - I had them, and I lost them, so they will have to wait until they resurface.

on mothering

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We just put our youngest daughter on an airplane headed to Europe. She will be spending 4 weeks with a family in Montpellier France, hopefully improving her language skills in the process. I miss her already. The house is so empty now, with no children in it.
We knew these days would come, but who woulda thunk it years ago, when we were wrestling with crying babies, sleepless nights, and overflowing diaper bags? I always thought that by the time the last one left home, there would be grandbabies to love and cuddle. I guess it is a good thing that God called me to be a midwife - I get to love His children and then hand them back to their earthly mothers.
Mothering is not always easy, not always fun. But I wouldn't have traded a minute of it for anything earthly that I can think of.
You who have young children, don't get so caught up in the minutiae of their care that you forget to savor the moments. They pass too quickly.

On Marriage


Orthodox Christians face modern mores
An interview with priests at St. Vladimir's Orthodox Seminary

sex, love, and contraception

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warning - explicit content
From Fides, Cogitatio, Actio
I have to wonder what kind of search strings will now start appearing in my referrer log.

In favor of corporal punishment

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Spanking: The Best Way to Save Tax Dollars

One guest on the show outlined the "steps" she used to discipline her children:
Step 1: You get a warning
Step 2: You get a time-out
Step 3: Privileges are taken away
When I was growing up, we had no steps. It went like this:
Step 1: You do it.

more on the 'new translation'


over at GetReligion
Rescuing Paul from himself
check the links and comments too.

From National Geographic

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Animals' Sexual Changes Linked to Waste, Chemicals

Animals throughout the world are undergoing unnatural sexual changes in response to environmental pollution, according to a group of scientists. The scientists warn that the gender-bending effects of certain man-made substances and human sewage seriously threaten polar bears, alligators, frogs, mollusks, and other wildlife.

interesting reading


A homily on Ephesians 5


from St. John Chrysostom

In my younger life, I just did not get Ephesians 5 - and it is to my great regret that it took me so long. Maybe if I had heard or read teaching like this on it.....



Natural Family Planning, The “Theology of the Body,”and Population Ethics from an Orthodox Christian Perspective - at The Stephanos Project. Link via Touchstone Magazine.

Jeff finds yet another one


Crucified on the antenna?
I think that there may actually be a meta-message here, about how the influence of modern communication technology has affected us all. Are we crucifying him all over again but on a different 'cross'?
Also, scroll down the item for a thoroughly modern translation' of one of the epistles.

When and how the Culture Wars were lost


and the Sexual Revolution came to rule.
The Fifth Column examines how truly significant the Lambeth decision was.
Also found through Catholic Maniacs

The Sexual Revolution, to be specific. According to the BBC, the (Anglican) archbishop of Canterbury backs updated Bible. God save us all. Please pray for my poor deluded former denomination.

(link courtesy of Catholic Maniacs, who have quite a lot to say about it)

Several worthwhile quotes


Bene Diction Blogs On: Bureaucracy
Frank Herbert, better known for the Dune series of SF novels, also wrote (in his Dosadi books) about a Bureau of Sabotage, whose main function was to throw monkey wrenches into overly efficient bureaucracies.

Recipe Request

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It is Community Supported Agriculture time again, and I have in my box this week a vegetable that I have never gotten along with - turnips with their greens. I am hoping that some southern guy or gal can give me a recipe for turnip greens (I have some truly yummy bacon drippings reserved) as well as suggestions for what to do with the neeps.

Post-dates milk and a sleepy midwife


This morning I got home from work a little tired but too wired to sleep (admitted a primip in early labor around 0400 and never went back to sleep). Looked in the fridge and noticed that the milk was at least a week past the 'sell by' date, but still smelled ok. put some in a dish and the cats drank it (my real acid test for spoilage - they are finicky!). Made 1/2 gallon of tapioca pudding and 2 loaves of banana bread (using the 4 large bananas that had totally black peels, just sitting there on the counter.

Pregnancy prayer request


From Catholic Ragemonkey - posted link at the request of Father Shane Tharp.

A litany for the beheaded


Mary at Ever New invokes the names of all the saints who were beheaded. It is quite long, and rather telling.

pregnancy 101

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Several readers have recently asked me to suggest some books. Here, in no particular order, are some that fell out of my brain.
no hot links today, though.

a strange collection

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of bad baby names.
the stories i could tell.....but won't.

prenatal euthanasia?


When prenatal testing shows Down Syndrome. From Focus on the Family.

a rather wordy blog


who is 'somebody'?

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from my inbox today:

Somebody said it takes about six weeks to get back to normal after you've had a baby . . . somebody doesn't know that once you're a mother, normal is history.

Somebody said you learn how to be a mother by instinct . . . somebody never took a three-year-old shopping.

Somebody said being a mother is boring . . . somebody never rode in a car driven by a teenager with a driver's permit.

For those who have asked

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This is the best book I have found on potty training. I do not suggest that you follow it slavishly, but I do suggest reading it through several times before beginning the process, and taking from it what you can reasonably do. I used this method with minor variations to train all 6 of my children.
For those who asked how I had my children reading at the age of 3, even though I am not into reading out loud, I recommend How to Teach your baby to read. Once again, you can choose what aspects of the program work for you. I just wish that I had taken the time to teach my kids math skills in infancy and toddler hood, as well.
Kids want to learn! and if it isn't fun for both of you, then stop.

prenatal euthanasia

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In New Tests for Fetal Defects, Agonizing Choices says the NY Times.
One of the things I sometimes resent is that I am required to offer all kinds of genetic screening and testing. For now, at least, parents have the right to refuse any of these tests. However, most people don't realize that one of the purposes of US is to screen for anatomic anomalies. It isn't just about getting a pretty picture or finding out 'boy or girl?'.
The majority of couples who find out they have a baby with major problems do indeed abort. It takes a rare amount of courage and lots of support to fight against the culture of perfection. I am often surprised by who makes what choice.
One thing I need to write and publish is a little brochure that talks about what you can do after getting bad news about an unborn baby.


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Tony's Catholic Life as from a young man who seems to be trying to learn how to live his faith. drop by and encourage him a bit.

another priest blog!

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important birth announcement!!!

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news item

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The political and news blogs were alerted yesterday by Rod Dreher that the Dallas Morning News will be running a major story starting Sunday. You can go over to Bettnet for the heads-up from Rod. Warning - the connection might be a little slow or flaky - he's been getting lots of traffic on this item.
This is not a news blog. I do not plan to post a bunch of stuff about this. But for today, I have a few musings that I want to share.
This morning on NPR's Morning Edition was an interview with the reporters from the DMN. It runs in the second hour of the program stream in the first segment (between 6-620 and 8 to 820 Eastern time) if you want to try to wait for it.
It is more about 'the scandal'. Apparantly the reported have found that not only the US bishops but the powers that be among various religious orders have been engaged in the same sorts of behaviors. Persons accused or convicted of engaging in sexual exploitation have been shuffled from one place to another. From listening to the NPR interview, it seems that the news in this is the international scope of the shell game. The Salesian order was particularly accused, maybe because their particular focus has always been on youth evangelization. Don Bosco and Domenic Savio were always pictured with crowds of boys and young men following them around.
Side note - the Salesian sisters have a beata whose story includes fighting off sexual abuse from her mother's live-in lover, who died from the injuries rec'd in the struggle.
Anyhow, I wonder why I am not more surprised or shocked. I really am not. I guess that I have thought all along that the problem has been more deeply embedded and harder to fight. Sexual exploitation of the powerless has been a human sin and a problem since the Fall, I think. One has only to really read the Old Testament.
It is truly scandalous that priests were not outed and disciplined as it happened. But I think the more significant scandal is that we have reached a point where we call all kinds of sin (including sexual)good, and that is across the board. The public focus has been on the sins of priests, and maybe that is understandable, because in addition to the sexual sins there is also the sin of scandal. Still, it remains a sad truth that the most common sexual sins against the young are committed by family members - not by priests, not by teachers, not by scout leaders, or youth ministers, or strangers in the park. Sexual abuse from fathers, grandfathers, uncles, big brothers - rarely by women (though it does happen) is still (and sadly) predominant.
I have to wonder how much of the anger (justified, let me say) at priests who break their vows and become sexual exploiters is actually also a reaction to other forms of sexual abuse. There are many survivors who have not and will not speak out of their personal struggles from being molested by family members. Abuse survivors may well believe that they are powerless to stop the abuser in their personal life, but that getting active in one way or another to stop abusive priests may expiate in some way the complex feelings of guilt and anger stemming from their own trauma.
I also have to wonder how many of these abusers were themselves abused in the name of 'love'.
Addendum - the Salesian beata is Blessed Laura Vicuna
Here is the link to the NPR item

life and death and justice

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There is something so healing about watching plants sprout and grow, even if their short life is cut even shorter by the depredations of insects and other predators. When I made it home today, I spent a few minutes just walking around the scattered garden spots on our land and admiring the vegetables and flowers. The zuchinni looks like is already has a few flowers getting ready to bloom. Our marigolds have recovered from whatever was nibbling on their blossoms and make a golden and green border to the garden plot. The garlic chives have almost finished flowering, but are still a splashy purple cornerpiece to the back plot. In the front, the rhubarb is shiny and green - still too new to even dream of harvesting (next year, I hope). One of the rosebushes has started blooming and even the nasturtiums look happy.
True, there are empty spots in the garden where some anticipated plants just didn't make it through the strange weather or the depredations of whatever was nibbling. I haven't put new plants in those spots. I don't know yet if I will. Those empty spaces remind me that I am not the one in charge here, that God has given us a chance to nurture and harvest but that He alone really runs the show.
I need that reminder some times. I have been so angry at Him these last few weeks. Maybe I need to dig out the Psalter and pray the cursing psalms for a few days. Life is so unfair when I see it from this side. I wish that I could cry. I wish that I had the strength to cry out "My God, why have You forsaken your children? Why have You forsaken me?".
Yesterday, I had the sad duty to tell a mom that her baby, her miracle, had died in utero at 27 weeks gestation. I had been the one to tell this mom that she was pregnant, I had seen her for every prenatal visit, I had attended her previous birth and also births for her family and friends. We had laughed together, and now we cried together. After we confirmed that our worst fears had come true, after 3 different people had tried and failed to find a beating heart, I gave her the medicine to start her labor. She labored with beauty and quiet dignity, and with anger and grief. The abuelas from both sides of the family came in and out and prayed with her and for her. Her labor was short and sweet - less than 9 hours after I gave her the medicine, she pushed out her 1 pound baby into my hands. Perfectly formed, with translucent skin, those delicate hands and feet that we have seen in the pictures. I think we all hoped against hope that she would surprise us and cry and breathe and live - but we all knew that it was not to be.
Stillbirth. The old term for what is now called a 'fetal demise'. I prefer the classic term. Words from a song running through my brain, "but the baby was born, as still as the night" and yes, that is what it is like. Still. Quiet. Except for the anguished cry of the mother, "Dios mio, dios mio, por que? Madre de dios, por que? Santa virgen, ayuda me!". In anguish returning to the tongue of her childhood, reaching out to hold and gaze on her little one.
Her miracle baby. She had prayed so hard to be able to conceive this one. It was not supposed to be possible, but it happened. The Lord gives, the Lord takes away - blessed be the name of the Lord.
I stayed as long as I could, but then I desperately needed to sleep. I brought her a set of virginal white rosary beads that I have been carrying around for a while - I don't know just why, but now I think I have figured it out. I don't know the whats and the whys of this whole thing. I have to remember that God is in charge.
And so, when I came home at last, I walked in my garden.
Please, in your prayers, pray for the repose of the soul of Beatriz Milagros. There will be but one date on her headstone.

Nathan moves again

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The Tower is (he promises) his final blogging site. Update your rolls again.

The health risks of IVF


Tony, Tony, come around


Something's lost and must be found.
Somewhere in the haze between sleep and wakefullness, I had a thought about the difference between suicide and martyrdom. I wish I could remember it? Do you think St. Anthony is good at helping find lost thoughts?

And the two become one flesh


in more than just poetic meaning. Jimmy Akin points out some fascinating research and comments on the anthropological (and ultimately theological) meanings thereof in Higamus, Hogamus.
I will point out that we midwives have long recognized that the woman at highest risk of certain complications of pregnancy are those women who 1) had the complication in a previous pregnancy and 2) are now pregnant BY A DIFFERENT FATHER!
This also might explain a good bit of why there are more complications of pregnancy in just about every pregnancy begun using assisted reproductive technology (from AI to IVF and all the alphabet soup). It was originally thought that the high complication rate was due to the high rate of multiple gestations - but even the singletons are more likely to have problematic pregnancies.
Natural Law - you can't just ignore it!

A blug for the day


Catholic Maniacs
has some interesting comments on Love and Mercy, the Eucharist, and on Catechesis. He does have a glitch that makes some characters look like they are cyrillic script rather than latin, but just ignore that and read for the content.

Looks like a great parish program

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Is it only Sunday?

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It seems like last Thursday was more than just a few days ago. My time sense is so horribly distorted. Let's see - Wednesday just before midnight I attended a truly awesome birth. Thursday AM as I was home John called me on my cell to tell me that Janice had died. Thursday PM I went ahead and got on the plane to Chicago. Friday I blogged about below. Saturday all day - the Marquette conference (which was awesome, BTW) - where I had the pleasure to meet Kevin Miller in person. He is a really neat guy and an excellent speaker and the conference was so healing. It was just great to be around persons who take seriously the church's teachings on life and sexual morality, and the closing mass was strengthening. Saturday night after Mass I drove 70 miles to Beloit to visit a midwife friend I hadn't seen in person since 1997. Stayed up till midnight talking, got up 0430 to drive back to Chicago to get on a plane home. Came home for a couple hours and then drove John back to the airport to catch a plane to the other coast for Janice's funeral.
Unfortunately for us, it was scheduled for Monday morning (tomorrow) - and dear daughter has finals M and T and there was no way to reach teachers over the weekend and there was not time to try to get creative finding affordable air fares.
The one upside of our being unable to fly out for the funeral was that I didn't have to cancel the scheduled rendezvous with the estimable Peony Moss, Mr Moss, and of course the extremely well behaved Hambet. It is so great to be able to meet fellow members of St Blogs in real life. What always surprises me is when I am recognized right off. We spent a couple of hours over dinner etc just talking about all kinds of everything.
Anyhow, I should probably get to sleep soon - have to get up early to take dear daughter to school for finals. Sleep is good, and it is a good that I have been short on lately.

what it takes


On men and women


Thomas asks Let's see if I can get into trouble.
Worth reading.

Please help a fellow blogger!



Jeff designed and printed a wonderful little prayer booklet that I have been giving as gifts for various occasions. I haven't seen his other work, but if his routine work is even half as good as the prayer book, I don't see how one could go elsewhere.

on the road


Posting this from the Border's cafe in Milwaukee.
I had an interesting flight into Chicago last night - rain and all that. Manchester NH was blue skies and sunny, but Chicago was anything but. The SWA flight I was on took off nearly 1/2 hour late, but still got on the ground fairly close to the original arrival time booked. Heard behind me as we were deplaning (from a business traveler who changed plans at the last minute as we were leaving Manchester), "United can't even get off the ground and Southwest lands early, as usual."
Drove from Chicago to Milwaukee in steady rain, listening to jazz on Chicago Public Radio until the signal got too scratchy - then popped in the CD I had brought along of Ralph Vaughn Williams hymns sung by the Oxford choirs. Learned that Mr. Ray Charles died, seems to be a lot of death around these days. May he rest in peace and one day join the angelic choirs, his vision restored.
Got up this morning later than expected but still managed to pick up Karen Marie in enough time to make it to morning Mass - alas, we missed morning prayer. I gave one of my copies of Jeff's wonderful little prayer booklet and she gave me a couple of hand-made rosaries - one knotted and one beaded, along with a little one decade rosary. We sat and talked over breakfast at a local cafe. She then played tour guide as I drove around the city. I will confess that we mostly stayed in the car. I usually pack lightly for these kind of trips, but I packed a little too lightly this time - no coat, no hat - and has been raining steadily since I got off the plane.
In a couple of hours I am meeting up with a couple more friends for dinner, and then back to Marquette for the opening of the conference.
We still haven't heard exactly about funeral plans for Janice - it may end up with only my husband going depending on what we can find for air fare and affordability. Also, our youngest has finals until Tuesday. So we shall see what happens.
Thanks again for all your prayers.

Thanks for the prayers

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My sister in law died this morning. I am told that she had been breathing on her own off the ventilator, took a turn for the worse, and the decision was made not to re-intubate her. She never recovered consciousness, and her bodily functions were becoming increasingly unstable. I continue to pray for her soul, and for the well-being of those let behind to mourn and grieve. I firmly believe that she is in either heaven or purgatory, more likely heaven, and I will ask her to intercede for us here below.
I don't know what will happen next. I am still going to take my planned trip - the continuing education is important. And as far as I know, I will still be getting together with another esteemed blogger Sunday. But beyond that, who knows?
Please also pray, if you would, that we are able to pull together whatever is needed in the way of travel arrangements to the other coast.
Her name was Janice, and she was a mother, a wife, a Boy Scout mom. She helped in her parish in all the little ways that make things run well. She had a wonderful sense of humour, and she was truly 'the other half' for her husband. We will all miss her.

blog forecast

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It is up to 937 comments on this blog as I type. (that of course does not include all the spam I have deleted).
I may be scarce for a while. I have my 24 hour call tomorrow and a lot of moms are trying to persuade their babies to come out while I am on the deck. Then, Thursday evening I am flying into Chicago Midway, renting a car, and driving to Milwaukee. I will be staying with a friend I have known for nearly 25 years and attending a conference on Sexual Ethics at Marquette. So far I have arranged to meet a fellow blogger for morning prayer and Mass at the Cathedral Friday morning, and will also have a chance to meet HMS blogger Kevin Miller at the conference. Fly home Sunday morning and meet up with another fine blogger Sunday evening.
Shall be kind of busy, no?

N-nitrosamine in 29/32 tested

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Study Finds Condoms Contain Cancer-Causing Substance
"N-nitrosamine is one of the most carcinogenic substances," the study's authors said. "There is a pressing need for manufacturers to tackle this problem."
(free registration required to view article)

Findings may explain mood and behavior changes in women
My comment - this research was only on one synthetic progestin (medroxyprogesterone) which is certainly compelling, but I would love to see the research duplicated using the other synthetic progestins (norgesterol, levo-norgesterol, gestodene, desogestrol, norethindrone, drospirenone) which are actually the ones used in the oral contraceptive pills. Medroxyprogesterone is used primarily in hormone replacement therapy, and is the only hormone in Depo-Provera shots. No wonder we have so many women on antidepressant therapy.

From the The New York Times , no less.

Ordinary Time

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Today is the feast of the Trinity, the beginning of a long stretch of Ordinary (counted, as in ordinal in math) time. When I was a child, these were the "Sundays after Trinity" in the Anglican calendar.
I used to think of this as the "long green season" because of the liturgical colors. The hymns settled down into a fairly predictable rotation of favorites as the choir and the organist took summer vacations, and the congregation was left to sing as best they could.
Today at Mass the music was the choir director on the organ, our pianist on the keyboard, the choir director's husband singing melody, me singing alto, and my husband singing baritone. We were at the right front corner of the church, where we could barely see Father at the altar through the columns. As it gets summery, we tend to stay out of the choir loft because it gets hot and stuffy up there. Here is what we sang:
Holy Holy Holy (nicaea)
All Hail Adored Trinity
How Great Thou Art
Holy God we Praise Thy Name
We sang harmony on the psalm and the mass parts.
What was wonderful about singing these more traditional hymns was that the congregation joined in at full voice. I hate it when it feels like the choir is performing for an audience, instead of leading the congregation. But today we were all singing together, singing praise to our God, to the mystery of the Trinity, to the beauty of the Eucharist. It was a grace filled moment, and one could almost see the Spirit moving among the people.
There was something in the readings today that really struck me, given that I have been praying and worrying about so many things lately, from Nathan's 'apostasy' to my sister-in-law's health, to our family's ability to keep things on an even keel. I've been fussing and fretting like Martha, having a rough time remembering that Mary chose the better part. I want to do, not just be!

Romans 5:3-5 (NAB)
3 Not only that, but we even boast of our afflictions, knowing that affliction produces endurance,
4 and endurance, proven character, and proven character, hope,
5 and hope does not disappoint, because the love of God has been poured out into our hearts through the holy Spirit that has been given to us.

Boast of our afflictions, hmmm.
We are all afflicted by many things. For some, the affliction is an almost overwhelming desire to indulge in various sins of the body - and in a culture which is "anything goes" between 'consenting adults', it takes great grace to resist these urges. And yet, here we are told to boast in our affliction (but not in our sins!) because this affliction (fighting one's besetting sin) will bring endurance, leading eventually to the hope that does not disappoint.
The apostles remind us in another place
(James 1:2-4)
2 Consider it all joy, my brothers, when you encounter various trials,
3 for you know that the testing of your faith produces perseverance.
4 And let perseverance be perfect, so that you may be perfect and complete, lacking in nothing

I guess it's time to get back up on the horse.

blog alert


FIDES et RATIO is a great new blog out of the Boston Archdocese. "Father Elijah" blogs about faith and reason.

Requiem for a president

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Nathan says what I should have about Mr. Reagan. Frankly, I have been hesitant to say anything, because I am probably in the minority in St Blogs in that I have never liked the man nor agreed with most of his policies. Still, he is a Christian, a child of God, and he died one of the more horrible ways that age can take one - dementia leading to pneumonia leading to death. So thank you Nathan, for pointing out those important facts, and I will pray for Mr. Reagan among "all the faithful departed".

A beati for nurses!


Blessed Mary Elizabeth Hesselblad

Thanks to Karen Marie!

no real news yet

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Please keep praying for my sister in law. She may end up in the same physical condition as Terry Schiavo - but with a great big exception. She has a husband who loves and cherishes her.
It is rough for me only getting little gleanings of the medical facts. But I just learned that she was baptized Easter vigil 2002, and that she was given the Sacrament of the Anointing at the earliest possible point after her collapse. I have also learned that her parish priest is a wonderful faithful convert to the faith, and that he has been visiting and praying with the family daily. So I am comforted about her spiritual state, as much as possible for one on the outside. Yet I am still praying for a miracle of physical healing.

Eat more chocolate

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Christian Underground


This link was mailed to me by a friend. I haven't had time to thoroughly check it out, but it looks interesting.

another urgent prayer need


stop an abortion
from HMS blog today

NFP on your PDA

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Siml Systems - Billings Ovulation Method Charting Software

I just wish that Creighton and CCL would also develop and publish similar software.

A Mother's Perspective


Memorial day concert

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bethany in dc 53104.jpg

My daughter the cellist and her stand mate- from the front page of the Concord (NH) Monitor.

Mr. Luse does it again


I wish I could write half as well as this

The rule of law


Fathers know best, and they learn from our heavenly Father.


science and religion


Mark over at Vociferous Yawpings has some additional input to the discussion begun below.

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About this Archive

This page is a archive of recent entries written by alicia in June 2004.

alicia: May 2004 is the previous archive.

alicia: July 2004 is the next archive.

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