Tuesday, February 28, 2012

Lord have mercy!

On the drive in to work yesterday, the talk radio station I listen to
reported a shooting at an area high school. First reports seemed to
indicate that some students were wounded, superficially. That wasn't
the case. One young man died on the scene and another passed away

All this was at the hands of a seventeen year old young man.

People are stunned, heartbroken. No one saw it coming.

Please pray for them.



Sunday, February 26, 2012

Can Spring be far behind?

It's the end of February and the Hyacinth are already pushing through.  Spring can't be too far away, can it?


Friday, February 24, 2012

Quick Takes (23) - The Query Edition

The Query Edition

Is anyone else going through "Downton Abbey" withdrawal?  We recently heard about the show and bought the DVDs.  We spent the last two weekends watching all the episodes and absolutely loved it.  For whatever reason, we thought there were three seasons and were so, so disappointed to find out that, no, there were only two.  At least season two ended on a good note!


We’ve been watching more movies lately.  A few weeks ago I picked up The Illusionist and a week after that we watched Super 8.  We’re looking for suggestions – but nothing too violent, gory or vulgar.  Any recommendations?

Stupid, stupid colds!  We haven’t been sick in a number of years.  We’ve successfully avoided the flu, head colds and sinus infections for a long time.  But this season seems to be different.  I don’t know where we are picking them up, but we’re on our second go round of sneezing, coughing, runny noses and itchy eyes.  What OTC cold relievers work for you?

Want to see the cutest puppy picture ever?  We entered a picture I took of Jack and his buddy, Lucy, in the Orvis contest.  Check out the picture here.

How's your Lent starting out?  Only day 3 and I've almost cheated twice.  Operative word is almost.  It's been a rough week, but as the weekend is here, it's about to get better.
“No sceptical philosopher can ask any questions that may not equally be asked by a tired child on a hot afternoon.”
- GKC in George Bernard Shaw

Check out more quick takes at Conversion Diary.


Wednesday, February 22, 2012

A little bit of history

I’ve been recently reading GK Chesterton’s The Incredulity of Fr. Brown.  Many of GKC’s works can be found on Project Gutenberg or downloaded for free or nearly free onto the Kindle.  This time, however, I am reading an honest to goodness book.  And, it is not just any book.  This one is an old, slightly worn, seen better days, eighty-some year old piece of history, first edition book. 

There is something about reading an old book that brings the experience to a whole new level.  It’s much different from newly printed books, it has a different feeling.  The pages are thick, heavy paper; so thick I often think I have turned more than one.  The typeset is imperfect.  It has a slightly musty scent, making you think this book must have been stored away some place.  The creases and tears in the pages make me wonder who has held it before me.

Not only am I treated to good stories and great writing when I sit down with Fr. Brown, I’m a tiny part of history.  I get to join the people who read this before me; and maybe even the ones that come after me.  Even if it’s just for a moment, it is good.


Tuesday, February 21, 2012

Things that make you go "Hmmm?"

I was doing some research for work when I ran across a website with this on it. . .

How about priceless?


Monday, February 20, 2012

Have you ever. . .

. . .stopped to watch geese fly by?  You can hear the whisper of their wings.

Maybe that's how God speaks to us, in whispers.

Perhaps we should stop and listen.


Sunday, February 19, 2012

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

It’s a dog’s life or the Adventures of Jack, part 1

When we moved into our house everyone asked us if we were going to be getting a dog soon.  We have a rather large yard, so in most peoples’ minds a dog was a given.  We always answered with an emphatic “No!  About nine months before we moved we buried our beloved cat, Tequila, and we just weren’t ready to invest emotionally in another animal.

 About three years later, I was ready; Himself, no so much, but I convinced him it was time.  I’ve always liked big dogs but we thought we would be better off with a medium sized one.  So we did our research and found that Labradoodles usually grow to 50 to 70 pounds and shed very little.  Perfect!

We found a reputable breeder not too far away and e-mailed to find out if any puppies were available.  We had fallen in love with several they had on their website.  Yes!  There were still a couple looking for homes.  A couple days later we were on the road to see if one of these puppies would be our new “fur baby.”

At this point we weren’t 100% certain we would come home with a dog. Or maybe we would get two, so one wouldn’t be lonely.  We wanted to “meet” the puppies before deciding.  The breeder had to think we were nuts.  We came totally unprepared – no collar, no leash, nothing.  Since we had talked with them, one of the dogs had been adopted.  They brought out the last remaining one, and the rest, as they say, is history.  Himself will tell you he knew by the look on my face that we would be going home with another passenger in the car. 

The puppy was gentle and patient.  A litter of younger puppies was crawling all over him as he lay in the pen.  It didn’t seem to faze him.  And he wasn’t afraid at all of meeting two new strangers.  I was hooked.   We filled out our paperwork, wrote out a check, and headed on home with our new puppy on the end of some borrowed twine.

Apparently, riding in the car made him a little nervous.  As he lay in Himself’s lap, he farted the whole way home!  SBDs.  Silent But Deadly.  Our eyes were watering.  My nose was running. It was about an hour and 45 minute drive; halfway home we stopped so we could air out the car.

I think all three of us were quite grateful when we finally arrived home. 

At first I was going to name him Lewis, for CS Lewis, but that just didn’t fit.  Himself reminded me that CS Lewis’ nickname among his friends was Jack.  That name fit our new puppy perfectly.

When we took him to the vet the next day, we found out our puppy was already 44.5 pounds and we could expect that he would at least double that weight.  So much for a medium sized dog! 

To be continued. . .


Prayer Buddies??? UPDATED

TCIE posted the Prayer Buddies info.  Go here for more information.  Thanks TCIE!

With Lent starting in just over a week (yikes!!!) I was wondering if
anyone was organizing Prayer Buddies. It seems like we've had so many
miracles come out of it, it would be a shame not to do it this
upcoming season.

I would be more than willing to help with it, but I don't want to step
on anyone's toes or be too pushy.


Monday, February 13, 2012


A very wise person once told me that you usually don’t regret the things you have done, but rather the things that you haven’t.  They are opportunities missed, words unsaid, encouragement not given, things not learned.

For some things, once the moment has passed, it is gone.  It’s too late.  There are things that I have often wished that I said to my mom before she died.  I didn’t.  I thought we had more time.  She didn’t.  It is something I will regret forever.  If one good thing came of it, though, is that I don’t miss an opportunity to tell my dad what I am thinking.  I think that surprises him.

When I was in college I had the opportunity to spend a summer in Spain, studying the language and the culture, with other college students.  I had the money.  I had the time.  What I lacked was the courage. 

Thankfully, there are those things that we might not have said or might not have done for which there still may be time and opportunity.  Is there someone with whom you need to reconnect?  While that person still walks this good earth say something!  How about something you want to learn or a place you want to visit?  Do it!

I often wished I had continued my music lessons and my ice skating lessons. Now, I know I’ll never be Dorothy Hamill or Kristy Yamaguchi, but I can still learn.  And there’s a hammered dulcimer sitting in the dining room collecting dust.  What’s stopping me from learning how to play that?  Nothing.

What’s stopping you?


Friday, February 10, 2012

From where I sat

Across the street from where I work is a fairly large mall that I'll sometimes head to at lunchtime.  They have a pretty decent food court where I can pick up a salad or sandwich or slice of pizza when I'm too lazy to pack a lunch.

As I sat eating my soup and salad today, tucked into one of the corners of my favorite fast food joints, I had the chance to do some people watching.  I caught small glimpses of peoples' lives; people who for the most part didn't know I was watching.  People who had no idea they touched my life for one tiny moment in time.

I saw joy.  A mom pushing a stroller with a baby girl, maybe six or seven months old, in it was walking with her young son who was probably about five.  All of a sudden his face lit up and he broke out into a run. He approached an older woman and wrapped his arms around her in a great big hug.  Grandma?  Probably.  There was such delight in his eyes as he looked up at her.

I saw tenderness.  An older couple was sitting at a table out in the mall area.  The man cleared away their dishes and tray and then helped the woman put her coat on.  Her left arm was in a sling, which he gently covered. There was no hurry, no rush, just simple kindness.

I saw gratitude.  Inside the restaurant where I was eating a dad came in with his young daughter.  He patiently let her pick the perfect table at which to sit and eat her soup.  She looked down at the steaming bowl and asked him, ever so politely, for some ice.  He went off and filled a small cup for her and as he handed it to the young girl, she sweetly said "Thank you daddy!"

I saw mischievousness.  As I was about to leave, a young boy wandered away from the table where his family sat and climbed the stairs.  As his mom scolded him to return, I saw the gleam in his eye that went well with his fine, staticy hair standing on end.

Such a small moment in time, but so much to see.


Thursday, February 9, 2012

Thankful Thursday (11)

Today I am thankful for. . .

Good food. A while back FCW at City Wife, Country Life posted a recipe for whole wheat bread.  When we were down in Amish country on Friday, I picked up a sack of whole wheat flour, and on Sunday got busy in the kitchen.  The recipe was really easy and resulted in two soft, yummy loaves of bread.  Toasted with some Amish butter, it’s a tasty breakfast. This recipe is definitely a keeper.

Good friends.  Last night I got together with a friend, Tracy, who I hadn’t seen in a while.  It was great to chat and catch up with what’s going on in each other’s life.  I’ve known her for almost twenty years and she is one of the most generous and helpful people I know.  If you need her, she’ll be there.

Good fun.  Tracy and I got to do all our chatting at the basketball game.  She’s had season tickets for 23 years now, seeing the Cavs through good years and bad.  We were treated to an excellent game last night. 

Check out more things to be thankful for over at The Road Home.


Tuesday, February 7, 2012

Amish Adventure

As I eluded to on Thankful Thursday, I played hooky on Friday and Himself and I took a drive down to Amish country.    It wasn’t one of our typical trips were we go from store to store loading up on our favorite foods and other goodies.  Don’t get me wrong, we did get all the butter, bacon and cheese we wanted; but we brought home something even better – lots of pictures!

It was a gloriously, sun-shiny day and we went well equipped with two cameras.  I was armed with the PhD one (press here dummy) and Himself had the one that you actually need brains to work.  I think between the two of us we captured more than 200 photos.  I could have easily taken two thousand, had we stopped at every interesting or beautiful sight, but we would probably still be down there.

In the winter you get a view there that is just not possible in the summer.  The vistas seem to go on forever.  The houses and barns, horses, goats, and sheep, the silos and windmills are not hidden by tall growing corn.   The red of the barns seem to pop against the golds and browns of fallow fields.

More pictures of our adventure can be found here.


Sunday, February 5, 2012


 On Thursday I had to drive to our company's main office for a meeting.  Going into the "big city" isn't something I usually like to do, but the weather was decent, it was a change of scenery from my normal work area, and I got to listen to some good tunes both on the way there and back.

Uncle Kracker's Smile came on the radio on the drive back to my office. 

You make me smile like the sun, fall out of bed
Sing like bird, dizzy in my head
Spin like a record, crazy on a Sunday night

You make me dance like a fool, forget how to breathe
Shine like gold, buzz like a bee
Just the thought of you can drive me wild
Oh, you make me smile

Don't know how I lived without you
'Cause every time that I get around you
I see the best of me inside your eyes
You make me smile

That second last line just hit me.  In my marriage, I want  my husband to be my biggest cheerleader and most honest critic.  I want to be the same to him.

And I see it in his eyes.


Saturday, February 4, 2012

Fool me once, Susan G. . .

. . .shame on you.  Fool me twice, shame on me!

Apparently, the Susan G Komen's regard for women's health can be bought.  It's all about the Benjamins, baby! 

If you gave them money after this week's earlier announcement of defunding Planned Parenthood, I suggest you request a refund.  It seems that adhering to their own by-laws occurs only when it is convenient.  As a result much whining by the media and many liberal, pro-death* folks, the money is flowing again.

If SGK truly cares about women's health, particularly in regards to breast cancer, shouldn't the truth matter? 

Personally, SGK has always come across a bit cult-ish to me.  It seemed like if you didn't buy into their fund raising movement with the ardent fervour deemed appropriate, you were made to feel like you wanted women to die of cancer.

I lost my mom to cancer.  No, it wasn't breast cancer, it was ovarian, but it was a cancer all the same.  It's awful.  It's scary.  It's life changing and life defining.  It brought us to our knees. 

No one who knew my mom wanted to see her go through this, let alone die of it.  But to confuse finding a cure for cancer with the taking of an innocent life was unconscionable.

It's a crazy, confused world we live in.  We have so much praying to do.

St Michael the archangel, defend us in battle!

* I can no longer refer to them as "pro-choice".  As much as we refer to ourselves as pro-life, that term always, always is modified by the media and liberal politician to "anti-choice".  So, I guess I'm just calling it like I see it.  And returning the favor.


Friday, February 3, 2012

Quick Takes (22)

In this last week, under the guise of the Patient Protection Affordable Care Act, Catholics are coming under fire.  We are being told, in no uncertain terms, that we must violate our consciences in the most fundamental of ways.  Catholic institutions, according to the current administration, must fund birth control, sterilizations, and abortion causing drugs. 

There is just so much to be said about this I just don’t know where to start.  All sorts of thoughts are swimming around in my mind. 

And my heart hurts.

I am incredibly proud and encouraged by the stand our bishops are taking.  There is a united, consistent message being spoken from the pulpits.  This latest dictate is unacceptable and we will not comply.

I find the timing of this directive from HHS curious – it was announced just three days before the anniversary of Roe v. Wade.  How many tens, if not hundreds, of thousands of marchers descended on Washington DC for the March for Life?  As far as the eye could see there were young, old, families, and singles standing together for life. 

Of course the mainstream media is dragging out poor representatives of our faith to get the needed sounds bites for their stories. 

Sister Christine Schenk of Cleveland, a Sister of St. Joseph and director of FutureChurch, a coalition of parish-based Catholics, said she believes the issue is "much more complex" than the religious freedom concerns voiced by U.S. bishops.  She said the bishops should consult employees at Catholic institutions, many of whom are not Catholic, and ask how they feel about birth control.  "I believe 98 percent of Catholics think use of birth control to be moral, and that the decision is best left up to them," Sister Christine said. "I have real serious trouble with church leaders who make decisions without any immediate experience of the consequences of the decisions that they are now making that will be impacted on every Catholic employee and every non-Catholic employee at every Catholic institution."

She “believes” the use of birth control is okay???  What does she believe about her faith???

This is a direct and deliberate attack on our Church and on our Faith.  Michelle Malkin says for better than I could ever hope to.  Check out her column here.

First they came for the Socialists,
and I did not speak out --
Because I was not a Socialist.

Then they came for the Trade Unionists,
and I did not speak out --
Because I was not a Trade Unionist.

Then they came for the Jews,
and I did not speak out --
Because I was not a Jew.

Then they came for me –
and there was no one left to speak for me.

--Martin Niemöller (1892-1984)
(An ardent nationalist and prominent Protestant pastor who
emerged as an outspoken public foe of Adolf Hitler and spent
the last 7 years of Nazi rule in concentration camps. )

"From a human point of view, we may be tempted to surrender, when our government places conception, pregnancy and birth under the 'center for disease control,' when chemically blocking conception or aborting the baby in the womb is considered a 'right' to be subsidized by others who abhor it," said Cardinal-designate Timothy Dolan, archbishop of New York and president of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops

Why is it okay for the government, the media, our friends & neighbors, hollywood, etc. to have opinions about our sex lives but not our moral leaders? 

“Religious liberty might be supposed to mean that everybody is free to discuss religion. In practice it means that hardly anybody is allowed to mention it.”
– GKC Autobiography, 1937 

Check out more Quick Takes this week at Betty Beguiles.


Thursday, February 2, 2012

Thankful Thursday (10)

Today I am thankful for. . .

* The blog world.  With all the news this week over the White House’s edict, it has been both encouraging and refreshing to read posts of people who “get it.”  This isn’t a financial issue, it is a moral one. 

* The Internet.  We have so many more sources of information and communication now.  We don’t need to rely on the mainstream media for our news. 

* This headline. 

* This forecast.  In our neck of the woods, in February, this is a treat.  Last year we were buried under mountains of snow and had highs only in the twenties.    Looks like Friday is going to be a good day to play hooky.  Here we come Amish country!  Cheese anyone?

* Tax software.  It makes an unpleasant process so much easier and faster.

Check out more things to be thankful for over at The Road Home.