Saturday, November 29, 2008
As someone who has needed to use infant formula, I find acceptance of any level of melamine or any other non-edible, healthy substance to be horrifying. Melamine can be found in packaging materials and in cleaning solutions used in the manufacturing process. That is how it gets in the formula.
Today, I'm thankful for the hard-won ability to give my baby the all-natural, homemade, God-intended and nutritious mother's milk.
Wednesday, November 26, 2008
- Mark Twain
My computer, apparently, was merely in a coma. Or perhaps it just wanted the day off. Either way, when my favorite IT guy called to offer assistance, it started up and acted normal. Perhaps my brother-in-law's phone call just struck the fear of replacement into the heart of its hard drive.
So, St. Nick just saved himself a pretty penny. I think he'll get me an external hard drive so I can back up five years worth of precious family memories as well as my checkbook register (I use Quicken), so the next time she flat lines it won't cause migraine-inducing stress.
Today, a few items on the school list, wrapping up week 11 for Fritz and Katie (Billy finished week 10 yesterday and I'm leaving him there). Take dog to kennel. Clean house. Load car. Grocery store so we have food on Saturday morning when we get back from Pennsylvania. Wash all cloth diapers so the house smells nice when we get home.
I'm looking forward to two days of having nothing to do.
Monday, November 24, 2008
Friday, November 21, 2008
Thursday, November 20, 2008
As much as I despise the commercials on TV, and in fact, despise TV viewing in general for its mind-numbing entertainment (I rarely watch, but I do allow my children to watch in limited doses), I know it is ridiculous to think that the ads on TV make a kid fat.
In fact, TV ads do not even make children go out and buy fast food. Really! There may be rare exceptions of 6 year olds with ready cash who live within a bike ride of the nearest drive-through, but I suspect that 99.9% of chicken nuggets are consumed by children whose parents drove to the restaurant and bought it.
Do TV ads make children whine for a flame-broiled burger? Oh, yes. Do TV ads make golden arches more identifiable to the average 2 year old than any other store, restaurant or brand? Definitely. But do TV ads have hidden calories? No, sorry.
"The causes of childhood obesity are complicated..."
No, they are not. And neither are the causes of adulthood obesity. Eat too much, exercise too little, gain weight. Happens to me every Christmas. If not for the New Year's reality check, or the welcome austerity of Lent, I too might end up obese by the following Christmas.
Banning TV ads will not make kids skinny. Teaching parents how to cook? That's an idea we can sink our teeth into.
I'm not at all in favor of illegal immigration. I sympathize with taxpayers in states that have a serious problem with illegal immigrants using public funds to school their children or get emergency health care or other services. But I don't think that somebody's illegal entry into the country means that legal citizens can seize his property or damage his property or fail to uphold financial agreements.
Nicole Griffin sought to buy a house from her mother's neighbor, Lorenzo Jimenez. When she couldn't get an interest rate locked in, she moved in and agreed to pay rent until the loan was worked out. She failed to pay rent, and paperwork issues on the part of Jimenez then delayed closing. When Jimenez tried to evict her, she got nasty. She told the media, the law, the neighborhood all about his residency status and even marched down to his work and tattled to his boss. Jimenez was fired.
"I don't feel bad for anything that happens to the Jimenez family at this point," Griffin said recently, "because no one feels bad that all I tried to do was buy a house, and I ended up living back with my mother."
Read the whining between the lines: "I'm a legal resident. He is not. I don't own a house. He does. No fair!"
It's as though she believes the toddler property laws apply to her (but nobody else): if I have it, it's mine. If I once had it, it's mine. If I want it, it's mine.
Sorry, good things come to those who scrimp and save. Nowhere in the Constitution does it say that you have the right to own property you didn't pay for.
Again, I'm not defending the man's illegal residency. I think illegal immigrants should be deported. I also think our immigration laws are unjust (translation: I think it is too difficult for people from Mexico and southward to get permission to live/work here), but that doesn't mean that I think we should excuse those who come here without proper permission.
But I am a firm supporter of property rights, and the rights go to the person who paid for the land. He has his American-born daughter's name on the deed, and her ownership is not in doubt. You can't take it away from her (or her family) just because you want it.
Tuesday, November 18, 2008
Saturday, November 15, 2008
It doesn't matter that she is my sixth child. It doesn't matter that I have seen five other children learn the fine motor skills required to do such a task. It doesn't matter that it is a mundane activity. It thrills me anew every time.
I cheered. I clapped. I called out to others nearby, "Look what Mary did!" They cheered. They clapped. We all smiled for a few minutes as we returned to our previously scheduled diversions.
This past week, Fritz appeared one morning after breakfast in the kitchen. He was lugging his very full clothes hamper behind him. "Hey, mom," he said. "I put on the last clean pair of pants in my dresser, so I brought up the laundry."
I wanted to cheer and clap. I wanted to shout to the world, "Look what my son did!" This milestone of thinking ahead, preparing for the next day, recognizing a potential problem and taking steps in advance to ensure that the problem doesn't occur is surely a greater accomplishment than using a fork to feed yourself. Does he not deserve the highest praises?
But somehow such antics seem facetious when directed at a 10 year old. Instead I calmly, but enthusiastically, said, "Great thinking! Thanks! I'll make sure your laundry is the next load!"
And then I smiled for a few minutes as I returned to my previously scheduled diversions.
Thursday, November 13, 2008
Jenny: Was Daddy ever in a war?
Me: No. (Thank God).
Jenny: What's it like to be in a war?
Me: I don't know, honey.
Me: Yes, I imagine it is scary.
Katie: It's like walking in the woods, and you have a gun, and you want to shoot the deer, but the deer are coming at you instead of running away, and they have guns too, and they're going to shoot you.
Me: I suppose if you can imagine that, you might be able to imagine what war is like.
FYI: Although my husband would like to go hunting, he never has, I never have, none of us have ever been hunting, seen people hunting. I don't think they've ever even seen a deer strapped to a car or truck, although they did watch Open Season. They have seen deer while walking in the woods. I don't know where she gets this stuff.
Wednesday, November 12, 2008
The Humanists are doing their part by putting ads on DC buses that suggest Christmas without Christ is rational. I can't wait to hear my kids' reactions to "Why believe in a god? Just be good for goodness' sake."
But attacking Christmas makes sense. Over 90% of Americans claim to believe in a god. And a good chunk of them lean toward the God of the New Testament. But probably half of them don't go to church, read the Bible, or have any idea about what it means to be Christian except that God loves you even if you aren't perfect, and you can go to Heaven if you side with the Big Guy. If only the Humanists could get these Christian-in-name-only folks to admit that their winter holiday celebrations are mere sentimentality and an annual nod at a Supreme Being, then real head-way could be made to get rid of all public forms of prayer, cultural references to God ("Bless you" at every blasted sneeze), and other offenses.
Admittedly, the whole lack of eternal life puts a damper on that worldview, since most people think immortality of one kind or another, is appealing. But a huge bonus to taking a god out of the picture is, apparently, lowered stress. As the British Humanists advertised: "There's probably no God. Now stop worrying and enjoy your life."
I'm not so sure even the Brits would be willing to bet their immortal soul on a "probably." That's like playing Russian Roulette with a gun you just found. It's "probably" unloaded isn't going to convince most people to pull the trigger, and my guess is that many people (perhaps over 90%?) wouldn't do it even if you said it's "definitely" unloaded.
So, while the Humanists try to get the quasi-Christians to go whole hog and renounce God, the media, bored with the dearth of post-election news stories (especially since the Democrats won and they want to project hope in the coming changes) will turn to their perennial ultimate villain: the Catholic Church and other strict faiths.
The goal here is to marginalize anyone who is devout. Devotion is bad because it induces guilt in those who are not devout.
Recently, I casually mentioned something about the possibility of having more children (my uterus is still intact, and I'm not even 40 yet). "More? You want more?" was the reaction. And I found myself somewhat apologetically calming the listener with the assurance that it was merely a possibility and not an intent. To say, "My faith teaches..." is to claim piety, and nobody likes a Goody Two-shoes.
So the secular media, on behalf of all those who don't want to look bad when compared to all those next-door neighbors who are trying to follow their religion all the time, is hell-bent (yes, a pun) on portraying people who go to church weekly as evil. The Catholic Church is the easiest target because it is so unwieldy and because they have held the same old "truths," unchanging, for 2000 years.
First of all, they love to report that over 50% of Catholics voted for Obama. This means, they imply, that there are tons of Catholics ready to align themselves with Secular Truths. It also means, they hope, that there are many more who might be willing to ignore their bishops if only those bishops could be exposed for their sins.
What's the biggest sin against Secular Truths? Intolerance. "In an impassioned discussion on Catholics in public life, several bishops said they would accept no compromise on abortion policy." Only tyrannical institutions would be unwilling to soften their stance on such a commonplace procedure, right?
"And several prelates promised to call out Catholic policy makers on their failures to follow church teaching." It's downright mean-spirited to ex-communicate politicians just because they champion women's rights over those of a clump of cells. Worse yet, to pressure politicians in such a way, threatening their immortal soul, is undemocratic and violates separation of church and state, doesn't it? It would be one thing if they lobbied Congressmen, using money and gifts to garner support, but to call them sinners? Over the top. What's next? The general congregation? Will they haul out scarlet letters and force people to wear them (never you mind that it wasn't the Catholic Church who did that)?
In America, the Catholic Church has always been the dog that everyone can kick. We'll tiptoe around the Muslims, and don't dare say anything bad about the Jews. But if you want to vilify religion, go for the Catholics (evangelicals are second in line).
Watch for a rehashing of the priest sex scandal. Watch how the media covers the March for Life on January 22nd (two days after the Inauguration...do you think Obama will sign FOCA on the 22nd?). Watch for more news stories about how the church (wrongly) spends its money, who the bishops are attacking in the public eye, prominent mention of the Catholic identity of pro-abortion politicians or other public figures, and feature stories of the common person whose main thesis is "Why I left the Catholic Church."
In other words, there's probably no god. Now stop worrying and enjoy your life.
Tuesday, November 11, 2008
Monday, November 10, 2008
This is a mixed review.
First of all, what is The Faith Database CD?
The Faith Database is a CD-ROM that provides access to over ten Bible translations, a Greek Bible, papal encyclicals, writings of the Fathers and Doctors of the Church, the Catholic Encyclopedia, over 1,500 books by famous Christian writers, Church history, Bible art, maps, and much more! The Faith Database is completely searchable, printable, and portable (PDA) -- everything is linked together for instant research of any faith topic.
Obviously, having so many resources at your fingertips is a great thing. I thought the Database was fairly easy to navigate, and I was impressed by how much information they squeezed on one CD.
But, I'm not sure there isn't the same information (or more) to be found just using an ordinary search engine on the internet. In my reluctance to pay for something I can get for free, I'm not convinced I would buy the Database.
However, I do think that I would be much more comfortable having my non-web savvy students browsing the Database for research on Catholic subjects. So, for safe, yet diverse, browsing, the Database would be a great idea.
Lastly, I did have some technical problems and the third or fourth time I looked at the Database, the whole thing crashed and had to be re-installed. Not sure what the problem was, and I've only looked at it once or twice since then, so I'm not sure if it will happen again. Routine failure would annoy me if I used it regularly.
Sunday, November 09, 2008
I was pretty sure it was going to be one of those Masses. Peter was refusing to wear shoes. The girls felt that the 40 degree temps did not warrant tights or coats. Billy wanted to wear a suit jacket with a very casual polo shirt. It was the baby's nap time.
But we went. Billy with a casual jacket. Katie with socks and her Marys Janes (shoes, not candy). Jenny with sandals and no coat (whatever). Peter with his shoes on the floor.
At church, I went in with all the kids except the unshod one. Bill stayed to coax him into cooperation. By the time Mass began, they had slipped in at the end of the row, and Peter remained quietly over there pretending to nap on the pew. Mary fell asleep during the homily.
After Mass, I turned to see a very old woman talking to Bill. I sidled down to hear the praises of my well-behaved children, for I knew that's what it was. Having spent most of every Mass for the last month or two in the back with a squirmy toddler, and after last week's debacle with Peter slicing his head open during Communion, I knew that to get through Mass without some "issue" was remarkable.
The woman gave me the glowing words that I needed to hear about my children being so good. Then she gave me even more: she told me how impressed she was with my husband. "What a good father," she said, "So tender, so involved. How well he handled the little one (Peter)." She was nearly in tears, and she had my eyes welling. What a sweetheart.
Out in the car, I joked: "You can fool some of the people, all of the time..."
Bill laughed and said he had told her she was lucky to catch him at a good moment (the parking lot just prior to Mass not being a very good moment).
I've been pondering over the last few weeks how readily we accept new friends for who they are, even despite pasts flaws or sins, while we linger over the past with those we have known a long time. You can never forgive your brother the time he totaled your car, even though he bought you a new one and it happened twenty years ago and he was 17...but you can admire your hard-working boss who is a recovered alcoholic and spent 3 years in jail on DUI charges. Or that girl from high school might forever be a floozy...but that woman you respect from church with a sordid past awes you with her conversion story.
And I've been thinking about how God sees us in (at least) four dimensions (time being the 4th). I think C. S. Lewis used the two-dimensional example in Mere Christianity: we see a pencil in three-dimensions. If we were only two-dimensional creatures, we wouldn't see the pencil, we would see only cross-sections of the pencil. We could never really be able to imagine that the circle of lead surrounded by some wood and a thin coating of paint was a pencil.
Similarly, God sees us...not just who we are today, or who we were a decade ago or who we will be the day we die. He sees us in our entirety. When we brood over past injuries or freeze in our minds the way someone used to be, we are clinging to a cross-section of that person and refusing to accept that that isn't who they really are, any more than a pencil is a circle of lead surrounded by wood. And when we accept the imperfections of someone's past, or present, or future, we get a teensy bit closer to seeing the whole person as God intended that person to be seen.
Today, that old woman saw my husband at his best. I'm sure she's not foolish enough to think he never raises his voice or gets annoyed by the antics of his three-year-old-I-don't-want-to-wear-my-shoes-kid. But she saw his capacity to love and his ability to get a disgruntled tot to behave for one hour (without using duct tape).
And her message to both of us, from where she sits and through her eyes: what a good father.
Thursday, November 06, 2008
I love democracy.
But of course, in the last 48 hours, about 5000 babies have been aborted, and about 5000 women have had their lives changed immeasurably.
Sadly though, had McCain won, that statistic would not have changed. Yes, I believe he could have appointed Justices who could have hastened the demise of Roe v. Wade and thrown these laws back into the states' jurisdiction. But true results would have been a long time coming.
And given the results of more than a few pro-life ballot questions - utter failure - I am doubting the efficacy of fighting these battles through the courts and legislatures.
Don't get me wrong: I firmly believe that unborn children should have their rights protected under the law. I am thoroughly convinced that pro-abortion laws have, in effect, given women little choice but to abort. And I know that if FOCA passes, (and it would not have a chance of passage under McCain), there will be virtually no restrictions on abortion, not even for minors who are legally not responsible enough to make any other medical decisions for themselves.
But in the effort to save lives - and I don't mean just unborn children, and I don't mean just preserving a body, I'm talking about a whole person, body and soul, and two victims, mother and child - in an effort to save the life of a child and to preserve the dignity, the mental and physical health, and the immortal soul of a woman, I have no confidence in politicians or judges, nor in laws or mandates, nor in marches or protests.
“Blessed is the man who trusts in the Lord, and whose hope is the Lord." Jeremiah 17:7
I'm not sure of all the things that go through a person's mind when deciding for whom to vote, but of one thing I am convinced: abortion is not a paramount issue for most voters. And it is that, not any other disagreement with someone's politics, that gives me a sickening feeling. If the Dems want to raise taxes (and they will, despite the rhetoric), if they want to give all my money away to my neighbors, if they want to try to pacify rogue nations with summits, if they want to re-define the family, and tell me that I'm full of hate because I have strong convictions about morality, and criminalize my expression of this opinion - all this, I can bear.
But the apathy to the unborn? Dear God, have mercy!
The technology is there, showing itty bitty babies doing cute things in the womb. We've all seen it. And yet we insist "it" is sub-human. We turn a blind-eye and a deaf-ear because to admit our inhumanity in our actions is too difficult. To admit that an unborn baby is human and worthy of the same inalienable rights as the ones who were (intentionally) born, would be to admit that we are monsters, because only monsters could allow such a slaughter.
Ending slavery required a war. Ending the Holocaust required a war. I can not accept that ending abortion requires a war. But I am admitting defeat in ending it through legal means.
Instead, we are left with the hardest road. Prayer. Sacrifice. Sackcloth and ashes. Educating the ignorant. Counseling the doubtful. Charity in thought, word and deed.
And being filled with joy despite the carnage in which we live, because nobody loves a dour saint.
I believe that God is in control. I don't believe that He is pleased that infanticide is sugar-coated as "choice." But I believe it is His will that we struggle. Perhaps had McCain won, we would have all gone back to our cushy lives comforted that we did our part in voting for pro-life politicians, and that would be the end of it until the next election.
But now we all know that we have a LOT of work to do. We will have no help from the government, so we can stop placing our hope there and turn to Him who can do all things.
Wednesday, November 05, 2008
And some of us may get all warm and fuzzy feeling inside after committing misdemeanor theft and squelching somebody else's free speech:
In his blog post, Busse said "yanking out the signs and running like a scared rabbit back to my idling car was one of the single-most exhilarating and empowering political acts that I have ever done."
Several days ago, Billy asked his dad if he could take some Obama signs down. He's 8. We can excuse him for not understanding fully the right to freely support any person and the right to tell the world for whom you plan to vote and the right to try to convince others that "your guy" is the best person for the job. I will consider myself a failure as a mother if he reaches adulthood and thinks stealing yard signs is acceptable, let alone "exhilarating and empowering."
Tuesday, November 04, 2008
Note to self: collections slated for the Catholic Campaign for Human Development (CCHD) should be avoided.
The CCHD sent $1,037,000 to the Association of Community Organizations for Reform Now (ACORN) in 2007, including a $40,000 grant to an ACORN affiliate in Las Vegas that was raided last month by the Nevada attorney general's office in a voter-fraud probe.
The Catholic aid agency has given more than $7.3 million to ACORN over the past decade for about 320 projects, according to the Catholic News Service.
If I want to donate money to ACORN, I will donate money to ACORN. If I don't want to donate money to ACORN, then I can't donate to the CCHD either.
What other non-Catholic organizations are getting my money?
Sunday, November 02, 2008
Mass Take Peter to ER for two staples to the back of the head Nap Drink wine cooler Sit next to Bill and do nothing much for 10 minutes Shop online for some Christmas presents Drink another wine cooler
- Finish dishes (sorry, Flylady, maybe tomorrow)
Set up bread maker for tomorrow morning Prep stew for tomorrow's dinner
- Go to bed early
I think I'll take care of that last one right now.
And can anybody tell me why the company that manufactures Mary Janes (the candy) is still in business? And why, oh why, do people hand them out? Nostalgia? Sadism?
I hope to have my coffee down to a 50-50 split by the end of the month.
Perhaps I ought to add "take a daily nap" to my resolution?
What is a New Month's Resolution? Every month I look at where I need to focus my attention. Perhaps I've been procrastinating on certain chores. Perhaps I need to spend some extra time with one or more of the kids. Perhaps I'd like to try a new habit. New Month's Resolutions are not grandiose plans to lose ten pounds or declutter the entire house or give up smoking (of course, I don't smoke, but if I did, this would not be the venue in which I would give it up). New Month's resolutions are short-term commitments; they are easily attained goals; they focus on what is needed right now, instead of what is best for a lifetime.
Do you have a new month's resolution?
Saturday, November 01, 2008
The school says the costume was a disruption and denies its religious nature had anything to do with it.
You know, serious academics were going on that day. The regular repertoire of witches, ghouls, vampires, ninjas, Indiana Joneses, hippies, Grim Reapers and Sweeny Todds were not in the least bit distracting from the strict regime of core subjects. And the school's Halloween party was also not in the least bit distracting from school work. The "games" were actually spelling bees, and geography bees and history Jeopardy and pin-the-latin-root-in-the-derivative-box.
But Jesus was a disruption.
Do you think anyone dressed as the Devil?