Sunday, August 30, 2009


"All violence is the result of people
tricking themselves into believing
that their pain derives from other people
and that consequently t
hose people deserve
to be punished."

Marshall Rosenberg

Saturday, August 29, 2009


Yesterday was the Feast of Augustine of Hippo (354-430) - philosopher, theologian, prolific writer & primary shaper of early Western Christianity. He had a more than colorful life & became the champion & defender for Christian doctrine. The story goes that while worshipping in a church Augustine was spotted by a bishop who demanded he be ordained a priest at that very moment, against his will. So much for the discernment process! Out of the amazing array of quotes to choose from I was drawn to this promise of Christ's comfort.

Friday, August 28, 2009

The latest dish

Dear Mr. Dishnetwork,

In an effort to save money I'm considering downgrading my present program package. Mr. Dishnetwork, this would save me $10 per month. However, I have called 3 times today, Mr. Dishnetwork, and the first two times I could not understand the operators and the third time I was told that there would be a $5 charge to downgrade my package.

Mr. Dishnetwork, this means I would only be saving $5 this month. When I asked your very polite operator, Mr. Dishnetwork, why there is such a fee he told me repeatedly that it was because I was downsizing. Mr. Dishnetwork, this is not an explanation. I then asked why he repeated my name in every sentence and he said he would stop doing that if I did not like it.

I consider myself a patient person, a mindful person, but Mr. Dishnetwork, you make me want to do bodily harm to anyone within my reach. In order to maintain my sanity, Mr. Dishnetwork, I have decided to keep my present programming. After all, what's $10 a month in comparison to the state of my mental health?

Thank you for your continued stellar customer support.

Roberta Hiday

Thursday, August 27, 2009

Common Ground

"Ted was sincerely intent on finding
enough common ground among us
to make progress on the issues of our day,
and toward that end he would work
as hard and as modestly as any staffer.
When he made a promise to you,
he kept it, no matter what. . . .
I will miss him very much."

Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.)
on the death of Edward M. Kennedy

And despite all of our political differences and frustrations,
shouldn't we all strive towards finding more of that
common ground?

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Will Shortz, Brainiac

Much of life is filled with puzzles and conundrums that we cannot comprehend. This blog is filled with them. So it's a delight to the mind, body, and soul to be able to occasionally solve one - and that is what Will Shortz gives us. Today is his birthday. As crosswords editor of the New York Times and my favorite, Puzzle Master on NPR's Sunday Edition, Mr. Shortz gives us a breather with his enigmatological gift. He says it best here:

"Most problems we're faced with, we just do the best we can — we muddle through. We never know if it's the best solution or not. With a human-made puzzle, when you answer the challenge, you know you have a perfect solution. It's satisfying."

So in honor of his day, do a crossword or try this KenKen, his latest discovery!

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

"Although the act of nurturing
another's spiritual growth
has the effect of nurturing
one's own,
a major characteristic
of genuine love
is that the distinction
between oneself and the other
is always maintained and preserved."

M. Scott Peck

Monday, August 24, 2009

New Beginnings

I haven't posted since the wedding day, as I've been resting with occasional bouts of cleaning up the remains of the celebration. This morning I was reading posts on Facebook from young mothers who were lamenting the end of summer as they prepare their children for the beginning of yet another school year. Gosh, those days seem so long ago for me, though I admit, I was always giddy with delight about the start of a new school year:)

And my Saturday was somewhat similar. It was the wedding of our youngest daughter. Through this whole process I kept thinking - Yes! this is the last wedding I'll ever have to prepare for - until I saw her coming down the aisle with her father. I was overwhelmed with the realization that yes, this truly was the last wedding of our last child & I wanted time to move much slower than it was. I didn't want to miss any aspect of this wonderful day. Bawled like a newborn I did. But trying to hold on to what was is not good if you want to be able to accept what is.

Faith's new sister-in-law Marci sent me this photo of the bride waiting in the Pollard Room at St. Paul's for the beginning of the ceremony. She looks so calm, so sure of what she is about to do.

And now she is married to her wonderful Christopher, her soul mate, and I'm here putting away all the odds and ends, realizing that joy is found in new beginnings.

Saturday, August 22, 2009

It's here!

Happy Wedding Day Faith & Chris!

"As the ocean finds calm in view of land,

May you love the gaze of each other's mind."

John O'Donohue

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

Monday, August 17, 2009

Reader's Digest

The Reader's Digest is filing for bankruptcy in the U.S. Wow...never saw that one coming! When was the last time you started a conversation with the words, "I read the best article on ________ in the Reader's Digest this month." Ok, I know I'm being rather harsh here but even as a kid I thought the magazine was bland and boring. I never ran inside from the mailbox yelling, "Mom, the Reader's Digest is finally here!" (Though I do recall yelling that about 'Highlights', but we'll hold that for another post.)

So where have you seen a Reader's Digest lately? I've spotted a few at the doctor's office, a nursing home, the Dept. of Motor Vehicles, and thinking back, they were always lined up neatly on my grandmother's coffee table. And hey, whose parents or grandparents did not own a complete collection of Reader's Digest Condensed Books? Mine did. And still do.

The only thing I really liked in the magazine was "Laughter is the Best Medicine" which was usually in the very back. And every year in grammar school we made a Christmas tree out of them, like this one. They were cool because we were allowed to use spray paint in the classroom!

So it's an end of an era. Too bad we can't have that happen to The National Enquirer.

The words of this blog are the opinion of the writer. No harm was done to any Reader's Digests in the creating of this post. I apologize to anyone who is reading this who subscribes and/or avidly consumes this amazing relic of Americana :)

my mythology

Last night David and I were discussing the Founding Fathers of America and we had a major disagreement about them. (I know what you're thinking - who would want to fight about old white guys wearing support hose?) I could feel my blood pressure rising as we both held our ground - and so I made the very mature decision to slink away to the bedroom to lick my wounds. Later, David came back and apologized for upsetting me, telling me that it was never his intent to do so. It was then that I realized my hurt had nothing to do with my husband. It was of my own making, as usual.

"Anytime you find yourself wanting sympathy,
you’re trying to get someone to join you
in your mythology. And it always hurts."

Byron Katie (from Twitter)

Sunday, August 16, 2009

Circle them O Lord

Yesterday was the feast day of Mary, the Mother of Jesus, the woman whose womb contained the Holy One.

This photo of an Afghan woman and her child is yet another incarnation of Mary - maybe it's the blueness of her burqa that touches me, or it could be the regal way she carries herself and her child. Let us pray for our Afghan sisters who do not share the freedoms that we take for granted. Let us pray for all Human Rights workers who strive to ease the suffering caused by regressive regimes, who are intent on stripping away all Afghan women's rights. Pray for their upcoming elections.

These are our sisters, holy ones created in God's image. Circle them O Lord. Keep despair out, and hope alive

Saturday, August 15, 2009

Hi Grandma!

It's me, Samson. I'm here! Yesterday, TallHyperGirl took me on a long car ride to Very Noisy Place. I had to stay in my carrier and I was confused but then I must have fallen asleep 'cause the next thing I knew I was looking at Our Lady of Pugs and she was so happy to see me! She gave me 1000 kisses!

It's really fun here in PugLand with my new family. Send my love to SmallTalkyGirl and her Mom. I miss them a lot & I'll never forget them. Oh, and this picture is for Small Humping Doxie. She can keep it under her pillow. I gotta go - Jack & Roxy are gonna show me all the best spots to nap around here.


Friday, August 14, 2009

"We may be surprised
at the people we find
in heaven.
God has a soft spot
for sinners.
His standards are
quite low."

Desmond Tutu

Thursday, August 13, 2009

Saint Eunice

You know I love to talk about saints from ages past - but today I want to honor one that just left us this week, Eunice Kennedy Shriver, (7/10/1921 - 8/11/2009.) This was a woman who had a dream and didn't let anyone or anything stand in the way of seeing it to fruition. What a role model for the rest of us. Here is an excerpt from a statement released by the family:

"Inspired by her love of God, her devotion to her family, and her relentless belief in the dignity and worth of every human life, she worked without ceasing - searching, pushing, demanding, hoping for change. She was a living prayer, a living advocate, a living center of power. She set out to change the world and to change us, and she did that and more. She founded the movement that became Special Olympics, the largest movement for acceptance and inclusion for people with intellectual disabilities in the history of the world. Her work transformed the lives of hundreds of millions of people across the globe, and they in turn are her living legacy."

Whatever your dream, pursue it. Believe in possibility.

photo from Washington Post, 1965. from Josh

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

where love is found

"My chief care should not be to find
pleasure or success,
health, or life or money or rest,
or even things like virtue or wisdom ---
still less their opposites pain, failure,
sickness, death.
But in all that happens my one desire
and my one joy should be to know:
Here is the thing that God has willed for me.
And in this, God's love is found."

Thomas Merton, New Seeds of Contemplation

Monday, August 10, 2009

The "Hootspa" of St. Laurence

It's the feast of St. Laurence, Deacon and Martyr, (258) who literally took the riches of the church and gave them to the poor and the sick. When he was commanded to "show me the money" by the jealous emperor Valerian he presented those same people while telling the emperor "these are the treasures of the church." Whoa! That took some faith, or at least some major hootspa on Laurence's part.

You can imagine the response of Valerian....not good - and Laurence was grilled to death. Of course that has been disputed over the centuries but it makes for a great story - and for the eating of waffles in commemoration....I kid you not!

This is one of those legendary martyr deaths that freaked me out as a child. I didn't care what Laurence had done in life - I could only concentrate on his manner of death and worry that God would call me to become a shish-ka-bob for Jesus....

So now as an adult I am in search of some deeper meaning in Laurence's story. I found it in Sam Portaro's "Brightest and Best" "Laurence's witness is indicative of the paradoxical nature of Christian living...We grow more constrained every day, more eager to gather in than to give away. We worry that our resources are diminishing and conservation is our only hope of survival, our overriding fear that what we have might be taken away - or worse, that we might be surpassed by someone else. We are afraid of dying, of being done to death by the many demands and the complexities of our living, afraid that we shall not be adequate to all that is asked of us." p. 136

St. Laurence, pray for us, that the flames of Divine love may burn away all traces of vice within us, and that we may be practical and zealous in the service of the poor. Amen.
(i bet you never view waffles the same after reading this)

Saturday, August 8, 2009

waiting for that next bar to appear

"It is as if we are all on a trapeze, swinging. Just as we become comfortable on one bar we have to let go, and wait, our feet firmly planted in mid-air, for the other bar to come into our grasp.
We can only let go, wait, and recover, because someone on the ground is shouting encouragement to us: "You can do it." God is the source of that encouragement, but the director is often the means for that encouragement to be heard and heeded."

Katherine M. Dyckman, SNJM

Friday, August 7, 2009

Children of God

We just wrapped up our Vacation Bible School at St. Paul's this week and so my thoughts are centered on children. So much energy! So little pretense! What you see is what you get. And nothing is held back for later. They are great teachers for those of us who have spent years building walls to hide behind.

I searched for a picture of Jesus with children and as is so often the case, Jesus looks like he just stepped out of Central Casting. But I was taken by surprise by this Asian Jesus, and in particular, with the way the artist captured the essence of childhood.

more from here

Thursday, August 6, 2009

64th anniversary of Hiroshima

"We live in a world of nuclear giants and ethical infants, in a world that has achieved brilliance without wisdom, power without conscience. We have solved the mystery of the atom and forgotten the lessons of the Sermon on The Mount. We know more about war than we know about peace, more about dying than we know about living." -General Omar Nelson Bradly - Armistice Day 1948

This is the last stanza of the "Prayer of Nonviolence" By John Dear (June, 2005)
"God of Nonviolence, Disarm my heart, and I shall be your instrument to disarm other hearts and the world. Lead me, God of nonviolence, with the whole human family, into your nonviolent reign of justice and peace where there is no more war, no more injustice, no more poverty, no more nuclear weapons, no more violence.I askof the nonviolent Jesus, our brother and our peace. Amen."

Wednesday, August 5, 2009

Please Yourself

"The love I gained
with such uphill effort
and self-defacement
was not meant for me at all
but for the me I created
to please them."

- Alice Miller

This face looks just how I felt as a child who was determined to gain the love of my parents -exhausted, cold & lifeless. Who are you trying to please? Do you see any resemblance in this face?

Tuesday, August 4, 2009


Welcome to my Makeover! What do you think? Ok, so maybe it's not as extreme as Susan Boyle's makeover but we've definitely made some changes around here. Do you see the differences? The background is deeper in color, the header is smaller and centered, the margins are wider and how about those Celtic fonts? Aren't they grand? I have Jill @ Blogs by Sneaky Momma to thank for this delightful new look. Please visit her site for the most reasonable rates anywhere - and i do mean reasonable! You might not want an entire overhaul so she also offers smaller fixes and great tutorials at Sneaky Momma Blog Design. Check her out! Now...back to our regular programming!

Monday, August 3, 2009

putting everything in its place - or not

When I was kid we diagrammed sentences in every English class -and I loved it! I even did it during "free time" when I wasn't reading about the short lives of virgin martyrs. (Hey, we didn't have a large selection of books to choose from during "free time".)

There was something about knowing where each and every word of a sentence belonged. I now look back at this as my first attempt at desconstructionism :-) I learned much about the parts of speech but not so much about stringing the sentences into thoughts and seeing the whole picture.

I carried this love of diagramming over into my life. I came up with "life diagramming" - the process of controlling all things at all times. I believed if I could place everyone and everything in the proper place and keep them there, I would have a great life. Of course, this was like trying to put clothing on Jello - and it had disastrous consequences, particularly for my family. Being a strong 8 on the Enneagram, I love to be in control and this is still a daily challenge for me. And again, I wasn't looking at the whole - just the pieces.

Years later I began attending a bible study in which we did something similar to diagramming. It was called inductive study and I loved it! It was a process of taking the scriptures apart, parsing the words, digging for the truth, marking the verbs, and coming up with what God was telling us. My favorite part was the colored pencils. In the photo below you can see from my bible how much I enjoyed this. But the parts never came together for me - I wasn't able to piece the stories together. And so I moved on.

And I'm telling you all this because this poem from today's Writer's Almanac with Garrison Keillor brought back these memories. I like the humor, the action, and the messiness of the parts of speech in this writing. And maybe the parts do need some control but from where I look at life at this moment, I'm not that interested in the bits and pieces - I want to focus on the whole.

"The adjectives all ganged up on the nouns,
insistent, loud, demanding, inexact,
their Latinate constructions flashing. The pronouns
lost their referents: They were dangling, lacked
the stamina to follow the prepositions' lead
in, on, into, to, toward, for, or from.
They were beset by passive voices and dead
metaphors, conjunctions shouting But! or And!

The active verbs were all routinely modified
by adverbs, that endlessly and colorlessly ran
into trouble with the participles sitting
on the margins knitting their brows like gerunds
(dangling was their problem, too). The author
was nowhere to be seen; was off somewhere."

"The Student Theme" by Ronald Wallace, from The Uses of Adversity.
© The University of Pittsburgh Press, 1998. Reprinted with permission

Sunday, August 2, 2009

living or dead faith

"Tradition is the living faith
of dead people
to which we must add our chapter
while we have the gift of life.
Traditionalism is the dead faith
of living people
who fear that if anything changes,
the whole enterprise will crumble."

--Jaroslav Pelikan
Pilfered from here.