Monday, February 28, 2011

Screwtape smacks me in the face this morning...

One of our great allies at present is the Church itself.  Do not misunderstand me.  I do not mean the Church as we see her spread out through all time and space and rooted in eternity, terrible as an army with banners.  That, I confess, is a spectacle which makes our boldest tempters uneasy.  But fortunately it is quite invisible to these humans.  All your patient sees is the half-finished, sham Gothic erection on the new building estate.  When he goes inside, he sees the local grocer with rather an oily expression on his face bustling up to offer him one shiny little book containing a liturgy which neither of them understands, and one shabby little book containing corrupt texts of a number of religious lyrics, mostly bad, and in very small print.  When he gets to his pew and looks round him he sees just that selection of his neighbours whom he has hitherto avoided.  You want to lean pretty heavily on those neighbours.  Make his mind flit to and fro between an expression like "the body of Christ" and the actual faces in the next pew.  It matters very little, of course, what kind of people that next pew really contains.  You may know one of them to be a great warrior on the Enemy's side.  No matter.  Your patient, thanks to Our Father Below, is a fool.  Provided that any of those neighbours sing out of tune, or have boots that squeak, or double chins, or odd clothes, the patient will quite easily believe that their religion must therefore be somehow ridiculous.  At his present stage, you see, he has an idea of "Christians" in his mind which he supposes to be spiritual but which, in fact, is largely pictorial.  His mind is full of togas and sandals and armour and bare legs and the mere fact that the other people in church wear modern clothes is a real - though of course unconscious - difficulty to him.  Never let it come to the surface; never let him ask what he expected them to look like.  Keep everything hazy in his mind now, and you will have all eternity wherein to amuse yourself by producing in him the peculiar kind of clarity which Hell affords.

C.S. Lewis, The Screwtape Letters

Sunday, February 27, 2011

I took this photo before mass last night.  I love the way the light streams through the stained glass windows of my church as the sun shines in the late evening.

My son, his wife and baby came over for lunch today.  I love to watch them.  Such a beautiful young family, their relationship is warm and easy.  They smile a lot, they have lots of humor between them.   His wife has a better attitude about him being overseas for a year than I do.  She is younger.  She is not as rigid I guess.  I remember being able to roll with the punches, so to speak, a lot better when I was younger.

Last night I took my computer and went to bed with a movie.  I watched "The 13th Day" a nice film about the apparitions of Our Lady at Fatima.   It put my sadness and worry into perspective.  

Thank you for your prayers.  I appreciate them more than words can say.  

Saturday, February 26, 2011


Last night I couldn't resist snapping a few photos of the cemetery next to the church where I attended 5:15 mass.  It was so beautiful, everything was covered with white ice.  I am afraid my iPhone photo does it no justice whatsoever.

Today my son called to tell me some news that took the wind right out of my sails.  After 17 years in the Army and National Guard, he has been unable to pass his physical and is out of a job.  He, with the new wife and baby.  He injured his knee in December and hence cannot pass the physical.  But it is an aggravation of an injury he sustained in Iraq when he was there 4 years ago.  I cannot believe it is over just like that.  I could go on and on in a political vein, but I am a mother and I know that disqualifies me as a rational observer.  I am much too emotional about this.

He has been looking for a job and found one.  He will either go to Afghanistan, Kuwait, or Iraq for a year.  I heard this and said, without one molecule of irony, "NO, You CAN'T go!"  As IF his mother telling him he can't go would make a difference.   It is the only job he can find where he can make a decent wage.  And when he comes home, he will use the GI bill to go to school.

I actually went to bed after hearing this.  And I shook.  And cried.  And prayed.

The year he was in Iraq was the longest of my life.  He said it was easier on him than me, but he is that kind of guy.  I don't want him to leave his family.  I don't want any of this.

I am going to mass now and I will pray my brains out.  I need to stop this ridiculous attitude of mine.  I feel selfish to ask for prayers for my son and myself, but I am asking anyway.  Thank you.

Friday, February 25, 2011

Longing for Lent

Is it wrong to say that I look forward to Lent each year?  Some years it sneaks up, seemingly just after Christmas.  This year, it is well into March.  It feels like there is something missing in these late February days.  And it is Lent.  

This year, I want so badly to be able to go to mass every day for Lent.  But I don't see how I can logistically do this.  I guess if I really wanted to badly enough, I would find a way.  

Maybe I should pray for the willingness to do something pleasing to God this Lent.

Thursday, February 24, 2011

Another Reason

As I was rolling around on my way back to the Church, grasping at straws for a more "palatable" faith, I was struck by some pretty major differences between us Catholics and other Christians.

I dated a man for a while who considered himself quite a "spiritual" fellow.  Every morning he read from a book of daily something-or-other.  Affirmations?  (delusions?)  The book was supposedly "Christian," but was all about the theology of plenty of money and a life with no illness or pain.    We took a camping trip once and he shared this morning ritual with me.  I was appalled.  I grilled him about it.  HOW do you know that God wants you to have tons of money?  HOW do you know that God is interested in providing you with good health every day?    Maybe God wants you to suffer!  Maybe illness or poverty would provide you with the greatest good!

I might not have made it back to the fold by then, but clearly, I was thinking like a Catholic.  I don't know how one can erase that part of a soul or mind.  I never managed.  

The way I "feel" is not an accurate gauge of my spiritual condition.  Some of my "happiest" times in life have been when I have been immersed in sin.  

It is not easy to live your entire life in an effort to please God.  The Ten Commandments are difficult to obey.  I am not complaining, but I am stating what I think is the obvious.  This is NOT the easy way.  This way does not lead to everything going my way and no more unhappiness ever darkening my door.  

I have to guard against shallow emotional prayer and worship.  I can get goosebumps when I listen to a song from my drunken youth.  That is not the kind of reverence I need to bring to my maker.   I go to mass, not to feel good, but to worship God.  It is not about me - it is about God.  

This is the real deal.  Pain, suffering, and all.  And I wouldn't have it any other way.  

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Imagine... and Pray...

I saw this video over at Shadowlands.  It nearly took my breath away.   It is so powerful.

I thank God this man had the courage to come out and speak honestly about abortion.

Manny sent me a link to his obituary.

Monday, February 21, 2011

This Novice's Impression of The Latin Mass

I went to Latin Mass this morning.  It is a small church, but very pretty.  They are building a new church and I believe it will be grand.  This one is not grand.  Just a typical suburban church, about 40 years old.

I sped through town to get there because I underestimated how long it would take to get there.  It occurred to me how ridiculous it is to break laws in order to get to mass on time, but I did it anyway.  And I did get there on time.

I sat in the back so that I would be able to watch what others were doing.  Unfortunately, I sat behind a woman with 8 children.  I didn't know that when I sat down because only a few of them were there, but they all came and went throughout the mass.  I don't know where they were going, but they went there a lot.   They were very cute, all the girls had dresses and veils on.  The boys were dressed nicely.  I don't know how one woman could manage that many kids, I would say she did a pretty good job.  But it was still a lot of coming and going and very distracting.

And though I grew up pre-Vatican II, I had a hard time figuring out what was going on.  I could barely hear the priest.  I could see when he moved from one side of the altar to the other, and also hear the bells, and those were basically my only cues as to what was going on.  There was no homily.  It was 100% latin, 100% of the time.

The best part?   The Holy Eucharist, received on the tongue, while kneeling.

I am not sure what I think about the rest.  I think I need to go there on a Sunday to see what that is like.

I wish I could have heard the priest.  As I said, I grew up with the latin mass - and as I attended Catholic Schools, I was an A student in Latin.  I know my latin.  But if I can't hear it, I still don't know what is being said.

I felt lost.

(And there are no photos because I was entirely too intimidated to snap a picture)

Going to Latin Mass this Morning

I am going to Latin Mass this morning.  When I awoke this morning, I checked for the daily mass time, and was so happy to see that I can go.  I need to iron my veil.  I need to wear a skirt that goes past my knees.  

The older I get, the more I have anxiety about doing new things.  A year ago my kids gave me a garmin for my car and that helps somewhat as I drive to new places.  But I still get butterflies in my gut when I anticipate doing something I haven't done before.  

I went to this church many years ago, on my way to work, when they had a 6:30 a.m. mass.  I hadn't realized that I should have had my head covered and that I should not have been wearing slacks.  I felt very uncomfortable through that mass, I knew I had been unintentionally disrespectful by my dress.  I found this website with helpful advice, I hope it is accurate.  

Today I pray that I can go to this mass without doing anything "wrong."

Full report to follow...

Sunday, February 20, 2011

Sunday Miscellanea

(Photo taken last spring.... it is still brown here now)
This morning, through a bunch of circumstances that kept me from my normal mass times (either 5 p.m. on Saturday or 7 a.m. on Sunday), I attended a mass I never attend.  At 9 a.m. at my church there is a beautiful choir, accompanied by organ.  They sing actual Sacred Music!  Without drums or tambourines!  No flutes or guitars!!!    Who knew this was actually going on at my very own church?  I didn't.  It will require a lot of maneuvering to get this to be my new schedule, but I think I am going to make an effort to do so.

I am sorry, I know I shouldn't be snotty about music, but I am.  

I have tomorrow off, which I am grateful for.  I only worked two days last week (because of illness), but I am still exhausted.  My coach wouldn't let me run the 7 miles I was scheduled to do yesterday morning, instead I walked 5.  And I am beat!  I love Sunday, I love the fact that I can legitimately sit myself down and work on my Biblical School homework.  I am not slacking!  I am keeping the Sabbath!

This morning I met with a woman who had asked to speak to me about some issues she is having.  We had coffee (well, actually I had water), and she talked.  Finally, I told her I needed to leave to go to church.  She asked what church I attended and I told her.  She told me she is Catholic.   I had no idea.  She told me she is thinking of returning to the church!  YAY!  We talked about all the churches in the neighborhood. She asked me about the one closest to her house.  I told her I frequently go to 6:30 a.m. weekday mass there.  Her eyes lit up.  6:30 in the morning?  Yep.  She said she might go.  I probably should have closed the deal by saying "I'll meet you there tomorrow!"  But I didn't.  

I am still a work in progress....

Saturday, February 19, 2011

When Given Lemons...

I am making a Strawberry-Lemon Curd Tart for a party I am invited to tonight.  It should be good.  It may eventually mean that I go to mass tomorrow instead of tonight - I didn't realize this thing was going to take all afternoon to make.  The crust and the lemon curd are chilling now.  And then there is another step, and another chill, and then finishing it.  It sounds unlikely I will have that all done within the next hour.  But who knows?

I am a news junkie.  People who know me well marvel at the fact that I can watch CNN all day - especially if they know my politics - and religion.  About once a month, I say, "Never again!  I am never watching that horrible network again!"  But I do.  Again, and again.  Today I have been watching the horrible killings in Libya.  The demonstrations in Madison.  And they reported on the Priest Abuse Scandal in Philadelphia.  It made me cry.  I had only read online versions of the story before, I hadn't realized the extent of it.  My prayers are joined with yours, because I know that some of my readers are sending heart-broken prayers about this.  So sad.

And then the people screaming in Madison, WI.  I am sorry to say that I am unsympathetic.  It sounds terrible, I know.  But last week while I was sick, I got an e-mail from our new governor, telling me I was taking ANOTHER 2% cut in pay.  And my job is in risk AGAIN.  And this makes three years in a row that I have taken cuts in pay.  It adds up.  And nothing else is going down.  On the same night I got the notice of the cut in pay, I got a notice from one of my retail credit accounts (which thankfully is paid off), they are now going to charge 24% interest!  WHAT?  I will not use it again.  I also got a notice from my bank that all the fees have increased by 25%.  OK.  Now my utilities, I cannot opt not to use... that has gone up as well.  And I paid $37. for a tank of gas last week.  

But I have a job.  It is a job that I feel good about.  It is a good use of my skills, talents, and abilities.  I feel that I am contributing to the welfare of the mentally ill of this state every day by doing my job.  I love my boss.  I love many of my co-workers.  I have worked there for 16 and a half years.  I am working towards a good retirement.  I cannot even remotely imagine screaming in the public square about how I am getting screwed.  

I believe in God.  That makes everything different.  I know where my final desired destination is, and nothing referenced above is going to effect that in any way at all.  

I think my dough may be chilled enough to roll out now... 

Thursday, February 17, 2011

Tomorrow is Blog Abstinence Friday

One of my favorite bloggers over at The Little Way has proposed that this Friday be a day of blog abstinence, I quote her here:
In light of the horror that has made Philadelphia the epicenter of moral decay, perhaps you will join me in making this Friday a day of blog abstinence.  We will use the time we normally spend reading our favorite blogs, commenting and posting, in prayer for all the outrages committed against the Sacred Heart of Jesus, particularly here in the City of Brotherly Love.

What do you say?  Will you join me?  We will abstain from reading and writing on Friday, February 18th.  We will offer this small sacrifice in reparation.  Can you get the word out to other bloggers?

I do not live in Philadelphia, but I certainly can feel the pain of these scandals.   And I can certainly skip my blogging time and use that time and energy for prayer.  And I hope you will join me.  

p.s., I am well again today, Praise God.  I have an entirely new appreciation for health and especially being pain-free.  (and sorry about the pink font, I am having technical issues this morning.)

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Never Again

Never again will I use the word "suffering" without a great deal of reverence.  I have had cause over the last 36 hours to regret what I wrote on Monday night.

I woke yesterday morning to a sudden urge to vomit.  And then I did that for several hours.  Then the fever came upon me.  For someone whose normal temperature doesn't even get to 98º, a temperature of 101º is high and very unpleasant.  Then the racking pains.  I could barely turn over in my bed.  Which I left for only a few hours yesterday and only then to go to the sofa and wait for a friend to bring me Gatorade.

I am now actually upright.  I still didn't go to work today.  I still haven't eaten.  I feel like I am 100 years old.  And I don't much like it.

In another hour my friend is coming over to put in a new toilet for me.  She has timed this to coincide with the delivery of my new refrigerator.  So she can make sure they do everything right.  Oh, I am so grateful for her friendship and her home repair talents!  Yesterday she walked into my house and said "Oh, your house is so pretty!"  And I thanked her.  Not so much for the compliment, but for her role in making my house so pretty.  She put the bamboo floors in a few years ago.  She painted the living room. She found me a new dishwasher and stove last year at bargain basement rates, and now a fridge for about half price (still pretty pricey though!) which will be installed today.

I hope I can remain upright for all of this activity, but I may very well have to go back to bed.

I am so grateful for the blessing of my normally good health.  Also grateful that I am motivated to do a lot towards keeping it that way.  This little illness has hit me like a ton of bricks.  Very scary.

Monday, February 14, 2011


St. Catherine of Siena - who suffered with joy

As I sit, trying to get my homework done for Biblical School, which needs to be done in one hour, I am contemplating suffering.  

I left work today because my back hurt so bad I knew I needed to take a muscle relaxer and go to bed.  Which I did.  When I awoke, my back pain was tremendously decreased which actually surprised me.  Unfortunately, it was joined by a migraine.   I have a migraine which is also causing nausea.

I wonder if I should embrace these sufferings and try to suffer them with joy.  

Or should I do what I normally do and try to endure without complaining too much and take medication if I can and try to get rid of whatever ails me?  I do "offer up" my pains for the souls in purgatory, and always have.  But that doesn't mean I wish to prolong them.  

When I was a hateful "former" Catholic (which I don't believe you can ever really be), one of things I hated the most about our faith culture was the whole worship of suffering.  I remember my mother and her friends talking about their friends and saying "oh, she has SUFFERED so!" as if that made her saintly.  I didn't buy it.

But I am rethinking that and most things.

I would normally ask for your prayers.  Maybe I should ask for prayers that my pain be extended?  I don't feel that one in my heart - at all.

Sunday, February 13, 2011

Sunday Night

I got to spend all day today with my littlest granddaughter.  She is four months and three days old.  I kinda like her!  We took a little nap this afternoon and when I got up, I looked at her little self on my big bed and had to take a picture.  Of course, I took tons of other photos of her, but I don't feel I have the right to post them here without my son and daughter-in-law's permission - and I am not even going to ask.  

I think I better lighten up here on this blog.  I guess I am sounding very unhappy.  I am not really.  I just share stuff as I think of it.  My last post retold my coming to terms with being a divorced woman in the Catholic Church. I think I spent more time talking about the pain of it than the acceptance of it.  I really am fine with it - but on Marriage Sunday and Valentine's Day, it is easy to feel bad about "being alone."  

But I am not alone.  Far from it.

Today I got to spend the day with a tiny little girl who has captured my heart.  We said the rosary this afternoon.  Well, you know she didn't actually "say" it, but I held her as I prayed the rosary.  And it was wonderful.

Thank God.  

Saturday, February 12, 2011

World Marriage Day - a.k.a. Complete Alienation...

World Marriage Day
Tonight at mass the priest gave a very thoughtful homily about the readings for the fifth Sunday in ordinary time and World Marriage Day.  He even managed to tie them together.  And I didn't even cry.  I didn't even want to walk out.  And that, my friends, is progress for me.

It was on Valentine's Day in 1998 that I went to mass to get away from the media Love Extravaganza that is Valentine's Day.  I didn't realize I was likely to hear more of the same at mass. The homily that day was given by the deacon.  He started by saying he was a "married deacon," that marriage came first, and that the family was the foundation of the Catholic Church.  He went on and on and I looked around and noticed, as if for the first time, that I was surrounded by young families.  Men, women, and children.  That night I saw no other single people.  I started crying because I became convinced that I was being foolish by trying to convince myself that I actually belonged in the Church.  I became convinced that there was no place for me as a divorced woman.  Never mind that I actually live a life of chastity (which is not exactly fun) - no one knows that, they just know I am divorced.  

I walked out of the church in tears and didn't come back for over a year.  Maybe 2 or 3 years, I really don't remember.

On my lunch break on April 20, 1999, I sat down to write an e-mail to the pastor of that church.  I wanted to ask for his help with this crisis that was keeping me away from the church.   I was sitting at my desk and quickly checked the news before I wrote the letter.  And saw that there was a shooting at a high school only a few miles away.   I was faced with the fact that one of my employees had two children at that school.  I said a quick prayer and called her over and told her there was a shooting at Columbine High School.  She took off like a bolt of lightening - as did many others throughout the hospital who had children there.  

I sat transfixed at my computer, trying to comprehend what was going on.  The director of the accounting department had a television in his office, we gathered around it.  He wasn't there, he left when he heard what was going on because he had a daughter who attended school there.   

As you might imagine, I totally forgot about the letter to my pastor.  

The president and the first lady attended the funeral of one of the victims.  At my church.  With my pastor.  

It was a nightmarish time to live here.  Everything took on the feel of another world.  One of my friends' niece died that day.  Another friend had two daughters who were on field trips that day and were safe.  She uses that as another excuse to be an atheist... I have no idea what kind of logic that is.  

Actually, now that I think of it, I do know when I came back to the church.  It was after 9/11.  I knew I had to go.  And I knew that I belonged to the Catholic Church.  And that I was letting the evil one work at me.  So, I came back - again.  

And sometimes I do need to remind myself that if it weren't for little old ladies at mass every single day and at their rosaries praying reverently, the world would be a much worse place, if it even existed.  They are not the young families who are the "foundation" of the church - but I would say they play a pretty big role.  And that is what I aspire to.  

I have made my mistakes, but I have repented and I can only work with what I have in reality today.  I desire with all my heart to be pleasing to the Lord.  I think that is worth something - even if I am not "married with children."  

Oh, and Happy St. Valentine's Day to all of those who have managed to have happy marriages.
Mary Christine.

Friday, February 11, 2011

Religious, not spiritual

This above the door "I am the way and the truth and the life."  No one comes to the Father, but by me.  The Gospel of St. John 14:6

I thought I was being random because I am so tired.  I titled this with one of my favorite things to say "I am Religious, not spiritual."  It astounds people because they are so accustomed to hearing the reverse.  

I picked the photo out of my library because I love it.  It was a wonderful church I went to for mass the night before my marathon in Long Beach, California.  I didn't want to go.  I had to get ready for the race.  I had a million things to do.  I didn't know the area at all, I just had the mass information from the internet.  I was a bit afraid because I thought the neighborhoods were a bit dicey.  I had to get a cab.  I nearly called my older brother who I adore - he was in the seminary for 10 years before deciding he really didn't have a calling to be a priest.... and he is sometimes my best Catholic friend.  I was going to ask him if I could PUH-LEASE skip mass.  But I knew I couldn't.  So I just called for a cab and went.  And it was glorious.  

The inscription above the door hit me like a ton of bricks after I posted this.  No One Comes To The Father, But By Me.    By Jesus.  No One.  Wow.  

So for those who are "deeply spiritual" but not "religious," how is this going to work?  Is the beauty of a sunset going to see to it that you find eternal life?  Or a tree?  I don't think so.

But they are so seductive because they make no demands.

Our Jesus makes a lot of demands upon us.  And it is a lifetime's work to meet them.    

This is not the easy way in this life.  But it is the Only way.

Thursday, February 10, 2011

Covering the head...

Fr. Z. has a post about women covering their heads at church.   This is something I have thought a lot about in recent years.  I was happy to see that a great number of women are in favor of covering their heads.    Maybe that is an artifact of the demographic of his readers.  I don't know.

Two or three years ago, I bought the above mantilla to wear to mass.  I wore it a few times.  I felt like I was being a show-off.  Like "look at me!  I am SO holy!" so I stopped wearing it.

I wish we all wore them.

I grew up wearing a veil and I miss it.  When you put on your veil, you knew you were in a "different" place.  In the presence of God.  A place set apart.  And you behaved accordingly.

Wednesday, February 9, 2011

It was kind of an angry day...

That's the view from my office window.  In the foreground is a Christmas cactus that is currently in bloom.  Also a bit of a flower from a shamrock.  And a whole lot of snow.  I work at a psychiatric hospital and two of the psychiatrists, totally independent of one another, yesterday mentioned that this weather is beginning to effect their moods.  Well, me too.

On the way to work, a big honkin' truck got behind me and was tailgating me.  After a moment, he decided that tailgating would be more fun if accompanied by gesturing of the one finger variety.  I had a truck in front of me, and an aggressive truck behind me.  Going 40 mph on a sheet of ice.  It was not pleasant.  After the big angry guy almost ran me off the road, I opted to call "911" and report him.  

After I got off the phone, I felt bad for a moment.  I ran through my familiar refrain "what is the matter with you?  You were just praying one second, and the next second, you are calling the police on someone - where does this come from?"  I answered myself and said "I might just have saved someone else's life if they get that guy off the road, because he was out of control."  I was not trying to be vindictive, I just wanted the guy to be off the road and not endangering anyone else.

When I got to work, I saw an e-mail from a co-worker.  She forwarded me the too cute for words story from CNN about "confessing on the go" - the confession app that I got my nose out of joint about yesterday.  I sent her back a reply that was probably a bit too terse.  She is a Catholic who has not been to confession for over twenty years - I told her it was an aid to actual confession and she was welcome to see the app on my phone.  (not very subtle probably).  

Tonight I saw that the local news is featuring a story on the app - I am going to go to bed and skip getting angry with them.  I would just rather not.

Why do people think the Catholic Church is fair game for mockery?  

They would not mock Islam, nor Judaism - only Christianity, and the Catholic brand seems to be the most likely target.  It makes me mad.  

I will say my prayers and go to bed and hope to not hear another word about this Confession app.

Tuesday, February 8, 2011

There's an app for that...

I heard of this application on CNN this morning.  The tone of Kyra Phillips and meteorologist Rob Marciano was horrifying, it was a huge joke.  She reported over and over that this will save hundreds of "man-hours" for the Catholic Church.  As if you could confess your sins to your iPhone and have your sins forgiven.  It was ludicrous and apparently she found it quite hilarious.  

I downloaded the app to see what on earth it is.  

It is a very nice application.  It is a guide to confession.  It lists the Ten Commandments and has the usual questions that any examination of conscience goes through.  It has several versions of the Act of Contrition as well as other prayers, such as the Our Father and Hail Mary.  It would be a great way for a person who hadn't been to confession for years to refresh their memory as to what to do in the confessional - and before - without being embarrassed.  

I think this is in keeping with Pope Benedict's recent declaration that social media can be used for good.  

But I am certainly sick of hearing this application being mocked.

One of my friends did it on Facebook today.  His friends had several rude remarks that were extremely insulting to the Church.  I took Pope Benedict at his word and posted a comment that said that the application is an aid to actual confession and was not meant to be a substitute for the Sacrament of Reconciliation.  

I did try to find a way to write Kyra Phillips and let her know that I didn't appreciate her attitude toward a Sacrament of my Church - but I couldn't figure out how.  

Monday, February 7, 2011


My granddaughters, age 10 and 7, came over for lunch on Saturday.  I had been out with my running club on Saturday morning and immediately went shopping afterwards for something I could make quickly for lunch.  Everyone loves my homemade pizza and doesn't seem to differentiate between the two kinds of pizza I make.  One that is composed of homemade sauce (from scratch - start with tomatoes, and not in a can) and dough that is legit - ready after hours of rising.  Or the other kind, the kind I made on Saturday:  homemade dough, with rapid rising yeast, and sauce bought in the refrigerated section.  I do think they like the first kind better, but no one ever complains when I make the quick way on occasion.  

But I failed to make dessert.  

My daughter asked me what was for dessert.  I sheepishly told her that I didn't have dessert.  She said "Oh no!  I overheard Madeline telling Olivia that 'Nana ALWAYS makes us dessert!' How odd that this is the day you aren't."  We quickly searched my pantry and freezer for something, anything to put together for dessert.  I had nothing!  Finally, I found two flour tortillas in my freezer and knew it would be OK.  

After we had eaten our pizza, I went into the kitchen to make this little treat.  

Place a flour tortilla on a cookie sheet.  Butter it liberally - and do NOT use margarine.  Sprinkle it with sugar - again liberally.  Then sprinkle cinnamon over all.  Place into a hot oven, upwards of 500º.  Watch carefully.  The butter will melt.  The sugar will melt right into it.  It will brown.  When you take it out of the oven, let it cool for a minute, then slice.  It will be a sweet, crispy delight.  

The kids loved it and had no idea that on this particular Saturday, Nana had not planned to make dessert!

Sunday, February 6, 2011

Extra Credit?

I drove through white-out conditions, in a foot of snow already on the ground, to get to mass this morning.  I was scared, but asked God to get me to and from mass - and he did.  The parish I belong to is 3 miles from my house.  I was actually too afraid to drive those three miles and instead went to the church one mile away.  It certainly wasn't crowded!  

My entry into Catholic Blogging was through Ros (Shadowlands).  I started reading her blog first.  (I am very sad when she stops blogging, as she has now.)  I was surprised when I saw her say that some of the other blogs frightened her.  I am beginning to understand.  I hope it is a good thing, but I am not sure.

This morning at mass, the deacon gave the homily.  The gospel reading was about being the light of the world and the salt of the earth.  He used that to talk about being a good person.  

You know, I used to believe that being "a good person" was good enough to get me to Eternal Life in heaven with all the Angels and Saints.  Not so much anymore.  

But I do know that Jesus died for my sins and I don't want that to be a wasted effort in my case.  

Friday, February 4, 2011

First Friday of February 2011

The Promises of the Sacred Heart of Jesus to St. Margaret Mary Alacoque

1. "I will give them all the graces necessary in their state of life."
2. "I will establish peace in their homes."
3. "I will comfort them in their afflictions."
4. "I will be their secure refuge during life, and above all in death."
5. "I will bestow a large blessing upon all their undertakings."
6. "Sinners shall find in My Heart the source and the infinite ocean of mercy."
7. "Tepid souls shall grow fervent."
8. "Fervent souls shall quickly mount to high perfection."
9. "I will bless every place where a picture of My Heart shall be set up and honored."
10. "I will give to priests the gift of touching the most hardened hearts."
11. "Those who shall promote this devotion shall have their names written in My Heart, never to be blotted out."
12. "I promise thee in the excessive mercy of My Heart that My all-powerful love will grant to all those who communicate on the First Friday in nine consecutive months, the grace of final penitence; they shall not die in My disgrace nor without receiving the Sacraments; My Divine heart shall be their safe refuge in this last moment." 

Wednesday, February 2, 2011


Two years ago, one of my neighbors asked me to be her sponsor when she decided to go through the process to be confirmed.  We spent a lot of time at church that Lent.  She was to be confirmed at the Easter Vigil.  It wasn't my parish, but another, closer parish.  

I think it was on Palm Sunday that the selection of music for Mass finally got to me.  I said to my friend's husband, "the world will be such a better place once my generation dies."  I thought he would laugh or tell me I was being extreme.  Instead he just nodded and agreed.  

It is almost more than I can bear to see another group of grey haired overweight hipsters, strumming their guitars, banging their drums, and swinging their hips a little as they sing what would best be described as campfire songs.  And it matters not where I go to mass in my area, they are everywhere.

I have to pray to not be so critical.  

But I wonder if I should instead pray to find a church where there aren't such impediments to experiencing the Mass as it should be.

I guess I can never go wrong to pray and God will send me where I belong, as long as I am open and willing.

Tuesday, February 1, 2011

Frigid February First

That's a photo of my front porch - the Christmas lights are still there.  They are solar and I am in no hurry to take them down since I am not paying a cent for them to light up every single night.

It is supposed to get down to 21º below zero fahrenheit tonight.  Last night it got down to 9 below and that kept me awake for a portion of the night.  I wake up in the night with horrible fears.  Last night it was frozen pipes, water damage, bankruptcy, inability to pay for repairs, resulting mold, and the ruination of my home and its value.  Oh, my mind does not reason well in the night.  It is best for me to just stay asleep all night, if only I could!

In the daytime I plan wonderful things like my training for 3 half marathons this summer, followed by a fall marathon.  The trip to Maine for the marathon with my 31 year old daughter.

I think about whether I should take another icon class in June - it is expensive.  $775.  For six full days of beautiful instruction in the art of icon writing.  Six days of near silence and prayer.  While prayerfully making another icon.  Five days of vacation from work and all its troubles, and entry into another world.  (Did I just convince myself?  maybe.)

But from the hours of midnight to four, my mind is full of frightening things and nothing seems right.  I will pray for a full night's sleep tonight.

Deo Gratias.