Sunday, December 26, 2010

Merry Christmas Potpourri, Day 2 of 12

There is so much to report and contemplate about Christmas this year.  My sister questioned the lifelong work of my father because he is a psychiatrist and the DSM no longer recognizes narcissism and homosexuality as disorders.  Dad's response was, "I have no response to that."  Understand that as a Catholic psychiatrist Dad has participated in exorcisms, and fought the wave of atheism rampant in his field.

My nephew and Godson Johnny had a Christmas crisis.  His sister Grace prodded him with questions regarding his belief in Santa.  He said,  "If Mom and Dad have been lying to me about this all along, then I have to run away."  More to come.

Some dear friends came to visit family and we convinced them to spend a few hours with us.  Our son was bereft when their boys didn't come along.  The baby was a beauteous example of tiny girlhood.  The parents, including us, caught up on the latest and fell back into the friendship that cannot be broken by time or distance.  There is something so deep and wonderful about the depth of love in friendship.  No wonder C.S. Lewis listed it among the Four Loves.  I love them so.  There is no way to lose that bond, but we sure wish it was more frequent.

This was a weird Christmas gift exchange.  We decided to exchange only 'As Seen On T.V.' gifts.  We came home with a kangaroo keeper, a cookie maker,an open-it, a swivel sweeper, and two pairs of dust mopping slippers.  The exchange was a laugh out loud scream, and I strongly recommend it as a theme for any family.  However, there were no snuggies exchanged, and 4 kangaroo keepers.  A word to the wise... Dig Deeper,  and don't discount the importance of the immortal words, "But that's not all.  You'll also receive..."  A selection of gifts exchanged are advertised below...

Merry Christmas to all and to all a good Night!

Monday, December 20, 2010

Public School Pedo***** are no Surprise!!!

 Certain words have been censured in order to complete this post!  I would like to link you to the London Daily Mail, but I cannot.  I would like to link you to the Creative minority report, but I cannot.  I would love for you to read an article about  ped**hiles in public schools before your read the post below, but I cannot.  You see,  every attempt I make is scrubbed for content.  Find the story.  Read it.  Then read below:

This is, sadly. old news. Even if the number of offenders who have previous convictions were kept out of schools, those who are sex**lly attracted to children will be attracted to jobs that allow contact with children.

Psychiatrists will often tell you that ped**hiles are incurable. That is why the Diagnostic Service Manual has dropped pe**philes from their list of disorders, unless the pe##phile's own life is hurt by his/her actions. It doesn't matter if there are others who are hurt, only the pe##phile. This is the same reasoning used by the DSM to deny hom**exuality, incest, best**lity, and a host of other abhorrent practices as being disordered.

The ultimate goal of those who protect destructively deviant sex**lity is to force us to keep our eyes on the red herring. It goes like this:

"See that Catholic priest? He chose to never have s** again. Isn't that weird? Everyone has s**. It's as normal as breathing. Even the Chileans in the coal mine had to be having s** with each other because, well, you can't live without it can you? Boys will be boys and that means they never think above their waist for more than a few seconds at a time. Given the choice between food and s**, most men would choose..."

Sorry for the Harry Reid-like mention of the Chilean miners. This kind of insanity drives me nuts.

We live in a culture of death: Death to commitment through fruitless s**, death to love through meaningless s*, death to friendship through the assumption of s**, death to children through the assault of s**...

The truth is, most people throughout history have lived without sex for most of their lives.  They started to have s** when they were fertile, and the ceased to have s** when they were not.  With the onset of fertility came responsibility.  We remember Casanova because he was an exception.

Do we really want to make the exception the rule?

Saturday, December 11, 2010

The Humbly Suspicious Thoughts of St. Joseph, Model Husband and Father

During the Middle Ages, when Passion and Mystery Plays were performed by guilds for whole towns, The York Mystery Cycle presented Joseph's dilemma as a combination of both Suspicion theory and the Humility theory.  His lines before the appearance of the Angel, as I recall, go something like this:

"Oh God, I'm sorry I've been so foolish.  Why would I think that a pretty young thing like Mary would be interested in an old coot like me?  My hair is gray and my beard is scraggly. I wouldn't have the energy to be the kind of husband a young woman wants these days.  I'll just quietly send her away, and do my best to provide for her so that she and the Baby don't come to any harm."

So he is suspicious of Mary's fidelity, but humbled by his recognition of his own inadequacy.  Rather than punishing her for what this play presents as Joseph's doubt's, he decides to send her away.

I wish I could do justice to how funny Joseph's lines are.  Every  man in the audience would have howling at Joseph's lament.

So maybe the answer is not suspicion or humility, but both as part of the human condition.  It certainly makes for a deeper performance by actor's, and is a more human response.

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

You might interpret this as the bishops are tired of short and skinny presidents.

That's a quote from Archbishop Timothy Dolan, new president of the USCCB.  God bless him in his work.  We are blessed to have him.  More later....

Saturday, November 6, 2010

Perparing for the Silencing of the Little Guy

As Williams starts his new full-time job on Fox and Olbermann is suspended from MSNBC, I can't help but be drawn into a conspiracy theory.  I know, conspiracy theories are bad, we did land on the moon, after all.  But the truth is that people do sometimes conspire.  Sometimes for good, sometimes for bad, but people conspire.

This is evident in a brief selected history of television journalism in the last 50 years:

  • Walter Cronkite, Dan Rather, and David Brinkley (among others) subtly led the American public to left-leanings throughout their time on the air waves.

  • "News magazines" like 60 minutes, 20/20, and Nightline expanded the role of opinion laced 'investigative' journalism on T.V.
  • The expansion of Talk radio began a backlash among liberal t.v. news broadcasters to provide more venues for opinion, particularly as 24 hour news cycles were created by cable news networks.
  • Fox News was created by Murdoch with a unique commitment to fairness that sheds light on the radical left leanings of other news networks.  This development reveals the 'conspiracy of silence' that had existed among the intellectual elite in journalism.

  • When they can no longer deny their own bias, networks and politicians begin to attack the Fox messenger.  George Soros provides the funding, and the President of the United States provides the credibility for these ad hominem attacks.
The latest action of the conspirators seems to be to fire/discredit  employees who are not popular with the general audience of  their primary employer.  In  order to discredit Juan Williams, NPR had to fain shock at him expressing concern about flying with Muslims.  In order to distance itself from Keith Olbermann, MSNBC has to pretend that it, and it's parent corporation GE, as well as it's many employees, don't spend lavish sums to promote the very candidates Olbermann supported.

Why discredit and distance yourselves from some of your most visible warriors?  This is an obvious trick used by those who wish to establish their credibility.  You sacrifice some of your own in the name of ethics, just before you make false charges of ethics violations against a real innocent.  They say, "You see, we have taken action against those who were misusing their power.  Now you must do the same to... (fill in the blank) ... in order to prove your credibility."

Of course, whomever 'they' choose to hang will either be a meaningless puppet of theirs, or a someone completely ethical and therefore abhorrent to them.

Now we can only wait and see.

Tuesday, November 2, 2010

Why Voting Matters

One last thought on voting:  My sister (#3 of 7 or #4 of the 8 girls) has worked for a seller of electronics to industry for almost 20 years.  She recently coordinated the sale of wind turbines to a U.S. energy company that were to be made at a plant in Columbus, Nebraska.

Unfortunately, Obama's stimulus money went to wind turbines produced in China, so the Nebraska company laid off 200 workers.  Equally unfortunate was the sale of my sister's electronics company to a British consortium. 

She is now faced with the loss of her job.  Go green.  Go global.  See what you get.

Voting for the Little Guys

We just went to vote.  My husband and I sat at a table together, with our son near by, while we consulted a list of candidates that I had prepared.  Local judges, school board members, sheriff, you name it I read the bios and wrote down the names.  The research took about two hours.  It was worth it.

The first reason that it was worth it was because we knew what we were doing.  The second reason is that the result of the School Board races, the result of the Learning Community race (yes we have extra education bureaucracy here!), and the result of the results of the other races dealing with education determine what kind of people our home schooled son will meet as an adult.  The third reason was we ran into a neighbor who is new to the area and didn't have any idea who to vote for.  I asked her if she would like a list of conservative  pro-life candidates.  She said yes, and now she has the list. 

In Nebraska it is still possible to find conservative pro-life Democrats.  Not all of them are what they claim, but many are.  The Dem running for Congress in our district is member of our parish who claims to be pro-life.  He unfortunately support fetal stem cell research, which is a cash cow for grants to The University of Nebraska Medical Center.  Since that is non-negotiable, we voted for the rhino republican.  It's hard for me to realize that Lee Terry is a rhino, because he's younger than I and grew up around the block from me.  He does have a solid pro-life record, so there you go.

On our way home, our son said, voting is very important this year because of the horrible things that will happen if the wrong people get into office.  I said, it is more about stopping the slide into socialism that has begun.  My husband said it is about being sure that we stop new entitlements before people become accustomed to them.  It is nearly impossible to get people off of the dole once they are used to it.

All of these statements are true.

Just be sure that when you vote, you know who you are choosing.  The time is long passed when we could choose based on name recognition.

Saturday, October 23, 2010

When Media Centers Collide

A few years ago there was a brief flap in the media when Brit Hume openly scoffed at Juan's opinion on the air. Brit Hume spent days explaining that he respected Juan, liked him personally, etc. Juan's troubles with NPR may have begun around that time. He stayed with Fox as well as NPR.

Fox has always presented itself as "fair and balanced." That means providing equal time to people like Juan, and to Juan himself. Viewers may or may not think it's drivel, and fast-forward through his comments as I do, but part of the integrity of Fox is that they provide this equity of opinion.

On a financial level, Fox is responding with their hard-earned dollars to this week's contributions by notorious liberal George Soros to NPR and to Media Matters, and on another level the Huffington Post. Soros contributed over $2 million this week to the organizations, and that is the figure Fox is contributing to Juan. It is a tactical move, putting their money where their mouth is, to counter the Soros donations. I found this aspect to be a true shot-across-the-bow move by a media giant that has been falsely accused of a right-wing stance, when all accurate research has shown Fox to be the most fair of all news networks in the presentation of opinions.

The battle lines are drawn. This will be very interesting in the coming months. Maybe even Juan will be interesting.

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Charity versus Government Programs

When I taught in a public high school some16 years ago, a student of mine said another student was absent because she had to be with her mother so that she could get the 'crazy check'.   I thought I knew all about welfare checks, but this was one I'd never heard of before.  Turns out, if you can prove you are crazy enough to be unemployable, you get a 'crazy check' on top of social security, welfare, food stamps, Adult care of Dependent Children, etc.  But you have to show you are too crazy to provide your own transportation, so my student was gone.

The young woman who had to go for the 'crazy check' wasn't my saddest student on public schools in relatively insulated Omaha, Nebraska.  Granted, she had followed her mother into the family business of prostitution, but as she said to me at our last class, "I'm the first woman in my family to finish high school without getting pregnant."  She frequently showed up for class in slippers and sweats after working all night.

The saddest one was the daughter of an addict who became an addict herself.  I noticed by the bruises on her arm that she had started to inject herself a few weeks before graduation.  The school nurse, a female administrator, and I made elaborate plans to catch her in her routine, but our plans were destroyed by another administrator before we could get to her.  She dropped out days before graduating.

The primary reason I joined the Tea Party in the beginning was because the government has taken over the business of charity.  And they do a really lousy job of it.  Welfare recipients are the lowest of the low in our country.  They receive benefits, work to keep them, and never seem to stop taking them.  Welfare has become an entitlement.  "I deserve this.  I deserve to live and you can't take that away from me."  In no other government law or program is that thought so rampant.  Has anyone ever heard an unborn child say, "I deserve to live.  You can't take that away from me."

And yet, our elected representatives tell us we have to provide for others, as long as they are not pre-born.

I joined the Tea Party to protect my right to give to charity as I see fit.  I don't want to waste my money on government programs.  What is alarming is that the government seems to think that the poor and the needy, very politically incorrect names these days, would be left helpless if they don't provide entitlements.

That is patently false.

The bureaucrats in charge of government services are notoriously unkind.  Charitable institutions that have survived government take overs, like churches, provide better and more meaningful care.

As we look to cut spending and taxes, let's remember that if we stop the government from being charitable, we can all be more charitable.  The current administration proposed to reduce or eliminate the charitable tax deduction.  Truly, nothing could be worse for the state of our pocketbooks, our country, and our souls.

Mark Shea apparently thinks that Tea Party people are small and lack generosity.   Nothing could be further from the truth.

We simply want to choose our own charities.  That's charities.  Not entitlements.

Tuesday, October 5, 2010

God Only Gave Me One

...That's what I always say.  I find myself feeling it is necessary to explain why I have only one child.  I love big families.  I think it is generally a kind of child abuse to have only one; no built in playmates or partners in crime, no one to boss around or to be bossed by,  no special friend to talk with after lights out, no one to poke on long car rides, no one to blame for something you did,  and no first cousins for your kids when you have your own.

There are upsides.  Today was one of them.  My son has earned money this summer by taking care of our neighbor's lawn while they were gone.  Today I took him to the bank to open his own account.  After the transaction was completed, my son shook the hand of the banker and said thank you.  We then went to a restaurant for lunch, followed by a trip to the Durham Western Heritage Museum, which is at the site of the former Union Station for Union Pacific in Omaha.

The bankers were doting and congratulatory.  They made my son feel that his deposit was a rite of passage.  They treated him with respect and deference.  It was a lovely experience.

The waitress at the Bohemian Cafe we went to said that she was happy to see my son there.  He told her it was some of the best food he'd ever had.  She said she was glad he was there, because without young people coming to the restaurant, it would not continue into the next generation.  (This is an older restaurant that serves Czechoslovakian food.  My husband and I had our pre-nuptial dinner there.)

Finally, as we walked through the old train cars at the museum, we came to an older man sitting in a 1950's era club car.  We sat down with him.  He told stories of the 50's and 60's and train travel.  He is a retired train engineer.  He told us how the college students could buy cheap tickets home for the holidays that didn't guarantee a seat, but gave access to the club car for a trip of 350 miles or less.  He said the  students would pull out instruments and play music, or read from books, and no one slept in the club car.

He told us about a trip we could take in a classic steam train from Durango, Colorado, to another town nearby through land without roads.  It was so glorious in his description.  He even told us not to wear anything but dark clothes, because the steam and smoke from the train would destroy anything white or light colored.

As his tales went on we were transported to another era, where speed and economy were replaced by the joy of the time taken.  We've been talking about this kind man since.  The whole day has been beautiful.

My Father is an only child.  I get the feeling he did not enjoy it.  He was sent to boarding schools at age 14, then to college where he finished in 3 years.  At that time, finishing early meant you were not awarded a diploma.  He went on to medical school, and has been a successful physician, but his main pride and joy has been in his children.

These are very different experiences, my son's and my father's.  Sometimes my husband talks about sending our son to boarding school.  Given my father's experience, I think the best we can do is to try to fulfill the roles of parents, siblings, disciplinarians, teachers, and friends for our son as long as possible. 

And may God bless all of those who were so kind to us today.  I feel far less guilty about having an only child because of you.  Today, I know, that children need parents as much as siblings.  And both are good.

Aggie Catholics: Big Families = Opportunities to Spread God's Love (and some wit)

Aggie Catholics: Big Families = Opportunities to Spread God's Love (and some wit)

Saturday, October 2, 2010

One Nation vs. Restoring Honor

I think the biggest story about the One nation rally today versus the Restoring Honor rally a month ago will be told by the amount of trash left behind and the man-hours required to clean up the mall.  Here are two links that may be used as a comparison:


Now, being a lousy housekeeper, I don't necessarily equate cleanliness with virtue.  But I will say this:

If I am a guest at someone else's home, I do not leave my trash behind.

To do so would show an enormous amount of disrespect.  To do so would state my lack of regard or concern for those who have to clean up after I am gone.  To do so would be an insult to the hard work others put into caring for that space.

Enough said. 

Friday, September 24, 2010

Clowns in Congress

I watched Colbert today.  I think he provided exactly what those who invited him should have expected.  The circus has been in town since 2008.  Did they really expect the clown to do something other than his usual shtick?  This was an appalling mockery of our government...  Provided for us by the most ridiculous set of reps ever elected.  As Alan Simpson once said, "In your country club, your church and business, about 15 percent of the people are screwballs, lightweights and boobs and you would not want those people unrepresented in Congress."

We might however want them less represented.......

Thursday, September 23, 2010

Holy Childhood

I'm a blessed woman.  God gave me a son about 10 years ago.  When I pray or attend Mass during advent, throughout Christmas, or on the feasts of the births of John the Baptist or Mary, I find myself in meditation recalling all of the sensations of pregnancy, birth, and infancy. 

I really loved being pregnant.  I loved the feeling of the life inside of me.  I loved being big and round.  When he was born, I loved to hold my son. I loved to feed him.  I loved to make him laugh.  In fact it has been my goal to laugh a little with my son everyday of his life.  I still love to brush his cheek with my hand. 

The sound of his laughter is music.  I imagine Dante's music of the spheres being an infectious harmonious laughter of infinite depth and variation.  I imagine the laugh of Mary as a child, or of Jesus as a Babe, being that kind of infectious laugh.  Imagine the pleasure Mary had in stroking His soft baby cheeks.  I imagine those times when a baby voice is heard in church and people smile at the words.  I imagine Jesus could make a whole town laugh as a child. 

Do you think that Mary and Joseph ever chased Jesus around the house to tickle Him?  Did God giggle when His toes squished in the mud?  Did he laugh and splash in the bath?  Did he rub noses and coo softly in His Mother's ear? 

Did Mary relax and fall asleep holding Him after nursing?  Did He pounce on Joseph in the morning with the pleasure of a new day ahead?  Did Joseph and Mary smile with joy as Jesus exhibited some new level of learning or understanding?

These are the purest pleasures of parenthood. I'm sure God in his infinite love, gave them to His chosen earthly parents.

Monday, September 13, 2010

More on Father Corapi

The truth is that I was deeply disappointed in Father Corapi.  I wanted to hear about how to really wage war against evil forces.  Instead he reiterated  that to fight evil we should:
  1. Strive to live in a state of grace by avoiding sin.
  2. Go to confession regularly, and strive to avoid sin.
  3. Pray regularly, especially the rosary.
  4. Go to Mass daily, or at least as often as possible.
  5. Offer up our suffering, rather than complain or try to reduce the suffering.
  6. Fast.
  7. Pray.
  8. Give Alms.
Well, the truth is, I'm disappointed because these are the very things I've been told all of my life.  I wanted a spectacular story of mortal spiritual combat that makes the battle sound like something out of Tolkien or Lewis.

Instead, I heard the wisdom of the ages.  God does not change.  Good does not change.  Only the glamor of the devil changes, in order to find new ways to distract us from the Truth.   So Lady Gaga is increasingly outrageous even as Cher recycles a look from 20 years ago.  Isn't it interesting that the shock purveyors aren't any more shocking than they were 20 years ago?  Cher taught Gaga a lesson.  And she reminded us of Truth. Raunchy, tawdry, immodest clothes haven't changed.  They've just become more common, and are worn by younger people.

I thank God that the lessons are the same.  I  thank God the sinners are recognizable.  I'm sorry I'm still a sinner like the rest. 

I finally thank God that the sins I see in others are sins I have recognized in myself.  It helps me to know that I'm not too proud to pray, and repent, and to forgive.

Wouldn't it be cool to see Julia Roberts in a movie called, "Fast, Pray, Give"?  I might actually go see that movie.  Maybe that could be Gaga's movie debut...  I  might have to meet her first and convince her...  Like that's going to happen.

Sunday, September 12, 2010

Fr. Corapi, Lady Gaga, and Slumming on the Internet

My husband and I spent yesterday at full day of talks from Father Corapi.  If you don't know who he is, you have never watched Catholic T.V. or listened to Catholic radio.  It seemed to me that his talks were either too loosely planned, or were tempered by something he had been asked not to say.  He seemed to approach a point without going all of the way.  Still, it was a day well spent.  Father John Corapi - End Game - Caught in the Crossfire - Attack/Counter-Attack - a Series of 6 Talks on Video - VHS

When I came home,  I saw that Camille Paglia had written and extensive and critical article about Lady Gaga in the London Times.  If you are a true Gaga fan, you won't be reading this blog.  But, she has been involved (to use the old fashioned term for hooking up) with a relative for several years.    Do a Google search of "Carl Gaga"  and you will see our cousin in action.

Here is my disclaimer:  I have never met, nor do I ever expect to meet Lady Gaga in person.  She spent about a month in the area with family, but no one saw her, and we didn't hear about it until she was gone.  That's probably wise.

At Father Corapi's talk, we ran into relatives of both the Carl family and the Dunlap family (my side).  We ran into old friends and current friends.  Among these are two cousins in the seminary, Eucharistic ministers, people who home school (like me) to protect their children from the lousy faith formation of seventies Catholics...The over-riding sentiment as we listened to Father Corapi talk about Spiritual Warfare was joy at discovering that we are not alone.  Others are sensing the same battle against darkness and the need to pray for strength and guidance.

Now we come back to Lady Gaga.  I use that name because, I have never met her.  We are relatively close to that side of the family.  Last time I saw Luc was at a family funeral.  We see them more than my cousins.  I really hope that L.G is a good woman deep down.  The fact that the relationship seems to be off and on, but continues over years, means a lot to me.  I want young men in our family to find the light and happiness of a good marriage.  Carl men are tough.  Somewhere in their history they must have been cattle ranchers.  They are hard working, honest men.  Rough, and tumble, but honest and worth loving.

Father Corapi yesterday asked if movies and t.v. were more innocent 50 years ago than they are today.  Obviously not.  I thought immediately of L.G and L. C.  Nothing about her would have been allowed on screen, any screen, 50 years ago.  Camille Paglia may be right that she has gone so far in the promotion of aberrant sexuality that she has become sexless.  I truly hope that her promoted  sexuality is as divorced from reality as the clothes she wears.  I want Luc to be happy.  In the meantime, and while we don't talk to L.C. or L.G., I am trying to hope that she wins at the MTV Video Music Awards tonight.

But as my husband says about the pornographic things we are drawn to on the internet, "Don't go slumming outside the family."

Good luck L.G. and L.C. wherever you are!!!

Saturday, September 4, 2010


September 2, 2010 Monthly Apparition Message to Mirjana
Dear children, I am beside you because I desire to help you to overcome trials, which this time of purification puts before you. My children, one of those is not to forgive and not to ask for forgiveness. Every sin offends Love and distances you from it – and Love is my Son. Therefore, my children, if you desire to walk with me towards the peace of God’s love, you must learn to forgive and to ask for forgiveness. Thank you"

My brother, Pat made his first confession today.  He is autistic.  He is 53.  He is simple of faith and pure of heart.  His worst crimes are eating the last of the Cap'n Crunch, or the ice cream, and hiding the evidence.

After his confession, I thanked our Pastor, Father Gutgsell, for helping him to do this.  He smiled and said, "God calls us all to be like little children."

May God bless all simple souls and good priests.

Pat was afraid of the confessional.  Father told him everyone is.

Pat said he goes to church every Sunday.  Father said that was good.

Pat said he prays everyday.  Father said confession is a kind of prayer.

Pat said he was sorry.  Father told him he would be saying he is sorry to God through the priest in confession.

Pat promised he would be good now.  Father smiled and said he knew he would.

This was such a special gift for my brother and our family.  We are beyond grateful for Father Gutgsell.  I might smile for a week.

Wednesday, September 1, 2010

Hope for the Future

I'm two weeks into a new semester with my university students and home schooling and I have reason to be hopeful.  I should make the caveat that every time I say something like that, I wind up cursed and sad.  For example, today I started to tell my students that a lack of rehearsal before giving a speech would cause them to say 'umm'  frequently.  Whenever I say that, I say 'umm' a lot.  65 times in ten minutes today.  My students took count at my request.  That's better than my record of 81 times in 5 minutes.

Why am I hopeful?  At least 25% of my students told us in their introductory speeches that they have actively worked with missionary groups.  Fully 50% want family and children.  And all of them seem open to getting my jokes.  Even though most of them are real groaners.

But mostly, I'm excited by the private conversations I've had with some of them.  One of my Elementary Education majors asked if she could interview me for a paper.  The interview was interesting because she was clearly asking questions that were based on her education classes.  She was impressed with my knowledge of instructional theory and practice.  I felt very smart.  We discussed the research on class size, as related to the STAR program in Tennessee, and the Gates Foundation Study in California.  I wonder what her instructor will think...

The second best encounter of the day (second only because it happened after the first) was a discussion about a speech topic.  My student wanted to write an informative speech about how to survive an attack from velociraptors.  He really thought I would say no.  I find his choice creative and interesting.  He will need to research all of the anthropological information he can find and turn that into a way to protect oneself from attack.   He's even considering the architecture of buildings that would be safe from attack.

I guess what I want to say is,  Life is good.  Kids are smart.  Praise God that we are well made!!!

Sunday, August 29, 2010

It's Election Season and I'm not Happy

I feel like I need a yard sign for this election season.  It needs to be the equivalent of a "Beware of Dog" sign.  We have two.  (Dogs that is, not signs)  But they are not the reason I want the sign.  I want a banner that says, "Beware of Informed Voter".  Then maybe I can stop seeing the looks of abject dismay on the faces of those running for School Board and "Learning Community" (because the voters decided one layer of elected inefficiencies was not enough for our growing metropolis.)  The candidates show up at my house and say things like, "Hi, I'm (fill in the blank) and I'm running for (fill in the blank).  Oh, I remember you..."

Yes.  You remember me.  I was the one who was shocked to find that college age students in my university classroom are so accustomed to police presence at schools they can't understand why anyone would be opposed to it.  (Gee, police state education?  Really, is the connection so difficult?)

Yes.  You remember me.  I was the one who said that we need to stop having the state supplant the parents by providing transportation to school, breakfast, lunch, child care before and after school, health care clinics in school,  afternoon  snacks, homework help, transportation home...  What do parents need to do except put a mattress on the floor  and wake the kids up in time to hit the government tit again?  (Yes, call me Alan Simpson, these people are milking it!)  And when bus lines are canceled in you school district the government reimburses you for the gas to drive your child to school.Can you hear the sucking noises where you are?

Yes.  You remember me.  I was the one who told you in our state there is no true expulsion for students.  They just are shunted from school to school, because expulsion is against the law.  "Education" is compulsory.  Unfortunately, learning is not.

So the students, like teachers, have tenure.  And the lowest common denominator does win.  And if you are a candidate, and you plan to stop at my door,  I know you'll say, "I remember you..." Yes, and I'll remember you in November!!!

Saturday, August 28, 2010

D'offus of the Big-Doofus: Presidents at Work.

D'offus of the Big-Doofus: Presidents at Work.

I love these kinds of comparisons.  You may also want to look at this:

Since my husband is one of those manly men, good with his hands, clears his head by working hard, used to work on fishing boats in Alaska, I have no appreciation for seeing our president doing the girly work I do, like hanging curtains.

The man needs tools, otherwise he just is one...

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

A few Comments on the responses of the First Family:

President Obama, First Lady Michelle Obama, and their two daughters Sasha and Malia traveled to Nancy's Restaurant on the waterfront of the Oak Bluffs section of Martha’s Vineyard Wednesday afternoon.
Crowds gathered to watch as the president, wearing his White Sox baseball cap, noted the abundance of Red Sox caps. He and the First Lady shook hands and posed for pictures with folks in the crowd.

The president ordered from the take-out window of the snack bar section of the eatery.
"I love your watch," one woman told the First Lady, referencing a purple watch on her left wrist.

"Oh, thank you,” the First Lady said. “It was a gift.” 
She gestured towards her husband, who was shaking hands behind her.
"I think somebody told him,” she said.

"Where's my wife?" the president asked at one point.
Crowds shouted for her attention.

"How you guys doing?" she asked. "Drying off? Finally."

A few Comments on the responses of the First Family:

Red Sox/White Sox: I only care if children have no socks!

He and the first lady shook hands:  With each other?  It has been rumored there is trouble in paradise.  I don't believe the Oprah stories, but it is strange for his family to be away from him on his birthday.  That's a big day for anyone during the year.  Had he been that narcissistic that his own family cares as little as a conservative voter?

And know that the watch advertised here is not the watch she was wearing.  She says it was a gift and the "gestures to the president."  Does that mean it was a gift to him, her or a gift he needs to explain?  Given that it is purple plastic,  i can't think it was an intimate gift.

"Where's my wife?"  Really if you need to ask you aren't paying attention! And probably should. 

"Drying Off, Finally?"  Rainy weather? 
Given her facial expressions recently, I'd say rainy days and Mondays always get me down...

Monday, August 23, 2010

How Public Schools Control Our Children  

All children will be provided with a free breakfast in order to insure they spend as little time in the morning with their families as possible.  They will receive education in the morning followed by a free lunch, more education, a free afternoon snack, and after school care.  If necessary, children will receive free bus transportation to school, and free bus trip to a place close to their home.  If the child's parents live in an area not serviced by our bus system, the parents will be reimbursed 50 cents per mile to bring their own children to school for the free breakfast, education, lunch, education, snack, childcare, regime. 

We want to be sure every child and every family is completely dependent on the government we create.  Please don't fight against us.  We know what is best for you and your children.  We know how to numb their brains with bad or meaningless literature.  We know how to hide the true lessons of history.  We know how to be sure that your child never believes in anything other than him or herself.  (We learned that from Descartes.)  Do you really think you can stop us from instilling relativism in your children?  Didn't you go to college?    Ha ha ha ha ha:  You are fools to try!!!

Saturday, August 21, 2010

Fetal Pigs on Sale for $7.95

 My Brother's family has moved out of my house and into their own.  And we have begun another  year of Home school at the Carl Ranch.  That means we have opened up the  Thames & Kosmos CHEM C3000!!! 

1.  I would like to say that while cooking and chemistry share certain properties, they are not to be mixed.  I don't care that the Mom in A Wrinkle in Time cooked dinner over her bunsen burner.  It's fiction.  Do not allow yourself to be talked out of that by the angelic 10 year old wearing protective goggles.  Cuteness can be a weapon.

2.  Fetal pigs may be on sale only once a year, but if your mother could by any chance smell formaldehyde coming from your freezer, it is better to wait and pay more for the pig.

3.  Microscopes that hook up to your computer via USB cords are very cool.

4.  Crayola 64 packs allow you to turn pictures into coloring pages.  I think this is very cool.  I will be asking my pastor if I can use this technology to make coloring pages out of the artwork at our beloved St. Cecilia Cathedral.  How cool would that be for Coloring and Contemplation?

5.  I wish everyone a safe and happy return to school.  Whether you teach at home or in a school, whether you learn at home or in a school, may God bless all of you, and us with a desire for truth as we accumulate knowledge.

"May He support us all the day long,
till the shades lengthen, and the evening comes,
and the busy world is hushed,
and the fever of life is over and our work is done!
Then in His mercy may He give us a safe lodging,
and a holy rest, and peace at the last."
John Henry Newman (1801-1890)

Happy 2010/11 School Year To All

Sunday, August 8, 2010

On Marriage from My Mom

My parents celebrated their 57th wedding anniversary a week ago today.  Mom sent out this email to her 12 children yesterday:

Hi, Everyone!
Thank you  for all your remembrances of  Dad and my 57th wedding anniversary
last Sunday!  Special thanks to Monica and Joe for the lovely dinner with their
family. I wouldn't want you to think we ignored your thoughtful caring gestures, as
they all mean a great deal to us.
It seems that marriage is getting to be nothing but a bad joke in our present
society; how attitudes have changed in just 57 years!  It is ironic that the (then)
Holy Father accurately predicted our present state with the onset of 'the Pill' and
wide use of contraception, which had been against the moral concept for all
Christians. It is really appalling how acceptable living together before marriage
has become, in spite of the factual statistic that 75 percent of couples who
co-habit before marriage will be divorced within ten years, regardless of race, 
religion, or financial status. People have become very open about the fact of 
their children/grandchildren living with a member of the opposite sex without 
entering into a blessed union, which we frequently hear among our friends and
associates. Until this time in history, such a situation would have been cause 
for deep shame and regret. It is as though the sixth commandment has been
obliterated and is no longer taught anywhere.
I am reading a book that was written especially as a manual for Priests, titled
'Exorcism And The Church Militant" by Father Thomas J. Euteneuer , but which
is also recommended as reading for the laity, and it really explains in detail the
demise of the fabric of our society as a Christian, God-fearing nation in
particular, and that our only hope for survival is in the family unit and closeness
of family ties. 
The Family is the answer, and I thank God each and very day for the
fact that we have strong marriages in our precious family. It is the only way to keep
our young on the straight and narrow and help then save their immortal souls.
With marriage no longer being conceived as a sacred Sacrament in society in
general, it follows that hooking up with a same-sex partner (or your dog) would also
become acceptable. All this makes you think the Devil is winning!!! 
But we all know that God wins in the end - has in fact, already won - and our best
defense against Satan's quest for souls is Prayer, the prayer of the Mass being the
most powerful of all prayers - - and with that fact stated, I pray for holy, prayer-filled
family life for all of our families, that all of you will grow in wisdom and grace to a happy old age
Thanks again for your, Mom
When I asked Mom's permission to  include her letter here she replied, "Just so everyone knows our marriage isn't perfect."  That's Mom.  It may not be perfect, but it's pretty darn good!  

Saturday, August 7, 2010

I really blew it!

The eldest daughter of one of our home school families is a fan of books that I have always loved, all things British, Greek and Roman mythology, fantasy literature...

Having taught high school literature, I shared with her some of my favorite books.  These were books I remembered reading at her age, but only had a vague notion of what the books were about.  The Glory and the Lightning by Taylor Caldwell was in the bunch.  I'm reading it again now, and I can't believe how sexual it is.  I had completely forgotten that part.

When I see her at church tomorrow I have to apologize.   I will have to suggest one of these other selections.  I know Taylor Caldwell is a bit out of fashion, but her novels are quite good.

Saturday, July 31, 2010

Ranting Catholic Mom: Eucharistic Adoration for Children

Ranting Catholic Mom: Eucharistic Adoration for Children: "I recently started a new program for my parish called Coloring and Contemplation. this is a means for the youngest Catholics to be engaged ..."

Adult Eucharistic Adoration Newsletter, Saint Cecilia Cathedral, Omaha, NE

The Holy Father’s Prayer Intentions, August 2010
The Unemployed and the Homeless
General: That those who are without work or homes or who are otherwise in serious need may find understanding and welcome, as well as concrete help in overcoming their difficulties.

Victims of Discrimination, Hunger and Forced Emigration
Missionary: That the Church may be a “home” for all people, ready to open its doors to any who are suffering from racial or religious discrimination, hunger, or wars forcing them to emigrate to other countries.

Thoughts on Adoration
"Place your mind before the mirror of eternity! Place your soul in the brilliance of glory! Place your heart in the figure of the divine substance!  And transform your entire being into the image of the Godhead Itself through contemplation. So that you too may feel what His friends feel as they taste the hidden sweetness that God Himself has reserved from the beginningfor those who love Him." -St Clare, August 11

"You come to me and unite Yourself intimately to me under the form of nourishment. Your Blood now runs in mine, Your Soul, Incarnate God, compenetrates mine, giving courage and support. What miracles! Who would have ever imagined such!" - St. Maximilian Kolbe, August 14

"It was love that motivated His self-emptying, that led Him to become a little lower than angels, to be subject to parents, to bow His head beneath the Baptist's hands, to endure the weakness of the flesh, and to submit to death even upon the cross," - St. Bernard, August 20

"The unique glory of the sanctuary of Lourdes resides in this fact, that people are attracted there from everywhere by Mary for the adoration of Jesus Christ in the Blessed Sacrament, so that this sanctuary—at once the center of Marian devotion and the throne of the Eucharistic Mystery—surpasses in glory, it seems, all others in the Catholic world," - St. Pius X, August 21

"Christ held Himself in His hands when He gave His Body to His disciples saying: 'This is My Body.' No one partakes of this Flesh before he has adored it." -St. Augustine, August 28

The Feast of the Assumption is also known as the Feast of the Dormition (falling asleep) of Mary. The feast commemorates Mary's assumption into heaven.

"We pronounce, declare and define it to be a divinely revealed dogma: that the Immaculate Mother of God, the ever Virgin Mary having completed the course of her earthly life, was assumed body and soul to heavenly glory." With these words, Pope Pius XII officially and infallibly declared the Assumption of Mary, the Mother of God (theotokos), to be dogma in 1950. In this pronouncement, Pope Pius was simply stating dogmatically what the Church, East and West, had believed devotionally for many years.

Although probably not unknown in the early Church, the earliest references to the Assumption of Mary appear in the 4th (or possibly late 3rd) century in Liber Requiei Mariae (The Book of Mary's Repose), and in the writings of a Bishop Meliton. Some of the Church Fathers believed that the Blessed Virgin Mary (BVM) was assumed while still alive, others that she was assumed after she had died. Both views are permitted under the infallible definition of Pius XII. St. John of Damascus relates a tradition where, during the Council of Chalcedon (AD 451), the emperor Marcian and his wife wished to find the body of Mary. He tells how all the apostles had seen her death, but her tomb was empty upon inspection.

Festivals commemorating the death of the Blessed Virgin Mary were common from the 5th century onwards, although the exact dates were never universally fixed. In AD 556 the patriarch of Alexandria, Theodosius, attests to two popular Marian feasts in Egypt: Mary's death (January 16) and Assumption (August 9).

Theodosius understood Mary to have died before being assumed, and according to the feast dates in Egypt at the time, she was assumed 206 days after her death. In AD 600, the emperor Mauricius decreed that the Assumption was to be celebrated on August 15. Soon, the Church in Ireland adopted this date, and it was later introduced in Rome. As the cult of Mary grew in the West, there was more pressure for the Catholic Church to define the exact nature of the Assumption. Pope Pius did this in 1950, in terms that are still rather general, and can be accepted by Western Catholics, Eastern Catholics, and Eastern Orthodox. (Source: Oxford Dictionary of the Christian Church).

1. How Can the Assumption of Mary be True if it Was Not Made Dogma Until 1950?

First, recall that neither the Catholic Church nor the Orthodox Churches believe in the concept of sola scriptura, the 16th century Protestant concept that doctrines must be proved from Scripture alone. Second, just because a belief is made dogma in 1950 doesn't mean that the belief has not been true beforehand, or that is was invented in 1950. Truth unfolds, or rather, the implications and hows and whys of certain truths unfold. It took a hundred years after Jesus' birth for a gospel clearly outlining Jesus' divinity to appear, even though the earliest gospels hint at Jesus having the authority and attributes of God. Thus later enunciations of certain truths will be more complex than earlier explanations.

The tradition which comes from the apostles develops in the Church with the help of the Holy Spirit. For there is a growth in the understanding of the realities and the words which have been handed down. Thus, just because the Assumption was not made dogma until 1950 does not lessen the importance of the feast, or render the dogma unbelievable. The reason Pope Pius XII declared the Immaculate Conception to be dogma was because so many people believed in it and cherished it, not to invent something new.

These pages written by David Bennett and Jonathan Bennett. Last updated 06-16-2007.

Eucharistic Adoration for Children

I recently started a new program for my parish called Coloring and Contemplation. this is a means for the youngest Catholics to be engaged in Eucharistic Adoration while their parents pray or attend Mass. Below you will find the most recent newsletter followed by the July (2010) newsletter. These are the 'reading' sides. The other side are copied with a coloring page from open use websites or publishers who will allow copies to be made for educational purposes. If you would like to use these, please let me know. I'm not concerned about copyright issues. But I'd like to know if this information is useful.

Also look for the entire packet of Eucharistic Adoration Newsletters for Adults under a separate heading.

Coloring and Contemplation:

“Adoration means entering the depths of our hearts in communion with the Lord, who makes himself bodily present in the Eucharist. In the monstrance, he always entrusts himself to us and asks us to be united with his Presence, with his risen Body.” - Pope Benedict XVI

Meditation for the month of August:
“Why spend your money for what is not bread; your wages for what fails to satisfy? Heed me, and you shall eat well, you shall delight in rich fare.” Isaiah 55: 2
Are the things you spend your money on things that feed your body and your soul? When you read books, do they help you to grow in the love of Jesus and his people? What feeds your body? What feeds your mind? What feeds your soul? Jesus wants to be the food for you in every way. Will you let him feed you?

Thought for the month from Saint Peter Julian Eymard (August 2):
He loves, He hopes, He waits. If He came down on our altars on certain days only, some sinner, on being moved to repentance, might have to look for Him, and not finding Him, might have to wait. Our Lord prefers to wait Himself for the sinner for years rather than keep him waiting one instant.

Prayer for the Month, From Saint Augustine:
O, God, Grant us in all our duties your help;
in all our perplexities, your guidance;
in all our dangers, your protection;
and in all our sorrows, your peace.
Through Jesus Christ our Lord,
our body, and our blood,
our life and our nourishment. Amen.

The following Saints have feast days in August and can be found in our Cathedral. See if you can find their depictions in the windows, paintings and statues of the Cathedral! St. Clare, August 11; St. Bernard August 20; St. Bartholomew, August 24; St. Augustine, August 28

Eucharistic Adoration for Children
At Saint Cecilia Cathedral
Omaha, Nebraska
July 2010

“Through Baptism each child is inserted into a gathering of friends who never abandon him in life or death, because these companions are God’s family, which in itself bears the promise of eternity.” - Pope Benedict XVI

How much time do you spend with your best friend? Jesus wants to be your best friend. You can talk to him any time, but in a special way, through spending time in adoration in the presence of the Blessed Sacrament. Sometimes it’s hard to feel like Jesus is really in the Eucharist, but we know He is, because He told us so.
Coloring and Contemplation is a way to spend time with Jesus, asking Him to open your heart to His friendship. While you are coloring in the pictures, imagine God having a great big refrigerator, just like the one you have at home. When you do something well at school, does someone display it on your fridge? God sees us all the time. He is with us in everything we do. He wants us to think of him in every minute of every day. He will see the love and care you put into doing something just for Him.

Thought for the month from Saint Martha (July 29):
As Jesus and his disciples were on their way, he came to a village where a woman named Martha opened her home to him. She had a sister called Mary, who sat at the Lord’s feet listening to what he said. But Martha was distracted by all the preparations that had to be made. She came to him and asked, “Lord, don’t you care that my sister has left me to do the work by myself? Tell her to help me!”
“Martha, Martha,” the Lord answered, “You are worried and upset about many things, but only one thing is needed. Mary has chosen what is better, and it will not be taken away from her.”
- (Luke 10:38-42, New International Version)

Prayer for the Month, O sacrum convivium, :
O sacred banquet, in which Christ is received, the memory of his Passion is renewed, the mind is filled with grace, and a pledge of future glory is given to us. (Do you know where this is in the Cathedral?)

Friday, July 30, 2010

Humor + Humility+ Hardship= ???

Alright, I'll start by saying that I think the above equation should equal heaven, but since I'm about to talk about recent experiences of all three, I am loathe to say that heaven is waiting. After all, I'm a sinner in need of purification like the next guy or gal. So let's start with the humor:

While I was trying to watch this video, I walked to my fridge to get a glass of water. That was when I discovered that water was shooting out of the bottom of the refrigerator. I have been taught by my mother and my grandmother (God rest her soul!) that when you have guests or host a big family dinner, expect that appliances will quit working. My brother's family (wife, five kids) just left after a 6 day stay. When I say, "just left," I mean left at 12, leak started at 12:05. The irony is that in order to make his wife's life easier, my brother secured a hotel for my sister-in-law 1/2 way to her destination. (The crabby me says, "Look, I've made that drive in one day a million times and you don't need to spend the money when you have all of these moving expenses to get from Indiana to Nebraska.") But she had to stop, even though she was only traveling with her two older children, H.S. sophomore and 7th grade, while the youngest, ages 4 to 10 were staying with me.

Well it turns out the hotel she stayed at had a water park. I get a flood in my house, she gets a water park. So here is the lesson:

Keep a sense of humor about feeling like you are being used by others. Your humility may keep you from incurring hardships.

Humor + Humility + Hardships = Heaven.

Otherwise, prepare to laugh at the divine irony!!!

Tuesday, July 13, 2010

The Republicans: Popeye or Olive Oil? A Painfully Extended Metaphor

Roll Call (subscription only) reports that, upon returning to session, our redoubtable GOP senators reacted by taking to the floor to denounce the recess appointment in the harshest terms and to issue "stern warnings" that, as one staffer put it, all future Obama nominees would be viewed through the "prism of Berwick." They then bravely closed ranks to unanimously ... wait for it ... join with Democrats to approve, by an 86-0 vote, the nomination of Sharon Coleman, Obama's choice to serve as a district judge in his home state of Illinois.
--Andy McCarthy, National Review, The Corner, 7/13/2010

Every time I think the GOP has a chance to really take a stand and oppose the craziness coming out of Washington, they flop like Olive Oil into the arms of Bluto. Maybe you haven't watched a lot of Popeye. The old Popeye cartoons were almost all about Bluto trying to steal Olive from Popeye, and Olive being happy with either of the two.

Those cartoons always climaxed with Olive endangered by Bluto and ended with her safely in Popeye's arms. So here's the cast for the new Popeye series:

Bluto: Congressional Democrats and Obamaphiles
Olive Oil: Congressional Republicans
Popeye: Conservative American Voters

Now if you really know your Popeye, this scenario is not going to play out well. Sure in the end we'll get Olive Oil safely away from Bluto, but that will only last until he comes up with a new pick-up line, or strong-arm tactic. Like Olive, the GOP will ask conservatives for help on some issue they want to take on; a trip to the market (Wall Street), a doctor visit (Obamacare), fix-it jobs around the house (Fannie and Freddie). Popeye, because he loves Olive and trusts her, will agree to start the work, not knowing she's asked Bluto, too. Bluto will bash Popeye around. They will fight. In the end, Popeye always comes out battered, but he wins. He takes his spinach and grows strong.

Can we take our spinach and win? We better. Olive and Bluto should never have care for anything more serious than a sand box. Yes, I mean our current representatives. Pretty much all of them. Very few exceptions.

Go Popeye!

Sunday, July 11, 2010

Parenting to encourage mediocrity

This is one bleak article about a bunch of bleak books. (Yes I know it's a joke, but it is an awfully dark one!!!) If you really want to find some joy in parenting children for a different future, enjoy cooking from scratch, repairs around the home, growing your own food...

These poor sad people must be worried they won't be able to afford to drop $15 a glass for wine with dinner, play video games, shop retail, buy organic, all of the luxuries we think are indispensable. I know I'm afraid of a future like that...

Oh wait. I live that way now!

Suck it up and get over it. Geez!

Saturday, July 3, 2010

Toy Story 3 and the importance of Fidelity

Today is my 12th wedding anniversary. My husband, our son, and I celebrated by going to a newish movie theater where you can order from the bar and dinner menu while watching the movie. We only go to the movies about once a year, because we can always get anything we want through cable. Toy Story 3d is one of those exceptions. It is a true luxury to be waited on by a nice young man (Greg) while enjoying good food (nachos, pizza, cheese cake) and drinking (pinot grigio, Cabernet, root beer) and watching a movie that makes you laugh and cry and love the movie makers.

Toy Story 3 is about fidelity even in the dry wastelands of abandonment. Some of the toys feel betrayed. They don't believe Andy was putting them in the attic. But Woody knows, and believes. He cares for Andy and his friends in meaningful ways throughout the movie. He let's everyone understand that they have responsibilities to each other. His final self sacrificing act places him with his old toy pals in the hands of a child who will love and care for them as Andy has. That is love. He gives up 'his' boy for the good of all. And Andy understands that when he sees the child to whom he leaves his friends. He teaches her to be their friend and care giver just as he has.

This is a message lost on most educators in the US. Most student teachers are taught that it is best to discourage 'best friends' because they will bond in opposition to authority. I remember being told by a former child care director that my son was being discouraged from playing with certain friends because they had become best friends. That was 5 years ago.

15 years ago, I was teaching at a high school and had plan periods at the same time as a woman who became a 'best friend'. We were quickly separated by the administrators. She had parents who had met in kindergarten and married out of high school. My parents will this year celebrate 56 years of marriage with their 12 children and 34 grandchildren. We understand fidelity. It was one of those bonds that couldn't be broken.

Apparently the primary lesson of administrators and educators is that they should always divide and conquer. I ask you to take these disparate stories and make a little leap with me. If we allow educators and child care providers to undermine our children's attachments at early ages, are we only contributing to the culture of death, divorce and disintegration?

I think we are. My son has said since kindergarten that he will marry a girl named Claire. She calls him her 'future husband.' In some circles this would be discouraged. They are too young. Their feelings could lead to behaviors that would jeopardize their futures. Or maybe, they will learn to be faithful and sacrificial for the sake of the other through fidelity and love. I don't know what the future holds, but I know I prefer a child who is faithful, loving, considerate, and willing to sacrifice for others, to the child who is popular, unfeeling, disrespectful and selfish.

What do you want your children to learn?

"We are not some casual and meaningless product of evolution. Each of us is the result of a thought of God. Each of us is willed,each of us is loved, each of us is necessary."-- Pope Benedict XVI

Yes, even the people who make us most angry and frustrated are the result of a thought of God. Even you. How do you use that gift?

I know I don't use it as well as I should.

Thursday, June 17, 2010

Zero Tolerance in Schools, except for the Police

Every day, I drive past a junior high school in my neighborhood. Every day that school is in session, there is a police car parked outside of the school. I mentioned this to my students at a local university last semester. It bothers me. They took it to be completely normal to have police present at schools.

Most of these students grew up in rural towns across Nebraska and Iowa. Why do taxpayers pay to have police present in schools? Is there no such thing as discipline anymore? In Nebraska, no student can ever be really expelled from a K-12 public school program. That is the problem.

Today I read this:

Mom: R.I. School Bans 8-Year-Old Son's Patriotic Hat With Army Figures

Published June 17, 2010


The hat 8-year-old David Morales designed for a school project in R.I.


A Rhode Island mother says her 8-year-old son's school would not let him wear a patriotic hat she says he designed for a project to honor Army troops because the school thought it was inappropriate.

Christan Morales says her son David was assigned to make a crazy hat for his second grade class at the Tiogue School in Coventry, R.I. Morales said her son came up with an idea to glue small plastic Army figures to a camouflage hat with an American flag.

Morales said the principal at David's school called her to say the hat wasn't appropriate because it had guns, which violated a school ban on weapons and toy weapons.

“We don’t advocate having any concept of weapons in the school,” Kenneth DiPietro, superintendent of Coventry Public Schools, told

“(David’s) military theme was all welcomed. The only issue was the weapons displayed on the hat.”

DiPietro said the intent of the principal was to allow the child the full expression of depicting the theme, but to help him find a way to express it without the presentation of weapons. He said the principal decided there were alternative ways to represent his theme.

“The principal’s concern was not the theme, not the patriotism and not the soldiers,” said DiPietro. “She worked with family to come up with alternatives so the child’s rights and patriotism was protected.”

Christan Morales has not returned’s request for comment.

After the incident, David’s father requested a copy of Coventry Public Schools’ zero-tolerance policy for weapons and depictions of weapons, DiPietro said.

DiPietro said the school hopes to learn from this incident and spend time deciding whether there should be a different strategy for handling such issues in the future.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

When my son was in kindergarten, he was sent to the principal's office of his Catholic school for making a gun with his index finder and thumb. Today when we talked about it again, 4 years later, he said, "I was saying hi to a gal," winked, made the gesture with his hand and made a clicking sound with his teeth. Then he told me that wasn't true, he really did make a gun with his hand.

A gun with his hand. The very idea that finger guns are unacceptable is a bit excessive. Why can't boys play cops and robbers, or cowboys and Indians, or galactic invaders? So the boy in Rhode Island wanted to honor the military, but the squishy members of the teachers' union can't handle normal discipline. Call in the Cops.

Is anyone else concerned we are on a slippery slope to a police state? If young people in their 20's now feel comfortable with daily police presence in school, what else will the tolerate?

I have no answers, but I see writing on the wall.

Saturday, June 5, 2010

Wearing a Rosary in a Public School

I am interested in this particular case because of the symbols I have seen on my students.

As a teacher for more than 25 years in junior high to college courses, I have seen students wear every kind of religious symbol:
pentagrams, yin/yang, demons, skull and cross bones, Hindu gods and goddesses, Buddha, crosses, crucifixes, stars of David, you name it.

When I was teaching at a community college, a student reached out to grab the Miraculous Medal, Sacred Heart Medal, and Crucifix that hung on the chain around my neck, and asked me what they do. She was a self-described voodoo priestess. I told her that they reminded me to pray for those I love, and remember the dead in my prayers. She nodded and said she could help me talk to them if I wanted to. Spooky and weird were the only thoughts that came to mind. When I arrived home I washed my medals with Holy Water.

The young boy in the most current story is not a model student. His family is troubled. But someone gave him a plastic rosary during his time of grief and he wants to wear it. Why not?

Walk into Kohl's, J.C. Penny, Target, Walmart, or any other clothing store and find multiple examples of clothing that uses symbols from eastern religions, or the satanic. This clothing is popular. It sells. Why not allow a Christian or Catholic symbol? Apparently because these symbols are deemed oppressive or political.

One of the things I find strange is that Americans have so little understanding of the symbols they wear, on clothing or tattoos. Buddhism reveres as its highest honor for the dead, the practice of Sky Burial. Sky Burial means that the deceased is left on a mountainside to be eaten by vultures, returning the body to nature through the feeding of predatory birds. Is this what Americans imagine as they learn to meditate? It is after all, the highest calling of Buddhists.

When they see the image of Krishna on a yoga mat or shirt, do they realize, "Krishna loved to play the flute and to seduce the village girls. Krishna is the eighth incarnation of lord Vishnu and was born in the Dvarpara Yuga as the "dark one". Krishna is the embodiment of love and divine joy, that destroys all pain and sin. Krishna is the protector of sacred utterances and cows. Krishna is a trickster and lover, an instigator of all forms of knowledge and born to establish the religion of love." (

Probably not. When they wear the yin/yang symbols do they understand:

"The yin-yang symbol and concept of the Zhou period reach into family and gender relations. Yin is female and yang is male. They fit together as two parts of a whole.

From a philosophical standpoint practitioners of Zen Yoga see yin-yang as a flow.

The Yin/Yang symbol is one of the oldest and best-known life symbols in the world, but few understand its full meaning. It represents one of the most fundamental and profound theories of ancient Taoist philosophy. At its heart are the two poles of existence, which are opposite but complementary. The light, white Yang moving up blends into the dark, black Yin moving down. Yin and Yang are dependent opposing forces that flow in a natural cycle, always seeking balance. Though they are opposing, they are not in opposition to one another. As part of the Tao, they are merely two aspects of a single reality. Each contains the seed of the other, which is why we see a black spot of Yin in the white Yang and vice versa. They do not merely replace each other but actually become each other through the constant flow of the universe." (

These religious symbols have become pervasive in fashion, along with the Jolly Roger. I recently saw my little nephew wearing a shirt that said, "Jesus is my Superhero!" I thought that was much cuter than the neighbor girl who was wearing a pink, sparkly, t-shirt with a skull and crossbones.

Clearly, we need to be more tolerant of Christian symbols. Particularly as fashion presents us with the symbols of so many other faiths. Goose, Gander, get it?

Thursday, June 3, 2010

Charlie Brown Gets an Egg? Holy, Happy Easter!

It's a little late for this Easter theme, but since no one reads my blog I can only assume that maybe by next Easter it will be relevant.

Thoughts on Humility and Self Esteem

This was a busy Holy Week for my small family. We were invited to participate in the Washing of the Feet at our parish. That meant the Archbishop of Omaha, Eldon Curtis, would be seeing my icky toes and my husband’s bunions. My son, who makes his First Communion later this spring, was balking a bit at having to cut his toenails, but was otherwise looking forward to that Holy Thursday Mass.

When we were asked, our first response was, “Thank you. We are much honored to be asked, but we don’t feel comfortable participating. We will find someone else to take our place.” We tried 6 or 7 families with no luck.

I don’t really believe women should be on the altar for this event. In taking the place of the Apostles, I prefer a more literal interpretation. I also think that women should wear skirts, and all should be as dressed-up as possible when attending Mass in general, but especially when on the altar. Does a woman dare wear toenail polish to get her feet washed, or is that too much of a symbol of decadence and tartiness? The weather was too cool that night for me to leave my home without stockings, so I opted for the most formal pants I could muster. My men wore suits.

Looking around at the others who would have their feet washed, my sense of unworthiness escalated. A WWII veteran, a Holy woman who volunteers for everything in spite of her constant battles with cancer, a young family who would enter the church in full at the Easter Vigil… Why were we there?

Sitting in the front row of pews, I didn’t have to look at anyone who would witness this beautiful reenactment of Jesus’ teaching about the meaning of service. I was grateful for that. And then we walked up to sit on the benches and remove our socks and shoes.

At that moment, I finally stopped thinking about me. The small child across from me was smiling and swinging her little legs. We held hands as we waited for our turn. The water was surprisingly warm. Archbishop Curtis was gentle as he poured the water and dried it with a towel. He smiled at my son in a way that suggested hopes for a vocation to the priesthood. I shed a tear of gratitude as I replaced my socks and shoes.

The lesson in humility may have been lost on my young son. As we knelt at our pew, he said, “Mommy, I want to do that again.” Maybe he will someday. Maybe he will do the washing.

My mentally handicapped brother who lives with us had an infected ankle that took about a month of treatment to heal. During that month, every morning and every night, I would be sure he took his medicine, rub his ankle and foot with antibiotic ointment, and wrap it with an ace bandage. I was so proud of the gentle service I provided to my brother. I imagined the scoreboard of heaven tallying every little kindness. I was racking up the points.

Then it was my turn to be served. Publicly. By the Archbishop. In the Cathedral. In front of my family and friends. In front of people who don’t like me very much. In front of people I don’t like. In front of people who might be thinking ugly thoughts about me and my family. With my icky toes out there for all to see. All my pride in what I do for others dissolved in the face of what Jesus has done for me.

I don’t know that I can maintain that pervasive sense of humility in the days, weeks, months and years ahead. Perhaps the fact that I’m writing about this now is a sure sign that I can’t, or won’t. I do recommend that everyone should be served in that manner at least once in their lives. It is in receiving service that we understand the value of any service we give to others.

Good Friday gave my family an opportunity to continue this recognition of our own foolish pride. We attended the Stations of the Cross, followed by confession. The Sacrament of Reconciliation is another way to be served and recognize how our pride diminishes the good we do. I returned from those services with my family and spoke to my husband. “I love being Catholic. I am so happy that we have had this chance to fall in love with our faith.” He didn’t want to talk about it for fear that he would lose the lesson. We were silent.

Of course, Holy Week is the preparation time for Easter. My sister is getting married next month, so we were having a shower at our house for her on Easter Sunday. When the day arrived, the food was laid on the table, the guests arrived, children played and hunted eggs, balloons were tossed about, cocktails were sipped, the Masters golf tournament was won and lost. And conversations were shared.

“I bought a book for Sara for Easter. My older girls read it to her and came running to tell me. They’ve re-written the story. When the Easter Beagle comes in the video, Charlie Brown is last and he doesn’t get an Easter Egg. But the self-esteem police have re-written the story. Charlie Brown gets an Egg!” one of my sisters said as we chatted.

If Charlie Brown gets an egg, what do children learn? Do they learn that we should love and serve others, even if there is nothing in it for us? Do they learn that the love of the Easter Beagle is gift enough? What does it teach us if Charlie Brown doesn’t get the egg? What do we learn when he does?

The honor of being included in the Washing of the Feet means more than just getting the egg. Serving others is quintessential to being a Christian. The Easter Beagle serves in giving eggs and in giving his love to Charlie Brown no matter what. But Charlie Brown as the Everyman loses an opportunity to do more and be more if in being served (an Egg) doesn’t have the chance to serve in return (loving Snoopy even without the gift).

Serving and being served. It is very easy when serving others to feel that one is powerful and necessary. The feeling of being needed is much harder to understand when one is receiving service from others. If Charlie Brown gets the egg, Snoopy and Charlie lose the deeper lesson.