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July 28th, 2008


It is 9 AM Monday morning and I am listening to a rebroadcast of Father Benedict Groeschel’s Sunday Night Live program on my TV. This is a hard choice because I really enjoy having a cup of coffee after mass with Regis and Kelly at 9. But I am glad he’s on again because I fell asleep watching him last night. He’s talking about change in the Catholic Church.

I always enjoy Father Groeschel because he is well informed and talks in language everyone can understand. He tells about changes he, himself, has seen in the church–-and we have all seen in the church if we’ve been around for awhile–but these are not changes in basic teachings (dogma) and, as he says, do not not go beyond what you can conclude from sacred scripture. He recommended (and I heartily second the recommendation) that Catholics who have trouble with the church’s stand on contraception read Mary Eberstadt’s The Vindication of Humanae Vitae in the latest issue of First Things.

It is my opinion that this particular session with Father Groeschel is one of his best, well worth trying to locate on EWTN at a later time. It is absolutely amazing how sharp his mind and memory are after his terrible accident and ensuing coma a few years ago.

Today I am also excited by an interview I watched yesterday on EWTN with a young lady named Danielle Bean, a home-schooling Catholic mother of 8. What a blessing to other Catholic mothers who are, of course, counter-cultural if they are serious about their religion. Catholic mothers often find themselves isolated in many ways. To quote Danielle loosely, “For sure, there aren’t any other mothers of eight for miles around!” Danielle somehow finds time to have her own very beautiful blog, and also takes part in Faith and Family Live, a group of Catholic mothers who likewise hope to provide mutual aid and comfort.

The best thing about her blog is that it says that her interview will air again Wednesday, July 30 at 11 pm Eastern. If you don’t have EWTN, you can watch it live on your computer here. Those last few words got me even more excited! I had not realized before that EWTN was available LIVE on my computer.

Because I am blessed with a son who provides me with DirecTV and EWTN 24/7 I have for years been able to watch EWTN on my television anytime I wanted to. But we live in an area where cable TV only provides EWTN for a couple of hours in the middle of the night. Through Danielle’s blog I discovered that apparently anyone can get streaming EWTN live on their computer here. Just click on Live EWTN TV – English US when you get there.

Please pray for Mother Angelica. She is 85 and Father Groeschel says she is ill. We owe EWTN to her!

July 22nd, 2008


How excited I was back in May when a robin built a nest in the rose bush on the porch and proceeded to lay three eggs in it. How hopeful I was in June when a sparrow built a nest in the hanging verbena basket and laid five eggs in it. How disappointed I was when the the robin and sparrow babies hatched only to disappear in a couple of days! Maybe if I live a few more springs I’ll learn the answer to what can happen to baby birds nesting safely in a thorny rose bush or in an inaccessible hanging basket.

So this time, when the same robin (or another robin) again laid three eggs in the old robin nest, I decided to keep mum. I thought that this time I won’t jump the gun and count my robins before they are hatched. Daily I watched. Step by step I watched the brooding, the hatching, the feeding, the GROWING! The growing is the truly amazing thing! I don’t know what the mommas feed those babies but it must be filled with growth hormone! A robin egg is not much bigger than a marble. And presto! In a week the babies are crowded in the nest and in another week they are almost full size and ready to fly. I find it incredible. Read the rest of this entry »

July 19th, 2008


Each Sunday after Kristin’s mom confided to me, “I’m going to be a grandma,” I would check during mass to see how Kristin’s pregnancy was progressing. Kristin and Ken’s baby would be welcome — the first grandchild — coming into the world with a mommy and a daddy, doting grandparents, aunts and uncles in abundance. It all seemed so normal and right — the way it ought to be for every baby.

Having a baby is always a step into the unknown. There are no guarantees, but this baby seemed destined to be born to healthy parents and well-cared for, both emotionally and materially. To my way of thinking, little Olivia would be born under the protection of God’s umbrella. She would have what God had planned for every baby.

Children are not dropped out of the sky but are born into families, to be nurtured by a mother and a father. Nor do they come without instructions. In fact, God has really gone out of His way to provide a manual for living, not leaving us to our own devices. He has sent us his son, Jesus Christ, and the guidance of Scripture.

Some might say we should call the Ten Commandments the “ten prohibitions.” “Thou shalt not!” Thou shalt not!” Thou shalt not!” Whatever happened to freedom? Whatever happened to choice? How limiting they are! But, like the Operator’s Manual for your automobile, the Ten Commandments are instructions from the Maker and are ignored at our peril. Read the rest of this entry »

July 16th, 2008


“I think Pinky is going to have babies,” I remarked casually one day. “I think she is, too,” said six-year-old Terry. “Her tummy is fat like yours was before you got John.”

“…And Katy and Peggy and you and me,” added Wendy, from her eight years of experience.

When Pinky had come to us the previous fall as a young cat, we had not been enthusiastic. Living in small quarters with a fairly large family, we figured if there was one thing we didn’t need, it was a cat. We gave her a saucer of milk and figured she would disappear as had the other cats the children had brought home before her. But Pinky was different. She decided we were her family, despite tail-pulling by toddlers, eating only table scraps, and spending most of the winter outdoors. She was gentle, very affectionate, and smart, as cats go — smart enough to keep out of sight until the smaller tots became used to her and ignored her presence.

However, when spring brought evidence of Pinky’s approaching motherhood, she was no longer persona non grata–in spite of the fact that if there is one thing we figured we didn’t need it was more cats. The whole family looked forward to her approaching accouchement. Read the rest of this entry »

July 15th, 2008


I remember my old friend, Dr. Herbert Ratner, saying that the best gift a husband and wife can give to their child is a baby brother or sister. Over the past week or so as my daughter, Katy, visited from Indiana, and I also officially turned 85, thoughts about siblings have been in my mind. The responsibility of having small children and the expense and difficulty of traveling with them had kept Katy from visiting her family in the East for too many years. But Katy finally came and as a mother I had occasion to rejoice as my children reunited and found pleasure in each other’s company.

The research seems in indicate that only children do not suffer from onlyness. According to Dr. Alex Cutting they describe “advantages like lack of rivalry, more privacy, greater affluence, and more time and attention from their parents.” One of the biggest disadvantages of being an only child is having no one to share in the care of aged parents. Also, since the parents, in a sense, have all their eggs in one basket, there is often a pressure to succeed and to “be there” for the parents more than the child might choose. Read the rest of this entry »

July 12th, 2008


During the moratorium on blogging because of Katy’s visit last week, I managed to read two books. It seems that writing takes a certain amount of reflection and work, as compared to reading which just involves picking up a book and having a few spare minutes. Both of the books I read were by Matthew Kelly, and it is the first of these, Words from God, that I’d like to talk about. I found two copies of Words from God in my library and did not even know I possessed them. One of them had been all marked up (by me) so I had obviously read it before. (Wouldn’t it be wonderful if we could remember all we’ve read in the past?) Anyway, I read it again, and again found it worth investing the time.

Kelly, who turns 35 today, is originally from Sidney, Australia, and has lectured in over 50 countries and in all of our 50 states. He is known around the world for his writings, including his New York Times best seller, The Rhythm of Life: Living Every Day with Passion and Purpose. In 1993 Matthew was saying his evening prayers, seeking God’s will for his life. As he got into bed and reached for his walkman, he felt moved to put it away. He writes: Read the rest of this entry »