Cluster of wheat image Grapes and vines image Cluster of wheat image
January 30th, 2009




When I received this photo of my sister’s first greatgrandbaby I thought it was just so beautiful that I had to put it on my blog for the world to see. Of all the artists’ renderings of Madonna and Child have you ever seen one in which they were sleeping together? But that is something mothers and babes often do.

So, I offer you Baby Kaylin and Mommy Leslie, quintessential mother and child, in remembrance of the birth of my daughter, Peggy, on January 30. Peggy was the tiniest of my babies at birth, fine-boned, mother to Chris, Dan and Jason, and the one who always remembered every occasion.  That explains why  the last time I heard from her it was with an Easter card signed “Love, Peggy, Ron and Jason.”   I can’t recall receiving an Easter card from anyone else, ever.   Peggy would have been 57 years old today. I pray that we will meet again on the other side.

Aristotle uses a mother’s love for her child as the prime example of love or friendship. —  Mortimer Adler

A mother’s arms are made of tenderness and children sleep soundly in them. — Victor Hugo

The babe at first feeds upon the mother’s bosom, but it is always on her heart. — Henry Ward Beecher

There’s a lot more to being a woman than being a mother, but there’s a hell of a lot more to being a mother than most people suspect. —  Roseanne Barr

The mother-child relationship is paradoxical and, in a sense, tragic. It requires the most intense love on the mother’s side, yet this very love must help the child grow away from the mother, and to become fully independent. —  Erich Fromm

Every mother is like Moses. She does not enter the promised land. She prepares a world she will not see. — Pope Paul VI

A mother is the most important person on earth. She cannot claim the honor of having built Notre Dame Cathedral. She need not. She has built something more magnificent than any Cathedral — a dwelling for an immortal soul, the tiny perfection of her baby’s body. — Joseph Cardinal Mindszenty

M Is for the Million things she gave me,
O Means only that she’s growing Old.
T Is for the Tears she shed to save me,
H Is for her Heart of purest gold.
E Is for her Eyes with love light shining,
R Means Right and Right she’ll always be.
Put them all together, They spell MOTHER.
A word that means the world to me.
—–Howard Johnson, 1915


Sleep, my child, and peace attend thee.  —   Your Mommy

A year later – Kaylin walks, talks, and curls.

Kaylin - a lovely Valentine - 2010

January 29th, 2009


I have just added Inside Catholic to my blogroll.  Their post today, titled 8  Responses to the Pro-Choice Mindset,  is a must.

January 26th, 2009


Dear Sasha and Malia,

Thus begins President Barack Obama’s letter to his daughters, published in Parade Magazine on January 18, 2009.   He continues as follows:

When I was a young man, I thought life was all about me—about how I’d make my way in the world, become successful, and get the things I want. But then the two of you came into my world with all your curiosity and mischief and those smiles that never fail to fill my heart and light up my day. And suddenly, all my big plans for myself didn’t seem so important anymore. I soon found that the greatest joy in my life was the joy I saw in yours. And I realized that my own life wouldn’t count for much unless I was able to ensure that you had every opportunity for happiness and fulfillment in yours. In the end, girls, that’s why I ran for President: because of what I want for you and for every child in this nation.

The title of Obama’s letter is What I Want For You – and Every Child in America. He says, “I want every child to have the same chances to learn and dream and grow and thrive that you girls have. That’s why I’ve taken our family on this great adventure.”   He wants them to be able to attend good schools, get good jobs, have good health care.  He tells them in his letter about how his grandmother talked about the Declaration of Independence and about the people years ago who had marched for equality.   Does he not realize that the first equality that is necessary before any other becomes possible is an equal right to life?  Should he not, as an avowed Christian,  respect not only the right to life but the commandment: Thou shalt not kill?

It was that same Barack Obama – now our  “abortion president” – who once said: “ I’ve got two daughters. 9 years old and 6 years old. I am going to teach them first of all about values and morals. But if they make a mistake, I don’t want them punished with a baby.”  Appallingly, what President Obama implies is that should one of his daughters make a “mistake” and become pregnant, he would be party, either by consent or by act, to the killing of his unborn grandchild!

Abraham Lincoln, who Obama pretends to model himself after, freed the slaves with his Emancipation Proclamation.  Mr. Obama, however, with his repeal of the Mexico City Policy and his intent to sign a Freedom of Choice Act which will undo all the pro-life gains since 1973 is destined to condemn an unprecedented number of unborn babies to death world-wide  He intends to fund groups (with our money) that promote abortion on demand and use abortion for population control  — how un-Lincolnesque!

We came, 300,000 thousand of us, to Obama’s doorstep in Washington, D.C. on January 22 and he totally ignored us.  He could at least have said ‘hello’.  President Bush always did.  We went, 30,000 of us to  San Francisco to march for the lives of the babies.   Who cares?  Ignore them, and maybe they’ll go away. I don’t think so.

Mr. Obama, your daughters are watching.   What are you teaching them?  That they are precious but other babies are disposable like so many Kleenexes?  Their daddy could have freed babies as Lincoln freed the slaves – given them civil rights as human beings made in the image of God.  He is choosing not to.

Father Benedict Groeschel said so succinctly just yesterday:  “We did not declare war on Obama.  Obama declared war on us.”

And our children.

Actor/producer Eduardo Vestegui called this video:   Obama Must See.

January 19th, 2009


“I was thinking of you today,” my friend, Peg, said. And what prompted her to think of me? The death of Ricardo Montalban. And the tie-in? He died at 88. And I’m headed for my 86th birthday. Well, it’s nice to have your friends think of you from time to time but maybe not because they are thinking that you, too, may soon be just a memory.


Sometimes I have trouble remembering names. Like a few minutes ago. When I wanted to remember Ricardo Montalban’s name, because we had spoken of him just yesterday. The closest I could come to it was Leonardo diCaprio (you see, I had a general idea). Of course, I just googled “died at 88″ and there Ricardo was, first on the list! Very handy, that google.


This morning I did a “no-no.” I know perfectly well that when traveling one should not sit long in the same position, should get up and move around, especially when you’re older,  because of the danger of blood clots in the legs. This morning I was so engrossed in the pictures of my grandkids on Facebook that I must have sat motionless, legs tightly crossed, for possibly 45 minutes. When I got up, there was this pain in my right calf. I went “oh-oh” and immediately diagnosed DVT (deep vein thrombosis) with threat of PE (pulmonary embolism) and (who knows?) death at 85. First I attached my cell phone to me, in case I had to call 911. Then I unlocked the back door so the medics wouldn’t have to break it down. Then I took a whole aspirin, as an anti- coagulation factor. I got in touch with God and told him I knew he could fix me if he wanted to but “anytime you’re ready.” Then I googled “calf pain” and stuff like that but didn’t find anything that needed to be done immediately. And I waited. It is half a day later and I’m still waiting. The leg looks perfectly OK and feels almost right. Wouldn’t it be funny if I upped and died and someone read my snippets next week? Am I just being a drama queen?


We’re having a “winter weather advisory.” The snow is winding down and an Alberta Clipper is coming. It should be down to zero tonight with perhaps a high of 10 degrees tomorrow. Old folks don’t like cold. Especially little skinny old people.  We have no blubber for insulation.  We don’t like slippery driveways either.   Next day:  Woke up to -6 degrees! I wonder how long I’ll be house-bound and all bundled-up inside the house. The schools are on a 90-minute delay for no other reason than that it’s cold. I think of the passengers on the US Airways airbus that landed in the Hudson River yesterday afternoon and pray that they are all warm and grateful now. My blood turns cold just thinking of that cold river and that cold air, on that cold day.  Too much drama for one day.


Magic Jack is a Magic Scam! Did you actually believe that could get unlimited calling to the US and Canada for $19.95 per YEAR? Really? This is what I read today when for the first time I looked up Magic Jack on google. When my tenant went on vacation he left his Magic Jack attached to my computer and told me I could use it to make all the phone calls I wished.  Opportunity beckoned and yesterday I called Wendy in New Mexico and had a nice long talk with her. Whenever I call someone on my cell phone I have visions of dollar bills floating out the window as I speak. Not so with Magic Jack. Once you have it, apparently it only costs 19.95 per year. I found the voice quality on Magic Jack not as good as my cell phone, but, hey, it was so good to have a long talk, as in the old days of land lines, without thinking about money.  Today I plan to call Katy in Indiana!


Cowards die many times before their deaths; The valiant never taste of death but once. —  William Shakespeare, Julius Caesar

January 15th, 2009


The genius of Shakespeare has Hamlet describing moral relativism in a few well-chosen words: “There is nothing either good or bad, But thinking makes it so.” In moral relativism,  nothing is absolutely good or bad. In moral relativism, there is only my good, or your good.  Good is not seen as rooted in human nature but varies with the times and the cultural milieu and the Zogby poll and who is in power.

On the other hand, our forefathers felt there were unalienable rights (or goods), among them life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness, given to us by our creator.  Taking innocent life (murder) was always wrong. Enslaving human beings or maltreating them was always wrong. Hitler, a moral relativist, thought executing Jews, gypsies, Poles, the disabled, “useless eaters,” and various others was beneficial to the nation.  Rights came from the hand of the dictator, not from God.

The new pope, Benedict XVI, has lost no time in pointing out the danger of moral relativism.  It is getting so that it is hard to come up with anything that is still believed to be wrong by most people. We used to have right and wrong, truth and goodness.  Now we have political correctness and tolerance for everything and anything.

Child molestation is still generally considered bad though there are homosexual groups pressing for a lowering of the age of consent.  Another group will happily teach our children various ways in which they can pleasure each other sexually short of sexual intercourse.  They call it “outercourse” (and actually promote it as a kind of “abstinence!”) We know our kids are learning well  when we hear of the oral sex that is going on in grade school and on the school bus. Read the rest of this entry »

January 12th, 2009


Last night I feel asleep listening to Father Groeschel talking to Fr. Felix Ilesanmi Osasona, MSP, about how the church in Africa is growing by leaps and bounds.  The previous night had been relatively sleepless and the day difficult, with five inches of snow to cope with.  I slept well last night, even with EWTN blasting the whole time.  I woke up to find, at 6 AM, Mary Beth Bonacci telling me about love.   What a blessing!  I wish I could just insert a wee video of that half-hour for readers that aren’t  able to  watch EWTN regularly at 6 AM.

Mary Beth was telling me that our children are hungry for love (as is everyone) but we have to teach them about love.  We have to model love for them, explain to them what love is (early, before the hormones kick in).  Tell them about real love.   Real love is when you want what is best for someone, when you care about them and their problems, when you are willing to sacrifice for them.  Love is a decision, not a feeling.

Mary Beth says she is known as the “pizza love” lady .  She compares real love with pizza love.  When you love pizza you like what pizza does for you, you hunger for its taste, you’ll go out of  your way to get some.  But when you’ve had your fill of pizza, you toss it aside.  You don’t care that it’s sitting in the refrigerator getting green and moldy, once your appetite is satisfied.  It’s all about you.

Loving means I’m for you.  Using means you’re for me.  “Pizza love” is about what you do for me, to me.  Mary Beth suggests starting early with the “pizza love” analogy to get kids thinking about the meaning of love.  Model unconditional love for them.    She says her Dad told her, “We’ll always love you, no matter what.”  She says he never actually  said it but she understood that meant he would still love her no matter how she screwed up, if she came home pregnant, or whatever.

[In the background, as I type, Mother Angelica is leading the rosary.  It’s a nice kind of background “music.”]

Mary Beth says God is “flipped out, madly, crazy in love with your child.”  And with every other person.  God only wants what is best for them.  It’s draining to raise a kid.  We need to turn to God for the power to love our children well.  We can’t do it on our own.  Love is a theological virtue – it’s God’s power working in us.  We need to pray to be able to love well and we need to teach our children to pray early on.

Well, maybe I’m through channeling Mary Beth Bonacci.   It was a superb half-hour, followed by Crossing the Goal with real men teaching about the Lord’s prayer.  Today it focuses on the line, “Deliver us from evil.”  I will not synopsize that program, but well worth watching.

EWTN will show the March for Life in Washington DC on January 22, LIVE!   I’ve been there and have seen personally the masses of people, marching curb to curb on Constitutional Avenue, as far as the eye could see, thousands and thousands of them.  Where else will you ever get this kind of coverage?  Not in your secular press.  Not on mainline TV.

I am so grateful to be able to receive EWTN.  I had nothing to do with it – it’s that little satellite dish that my son put up there that brings in EWTN while my  neighbors on cable can’t receive it.  Thank you, Dan.

The message of Father Groeschel last night was that the United States is now a mission country! We used to send missionaries to so-called  “third world countries.”  Those countries — Asian, African — are now sending missionaries to the United States to relieve our priest shortage and
minister to our spiritual hunger.   (See Missionary Society of St. Paul)

Song (John 13:34)

Love one another, love one another
As I have loved you.
And care for each other, care for each other
As I have cared for you.
And bear one another’s burdens –
Share one another’s joys –
And love one another, love one another
And bring each other home.


Do not think that love, in order to be genuine, has to be extraordinary. What we need is to love without getting tired.  —  Mother Teresa

Service which is rendered without joy helps neither the servant nor the served. But all other pleasures and possessions pale into nothingness before service which is rendered in a spirit of joy.  — Gandhi

January 11th, 2009


This has been posted on my refrigerator for at least ten years:

  • If you open it, close it.
  • If you turn it on, turn it off.
  • If you unlock it, lock it up
  • If you break it, admit it.
  • If you can’t fix it, call in someone who can.
  • If you drop it, pick it up.
  • If you sleep in it, make it.
  • If you borrow it, return it.
  • If you value it, take care of it.
  • If you make a mess, clean it up.
  • If you move it, put it back.
  • If you don’t know how to operate it, leave it alone.
  • If it belongs to someone else, get permission to use it.
  • If it rings, answer it.
  • If it is none of your business, don’t ask questions.
  • If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it.
  • If it cries, love it.
  • If it will brighten someone’s day, SAY IT!
  • Pandora’s rule:  If you didn’t close the box, don’t open it.

This came in a recent e-mail and deserves posting:

Take a 10-30 minute walk every day.  And while you walk, smile. It is the ultimate anti-depressant.

Sit in silence for at least 10 minutes each day. Buy a lock if you have to.

Eat more foods that grow on trees and plants and eat less food that is manufactured in plants.

Drink green tea and plenty of water.  Eat blueberries, wild Alaskan salmon, broccoli, and almonds.

Try to make at least three people smile each day.

Don’t waste your precious energy on gossip, energy vampires, issues of the past, negative thoughts or things you cannot control.  Instead invest your energy in the positive present moment.

Eat breakfast like a king, lunch like a prince and dinner like a college kid with a maxed out charge card.

Life isn’t fair, but it’s still good.

Life is too short to waste time hating anyone.

Don’t take yourself so seriously. No one else does.

You don’t have to win every argument. Agree to disagree.

Make peace with your past so it won’t spoil the present.

Don’t compare your life to others. You have no idea what their journey is all about.

No one is in charge of your happiness except you.

Frame every so-called disaster with these words:   ‘In five years, will this matter?’

Forgive everyone for everything.

What other people think of you is none of your business.

GOD heals everything.

However good or bad a situation is, it will change.

Your job won’t take care of you when you are sick. Your friends will. Stay in touch.

Envy is a waste of time. You already have all you need.

Remember that you are too blessed to be stressed.

This was reportedly posted on Mother Teresa’s wall:

People are often unreasonable, irrational, and self-centered. Forgive them anyway.

If you are kind, people may accuse you of selfish, ulterior motives. Be kind anyway.

If you are successful, you will win some unfaithful friends and some genuine enemies. Succeed anyway.

If you are honest and sincere people may deceive you. Be honest and sincere anyway.

What you spend years creating, others could destroy overnight. Create anyway.

If you find serenity and happiness, some may be jealous. Be happy anyway.

The good you do today, will often be forgotten. Do good anyway.

Give the best you have, and it will never be enough. Give your best anyway.

In the final analysis, it is between you and God. It was never between you and them anyway.


One kind word will warm three winter months.  Japanese proverb.

January 7th, 2009


It’s amazing how many people are out there, just musing away.   When my son set up this blog for me so I could post some of my writings the blogosphere was, to me, an unknown territory.  Little did I know when I chose a title for it that the internet is rife with musers–everybody seems to think their musings are blogworthy .

Some of the more intriguing titles I’ve come across are: Musings of a Pediatric Oncologist, Dr. Rob’s Musings of a Distractible mind, Musings of a Middle-Aged Guy Waiting to See What He’ll Be When He Grows Up, Musings of a Mountain Man, Musings of a Sloth, Musings of a Highly Trained Monkey, Musings of a Housewife, and Conversion Diary (musings of a former atheist).

The pediatric oncologist, Dr. David Loeb, has a truly fascinating site. If you want to read about how cancer is not contagious but the Tasmanian Devil has a kind of cancer that is contagious visit Dr. David.    This is a site I want to revisit for informed medical blogging.

Dr. Rob, also  is a practicing physician, Board Certified in Internal Medicine and Pediatrics,  who still finds time to blog, probably because he has, as he says, ADHD.

The closest I could come to finding the Musings of a Middle-Aged Guy Waiting…… was Musings of a Middle Aged Geek ( who takes lovely pictures and really, really wants a 2009 Mini Cooper.  The meaning of folded space eludes me.

Mountain Man blogs from Australia and contemplates “the nature of nature.”  He makes available many eastern writings as well as “A Summary of the Bible by Jesus of Nazareth.”

I’m not at all sure I found the original sloth muser but one Jason F. Foster, a seminary graduate, talks much about Barth and has this to say about sloth: “For Barth, Christ is, among other things, humble and diligent. So for Barth, a good way to think about sin is in opposite concepts from what Christ is shown to be. Instead of humble, sin is defined by pride. Instead of diligence, sin is defined by sloth.”

The highly trained monkey is called “Monkey Girl” and seems to be  calling it quits.  She writes:

When I started out, it was a lot of fun.
Now it’s more like work.
And work sucks.
So I’m going to make like a shepherd and get the flock outta here.
In the words of Dr. Seuss: “Don’t cry because it’s over. Smile because it happened.”

Musings of a Housewife and Conversion Diary have turned out to be two of my favorite sites (see Blogroll).

We have musings by Melinda, Melissa, Sadie, Susan, Mike and Vern.  All in all, there are (at last count) 2346 domains with “musings” in the title and 300 domains which actually begin with the word “musings.”

Who knew?  After all, if we didn’t muse we would never know what what we think  – of even if we think.

Mortimer Adler says so.


You have to allow a certain amount of time in which you are doing nothing in order to have things occur to you, to let your mind think.  M. J  Adler

January 2nd, 2009


Mortimer Adler, (December 28, 1902 – June 28, 2001) professor, educator, author, once claimed to be the most highly paid philosopher in the world. That may well be true as he was a long time professor at the University of Chicago, a popular lecturer and teacher, and author of over 50 books. He first burst into public consciousness with his best-seller non-fiction book, How to Read a Book, in 1940. His last book, Adler’s Philosophical Dictionary, was published in 1995.

I first met Dr. Adler at the University of Chicago when he and Milton Mayer were teaching a course on the Great Books. Unregistered students were allowed to sit in during the classes and enjoy the interaction as Adler and Mayer sat at the head of a long rectangular table with registered students seated all around it. I kept attending because I found the discussions fascinating and I could enjoy them without fear that I would be called on. My interest must have been obvious because at one point a note was sent from the head of the table to me, seated off to one side. It read: “Why are you here?” Under that I wrote: “Trite as it may seem, I’m seeking the truth” and sent the note back on its way.

That little incident seems to what led to my being invited to work for Mr. Adler as the Syntopicon was being put together. The Syntopicon was an index to the 102 ideas in the 54 volume set of The Great Books of the Western World, the first edition published in 1952.(Here is a link to our picture in LIFE magazine on 1/26/48.) The job certainly was nothing I applied for–I did not  know there was such an opening or even that such a thing was  happening.   (See my previous post on evolution.)

I soon married and started having children but still followed Adler’s career with interest. He was fond of Aristotle and St. Thomas Aquinas and there was talk, even then, in the 1940’s, about his being seen praying in a Catholic church.  I learned he was accused of converting students to Catholicism because he taught St. Thomas’ Summa Theologica and Jews and Protestants were turning Catholic. He preferred to blame this on his friend Dr. Herbert Schwartz, a Jew who also had converted to Catholicism. Read the rest of this entry »

January 1st, 2009


I forward this magnificent rendition of O Holy Night with Josh Groban to celebrate His birth and the birth of my first born on this date 60 years ago.

(Actually Wendy was born on December 30, but I had trouble uploading the video.  Thank you, Johnny.)  So consider it also a New Year’s gift.  Blessings for 2009 to all who read this — and all who don’t!