Cluster of wheat image Grapes and vines image Cluster of wheat image
November 25th, 2010


Something is wrong with me. Tears are so close to the surface these days. Is it the  holiday, with the gatherings, and the remembrance of those who no longer gather? Is it the fact that beauty sometimes seems to break my heart?

This photo makes me cry.

These words make me cry.

So nigh is grandeur to our dust,
So near is God to man,
When Duty whispers low, Thou must,
The youth replies, I can.
— Emerson

Dutch Beauty

I tried to include here an extraordinarily beautiful Dutch PowerPoint but WordPress said it was too large to upload.   I’ll be happy to send it as an email attachment to anyone looking for a blessing.  Just request it in the comments and send it to people you love.  Or, thanks to my very clever son, just click on Dutch Beauty above and you can download the PowerPoint to your computer.

And speaking of extraordinary beauty, my face is wet with tears from having viewed today, for the first time, a little movie called St. Bernadette of Lourdes, produced by Navis Pictures and available from Ignatius Press.  It is written, produced and directed by one Jim Morlino, a member of my parish.  The actors are all local children, and it is, of course, about the apparitions of  Our Lady in Lourdes.  All I can say is that it is precious  and gorgeous and charming and moving and has the Holy Spirit all over it.  It would be the perfect Christmas gift for any  family with children – you will be astounded  at the quality of the production and the children will love, love, love it.  This movie is  an act of love and I cannot speak too highly of it.

Meet Jim Morlino

Where have all the children gone?

I guess what’s wrong with me is that I’m mourning – the loved ones gone, young lives cut short, buds not allowed to blossom, beauty unappreciated, and beauty appreciated.

This is a day for weeping and Thanksgiving.   God is, and all is well.


Let the children come to me; do not hinder them, for to such belongs the kingdom of God.  — Mark 10:14

November 17th, 2010





November 15th, 2010


I wrote JANE FONDA, UP CLOSE a couple of weeks ago  after I had seen her on the Oprah show. I found her honesty appealing and was intrigued by the news that she had become a Christian. I asked her on her blog how she felt about abortion, now that she was a Christian, and also what had led to her becoming a Christian.   She replied that she was a pro-choice Christian and I should read her memoirs for the rest of the story.

I ordered a used  paperback of  My Life So Far by Jane and was surprised by the size and heft of what arrived.  No dinky paperback this, but a very good looking hardcover-size book of some 600 pages.  And, as a bonus, a DVD tucked in the back titled A Conversation with Jane Fonda:  Her book, her work, her life.   I had only to read the first pages of the introduction to know I was going to get my money’s worth.

One of Jane’s husbands  said that Jane had no mystery.   She is pretty forthright and a surprising amount of information is all laid out here. The lady has been around.  She has had a number of lovers and three husbands and made over forty films here and abroad.  Her famous father, Henry Fonda, had four wives and appeared in over 100 films.  Small wonder, then, that  it is only a slight exaggeration to say that Jane drops half a dozen famous names on every page!

Jane went swimming with the naked Greta Garbo.   Jane served a meal to one of her lover’s ex-wives who just happened to be Brigitte Bardot.  Jane was in an acting class with Marilyn Monroe.  Since Jane was in 9 to 5 and On Golden Pond, of course she knows Dolly Parton and Katharine Hepburn quite well.  And on and on.

The book is very well-written (she did it herself!) and provides great insight into the life of one famous actress, but that is not what I was looking for.  Hanoi Jane devotes most of eight chapters to her involvement in the Vietnam war.  As an activist myself I was curious about what would prompt a woman and a celebrity to get out there and put herself on the line, to risk reputation and livelihood.   What drives such a person?  I will let those with first hand knowledge of Vietnam  judge the accuracy of her statements.  As for me, I find her honest, courageous, and perhaps just a bit foolish.

What I really  bought  the book for was to learn what led Jane to become a Christian.   It wasn’t until page 466 that she, an atheist,  first wonders if there might be a God.  As she was approaching 60 it occurred to her that she might make a documentary of her life, seeking to find out who she was and where she was going.  When she invited her daughter, Vanessa, a documentary filmmaker to help with it, Vanessa said, “Why don’t you just get a chameleon and let it crawl across the screen?”  Touché!   She felt a need for spirituality but knew her husband (at the time, Ted Turner) would not be receptive to her seeking.

She writes:

I needed to be filled.  An inner life had been emerging for some time, and I needed to name it.  I named it “Christian” because that is my culture.  I began to pray every day, out loud, on my knees, and it was like being hooked up to the power of the Mystery that had been leading me for the past decade.  It wasn’t so much a learning about the existence of God, because learning implies use of the intellect.  It was more an experiencing of His presence, a psychic lucidity, that was allowing me access to something beyond consciousness.

There you have it.   That is about the extent of Jane’s  spiritual journey as described in her book.  She is a “cultural Christian” which does not necessarily mean that she thinks there actually once walked upon this earth a person named Jesus who came to teach us how to live.  Or maybe she does.  And if Jesus actually did live and teach, she does not take as seriously what he taught as do some “fundamentalist” types.   Hers is more of a ‘feeling’ religion than a ‘head’ religion.   After all, one is not  “saved” by saying certain words but by the  movement of the heart that accompanies those words.

In the years since her book was completed, Jane has written in her blog  more about the development of her spirituality which can be found here. She is still a seeker and God does not disappoint those who earnestly seek Him.  She knows that she is a work in progress.

All in all, My Life So Far is a remarkable,  engrossing, revealing story of a complicated, honest,  famous woman.  The book is also chock-full of  inside glimpses into lives of people that you never thought twice about before – Ted Turner, for example — an amazing man!    And I now know I need to see On Golden Pond again, since I’ve been filled in on  the dynamics of the Katharine Hepburn/Jane Fonda and the Henry Fonda/Jane Fonda relationships!

Come, Holy Spirit of God.   Fill us with  your light and your love.


Coincidences are God’s way of remaining anonymous. —  Bill Moyers (quoted by Jane Fonda)

God is not a man, that he should lie, nor a son of man, that he should repent; has he not said, and will he not do it? Or has he spoken, and will he not make it good? — Numbers 23:19

November 10th, 2010



Charley, a new retiree-greeter at Wal-Mart, just couldn’t seem to get to work on time.
Every day he was 5, 10, 15 minutes late. But he was a good worker, really tidy, clean-shaven, sharp-minded and a real credit to the company and obviously demonstrating their “Older Person Friendly” policies.

One day the boss called him into the office for a talk.
“Charley, I have to tell you, I like your work ethic, you do a bang-up job, but your being late so often is quite bothersome.”
“Yes, I know boss, and I am working on it.”
“Well good, you are a team player. That’s what I like to hear.
It’s odd though your coming in late. I know you’re retired from the Armed Forces.
What did they say if you came in late there?”

“They said, “Good morning, Admiral, can I get you coffee, sir?”

Thanks to Bob

November 6th, 2010



Listen to Brian Brown, President of the National Organization for Marriage, tell about the gains made in Tuesday’s election for marriage and family issues. The National Organization for Marriage along with other pro-life, pro-family groups have been doing an awesome job and deserve our support……….which is why NOM’s address is at the bottom of this post.

National Organization for Marriage
2029 K Street, NW, Suite 300
Washington, DC 20006

I thought William May, Chairman of Catholics for the Common Good,  was right-on when he wrote:

“What many people do not seem to realize is the real issue at play here has little to do with homosexuality or ‘gay’ lifestyles. The question is whether marriage is merely a committed relationship for the private interests of adults, the definition implicit in same-sex ‘marriage,’ or whether it unites a man and a woman with each other and any children that come from their union.

“The consequences of changing the definition of marriage have broad ramifications for how the value of marriage to children and society is perceived and will affect decisions people make about marriage in their own lives. C

November 6th, 2010


This month Alice Herz-Sommer,  the world’s oldest holocaust survivor, will be 107 years old.  In 1942 at the age of 39, she was a concert  pianist in Prague.  Her mother and her husband had already been sent to Auschwitz.  She, however, was sent to Theresienstadt, a camp designed to show the world how well the Jews were being treated by their captors.  Here artists were permitted to play, dance,  paint.  It was also the only camp in which children were not taken from their parents.  Raffi, her son, sang in Theresienstadt’s children’s opera.   Alice says:  “When a child is near the mother everything can happen.  He is not afraid.”

Living alone in her flat in London she still spends several hours a day on her piano and enjoys visits from friends. Listen! That’s Alice at 106!

Alice and her son returned to Prague after being liberated by the Soviet Army in May of 1945. She found no one and nothing of her past. Strangers lived in her apartment – which had been confiscated by the Nazis. Already 45 years old, she made the decision to immigrate to Israel where she hoped to find other Survivors. In the “promised land” she built a new life and supported herself and her son by teaching at the Music Academy.

More biography at Dancing Under the Gallows. Pre-order documentary DVD.

After becoming a successful cellist, Raffi settled in England where he married and had two sons. Shortly before her 100th birthday Alice decided to retire from teaching and to emigrate once more, this time to England to be near Raffi and her grandchildren. But disaster struck shortly after she moved to London when Raffi died suddenly in Israel while on a concert tour with the Solomon Trio. Grief-stricken, Alice was hospitalized for weeks before she gradually began to recover from the shock and sadness. Then, around the time that she turned 100 Alice took up the study of philosophy to bolster her indestructible spirit, to try and make sense of everything that had befallen her, and to keep her insatiably curious mind alive.

Read about Theresienstadt.

November 5th, 2010


Thirteen died and thirty were injured following the November 5, 2009, shooting at Fort Hood TX.      Here Lt. Gen. Jerry Boykin talks to CBN about why no one dealt with the Fort Hood terrorist beforehand.

Boykin has written two books, Never Surrender:  A Soldier’s Journey to the Crossroads of Faith and Freedom,  which “will keep you riveted as he reveals how his military duty worked in tandem with his faith to bring him through the bloody storms of foreign battle-and through the political firestorm that ambushed him in his own country.”  Just this past summer he also published Danger Close, a novel.

Eight-year old singing prodigy Rhema Marvanne is scheduled to sing at an anniversary remembrance of the Fort Hood massacre.

November 4th, 2010


I’ve had vertigo for a week now. It is most evident when I make a major head movement as when I lie down, turn over in bed, bend over, or get up in the morning. The world as I see it will then start to rotate to the right and my equilibrium will be discombobulated. It is hard to stand up or to walk a straight line. After a while the sensation of a moving environment will stop and though things seem to my eyes to stay put, there is still a vague unsettledness and I don’t feel properly situated in space. I can do my customary things (drive, shop, clean house) but have a feeling that I have to plough (plow) through the feeling that my world is askew. It would definitely be nicer to be back to my usual wobbly self.

My first experience with vertigo was in 1976 when I awoke with nausea and an inability to get out of bed. Fortunately at that time I worked for two neurologists, I was examined for a TIA (transient ischemic attack), sent home, and returned to work in a day or two. There was a similar episode in 1981.   Again, in 1992, a different neurologist diagnosed me as having “acute peripheral neuropathy.” In 2006 the onset of vertigo was so acute it woke me from sleep in early morning, with nausea, and an inability to get out of bed. This time I asked my son to take me to the emergency room (about 3 AM!) After a CAT scan, IV hydration, prescriptions for nausea and vertigo, I was sent home, and in due time returned to normal.

Over the years it has not been unusual to awake with a “touch” of vertigo which vanished during the day. So, you see, vertigo for me is not seen as a big deal. I am currently on Meclizine 12.5 three times a day which makes me very sleepy and doesn’t really make me feel normal.

Vertigo is common among the elderly and is usually called benign paroxysmal positional vertigo. It is reputedly caused by a shift in position of tiny stones in the inner ear. This, in turn, can be caused by a head injury, inner ear infection, or the aging process itself. It is most dangerous because of the risk of falling. One website tells me vertigo needs further evaluation if accompanied by headache, double vision, weakness, difficulty speaking, abnormal eye movements, altered level of consciousness, difficulty controlling arms or legs.


It is now a week later and of late I’ve forgotten to take my medication – a good sign because it means I am not much bothered by the vertigo – maybe just a little in the morning. I am intrigued by a couple of websites I came across in my browsing which offer helpful treatments for vertigo. One charges $37 and another $49.89 for the information with money back if requested. It is my impression that these people have good ideas (from reading their promotional pages) and I might actually send them money if desperate. Since I tend to doubt that they have learned anything about vertigo that I can’t find out if I search long enough, they will just have to wait until desperation sets in!

November 3rd, 2010


I can pay no greater tribute to a fellow blogger-Mom than to copy for others her entire after-the-election commentary. This is by Barbara Curtis of Mommy Life.   Need I say that I highly recommend her site?

A strange thing happens to me after an election – no matter which way it goes. I feel a peace, a sense of acceptance and release – like a job that required my almost full attention has been finished and I am free to move on.  Also an intense optimism.

This happened in the middle of the night on which Obama was elected.  Although I had spent several months warning of his faulty foundation and hidden agenda, I woke up and wrote to MommyLife readers urging that we give Obama the benefit of a doubt.  This may surprise some who’ve only begun reading here recently since I have once again been busy gathering and presenting information on how this unqualified and dangerously narcissistic man has been undermining our Constitution, creating division and making us vulnerable.  I believe Obama – and his media sycophants and political cronies – have vividly shown us not only their lack of appreciation for our country but also complete contempt for its citizenry.

But in a Romans 8:28 sort of way, we’ve experienced a great blessing.  Good, honest, hardworking citizens – who’d been too busy living their lives and caring for their children to invest in politics – were startled into consciousness as a parent would leap from bed on smelling fire.  The rise of the Tea Party – true grassroots activism – and the broadening of our interest to include other state races has been inspirational and refreshing.  Networking and finding alternatives to the Propaganda Press have led to a true grassroots system of information which guarantees – as The Who sang in the 70’s We Won’t Get Fooled Again.

Still, conservatives have had to endure the scorn and ridicule of the “elites” – as though we were in high school and the popular crowd was making the rules. It’s cool to be liberal – as evidenced by Obama’s choice of propaganda venues:  Rolling Stone, MTV, Ryan Seacrest.  Why bother discussing anything substantive when you have friends like Jon Stewart (and that other guy whose name I can’t remember) staging a Return to Sanity rally – an event with no other purpose than to remind liberals of their coolness and conservatives of their dorky status. That the Propaganda Press pretended that these were the moderates – well, that’s because they’re cool too.

Yesterday a lot of not-so-cool people went to the polls.  No longer intimidated by being painted as angry, ugly racists we voted our conscience.  Today the world looks different, as though we are actually now a few steps closer to  – well, to restoring sanity.

The Tea Party prevailed.  This was not a Republican v. Democrat election, but an anti-establishment cleaning-political-house election.  It was fueled to a large extent by women who kept the information networks humming in the background and the foreground.  The constant anti-Tea Party propaganda backfired as ordinary citizens became sensitized to exactly how untrustworthy the “Mainstream Media” and smooth-talking politicians have become.

We won’t be fooled again.

We know too much now to ever be dominated by the In-Crowd.  We care too much about our country.  We’ve gone back and studied our Constitution.  We’ve thought about the meaning of American exceptionalism.  We do believe our country is the beacon of freedom and hope throughout the world and we are sick to death of efforts to sabotage our image and status.  We are sick to death of government schools and a college system that indoctrinates the next generations to parrot the ideas of anti-American cool/hip/elitist teachers.

Parents are teaching their children.  We realize that we can’t go back to tending our own business anymore.  This election is the first step in a process that will eventually return our country to its foundation – or see us slide into Shariah Law.  We have to know who we are and we have to defend ourselves on many different fronts.

So keep reading and thinking and discussing.  I will be getting together Thursday with Catholic Conservative Women of Loudoun, a group of women who found each other in September 2009 and started a yahoo group to exchange information and encourage each other.  We also meet monthly for lunch.  We will have a lot to celebrate tomorrow!

I started by saying that post-election I feel peace, release and optimism – similar to the feeling after cleaning out a closet – which oddly enough was my own personal run-up  to November 2.  Now my closets are clean and the election is over (well, except for the inevitable Democrat stealing vote-haggling.  While I would like to have seen Reid, Pelosi and Boxer given their walking papers, I was gratified by the returns – so many Democrat incumbents swept away and fresh conservatives swept in.  The Tea Party rising to tell the Republican Party there will be no more business as usual – hopefully, Republicans are finished with trying for the “cool” crowd’s approval.

I won’t be exploring the particulars of the election (unless I change my mind as things evolve).  Check Drudge and the conservative sites in my right sidebar for detailed election news/analysis.  I just wanted to touch base this morning on a personal level as I drank my morning coffee.

Now I’m ready to turn my attention elsewhere for a while.  Which is good news, because I have a lot to share on Veterans Day, Thanksgiving, Advent and Christmas.  As moms, we have a responsibility not only to clean up our country’s messes, but to build a strong family heritage so our children will be equipped to be secure in who they are, not vulnerable to the outside influence of “cool” peers, teachers, singers, comedians.    That doesn’t mean they should be cut off from these things, just that their sense of self is strong enough that they can be in the world, not of it.

Our political work is important, but shaping our kids to carry it through is even more so.


To compel a man to subsidize with his taxes the propagation of ideas which he  disbelieves and abhors is sinful and tyrannical.   — Thomas Jefferson

November 2nd, 2010


I never thought much of Jane Fonda, one way or another, until I watched her on a recent Oprah program. At 72 the lady is lovely, svelte, limber, and even sage. In her younger years she had made the best-selling exercise videos ever and she has kept the exercising up (despite knee and hip surgery.

According to Jane, her first videos are

still the largest selling home video of all time…17 million copies. We had no budget, no hair stylist or makeup artists. We did it all ourselves. I wrote the script on a ski trip in Calgary on the floor of my hotel room. Who knew that that video would launch the video business…literally, people weren’t willing to pay a lot for the hardware, the machinery, when they had nothing they wanted to watch over and over..till my JF Workout.

I’ve been poring over Jane’s blog and truly enjoying  looking into the daily doings of a woman who lives life to the hilt, makes movies, cavorts with rich and famous people, and has sense enough to know that she is still a work in progress, even at 72.    Scenes from from the set of her recently completed film, Peace, Love and Misunderstanding are colorful and fascinating.   She is working on some Prime Time exercise DVD’s to come out soon.   I couldn’t help latching onto the following photo of

92 and still able

a 92 year old yoga teacher getting into position for a shoulder stand.   Not long ago I was able to do that and once my vertigo vanishes I intend to try it again.  She is an inspiration!

Especially endearing is Jane’s willingness to answer questions on her ASK JANE.  Someone asked where she had her hair done for the Oprah show:  Matthew Shields at Sally Herschberger Salon in LA.   What doctor replaced her hip and knee?  Dr. John Moreland, St. John’s Hospital, Santa Monica.  Who did her plastic surgery?  Fat was removed under her eyes and her chin/neck tightened by Dr. Hutcherson and Dr. Groth in Beverly Hills.

When I tried to explain to my good friend, Dolores,  why I admired Jane Fonda and how forthright she is   she exclaimed that Jane has always been a radical feminist and probably still is.   “Ask her, ” she said, “If she is still pro-abortion, now that she’s a Christian.”  I also asked Jane for more information about why she became a Christian.

She actually did reply:

Jane says:

Dottie, sorry. I do not recall getting a prior letter and questions from you. For an in depth description of my journey to Christianity you’ll have to read my memoirs. I am a pro-choice Christian, like many Christian friends I know

dottie says:

Thanks, Jane, for replying. I’ll get your memoirs to see how you came to Christianity. I know it won’t help me understand how you can be a Christian and still permit the killing of unborn human beings. (unborn women, too!) You probably don’t think what Jesus said has any relevance to your life. In the meantime, I will pray that you will pray about your choice to allow the killing of the most innocent of all.

All in all, as I am learning about who Jane Fonda is I am finding a real, alive, searching, finding, very interesting, stand-up woman.  It is a pleasure to make her acquaintance.