Cluster of wheat image Grapes and vines image Cluster of wheat image
August 30th, 2011


It was the afternoon of August 23, a Tuesday, when Jon came downstairs and asked if we had felt anything. We hadn’t. Upstairs he had felt a shaking, seen a swaying, and thought it was an earthquake. The time was 1:52. Sure enough TV and Google informed us that a 5.9 quake centered near Mineral, Virginia, had been felt south to Atlanta, west to Chicago, and north to Martha’s Vineyard. I already had earthquakes on my mind as grandson Joel had just experienced three minor tremors a day or two after he first arrived at Christchurch, New Zealand. His Facebook post read: “I felt the earth….shake….under my feet.”

Christchurch had had a really severe quake last February and the damage was still quite evident. In fact, Joel posted a picture of the set for Macbeth for which he was running lights. They were using the devastation wrought by the earthquake as a set for their production.

Macbeth set - Christchurch

Macbeth set - Christchurch

We had been following with interest a hurricane brewing in tropical waters which threatened to travel up the eastern coast of the United States. We were glad it spared Dolly and Dwight who live in Florida but computer models seemed to indicate it would make a beeline for New Jersey, New York City and Fairfield County in Connecticut — that’s us. After being covered on TV 24/7 for days it finally arrived on the 27th and 28th, not as bad as it could have been but plenty bad enough. Here’s a video of our very own town during the worst of it.

Between the earthquake and the hurricane, on August 26, my grandson’s wife Susana gave birth (a month early) to my fourth greatgrandchild. Weighing in a 6 lb 6 oz and a fine healthy specimen,  may I introduce Selva’s new baby sister –




Now there’s a baby who can fill a page and a heart!

August 30th, 2011


There are those who say they cannot accept the Christian God because a God of Love and Goodness could never make a person that He knew would end up in an eternal hell.  Surely a God of Mercy would want everyone to be saved and enjoy the heavenly bliss that is prepared for them.

The usual response to this argument is that God doesn’t send anyone to Hell; they choose it themselves.

To die in mortal sin without repenting and accepting God’s merciful love means remaining separated from him forever by our own free choice. This state of definitive self-exclusion from communion with God and the blessed is called “hell.” — Catholic Catechism

Apparently God thinks Free Will is very important.  He is a God of Love and Love is something that has to be freely chosen.   If we HAD to love God, and love Good, and love Truth and Beauty, we would not be persons, only robots.   Love MUST be chosen, or it means nothing.

So God, being a God of Love, wanted to share his Love with us and wanted us to enjoy an eternity where Love ruled.  Love is nothing if it is not shared with someone.  It is the very nature of Love to involve someone else.    And God wanted to share an eternity of happiness with others — i.e. us.

There you have it.  Love requires Free Will.  How God can create a creature with Free Will is beyond me.  It means that the creature can actually choose A or B or even C without constraint in any direction.  However, we know, from experience, that we do have free will.

We all know that in God’s original plan we were to enjoy his presence in a beautiful garden where we would have no cares or worries.  But, of course we also know that, using their free will, Adam and Eve disobeyed God’s only command.  They did not love enough to believe and trust.  Knowing that God was their Father, knowing that He loved them, knowing he wanted the best for them and was much wiser than them, it would have been smart to do as he said.  But they did not want to accept their creaturehood – they wanted to be “like God.”

Trying to understand the relationship of God to our world, it is not unusual for philosopher-types  to compare God to a watchmaker.   Suppose God made a beautiful watch and its only obligation was to keep time.   It could do what it was designed to do and have a long happy life in the vest pocket of a loving God.   If it refused to keep time and refused to be repaired and wanted instead to be a computer, there is nothing to be done but toss it away – into the outer darkness.   We are imagining that the watch has some sort of mind and will and in its rebellion it has deprived itself of a happy life in the service of its maker.   It says, instead, I WILL NOT SERVE!

So, face it.   We are not God.  We do not understand the universe or a single cell or even our own selves.  We are CREATURES!   We, unlike the watch, really do have free will.   We can say I WILL NOT SERVE or we can say I CHOOSE TO  DO YOUR WILL.  “I trust that your plan for me is loving and good.”

Many of us have a rebellious streak in us and want to “do it our way.”  Some of us find it hard to trust God because we have not experienced a love that is trustworthy.  We can turn away from  a plan for us that comes from a loving Father but if we do not surrender eventually to God’s plan there is nothing to be done but let us stew in our own juice.   That’s Hell.   There is simply no place for a person who will not love in a place where love rules.

There are numerous scriptural references to the fire of hell, a lake of fire, such as Mark 9:43-44 which reads:

And if thy hand offend thee, cut it off: it is better for thee to enter into life maimed, than having two hands to go into hell, into the fire that never shall be quenched: Where their worm dieth not, and the fire is not quenched.

Hell is a place without love.  I do not know if a spiritual body can experience the kind of fire we have on earth.    But it can experience a burning hate that cannot be quenched  and consumes the vessel that contains it.   The loss of the very reason for one’s existence must be an  indescribable  torment.   However terrible Jesus’   suffering was during the crucifixion, it seems that the worst part of all was the feeling of having been forsaken by his Father.

The Lord’s prayer tells us to do two things:  The first is to do God’s will.   The second is to forgive the trespasses of others.    This is  just another version of the Old Testament commands to love God and to love our neighbor.   This is why forgiveness is essential to enter the kingdom of Heaven.   There is no place in heaven for hate.

Like all analogies, this one breaks down but it is how I explain things to myself – so far.  We have to remember that we are in time and God is in eternity and sees the end from the beginning.  It is useless to try to outsmart God.  Scripture tells us God is Love and we do well to obey when he speaks.  Otherwise, like the unwilling watch,  we are good for nothing but to be tossed aside.

My God has given me some gifts, more than some people have,  and less than others, as is true for all mankind.     He has tried me and blessed me and on retrospect I realize I  have much to thank him for.  Hindsight, as they say, is 20/20.   To me it seems good and fitting to trust in him going forward.    I am in awe of what he has done for me and I know the meaning of the joy of the Lord.

“All things  work together for good for those who love God and are called according to his purpose.”  Matt. 8:28.


Here I am, Lord.  I come to do your will.   Make of me what pleases you.   Here I am, here I am, Lord.

Into the hand that made the rose, shall I with trembling fall?

The saying of Damascene that “God preknows but does not predetermine the things which are in our power” are to be understood as meaning that the things which are in our power are not subject to the divine predetermination in such a way as to be necessitated thereby. — St. Thomas, Summa Contra Gentiles, Ch. XC

You say, “The LORD’S way is not fair!” Hear now, house of Israel: Is it my way that is unfair, or rather, are not your ways unfair?  When a virtuous man turns away from virtue to commit iniquity, and dies, it is because of the iniquity he committed that he must die.  But if a wicked man, turning from the wickedness he has committed, does what is right and just, he shall preserve his life;  since he has turned away from all the sins which he committed, he shall surely live, he shall not die. — Ezekiel 18:25-28

I have recently come across the following video by Fr. Barron on the subject of God “sending” people to an everlasting hell.





August 19th, 2011


It has come to this.  I’m in church, waiting for mass to begin.   I’m 88.  And what am I thinking of?   Sex!!

This might seem less odd if you consider how distressed I am that my very own state, Connecticut, has recently passed a law making same-sex “marriage” legal.   I can’t write “marriage” without quotation marks because I can’t comprehend how anyone can think gays can marry when they can’t even mate.  From the beginning of humanity, marriage has meant the commitment of a man and a woman to each other with the intent of having sexual intercourse and caring for offspring that might result from that union.   Even heterosexual marriage was not valid unless it was consummated.   That meant mating.  And gays can’t mate.  Or have offspring.

For several years I have been watching a couple at mass who sit a few pews in front of me.  I would guess they are about fifty-ish.  I suspect they may have grown children but, of course, I don’t know.  I don’t even know their names.  They sit close enough to each other to touch.  They kiss at the sign of peace. They wear wedding rings.  They have a nice rapport.

Then, right there in church, I imagine them in the marital embrace.  The first word I think of is “comfortable.”  Then “enjoyable.”  Two-in-one-flesh comes to mind.  There is a rightness to it.  Like a key in a lock.  A coming together of things designed for each other.

Long ago there was a line in my missal that read: “It is meet and fitting and availing unto salvation…”  I remember this line because even back then “meet” and “fitting” were seldom used  that way in ordinary conversation.    To me there is a “meetness” and a “fittingness” about this couple coming together sexually.

Try as I may, I cannot visualize two men or two women having “meet and fitting” sex.  It is good for men to love each other, and women to love each other.  Indeed, they are commanded to love one another.  But whatever they might do sexually, it is not mating.  It is not the way sex was designed to work.  It might better be considered some variant of  mutual masturbation.  Or that old-fashioned word,  sodomy.

If I may be permitted a bit of anthromorphism, you have to feel for the poor sperm that had hopes of meeting up with an egg and finds that it is not even in the right ball park and doesn’t have a fighting chance.  Also, there are bioactive chemicals in the seminal fluid (“there’s good in that goo”) (see seminal thoughts) that are going to waste.  What a perversion of purpose!

Did you know that humans are the only animals that mate face to face?  Could it be that human sex is supposed to be a person-to-person encounter and not just a instinctive animal activity?  Human sex can be – and should be –  a holy thing.



Definition of sodomy:  Anal or oral copulation with a member of the same or opposite sex.  Also copulation with an animal.   — Merriam-Webster

For this is the will of God, even your sanctification, that ye should abstain from fornication: That every one of you should know how to possess his vessel in sanctification and honour;  Not in the lust of concupiscence, even as the Gentiles which know not God:  That no man go beyond and defraud his brother in any matter: because that the Lord is the avenger of all such, as we also have forewarned you and testified.  For God hath not called us unto uncleanness, but unto holiness.  — 1 Thessalonians 4:7-8

August 17th, 2011


Gay Pride Parade in New York City.   Exactly what is it about this that makes gays proud?

August 17th, 2011


Hi Lord, it’s me.

We are getting older and things are getting bad here.
Gas prices are too high, no jobs, food and heating costs too high.
I know some have taken you out of our schools, government and even
Christmas, but Lord I’m asking you to come back and re-bless America .
We really need you!

There are more of us who want you than those who don’t!
Thank You Lord,
I Love you.

August 13th, 2011


Over this past weekend I saw love outpoured. There were two birthday celebrations — one of my 8-year-old greatgranddaughter, Selva; the other of my 80-year-old sister-in-law, Margie. Both were obviously much loved.

Selva had a pool party at her grandpa’s home with a birthday cake engineered by her grandma. Selva had ordered, of all things, a JUNGLE CAKE. Many people had a hand in it — greataunts, greatgrandma (I got to put the pupils in the eyes of the animals!), mommy,  daddy, and Selva herself, who designed the animals, and learned in the process how to roll and apply fondant, and grease and flour cake pans.

I cannot begin to describe the process of putting this whole creation together, but the lake and the waterfall are made of jello. Once it was transported from the refrigerator to its place of honor at the party, the final WOW factor was a flag atop the mountain reading SELVA. It was truly a testament of love for this transplanted Guatemalan cutie in her new country.

The Jungle

Margie and Ernie have been blessed with seven children, all of whom were present, with offspring, for her (surprise!) 80th birthday celebration, even their children from Ohio, Virginia, and Missouri. Fortunately AnneMarie and John have a big house as there were people all over the place — numerous grandkids (no greatgrandkids), sisters and their families, friends and neighbors,  right down to a tiny, toddling, foster tot.


Eighty Surprise!

It was a wonderful weekend!  What can be more enjoyable than seeing love in action?

August 11th, 2011


We’re all over 80 now, except for my baby sister, Dolly, who is only 73. And Dolly lives far away in Florida which is why we gather whenever possible for what could be our “one last time.”

All of us together. Left to right: Margie (Ernie’s wife), brother Bob, me, brother Ernie, sister Annette, Dwight (Dolly’s husband), sister Dolly. Ernie took such a big beautiful picture I just had to post it as big as I could — now that I know how to shrink it enough for WordPress to accept it. Which took some time. He took it in May 2011!

Here is my celebration of siblinghood on my blog in 2010.

August 7th, 2011


It is good for friends to get together and enjoy each other’s company. Patti and Mike have a lovely home with a huge yard and many trees and flowers. And a nice big deck surrounded by many more flowers. All in all, a perfect setting for a friendly gathering. Plus, she has a pool. We were invited to bring our bathing suits!

We had lunch on the deck and then went pool-side and sat in the shade where Patti led us in songs that she says are enjoyed by the “old folks” where she ministers. Three of us, after all, are over 70l


Here’s Mary Lou with her beautiful smile.

And next Kathy holding up a shredded napkin (modern art, I guess.)

And me, dabbling my feet in the pool. So refreshing. Should have brought my bathing suit. (Do I detect a hint of vanity in my not wanting to display this old wrinkly, crepey, scrawny body?)

Then, after they discovered I had just had a birthday, a very cute photo of me blowing out the candle on a brownie.

I very much looked forward to posting these pics on my blog to say how much I enjoyed the gathering, how much I appreciated Kathy’s taking and forwarding such fine photos, how good it was of Patti to invite us, what a nice time was had by all.

My apologies for the delay. I had to find out how to shrink the digital camera pictures to a size that WordPress would accept. FINALLY, I’ve found out how. Just about anything seems to be possible on a computer if you’re willing to put in the effort.

Thank you, friends — for your love and kindness. Better late than never.

August 4th, 2011


It’s a jungle out there. The World Wide Web is a tangle, a superabundance, a plethora of information and misinformation. Some of it is valuable, some a total waste of time, some actually harmful. You try to find to your way through the jungle and are overwhelmed by the massiveness of the task. You realize that there are people out there who much more intelligent than you who are trying to do the same thing, who are working harder at it than you are. So you look for someone who can show you the way. That’s when you find out there are some guides that are trustworthy and some that have ulterior motives. You listen carefully and study as well as you can but in the end decide that you have to listen to your gut, to your intuition, when choosing a guide that will not lead you astray. Truthfulness becomes especially important. Does your guide have your well-being at heart as well as his own self-interest?

Truth has no agenda. Love seeks the well-being of the beloved. You do your feeble best at trying to find guides who are coming from a place of truth and love. You pray for guidance in discerning goodness — because goodness comes from a place of truth and love.

The best I can do in this blog is to point to people who seem good and ring true to me, who I think are worthy of a hearing. One such is Jeannie DeAngelis who writes in American Thinker. I think her take on what drives Obama is worthy of consideration.

Cloward-Piven Paradise Now?
By Jeannie DeAngelis

Combine class warfare, demonizing the rich, getting as many people onto the welfare rolls as possible, and pushing the economic system to collapse and you have a flawless formula for Cloward-Piven 2.0 — and a vehicle that ensures Obama remains in power.

Cloward-Piven is a much talked-about strategy proposed in the mid-1960’s by two Columbia University sociology professors named Richard Andrew Cloward and Frances Fox Piven. The Cloward-Piven approach was sometimes referred to as the “crisis strategy,” which they believed were a means to “end poverty.”

The premise of the Cloward-Piven collective/anti-capitalist gospel decried “individual mobility and achievement,” celebrated organized labor, fostered the principle that “if each finally found himself in the same relative economic relationship to his fellows … all were infinitely better off.”

The duo taught that if you flooded the welfare rolls and bankrupted the cities and ultimately the nation, it would foster economic collapse, which would lead to political turmoil so severe that socialism would be accepted as a fix to an out-of-control set of circumstances.

The idea was that if people were starving and the only way to eat was to accept government cheese, rather than starve, the masses would agree to what they would otherwise reject. In essence, for the socialist-minded, the Cloward-Piven strategy is a simple formula that makes perfect sense; the radical husband-and-wife team had Saul Alinsky as their muse, and they went on to teach his social action principles to a cadre of socialist-leaning community organizers, one of whom was Barack Obama.

As the debt crisis continues to worsen, President Obama stands idly by an inferno with his arms crossed, shaking his head, and doing nothing other than kinking the fire hose and closing the spigot. Spectator Obama is complaining that the structure of the American economy is engulfed in flames while accusing the Congress, which is trying desperately to douse the fire, of doing nothing about the problem.

Although speculative, if the Cloward-Piven strategy is the basis of the left’s game plan, spearheaded by Alinsky devotee Barack Obama, it certainly explains the President’s inaction and detached attitude.

The greatest nation in the history of the world is teetering on the brink of a catastrophic economic crisis. America was pushed to this point by a rapidly-expanding national debt and a stressed-out entitlement system; in the center of this crisis is the President, who insists on expanding it even further, all in the name “fairness” and “social justice.”

As a default date nears and the President threatens seniors that there’s a chance they may not receive their Social Security checks, it has been revealed that the federal government disperses a stunning 80 million checks a month, which means that about a third of the US adult population could be receiving some sort of entitlement.

Since the 1960’s when Cloward-Piven presented a socialistic guideline to usher in the type of evenhandedness Obama lauds, America’s entitlement rolls have swelled from eight million to 80 million. If the nation’s ability to disperse handouts were ever disrupted, it’s not hard to see how chaos would erupt should an angry army of millions demand what Cloward-Piven called “the right to income.”

Couple the threat of dried-up funds for food stamps, Social Security, unemployment benefits and the like with the Obama administration’s vigorous campaign to turn a tiny upper class of big earners into the enemy, and you have the Cloward-Piven recipe for anarchy and complete collapse.

If the worst happened, Saul Alinsky’s biggest fan, whose poll numbers continue to plummet, could use mayhem in the streets to remain firmly ensconced in the White House. Alinsky taught his students a basic principle that community organizer Barack Obama learned well: “Never let a good crisis go to waste.” Fiscal disintegration coupled with lawlessness would deliver the type of Cloward-Piven/Saul Alinsky trifecta that progressives have worked toward and waited decades for.

Barack Obama has spent the last 1,000+ days defying reason and choosing policy directions that seem nonsensical to the rational mind: a failed stimulus package; ObamaCare; growing the deficit to astronomical proportions; and cynically portraying wealth as immoral. Now, when cuts are the only fix to a budgetary balloon about to burst, a seemingly illogical President digs in and demands additional phantom dollars to spend on a system that is collapsing under the weight of unmanageable debt.

It’s hard to figure out the method to the President’s obvious madness, because based on Obama’s approval rating, if the election were held today even Pee Wee Herman could replace Obama behind the Resolute Desk. Maybe the “method” isn’t “mad” in the least!

Could it be that Barack Obama is purposely pressuring the system in a premeditated effort to foster a major crisis? One that would demand extraordinary measures to control by a President who could then mete out basic sustenance to Americans who would agree to anything to regain some sense of normalcy. And in the process successfully usher in the “socially just” system Barack Obama has dreamed of all his life.

While radical Alinsky/Cloward-Piven disciple Obama appears to be clueless and detached, it may be a ploy; he may actually be focused and engaged as he purposely pursues an Alinsky-inspired course of action to force the system to “live up” to its own rules. Obama’s ultimate goal of once-and-for-all discrediting the capitalist system and replacing America’s foundational economic and social tenets with a broad-based socialist one headed by progressive Marxists like himself, is actually within reach.

As Obama pushes and prods the US economy and instigates social unrest, it could be that he believes a Cloward-Piven-style utopia resides just beyond the horizon — a progressive panacea where an election-free, classless society, thankful for a simple crust of bread, looks to Barack Obama to keep the peace by remaining in power indefinitely.

Therefore, unless all of America, regardless of class or political persuasion, pays attention to the potential for a bleak future that lies ahead and realizes the President’s non-plan could be itself an actual calculated plan, the resulting consequences will affect everyone, as Barack Obama transforms a once great nation into Cloward and Piven’s idea of paradise.




I urge that supplications, prayers, intercessions, and thanksgivings be made for all men, for kings and all who are in high positions, that we may lead a quiet and p;eaceable life, godly and respectful in every way. — 1 Timothy 2

August 2nd, 2011


What is it like to be old — really old? Oldness is something I am experiencing first hand, for the first time. It was my thought, when I started this blog, that I might give others some insight into old age. I even hoped that some old folks would enjoy reading about (even communicating with) others in the same boat. A little musing, a little reality, a little humor, perhaps some helpful hints on how to get by — from me and from others. Unfortunately I have tried to tap into a demographic that isn’t there. People my age don’t spend much time on computers. Others my age don’t even know I’m here.

However, I do have children, and it is my hope that someday they may want to know what mom (grandma, greatgrandma) thought about in her later years, before she checked out.

What does 88 feels like?  Let’s say first of all that, having had vertigo for the entire month of  January, I am still grateful every morning,  when I sit on the edge of my bed, that the world is not rotating.  (Of course it is, but not so I notice it.)   And I’m grateful (usually) for having had a pain-free night.  My back does ache during the day, the aftermath of a T8 fracture and a congenital T9-10 fusion, but fortunately lying down makes the pain subside.    Then there are the legs — they just don’t want to go anymore.  I’m told I have one speed – slow.    And I’d never pass the driving test of walking a straight line.

Mentally, I’m still able to blog but notice that I have trouble with sequences.   Even if I can figure out how to do something, by trial and error, I then can’t remember how I did it.   Playing a game with my greatgranddaughter, Selva, in which each person adds a word to make a sentence,  other people can remember  what word each person added, but I only know the last two or three.    And, of course, like everyone else, I’ll walk into a room and not know why I went there.   But I think I do it more often than most people.

I have never been good at remembering faces and have gotten progressively worse. I’ll know the face but the name totally escapes me. I’m no better at dates. I can tell you the year I was born, the year I was married, the year my husband left me, and 9/11/2001. Don’t expect me to know 2001 part next year.   Even as a youngster I thought it was nice to know about the things that happened way back when, but it seemed to me the precise date was irrelevant unless I planned to appear on Jeopardy.

When I read some of the blogposts I wrote two or three years ago, I don’t remember ever having known some of that stuff. There’s nothing like having a blog to bring home the fact that much of what we know today and read today will have vanished into some mysterious cerebral realm in a year or two. Is it there somewhere, somehow retrievable, or is it deleted and the recycle bin emptied?  I tell myself that for eighty years I have been doing things and learning things and forgetting all about them.  So it’s really nothing new.   But I do think I have perhaps stepped up the pace a bit!

Not many people are terribly interested in knowing the inner thoughts of an 88 year-old lady but I put them out there anyway hoping perhaps someday my children and their offspring may want to know me better and somewhat understand some of the traits they have inherited. Some of them lean to the left and are anything but practicing Catholics.  I, on the other hand, was born Catholic and have never found anything that made more sense to me. I regret that my loved ones seem to think Catholicism archaic and dumb and are proud to have moved on to more modern and reasonable positions.

All the above will help to explain why I, over and over, write posts saying, “See, all these highly respected and educated people are Christian. See, this intelligent person became, of all things, Catholic! How do you explain the shroud of Turin, the miracles at Fatima, the caterpillar-to-butterfly thing, the world and life itself? I had hoped for some on-line dialogues taking to me task for my old-fashioned beliefs and putting me straight.

Well, if there are any octogenarians out there delighting in my posts, I don’t know about it. On-line dialogues seeking to right my wrongness haven’t happened. And I am 88 and getting tired. This does not mean I will stop blogging. It does mean I will probably slow down (it is like work, you know) and not post just for the sake of posting (some bloggers do, and I don’t understand that), but when I really feel moved to put something out there for whomever stops by. And my progeny. I really love you guys. Keep on thinking and seeking, and above all, love each other and love TRUTH.

Oldsters, I sure would like to hear from you if you’re out there!

Progeny, I welcome disagreement — and love an honest exchange of sincerely held opinions.


Lawrence Beamon doesn’t sing the words that made me think of this song, but enjoy him anyway.

Ah gits weary, and sick o’ trying
Ah’m tired o’ livin’ and skeered o’ dyin’
But ol’ man river, he just keeps rollin’ along.


Traffic cop: Do you know you were speeding?

She: Yes, but I had to get there before I forgot where I was going!



“If you can?” said Jesus. “Everything is possible for him who believes.”

Immediately the boy’s father exclaimed, “I do believe; help me overcome my unbelief!” — Mark 9:24