Tuesday, March 30, 2010

Poor Paul

Paul has been losing a tooth for two days.
Stubborn thing. He has it so close, but it just won't come out and it is making him miserable.

Tomorrow and tomorrow and tomorrow...we have Macbeth practice.
I think it is going to be great!
We started working on costumes and I have to say, it's kind of addictive. Pulling things together, finding the right "look", adapting modern clothes to fit, it's a kick!

Paul and Brendan have most of their lines down, but they don't have that many. The other kids are very impressive. They are learning so many lines and now they are really getting into their parts.
I will hope to have an update on the "Players" blog tomorrow. Maybe even a picture of a few of the kids in early costume.

Easter is coming and I have been feeling the need to get things purchased and prepared. I wanted to mail the Cooke's Easter package before now, but I didnt' have a car today, because Tim's was in the shop for maintenance. I'll get out tomorrow and get it on it's way.
I did find my leg of lamb. It was close. I had almost decided to go with ham this year, but I love lamb so much and we only have it once a year. I went to Weis and they had one that is perfect.
I also got some refrigerator rolls so that I can make "hot cross buns".
I wish this Holy Week wasn't so busy. It's hard to have so much to think about, and still be reflective.
We will have Holy Thursday and Good Friday, and then we have Paul's birthday AND Easter vigil!
Paul will be eight! Amazing. He is getting so grown up, and with all this growing up, he is losing teeth.
Well, it will be gone by his birthday.

Sunday, March 28, 2010

Passion Sunday- Holy Week Begins


Today is Palm Sunday, when we begin the solemn week before Easter.

This week will be one of intensified reflection on the Passion and Death of Christ.
The Week is crowned on Easter Sunday when we celebrate His Glorious Resurrection and triumph over sin and death.
We have many traditions in our house hold to mark the special days of Holy Week.
Today we attended Mass and listened to the Passion narrative. We got the palms that we display in the house all year.
Tonight we will watch the entry into Jerusalem in the movie "Jesus of Nazareth". We use the movie at different times all week.
I am hoping to get to mass every morning this week.

We will also watch "The Passion", just Tim and I, on Good Friday.

There is so much to think about and reflect on in these days leading up to Easter.
Many, many blessings that we receive during our Lenten time of sacrifice, and the blessings that we share in the Easter season afterward.

I hope that all have a blessed Holy Week, and find something extra and special to make this time as meaningful as possible.

Saturday, March 27, 2010

Spring, Glorious Spring!

Here it is.
The weekend I have been waiting for all winter.
The Weeping Cherry is weeping!
Spring has officially arrived in my yard.
There may be some very chilly weather yet to come, but I can look out and see that the warm weather is indeed on the way.
Praise the Lord!

Thursday, March 25, 2010

It Does Bear Considering

This is a very good piece by Mark Steyn. Whether or not you like him or his style, his words here contain a lot of truth and we would do well to at least consider the implications of where we are, as a nation.
It is long, but I really suggest reading it, and sharing it. I pray that we wake up soon enough to realize how close we came.

Tattered Liberty

Mark Steyn

From the January 25, 2010, issue of NR.

Sometimes you do live to see it. In my book America Alone, I point out that, to a five-year-old boy waving his flag as Queen Victoria’s Diamond Jubilee procession marched down the Mall in 1897, it would have been inconceivable that by the time of his 80th birthday the greatest empire the world had ever known would have shriveled to an economically moribund strike-bound socialist slough of despond, one in which (stop me if this sounds familiar) the government ran the hospitals, the automobile industry, and much of the housing stock, and, partly as a consequence thereof, had permanent high unemployment and confiscatory tax rates that drove its best talents to seek refuge abroad.

A number of readers, disputing the relevance of this comparison, sent me mocking letters pointing out, for example, Britain’s balance of payments and other deteriorating economic indicators from the early 20th century on. True. Great powers do not decline for identical reasons and one would not expect Britain’s imperial overstretch to lead to the same consequences as America’s imperial understretch. Nonetheless, my correspondents are perhaps too sophisticated and nuanced to grasp the somewhat more basic point I was making. Perched on his uncle’s shoulders that day was a young lad who grew up to become the historian Arnold Toynbee. He recalled the mood of Her Majesty’s jubilee as follows: “There is, of course, a thing called history, but history is something unpleasant that happens to other people. We are comfortably outside all of that I am sure.” The end of history, 1897 version.

Permanence is an illusion — and you would be surprised at how fast mighty nations can be entirely transformed. But, more important, national decline is psychological — and therefore what matters is accepting the psychology of decline. Within two generations, for example, the German people became just as obnoxiously pacifist as they once were obnoxiously militarist, and as avowedly “European” as they once were menacingly nationalist. Well, who can blame ’em? You’d hardly be receptive to pitches for national greatness after half a century of Kaiser Bill, Weimar, the Third Reich, and the Holocaust.

But what are we to make of the British? They were on the right side of all the great conflicts of the last century; and they have been, in the scales of history, a force for good in the world. Even as their colonies advanced to independence, they retained the English language and English legal system, not to mention cricket and all kinds of other cultural ties. And even in imperial retreat, there is no rational basis for late-20th-century Britain’s conclusion that it had no future other than as an outlying province of a centralized Euro nanny state dominated by nations whose political, legal, and cultural traditions are entirely alien to its own. The embrace of such a fate is a psychological condition, not an economic one.

Is America set for decline? It’s been a grand run. The country’s been the leading economic power since it overtook Britain in the 1880s. That’s impressive. Nevertheless, over the course of that century and a quarter, Detroit went from the world’s industrial powerhouse to an urban wasteland, and the once-golden state of California atrophied into a land of government run by the government for the government. What happens when the policies that brought ruin to Detroit and sclerosis to California become the basis for the nation at large? Strictly on the numbers, the United States is in the express lane to Declinistan: unsustainable entitlements, the remorseless governmentalization of the economy and individual liberty, and a centralization of power that will cripple a nation of this size. Decline is the way to bet. But what will ensure it is if the American people accept decline as a price worth paying for European social democracy.

Read the rest here...

Lilly was over to visit today, and she joined John in a game of Basketball.
She just loves chasing the ball every where.
She made several assists and the score was John/Lilly 34 and the other guys 0.

The boys have been going out in the evenings to shoot with Tim, but it usually turns into a brawl.
"It's not fair!" being frequently heard from the two youngest, since they are both too short to be very competitive.

Ah well, it guess it's how they grow up...

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

The Susquehanna Players...

I have put together a blog to share some of the amazing talent in our Homeschool Shakespeare group, "The Susquehanna Players".
I will be posting their progress toward the production of "MacBeth" in May.
Follow the fun here...

Monday, March 22, 2010

The Truth Will Out...and Prevail....

This Will Not Stand: Newt On the Passage of Obamacare

This will not stand.

No one should be confused about the outcome of Sunday's vote

This is not the end of the fight it is the beginning of the fight.

The American people spoke decisively against a big government, high tax, Washington knows best, pro trial lawyer centralized bureaucratic health system

In every recent poll the vast majority of Americans opposed this monstrosity

Speaker Pelosi knew the country was against the bill. That is why she kept her members trapped in Washington and forced a vote on Sunday.

She knew if she let the members go home their constituents would convince them to vote no.

The Obama-Pelosi-Reid machine combined the radicalism of Alinsky, the corruption of Springfield and the machine power politics of Chicago.

Sunday was a pressured, bought, intimidated vote worthy of Hugo Chavez but unworthy of the United States of America.

It is hard to imagine how much pressure they brought to bear on congressman Stupak to get him to accept a cynical, phony clearly illegal and unconstitutional executive order on abortion. The ruthlessness and inhumanity of the Obama-Pelosi-Reid machine was most clearly on display in their public humiliation of Stupak.

The real principles of the machine were articulated by Democratic Congressman Alcee Hastings who was impeached and removed from the bench as a federal judge, before being elected to the House when he said ""There ain't no rules here, we're trying to accomplish something. . . .All this talk about rules. . . .When the deal goes down . . . we make 'em up as we go along."

It is hard for the American people to believe their leaders on the left are this bad.
They are.

The American people will not allow a corrupt machine to dictate their future.

Together we will pledge to repeal this bill and start over

Together we will prove that this will not stand

2010 and 2012 will be among the most important elections in American history

These elections will allow us to save America from a leftwing machine of unparalleled corruption arrogance and cynicism

Sunday was one more step in the fight against a "Washington knows best" and "Washington should run everything" attitude.

Let us turn now to the Senate to continue this fight for real reform, for real self government, and for policies that create jobs, improve health outcomes, and increase freedom.

This I Believe...

Sunday, March 21, 2010

Raising Lazarus...


"Be Not Afraid"
That was one of John Paul II's favorite messages to his flock.
It's a message that I think we receive so clearly in the Gospel today, and one that we need now, more than ever, with the world around us becoming more and more uncertain.

The Gospel today was so clear.
Jesus went to Mary and Martha, in their time of fear and mourning, and he understood the depth of their grief. He understood the deep sadness they felt at the loss of Lazarus.
He grieved with them, and then he reached out and did what no one else could do. He gave Lazarus back to them. He loved them in a way that only God can, and He shows us in this Gospel that His love will always prevail.

We can call to him the same way Mary and Martha did. No matter how dark and desperate the times may seem, His love for us is certain. We may feel at a loss, and we may see no possible reason for joy. We may not be able to understand why He is taking His time. We may even get impatient with Him.
He loves us in the same way today, and He will only give us things that are good for us.

Right now the future of our very way of life is uncertain. We look at the things that are being done to our country and to the least of our brothers, and we cry out and say "If only You had come sooner, Lord, surely You could have saved them." Yet He comes in the perfect time and for the perfect purposes. We have to believe that if we have prayed and trusted, our prayers will be answered, and God will reveal Himself and be Glorified.

Easter is coming!
The wait is hard but we know we will rejoice with Him.
"Be Not Afraid"

Saturday, March 20, 2010

The Lemming Party...


Taking peer pressure a whole new level.
If only they were this cute...
Yeah, the Lemmocrats....

Jumping in Front of The Bus...




Someone is attempting to achieve a stranglehold on the political and Constitutional process in this country. The question is...who, exactly?

Just last year Barack Obama was inaugurated into office to chants of "Yes, we can!", with an approval rating that was through the roof and totally unrealistic. OK, I can understand that. He just swept a large portion of the country off their feet, and the poor suckers that voted for him thought they knew who he was.
I think it's becoming increasingly obvious that who he is, or was, or will be is totally irrelevant.
He is a face. He is a puppet.
His approval rating drops daily, he is questioned about his policies, he makes excuses, he fumbles almost every state appearance and has made an international fool of himself.

Yet, he presses on, seemingly unconcerned about what people think of his positions or the loss of hope for reelection. If he were to run for reelection today, some people say that Sarah Palin could beat him handily. She is not exactly an electable candidate, as much as I like her.

He is dragging the Democrats down with him, and the election in 2010 is looking like it's going to be a bloodbath.
Why is this party so willing to commit political suicide? What makes them so determined to pass laws that are 180 degrees opposite of what the majority of the voters want?
I can understand liberal ideology running rampant, as it has in academia for about 60 years, but usually an ideology stops short of becoming a mainstream reality because there just aren't enough people that are willing to stand behind a radical position.
I don't think this is ideology. This is something much more like human power and greed. The question is, whose?
The Democrats don't appear to have a lot of hope for retaining Congress after November. Obama is sinking like a rock.
Who is pulling the strings and what do they have to bargain with?
Why is Obama and his party virtually throwing themselves under the bus, and who is going to ultimately benefit?
I keep expecting a block of Dems to suddenly come to their political senses and at least question the direction, but they just announce that they are not seeking reelection, and stick with the gang.

So, does this seem odd to anyone but me?

Thursday, March 18, 2010

Almost Nun...

This story is all over the Catholic media today, so I wanted to post what I found at the USCCB Website.
Sounds like these "Network" members are using ACORN's rules for radicals.


March 18, 2010
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE



Clarification

Washington—A recent letter from Network, a social justice lobby of sisters, grossly overstated whom they represent in a letter to Congress that was also released to media.

Network’s letter, about health care reform, was signed by a few dozen people, and despite what Network said, they do not come anywhere near representing 59,000 American sisters.

The letter had 55 signatories, some individuals, some groups of three to five persons. One endorser signed twice.

There are 793 religious communities in the United States.

The math is clear. Network is far off the mark.



Sister Mary Ann Walsh
Director of Media Relations
United States Conference of Catholic Bishops

I Googled Mutton...

...And this is one of the things that came up.
I remember they used to do this at the little arenas around Clallam County years ago...
I know this is totally random, but I got to thinking about it at the Rodeo in Ft Worth.

Tuesday, March 16, 2010

On our way home

We have had such a great trip!!
We saw so many people and new things. The boys have had a bunch of new experiences, got to see relatives and friends and spend time with them. They finally got to meet our dear friend Judy, who has been so generous to them over the years, and they loved her...I think she liked them a bit too!
It has been so great, and I still have pictures to post from New Orleans and the visit with Judy. We are ready to get back home to our routine. It's going to be a long night of driving though. We are just east of Knoxville, and we can't find a hotel until we get almost to Roanoke, VA. Apparently there is a huge NASCAR race in Bristol this weekend. The Hotel Rooms are all really expensive, ugh.
Well I'll see where we end up.


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Saturday, March 13, 2010

To Louisiana...



This was the beginning of the trip on rt. 71 through "Bunkie" Louisiana...
Apparently Bunkie is one of those little towns that has a reputation for stringent adherence to speed limits, especially for people with out of state license plates. We made it through though, and it was a cute little town.
John took this creative picture of a causeway in the rearview mirror...
This is the causeway from through the windshield....
This was a crane in the swamp near the pier where we went to look for Alligators.


The kids on a huge frog carved from a stump after Katrina.

This is a huge beautiful old tree in the park where the kids went to play.


The Swamp where we went to look for alligators. There weren't any that day. Hope they didn't freeze over the winter!

A Piece of the World Trade Center...A memorial in the park.

New Orleans Live!

Today was our day in New Orleans with the Pergola family, and we had such a great day. It is such a treat to see this city, which has seen so much trial and struggle, back to it's vibrant, unique beautiful self. I will post a longer post with more pictures later but I wanted to give you a taste....


A painter on the street who uses spray paint as his medium.



Emeril's New Orleans restaurant.......
More later.

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Wednesday, March 10, 2010

Lucy's Zoo

John spent the better part of two hours working on this paper zoo for Lucy. He loves his niece and he loved the Zoo!






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Here Kitty Kitty




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Ft Worth Zoo

What a great day for a trip to the zoo!


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This is How it Happens...


This is Lucy.

Lucy was running and playing at the playground, and Mimi was having a wonderful time running after her taking pictures.
Mimi was looking at her camera and Lucy, not at where she should put her feet.

Notice the surface that Sweet Lucy is standing on. Notice the edge of the step in the foreground.
This is not your standard step. It is just enough off standard to provide an obstacle to one inattentive Mimi.

This is the last picture that was taken before Mimi, and her camera, found out why you need to pay closer attention to where your feet are than your beautiful granddaughter when you are trying to navigate a play set.

Mimi will recover.
The camera is forever changed. It still works, but it now requires tape to keep the door closed.

Sad, and avoidable, but this is how these things happen.

New way of blogging...




New Blogpress app!
I am posting from my iPhone right now. I have to learn my way around this thing!
Here's an adoreable little person for your viewing pleasure....

- Posted using BlogPress from my iPhone

Tuesday, March 9, 2010

No Wrong Numbers...

From 40 Days For Life...

A young woman in Indianapolis, Indiana -- we'll call
her Erin -- woke up, saw her kids off to school,
dropped her preschoolers at a friend's house ... and
noticed that she was late for an appointment ...

... at Planned Parenthood ...

... for an abortion.

So Erin picked up her phone and called to see if she
could still come in. She thought she was calling Planned
Parenthood. In her haste, she dialed a wrong number.

Instead of Planned Parenthood, she got Joseph ... who
was answering the cell phone that's being used by ...

... get ready for this ...

... 40 Days for Life in Indianapolis!

Joseph took a deep breath and tried to be as calm as
possible. He took Erin's name and number and simply
said that a counselor would call her back.

So Elizabeth, the counselor, called Erin. Elizabeth
begged her not to hang up, and then explained that she
had not reached Planned Parenthood. Asked if she was a
Christian, Erin said "yes." So Elizabeth told her God's
grace was at work in this "wrong number" situation.

So what had led Erin to the abortion center?

Simply put -- desperation.

She has four children, their father is in jail, she
had lost her job, her electricity is about to be shut
off, and she doesn't have enough money to pay the rent.

Later, Erin arrived at Planned Parenthood with her
aunt. The aunt told counselors she opposed the
abortion, but Erin's mother and sister insist it's
the best answer. They say Erin just can't handle
another child.

In the meantime, Elizabeth had spread the word about
Erin's situation. A volunteer offered to pay her
electric bill. Ten others pooled their cash to pay
her rent.

Eileen in Indianapolis says a local group is now
working with Erin to help her find a job. "She has
a lot of potential," Eileen said, "but needs support
since her mother and sister are still encouraging her
to abort the baby."

Erin has reacted with both joy and disbelief that
strangers were helping her. She has called Planned
Parenthood to cancel her appointment and request
a refund.

Please keep Erin and her family -- and all those
helping her -- in your prayers.

So, you see? God DOES work in mysterious ways. There
are no coincidences ...

... and in this case, no wrong numbers!

Monday, March 8, 2010

Not much to Show for the Rodeo...







Well, I took a LOT of pictures at the rodeo, but very few of them came out well enough to keep.
My little camera just can't handle distance or motion, and distance and motion together are pretty much hopeless...

The rodeo was a lot of fun and the performances of the competitors were impressive. I would love to have a few pictures of the bull riding because, while I question the intelligence of climbing aboard 2000 pounds of meat that wants to kill you, watching it is a blast!


There were a couple of interesting moments during the barrel racing as well. You could almost tell from off the starting line who was going to have a good run. The riders that have well trained horses, with efficient strides and athletic ability, always top the teams in which the rider has to tell the horse what to do.
Several of the girls just rode in and let their horses do the job. A few were less capable and had to pull and drag to get around. One little girl almost lost her seat, and then her horse just basically ran off with her. They went out the gate, and I'll bet there were tears in the trailer that night. Her horse actually looked like it could have been a real athlete, but they were just so mismatched. Two greenies are a bad combination.

The boys got to do the "calf scramble". They went out into the arena and joined about twenty other kids. Then a calf, with a ribbon on his tail was released into the ring and the kids chased him all over until one of them cornered him by the gate and got the ribbon...if I had just coached the boys to go stand by the gate, he would have run right to them.


Then the little kids did a "sheep scramble" and this little guy, about two or three, was just TOO cute!

Please, Daddy, Don't Do That Again!
By Tim Wright

When my son was only about three years old, he and his sisters were playing
a game that involved chasing each other though the house with loud giggles
of laughter erupting every few minutes whenever one of them came close to
tagging one of their siblings.

The giggles were interrupted suddenly by a loud crash followed by a
blood-curdling cry of pain. I jumped to my feet and ran to the living room
where the apparent mishap had occurred. My son had come around the corner
too fast and had fallen head first into the corner of a table. I quickly
picked him up from the floor where he was lying and held him in my arms both
to comfort him and to examine the wound. Streams of blood gushed from his
forehead.

By the time we reached the emergency room, his tears had subsided a bit, but
I was nervously anticipating the slight trauma still ahead of us. After
examining my son's forehead, the doctor confirmed that he would need to
stitch the wound in order for it to heal properly. The good news was that
the cut would require only one stitch. The bad news was that the doctor
planned to do it without any anesthesia. "We can stick him once or we can
stick him twice," the doctor informed me.

I was then told that giving him a shot to anesthetize the area would be just
as painful and traumatic as giving him the single stitch. The shot would
then have to be followed by a second "stick" to actually stitch up the
wound. I reluctantly agreed with the doctor and opted for the single
"stick".

I encouraged my son that he was being a "brave little boy" as the doctors
and I gently strapped a restraining device around his tiny body to keep him
from thrashing around on the table during the procedure.

Inside, I was fighting back tears as he looked at me with frightened, but
trusting eyes. "Keep looking at Daddy," I encouraged him. "You're being a
very brave little boy." His huge eyes remained locked on mine as the doctor
gently washed out the cut and prepared to stitch the wound shut.

"Okay, here we go," the doctor said quietly. "It should be quick." "Keep
looking at me," I said, trying to smile and draw his trusting eyes into
mine. "Daddy's right here." With precision and swiftness, the doctor quickly
stabbed the curved needle into the swollen flesh near the cut on my son's
forehead. My son's eye's widened as he gasped in pain. Then in a whimpering
voice that carried the sweetness and innocence that only a three year-old
can summon, he looked up at me and said, "Please don't do that again,
Daddy."

My heart broke. How do you explain to your three year-old son that the pain
he is experiencing- the pain that, in his mind at least, was caused by
me-was inflicted with love, with a desire and design to bring healing? Oddly
enough, that is one of my most precious memories of my son's early
childhood. The procedure was over almost as quickly as it had begun and,
after a few hours, my son had returned to giggling with his sisters.
(Running in the house, however, was forever banned from that point onward.)

His trust and sweet response to the ordeal continues to pierce my heart with
love for him. This episode is also a reminder for me of our heavenly
Father's love and care for us and for those around us who may be
experiencing a painful season in life.

In my mind's eye, I can envision God holding us as our Father whenever we're
hurting and telling us to keep our eyes on Him and to trust Him, even if we
don't understand why things are happening to us. When we're tempted to blame
Him for our pain or to cry out, "Please don't do that again, Daddy," we can
take comfort in knowing that He is very near to us, that He loves us and to
trust that, even though we may not always understand, there is a higher
purpose at work in everything that happens to us.

So keep your eyes on Him. Trust Him. He's holding you and healing you. He
will never let you go. Know, too, that giggling-or however you experience
joy-will soon be a part of your life again.