Friday, April 30, 2010


My friend Karen lost her brother nine years ago.
It was such a blow to her and her family.
She has written this poem in his honor.
Please keep her family in your prayers, as this is always a tough time for them.


Today we remember one that we love
We rejoice in the hope that he is above
For the Lord knew his heart better than we
Knew it was time to take him to see
His father in heaven, his brother, his friend
The one that exists from beginning to end

Today we remember the one that we miss
We rejoice in the knowledge that he is all His
For the Lord gave us time with our brother on earth
And, nine years ago he gave him new birth
Sad it did make us for he brought us glee
And empty it left us when he was taken to thee

Today we remember our brother Dave
We rejoice in the memories that he gave
While his time here on earth was selfishly ours
We are saddened that now he is living afar
Yet, with happy hearts we acknowledge we live
With hope for the future that the Lord does give

Today we remember "David" means beloved
We rejoice in the fact that we can now covet
All of the time he spent with us here
Knowing that maybe this is the year
We can truly delight in the love that we feel
As we honor Dave's life with memories so real

Tuesday, April 27, 2010

I Think My Car Is Fixed

We are on the way to pick up the van. We took it in last night because it just hasn't been right since I drove it through a two foot deep puddle when we were in Texas. The guy at the shop says that there are things under there that don't react well to water. I am so hopeful that this does the trick, but we are going to sell it as soon as we can, because he also said, as we suspected that Dodge vans are now just pretty unreliable. We are going to start researching the best SUVs out there to see what the best deal for the dollar will be.

- Posted using BlogPress from my iPhone

Spring Things...

Paul is outside every moment that he can be!

John built this birdhouse all by himself on Sunday...

The backyard in "Spring Green"!

Maggie always puts her away!

Sunday, April 25, 2010

Big Families Are the New Green

Reduce Your Carbon Footprint, One Baby at a Time

Got a big family? Then you already know that you’re crazy, a traitor to feminism, and a slave to the pope; you’re neglecting most of your kids and robbing the rest of their childhood; you’re a burden on the system in general, and you probably don’t own a television set.

But wait, there’s more! Don’t forget, you’re also destroying the earth.

Lately, it’s become fashionable for radical environmentalists to denounce large families as irresponsible, even selfish. Maybe you heard the remarks of the chairman of the U.K.’s Sustainable Development Commission, who said that, out of respect for the earth, couples should be legally limited to bearing two “replacement” children.

And yet, if we can get beyond the inflammatory rhetoric, do radical environmentalists have a point? Should we slow down a little? It almost seems like common sense, especially when you’re having one of those days when you do feel a little crowded by the swarms of ravening locusts — uh, I mean, treasured offspring who share your last name.

Read the rest here...and rejoice!

H/T to Barbara!

Friday, April 23, 2010

How Now?

If men of wisdom and knowledge, of moderation and temperance, of patience, fortitude and perseverance, of sobriety and true republican simplicity of manners, of zeal for the honour of the Supreme Being and the welfare of the commonwealth; if men possessed of these other excellent qualities are chosen to fill the seats of government, we may expect that our affairs will rest on a solid and permanent foundation.

Samuel Adams, letter to Elbridge Gerry, November 27, 1780

Thursday, April 22, 2010

Happy Earth Day! Glory to God!

Today is a great day to give thanks to God for the many amazing gifts that He has given us in the natural world.
We are so blest to have the miracles of nature, given to us by our loving Father, to enjoy and care for.

And the greatest gift of all....LIFE!

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

I Remember Sleep...

Yeah, it was only a few weeks ago that we were able to get a full night's sleep. Saturdays were delicious, with lazy mornings and running around doing errands and activities.
School mornings were pretty smooth, even with the complaining...

Then along came the baby...

Well the baby dog...

Ah but she is delicious in her own way. She really is the perfect pup. If you are going to have a dog and it's going to be worth doing, this is the only way to go. I knew the beginning was going to be labor intensive. I also know that that is what makes a good family member.

But those middle-of-the-night excursions out to the yard, and the 6:00 am walks and trying to be an enthusiastic playmate while it is still practically dark out...that takes some getting used to.
I knew that I would have moments when I would wonder what on earth I was thinking, especially when we were really getting to the point where we were free to go anywhere, anytime.

Then we get out for a walk, and I hear the birds and see the world waking up, and I know that I would never be out there if I didn't have to be. I think of all the wonderful doggy activities that we will be able to take part in, and how rich life is when you share it with another type of creature.

Bosco is an individual and he is such a part of the family. As annoying as he can be, we wouldn't have it any other way.

Maggie is such a part of each day. She is so sweet and gentle, except for her puppiness attacks, which are totally entertaining.
She is so interested in every new sight, smell and person. She has that fresh new look at life that the youngest have that first year.
We all feel it, as if there had been a hole in the family that needed to be filled, and there she was.
All the trials and tribulations of the first week are over. She has adjusted to her kennel, she has accepted us as her family, she knows her name and she is chewing a little less on furniture and more on her toys. Every day she is better at knowing what is expected of her.

I know we will look back at the puppy days and think that they were too short, and we will miss the cute little fuzzy face and the roly-poly little body. We will be sorry to see the puppy silliness disappear, but then we will move into the doggy work.
Maybe tracking, definitely therapy, and other types of work for her to do. We have been given a gift in her and we all can find ways to give back.
Right now though, it is time to bring her in from outside, where she is lying under her chair...

Monday, April 19, 2010

Nancy...Better Watch Out

H/T To Creative Minority Report

Hope On the Horizon

Here is a website that you may want to visit if you are interested in seeing America reverse the decline toward socialism and the nanny state.

The candidates that are presented here are true to the Constitution and will work at getting America out from under the oppressive weight of an ever growing government.

Click on the links to find out more!

How do we get Washington under control? Very simple: By banding together and focusing, we every-day Americans can return our nation to the principles that made it great. Step by step, via the voting booth, we'll replace tedious tax-and-spend career politicians with proven private-sector leaders who will work incessantly to halt uncontrolled spending, reduce the deficit, lower taxes and reverse encroaching big government. We start with the US Senate: Meet the Freedom Posse...

Chris Widener
U.S. Senate Candidate

Don Bates Jr.
U.S. Senate Candidate

Curtis Coleman
U.S. Senate Candidate

Jim Rutledge
U.S. Senate Candidate

5th Posse Member

Get the Posse Newsletter

First Name
Last Name

"A rigid economy of the public contributions and absolute interdiction of all useless expenses will go far towards keeping the government honest and un-oppressive."
- Thomas Jefferson, letter to Lafayette, 1823

Sunday, April 18, 2010

So Doggone Cute!

Mark My Words...

He nails it again, and so well...


Mark Steyn


Nonproliferation? How Quaint!

The mound of corpses being piled up around the world today is not from high-tech nuclear states but from low-tech psycho states.

In years to come — assuming, for the purposes of argument, there are any years to come — scholars will look back at President Obama’s Nuclear Security Summit and marvel. For once, the cheap comparisons with 1930s appeasement barely suffice: To be sure, in 1933, the great powers were meeting in Geneva and holding utopian arms-control talks even as Hitler was taking office in Berlin. But it’s difficult to imagine Neville Chamberlain in 1938 hosting a conference on the dangers of rearmament, and inviting America, France, Brazil, Liberia, and Thailand . . . but not even mentioning Germany.

Yet that’s what Obama just did: He held a nuclear gabfest in 2010, the biggest meeting of world leaders on American soil since the founding of the U.N. 65 years ago — and Iran wasn’t on the agenda.

Granted that almost all of Obama’s exciting, innovative “change we can believe in” turns out to have been exhumed direct from the sclerotic Seventies to stagger around like a rotting zombie in polyester bell-bottoms from some straight-to-video sequel, there’s still something almost touchingly quaint in the notion of an international summit on nuclear “nonproliferation” in the 21st century. Five years ago, when there was still a chance the world might prevent a nuclear Iran rather than pretending to “contain” it, I remember the bewildered look from a “nonproliferation expert” on a panel I was on after I suggested nonproliferation was a laughably obsolescent frame for this discussion. You could just about enforce nonproliferation back in the Cold War, when the only official nuclear powers were the Big Five at the U.N. Security Council and the entry level for the nuclear club was extremely expensive and technologically sophisticated. Now it’s not. If Pakistan and North Korea can be nuclear powers, who can’t? North Korea’s population is starving. Its GDP per capita is lower than Ghana’s, lower than Zimbabwe’s, lower than Mongolia’s. Which is to say its GDP is all but undetectable.

Yet it’s a nuclear power.

Read the rest here...

Friday, April 16, 2010

Bosco's Revenge...

While Maggie was having her nap...

Bosco was stalking all over the house sniffing and checking everything out. He went into her "nursery" and found her bowl...

And helped himself....just because he can...

Could THIS Happen to You?

You can never be too careful when you shop online...

Next time be sure and read the Terms and Conditions....

- April 15, 2010

7,500 Online Shoppers Unknowingly Sold Their Souls

A computer game retailer revealed that it legally owns the souls of thousands of online shoppers, thanks to a clause in the terms and conditions agreed to by online shoppers.

The retailer, British firm GameStation, added the "immortal soul clause" to the contract signed before making any online purchases earlier this month. It states that customers grant the company the right to claim their soul.

"By placing an order via this Web site on the first day of the fourth month of the year 2010 Anno Domini, you agree to grant Us a non transferable option to claim, for now and for ever more, your immortal soul. Should We wish to exercise this option, you agree to surrender your immortal soul, and any claim you may have on it, within 5 (five) working days of receiving written notification from or one of its duly authorised minions."

GameStation's form also points out that "we reserve the right to serve such notice in 6 (six) foot high letters of fire, however we can accept no liability for any loss or damage caused by such an act. If you a) do not believe you have an immortal soul, b) have already given it to another party, or c) do not wish to grant Us such a license, please click the link below to nullify this sub-clause and proceed with your transaction."

The terms of service were updated on April Fool's Day as a gag, but the retailer did so to make a very real point: No one reads the online terms and conditions of shopping, and companies are free to insert whatever language they want into the documents.

While all shoppers during the test were given a simple tick box option to opt out, very few did this, which would have also rewarded them with a £5 voucher, according to news:lite. Due to the number of people who ticked the box, GameStation claims believes as many as 88 percent of people do not read the terms and conditions of a Web site before they make a purchase.

The company noted that it would not be enforcing the ownership rights, and planned to e-mail customers nullifying any claim on their soul.

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

As Time Goes By...

I just had to post this picture.

Eight years ago! Paul was just a baby and Brendan, eating in the high chair, was two. Can't believe it. In eight more years Paul will be driving, Brendan will be voting, and John will be in college...


Sunday, April 11, 2010

Just so You Know...

This blog is Faithful to the Magisterium, the "teaching authority of the Catholic Church", and I am, as a Catholic, firmly supportive of our shepherd, Pope Benedict XVI.

There has been a smear campaign in the media this Easter season, to try to connect the Pope with some priests that were abusers in the past.

Not to say that those people are in any way excused or should not be brought to justice. I am totally behind the prosecution and punishment of anyone who hurts an innocent child, or anyone for that matter. There has to be system in place to ensure the safety of innocence.

That being said, there seems to be a groundswell of bitterness in the media lately.
The Church has been poked and prodded repeatedly, and I suppose that is what we expect.
Christ said that the Church would be persecuted, as He was persecuted.

I just thought that I would clear up a few misconceptions with this post that I found on Creative Minority Report: The Associated Press Is Lying...

Most of you have heard the news that the Pope (then Cardinal Ratzinger) delayed in defrocking a pedophile priest in California in 1985. The Associated Press, and the rest of the media bandwagon, have heralded this report as 'the smoking gun.' Only, one problem. It's a lie.

To portray this incident and the letter as a smoking gun is a willful misrepresentation of the truth. Want to know why I say that? I don't need to tell you because Phil Lawler has done the job already.

Now the key questions:

• Was Cardinal Ratzinger responding to the complaints of priestly pedophilia? No. The Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, which the future Pontiff headed, did not have jurisdiction for pedophile priests until 2001. The cardinal was weighing a request for laicization of Kiesle.

• Had Oakland's Bishop John Cummins sought to laicize Kiesle as punishment for his misconduct? No. Kiesle himself asked to be released from the priesthood. The bishop supported the wayward priest's application.

• Was the request for laicization denied? No. Eventually, in 1987, the Vatican approved Kiesle's dismissal from the priesthood.

• Did Kiesle abuse children again before he was laicized? To the best of our knowledge, No. The next complaints against him arose in 2002: 15 years after he was dismissed from the priesthood.

• Did Cardinal Ratzinger's reluctance to make a quick decision mean that Kiesle remained in active ministry? No. Bishop Cummins had the authority to suspend the predator-priest, and in fact he had placed him on an extended leave of absence long before the application for laicization was entered.

• Would quicker laicization have protected children in California? No. Cardinal Ratzinger did not have the power to put Kiesle behind bars. If Kiesle had been defrocked in 1985 instead of 1987, he would have remained at large, thanks to a light sentence from the California courts. As things stood, he remained at large. He was not engaged in parish ministry and had no special access to children.

• Did the Vatican cover up evidence of Kiesle's predatory behavior? No. The civil courts of California destroyed that evidence after the priest completed a sentence of probation-- before the case ever reached Rome.

I urge you to read the entire piece and to thank Mr. Lawler for this tremendous work

Thanks to Patrick Archbold and Phil Lawler.

And Another Thing...

After the camera incident, you know where I fell and almost broke my leg, and DID break my camera (sort of), Tim told me that I should think about another camera for my birthday. I was planning to wait until the laptop was paid off, but considering that we now have a new baby in the family, I am really glad that I didn't.

I did some research and found what I think is a very good middle range camera, for an excellent price. It's an Olympus, and it's just out on the market. The reviews that I read looked really good. It has a great zoom, and a MUCH faster capture than the Sony, which isn't surprising, since the Cybershot is not meant for anything real challenging, and I have to say, will still be in my purse all the time, because it is so tiny and takes great video!

This new one is amazing at distance shots!

It arrived yesterday, just after the puppy! I had fun playing with both of them, and this camera will be excellent to capture the boys and the puppy as they all grow up!
I don't what we will all end up doing together, but whatever it is, it will be recorded here!

Saturday, April 10, 2010

Maggie's First Day...

A new face and a new way of life...

This little creature is rocking our world, in a good way!

Maggie came home today and she has spent most of it...Learning.

Learning about her people,

Learning about her toys,

Learning about this new environment. Dogs love the low windows!

Right now she is in her kennel learning about being alone...we are both rather sad about that.

The boys have been so good about helping make this a smooth transition. They are going to enjoy her so much!

Friday, April 9, 2010

A Very Sad Day...

Today was one of the most difficult, strange, and awful days I have ever had.

Today I learned that someone who has been dear to our family, and who we have been missing very much, has gone from this world. She has left a daughter and two grandchildren who love her so much, she has left a world that needed her gifts. She was torn from this life as a woman who still had so much to do, so many people to touch. There is nothing we can say to a family that is aching for their mom and grandma, except, "We care, and she was loved."

Such an awful realization. Such a stark and horrible reality. When someone is just suddenly gone, all the people that cared for that person are suddenly left with memories, something that no one was prepared to rely on.

I wish I had been in closer touch over the last few months. She had moved and I had been meaning to call...that is an awful thing to have to think. If you ever mean to call it.

This sweet lady had been a part of our lives every week for years. She gave my boys so much. She was one of those souls that has a simple, gracious generosity and love for everyone. She is still in our hearts. We have been missing her and all her gifts so much.

Petra, you have meant so much to so many people, especially children.

Life can be hard, but you always met it with a smile and such Grace.

Petra, we miss you and we love you. Be at Peace. last...

What a wild week this has been!
I am so tired, just from thinking about so many details that I have to keep straight.

School is always tough at this time of the year. Math is harder, I am seeing how much of the English books we need to finish, History texts seem mind numbing, and everyone is ready to be outside and active. Lots of squirrely behavior.
Adding a puppy to the mix should just about bring everything to a screeching halt for at least a week...

Macbeth is going to be great, but my mind is racing when it comes to costumes and props. So much to pull together. The boys have to get their lines memorized, and we have to get to rehearsal a couple of time a week, so school has to be finished by then. It makes for a challenge...

I have to think about getting more done for the Rutledge Campaign. We had a meeting last night, and there is so much to do! It is going really well. Harford County should be solidly behind him.
I will be working on the phone-bank database and getting a group of callers together. I am hoping that some of the homeschoolers will be interested.

The Parental Rights group needs to get up and running. I am hoping that there will be interest. I have a couple of friends that are very involved and I am hoping that they will help me get the ball rolling.

I have to get some blog posts written for our business blog, and I should write another one for the Rutledge blog.

Then there is the Pool being opened for the season. As the Secretary, I have to enter all the member's names in the database and make the membership cards. I also have to be sure that everyone has gotten the info that they need to sign up.

Guess I am gonna be busy for the next few months, but at least I can do most of it from home, while housebreaking and civilizing dear Maggie...that is a good thing, because there is something very wrong with my car...and I am afraid to drive very far.

Wednesday, April 7, 2010


Yes, we are going to be the proud and very lucky owners of this beautiful, precious girl.
Our friends, the Tellups, had a litter of gorgeous pups on February 3rd, we got to see them when they were only a week old, and we all thought, "Wouldn't it be wonderful..." but we just aren't in the position to afford a pup like this.
Well, last week, this young lady, who has been known as "Purple" because she had the purple ribbon, was diagnosed with a condition that could require a surgery later on down the road, and that surgery is expensive. So we were offered the opportunity to adopt her, as long as, by the time that she would need the surgery, we agree to have it done. Well, I had to think and pray for awhile, because this is a very big change for us. But, God has just been saving the best for now. He assured me that this is, indeed, the right time. So the "surgery fund" has been started.
We have been looking for the right dog to fill Annie's place for a long time. That was a heartbreaking situation, and I am just so glad that she is happy where she is, because she could never have been happy in this neighborhood.
We watch Curly every Summer, and she is so much fun, but we just never seemed to find "the one".
John has been begging for a Golden Retriever for years, and I would look around, but the right time and dog just never seemed to come together.
I have loved training and working with my dogs, and Sasha was my best friend for so long. I am really looking forward to playing, walking, hiking, training....all the great things that dogs, and boys too, just love! Brendan, especially, will have a special bond with a dog. He has such a heart for animals. I am thinking that having Maggie around will get all of us moving....!
This puppy is going to be the star of the show...

We are naming her Maggie, after St Margaret of Scotland. Everybody in this family gets a saint's name.
There will be many pictures and stories to come....

Tuesday, April 6, 2010

Stay Tuned...

Some big changes are in the works for the Merkel family...
Can't say much right now, but possibly tonight or in a day or two.
We are all in a great state of excitement and anticipation.

I'll update when I can. Suffice it to say, it's a really good thing that Tim is giving me a new camera for my birthday. The old one just can't capture anything that moves very fast...

Thursday, April 1, 2010

Holy Thursday...

Tonight we go to the Upper Room.
We are with Jesus as He celebrates the Last Supper, Passover, with his apostles.
We are with him as he washes their feet.

Mass tonight was so special, and I was praying after Communion, all I could think about was how that Last Passover became the First Communion. How all of History had led to those three days. How all of humanity had been held in slavery, from the beginning, and Christ walked from one side of History to the other. He passed over from death, back into life, and the world was forever changed.

There can't ever be a world without God present in our lives, intimately, every day. There won't ever be a world that doesn't contain the Real Presence, The body and blood of Our Lord, Jesus Christ. The world is now a place where we can encounter Our God, in the flesh, and in our very souls, any time we choose.

Triduum is a new journey every year.
Walk with Christ. In the garden, to the Cross, to the tomb.
Wait with Mary, until the Easter Glory is revealed.
Triduum is a great gift. Three days of time with Our Lord. Three days to think about who we are to Him and who He should be to us.
I am humbled and awed by this Grace.