One of My Favorite Books

One of My Favorite Books

Just sharing a favorite book of mine. The book is out of print but can still be found either in a library or some searching on the Internet.

Title: Judith’s Marriage
Author: Bryan Houghton

In this book, we find a woman determined to maintain the Faith she converted to in the 1950’s in spite of the many challenges presented to Catholics all over the world in the sixties. Her greatest joy and deepest hurt all come from the religion that brought her should and union with God to light.

Although fiction, this book provides an excellent story and history of the times preceding and following the Vatican II counsel as seen and lived by a Catholic woman and her family. Whether you embrace the liturgy you find in our churches today or long for the pre-Vatican II times, you will probably read this book in one sitting to see how it all turns out for Judith and her marriage.

There are many ways to die for your Faith and it doesn’t always require a bloody demise in uncivilized climes. Sometimes, martyrdom comes slowly through words, deeds, and actions. And, sometimes, people, like Judith, receive their suffering from those who should have cared for her spiritual welfare the most.

No Matter the Winner, War is Death

No Matter the Winner, War is Death

In spite of all the world has to offer, we surely live in tentative times not knowing where the next blow might fall. The news is not a cheerful interlude. The price of war is more costly than the rewards of conquering. With the current conflict in Russia, the ongoing strife in the Middle East, the unease between China and Taiwan . . . it put me in mind of some of my favorite quotes on the subject. Too bad human hindsight is no nearsighted or we might not continue to make the same mistakes.

And while this rose made round her cup,
The armies died convulsed. And when
This chaste young silver sun went up
Softly, a thousand shattered men,
One wet corruption, heaped the plain,
After a league-long throb of pain.
Alice Meynell: Summer in England, 1914

As long as war is regarded as wicked it will always have its fascinations. When it is looked upon as vulgar, it will cease to be popular.
Oscar Wilde: The Critic as Artist 19th century

Can anything be more ridiculous than that a man has a right to kill me because he dwells the other side of the water, and because his prince has a quarrel with mine, although I have none with him?
Pascal: Pensees 17th century

War is sweet to those who don’t know it.
Erasmus: Adagia 16th century

In Case of an Emergency . . .

In Case of an Emergency . . .

Almost every day, you hear about disasters on the news, the doomsday people await the end of the world, and we are advised to keep extra food and water on hand . . . Just in case. My problem in buying extra groceries is that my family then feels impelled to eat extra groceries. They consider payday shopping day, an elaborate tail-gate party and eating orgy. I realize I will have to put some consideration into how I will handle the nutritional needs of my family in case we don’t have access to supermarkets and/or money.

I decided to view it in a worst-case scenario. The worst has happened and we have to live off the cupboards for two weeks and cannibalism is definitely off limits. Will we be able to cope?

Disaster never strikes when one is prepared otherwise it wouldn’t be considered a disaster. I figured I would review the contents of my kitchen cupboards before a payday replenishment.

I have heard that penicillin would be scarce in a major disaster. After checking out my refrigerator, I considered it a good idea to learn how to obtain penicillin from mold as many of my leftovers seemed to be sprouting possible medications. It could be a home science project while all the utilities are down.

I was happy to note that we had accumulated eight or ten boxes of cereal. Coupons breed almost free boxes of breakfast cereal. My hopes were dashed as I soon discover most of the boxes contain one to six flakes each. Children, who can’t put their shoes in the same place, are so good about returning the empty cereal boxes to the cupboard. I gathered the six flakes, three sugar o’s, four fruit hoops and two waffle bits and put them in a sandwich bag . . . just in case!

The fruit basket yields two apples and some very brown bananas. I could pass off the bananas as peanut butter once it was spread on bread. If they were hungry enough, they just might buy it. The apples each had a bite taken out of them. I gathered these finds, too. I had a family to feed!

The freezer yielded up three mystery chunks of debatable edible origin, five bare ice cream sticks and four fish sticks. Thinking starvation, I thought I could boil down the mystery chunks and use cut up fish sticks for additional flavoring. You can’t stop being a gourmet cook just because the world is trying to end! I could use the ice cream sticks to start the fire going.

I knew I had a bag of beans and rice socked away and went to add them to my dry run for feeding my family during the aftermath of a disaster.. They were both gone! I summoned my children who immediately owned up to having planted all the beans a week ago. The rice had been deposited in a muddy hole to start a ‘rice paddy’! Too much National Geographic!

I suddenly realized that I couldn’t handle this potential food crisis alone. I would need the cooperation of my entire family. I called a meeting. I explained how we would have to conserve what little food we had in case of an emergency. They studied my face intently. My five year old was chewing as I spoke. He had eaten my carefully culled sandwich bag of cereal flakes . . . in one mouthful! I heard my husband gulp guiltily as he tried to hide two very bare apple cores. The nine year old was busy gluing the ice cream sticks to the wall. And my thirteen year old headed off in another direction with my three mystery chunks from the freezer. It turns out they were fish food . . . the least said at this point, the better. The dog slipped in the kitchen and grabbed the fish sticks.

Alone again with my thoughts on rationing food, I decided my next talk would take a religious bent. We could pray for the success of the rice paddy.

Quotes to Ponder

Quotes to Ponder

Happiness is…. Seeing a sunrise or sunset and knowing whom to thank.

Faith is to believe what you do not yet see; the reward for this faith is to see what you believe.

Character is who you are when no one but God is watching

Education is a weapon, whose effect depends on who holds it in his hands, and at whom it is aimed. Joseph Stalin

Hunger Pains Bring Out the Beasts!

Hunger Pains Bring Out the Beasts!

Payday looms somewhere in the unforeseeable future. Okay, so it is only three days until the paycheck zips in and out of your checking account. You are in the today time frame and you have to feed your family now. You peer hopefully into cupboards, refrigerator and freezer, praying that some forgotten sirloin roast shows up. No matter that your budget has never permitted a sirloin of any type in your grocery cart. You can still dream. You realize that if at least the fat, sugar and starch group are not met, you could be facing a mutiny.

Inspiration strikes. You will make the next three days a challenge for yourself and an adventure in eating for your offspring and husband. We will live off the contents already available in the refrigerator and cupboards.

Breakfast, day one: Pancakes are enthusiastically welcomed. The family sits down and then the critique begins. Why are the pancakes so thin? They are a new, healthier recipe, less eggs and more milk! For some reason, the first bites are rather tentative. I thought we were out of syrup, my son remarks. Another healthier recipe! I just mixed some warm water and brown sugar! My cheerful Seconds, anyone? falls on empty space. Everyone certainly finished breakfast quickly today.

Lunch, day one: Why are we having fish sticks on a Thursday? To thank God that we have been blessed with fish sticks!

Dinner, day one: Homemade ravioli, great! What are they filled with? Oh, it is a new, healthier recipe called “Meat Ravioli Surprise! How come this sauce tastes sort of like catsup? It does??? And how come the meat looks a lot like ground carrots? At this point, my older son, who counts carrots among his top ten hate foods, bolts from the table. My husband is stunned into grateful silence as I announce that there are more than enough leftovers to provide him with a lunch at work the next day!

The next two days were also filled with sustaining, nourishing culinary enterprises. I got the impression, however, that my efforts were not thoroughly appreciated. I overheard two of my children comparing notes on a recent meal. I caught the middle of a conversation as one said, “Oh, no! Just because it lasted three days doesn’t mean this was it!” The other child confirmed this. “You’re right. I don’t think the three days of darkness could be this bad!

The next time I decide to live on the available food in the house, I’ll do it after I’ve been grocery shopping.

Rejected Raffle Donations

Rejected Raffle Donations

I worked with an annual parish fair every year and although people, for the most part, were generous in their raffle donation, we sometimes got some odd items. After having a chuckle over this, my husband and I decided to make up a pretend list of the worst raffle items we could imagine. Here is what we came up with and hope to never win!

1. Bail bond service. One time only with maximum coverage of $25,000.

2. Free hazardous waste disposal service for a month. Nuclear, chemical or atomic waste only – does not include disposable diapers.

3. Free funeral service, coupon expires in six months.

4. Interpreter service for a month; Cantonese or Farsi only.

5. Pest Control Service for a year, covering only an infestation of a rare species of Australian spider.

6. Coupon redeemable for all your welding needs for a month.

7. Free root canal. Must be used within two weeks of receipt.

8. Free body piercing, does not include ear piercing.

9. Coupon for meat. Ten pounds of liver brought directly to your door every week for a year.

10. One ton of decorative garden rocks, delivered to your door the day after the fair.

Times Change, Children Don’t!

Children never change even with the times. A mother with now grown up sons recalls trying to help her eldest boy with his homework. At twelve, he wasn’t about to listen to the answer. In the middle of her intellectual confrontation with her son, an encyclopedia salesman came to the door. Much to her dismay, in retrospect, she exclaimed to the poor salesman, “Why do I need to buy a set of encyclopedia when I have a twelve year old in here that already knows everything!”