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The Manhattan Declaration

Theodore's Memorial Video

Saturday, October 31, 2009

Inspirational Meditation on Marriage

I found this elsewhere on the blog, and thought I would bring it up:

A man and woman had been married for more than 60 years. They shared everything. They talked about everything. They had kept no secrets from each other except that the little old woman had a shoe box in the top of her closet that she had cautioned her husband never to open or ask her about.

For all of these years, he had never thought about the box, but one day the little old woman got very sick and the doctor said she would not recover. In trying to sort out their affairs, the little old man took down the shoe box and took it to his wife's bedside.

She agreed that it was time that he should know what was in the box. When he opened it, he found two crocheted dolls and a stack of money totaling $95,000.

He asked her about the contents. "When we were to be married," she said, "my grandmother told me the secret of a happy marriage was to never argue. She told me that if I ever got angry with you, I should just keep quiet and crochet a doll."

The little old man was so moved; he had to fight back tears. Only two precious dolls were in the box. She had only been angry with him two times in all those years of living and loving. He almost burst with happiness.

"Honey," he said, "that explains the doll, but what about all of this money? Where did it come from?"

"Oh," she said, "that's the money I made from selling the dolls."

Prayer for Women:

Dear Lord, I pray for Wisdom to understand my man;
Love to forgive him;
And Patience for his moods;
Because Lord, if I pray for Strength,
I'll beat him to death
because I don't know how to crochet.

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Pentimento, Part II

Space is tight in the old homestead, as we had to get creative with our storage ideas. Note the bookshelves in the school room double as gun racks:

Just kidding. We have a gun safe for the air guns, and the toy guns are free to be wherever they are left.

Seriously, a few pictures of the project as it is into week #2 are shown below.

Here is the hallway to the bedroom wing of the house, complete with paper on the floor, a 'chair rail' along the wall, and 'mud' on the wall. I never heard of a chair rail until Carolyn mentioned it to me. Now I can't blink without seeing them everywhere. The 'mud' on the lower part of the wall is some sort of base or primer. Needless to say my main contribution to this work is to sign checks and voice my opinion.
Here is another room with the chair rail in place...

...and another room. This one has a brick on the floor:

Okay. These might not be exciting to you, but we are really excited about this project!

We have noticed that, in the past, changes in the home often lead to a new addition to the family. While we are not expecting at this time, we hope that perhaps our prayers, the disorder and confusion, and the smell of paint will lead to God blessing us with another little Noisykid. We can only pray for this, and we ask for your prayers as well.

I thought of re-writing some lyrics to a popular song to go along with our prayer:

One More Child

Last night I had a crazy dream

A wish was granted just for me

It could be for anything

I didn't ask for money

Or a mansion in Malibu

I simply wished, for one more Donahue

One more boy

Or girl child

Maybe twins, then I'd be satisfied

But then again

I know what it would do

Leave me wishing still, for one more Donahue

First thing I'd do, is pray for time to crawl


...you get the idea

The original lyrics for 'One More Day' were written by Steven Dale Jones and Bobby Tomberlin.

It's a Library Thing

Going back to the school room, I want to point out how Carolyn has the books organized so the children can re-shelve them neatly after reading them. Note in the picture below that the books have green and white tape on the spine. This is the adventure/history section(note they are a collection of the Laura Ingalls Wilder books) and so putting books back in the right section is easy. It also helps facilitate retrieval of books.

Please do not think for a moment that the children re-shelve books without being told to do so.

For those of you who are interested, I recommend using LibraryThing online to record your books. Clicking on this link takes you to my home page there, where you can peruse the 2,000+ books we have listed. You can also reach my LibraryThing page via the link on my sidebar. The website allows you to see people who have the same books as you, and it gives you an opportunity to contact them if you wish. We have a lot of the same books as other Catholic home schoolers.

Since I am in the mood for shameless advertising, and I mentioned praying for more children, and because the economy needs a boost, please watch this commercial from one of our future sponsors:

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Pentimento, Part 1

Pentimento is an artistic term by which an artist changes his mind or plan for a painting while working on it. I use the term loosely for our present situation; we are revising and repainting part of our house.

We built our house almost six years ago. At the time we thought some things were a great idea when we signed off on them; in other things we were just ignorant. Regardless of our thoughts at the time, thirteen children and six years have shown what will and what will not stand the test of time. So, during this last week of vacation for this year, we are staying home in order to prepare the house for an invasion of builders, painters, trim carpenters, and other skilled workers.

This is a good time for renovations. Most of the subcontractors don't have much work, so they have time for what is a relatively small job. We had tried to get some of this work done a few years - even a few months ago - with no takers. We are taking advantage of the economic conditions to start our own little stimulus package.

On with the pictures. Above and below are photos of one of the boys rooms, with the carpet stripped for tiling and the surfaces ready for repainting. The picture above includes part of a bunk bed which we had to dismantle to move it.

Here is a nighttime shot of another one of the boys rooms - this is the one which became the 'gym' after Dominick went off to college.

Where did all the stuff go? Most of it was moved to the West side of the house, in the school room. This is where the refugees will live until the rooms are done.

The little boys got the guest bedroom to sleep in. Here is said bunk bed put together again. Here also is Marc - the famous 'flaming scalp' Marc. Note his left knee is red in the picture below:

Consider that I am on vacation, so there must be illness in the house in honor of my enhanced presence. Marc started by getting stung by a bee or wasp on Monday. He came in screaming in pain. I thought it was a cactus needle, but then I noticed there was the tail end of some insect on the end of the stinger. I gently took it out of his knee without squeezing more venom into him, and then I showed the kids how it was still twitching and contracting before I threw it out. Motrin and Benadryl for you, and some baking soda on the sting.

By the next day it was red and angry looking, so I put some marks around it to monitor it for cellulitis.

Then this morning Bernard woke up at 4:30 with a fever. After treating him and going back to sleep, I checked his ears and made the diagnosis of otitis media - an ear infection. Carolyn confirmed my diagnosis; she is much better at looking at the children's ears than I am. Now our little one is on antibiotics.

Of course I only mention this because tonight was supposed to be 'Date Night' for us. Instead I got carry out Italian food and we ate it at the dining room table while drinking a bottle of Pellegrino. Any possible romantic atmosphere was erased by the smallest children coming by to mooch("are you going to finish that?") and by a gaggle of fruit flies which came out of nowhere to sample the Italian food. I suspect they wanted something more than banana in their diet.

It's my life, and I love it!

I am reminded of something a friend said to me after finished building the house. I had started to say, "The next house we build - " when he cut me off.

"Don't say it, man! You only get one of these, and anything you don't like you'll be changing for the next twenty years!"

If only it were paid for by then....

Sunday, October 18, 2009

The Fire Without

Benediction, and with it Holy Hour, was over.

Sometimes I referred to it as Unholy Hour, with the way the children behave. Of course I mean other people's children....

As the last note of Salve Regina faded away, Marcellinus, or Marc, my 8-year old son turned back toward me with a plaintive look on his face. He pointed at the side of his head. I motioned him to come to me, and as he got closer to me I made out the words "...side of my head hurts, and there's something funny in my hair." I looked at his hair, and for a moment I thought he had a collection of nits in his hair.

I fear lice more than I fear hepatitis and other microbes.

Something seemed out of place, though, and so I tried to remove some of the little knobs off the ends of his hair. Usually nits are not on the tip of the hair. I kept thinking I had seen hair like this before. On an impulse, I sniffed the patch of abnormal hair. The smell of sulfur was overpowering. Ah-ha! I remembered when I had seen this before!

Marc had burned his hair. I suddenly realized that the little knobs on the end of the hair were heat damage. I had seen the few hairs on the back of my hands looks like this after singeing them over the grill. This also explained some noises I had heard while in the confessional - strange things ALWAYS happen when I am in the confessional.

Every votive candle in the church was lit. This consisted of about fifty candles, and I have never seen all of them burning - until today. While I was talking to the priest in the confessional, I kept hearing a 'clicking' sound which reminded me of an elderly person's walker. I expected the confessional door to suddenly open up and some old person barge in on my confession. It didn't happen. What I was hearing was the sound of my children lighting all the votive candles.

At some point, Marc must have waved the extended butane lighter too close to his scalp.

Friday, October 16, 2009

3:16 Haiku

3:16 Haiku

All you need
is all I can give
love and prayers


Thursday, October 15, 2009

A Boy's First Gun

Bernard is growing up so big, I thought it was time to get him one of them there firearms.

Here he is, holding his new Kentucky Rifle - still packed in its original grease and ready for a good cleaning and a bit of target practice. You can tell that Bernard can't wait to take it to the range and get it set up for deer season.

See how he knows, even at nine months, to keep his hands off the metal and on the stock. See how lovingly he gazes at his new gift.

You can almost see the thoughts in his head; the squirrel hunting, javelina stalking, and the day he takes his first deer with that there Kentucky Rifle. Good hunting, boy!

Friday, October 09, 2009

An Open Letter to the Development Office

Dear Sir or Madam:

Thank you for your recent request for financial support for [insert university name here]. As an alumnus of your fine institution, I believe it is proper that I should contribute to the growth and prosperity of the institution which laid the foundation for my education and career in medicine. I have given what I could in the past in order to help other students at [insert university name here].

Unfortunately, I shall not include your institution on my list of charitable donations for 2009. I came to this decision after much thought and after reading the latest newsletter which described the showing of a certain play on campus. This play, which was sponsored by the College of Literature, Science, and Arts, is sometimes referred to as the 'V Monologues.' I shall not go into any details about the play; there is sufficient publicity regarding the many controversies which surround this play. What matters now is that my money will not be used to support a university which would promote such garbage.

In the future my contributions which would have been directed toward [insert university name here] will be sent to another liberal arts college - one which strives to uphold the dignity of both man and woman.

I would wish you continued success in your mission of higher education; sadly, I cannot in the current situation.

Sincerely, etc.

Tuesday, October 06, 2009

A Mother's Bouquet

Carolyn was arranging some flowers we had just bought from Costco.

"I want you to always have fresh flowers in the house," I murmured in her ear as she removed some of the extra greenery from the roses.

"The most beautiful bouquet a mother can have is her children surrounding her," she replied.

"True, but sometimes they don't smell as good as these roses."

"Especially those teenage boys," she said.

Costco-Style Romance

Love on a Budget - a helpful hint for the frugal romantic male:

The next time you are in Costco with your wife, pick a bunch of flowers; even better, have her pick them out.

Let her admire them for a while before handing them to the youngest child with you - so he or she can hold on to them for Mommy.

Invariably, said youngest child will set them down and forget the flowers - probably while sampling gourmet meatballs.

Check out when shopping is complete. When you get home, suddenly remember that the flowers must have been left behind. You score points for picking out flowers, and save money by not buying flowers!

It is a WIN-WIN situation!

Sunday, October 04, 2009


Here are some pictures of LifeChain in Greenville, Texas. It was a cool day - about 60 degrees and overcast. Drizzles kept coming in short spurts.

This picture was obviously taken from the street, looking north. A man had offered to let me stand on his chair to get an 'above the crowd shot', but I declined the offer. When I told him where I wanted to take the shot below, he said, "nice knowing you!"

Note some of my Noisykids goofing off in the foreground....

One of the kids called it 'Life Change.' Carolyn and I laughed and told them that was something different.

Here is a 'behind the scenes' look at the Life Chain from St. Williams Catholic Church in Greenville, TX. Our group was the largest, stretching from Wendy's to Taco Bueno. That translates into about one eighth of a mile.

I think we had the most number of people representing Life Chain. I think other people driving by thought so too, because they kept waving "WE'RE NUMBER ONE" as they drove by....

I jaywalked across the street to take this picture of the folks holding signs. These are low quality pictures taken with my iPhone. In 100 years, we have gone full circle from a box camera with no controls to a high-tech box camera also with no controls, and the pictures look about the same.

Perhaps I should pull out my Pentax K1000 which I bought in 1983....

One of the girls told us that we should have another baby. We agreed, and reminded her that we pray for more children every day. It is another sad thing about abortion; we would love to have another child if God wills it.

Speaking of babies, here is a picture of the 'tar baby' - in this case Rice Krispy treats were used instead of tar:

The children just informed me that a bear is going through our garbage, and I have to go and shoot it....

Saturday, October 03, 2009

The Costco Incident

This eventually happens to everyone.

Today it happened to me.

The oily spatula sailed through the air, landing on the first knuckle of my right hand as I extended it towards a tray of chipotle apple bacon meatballs skewered with pretzel thins. It was feeding time at the local Costco, and the sample tables were crowded with shoppers testing some of the more exotic products in the Costco line. I was one of many people, being a good boy and not going for seconds of the things I really liked. My nine month old son was strapped to the front of me, so he could watch the activities of big people shop and snack. Right now he was observing how adults gorge on freebies.

But today it was not to be so. I drew my hand back, wincing in pain from the bruise on my knuckle as well as the sting from hot grease splattered on my wrist and forearm. I looked up with an expression somewhere between confusion and anger at the lady who did this to me. I had seen her before. She had always been pleasant to me whenever I saw her at the store, reciting her little 'spiel' for whatever she was pushing that day. But today was different. Today she looked stern. I could not see her lips, because she had one of those funny-looking masks over mouth; one of those ones which look more like a hairnet. While I couldn't see her mouth, I could understand her perfectly.

"Enough is enough," she said.

"Excuse me?"

"You have had enough!"

"I haven't had any meatballs," I said, as I glanced down at the trays full of all four variations of gourmet precooked meatballs. I had plans for one of each kind.

"Sir, we have watched you these past few years come in here and try each kind of meatball without buying any of them. We have had enough of you saying that you will try them and consider buying some. We know it is just a lie, and all you want is a free meatball. Well, we have cut you off now. Either buy some meatballs or not, but there will be no samples for you either way."

Silence. Every one of the three vendors behind the counter were standing still, staring at me. The shoppers had all stopped and were looking at me. Someone snickered. Blushing, I took a step backward.

"L-let me get my wife," I said, as I turned back to my shopping cart and scanned the fruit section for my wife. My ears felt really warm, and my heart was beating rapidly.

I found my wife in the refrigerated section of the store. It felt good to be in cool air, and the flush seemed to leave my face. Carolyn was inspecting strawberries.

"You won't believe what happened at the meatball sample table, honey."

"Really...hey! get him out of here!" This was directed to the baby, who was not dressed to be in the cold room. I stood outside the cold room while Carolyn made here selection of fruit.

"You'll never guess what just happened at the meatball stand. They wouldn't give me a sample."

"So? We never buy them anyway."

Thursday, October 01, 2009

Living Without the Cross

Mr. Moose makes a rare appearance in this photo:

Two years ago we learned that the 'next year's model' Noisykid had died in utero at 11 weeks gestation.

This child would have been born around the time that Theodore died.

We named her Therese Mary Catherine.

Today I was reminded of this when we saw an autistic child in a restaurant, and my wife reminded me of something which our Priest said shortly after Theodore's death.

"The only thing harder than living with the Cross is not living with it."

We thank God for all of our children; those who live and for those who have died.

On a lighter note, here is the youngest, Bernard, sporting some cool shades:

Our Lady of the Mysterious Decapitation

Our Lady of the Mysterious Decapitation
Now restored with the help of some cement!

Prayer to Our Lady of the Mysterious Decapitation

Mary my mother, take my hand today, and all days.
Lead me away from all occasions of sin.
Guide me in fulfilling your last words in the Gospel,
"Do whatever He tells you."

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