I invite you to sign The Manhattan Declaration

The Manhattan Declaration

Theodore's Memorial Video

Friday, December 31, 2010

Feast of St. Silvester

Happy Feast of St. Silvester! Here is Pope St. Silvester visiting with Emperor Constantine:
When I was child, living in Switzerland, St. Silvester was honored in a strange way shortly before Christmas. A few days before Christmas, all the school children would get up in the middle of the night and disturb the folks trying to sleep in the neighborhood. The children would bang pots and pans, play drums and other musical instruments, and yell and scream to wake people up. After being woken up, the homeowners would welcome the juvenile delinquents in for a snack and a hot drink. This went on until dawn, when the students would assemble at school to sing carols and have a party.

But this wasn't the strange part of this tradition.

The thing which made this tradition really odd was that the children would smoke and drink alcoholic beverages while engaging in this activity. And their parents knew and permitted it! When we told our parents about this planned celebration, we were given permission to attend only if we did not indulge in either smoking or drinking.

It turned out to be very fun, and we did not feel out of place being the only sober and smoke-free children present. This is one of those memories which will stay with me forever, even though I doubt my children will ever believe this in one of the few true stories I have ever told them.



************************************

Happy New Year!

Out with the old, in with the new. A new journal stands ready to take over for the worn and distressed 2010 journal:

This year, one of the things we hope for is to welcome more Donahues into the family - particularly those generated by Carolyn and I - we are not ready for any of our babies to be married! We pray that all of your hopes and dreams - God willing - will come true.

Tuesday, December 28, 2010

Feast of the Holy Innocents

Today is the Feast of the Holy Innocents. We named the first child we miscarried (back in 1999) after the Holy Innocents. Anastasia Innocent would have been ten years old this year.

In this painting, Triumph of the Innocents, by William Holman Hunt, one can see the Blessed Mother carrying Baby Jesus while the Innocents appear walking alongside them. Some are still bearing the scars of their martyrdom; the child in the foreground center is inspecting his torn clothing as he walks along.

Nowadays, innocent lives are snuffed out through abortion rather than through the edict of a savage ruler. Please remember to pray for the end to abortion today.

There are other souls lost in the sin of abortion: the mother and father of these unborn children, the doctors who perform abortions, nurses, and all the other medical support personnel who participate in this great evil. Those people also need our prayers for a change of heart. It brings to my mind another painting by William Holman Hunt: The Awakening Conscience. The painting was mentioned in Evelyn Waugh's book Brideshead Revisited, when Julia Marchmain realizes she cannot enter into an illicit marriage with Charles Ryder. In the book as well as the painting, the characters experience a moment of conversion which hopefully will be permanent. Waugh's character Julia does change for the good; the fate of Hunt's woman in the painting is a matter of speculation.


All pictures courtesy of Wikipedia

Sunday, December 26, 2010

Guys Named Stephen....And the Women Who Love Them

It looks like a scene from the short story 'The Lottery.'


"St. Stephen was STONED, dude!"

- quote from a classmate of mine in high school, who was also named 'Steve'


Today is the Feast of St. Stephen, Deacon and first Martyr of the Church.

Let us consider St. Stephen. Let us consider his words upon being accused of blasphemy and being brought before the council. Let us read the seventh chapter of the Acts of the Apostles, complete with hyperlinks, lifted from the New Advent Website:

1 Then the high priest said: Are these things so?

2
Who said: You men, brethren and fathers, hear. The God of glory appeared to our father Abraham, when he was in Mesopotamia, before he dwelt in Charan.

3
And said to him: Go forth out of your country and from your kindred: and come into the land which I shall show you.

4
Then he went out of the land of the Chaldeans and dwelt in Charan. And from thence, after his father was dead, he removed him into this land, wherein you now dwell.

5
And he gave him no inheritance in it: no, not the pace of a foot. But he promised to give it him in possession, and to his seed after him, when as yet he had no child.

6
And God said to him: That his seed should sojourn in a strange country, and that they should bring them under bondage and treat them evil four hundred years.

7
And the nation which they shall serve will I judge (said the Lord): and after these things they shall go out and shall serve me in this place.

8
And he gave him the covenant of circumcision. And so he begot Isaac and circumcised him the eighth day: and Isaac begot Jacob: and Jacob, the twelve patriarchs.

9
And the patriarchs, through envy, sold Joseph into Egypt. And God was with him,

10
and delivered him out of all his tribulations: and he gave him favour and wisdom in the sight of Pharao, the king of Egypt. And he appointed him governor over Egypt and over all his house.

11
Now there came a famine upon all Egypt and Chanaan, and great tribulation: and our fathers found no food.

12
But when Jacob had heard that there was corn in Egypt, he sent our fathers first.

13
And at the second time, Joseph was known by his brethren: and his kindred was made known to Pharao.

14
And Joseph sending, called thither Jacob, his father, and all his kindred, seventy-five souls.

15
So Jacob went down into Egypt. And he died, and our fathers.

16
And they were translated into Sichem and were laid in the sepulchre that Abraham bought for a sum of money of the sons of Hemor, the son of Sichem.

17And when the time of the promise drew near, which God had promised to Abraham, the people increased and were multiplied in Egypt.

18
Till another king arose in Egypt, who knew not Joseph.

19 This same, dealing craftily with our race, afflicted our fathers, that they should expose their children, to the end they might not be kept alive.

20 At the same time was Moses born: and he was acceptable to God. Who was nourished three months in his father's house.

21 And when he was exposed, Pharao's daughter took him up and nourished him for her own son.

22 And Moses was instructed in all the wisdom of the Egyptians: and he was mighty in his words and in his deeds.

23 And when he was full forty years old, it came into his heart to visit his brethren, the children of Israel.

24 And when he had seen one of them suffer wrong, he defended him: and striking the Egyptian, he avenged him who suffered the injury.

25 And he thought that his brethren understood that God by his hand would save them. But they understood it not.

26 And the day following, he showed himself to them when they were at strife and would have reconciled them in peace, saying: Men, you are brethren. Why hurt you one another?

27
But he that did the injury to his neighbour thrust him away, saying: Who has appointed you prince and judge over us:

28 What! Will you kill me, as you yesterday killed the Egyptian?

29 And Moses fled upon this word: and was a stranger in the land of Madian, where he begot two sons.

30 And when forty years were expired, there appeared to him, in the desert of mount Sina, an angel in a flame of fire in a bush.

31 And Moses seeing it wondered at the sight. And as he drew near to view it, the voice of the Lord came unto him, saying:

32 I am the God of your fathers: the God of Abraham, the God of Isaac and the God of Jacob. And Moses being terrified dared not behold.

33 And the Lord said to him: Loose the shoes from your feet: for the place wherein you stand is holy ground.

34 Seeing, I have seen the affliction of my people which is in Egypt: and I have heard their groaning and have come down to deliver them. And now come: and I will send you into Egypt.

35
This Moses, whom they refused, saying: Who has appointed you prince and judge? Him God sent to be prince and redeemer, by the hand of the angel who appeared to him in the burning bush.

36 He brought them out, doing wonders and signs in the land of Egypt and in the Red Sea and in the desert, forty years.

37 This is that Moses who said to the children of Israel: A prophet shall God raise up to you of your own brethren, as myself. Him shall you hear.

38 This is he that was in the church in the wilderness, with the angel who spoke to him on Mount Sina and with our fathers. Who received the words of life to give unto us.

39
Whom our fathers would not obey: but thrust him away and in their hearts turned back into Egypt,

40 saying to Aaron: Make us gods to go before us. For as for this Moses, who brought us out of the land of Egypt, we know not what has become of him.

41
And they made a calf in those days and offered sacrifices to the idol and rejoiced in the works of their own hands.

42
And God turned and gave them up to serve the host of heaven, as it is written in the books of the prophets: Did you offer victims and sacrifices to me for forty years, in the desert, O house of Israel?

43
And you took unto you the tabernacle of Moloch and the star of your god Rempham, figures which you made to adore them. And I will carry you away beyond Babylon.

44 The tabernacle of the testimony was with our fathers in the desert, as God ordained for them, speaking to Moses, that he should make it according to the form which he had seen.

45
Which also our fathers receiving, brought in with Jesus, into the possession of the Gentiles: whom God drove out before the face of our fathers, unto the days of David,

46 who found grace before God and desired to find a tabernacle for the God of Jacob.

47
But Solomon built him a house,

48
yet the most High dwells not in houses made by hands, as the prophet says:

49 Heaven is my throne and the earth my footstool. What house will you build me (says the Lord)? Or what is the place of my resting?

50
Has not my hand made all these things?

51 You stiffnecked and uncircumcised in heart and ears, you always resist the Holy Ghost. As your fathers did, so do you also.

52 Which of the prophets have not your fathers persecuted? And they have slain them who foretold of the coming of the Just One: of whom you have been now the betrayers and murderers.

53 Who have received the law by the disposition of angels and have not kept it.

54 Now hearing these things, they were cut to the heart: and they gnashed with their teeth at him.

55 But he, being full of the Holy Ghost, looking up steadfastly to heaven, saw the glory of God and Jesus standing on the right hand of God.

56 And he said: Behold, I see the heavens opened and the Son of man standing on the right hand of God.

57 And they, crying out with a loud voice, stopped their ears and with one accord ran violently upon him.

58 And casting him forth without the city, they stoned him. And the witnesses laid down their garments at the feet of a young man, whose name was Saul.

59 And they stoned Stephen, invoking and saying: Lord Jesus, receive my spirit.

60 And falling on his knees, he cried with a loud voice, saying: Lord, lay not this sin to their charge: And when he had said this, he fell asleep in the Lord. And Saul was consenting to his death.

This is typical Stephen behavior. When given the opportunity, we like to give a long explanation to our listeners. Sometimes we are lecturing to a group who are already familiar with our material, but that doesn't matter. If only one person benefits from our speaking, then the effort was not in vain. If we annoy our listeners, we are not afraid to aggravate the situation further, as seen in verse 56 above. It is good to make one's position clear in a debate or discussion.

As for the women who love guys named Stephen, there is very little I can say here. It takes a special woman to love a guy named Stephen. Any woman who takes on this cross should do so after much prayer and thought.

Saturday, December 18, 2010

Last Minute Christmas Gift Idea







For those of you who are still looking for that special gift which appears thoughtful but is really just an act of desperation, I offer this suggestion: the fountain pen.

I have been fond of fountain pens ever since I had to use them as a child in Switzerland. At that time, we used pens which had some sort of sponge in them. When we ran out of ink, we would have to ask permission from the teacher to refill the pen at the inkwell set into the top of his desk. I can't recall the words we would use to make this request, but in Swiss-German it sounded as if we were clearing our throats noisily. We would then remove the nib and dunk the sponge-like thing into the ink for a few seconds.

I recall one day I was chewing thoughtfully on my pen (I was in third grade at the time), when I had a funny taste in my mouth. It turns out the pen was cracked, and I had been sucking ink into my mouth. My entire mouth was black for a while after that. It tasted disgusting, and I was the source of great amusement for the class that day.

Fountain pens also tend to splatter ink and smudge ink on the paper, and get ink on places one couldn't imagine, but I still like them. In the book The Phantom Tollbooth, by Norton Juster, there is a character called 'The Senses Taker' who records the details of peoples' lives before taking their senses. He uses a fountain pen, and he looks like this:


That is what I look like after refilling my fountain pen. Illustration by Jules Feiffer.

During my intern year, at hospital in Detroit, I received a $25 gift card from the administration. It was for an upscale department store in Detroit. Rather than buying something for my wife, I searched for something which was less than $25 for a long time, and finally found the one thing in the whole store which I could get for free: a Cross fountain pen.

That was when I started using fountain pens again. Since then, I have expanded my collection, but I still have a Cross pen. I don't have the original pen I bought in 1991 because Cross Pen Company had(maybe still has) a lifetime guarantee for their pens. They will either fix or replace the pen if you send it to them. I have sent the pen in twice, and each time it was replaced by a new pen. On one occasion, they informed me that the pen I had was no longer in stock, so they sent along a suitable replacement.

Here are a few pictures of the pen I have now:




This pen has a medium nib which looks as if it were plated with gold and takes either cartridges or converter( a device which draws ink in from a bottle ). The cap does not screw on, but fits nicely. On occasion, I have had to encourage the ink to start flowing, especially if the pen has not been used for a day or two. I think that is why God gave me a tongue.

This pen looks great, feels great in my hand, and writes very well. The down side for me is that it sometimes needs to be kick started to get the ink to flow, and that I worry about losing the lid. It is not my favorite fountain pen, but it is my first. I shall write about my favorite some other time.

Here is where I buy pens online.

Friday, December 10, 2010

Christmas Camel's Church Belly Flop Caught on Tape | NBC Miami

 
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Obama honors Nobel winner with statement about himself | Washington Examiner

Obama honors Nobel winner with statement about himself | Washington Examiner

Saturday, December 04, 2010

A Taste of Heaven

Feast of St. Nicholas Party

Today we had a party in honor of St. Nicholas at Mater Dei Catholic Church in Irving, TX. In addition to fun and games, there were crafts to do and football for the older boys. There was an opportunity to sell homemade crafts, and so the children worked to put together some items to sell. Here is the table set up:

One of Carolyn's sisters stopped by and rearranged the table so it looked more appealing; I forgot to take a picture of it. It really did look better after she moved all the stuff about.

Once again, we sold a few of our Christmas tree ornaments shaped like Texas. We used genuine barbed wire taken from our land, and then bent it around a form so it looks like the Lone Star State. We then added some felt and little doodads one can buy at a craft store.


One of the boys made cinnamon buns smothered in creamy icing. They were a big hit. I told the children to not worry if they did not sell, because I knew they would be great for Sunday breakfast.


Sugar coated pecans are another of our favorites. Our pecan trees are not producing yet, so we have to buy them at the store and then glaze them.


These are blueberry muffins made with blueberries picked at a farm in East Texas. They are delicious, but I think they may have had too much wrapping around them to see how good they look.


All the children pitched in to make little sleighs out of candy cane, chocolate bars, tape, and ribbon. I taped one on top of the toy cash register which worked just fine as a real place to hold our cash.


In the afternoon, there were train rides for the little children. Here is Bernard, getting ready to take a trip:



...and here he is, returning from a trip:




Random Christmas Thought:

I wonder if one day the song 'Christmas Wrapping' by the Waitresses will one day be thought of in the same light as Bing Crosby's 'White Christmas.'






A Christmas-Type Story

I had to detain the little children in my bedroom/office while things were going on in another part of the house. While they were all sitting around, complaining to me, I put on the 'Christmas' songs on my computer's iTunes. To mix things up a bit, I had the settings on 'Random.' A long and beautiful Gregorian chant segued into Alvin and the Chipmunks singing 'Christmas Don't Be Late.'

I took this opportunity to relate to the children the amazing story behind the man who 'discovered' the Chipmunks. It is a tribute to the patience and endurance of one man, and the triumph which comes from sticking with what you know is right. In case you do not know his story, I shall tell it to you. Perhaps it will one day become a Christmas Classic.

A long time ago, a man decided to train some chipmunks. He started by locating a large population of chipmunks in a park in a large metropolitan area. He rented an office nearby, and invested in a huge supply of circus peanuts. The next day, he surveyed the park, looking for the best locations for observing these rambunctious little creatures.

He wanted to become the Jane Goodall of chipmunks.

The first day, he set out with a bag of peanuts and a half liter bottle of Diet Coke. He spent the day pitching circus peanuts at any chipmunk which trotted in front of him. He even ate some of the peanuts himself. None of the chipmunks touched the nuts. The rest of the first week was the same, except that occasionally he would drink Diet Dr. Pepper instead of Diet Coke. None of the chipmunks would touch the peanuts. He was beginning to wonder if he should have invested in some other types of nut when it occurred to him that all of the nuts from the previous day had been cleared away. It gave him hope, and courage to persevere in the face of overwhelming odds. He would succeed!

After a few months consisting of small successes, devestating setbacks, and a nasty letter from his credit card company, he had a breakthrough. On that day, a solitary chipmunk came out from behind a tree and fled with one of the macadamia nuts he was trying out that day. The next day, the chipmunk loitered a few moments before running up the nearest tree. After two months, the chipmunk had progressed to the point where it stood still, watching him, before running away. "I've got him," the man said.

After about six months, he got the chipmunks to the point where they would follow him anywhere. At this point, he switched gears and started to teach the chipmunks to talk. The patience he demonstrated while tutoring these little woodland creatures was truly inspirational, but it was nothing compared to the accomplishment of teaching the chipmunks to sing. Here he outdid himself, as he discovered that chipmunks have a natural ear for rhythm and melody.

After several years, and lots of generations of chipmunks, he had a chorus of animals which could rival any human choir. More importantly, he had a trio of chipmunks who could harmonize better than any other singing group other than ABBA. This trio consisted of the brother chipmunks Alvin, Simon, and Theodore.

I would have told my children more about the discovery of the Chipmunks, but they were allowed to roam the house at will again, and most of them left. Perhaps some other day.....


About that taste of Heaven:

Imagine talking to your wife while shopping at Costco on a Friday afternoon. You have some of the children with you, and y'all are doing the biweekly Costco run to restock the pantry and freezer. The list is almost done, and the toddler has just started to spin in place in his strapped-in seat in the cart. You hang up with the Missus and let the toddler down to stretch his legs. He immediately takes off, and you order one of his brothers to tail him but not bring him down. He needs to burn off some energy.

As you straighten up, you are aware that your back is sore.

Just then, you see her. About one hundred feet away, making her way through the tables covered with discount winter fashion deals, is the most beautiful woman in the world. For you, she has the face and smile which brightens your day whenever you see her. Her big brown eyes connect with yours even at that distance, and even with your poor vision you can see that her smile has broadened upon seeing you. You are smiling as well, and all you want is to be next to her. This is the woman who has made Heaven on earth for you for the last twenty-one-plus years.

And to think that you just hung up the phone with her....


Here Bernard gets his teeth brushed:

St. Nicholas Feast Day Crafts

Tuesday, November 30, 2010

In Memoriam

Today we recall the deaths of Richard, Janice, and Terry. They were the crew on a helicopter similar to this one (N217MM, shown above, was our main aircraft) which crashed in Ann Arbor, Michigan, on the morning of December 1, 1994.

I was scheduled to fly the next day on the helicopter that crashed. A day does not go by without me thinking about what happened to my friends that day, and how thankful I am to be alive and still able to care for my wife and children and my patients.

Please remember them in your prayers today. May their souls and all the souls of the faithful departed, rest in peace.

I have written about more about this incident HERE, HERE, HERE, and probably best of all, THERE.

Monday, November 29, 2010

Feast of St. Andrew, November 30 - and Some Book Reviews


Here is the novena which starts on the Feast of St. Andrew:

St. Andrew Christmas Novena Prayer to Obtain Favors

Hail and blessed be the hour and moment in which the Son of God was born of the most pure Virgin Mary, at midnight, in Bethlehem, in piercing cold. In that hour, vouchsafe, O my God! to hear my prayer and grant my desires, through the merits of Our Saviour Jesus Christ, and of His Blessed Mother. Amen.

(It is piously believed that whoever recites the above prayer fifteen times a day from the feast of St. Andrew (30th November) until Christmas will obtain what is asked.)

Imprimatur
+MICHAEL AUGUSTINE, Archbishop of New York
New York, February 6, 1897


Here are a few reviews of a couple of books which I published on LibraryThing:


North and South
Elizabeth Gaskell

“Elizabeth Bennett meets the industrial revolution - count the bodies as they fall!”

It has been nearly 40 years since Jane Austen wrote Pride and Prejudice, and the social landscape of England in is transition in Elizabeth Gaskell’s novel North and South. The aristocrat who lives a life of leisure while his tenants work his landholdings in southern England is being replaced by the common man who works his way up to a position of wealth and power in the factory towns of northern England. How these two social classes interact makes up just one facet of the book.

The main characters of the book are the members of the Hale family, with the daughter Margaret being the most important character of all. The Hales move from a country vicarage in southern England to Milton, a fictitious city in the industrial region of North England. Mr. John Thornton, the young owner of one of the cotton mills, befriends the family. He is attracted to Margaret, the only daughter of the Hale’s, but she considers him socially beneath her. Their relationship progresses along with the story of the Hales adjusting to life in a northern town.

One of the main themes of the book is conflict. There are external conflicts, such as the one between the workers and the factory owners, and the southern aristocrats and the industrial businessmen. Mrs. Gaskell does a good job of showing both sides in a sympathetic light without setting one up as a ‘bad guy’ in the story. For example, the union workers had their wages reduced several years before this story takes place, and the workers are clamoring for more money as the cost of living goes up. The mill owners are not able to increase wages because of the price of cotton and other forces which are affecting the marketplace. Both sides have a legitimate argument for getting what they want, and neither are motivated by greed or any other vice.

There is much more to this book than my brief review. I will end with the comment that John Thornton is an excellent study in the practice of the cardinal virtues. This was one aspect of his character which was not carried over to the 2004 BBC version of this book. I strongly recommend this book, and give it 5 stars.

As to my “count the bodies as they fall!” comment above, let me just say that while there is very little violence in the story, many of the characters don’t survive to the last page.

By the way, I did not even know about this book until one day I saw a video of the trailer for the BBC movie. It was on YouTube, and Daniela Denby-Ashe caught my attention. I then went on to look up the book on Wikipedia. It sounded interesting, so I got a free copy of it for my iPhone off of the Gutenberg Project. As I started to read the e-book, I decided to go ahead and buy the hardcover version. Ah, the joys of high tech and copyright-free books!


To Kill a Mockingbird

Harper Lee

I just finished reading this book. It was hard to put it down. The book is told in the first person by the youngest child of a lawyer in a small town in Alabama during the Depression. Several themes are explored: racism, standing up for the truth, living in a small town in the South, coming of age(well, sort of....) all come to mind.

I recommend this book, but I am not sure if I would really want to read it again. I found part of the thrill of reading the book was the suspense of wondering what would happen next. The scene in the courtroom was particularly engrossing.

One note about the language in this book. The 'N' word is used constantly, making me think that this book would not have been accepted for publication in this our day of political correctness. The language and the testimony given during the trial give this book a rating of 'Adult' for this book.

Friday, November 26, 2010

A Graveside Visit

'Divine Mercy' as drawn by Theodore G. Donahue

Yesterday, on what would have been Theodore's 18th birthday, we visited his grave. It was cold and windy, so we did not stay there long, but we did say a few prayers and spent some time there in silence.

Someone had already put some plastic flowers at the site.

As is usual, the other children asked me when we were going to get a marker for Theodore's grave. I couldn't answer them, because I don't even know when I shall get it done. I still don't know what I could write on a gravestone which would summarize the life of one so dear to me. How could one or two lines describe someone whose absence has left such a hole in our hearts and in our lives?

Nearly 16 years ago, on December 1, 1994, three of my friends and colleagues were killed in a helicopter crash in Ann Arbor, Michigan. At that time, I had compared the deaths of my friends with that of a large stone dropped into a pond. Initially, the passing of the stone leaves a void - but almost immediately the water rushes back in, covering up the defect. Ripples spread out from the point of impact, leaving the surface of the pond more or less unsettled, depending on how close one was to the epicenter. In the aftermath of this crash, new pilots, doctors and nurses joined the group and took up the work. We kept on flying. For me, the stone in the pond seemed to be a pretty neat metaphor for death and survival.

I was wrong.

For those closest to the deceased, that hole, that void, never fills up again. After nearly three years since Theodore's death, his absence is like a pain in my side which will never go away. Every head count I make - and it is very important to count heads when you have such a large family - comes up one person, one name, short of what my obsessive/compulsive brain is expecting. Every time I recognize this discrepancy, I have to remind myself that the count is off by one because one of my children is dead. In some circles, this process is known as 'reconciliation,' where the reason for the incorrect count is resolved. In my case, it is hard to reconcile myself to this fact.

Try putting that on a gravestone.

While thinking about this and freezing in the wind , a car pulled up behind ours, and a man got out. He had flowers - we forgot to bring some - which he carried to a nearby grave. He also stood there for a while, with his back turned away from us to keep the wind out of his face. As I watched him, I considered how blessed I was to be here with my loving wife, my eight living sons and four daughters, and how I should rejoice to be so blessed by God. Carolyn had the same thoughts as she gazed upon the solitary man, with one additional thought: one day it would be just one of us coming here to see Theodore's grave.

Saturday, October 30, 2010

A Visit From My Guardian Angel

"How do you like my boots?"

My guardian angel stood back so I could take a good look at his brand-new boots. From what I could tell, it looked like ostrich to me. I had often heard that once you wear boots made from ostrich hide, you'll never want to go back to cowhide. I started to ask my guardian angel just that question when he interrupted me.

"I have never worn boots before, son, so I can't make any comparison between types of leather. And, no ostriches were killed to make these boots. Don't trouble yourself."

"I am not here to show off boots, son. I came to show you something. Follow me."

Before I could blink, we were standing on a bridge near my home. It was located on a quiet country road, so it was unlikely that anyone would pass by and see a man in his mid-forties wearing shorts, a T-shirt, and Croc's talking to an angel.

"Look at the water."

I gazed over the side of the bridge. It hadn't rained for a few weeks, so the water was scarce. Just a few trickles connected together to indicate that there was any flow.

Suddenly, a shiny object went by, followed by what looked like a gold pocket watch. A few rings with huge diamonds trailed behind. One of them got caught up on a rock and glinted in the sunlight for a moment before moving along.

"What are they? Where are they going?"

"I'll answer the second question first. Since we are on the East side of the Continental Divide, they will eventually drain into the Atlantic Ocean by way of the Gulf of Mexico."

"But what are they?"

"Those are the good deeds you did today."

"But why are they rolling down the river? A lot of good they are doing me in the river."

"Right you are. These are the good deeds you did today, but they were tainted by your attitude, grumbling, feeling sorry for yourself. If only you had given of yourself with heartfelt generosity instead of with an attitude of self-martyrdom."

I felt bad, but my angel seemed unconcerned.

"Hey, how about a game of Pooh Sticks?"

Friday, October 29, 2010

The Van

Big Blue, or 'Sixty-One Papa.'

The only vehicle of ours without 'Victor' in its license plate.

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Her Name is Philomena

I have a devotion to St. Philomena, mainly because St. Jean Vianney had a devotion to her as well.

As one could infer from my previous post, things did not appear to be going well with this pregnancy. Carolyn usually starts getting nauseated right away, and she did experience a little of that. Then one day last week all the nausea stopped.

We had already started a novena to St. Therese of Liseux for our unborn child to at least live long enough to receive the waters of baptism. That novena ended last Thursday. We celebrated the end of the novena by attending Mass at Mater Dei Catholic Church in Irving, and then I suggested that we celebrate the answer to our prayer by taking the family out to dinner.

Before leaving the church, Carolyn and I prayed the Te Deum, rejoicing and thanking God for an answer to our prayers - even though we both suspected the answer was not the one we wanted.





St. Therese has always managed to have our prayers answered quickly, almost immediately after the end of our novenas in the past. In every case we know that whatever God wills for us is for our ultimate good and the benefit of our eternal souls - but it still hurts, especially knowing that so many children are aborted in this world, and we would love to have more.

As in the past, we have named our lost children, and remember them in our daily prayers. We have named this child Philomena Rose Lourdes. Along with Anastasia and Therese, we hope to see Philomena some day in Heaven.

Perhaps they are resting in the arms of their big brother.

Friday, October 15, 2010

Our New Health Care System, Simplified


I can tell you that we are in deeeeeep trouble. As a veteran of the Air Force, I have seen the best the government can do for health care. I have also seen bad health care - courtesy of our government.

Please note that this form does not include any of the exceptions which the government has already allowed.

You are HERE.

Thursday, October 14, 2010

Celebrating the End of a Novena





"But if I finish all of my chores and you finish thine
Then tonight we're gonna party like it's 1699"

- from the song, 'Amish Paradise,' by Weird Al Yankovic

Tonight we finish a Novena to St. Theresa of the Child Jesus which was offered for, among other things, the health of our unborn child. We have some concerns that things are not going well with this pregnancy, and so we have been storming Heaven with prayers.

Now, at the end of this Novena, we rejoice, thanking God for answering our prayers. We do not know what that answer is, but we still praise Him for hearing us, knowing that His divine will is Love and Mercy itself.

We must stay the course.

Sunday, October 03, 2010

Look Who Is Expecting!



When you wish for a Mustang,
donate baby clothes,
plan a cruise to Alaska,
what do you suppose?

God gives you a sign,
for you and your wife
at the end of a chapter
(you thought) of your life



Where once you expected
a minus, a dot
you see a small 'plus' sign,
'Not Pregnant' less 'Not'

Instead of the end
to a chapter of life
God adds to the blessings
for you and your wife.


SMD
10.3.2010


It sounds like bad poetry because it IS bad poetry. But is is also true. God has blessed us again; this is the 16th pregnancy for Carolyn. We are still amazed that God has smiled on us and granted us this blessing. We thank God for this child - whether he or she lives for a few weeks in utero, fifteen years, or long enough to bury us - we cannot stop thanking God for this tremendous blessing!

Please pray for Carolyn and our unborn child.


ADDENDUM: Sadly, Carolyn suffered a miscarriage shortly after I posted this entry. I have another note regarding this at THIS site.

Sunday, September 12, 2010

The Chupacabra Sighting



We had a chupacabra sighting at our house yesterday morning. We think it was a young one, probably sick, because it just lay around in our front garden area.

We got some pictures of it, and then went to the ultimate source of news - YouTube - to see if our discovery looked anything like the common chupacabra. Here is a picture of it:


Note how the eyes glow. Freaky.

I went out to check on it several times, and called the county animal control officer to see if someone could come and pick it up. I have written previously about our experiences with the Ellis County Animal Control Officer; read about it HERE. I told the Sheriff that I thought it was a mangy dog - what did I know? At some point it disappeared, because when we went to Costco in the early afternoon, it was gone.

I kept the little children inside; I figure small children might be substituted for goats in a pinch. We had a shotgun handy just in case....

On Sunday morning - early - the animal control officer showed up, and he told me to call again if it shows up again.

Here is a closeup of the creature; note how similar it is to the one in the video which follows:

The eyes still disturb me. Anyways, here is a video which shows a similar critter caught by some farmer in Texas:



Here is the link for all the facebookers.

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

Tag....I'm IT!


I haven't played tag in years. When I was a little boy, I recall being the last one to catch - and so the game ended. I wasn't worth pursuing, I guess.

And I have avoided being tagged on these blog memes for years because so few people read this blog, and I have been too busy to come up with anything really funny/witty/intellectually stimulating recently. This is the busy season for pediatric anesthesiologists, with elective cases and trauma taking up a lot of my time. Then there are family obligations....

...and sleep. Glorious sleep!

Regardless, I had to respond to this meme, and subject five unsuspecting bloggers to the continuation of this version of the chain letter.

Mike in CT tagged me for the "Five Favorite Devotions" meme.


My five favorite devotions (in no particular order):
1. Holy Mass
2. The Rosary
3. Morning and Night Prayers with my whole family - when I am there.
4. Night Prayers and the Office of Readings
5. Chaplet of Divine Mercy

Let us see if these folks can keep this ball rolling:

Raulito at Disciple of the Dumb Ox.....go for a higher caliber than the AR-15, IMHO.
Dr. Matthew Doyle at Lacrimarum Valle.
Bridget at Our Magnum Opus
David at man with black hat
'Juniper' at defending my bean field

And now to step back and see the fur fly....

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."
Amen.

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