Jul 31, 2015

Daddy's Knee

Daddy owned a bank. He's retired now, and other family members own it.

But we learned things at Daddy's knee, that many kids did not learn.

We learned to save money. We don't live beyond our means. My  credit rating is stellar, thanks to Daddy.

We learned that credit is a tool. Used properly, it can make a good thing better. Used improperly or recklessly, it can damage something beyond repair.

We learned to respect businessmen. They hire people. They sign the front of paychecks, so that others can sign the back. Don't begrudge them a profit. They must have an incentive, or why not just close the shop? No poor person ever gave me a job.

Taxing the 1% "more" is not the answer, since they'll just raise prices for everyone at the bottom. Don't listen to those who would cause divisiveness, and incite class warfare. They don't want to help you. They're only interested in making a name for themselves. They're using you.

We learned to attend Mass every week. It's what we do. And we support the Church. To whom much is given, much is required.

God bless you, Daddy.

Jul 30, 2015

Bad Bosses

There are certain things they don't tell you in a job interview.

They never say "The environment is toxic, and you will die a little each day."
They never say "Work really hard here, so that others can steal credit for your work."
They never say "It's like working for the fire department: 90% boredom and 10% adrenaline."
They never say "The boss drinks, and his mistakes will be blamed on you - even if you were 1000 miles away at the time."
They never say "The great boss that hires you will soon be replaced by a micromanaging clueless, prideful, unrepentant man who breaks the laws of God and man with equal narcissism."

If they told you these things, who would work there? Yet, here you are, eager and anxious to apply for a job. Then you get in, and 3 months later, when the bloom is clearly off the rose, you want out. Except where would you go? Out of the frying pan and into the fire? You need the money. So you stay, while planning your exit strategy, thanking God that you are able to look for a different job scrolling on your cellphone, without leaving an electronic history on your work computer.

It helps, I think, to view it as a mission trip. You can't just leave, say, Jamaica, as soon as it gets hard or uncomfortable. You can only leave when the group leaves, at the end of the trip. So you force yourself to cope, to put on a smile, and look for Jesus in the annoying people, to bear wrongs patiently, knowing that you are growing in holiness, becoming more saint-like.

And isn't that why we're here, anyway?

We're not made for ease and comfort, but for greatness and purpose. God knows where you are. He's got your back. When you learn to be at peace in the uncomfortable place, then no matter where you are, you will be at peace.

That's the lesson. The sooner you learn it, the sooner you can stop looking for something else, and let the "something else" come to you.

Jul 29, 2015

LGBT is Only the Beginning

Leaders in political and religious circles are predicting that the gay marriage ruling is only the beginning. They're saying that other perversions will eventually be legalized as well: bestiality, pedophilia, etc.

If they're right, God help us all.

If they're wrong, God help us all.

Satan seeks "the ruin of souls." He  doesn't want anyone to go to Heaven. He wants the passions of Earth to be worshiped and governmentally funded.

Forgive them, Father. They have NO. CLUE.

My prayers are so puny. I'm calling in the cavalry:

Jul 28, 2015


My sister posted a link of 10 top foods that cause cancer so stop eating them. Fine. Probably a good way to lose weight since everything I eat was on the list.

Then I got to bacon. Really? I'm supposed to stop eating bacon?

Who wants cancer? Who wants to die young?

Then I had to agree with my dad: everyone's gotta die from something.

If I die from bacon, I'll die happy, so it's ok. 

Jul 27, 2015

Hungry Women

We women are really good at beating ourselves up because we are used to being beaten up. If no one is doing the job of beating us up, we happily, as a martyr, do what no one else is doing: beating ourselves up.


Yeah. I know, right?

It's a really perverse cycle. The enemy has us competing with each other instead of building each other up. We say snippy things that cut to the bone. Why? To make us feel superior? We say ugly things about other women to our "friends." Why? To make us feel superior?

H'mmmm. Sounds like a spiritual problem.

Someone has to break the cycle. Someone has to say "I am a worthy and precious child of the most high King and you do not talk to me that way."

Someone has to say "Hey, good luck in your job interview! I hope you get it!"  "You look great! Have fun on your date!" "Here - borrow my jacket. It will look great with what you're wearing!"

Nobody's doing that.

You do that. Fill in the gap. Women are desperate to hear some little morsel of encouragement. They are hungry for the words that YOU can say.

Don't let them starve. Open your mouth and speak so that others may live.

Jul 26, 2015

The Days of Dial-Up

My first word processing program was Multi Mate 5. My first modem was 24 baud in 1990. I've had the same aol email address since 1995, which is practically unheard of.

In 2000, I easily navigated Netscape and backed up data redundantly on iomega tapes.

In 2 decades the entire world is different because of the change in the way we communicate.

Like Gutenberg.  Did he know he was changing the world, by changing its communication? Are we being hopelessly old fashioned by supporting Catholic radio? Not really. People still have radios in their cars. Everyone can't afford satellite.

But its days are probably waning. What will be the next big thing?

Stay tuned. (Pun intended.)

Jul 25, 2015

The Wrong Things

I want to be a supportive intercessor for my friends, but I cannot always be. Sometimes, people ask for the wrong things, and I can't join them in prayer.

Well, Mrs. Connie, who are YOU to judge?

We're commanded to discern right and wrong every day. God judges.

If you want me to pray that your IVF "takes" this time, don't ask me to pray for you.

If you want me to pray that your live-in partner will "finally" ask you to marry him/her/it, don't ask me to pray for you.

If you want a financial miracle to dig you out of the pit because you're living beyond your means....find someone else.

Some things God will probably say "no" because of Who He is. All of my begging and yours will not help you get the wisdom or revelation, which is probably what you ought to be praying for instead.

I'm sorry if this hurts your feelings, but you need to know where I stand. I'm not unsympathetic to those suffering infertility, loneliness, or poverty.

God just might have other, better plans is all. And it hurts right now, but come back in 10 years and tell me how the struggle was really a blessing.

Jul 24, 2015

How to Name Your Child

Those who have large families get to honor many people (Saints) with their children's names. When you name your child, please follow these rules:

1. Make sure there is a Saint (Archangel, Virgin Mother, etc.) in there somewhere: first, middle, something. Your son or daughter will need someone to turn to besides you, some day. Give them someone.

2. Spell the name the normal way. No punctuation, accent marks, or weird spellings. School teachers will thank you.

3. Check the initials and the monogram. Do they spell anything awkward or potentially embarrassing, either backward or forward? Kids will pick up on this. Don't give them ammunition.

4.Give each child a unique name. John Theodore, John Joseph, John Lawrence, John Phillip, and John Charles are not amused. Neither are their wives, the insurance company, or the credit bureau.

5. Remember that your child will someday (God willing) be 30. Bambi & Candy were cute names when they were little, but do not give them a competitive edge when their resume is submitted for a position in global finance management.

6. Think before you speak. I've been called "CatTerBetConnie" for most of my younger years. Your failure to remember which child I am, is humiliating by the time you finally reach my name ... many names later.  Just stop.

7. Always speak your child's name with love. They have to know when they hear their name called, it's for a "good" reason. If you have to say something stern or corrective, don't call him or her - walk up to them and do the correcting. It will keep his or her name - the label that defines him or her - as music, not a word to be dreaded.

Jul 23, 2015

Plot Twist!

In the 7th chapter of the Book of Amos, he is defending his prophesying to Amaziah, who told him to stop. He says (paraphrasing) "I'm not a prophet! I was just minding my own business, tending my sheep and figs, when God told me to prophesy to Israel."

Isn't that just the way God works?

There you are, minding your own business, tending to your sheep and figs, and all of a sudden God yells down from Heaven: PLOT TWIST!

And your whole life changes forever.

It isn't always a welcome change. People don't always celebrate our new position (see Amos 7:13) but God knows what He is doing. If He says do it, be like Nike and just do it.

God will help you through the rough spots. He has promised.

Keep praying. Keep going. Step by step.

Jul 21, 2015

Choose This Day

In whose world is it ethical, morally right, an ok thing to sell body parts of babies you have killed?

Theirs, apparently.

Not mine, and not the world of the God we serve.

Joshua 24:15Douay-Rheims 1899 American Edition (DRA)15 But if it seem evil to you to serve the Lord, you have your choice: choose this day that which pleaseth you, whom you would rather serve, whether the gods which your fathers served in Mesopotamia, or the gods of the Amorrhites, in whose land you dwell: but as for me and my house we will serve the Lord.

Choose this day whom you will serve.

Jul 20, 2015

Need This

You don't have to be perfect. He knows your heart. He knows you're hurting.

You are worthy. You are good enough already!

Receive the love.

Jul 19, 2015

The Most Dangerous Words

One of my favorite church jokes is this:

How many church members does it take to change a light bulb?

Change? Why does it need to change? My grandmother donated that light bulb to this church!

The truth does not change. God does not change. But just about everything else does and will.

Our Mass is now being broadcast over the internet. Jesus's Mass at the Last Supper was not.

The medium has changed. Not the message.

Thank God.

Jul 18, 2015

Do The Right Thing

If you are on the playground with your friends, and a classmate is being excluded from the game, how do you respond?

I asked that of my VBS class this week, and got all the predictable answers: go ask him to join us, tell the other kids that we should include him, leave the group and go find a game that the other student can play...

In reality, I still see lonely kids on the playground.

Oh but if I go against my friends, they won't be my friends any more.
Oh but if I leave the group I'll miss out on this great game.
Oh but my team needs me.

Oh but.

When you know the right thing to do, you cannot pretend that you do NOT know the right thing to do.

My daughter was in a car wreck 6+ months ago. Thank God & guardian angels she was not hurt. Yesterday, we were informed by the insurance company that since the trucker who changed lanes into her denies liability (denies the TRUTH) and there were "no" witnesses, they will not be able to pursue damages from the trucking company.

NO witnesses? A busy interstate in Birmingham Alabama & no one was on it in the middle of the day except my daughter and an inattentive trucker?

No one stopped. No one gave her a name & number and offered to be a witness on her behalf. Oh, but they were in a hurry. Oh but someone else will do it. Oh but I'll pray for them...


Really? Get rid of the OH BUTS and do the right thing. If you witness an accident, stop to give the wronged party your name & number. You don't have to stick around. Give it and go.

Do the right thing.

Jul 16, 2015

Give a Dog a Bone

I love my dog. She's an old girl, but still takes pride in protecting us from errant squirrels and brown trucks. I give her a bone (a cookie) from time to time.

She would be loved and have everything she needs if I did not give her a bone.

But it makes me happy to bless her.

I wonder, sometimes, if God takes the same delight in blessing us. I have everything I need today.

But if God gave me a little extra, I'd be ever so grateful.

I love you God. Please toss me a bone, would ya? Thanks.

Jul 15, 2015

Whee vs Wow

There is a video being circulated now where a man asks random people if they'd rather have $1 or $150, and they choose the $1.  

No, no. I'm just kidding. What he offered them was the choice between a chocolate bar:

and a 10 oz. silver bar:
And they chose - you guessed it - the Hershey bar. The whee over the wow. 

Oh dear. Sacred Heart of Jesus, help us now and forever, Amen.

Jul 14, 2015

Hang Tough!

When God tells us no, and it's not what we want to hear, we cry, we get angry, we threaten to withhold our love.

And none of that changes God's mind.

When you make an unpopular decision for your sons and daughters, they cry, get angry, or threaten to withhold their love.

Or get on Facebook and tell everyone what a horrible life they have.

If the decision you made is the right one, you cannot back down. You dare not send the message that your mind can be changed if they make faces, yell loudly, or throw apples. Once you give in, you have told them that you are a liar and you do not really mean what you say, and they can have whatever they want, provided they push all your right buttons.

Hang tough, Mom. It hurts. It's lonely. But it's right. The rewards come later. I promise.

Jul 13, 2015

Look up!

How many times do you think people say (or think) "I can't imagine life without my smartphone." They panic when the battery goes low. They walk around aimlessly until they get a bar or 4.

In this society, I agree that phones are useful, even necessary. But can't imagine...?

Abraham couldn't imagine having a child, either, and God told him, "Get out of your tent! Look up! Look at the stars!"

Rappers sing about violence, because that's all they know. If they would get out of their tent, they'd see that a few miles down the road, Mass is being celebrated, mothers are kissing their children goodnight, fathers are working hard to provide for their families, children are paying attention in school, and babies are being snuggled.

Get out of your tent. If you think that your world is everyone's world, Honey, get out of your tent!

Look up. Look at the stars.

Jul 12, 2015

The Temptation of Facebook

I wanted to call this "The Last Temptation..." but we know better, so it stands as is.

Facebook is ripe for #FirstWorldProblems. Every weekend, it seems, the power goes out for a few hours, and we are all whining (on the FB app on our smartphones) about not having any A/C.

We talk about car trouble, our jobs, our elected officials.

Scrolling through the posts of my "friends," I am tempted to self-pity when I see "everyone" having a fabulous vacation in their beach condo, when I have neither vacation time, nor a beach condo. Yet. (My idea of summer vacation is working 2 jobs instead of 4.)

In other countries, they only dream of A/C, cars, jobs, and elected officials. A vacation? Forget that. He that does not work, neither shall he eat. Literally.

If Facebook is a problem for you, if it keeps your mind on things of this world, then the recommendation of one priest is to "spend more time in Eucharistic Adoration." No wifi in the Adoration Chapel. Just you & Jesus. He can help you get your mind on better things. Eternally better.

Jul 11, 2015

Sacred Heart

There are many variations of the Sacred Heart prayer, or Sacred Heart novena. Here's the one I'm praying currently.

May the Sacred Heart of Jesus be adored, glorified, honored, loved, and preserved throughout the world, now and for ever, Amen. Sacred Heart of Jesus, pray for us. St. Jude, hope of the hopeless, pray for us. Sacred Heart of Jesus, help us now and forever, Amen.

(Recite 9 times for 9 days and promise to print.)

To those without faith, it sounds like the chain letters I used to get in the mail in the 1970s. You had to copy the letter and send it to 10 people or some horrible fate would befall you. Some great info can be found here.

To those WITH faith, you understand your place in God's universe. You understand that if Jesus places your request in His heart, the Father sees Jesus, not us, and will answer Jesus's prayer. You understand that St. Jude, Patron saint of hopeless causes, is a friend of Jesus. So you take along a friend of Jesus to ask Jesus to ask His Dad....

Or, you can go straight to Father, in words Jesus gave us: "Our Father..."

Whatever works for you. They're both fine. Really.

Jul 8, 2015

The Death of a Child

There is a club I do not wish to join - no parent does. It is parents who have had to bury their child. I heard today about a young girl, recent HS graduate, who just didn't wake up.

She just. didn't. wake. up.

What do you tell the parents at a time like this? Here's what not to say:

It was God's will. (The enemy comes to steal, kill, and destroy.)

She's an angel now. (Humans and angels are separate created beings - one will never become the other.)

She's smiling down on us. (She's probably in purgatory! Keep praying for her!)

Let me know if there's anything I can do. (This is so vague as to be no help at all. A better offer might be, "Can I take your dog to the groomer's for you one day next week?"  "Is there anyone you'd like me to call?" "Here's a gift card to order out pizza any night you don't want to cook." Now that's helpful.)

The girl was about my daughter's age. Those parents could have easily been us. I try to put myself in their shoes, and the feeling of unimaginable horror envelopes me.

I just. cannot. imagine. anything. worse.

Eternal rest grant unto her, O Lord, and let perpetual light shine upon her. May the souls of the faithful departed, through the mercy of God, rest in peace. Amen.

And God? Wrap your arms around that family - real tight - cause they're gonna need it! Thank you!

Jul 6, 2015

St. Maria Goretti

Happy feast of St. Maria Goretti.

Simple young girl who lived a holy life. She packed a lot of holy into twelve short years.

American Catholic adds this endorsement:


"Even if she had not been a martyr, she would still have been a saint, so holy was her everyday life" (Cardinal Salotti).

Patron Saint of:

Catholic youth

Jul 5, 2015

Self Pity

I'm going to preach to myself for a minute, because this is a real area of struggle, not just for me, but many I know. Self-pity. Things are not going my way, boo hoo. This is not the life I signed up for! I was expecting something better than this! I don't know what, but better than this!

Joyce Meyer says: “Self-pity is actually idolatry because it is self-focus carried to the extreme. When we allow ourselves to fall into self-pity, we are essentially rejecting God’s love and His ability to change things.”

Tim Robbins says: “All depression has its roots in self-pity, and all self-pity is rooted in people taking themselves too seriously."

John Gardner says: “Self-pity is easily the most destructive of the non-pharmaceutical narcotics; it is addictive, gives momentary pleasure and separates the victim from reality.” 

Erwin W. Lutzer says: “Satan exploits pain by making it the central focus of the man’s (or woman’s) thoughts and attitudes.” 

Self pity leads to depression, it discounts the power of God, it is an arrow slung by the enemy to get us to be discontent with what we have....

When you think about it that way, it's more dangerous than you thought. Not just a bad habit. It can be deadly. 

Keep your eye on the prize, loved ones. Eye on the prize.

Jul 4, 2015

In God We Trust

"... that they are endowed by their Creator..."

Our founding fathers understood that there is a difference between the Creator and the creature. One made the other, and therefore has authority over the other. The creature is dependent on the Creator for his very existence.

I can't take my next breath of air, but for the permission of God the Creator.

Say that aloud.

I can't take my next breath of air, but for the permission of God the Creator.

Pause and think about that.

Jul 3, 2015

The Desires of Your Heart

Douay-Rheims Bible
Delight in the Lord, and he will give thee the requests of thy heart. -Psalm 37:4

Today's prayer:

Heavenly Father, please either grant me the desires of my heart, or erase them. Change my circumstances, or change ME, and help me be at peace, whichever you choose.

Jul 1, 2015

Obedience vs Honor

The 4th commandment "Honor your father and mother" is not about obedience. It's about honor. We bring honor to our family by behaving ourselves when we're out in public.

Your family gets its reputation in the community by what your children do (or fail to do) at Walmart. By what they wear. By who they hang out with. By how they treat adults and authority figures.

Teach your children that HONOR is important. Not because I say so, but because YOU live in this community, and our reputation affects how people will treat YOU.

Now, obedience, that's another topic. You cannot walk in disobedience and expect God to bless you. Sometimes He does anyway, but don't you expect it. And don't get mad when things don't go your way. Are you following the right path? Check and double check. You might want to change course.