My Lent 2019 Book List Plans

Is this the year you really want to dive into Lent? Do you want to come out of this Lenten Season and truly feel that you've had a small share of living in the desert with Christ for 40 days? I know that I do. Maybe it's an upcoming birthday that's making me have more of a now-or-never type of attitude towards Lent. Or maybe I just acutely feel the necessity of truly modeling this for my children, and living it with my husband. Whatever it is, these are the books and resources I'm going to use this Lent to really LIVE the season from Ash Wednesday all the way through to Easter Vigil. Look them over. If something looks helpful to you, use it. If it inspires you, go with it. I hope all of these bless and encourage you.

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After my mini-rant this week about teaching young women the importance of breastfeeding it was really nice to find this story, about a young mom who took her breastfeeding so seriously that she even donated 86 gallons of mother's milk to the local milk bank!  I find that very inspiring and I hope that her story will encourage other young women to hang in there and nurse their babies, and maybe pass on some of their extra "liquid gold" to babies who need it!

 2.  Here is the great Ina Mae Gaskin - America's Midwife, talking about some of the practical knowledge that has been lost about natural childbirth since the assembly line, "medical" approach to birth has taken over.  It's fascinating. This woman is a treasure. I hope we can glean much for her knowledge and experience and pass it on to the next generation of birthing women.

 3. I think I am just going to avoid Facebook until after the election. I just can't stand to read one more disappointing link or comment about Catholics for "Equal Marriage" or how social justice issues trump abortion in this election

 Here is an example of the kind of stuff I'm talking about via the National Catholic Reporter.

COMMENTARY Stances on abortion are often more about power struggles and less about concern for the babies or the mothers. It is tempting for Roman Catholic leaders to say, "Support Republicans because they say they are pro-life; do not support Democrats because they are pro-choice." Such a simplistic litmus test is not what our Catholic social teaching is about. Giving the lie to the rhetoric of both parties, neither has actually achieved very much in reducing abortions. The numbers peaked in the U.S. during the Reagan and first Bush administrations, then declined somewhat during both the Clinton and George W. Bush years, according to statistics from the Guttmacher Institute and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

In a nation so divided on this issue, no either/or solution seems wise, practical or politically possible. Even if the Supreme Court's Roe vs. Wade decision were overturned, this would simply send the policy choices to the 50 state legislatures. I am tired of hearing candidates and elected officials use the issue of abortion for political gain. I am sick of hearing some bishops threaten excommunication for the sin of abortion and ignore heinous crimes against those that are already born.

I am alarmed at hearing people shout from either end of the spectrum, "You don't care about the babies!" "You don't care about the women!" I care about the common good of all and the practical means to promote it. I urge people to consider the summary of the "Platform for the Common Good" developed at the Common Good convention in July 2008. It helps us look at all the important issues facing us.  

 I'm left wonder since when was Catholicism ever about "common sense?"  The entire idea of the incarnation, crucifixion an resurrection doesn't seem like the most common sensical way to go about bringing salvation - But it certainly was the most effective.  - Common Sense?  Common Good?  smacks of something else besides Catholicism to me.


Peter's Uncle Lawrence passed away last week and we went to his funeral in Michigan.  Uncle Larry was the last of Pete's Uncles to pass away - now all of the children of his grandparents, Frenchie and Margaret, are gone.  Uncle Lawrence and his twin brother Clarence, were the last children in their family of five boys and two girls.  Mr. Pete's dad was the oldest.  All five sons served in World War II.

I heard that Clarence and Lawrence, despite being twins, were very different from each other. Clarence was more fair and blond while Lawrence had dark hair and a darker complexion. Clarence was the sensitive one and Lawrence was more jovial.  All five sons came back from the war, but Clarence could not cope with the things he had seen and witness and he committed suicide just before Mr. Pete was born.  I guess that is another difference between them with Clarence being the first to die and Lawrence the last.

I remember dancing with Uncle Lawrence at my wedding, although truthfully, as a young 20-year-old bride, I was trying to figure out who was who in my new large extended family. But through the years both Uncle Lawrence and Aunt Margaret always had time for me at the reunions and they were always very kind to my children.

Despite having seven children, Aunt Margaret developed ovarian cancer and died two years ago.  The summer before she passed she came to the family reunion and she and I bonded in a way we had not in the years before.  My mother had just died from ovarian cancer and Margaret was facing it.  We talked a lot, but we also didn't say a lot.  I didn't tell her what mom's death was like and she didn't ask. Maybe that was for the best.  After she died I sent a card and a note to Uncle Lawrence, telling him how much I had loved and appreciated Aunt Margaret.  He made a special point of telling me later how much that had meant to him - which is a good lesson that cards and notes still really do matter!

4.  Uncle Lawrence had a full military funeral complete with color guard and taps.  This was the first time the girls had had an opportunity to witness that.  After having a complete Catholic funeral mass and graveside service, having the military presence and ceremony was a special blessing - and something that Uncle Lawrence truly deserved for his long and faithful life.

5.  I learned that Uncle Lawrence and Aunt Margaret had lost their 7th and final child to stillbirth. I was struck by this since I had also lost one of my children to stillbirth.  This is something that had been very important to both of them and the priest made a special point to mention it during the funeral mass.

Raphael's 10-year anniversary will be this Thursday.

6.  Noah has been invited, along with other boys in the parish, to attend a special dinner today for all the young men who might be interested in becoming priests.  He is very interested and excited to go.  He is also excited about the special incentive- a trip up to the church bell tower.

7.  I teased Noah about this.  I told him that I have been a parishioner for over 25 years and I have never been up in the bell tower.  Noah quipped, "Yea, mom, but I've been a parishioner all of my life!"


I mentioned this to Father V. at last week's race and he quickly issued an invitation to me to climb the bell tower!

A couple of minutes later he came back and said, "You know, that bell tower is 7 stories straight up.  Just thought you should know!"

I was bemused.  First of all, I'm old enough to be Father's older sister!  Older, but not ancient!  And my first thought was, "I'll show these guys!  Of course I can climb that tower - no problem!"

Cardiovascularly - I would have no problem.  But what made me start to reconsider is my knees!  They have been GREAT for the last few months because I have been mainly walking for fitness.  And they would be great climbing up seven stories! The trick would be in having them hold up on the way DOWN!!  I think most folks with tricky knees would agree - that would probably be the hardest!  So I may have to reconsider that invitation and appreciate that he gave me an out!

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