Fonticulus Fides

Friday, July 29, 2005

Penitent Friday: An Experiment

It's Friday, a meatless day for many Catholics.

Giving up meat on Fridays seemed pretty strange to me at first. But it would, since I live in modern times in the center of the U.S.A., when pigs and cows and chickens are fairly cheap, but seafood is quite dealy priced. Back in the days when the practice was first instituted, it was quite the opposite. Beef and pork were the luxury foods, because if you wanted to eat them, that meant starting with a young animal, feeding it and caring for it, then butchering it and having an enormous feast because there were no deep freezes in which to store the surplus meat. If you wanted fish or seafood, on the other hand, you just went fishing.

It's an odd temptation for me. Maybe I'm the only one who struggles with it, I don't know. But I've never much cared for pork, and typically the only time I really enjoy beef is when I'm pregnant. I'm indifferent about poultry -- whether I have it or not, it's all the same to me. But I adore fish -- salmoln, halibut, mahi mahi, orange roughy, yum! And seafood -- scallops, shrimp, lobster, calimari, oysters... I don't think I ever ate fish or seafood without enjoying it.

So you see the dilemma. Quite some time ago, I realized I was looking forward to Fridays because I wanted to indulge my love for fish and seafood. I rationalized it because I was pregnant or nursing a baby, both valid reasons for consuming protein. I considered myself lucky that I was either pregnant or nursing for over 3 years straight. But when our youngest self-weaned about three months ago, I had to face the truth: observing a penitent day does not include self-indulgence. So the fish and seafood have been removed from my Friday diet.

There are plenty of alternatives. Most Fridays, you'll find me cooking eggs for supper, or a rice-and-legume mixture, grilled cheese (because my kids love it), pasta with a meatless and seafoodless sauce, or something like that.'s not much of a sacrifice for me. It's the kind of food I ate all the time when I was a younger, vegetarian woman.

Last week, it occurred to me that while I can observe the traditional meatless (and seafoodless) diet on Fridays, I can make it more of a sacrifice by giving up some other food that I really enjoy and consume daily. M'Lynn has already guessed it if she's reading my blog today: chocolate! I am almost ashamed to admit it: that nagging "Me want chocolate" voice is much harder for me to resist than any inclinaiton to eat meat or fish.

When I went to bed last Friday night, though, I felt the experiment was a success. So, I had every intention of doing the same today. I forgot it was Friday first thing, though, and since I was in too big of a hurry this morning to eat a proper breakfast, I grabbed a granola bar instead. Which, of course, had chocolate chips in it. And chocolate coating. Yeah, I biffed. Didn't even realize it for several hours. But I've stayed away from chocolate the whole rest of this day. Can't take back what's already done, after all. And I've got that nagging voice going. Every time I hear it, I pray my thanksgiving to God for what the Lord did for us on the Cross.

And yes, I do know that you can substitute a different sacrifice, such as saying an extra Rosary, on Fridays, but praying doesn't seem like much of a sacrifice, either.


Thursday, July 28, 2005

Great Idea for a Blog!

The Minneapolis-St. Paul (MN) Diocean newspaper has it's own blog now. It's called The Robinson Report -- after the editor, whose last name is Robinson, and yes, you can leave comments there.

Tuesday, July 26, 2005

Thanking God for the rain...

We started out yesterday morning a little over 4.5 inches short in our annual rainfall (this, of course, is compounded by previous years' shortages for the last decade -- about 18 or so inches short in all, I think, which puts us in first stage drought).

Around 6:30 p.m. or so, the temperature dropped from a steamy 99 degrees (it had been 100 earlier) to 72 degrees, and a huge gush of rain came with it. It rained steadily on all night, and this morning, our kiddie pool, which had been flipped upright by the wind, was almost full. About 4 inches of rain altogether, I'm told. Looks like we may get some more showers in the next day or two, and it all helps.

I wish it hadn't been such a violent start, though -- there were several trees toppled by lightening, a roof here and there damaged. But no fatalities, and I guess we can put up with a little mess in return for the much-needed moisture.

Praise the Lord!


Coming Home to Catholicism

Tomorrow, Canadian blogger Saintos is turning in his letter of resignation at the protestant church he works for because God has called him to Catholicism. Please pray for him. He is not simply changing churches, but giving up his livelihood. He will need a new position shortly in order to sustain his family, so bear that in mind as you bring his needs before the Lord.

May God bless you, Saintos!


Monday, July 25, 2005

General Updates

Baby Kaylie got through her first heart surgery, but requires a second. Please keep praying for her, her parents and her big sister (who is not yet 3 years old and is probably really missing her mommy & daddy as they are at the hospital so much).

My friend Chrisi had her first post-brain surgery headache yesterday, but it may have just been a combination of heat, scar-tissue sensitivity and general sluggishness. It definitely was not like the headaches she had when her tumor was still in her head. She feels much better today, her hair is growing back, and she's starting to take short walks around the neighborhood (which isn't the smartest thing to do in 104-degree weather, but a front is moving in and we're heading into cooler temperatures.

The Drought laid low for a while, but things are getting pretty bad. Some counties are already anticipating a 25-50% loss in corn crops this year. My father-in-law is holding his own. With the cold front coming in, he's hoping for a lot of rain, but not all at once. Slow and steady, please, Lord. Even if it goes on for days and days!

So how are YOU doing? Drop me a line in the comments box and let me know!


In Case You Were Wondering...

When it's 104 degrees outside, it takes exactly the same amount of time to dry clothes on the line as it does in an electric dryer. Even if it's not 104 degrees, it doesn't take too much longer for clothes to dry on the line during summer. So save a little power and get a little exercise by hauling your laundry outdoors. BONUS: Sunshine is a natural whitener and deodorizer! TIP: If you're hanging stuff you don't want to fade, hang them inside out in the shade (my laundry line is in the sun in the a.m. and in the shade from about 4 p.m. on, so I plan my loads accordingly. ALLERGY ALERT: My husband is terribly allergic to pollens, so I thought I could never hang his stuff on the line. I read, though, that you can start them on the line and then finish them in the dryer for about 5 minutes to knock off all the pollen. I'm dubious, but I'm trying it. Anything to save some electricity, especially because we're facing a 9% hike. Water and sewer bill is going up 7%. I don't even want to calculate how much gasoline has risen. All I know is, our income most certainly has not gone up 7-9%!


Thursday, July 21, 2005

Thank God!

Baby Torres is apparently past the critical stage and now has a great chance of surviving outside the womb. Now they are going to try to make it to 32 weeks (8 more weeks) before delivering the baby girl. Of course, it will depend on how her mother's cancer spreads.

Keep praying for them, please. It's still so touch and go...

To read more or contriubute if you can, go to the Susan Torres Fund on line.

Wednesday, July 20, 2005

My Sixth Bad Habit: Politics!

Sorry, I can't help it. I am immensely interested in how a new Supreme Court Justice will affect this country.

Pop on over to Catholic News Service to read more about nominee John Roberts. His wife, Jane, is a lawyer, too, and since she is active in the wonderful organization Feminists For Life, I'll forgive her for dressing their son in short pants and saddle shoes in front of the National Media. Must be a southern thing, because I haven't let my son wear short pants on dressy occasions (not Mass, not weddings, not anything) since he was a year old. I shouldn't complain, though. The little guy apparently was not inhibited by his outfit, judging from that happy dance he was doing.

Hat tip to Amy Welborn at Open Book. I'm hoping for a chance to interview Amy for a story when she comes to Nebraska in November! Of course, she doesn't know I'm alive, and she's only doing a private speaking engagement with our new Legatus chapter, but they kind of owe me a favor. Do you think writing about them for our Catholic paper is favor enough to score a pair of tickets to Amy's speech? I promise my husband and I won't eat. We'll even dress like waiters if it will make the Legatus mucky mucks feel better.

It would still be great to meet Amy Welborn. I'm dying to ask her how she manages to be a mom and a prolific author at the same time. I want to do that, too.


Tuesday, July 19, 2005

Getting back into the blogging habit

Picked this up from M’Lynn:

What I was doing 10 years ago… We were working to get my husband’s band on the road. We were scrimping money to buy road-worthy gear for him. I was probably designing t-shirts, they were writing songs. I had given up freelancing and was working at an agency full-time again and editing the annual magazine.

Five years ago… I was getting ready for Zooey’s first birthday party. We had just rescued our dog from the Humane Society on 7/12 (she was on “death row,” scheduled to be put down that night). Also working on the magazine!

One year ago… Let’s see…we were recovering from Edyn’s second birthday party, planning Zooey’s pirate party, bouncing baby Lola on our knees, and I was working on the magazine.

Yesterday… Received another article for this year’s magazine to edit, plus two story assignments from the local Catholic paper, worked on Edyn’s thank-you notes (still not in the mail…I forgot to buy stamps!), took Edyn and Lola in for well-baby check-ups (Edyn’s weight has finally stabilized and she’s actually on the charts; Lola is off the charts but above weight, not below, and she’s actually slimming down so no worries), a trip to the grocery story, and all the usual laundry, dishes, cleaning, reading books to the kids, and other mommy stuff.

5 snacks I enjoy
Chocolate-covered strawberries
Triscuit snack crackers
Chocolate chip granola bars
Yoplait Whips yogurt (new Chocolate-Raspberry flavor is scrumptious!!!)
Ice cream

5 songs I know all the words to:
Happy Birthday
Beautiful Scandalous Night (The Choir) – it’s about the Lord’s crucifixion
Silent Night (and scads of other Christmas songs)
Yankee Doodle (and scads of other kids’ songs)
I Can’t Give You Anything But Love (from the movie “Bringing Up Baby” – used to sing it to Edyn when she was a baby)

5 things I would do with a million dollars
Get us out of debt
Set up educational funds for my kids
Give a lot of money to crisis pregnancy centers, Catholic Social Services and our parish school
Establish a retirement fund for my husband and I
Get braces for my teeth.
(In that order)
5 locations I’d like to run away to:
Northern Wisconsin
Vermont (I think – never been there)
Prince Edward Island, Canada (maybe…)

5 bad habits I have
Sloppiness (I let stuff pile up)

5 things I like doing
Talking to people
Getting a great deal at a thrift store

5 things I will never wear
Stiletto heels
Nose ring
Very long, shellacked fingernails

5 TV shows I like
“Everyday Food”
“Antiques Roadshow”
Used to like “Joan of Arcadia” but they cancelled it just when it was getting interesting
“I Love Lucy”
Uhhhh….I can’t think of anything else. Perils of having only 20 stations (which ought to be more than enough, but TV is such crap any more.

5 biggest joys of the moment
My husband
My kids
Being Catholic
Knowing that my friend is recovering so well from her brain surgery
Writing for the Catholic paper

5 favorite toys
The G4 iMac laptop I have on loan
The great swing-set we just got (used) that the kids adore
Uhhh….blanking again. Sorry.

If you’re reading this and having answered, consider yourself tagged! (Use the comments box if you don’t have a blog of your own…


Thursday, July 14, 2005

Dinking around with my blog template...

Mostly to see if I really do have comments again. The template says so!

Man, I wish I knew something about computers.


Wednesday, July 13, 2005

Please pray for Kaylie!

I blogged some time ago that some friends of mine were expecting a baby with a two-chamber heart and only one kidney. Kaylie Faith was born yesterday afternoon and weighed in at 5 lbs 4 oz and is 16 1/4 inches long. That weight is actually very good -- they were afraid she'd be under five pounds and the surgeon wanted her to be at least at 5 with a little extra body fat to get her through the heart surgery. That is scheduled for tomorrow.

Her dad tells me that this surgery is done with amazing frequency, and he has great confidence in the surgeon. But please pray that things go well, and pray that her dad G., her mom K. and her big sister E. are all comforted and strengthened as Kaylie gets the help she needs to survive outside her mommy's womb.

UPDATE on my friend Christi: She came home from the hospital on Monday! She looks amazing, she feels great. Now the trouble is keeping her still so she can heal up completely. She wants to go back to work (she is a nurse and runs the local Wound Care Center for people with burns, skin ulcers and other chronic wounds).


Tuesday, July 12, 2005

Last Saturday, I had the pleasure of meeting Father Peter Mitchell, the young priest who kept us all informed of what it was like to be in Rome during Pope John Paul II’s final days on earth, his funeral and the mourning period in between. Perhaps you read his daily accounts at, or maybe you caught him on EWTN’s “Life on the Rock” broadcast, or on any one of the many television interviews he did.

Father Mitchell is now pastor of two small parishes in our Diocese, one with about 150 households, the other just a few miles away with about 60 households. These are very Catholic communities in a cultural sense – almost every resident has Czech heritage – but as Father Mitchell put it, “More people go to the baseball game than go to Mass.”

So -- energetic young evangelist that he is -- Father Mitchell goes to the baseball games, too, celebrating victories by inviting the team to the rectory for burgers and giving the team a blessing before the big tournament.

Nobody in these parishes seems to know that a few months ago, lots of Catholics were hanging on his every word as he described his response to Pope John Paul II’s death, as well as what he saw on the streets, in the chapels and in St. Peter’s in the days that followed. If they do know about it, they’re not letting on.

Which is fine with him, he just wants to get on with the business at hand: leading a parish, administering the Sacraments, reigniting faith that has dimmed through years of neglect, adoring the Eucharist every Wednesday with the handful of parishioners who come faithfully.

If you read his words back in April (or just now), you already know that he did us a big favor with his “Letters from Rome.” Please return the favor and pray for him and his parishes. He’s never been a pastor before, and he admitted he was a bit overwhelmed with the whole “administrator” side of it. He’d rather be out knocking on some 210 doors. (I wouldn’t be surprised if he did so, over time). So pray for him…and pray for your own pastor, while you’re at it, and your Bishop, too.

Hmmm…come to think of it, I will enjoy seeing Father Peter Mitchell made Bishop in a couple decades. He will be an outstanding one.


Friday, July 08, 2005

Another prayer request

My friend Christi (we gave our youngest the middle name Christine after her) is going through brain surgery as I write this.

She's had a tumor for over 2 years, which they think is benign. It has neither grown nor moved since discovered. However, it causes her severe headaches that leave her debilitated for days at a time, and no other treatment has sufficed.

She is a beautiful woman (inside and out), and it is ugly surgery. There is potential that she will never look the same again. There is also potential of a stroke or other complications, of course. Please pray for complete healing without complications!


P.S. I hope to be back more next week. I re-injured by right wrist 6/24 and typing is painful. But I'm getting better, so I should be able to communicate more soon.

UPDATE: Christi's surgery went fine. The tumor came away much easier than expected, so her surgical ordeal was not the expected 3.5 hours, but only 1.5 hours. She is still unconscious, and her family is waiting at hospital for her to awaken.

Thanks for praying!

Thursday, July 07, 2005

Pray for the London bombing victims...

...and pray for an end to terrorism.