Sunday, December 30, 2007

16 and 0 and it's Oh So Sweet!

The Patriots beat the Giants and achieved the perfect season. Records were broken. A new standard has been set and the outlook for the Playoffs is bright. I've promised the kids that if the Patriots win another Super Bowl they can all skip school and we will go into Boston for the victory parade.

I've always valued winning decisively rather than graciously. And in that vein, the quote of the postgame pressconferences is from Randy Moss.

Q: Was it like a vindication for those that questioned this team signing you? How special was it for you to break Rice’s record?

RM: I don’t really think that me breaking Jerry Rice’s record was special. I think shutting you guys up was really what made it special. All the negativity and all my critics, I think this really is a good feeling to be able to come in and have a good season like this, to have confidence in myself that I can still get it done. And still I really wasn’t coming into the season not thinking that I was going to have a good season. My mindset was to come out here and have a hell of a season. Now what the numbers were, I really didn’t know. I just wanted to come up here and play some good football this year, knowing that it was my 10th year in the league. Good things happened and you see what happened.

You've gotta love Randy Moss when he speaks to the press. He is so volatile. So honest. So uncontrived.

Friday, December 28, 2007

Oldest Catholic Church in Iraq

Said to be 1500 years old. Waiting for restoration. The building of this Church predates Islam by 120 years. And then the looting started. There is only one point with which I disagree- this article states that Syriac was the language of the early Christians. It was Latin I say- ONLY LATIN! (just kidding)

Forget about UNESCO- I'd like to see Rome rebuild it.

Article by yahoo news.

by Jacques Charmelot Wed Dec 26, 1:39 PM ET

AIN TAMUR, Iraq (AFP) - No-one celebrated Christmas in Al-Aqiser church on Tuesday, for what many consider to be the oldest eastern Christian house of worship lies in ruins in a windswept Iraqi desert.

Armed bandits and looters rule in the region and no one can visit the southern desert around Ain Tamur unescorted, local officials say.

But 1,500 years ago, the first eastern Christians knelt and prayed in this barren land, their faces turned towards Jerusalem.

The remains of Al-Aqiser church lie in the windswept sand dunes of Ain Tamur, around 70 kilometres (40 miles) southwest of the Shiite shrine city of Karbala, forgotten by most.

But some Iraqis are determined to restore the ancient edifice -- which some say preceded Islam in the region -- to its past glory.

"It is a place of worship, a church, and without doubt, the oldest church of the East," said Hussein Yasser, the head of the antiquities department of the province of Karbala.

"According to our research, it was build 120 years before the emergence of Islam in the region," Yasser said as he took an AFP correspondent on a tour of the site.

Islam emerged in the Arabian peninsula in 622, or, by Yasser's account, 15 years after Al-Aqiser was built in a region teeming with Christian tribes.

In time, Karbala overshadowed it and became a key Muslim Shiite pilgrimage destination, while across the region Christian communities began to recede.

Deserted by its worshippers, Al-Aqiser slowly sank into the sands and would have been totally forgotten had it not been for a team of Iraqi archeologists who stumbled on its ruins in the 1970s.

The foundations of the church jut out of the desert, forming a perfect rectangle 75 metres (yards) long by 15 metres wide.

The nave is clearly visible as well as the central part around the altar where masses were celebrated.

"The church was built facing Jerusalem," said Yasser, who has been struggling since 1993 to attract funds and interest to restore the church and carry out excavations in the area.

His efforts were briefly rewarded some years ago when the authorities agreed to finance a brief excavation that lasted six months.

The work revealed an archway which he believes probably belonged to an underground crypt, bearing inscriptions in Syriac -- the language spoken by the first Christians.

"I am sure there is a city underneath the sand," said Yasser, a Shiite Muslim.

"Even then the city was known as Ain Tamur and stood at a major trading junction between Persia, the Arabian peninsula and the Roman empire," he added.

"There used to be a vast lake. People made their livelihood from fishing," he said, adding that the site was more archeologically, than religiously, significant.

A sand embankment indicates the location of the outer walls that protected the church, and Yasser is convinced that the uneven terrain that surrounds the church hides a wealth of archeological evidence.

"There are certainly houses beneath it all, and inside I am sure we can find cooking utensils, inscriptions," he said.

In the past Catholic Chaldeans, the largest single Christian denomination in Iraq who follow an eastern rite but recognise the Pope in Rome, used to pray in Al-Aqiser on Christmas Day but the faithful have not returned in a long time.

According to official figures, the Christian community in Iraq has slumped from around 800,000 in the 1990s to between 400,000 and 600,000 now.

The church "is part of out country's memory, part of the great civilisation that the Iraqis have built and it must be saved," said Yasser.

Ain Tamur police chief Mahfoud al-Tamimi said he agreed that Al-Aqiser must be saved.

"The church does not belong to the Christians only or to the Muslims. It belongs to the world," Tamimi said.

"The world must help us save it," he said, calling for the church to be added to UNESCO's world heritage site list.

Feast of the Holy Innocents

Today commemorates the Massacre of the Holy Innocents. This bleak day in history inspired a play called the Pageant of the Shearmen and Tailors and the haunting song, The Coventry Carol, reprinted below. It is the only carol that has survived from the play.


Lully, lullay,* Thou little tiny Child,
By, by, lully, lullay.
Lullay, Thou little tiny Child,
By, by, lully, lullay.

O sisters too, how may we do,
For to preserve this day
This poor youngling for whom we do sing
By, by, lully, lullay.

Herod the king, in his raging,
Charged he hath this day
His men of might, in his own sight,
All young children to slay.

That woe is me, poor Child for Thee!
And ever mourn and say, **
For thy parting neither say nor sing,
By, by, lully, lullay.

* Sometimes rendered "Lully, lulla

An analogy is often drawn between aborted babies and the innocents killed by Herod. The difference is that the mothers of the children in Herod's time tried to save their sons.

The Shepherd's Prayer: A Christmas Novel

Available from Amazon

I received this book in the mail and it has a beautiful cover. The story is about a young man whose mother saved him from the Massacre of the Holy Innocents and lost her own life in doing so. He was found by a merchant who brought him home and adopted him, raising him as one of his own sons. In spite of efforts to find the rest of his family his origins remain mysterious. Finally, the young man journeys to Bethlehem to discover what happened and where he came from.

I won't give too much away except to say that this is a wonderful story, completely lacking in misplaced sentimentality. A good book for a young man that gives a slighty different perspective on the Christmas miracle.

Thursday, December 27, 2007

Over the river and through the woods to...

Grandmother's house

Painting by Ray Peterson.

we go tomorrow. I'll be bringing Pear Sour Cream Cake

1/3 c. packed brown sugar
1 t cinnamon
1/4 c. butter
1/3 c. flour
2 medium pears, peeled, cored, sliced
2 t. lemon juice
1 3/4 c. flour
3/4 t. baking powder
1/2 t. baking soda
1/2 c. buter,softened
1 c. sugar
1 t. vanilla
2 eggs
1 8 oz carton dairy sour cream

Grease 9 inch sping form pan or 9x9x2 baking pan. Combine brown sugar, cinnamon. For topping cut 1/3 c. butter into 1/3 c. flour to make coarse crumbs. Stir in 3/4 c. of the mixture. Set aside.

Toss pears w/ lemon juice; set aside. Combine 1 3/4 c. flour, baking powder, soda, and 1/4 t. salt. Beat. Beat in sugar and vanilla. Add eggs 1 at a time, beating after each. Add flour mixture and sour cream alternately to batter. Beat on low speed. Spread 2/3 c. batter into pan, layer pears over batter. Spread remaining batter over pears. Sprinkle with reserved topping. Bake in 350 degree oven 45-50 minutes or more until toothpick inserted comes out clean. Cool in pan 10 minutes. Remove side of springform pan. Serve warm with carmel sauce drizzled over it.

Addendum: the carmel sauce is almost too much. Delicious. Moist. Would make an excellent coffee cake.

From Better Homes and Gardens Annual Recipes 1999. (I've taken out any references to walnuts that were unfortunately found in the original.)

Monday, December 24, 2007

Joan Andrews-Bell Arrested in Manchester, NH protesting Guiliani

Go Joan!

And boy is my husband lucky that I didn't know about this protest!

When is it a good time for a child to be born?

I dedicate this to those enslaved by the modern prejudices and self destructiveness of family planning.

The Risk of Birth, Christmas (1973--and now)

This is no time for a child to be born,
With the earth betrayed by war & hate
And a comet slashing the sky to warn
That time runs out & the sun burns late.

That was no time for a child to be born,
In a land in the crushing grip of Rome;
Honour & truth were trampled by scorn--
Yet here did the Saviour make his home.

When is the time for love to be born?
The inn is full on the planet earth,
And by a comet the sky is torn--
Yet Love still takes the risk of birth.

~~Madeleine L'Engle

With thanks to the blog- Yearning for God

Sunday, December 23, 2007

Huckabee Anti-Catholic?

Sure thang.

While some Catholics were ready to jump on the Huckabee bandwagon, I was concerned that a Southern Baptist Minister, with its history of anti-Catholicism would be a problem. And I didn't have to wait long to be proven correct.

Huckabee appeared at a mega-moneylaundering Church, where like so many "ministries" it's really about the money. Here's what the Catholic League had to say about John Hagee' book, "Jersalem Countdown".

A few highlights:

"The Roman Catholic Church, which was supposed to carry the light of the gospel, plunged the world into the Dark Ages.... The Crusaders were a motley mob of thieves, rapists, robbers, and murderers whose sins had been forgiven by the pope in advance of the Crusade.... The brutal truth is that the Crusades were military campaigns of the Roman Catholic Church to gain control of Jerusalem from the Muslims and to punish the Jews as the alleged Christ killers on the road to and from Jerusalem."

· "The Spanish Inquisition was perhaps the most cynical plot in the black history of Catholicism, aimed at expropriating the property of wealthy Jews and converts in Spain for the benefit of the royal court and the Roman Catholic Church."

· "Adolf Hitler attended a Catholic school as a child and heard all the fiery anti-Semitic rantings from Chrysostom to Martin Luther. When Hitler became a global demonic monster, the Catholic Church and Pope Pius XII never, ever slightly criticized him. Pope Pius XII, called by historians 'Hitler's Pope,' joined Hitler in the infamous Concordat of Collaboration, which turned the youth of Germany over to Nazism, and the churches became the stage background for the bloodthirsty cry, 'Pereat Judea'.... In all of his [Hitler's] years of absolute brutality, he was never denounced or even scolded by Pope Pius XII or any Catholic leader in the world. To those Christians who believe that Jewish hearts will be warmed by the sight of the cross, please be informed—to them it's an electric chair."

Almost as disturbing as Hagee's bigotry is his complete ignorance about history. But then it's never really about the truth. It's really about advocacy, self enrichment, popularity, pandering, exploiting the gospel for personal gain.

Saturday, December 22, 2007

O Antiphons Day 3, 4, 5 and 6

December 19
Root of Jesse, which standest for an ensign of the people, at Whom the
kings shall shut their mouths, Whom the Gentiles shall seek, come to
us, do not tarry.

O Radix Jesse, qui stas in signum populorum, super quem continebunt
reges os
suum, quem Gentes deprecabuntur: veni ad liberandum nos, jam noli

- The Magnificat
- Repeat Antiphon
- Sing "O Come O Come Emmanuel"

December 20
Key of David, and Sceptre of the house of Israel, that openeth and no
shutteth, and shutteth and no man openeth, come to liberate the
from the prison, and them that sit in darkness, and in the shadow of

O Clavis David, et sceptrum domus Israel; qui aperis, et nemo claudit;
claudis, et nemo aperit: veni, et educ vinctum de domo carceris,
sedentem in
tenebris, et umbra mortis.

- The Magnificat
- Repeat Antiphon
- Sing "O Come O Come Emmanuel"

December 21
Dayspring, Brightness of the everlasting light, Son of justice, come
give light to them that sit in darkness and in the shadow of death!

O Oriens, splendor lucis aeterae, et sol justitae: veni, et illumina
in tenebris, et umbra mortis.

-The Magnificat
-Repeat Antiphon
- Sing "O Come O Come Emmanuel"

December 22
King of the Gentiles, yea, and desire thereof! O Corner-stone, that
of two one, come to save man, whom Thou hast made out of the dust of

O Rex Gentium, et desideratus earum, lapisque angularis, qui facis
unum: veni, et salva hominem, quem de limo formasti.

-The Magnificat
-Repeat Antiphon
- Sing "O Come O Come Emmanuel"

Wednesday, December 19, 2007

At the very top of my Christmas list

My husband just emailed me from work to ask if he could get me these "boots" for Christmas. No. He isn't kidding. I'm only surprised they don't have fringe and lights that blink and rhinestones. These must be the toned down version of what he really wanted to get me for Christmas. I don't know what website he found these on and I have a strong feeling that I don't want to know. Wasn't it St Augustine who said that marriage was the cure for concupiscence? 19 years of marriage and 8 children have not cured him yet.

Just Fer Fun.

And to lighten the mood a bit. Since it has grown increasingly vicious in the comboxes.

Tuesday, December 18, 2007

O Antiphons Day 2

December 18

Lord and Ruler of the house of Israel, Who didst appear unto Moses in
the burning bush, and gavest him the law in Sinai, come to redeem us with
an outstretched arm!

O Adonai, et Dux domus Israel, qui Moysi in igne flammae rubi
apparuisti, et ei in Sina legem dedisti: veni ad redimendum nos in brachio extento.

- The Magnificat
- Repeat Antiphon
- Sing "O Come O Come Emmanuel"

Monday, December 17, 2007

Veni Veni Emmanuel


(From The Twelve Days of Christmas, Liturgical Press, Collegeville, MN,

The theme of the Advent season has been one of joyous expectancy
as the Church, in vigilant preparation, waited and watched for
the first signs of the coming of the Lord. The very name Advent,
and the Masses of the four Sundays with their urgent plea to
Christ to "hasten and delay not" have reminded us that we are
awaiting His coming in grace at Christmas, and in glory at the
end of time.

On the evening of December 17 the last and most intensive phase
of Advent preparation begins. On this evening is inaugurated the
first of the Great "O's" of Advent. The "O Antiphons" are seven
jewels of liturgical song, one for each day until Christmas Eve.
They seem to sum up all our Advent longing as they paint in vivid
terms the wretched condition of mankind and his need of a Savior.
Addressing Christ with seven magnificent titles, they beg Him
with mounting impatience to come to save His people.

The "O Antiphons" are intoned with special solemnity in monasteries
at the Vesper Hour, before and after our Lady's great song of
thanksgiving, the Magnificat, which is sung every evening as the
climax of this Hour of the Divine Office. But in recent years
families interested in the liturgy have discovered these gems of
poetry and have used them as part of their family evening prayers,
sometimes in conjunction with the "O Antiphon House." This is a
little house which can be bought or constructed simply; it has
seven sealed windows, each masking an appropriate symbol for the
different "O Antiphons," and an eighth window hiding the Christmas
scene. These windows are opened one by one each day at the singing
of the antiphon. The Twelve Days of Christmas Kit contains an "O
Antiphon" Tower which the children can cut out and put together.



December 17
Wisdom that comest out of the mouth of the Most High, that
reachest from one end to another, and orderest all things mightily
and sweetly, come to teach us the way of prudence!

O Sapientia, quae ex ore Altissimi prodiisti, attingens a fine
usque ad finem, fortiter suaviterque disponens omnia: veni ad
docendum nos viam prudentae.


My soul doth magnify the Lord, and my spirit hath rejoiced in God
my Savior. For He hath regarded the humility of His handmaiden.

For behold, from henceforth all generations shall call me blessed.
For He that is mighty hath done great things to me, and holy is His
Name. And His Mercy is from generation unto generations upon them
that fear Him.

He hath shown might in His arm, He hath scattered the proud in the
conceit of their heart. He hath put down the mighty from their
throne, and hath exalted the humble. He hath filled the hungry
with good things, and the rich He hath sent empty away.

He hath received Israel, His servant, being mindful of His
mercy. As He spoke to our Fathers, to Abraham and his seed

- Repeat Antiphon:
Wisdom that comest.....
or O Sapientia....
- Sing "O come, O come Emmanuel"
or "Veni, veni Emmanuel"

Who's blog is this anyway?

And how come it's never updated!

But here's the family Christmas picture taken by my sister at Thanksgiving. Andy and I are sitting on the sofa arms and on the big comfy couch are (left to right)Rose 16, Andrew 14, Anastasia 17, Stephen 6 (on Ana's lap)and Tim 10. Front row (left to right) Nathaniel 12, Rebekah 2 and Edmund 4.

And if your next question is "Don't you know about NFP?" The answer is, "Thank God we didn't let that interrupt our family.

And due to the encouragement of a dear friend, who will not let me become wholly pagan, I will be posting the O Antiphons- the very phrase is mysterious and wonderful.

Thursday, December 06, 2007

Novena Abuse

Saint Andrew Christmas Novena

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 has come to my attention that in the past some members of my family made this novena with very questionable intentions. I understand that one son prayed fervently for the intention of being able to fly. (not in an airplane)

Another son had the intention that our family would get ATVs or dirt bikes. Unfortunately that intention came true through the activity of a very indulgent parent. Ahem.

The third intention that has caused me some concern is currently being prayed that:

"Aunt XXX will get married to a cute guy who really likes us and has 2 dirt bikes that he will let us use."

I think I have some work to do- if it's not already too late.

Wednesday, December 05, 2007

Bill Gates on the Real World

[My favorite is # 7]

As a blogger this week I give myself an F.
As a mother and homemaker I give myself an A-.
Think there is a correlation?
I think there might be.

Bill Gates on the Real World.

Love him or hate him, he sure hits the nail on the head with this! To anyone with kids of any age, here's some advice.

Bill Gates recently gave a speech at a High School about 11 things they did not and will not learn in school. He talks about how feel-good, politically correct teachings created a generation of kids with no concept of reality and how this concept set them up for failure in the real world.

Rule 1 : Life is not fair - get used to it!

Rule 2 : The world won't care about your self-esteem. The world will expect you to accomplish something BEFORE you feel good about yourself.

Rule 3 : You will NOT make $60,000 a year right out of high school. You won't be a vice-president with a car phone until you earn both.

Rule 4 : If you think your teacher is tough, wait till you get a boss.

Rule 5 : Flipping burgers is not beneath your dignity. Your
Grandparents had a different word for burger flipping: they called it opportunity.

Rule 6 : If you mess up, it's not your parents' fault, so don't whine about your mistakes, learn from them.

Rule 7 : Before you were born, your parents weren't as boring as they are now. They got that way from paying your bills, cleaning your clothes and listening to you talk about how cool you thought you were. So before you save the rain forest from the parasites of your parent's generation, try delousing the closet in your own room.

Rule 8 : Your school may have done away with winners and losers, but life HAS NOT. In some schools, they have abolished failing grades and they'll give you as MANY TIMES as you want to get the right answer. This doesn't bear the slightest resemblance to ANYTHING in real life.

Rule 9 : Life is not divided into semesters. You don't get summers off and very few employers are interested in helping you FIND YOURSELF. Do that on your own time.

Rule 10 : Television is NOT real life. In real life people actually
have to leave the coffee shop and go to jobs.

Rule 11 : Be nice to nerds. Chances are you'll end up working for one.

Saturday, December 01, 2007

Mother Teresa: In the Shadow of Our Lady

Available at Amazon.

You are probably thinking- another book about Mother Teresa. Another book showing heartbreaking images of Mother Teresa as she cares for starving people. Seen it. Can't go there. Can't do that.

Wrong, wrong, wrong.

This book is about the spiritual relationship that Mother Teresa had with Our Lady. Drawing on the spirituality of St. Louis Marie de Montfort, it was truly Our Lady who sustained and inspired Mother Teresa to become the saint that she has been declared.

The book was written by Fr. Joseph Langford, MC. Fr. Langford is the founding priest of the Order of the Missionaries of Charity. Perhaps no one knew Mother Teresa as well as Fr. Langford. There is also a very interesting insight into how the Apparitions of Our Lady of Guadalupe inspired the work and the vision of the Missionaries of Charity.

One of my favorite descriptions in the book is when Mother Teresa would say that she always held her rosary, even when working, even while not praying the rosary, because she felt that she was holding the hand of Our Lady.

The book also contains some insight into the newly reported "Dark Night of the Soul" suffered by Mother Teresa. In Mother Teresa's own words,

If I ever become a saint I will surely be one of "darkness" . I will continually be absent from Heaven - to light the light of those in darkness upon earth.

This is a well written book and would make a wonderful Christmas present.