Wednesday, June 26, 2013

Thanking God for food poisoning

I suppose it's just barely possible that a few of my long-time readers may have wondered why I've been so quiet this week, and especially today, given that I said I'd pop back in and blog if anything important happened, and given that the SCOTUS majority today reached up their collective bottoms and decided that what they encountered there should be defined, henceforth, as their brains.  Hey, it makes as much sense as what really happened.

But I've been sidelined this week with a mild bout of food poisoning.  No big deal, but enough to keep me away from the blog, the news world, and the Internet generally.  And that has been awfully peaceful.  I tend to forget how rotten, degenerate, filthy, vile, immoral, evil, wicked, perverse and foul things are when I don't read about it all--and that's just Washington, D.C., these days; I'd need a whole thesaurus to describe our pathetic and doomed nation beyond the borders of the stinking cesspool where our presidents and congresspeople and judges go to engage in their decrepit, pathetic orgies which they present to a bastardized citizenry as leadership.

So as strange as it may seem to be thanking God for the gift of a mild illness, I'm doing just that.  Otherwise, I'd have enough stamina to quit pulling my punches and tell you exactly what I think about this parade of nonsense perpetrated by a bunch of black-robed fools, monsters and idiots who deserve nothing more than to be solemnly immortalized with appropriate scorn for these sorts of decisions by the waves of Islamic fundamentalists who will one day inherit this nation.

Wednesday, June 12, 2013

Happy birthday, Hatchick!

Today we are celebrating the 15th birthday of my youngest daughter, affectionately nicknamed "Hatchick" on this blog.

Let me repeat that: my youngest is now 15.  Where has the time gone? :)

Hatchick is a smart, funny, creative girl with so many talents and interests I can't possibly list them all!  She is an exercise enthusiast who loves to be active, and she also loves art, especially drawing cartoons and cute chibi figures.  She enjoys science, too, and is especially interested in robotics.  She can do things on the computer that amaze me, particularly her adventures in animation!

As has been my custom for several years now, I will now turn the remainder of this blog post over to Hatchick!  Here she is:


Hello! This is Hatchick. Gosh, has it been a year already? The time has flown by so quickly.
This year I thought I'd share one of my drawings with you! It is a chibi character I created named Lila along with the Nintendo (tm) character, Kirby.

I hope everyone has a great day!
Hatchick :) :) :) :)

Monday, June 10, 2013

Caution: summer blogging ahead

After last week's spotty blogging, I realized that it's time to take a more-or-less official summer break from blogging, so I can get other stuff done around here. :)

So, here's my plan:

And Sometimes Tea--posts will appear sporadically, when I have the time.

Coalition for Clarity--will be in hiatus until further notice, but the blog and its archives will remain visible.

Tales of Telmaja--I will continue the "Telmaj Tuesday" posts because they are helping me stay motivated to finish editing A Smijj of Adventure and make it available for sale.  The writing prompts will also continue.

Thanks for your patience, and have a great summer!

Thursday, June 6, 2013

Skipped Wednesday; today's post is..., at the Coalition for Clarity, where I talk about our nation of spies.

Sorry for missing yesterday's regularly scheduled post!  Our lawn mower died, and we were trying to find a replacement.  Advice re: inexpensive walk-behind lawn mowers appreciated, if you have any!

Tuesday, June 4, 2013

Don't forget...

...the Telmaj Tuesday post is here.

I, myself, forgot all about it, and posted here today instead.  Luckily, my youngest daughter, Hatchick, had written a writing prompt for me to use--so go and see what she came up with! :)

Judgment dressed up as advice

The other day, Simcha Fisher posted about modesty, kicking off the annual Catholic Blogosphere discussion of that perennial topic.  I read the post, which was reasonable, and then the 200+ comments, many of which were not--but I had a good reason: I was "test driving" a new contact lens prescription, and the Register's comment box print is quite tiny (which may be the reason people get bent out of shape over there: "Oh, gosh, that commenter didn't call me a lunatic after all; she said I was a fanatic, and clearly she meant it kindly...etc.").

Now, before you start running for the hills, this post of mine is NOT about modesty.  I've written enough about that topic.  We can all agree on that.

Instead, what I want to talk about is something I noticed in that comment box conversation, something that happens in lots of conversations both online and in real life, and it is this: sometimes people try nicely to give others good advice, which is a good thing; but other times people like to give out judgment dressed up as advice, and that's not such a good thing.

What is the difference?

To use the modesty conversation from Simcha's comment box as an example, here's a look.  Simcha wrote a funny post about trying to find something decent but still cool to wear in the heat in New Hampshire, which I understand is what we'd call a nice, cool day here in Texas, but then again in New Hampshire lots of places still don't have central air conditioning, so they still get hot when the temperature soars way above 75 degrees or so.

Some people responded quite nicely to the spirit of the post and made practical, helpful suggestions as to where a mother of nine children might be able to find some decent and affordable cool clothing options.

Other people, however, insisted that nobody needs to wear Capri pants and t-shirts, that all Catholic women know that the rules for dressing modestly are based on what the Blessed Virgin wears and what was written in the 1930s or so about "two fingers below the collar bone" etc., and that further every Catholic woman should shop at this or that modest dress/modest skirt store that offers plenty of decent skirts and dresses for somewhere between $60 to $100 for a skirt and $100 to $150 for a dress.  They implied, and in some cases came right out and said, that any Catholic woman who doesn't do this is failing to dress modestly and is putting her priorities into things like smartphones and high-tech gadgets instead of skirts and dresses that will not cause the men around her to fall into the sin of lust (because everybody knows that a pair of baggy capri pants with a t-shirt will drive all the boys wild, while a lace blouse paired with a demure skirt with a flirty mid-calf hem reminds a decent man that the woman thus clad is her sister in Christ and the daughter of the Blessed Mother, of course).  And if she really, really can't afford those skirts and those dresses, why, thrift stores, or learn to sew in your spare time--but she could probably afford those clothes just fine if she wasn't such a spendthrift in the other areas of her life.

And the point of such "advice" is to sit in judgment on another person, which, as Simcha's post today points out, is something we probably all do but shouldn't.

What about areas other than clothing?  Well, I've heard the one--you probably have too--about how Catholic homeschoolers are cheating the local Catholic schools out of their fair share of students, and how there's no reason a homeschooling family couldn't afford the local Catholic school.  I used to get into arguments with people about this, pointing out that the local Catholic schools near me charge $5000 or $6000 per year per child, while the local Catholic high school is between thirteen and fifteen thousand per year per student depending on whether your parish supports the school (and including the fees, textbook costs, and required uniforms).  But I was wasting my time, because people told me we ought to be able quite easily to afford $18,000 for grade school and (now that our girls are in high school) $45,000 per year for all three of them to attend the Catholic high school in the area.  If we had just made it a priority for them to do this, including putting them in day care when they were babies so I could earn a full time income along with my husband, we'd be fine.  Instead, we selfishly chose to live on one income and have me be a stay-at-home mom, depriving our children of the chance to go to diocesan Catholic schools.  Oh, and we probably took vacations (we don't, except to see and stay with relatives once every four or five years), and had smartphones (we didn't until my husband needed one for work last year; I still don't have one and don't want one), and so on.  The worst part about that last bit was that I heard that from a parish priest (not our current parish) in his homily: he essentially said that people needed to be sending their kids to the parish school, and that everyone there could afford to do so if we just gave up our luxury spending on vacations and gadgets and the like.  I just sighed; it still boggles my mind how many Catholic priests think that Catholic families in America are all extremely wealthy, except for a few unfortunate souls who didn't buy start-up tech stock back in the 90s or something.

To be fair, I've heard homeschoolers do this kind of judging too: we can, and do, cross the line from being enthusiastic about homeschooling and encouraging to those who are interested in it to offering judgment dressed up as advice to people who say they can't fathom homeschooling themselves.  I think I've gotten a bit better about this over the years, because there's a big difference between the person who says, "Oh, you homeschool?  I've always wanted to do that, but I'm afraid of X (and sometimes Y and W)..." and the person who says, "You homeschool?  Well, bless your heart, but I could never do that."  The first person might actually want real advice and encouragement, but the second probably doesn't, and may think you are judging her for choosing not to homeschool if you launch into homeschool cheerleading.  Worse, you might actually be judging her for choosing not to homeschool.  It's better to back off and remember that not everybody is called to homeschool, and it really doesn't work for everyone.

So, how do you know when you're honestly offering friendly advice to someone and when you're just offering judgment dressed up as advice?  The Golden Rule is probably the best go-to in this situation.  Ask yourself: Would I be pleased and grateful to get this advice, in these words, from someone else?  Why or why not?  You'll probably be able to tell whether or not you are offering the advice in the right spirit and with the right motives if you think about it.

Monday, June 3, 2013

That other Ohio teacher

A while back, I wrote about a teacher who was fired by the Catholic school she worked for when she became pregnant out of wedlock due to (presumably) the sin of fornication.  I argued that the Catholic parish and school had lost an opportunity to help her repent of her sinful conduct without showing her the door and cutting her off from her health insurance--that in this complicated world, making it harder for unwed mothers to choose life is not always the best policy for Catholic employers to pursue.

But I find it sickening that a different Ohio teacher just won over $170,000 from the Catholic school that fired her for getting pregnant out of wedlock.  Why am I angry about this one?  Well, as always, the devil--literally--is in the details:
A federal jury awarded Christa Dias $171,000 after finding a Catholic school discriminated against her for conceiving a baby out of wedlock via artificial insemination.

The court case that asked whether Catholic schools can legally fire a pregnant teacher for violating church doctrine came close to a conclusion last week after a day of testimony from the teacher and her former bosses.

Dias, 33, was fired in 2010 for conceiving a baby out of wedlock via artificial insemination. A Christian lesbian who is not Catholic, she taught computers at Holy Family and St. Lawrence schools.
Each year she signed employment contracts generally requiring her to uphold Catholic doctrine.
So this woman essentially lied every single time she signed her employment contracts.  She never had the slightest intention to uphold Catholic doctrine.  She planned to get sperm from a gay friend, manufacture embryos in a laboratory, kill off some of them during the implantation process and eventually implant at least one successfully (unless, being a "Christian lesbian," whatever that means, she actually sought an IVF doctor who would agree to make and implant only one embryo, which is hardly the common practice in the evil artificial child-manufacturing industry), and give birth to a child whom she intentionally deprived of a father.  And she expected the Church to condone all of this and let her continue to teach Catholic children as if she were in any way a fit role model for them.

Compare that to the woman who got pregnant out of wedlock by accident, who tried to make the best of a bad situation by choosing life for her twins, and who went to her school hoping to work out an office job or other behind-the-scenes situation so as not to confuse her students by her pregnancy, and it's easy to see the difference here.  The most obvious difference is that you can't get pregnant via IVF by accident.  It takes a great deal of time and money to manufacture and attempt to implant the human chattel you seek to acquire via a business contract and a scientific manufacturing process.  There is simply no way to claim that you didn't know what you were doing, that you had a momentary lapse in judgment, etc.  IVF is deliberately plotted evil, plain and simple.

And if you're the sort of person who doesn't think it's evil to manufacture children artificially and who has plans to act on that belief, then guess what?  You don't belong working at a Catholic school.  You have no business there.  You will never understand the Catholic Church's deeply philosophical teachings about the meaning of life well enough to have the slightest bit of good to offer a Catholic school child.  You are a bad example to any child whose parents are seeking a religious education, and you are robbing that child of his or her right to be taught by people who aren't moral midgets.

But this sort of thing is why I don't believe those who say that the increasing pressure in society to accept all sorts of evil will not affect churches or religious institutions.  The moral midgets out there can't stand that we don't buy their bovine excrement and then declare it a cause for celebration.  Their greatest enemy is the truth, and they will do their best to stamp out and eradicate those institutions to whom the truth--especially the One who called Himself the Way, the Truth, and the Life--is more important than a parade of niceness for their chosen brand of perversion and evil.  This court decision pretty much says that a Catholic school can't expect its teachers to act according to Catholic principles, and we can expect a lot more of that sort of thing from the godless and evil culture which surrounds us.