Monthly Archives: January 2008

Gospel is Funny!

Whoo!  Today’s Gospel made me laugh (although I managed to barely contain myself until after I had left the church…barely…)!

Not the bushel basket part, we know that’s supposed to be funny.  But the part where it goes, “the measure by which you measure will be measured out to you.”  Okay, we hang up stockings for Christmas.  This year, I was buying decorations or something at the dollar store and I saw that they had these huge stockings.  So big, I might be able to fit inside one of them, not just my foot.  So, I got one, gleefully shoved it at my mom and told her to “Fill it!!!”  Not necessarily because I want all that stuff — I just thought it was hilarious.  In the same way, I think my miniature dishes and silverware are a riot.

So, “the measure by which you measure will be measured out to you.”  Okay.  I had this image all through Mass of going to the store and buying a bathtub-sized liquid measure.  Here you go!  *THIS* is the one by which I measure!  🙂

Not that I want to be greedy here, but maybe God would see it and laugh, and that would be the whole point.  🙂

I was still so amused by this that I just had to tell the guy at the coffee store.  So, I was good and I shared the Gospel today with someone.  🙂  He commented, “You go to church this early in the morning?”  I said, “Yup, that’s my day:  God, coffee, work.”  He replies, “And probably in that order, too.”  [Meaning my priorities.]  I cheerfully respond, “Yep!”

The Meaning of Penance

Okay, last year before Lent:

Fr. John’s talking to our RCIA class.  He is giving us examples of things that we could give up (or take on) for Lent.  I hear something like, “Some of you might give up their daily Starbucks or Caribou or whatever it is -” 

*and he’s looking in MY direction*  Now, wait a minute!!  He can’t possibly *know* that I have, like, 8 coffee cards in my wallet.  No way.  He doesn’t mean to imply that *I* should give up coffee and put that money towards a good use.  He must mean someone else.  Certainly, God wouldn’t want *me* to give up coffee.  I need that caffeine!

The following week – I’m sitting somewhere slightly different in the room.

He does it again!!  Aaah!  Quit looking at me when you mention coffee.  I don’t wanna give up my coffee.  Quit picking on my coffee!  *internal tantrum occurs*

I get a thought:  maybe God wants me to give up coffee for Lent.

Drat!  And here I wanted to give up something else, like perhaps solid food.  That would be fine.  I could do that.

So, I did what he said and went home and prayed about it, and….  *sigh*…  gave up coffee for Lent.  It actually went quite well.  Must be grace, because it certainly wasn’t me.  I even managed to resist when people in the store came up to me with nice, fresh, free samples of coffee.

This year:

I have issues with cooking.  I have issues with food.  I have issues with grocery stores.  I was nearly hyperventilating at Kroger the other day, just thinking about having to stick stuff in the cart.  I come up with a brilliant idea:  on the days that no one signs up to come over, I’ll just fast….  Brilliant, eh?  True, I’d probably not really end up doing that, because I realize it’s a cop-out, but in the meantime — it’s a fairly attractive thought.

Here’s the stupidity (or well, more stupidity):  I mention this “great” idea to a friend.  Said friend (ugh!) knows me too well.  🙂  She states, “No, no, no – in your case, fasting would be less penitential than eating alone!!!”

Drat again!  Seriously, have you been talking to my eating disorder specialist?  Didn’t she tell you that we like to be tricky?!?  I wasn’t kidding that this will be a hard penance for me, and I’ll have to work against myself so that I don’t sneak it into being something unhealthy, and really against what I want it to be.

Speaking of Bad Dreams….

Since Kasia brought up her bad dream, I figured that I might as well post about the one that I had last week, you know, to keep her company.  🙂

Here I was at church, and someone comes up to me and says:

“Fr. J.J. has left.”
“What do you mean he’s left?!?”
“Well, you did know that he was only a temporary pastor, didn’t you?”
“What?!?  No!  No one told me that!  Aaaah!”
“Don’t worry, we’ll find you another one.”
“No!  Not again!”

Apparently, in my head, I’m thinking that pastors come with a 6 month term….

Other things that shouldn’t be said to parishioners:

“Fr. Stanley has gone to a better place.”
“WHAT?!?!?  He died?!?!?!?”
“No, no — he’s on vacation.”

Yeah, that last one, wasn’t a dream — it was actually said that way.  No wonder I’m a little Mendeled.

This Will Get Me Smacked….

I just had to add this to my blog.  It is my response to someone’s post.  Somehow, I can’t resist sticking my foot in my mouth at any given opportunity…. 

Just a couple of notes regarding:

“for male homosexuals, there is the additional incentive of a rather closed men’s community where they need not prove themselves as men; …. and in the catholic and russian orthodox churches, there is the attraction of the garments and the aesthetic rituals, which male homosexuals may, in their childish perception, experience as feminine and which enable a narcissistic showing off, comparable to the exhibitionist joys of homosexual ballet dancers …. These interests stem for the most part, then, from an infantile, self-centered imagination and have precious little to do with the objective contents of Christian belief.”

Okay,  1) no matter if you are homosexual or heterosexual, in the course of your ministry, you may be placed in situations where you may be tempted.  Temptation exists everywhere, inside and outside of the priesthood.  We are all called to chastity, whether we are ordained, married, or single.  I don’t necessarily believe that it is a different issue for a heterosexual man to refrain from engaging in illicit activities with a woman, than for a homosexual man to refrain from engaging in illicit activities with a man.  Again, isn’t it supposed to be about your *will* and not your *emotions*?

2)”rather closed men’s community where they need not prove themselves as men” – Well, I can’t say with any type of authority, but I would imagine that whenever you have a community, you will have people looking at whether or not you live with integrity.  Is the author here referring to some public display of machismo as the “proof” that might be required or not?  I don’t know about you, but for me, the priests that I know are perhaps some of the strongest men, real men and an incredible credit to their gender, that I have met.

3)  It appears that this author is reducing all people who have homosexual inclinations to people who are childish and feminine, and that they are caught up in narcissism and are unable to control their “urges.”  I would submit that we all have disordered thinking to one degree or the other and that temptations to pride, irreverence and narcissism are not solely reserved for this population.  It sounds an awful lot to me like a stereotypical judging, and not like a reasoned loving of our neighbor, this statement.

Shouldn’t we give each individual our love and respect as a child of God with his own innate dignity?  After all, we are all sinners.

Update:  I knew I should have linked to the original post, but in my HTML suckage, I am forgetting how to make a link.

Here’s to the initial blog post that I was reading:  Orthometer

And, here’s to the blog post that was referenced in the initial post — the one I actually responded to:  Abbey Roads

Whoo-hoo! I’m winning!

Or at least that’s what I choose to believe.  All those little virii which have invaded are now getting the smack-down from my white blood cells.  Yippee!

So, the fact that I feel yukki and am getting symptomologically worse is insignificant to the fact that I am happy, happy to have evidence of a functioning immune system!   Thank You, God!

Words of Encouragement

Mom:  “You’re doing what?  Really?  Oh, I’ll have to tell your father what you’re up to.  He’ll want to hear this.”

Matt:  “And after it’s over, you won’t want to cook at all.  It’ll be like Mickey D’s for a week, solid.  Hot wings and beer.”  (Now, I did point out that I’d probably add pizza to that order and watch some sports on ESPN, but that’s just me.  Doesn’t sound like a half-bad Easter day, does it?  Hot wings, beer, pizza, and having people over to watch the game….  🙂 I’m not really a beer-drinker, though, so I’d have to have an alternative beverage….)

Kasia:  “Be honest with me: how much do you know about cooking?”

Many, many people:  “Seriously?!?”

Trial Run – Oh! What a Comedy of Errors!

Okay, now promise not to be scared….

Truly, I *do* know that pasta is to be drained before serving it.  Really.  But, I was busy talking (don’t say you are surprised there), and we had cooked so much pasta, that when I glanced over, I thought that I had already done that part, and went right ahead and started serving it — water and all. 


At least it was only the pasta itself, and nothing else was added yet.  An easy fix.

Then, I forgot to bring the veggies to the table.  So, we had them for dessert.  🙂  See what happens when I invite someone over without planning what I’m going to make ahead of time?  I forget what I had decided on.

Aren’t you all glad that I’m going to be planning my meals for Lent?

Maybe…  I should post little checklists, so I can cross things off as I finish them….

You are all still coming….right?!?!?!?  🙂

Lenten Project – Unexpected Developments:Day -13

I’m not quite sure how it happened, but apparently I have acquired a sous chef who will come over approximately 3 nights a week and help teach me and provide me with some recipes.

Don’t worry – I will make sure it remains a penance.  🙂  And I do expect to be doing all of the labor.  For my sous chef, she figures that this will dovetail nicely with her own plans for Lent.

How fun!  Is it Lent yet????

Note:  Someone pointed this out to me yesterday….  If you plan on attending a meal, if possible, please let me know a day in advance, so I have some idea of how many people I will be cooking for and can adjust quantities as needed.

Please!  Visit often!  Yay, people!

I will post pictures as I progress.  Please also use this blog to submit any tips or reflections on the experience!

Am I Privileged?

(From What Privileges Do You Have?, based on an exercise about class and privilege developed by Will Barratt, Meagan Cahill, Angie Carlen, Minnette Huck, Drew Lurker, Stacy Ploskonka at Illinois State University. If you participate in this blog game, they ask that you PLEASE acknowledge their copyright.) 

Unceremoniously ganked from Kasia….

Bold the true statements.

1. Father went to college (Nope!  I’m the first!)
2. Father finished college
3. Mother went to college
4. Mother finished college
5. Have any relative who is an attorney, physician, or professor
6. Were the same or higher class than your high school teachers.
7. Had more than 50 books in your childhood home.
8. Had more than 500 books in your childhood home. (I read *a lot*.  My mom would bring home romance novels from work because I was always running out of things to read.)
9. Were read children’s books by a parent. (I am not sure about this one, as I learned to read quite early – around age 3-4 – so I don’t know if my parents read to me previously. I’ll have to ask my mommie.)
10. Had lessons of any kind before you turned 18.
11. Had more than two kinds of lessons before you turned 18.

12. The people in the media who dress and talk like me are portrayed positively. Um, yeah, no, not really, but not perhaps as bad as it could be.
13. Had a credit card with your name on it before you turned 18.
14. Your parents paid for the majority of your college costs
15. Your parents paid for all of your college costs
16. Went to a private high school
17. Went to summer camp
18. Had a private tutor before you turned 18
19.Family vacations involved staying at hotels (when we went on long car trips, at age 10 and age 13)
20. Your clothing was all bought new before you turned 18
21. Your parents bought you a car that was not a hand-me-down from them.  (1986 Firebird:  Chase-me red; boy, was that a fight.  Dad wanted me to have a big car with steel I-beams, so I would be safe, and preferred large cars like a Monte Carlo SS or a boat like a Ford LTD (although he wouldn’t buy a Ford, at least then); I wanted something small like a Beretta — he said absolutely not.  As a general thing, I don’t usually argue with my dad; however, I was stubborn on this point and we were at an impasse.  Until my uncle Jim found this car, and called my dad on it.  If we didn’t want it, he was going to get it.  It had 106,000 miles and the V6 and not the V8, but we took it anyway for $1000 from a med student at U of M named Tom.  I had it for a year and a half or so, and then sold it before I left for the Navy for $1000 to my dad’s friend who was a Detroit cop and wanted a cheap car to go to work in.  It lasted about 2 weeks, then the engine blew.  It must have been heartbroken that I didn’t own it any longer.)
 22. There was original art in your house when you were a child.
23. You and your family lived in a single-family house.
24. Your parent(s) owned their own house or apartment before you left home.
25. You had your own room as a child.
26. You had a phone in your room before you turned 18. (Even my own line, since my dad didn’t want to answer the phone when it was for me)
27. Participatedin a SAT/ACT prep course.
28. Had your own TV in your room in high school
29. Owned a mutual fund or IRA in high school or college.
30. Flew anywhere on a commercial airline before you turned 16.
31. Went on a cruise with your family
32. Went on more than one cruise with your family
33. Your parents took you to museums and art galleries as you grew up.
34. You were unaware of how much heating bills were for your family. (Nope, I got to make out the bills when Mom had poison ivy.)

10 out of 34…more than 29% privileged.  Mommie always said I was spoiled, but not rotten.  🙂

Behold! My Lenten Project!

This year, I have decided to take on probably one the things the I have most issues with, for a variety of reasons. I am going to make myself deal with food, cooking, and the grocery store. I just may need therapy later, but I think this is the time to try and do something positive, when in the past I have done anything but. For my Lenten penance, I will not be able to eat anything from fast food or a restaurant. I cannot cheat and buy little microwave dinners. I must learn to actually plan, prepare and cook actual, healthy dinners. And not just dinners, but lunches and (maybe) breakfast. (Okay, my one dietitian friend is *really* pushing for me to have 3 meals a day, all balanced. I don’t know if I can go that far. Let’s be a little realistic.) I can only eat food gotten from a grocery store and made at home (vegetable markets and specialty shops, I think would be legal). So, no buying pre-made meals at the store (Drat!). I anticipate this to be difficult. On paper (or blog), it may not seem like a big deal, but then, this is me, so if you know me, you know how monumental this actually is. Given that, I should be dreading it. Oddly enough, I am excited. Tackling one of my biggest demons. Heeheehee! Bring it on!

Since I certainly will not be able to make it through this in isolation, in addition to the enormous amounts of prayer that I will need to get by, I have enlisted the aid of my friends in this manner: I have extended an open invitation for anyone to join me — for any meal — to give me company and support. I figure that this will be good for a number of reasons.
1. I will not go insane. Or at least, maybe, to a lesser degree.
2. I will get to see people more (hopefully). And, I love spending time with people.
3. I get to share the fruits of my labor (or plague them with bad cooking…but hey! It’s Lent! More penance for them!)
4. Other people need a healthy meal too, and since they might be spending more time in prayer, etc. themselves for Lent, my cooking may help their endeavors as well.

So, here is a near-copy of my 40 (like the number?) printed invitations that I am going to be giving out to try and entice people to my table (although, please feel free to contact me and drop in):


You have been invited to participate in Jenn’s Lenten penance! Don’t worry, you don’t have to do anything but enjoy. This year, Jenn has committed herself to the Betty Crocker Penance. No fast food, no restaurants, no cheating — just home-cooked, healthy meals…so she’s actually got to use that kitchen-thing.

For her sanity, she is extending an open invitation for you to stop by, any day, for a home-cooked meal and companionship. Feel free to bring a friend!  I hope to see you often during these 40 days!

Love, Jenn

(Please see [this blog] for more information, menu, and meal times.)