What a week. So much work to do. Work, work, work.

Which, work can actually be pretty fun, especially when you work with an Evie.

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Skirts and sweaters. G’Pa P would approve.

I didn’t even know we had that little rake.

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She looks so Autumnal 🙂

This time of year sees the continuation of the annual Christmas Cookie Bake. As always its the Swiss cookies that get made first. Mostly because they season the best over several months.

Kathleen made Lackerli earlier in the week as well. For most of the week our house smelled of delicious fall spices such as ginger, cinnamon, cardamom and anise. One of Ryan’s classmates and fellow traditional cookie lover came over to help make cookies.

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Kathleen very much enjoyed having the help, it shortened an all day task to several hours worth of work.

Evie enjoyed having Lena come over to visit the most. They became fast friends, even sharing tea and lunch.

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Lena brought Evie a gift, a play-doh (c) Rapunzel with a hair brush and other fancy things to put in her hair for hours of fun.

Family Friday 126 (19)Evie’s favorite part was watching the hair grow and then cutting it with her scissors. That was so much fun she even tried to give Lena a hair cut.

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This was Ryan and Lena’s last week of their first clinical rotations for PA school. Only 5 more rotations left.

Kathleen worked her last week of nights before Ellie comes. She spent her Monday ‘sleeping time’ prior to work cleaning and re-organizing the girls room. She had the goal of getting both girls clothes in the same dresser.

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There were moments of major clothing explosions, as Kathleen went through each girls clothing deciding what should stay out and what should be put away for later. In the end organization prevailed.

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Evie’s Drawer

It’s amazing how the size of the child is inversely correlated with the amount of clothes they own.

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Ellie’s Drawer… And Ellie

Kathleen also managed to get Ellie’s crib ready for her arrival and packed part of her bag to go to the hospital for her arrival. Nesting much? Only about 5 weeks to go!

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This is also the week of the big children’s consignment sale at the Puyallup Fairgrounds. Which is why Kathleen needed to organize the girls things.

We discovered the sale a few years ago, before Evie was born. Now Kathleen sells excess items twice a year and adds to Evie’s toys, clothes and shoes. This year she also volunteered to help give out free tickets.

Even with all the cleaning going on Evie and Mommy managed to find time to make some of Daddy’s favorite muffins, Pumpkin with walnuts and chocolate chips.

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Evie was in charge of putting toppings on the muffins. She did a wonderful job and only ate two chocolate chips in the process of doing so.

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That’s all for this week! God Bless!Family Friday 126 (22)

 

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The Prophet

My conscience wears a loincloth of camel hair.
His stomach, drumskin taut from hip to gaunt
Protruding ribs, bloats and ripples beneath
The harsh and swelling cry. Through busy streets
The press of unwashed bodies, mingling, shoving,
Sweating over their various sundry trades,
Commerce and compromise, muffle the voice, deaden
The shrill, piercing, long-accustomed cry:
“Repent!”

                             Within the academic towers
The scholars pause their insufficient trade
In formulations inadequate to truth
Or grace, to parse and analyze his words,
Extrapolate his childhood memories,
Apply the latest theories, check his sources,
Influences, background, syntax and every shade
Of meaning inherent beneath the truth he says,
Or does not say.

                             Poets hold easy commerce
With his “artistic vision.” His naked plea
Draws knowing professional courtesy, they nod and snap
Their fingers and murmur “Mmmmmm…”
“Yes!”
“Oh yeah!”
They clap him on the shoulder and call him, “Brother.
We too are misunderstood, we understand.”
But they will never believe. Belief requires
Relinquishment of doubt, acceptance of joy,
And joy and faith are just not “in” these days
And so they casually wear artistic angst,
Artfully draped across the shoulder and back,
At a jaunty angle like the capes of musketeers,
And neither believe, nor even understand. 

Seers drown their visions in cups of tea
Brewed from scraps of re-constructed past
Steeped in self-pity, savoring the taste
Of stagnant pain, and swirl the bitter leaves.
They read the posthumous reviews of their own tales,
Of all the ways things could have turned out well
If the other guy had only heard the call
To repent. 

                             Outside the city walls the farmland
Groans. Ignorant farmers work the earth
Producing grain, and grapes, and olive oil
For shipment to the City, there to furnish
Bread for the masses, and wine to cheer their hearts,
The necessary but insufficient cause
Of life. The workers live their lives
Such as they are, with a minimum of fuss
Taking in stride the semi-occasional raid
Upon the farms, by scaly, stupid beasts,
Monsters from the ancient outer wilds.
These things do happen.

                                                While in the cosmopolitan,
Refined and cultured burg, the very name
“Barbarian,” or rumor of beasts, is enough to send
The citizens into orgies of delicious panic.

 Meanwhile, the ground beneath our feet shakes,
Rumbling with inexorable, oncoming
Redemption like a volcano beneath the earth.

 

After my last post about guns, I received a comment from an old Special Forces buddy of mine. It was succinct: “I disagree.”

Of course I invited him over to the house to disagree over some beer, but he is currently out Special Forcing somewhere and wasn’t able to stop by. However, we did exchange some texts in which he shared some of his thoughts, and they were enlightening enough that I thought I would address them in a second blog.

Without quoting our conversation in its entirety, his main points were:

  1. He disagreed with my statistic, pointing out that I used the word “accidental” to refer to all gun and vehicle fatalities that were not intentional. In response he screenshotted an insurance manual (yes, he really did) the relevant passage being: “The common term for crashes, wrecks, and collisions is ‘accidents.’ However, the word ‘accident’ is misleading. If you crash because you were distracted, tired, or not driving defensively, it is a preventable crash, not an accident.”
    1. I accept point one in its entirety. Indeed, the distinction is captured in the firearms world by the terms Negligent Discharge (ND), which is an unintentional discharge of a weapon due to unsafe handling or other operator error; and Accidental Discharge (AD), which is an unintentional discharge due to mechanical malfunction of the weapon. I have seen many unintentional discharges in my more than a decade career in the military. Only one was an AD. It was a machinegun that spontaneously went off while the operator was clearing it and we determined that it might have been caused by a worn out sear pin. Of note, no one was hurt because the operator was doing everything right. The two unintentional discharges I have seen hurt people were both negligent, and directly resulted from the operator violating basic safety rules.
      You might make the argument that the majority of MVC’s are negligent rather than accidental, and without doing the research I suspect you would be right. That being said, the distinction between intentional vs. unintentional stands, and the fact that the majority of gun deaths are intentional, while the majority of MVC’s are unintentional.
  2. “I would completely agree with what you wrote if having firearms was a privilege like driving… [but] since your suggested rules would apply to a constitutional right, then they could easily be applied to free speech (wouldn’t be a bad idea!) I think words are more powerful than any amount of weapons.”
    1. This is the issue we find surrounding gun laws in America, is that all of them have to contend with the 2nd Amendment. Some support it saying that it is as necessary now as it was when the ink was wet (with the blood of patriots, no less). Others abhor it as a barbaric remnant of a bygone era, happily forgotten by us enlightened moderns; better angels of our nature and all that. This debate is big enough to warrant its own blog, and I may revisit it in a later post, but for now suffice it to say that I think that those who support increasing gun laws have the burden of proof to show that those laws do not violate the 2nd Amendment. And for those who say “F*** the 2nd Amendment” I say, be careful of that logic. The rule of law is not a thing to be cast aside lightly. The same document that contains the 2nd Amendment also contains the 1st Amendment. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NUqytjlHNIM
  3. The power of speech (via social media and the internet) and the power of guns (via analogous advances in technology) have both increased since the enactment of the Bill of Rights. “If retards [sic] should be restricted from having a gun, then shouldn’t a retard [sic] be restricted from speaking?”
    1. The comparison between restriction of weapons and censorship of speech is a good one, if only because both are complicated issues. In reality, he is right, words are powerful. Both words and weapons are guaranteed to us as a means of defending ourselves against neighbors, and against the power of those particular neighbors who get themselves put in charge of things (since that is all “The Government” really is). I find it interesting that the same forces that seek to limit guns in America also tend towards seeking to stifle “hate speech” and “racist language” and “white supremacist rhetoric.” They are right to resist these things, but I am not so sure they are right to restrict these things. If they are it can only be on the assumption that violent words have power to lead to violent actions. (It is also worth pointing out that many of the forces that push for more and more guns as the answer to The Problem often tend to be the same forces that push for the right to be, in common parlance, whatever kind of @88hole they want to be in the public sphere).
  4. He agrees with universal carry permit, but thinks gun laws should be diverse and regional. If you don’t like the laws in your area, then move.
    1. I can’t really argue with that without accepting that the Federal Government should trump State rights, which I do not accept. Looks like we are left with a conundrum here.
  5. “Guns are a sense of security for people, just like doors on their home. It’s a false sense, but they deserve the comfort.”
    1. This is 100% true that it is a false security, but I disagree that people deserve that false comfort. The reality is there are very few people I would trust to watch my back in a shootout. Of those, for many of them their ability to shoot is not what sets them apart, so much as their ability to not shoot when it is not appropriate. But more importantly, a gun is not a magic bullet (no pun intend… wait, yes it was) and it can easily become a security blanket. There are very, very few situations in which a gun is the right tool for the job. However, those situations tend to loom large and powerful in our minds. When someone has a gun, they may get a false sense of security from it and begin to think that it covers them for other, much more common situations. It may lead to unnecessary risks. It may lead to a person neglecting other skills, such as people reading, diplomacy, situational awareness, humility, etc. which can prevent the need for a gun from arising in the first place. Finally, it can cause people grossly to overestimate their own combat effectiveness, based on a few rounds on a static paper target in an air conditioned range on a relaxing Saturday afternoon.
      This is not an argument to say that people shouldn’t be allowed to have guns. It is just a reiteration that the power of having a gun demands maturity. The majority of gun owners are at least rudimentarily aware of this and work towards it. In the same way, the power of having a blog, or a twitter feed, or a facebook page, demands maturity, but I should say, by and large, with far less satisfactory results.
  6. People with mental illness should not be allowed to own a gun, but who gets to decide what constitutes mental illness?
    1. This, of course, is far too big a question for the tale end of an already-too-long post that is running past my bedtime. This one gets really thorny, people. For instance, some people consider the lifetime prevalence of mental illness in the U.S. to be a staggering 50%! (I did not make that up. I don’t agree with it, but some people do think that.) Anyone with depression, anxiety, bipolar, seasonal affective mood disorder, OCD, (to name a few of the more common), no matter how stable or well-medicated they may be, technically is considered to have a mental disorder. Lest you say glibly, “Well they shouldn’t have guns then,” the rates may actually be higher in the military… where we have the really big guns.
      Chew on that for a while.

All of this to say that the issue is a thorny one, and forming a clear position on it requires hard looking from a multitude of angles. I will continue to come back to it periodically, always revising my position, trying to accommodate the greatest good. However, I want to bear in mind that this is a matter of prudential judgment, and as such, there may be no definitive, objectively right answer. This can be frustrating for those who demand black-and-white; or it can be viewed with a sigh of relief, since it means that two people of good sense and better will may legitimately hold opposing views, without necessitating either one to consign the other to perdition.

 

Oh dear. You would think that, for a week in which we were too busy to write Family Friday and had to defer to a two-week follow-up (sorry, about that, folks, Ryan has been working in the clinic all week and is stuck in MedSpeak Mode. You should hear him answering Evie’s “why” questions…)

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Well bless my soul, if it isn’t the Pacific tree frog, Pseudacris regilla.

You would think we would have more to show for it. As it turns out, however, we have been too busy to have fun, except for a few times when we were , having so much fun, we forgot to take pictures.

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Evie and Daddy did a ruckmarch.

 

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And Evie practiced her parkour moves.

 

 

We had to borrow some equipment from Papa so Evie went up to eat their grapes and berries.

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It’s October and their berries are still producing! They don’t know when to quit!

And she made a new friend.Family Friday 124 (11)

Then we worked in the yard and garden all day. Daddy took down some limbs of the big old chestnut tree that were making it almost impossible to walk on the upper part of the lawn. Family Friday 124 (3)He cut the limbs up for firewood and Evie helped load it in the wheelbarrow.

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She is such a good worker!

They will make good bonfires once the weather turn a little less dry and the burn ban is lifted.

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Our bonfire pit.

We cleaned rocks out of the garden and added a full yard of topsoil to the lower end. We moved the strawberries down to the lower end by the patio, and put the raspberries into buckets on the patio to discourage them from taking over the lawn. Family Friday 124 (2)Then we went up north of Seattle where Auntie Danica lives. Auntie Danica just had a little baby named Emma, and Kathleen is the godmother, so we went up for the christening.

 

We arrived quite a bit early because traffic was light, so we got to play at the park.Family Friday 124 (4)Which sparked a conversation with Uncle Adam…

Family Friday 124 (1)Which may start a trend in blogging and the Church in the Western World and all that, but… more on that in another blog.

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Evie approved of the baby immensely.

 

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“Emma, I yuv your dress!”

Hurray! It’s a brand new baby Catholic!

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Welcome to the Church!

Evie enjoyed the reception even more because there were other little people to play with, especially Emma’s cousin Zellie.

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She is practicing being a big sister. I think she’ll be pretty good at it. Family Friday 124 (18)

Evie continues to grow up big and strong as fast as she can. We keep telling her faster is not necessarily better, but she doesn’t listen. She just keeps being precocious.

Ryan and Uncle Adam did a crazy ruckmarch on Saturday… we set a blistering 11:37/mile pace… with a seventy pound ruck (Ryan) and forty pound ruck (Adam), to celebrate Adam’s recovery from a ligamentous injury… which he suffered from ruckmarching.

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Yay! No injuries!

Then we came to our house to make breakfast and tea.

Family Friday 124 (20)And scones. Oh, and the tea was the Imperial Breakfast Blend we brought back from Vancouver, Canada a few weeks ago. Worthy of it’s name in every respect.

 

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Tea and conversation and breakfast with two of my favorite people. It doesn’t get much better than that. 

And that’s it.

Hope y’all are having a good weekend. Remember to pray for our world and all the crazy people in it.

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But don’t forget to dance.

 

God Bless!

 

 

 

 

I have written before about guns and the gun control debate. I have never actually come out and stated what I think gun control should look like in America, mostly because I was not sure where I stood. After thinking about it for a few years, here is what I have come up with.

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Carrying a pistol entails absolute responsibility for everything that happens with that pistol, with no exceptions.

There is merit to the argument that we license people to drive cars, but not all states require licenses to purchase firearms. Of course the number of deaths per capita caused by cars is roughly equal to the number of deaths caused by firearms (see the CDC’s 2014 report here, the most recent year for which the report has been published.) There are some discrepancies, however, that make the comparison less apt than you might think. Most notably, while the CDC report does not give a number, we may assume that the vast majority of motor vehicle deaths were accidental (that is, only a very small minority were the result of intentional homicide or suicide), while 96.5% of the gun deaths were either suicide or homicide, leaving only 3.5% accidental. Thus, when talking about car deaths, we can talk about safety features, driver education and other public health measures, while with gun deaths we must discuss all of those, plus one other factor: namely, the intent to cause harm.

A gun is a weapon. They are designed to kill living creatures. Some are designed to kill living creatures that are trying to kill you, by being optimized for speed of acquisition and rapid follow-on shots. However, even your grand-daddy’s old smooth bore breech loader is designed to kill something, and can easily kill a human. I suspect it is precisely because of this knowledge of guns as dangerous things, explicitly designed to kill, that they are so much less prone to being the means of accidental death than motor vehicles.

We do not think of a motor vehicle as a dangerous weapon. It is a means of transportation, an extension of the office, a place that we spend too much time in, or even a hobby. We can talk while we drive, eat while we drive, drink (non-alcoholic beverages) while we drive, talk on the phone, listen to music or books, etc.

You cannot do any of these things while operating a firearm. Any self-respecting range master will kick you off the range in a heartbeat. Inherent in the use and ownership of firearms is the understanding that they are lethal.

Hence, gun safety and car safety are not exactly identical. When you talk about the public health measures that would reduce gun deaths you must deal with the fact that in 96% of those deaths, the death was intentional.

This does not mean that the measures that have been successful with cars won’t be successful with guns. I think that if you wish to be a gun owner you must have, at a bare minimum, a knowledge of the relevant laws in your state (which would be a lot easier if they were not such a hodgepodge) and the physical and mental capacity to load, unload, aim and fire the weapon in a safe and accurate manner. I would have no problem with the government mandating such a system, with a few caveats, mostly that it should no more be a means of disarming citizens than the DMV is a means of taking away their licenses.

So I think:

  1. There should be a universal standard concealed carry permit across all states, just like there is a universal driver’s license.
  2. Anyone wanting to own a firearm should have to pass a written test about the rules of carrying a gun (a.k.a. the rules of the road).
  3. They should then pass a shooting test. There might even be several tests, such as tests for standard rifles and shotguns, a test for semi-auto rifles and shotguns, and a test for handguns. This would be similar to having a license for cars, and a separate rating for a motorcycle, or heavy machinery or a tractor trailer.
  4. After that they get their license and can own as many guns as they want.

However, as I have said before, owning a gun and taking it to the range or hunting is one thing, carrying it every day in crowded areas with the expectation of being able to use it in a violent encounter is something else entirely. It is, of course, your right to defend yourself. However, it isn’t as easy as it looks in the movies, and in the real world it always ends badly for someone. If you have not educated yourself on the legal aspects of lethal force encounters, and then gone out and gotten training which included more than simply hitting a paper bullseye from a static position at 7 yards, you should not be carrying a gun.

Deliver us from all anxiety as we wait in joyful hope for the coming of our Savior, Jesus Christ.”

Or, (I think more eloquently) from the Tridentine rite:

P: Libera nos, quaesumus Domine, ab omnibus malis praeteritis, praesentibus, et futuris: et intercedente beata et gloriosa semper Virgine Dei Genitrice Maria, cum beatis Apostolis tuis Petro at Paulo, atque Andrea, et omnibus sanctis, da propitius pacem in diebus nostris: ut ope misericordiae tuae adjuti, et a peccato simus semper liberi, et ab omni perturbatione securi. P: Deliver us, we beseech Thee, O Lord, from all evils, past, present, and to come: and by the intercession of the blessed and glorious Mary, ever a virgin, Mother of God, and of Thy holy apostles Peter and Paul, of Andrew, and of all the saints, graciously grant peace in our days, that through the help of Thy bountiful mercy we may always be free from sin and secure from all disturbance.

We live in an age of anxiety. It is tempting to look at the news coming out of North Korea, the news coming out of the Caribbean and Gulf of Mexico, the news coming out of Las Vegas, and to be afraid.

But our God commands us, “Be not afraid.” “Fear not, I have overcome the world.”

This requires great discipline of mind, an awareness of fear as the real enemy, and trust in God as our only hope. It requires (for me at least) the continuous, grueling, repetitive decision to embrace hope rather than fear.

This is not to deny the real danger. Nor does it mean a refusal to take prudent measures. Indeed it requires me to look the danger in the eye, unflinchingly, and name it. I must accept that my children may grow up in a post nuclear waste land, or in a world of racial violence, or in a world in which Christians may not be allowed to work. These are real, if remote, possibilities.

None of them are worthy of fear. Fear is the temptation to look at the waves and not at Christ, to become so focused on the evil that we want to fight that we forget the God who calls us to praise Him and to rejoice always. Then, eventually, we lose our strength and no longer even want to fight, or we fight fire with fire.

Think about the words from Jeremiah 30:15. “This is what the Sovereign LORD, the Holy One of Israel, says: ‘In repentance and rest is your salvation, in quietness and trust is your strength, but you would have none of it.'”

Pray for faith, pray for hope, pray for love. These and all the rest are in the hands of God.

rosary

Please pray for our family this week. Ryan’s Grandma Carol died earlier this week after many years of living with Alzheimer’s disease. Please pray for the repose of her soul, and for the peace and comfort of her children and grandchildren.

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Grandma and Grandpa, both resting in God’s mercy now, as we all will someday.

And since my time is short, here is the rest of the week in a single slideshow.

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Family Friday 121 (25)Adam and I were weeding our garden (and by “our” I mean the garden that Kathleen, Evie and I planted and tended this year. Adam just came over to help because he relished the opportunity to get dirt on his hands for a change.) As we were weeding we got to talk about weeds in the garden. It is strange how apt they are as an analogy for sin. Some points that we talked over were:

  • A weed is only a weed by location and activity. A plant only becomes a weed when it violates some higher purpose set by the gardener. A wisteria vine that strangles a half dozen trees in the jungle is not a weed because it did not violate anyone’s purpose. (There is room for a fascinating rabbit hole meditation about this concept of weeds in the Garden of Eden, but I will let that one go). A wisteria vine that kills a half row of beets is a weed because it violates the purpose of the gardener for that ground, namely, to produce delicious beets. So most of the feelings, thoughts, inclinations that we think of as sinful are only so by location. It is not anger that is the sin, but anger in the wrong time, place or degree. It is not sexual desire that is sinful, but sexual desire that chokes out honesty or love of the person.
  • Weed is our name for a plant in the wrong time and place that jeopardizes what we want a particular plot of ground to become. “Sin” is our name for a thought, inclination, word or action in the wrong time or place that jeopardizes what our souls are meant to become.
  • It is much easier to kill weeds when they are small and their roots are not established. It is also much harder to spot weeds, or to tell them from vegetables when they are small. In the same way, sins are easiest to uproot when they are small, but also hardest to spot, and there is always the danger of pulling up flower or vegetable sprouts if you get overzealous.
  • Jesus seemed to be making this point in His parable about the wheat and the tares. Oddly enough, however, any gardener knows that you do not just let weeds grow willy nilly all over your garden or wheat field until harvest time. You go through and weed them out. The reason we do this is because we look at a garden as a source of produce, and rather than risk the loss of the whole field, we will sacrifice a few plants here and there to keep the weeds at bay. Jesus, however, is not willing to sacrifice even a single one of the good plants in His quest to get out the weeds.
  • ber_aqu_jko_062508_oregon_grapecroppedsm1
    Oregon grape, source: http://www.nwplants.com/

    So the best way to keep your garden healthy and producing is to get it weed-free early and keep it that way. However, even after extensive work, some of the Oregon grape that we tore out last year still has roots deep under the soil, and every once in a while they put out leaves. We can’t get at the roots so we have to be on the alert for those leaves and rip them out as soon as we see them. No one knows how long Oregon grape roots can keep sprouting, so we can’t get complacent about it either. And that is the perfect metaphor for a sinful habit, or an addiction. You may think you have it under control, but the roots are still there, and the moment you turn your back it will start sending up leaves again.

  • We kept our garden pretty clean this year. However, our neighbors on two sides do not maintain their yards. One yard is overrun with hay and weeds, the other is overrun with ivy and briars, so we constantly have to be on the alert for roots, shoots and seeds creeping through the fence into our garden. Not a big deal, just something we need to be aware of and vigilant about. Just like living in the world we constantly have sinful, unhealthy images and ideas and assumptions trickling into our minds. That certainly isn’t a call to burn down the neighbor’s yard, nor is it any reason necessarily to be resentful. Just something to be aware of and vigilant about.
  • The angels will sort everything out in the end. The question I should be asking myself is, am I a Concord grape or an Oregon grape?
    • After all, I don’t suppose the Oregon grape considers itself a weed.

These double episodes are getting to be the new norm around here. Sorry about that. It was a National Guard weekend, and Mommy and Evie were both not feeling good. So busy. But more on that later.

Family Friday 121 (2)It is WA state fair time again! (Grrr… Grump, grouch, gripe [that was from Ryan, he doesn’t like the fair, because he’s a curmudgeon.]) We took Evie on the Saturday before last, for free.

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At least I get to go to the Fair with these three classy ladies.

Kathleen gets free tickets and some food and ride money from her work every year.

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Say “Cheese!” Or “Moo.” Whichever.

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Evie was one tired little girl after that. Family Friday 121 (6)

So was Mommy. Evie recovered faster, though.

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Daddy! I wake up Mommy!

Evie and Mommy did some cooking too. Brownies sounded good to Ellie, which is odd, because Mommy doesn’t like chocolate.

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Evie specializes in taste testing.

Oh, and Evie’s Bibbity-Bobbity-Boo wand broke. 😦

So Evie and Daddy made a new one. This one is fancier than the old one, because it is pink and purple.

Evie thinks it is… wanderful!!!

What else did we do these last two weeks? Let’s see…

That’s the problem with these two-week Family Fridays, it’s so hard to remember what we did two weeks ago. We don’t remember until we see the pictures, and even then sometimes we still don’t remember.

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It looks like we did some drawing at some point. 

Auntie Maryanne had a birthday! Yay! We won’t tell you how old she is, but she joined a prestigious club of people all in the same decade of life (namely, Ryan, Adam and Kathleen).Family Friday 121 (15)

There was a lot of chocolate.

 

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Uncle Adam made this cake. It is called “Chocolate Bomb.” It is even chocolatier than it sounds.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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We have almost finished harvesting our garden.

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Uncle Adam and Edmund helped pull the last of the carrots and almost the last of the beets. 
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Evie helped wash the beets and was surprisingly neat about it.

When she saw Daddy was washing beets she jumped up and down and yelled, “Yay! When you are done washing them, I will eat them!”

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Our tomatoes are on! This is an old picture. All of these tomatoes are eaten and there are more than a dozen new ones on the windowsill.

The tomatoes are super delicious! Very sweet and juicy, and I suspect Ryan will probably eat them all before they can be canned or sauced or anything like that.

Weekend mornings are a special time around here. Usually, either Saturday or Sunday morning, we do a family breakfast. Daddy specializes in pancakes and bacon, with hot chocolate.

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The Breakfast Maestro is in the house!

Yes, I know the bacon in that picture is Canadian. Cut us some slack, we live three hours from the border.

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But the best is when we all cook together.

Evie and Mommy had the two-bucket disease for a few days. Well, Mommy had it for a few days. Evie only had it for about four hours.

Granted those two hours were between 2:00 and 6:00 AM, on a drill weekend.

It was a slow day for the womenfolk. This is how they looked when Daddy left for drill.

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Tired and nauseous.

And this is how they looked when he got back.

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They are still in the same spot, but Evie has perked up a little at least.

But Evie felt better by the end of the day, and Mommy felt better by Monday. In fact, Evie felt like trying out a little Nation Guarding herself.

Let’s see, what else.

We are still working on the potty training. Evie has a magnet board now. Every time she goes on the potty, she gets to add a magnet. Every time she has an accident she has to take one away. When she adds up a whole line of magnets she gets a movie.

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Yay! Success!

She grasped the concept in about five minutes, and is already gaming the system. She likes to go potty just enough to get a movie, and then forget about it. So she often has accidents during movies. If that continues we are going to have to adjust the rules so that the movie goes away if she loses a magnet.

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Visiting with Deedee, and Papa and Grandma Betty and Aunt Pam.
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Playing with Edmund at Uncle Adam’s house.

Oh yeah! Mommy and Daddy got to go dancing! We got a lesson from Studio 6 in Tacoma and then had doughnuts. That was really fun. Thanks, uncle Adam, for watching Evie.

Ellie is already getting new clothes! Evie wanted to try them on and had to be informed that they were too small for her. But that was okay, she liked the bow from the package the best.

And that’s about it. This has been a long one, but it was two weeks.

God bless, y’all. Have a great weekend!

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From https://www.pinterest.com/suesg/holy-rosary/

Recently we have been trying to teach Evie to be a little less disruptive of our “goodnight prayer” time. We realize that she is only two-and-a-half, but there is no reason she needs to be climbing, jumping, crawling, drumming her feet on the wall and singing while we are trying to say the Rosary.

For a couple of evenings we were trying to get her to say the “Now I lay me down to sleep,” and the Guardian Angel prayer, as well as the first Hail Mary of the Rosary. She resisted.

Strongly.

There were tears, late nights, (finally crawling into bed after 10:00 PM), cajoling, coercion, and all round unpleasantness. After three or four nights of this it was still a prolonged ordeal with a lot of sadness and impatience on all sides.

That isn’t like Evie. She has always adapted to new rules very quickly, usually within a couple of days. It just becomes the new normal and she accepts it and gets on with her little self. But this time she wasn’t getting it. After 30 or 40 minutes of tears, false starts and repeated time-outs she would tearfully repeat one word in five, as if we were asking her to sacrifice her fingers, one joint at a time.

After one particularly rough night (I was solo, Kathleen was at work) I texted Kathleen to ask if we were doing the right thing making it a battle of the wills, and the next day we talked it over in depth. We had been tossing around words like “stubbornness” and “disobedience” but what if that wasn’t what was going on?

Kathleen thought she just wasn’t ready yet (despite her articulateness and precocity, she is still only 2 1/2). We never had to make Evie say her mealtime prayers. She just spontaneously joined in when she was ready to. That brought to mind an incident from this week when I was trying to get Evie to say, “Leaping Lizards!” I thought she would jump right into it because she loves Annie, but she wouldn’t say it right away. She had to practice it a half dozen times in a whisper before she would say it out loud.

That is something Kathleen and I both recognize. We both like being perfect at everything we do, to the point where we sometimes would rather just not bother rather than do something halfway, or sloppily. Part of the reason I am not better at Korean than I am is because I pass up on opportunities to practice because I would rather not speak at all than make mistakes. I have to force myself to speak up.

So we switched to offering Evie the choice either to be quiet while we say our two decades of the Rosary, or to join in, whichever she wants. It worked out much better.

Then this morning this came across my email from the Holy League’s “Novena for Our Nation.” The intention for today was “Gentleness.”

GOD’S WORD:
“Take my yoke upon you, and learn from me, for I am gentle and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your souls.” (Matthew 11:29)
“Put on then, as God’s chosen ones, holy and beloved, compassionate hearts, kindness, humility, meekness, and patience.” (Colossians 3:12)

HEROES’ WORDS:
“Nothing appeases an enraged elephant so much as the sight of a little lamb.” -St. Francis de Sales
“When you encounter difficulties and contradictions, do not try to break them, but bend them with gentleness and time.” -St. Francis de Sale
“He who can preserve gentleness amid pains, and peace amid worry multitude of affairs, is almost perfect.” -St. Francis de Sales

MEDITATION: Fruit of Gentleness: Mildness is gentle disposition and behavior. A perfection of love which tempers justice by avoiding unnecessary actions that might provoke anger or resentment. (Fr. John Hardon, Modern Catholic Dictionary)

I liked the definition of mildness, “a perfection of love which tempers justice by avoiding unnecessary actions that might provoke anger or resentment.” It reminded me of the verses, “He will restore the hearts of the fathers to their children and the hearts of the children to their fathers, so that I will not come and smite the land with a curse.” (Malachi 4:6) and “Be angry and do not sin; do not let the sun go down on your anger,” (Ephesians 4:26). I suppose also Ephesians 4:6 and Colossians 3:21.

She isn’t ready yet. The Rosary is the most important part of our spiritual lives, after the Mass and the Scriptures, and we want to share it with her. But if she isn’t ready, she isn’t ready, and forcing the issue won’t make her ready. It will only provoke resentment, and that may make it harder in the long run for her to learn to love the Rosary. It would be a pity to sacrifice a long term good for the sake of a power struggle now.

Of course one power struggle won’t ruin everything, but one makes another one seem less jarring, less out-of-place. Two points establish a vector and three points establish a curve.

There may come a time, probably when she is a teenager, when I may have to bear her resentment for holding to a line that must be held. Now is not that time and the forbearance now tempers the resentment then, (I hope).

We sometimes expect too much of her, because she is quite coordinated and articulate for her age, but let’s not forget, she’s not even three yet.

Anyway, it’s late, and I have National Guard and school stuff I should be doing.

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