Friday, October 07, 2005

It Begins with...You.

Though the ultimate purpose of the email I received is fundraising, the story of one man's marriage and the healing of it is worth reading. Most would have had papers filed almost immediately, been forced out of the family home, with the children bounced back and forth...and little healing of the death of a marriage would ever have taken place. The children would have been affected for the rest of their lives. Instead.....................well, read it for yourself.

The final few paragraphs are not the point of my putting this on my blog, so it is completely up to YOU to decide what you want to do about them.

My intention is the miracles in this couple's story, the healing of a marriage that would be given up on by most, and the lessons that can be learned and applied to our OWN lives and marriages... so ... read the miracles... and remember that with God nothing is impossible, and that He created marriage...and He knows how to heal them... EVEN YOURS. Remember that He hates divorce. Remember that Moses only permitted it for the... hardness... of our hearts. But remember also, it does NOT begin with your begins with YOU.....

We’re in bed, arguing . . . it doesn’t matter about what.

After ten years of marriage, our arguments are never about the issue at hand. Our words grow scornful. I say something cruel; Susan gives it right back.

I can’t take it any longer!

I grip her neck and squeeze with both hands.

Eyes bulging, Susan gasps a final taunt: "Go ahead! Strangle me! Send yourself to Hell!"

* * *

A year later (in 1983) and with Susan’s help, these hands that gripped her neck establish Sophia Institute Press to publish Catholic classics. Despite the horror our marriage has become, Susan and I -- like many strong-willed converts before us -- are seized by the compelling truth of the Catholic faith.

Though our private life is rugged, we hunger to spread the faith we’ve discovered. By night, we defend our proud selves against each other; by day, we’re just as aggressive in defending the Church against its critics. Pity the unwary Protestant who crosses us: we’ve never strangled one, but we do preach the love of Christ with vengeance.

* * *

Then come four miscarriages, causing such distress that when Susan gets pregnant after the fourth one, we don’t speak of it until Jimmy is born alive and well. Worse troubles humiliate and break us, leaving no room for pride, scant place for confidence, and no strength for anger and triumphal Catholicism.

Our bad fights end. As partners, we raise our seven children. As friends, we work together at the Press, which occupies a small room in our basement.

One morning as Susan is editing Dietrich von Hildebrand’s Marriage, I look up to see her tears falling onto the page. She reads a passage aloud to me:

"Marriage is the closest and most intimate of all earthly unions. In it, one person gives himself to another without reserve. . . . Marriage has been chosen as the image of the perfect union between the soul and Christ because in marriage likewise the center and core is love."

It’s good that Susan and I have stopped battling. But mutual consideration (rather than love) is the best we’ve achieved so far. Not for the last time, a passage from one of our books shows us what, as Catholics, we’re called to be, but aren’t yet. And we are ashamed.

* * *

Four years pass -- years in which we grow kinder to each other, and closer -- years in which God’s mercy shields us from the fact that even at the instant I tightened my grip on Susan’s neck, cancer had begun tightening its grip on her body.

That night back in 1982, I let go; the cancer didn’t.

Now in 1987 it has surged forward. Susan has undergone months of chemotherapy. We are at Elliot Hospital after her second operation, which failed. Although Susan can swallow, nothing stays down. Glucose injected into her veins keeps her alive. A broad tube goes into one nostril and threads down into her stomach, fixed in position with tape. A stomach pump hooked to this tube keeps Susan from vomiting up bile and the fluids she drinks to moisten her mouth.

Susan in the hospital two weeks before her death

Susan and I hear death knocking hard at the door, and know we can’t keep him at bay longer. With nothing left to be done medically, we decide to go home, where Susan can be with me and the children.

Here in the hospital, Susan’s most important machine is the electric stomach pump; by her bedside at home, another waits. For the brief ride home, the hospital gives me a manual pump, a large suction syringe I have to pump every five minutes to keep her from vomiting and choking. With the ugly tube hanging out of Susan’s nostril and me tagging along behind carrying Susan’s belongings, the nurse wheels her to the front door of the hospital. Nervous about having her in my care only, and eager to drive the five miles home to west Manchester to get Susan hooked up to the electric stomach pump by her bed, I start to take the fastest route home.

"No," Susan says. "Take me to Lake Massabesic."

I protest, but Susan -- weak and in pain -- insists. So, on that bright July morning in 1987, I drive with apprehension the three miles to Lake Massabesic, and park near the water, in the lot that faces east over this lovely New Hampshire lake.

I reach for the pump to remove the stomach bile that has accumulated in our ten minute drive from the hospital.

'How good God is," Susan says quietly. "How beautiful His creation!"

I operate the syringe and foul green fluid flows into the basin.

"How grateful I am for the life He has given me! What a privilege it is to live."

I pump at the syringe again, while Susan, oblivious to my concerns, continues to stare with wonder and awe at the wind on the water, the breeze through the trees, and the ducks landing gracefully near us on the shore.

Susan knows she’s near death and yet she praises God like someone graced with health, energy, and the prospect of a long and happy life.

I marvel at the goodness of the words coming from these lips that just five years before spat at me the bitter challenge: "Go ahead! Strangle me! Send yourself to Hell!"

After a few minutes, noticing me struggling with the syringe and seeing how troubled I am about her condition, Susan says we can go, so, with hands too big and too strong for such work, I clumsily pump the syringe again and drive us quickly home.

* * *

Despite our best efforts, death comes swiftly upon us.

In a few days, Susan’s kidneys and liver fail completely; her skin turns a dull orange; she ceases taking even small sips of water; and just ten brief days after I bring Susan home, she begins to drift in and out of consciousness.

I spend the last night awake next to Susan’s bed, holding her hand gently in mine. She’s now so helpless she can’t pray on her own, so I pray for her, finding in her prayer book the prayers she loves so well, and praying the strong ones from my own prayer book.

Too late I’ve achieved the devotion von Hildebrand described in the passage that made Susan weep.

When morning comes I take each of our seven little children, one by one, into our bedroom to kiss Susan goodbye and to tell her that they love her. Although she’s been unconscious already for nearly a day, as each child kisses her goodbye, Susan opens her eyes slightly and smiles a weak smile of recognition.

Toward midmorning, Susan’s breath grows slower and the quiet room is rent by the dread sound of that wheezing that is death’s messenger, warning all present that, do what you might, he will arrive soon.

Fr. H is the first priest to win the race against death that morning, entering the room around 11 a.m. to hear what feeble confession Susan can make and to give her absolution and the Last Rites of the Church; then he leaves.

Susan’s breath grows labored, her struggles for air piteous.

At 12:30, the second priest, Fr. M arrives. All of us know that Susan’s life is now measured only in minutes. I sit by her on the bed and take her hand. With Fr. M leading, those of us in the room begin praying for my Susan the Rosary she loves so well. Soon after we begin, Susan starts gasping -- there is no help we can give! -- and then, her sweet hand still in mine -- her struggles end.

* * *

"Her sweet hand still in mine. . . ."

Hands can learn.

These rude hands that once choked Susan learned to work with her on the holy books we publish here at Sophia Institute Press; they learned to make coffee for her each morning and to carry a cup to her in bed; they learned -- as von Hildebrand said they should -- to give themselves to her without reserve.

Once colon cancer seized Susan, these repentant hands learned tenderly to wipe her fevered face, to operate her stomach pump so she could praise God at Lake Massabesic, and, thank God, to hold her small hand gently in prayer all the long night before she died.

Tongues can learn, too.

Susan’s tongue, that once so cynically taunted me to kill her, learned to praise God, even in the face of death. Her words grew wise . . . even holy.

* * *

During Susan’s eight month descent into death, I break down only once.

Susan is still in the hospital a few days before our trip home by way of Lake Massa- besic. It’s long after midnight. I’m at home and despite my exhaustion, I can’t sleep. I see too clearly the magnitude of the tasks each of us are now being asked to accomplish -- Susan to die soon and well, and I to take up by myself the care of our children for who knows how many years, and to carry on the work of this Press.

I don’t have the strength -- or the goodness -- to do what God is asking of me.

Lost and alone, I fall to weeping. Not wanting to burden Susan, but having nowhere else to turn, I call the nurse’s station and ask them to put me through to her room.

Sobbing, I can only say her name: "Susan."

"Yes, John? What’s wrong?"

"I’m afraid."

"Of what?"

"I don’t know what I’ll do if you die."

"That’s simple," she replies softly. "Say your prayers; don’t drink; be kind to the children; and if a good woman comes along, marry her."

"It’s that simple?" I ask.

"Yes, it’s that simple."

* * *

The morning after Susan dies, I get up, make breakfast for myself and the children, wipe the table, wash the dishes, take the dirty laundry downstairs, and start the washer.

I return the hospital bed we’d rented and convert our bedroom into an office so I can keep an eye on the children while I try to resume publishing Catholic books.

My heart’s not in it . . . or in anything.

Nights, I throw a blanket on the office floor and sleep there. (I’ve taken to the dump the bed in which I almost murdered Susan. I have no desire ever to sleep in a bed again.) I’m grateful that in her last years I was good to Susan, but too often, usually late at night, I remember the grip of my hands and the harsh words of my tongue.

Each man’s life is a book, and a saint can read in it what God is writing there. The problem is that I’m a publisher, not a saint.

After Susan dies, I find consolation not in prayer, but in the fury of midnight tempests: when late night thunderstorms strike, I throw open the curtains and lie on the hard floor of the office glaring out wild-eyed at the wind and at the rain buffeting the trees, reveling in the noise of the storm and the frightful power of the lightning.

Mornings, exhausted, I roll up the blanket, shove it under the desk, get up, make breakfast, wipe the table, wash the dishes, take the dirty laundry downstairs, and start the washer, day after day, day after day, with despair walking silently with me every step, gripping this now-defeated hand that once, in cruel triumph, came near to killing Susan.

A few weeks pass and I develop courage enough to clean out Susan’s purse. Among old receipts from the grocery store and some laminated holy cards, I find a well-worn booklet by Padre Pio, the Italian priest who bore in his hands the wounds of Christ. Susan must often have turned to one passage in it, because the booklet falls open to it:

What I found in Susan's purse

"Why should you worry about whether God wants you to reach the heavenly home by way of the desert or by the fields, when by the one as well as by the other, one arrives all the same at a Blessed Eternity?"

Susan once cherished these words. Are they now for me? Padre Pio continues:

"Keep far from you all excessive preoccupation which arises from the trials which the good God wishes to visit upon you. And if this is not possible, put away the thoughts, and in all live resigned to the Divine Will. . . . "

"That’s fine, Padre. But you and I are different. Your hands bear the wounds of Christ; mine bear the memory of hurting Susan. You find consolation in prayer; I find it in storms. I’m a publisher, not a saint." (But even as I argue with him, I know I’m just making excuses.)

"O.K. You’re right and I’m wrong. I’ll begin again."

I shove out of my mind questions of why things have happened as they did; I put away the remorse that’s crippling -- rather than healing -- me.

I will listen to Susan and Padre Pio, trust God, and live resigned to His will.

I take up again, by myself, and one day at a time, the raising of our children and the work of Sophia Institute Press, tasks that, in hope, Susan and I began together, and that, because she and Padre Pio are right, I must now carry on alone.

I say my prayers. I don’t drink. I try to be kind to the children. And, as Susan urged me to do that night, when a good woman comes along a number of years later, I marry her.

* * *

Twenty-three years have passed since my hands came close to murdering Susan; eighteen since she died nonetheless. The world is different now: the Berlin Wall is gone and the Soviet Union, too. AIDS has killed millions. Terrorism stalks the innocent. Bill Clinton is history and Padre Pio is a saint.

The world has changed, but not God.

Now as then, He approaches souls with a word or a whisper.

In 1983, just one paragraph in the book Marriage opened our eyes to what our marriage ought to be and brought Susan to tears; in 1987, a single paragraph in Padre Pio’s booklet gave me strength in a dark hour so I could care for the children and take up publishing again. With a word or a whisper, He has sustained me and will sustain you, too.

The 2 million Catholic books I’ve published since Susan’s death contain countless paragraphs God uses to speak to souls: angry souls, frustrated souls, lonely souls, repentant souls, souls that hear a word or a whisper, and, like Susan and me, are changed forever.

Through these books and much suffering, I’ve learned in the years since Susan died to read more of the book that God wrote with Susan’s life . . . and is writing with mine.

But I’m still just a publisher, not a saint.

Which is why I’m troubled this morning as I was that morning at Lake Massabesic so long ago: not about the need to pump a syringe to keep Susan alive, but about the need to pay $75,000 in overdue bills to keep this Press alive.

The difference is that now God has given me the grace to put such troubles in their place. Without forgetting this dangerous debt and despite what may happen to Sophia if I don’t raise the money, I now live (as Padre Pio told me to) resigned to the Divine Will and, even in difficulties like this, happily join my voice to Susan’s in saying: "How good God is! How beautiful His creation! I’m grateful for the life He has given me!"

Gratitude and acceptance of God’s will: I know now that these are keys to the spiritual life. How blessedly different they are from the anger and scorn that provoke one person to scream at another, "Go ahead! Strangle me! Send yourself straight to Hell!" or to put hands around another person’s neck.

That was long ago.

Here in those same hands this morning, I hold the tattered booklet from Susan’s purse and an equally worn copy of Marriage. Though the world changes, the holiness in such publications does not. It never loses its power to tame lips that snarl "Send yourself to Hell!" It never ceases to teach cruel hands to pray, sharp tongues to say gently, even as death comes near: "It’s simple. Don’t drink. Say your prayers. Be kind to the children."

Such holy simplicity runs like a river through all the Catholic books I publish.

It’s what souls need. But it’s threatened today by our $75,000 in overdue bills, bills that remain despite my severe cost-cutting measures in the difficult days since Sept. 11 and after the scandals that rocked the Church these past few years.

Having received so many graces, it would be wrong for these hands to put down the work that Susan and I began together so long ago and in less promising circumstances.

So I must turn to you. Will you help me pay these bills so that through our books God can speak to others -- as He did to Susan and me -- even if only in a word or a whisper?

Lack of money will strangle this Press as surely as angry hands will strangle a human.

My repentant hands are eager to continue this work, but they can’t do it without the help of yours. Please contribute today. And please pray for Susan . . . and for me.

Sincerely yours,
John L. Barger, Publisher
Sophia Institute Press

Our vows:
The groom says:I (...), take you (...) to be my wife.
I promise to be true to you in good times and in bad,
in sickness and in health.
I will love you and honor you all the days of my life.

The bride says:I (...), take you (...) to be my husband.
I promise to be true to you in good times and in bad,
in sickness and in health.
I will love you and honor you all the days of my life.

"Right is still right if nobody is right,
and wrong is still wrong if everybody is wrong,"
Archbishop Fulton J Sheen author of The Life of Christ

Tuesday, October 04, 2005

Church-service assault

Browsing other blogs again tonight, and went to SpeculativeCatholic's where he has a comment that was intriguing. Following his hyperlink, I was flabbergasted!

There are so many many people out there who do NOT really know our Faith, yet think that they do. The same arguments come up on nearly every Catholic yahoo group and other forums ad nauseum. But desecration of this sort is sickening and revolting.

It has happened in many countries, in many centuries before. It has happened to Jewish synagogues, and to other Catholic churches. It has happened to other religions, also. But it is still shocking to know that someone hates something that they know 'nothing' about enough to do this kind of evil.

Why should it shock so much, when it has happened in history, even recent history? In Ireland, in New York City at St Patrick's Cathedral on Dec 10, 1989 while Cardinal O'Connor was still alive, even here in Wisconsin where a brand new church building was desecrated on the outside. A Synagogue nearby was defaced a couple of times over the past years, as well.

Kristallnacht .... Crystal Night... the night of broken glass.... did we not learn anything about hate from that time in our history???

Don't be manipulated by the master marketers

Perhaps they have been reading my blog? LOL...

Another explanation of media propagandizing... and remember... they did the SAME THING with 'no fault' divorce.... they met and they planned, and then they IMPLEMENTED it until it has been accepted as 'good' and 'normal'... and even tried to convince us it is good for the kids...They did the same thing about Terri Schiavo (Felos et all) with the ultimate goal of making you think that SHE WAS BETTER OFF BEING DEHYDRATED and STARVED to death! That a disabled woman deserved to be 'let go'... that those who recognize that Terri is inherently deserving to live and be loved simply because she is a human being with a disability are the ones who are wrong.... that disabled babies are 'better off dead'. I could go on... but instead....

Happy reading.... stay tuned!

God bless!

Don't be manipulated by the master marketers

By Rebecca Hagelin

Oct 4, 2005

Vice President of Communications and Marketing, The Heritage Foundation

When you think of “marketing,” what images come to mind?

Chances are, you’re thinking of a large company that makes a certain product -- food, cars, computers, you name it. In other words, a physical thing you buy with money.

But what about ideas? Few people realize it, but the same marketing techniques that companies use to induce us to buy a particular product are just as useful when it comes to selling us an idea. And just as companies can trick us into thinking a product is more appealing than it really is, so companies (and others, from politicians to the media) can fool us into believing an idea that is false.

Don’t believe it? Consider an example that David Kupelian, managing editor of used when he spoke at The Heritage Foundation last week. When you refer to people who have entered our country illegally, what do you call them?
Not long ago, they were labeled “illegal aliens.” This term, with its two negative words, accurately conveyed two things: 1) the fact that those who enter our country illegally have committed a crime and 2) that they weren’t one of us, i.e., American citizens.

But as David noted, the terms of the debate began to shift. First, the phrase became “illegal immigrants” -- a negative and a positive. After all, America is a nation of immigrants and their descendants, so the term “immigrants” evokes positive images and makes us feel more warmly toward these lawbreakers (although it happens subconsciously, so we’re hardly aware of it). Since then, still nicer substitutes have emerged, such as “undocumented guest workers.” Hey, they’re “workers,” so that’s good, right? And, my goodness, a “guest” is someone we treat with hospitality and warmth. The term “undocumented,” meanwhile, leaves the impression that they simply forgot to fill out some silly government-mandated form. Who could be against hard-working guests who have a problem with paperwork?

But you’ve been sold a bill of goods. The fact is, those who hope we’ll ignore the crime committed by illegal aliens used proven marketing techniques to sell you something -- and if you weren’t paying attention, you bought it.

This pernicious practice doesn’t stop with border security. We’re bamboozled daily on a wide variety of subjects, from abortion on demand for any reason to same-sex “marriage.” As David notes in his new book, The Marketing of Evil: How Radicals, Elitists and Pseudo-Experts Sell Us Corruption Disguised as Freedom: “The plain truth is, within the space of our lifetimes, much of what Americans once almost universally abhorred has been packaged, perfumed, gift-wrapped and sold to us as though it had great value. By skillfully playing on our deeply felt national values of fairness, generosity and tolerance, these marketers have persuaded us to embrace as enlightened and noble that which all previous generations since America’s founding regarded as grossly self-destructive -- in a word, evil.”

What makes David’s book so useful is the fact that he steps back and allows the other side to explain their game plan, their efforts to change the way you and I think. Take homosexual activists. It looked as if the AIDS crisis of the 1980s would set their cause back, but the activists weren’t about to let that happen.

Some 175 of them met at a conference in February 1988 and hammered out a master PR plan. Two Harvard-educated researchers, Marshall Kirk and Hunter Madsen, laid it out in book titled After the Ball: How America Will Conquer Its Fear and Hatred of Gays in the ’90s, noting that they would counter negative publicity with “a program of unabashed propaganda, firmly grounded in long-established principles of psychology and advertising.”

That meant relying on established advertising techniques such as “desensitization” (inundating the public with positive, gay-related advertising) and “jamming” (in which the topic of homosexuality is deliberately talked about until it becomes tiresome to normal people). As marketing expert Paul Rondeau of Regent University explained, “If you can get [straights] to think [homosexuality] is just another thing -- meriting no more than a shrug of the shoulders -- then your battle for legal and social rights is virtually won.”

David views several other controversial topics from a marketing perspective and illustrates the techniques used behind other big lies, from the myth of church-state separation to the dumbing-down of our schools. His highly readable style, combined with a plethora of research and hard evidence, will convince many skeptics.

Find this story at:

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And now I am nervous...

Susan Estrich, grinning, then smiling HUGELY on Greta's talk show, and being PLEASED with the nomination of Miers for Supreme Court Justice....

Just to show you how distrustful I really AM about news media... in the back of my mind, her comments and smiles and grins make me wonder, as she says that 'this makes CONSERVATIVES nervous...'

Is this a ploy, to scare off the Republicans from supporting her nomination? Or is she REALLY thrilled? If she is REALLY thrilled.... then I have more concerns.

Stay tuned................

Sad News

This news saddens me, that it is in existence at all.... but especially here in my state....

I don't object to 'stem cell research'... when from Cord Blood or Adult donors. When a baby dies to provide cells, it is tragic, not good.

Tuesday, October 04, 2005

MADISON, Wis. — A Wisconsin-based research group will run the nation's first embryonic stem cell bank under a four-year, $16 million federal contract, officials announced Monday.

The WiCell Research Institute , a nonprofit set up in 1999 to support stem cell research at the University of Wisconsin, will store and distribute the cells under a federal plan to reduce their cost.

"At a minimum, we will be a single portal so people can do one-stop shopping" for stem cells, said Carl Gulbrandsen, president of WiCell's board of directors.

In 2001, President Bush limited federal grant funding to projects involving 78 lines of embryonic stem cells that already were in existence, saying taxpayer dollars should not fund the destruction of human embryos. That policy has stifled the field, researchers say, and only 22 lines are now available for use.

The goal of the bank is to consolidate all lines of embryonic stem cells available for use in federally funded studies into one place, reducing the cost of the cells while allowing researchers to learn more about their properties.

"This resource will enable us to fully analyze, characterize and control the quality of approved cell lines," said Elias Zerhouni, director of the National Institutes of Health (search).

NIH did not release the names of competitors for the contract, but UW-Madison Chancellor John Wiley said no other school had the research infrastructure needed to run the bank.

WiCell already has the right to distribute five lines developed at the school and has an agreement to distribute six lines held by Singapore-based ES Cell International to U.S. researchers, said Derek Hei, a UW-Madison scientist who helped land the contract.

WiCell is trying to reach similar deals for the 11 other lines, which are in California, Georgia, Sweden, Korea and Israel.

Stem cells are created in the first days after conception and go on to form the body's tissues and cells. Researchers hope to use stem cells as replacements for diseased and injured body parts. But critics oppose the research because days-old embryos are destroyed, usually after being donated by fertility clinics.

Pope Benedict whacks 'hypocritical' secularists

Pope Benedict whacks 'hypocritical' secularists
Calls those who want to exclude God from public life intolerant

Posted: October 2, 2005
4:37 p.m. Eastern

© 2005
In a message to over 250 Catholic bishops at the Vatican today, Pope Benedict XVI said it was hypocritical to exclude God and religion from public life.

"A tolerance which allows God as a private opinion but which excludes him from public life, from the reality of the world and our lives, is not tolerance but hypocrisy," the pope said in the homily he gave at a three-week-long synod's opening mass in St Peter's Basilica. "When man makes himself the only master of the world and master of himself, justice cannot exist. Then, arbitrariness, power and interests rule."

Today marked the beginning of the pope's first synod since his April 19 election, Agence France-Presse reported. The conference will focus on theological issues linked to Holy Communion, as well as abortion and divorce.

People who ignore God pose a threat to "the Church in Europe, Europe itself and the West," the pontiff said.

Bishops will debate how to address falling church attendance in Europe, the U.S. and Oceania, where the number of faithful attending Sunday mass has dropped well below that of Africa and Asia.

The synod was expected to deal with various issues surrounding abortion, including how to address Catholic politicians who support the practice, especially when those politicians seek to take Communion.

The news service quoted a working Vatican document that said Catholics who "publicly supported immoral choices such as abortion" were committing mortal sins.

The document also condemned those backing politicians who "openly supported abortion or other terrible crimes against human life, justice or peace" or who succumbed to "temptation or corruption," saying all were acting against the church's teachings. "Some receive communion while denying the teachings of the Church or publicly supporting immoral choices in life, such as abortion, without thinking that they are committing an act of grave personal dishonesty and causing scandal," the document said.

The event got under way without four bishops from China who were prevented from traveling to the Vatican by Beijing's Communist government. According to AFP, three of the bishops were part of China's state-approved church and one was from the underground Catholic church.

Monday, October 03, 2005

We need prayers...................

I am going to post this, but not sure it will stay here or not.... not sure that something this personal involving other members of the family should be here. ... but it is for now, something that I am going to put here.... I 'feel' like there is a reason...

I have been 'waiting' for the 'right time' to go see my fil.... I have, in actuality been chicken. My sil (C) had called me awhile ago to bring me up to date as to where he (fil, G) was healthwise, and what she and M's brother (her husband... R) had been talking about.

They have come to the conclusion that he needs to see a priest to reconcile with HIS Church, not theirs. I felt the same. G is Catholic, not non-denominational. G has told them that the Church left HIM, he did not leave the Church.

G divorced my mil...and refused to go to the Tribunal to seek a declaration of nullity, saying that they only wanted to know about their sex life... he married another outside the Church

My oldest, Erin, called her Dad (M) tonight, and got her step-mother, (D) As Erin was ready to hang up, D said... wait, there is something I need to tell you...and Erin knew what it would be about ... D said she did not care if M got mad or not... she felt that the kids should know...and told Erin that G has been in the hospital since Friday, not doing well, and they don't know if he will make it this time.

So, my question is... if she felt the 'kids' should know... why has she not called THEM, and why did this wait til Erin called HER three days later, and then given as a last minute part of the conversation??

Ok, so back to me. (I hate divorce, and this is one of the many reasons.... I would have put up with that very anger and TOLD our adult children right away, and kept them in the loop all along, giving THEM the choice of seeing him or waiting.... not hidden it )... never mind, again, back to me....

So, I called my bil's home ( to actually talk to C, but she was not home....) and I got a chance to tell R that I have been praying hard for G and that step mother K had told me I was welcome anytime.... but that I had really had strong strong strong feelings that G needs to reconcile with the Church before it is too late. Told him that I cannot be the one asking him if he wants to see a priest because I am on the outside for so very long....and just do not feel it is my place to do so...but that HE could.... R told me that he agreed with me about the Church, and even the why ... that until G reconciles with the Church, he cannot get to Jesus to reconcile, etc (remember, I am speaking to a non-denom of about 18 yrs now.... ) R has been trying to find a way to talk to his Dad for a long time, to wait for the right words, the right time...

I laughingly and tearfully told him that this is the Irish in us... deeply engrained, ... if we don't talk about it, it will go away....DEEPLY Irish (may be in other backgrounds, but not like it is in the Irish... believe me... ).

Told him that I had heard a priest speak the other day (Fr Corapi) who said that if we REALLY love someone, we want them to be in Heaven someday... well, R now has his words... he asked me if he could use them to introduce the topic to his Dad, saying that they were perfect, and practiced them out loud several times as he thought it through...

But now, back to me..... it is time.

I am going to the hospital tomorrow. I regret that it was not sooner, but it is time NOW, for sure.

Pray for us... please.

Also, for my kids, who are not doing well. As I write this, my son has left work, is sobbing, is going to the hospital regardless of the time... has asked his sister Erin to go, and then asked me if I was going to be up, if he could come here later if he needs to... please pray for him.

There will be misdirected but honest anger at his Dad for not telling them sooner how sick G is.... and I have to admit it makes ME angry, also. I KNOW M lives in denial and does not deal well with this... he never has. But to not tell his adult kids that Grandpa (the only one they have since Kev was five... ) is near dying when he KNOWS that they want to be told is infuriating...and especially since he was just ASKED on Sunday at our little Kyle's Baptism....

Sorry, back to me... G is my fil, no matter what the state says. No matter what society says. He is, perhaps, the ONLY father in law I will ever have.

Pray for me, that my anger about this does not shroud the grief that I am feeling... It is one of my defense mechanisms... (can't you tell?) to get angry rather than to be 'weak' and 'cry'.... and I am fighting it like crazy right now... fighting the angry feelings that are directed toward others who have no more clue than I have... and trying very hard to let the tears come....

More musings...

My mind often brings in other things as I am reading.

Today, the quote below from an email from Phil Lawler of CWNews had a section that was discussing this article, and when I got to this part, it did just that....

Even if one cardinal
did supply the information, we already know that he is dishonest, since he violated a solemn vow; so how could we trust his account? And of course, to complicate matters, the honest cardinals who do maintain their vows of secrecy will not comment, one way or another, to confirm or deny the accuracy of this account.

As I read them, I saw the words they sort of made an instant leap to this....

Even if the abandoning spouse DID supply the information (for the divorce or the petition for nullity), we already know that he/she is dishonest, since he/she violated a solemn vow; so how can we trust his/her account? And of course, to complicate matters, the FAITHFUL spouses left behind by no fault forced unilateral divorce who DO maintain their vows of marriage....

Told you, that is why this place is called 'musings'.....

Not sure what to think.............musings

I often 'think through' things in writing. Most are on scraps of paper or on notepads, and get lost, eventually, as I formulate my thoughts and go onto other things. That is where the term 'musings' in the title came from.

I have over the years developed a sense of 'distrust' with news reports, as you may have already noticed, and I absolutely love the fact that with the internet, I can now search out for other sources and clarifications and even things to refute what is being said.

Occasionally, though, it takes awhile for this to happen, and it leaves me with a sense of.... frustration, confusion.... something... and find that it is difficult to describe this state of mind clearly.

There are going to be a huge number of news stories about Harriet Miers in the next few weeks. There will be those for, those against, and those... in the middle, perhaps just as 'something' as I am...

That 'something' feeling came when I came across this article. And I am still not sure what the author was trying to tell us! (Especially since just before reading this one, I read that HM had contributed to an Al Gore campaign... headline... article than says that it was way back in 1987~~)

Was she saying that Harriet Miers (HM) is pro-life? Or 'sneaky'... or... what? Or is the article clearly trying to tell us that she is pro-life without putting it into words??? I want to believe the latter.... but I am really concerned that it may mean nothing at all.

I'll highlight those 'trigger words' below:

Miers Led Bid to Revisit Abortion Stance Oct 03 1:33 PM US/Eastern

By ANNE GEARAN Associated Press Writer


President Bush's choice to fill the seat of retiring Supreme Court Justice and moderate abortion rights supporter Sandra Day O'Connor was a leader in an unsuccessful fight to get the nation's largest lawyers' group to reconsider its pro-abortion rights stance.

As president of the Texas State Bar in 1993, Harriet Miers urged the national American Bar Association to put the abortion issue to a referendum of the group's full membership. She questioned at the time whether the ABA should "be trying to speak for the entire legal community" on an issue that she said "has brought on tremendous divisiveness" within the ABA.

Miers was among a group of lawyers from the Texas bar and elsewhere who had argued that the ABA should have a neutral stance on abortion.

The ABA's policy-making body overwhelmingly rejected the Texas lawyers' group's 1993 proposal to put the issue to a referendum by mail of the ABA's then-roster of about 360,000 members.

"Our current position (in favor of abortion rights) has no meaning unless it is endorsed in fact by the membership," Miers said at the time.

The ABA's position, adopted in 1992, endorses the basic outlines of the Supreme Court's Roe v. Wade ruling that women may choose to have an abortion without state interference prior to the point at which a fetus could live outside the womb, and after that point if the woman's life or health were threatened by the pregnancy.

Although Miers' personal view of abortion was not explicit in 1993, Leonard Leo, a White House adviser on Supreme Court nominations highlighted her efforts as part of the reason that "conservatives should be very happy with this selection."

"As a leader of the bar, Harriet Miers was a fearless and very strong proponent of conservative legal views. She led a campaign to have the American Bar Association end its practice of supporting abortion-on- demand and taxpayer-funded abortions," Leo said a memo on the Miers nomination.

Miers was very active in the ABA, and senators will probably question Miers about deep divisions within the organization about the abortion question and the ABA's role in taking policy positions.

The ABA briefly held the neutral position Miers and others supported _ from 1990 to 1992.

Copyright 2005 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

US Supreme Court Chief Justice John G. Roberts

Judge Roberts has taken his seat in the US Supreme Court after the initiation ceremony and a photo session.

I hope that he is another Rehnquist, someone who truly uses the Constitution correctly, not to make laws.......God give him Wisdom.

Harriet Miers Nominated

Harriet Miers is the new nominee for the US Supreme Court.

A couple of small biographies of her are here and here. The announcement of her as Gonzales' replacement is here

I hope that we can learn more about her soon, and meanwhile will be praying.

"Between Two Worlds" synopsis

A compelling new study reveals the true effects of divorce

An astonishing one quarter of adults between the ages of eighteen and thirty-five have grown up in divorced families. Now, as this generation comes of age, Between Two Worlds will speak to them like no other book.

Elizabeth Marquardt (together with sociologist Norval Glenn) conducted a pioneering new national study of the children of divorce, surveying 1,500 young adults from both divorced and intact families and interviewing more than seventy of them at length. In Between Two Worlds, she weaves the findings of that study together with powerful, unsentimental stories of the childhoods of young people from divorced families—as well as her own story of growing up as a child of divorce. She asks us to acknowledge that children are profoundly shaped by divorce, even though, as adults, they might be accomplished and seem “fine.” While many experts maintain that there are “good divorces,” praise the idea of “blended families,” and assure divorced parents that kids are resilient, Marquardt calls this “happy talk” and warns that it causes children to bury their real feelings.

The hard truth, she says, is that while divorce is sometimes necessary, there is no such thing as a good divorce. An amicable divorce is certainly better than a bitter one, but even amicable divorces sow lasting inner conflict in the lives of children. When a family breaks in two, children who stay in touch with both parents must travel between two worlds, trying alone to reconcile their parents’ often strikingly different beliefs, values, and ways of living. Even a “good divorce” restructures childhood itself.

Not surprisingly, many children of divorce seem like old souls. Often they feel like they have a different identity in each of their parents’ worlds. Secrets are epidemic. Home feels less safe, and they are far less likely than the children of intact marriages to go to their parents for comfort or emotional support. Some question their parents’ morality and choices. Like their peers from intact families, they long for spirituality, but their feelings of loss, mistrust, and anger toward their parents deeply complicate their spiritual journeys—even translating into anger at God.

Marquardt’s data is undeniably compelling, but at the heart of her book are stories—of reunions with one parent that were always partings from the other, of struggles to adapt to a parent’s moods, of the burden of having to figure out the important questions in life alone. Authoritative, beautifully written, and filled with brave, sad, unflinchingly honest voices, Between Two Worlds is a book of transforming power for the adult children of divorce, whose real experiences have for too long gone unrecognized.

Based on a pioneering new study, Between Two Worlds is a book of transforming power for anyone who grew up with divorced parents.

"After the divorce, our parents may no longer have been in conflict, but the conflict between their worlds was still alive. Yet instead of being in the open, visible to outsiders, the conflict between their worlds migrated and took root within us. When we sought our own identities—when we asked “Who am I?”—we were confronted with two wholly separate ways of living. Any answer we gleaned from one world could be undermined by looking at the other. Being too much like Dad could threaten the Mom-self inside us, and vice versa. These conflicts were not raised in conversation with or between our parents, or with anybody else, but internally. We were one in our bodies but we did not feel one inside. Even the “good divorce” left us struggling with divided selves." —from Between Two Worlds

Elizabeth Marquardt is an affiliate scholar at the Institute for American Values, a nonpartisan think tank focused on children, families, and civil society. She is the coauthor of a groundbreaking study on college women’s attitudes about sex and dating on campus and has discussed her research on Today, All Things Considered, and numerous other television and radio shows. Her essays and op-ed pieces have appeared in the New York Times, Washington Post, Chicago Tribune, and elsewhere. She lives in Chicago with her husband and two children.

Sunday, October 02, 2005

Happy Anniversary, Mom!

October 2, 1948, my parents said their vows at a beautiful Church in this small city. They had no idea that they would eventually, over 19 1/2 years, have ten children on that day.

They had hard times, when I am sure, both questioned whether they would ever be 'happy', and they had good times when they KNEW that they would. They were normal human beings doing the best that they could.

Dad had dreams of retiring, selling the house, and the two of them going from place to place to try new golf courses. Mom wanted 'roots' and was willing to go in the RV, but not to sell their home. She wanted a place to come back to....

They did not make it, as Dad passed away at age 62 on June 3, 1987. He is still missed, and I know that leaving him that night in the funeral home was probably one of the hardest things my mother would ever have to do.

They had met in High School, rode the same school bus. Dad went to the Army after he graduated in 1942, Mom went to Nursing School in Milwaukee. They met again several years later and began dating.

They had four sons, six daughters born from 1949 to 1968. The youngest was one day short of being out of High School when Dad left us after a six month health struggle.

They have 30 grandchildren (one is in Heaven with Dad) for sure, and five great grandchildren, plus two little ones that we won't know until we join them all there because of miscarriages.

But it is still the anniversary of the day that they promised to be together until death parted them. And Dad is still on our hearts and minds today, along with our thoughts of Mom. He is still here with us in many ways, as we simply look at each other, at our children, and now, at the next generation.

God bless you, Mom, and Happy Anniversary. Well done, good and faithful servant!

Thirty years ago.... this month, two mothers were born....

It is October already! Where has this year gone to?

October is a big birthday month for our family, both sides. But this October is different. Not only has THIS year flown by...but so have the last thirty. On Sept 16, 1975, on one side of our family, we welcomed Jackie to the world, a tiny, fragile-looking baby girl. On October 15, 1975, when we still did not know that we WOULD be parents, our daughter was born. She came home to us the end of December, 1975, a beautiful, smiley, charming, stubborn little girl who made it clear quite early that she would do things her way, thank you!

Thirty years ago, a young mother gave birth to a child that she chose to give life to, yet knew she could not raise, just as we were waiting for the final paperwork to get to the agency from the doctors, etc before they would make the ultimate decision. Thirty years ago, God was working behind the scenes to begin a new family in answer to a woman's cry after once again learning that she was NOT pregnant after all... thirty years ago, though He had known from the beginning of Time, of the creation of the human race, that ultimately .... the heart-felt sobbing of " GOD! Please! I JUST WANT TO BE A MOTHER!!" ...would be answered by this child.

Thirty years ago on Oct 15, two mothers were born, both through much pain. Not labor. That only lasts a very short time, in reality, no matter how 'bad' it gets. But the pain of living with the unknown, the judgement of others, having to face the fact that life doesn't always happen the way we want it to happen.

Karen wanted the best for her baby girl, wanted to be Mom as long as she could, and held/fed her tiny daughter every feeding in the hospital (back then, we stayed in the hospital longer). She visited her again to say good bye on her 20th birthday, when she went to court to sign papers that allowed her child to come to us. She said good bye to her, never knowing if she would EVER see her again.

On October 15th, the strain of an 'emotional pregnancy' was really beginning to show on this new mother who still did not know she was going to BE a mother. In our study, we had already lost one couple who would not become parents by adoption. That was very hard on all of us, the remaining three couples...then the phone calls began to come... one couple brought home a new daughter... the other brought home a new son....and we still did not know... the MD had forgotten to send in the history and physical for my children's father!

The pain of not knowing... ended on Nov 14th, 1975, with a phone call, saying ... congratulations! "It may take a year or a year and a half, but you WILL be a Mom and Dad!"... Wow... the cloud lifted... co-workers noticed, and asked what had happened that night when I got to work! The weight was no longer showing on my face!

Thirty years ago this month, my beautiful daughter was born. Two fathers also became fathers that day, though neither knew.... one learned later, and it was not confirmed for MANY years.
He also went to court the day Karen did, after having held his daughter and crying while he fed and changed her. But thirty years ago, a birth father not married to the birthmother did not stand much chance of being able to keep and raise his child, especially with divorce and other children in his life. But Roger had always wanted a daughter....and he wanted her to have the best she could have...and he held her ...and cried. And he, too, wondered if he would ever see her again, and if he would EVER know if she was really his.... NOT because he did not believe she could be... but because they had only been together once...and he had not known about the child until after she was born for many reasons not important to go into.

Both of these parents are and were good people. Remember that always. Good people, one time, a child conceived... and the decision made to allow that child to LIVE by one...then loved by both as they said their good byes so that she could have two parents together.

The other waited while I called his MD to get the papers sent to the agency...while they made the final decision... and then waited with me until... my boss said to please call and find out WHEN, as they had become dependent on my float position after so many years at the hospital... though we had been told at least a year... I did call on Dec 3 and left a message for our social worker to call....

Thirty years ago October 15th, God knew that Karen and Roger would choose to place their daughter for adoption, and that she would go to ... our home. He KNEW, though none of us did, that on Dec 3, our SW, Patricia, would call and say.... "I would NOT tell you this if I did not know that you could handle it if something goes wrong... but I walked into work today, and picked up some papers. On the top was your message asking me to call you... and then... a letter about a beautiful little girl with the names of potential birth parents, and you are on the top of the list... but normally you would not know this until after the parental rights hearing that is scheduled for Dec 15th..... "

I tearfully hid the phone and 'yelled' quietly... "IT's a GIRL!" to my husband... and then 'calmly' went back to the phone and just kept saying yes.. yes, ok... yes... ok... THANK YOU!

The date of her arrival at our home had to be delayed another week because of another complication ... but on Dec 29, 1975, that little child came home.

26 years later, because of health issues of her OWN child, my first grandchild.... we met Karen, and that beautiful baby girl held and hugged her birth mother in my presence, with my blessing. Seven months later, we found Roger... we did DNA tests, we confirmed... and in Nov of that year, after 27 years, Roger again held his daughter...and we all cried.

Thirty years ago, plus... one young 19 year old made the decision to give Life. Thirty years ago, two mothers were born....

Where have the last thirty years gone? I remember my little girl.... now grown

Happy 30th birthday to my oldest, the mother of two of my four grandchildren... Erin. I love you! I always will.