Monday, January 29, 2007

My Answer to city girl

Well, city girl and I have gotten quite a bit of help with this difficult question.

There might not be enough information for me to give a completely accurate response. For instance, did this woman lead her husband to believe she was chaste until her marriage? In other words, was there a deception there previously, and that's what is really bothering her? If so, she would need to receive forgiveness for that from Our Lord, as well as good spiritual advice on how to handle it.

Or did her husband know she had other intimate relationships, just not all the details. In this case, giving him details would be selfish, as she would be seeking to relieve her suffering by increasing his.

Either way, if she is struggling with her past, it is possible that she is having more of a sense of repentance now than she did originally (very typical as one ages and matures, the nature of our past transgressions become more clear to us). Doing a general confession, or a confession where a life review of the past, even forgiven, sins are reviewed, will offer her a chance to heal even more deeply and make some spiritual connections between past and current sins.

The issue of this woman being afraid her husband will leave her is troubling. This could just be hyperbole, similar to when a teen is in trouble and says, "My parents are going to kill me."

Or, there could be a real lack of intimacy and trust in that marriage, partly due to either spouses past relationships. Either way, healing must take place to strengthen the marriage and the partners as individuals. Unfortunately, her husband can not heal her. Only Christ can. What she needs to do use all the tools we have been given for spiritual healing: prayer, fasting, and alms giving.

Prayer can include attending Mass or Liturgy more regularly, receiving Our Lord in Holy Communion as often as possible, going to confession on a regular basis for current transgressions, and keeping on top of the present moment, instead of turning the gaze backward. As with any human, this woman is currently sinning every day, and a distraction regarding the past can obscure that reality, and cause even more spiritual sickness.

Fasting can help with healing from bodily transgressions by putting the material and spiritual realm into the proper priority. A simple fast is Wednesday and Friday refraining from consuming meat, or another favorite food that is regularly enjoyed. The point is not to diminish physical health, but to deny the senses and heighten the spiritual consciousness.

In her case, alms giving could simply be volunteering her time and talents at a homeless shelter, a crisis pregnancy center, or teaching young people their faith. In other words, she could help repair the injury to Our Lord by strengthening His mystical body here on earth.

It would seem as if all should be an open book in marriage, if in fact, the two spouses are one flesh. However, in reality, we are fallen, flawed people, and out of respect and charity to the other spouse, some things are better off left unsaid. By "confessing" to her husband, she could unwittingly open a Pandora's box of suspicion,
insecurity and shame, and the marriage would be further damaged.

So, practically speaking, I would strongly discourage her from telling her husband anything without a long term span of spiritual preparation including the items outlined above: Sacramental grace, prayer, fasting, alms giving and spiritual direction.

Also, I would encourage her to be as loving a wife as she can be, both in her daily duties, and in her physical relationship with her husband. Love does heal, and if she allows herself to shower her family with her loving care, and allows herself to unreservedly love, and be loved by, her husband, she may find that authentic love heals the hurts of past counterfeit experiences.

City girl also mentioned on a personal note she has a boyfriend and has things she doesn't want him to know. To really answer that, I need to know some things like, how long have you dated, is this a potential spouse, are these past things forgiven sins, or simply experiences that are private. In any relationship, there is a degree of privacy that must be respected, and a balance must be reached between privacy and intimacy. By and large, my advice would be the same as above.

So, there you go. I did my best, but am certainly open for further input. City and girl her friend will certainly be in my prayers!


Saturday, January 27, 2007

She's baaack...

So I got another question.

city girl said...

Ok, MPN, I am here again...I have been away for many a reason, but I do have another dilema, and I knew right where to go: you! Please help me with this: a friend of mine has been married for 15 years, and her husband does not know her explicit past with other men. She wanted to leave that behind her, but she says it haunts her. She knows that if she tells him, they will surely split up. They are Catholic, and she has confessed all her sins, and she is asking ME for advice, and well, I don't know what to tell her, except that she is a good person now and that all of everything she did before she met her husband is in the past, and has nothing to do with her married life.
do you agree? or did I truly mess this one up? besides, let me also ask you this: what do we do about those sins that are in the past, and let's say we don't want to tell our boyfriend about?
city girl

I am praying and thinking about this. So far an anonymous commenter left his opinion:

Anonymous said...

boy oh boy, you come over here, and you women are so deep! I love it! I am a married man, and couldn't help but read what 'city girl' had wrote up here in comments, and I agree with her, that she told her friend the right thing. If my wife told me about her behavior before we even met, why do I care? If I didn't ask here intentionally, then obviously it didn't matter to me too much, or the subject never came up. We have 5 children, and we are happy, and well, I guess I don't want to know her deepest sins: think of Mary Magdelene! I am sure she didn't tell evryone all her mortal sins, but she was a favorite of God's. Keep up the good work crazy acres- god bless you.

I am inclined to agree with our anonymous friend. I will elaborate later.

Does anyone else want to add their words of wisdom? I'll put my answer up on Monday morning, after praying about it at Divine Liturgy.

Until then...


speaking of meatloaf: a challenge met!!

alicia said...

OK - so I took up the challenge.
I mixed a pound of ground beef with a few croutons, some saltine cracker crumbs, and the last of last week's homemade bread. I added in a can of chopped tomatoes, some dried onion, a package of dried vegetable soup mix, a dash of worstershire, a dash of tabasco, and an egg. I put half into a loaf pan (I usually free form the loaf in my cast iron skillet) and sliced over the half two smoked beef franks and then added some sliced swiss and a few chunks of smoked cheddar. I then packed the rest of the meat mixture on top and covered the top with parchment paper. Erik recently had a post about cooking meat loaf like pates, in a bain-marie, so that is how I am cooking it. I am doing oven roasted root vegetables on the side so that they can cook in the same oven. It's a lot of food for just the two of us but there will be meat loaf sandwiches in our future.


Friday, January 26, 2007

I am not suprised!

Elizabeth Bennet

Often called Lizzy, Elizabeth is the heroine of Pride and Prejudice. The seceond eldest of five sisters, she is witty and intelligence, though her prejudice prevents her from recognizing her true love when he appears. However, Mr. Darcy, though he appears proud, wins her love and respect, but not before she believes she's lost him forever.

Which Classic Heroine are You?


Thursday, January 25, 2007

Dressed Up Meatloaf

We buy a side of beef every year to give us an inexpensive, high quality protien source. While we certainly enjoy the roasts and the steaks that come with this side of beef, by far the most plentiful type of meat we have is ground beef. The beef is is lean and tasty, but requires some creativity to prepare it frequently while not getting worn out on it. I'll share one of my favorite secrets for a very dressed up meat loaf.

Prepare your meat loaf as you usually do. I add bread crumbs, eggs, ketchup, chopped onions, peppers and a variety of seasonings. Put one half of the meat mixture in a loaf pan. On top of that, put ham slices and either sharp cheddar or blue cheese (actually, any meat slice/cheese mixture you want will work. I use "what ever we have on hand"). Put the rest of the meat loaf mixture on top, and bake as usual.

Then, take some butter, saute sliced mushroom until tender. Add beef broth and ground pepper and heat through.

In a seperate bowl mix about 1/2 c. red wine with 2 tablespoons corn starch and whisk into the mushroom mixture. Stir until it thickens.

Serve mushroom sauce hot over meatloaf slices, and you will have one extra-ordinary meatloaf. Enjoy!!

(re: photo ~ do you get it??)


Monday, January 22, 2007


I spent quite a bit of time this weekend looking through old photos of myself and my early motherhood years. My oldest three children were born in just 2.75 years, and honestly those years are a blur in my memory. As I look at their photos, it seems those children have disappeared, vanished as if they walked into the woods one day and never came back. As I look at photos of their mother (could that have been me, really?), the naive, tired, yet hopeful looking woman with her lap full of little children, I ache for all the reality that is yet to impose itself on her.

The reality that those children will quickly grow up, that the ease of caring for them will become much more complicated.

That trying to find the transcendent amongst the daily duties will become a greater and greater challenge, and that entire weeks would pass with barely any thoughts but a practical ones crossing her mind.

That the years of marriage would be far less idyllic that she had imagined and would require far more dying to self than she thought possible.

That the powerful love she feels for her family would always be tinged and surrounded and accosted by fear, powerful, biting fear that these precious ones would be harmed somehow. Harmed by the cruel world, harmed by a careless driver, by the over-tired mother herself, too inexperienced to see the deep need of one of her children.

This young mother was yet to find out just how painful love can be, and yet that pain, the heart aching pain of looking at your family and knowing so deeply how much you love them, is the most real thing there is. There are no veils to soften that pain. It's the ache of love that will only be satisfied in Heaven, where we will finally be free to love without fear.

It makes me sad that I can't love my younger children with the naive love I had for my older children. When my oldest 3 were little, I thought I had all the time in the world. I could willy-nilly wish a day or a week away, and still have so much time to spare.

Now, with my "baby" nearly three years old, I don't want to miss a second. Every new little thing she says and does is tinged with a little sadness along with the wonder and joy of it.

It's all going so quickly, with each succession of days bringing me closer and closer to the time when they will all be gone, and I will have most my life as memories. I know we are not supposed to live either in the past or in the future, but embrace the present moment. But what I know now about the fleeting nature of the present moment make it very difficult to rest in that axiom.

So, that is my prayer for today. Please Divine Physician, and healer of souls, assist me in living in the moment, in Your presence, and guide my heart to be open to all the love you have to give me. Please don't let me close up my heart out of fear of pain. Now, and always, and forever and ever, Amen.

(image found at

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Friday, January 19, 2007

An Answer to the High Fructose Corn Syrup question

Rosemary and Ginger both asked what was the big deal about HFCS. I had been looking up info to post, and then I received two comments that did the work for me. Thanks Alicia and Aileen (who happens to be my very own Sister-in-law!!)

alicia said... HFCS seems to have a higher glycemic index than just plain sugar - it is digested faster and causes more fluctuations in your blood glucose and insulin levels. Also it is sweeter tasting (probably because it is more soluble), and hence, more addictive.

Aileen said...
Sugar, or sucrose, consists of equal parts glucose and fructose. HFCS can contain 2x as much fructose as glucose. Glucose can be metabolized by all cells, whereas fructose is metabolized by the liver. High quantities of fructose put a strain on the liver. There are also a number of other dangers of consuming HFCS, as can be found in the following article:

Thanks ladies!!

Tuesday, January 16, 2007

Solving for x

After the Christmas school break, some changes were made in our co-op that require me to do more teaching. I am now the official Algebra I teacher. It feels good to stretch my brain wayyy back twenty years, and remember the challenge of solving for the unknown. I wish more of my life were like that, actually. How satisfying would it be to have a dilema arise, and all you have to do is place that variable in an equation, using the known quantities, and and with a few axioms, ta-da! a solution!

So, this new teaching challenge is actually quite a blessing, as I get to spend some more time with my oldest son, while reminding myself to organize my thoughts in a consistant, orderly fashion. That can't be bad! The other student I teach is a pleasure, and I am supervising 4 other students at various levels of junior high math levels. I found myself saying over and over, "You must tighten up your knowledge of the basics, the multiplication tables, and if you can do that everything else will fall into place." Once again, I wish my life were more like that ~ a clear knowledge of what I need to do, what basics to focus on to sharpen up the ragged edges of my life. I am getting a sense that God is trying to tell me something here, and if I just keep listening, many of my frustrations will be lessened, and much of my fuzziness will be made clear. Speak, O Lord, Your servant listens!

Thursday, January 11, 2007

A new word

I just have to write this down or I will certainly forget. My two year old loves to watch my oldest's aquarium, and excitedly points to the fish and says, "See, see the fog-boughters?"

Just to make sure we are understanding her properly, we ask her, "Where are the fog-boughters?" and she points the the fish. Alrighty, then.

Wednesday, January 10, 2007

On a more practical note...

I have been trying to reduce the amount of high fructose corn syrup in our diet. It isn't as easy as I thought it would be. One of the problem areas was yogurt. My kids love it, but even the "healthy" brand have HFCS in it. And if a brand doesn't, it is prohibitively expensive. So, today I had a brainstorm that seems to work quite well. I bought plain yogurt and then flavored syrups in the coffee aisle. The flavored syrups are made with sugar and natural flavors and just a splash added to a bowl of yogurt makes it tasty. The syrup is the same stuff used for Italian ice, I think. It seems to have solved my yogurt dilemma!

Makes you go "hmmm"

Musings on being 40 and having a 13 year old son ~

It surprises me how our upper lips are beginning to look so similar.

The Hound of Heaven continued

Hound of Heaven, pt. 2

I sought no more that after which I strayed,

In face of man or maid ;

But still within the little children's eyes

Seems something, something that replies,

They at least are for me, surely for me !
I turned me to them very wistfully ;
But just as their young eyes grew sudden fair

With dawning answers there,

Their angel plucked them from me by the hair.
"Come then, ye other children, Nature's -- share
With me" (said I) "your delicate fellowship ;

Let me greet you lip to lip,
Let me twine with you caresses,


With our Lady-Mother's vagrant tresses,


With her in her wind-walled palace,
Underneath her azured daïs,
Quaffing, as your taintless way is,

From a chalice

Lucent-weeping out of the dayspring."

So it was done :

I in their delicate fellowship was one --
Drew the bolt of Nature's secrecies.

I knew all the swift importings
On the wilful face of skies ;
I knew how the clouds arise
Spumèd of the wild sea-snortings ;

All that's born or dies

Rose and drooped with ; made them shapers

Of mine own moods, or wailful or divine ;

With them joyed and was bereaven.
I was heavy with the even,
When she lit her glimmering tapers
Round the day's dead sanctities.
I laughed in the morning's eyes.

I triumphed and I saddened with all weather,

Heaven and I wept together,

And its sweet tears were salt with mortal mine ;
Against the red throb of its sunset-heart

I laid my own to beat,
And share commingling heat ;

But not by that, by that, was eased my human smart.
In vain my tears were wet on Heaven's grey cheek.
For ah ! we know not what each other says,

These things and I ; in sound I speak--

Their sound is but their stir, they speak by silences.
Nature, poor stepdame, cannot slake my drouth ;

Let her, if she would owe me,

Drop yon blue bosom-veil of sky, and show me

The breasts o' her tenderness ;

Never did any milk of hers once bless

My thirsting mouth.
Nigh and nigh draws the chase,
With unperturbèd pace,

Deliberate speed, majestic instancy ;

And past those noisèd Feet
A Voice comes yet more fleet --

"Lo ! naught contents thee, who content'st not Me."


Monday, January 08, 2007

A Meme

Six Weird Things About Me

I was tagged with this a while ago, but hadn't had time to do it. While perusing my archives, I found something similar and adapted it. Is that cheating? Anyway, thanks Matt, for thinking of me!

1. I can not find papers if I put them in a filing cabinet. Might as well throw them away for as much good as they do me. I use upright, cascading file holders so I can see all the files at the same time. Or I just stack them on my desk, until they fall over. Out of sight, truly out of mind.

2. I have many different coffee cups, and choose the one for the morning to suit my mood. ( Maybe I'll post photos of my different mugs and the mood they represent). You would think this would be useful information to my family, but they just aren't catching on.

3. I can not not look at books at the thrift store, even though I have stacks of unread books. The thought that a great book is just sitting there, for $1.61, a book I would love to read someday, and I just walk right past it, is more than I can stand.

4.I don't make a grocery list, and then try to make a game out of shopping, you know like a memory game. Yeah, that's it, a memory game. I don't make a list on purpose, and am just trying to keep my memory in good working order. Yeah, that it. (Picture a woman, wandering around a grocery story, with a confused look on her face, a puzzled, bemused look on her face, trying to remember what to buy, and plan a menu, and remember the recipes, all at the same time. Pathetic.)

5. I haven't worn pantyhose since my wedding day, and never will again if I can help it. I haven't worn heels since my wedding day, and never will again if I can help it.

6. I hide money in odd places around the house like in books, band-aid containers, CD cases, a variety of decorative vases, in picture frames, etc. Just in case. I told my husband that if I die, don't get rid of anything until you check it for some stashed cash.

There you go. I tag Michelle, Amy Caroline, Elizabeth, Suzanne, caelids and Mimi.


worthwhile filler

Well, I am sorry for my delayed absence. There are so many things around here that need my full and undivided attention, that blogging has to take a back seat. My full and blessed life some times is like "my cup overfloweth" and then there is a large mess to clean up. Abundance can have its drawbacks!

Anyway, I will post parts of the classic poem "The Hound of Heaven", by Francis Thompson, for the next few days ~ I know nothing original will be coming from me in the near future, but this poem is something that has been speaking deeply to me recently, so I thought I would share it.

The Hound of Heaven

I fled Him, down the nights and down the days;
I fled Him, down the arches of the years;
I fled Him, down the labyrinthine ways
Of my own mind; and in the mist of tears
I hid from Him, and under running laughter.

Up vistaed hopes I sped;
And shot, precipitated,

Adown Titanic glooms of chasmèd fears,
From those strong Feet that followed, followed after.

But with unhurrying chase,
And unperturbèd pace,

Deliberate speed, majestic instancy,

They beat -- and a voice beat
More instant than the Feet --

"All things betray thee, who betrayest Me."

I pleaded, outlaw-wise,

By many a hearted casement, curtained red,
Trellised with intertwining charities;
(For, though I knew His love Who followèd,

Yet was I sore adread

Lest, having Him, I must have naught beside.)

But, if one little casement parted wide,
The gust of his approach would clash it to :
Fear wist not to evade, as Love wist to pursue.
Across the margent of the world I fled,
And troubled the gold gateways of the stars,
Smiting for shelter on their clangèd bars ;

Fretted to dulcet jars

And silvern chatter the pale ports o' the moon.
I said to Dawn : Be sudden -- to Eve : Be soon ;
With thy young skiey blossoms heap me over

From this tremendous Lover--

Float thy vague veil about me, lest He see !
I tempted all His servitors, but to find
My own betrayal in their constancy,
In faith to Him their fickleness to me,
Their traitorous trueness, and their loyal deceit.
To all swift things for swiftness did I sue ;
Clung to the whistling mane of every wind.

But whether they swept, smoothly fleet,
The long savannahs of the blue ;

Or whether, Thunder-driven,

They clanged his chariot 'thwart a heaven,

Plashy with flying lightnings round the spurn o' their feet :--
Fear wist not to evade as Love wist to pursue.

Still with unhurrying chase,
And unperturbèd pace,

Deliberate speed, majestic instancy,

Came on the following Feet,
And a Voice above their beat--

"Naught shelters thee, who wilt not shelter Me."

(to be continued)