Thursday, November 30, 2006

Now available, "Turbocharge your Faith - Pray the Divine Office" bumper stickers! Leave a comment with your email address and I will contact you with ordering information. I can customize the colors to coordinate or contrast with the color of your vehicle because I print them as I need them. Yes, it may be silly, but a little silliness sometimes leads to great holiness - and could possible lead someone to the Faith (that they could then proceed to get the idea). Part of my ongoing effort to follow the lead of the Holy Spirit in 'renewing the face of the earth.'

Don't forget to pray for at least two priests today!

Pax et Bonum!
Updates: small crab molted successfully; I think medium crab is taking his turn now ;-)

Posts will be sporadic for a while - work overwhelming, kids in sports, yada yada.

'Pawel' commented that he likes the "Turbocharge your Faith" thing. Yes, you may use it, just be sure you tell people where you read it 0:-)

I am trying very hard to remain humble now that I know there are at least 3 people reading this...

Pax et bonum!

Sunday, November 26, 2006

Here is the prayer before Communion as recited in the NO:

Lord, I am not worthy to receive you, but only say the word and my soul shall be healed.

Which, on the face of it, isn't bad - if you're serious about it and really mean the words you're praying.

Here, in comparison, is the Prayer before Communion used in the ER:
O Lord, I believe and profess that You are truly Christ, the Son of the living God, Who came into the world to save sinners, of whom I am the first. Accept me as a partaker of Your mystical supper, O Son of God; for I will not reveal Your mystery to your enemies, nor will I give You a kiss as did Judas, but like the thief I confess to You:

+Remember me, O Lord, when You shall come into Your kingdon.

+Remember me, O Master, when You shall come into Your kingdom.

+Remember me, O Holy One, when You shall come into Your kingdom.

May the partaking of Your Holy Mysteries, O Lord, be not for my judgment or condemnation, but for the healing of soul and body.
O Lord, I also believe and profess that this, which I am about to receive, is truly Your most precious Body and Your life-giving Blood, which, I pray, make me worthy to receive for the remission of all my sins and for life everlasting. Amen.

+O God, be merciful to me, a sinner.

+O God, cleanse me of my sins and have mercy on me.

+O Lord, forgive me, for I have sinned without number.

Following this, the priest then says to the people: "Approach with fear of God and with faith." And the rubrics in the pew book then state - "Those of the faithful who wish to receive Communion come forward. Meanwhile, the people sing the following response:" Blessed is He Who comes in the name of the Lord; God the Lord has revealed Himself to us.

The crowning virtue, as we have been taught (I hope) is that of humility. Praying this prayer before going to Communion, on a regular basis, with a conscious effort to mean what you say, is bound to produce some humility. There isn't a sentence in the ER prayer that presumes anything about God. It does, however, admit much about us as humans - that we are small and unworthy that such love was given to us in the form of Jesus, the Incarnate Word. That we are always and ever in desperate need of a Good Shepherd. That we are ever conscious of our failings, and while we wish God to recognize our efforts, we still admit to Him that OUR EFFORTS, IN AND OF THEMSELVES, ARE NEVER GOING TO BE ENOUGH. We can't do it alone.

We need God. We need Jesus, His Son. We need the Holy Spirit, Mary Ever-Virgin, and all the saints.

The following was sent to me by ByzCat, who gets the Latin Mass magazine (I don't, yet) after we discussed this very thing after DL this morning -
Quoted from "Posturing or Imposturing?" by John Blewett in the Fall 2006 Latin Mass: "I was reminded of 2 of the most beautiful prayers I have ever prayed - found in the old Mass but nowhere in the Novus Ordo...The second is the Prayer for the Life-giving Bread, the final of the 3 prayers for Communion said in the ancient Mass... 'Let not the partaking of Thy Body, O Lord Jesus Christ, which I, though unworthy, make bold to receive, turn to my judgment & condemnation; but by reason of Thy loving-kindness, may it be to me a safeguard of both soul & body, & an effective remedy. Who livest & reignest with God the Father in the union of the Holy Ghost, God, world without end. Amen' "

So that sense of being unworthy but humbly making an effort was present in the Tridentine Mass, but somehow it got lost in (hiss) 'the spirit of Vatican II'.

It's very sad. Pray for at least one priest today - or perhaps we should all pray for at least two priests every day - one good, holy, orthodox, faithful, joyful-in-his-vows priest, and one who could use a good kick in the cassock from the Holy Spirit.

(Want Holy Spirit goosebumps? Learn to chant the Salve Regina if you don't already know it, then go to a church with a Mary chapel and sing it to her).

Turbocharge your Faith - Pray the Divine Office!
Pax et Bonum!

Thanks to dear younger son and his attentiveness at Divine Liturgy this morning, we have these amazing statistics to offer:

The number of times a worshipper makes the sign of the Cross during Divine Liturgy: 42 (yes, folks, that's forty-two)

The number of times this is generally done in the LR (at the Novus Ordo, from now on abbreviated NO - hat-tip to ByzCat ;-) ): 2 (could be three if the Confiteor is used as the Penitential Rite)

The number of times the Holy Father is mentioned and prayed for during DL: 4

The number of times the Holy Father was mentioned at the most recent occasion we assisted at the NO: none - zip - zilch - nada - null - ZERO.

I am off to a meeting/prayer group so I will postpone until (hopefully) this evening the comparison and contrast of the Prayer(s) before Communion of the NO and the DL.

Pax et bonum!

Saturday, November 25, 2006

I actually think I might be able to finish the Great Moravian Sugar Cake Project in time to take them to Divine Liturgy on Christmas Eve!

46 families in the parish, 12 portions wrapped and in the freezer, 34 to go!
As soon as I purchase film for my camera, I will post a picture of my daughter's hermit crabs. They really are amazing and fun little creatures (more proof - along with the duck-billed platypus - that God DOES have a sense of humor). God is also really practical, as well; hermit crabs put to use all those empty snail-type seashells that otherwise would just lie around on the beach and get crushed by the waves. Instead He makes hermit crabs, and also makes them able to survive and be happy (I think) in captivity, so families like ours, where we are all allergic to cats and haven't convinced the allergist that we AREN'T allergic to dogs, can have pets.

Before I tell you the hermie news I should say that we have three crabs: one large, one medium and one small. They really like trashing their crabitat at night while we humans are sleeping - sometimes I go in and look at them with the flashlight before I go to sleep and watch them crawling around in the dimness. Anyway, hermie news - small crab has molted! We lost track of him/her a few days ago, and I found it buried under the sand at one end of the crabitat. We were giving them their weekly bath (that's really a hoot - they love it!). This afternoon dear daughter came downstairs and told me she had found small crab, and wanted me to come see. There it was, unburied once more. I gently picked it up and inside the shell is a newly molted crab (they are sort of rose-colored instead of purple). Amazing!

Funny, but it seems the more I have to do, the more I am able to get done (most of the time).

I actually started my Christmas baking today (yes, I know it's not even the first Sunday of Advent yet, but I have set myself a BIG project and in order for it all to come off without a hitch, I have to start on it now. I plan to bake enough Moravian Sugar Cake to give some to every family in my parish. Here's the recipe:

1 or 2 russet burbank baking potatoes
1 package yeast
1 cup white sugar
3/4 cup butter
1 teaspoon salt
2 eggs
4 cups all-purpose flour

Topping: brown sugar, cinnamon, butter, evaporated milk

Peel, wash and dice the potatoes; cook them in enough water to cover until very tender. Drain and mash with a ricer or fork. Measure out 1 cup of the hot mashed potatoes and add to the butter, sugar and salt.
Dissolve the yeast in 1/2 cup lukewarm water, proof for a few minutes to make sure it is alive, then add to the butter-potato mixture. Set aside for about 1/2 hour until foamy.
Add the eggs, beaten, and the flour to form a soft dough. Cover the bowl with a kichen towel and let rise for about 5 hours or until double.
Punch down and pat into a jelly-roll pan. Let rise again until light. Poke dents in the dough with your thumb or the handle of a wooden spoon; place a tiny dot of butter in each dent. Mix together brown sugar and cinnamon and sprinkle over top.
Bake at 375 degrees for about 20-25 minutes. After about 15 minutes, sprinkle some evaporated milk over the top to make soft, not crusty.

This is a recipe I grew up eating every Christmas morning and most Easters. The Moravians came from what is now the Czech Republic - they settled in America during the 1800s to escape religious persecution (they are a Protestant denomination founded by Jan Hus in 1457). Although I guess this is technically a Protestant recipe, it is part of my Christmas heritage - and it's double a part of it now that I've begun the journey to the Byzantine Rite: the Church Slavonic language was originally the language spoken by the people of Great Moravia in the Slav lands.

I should also add that this can be doubled, but you need to use 3 pkg of yeast if you double everything else. Also it will not turn out properly if you substitute anything (like spread for butter, or instant mashed potatoes instead of making the effort to cook and mash fresh ones). Apologies to anyone whose diet prevents them from enjoying this.

Friday, November 24, 2006

After making that remark about green beans from my garden I thought I'd post a picture. This was taken about the 20th or so of July. The pole beans are on the far right, tomatoes in the center, and corn on the left. We had beans until late September, and we had corn enough for 5 meals. I do not even want to think about how many tomatoes....I gave oodles away and still had them coming out my ears! And as an added bonus, the window just right of center of the photo is where I sit to blog!
"Bless us, O Lord, and these, Thy gifts, which we are about to receive from Thy bounty. Through Christ, Our Lord, Amen."
I don't know about you, but I thoroughly and unregrettingly overate yesterday. The menu? Butterball turkey (no more store brand, this was the best, most delicious turkey I've ever roasted!), stuffing - which I don't put in the bird, but I grew up calling it stuffing anyway, green beans that I froze from my garden this year - next year's goal is to freeze enough for Thanksgiving AND Christmas, both kinds of cranberry sauce, rolls, and a yummy new dish, mashed root vegetables (hey Byzcat, when you read this, post the recipe or a link where people can find it, OK?). Oh yes, and pumpkin pie AND apple streusel pie. Why did Ocean Spray change the can of cranberry sauce so you can't open both ends and push it out onto the cranberry sauce dish? My mom, though, jiggled it and stuck a wet knife down the side of the can and slid it out with only one little gouge in it. Yay mom! Back to the root veggies - be forewarned, rutabagas are VERY HARD!!! However, the end result is well worth the effort and aggravation to carpal tunnel syndrome that results from peeling and chopping all those vegetables (carrots, parsnips, turnips and rutabaga).

Enough of that - I was going to ramble on about the True Presence.

There are priests who actually go out of their way to discourage people from kneeling at Mass, both at the Consecration and after Communion. It has come to my attention that one such priest opines that those who do assume such a posture are 'holier-than-thou'. So...what exactly is it that happens at the Consecration? The bread and wine are changed from mere bread and wine into - the Most Precious Body and Life-Giving Blood of our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ! If we weren't all so worried about what 'everyone else' would think, I imagine we would, if space were available, fall flat on our faces in adoration, and then CRAWL to Communion. I discussed this disturbing trend with my mom, who, BTW, is not is a rough synopsis of her take on the situation - of course one kneels if one believes that Jesus is truly present in the Sacrament; but even if one only believes that the bread and wine REPRESENT Jesus, kneeling is an appropriate posture. Standing implies equality and surely none of us are so sure of our sanctity as to express that we are equals with Christ. Who does that priest think he is, anyway, and what's he trying to do?
It's very sad. Almost as sad as running into people who, when I tell them I'm now at an ER parish, they want to know why I've left the Church - oh, the height of pride, to think that the LR is all there is! And how starved would I be, along with my children, were there not the ER in which to take refuge from the hodgepodge that is the LR in these parts.
Coming in the near future, as soon as I remember to borrow a pew book from my parish: a comparison of the "Lord, I am not worthy" of the LR with the ER equivalent (and as you will see, equivalent in this instance only means 'in the same place in the liturgy'!).

Wednesday, November 22, 2006

Something that has kept coming into my mind is the subject of liturgical music....there is a great deal of really bad stuff out there, which I will discuss in more detail later (maybe even in this post, but I never know when I'm going to have to quit and go do something else more important, like feed children or earn money).
There isn't any such thing as bad liturgical music in the Eastern Rite (hereinafter abbreviated as ER). It's all chant, and there aren't any musical instruments - just the congregation and priest lifting their voices to God in an 'unending hymn of praise'. I don't know that much about it yet, being a new ER Catholic, but it gives me personally a much bigger sense of being united with (a) other worshipping ERs all over the world, and (b) the choirs of angels who surround the Throne of the Lamb, crying "Holy, Holy, Holy" unceasingly. Really - it's a pretty awesome thing to realize that no matter where the ER Church is located, and in what language the chant is being done, the words are the same and so is the tune. I guess if one's parish has an untalented cantor then it could be distracting, but I've seen on the internet that there are cantor institutes to which one can apply, in order to learn the eight tones etc. And I'd have to assume that once one showed up and demonstrated that one couldn't carry any sort of a tune in a bushel basket, the instructor would hopefully try, in all charity, to steer one towards some other ministry than that of cantor.
Now, in the LR, it's a totally different story. And to think that there is NOTHING in the documents of Vatican II that says "all liturgical music is to be from now on focused only on the community and on the community's concept of God....liturgical music cannot use the masculine pronoun to refer to any of the Persons of the Holy Trinity, lest we offend those of the feminine gender....there are to be no more hymns written that acknowledge our unworthiness and sinfulness and at the same time our inexpressible gratitude to Him Who gifts us with the graces to overcome our faults, if we will but confess them and resolve to amend our lives....etc. etc. Case in point: "Gather Us In" (I won't reprint the lyrics here, you can Google the title if you must know). And: "Now in This Banquet," "City of God." Whatever happened to "Holy God, We Praise Thy Name"? Now, I have to admit that some of these would be ok to be used at a praise festival, or a youth rally (but there are some of them that are either doctrinally ambiguous or just plain wrong), but at Mass? Oh well, what can one say? I read somewhere that only about 36% of people who profess to be Catholic actually believe that Jesus is truly present after the words of Consecration. With figures like that, is it any wonder that there is bad music, kids eating their breakfast in the pew and then receiving the Eucharist, adults reading the newspaper in the pew during the homily (no, I am NOT kidding - I actually saw this happen right in front of me at a LR parish this past summer), no vocations (except to the 'traditionalist' seminaries).
Note to self: post on True Presence!
Here's looking at you! Don't I look fabulous? This was taken at a pool party in August 2005 - but the only thing that's changed is that I've gotten new glasses (and I'm a year older, duh).

Here it is, the day before Thanksgiving and I'm playing around on the internet....I do have much to be thankful for, though. I'm REALLY thankful to have found a new parish - that's why this blog is titled Eastward, Catholic Soldiers! We are, after all, soldiers in the Church Militant - and it's ever so much easier to serve in the Army of the Lord when your company commander (i.e. parish priest) is devoted to the cause and your fellow soldiers are as dedicated as you ought to be about eventually earning the Ultimate Honorable Discharge. My former unit wasn't like that hardly at all....I really did try to stay as long as I could, but it got SO depressing, seeing priests come and go, and efforts at increasing devotion to Our Lord and the saints get pushed further and further into the background until finally there really wasn't much left except a 'community' of mostly-wealthy people who were, I guess, too attached to each other to root out the scandal and restore the Truth. It was very sad. So, after much prayer, friends introduced me to the Eastern Church (coming soon - the number of times Byzantine Catholics pray for the Pope during Divine Liturgy)! Wow! Talk about Heaven on Earth! If that's what it's like in Heaven, I sure don't think I'll ever get tired of singing Holy, Holy, Holy from now until ages of ages, AMEN!

Monday, November 20, 2006

Hee hee! I have (I think) figured out how to put up links and all that, plus I have now downloaded some sort of software that supposedly will make it REALLY easy to put picures on this-here blog!

Because I know the 2 or 3 people who are reading this have never seen my: house, garden, a watermelon I grew! Oh yes, and the hermit crabs. I think the tiny one is molting - I hope I don't kill it like I did the last one that molted - you can't bother them and I did. Mea culpa, mea culpa, mea maxima culpa....

More later, have to go take an allergy pill....

Sunday, November 19, 2006

There are so many things on which to rant! Sometimes it's so hard to decide, that I just don't do anything. Yesterday evening, for instance, instead of posting something here, I decided to become a little better informed about what's going on with the gay-rights agenda (an issue that really pushes my buttons). It is entirely within the realm of the possible that in my lifetime it will become dangerous, if not illegal, to proclaim faith in Jesus Christ, and to call homosexual acts mortally sinful (I think the term the CCC uses is 'gravely disordered'), as well as being outspoken about the sanctity of all human life, to actively advocate that marriage be once and for all defined as between a man and a woman. I'm really beginning to have the creepy-crawlies over the word 'tolerance' and the mention of the term 'diversity' sets my teeth on edge. I mean, we are supposed to be 'tolerant' and 'respectful' of those persons, or groups of persons, who continually go on and on about how hedonism is the way to go, there is no objective morality, the only ethics are situational ones, and so on ad infinitum et nauseam, and if we aren't, and stick to our moral guns, we are guilty of discrimination, 'hate' crimes, etc. And yet when the liberals blast those of us who defend traditional values and morals, the usual response is 'well, they ought not to be imposing their views on others in the first place.' It is almost beyond my powers of comprehension.

On Friday, we went with the local Catholic homeschoolers' group to Shinnston, WV to visit Jesus in the Blessed Sacrament at the Bl. Margaret of Castello Perpetual Adoration Chapel there. Now, this town is TINY. And it is relatively POOR, even for West Virginia. And West Virginia doesn't have a tremendous number of Catholics to begin with. But the people of St. Ann's parish made this happen. And it is BEAUTIFUL! It's the closest you'll ever get to sitting in the lap of Our Lord while you're alive. Think about a tiny, mountain-surrounded coal town in North Central West Virginia, you can go 24/7/365 and sit, just like Mary did (you remember her, Martha and Lazarus' sister, who was meditating on Our Lord's words while Martha was trying to find enough plates and cups to go around, all the while not letting the rice scorch), at the feet of Jesus and talk to Him (and He will talk to you, too, if you listen). About ANYTHING! He doesn't care if you have fancy words, or lofty theological language, or any words at all. He just wants you to come. And if you want, you can take paper and pen and listen, and write what He puts in your heart.

Hopefully this blog will start looking a little better - I think I have figured out how to fancy it up a little. Until next time, pax et bonum!

Wednesday, November 15, 2006

Would you believe it's 4:30 a.m. and I've already cleaned up the kitchen (from a mad pizza feast last night), swept the floor, and made a fresh pot of coffee, one cup of which I am enjoying as I type.
Recently I made the decision (for reasons which I may, or may not, explain later) to begin homeschooling my children. Having decided that they will continue to attend public school until the next holiday, I took the opportunity to order manuscript paper, maps, workbooks, and textbooks from several different places. All of which has been arriving on my doorstep lately, the last box coming yesterday afternoon. the dining room has been subjected to some minor rearranging, I added a new set of shelves on which to keep the books, all the little things I imagine teachers must do before students arrive for the new term....and do you know my kids, who are SO observant that they know if I've had a piece of their Halloween candy IN THE MIDDLE OF THE NIGHT, only noticed yesterday, and that was only to say 'oh, cool, we have school books here now so when we go camping we can have school.' Now, I have no idea where that came from, because we are not in the habit of camping during the normal school year, and when we do go, the general program of activity is Pray, Eat, Play, Play, Pray, Eat, Play, Play, Play a bit more, Eat, Eat, Pray, Sleep!
My daughter has hermit crabs that she loves very much. One of them is smaller than the other two - it is about the size of a big marble ( a shooter), while the other two are nearly the size of apricots. Anyway, we lost track of the small one for a while....last night when I picked up one of the water dishes in the crabitat to refill it, there was small crab, happily sitting in a lovely hole he/she had dug underneath the dish. In case it might be molting we didn't disturb it, but she and I are both comforted to know that it's not dead (I don't like conducting funeral services for animals). The larger of the other two has had some adventures...twice it has been left out of the crabitat (accidentally on purpose, I'm sure) and once it made it all the way into the upstairs bathroom, then on another occasion we found it in my daughter's closet under a sock. the other one is not very sociable....I think if you left it out it would just sit in the middle of the floor like a lump and await rescue.
I read in this morning's Office of Readings from an early Christian homily...the priest (no author's name survived, so I can't attribute it, but it's from Wednesday of the 32nd week in Ordinary Time, the second reading - the first reading being the passage from Daniel about the writing on the wall) is talking about how being in pursuit of pleasures in this world, while ignoring the world to come, not only has bad consequences for the individual, but drags everyone around down with him. It would be nice if everyone realized that....also it would be nice if the world realized that freedom isn't really the freedom to do as you wish, it's the freedom to do as you OUGHT. So many people today are castigated and persecuted because of doing what they Ought To Do, but because that necessarily involves Admonishing the Sinner, Instructing the Ignorant, and/or Counseling the Doubtful (Spiritual Works of Mercy), they are perceived as being intolerant and divisive. Well, duh! Read the Bible! God (all Three Divine Persons) is intolerant - of sin, of disobedience, of lack of charity, of presumption on His Mercy. And He tells us more than once that we are to pattern our lives after His earthly one. So, having written that, I shall now go and begin another day of serving Him by serving others. Glory to Jesus Christ! Glory forever!

Saturday, November 11, 2006

Last night my two boys and I ran some errands after delivering The Obnoxious Bridal Gown to the store for whom I do contract work (more on that later, perhaps), and stopped at the grocery store to get something quick to fix for dinner, as all I had fish-wise at home was frozen tilapia and bay scallops, and I didn't really feel like starting a big dinner at 7 in the we ended up in the frozen food aisle and the boys got mac and cheese dinners; I got some veggie eggrolls and stuffed wontons - as we were pushing the cart back up the aisle on the way to the checkout, around the corner comes a family from Our Previous Parish (herinafter abbreviated as OPP) - one of the kids had been in (bad) CCD with my older son, and the mother and I had been both on the hospitality ministry and had worked the bake sale at the annual fish it isn't like they didn't know us. Anyway, we get this barely visible smile, no words, just an expression like the Mona Lisa (where you aren't wuite sure if the person is really smiling or just wants you to think that so you can say later, oh I saw so-and-so at the store, blah blah). Well, that was fine - since we have NOT been at Mass in OPP for close to 4 months now, and as yet NOBODY has asked me where have we been (all the more weird since I have been going to the RCIA as a mentor/discussion helper person).
So we are in the checkout line, and I am thinking I should know the people in front of us when the woman turns around and smiles this BIG HUGE SMILE and says "Hello! How are you all?" and her husband greets the boys, congratulating my older son on his being invested as an altar boy - this couple is from Our New Parish (ONP). Anyway we had a nice little visit in the checkout line, and her parting words to me were 'see you on Sunday!'
I'm really trying to see the hand of God in all things, and I believe that this was one of those 'signal graces' that you get to confirm (or deny) sometimes that you are on the right track as far as being in the Will of God. And as an added advantage, we don't have to sing any more silly hymns.
It isn't that I don't like contemporary music, it's just that a lot of the things we used to sing at OPP were more in praise of us rather than in praise of God, who in His all-knowing Goodness brought us to the TRUTH (which has been diluted in some places till it is nearly unrecognizable).
On EWTN if you watch the daily Mass (Sundays too) there will be two MFVA brothers who, when the congregation kneels for the consecration, PROSTRATE themselves before the altar (which is what we ought to be doing, in our hearts if not in reality).

Wednesday, November 08, 2006

Yesterday was Election Day. If you don't like the winners, and you didn't vote, you can't complain!
I should say right now that this is NOT going to be some organized, erudite series of posts that people all over the world are going to clog the internet trying to read. Sometimes it will be funny. Sometimes it will be sad. Maybe it will make you angry. I just want to set down how I think and feel about things, some big, some little.
I had reasonably big plans this morning to write someting interesting (to me, anyway), but I find that I am now having to referee a skirmish between older son and daughter - he had a very skimpy dinner last night and asked for a snack this morning before school, so I let him have the last mini pepperoni roll. Which then daughter came downstairs, saw him eating it, and immediately cried FOUL because she didn't have one. So now she is having my last yogurt (so much for my plans to eat better - every time I get something at the store to have for lunch while they are at school, they find it and cry to have it and I am such a softy I let them.
Here comes younger son....oh, he is hungry too! I don't have children, I have stomachs with legs!
One day soon I will figure out how to put links to other important blogs and web pages on this blog....anyhow, I'm a Catholic nerd, and one way I know this is that I occasionally, when listening to the oldies radio station, think to myself, 'that would be hymn-ish if you only changed a word her and there' (and BTW, doing that would result in some better hymns to sing a the Novis Ordo than a lot of the dreck that's out there now! Coming soon, some suggestions along these lines....

Tuesday, November 07, 2006

Unbelievable. My daughter, who recently came home from 2nd grade with a failing grade in math, has now done FOUR pages of math out of a workbook I got at - get this - the dollar store! And my younger son, age 5, insisted on being given a page from her workbook and had not done too badly.
In other news, today was Election day. Did you vote? Did you vote pro-life?
Some of you may have read about the 'horizontal' worship of the Latin Rite Catholic church as opposed to the 'vertical' worship of the Eastern Rite churches. This was confusing to me until I actually began attending a Byzantine parish (of which I am now a member).
In the Latin Rite (from now on abbreviated as LR) most newer churches are constructed so that the pews, seats, benches, whatever are arranged in a semicircle (or sometimes completely circular) around the altar. This, of course, results in some worshippers facing, not the altar, but EACH OTHER. The priest, also, faces THE PEOPLE from behind the altar. So the atmosphere of the Mass is that of a community gathering, a fellowship, a happy get-together....
In the ER (which in itself is amusing as an abbreviation, since I ran as fast as I could go to the Eastern parish having become spiritually starved in the LR) the pews ALL face forward (and I understand that in some ER churches there aren't many pews, if any). And the priest leads the worshippers with his back to them, but facing the altar - so it is IMMEDIATELY very obvious that when he prays, he ain't talking to you, dear, he's talking to THE LORD GOD ALMIGHTY.