Sunday, September 30, 2007
Wednesday, September 26, 2007
Saturday, September 22, 2007
A friend sent me a copy of Our Lady of the Lost and Found: A Novel of Mary, Faith, and Friendship, with a note saying she thought I "might like it."
Good guess, Denise; I loved it.
I found the premise imaginative and intriguing--walking into your living room and finding a very modern-day Blessed Mother standing there, rolling luggage in tow. Author Diane Schoemperlen first draws the reader into the narrator's quiet, solitary life through the small, mundane details of everday existence. Then, after Mary's arrival for a week's visit, the two women explore questions of faith and philosophy alongside such basic chores as doing laundry, cooking, and housecleaning.
Schoemperlen does a stellar job of interweaving the simple practicalities of life with profound and timeless mysteries, often with a deft hint of humor. I could easily relate to her narrator, both as a writer and as a woman living alone with her private assortment of doubts and regrets.Books that educate and make me think while absorbing and entertaining me always earn a special slot on my personal all-time bestseller list. Within the first few chapters, Our Lady of the Lost and Found jumped into the top tier. Which is, after all, where the Blessed Mother belongs.
Tuesday, September 18, 2007
Sunday, September 16, 2007
I've doggedly avoided any mention of next year's political race, since I'm already weary of the saturation of coverage. But as to the question of how I'll cast my vote, at this point, I don't know. As I address my criteria for a Commander-in-Chief, in view of current events, I must answer with negatives:
- I won't vote for anyone who, by word or deed, demoralizes our troops.
- I won't vote for anyone who, by word or deed, encourages our enemies.
- I won't vote for anyone who calls the commanding general of our armed forces a liar--no matter how elegantly the accusation is phrased.
- I won't vote for anyone whose agenda is angling for a U.S. defeat.
- I won't vote for anyone who disparages good news from our field of battle.
- I won't vote for anyone who rejoices in bad news from the same.
I'm not on fire about any of the current crop of potential candidates. In my opinion, they all have issues that will hamper their efforts to win. It remains to be seen whose name will be next to my ink-filled circle come November 2008. But already, I know whose names I've eliminated from my private ballot.
Tuesday, September 11, 2007
Monday, September 10, 2007
Hugh Hewitt's blog has full coverage, and it isn't pretty. MoveOn.org dubbed the General "Betray us" in a splashy New York Times ad--so very fourth grade. The ad also asserted that the General is "cooking the books for the White House." Now there's freedom of speech in action, all right.
Code Pink comported itself with its customary grace and courtesy during the General's report. There were the usual assortment of stupid questions from Congress, but none surpassed Rep. Loretta Sanchez's inane questions about a poll in Iraq. Not only did she articulate like a bit player out of "Legally Blonde," she interrupted Ambassador Crocker's attempt to answer several times and coyly accused Gen. Petraeus of being a liar.
No wonder Al Qaeda thinks we're lightweights. Our elected leaders are publicly rude and insulting to both our military commander and ambassador and then get to wave, smile, and be interviewed on cable TV afterward.
The sum total of today's political circus is, as my mother would say, "a horrification."
Battle lines are sharply drawn, and they're not in Iraq. The two sides to this war are right here at home. One side wants our troops to win and will support the sacrifices necessary to achieve that goal for our country's safety. The other side is completely invested in our defeat and humiliation in the Middle East and seemingly will stop at nothing to ensure that negative outcome.
I know which side is right, and it's not the left. It makes my blood run cold to acknowledge today's evidence, but the left is as devoted to our total loss as is Al Qaeda.
Sunday, September 09, 2007
~ Osama bin Laden, 2001
I've linked the full text of the translation of Osama bin Laden's most recent publicized message, via the BBC. In our pseudo-reality world of MSM soundbites, reading the whole message is the only way to understand what is being communicated.
It's particularly telling when OBL actually states that Al Qaeda does "not have anything to lose." No kidding. Living under the iron heel of Islamic fascism isn't much of a life.
He also tells us that "Operations are under preparation, and you will see them on your own ground once they are finished, God willing." Further on, we learn that he will "seek revenge forever."
Very conciliatory. Let's recap: we're supposed to leave Iraq, come home meekly, and wait for the promised Islamic hell to once again be unleashed upon our country? I suppose, with the way Congress has been behaving, OBL does have grounds to suspect us of actually being that stupid.
The only thing giving bin Laden any power whatsoever is our dissenting political factions at home. If we would unite, as we did in the wake of September 11, 2001, we could shorten this war by decades. If you read between the lines of OBL's message, you can see empty bravado. He has been living in hiding for six years now, with no end in sight. There is no question that the U.S.A. is the stronger horse.
The true question is, will we ever get out of our own way and choose to pull ahead?
Wednesday, September 05, 2007
Servicemen and women are fighting, bleeding, and dying so that the sorry likes of Schumer can blast them from the comfort of his air-conditioned stage on the Senate floor. Politics is one thing; dissing our armed forces is quite another. While Schumer casually negates their hard effort and good work, the troops--with their very lives--ensure that he is free to continue slamming them. Nice deal for the oh-so-classy senator. Not much reward for our troops (who don't ask for much to begin with), but they're too busy kicking Al Qaeda's butt to be able to respond to such nonsense.
In honor of our military men and women in the Middle East, I've signed the "Stand by the Mission" petition at Victory Caucus and sincerely hope you will consider doing the same. It's especially important for everyday Americans to stand by our troops now. The Senate certainly seems otherwise occupied lately.
Sunday, September 02, 2007
Considering that I remember the details of our wedding day as though it happened last week, that is a mind-boggling stretch of time. By the time I was the current age of my son, who is my younger child, I had had both of my children. In the all-encompassing activity of raising a family and earning a living, the decades evaporated with startling speed. As Wordsworth put it so well,
The world is too much with us; late and soon,
Getting and spending, we lay waste our powers
Time is now inching towards the two-year mark since Pete’s death. I’ve learned to do many things on my own that I used to rely solely upon him to do. I know the schedule for curbside recycling pickup. I can mow the yard, find tools in the garage, fix a broken gate latch. I schedule appliance repairs, drive round-trip hundreds of miles, and affix the new DMV registration to my license plate. Although these may seem like trifling tasks, they are everyday things I have never done before. In doing them, there is a certain sense of progress in surmounting life’s inevitable sorrows. In this fact, there is something strangely comforting.
One thing I have not mastered is missing Pete’s counsel in my day-to-day life issues. He could neutralize my angst as no other person on the planet, excepting perhaps my long-gone father. I can usually figure out what Pete would have said to me in any given problematic situation. Imaginary conversations that I hold with him are better than none, but they are far from the reality of actually unloading my troubles to him and hearing his insightful responses.
Just a few days before he died, Pete told me with calm certitude, “You’ll be okay. You can take care of anything.” That remains to be seen. But, thus far, it is true that I am managing my life alone.
Yet I know I will always mourn the loss of my best friend, wisest advisor, and most loyal supporter. In this fact, too, there is something strangely comforting.