One day when I was driving my two daughters home from their Catholic school, they brought a problem to my attention. They were being teased about their shoes. Apparently everybody else in their classes was wearing Nikes and Adidas. Why did they have to wear shoes from Kmart and Walmart? Couldn’t they have those nicer, name brand shoes their classmates had?
My heart sank. How well I knew that in a school where uniforms are required the only status symbol a student can wear is something beyond the uniform. In an effort to quell such snobbery, in my old Catholic school we had been required to wear Oxford shoes so our footwear would be identical.
Yet even that had not been enough because girls could wear bows and ponytail holders in their hair. I remembered being teased for having just a rubber band for my ponytail instead of the incredibly popular bauble holders. Oh, how I desired to have those pretty bauble holders! Each had two colored plastic balls so you could choose what color you wanted that day.
Desperate to fit in with my classmates, I asked my mother to buy some. Well, she was not going to spend good money on a triviality like that! The rubber band that came with the newspaper was good enough for me. In fact, the rubber band that came with the newspaper was so good enough for me that it, along with a few strands of hair, was daily yanked out of my ponytail to be used again. Continue reading
One thing small children have trouble understanding is relative size. For example, my older daughter, when a toddler, always insisted I take her out of the bathtub before pulling the plug. She was terrified that she, like the water, would go down the drain.
I showed her one of her bath toys and asked her if it was bigger or smaller than she was. She admitted it was smaller. So I demonstrated for her that the toy could not go down the drain—even if I tried to squeeze it in there, it wasn’t going to disappear down the hole and be forever lost.
My pleas were to no avail. She just couldn’t grasp the concept and continued to insist on being removed from the tub before the plug.
Amazingly, I remember have trouble with this concept myself. Continue reading
When our first child was born, my husband wanted me to make a video for an aunt he was especially close to. This involved several hours of work since I had to edit out everything the aunt wouldn’t be interested in, like footage of my family. We shot a special introduction to the video in which we said we hoped she would enjoy seeing our new baby. We put her address and our return address label onto a bubble mailer and dropped it off at the post office.
So imagine my surprise when about a week later my mother-in-law informed me that the aunt had phoned to thank her for the wonderful video. Continue reading
My dad and his brother owned a small plumbing business.
That sort of occupation doesn’t place you very high on the social register. Plumbers are usually looked down upon, most likely because they work with things like toilets.
When I was a child, I knew my father’s job wasn’t going to gain me any points with my friends. Even worse, one day my dad and uncle showed up during lunchtime on our school playground. Both of them filthy and sweaty, they were there to fix the drinking fountain.
I can’t begin to tell you how embarrassed I was. I hoped nobody in my class knew who they were. And I especially hoped my dad wouldn’t do something—like say “hello”—which was bound to diminish my already low standing with my classmates. Continue reading
Some time back I had an internet discussion with another Christian over the topic of contraception. I can’t remember if the person I was discussing this with was Catholic or not. At any rate, she seemed to think contraception was just fine.
During our exchange, I gave her a syllogism:
God designed human biology.
God does not err.
Therefore, God did not err when He designed human biology.
She could see where the argument was headed: if God did not err when He designed human biology, it is correctly designed. So who, then, are we to alter a divine design? She had already agreed with the first premise. My syllogism didn’t have any fallacies in logic, at least not any that I could see. I thought the argument was pretty much a slam-dunk for someone who was, at least, Christian.
To my utter shock, she denied the second premise. Continue reading
Jean-Paul Sartre supposedly once said “Hell is other people.” I have to admit sometimes I want to agree.
Ever knock yourself out working with great precision on something only to have someone else step in and ruin everything? Take, for example, the bookcase my daughters had when they were young. It was a small one my husband had found at a thrift store. That was all well and good. The problem, however, was that his father dealt in used books, and grandpa was so generous that our kids were oversupplied. Keeping their room tidy was an impossibility.
One day I decided they were finally going to have a neat room. To that end I culled the books they had outgrown. Even after eliminating about two-thirds of their tomes, getting all the ones left into such a small case wasn’t easy, but I managed to cram a lot onto each shelf. My fingers actually throbbed with pain from holding open tiny slots to squeeze them in, but I was determined that their room would look nice. At the end of it, I sat back on my heels and sighed with contentment.
I had one second of bliss. I want you to know that. I did have one cherished, ecstatic second of accomplishment. Continue reading
When I was a child, I wanted to be in Girl Scouts. In fact, I was desperate to be in Girl Scouts. Because I was bullied by some of the other girls at school, I wanted to get into a group where I wasn’t known, where perhaps I could actually make some friends.
My mother, however, would not hear of it. If I was going to join anything, it would the Junior Catholic Daughters. In fact, she insisted that I join. Oh goody. Not only was I in class with my tormentors, I got to be in a club with them too.
And my mom insisted I also spend a week at camp with three of the girls who hated me.
As you can imagine, that did not go so well. Continue reading
Due to popular demand, my novel Nearer the Dawn is now available in paperback. Top Rated on catholicfiction.net.
About the book:
What if you had everything the world could offer yet were still dissatisfied? Frank Devore has it all: international fame and a billion dollar fortune. None of it, however, can save his fatally ill daughter, Audrey. But when Audrey is astonishingly cured through the simple touch of a mysterious young woman, Frank searches for answers–and is enmeshed in a battle between an angel and a demon in which the lives of thousands are threatened.
Also on Amazon Kindle for just 99¢.
Sometimes this Commandment is a tricky one. I’ve seen people lie online about the Catholic Church but claim it’s okay because the prohibition is only for bearing false witness against their neighbors and Catholics, being members of the Whore of Babylon, are not their neighbors.
That’s a sleight of hand I don’t think will work come Judgment Day.
At the other extreme are those who think any untruth is a sin. But if that’s the case, you would be sinning when you miscalculate on a math test. And what if you say something you think is true but then it turns out not to be? What if, for example, I tell someone my husband is in the kitchen but, unbeknownst to me, he’s gone into the garage? I don’t think we’d call that a sin either.
When it comes to this Commandment and the subject of lying, often scenarios are put forth like Nazis coming to the door and inquiring about Jews hiding in the attic.
That’s the sort of hypothetical question theologians love to bandy back and forth. Having to tell an untruth to save a life almost never comes up in real day-to-day living. Any Jew-seeking Nazis ring your doorbell lately?
Except it happened to me. I actually found myself in such a pickle. Continue reading
Even though I live in southern California, my family went to see the Tournament of Roses Parade only once. Battling traffic and hunting for the ever elusive parking space made it more worth our time to watch it on television.
One year, back when I was quite young, my older sister and I viewed the parade, in glorious black and white, with all its brass bands and spectacular floats. I imagined myself as the Rose Queen, waving to hordes of cheering spectators.
At the end of the parade, Sis came up with a brilliant idea. We would build a float!
We got the wagon out of the garage. Now all we needed were some rose petals.
And there, lining the chain link fence along the driveway, were my mother’s prize roses. Continue reading