Demanding the Impossible

impossible for blog

I spent a miserable year in the eighth grade (see Capping it off, at the end of the term, was a little incident with my P.E. teacher.

She showed us her grade book, and the lowest in it was a C. There was only one C, and you can guess who was getting it.

What she didn’t know was that in my house, even a straight A report card wasn’t good enough. (“What? No A+? Not even one?”) Getting a C was akin to getting a Z minus, if there were such a grade.

I wanted to know why I was the one selected for this honor. She explained, “You didn’t make any baskets when we played basketball. Not even one!”

I could scarcely believe what I was hearing. “But,” I protested, “you made me a guard every time. I begged and begged you to make me a forward, but you never would. You wouldn’t let me make any baskets! And now you’re marking me down for not making any baskets when you wouldn’t allow me to make any?” Continue reading

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A Slippery Slope

slippery slope for blog

I’ve seen society skid all the way downhill from 1 to 7 in just my lifetime.


  1. We’ve vowed our lives to each other in marriage. Only now is it acceptable to have sex.
  2. We’re engaged to be married. Let’s have sex to see if we’re compatible in that department.
  3. It’s okay to have sex if you’re in love with each other.
  4. It’s okay to have sex if you’ve been dating each other exclusively for a while.
  5. It’s our third date, and everybody knows that means we should have sex.
  6. It’s our first date, and everybody knows that means we should have sex.
  7. We just met and don’t even know each other’s names. Let’s have sex.


When a baby is conceived, God reaches down from heaven and creates a new image of Himself. It’s a sad state of affairs (sorry, no pun intended) when one of the holiest acts in the world is reduced to mere recreation.

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How Evil Works

Evil Playing for blog

When I was a kid, I used to play board games with my siblings. I almost never won.

It wasn’t because I had no luck or skill. I simply was not allowed to win.  Continue reading

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Wasp for blog

Don’t you hate it when you see somebody, especially a friend, doing something that’s just plain harmful? And, no matter what you do, you can’t convince him he’s hurting himself?

Take, for example, a woman I know. While visiting her home, I couldn’t help but notice a huge wasps nest in the corner of her kitchen. This is one of those times when you gaze at something and think Am I really seeing that? because it’s so bizarre you just can’t believe it’s true.  Continue reading

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The Last Penny

Penny for blog

When I was a teen, like most girls, I babysat. It was a way to earn a little extra money. I say “a little extra money” because my mother would not allow me to charge more than 50¢ an hour (75¢ past midnight), regardless of the number of children. It was only about a fourth of what my friends earned, but because of my mother’s insistence I was just plain stuck with it.

As you can imagine, at that price I was in high demand but had to work plenty of hours to make much of anything. So when I was hired to watch some relatives of one of my mother’s friends, I jumped at the chance, even though it meant babysitting four young children.  Continue reading

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Contradiction for blog

Being born second can sometimes be a challenge. Up to that point, the firstborn has had Mommy and Daddy all to herself, and then here comes this usurper grabbing their attention. There’s bound to be a bit of animosity and good old-fashioned sibling rivalry.

Take, for example, the relationship between my older sister and myself. One day, when I was still quite young, she brought me the family dictionary and made a great deal of pointing out the fact that her name began with an “S” and my name began with a “K” (A.J. Avila is my pen name), and as anybody can see, there are more “S” words in the dictionary than “K” words.  Continue reading

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Car Trouble

Car Trouble for blog

One warm spring night my husband and I had the front door open but the security door locked. While watching television, we heard a knock on that door.

It was from a young woman with a baby. She was, she said, having trouble with a tire on her car. Could she please borrow a jack so she could fix it?

I admit my first instinct was that she might be lying, that perhaps this was a ruse to get us to open the security door for a home invasion. Here in San Bernardino we were still reeling a bit from the terrorist attacks in our city.  Continue reading

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Potatoes and Other Misconceptions

potatoes for blog

Little kids tend to think their parents are something like God.

It’s probably because parents know so much more than their children that the kids are astonished at the knowledge and wisdom they have. But, since adults are fallible people, that can create problems for their offspring.

Take, for example, a question I had for my mother one day when she was giving me a bath. I was fascinated by the reflection of the bathroom’s overhead light in the tub and how it undulated with the water’s ripples.

I wanted to know the word for this thing. Pointing at it, I asked, “What’s that?”

My mother, viewing the scene from a different angle, saw only bathwater. “There’s nothing there,” she said.

This confused me. I could see it and didn’t understand why she couldn’t. Finally, one day when we were in the living room, I asked, “Mommy, what are those funny things in the bathtub?”

“Oh,” she said. “Those are potatoes.”  Continue reading

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Spurned at Church

garbage for blog

When we go to Mass, we don’t necessarily expect the folks there to be warm and welcoming. After all, it’s human nature to occasionally be aloof. We’re weak, sinful people, and we don’t leave our foibles at the church door before coming inside.

But we do expect—have a right to expect—that the people we encounter there will at the very least be polite, especially during that one time in the service when we greet one another: the Sign of Peace.

So imagine my surprise when at one weekday Mass I put out my hand to shake that of the young lady in front of me and got snubbed.  Continue reading

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Musical Notes for blog

The Sixties and Seventies were great decades for music. Back then, we kids usually had cheap transistor radios so we could listen to our favorite songs and disc jockeys for just the price of a 9 volt battery.

Some songs, though, had lyrics I couldn’t abide. One was “Imagine” by John Lennon, especially the first line: “Imagine there’s no heaven.” When the three surviving former Beatles were putting together a newer song—I think it was “Free as a Bird”—one of them stated that he was certain John was looking down on them from heaven.

Unfortunately, John not only imagined there was no heaven but tried to get others to do so as well. What happens to someone like that during his particular judgment I honestly don’t know, but I hope Lennon is in heaven. Who would want otherwise?

Another song I couldn’t stand, though, was “Lightnin’ Strikes.” In the lyrics a young man tells his girlfriend to be faithful to him while he cheats on her. After all, he’s a guy, and she should know “the makings of a man” and that “nature’s takin’ over my one-track mind.” It’s “hard to settle down” even if she is “in my heart all the time” (which would mean she’s in his heart while he’s making love to someone else). He just plain can’t resist temptation—”I can’t stop myself” he claims.  She should therefore be understanding and wait until he’s finished sowing his wild oats because “there’s a chapel” where, when he feels like getting around to it, he’ll give her “love forever” and “make up for all lost time.” Continue reading

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