Tuesday, January 29, 2008

WG spa night

we celebrated Nora's birthday last night with a foot spa, facial masks, and wax all over our hands :)

Monday, January 28, 2008

first habit

began this habit today ...

The first habit is the morning offering, when you kneel down and using your own words, or a formula, you briefly offer up all the day ahead for God's glory. What is not so simple is what has to happen before the offering. As the founder of Opus Dei put it "Conquer yourself each day from the very first moment, getting up on the dot, at a set time, without granting a single minute to laziness. If with the help of God, you conquer yourself in the moment, you have accomplished a great deal for the rest of the day. It's so discouraging to find yourself beaten in the first skirmish (The Way, 191). In my pastoral experience, those who can live the "heroic moment" in the morning and in the evening going to bed on time will have both the physical and spiritual energy throughout the day to stop what they are doing in order to live the other habits.
- from The Seven Daily Habits of Holy Apostolic People by Fr. John McCloskey

My new year's resolution was to stop using the snooze alarm. I have been semi-successful but have been reminded several times, in different places, to follow through with it. Yesterday at Mass Fr. Brad was talking about Simon, Andrew, James and John - about the way that they dropped their fishing nets immediately to follow Jesus. Do we follow like that when Jesus calls us? The first call of the day is the alarm clock ;) to get up and do what we need to do for the day.

Friday, January 25, 2008

how old are you?

Check out this time duration calculator. I am 9618 days old. Or:
  • 830,995,200 seconds
  • 13,849,920 minutes
  • 230,832 hours
  • 1374 weeks
How old are you?

Monday, January 21, 2008

ankle, soccer, etc.

... because I know you are all so intensely interested in my ankle and in Sunday night soccer ... at least I know my mom is ...

... I had a revelation a couple weeks ago when I realized my ankle was still hurting because I wear high heels all the time! Duh! I mean, I'm not talking stilettos or anything dumb like that, but still pretty dumb ... I am about 5'2" and have been wearing "tall shoes" since sometime in college when I discovered how cute they were and that I could reach top shelves a bit more easily with them. But you know, they're not really good for my feet ... and they're really not good for my ankle ... I had to do some Goodwill/Meijer shopping to get some flats and some shorter slacks to go with my flats, but my ankle thanks me! Hasn't really ached in days. Haven't decided yet whether flats are going to be a permanent lifestyle change or just until my ankle is all healed up.

... Played soccer last night and had a good time! Hooray! It helped that we had only 11 people total instead of 11 on each side. So I wasn't so in fear of getting run over or hit by the ball. I played absolutely terribly - praise God for teammates who didn't get mad at me for the sixty times I kicked at the air while the ball rolled slowly by. I was super-exhausted by the end of the night (actually by the beginning of the night) but I had fun.

... and, totally random comment. My previous post (from Saturday night) was a video with one of my current favorite songs on it. I didn't pay any attention to the video but it turns out that it's of an orphanage in Haiti ... this was brought to my attention by Carrie who is adopting a baby from Haiti with her husband Matt. Pray for Matt & Carrie's adoption to work out quickly, and for the health and safety of their daughter Lauren as she waits to come home to them!

Saturday, January 19, 2008

when the saints

This is one of my favorite songs right now - "When the Saints" by Sara Groves. Video isn't anyone I know ... would love to see one with pics of PoP missionaries. Listening to this song, I get kind of revved up - how can I work for the Lord, what part of the world can I take for Christ? It gives me a renewed sense of vocation - even though I'm not a missionary - Lord, give me that fire in everything I do!

Here's the lyrics:

Lord I have a heavy burden of all I've seen and know
It's more than I can handle
But your word is burning like a fire shut up in my bones
and I cannot let it go

And when I'm weary and overwrought
with so many battles left unfought

I think of Paul and Silas in the prison yard
I hear their song of freedom rising to the stars
And when the Saints go marching in
I want to be one of them

Lord it's all that I can't carry and cannot leave behind
it often overwhelms me
but when I think of all who've gone before and lived the faithful life
their courage compells me
And when I'm weary and overwrought
with so many battles left unfought

I think of Paul and Silas in the prison yard
I hear their song of freedom rising to the stars

I see the shepherd Moses in the Pharohs court
I hear his call for freedom for the people of the Lord

And when the Saints go marching in
I want to be one of them
And when the Saints go marching in
I want to be one of them

I see the long quiet walk along the Underground Railroad
I see the slave awakening to the value of her soul

I see the young missionary and the angry spear
I see his family returning with no trace of fear

I see the long hard shadows of Calcutta nights
I see the sisters standing by the dying man's side

I see the young girl huddled on the brothel floor
I see the man with a passion come and kicking down the door

I see the man of sorrows and his long troubled road
I see the world on his shoulders and my easy load

And when the Saints go marching in
I want to be one of them
and when the Saints go marching in
I want to be one of them
I want to be one of them
I want to be one of them
I want to be one of them

Friday, January 18, 2008

in lieu of my own blog ...

I feel like posting something new for all my faithful readers ;) but haven't had anything bloggable rattling around in my mind lately. So instead I am going to direct you to Uncle Jim (not actually my uncle. But his name actually is Jim.) who has one of the coolest blogs around. Jim posts almost every day and kept me very entertained over the holidays by posting about each of the 12 days of Christmas. Also, his "reflections on being a Christian man" series was beautiful and challenging and not just for men ;) So anyway, on all those days when I fail to post anything, go look at Jim's blog.

Monday, January 14, 2008

from ND magazine

Wanted to share this story with you ... it reminds me a lot of the way I feel sometimes at work when I have "so much to do" but I keep getting "interrupted" by little things.

In the Silence of that Hallway by Ed Stubbing '64


Ignore it, Ed. It's a dream. Just a dream.


Uh-oh. Maybe not a dream. Maybe it's . . . Lu.

"E-d-d-d-d! E-d-d-d-d!"

My mother-in-law, Lu, 89, is a 16-year veteran of the Alzheimer's Wars. Three years ago a stroke took its toll, and Lu needs a walker to move about. I press the Indiglo-light button on my Timex: 3:30 -- earliest ever. Time for an Action Plan. Sit up in bed. Shift legs. Place feet on rug. Stand. Stare into darkness.

"E-d-d-d-d!" Louder this time, loud enough to cause my wife, Lucille, to stir. Not good. Lucille is a nurse who works to the point of exhaustion and needs a good night's sleep. Must move quickly to silence the E-d-d-d-er. I tiptoe to the door that leads to the stairs that leads to the wake-up caller. I gazelle right on down those darkened stairs.

"Oh Ed, I'm so glad you're here."

I nod.

"What day is it?"

Placing my finger over my lips, I motion for Lu to follow me into the kitchen where our conversation would be less likely to wake my wife or son. The creak of her walker follows me from foyer to kitchen. I flick the light switch: "Today is Tuesday," I respond. I know what's coming. We've been there a thousand times before.

"Do we have to go to Mass today?"

"No, it's Tuesday, not Sunday."

"It's not a Holy Day, is it?"

"No. It's an unholy day."

She smiles. Her humor survives within the damaged memory bank. I look at her. Once 5-foot-2, she now registers 4-foot-10 on the shrinking height chart. But her eyes of blue are as blue and as beautiful as ever.

"Thank God it's not a Holy Day."

"Right. But it is 3:30."


I nod. "You should go back to bed."

"Well, once I get up . . . I stay up." She crosses her arms and stares at sleepy Ed. There it is, the most dreaded of Lu's declarations, dramatic pauses and all. This is serious. Lu is fully awake, cross-armed and dangerous.

"Well, let's just think about it," I suggest.

"Why?" she queries. I consider a persuasive argument relating to the merits of sleep in the middle of the damn night, but logic has become a fading memory in Lu's mind.

"Tell you what. Go to the bathroom, change the pad, and then we'll check things out."

"Check what things out?"

Damn! She got me on that one. Sleep deprivation in action. What do I mean by that? Empathic listening is my last hope. "Tell you what. As a favor to me, go to the bathroom. Okay?"

She hesitates. We stare at each other. I am close to losing it. She smiles. "I just want to do the right thing, Ed. You know that, don't you?"

Oh, brother. I melt completely. "I know. I know you want to do the right thing." I turn and she follows me down the hallway. I flick on the bathroom light.

"Should I leave the walker in the hallway?"


"Can you get by?"

"I'll just jump over it."

She laughs. One of the pleasant little secrets of Alzheimer's is that the same joke works a thousand times. I laugh. Grand fun in the a.m. I open a pad and place it on the counter. I shut the door, amble to her bed and sit. I close my eyes. Peace at last.



"I went to the bathroom."

"Good. Now change the pad that's on the counter."

I wait.

"What do I do with the old pad?"

"Brown bag on the floor."

Lu flushes the toilet, comes out and shuffles into her bedroom. I make my pitch. "So it's 3:30, and you said you wanted to get right back to sleep."

"I did?"

I nod.

"What day is it?"


"It's not Sunday?'

"No. Tuesday."

"I was worried about Mass."

"You don't have to worry because it's . . ." I point both forefingers at Lu, a wacky expression on my face. She smiles. "Tuesday!"

"Yes!" A long pause as I await her next, critical move onto the bed.

"What do I do now?"

"You're exhausted, and you want to go back to sleep."

Lu sits on the bed. I pray to the unknown saint of sleep.

She lies down. Thank you, saint of sleep.

"What time is it, Ed?"


"Do we go to Mass today?"

"No, it's Tuesday."

"What should I do now?"

"Sleep. You are exhausted -- totally, completely, thoroughly exhausted. If there's one thing you want in life right now, it's the chance to go back to sleep."

"What time is it?"

"Three in the morning."

"Three! What am I, crazy?"


"I'll go back to sleep."

"Exactly! Good night, Lu."

"Good night, sweetheart."

I leave, close the door quietly and tiptoe down the hallway.


Tiptoe paralysis sets in. Motionless, breathless, sleepless, I turn at the end of my getaway hallway and face the closed, now feared, bedroom door.


"God bless you."

I don't answer. In the silence of that hallway all thoughts of sleep and concerns about the tasks awaiting me that day flitter away. An Indiglo moment of the soul takes hold. I realize that nothing I would do this day, or for many days, would be as important as what I had just done.

"And God bless you, Lu."

"I couldn't be happier living here with you and Lucille."

I stare at the bedroom door and lie. "We couldn't be happier either."

"Are you going to be around today, Ed?"


"Thank God."

"Yes." I stare at the door. Seconds pass in the silence of the darkness.

I'm not one to sit down in a hallway at 3 a.m., but that's what I do. I sit, and ever so slowly my eyes well up with tears of joy.

Ed Stubbing, who lives in Stony Point, New York, writes articles and screenplays. He can be reached at luedstubbing@aol.com.

after Christmas

"It is time now for us to live what has been revealed to us." - Fr. Greg on the end of the Christmas season

Monday, January 7, 2008

the Return of the Fear; or, run AWAY from the ball

A few weeks ago we had an absolutely ferocious game of soccer. Justin got hurt, Kyle got hurt, I stayed on the sidelines for at least half the game because I just couldn't take it out there. I thought it was because we had some particularly talented, fast, and powerful players out there but after last night's game I realized it's just that I am afraid.

Three months after spraining my ankle, it still aches most days, and I haven't put my Ace bandage away yet. Apparently I haven't recovered emotionally yet either. I didn't think it had affected me so much, but I used to be a lot more aggressive on the field. I was notorious for getting hit in the face with the ball and that only happened so much because I was always three feet away from someone taking a shot, standing in between them and the goal. Last night I guarded people as well as I could but if I thought I'd get hit or run over, I shied away. It was not a fun way to play! About fifteen minutes after we started, I didn't really want to be there at all.

I toughed it out because I knew that I love playing soccer. I was NOT experiencing that love, but I knew if I stopped in the middle of last night's game, that would really mean I wasn't going to play soccer anymore, and I didn't want to lose that. So I kept playing, although I had my eyes on the clock more than on the ball. At the end of the game I was actually surprised that I'd been able to tough it out for as long as I did. One minute at a time, I guess.

We'll see how I do next week.

Friday, January 4, 2008


Hillary was involved in Campus Fellowship when I first got there freshman year. I remember talking to her about glossolalia - speaking in tongues - she was the first person I ever heard use that word. Hillary loved the Lord and she loved everyone around her with a kind and sweetly nurturing spirit.

I never kept in touch much with Hillary since that first year but would see her now and then at prayer meetings. She battled cancer on and off and everyone in PoP prayed for her often. When she was very sick a few years ago, a team of people was put together to make sure people went to pray with her every day. And one of my favorite memories from the Linczer family is how at morning prayer William, age 8, buried underneath a blanket he'd thrown over his head, would drowsily offer the petition, "For Hillary Bollman ...." That kid knew about persistent prayer.

I last saw her a few weeks ago when the young adults group went Christmas caroling at Fountainview, the nursing home where she was for a while. She was dealing with some tough medical news, and a lot of pain, but she sang with us anyway.

Hillary was hospitalized yesterday. Last night a friend suggested we both go visit her on our lunch breaks. Initially I said yes but as the workday began with the usual chaos I decided I couldn't handle a hospital visit on my break and I would go after work instead. "After work" never happened - a crisis kept me overtime - and I thought maybe after dinner ... but after dinner we got the call that she was gone.

True to form, PoP surrounded her for her last couple of days. Several people have mentioned how moved they were to have been there for a while in her hospital room, praying and singing ...

I bet that's what she's doing right now.

Tuesday, January 1, 2008

home again, home again

Home is where I arrive after 12 hours of driving and there's a pizza party happening. Mom and Marshall and George and Christel and Jonathan and Kim and we're all talking loudly over one another because there's so much to say and share and catch up on that none of us can decide whether to listen or talk so we do both at once. Home is where my two-and-a-half-year-old nephew Brian hides behind his parents' legs before he gets over his shyness and talks to me. ("Thanks for cooking, Aunt Sheila!" he says three times during breakfast.) Home is playing Set with Matt and Julia, and seeing Julia paint Aunt Donna's nails, and hearing from Mary about the Christmas party they had with their neighbors last night, and eating the leftover apple cake from the party, and catching up on Penn State football with Mike. Home is watching Jeff play with his new camera flash, which works great because you can't take a bad picture of Brian anyway. Home is going thrift shopping with Mom and Sylvia and running into Kim at Goodwill. Home is the five-days-later Christmas where I try to convince everyone we should do one gift at a time but I compromise and say two and Debi takes over handing out gifts and almost forgets to open her own. Home is hanging out with my brother-in-law and godfather Craig who would rather be building something but he's content to be at a party for a few hours. He gets a Lowe's gift card for Christmas. Home is watching Susie run around and marveling at the effect Ken's voice has on her (we try for several minutes to make sure she doesn't eat the balloons that Kim is blowing up into animals but in the end the only thing that works is Daddy saying gruffly, "Susie, take that out of your mouth!" from across the room.) Home is seeing how amazingly grown-up my beautiful , newly married nineteen-year-old niece looks and wishing we could also see her husband, who is in Iraq. Home is seeing Ben and Vicki for the first time since Pearl's birth (not quite three weeks ago) and watching my grandmother Pearl hold baby Pearl for the first time. Home is saying goodbye to Jeff and Sylvia when they leave to put Brian to bed; they won't be at Jon and Kim's wedding in May because the baby is due in June, so I'll have to visit Canada this summer. Home is Marshall, at the end of an exhausting day, poring over maps with me to see if there's a better route back to South Bend. Home is a cup of tea with Grandmom before I leave early Monday morning; while we chat Mom makes me a fried-egg sandwich, which I eat an hour later on the highway and discover is the best fried-egg sandwich I have ever tasted.

Home is also where Anne got up at 7 AM last Thursday to say goodbye and then went back to sleep. Home is where I arrive after 11 hours of driving (better traffic) and walk right into a New Year's party and sit down to eat Elena's enchiladas, Bill's beans and Tony's avocado dip five minutes after getting out of my car. Home is where Laura and I toast to the New Year with all these "older folks" and then drive through the beginning of the snow storm to another party, this time with a much younger crowd. There's barely room to stand but there's abundant food and drink and conversations to be had. The ball drops and Laura graciously drives me home so I can collapse into bed. Home is where Anne and Dan know already when all the Masses for today are so they and Laura and I go to St. Joe together. Home is where my old friend Fr. Nate says Mass and my friend Carolyn's daughter Theresa cantors and I see the Boughtons and the Collinses and the Sgrois in different parts of the church. Home is using Dan and Anne's shovel and broom to get my car cleared off and cleared out and then using four years' South Bend winter driving experience to navigate the slippery and thickly-covered roads. Home is praying with Michael and Dan and Sarah and coming up with all sorts of ideas for the New Year.

Home is going to sleep tonight knowing that despite 23 cumulative hours of traveling this past week, I have always been at home.