Friday, February 27, 2009

As You Stitch So Shall Ye Rip

My Opa apparently used to say this to Oma when she was sewing. She didn't think it was as funny as he did.

The point is...using the instructions laid out by Alana here: How to Turn Jeans Into a Skirt and the expert advice of my Grandmother (as well as her sewing machine, since my mother somehow managed to break ours), I have sewn a thing! Specifically, a skirt.

Behold my skirt!

Aside from the niqab (which I use since I decided that I kind of don't want my face on here at the moment, and yes, I am aware it looks silly on me), this is what I'm planning to wear to the retreat tomorrow. And...not the scarf, maybe a snood or this blue al amira hijab I have, but worn off the back of the head, not around the neck. Something easier to clean than the tiechel. Why yes, I do test out outfits the night before I wear them. I may be overly cautious about things.

Thursday, February 26, 2009


I'm playing with my mother's camera in anticipation of borrowing it for the retreat/Bishop events this weekend. So, ya'll get a look at my one true love...

Wednesday, February 25, 2009

Book: Living Islam Out Loud

I bought this to balance out some of the books I've picked out that rip into Islam and the women in it. It's a book of essays, women who have lived their whole lives as American Muslims.

For the most part it's excellent, little glimpses into lives - proof that they aren't vastly different from our own. It's a short book, which is a problem for me, because I wanted it to be longer. The women in it are all 'famous', or making large contributions to society. Which is great, but I would like to see a similar book with the stories of regular, every day women.

These women present an Islam that is still evolving, gaining it's own identity in the west, not bound by eastern cultures, or the interpretations of extremist imams.

Ash Wednesday - Beginning of Lent

Welcome to Lent, 2009.

I'm totally stealing this lovely prayer that Alana posted.

Prayer of St. Ephraim, to be prayed during Lent
"O Lord and Master of my life do not give me the spirit of sloth, despair, lust of power, or idle talk. But give rather a spirit of chastity, humility, patience and love to your servant. Yes Lord and King, grant me to see my own transgressions and not to judge my brother. For blessed art Thou unto ages of ages, amen."

And I add this, which popped into my head last night as I was trying to get to sleep:

"Lord, I believe. Help my unbelief."

Tuesday, February 24, 2009


for my imaginary wedding...

I have no idea where this is originally from, but it's pretty....

A Little Bit About Abuse

I'm certain that everyone has heard the story from last week, about the man who beheaded his wife after she asked for a divorce. On the off chance that you haven't, here's a link to a cnn story about it: Founder of Islamic TV Station Accused of Beheading Wife This is a tragedy, and a horrible story. Here's my problem, too many people have focused on this being a Muslim man who beheaded his wife. As opposed to this being an abusive man who murdered his wife when she finally decided to leave. By focusing on this man's faith, pointing to it and saying, 'See, Muslims are violent!', they're ignoring the fact that abuse has *nothing* to do with religion.

Do abuser's use their faith as an excuse? Certainly. But here's the thing, an abusive person will make up an excuse for their abuse, whether it's religion or economic circumstances, or what have you. They will *find* a way to justify their violence, because, of course, nothing is ever their fault. It's always the other person. The other person *made* them do it, they just had no choice.

I grew up in an abusive home. My adoptive father used emotional, mental and physical abuse to keep my mother and my sister and myself 'in control'. We finally left, but I can tell you that, every so often, I think I see him on the road, and I panic. Just hearing his voice terrifies me. Thankfully, he has left us entirely alone for almost a year now. I can honestly say that I regret not killing him when I had a chance. It would have made my life much, much easier. I grew up constantly so angry and terrified that I didn't even realize what not feeling those things felt like until years after we left.

He didn't use religion, he just did what he did, and blamed us for not being able to live up to his perfect standards.

The story of the man beheading his wife has, of course, inspired more questions about abuse in Islam (which, as an aside, I don't believe is something that the religion teaches) and I found a couple of good posts about it on blogs I read every so often:

Someone Wanted Me to Write About Abuse of Women in Islam - at Beautiful Muslimah

A Quicky on Domestic Violence/Abuse - at A Muslim Wife

another blog that deals with it, much of the time, is:

A Journey Westward From Tartary by Lisa - Lisa is someone I've been reading for a little while, but I've never commented, mainly because someone else has already given her the advice I would give before I get there, and they do it in a much nicer fashion than I would. I constantly, at first, had to resist the urge to yell at her to get the hell out of her marriage, abuser's never change. But yelling isn't helpful, and I recognize that I'm too violently emotional on the topic, and others were telling her the same thing, but in a much nicer fashion. :)

Yes, all these are Muslim links, because they're the ones that I've come across discussing the topic recently. But still, abuse is not a 'Muslim problem', or a 'Christian problem', or anything like that. It's a problem. Period.

Monday, February 23, 2009

How does traffic apply to Law?

Hmm, okay, we've all heard the phrase, 'Ignorance of the law is no excuse', right? The law exists, it exists for a reason, and it should be an absolute, applied equally to all situations. I know that's not the way it works, I'm just saying that's the way it *should* work. And this is just secular law. Traffic, civil, criminal, what have you.

For instance: I once made a right hand turn and my wheels left the road and went onto the dirt shoulder. The cop behind me pulled me over and gave me a ticket. A) I didn't know it was illegal for my tires to leave the road like that, and B) I certainly didn't mean to do it. But, I broke the law. The officer was right to pull me, and as painful as it was, I paid the ticket, and I didn't argue. I was ignorant of the law, but it didn't exempt me from the consequences of breaking the law.

On the other hand, we have the people who, when faced with a 'no left turn' sign to get into the Publix parking lot will inevitably hold up traffic so they can make their illegal left turn. Or the man who tried to use a right hand turn lane as a passing lane, because I stopped behind a car trying to turn left.

Or, and this is my current favorite: The couple in the big F350 looking truck who pulled out of a parking lot, not just going the wrong way on a divided road, but sat there, blocking the left turn lane, until the traffic going the other way cleared, so that they could drive *over* the cement island (which is a low, little thing), to get going the right direction.

Now, all those people *knew* they were breaking the law. They may not have understood why their action was illegal, but they certainly knew that it was.

Transfer this to religion. We've been given the Law. And whether or not you believe that the Law should still be followed, or that we're under a new Law in the New Covenant, laws exist. The difference, in my understanding is, that ignorance of the Law in this case, is an excuse.

If a person lives their whole life, unaware that they should have been following the Mosaic Law, or the laws of the New Covenant, then they can't be held accountable, can they? My understanding is that, ignorant of the greater Law, so long as they live good lives, abiding by the Noahide Laws, they will be judged on that, and not whether or not they kept Kosher, or wore tzit tzit.

The question becomes, what of those who are aware of the Law, and truly believe that it no longer applies? People who believe that the New Covenant removed the need for the Mosaic Law? They are aware of the Law, but do not believe that they are breaking the Law. It's been 'removed from the books', or abrogated, if you will. Would they be held accountable for breaking a law that they don't believe exists any more?

These are the things that occupy me as I drive back from lunch...

Friday, February 20, 2009

Why is my message so different?

When we hear the daily readings, we're supposed to think about them, and what they say to us. In the take-out Masses, we discuss the readings, and everyone offers what they get from the readings. Now, they emphasise that eveyone is at a different place, so the message that they get will be different. I'm just wondering why mine is always so different from everyone elses.

For instance, last Sunday the Gospel reading was:

Mk 1:40-45 A leper came to Jesus and kneeling down begged him and said, "If you wish, you can make me clean." Moved with pity, he stretched out his hand, touched him, and said to him, "I do will it. Be made clean." The leprosy left him immediately, and he was made clean. Then, warning him sternly, he dismissed him at once. He said to him, "See that you tell no one anything, but go, show yourself to the priest and offer for your cleansing what Moses prescribed; that will be proof for them." The man went away and began to publicize the whole matter. He spread the report abroadso that it was impossible for Jesus to enter a town openly. He remained outside in deserted places, and people kept coming to him from everywhere.

And everyone went on about how the leper was spreading the Gospel, yadda.

All I could think was, 'But he disobeyed! He got a direct order from God, and he disobeyed.' How is that a good thing?

And of course my brain is trying to tie all this into the Old Testament, and the Law (which is what I'm reading atm), and everywhere you get, 'forever'. 'This is a statute for you forever'. Not really sure where my brain is trying to go with this, but it keeps popping back up in my head.

Thursday, February 19, 2009

Sudden Onset Apathy

I am suddenly very tired and unhappy in general.

Picture of one of my dogs to cheer me up:

Proof that the Old Adage is True

"You catch more flies with honey than with vinegar"

Take note!

A paralegal and her attorney called me with something of an emergency, and our usual methods of getting paperwork to the courthouse had passed.

Because they were so very nice, all while panicked that if this stuff didn't get to the Clerk before 11, they would have to refile, which costs a lot, and their firm would have had to pay, because it was their fault, I personally ran the paperwork over to the Court. Had they not been nice? I would not have done this. I would have done everything else that I could, but I would not have gone out of my way to drive into the next town and deliver paperwork.

Tuesday, February 17, 2009

Testimony of Grace

I don't typically make announcements when I add a blog to my blog roll, because no one cares but me. :)

However, I've been meaning to add Muhala's blog, Testimony of Grace to the list, but I have forgetfulness. ;)

Muhala has undertaken the task of writting a book on the new movement of headcovering that has emerged. It's a wonderful project, and something that I wish had existed when I first felt the pull to cover. At the time, at first all I could find were testimonies and books from the Muslim perspective. I did eventually find other Christian women who covered and were talking about it, but I believe that this book would have made things a lot easier for me.

I'm fairly certain that the few people who come here are already aware of Muhala and what she's doing, but just in case, I'm making the announcement.

So, go over there, and check it out. If you're covering, please consider telling her your story, if you're comfortable. You never know who your own journey might resonate with.

Monday, February 16, 2009

Possible Personal Twitch

Hmm, take out Mass, and Vic was our teacher.

Discussing the readings, and he said that, 'God *needs* to be loved.'


For some reason, this bugs me. God doesn't need things.

I need to figure out if this is just a personal twitch.

Friday, February 13, 2009

Friday the 13th

So, this year we have three Friday the 13ths. Today, March, and November. We're not meant to pay attention to superstitions, but so many people do.

Here's the wikipedia article on it Friday the 13th. I know, Wiki, but it's interesting.

For me, Friday the 13th is a horror movie that has been run into the ground. I think they've made 20 sequals? And they've just released a remake of it.

Highlight of this remake? Jared Padalecki.

Thursday, February 12, 2009


(James Roday - Shawn Spencer from Psych)
My friend Kerri-boo went to a psychic yesterday. She called me on her way, all excited, she'd never been to a psychic before, and her boss had just been to this man, and was very impressed. I'd never heard of him, but supposedly he's fairly well known in those circles. *shrug* He's never been on tv, so I don't know him. I told her, when he's 'reading' you, don't react to anything. Control your body/face responses as much as possible. That's how they know when they've 'hit', is when you respond, verbally or otherwise.
She called me back maybe 45 minutes later. She was very disappointed in the reading. He got nothing right, and was so far off base she was sort of pissed. I told her it just proves my belief that 95% of these people are fakes. They're good at reading people - they are con artists. Now, some of these people may honestly believe that they're psychic, but that just makes them delusional, not right.
Now, the other 5%?
Sure, I believe that some people do have psychic abilities. The question is, where do these come from? Some think that they're a natural gift from God, others believe that they gain these abilities through trafficking, knowing or otherwise, with demons. Maybe it's a mix of the two.
I've always wanted to go to a psychic, just to see, but never gone, because I think, at best, it's a waste of money, and at worst, I could just be asking for trouble.
Funnily enough, the section of the Catechism I'm reading now is on the First Commandment, and this is the part I read this morning:
Divination and magic

2115 God can reveal the future to his prophets or to other saints. Still, a sound Christian attitude consists in putting oneself confidently into the hands of Providence for whatever concerns the future, and giving up all unhealthy curiosity about it. Improvidence, however, can constitute a lack of responsibility.

2116 All forms of divination are to be rejected: recourse to Satan or demons, conjuring up the dead or other practices falsely supposed to "unveil" the future. Consulting horoscopes, astrology, palm reading, interpretation of omens and lots, the phenomena of clairvoyance, and recourse to mediums all conceal a desire for power over time, history, and, in the last analysis, other human beings, as well as a wish to conciliate hidden powers. They contradict the honor, respect, and loving fear that we owe to God alone.

2117 All practices of magic or sorcery, by which one attempts to tame occult powers, so as to place them at one's service and have a supernatural power over others - even if this were for the sake of restoring their health - are gravely contrary to the virtue of religion. These practices are even more to be condemned when accompanied by the intention of harming someone, or when they have recourse to the intervention of demons. Wearing charms is also reprehensible. Spiritism often implies divination or magical practices; the Church for her part warns the faithful against it. Recourse to so-called traditional cures does not justify either the invocation of evil powers or the exploitation of another's credulity.

Tuesday, February 10, 2009

Confirmation name

So, we have to pick a saint for our confirmation name. I've been reading, and I feel drawn to none of them,



Archangel, yes, but counted as a Saint in the Catholic Church.

RCIA Makes Me Orthodox?

*sigh* RCIA, your purpose is to bring people (me, specifically, in this instance), into the Church. Specifically, the Roman Catholic Church.

You should not, by the things you say, be making me question whether or not the Orthodox Church is the Original Church!

In example, you say that you are the original church. Then, you tell me about the changes that are being made to return the rites back to the original way they were performed. Then, you tell us that the Orthodox are still doing them that way! The *original* way. *head desk*

I don't know enough about this to make an actual decision, but I'm going to start learning.

Monday, February 9, 2009

Completely Valid...

...non-religious reason for considering keeping Kosher -

Brain. Worms.

"I Don't Know if You Know This, But None of Us Gets Out of This Alive"

A dear friend of mine, someone who practically helped raise me, died several months back. The priest at her Memorial Mass said the title of my post, in the beginning of his Eulogy. Yes, I'm certain he got it from somewhere else, but that's where I remember it from.

Today is the anniversary of another death. Her name was Susan, and she was my boss for ten years.

Two years ago, on a very bright Saturday morning, I received a call from another friend and co-worker, Donna. The only part of the conversation that I remember is, "Susan's dead." I know that we said more, I know that I drove into work to help begin sorting out the necessary things. I can remember that we were having a car show in our parking lot, and that it was hellish, trying to get in, and get a spot.

She died suddenly, without warning. We'd always thought that it would be cancer, she smoked like a chimney, and seemed to be unable to stop. It was a blood vessel that burst in her stomach, bleeding out rapidly internally. Susan went to bed Friday night with her husband, and woke up in the early hours of Saturday morning, dying.

Pat, my friend who died last year, had cancer. She was diagnosed about four months before her death. She'd been exercising, coughed, and noticed blood in the phlegm. Her doctor found masses in her lungs, but they were hopeful that they would be able to operate, and with chemotherapy get it under control.

What they didn't know at the time was that the cancer was already everywhere. They found it in her bones, her breasts, and eventually, at the end, in her brain.

She died in the hospital, with her husband there, telling him that it was time for him to let her go.

Another man, Paul S. worked here for years, retired, and died of a heart attack less than six months later.

Our second Paul S (affectionately called PS2), went out to dinner several years ago and choked on a chicken bone. By the time they were able to clear his airway, he was dead. His family kept him on life support for about a month before they removed it.

Bob had just been diagnosed with lung cancer and was beginning treatment. His heart just gave out one night.

Luke, for reasons known only to God, shot his wife and then himself, leaving devastated children and his parents behind.

My dentist was driving home one night and hit the curb. He was thrown from the car, dying instantly. His wife survived.

My grandfather took most of a year to die, it was his second bout with cancer. It'd gone into remission several years before, but it came back. He died at home, with my grandmother at his side, my uncles having just left after spending several weeks with them. We all knew it was coming.

My other grandmother died in the middle of the night when I was still a kid. She thought she was having an asthma attack, but it was a heart attack.

A young man in town, driving home from the hospital where his wife had just given birth to his daughter, ran into the back of a dump truck.

Caylee Anthony wasn't quite four when she was murdered, most likely by her own mother.

Denise Amber Lee was 21, the mother of two young boys when she was kidnapped and murdered.

Every so often we get an obituary for a child, sometimes even for an infant who lived a short, short time. Once in a while, we will get one for a still birth.

Look at that list. They range from the very young, to the very old. Natural death, accidental, murder.

Early on in RCIA, in the very first 'take-out' Mass, the topic of death came up. Most of the sponsors are older, and they all were talking about how the young fear death, but as they had gotten older, their fear of death diminished. Their faith took over.

I don't fear death.

Most people, when they hear me say that, start looking at me funny. As though they expect me to suddenly jump off a cliff or take up swimming with sharks. Lack of fear of death doesn't make one suicidal. Nor does it take away other fear. I fear some *manners* of dying. I would really, really like to not die by being eaten by something. I'm terrified of heights, and would rather not die that way either. But fear of pain, fear of terror, does not equal fear of death.

I don't fear death, because there's nothing I can do about it. One way or another, my life will end. I'd rather it be later, rather than sooner, because there are things I would like to do, but really, ultimately, I (or anyone) have no say in it.

We will all die. There's no way around it. From the moment we are born, we are dying. It's the natural order.

The point is: Live your life with joy.

Don't spend a ton of time worrying about how or where you're going to die, or when the world is going to end. There's nothing to do about it anyway. You waste of ton of energy and emotion on something that is inevitable.

Find something, every day, that makes you happy. Be thankful that you've been given that day, that hour, that minute. That moment of happiness. Because no matter what anyone may tell you, you still never know.

Friday, February 6, 2009


Ad Rep on Motorcycle,

Yes, you may believe that your motorcycle, and your leather jacket, and the little leather hat that insist on wearing inside the office make you James Dean. (They don't, by the by...)

However, your 'cool factor' doesn't mean that you are immortal. When coming into the office drive, perhaps you would be better served by staying in your own lane, and not cutting across mine, to zip in all the faster.

And then, when you come by about an hour later, to apologize for 'scaring' me, and I finally realize who the man on the motorcycle was, when I look confused and you say, 'Well you made a face...' do not be surprised when I go:

"Oh, that was you? That wasn't fright. I was thinking, 'God, what an idiot.' Most people speed up to that stop sign and then jerk to a halt. Most people would have hit you."

The face you make when I say 'idiot' amuses me. What did you think I was going to say?

In a fight between your motorcycle and my SUV, the SUV would win. I would feel bad, but I would not be the one in the hospital, or the morgue. So please, be more careful. I have no desire to write your obituary.

Thursday, February 5, 2009

Bad Scarf Days

Yes, covering means no more bad hair days, really.

You get to replace them, however, with bad scarf days. Days when no matter what you do, you can not get the scarf to lay right. It folds funny, it slides, the snoody part in the back magically appears to one side of you head, as opposed to the back, where it should be.

And you wind up spending ten minutes in the bathroom at work fixing it.

Wednesday, February 4, 2009

Disparity of Cult

Usually, I see this term in regards to marriage, and people not being unequally yoked.

Ideally, a couple should be of the same faith. Obviously, people will marry outside of their faith, or even within their faith, but to (for Christianity), a different denomination. A different cult. When this happens with Catholics, the Catholic spouse has the obligation to raise their children Catholic.

I can imagine how confusing this must be for the children. They are being taught one thing, but one parent, even in the most amicable of households, doesn't follow that tradition. It makes sense that the better way, the preferred way, would be for the parents to be united. Otherwise, one parent must compromise their faith, even in the smallest way, for the others point of view to be taught. Parents must present a united front, after all, or the children will take over!

Even as an adult, I wish that my parents and I shared the same cult. I can't consult them on a lot of faith issues, simply because we're coming from two different starting points.

Tuesday, February 3, 2009

I Like Horror Movies, and I Don't Think That's a Sin

So, yesterday was RCIA class, and we were covering, in some vague way, morality. What is morality, and what is immorality. This has very little to do with that.

On the break, I was talking with two of the other students. We're all about the same age, and we like some of the same things. Namely, horror movies. *pause for gasps of horror* Yes, yes, buckets of blood and gore. Anyway, we were talking about My Bloody Valentine. And one of the teachers walked by. Not one of the priests, not one of the deacons. Just a woman who sometimes teaches us.

And she was just livid at the idea of three grown women watching horror movies! On and on about how disgusting they were and that we should know better, and would we let our children watch these? Well a) none of us have children and b) no. She thinks that we should call for the banning of such things. But here's the thing for me. I'm an adult. I can tell the difference between fantasy (however dark) and reality. Children cannot. Just because a kid shouldn't be exposed to something, does that mean it shouldn't exist? I don't think so. Kids shouldn't drive cars, who's calling for the banning of cars? Kids shouldn't drink, and I don't see anyone trying to ban alcohol on that basis.

If you don't want to watch horror or fantasy, or heck, any television/movie at all, that's your choice. I choose to watch them. I enjoy them.

When it comes to children, it is the parents responsibility to police what your children are doing. Not mine. If you want your children to reject such things as adults, then you have to lay the foundation when they're young, and willing to listen to you.

Of course, I disagree with this woman a lot. She had a huge problem with her son reading a banned book in high school (a Catholic high school) in an English class. The teacher wanted the students to read the book so they could see what it was, and then they were going to discuss and learn and understand why it was banned. And she flipped. Okay, I don't like the idea of banning books anyway, but, the teacher's reason seems logical enough to me. Of course, this is just the woman's version of it, so I'm not even sure we got the whole story.

I'm of the opinion that, "All knowledge is worth having." And yes, the thought has crossed my mind that I'd have been the one to get kicked out of Eden, probably even without Crawley. Tree of Knowledge? Gimme.

Monday, February 2, 2009

Decorating your work space

There should be some sort of limit, really, to decorating your desk. The woman two desks behind me has feng shui-d her desk, which, fine, we all think you're a bit silly, but go for it. This latest though, she has, over the weekend, brought in a 3 foot tall bodhisattva and perched it on her desk. It looks sort of like this:

Is this really necessary for the flow of your chi? It's not even a very pretty one, just some hollow ceramic thing, painted to look like its stone. It's just so huge!

We (myself and others who sit next to her), may or may not have moved things, thus un-shui-ing her desk. This was (almost entirely) unintentional. We were curious, and like curious monkeys, we must touch!

Edit: And I may or may not have made it a little paper crown.

Edit 2: And a cape.
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