Here We Are

Thursday, February 21, 2013 10:35 AM Comments (51)

In my post about reading classic literature to children, one reader responded:

Sigh...  I'm coming at this from a totally different angle now, as child #5 is moderately dyslexic.  As we move up into slightly more advanced literature, he is really struggling with complex sentence and paragraph formations.  My usual standby is listen and read at the same time (thank you for Books on CD!!!) but even that doesn't always work.  I've gotten to the point now where, so help me, I provide him with a summary of the chapter first, which he reads, and then goes on to read/listen to the actual chapter.  It seems to be the only way to provide him with a mental framework that he can "hang" the more...READ MORE

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Swollen Gums and the Holy Ghost

Tuesday, February 19, 2013 8:00 AM Comments (105)

The other day, my husband and I went out for possibly the least romantic date ever.  We went to Staples to see if Windows 8 is really as dumb as we've heard, and then we went to Walmart to pick up a toilet snake, and came out just in time to prevent some drunk lady from breaking into our car.  (She would have been sorely disappointed, since the most valuable thing in the trunk is a half a bag of charcoal briquettes.)  Then we got some kind of damp chicken wings.  While we ate them, we had a cheery conversation including the following topics:  a guy who developed a technique for profiling serial killers; the fallout of the Vietnam war, the sex abuse scandal, and teen pregnancy.  Then,...READ MORE

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Fixing the Classics?

Friday, February 15, 2013 10:47 AM Comments (74)

Every so often, someone decides that it's time to "fix" Huckleberry Finn.  You can't have that n-word in there, especially if you're going to be reading it at school -- especially if you're going to be reading it aloud.

Or can you?  Since I'm not black and I don't have to put up with racial tension of any kind, maybe I'm making the problem out to be simpler than it really is.  But anyone who's actually read the book will easily understand that (a) Mark Twain used that word because the people he was writing about used that word; and (b) Jim is more noble and intelligent than most of the white characters in the story.

It would be a horrible shame to simply miss out on reading this book;...READ MORE

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Happy VaLENTine's Day

Thursday, February 14, 2013 10:34 AM Comments (27)

Get it? Because it's Lent, but it's also Valentine's Day!  Yes, yes, Valentine's Day is a made-up holiday, but it couldn't hurt to at least find out whether your beloved cares about it -- and if so, do something nice.  

But  not too nice!  Because it's Lent!

Well, my husband and I are just gonna celebrate Valentine's Day on Sunday, because Sundayisn'treallypartofLent,there,Isaidit.  But if you gotta do something today, here are a few ideas for how to combine romance and suffering, sweetness and pain.

CAROB  Remember carob?  It looks like chocolate that's been sitting in a dusty corner for a while, and it tastes like a chocolately dusty corner.  Give your significant other a satiny,...READ MORE

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Goodbye, Papa

Tuesday, February 12, 2013 10:03 AM Comments (54)

On the news, they keep saying that Benedict XVI has been pope for "a mere eight years."  Yes, and my eight-year-old has only known his father for a mere eight years.  Doesn't seem that short to him.

I was about four years old when John Paul II was elected pope.  My mother hung his smiling picture in our bedroom, and I half thought he was my grandfather -- he had the same round head, the same crinkled eyes and broad grin.  I grew up knowing that this was our papa who loved us and who would always be there.  Even when I wandered away from the Church, that kindly smile and strong shoulders reminded me that I was the one who was wrong -- that back home, back in the Church, was solid ground....READ MORE

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Lenten Rookie Mistakes

Friday, February 08, 2013 12:19 PM Comments (63)

Apparently the number of "active Catholics" declined by 5% recently.  I suspect that one reason for this is that, thanks in part to our suddenly more vocal bishops, at least 5% of Catholics have suddenly become aware of what it actually means to be an active Catholic -- and have realized that they don't actually want any part of that. 

Either way, I feel like I can't walk ten feet without bumping into an enthusiastic new convert, which is delightful, and so encouraging!  Welcome, everybody!  We papists have a little saying:  Venite intus; horribilis est!

Heh.  Anyway, you may be looking forward to your first Lent with enthusiasm but some trepidation.  If so, you're ahead of the game: ...READ MORE

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For God, Or for Your Bod?  Some Thoughts about Fasting and Dieting

Thursday, February 07, 2013 10:48 AM Comments (26)

A reader writes:

    I can't figure out how to make fasting not about losing weight!  As you know as an American woman we struggle so much with eating/exercising/body fat etc.    I am going on retreat this coming weekend and was thinking of attempting a fast. But it always turns into this thing about how much will I weigh afterwards etc.

I got this note some time ago, but since Lent is coming up, it seems like an especially relevant question.  Obviously, unless we are exempt, we are required to fast according to the Church's rules on certain days, no matter what our motivation.  Here is what the Church says about required fasting

The law of fasting requires a Catholic from...READ MORE

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Like the Dewfall

Tuesday, February 05, 2013 10:47 AM Comments (43)

If you'll allow me a moment of dorky liturgical self congratulation, I would like to announce that last Sunday, I made it through the Mass without even glancing at the cheat sheet!  Yep, I even remembered to say, " for our good and the good of all His Holy Church," which is an especially sneaky passage because it's 99% the same as it was before, and lulls you into a false sense of familiarity -- and then BAM, "all his Holy Church." 

We all know that the main reason we go to Mass is winning the liturgy -- much like the two robbers in Freddy the Detective, who are having a contest (one singing, one on the harmonium) to see who can get through the song first without skipping anything.  I'm...READ MORE

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About Simcha Fisher

Simcha Fisher
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Simcha Fisher, author of The Sinner's Guide to Natural Family Planning writes for several publications and blogs at I Have to Sit Down. She lives in New Hampshire with her husband and nine children. Without supernatural aid, she would hardly be a human being.