We had a fascinating discussion at my Great Books Book Club last Tuesday evening about whether or not it's possible to be a cranky saint.
We are reading the classic novel
Fydor Dostoevsky and we were comparing two of the characters, Father Ferapont--a prayerful, religiously fastidious monk and Father Zossima--a prayerful, relationship-oriented monk. I argued it was impossible to be cranky
be a Saint. Not everyone agreed, though. I really enjoyed the discussion, but was particularly moved by a story one of the participants shared. I'm paraphrasing below:
There was a Catholic priest whose relative, Aunt Sally, caused a lot of drama and emotional turmoil within the extended family. As Aunt Sally aged, instead of mellowing, her cantankerous ways worsened and were the source of much contention in the house. When the old woman finally died, everyone in the family, including the priest, breathed a sigh of relief because...peace. Finally.
The priest said shortly after his aunt's funeral, he had a dream where he went to heaven and when he got there, he was shocked to find Aunt Sally sitting at one of the tables! Not only had St. Peter let her in, but when he spoke with her, he was shocked to discover how pleasant she was! She made jokes and she was interesting and there was nothing at all off putting about her personality.
It was then--through his dream--the priest realized how much his aunt physically suffered during her life and that suffering rendered her unable to be pleasant. She was actually incapable of a gentle demeanor.
Yet God didn't judge his aunt on her ability to be pleasant, like the priest and his family judged her. He judged her according to His standards and His standards are different than ours. The world might have condemned this woman to hell, but Aunt Sally was counted as one of the Saints in Heaven.
2. Speaking of dreams, both Mary Bernadette and Meaghan have had intense dreams recently where I played a starring role.
I worried when they told me I was in their dream because what the heck? If these were the most horrible kind of nightmares what exactly was I
while my girls were being maimed and murdered in their slumber? Did I just let some whacko take them while they helplessly struggled? Did I allow them to suffer while I sipped on a Diet Coke and painted my nails?
Neigh, my friends. Neigh. It was better.
I slayed the dragons.
In Mary's dream, a python snake was charging at all five of the kids at full speed while they were outside playing. Mary, convinced she would be swallowed whole, started to panic when I ran into the middle of the kid huddle, handed the baby to Meaghan and yelled,
"Run! Let him take me instead!"
In Meaghan's dream, we were all in a grocery store when the store manager attacked Meaghan, punching her in the face and kicking her in the gut. When I saw what was happening,
I ran over to the manager dropped kicked him to the floor and then fired him.
This is probably sick and twisted, but the girls' nightmares made me feel so good about myself as a mother.
Even while they sleep, they know if anyone ever messes with one of my kids, I will finish them.
3. Deedoe slipped each of the kids a $20 the last time she visited.
She claims they did something to "earn" the money, but her definition and my definition of the kind of work it takes to merit cash payment are different.
Deedoe gives money for things like getting dressed, brushing teeth, and going potty. (I can see her huffing and puffing in disgust at her keyboard now.)
I give money for things like mowing two acres of lawn, doing the Thanksgiving dinner dishes/pots/pans, and cleaning toilets that have seen two weeks of the Bubonic Plague.
In any case, the kids all had money burning a hole in their piggy banks so I brought them to Michael's to pick out some new craft supplies.
See if you can guess what Camille picked out.
, but her most favorite possession is the purple plastic cell phone with which she currently sleeps and takes photos.
She's a Diva, that one is.
and over that time, I perfected a couple of authentic area dishes
. However, I never had much luck with Jambalaya, which is strange since it's one of the easier ones to perfect.
, she rectified my lack of kitchen know-how by slipping me her Jambalaya recipe.
good and because I love you, I've included it below.
Janet Hoover's Awesome Jambalaya
That Will Feed A Large Crowd
1 lb chicken cut up into bite sized pieces
1 lb loose sausage
1 lb link andouille sausage
1 lb country style pork ribs grilled on the barbie
1 to 2 onions, green peppers, celery
Can of Rotel (or tomatoes depending on the kind of heat you want)
Salt and pepper
Saute loose sausage. While sausage is cooking, add an onion, a bell pepper or two, and some celery and saute.
Add some cayenne pepper (I only used half a teaspoon) and some salt and pepper.
Add a can of Rotel. (I skipped this step because rotel is spicy and my kids don't like the extra kick. Too bad, so sad. I added a boring 32 ounce can of tomatoes instead.) Add 3 cups of rice and 4 1/2 cups of water.
Bake in a deep dish with a cover at 350* until it smells donzo. (Janet said two hours, but mine was finished faster. I'm not sure why.)
Behind our house is a gigantic golden corn field and a safe haven for copious deer
. For the last few weeks, my family has been privy to up close and personal sightings every afternoon from around 4:00 pm until dusk.
Every time I see one, I think of that line from scripture that says,
"Like a deer thirsts for running water, so my soul thirsts for you, My God."
The deer are my constant reminder of how parched I am.
6. Were slowly settling into the house and things are returning to "normal".
I can't believe it's the middle of July already. Before I know it, we're going to be gearing up for another year.
7. Some photos of our "ordinary" summer days: