Wednesday, February 28, 2007

36 Years Ago, Today...

...(yup, you guessed it, another birthday in the house) my mother-in-law (bless her heart) gave birth to a goofy kid named "Curtis". I don't know what happened between writing his name on the social security application/birth certificate and grade school, but somewhere in there, his name would be changed and from then on he would forever be known popularly as "Butch". The only people that call him by his birth name are business callers, telemarketers, teachers, and the people who write the phone book. Well, I'm surely glad his mom and dad decided to get hitched and invent him because I can't think of any man who would be more right for me. It actually repulses me to think about being with anybody but Butch for the rest of my life.

A Poem For Butch (don't worry, I haven't gone all soft on ya, it's supposed to be funny):

I don't know who could fill your shoes
should you die from too much booze...

Or fall from something you have built,
after living your life to the hilt.

I don't think it's possible to think of how
my life would be without you now...

So I won't.

Instead I'll dream of the years to come.
How much you'll say "I'm gonna get me some"...

After chasing me around the kitchen once more
and asking me, "Did you remember to lock the door?".

"How did I get so lucky" I am always thinking.
And believe me, that's not even after I've been drinking!

I mean it!

So now we've been married almost 14 years,
and even though you've given me many reasons for tears,

I couldn't have asked for a better hubs than you.
Who loves his children so much and sticks to me like glue.

I wonder how come you love me so much?
It must be that I haven't lost that magic touch!

And neither have YOU!

Okay, I know it's a little sketchy, but I'm NOT a professional poet (I just look like one) so cut me a little slack in that department, m'kay?
Hubs, you know I love you so much and now so does everyone else in the blog-oh-sphere! I miss you when you're gone for work but I love when you come back and I'm not even saying that because you come back and play with the kids to get them out of my hair...I'm saying it because I miss your presence and your love and respect for me. I love how you make me feel like the smartest, kindest, prettiest, mommiest, queen-of-the-universe wifey even though I know I'm not nearly as good as you make me out to be. No one could love me like you do. Nobody deserves the kind of love you give me, least of all, me. I will try to do my best to be deserving of that love for the rest of your life. I promise. I pinky swear, even.

Monday, February 26, 2007

One Year Ago Today...

I had the best birth experience I've ever had and gave birth to the lovely Mariela Katherine. I will link here for anyone who wants to read about it since it only happened a YEAR ago, it's the only one I have blogged about!

We had a party yesterday and even though its snowed like crazy, the snow stopped and everyone was able to get here (except great-grandma and grandpa) and we had a lovely time. The best was the fact that (my sister) Katrina bought a cupcake cake with bright green frosting that made every body's mouth turn really green and made for some great pictures! I'll post some pictures and a video for my sister, Anna who is in college and couldn't make it (they got about 2 feet of snow in Winona where we only got about 8-12).

In the video I walk you through our main level which is not very good for a party because it's broken up into a lot of little rooms. Someday, I'll have my dream home that's a giant box...all open so I can keep an eye on everyone (with a master suite so I can get away from all of them). This little house is okay for now and the kids probably like the fact that they can hide out in all the little nooks and crannies and get away from each other, too.

After everyone left last night, Mari chose to practice walking and even changed direction and initiated walking without prompting. I wouldn't call her "a walker" yet. Not until she gets up from the middle of the room, but I'm sure that will come only too soon. Now that she's walking like a big girl...I want her to stop and be a baby for a little while longer. I used to think that ONE was so old and that a one year old was really a toddler. Now I think that a one year old is still a baby. It's funny how your perspective changes as you have more children. Mari is talking and using sign language (although I'm not sure what many of her "signs" mean, but she does, and I guess that's important). Every day when Butch comes home from work she chats with him for the longest time. I think she's telling him what she did that day but all I know is she doesn't do that to me. Her narratives come complete with hand gestures and lots of words and vehement nodding to get her point across. It's hilarious. We just sit there in amazement that she has so much to say. She has such expression and personality we wonder what kind of big kid she's going to be. She's also figured out how to go down the stairs (Weazy claims that she taught her how to do that, yay for big sisters!) and she has taken to snuggling dollies and stuffed animals. If you pick her up for comfort, she'll give you this walloping hug complete with "pat pats" on the back which is the most awesome feeling, ever. She has a fake laugh and a fake cry which are so funny and she knows it which is funnier still. She's an amazing little girl. I have to go because she wants me to play dolly with her now. Here is that video of my family (this is what our typical family parties looks like, if there's anyone in my family that objects to this being on the blog, I may remove it so enjoy it while you can!)...

Sunday, February 25, 2007

Emergency! Alert! Pray!

Our good friend, Matthew P. was diagnosed with clear cell sarcoma (an aggressive form of tumor in his foot. He hasn't been tested to see if it's spread yet.) and may lose his foot. He is the child of one of the families in our homeschooling group (and happens to be a distant cousin of ours) and he needs our prayers! He is such a good boy, he makes my Matthew look like a rotten kid, and if you know my Matthew, that's really saying something. He is about Katrina's age and is handling it well, but please pray for him and his family (10 siblings, one of them just born little over a month ago) to have strength to get through this terrible time. I really can't put in words how much I love this kid and wish he didn't have to go through this. He is going to have a p.e.t. scan today so let's flood Heaven with prayer and God's will be done!!!!!!
Please comment with your prayers for Matthew and his family so I can email them to the family for encouragement!
Thank you so much!

Friday, February 23, 2007

I Could Be a Poet, But I Have a Sore...Throw-et?

I would love to be all of those things they list at the bottom...except maybe "poet". I think poetry is LAME except for a good Limerick, Clarihew or maybe some Dr. Suess or Shel. Mostly it's only good if it rhymes. I know that's not really girly of me to say, but I hate overly romantic, flowery junk. I'm a cheap Valentine's date, that's for sure!
You should take this quiz. It only takes about 30 seconds and it was pretty darn accurate (what do you think, Janene?) in my case. I like these fun quizzes!

Your Dominant Intelligence is Linguistic Intelligence

You are excellent with words and language. You explain yourself well.
An elegant speaker, you can converse well with anyone on the fly.
You are also good at remembering information and convincing someone of your point of view.
A master of creative phrasing and unique words, you enjoy expanding your vocabulary.

You would make a fantastic poet, journalist, writer, teacher, lawyer, politician, or translator.

Wednesday, February 21, 2007

I Give Up

I was in the grocery store line (Tues) yesterday where Analise and I were purchasing a "king cake" in honor of Mardi Gras (which I like to moderately celebrate every year for no reason other than an excuse to have a "mini-party" with the kids and I like the colors yellow, green, and purple together!). The nice, checkout girl asked me what the colorful cake was all about and when I explained, I stumbled. I can normally condense my thoughts and relay information very concisely but for some reason I was having a hard time explaining Lent and all of it's complexities to the check out girl and the bagger boy (who I knew was slightly mentally impaired and very young). In the end I just explained (mostly for the benefit of the very loud bagger kid who kept asking me if it was "LINT?" or "LENT?" heehee)that today was a big celebration before Lent which starts tomorrow and is the 40 days plus Sundays before Easter. "Oh!", said the bagger, "YEAH! That's the time you can't eat meat, right? That just SUCKS!". He said it about 3 more times which, even though I was laughing at his innocence on the inside, I was cringing a little and trying to distract him with other, little factoids about lent. "Yeah! We try not to eat meat on FRIDAYS during Lent and it's usually 'celebrated' by Catholics but a lot of protestants like Lutherans also practice fasting from meat during Lent, and other sacrifices." Then he stated loudly, "REALLY? I'M LUTHERAN! BUT NO MEAT FOR LENT SUCKS!"
I just love that kid. He's a hoot. I often wish I could go through life with no guard on my words and I could say whatever the heck came to mind with NO thought as to what people were thinking of me for the saying of it. I wouldn't waste countless hours rehashing conversations to discern if something I said was offensive, incomplete, or misinterpreted. Ah, well, I wasn't made that way so I guess I have to keep on going with the editor in my head.
Later on, we went for an actual "walk" with Mari and Niklaus bundled up in the wagon and the 3 biggers on their bikes! It was about 40 degrees which (here in the deep freeze) is a flippin' tropical heatwave! As we were walking around the block and I was giggling about Mari's amazed expression (she hasn't actually seen "the world" since about November) and reassuring Niklaus that the big doggies were tied up and wouldn't eat him, I took deep breaths of the pre-spring air and it came to me what my Lenten sacrifice should be. Ready for this? Duh da daaaaaa...I am going to give up BROODING. Heehee, I am going to actively spend time during lent being joyful. If I feel my head start to fill with worrisome thoughts, I'm going to banish them and fill it instead with prayer or turn on the radio and listen to silly music with the kids. I came to this decision because of part of my explanation about Lent. I was thinking the whole time as I was walking back to the car from the store that the words "celebrating Lent" didn't sound right for such a somber season. I was telling Analise that it sounded a little funny to say "celebrating Lent" about a time that's kind of serious and she informed me, "Mom, I KNOW what Lent is!". WELL!
So, I am going to "celebrate Lent" this year. Hopefully it will show on my blog. No more blah,blah,blah rants about my mixed up brains and more stuff about the joyful things of life, family, friends, tributes to people I love, and love in this house. Come Easter Sunday I'll get all cynical and skeptical again...but until then...only lighthearted, fun stuff for me. Man, the suffering I endure for my faith. Sheesh, you should only BE so pious as me. And so humble.

Tuesday, February 20, 2007

This One Doesn't Require ANY Deep Thought!

I promised I would post a video of Mari doing one of her cool jams. She doesn't even need music, just the HINT of a beat and she starts channelling Stevie Wonder. If you listen closely, you can hear Niklaus in the background making an announcement about a certain bodily function which is interesting. Oh yes, it's quite lovely. Praise the Lord that they don't have such heavy things on their minds as I do (see previous post). Enjoy!

Sunday, February 18, 2007

Vexing, Conundrum with a little Confusing, Juxtopositional Paradox

One time a priest was giving a talk to a women's group I belonged to and he brought up a subject that has had my head spinning (well, more than it usually does anyway) ever since. That subject sparked about a dozen more in my brain and I've been in a sort of "conversation" with God inside my head ever since. I can only think that this is a pretty good thing, since it promotes prayer and prayer is a good thing, right? Okay, okay, I'll tell you the subject:

(here are my observations-you can quit reading now if you don't want to get a headache that could lead to a seizure or something)
I am not humble...therefore, I must be humble (because truly humble people don't think they're humble)...buuuut, if I am not humble and I strive to be humble (for humility's sake) then once I achieve humility...I am humble no longer...If I pray to God for humility and he grants me humility (like, I do something then I am exposed as a fool and thank God for the opportunity to look like a fool for Him)the MINUTE someone else observes that "wow, that girl is HUMBLE!" then I'm not humble anymore! AHHHHHHHCHHHH! I could go on and on but I'll move onto another subject.


This one stinks. See, I'm not very charitable so I don't like the subject of charity. Okay, it's like this...I want to be charitable to someone. True charity is the giving of something without expecting ANYTHING in return, right? Sooooo...if I give money to a poor person, then the poor person will be less poor. The less poor person will thank me and thank God for me, maybe even, then I will be soooo happy for that person and then I will have received SOMETHING in return (happiness) for my charity which is no longer charitable. I know this one is a stretch but flow with me if I'm the poor person. I have no money, no job, no family, nothing worth anything and someone gives me something (because they are just so charitable) well, I'm so used to having nothing that I give it away and that makes me happy for some crazy reason...the person who gave it to me in the first place gets all indignant because I didn't accept their charity so I haven't given them the happiness they were looking for so now, even though I gave the something away (which in normal circumstances would be considered charitable) I didn't make the person who gave it to me happy, (let's say I knew that would happen) and now I have deprived that person of their charity and me too. Whew. Okay, on to my next subject. (I'm all hopped up on dark's good for you, you know?)


Jesus washed his disciples feet to show them how a leader is actually a servant. Okay Jesus. Good deal. At what point after serving and serving, does the authority break down and the master really is just a servant and the former servants have become the master. Is it just the knowing of the master that he is the master enough for the master to be the master? For instance, I'm a mother (master) so I serve by facilitating the household chores and doing corporal works for my kids (servants) and husband (co-master). I have to serve them by not serving them (teach them to do stuff for themselves) in order to maintain my master status and hopefully someday they will be masters (parents or clergy) themselves. Then I can still call myself their master but really I'm their servant. Ugh.

We had a "social justice" representative, a seminarian, come and talk to the RCIA group about "social justice" issues in the Church tonight. I thought he did a pretty fair job considering it's a touchy subject and can go very, very wrong on so many levels. He ordered things pretty fairly but some things raised my hackles a little. For instance, when he said that stupid quote about how "with the democrats you have to manage to get born, then they'll take care of you but with the republicans, you will get born but you'll starve to death" haha. Or something like that. Also he got onto the whole illegal alien thing. So I guess my next subject is (closely linked to the subject of charity)...

Social Justice (from now on referred to as "SJ")

If I want peace, I'm supposed to work for justice (it says so on the bumper sticker) soooo...if I work to promote justice in the area of, let's say, abortion...and my working against abortion incites crazies to do crazy things which AREN'T peaceful....should I stop working for justice? If I just stop, things will get really calm and peaceful (except for the poor baby, but they can't make any noise in the womb, right?) and nobody will launch a counter protest which will be a lot more peaceful. Yay for peace. Let's say I have a neighbor who I know is an illegal. They know that they won't be turned away from a doctor even though they know that their insurance card is from a previous workplace and won't be honored but the hospital won't catch up to the paperwork for a while. They use WIC even though they can afford to buy food without it. They bought a social security number because that's what everybody else who came to the U.S. did and that makes it right, right? They came here with just the clothes on their backs, true, but that was so they could get into the country without raising suspicion. Their family back in Mexico is rich and they live here VERY frugally and send a bunch of their money back to Mexico to help support their family there and save there because they might get "caught" someday and they'll have a nice nest egg to go back to. They never learn English and only talk to other Spanish speaking people, go to a Spanish speaking church and listen to Spanish speaking TV shows and radio. THEN, the son whines that America sucks and Mexico is awesome and he can't wait to go back someday. YEAH, I got issues with this one. Anyway, the SJ guy tonight was basically saying that illegal or not, we were ALL immigrants to this country and Catholic social teaching is that we should be charitable to ALL who come here "looking for a better life". Am I going against the Church to have issues about this one? At what point do we become doormats then smile while we're getting crap wiped on us? Is that what SJ is about? What happens if everyone simultaneously becomes doormats and just accepts junk and turns the other cheek and we lose our nation and all it's laws and then become a third world country ourselves who can't afford to be charitable to less fortunate is THAT promoting peace?

Jesus says to turn the other cheek, etc. and all those beatitudes then...
"Do not think that I have come to bring peace upon the earth. I have come to bring not peace but the sword.
For I have come to set a man 'against his father, a daughter against her mother, and a daughter-in-law against her mother-in-law;
and one's enemies will be those of his household."


Oh, I'm just so tired of all this thinking. I've come down from my chocolate high now so I gotta go to bed.
I should have some doozie dreams tonight!

Friday, February 16, 2007

First Fridays

I like the idea of starting new traditions and in my family First Fridays was something I'd heard about but we never really practiced any devotions. I heard about this one on the Curtjester blog and I am going to fast and pray on First Fridays through the year to end abortion. Won't you join me? I'll post a reminder every FF.
Link here for the Dallas Joint Statement. It makes sense.

It's kind of sad, but I agree with the part of the statement that goes like this:

"We will not win this battle in the courts. We will not win this battle in the media. We will not win this battle in any earthly way. We will only win through prayer, fasting, and devotion to Christ."

Tuesday, February 13, 2007

A Shot of B16

I came across this paragraph in the book A New Song For The Lord: Faith in Christ and Liturgy Today by (then) Cardinal Ratzinger and it reminded me of our recent vaccination discussions on the blogs. It gave me a lot to think about. The whole book is giving me a lot to think about. I love the pope's books and writing style!

P. 29
"With the full force of its prowess, medical research is in the process of looking for vaccines against the disintegration of the body's power of immunity, and that is its duty. Nevertheless, it will only shift the area of destruction, not stop the victorious campaign of the anti-culture of death, if one does not realize at the same time that the bodily immune deficiency is an outcry of the misused creature, the human person. It is an image in which the real disease is represented: the helplessness of souls in a spiritual climate that declares null and void the real values of human life, God and the soul."

It was part of a larger topic generally discussing the moral decay of our times and a true understanding of the person of Jesus but it struck me anyway and I marked the page so I could post about it. So I did. The end.

Monday, February 12, 2007

My Dirty, Little Secret

I was at church tonight at the end of the 6pm Mass and people were filing out while I was getting ready to drop Analise down in the playroom so I could go to the RCIA meeting (I'm sponsoring for the 9th time in about 15 years, I'm some kind of glutton for punishment I think haha, really it's very fun this year though and really great because it's run almost completely by a PRIEST!!!!). I saw one of the very nice women from our newly formed M.O.M s group (Miracle Of Motherhood) and she very sweetly asked if I was signed up for the women's retreat coming up soon in our parish. I said no and paused while she prodded me a bit "why not?? come on, it's gonna be great" and I said the words before I had a chance to stop them from slipping out..."I don't believe in retreats." Oops. I didn't mean to reveal my dirty, little secret like that and I almost acted apologetic (but I didn't feel that way) and she rightly said something like, "Oh well, we're all different, that's why we're here!". I am assuming she meant "here" as in "participating in church activities and pursuing a deeper understanding of our faith" etc.
Anyway, the point of my confession here is to ask all you lovely ladies that read this boring old blog if you think I'm a horrible person. I do care. I am a little curious if other people feel the same way as me and think of retreats as stupid. Okay, that was a little unfair. It's late and I'm being bully so I'll try to clarify a little.
1. Ever since I was a teenager I have recognized that retreats and retreat-type exercises are kind of manipulative and not very "real life". I have always been suspicious of people who set up those activities and wondered what their intentions were. I'm sure it's because I am a very skeptical person but why have I always questioned these things? One I remember was when I was about 17 or so and we had to do a mandatory retreat for teaching religion classes or maybe it was before that for confirmation or some such thing and I remember going to some other church or retreat center and they had us go to quietly reflect on some subject, and I just sat there thinking about what ever it was, and then when we got back together it was like everyone forgot how to act in social situations, and started melting down, and crying, and freaking out. Sorry for the excessive amounts of commas but I get this way when I'm ranting. Oh, also I went to a t.e.c. retreat when I was a young teenager and I can't even tell you how uncomfortable that whole thing was.
2. I really do believe that retreats can be cultish. People start believing that in order to be a good Christian, you have to go on a retreat at least once a year and cry and break down and tell your life's story to a bunch of people who normally you wouldn't even talk to. It sets up a false kind of reality and breaks down the normal social barriers (duh, yeah, I realize that's the whole point but I still don't like it) and then everybody koombayas for the weekend or couple of days and then go back to their normal lives feeling high for a little while then they come down and think maybe their faith is lacking because they don't feeeeeeel close to Jesus anymore so they go to another retreat.
3. I don't like anything that calls itself a "movement". See, the very thing about "movements" is that they MOVE. They shift and flow with the winds of change and I never was so good with the whole "change" thing. I just, plain like Church (Mass, mainly) and when people mess with Church it kinda bothers me.
4. I think retreats are lame and predictable. Each one of the current kind starts out with great ideas of what they are going to accomplish. People standing up and "witnessing" to get attention (hey, who doesn't like to tell a story about themselves??) then it's all "secret society" stuff where you have to throw your watch away for the weekend and promise not to tell what happened at the retreat (whatever happens at retreat, stays at reatreat) which I know is so people feeeeeel like they can speak freely but I don't buy it. My skeptical nature (and my knowledge of my own mind) knows that people DO remember the crazy, dramatic details of other people's lives and it colors their judgement of those people. For instance, if I found out that one of the women in my retreat group had numerous affairs and other scandalous things, I would always think of those things when I saw her in church on Sunday and I don't need that knowledge thank you very much. I got enough distractions in church.

Okay, I know I sound all "judgemental" about this and I am going to get allll kinds of email that extols the virtues of going on retreat and how the church fathers all went on retreats and that's what made them soooo smart and insightful and Laura, why can't you just understand that people come to the faith in different ways like what about the contemplatives blahblahblah yeah, I know, I know. But still, I get shivers up my spine when someone mentions retreats and I can never fully communicate my feeeeelings about why I can't stand those lame things. Maybe it's because I don't go to enough retreats?

Oh, also...I understand that some kinds of "retreats" are necessary. For instance, in the book I'm reading about this priest in a prison camp who saw how people were losing their faith and needed "retreat" from their horrible lives in the gulag, organized sort of "miniretreat" for them by giving them things to reflect on and exercises in faith in between working back breaking hours and deplorable living conditions. Yeah, I'm really stingy where I only think one needs a retreat in those conditions vs our humdrum, everyday lives. It's all relative, right?

The arguments FOR these retreats always push me further AWAY from the idea. Lighting candles and "setting the mood" outside of Mass always reminded me a little too much of the earlier RCIA classes run by the social justice representatives of the church who just wanted everyone to build affordable housing in their backyards. Never mind learning about the catechism or any kind of Church doctrine, right?
See, it's kind of like when I didn't like what happened when a "charismatic" dude came to our church and put on a show...I mean "retreat" and Fr told me when I complained about the charismatic renewal in general that "well, Fr. Corapi is coming this fall and HE'S from a very charismatic order"... YEAH...I can see Fr. Corapi going in for speaking in freaky, nonsense language and standing over someone with his eyes closed and pushing them on the forehead until they fall down. Ya know, somehow I just don't think he'd do that. Maybe I'm wrong. It's possible. But not likely.
Okay now I'm just getting tired, and punchy, and kind of uncharitable, and crabby.
So now you know my dirty, little secrets. I hope you can still respect me in the morning.

Thursday, February 08, 2007

HA! *with update

*update!!!! At the risk of filling your brains with too much gotta go here. K has really done good research and has addressed all of the things that I haven't. I especially like her last comments on this post! This is one, amazing topic.

WHOA! Hold the PHONE! Doesn't this all sound eeeeeeerily familiar???? Hmmmm????

The Amazing Mari

Mari was just SHOVELLING the mac and cheese and I HAD to get it on video. With all the weird news in the world today and sad news too (two more children have died of complications of the flu in MN)I thought I'd put something lighthearted here. I had to laugh at the crazy way Mari was eating tonight. She was collecting handfuls of mac and cheese and then feeding them one by one into her mouth like it was going out of style. Her hand was literally disappearing into her mouth with every noodle. The girl only has FOUR teeth, you'd think she'd choke! If you listen closely at the end of the video I ask her to say, "ALL DONE!" and she says it! That's the first time she's ever said that.

Mari makes me laugh with everything she does. She has an amazing jam that I'll have to record on video. Her head bobs up and down and she shakes her booty like no other one-year-old I know. The best is her spike. The impossible way her hair spikes up in the middle due to her double-interlocking-swirl on top of her head. When we can get it to lay flat (after a bath and lots of oil and lotion) it's like it's not really her. It's her signature, she needs's her identity. She looks funny without it. Aw heck, she just looks funny all the time!

Wednesday, February 07, 2007

Green Belt

Matty had his karate graduation to "green belt" status last Friday and he did great! I also signed him up for baseball the other night which should be fun for the summer. He's never been involved in any organized sport for very long. It just gets to be a hassle and I hate it when sports events are scheduled for Sundays. That automatically nixes the sport for me. When people can't arrange for tournaments to be on any other day of the week or Saturdays and leave Sundays for families, we're out. We have some sports crazies as friends but I usually don't hold it against them. It's just that I refuse to make life about a stupid sport that my child probably won't excel in to any great degree or will change their minds about later in life. So far I don't have anything to worry about as far as karate goes. He enjoys it, but it doesn't take over his life. I was in the used sports store a couple of weeks ago (to buy ice skates for our pond out in the backyard) and saw how every blamin' thing for hockey costs an arm and a leg and I couldn't imagine being a "hockey mom". Holy moly. That stuff's exPENsive. No kid deserves to have that much money spent on them. Not to mention hotel rooms, and travel time, and money to enter tournaments. Ha. No flippin' way.
Okay. Here's Matty in mid-kick before he got his green belt. He looks so cute...I mean, handsome and distinguished. The best part about karate is listening to the other cute kids when they answer the instructor.
Instructor: Why do we practice hard?

Instructor: What do I mean when I say (unintelligible Chinese word)
Everyone laughed at that one but to be fair, the kid was only about 4 years old. They are so funny in that class. They try so hard to be respectful and yell when it's required of them and I have trained Matty to be quiet so it was really hard for him (and still is) to really holler when he's asked to.
Also, they stretch out and play games at the end of class and that's good exercise for Matty. So far it's all good. We'll see.

Thursday, February 01, 2007

My Church Is So Pretty

Here is a slide show of one of the iconographers who did paintings in our church (you might need to get temporary access to the Star Tribune web page but it's worth the couple extra seconds). It is a lovely slide show with lots of pictures of our church at the beginning (the dome picture of Jesus and the apostles and behind the altar with Mary and the doctors of the church East and West) and at the very end of the slide show is a nice picture of the outside of our church at night (St. Michael is the name of our church and the archangel is our patron).
Our church is relatively new (three years old now, I think) and there are still people in this town who were/are freaked out because they think it's a mosque or something (ummm, notice the huge CROSS on top of the dome?). Our priest pretty much guided the design and really pushed the whole Byzantine look which turned out quite beautiful. I think it was his contribution toward uniting East and West (also the Pope's goal) and I think it was an excellent idea. It's not a finished work but someday I'm sure people will come from all over to see our church for it's great beauty. I really love our old church (my ancestors helped to build) so the new church had to be quite something to win over a new fogey like me.

*I was sent this link in an email by my good pal, Theresa. Thank you Theresa. Now lots and lots of different people can enjoy images of our beautiful church!