November 2006

30 Nov 2006 09:58 pm


A soldier from the 1st Armored Division moves to his next objective during a morning raid in Ramadi, Iraq, Nov. 28, 2006. U.S. Army photo by Tech. Sgt. Jeremy T. Lock.

I received this email from my son today…….

Hey Mom, I got a letter from Sister Mary John Seysler at St. Bernards Hospital.
I guess when I went in for reflux they got my name and sent it after reading
stuff in the Jonesboro Sun about our Battalion. She said they pray for us every
night. She sent this card called a………..

“Prayer for Our Men and Women in Military Service”

O Prince of Peace, we humbly ask
Your protection for all our men and women
In military service.
Give them unflinching
Courage to defend with honor, dignity and
Devotion the rights of all who are imperiled
By injustice and evil. Guard our churches,
Our homes, our schools, our hospitals, our
Factories, our buildings and all those within
From harm and peril.
Protect our land and it’s people from enemies
Within and without.
Grant an early peace with victory founded
Upon justice.
Instill in the hearts and minds
Of men and women everywhere a firm
Purpose to live forever in peace and
Good will toward all.

Pretty neat.

More than neat. An answer to a prayer within a prayer. Others, even strangers are praying for my son. A Catholic nun is praying for him and her prayer has more power than a billion Osama bin Ladens.

There is more wisdom in that simple prayer than all the Baker Commission’s convoluted, weak-kneed, half-measures constructed to achieve a convenient, subliminal surrender.

Another answer to a prayer…..

29 Nov 2006 09:27 pm

Lucy___Marlane_Doll__2_.jpg Laura_Lee_Donoho_at_age_Three__2_.jpg

My sister, Lucy, on the left and Laura Lee (me), on the right

We actually have snow in the weather forecast! Snow! The very element for which most teachers this time of year pray, because in the South, no matter how deep the snow falls, we get a Snowday! That brings me to the subject at hand.

My little sister, Lucy, who is three years younger than I.

Lucy was very small when she was young and then outright skinny as she grew….. so much so, that my Dad, who has always been a big tease, called her Fat Lucy. Every time it snowed my brothers and I wrote “Fat Lucy” on the rear window of our Dad’s ‘48 Chevy.


My Dad’s version of the Leg Lamp

My little sis and I have been close for most of our lives. Well, there were the days back when I was in first grade and came home to discover that Lucy had trashed our bedroom. All my dolls had been played with and their hair looked worse than Don King’s.

That didn’t go over well with me and to my everlasting shame, I do admit to pulling Lucy’s hair in revenge. We both loved our dolls and were each very possessive of them. When Lucy got a Tiny Tears doll I had to have one too.


Lucy has always been a sneezer.

One day after my brother’s baseball game we discovered that Lucy’s Tiny Tears doll had gone missing. If there had been an Amber Alert for dolls we would have reported Tiny missing. We searched high and low for that doll but it was gone.

Lucy and I shared a tiny bedroom which was in actuality a converted porch with windows all around except for the back door. We were nervous about that door all the days we shared that bedroom and both of us made sure it was locked at night. It did make it convenient for us (and our brothers) to sneak outside at night when we were older.

One bright moonlit night when I was sixteen and Lucy was thirteen we had an experience or a dream…. we really weren’t sure what it was. We awakened to see all of our departed cats running up and down on the tops of trees playing alongside our living kitties.

There were our darling, long lost cats….. Frisky, the gray and white cat, Buddy the kitten who died young, and Mittens, the cat who was killed on Christmas Day. Both of us watched out the window from our bunkbeds as the cats played with each other on top of the “mound,” a high place in the backyard where we had buried many of our cats and dogs.

Lucy and I pinched each other to make sure we were both awake and debated whether we should wake our parents. We decided not to do it, to simply share the moment. At some point we went to sleep, the next morning immediately remembering our visitation. We told our brothers and parents and of course, they found the account hard to believe. I remember we stayed awake as long as we could every night for weeks to catch the cats playing but we never saw them again.


Lucy (also called Goosey) and I loved to play with each other and our brothers but sometimes I sided with my brother. We were closer in age and had fun playing cowboys and Indians. Mainly cowboys. Lucy loved boots. We got a new pair of boots every year from our maternal grandfather, but with good reason because before we had our horse, Scout, we had a donkey named Tarzan.

About the time we got Scout, Lucy and I discovered that we could sing and harmonize very well together. We started to sing in public and won some competitions. One memorable competition took place in Witcherville, Arkansas where we won first place. The prize included some steak dinners and a years supply of dogfood. We didn’t have a dog at the time, and didn’t like steak so never did pick up our winnings. The song we sang that night was Navy Blue.

I learned to play the guitar and we started to sing some Beatles, Skeeter Davis, Sonny and Cher and songs by Johnny Cash. It was hard sometimes to get Lucy to practice. We had a bathroom with perfect acoustics but I frequently had to chase her down because she was always outside on her bicycle.


The Fletcher Sisters

In the summer we saddled up Scout and took off down the road. We had some friends who also had horses and we would all meet at the grounds of the local junior college and try to outdo each other with the tricks we tried to perform on our horses.

We rode Scout in the local Rodeo Parade for several years.


Scout had markings that looked like the map of the United States.

One day after Lucy and I were grown up our mother discovered some of our missing dolls. They were found in a trunk in a closet at our grandmother’s house. We speculated that we probably left our dolls there because we (along with our cousins) would frequently spend the night with our grandparents on Saturday nights. We knew our grandmother loved dolls but don’t think she meant to keep them. Lucy and I think she just put the dolls in the trunk and forgot about them. Still, the Tiny Tears doll wasn’t found among the dolls.


Lucy was my maid of honor when I married. My husband’s father, C.C. was his best man.

Lucy and I (and our brothers) didn’t grow up in a wealthy home but we did have a rich childhood. We were fortunate to be able to grow up in a picket fence era in which we could go outside and play without fear, grow close to each other and God, create art and memories, and finally, make mistakes but have help and encouragement from loving parents in the correction of them.

Welcome Anchoress Readers.

29 Nov 2006 03:06 pm

There’s this guy that seems to be everywhere I go… When I am shopping I see his photo on magazine covers. When I turn on the news he’s making threats. Now he’s sent me a letter. It doesn’t make any sense at all and in fact, is quite frightening.

He claims that I wanted him to write to me. Fat chance.

I just want him to leave me the hell alone and stay out of my territory. I wonder if I should write Dear Abby and ask her what to do?

I think this guy’s a stalker and worse, I suspect that he’s trying to take over the world. It’s really odd that no one in the MSM seems at all concerned about it. Surely leftists in the media don’t actually believe the guy or agree with his assertions? Could they really be enablers of madness? Don’t they recognize the symptoms of it?

What made Ahmadinejad think he had the right to write to me?

This guy is creeping me out big time.

Here’s part of his letter….. Take a look at it. Betcha you’ll be checking the locks on your doors. Or getting some chills down your spine.

29 Nov 2006 08:42 am

Sapper Central has posted some footage from Iraq. Watch the young Iraqi boy. Will he be a future tycoon, a Democratic leader of his people or a terrorist? He’s learning about Americans through the best representatives America has. Hopefully, Iraqi children will grow up with a positive view of Americans. That is, they will - if we don’t cut and run.

The media has got to stop lying.

President Bush assured us in Latvia yesterday that the troops aren’t leaving until we achieve victory but the cacophonous voices crying out for surrender are getting louder.

28 Nov 2006 09:59 pm

House Speaker-elect Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) told reporters on Wednesday that she feels it is “sad” that President Bush continues to blame Iraqi insurgent violence on al Qaeda.

“My thoughts on the president’s representations are well-known,” Pelosi said. “The 9/11 Commission dismissed that notion a long time ago and I feel sad that the president is resorting to it again.”

Pelosi will be selecting the head of the House Intelligence Committee and she doesn’t read Intelligence reports?

US forces can neither crush the insurgency in western Iraq nor counter the rising popularity of the Al-Qaeda terrorist network in the area, media reported, citing a secret Marine Corps intelligence report.

The five-page report, written in August, focuses on the largely Sunni Iraqi province of Al-Anbar, according to the Washington Post.

As of mid-November the problems remained the same, a senior US intelligence official told the Post. “The fundamental questions of lack of control, growth of the insurgency and criminality” remain the same, said the official, speaking on condition of anonymity.

According to the report, “the social and political situation has deteriorated to a point” that US and Iraqi troops “are no longer capable of militarily defeating the insurgency in al-Anbar,” the Post reported.

Is the San Francisco liberal going to let her catfight with Jane Harman, a fellow Californian who now serves as the Intelligence panel’s top Democrat, keep Harman out of the leadership of the committee?

Gee, thanks America, for voting in this ridiculous old woman as Speaker of the House. We need serious people in our halls of government in these dangerous times but Pelosi’s denial that al Qaeda is operating in Iraq is emblematic of what we can expect from this woman for the next two years.

28 Nov 2006 05:56 pm


RIGA, Latvia — President Bush said Tuesday he will not bow to calls to begin pulling U.S. troops out of Iraq “before the mission is complete,” setting the stage for Wednesday’s face-to-face meeting in Jordan with Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki, and delivering a response to critics demanding an immediate withdrawal.

“Tomorrow I’m going to travel to Jordan, where I will meet with the prime minister of Iraq. We will discuss the situation on the ground in his country, our ongoing efforts to transform more responsibility to the Iraqi security forces, and the responsibility of other nations in the region to support the security and stability of Iraq,” Bush said in a speech ahead of the NATO summit in Riga, Latvia.

“We’ll continue to be flexible. And we’ll make the changes necessary to succeed. But there’s one thing I’m not going to do: I’m not going to pull our troops off the battlefield before the mission is complete,” he said.

This is good news. If the troops are allowed to finish the mission, we win. The American people win. The terrorists lose and so do the Democrats.

28 Nov 2006 01:57 am


A Portrait of Mary by Laura Lee Donoho

Chicago has no room in the Inn for the Nativity Story.

Chicago’s not my kind of town apparently. Chicago’s city officials have decided that The Nativity Story, a film by New Line Cinema, is just too Christian to be a sponsor of Chicago’s famed Christkindlmarket.

The Scrooges fear the ads for the film might offend non-Christians. Actually, I do Ebenezer Scrooge a disservice in my comparison of him to Chicago’s Religion Tsars. Ebenezer was cranky, lonely and unloved. Chicago’s city officials are simply fearful of offending non-Christians….they say. I think it’s worse than that. I think Christianity just really bothers them. (and they’re really very provincial)

I’ve been to the real Christkindlesmarkt in Nurnberg, Germany, and others in Stuttgart, Heidelberg, Rothenberg and Augsburg, Germany and they still manage to keep Christ in Christmas….at least at the Christkindlesmarkts.

A public Christmas festival is no place for the Christmas story, the city says. Officials have asked organizers of a downtown Christmas festival, the German Christkindlmarket, to reconsider using a movie studio as a sponsor because it is worried ads for its film “The Nativity Story” might offend non-Christians.

New Line Cinema, which said it was dropped, had planned to play a loop of the new film on televisions at the event. The decision had both the studio and a prominent Christian group shaking their heads.

“The last time I checked, the first six letters of Christmas still spell out Christ,” said Paul Braoudakis, spokesman for the Barrington, Ill.-based Willow Creek Association, a group of more than 11,000 churches of various denominations. “It’s tantamount to celebrating Lincoln’s birthday without talking about Abraham Lincoln.”

He also said that there is a nativity scene in Daley Plaza — and that some vendors at the festival sell items related to the nativity.

Kim Priestap at Wizbang has much more.

Kathe Wohlfahrt is the place to cybershop for Christmas ornaments but it’s better to just go there instead of Chicago…….

27 Nov 2006 02:18 am

So, how did the conversation at our Thanksgiving feast go?

There were oohs and ahhs over the turkey, which was specially prepared by Mr. Norman, my daughter-in-law’s Dad. I have heard of his reputation for quite a few years and he certainly lived up to it. The smoked turkey and ham were scrumptious and Mr. Norman’s dressing was tasty, light, exquisite, perfect, sumptuous….just a few of the family’s descriptive words.


My recipe box holds all the treasures I have prepared for my family over the years. This year I made Kentucky Derby Pie, Finger Rolls, Scalloped Corn, and Cherry Pie.

This was the first Thanksgiving we were joined by our family from Louisiana and hopefully it will become a new tradition. We all gathered together to bring cheer to each other in the absence of our son, and my brother, who both managed to partake of a Thanksgiving feast in Iraq.

After that feast we went over to my brother and sister-in-law’s house for more. Some of us just visited and sipped apple cider while the heartiest among us sampled more of the Thanksgiving fare. My sister challenged me to taste her chocolate cream pie and yes it was the best I have ever had. It went on this way all day long until five p.m.


Back we went to our daughter-in-law and son’s house for dessert. All kinds of pies, cakes, candy and pastries were beckoning us and most of us gladly gave in to the temptation. There was even a warm banana pudding.


This was not the Thanksgiving Horse, Jack, but resembles him.

The day wasn’t quite as unpredictable as it was a few Thanksgivings ago when we had a horse come to visit. Jack was a six year old stud horse. He was riding by with his handler, and we ran out to see him so he turned around and came in the yard so we could visit. All the dogs and cats were very excited. Horses, just like people, cats and dogs, are always welcome at our house.


The cows Maine will not speak to.

Our niece, Maine among other things, mused about cows. She had come home from college and stayed up in the hills with her parents. She took a lot of walks in the country and stopped along the way to see the cows. She decided this year that it is hypocritical for her to be friendly to cows as she does enjoy a hamburger occasionally.


Enjoying the fall weather a few weeks back.

Because the weather was beautiful the kids went outside to play. Some played tennis while others just ran around the yard.

There was talk about the war of course and this time it was more personal. The conversation was much lighter because it brought some tears to eyes. Football was the biggest topic of the day. Everyone was hoping Notre Dame would beat USC. It was not to be. Sighs were heard in many of our family’s dens.

And then there was Arkansas. I’ve been an Arkansas football sceptic for many years because they can’t quite seem to make it to the big bowls and always manage to disappoint. 10 and 2 seasons are a success for Arkansas. Alas, again there were some hopeful souls in our family who were disappointed again. Lucy pulled that football away from Charlie Brown and Arkansas was defeated by LSU. Of course, our Louisiana relatives were thrilled.

All I have to look forward to now in college football is the University of Oklahoma who barely beat Oklahoma State.


And Army.

There’s always Army.

Beat Navy.

25 Nov 2006 02:27 am


After Mary Engelbreit by Laura Lee Donoho

“So they hurried away and found Mary and Joseph, and the baby lying in the manger. When they saw the child they repeated what they had been told about him, and everyone who heard it was astonished at what the shepherds had to say. As for Mary, she treasured all these things and pondered them in her heart.”

(Luke 2:1-20)

Being raised Baptist we were taught that Mary the Mother of Jesus was highly favored by God and humbly accepted an amazing story by an angel who visited her.

‘I am the handmaid of the Lord,’ said Mary. ‘Let what you have said be done to me.’

Mary was present at Jesus’ first miracle at a wedding feast in Cana of Galilee when He turned water into wine. “Do whatever he tells you,” she said to the stewards at the banquet.

I was fascinated by the person who pondered in her heart all the miraculous events that happened to her. One day my parents, knowing my love for art, presented me with an oil paint set with a paint-by-number picture of a sailing ship. I examined it and found nothing creative I could do with it. It seemed constricting and anti-creative.

I turned the canvas over and created a painting of Mary and Joseph on their way to Bethlehem in shades of blue with some brown. Paint by number was never the medium for me and I expressed my interest in the mystery of the nativity by painting my understanding of the event.

Visiting art museums when I got older gave me an opportunity to study the majestic Renaissance Madonnas close up. I collected postcards of the Madonnas and compared them in order to discover which one of them captured the essence of Mary. Many of the renderings were caught in the culture in which the artists lived but, still, were the artists’ own conceptions of Mary and her baby, Jesus.

My perception of Mary changed after I had children of my own. The prophesy that a sword would pierce her heart must have been a shadow at the back of Mary’s mind as she watched her child grow up.

Watching my children play when they were little would often bring that “sword” of fear as I imagined what their futures would bring. I worried about how I could protect them when I was not with them.

When Jesus began His ministry the prophesy must have wrenched Mary’s heart with fear and yet, she said at His first miracle, “Do whatever he tells you.”

Then miracle after miracle occurred, the people were with Jesus, praising Him, but just days later were against Him, calling for his crucifixion. He was betrayed by one of His own disciples. How that must have broken Mary’s heart. Mary was present at the foot of the cross, watching her son hang upon it. But on the cross Jesus commended His mother to the disciple “whom he loved.” Mary’s ponderings entered into scripture and she became the blessed Mother of all ages.

“My soul proclaims the greatness of the Lord,
my spirit rejoices in God my Savior;
for he has looked with favor on his lowly servant,
from now on will all ages call me blessed.” (Lk. 1:16-18)

At some point every artist will confront the mystery of the nativity and their creation will reveal what is in their own heart.

24 Nov 2006 03:08 pm


Sabby’s gaining weight after his radioactive-iodine treatment ordeal and enjoying his freedom to roam the house. He picks rooms with light.

Sabby’s no dark, conniving Scar . Although some in our family say Sabby resembles him I say he doesn’t. No. Not at all.


Ah, there’s love in that glance.

Modulator’s Friday Ark #114 is boarding. Go see.

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