Monday, May 25, 2015


I look a bit like my mother in this picture

My maternal grandmother had it.  My mother had it.  My mother's sister has it.  I have it.  Atopy is defined as "The genetic tendency to develop the classic allergic diseases -- atopic dermatitis, allergic rhinitis (hay fever), and asthma.  Atopy involves the capacity to produce IgeE in response to common environmental proteins such as house dustmite, grass, pollen and food allergens.  From the Greek "atopos" meaning out of place."

In addition to being allergic to "common allergens," people with a heightened form of this condition often develop allergies to medicines and chemicals of all sorts, including those that are supposedly "safe," such as common ingredients in cosmetic, soap, fragrance and shampoo products.

Allergic reactions to certain foods are common, as well as reactions to pesticides used in commercial growing operations.

Atopic syndrome is a tendency for a person to be "hyperallergic," and can be fatal for those who experience a severe reaction and go into anaphylactic shock.  Some years ago I suddenly developed an allergy to a medication I had taken previously with no problem and ended up in the emergency room at the hospital.  They took one look at me and shuttled me right in to see the doctor, no questions asked. My face had ballooned out, I was covered in hives, and I had begun having trouble breathing.  The doctor told me that if I had wait another few minutes, I would not have survived.  "We caught it in time," she said, "Thanks be to God."

Insect venom is a particularly bad one for me.  Even the measly mosquito leaves me with giant welts on my skin.  Dermatitis is a less frequent manifestation of my particular version of Atopy, but is chronic on my scalp.  I should be using an organic, mild shampoo, but it is cost prohibitive, as are the organic foods and supplements I should be taking to curb my chronic illnesses, of which atopy is just one syndrome.

Allergic reactions can come on swiftly.  Several times I have experienced sudden, severe itching of the soles of my feet, rapidly followed by hives all over my body and swelling.  Whole classes of medications are off limits for me.  All Nsaids, such as aspirin, aceteminophen and ibuprofen, are verboten, as are sulfa drugs (a common allergy), many antibiotics, and who knows what next?  The older I get, the more allergies I collect.

Atopy has a strong hereditary component.  One study found that atopy increases by a factor of two with each first degree family member suffering from it.  My family has hit the jackpot, with numerous members afflicted.

Having this atopic syndrome with the asthma, hay fever and dermatitis components, complicates my treatment for the chronic illnesses that I have.  I can't take several arthritis medications because I am allergic to sulfa (which is related in a way I don't understand.)  Even some non-allopathic remedies cause me problems, such as glucosamine condroitin because it is derived from shellfish, to which I am allergic.  It goes on and on like that.

Ideally, I would be eating a completely organic, non-GMO diet and using organic cosmetic and housecleaning products, but my disability income doesn't meet my needs in this regard.  I try to eat the organic items that most affect me and put up with the asthma and allergic reactions, keeping my emergency inhaler and my epi pen (epinephren shot) close at hand, but this is a less than ideal approach that leaves me with skin eruptions all over my body as a result of my body trying to eliminate the toxins, and probably is part of the dermatitis aspect of atopy.

Every time I read a news item in which the poor are being criticized for buying "gourmet" food, i.e., organic food, it makes me angry.  In some areas of the country, legislators are proposing laws that would restrict the type of food that poor people could purchase with their food stamps.  One of the items they want to forbid is fish.  My doctor is telling me to eat more fish, like salmon and kippers that are high in Omega 3s, to combat the arthritis that I can't treat with medicine because of my allergies.  Thank God I am not on food stamps!

Many disabled people have health issues that call for a chemical free diet.  Personally, I have become rather fond of living, and I don't want to become one of the 5,000 people each year that die of an asthma attack.  I'm going to continue to strive to purify my diet and get as much organic as I can possibly manage, and I recommend that everyone with asthma and similar issues does the same.

Silver Rose Parnell
(c) 2015


Kuster, W.; W. Kuster, M Petersen, E. Christophers, M. Goos and W. Sterry (December 12, 2004).  "A Family Study of Atopic Dermatitis".  Archives of Dermatological Research (Springer Berlin / Heidelberg) (2/January, 1990); 98-102  LINK  Wikipedia  Medicine Net

American Academy of Allergy, Asthma and Immunology LINK

Saturday, May 23, 2015



This blog post is for those who already acknowledge that helping the poor is a good thing to do. Christians are required to feed the hungry, clothe the naked, heal the sick and visit the prisoners, according to the words of Jesus.  I have to assume I have a tremendously large target audience, since there are so many self-identified Christian in America.  People of other faiths and no faith are also invested in helping the poor, so, for the tiny minority of people who think that helping the poor is not something they want to do, for whatever reason, please don't bother reading this.

For the rest of you, I want to say that it is important to get a good picture of what is actually happening with the poor of this country and how it is we came to have 46 million poor people in a land that is rich with resources.  While a certain portion of this problem is barely addressed by government programs that are being threatened with cuts or elimination, there remains a great need in this country for individuals of good will to step up and help those less fortunate than themselves.

The confusing thing is that poverty doesn't look like poverty in America.  The standard of living is so high that the poor live in apartments or houses that look nice, that have refrigerators and washers and dryers, but there's little or no food in the fridge, and there isn't enough money to keep ahead of the utility bills to pay for running the washer/dryer, the fridge and everything else.  Dental care and eyeglasses are beyond the reach of at least half of the poor and nearly poor.  Medical care is spotty, and sometimes they can't pay for the prescription and over-the-counter medicines they need.  They're living in a golden cage, but the seed dish is empty.

Before you decide how you as an individual are going to prioritize your efforts to help the poor, I would like to suggest 5 steps that you can take, in the order provided, to make it an activity that is informed, satisfying and effective.

1)  DO YOUR HOMEWORK.  Research basic statistics through reliable sources the provide source data and statistics. Ignore anecdotal stories from your friends and Facebook contacts, as well as opinion pieces about the great unwashed poor and what we should do about them.  Understand the overall picture by digesting the raw data.  See some of my own resources at the end of this blog.

I have found that reviewing comparative charts prepared from the raw data is a good way to visualize the issue.

If you see a conspiracy under every rock and you distrust every agency that collects statistics, I can't help you, because it is impossible to understand a situation that exists outside yourself if you refuse to recognize any authority but yourself or those persons whose opinions already jive with yours.

2)  Listen to and read the opinions of only those people who have expertise in the areas of economics and poverty demographics and who are authorities in their own right and who rely upon credible facts when forming their opinions and strategy.  Particularly ignore anyone who claims to have "secret" information that "the government" is trying to hide from us.  They're peddling the Brooklyn Bridge.

3)  Once you have digested the data, you will come away with a good picture of poverty in America.  There are about 46 million poor people in our country and several million who are nearly poor.  You can't help them all, aside from paying your taxes (a very tiny percentage of which goes to government entitlement programs), so you'll have to begin to focus on the subset you'd like to help the most.

Often, when I mention the poor, people immediately make reference to panhandlers and the homeless, even though that group represents an itty bitty speck in the 46 million sea of poor people.  I myself require assistance from friends in order to struggle through every single month, but I also find myself helping the homeless in several ways.  Take it as a given that you'll do a little something to help them in addition to your other activities.  Theirs is a special situation that doesn't represent the rest of the poor.

This is the stage at which a great deal of prayer and soul searching are required.  Which demographic of the poor will you help?

In America, the poorest of the poor, people whose income is below about $700 a month, are the ones who get the government benefits and free health care.  They used to also receive dental care and eyeglasses, but in the numerous cuts to benefits over the last few years, dental care and eye care may have been eliminated from Medicaid.

I would say that, as far as survival is concerned, the poorest people who make up the bottom third of the spectrum are, in some respects, better off than the poor whose income is slightly higher because the bottom third are the only ones who qualify for government programs.  NONE of the poor are "doing well," however.  They are all scrabbling for survival.

I belong to a rather large demographic of disabled people who, because of their illnesses, have needs that are much more expensive than the needs of an able-bodied, healthy person.  Our disability income is probably half what we need to combat our medical problems.  For instance, due to various conditions, I am supposed to get regular therapeutic massages, eat organic food, use organic cosmetics, have a service dog, and a super commercial vacuum that eliminates dust in my environment, but I can't afford any of it, so I feel ill all the time and walk like an 80 year old.)

One of my neighbors once said to me, "Why aren't you working?  You look fine to me."  Big sigh. No human being can look at another human being and magically see everything that is wrong with them.  Consequently, no one can automatically anticipate another person's needs, which brings me to category number 4:

4)  ASK the poor what they need.  Don't decide for them and then try to thrust it on them.  Recently, an acquaintance texted me and said that she had gone to the food bank and was bringing me a box of food. Trouble is, I can't eat any of it.  My diet is restricted because of my stomach ailments and my numerous allergies.  I thanked her, told her I couldn't use it, and asked her to give it to someone else. She said she would take it to some agency and that THEY would be grateful for it (unlike me, who would not take it from her.)

I will be eternally grateful to my two Catholic friends who call me every month and ask me if I need something in particular from Costco or from a favorite grocery store or from the vitamin catalog. Without these angels of mercy, I would be in a much worse position than I am.

5)  Finally, don't forget the poverty of loneliness that infects our country.  There are a lot of isolated poor and sick people who rarely get a visitor.  Visit a nursing home.  Invite one of the church ladies to your house for a meal.  Take a lonely person to breakfast.  It will mean the world to them.

After you have done all the research and rubbed elbows with the poor and made friends among them, let all this education and experience help inform your voting pattern during the coming elections.

Here are some links of some of the reputable sources for statistics that I mentioned:









Multiple sources, including U.S. Department of Labor, Dept. of Commerce, Census Bureau, etc.

Includes data from the U.S. Department of Agriculture

This website uses data from the U.S. Census Bureau, The Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development, American Medical Association Archives of Pediatric and Adolescent Medicine, UNICEF, the United Nations, the Boston Globe, United for a Fair Economy, The Equality Trust, University of Massachusetts' Center on Social Policy, Report by Allen Greenspan ECONOMIC APARTHEID, Michael Gorman of the American Library Association

Citing a report on Income and Poverty in the United States (2013), US Census Bureau, and other sources.


Sources:  Office of Management and Budget,
U.S. Dept. of Agriculture, Dept. of Health and 
Human Services, Dept. of Labor, 
U.S. Census Bureau

Redistribution of Wealth between 1970 and 2005
Data from Department of Labor

One of the experts upon whom I rely for informed opinion and expertise gleaned from both education and extensive experience in the field of economics is Robert Reich.

Robert Reich was the Secretary of Labor in the Clinton Administration.  He was named by Time magazine as one of the ten most effective cabinet secretaries of the twentieth century.  He is currently Professor of Public Policy at the University of California at Berkeley and the Senior Fellow at the Blum Center for Developing Economies.  He has written thirteen books, two of which became best sellers.  His new film, "Inequality For All," is now available on Netflix, iTunes, DVD and On Demand.

I hope my suggestions are helpful to you.

God bless us all.

Silver Rose Parnell
(c) 2015

Thursday, May 21, 2015


Advertisement for service dog vests for medium size dog, 
from Westwood Research Laboratories, found on

Dear readers,

You know from previous mention that my last service dog died and that I am currently looking for a service dog of a hypoallergenic breed because I have grown more allergic to the other breeds and my asthma has gone into overdrive.  Since I would like to avoid being one of the 5,000 people who die each year from an asthma attack, and since two medical doctors AND the local police are urging me to get another service dog, I have decided on a medium sized poodle variety, such as one in the picture above.


  • Pure bred poodle
  • Less than two years old
  • Between 20 and 35 pounds, give or take
  • dark color (NOT WHITE!)
  • Sound disposition and health

The reason for getting a pure bred is that this is the only way to be sure that the coat will be mostly hypoallergenic.  Poodles, and a few other breeds, have hair that grows continually, rather than fur that sheds.  It is this aspect that makes these breeds relatively hypoallergenic.  It is also this aspect that entails that either the owner groom the dog regularly or have it done professionally.  Professional grooming is expensive, so I am opting to do it myself.  Yes, I can do it.

Not all hypoallergenic dogs are suitable for service work, and some require more exercise than I can give them.  A medium sized poodle, what we would call a "large miniature" is most likely the only reasonable option for me.

I can manage the costs of ongoing food and vet bills, within reason, but the start up costs for training and grooming equipment are beyond me and I need assistance.

I am very familiar with dogs, I have had many and trained many.  I have also conducted quite a lot of research and I know for a fact that there is no agency in the United States that will supply me with a service dog of ANY variety, much less a hypoallergenic one.  Many people are convinced that service dogs can be had for free, and they cannot.  The only exception may be military veterans, and they usually have to wait at least 3 years.

Experts agree that clients who suffer from post traumatic stress disorder should train their own dog because each patient has their own peculiar needs and triggers.  They do recommend several books to aid in this process, and I have included them on a wish list on Amazon.  It is my intention to also join puppy obedience classes at Petsmart so that the puppy will start getting properly socialized right away.

"The Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) allows persons living with mental health disabilities to train their own psychiatric service dog. There are many good reasons for choosing this method as opposed to getting such a dog from a program. First, owner-trainers get to choose the breed of dog they will partner with. For those of us who are drawn to breeds other than Labradors, Golden Retrievers, and German Shepherds this is an attractive feature."  
by Dr. Joan Esnayra


As you can see, I have experience and expertise, AND I have "done my homework" with regard to the entire spectrum of service animals.  The only thing I need now is some financial assistance to obtain the dog and the necessary training and trimming supplies.

I cannot stress enough how much I need a service animal.  This is not a pet.  It is serious, therapeutic relief for a serious condition that I did not bring upon myself.  This is something that is necessary in addition to ongoing counseling, medication and other therapies.

The fundraising aspect of this venture is due entirely to the fact that I am disabled with numerous, chronic, painful, physical and emotional conditions that prevent me from working.  My retirement income is not enough to pay for the start up costs, even though I worked for more than 30 years and paid continually into Social Security. I have a close circle of friends, but there is no close family. I am, reduced to begging for alms to get my needs met.

If you are able to help and you are feeling generous, please click one of the below links and continue on.  If you are unable but sympathetic, I ask for your prayers.


It is recommended by all animal care professionals that the home be ready for the puppy prior to its introduction to the household, so it is important that I obtain the items on this wishlist BEFORE purchasing the animal.

God bless us all!

Silver Rose Parnell
(c) 2015

Tuesday, May 19, 2015


Mr. Fuzzy Pants, king of the house and ruler of all he surveys.
His opinion, which he expresses QUITE loudly, is law....or
so he tells me.

I wish I hadn't read Facebook today.  The political season of crazy has begun.  The worse of it are the lies that are foisted off as a "difference of opinion."  Large numbers of people have LENGTHY "opinions" and will fight vociferously for their position.  The only problem is, in the course of championing their cause, they spew lies right and left.  I call them lies because, well, that's what they are.

So, with Christian charity, I initially assume that these lies are just a product of a lack of education, so I provide definitive sources that prove that what they've said is not true...and they continue to defend the lie and say that it is true.  For these people, their opinion holds more weight than facts.

So it is with Satan.  He, the father of lies, presents the lies as Truth and the Truth as lies.

There is a very good reason why "Thou shalt not lie" is one of the 10 commandments.  You have to admit that 10 is not a big number, right?  Every one of those 10 items is crucially important for our spiritual well being.  Even some Christians don't seem to take it seriously, though.  I have been very surprised by this phenomena, since becoming a Catholic.

Some months ago, I caught one woman telling multiple lies on the telephone in order to manipulate someone into doing something she wanted.  When I questioned her, she said, "It's not a lie.  It's just a story."  When I explained that I was concerned about her immortal soul, she said, "Oh, don't you worry about me, little girl.  I'm just fine.  I'll be going to heaven, don't you worry about it."

Well, first of all, she was younger than me, so I suppose the "little girl" comment was an attempt to discount me.  This person was so wedded to her opinion that she wasn't going to let facts get in the way of what she wanted to do.  In her exalted opinion, it is alright to tell lies if you call them "stories."

I know our God is a loving God, but he also expects that, if we love him we will do what he says to do.  If we don't, then we don't go to heaven.  Don't find fault with me for repeating Christ's position on this.  Take it up with Him if you disagree.

Still, this rainbows and lollipops and unicorns Jesus is all the rage among people who just do not want to make any effort to "become perfect as your father in heaven is perfect."  I am not talking about the people who aspire to holiness and fail now and again.  That's a different circumstance.

I had to block two people from my Facebook list today because they defended lies about the church that were obviously intended to manipulate people into choosing one political party over another. Even when faced with proof from the American bishops that they were lies, they staunchly defended their lies.  Their opinion could not be touched or changed by truth or facts.  Their opinion is king.  God save the poor wretches.  They need our prayers.

When we do not defer to God, but instead rely upon on our opinion, we are in big trouble.  I rather think the road to hell is paved with these self-referential opinions.  After all, that's how Satan ended up there.  In his opinion, he was as good as God, and look where it got him.

Silver "Rose" Parnell
(c) 2015

Saturday, May 9, 2015


I woke up this morning feeling very grateful that I was born in a country with amazing resources and a high standard of living.  Even though close to the poverty level, I have an adorable, clean, sturdy apartment; hot and cold running water; a fairly safe food supply; nice clothes in my closet; hobbies and friends; a wonderful church community.

As of this morning, the confirmed death toll as a result of the recent earthquake in Nepal is nearly 8,000 souls, at 7,912.  The utter devastation is due to a combination of factors, mostly a very strong quake combined with antiquated buildings.  About 298,000 houses were destroyed, and more than 10,000 government buildings collapsed.  About 8 million other people have been affected by the quake, but the U.N. reports that donations of funds have fallen well below that which is needed to help this nation rise from its knees.  They need $415 million, but have only received $22 million in response to last month's disaster.  Click the following link to get information about U.N. efforts and what is needed:


The clock is ticking because June is typically the beginning of their monsoon season which customarily causes floods and mudslides.  With millions of people homeless as a result of this disaster, it doesn't take much of an imagination to divine what looms ahead for this beleaguered nation.

If you can contribute any funds to help the Napalese, here are some links:

CAFOD - Just One World

If you are like me and have no funds to contribute, please join me in prayer for Nepal.  Do an extra rosary.  Take some time in adoration before the Blessed Eucharist.  Remember the Nepalese people when you say grace before eating, that they should also have food and safe water.

God bless us all.

Silver Rose Parnell
(c) 2015

Tuesday, May 5, 2015


Cheap cotton fabric on a garment that was promised to be
"butter soft viscose rayon"
Ordered online from Holy Clothing Company

Fraud and shoddy workmanship seem to go hand-in-hand these days, or perhaps it has always been thus.  I have had a week of disappointments in this regard.

Most recently, I had waited with baited breath for a "butter soft viscose rayon" skirt from my favorite clothing manufacturer, Holy Clothing Company.  I was particularly excited about these skirts because they were advertised as being 42 inches long, which would FINALLY be long enough to brush the tops of my feet, which is what I like in a skirt.  I am not super tall, at 5 feet 7 inches, but most clothes for women seem to be made for those who are several inches shorter.  (This makes NO sense to me because you can't ADD FABRIC to a skirt or pair of pants, but you can certainly hem them.)

I rarely wear anything but Holy Clothing skirts and blouses that have been shipped to me over the last few years and arrive by DHL delivery to my door.  Very handy for a disabled person, and the clothing has always been super.  I always get compliments on my many skirts, blouses, dresses and jackets.

Today when I opened the package, however, I pulled out two miserable, paper thin, stiff and scratchy skirts that were clearly labeled "100% cotton," which is NOT what I was promised.  This skirt was advertised thus:

Colette Simply Elegant Full Style Skirt

Price From: $34.99
Butter-Soft washed viscose/rayon breathes naturally for year round comfort.
[Fortunately, I had the foresight to copy this ad before they had a chance to change it subsequent to my vociferous complaints to them.]

I had already begun to develop a mistrust of this clothing company because I learned that, as a matter of policy, they remove all unflattering reviews from their website, leaving only the raves.  This is unethical, of course, and not the industry standard.  If you offer customers an opportunity to review a merchant's wares, the customary business practice is to include ALL reviews, not just the good ones.  When I questioned them about this, some time ago, I was given a thin excuse to the effect that complaints are rare and the problems can usually be fixed, so it isn't necessary to include them.  I disagree.

I have to admit that I was apprehensive about this order because of their unethical approach to their reviews and because I'd had some delivery issues with a shipment I had received some time ago.  I should have listened to my gut.

This happens all the time these days.  You pay good money for something that you are led to believe is going to be a quality item of a certain manufacture, and later discover it is either misrepresented (as in the above case) and/or is so poorly made it barely lasts a minute.

I am a tea lover.  I love tea and all its accoutrements and I have several friends who are likewise inclined.  There is something about tea, its rituals and its decorative motifs that makes a certain kind of person swoon.  I can't explain it.  I think it's a girl thing.

Anyway, I really needed an electric tea kettle that would turn itself off when the water boiled, since this would save on electricity and since my stove-pot tea kettle has fallen apart.  I waited TWO YEARS to purchase this darling ceramic tea pot from Victorian Trading Company.  It took me that long to get the money out of my budget.  I was keen for this variety because there would be less of a metallic taste to the water.  The fact that it is beautiful was another feature I appreciated.

I purchased this tea kettle one year and one month ago, on April 3, 2014, after waiting two years to save up the money for this $50.00 kettle, tax and shipping.  It now does not work.  Of COURSE, it is made in China, like just about everything else in our markets.  Chinese goods used to have a cheap price for cheaply made goods.  Now they're just cheaply made goods at a high price.  According to the website from which I bought this kettle, it was a "$75.00 value."  Ha!

Now, as it happens, Victorian Trading Company has agreed to send me a replacement for this particular item only, in that they usually will accept returns for just 90 days, but this item should not have broken so quickly.  I think they are using good customer service practices for a customer who has ordered a lot from them over the last 20 years.  Something very endearing that they do in this company is that the women who answer the phones have pseudonyms of famous women from history.  Today I spoke to "Eleanor Roosevelt," which made me giggle quite a bit, and I think the customer service representative was confused as to why I was laughing.  Perhaps she did not appreciate how funny it seems, or maybe she just doesn't know who was Eleanor Roosevelt.  I can't say.

Holy Clothing Company is also more than willing to credit me for the disreputable skirts they shipped me, AFTER I return the lousy skirts, but they expect me to pay for the shipping FIRST and then later they will reimburse me.  Frankly, I can't afford shipping charges on my disability income, as I can barely afford to purchase the original items to begin with!  As usual, it will have to come out of my food budget or I will have to put off paying a bill or repaying a loan.  First, however, I will contact my state representative, congresswoman Heather Graham, whose office has been instrumental in helping me with previous Federal issues.

Holy Clothing is located in another state and ships clothing over state lines, so I believe it is a Federal issue, as is fraud and bait-and-switch scams such as this one.  I will see if her office can make Holy Clothing Company do the right thing.  Personally, I think they should change their name, since they don't behave very "Holy" at all.

My new cell phone

Just a month or two ago, I got a new cell phone and cell phone service.  The phone was on sale for only $20.00 - even though it is a supposedly "smart" phone.  Well, now everyone I speak to tells me that my voice is fading in and out and they can't hear me.  IMAGINE A BIG FAT SIGH RIGHT HERE...and maybe a swear word that isn't too naughty.

I hear that there was a time when manufactured goods were made to last and that people would take things into a repair shop or would fix it themselves and keep them for years.  Frankly, this was before my time.  I think I was born into the age of the disposable.  Anyway, I am not going to go into a senior rant about how we should not be throwing things away but should be fixing them instead.  I agree with that perspective, but it requires that the items in question would be WORTH fixing, and they aren't.  They're not made to last.

Then there are the food adulteration issues we have to deal with in modern society.  Last week I bought a quart of "rainbow sherbet" ice cream from Baskin Robbins.  Once a month, sometime around the receipt of my monthly income, I allow myself a treat like that.  Imagine my surprise when, after scooping out a nice amount into my bowl, I licked the spoon and a horrid, bitter, chemical taste came into my mouth.  Kind of like industrial strength cleanser with a lemon overtone.  No, it was not sweet either.  Not a trace of sugar, nor of the pineapple, orange or raspberry flavors that are SUPPOSED to be in it.  I gave instructions to my friends, in case I should die.  I want to be buried, not cremated, and I would like to be located near my son's position in the Virgin of Guadalupe crypt at Mt. Calvary Cemetery.  I'm just sayin'....just in case.  I am STILL waiting for Baskin Robbins (Now owned by the Dunkin' Donuts people) to get back to me.  Likewise the health department.  I called their Albuquerque office yesterday and left a message on their machine and I am STILL waiting for a return call.  Can you imagine?  What if some kids get into this bogus ice cream impostor and keel over?

Going from the mundane microcosm to macrocosmic thoughts, it occurs to me that "the world, the flesh and the Devil," ALWAYS promises a certain happiness that is never delivered.  For instance, when magazines, internet and television ads convince you that, when you have a house or a car or a someTHING as nice as what advertisers present, you'll be happy, content and satiated.  Some people convince themselves that promiscuity unfettered by the danger of creating children is just the ticket to provide the joy they crave.  Others find it at the bottom of a bottle of wine.  Some people search for it in their wardrobe.  You get the drift.

Anyway, these daily irritations that I've been writing about eventually lead me to think about the larger issues and the basic reality that God alone suffices.  God alone is perfect.  God alone infuses us with unalloyed joy and peace.  The world, the flesh and the Devil will always disappoint.  There is no point expecting anything different.

Silver Rose Parnell
(c) 2015

Sunday, May 3, 2015


"Perfection is founded entirely on the love of God: 
"Charity is the bond of perfection;" and perfect love 
of God means the complete union of our will with 
God's: "The principal effect of love is so to unite the 
wills of those who love each other as to make them 
will the same things." It follows then, that the more 
one unites his will with the divine will, the greater 
will be his love of God. Mortification, meditation, 
receiving Holy Communion, acts of fraternal charity 
are all certainly pleasing to God - but only when they 
are in accordance with his will. When they do not 
accord with God's will, he not only finds no pleasure 
in them, but he even rejects them utterly and punishes 
them."  ~ Saint Alphonsus Maria de Ligouri

Yesterday I attended the local Lay Dominican Chapter meeting.  First, there was morning mass in the church, then we moved over to the parish hall and had our meeting, which was begun with daily prayer from the book of Shorter Christian Prayer, a truncated version of the Daily Office that is said throughout the Catholic Church in monasteries and convents and sometimes by individuals at home.  We had a light breakfast, a reflection, some discussion about future events, and then we broke out into three groups for a discussion of a recent paper on governance that was a preparatory document in light of upcoming elections.  After all of that, I met with a few people with regard to entering the "Inquirer" stage of the process of becoming part of the Dominican order.

All of this took about 4 hours, and by the time it was over, I was in agony of physical pain.  My back, legs, sciatic nerve, and arthritic tailbone were all screaming at me, despite having taken two strong pain pills.  The pain stayed with me throughout the rest of the day, which I spent in my recliner, some of it sleeping.  I missed my customary Saturday evening mass.  At 10:30 p.m., I was still feeling the pain, and I realized that I am not physically able to attend these Lay Dominican meetings.

The most I can do is attend mass once a week at my parish, where they supply me with a chair that helps alleviate some of the pain that comes from sitting for so long.  Becoming part of a third order is a fine and beautiful thing to do, but it has become obvious to me that, as fine as it is, it is not God's will for the trajectory of my life.  As much as I yearn to be of use and to be part of a community, I am not destined to express those things in my life in the way in which I wanted to do so.

Nothing happens in life that God does not either will or allow to happen.  God has never spoken to me directly.  I don't hear voices and I don't have auditory visions like some saints, but I divine his will by the insurmountable obstacles I sometimes find in front of me.  I don't automatically give up when I find an ordinary obstacle because that would make me a lazy person.  It is the insurmountable that speak to me.

Cheerfully accepting the will of God when it doesn't happen to coincide with what I thought I wanted is something I have had to learn how to do.  The alternative just causes me unhappiness.  There is a certain joy in knowing that God has revealed a clear path for me by hemming it in with very tall barriers.  I told Him I wanted only to know his will and, having my explicit permission, given by my free will, He has obliged me.

I had envisioned a different sort of life for myself in my "golden years."  Being an accidental hermit who is disabled and mostly home-bound did not figure into my plans, but this is the situation with which I am gifted.  Having faith in God that he knows what is best for me in the highest sense is a crucial part of my spirituality.

Cultivating gratitude and learning to say "thank you" for the obstacles has been a hard lesson that took me a very long time to learn, and I am still evolving along those lines.  I suspect that this type of conversion just goes on forever.  In this deliberate effort, the joy of surrender is gradually coming upon me.  I pray that one day this joy will be complete and that everyone will possess it.

In the meantime, I have advised the Lay Dominicans that I will not be able to continue with them, until and unless my health improves.  I will continue on at home, praying, meditating, and practicing the presence of God.

God bless us all.

Silver Rose Parnell
(c) 2015