Tuesday, November 29, 2011

The Sad Face of Envy

As a moth gnaws a garment, so doth envy consume a man.
                                            St. John Chrysostom

St. Thomas Aquinas defines the capital sin of envy as "sorrow at another's good". No wonder very few people admit to envy... even the definition sounds terrible. It's hard to believe we actually may become sorrowful when good things happen to others, or if others have special gifts and talents, but most of us have been here at some point. As a child and young adult I remember envying others a lot. I would actually feel sad and wish that they did not have the gifts they had. Envy is one of the first things that God worked out of me and he did this by showing me his love. Once we understand the greatness of God's love for us envy tends to fall by the wayside because we understand the one true need in our life is God himself and that this gift is given to everyone without exception. Many of the seven deadly sins are fear based and envy is one of these. The problem with envy is that it is completely lacking in charity. It not only sorrows because someone else has been blessed in some way, it wishes the person had not received the gift or blessing. It  may even wish ill on others. I started this post with the quote from St. John Chrysostom because of the truth it contains... envy consumes a person from within if it is not stopped in its tracks.

Envy is a sin against charity. Love seeks good for others, envy the opposite. One common sign that envy is at play is when you hear someone praise a person and then proceed to rip them apart. For instance:
"Don't you just love Mabel?! She is so talented! Still, it's just terrible that she doesn't know how to keep those children of hers in line. As smart as she is you would think that her mothering skills would be better. And did you see that AWFUL dress she wore to the wedding? It matched that plaid sofa she's got in her living room! Bless her heart! That woman has no taste...(yap, yap, yap)." The conversation goes on and by the end it is clear that Mabel is one slothful/ugly/mean/crazy/ungrateful, but don't forget talented, woman in the eyes of the speaker. Gossip often has its roots in envy.

Spiritual envy goes one step further. It actually sorrows over another's relationship with God. I found this quote by St. John of the Cross at Portiuncula: the Little Portion and it gives an example of just how unloving envy can be:
"Certain beginners feel disappointed when they perceive the goodness of another. They suffer from profound envy and can hardly bear it when they realize that someone else is ahead of them on the spiritual path. They would rather not hear another be praised. When they find that another's virtues are being celebrated, they can't stand it and are compelled to contradict them. Because no one is saying such great things about them, their annoyance grows; they yearn for preference in all things."
                                                                                         St. John of the Cross
Envy is dangerous because it leads to so many other sins - detraction, calumny, lies, uncontrolled anger, and other sins against charity.

Here are some of the signs and symptoms of envy:
~ bitterness
~ fault finding
~ resentment
~ fear
~ low self-esteem
~ depression (a note: depression can have physical causes too so this takes discernment)
~ judgmental attitude toward others
~ contempt for others
~ lying
~ gossiping
~ detraction
~ slander
~ ingratitude
~ a lack of peace and joy

Similar to the distortion pride brings, those who struggle with envy have a warped view of God, themselves, and others. All the deadly sins distort truth in some way and envy does it with a vengeance. If sloth makes it seem as if one is constantly trudging through water, envy is like stumbling through the rough waters after a storm and then throwing down stones in hopes of making the way more difficult for others. I say this because sloth has no storms whereas envy is filled with them. One is more apathetic than the other. Those who are envious end up walking alone because envy (like pride) is against unity and God is all about unity. Sloth may not even notice that someone is next to them while envy is perfectly aware that someone is with them and resents it. Sloth is more apt to sin through omission, envy - commission. Both are deadly. You can find out more about the sin of sloth in my post, The Joy Thief.

It probably comes as no surprise that envy's opposing virtue is charity. This in itself shows the deadliness of envy. In my post, Facing off with Envy, you can find some practical ways to tackle envy.  Practicing the virtue of charity is helpful but what I found most helpful in this area is meditating on the love of God. Gratitude is another powerful weapon against envy and I speak more about this in Facing off with Envy. I also speak about what envy is not because this deadly sin can be confusing at times.

Thursday, November 24, 2011

Need or greed?

A few years back I wouldn't have written these posts on the seven deadly sins one right after the other. I think I probably would have become a bit discouraged at what I found and probably would have made a million excuses for my behavior. I'm good at that. As a matter of fact, I had to ask the Lord for the grace to take a good look at myself without getting upset because I really wanted the truth...but not truth without the mercy that is necessary for examining oneself. The point is to recognize where I need to
improve but to do it without anxiety, trusting that the Lord will provide the grace for an honest examination of my heart. I have learned the hard way that trying to push before it's time to push just stops all progress and sometimes causes despair. I have had to learn (and am still learning) to be gentle but firm with myself. To not be so spiritually greedy, wanting it all at once, but to slow down a bit and learn what the Lord is trying to teach me about both myself and Him.

Thinking about greed this week, I have realized that most of us live in a time and place where it's hard NOT to be greedy. We live in a society that breeds discontent. Companies promote a "must have" mentality through their advertising and sales tactics. What used to be "wants" have become "needs" and people are often judged today by what they have rather than who they are.  While there is nothing wrong with having a few extras, do we really improve the quality of our lives when we add the "latest, greatest, thing" to our households? Or are we trying to distract ourselves in some way? Are we happier today than our grandparents were in the past?

The day after Thanksgiving has been termed "Black Friday" and when I consider this name I can't help but think how fitting it is. The fact that it comes right after Thanksgiving just seems to add to the day's darkness. There's something very ugly about Black Friday and something very sad too. Over the years, many stores have started opening up earlier and earlier and, now, some even open up their doors on Thanksgiving Day itself. Where does this frantic consumerism end?

I wonder what God thinks about Black Friday? I was wondering about that today after reading a post by another blogger. Food for thought. Instead of being thankful for what we have, we want more. Sounds like a good definition of greed, doesn't it?

Here are some of the signs and symptoms of greed:
~ lack of trust in God
~ fear
~ a distrust of others
~ being dissatisfied with one's life
~ a pessimistic outlook on things
~ hoarding
~ being manipulative
~ a worldly outlook and a spiritual dullness
~ stinginess (tightfisted with money and goods)
~ boredom
~ ingratitude

Greed's opposing virtue is liberality (generosity).  The generous giving of one's time, money, or goods to those in need is the way to overcome greed. Praying for an increase in the virtue of charity is key when tackling this vice.  I find praying the Rosary and reading Scripture very helpful when it comes to greed. It helps combat the spirit of worldliness that we carry.

Monday, November 21, 2011

More is Never Enough - Greed

This week I am trying to root out greed, also known as avarice. Though it cannot be overcome in a week, simply being aware that greed may still be a part of my life is a step in the right direction. After all, acknowledgement of our failings leads to repentance and forgiveness. Sin cannot be forgiven if one does not admit that he or she needs forgiveness. Admitting our faults is a basic requirement.   I can go through my life seemingly unaware that I am affected by the seven deadly sins but this would be feigned ignorance on my part because with conversion comes the light to know oneself and this grace cannot be denied easily.  If I look away each time the Lord taps me on the shoulder asking me to look more deeply into my heart I will pay a heavy price for that turning away some day. Better to search here than in Purgatory.  It's a lot less painful to do it here on earth. Maybe not painless but certainly less painful.

Greed is the inordinate desire for money or earthly goods. We see manifestations of this capital sin everywhere we look in today's society, a good example being the avarice that gripped our large financial institutions a few years back to such an extent that they needed government bailouts to stay afloat. An article I read when this happened said the downfall of our financial institutions was "bad banking decisions" but the truth is that greed was the culprit here and many of the banks have continued basing their banking practices on greed rather than using money justly. Good old common sense tells us where this will land us once again.

A hunger for power may be one of the more dangerous manifestations of greed. We see the damage dictators have wrought in our century but ordinary people can be "little dictators" too. Some folks lord it over their families and run their household with an iron hand that brooks no disobedience. Right or wrong is not the issue here because a "little dictator" does not respect the free will of others. Greed and pride make a volatile mixture. If gluttony causes a narrowing of the spirit, the mixture of greed and pride bring about a deadly spiritual rigidity that is difficult to pierce. Pride believes it is always right and greed walks all over others to get what it wants. And after it gets what it wants... it wants more. They are very dangerous partners.

Greed is often fear based and uses the goods of the earth as a "physical" blockade of the heart. Greed does not trust God or others. Nor does it trust itself. It uses "stuff" as protection and "lording it over others" as proof that it is self-sufficient but once these things are taken away it becomes obvious that this is not the case. Greed is the refusal to entrust oneself into God's hands... which stems from fear. The problem is that we must learn to trust God totally. The more greedy we are, the more painful our separation from this earth at death will be because dying well requires an complete abandonment of ourselves into the hands of God. If we trust things more than God this poses a big problem, doesn't it?

Greed is unhappy because it confuses "having" with "being". Because it confuses these two it always seeks more because what it has is not enough to fill what can only be filled by God.

In my next post I'll write about some of the signs and symptoms of greed and about greed's opposing virtue.

Friday, November 18, 2011

Dainty Eating Habits?

Hieronymus Bosch: Gluttony

I have to admit that I don't know as much about gluttony as I thought I did. Most of the information I had on this sin was from Peter Kreeft's book Back to Virtue. I don't know why I thought it was as simple as overeating or drinking too much...I should have known there was much more to it.

The easy definition of gluttony is eating or drinking inordinately. Who hasn't been guilty of this sin at times? Very few of us I'm sure. For those who say, "Wait a minute! I never overeat or drink too much!" I have some bad news for you (well, it was bad for me at least):

According to St. Thomas Aquinas, gluttony consists of :
~eating food that is too luxurious
~eating too much food
~eating daintily (fussiness about food preparation)
~ eating at inappropriate times (for example too much snacking at night or between meals)
~eating too eagerly


 I have done most of these things. I've definitely shovelled food down my throat without paying much attention to what I was doing. I've eaten at inappropriate times too. Though these things may seem nitpicky, St. Thomas warns us about each of these because gluttony generates other sins. Plus, it is selfish. I guess in our day many of us consume too much of the world's goods. As if the above definition is not enough, gluttony can also carry over to areas other than eating or drinking. 

What are some of the signs and symptoms of gluttony?
~ mindless eating
~ hiding or sneaking food
~ hoarding food
~ being picky about how your food is prepared
~ snobbery when it comes to food (only the best, costliest or most exotic food will do)
~ using food to soothe emotions
~ addictions (alcohol, drug, caffeine, etc...)
~ eating disorders
~ insomnia
~ ill health
~ lethargy
~ lack of zeal for God

The list could go on but these are the most obvious ones. I didn't put being overweight on the list because thin people can have as much of a problem with gluttony as heavy people. Gluttony is more about having a "malnourished" soul. Our selfish over consumption of the things of this world lead to a narrowing of the spirit and a lack of generosity toward others. This is conquered by praying for and practicing the virtues of temperance and charity. Fasting is a great help with this deadly sin. We can also pray for a heart that's rightly ordered because a disordered heart is one that is too focused on oneself.

I won't even get started on the subject of spiritual gluttony...I'll leave that to an expert - St. John of the Cross

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

You Mean Sloth Aggravates Gluttony?!

Yes, sloth makes it harder to implement the remedies that need to be applied to tackle other sins.

This week I am working on the sin of gluttony. This doesn't mean that I've stopped battling against sloth or acedia - that one will likely be a lifelong process as it definitely seems to be the "king pin" when it comes to my spiritual life. As a matter of fact, acedia plays a big role in my inability to overcome certain sins, even more so than pride, though that too has a place in the bigger picture when it comes to sin. I have no idea whether these posts will even be helpful to others since everyone is unique but the possibility is there so I'll attempt to explain this connection:

Gluttony is by no means my worse fault but it is there to a degree. Maybe not so much in the area of my total food consumption as in my proclivity to addictions to certain foods (drinks too). My nemesis is ice cream. Diet Coke, too, when I don't put a hold on it. I could happily eat ice cream every single day...along with my Diet Coke. My ice cream eating is more than just a simple sweet tooth. By paying attention, I've noticed that I'm most inclined to open the freezer when I'm upset about something. I used to think that I just "liked" the taste, which I do, but it's more than that. I don't like when there is not a lick of ice cream in the house. I like to have it on hand "just in case".

"Just in case of what?" you may ask.


Here's where the problem with sloth has adverse effects on my ability to conquer the other deadly sins. (Though sloth and acedia have slightly different meanings I am going to use the term sloth rather than acedia because sloth is used more often today and seems to have mostly replaced the word acedia.) Sloth says, "I'll work on gluttony tomorrow. Today is not a good day as I have a headache/cold/backache (pick your ache of choice...they all work just fine I've noticed). Surely God wouldn't deny me a sweet treat when I'm feeling so ill. Besides, I'm offering up my sufferings today and certainly that's more than enough. I mean, good grief, the size of my cross is enormous already! Anyone can see that. (We could get into talking about pride here as well...but I don't want to make it too complicated). And I also have soooo many things to do today. It's just not a good day to fast. I'll do it tomorrow when there's less on my plate for the day..."

I could go on and on but I'm sure you get my drift. It's probably more honest to simply say, "I'm not going to fast today" and forget all the self justification that goes along with sloth. I'm really good at justifying myself. Sadly, this just makes matters worse in the long run, as you can see.

Sometimes my attempts at justifying myself become so humorous that I laugh and wink at God. It's not that I'm trying to insinuate by my laughter that it's not important to overcome bad habits...it's my feeble attempts at excusing my actions that crack me up. How obvious they are to God! Do I really think He doesn't see right through this?

The point is: I have difficulty applying the remedy, in this case fasting and practicing the opposing virtue of temperance, because of the problems with sloth. How can I not laugh at the inanity of my dilemma?  It's at times like these when I thank God for the sense of humor He has given me! How easy it would be to get upset about the tasks in front of me instead and throw my hands in the air. Except for one thing...giving up discounts grace and grace is more than capable of tackling the vices.

You can see at this point why I chose to tackle sloth first, in my case. If I tackled gluttony first it would be like trying to move water out of a bucket with a leaky cup. Obviously, the deadly sins take a lot longer than 7 weeks to overcome but writing about these sins is helping me to understand just how much of a part they have played in my life. Plus, I am learning a great deal about virtues to boot.

There is more to gluttony than just the over consumption of food and drink and I'll get to this in my next post. In this one, I wanted to show the interplay and the connection between certain sins such as gluttony and sloth. All the deadly sins are intertwined to a degree but don't let this make you feel overwhelmed because virtues are like this too and virtues are stronger because they come from God.

Saturday, November 12, 2011

Sabbath Moments

Sabbath Moments is a weekly meme hosted by Colleen at Thoughts on Grace. These are the moments we "let go and let God" and live in the present moment. Here are some of my special moments:

~ Going to morning Mass after I drop Michaela off at the bus stop. I really look forward to this. Praying the Rosary before Mass helps me to prepare my heart for Communion.

~ Our puppy is so funny! His antics keep us in stitches! Today we gave him a bath and he ran like a maniac through the house afterward. He's lovable, sweet natured, and full of energy. Very difficult to train though. He still thinks that the world is one giant chew toy...and bathroom. Oh well, there's a plus to all this - no doubt the folks who put out disinfecting wipes love me. And I love them too, of course. What else kills 99.99% of germs?

~ Beautiful "indian summer" weather this week. Wow!

~ I think my battle against sloth is going pretty well. This next week I am tackling gluttony! Wish me luck. Goodbye choco-caramel-vanilla swirl ice cream with heaping chunks of fudge. Sigh. Who invents these things anyway?

Thursday, November 10, 2011

The Joy Thief

Photo courtesy: Wikimedia Commons
"We would like to get back to our innocence and joy, but they are cold and sepulchered."          
                                                                             Archbishop Fulton Sheen

The Seven Deadly Sins steal your joy. But perhaps none so much as the deadly sin of sloth. If you lack joy in your life this may be the deadly sin to look at first, so great are its detrimental effects on the soul. Sloth is the head "joy thief" because, well...that happens to be its job description. It is sadness in the face of joy, sorrow for the things of God. Or as Peter Kreeft, in his book Back to Virtue, so bluntly describes it:

"Sloth is the most depressing thing in the world. It is hell on earth. It finds our very highest joy - God himself - joyless. If Joy himself is joyless, where can we find joy? If salt has lost its saltiness, how can it be restored? If the very light in us is darkness, how great is that darkness?"

This is the best explanation of sloth that I have ever seen. Sloth finds Joy himself...joyless.

Scary, huh? Sloth is like walking around in the bright sunshine with a huge black cloud hanging over your head. You can't see the light for the darkness that surround you.

St. Thomas Aquinas says that sloth is a "sluggishness of the mind which neglects to begin good...its evil is in its effect, if it so oppresses man as to draw him away from good deeds". So, sloth is not only joyless, it is neglectful as well.

Those who are encumbered by this deadly sin walk this world in a half-hearted fashion and I believe it is one of the biggest problems that this century is faced with. Those who are lukewarm almost always have a problem with sloth. Sloth is a spiritual torpor, a listlessness of the spirit that leads most often to sins of omission rather than sins of commission. Rather than confronting this joyless spirit head-on, many try to escape it by frantically rushing around in an attempt to outrun the heaviness in their hearts and the sword of sorrow hanging over their heads. This is where sloth gets ugly, for in trying to escape it we make matters worse. Sloth doesn't like to confront, it likes to avoid. It is a spiritual languor that says, "I still have time...I'll take care of spiritual matters tomorrow. Today I just have too many things to do - I have to get this shopping done, the game is on, these e-mails have to go out, my blog is waiting (hmmm), etc...

Here are a few of the signs (or symptoms, one could say) of sloth:
~ An aversion to prayer - this can be mild or great depending on how deeply rooted this vice is
~ Aridity
~ Lack of zeal
~ Disorganization
~ Confusion (spiritual)
~ Apathy or discouragement
~ Boredom
~ Putting off tasks or leaving them undone without good reason
~ A lack of awe
~ Ingratitude
~ Sadness (melancholy)
~ Excessive activity that hides a spiritual languor - too busy for God

The seven deadly sins tend to be "intertwined" with each other like interlocking pieces of a hellish puzzle. For most of us there tends to be one particular deadly sin that takes precedence over the others. In other words, it is the "kingpin" and hitting the kingpin helps take down the other deadly "pins" that have attached themselves to our souls.

Sloth is sneaky, irresponsible (good advice on this link), and apathetic when it comes to God but there are remedies for this vice and one of the ways we tackle it is by practicing the opposing virtue. In the case of sloth/acedia the opposing virtue is diligence. Exercising virtues builds your spiritual muscles. Another virtue which opposes sloth is charity. 

It's important to remember that joy isn't a "thing" to be grasped. Joy is alive. Joy is a person.
Set your heart on God and there you will find your Joy.

Monday, November 7, 2011

Knowing God, Knowing Ourselves

I titled this post  Knowing God, Knowing Ourselves because the two walk hand in hand. Sin prevents us from knowing God as much as we should.The more we are purged of sin the more we come to know God and ourselves. We are always being purged and healed, each and every day, provided that we  cooperate with God's graces. However, this cooperation is key. Without it, our souls stagnate and eventually backslide. A person cannot stay in one place spiritually, we either move forward or backward. Responding to the graces God gives us is crucial. He knows the condition of our souls far better than we do and guides us in the areas where we need to progress. And what constitutes progress? Simply this...growth in virtues. If we see this growth we know we are progressing. There's no way to write about these things without a certain amount of bluntness so I'll try to be direct.

Sometimes, I feel as if I have bumped into a "wall" spiritually. What seems to help me get past this is taking a long, hard, look at myself. If done with honesty, under the light of the Holy Spirit, the obstacle usually becomes apparent. For example, after scrutinizing myself last week it became obvious to me that I'm struggling with sloth lately, especially in my spiritual life.  This is an area of weakness for me, maybe more so than the other deadly sins. Except pride, which we all have to work on constantly because, to put it bluntly...we like to make gods of ourselves. Some people may say that this isn't so, but this in itself is a sign of pride. It kind of works along the line of "if you think you are humble... you think too much of yourself ". The entire human race suffers from pride. It's a lot easier for God to work in this area if we accept this as the truth.

Back to sloth. How do I know I am having trouble in this area spiritually? For me (I don't know if this will be helpful to others) the symptoms are fairly clear:
~ I am vaguely "repulsed" by prayer. This means that I have to really force myself to pray.
~ Aridity in prayer
~ Lack of zeal for the things of God
~ Procrastination

For example, I don't really "feel" like praying, reading the Bible, or going to Mass lately. I feel either numb or mildly disgusted during prayer. Just wanting to get it over with so I can move on to something else. I seem to be lacking my usual zeal for God (as embarrassing as it is to admit). St. Padre Pio knew what he was talking about when he said, "Aridity is the fruit of our defects", that's for sure.

Seeing that there are 7 weeks left until Christmas I thought I'd tackle the seven deadly sins by working on one each week. I am starting with sloth since I seem to be so affected by it lately. Another reason I am beginning with sloth is that once this is moved out of the way (at least to a degree) it will be easier to work on the other sins. I am hoping that this will prepare me for Christmas... that Christ will have a clean heart to rest his head upon and that this "house" will have plenty of room for Him.

Each week I will write about the measures I am taking to overcome these sins. Wish me luck!


feel free to join in!

Saturday, November 5, 2011

I Blog Jesus Award

Many thanks to Jennifer at Faith and Family Connections for passing this award on to me! I loved this badge! I'm a frequent visitor to Faith and Family Connections and I highly recommend this site to those who are raising families. You can find topics such as prayer, the saints, and other subjects related to the Catholic Faith here. They also have crafts and activities for children! A great site!

This award was created by Monica at Equipping Catholic Families and is for blogging moms who:

~Strive for a stronger Faith and closer relationship with Jesus.

~Aspire to grow spiritually through a vocation as a "King's Kid"... a daughter of God, and a Catholic wife and mom.

~Seek to encourage others in their own spiritual journeys and Faith formation in their families through the Catholic training tools and gifts that they create and yes...through their blog.

I'd like to pass this award on to these special mothers who have touched my heart through their grace-filled blogs:

* Anne Bender at Imprisoned in my Bones - I have always loved this blog!
* Esther at A Catholic Mom in Hawaii - Another favorite!
* Colleen at Thoughts on Grace - Ditto! Both her blog and website are wonderful!
* Vicky at Creating with Wisdom - A new favorite!

Words cannot express how grateful I am for your friendship, Ladies, but I hope this award speaks for me. All four of you truly blog for Jesus and I have been immensely blessed through each of you. Thank you!                   

Sabbath Moments

Sabbath Moments is a weekly meme hosted by Colleen at Thoughts on Grace. These are the times when we "let go and let God" and live in the present moment :

I wanted to share a picture that made me laugh! With most of the city without power this week I'm not sure how well this went over with some people but it sure tickled my funny bone!

Love it! We lost power again yesterday right after I went grocery shopping (Murphy's Law) and my husband sent me this picture from his cell phone. I'm glad people haven't lost their sense of humor :)

The kids went back to school yesterday. Is it rude to jump for joy? (Hey, at least I'm honest.) It's not that I don't enjoy having my house full of kids but quiet time gives me a chance to put my inner house in order. I went to Mass, prayed the Rosary, and had the opportunity to spend some extra time in intercessory prayer. I felt spiritually recharged after. Got power? Yes, thank you, Lord...I do.

Thursday, November 3, 2011

My Dog is Buzzed

My elderly dog was put on a new pain medication for his arthritis today and I could swear that he is buzzed. I just watched him try to get a drink of water and he had trouble lining up his head with the bowl. When he DID get it over the bowl his tongue missed the water at first. I only gave him a quarter of a tablet as the vet recommended so I was surprised at how odd his behavior is. I can only assume that it made his head fuzzy. It's quite funny to watch. Hilarious actually. (Down PETA!) At least I know he's getting a bit of relief! He's very old (fourteen) for his breed; they usually only live for about twelve years. Hopefully, he'll adjust to the new medication because the stuff he was on before bothered his stomach. I'm not sure bumping into things will help the arthritis though.

Don't ask me why I'm posting this.

It's this or scrubbing down the bathroom I guess.

Unfortunately, it's tough to post spiritual stuff with 4 girls under the age of nine running around here. Plus, there's only one bathroom...

Anyway, offering up high-pitched squeals and shrieks is helpful to the souls in purgatory, you know. I'm getting a lot accomplished despite how things look. Goes to show how looks can be deceiving, doesn't it?

I had to look up high-pitched on Google because I couldn't remember if it was one word or not. So, I tapped in high-pitched and Google suggested "high-pitched bowel sounds". Is it only me or are computers taking over the world lately?

As a side note, my husband says PETA means "people eating tasty animals". Unfortunately... he tells PETA that too.

And, yes, he's from Texas...

Life is still a bit crazy up here

Things are improving slowly but there are almost a million homes still without power here in the Northeast. Amazing how much damage an early storm can do - the heavy, wet, snow was simply too much for the delicate infrastructure up here. The schools are still closed and there are downed power lines and trees littering our neighborhoods even after 5 days, despite help from our neighbors in Canada. Restaurants have been packed because folks have no way of keeping food refrigerated. The temperatures have been in the fifties during the day and twenties at night so storing perishables outside isn't really safe. Still, I think people are grateful that the temperatures aren't in the single digits like they were in the terrible ice storm a few years back. We had to wear hats and coats to bed that time and we could see our breath indoors! According to the linemen who have been restoring the electricity, this storm caused far more damage than the ice storm. It looked like a war zone here for a few days. It makes me realize that we are totally unprepared for a major emergency here in the Northeast.

You know what cracks me up? The daily lines for coffee up here! I never saw anything like it! We are a bunch of caffeine addicts in this country :) Makes me glad I keep my coffee intake down to about half a cup a day! Lol!