Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.

Blessed are those who mourn, for they shall be comforted.

Blessed are the meek, for they shall inherit the earth.

Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they shall be filled.

Blessed are the merciful, for they shall obtain mercy.

Blessed are the pure in spirit, for they shall see God.

Blessed are the peacemakers, for they shall be called sons of God.

Blessed are those who are persecuted for righteousness' sake, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.

Blessed are you when they revile and persecute you, and say all kinds of evil against you falsely for My sake.

Rejoice and be exceedingly glad, for great is your reward in heaven, for so they persecuted the prophets who were before you.

Matthew 5:3-12

Oh Lord,

Teach me to seek You and reveal yourself to me when I seek You.

For I cannot seek You unless You first teach me, nor find You unless You first reveal yourself to me.

Let me seek You in longing, and long for You in seeking.

Let me find You in love, and love You in finding.

~Saint Ambrose of Milan

<< # St. Blog's Parish ? >>

Name: Erin Yonke

Location: Aurora, IL

Info: I'm happily married to my husband and champion pro-life activist, Matt. I stay home with my three small boys; Ambrose (11/06), Peter (3/08), and Joseph (9/10).

Thursday, September 21, 2006

This is great.

(And addicting.)

eureka!...and a few other things.

When I was a little girl, I occasionally watched a show called Eureka's Castle (possibly spelled 'Eureeka's Castle'...?). I don't remember much at all about the show, just that Eureka was a really weird looking creature with big ears and multi-colored hair, and I'm pretty sure there was a dragon involved. Does anyone else remember this? Anyway, it was an embarrassingly long amount of time between my days of watching Eureka's Castle and the day that I realized that "eureka" was actually a word, and not just the name of a strange television character.

Anyhoo, the original reason the word "eureka" is involved in this post at all is that I have found what could quite possibly be the recipe for the best bread I've ever had in my life, and you should make it...or, just get someone to make it for you. Here's the recipe. I've made mine without a bread maker, using warm water and twice the yeast for a quicker rising time. I also omitted the semolina flour in the sponge, though I'm sure it'd be good if you actually followed the directions, too...

In other news, for anyone using Rhapsody, I just listened to the Decemberists' "Picaresqueties", which consists of 5 songs that didn't make it onto Picaresque. It must have been a recent addition to Rhapsody, because I had absolutely no idea that this existed. It's totally awesome. The newest Barenaked Ladies album is great, too.

9 weeks to go until the baby's due.

As for an update, Matt's dad is doing really well, all things considered, and arrived home from the hospital this afternoon.

Tuesday, September 19, 2006

on the fragility of life...

"As for mortals, their days are like grass; they flourish like a flower of the field; for the wind passes over it, and it is gone, and its place knows it no more." Psalm 103:15-17

My father in law suffered a severe heart attack on Sunday evening, and went through a double bypass sugery yesterday morning, after the doctors discovered a 90% blockage in three of the 4 major arteries to his heart.
Surgery was successful, and he is making a remarkable recovery--and will almost certainly continue to do so with a few not-so-enjoyable lifestyle changes. The surgeon also noted no signs of significant heart damage, which is fantastic.
It is astounding, having seen him just a few hours before the attack, that he appeared perfectly healthy--though, considering the extent of the blockage, it could easily have been the last time we ever saw him.
Praise God with us for health and success, and for all the ways He has shown His love for our family through this. Continue to pray for patience, for complete recovery, and for trust in God as there is still a long road ahead, particularly for my Father in law and his wife, who will be his primary caretaker when he is released from the hospital.
Life is fragile. We are but a vapor, here only for a moment. It could so easily be my own dad attached to that ventilator, my mom, my sister, my Matt. Cherish each minute--this stuff is non-refundable.

Tuesday, September 12, 2006

Thoughts on motherhood, and thoughts on the mother of God.

I was thinking the other day about how much science has blurred the spiritual nature of pregnancy and childbirth.
Someone recently mentioned to me that being pregnant is an intensely close encounter with God, because His spirit is constantly at work in your body, day and night, to create and prepare a soul for the world.
It's amazing, and a humbling thing to take part in. And yet, all the changes that take place inside a pregnant woman are written off as "hormones", and the effects of hormones. When really, wouldn't it seem entirely unfitting for anyone in whom God is so at work to not be emotional, a little tired, and taking part in what appears to be a 40-week long feast?

Then again, it could just be the hormones talking.

But, I can't help but think of my child as something and someone bigger than my own flesh and blood. This baby will grow to be someone else's sibling, someone else's nuisance, someone's role model, even if only momentarily. They'll probably be someone's newspaper deliverer, someone's babysitter, someone's waiter, someone's carpool. And they'll become someone else's best friend, someone's heartache, someone's lover, someone's beautiful bride or someone's adored husband. They'll be someone's boss, someone's teacher...someone else's parent. And as a sinner, and the mother of a sinner, it's still such an honor to be the channel through which God will give another person to the world, to fill those roles, small as they may be, in other people's lives.

And, that brings my thoughts to Mary, the mother of God, whom I have disregarded for so long. She has been just another figurine in the porcelain nativity, acknowledged briefly on Christmas day, and wrapped up in newspaper once again for the remainder of the year. I think of her when she felt the first flutters of baby God in her womb. I think of her and as she tried to sleep when she just couldn't get that tiny foot out of her ribcage. I think of her when she stared in amazement at her newborn son, who was completely made from her flesh and blood, who carried her DNA, her mannerisms, her expressions...He looked like her. I think of her as she changed Jesus's diapers, nursed Him, and pulled pieces of grass and leaves from His little fingers so that He wouldn't eat them. I think of her teaching God to walk, kissing His bruises, teaching Him to say "Mama". She baked His bread, she fed Him dinner, and she rocked Him to sleep. She was the channel through which God reached mankind, and thus, in part, the channel through which God saved your soul.

The sad misconception of the Catholic faith is that we think Mary's so great because she did all these things.
God made Mary great. God found favor with her, and God made her holy. And, in doing these things through her, he submitted Himself to her. God made her holy, and God saved her. And when we honor her, we honor her for the things God did through her, and therefore we honor God.

We don't "worship Mary" and we don't "pray to Mary"...we pray to God, the sole giver of life and salvation, and so does she. Mary prays for us.

Regardless of what you believe or what you think of everything I've written, I would urge you to be cautious when you argue against the Catholic view of Mary. Don't be quick to defame the woman whose body created the One that was broken for you.

Monday, September 11, 2006

Taming wild yeasts.

I recently decided to swap making my traditional yeast breads with sourdough....just for fun. (Oh, and if you don't care about bread, you should skip this.)
I wish I could say things are going well.
Sourdough, unlike my beloved, domestic, active dry yeast, is made by mixing equal parts flour and water and, through fermentation, captures "wild yeasts" from the air. And, therefore has the temperment of a wild animal. Don't get me wrong, I've managed to come up with several great, crusty, flavorful loaves with this stuff...but, it's been totally unpredictable.
Dry yeast is very loyal. As long as you give it a wet, warm place to hang out, it will love you. And even if it's having a bad day, you can just sprinkle some sugar on it, and THEN it will love you. Sourdough, on the other hand, is an actual living organism. It requires frequent feedings, consistent temperatures, reacts poorly to metal (which rules out the kitchen aid and the handy dough hook), and even under perfect conditions, may take up to 4 hours for just one rise. 4 hours. I'm just so not that patient.
Anyway, it's probably good for my soul.

Another interesting note about bread: I read somewhere recently that the purpose for "slashing" a cross on the top of bread loaves originated in Ireland and was actually used to bless the bread before baking, and not just to make the bread look pretty. Maybe I'm the only one who didn't know this.

Saturday, September 09, 2006


It's been a long time since the very first rumblings of Catholocism began to stir us--particularly in Matt. I've regretably been fairly removed from any arguments or reading he's done on the topic just until recently, when I really felt things were heating up. Most of the arguments, anyway, were easy for me to dismiss, the protestant girl I am, with a quick, "Well, of course we can't believe that because they Bible doesn't say so."

And here is what (almost) sold me. Again, I'm not looking for an argument here. This is the thought process, as best as I can explain it, that got me where I am today...and, I think it's important because I'm well aware that alot of people I care about are convinced that I've not given this any thought at all.

Scripture doesn't teach that. It doesn't say, "This book is the only standard by which to judge truth!" It doesn't say, "You don't need anything else but these books, ever." Or, "This is everything God ever wants to say to you." And in my desperate quest to find this verse that doesn't exist, I came across a far greater number of verses that would suggest otherwise.

The closest I came to soothing my troubled mind here was in II Timothy 3:14&15 (...."how from childhood you have known the sacred writings that are able to instruct you for salvation through faith in Jesus Christ") and in 1 Cor. 4:6 (...that you may learn through us not to think beyond what is written, that no one should be puffed up on behalf of one against the other)

In further searching, I also found 1 Thess. 2:13 (We constantly give thanks to God for this, that when you received the word of God that you heard from us, you accepted it not as a human word, but as what it really is, God's word...), 1 Peter 1:25, 2 Peter 3:2, 1 Cor. 11:2, 2 Thess. 2:15, 2 Tim. 1:13&14, 2 Tim. 2:2.

And it was here that I stopped, for almost a week, constantly weighing in my mind the arguments for Scripture being the sole and exclusive authority...and the evidence that even from the earliest times, God's people have regarded the verbal teaching of the apostles as God's word as well. And I prayed. I prayed that:

1. God would grant us wisdom and clarity of mind.
2. God would give us teachable hearts, so that we might not be lead away from the truth because of our own hard-head/heart-edness.

As a person who doesn't think much about history (it's a character flaw, I know, okay?), it took a totally undeniable truth and the Holy Spirit placing it right in front of me to get through this one.

The first century church didn't have the New Testament (and even when they finally did get the NT, the better part of the population was illiterate). They had the Church. Even in the early creeds, it's always been "We believe in one Holy Catholic and Apostolic Church" and not "I believe in Scripture alone." And, even further, if I were to believe that Scripture alone was the only authority, that the teachings and traditions the early church held were wrong, I would also have to believe that the early Christians weren't being saved--for 1500 years, until Martin Luther figured it all out. That's a heavy thing to have on your chest when you're trying to sleep at night.

And so, if Scripture itself--my prime authority--doesn't even claim to be that very thing, then someone else must have taught me that. And, as it turns out...they did. And if that's the case, I am left to believe that whether I am Protestant or Catholic, I must base what I believe on what someone else said. The question then, is who do I believe?

Let me just say, I'm not trying to make Scripture out to be less than the Holy and inspired word of God. It absolutely is! And it certainly contains the seeds for everything necessary for salvation and to live a life pleasing to God. This is a decision made out of obedience and love for Christ and his church.

In other news, 11 weeks to go! The joy of motherhood--overwhelming:-) The joy of pregnancy? I've enjoyed things more. (cold showers, broccoli,'s been a rough week, alright?) And you know, I wouldn't trade it for anything. At 29 weeks, baby weighs somewhere between 2 and 3 pounds, and is probably about 15 inches long. 9 out of 10 babies born at this stage survive without any long-term effects. And I can totally not get enough peanut butter.

Tuesday, September 05, 2006

oh, it's true.

As most of you who are reading this already know, my husband and I are in the process of converting to Catholocism.

I'll pause here for a moment, to allow room for looks of disgust, gasps, and name-calling. I know what you're thinking, and you would be wrong to think for even a minute that it doesn't hurt my heart to know the disdain with which you're looking on me. on.

In recent weeks, Matt has been hosting most of the discussion on this topic, both on his blog and in person or phone conversations. It has been the popular opinion held by both friends and family that this decision is merely a romantic notion, made in haste with complete disregard as to the effect it will carry into our lives. Or, that this is a decision made soley from intellectual debates, without any real substance on which to ground our faith.

I stand entirely beside my husband and behind his arguments. However, I do, in all honesty, see how it is easy for someone to quickly dismiss him this way. It has been an entirely different set of thoughts that has brought me to these same conclusions. I am not an intellectual. But, I'll muster up a bit of confidence here when I say that I am not stupid.

And so, I beg of anyone here who knows me: What is it about my character that would make you believe that I would make--or even consent--to a decision like this without spending much, much time in prayer and in the Holy Scriptures?

Do you see in me, in the way I live my life, in the way I manage my household, in the way I treat my family and those in authority over me, prominent and consistent attitudes of rebellion, malicious or otherwise?

Have you seen a habitual tendency in me to be easily swayed by whims, intellectual persuits, lusts of the flesh? Have I shown complete lack of judgement in the decisions that I've made?

Am I quickly given to gossip or slander?

Have I proved myself to be so timid, has my faith shown itself to be so weak that I would quickly be bullied or persuaded by anything less than the Holy Spirit and the grace of God to make a decision such as this one?

I ask this of you so that if, in fact, I have proven myself to be these things, I might right myself before both God and man.

If you have not seen these patterns of behavior in my life, however, I would urge you to read what I have to say with a quiet heart. I'll share with you the things I believe, both changed and unchanged. I am not seeking a debate, though comments and questions are certainly welcome, either here or at: