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Showing posts from September, 2010

Watch out for the tender spots

The back of my hands look like I've been in a fight.  They are both gray-ish green and bruised.  These are the leftovers of IVs I've had put in in the last week.

Dear Husband is awaiting an appointment with a cardiologist, who is probably going to tell us what we already know: that Dear Husband's heart - through heredity - needs some loving care.  And possibly medical intervention.

Tallest Son skipped school today, with my permission.  His girlfriend broke up with him, and in my book, a broken heart is a good reason to say home from school and mope.  If he were a girl, I'd take home a pint of Ben and Jerry's at lunch time for him.  I'm taking him out for lunch instead.

Everything about our lives has been out of sorts for the past couple of weeks.  We've been seeing doctors way too much, I've been in terrible physical pain, our routines (rocky as they are) have gone completely out the window.  We're all walking around bruised and tired.  We feel beat…

We don't know much.....

http://pewforum.org/Other-Beliefs-and-Practices/U-S-Religious-Knowledge-Survey.aspx

I know I'm a religion geek and that I get much pleasure out of learning about, talking about and investigating religious trivia of all sorts.  However, I'm also a big believer that, regardless of your own religious beliefs, it is a good idea to know about major religions.  Not only do these things tend to pop up on the news, but the guy in the cubicle next to you might be celebrating Ramadan or Easter or some other holiday.  It's nice to be able to hold an intelligent conversation or at least ask intelligent questions.  The more we know, the more we realize we have in common....and the less we misunderstand....spread misinformation...or hate.

According to the Pew Forum, we don't know so much.  Just for fun, take the quize and see how you do!
http://features.pewforum.org/quiz/us-religious-knowledge/

Just 'cause it made me laugh

Sacred Place of the Day

Weeping Willow Memorial, Great Synagogue of Budapest

Fresh, Clean and Pure Friday #:5 Rest


 Ah, Friday!  It's been a long week at my house, and I'm ready to unwind a bit.  My take on "fresh" this week:  Rest.

Americans are notorious for not getting enough sleep, and it makes us cranky and less-productive.  It also makes us sick.  My body gave me a very clear sign this week that I needed rest.

Get a couple hours of extra sleep this weekend, take a nap, or just lay down and think sweet, pure thoughts.

Emergency rooms, dates nights and carrying your cross

When my kids were little, I joked that I had my own coffee cup at the local emergency room.  I was there so often, they just figured I deserved one.  Eldest Son was always kind of accident prone, Dark-haired daughter was a daredevil, and Youngest Son had a thing for developing pneumonia - usually at about 3 a.m.

Lately though, it's been me and Dear Husband off to the ER for our own ailments.  He seems to have developed some sort of heart "thing" (we are awaiting word from the cardiologist) and I have an old problem due to a horse-back riding accident that flairs up once in awhile.  Let's just say that the ER staff is considering putting my old coffee cup back out on the shelf.  I've also told Dear Husband that a trip to the ER does NOT constitute a date, despite the fact that we are "out on the town" without children.

I don't suppose that anyone enjoys a trip to the ER when they or someone they love is the patient.  I certainly don't enjoy the p…

World Day of Peace

"May today there be peace within. May you trust God that you are exactly where you are meant to be. May you not forget the infinite possibilities that are born of faith. May you use those gifts that you have received, and pass on the love that has been given to you. May you be content knowing you are a child of God. Let this presence settle into your bones, and allow your soul the freedom to sing, dance, praise and love. It is there for each and every one of us."

— Thérèse of Lisieux

Talk Like A Pirate

I'm feeling a little disgruntled, as I missed "Talk Like A Pirate Day" (it was yesterday, Sept. 19).  However, one must not let little things like dates on a calendar dictate one's celebrations!  Join in the fun and view the photos at NPR:

http://www.csmonitor.com/CSM-Photo-Galleries/In-Pictures/Arrrrr-you-ready-for-some-pirates

Set Apart

I don't know about you, but I often get overwhelmed with the ideal of the Christian life.  I know it is possible - I've seen others do it - but for me?  I'm so sinful!  Some days, I can't seem to stumble from bed to bathroom in the morning without getting myself into trouble!

These words from St. Clement of Alexandria reassured me today that the Christian life is manageable:

"...the Lord praises the person 'who has left house or brothers or sisters or mother or father or children or lands for my sake and for the Gospel.'  That person is blessed because he too is going to meet martyrdom simply by living in a way that is different from the crowd, because he is following the rule of the Gospel for love of his Lord.

The truly righteous are set apart from the world because they produce the fruits of grace in their actions.  They do this because they have been able to become a friend of God...."

Our Blessed Mother

 I don't know the origin of this picture, but I thought it very pretty.

Not just another job

There is certainly more than enough controversy surrounding the priesthood these days, and I do not want to add to it.  I simply want to reflect on the role that priests play in our Catholic faith.
The parish I belong to has been blessed with some wonderful pastors over the years.  When my husband and I were going through the adoption process, our then-pastor was such a wonderful support to us:  praying with us and for us.  He gave me the Anointing of the Sick before a major surgery, and the peace that brought me was immeasurable.
Our current pastor is celebrating 40 years as a priest this weekend.  His sense of humor is enough to make us love him, but when our family was in crisis several years ago, he was an absolute rock of faith for us, really going above and beyond what we expected in supporting us and our children.
When I was teaching full-time, I would often ask my high school students what they thought a priest did all day.  "Pray" was the answer.  Yes, many of them re…

Sacred Place of the Day

Obelisks at Axum, Ethiopia

A day in the life of a Tibetan monk

http://www.npr.org/blogs/pictureshow/2010/09/17/129930953/monks

The photos are amazing.  The monks of Tibet are revered by their countrymen and treated harshly by their government.   Learn a bit about their lives.

Fresh, Clean and Pure Friday #:4 Scripture

  When was the last time you opened up your Bible and read it?  Today's the day!  Spend 15 minutes with Scripture on this Fresh, Clean and Pure Friday.
If you're not used to reading your Bible, let me give you a couple of ideas.  Psalms is always great for a short meditation.  It's the most emotionally-charged book in the Bible, and there's a Psalm for virtually every mood, whim, life circumstance and event.
There are four Gospels, and they are each distinctive, although they share similar traits.  (Like, they are all about Jesus...duh....)  Read a bit of one.  They all contain great stories, insights and happenings to pray over and meditate on.
Dust off that Bible, baby!!

A little corny, but it made me smile!

An Irish priest is driving down to New York and gets stopped for speeding in Connecticut. The state trooper smells alcohol on the priest's breath and then sees an empty wine bottle on the floor of the car. He says, "Sir, have you been drinking?" "Just water," says the priest, fingers crossed. The trooper says, "Then why do I smell wine?" The priest looks at the bottle and says, "Good Lord! He's done it again!"

Museum of Bad Art: it's a sick obsession

"He was a friend of mine" by Jack Owen http://www.museumofbadart.org/index.php
  If you have yet to visit the Museum of Bad Art, there is no time like the present.  It is a diversion of epic proportions, and you will certainly find something that captures your attention.

Sacred Place of the Day

Ellora Caves, India

Just the way I want it

The question is:  do I really mean what I pray?

Doing "church work" is sometimes an odd thing.  (Actually, a LOT of the time it's an odd thing...)  Some of the stuff I do is pretty routine:  paperwork, answering emails, planning, making phone calls:  the sort of stuff many people do when they are at work.

On the other hand, church work is a totally different animal:  I'm not selling a product, I'm not distributing a "thing" or balancing income and outgo.  The work I do is leading people to Christ, helping them define and delineate their relationship with the Living God. 

How does one measure "success", then?  Since I've taken my new job, my prayer has been,  "Please God:  prosper what you want to prosper here, and keep me out of Your way."  The most important line in the Our Father prayer, I believe, is:  Thy will be done.

But I'm still upset when I plan a meeting for particular ministry team and only two people show up.  &q…

Mad for Plaid

First, how cool is it that there is a blog by a "tartan historian"?  Then, add in the fact that the Scots have created a lovely St. Ninian tartan just to honor the Pope's visit!  Awesome!!

I'm not Scottish, but having attended a college with strong Scottish roots, I love a man in a kilt, the sound of bagpipes makes me weep with joy, and caber tossing beats football any day!

Check out the tartan blog and photos:   http://kiltmaker.blogspot.com/2010/09/st-ninian-tartan-created-to-honor-papal.html

Feast of the Exaltation of the Cross

"It is the cross and only the corss that provides a constant point of reference in the chaos of our world, because there is all our poverty and helplessness and pain, all our yearning and all our mutual injustice, taken up into the stillness of God's everlasting love and made into the instrument and revelation of his unchanging will."  - Father Simon Tugwell, OP

Holy Name of Mary

Yesterday was the feast of the "Holy Name of Mary".  I've been meaning to share the riches of this website from University of Dayton, so this seems like a great opportunity:  http://campus.udayton.edu/mary/mostholyname.html

Take some time to roam around; there are some great things here!

Oooh, lookie what I found!

Was digging around for some sites on church architecture and found this blog:

http://northamericanchurches.blogspot.com/.

Here are a couple of treats from this site:


St. Ann's Episcopal Chapel, Kennebunkport, ME









San Xavier del Bac, AZ

When the Saints Go Marching In

Saw this over at http://www.catholicculture.org/
In an attempt to curb liturgical abuse at funerals, Archbishop Denis Hart of Melbourne has issued instructions banning “romantic ballads, pop or rock music, political songs, football club songs.”



The archbishop explained that a funeral should be devoted to prayer for the soul of the deceased. Australia’s ABC television network inaccurately reported that this represented a change in the Church’s understanding of the purpose of funerals.

I do not have the same distaste for much of modern liturgical music that many of my blogging collegeagues have, but I do believe if you're in church, you should have liturgical music.  My all-time favorite in the category of "Really?  That was your best musical selection?" was a funeral my mom attended, for a woman named Irene.  The recessional hymn:  "Goodnight, Irene".

Yeah....

Sacred Place of the Day

Great Synagogue, Budapest

Fresh, Clean and Pure Friday #:3 Clean, but just a little

http://www.bellavita-bellasblog.blogspot.com/

I don't know about you, but huge cleaning jobs often seem overwhelming, and sometimes I just ignore 'em.  So, today, clean.....but just a little bit.

I look over at my bedside table and it's a bit messy.  Today, I'm gonna clean that...just that.  Maybe that will inspire me to clean something else. 

Maybe....

Burning Books and other idiotic American pastimes

Some guy in Florida wants to burn the Qu'ran.
I've never thought book burnings of any kind were a good idea.  Too "Fahrenheit 451" for me.  (If that reference eludes you, go to your nearest library.  And thank the librarian for not burning the book.)
There are a couple of things that really bother me about this particular book burning.  First, you have the Army guy in charge of things in Afghanistan saying,  "This is going to make things tough for our men and women in uniform."   Gee, that doesn't seem like a nice thing to do?
Second, burning books is just dumb.  It doesn't prove a darn thing, it makes a huge mess, and mostly it intrigues people to read the very books you are torching.  Duh....
Finally, this is a sacred book to millions of people.  And if this Florida pastor had taken a few minutes to peruse the Qu'ran, he'd see that A LOT OF IT IS JUST LIKE THE BIBLE.  I don't mean, it sort of resembles the Bible in literary technique, or i…

Today is the Feast of the Nativity of Mary

"Holy Kiss" by artist Nancy Bradley

Sacred Place of the Day

Mecca, Saudi Arabia (photo credit: Christian Science Monitor)

It's even funnier when it's not supposed to be.....

This hilarious compilation of unintentionally bad Christian videos will make your day, I promise!

http://www.christiancollegesonline.org/blog/2010/10-unintentionally-hilarious-christian-music-videos/

I can't decide what I like best:  "howl-le-lu-ia" (oh, you'll have to see it for yourself), dancing by the whitest people in the world, or the really horrid production values.

Check it out!

"The Way" - movie to watch for

http://www.catholicnews.com/data/stories/cns/1003573.htm

Emilio Estevez, actor and director, has a new movie - "The Way".  It follows four people making the pilgrimmage to Santiago de Compostela - the Church of St. James in Spain.

His father, Martin Sheen, stars and also seems to have nagged his son into making the movie.  It has the potential to be a great film.  The link above gives some more detail.

"We are all more alike than we are different"

That quotation-as-title is from my favorite psychology professor in college.  He used it to let us know that we could find empathy with those suffering from even the cruelest forms of mental illness.  As I studied all forms of religious expression, I have found that saying to be useful:  we really ARE more alike than we are different, and if we can find the commonalities, the differences become less and less grandiose.

Check out this on NPR:

http://www.npr.org/templates/story/story.php?storyId=129611281

I've got the joy, joy, joy down in my heart

My favorite high school teacher was a man of many words.  He taught English, and loved the language, from Shakespeare to Salinger.  I learned to love writing - both as an activity for myself, and enjoying the good writing of others. 

Despite the fact that I went to a public high school, this teacher and I often talked about religion.  One of his lessons for me was,  "Beware of long-faced Christians."  These were the people who'd heard the Good News, embraced it, and got not one ounce of joy from it.  You probably know some people like this:  folks for whom the Gospel message meant a life of dour belief, sour expressions, and the power to threaten others with eternal damnation.

For years, I've had a little sign hanging in my bedroom, a simple cross-stitched message:  "Sursum corda".  In Latin:  "Lift up your hearts."  If you're Catholic, you'll recognize this from the Mass - the priest says it, and the congregation responds:  "We lift…

Sacred Place of the Day

Fresh, Clean and Pure Friday #2: Unplug

http://www.bellavita-bellasblog.blogspot.com/



Just as last Friday, I'm taking part in "Fresh, Clean and Pure Fridays", hosted by fellow blogger at La Bella Vita.

My act for the day:  unplug.  Take 30 minutes today to unplug - no media, no music, no cell phone.  Enjoy 30 minutes of quiet.  Peace!

The Golden Legend

Everyone of us knows what it's like to browse through an old family album, enjoying stories and photos of people who have gone before us, and left us with great family legends.  We've got a photo of my dad fishing off a pier in China in his Marine uniform, a picture of my rather-uptight grandmother posing coquetishly in a bathing costume, and tons of pictures of me, my cousins and siblings in various stages of awkward teen-hood.

In the Church, we also have a family album.    A rather long time ago, in Genoa, a bishop by the name of Jacobus da Voragine put together an album, with lots of stories of our faith family, called The Golden Legend.  You know that story about St. Christopher carrying the Christ Child across the river?  That's from The Golden Legend.  It's a terrific and fun read.  You can find an online version here:  http://www.catholic-forum.com/saints/golden000.htm

I stumble and fall

I fell the other day.  Down the stairs, at work.  I don't really know how.  I wasn't carrying anything, wasn't wearing high heels, wasn't hurrying.  I just slipped...and fell.

Two days later, and my leg is telling me it hasn't fully recovered yet.  Apparently, I pulled my hamstring, and I'm walking around with a decidedly ungraceful limp, on my toes.

I feel ungraceful.  Clutzy.  Dumb.  A little old.  Mostly, though:  ungraceful.

This little incident reminds me of sin.  Most of us don't struggle with BIG sin:  murder, embezzlement, extortion and such.  No, we are petty, gossiping, rude and thoughtless.  We tell that little white lie and overeat a bit.  It's not the big stuff that gets us:  it's the little slips, and then we fall.  And then we have to walk around, rather ungracefully, and make concessions and adjustments because of those little sins.

Whenever we injure ourselves, it makes us very aware of our bodies.  You suddenly realize how many thi…

Sacred Place of the Day

Thorncrown Chapel, Eureka Springs, AK

What he said.....

I was trying to get at this the other day, but Archbishop Chaput puts it more deftly than I:

Relativism is now the civil religion and public philosophy of the West. Again, the arguments made for this viewpoint can seem persuasive. Given the pluralism of the modern world, it might seem to make sense that society should want to affirm that no one individual or group has a monopoly on truth; that what one person considers to be good and desirable another may not; and that all cultures and religions should be respected as equally valid.


In practice, however, we see that without a belief in fixed moral principles and transcendent truths, our political institutions and language become instruments in the service of a new barbarism. In the name of tolerance we come to tolerate the cruelest intolerance; respect for other cultures comes to dictate disparagement of our own; the teaching of “live and let live” justifies the strong living at the expense of the weak.

This is from his speech in Slovak…