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Showing posts from November, 2010

Purgatory-on-earth: 8th Grade

The Church may teach that Purgatory is a possibility after death, but I know the truth:  8th grade is the real Purgatory.

I hate 8th grade.  And I'm not talkin' about my own 8th grade experience (Coleman Middle School, 1978-'79, bad fashion year, bad hair year, bad self-esteem year).  No, I'm talkin' about the fact that, for my own kids, 8th grade seems to be the year when their brains leave for vacation at an amusement park, their judgement gets left behind in the dust, "you're grounded" gets said so many times that my dogs start thinking that I've changed their names and come running and it's a toss-up as to whether that the kid is gonna make it to 9th grade...literally.

I know that it's no fun for my kids.  They are trying to navigate the treacherous waters of middle school society in a leaky boat.  Nothing on the elementary school scene prepares one for things like note-passing, pre-algebra and that teacher that really gives "zero…

Sacred Place of the Day

The Basilica of the Annunciation, Nazareth

Advent

If you're like me, one of the first things you do in the morning is sit down at the computer.  If you're going to do that, then why not make it a time of prayer and preparation for Christmas (which despite all of Target's and QVC's intentions, is not here yet)?


 Creighton University offers a terrific daily Advent site - visit often, and make this a year of true preparation for the Coming of Christ! 

Cuba

This is a beautiful country.  I wrote before about my family's ties to Cuba (http://www.kissingtheleper.com/2010/08/when-castro-came-to-coleman.html), but thought this beautiful photo essay from The Christian Science Monitor was a great way to "visit" the country that is one the last bation's of communism.

Extravagence

What constitutes "extravagence"?

I was re-reading a few sections of The Value-Driven Life by Fr. Benedict Groeschel.  He takes an "old school" approach and looks at the cardinal and theological virtues and how they can and should be lived out in the Christian life. 
At one point, Fr. Groeschel strongly speaks against living extravagently, and says that this lifestyle should "never" be a part of life for a follower of Christ
However, he isn't very clear what "extravagence" means. 

I was showering the other morning, and it struck me:  I get to choose what I smell like every day.  I can choose vanilla, orange, lime, plain ole' soap.  Not only do I get to shower daily, I can choose my aroma.  With millions of people around the world with NO access to clean water for drinking or sanitation, is my daily shower extravagance?

Any one of us can point out instances like this:  our daily stop for coffee, eating out several times a week, a closet …

Sacred Place of the Day

The "Ark" - Catholic Church in Nowa Huta, Poland.  Nowa Huta was a city built by the Communists as the first Polish city without a church.  The people didn't like that, and under the leadership of then-Cardinal Karol Woltya (John Paul the Great), this was built.

Phobias for everyone!

From Demotivational Posters:  this is mostly for my nephew Andy, who has one of those clown phobias, but it made me laugh!

Lest you think....

...that world news consists of Charlie Sheen, Justin Bieber, and a royal wedding...

Remember that over 2 million people are still displaced in Haiti from earthquakes and hurricanes, and that cholera is claming lives daily.


http://crs.org/countries/haiti

Save or Splurge?

I have come to believe that there are two kinds of women (when it comes to receiving gifts, at least):  savers and splurgers.  Here's what I mean:

If I give the Middle Sister a bath-set for a gift, I can guarantee that it will sit in her bathroom for a decade or two, gathering dust.  It's not that she doesn't appreciate it, she's just "saving" it.  Because, in  her world, every day life doesn't require Wild Orchid-Jasmine-Bubblicious soap, scrub and lotion.  That would be for something else....sometime down the road....but not just for getting up and going to work.  She was the one who never took Barbie out of the box, so there the doll remained, pristine and prim.

Then there's me.  Give me a bath set, I'll rip it open right here, right now, try out the lotion, and head home to take a bath just to be surrounded by bubbles, not because I need to get clean.  I'll use it up in a week, and not feel a twinge about it.  My Barbie was the one that go…

Six Word Saturdays


  
Gotta give the dogs a bath.

Fresh, Clean and Pure Friday: Catch Up

My two sisters and I have been trying to get together for dinner at least once a month this year.  We're doing pretty well, and it's becoming a great tradition for us.  It's just time to catch up on our lives and our families' lives, plus a terrific way to unwind.  Is there someone in your life you need to catch up with?    Make a date today!

Remember

No matter what happens today, you did not have to paint a monkey's face.  (And the Christian Science Monitor has amazing photos every day...check them out.)

Small Successes Thursday

     1.  I managed to make Sunday a day of rest.  I pushed aside all thoughts of work and other impending deadlines, and really rested. 
2.  Had my first acupuncture treatment, and am going for my second one on Friday.  It was really relaxing, and I have since cut one of my med. dosages in half.
3.  I have increased my water intake.  I'm still not carrying a water bottle around with me 24/7, but I am drinking a lot more than I was.

St. Elizabeth of Hungary

Today is her feast, and she is one of my patrons.

Old, but not forgotten

When wandering around antique shops and junk stores, I always wonder about old photographs:  Who are these people?  Why didn't their families keep these photo?  How did picture end up HERE?

This is the foundation of this great blog I found:  http://forgottenoldphotos.blogspot.com/.

"It must be nice to work at a church.....

....so nice and quiet."

Have you ever thought that of your pastor?  The lady that works in the church office?  Let me tell ya....

I got to work today and had about 15 minutes to sift through email.  Then off to Mass.  After that, women's Bible Study.  That was almost my entire morning.

Afternoon:  ate lunch at my desk, a meeting with our director of religious education, then a "meeting" with our youth minister - although mostly that is shooting the breeze.  I finished a talk I'm giving to a young adults' group tomorrow, tried to track down a couple of speakers for our senior citizens' group that meets once a month, talked with two women who are in the process of joining the Church about some little issues, worked on a prayer service, sent emails and returned phone calls, talked to the woman who creates our lectors' schedule about a new lector, went through a bunch of donations to find some kids' winter stuff for a needy family, read a new directi…

Sacred Place of the Day

Santa Rosa de Lima, Puerto Rico

This explains why I can't lose weight....

Cutting me down to size

Dear husband does bonsai - those little Japanese trees.  When people unfamiliar with the art see one of his trees for the first time, they have two questions:  "Is that real?" and "Do they just grow like that?" 

Yes, and most definitely no.

You can make just about any tree into a bonsai tree, although some trees are much easier to work with than others.  We joke that the art of bonsai is buying a $200 tree, lopping off $175 worth and then selling it for $400.  It does take time, practice, patience and a lot of effort.  You trim the tree and let it rest, trim it and let it rest.  It's a rush of anxious activity and then dormancy.  It's a very real tree, with a lot "done to it".

In essence, you must harm the tree.  You have to cut off branches and roots, make the tree grow in a way that is unnatural and that the tree is not necessarily willing to go.  This is exactly what God does with us.  He trims us and prunes  us, makes us stretch and grow in w…

Six Word Saturdays

Too many meetings make me dull.

Fresh, Clean and Pure Friday: Reach Out

"Fresh, Clean" is back after a tech. problem last week, and I am glad!  This blog hop always forces me to look at where I can make a fresh start, clean up my act, and purify a problem.
This week, reach out to someone you know is having a hard time.  Maybe it's a new mom who's still adjusting to a new schedule.  Maybe it's an older person in your neighborhood who is struggling with loneliness.  Perhaps it's an overwhelmed co-worker.  Invite them for a cup of tea, drop off a plant (although don't do that for the new mom - she's doesn't need another living thing to keep up with!), Write a note that says you care.
Enjoy your weekend!

Small Successes Thursday

1.  I remembered it was Thursday and time to make this post.
2.  Although I made my husband give me my birthday present - a Kindle!!! - early, I've only purchased one book.  I'm on a budget.  I shall follow it.  I promise.  Really.
3.  I've had dinner on the table every night this week.  Last night was pizza, but that's a Wed. tradition here, and every other dinner was home-made and on time.

Caritas

"IN ESSENTIALS UNITY, IN NON-ESSENTIALS LIBERTY, IN ALL THINGS CHARITY." - St. Augustine

There is some discussion as to whether or not this quote is really from St. Augustine of Hippo, but the point remains the same.  No matter what, we need to be charitable.  (If you don't know the definition of "caritas", look it up.  If you think it means being nice and giving stuff to people who don't have stuff, look it up.)

Dear Husband and I were visiting a friend this weekend, and joined her for worship at her Episcopalian church.  Her pastor, in the sermon, brought up the fact that (in an anonymous comment, of course), someone said,  "The pastor is a waste."  That was it:  "a waste".  There is NOTHING charitable in that comment.

I often have to work with people who want to join the Church, get their spiritual lives in order, have a marriage annulled or blessed and their past spiritual lives are...messy.   Irregular.  Charity is the first order …

Sacred Place of the Day

Today is the Feast of the Lateran Basilica in Rome.  It's not so much a celebration of the a building (although it is an awesome building!);  it's a celebration of Christian unity, as symbolized by this "first Vatican".

Light blogging this week: too many meetings!!

Sacred Place of the Day

The Basilica of la Sagrada Familia - the Holy Family - just dedicated in Barcelona, Spain.

Church hats, and entering the court of Christ the King

  Dear Husband and I spent the weekend in the Detroit area, visiting a long-time friend.  DH and I decided to take a tour of the African-American Museum of History.  We were both pleasantly surprised by the lovely architecture, the interesting and informative historical features and the incredibly friendly staff (kudos!).  If you get a chance, go!

However, my heart beat a bit faster when I realized that one of the temporary exhibits was "church lady hats".  Anyone familiar with the African-American community knows that they (for the most part) take dressing for church on Sunday seriously, and that one of their traditions is for ladies to keep their heads covered....in the most spectacular ways.  The exhibit featured both vintage hats and modern designs - and I made DH go through the exhibit twice.  (He is a long-suffering man as far as my fashion penchant is concerned.) 

One of the ladies who'd contributed to the exhibit was quoted as saying,  "I always wear a …

Taking a few days off

Gonna take the carriage for a spin and enjoy some real "down time" this weekend.  Hopefully, I'll have some adventures to fill you in on next week!

Meet my cats

I admit it:  I've never been a "cat" person.  I've always found the personality of dogs much more companionable and attractive.  (More on this later.)   I've been around cats my whole life:  Domingo, Adam and Eve, Snowball, Puff-n-Stuff, some feral cat my sister dragged home that never settled down enough to be named but dropped a bunch of kittens on the front porch.  None of 'em ever appealed to me.  Until now.

We currently share living space with two cats.  One cat is Arwen, named after the graceful Elf of The Lord of the Rings fame.  She (the cat) has the long, flowing black hair of Liv Tyler.  Arwen (again, the cat) chiefly resides outdoors, but when the weather is cold and/or rainy, she prefers a nice warm lap.  She's our hunter, and keeps mice out of the garage.  Unfortunately, she also keeps birds at bay.  She's a bit skittish, and hates our other cat.  She has the best darned tail - tall, straight and fluffy - in all of cat-dom.

The second cat…

Small Successes Thursday

 
Time to celebrate the little things in my life!
1.  Successfully navigated both my daughters' birthdays and Halloween without overdosing on chocolate.  It is one sugar-filled week at our house! 2.  Successfully cut my Diet Coke intake down to one a day, with the goal of not having any daily. 3.  Successfully completed and check off EVERY item on my "to do" list at work yesterday.  Yay!

Sacred Place of the Day

Unity Temple, Oak Park, Illinois Frank Lloyd Wright 

Poured out as sacrifice

Today was the school Mass at the parish where I work.  I'm not a big fan of the school children lectoring, as I don't think 3rd graders know what "libation" means and lectors should understand what they are proclaiming, but the little girl that did the first reading today had such a delightful lisp, I could see God smiling.

A "libation", according to Meriam-Webster, is a "liquid poured out, usually as a sacrifice".  St. Paul, in this letter the Ephesians, says this is exactly what he is:    "...I am poured out as a libation upon the sacrificial service of your faith".  This is such a strong image, and also a clear indication as to how we are to live out our Christian faith.

As any little kid knows, when you spill the milk, it goes everywhere.  What was once contained now spreads.  One way to describe a great party is to say,  "The drinks flowed!"  Jesus turned water into wine, allowing a family to keep serving their guests, ins…

All Souls and All Saints...and cleaning up for Heaven

These two celebrations seem to be confusing to people, even lifelong Catholics.  All Saints' Day celebrates all of those who enjoy the bliss of Heaven - those the Church officially recognizes (like St. Francis of Assisi) and those who are known only to God.  All Souls' Day is a day to remember all those who have died, and whose afterlife is uncertain to us mortals.  Ultimately, we just don't know where people "end up" - judgement is left to the Judge, our Lord God.  Our "job" isn't to judge or guess;  our job is to pray.  We pray - and hope - that all our beloved (and not so beloved) dead will know God's mercy, and that His perpetual light will shine upon them.

Most Catholics believe that Purgatory is true - not simply because the Church teaches it (although that's a darned good reason), but because it makes so much sense.  Despite all my attempts to be good, I'm not.  I sin day-by-day, minute-by-minute.  In spite of the help that the Ch…

Well, this is a good sign: restoring sanity, little by little

Thought you might enjoy the sign from Saturday's Sanity Rally;  I sure did:  http://www.npr.org/templates/story/story.php?storyId=130953793

Solemnity of All Saints

The holy one of the Most HIgh shall receive the kingship, to possess it forever and ever.  (Dn. 7:18)