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Showing posts from June, 2011

Total Rip-off...Thursday?

I shamelessly stole this from Matt Archbold over at the National Catholic Register:

Bloopers from church bulletins -

The Fasting & Prayer Conference includes meals..
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The sermon this morning: Jesus Walks on the Water.
The sermon tonight: Searching for Jesus.
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Ladies, don’t forget the rummage sale. It’s a chance to get rid of those things not worth keeping around the house. Bring your husbands.
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Remember in prayer the many who are sick of our community. Smile at someone who is hard to love. Say ‘Hell’ to someone who doesn’t care much about you .
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Don’t let worry kill you off - let the Church help .
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Miss Charlene Mason sang ‘I will not pass this way again,’ giving obvious pleasure to the congregation.
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For those of you who have children and don’t know it, we have a nursery downstairs .
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Next Thursday there will be tryouts for the choir. They need all the help they can get.
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Sacred Place of the Day

Church of St. Peter and St. Paul, Ostend, Belgium

It's tough being a sidekick.....

Sing. You'll feel better.

These women certainly embody the ideal of the joy of suffering.  Life is not easy, but we can always sing.  Watch the YouTube clip;  it's great. 

A Milestone

A few years ago, this picture was an impossibility.

Tallest Son hated me.  He refused to let me go to his Confirmation.  He regularly, and with great great force and creativity, told me how evil I was.  His life was a great morass of misery, and I was the madame of it all.

There were a lot of reasons for his anger, but I assure you, I was not one of them.  My theory is this:  Mom is not going anywhere, so I'm gonna let her have it.  She is a safe target.

I shed a lot of tears over this.  It was very hurtful to be the target of so much undeserved anger.  I prayed a lot.  A lot.  A lot.  The prayer sustained me, and frankly, kept me from strangling him.  (There was also some wine involved.)

Slowly, things got better.  He developed more of a sense of humor, and a sense of perspective.  We started to laugh together.  We'd talk.  He'd read a book, and share what he thought.  I'd see a movie and ask his opinion.  And so, one day, we had a relationship that was not based on m…

Sacred Place of the Day

Church of St. John the Baptist, Mogno, Switzerland

Corpus Christi

From the Christian Science Monitor:  the faithful in Brasilia, Brazil make carpets for the feast day.

Can we talk?

It has seemed to me, for awhile now, that civil discourse has all but disappeared in our society.  The ability to hold reasoned discussion on differing viewpoints is now simply a matter of disintegrated arguments of "You're a bigot" or "You're going to hell". 

Without a doubt, one of the most difficult topics to broach is homosexuality, homosexuality activity and homosexual lifestyle.  I thought this article was one that lent itself to civil discourse, rather than tirade.

Our Mother

The Black Madonna of Einsiedeln, Switzerland The abbey church at Einsiedeln is a majestic baroque edifice with elaborately decorated pastel ceilings, many marble side altars, and a large high altar in the east end. The interior is a typically baroque feast for the eyes, in gleaming white with elaborate gold and pastel decoration.
The most important part of the basilica is the Lady Chapel, near the entrance in the west end. The Lady Chapel is a free-standing, square marble edifice that recalls the shelter over Christ's tomb in Jerusalem's Church of the Holy Sepulchre. It was destroyed in 1798 by French invaders and rebuilt in 1817. Above the chapel's altar is the Black Madonna, resplendent in rich robes and surrounded by gold clouds. Many services take place here each day.   http://www.sacred-destinations.com/switzerland/einsiedeln

"Raindrops Over Rwanda"

Stain glass in the exhibition at Kigali genocide memorial, it's pleasant to watch the colors and the art through it. But it's more useful to understand that this is a window of hope, climbing the steps leaving scars behind. Educate young people to make the truth of this hope. - From "Raindrops Over Rwanda".

Where the Wild Things Are

At one point in my life, where the wild things are meant:  check the back yard to make sure everyone is still breathing.  Seriously, it was one of my kids' favorite stories, to the point that I used to be able to recite the entire book from memory.

Check out this website that pays tribute to the wonderful, imaginative story of Max and his furry, ferocious friends.

Sacred Place of the Day

The ruins at Ta Prohm, Angkor, Cambodia

My friend Sam

This is my friend, Sam.  He is three.  He likes Mickey Mouse, his siblings and having lots of activity going on around him.  He likes to be tickled, and scoots around in his walker like nobody's business.

Because he was born with Hallerman-Streiff, he has a lot of challenges, as does his family.  However, he is a happy guy, surrounded by siblings who love him.

Yesterday, I was hanging out with his family at an event, working with his mom on a project.  Now, Sam has a trach, and it needs to be suctioned out several times an hour.  It's a pretty simply procedure, and takes literally a few seconds.  His mom was busy, so I did it.  When she returned from what she was doing, I told her that I'd suctioned him.  Her reply was,  "Oh, you're on the team now!"  I laughed, and said,  "That's fine, but it wasn't a big deal."

She turned to me and said,  "Yes, it is.  Do you know how many people won't even look at him, let alone touch him?  The t…

From the Acton U. photo file

Cheryl, from Texas, works with homeless women and former prostitutes to learn job skills and get educated in order to provide for themselves and their children.
 Our hard-working interns at the t-shirt table the last night of A.U.
 Two of our presenters, Anielka Munkel and Victor Claar.  Anielka is a staff member at Acton, is our Projects Manager, and spoke on social entrepreneurship.  Victor is an economist;  you can read his blog here.
 My friend and co-worker, Mark Weber, being interviewed by Ave Maria radio's Al Kresta about his documentary, "Strong Bodies Fight."














Behind the scenes:  Stuart, one of our interns, down-loading audio for the Acton website.


Final thoughts on Acton U.

Though I'll be posting a few photos later on today, I wanted to give a few final thoughts about my first year at Acton University "from the inside".

First, everyone was so gracious and appreciative, and that was a joy to hear.  Although Acton's message reaches many, our staff is relatively small.  To host an event with over 600 participants from 70 countries is a massive undertaking, and to know that the hard work of our staff is so appreciated is gratifying.

Second, I am dumb, and ignorant.  I was constantly surrounded by people of great intelligence, courage, thoughtfulness, experience and grace.  It was both humbling and uplifting.  As it should be, the experience leaves me with desire to both know and do more, and to become a better person in the process.

Third, I am blessed.  I work with some of the most intelligent people I've ever met, but they are also a great deal of fun.  I laughed a lot these last few days, and in my book, that counts for a lot.

Finall…

Because every life is sacred

My cousin Sean and his beautiful wife Melba recently welcomed a daughter, Avary, into their family.  Avary was with us outside the womb for a very short time, due to a congenital illness, but her life has been so impactful.  Please take a moment to watch this emotional, gentle and grace-filled photo album.

Sean and Melba have borne this suffering with such grace, courage and love.  They are an inspiration!

Day two of Acton U.

I haven't been the most faithful blogger, but boy, have I been having a blast at Acton University!  There are stories of pink pens, mad dashes with lecture notes, helping the lost be found, blisters on my feet, an offer by a priest for a gift certificate to get my boss' hair corn-rowed (my boss is the whitest guy in the world...) and other much other frivolity.  Add to that some amazing lectures on Edmund Burke, subsidiarity, poverty and the developing world, and meal conversations with everyone from a rabbi from Jerusalem to a economist-professor from the a small Midwestern college.

Tonight's speaker was His Beatitude, Metropolitan Jonah, an Orthodox bishop.  He was a lovely man, with a deeply moving message.  Some of the highlights:
- Going to work or school should not be compartmentalized from our spiritual life.  It should be an encounter with Christ, much the same as church is an encounter with Christ.
- The more we ignore God, the more dis-integrated we become, both a…

Starting Acton U. with a surprise and smiles

The adventure that is Acton University began today.  As a staff, today is a great day: everything we've been working towards for weeks comes to fruition, and all the names, faces and places come together.  It's a joy to meet so many people with open hearts and open minds, and a willingness to share with others.

Our dinner was superb, the company was great:  my dinner companions were all Catholic school teachers and administrators, whose heart for education was apparent.  After dinner, we enjoyed the remarks of Fr. Robert Sirico, who reminded us that without the foundational belief of the dignity of each human person, all human institutions will be flawed.  As illustration, he reminded us of the Dutch resistance of WWII, and the work of ordinary men and women to save their Jewish neighbors.   He referred to "Reckoning", a documentary of this resistance, and specifically the story of Diet and Heinz, a young couple who worked to save their fellow countrymen.  We watched…

Sidewalk chalk and documentary film

My first official duty at Acton University was to create sidewalk chart art for our guests staying at local hotels to our conference venue.  Glamour:  it suits me.

Next up:  check out this article about a young man I work with whose documentary film is getting a lot of buzz.

More to come...

Oh, fer cryin' out loud.....

http://www.npr.org/2011/06/12/137102746/women-priests-defy-the-church-at-the-altar


These women are deluded and illogical.  For the life of me, I can never figure out why they want so badly to play a role that Christ says is not for them, and the Church protects that.  There are a bajillion other ecclesial communities that will allow them to be ordained and minister.  Why not join them?

It's like bringing home an elephant and trying to beat it into being a golden retriever.  You bought an elephant - it's an elephant.  If you want a golden retriever, buy one of those.  You can't change one into the other, no matter how deluded you are.....

Feast of St. Anthony of Padua

"Two things the devils fears above all:  the fire of charity and the well-trodden path of humility...The poor of Jesus Christ, who are marked with the sign of his poverty as long as they are in this world, consider themselves pilgrims and exiled from the Lord and walk roughshod over the passing things of this world."

Sunday Snippets

http://rannthisthat.blogspot.com/2011/06/sunday-snippets-catholic-carnival_11.html

It's always nice to visit other blogs, and nicer still to get invited by another blogger to share on their site.  "Sunday Snippets" has a great collection of writers to browse through!

Pentecost

Come, Holy Spirit!

God is Light

God is the light
of the heavens and the earth.
The smile of God's light
is like a niche in which is a lamp,
the lamp in a globe of glass,
the globe of glass as if it were a shining star,
lit from a blessed olive tree
neither of the East nor of the West,
its light nearly luminous
even if fire did not touch it.
Light upon light!
God guides to this light
whomever God will:
and God gives people examples;
and God knows all things.
Qu'ran - 24:35 - al 'nuur - the light

All growed up

Being a parent is tough.  It's not just the middle-of-the-night bottle feedings, the pit-of-the-stomach fear as the teen takes the car for the first time, or the did-I-make-the-right-decision moments that come up all the time.  Part of being a parent is actually being tough:  saying "no" and sticking to it, standing up for what is right when everyone else is going in another direction, making your kid do the things he doesn't want to do and putting up with the nastiness.

Eldest Son is now at a point in his life where we can't really tell him what to do.  He's 19, out of the house and legally an adult.  And, as people at this point in their lives are wont to do, he is making some foolish choices.  These foolish choices may or may not end badly;  that's the problem with foolish choices.  However, Dear Husband and I had to have a chat with him this weekend and say,  "We can't tell you what to do, but we can tell you that we think you're making a…

Adoption, being Catholic, and stupid legislation

http://catholicexchange.com/2011/06/09/154189/

The above link thoroughly and thoughtfully spells out many of the problems now facing Catholic social service agencies across the nation.  That is, many are being forced out of aiding adoptions due to legislation that has labeled Catholic agencies as biased. 

Catholic agencies are run by - here's a shocker - Catholic ideals, morals, values and guidelines.  According to this, they won't place children with homosexual couples, couples who are not married, and various other circumstances that we Catholics believe are less than ideal for a child.  However, Catholic agencies do NOT try to stop other agencies from facilitating these types of adoptions.  They simply offer the services for those whose faith, ideals and way of life "match" those of the Catholic Church.

They tend to offer these services at very low cost (the adoption of my kids cost us only court costs, about $150 bucks each).  They also offer adoption services an…

Sacred Place of the Day

St. George's Cathedral, Aleppo, Syria

Inevitable

I suppose it was inevitable.  New job, still doing the old job, kid graduating, party to plan, dealing with the needs of my mentally-ill daughter, did I mention the new job?

Yeah, I'm feeling crummy.  The smart thing to do would be to crawl into bed and not surface for a day or two, but we all know how that is gonna go.

So, it's hot tea, throat lozenges and a drippy nose for now.  (And that little voice in the back of my head:   "Offer it up".)

That's how a Catholic gets sick.

A Baha'i Prayer

O God!
Refresh and gladden my spirit.
Purify my heart.
Illumine my powers.
I lay all my affairs in Thy hands.
Thou art my Guide and my Refuge.
I will no longer be sorrowful and grieved;
I will be a happy and joyful being.
O God! I will no longer be full of anxiety,
nor will I let trouble harass me.
I will not dwell on the unpleasant things of life.
O God! Thou art more friend to me than I am to myself.
I dedicate myself to Thee, O Lord.

Sacred Place of the Day

Ajanta Caves, India

What's the "+1"?

You may have  noticed a new addition to the blog; the new +1 button joins the existing Facebook and Twitter buttons at the top of posts.   +1 is a new initiative from Google that brings forth more relevant search results influenced by user feedback.  Here is a snippet from the official Google launch:
+1 is as simple on the rest of the web as it is on Google search. With a single click you can recommend that raincoat, news article or favorite sci-fi movie to friends, contacts and the rest of the world. The next time your connections search, they could see your +1’s directly in their search results, helping them find your recommendations when they’re most useful.Since I now have the "+1" button you can recommend any blog post you wish using the new feature.

Will the circle be unbroken?

Ages ago, my daddy and I were always the first ones up on Sunday mornings.  Dad, as a Marine, had an internal alarm clock set for 5:30 a.m., and I inherited that.  Anyway, a sweet memory I have is that Dad and I would be up on Sundays; he'd be drinking coffee and we'd be swapping newspaper sections, while we listened to WJR out of Detroit, and Renfro Valley.

Renfro Valley is still around, and it could be described as the little brother of the Ole Opry.  It was (and is) "ole-timey", down-home country music, mountain music with great harmonies, and the song,  "Will the Circle Be Unbroken" was a common one to hear.

Today, I got to spend the afternoon holding babies, chatting with nieces and nephews whose babies I was fawning over.  One of the babies got baptized, and we spent the afternoon enjoying food, drink and a glorious Michigan day, encircling my mom, who at 86 is now the Grand Dame of the family.  She mentioned that my brother, who is sixteen years old …

Sacred Place of the Day

The Baptistry at Saint-Jean, Poitiers.  It is thought to date from 360 A.D.

Uh, aren't you missing something?

The article is entitled "Protecting our bodies from hormone-disrupting chemicals:  a precautionary tale."  Creepy ads from the fifties talk about DDT and under-achieving ovaries, and the horrible results of adding this stuff into our food supply.

But the article never talks about the biggest hormone-disrupters of all:  artificial birth control!  Really?  You don't think this stuff has harmed our bodies, our water supply and the soil?  Get real!

Facebook for fish?

http://www.thesolutionsjournal.com/node/866

 The link above will take you to an article about a teacher who suggested to her college students that they create a "Fishbook" - a Facebook for fish.  Why?  These are her words:

(1) we could develop tools that allow us to actually communicate with animals directly (ideal, but a long way off) or (2) we could try to speak on their behalf.

We are, it seems, way behind in learning how to talk to the animals.

Now, the teacher part of my brain kind of likes this project.  It did require students to be creative and it was a fun project.  But then another part of my brain kicks in:  why?  Why do this?  Are we really going to be communicating with animals in this manner?  Does this help solve some problem we currently have with animals?  Uh....

See, this is one of those cases where a "scientist" is projecting human traits on an animal.  We (humans) communicate in a specific way and so should animals.  We humans are just too stupi…

Sacred Place of the Day

Dura Europos, Syria.  Fresco of Abraham from the 3rd century.

This cloud of witnesses

I have an unabashed love for the Communion of Saints, and here is a new one for me.  Perhaps for you as well:

http://catholiclane.com/bl-peter-to-rot-%E2%80%93-defender-of-matrimony/

"But Christ in me"

Loved this meditation from Fr. Gerald Vann, OP:

Of course we have to try to keep the commandments;  but the essential is to try to keep them in such a way that we learn to see more and more clearly our true Center, to keep our eyes more and more on on God and less and less on ourseslves, to say  " I live, now not I, but Christ lives in me. " There are, in fact, two opposite heresies here which we have to avoid:  the one says, If I do right, it doesn't matter what I am;  the other says, If I am right, it doesn't matter what I do.  We have to try to live in God, to be right;  but we learn to be right only through slowly and painfully trying to do right.....

More proof that God has a sense of humor

I have no idea why I find alpacas so amusing, but I do.