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Showing posts from August, 2011

Am I missing something?

This billboard has made an appearance in the city where I work, and is causing a stir.  Granted, I live in a very "religious" area - there is a church on every corner, and we have at least five religious colleges here.  However, I'm not gonna get too worked up over this.

First, we live in a country with free speech, and I wouldn't have it any other way.  You wanna put up a billboard touting atheism - go ahead.  (You wanna put up a billboard that bashes particular religious beliefs....then we got a problem....)

Second, I went to this website.  I think I must be missing something.  One of their "course offerings" is designed to help people confront the challenges of living a non-theistic/secular lifestyle in a world dominated by religious belief and pseudoscience.  Huh?  We're living in a world dominated by religious belief?  Where? 

Let's see.  Maybe that religious domination in obvious in our culture.  We could watch MTV's VMAs for proof.  Uh, n…

Sacred Place of the Day

Unfortunately, I don't know where this mosque is, but it sure is beautiful!

Because God has a sense of humor....

Actually called a "chinstrap penguin".  Probably created the same day as the platypus....

A little something to think about.....

"The bravest and most noble are not those who take up arms, but those who are decent despite everything; who improve what it is in their power to improve, but do not imagine themselves to be saviours. In their humble struggle is true heroism."- Theodore Dalrymple

Jogging in a Hurricane

Like many of you, I watched the progression of Hurricane Irene over the weekend as she swept up the East Coast.  At one point, the camera caught a person jogging through the streets.  The person was in several inches of water, and being pelted by rain, but on they ran.  I thought,  "What an idiot!"  What could possibly compel a person to jog in a hurricane?

As I thought about that image over the day, I thought about all the times when I have "jogged in a hurricane".  Sometimes, it was doing something ill-advised - I felt I had  to do whatever the task was, even though people around me told me it was a bad idea.  Of course, I KNEW it was a bad idea, but, being the stubborn girl I am, I stuck it out....all the while muttering to myself how stupid the whole idea  was.  But I sure wasn't gonna back down, and let anyone have the satisfaction of "I told you so".  I kept jogging in the hurricane.

More often, though, my experiences of jogging in a hurricane h…

Total rip-off Tuesday

Wherein I rip-off another writer on the web.  Today's choice is one of my personal heroes, Helen Alvare':

...during the passage of the 2010 health care law (the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act or PPACA), longstanding, bipartisan agreement to shield the religious freedom of healthcare providers—especially where abortion is concerned—broke down. Democrats in the Senate and then in the House either proposed or ultimately acceded to conscience provisions significantly weaker than those available in past federal laws. Very recently, the Obama administration realized religious institutions’ worst fears by mandating all forms of birth control, and some forms of abortifacient drugs, as mandatory “preventive healthcare” services under the PPACA. Under this regulation, religiously affiliated healthcare institutions that attempt to hire or serve people of other faiths are denied conscience protection. It is almost unnecessary to point out the irony, the shortsighted…

An encouragement from morning prayers

Mary Cassat Monday

Dogs on a bus, and crazy family stories

I spent the weekend with my mom.  She's 86, and I realize that time with her is quite precious.  We didn't do a lot, but we spent a lot of time laughing and she told me a few family stories.

The first one is a worthy of any Irish family.  Mom was born in 1925, at home.  Her mother nearly died in childbirth, and the doctor attending her - for reasons known only to him - injected her with whiskey.  It must have "worked" - Mom was born just fine, and Grandma went on to bear three more children.  How grand is this?  We actually have whiskey running through our veins! 

The other story she told me also had to do with my grandmother.  Her parents had purchased a farm, hoping their sons would work hard and enjoy the fresh country life.  They hated it, and my grandmother ended up doing much of the work.  The boys decided to move to Detroit for factory work, and my great-grandfather and -mother decided they couldn't trust the boys in the big city, so they packed up and wen…

Oh, how I wish I had your life....

Q: My new husband (second marriage for both of us) absolutely loves bright colors. He is a native Floridian and still has a Sunbelt style and he wears it well: shirts in peach, stripes and even acid green pants for golf. We are in our late 40s and it's not required that we match, but I want to look complementary—at least when we are together. I'm typical for New York, a lot of black in my closet and I don't want to start over.


This was the actual question in the Wall Street Journal's fashion section yesterday.   Really.  Who would make this up.  (I wonder why her first marriage broke up....)

You know what I wish?  I wish this was the biggest worry of my life - a worry so overwhelming, that I felt I had to write to a fashion editor of one of the world's leading newspapers in order to solve the issue.  That's what I wish.

But no.  I have other worries.  At this particular moment in my life, here is a partial list of my worries:

-my elderly mother's healt…

A trip to visit Bad Vestments was in order today....

Just to remind us all that Bad Liturgy and Bad Vestments go hand-in-hand.....

Restless tonight....and the next night...and the next....

But the one thing I know: that when I, I turn out the light,
Visions of you, dear, dance in the night.
I've been put down, pushed around, apprehended and led downtown.
Can't help it if I'm full of fire.

But the one thing I know: that when I, I turn out the light,

Visions of you, dear, dance in the night.
I've been put down, pushed around, apprehended and led downtown.
An' I can't help it if I'm out of sight,
'Cause I'm restless tonight.

- "Restless Tonight", by Alison Krauss; lyrics by Robert Lee Castelman




I have "restless leg syndrome".  It can, admittedly, sound like a joke, but it's not  - it's an actual neurological disorder.  Some literature says it is characterized by "unpleasant" feelings in the legs.  Uh-huh.  "Unpleasant" might be too pleasant a word for it.

For me, first of all, it isn't always a sensation just in my legs.  It affects my arms as well (not that unusual).  It is uncontrolla…

Total rip-off, part two

I'm ripping off  "The Digital Hairshirt" today.  She took some time off this year, but she's blogging again and she's got her mojo back.  Her post today is calling upon God to smite a few folks, and see if you don't agree.

On Wednesday, August 17, child advocates Matt Barber, Vice President of Liberty Counsel Action, and Dr. Judith Reisman, a visiting law professor at Liberty University School of Law, attended a Baltimore, MD conference hosted by the pedophile group B4U-ACT. Around 50 individuals were in attendance including a number of admitted pedophiles – or “Minor-Attracted Persons” as they prefer to be identified (MAP “sexual orientation”) .MAPs, really?  Not MPPs - Minor Preying Persons?  This conference was about how pedophilia needs to be revised in the DSM-IV, the manual of psychological disorders used by the field.

Drawing Autism

Autism is a strange, befuddling, awesome syndrome.  While books and movies almost seem to romanticize those who are autistic, the day-to-day life of an autistic child and his/her family can be draining, frustrating, and puzzling.


I did find this website, Drawing Autism, that offers some artwork by those with autism.  It is definitely worth sharing.


Sacred Place of the Day

Roussanou Monasstery, Meteora, Greece

Wonder how his second and third children feel about this?

In China:  "You have no safety net. Your policy has been one which I fully understand -- I'm not second-guessing -- of one child per family," Biden said, according to the official transcript of the event. "The result being that you're in a position where one wage earner will be taking care of four retired people. Not sustainable." 

Read more: http://www.foxnews.com/politics/2011/08/23/biden-says-hes-not-second-guessing-chinas-one-child-rule/#ixzz1VrwpuqMr

Sacred place of the day

Martin Luther King, Jr. Memorial, Washington, DC

Total rip-off Tuesday

Wherein I "rip-off" another writer on the 'web.  Today my choice is Max Lindenman, over at "Diary of a Wimpy Catholic".  His musings about World Youth Day for the hopelessly anti-social certainly gave me a chuckle, and also reminded me that the Catholic Church is a big, big church, and we must always remember there is room for everyone, even if they are sitting alone, chain-smoking.

It’s hard to imagine Flannery O’Connor at World Youth Day. As a child, she marked the jacket of her journal with the warning “MIND YOUR OWN BIDINIS.” As an adult, she thrived in places like Yaddo and Andalusia, where people, by and large, did exactly that. Of the crowds on the New York City subways, she wrote, “Although you see a few people you wish you didn’t know, you see thousands you’re glad you don’t know.” It would be unwise to hope that her reaction to the festivities in Madrid would be much different.

Stage one: complete!

Thanks to my wonderful readers for nominating "Kissing the Leper" for
2011 CANNONBALL CATHOLIC BLOG AWARDS!

Voting will commence on September 17.  Don't worry - I'll remind you!

Time for a new game plan

No matter how you look at it, good parenting is a challenge (bad parenting is easy....).  You have a million opinions on how to raise one kid, what works for that kid doesn't work for another, and you don't really have any idea how things will turn out for decades.

The challenge Dear Husband and I are facing now is parenting older teens.  We've got one starting his second year of college (he's living away from home) and one starting his freshman year at college - living at home.  The rules just changed.

Eldest Son is making a lot of choices that we know are bad.  We know they are going to have deep and severe consequences, and that the choices are going to be regrettable.  He doesn't see it that way.  I don't want every conversation to turn into a fight, so finding some balance of admonishment and empathy is proving to be very difficult. 

Tallest Son is choosing to live at home as he starts college.  Fine with  us - we love having him around.  However, he's…

Mary Cassatt Monday

Contest: "...and this is the thanks I get."

In the words of my wonderful Aunt Doris:  I do and do and do for you people, and this is the thanks I get.

Why bring this up now?  Well, I AM under appreciated, but it is time for:
2011 CANNONBALL CATHOLIC BLOG AWARDS™©! ta da

Here is where you come in, dear readers.  First, I need someone to nominate "Kissing the Leper" for  Best Under Appreciated Blog.  (Do it right now, before you forget.  Go ahead;  I'll wait.)

Then, vote.  Vote a lot.  Pretend you're in Chicago and follow the "vote early and vote often" rule. 

By the way, there is no monetary gain in this for me.  There's actually very little prestige either, but I do get to display a wicked Cannonball icon on my website for the next 12 months. 

If you're one of those people who enjoys my blog, consider nominating and/or voting.  Today, tomorrow and the next day. 


That's what I like about Sunday

One of my Franciscan Sister friends was telling a group of us the other night about a photo essay on Sunday.  The photographer was doing a study on what Sunday meant to people.  I think this is a lovely idea, and can't wait to see the result of his work.  It also made me think of what Sunday meant to me.

First, Sunday means church.  It anchors my week, makes me feel connected to God and others and generally sets the tone for my week and my life.  I can never figure out what people who don't go to church do on Sundays (one of my friends said, "sleep");  it would seem like just another day, and that seems rather sad.

Sunday means rest to me, too, or I suppose an excuse to be lazy.  I can choose to do whatever I choose to do, as long as it isn't "work".  That's so lovely!

Sunday also means family - a day to hang out together, even if you're not doing anything special.

What do you like about Sunday?

Sacred Place of the Day

Interior of the Old North Church, Boston

At least he's creating jobs, right?

http://www.freedomsjournal.net/2011/08/18/another-department-of-jobs/

President Obama, in his quest to get more Americans back to work, is talking about creating a "Department of Jobs".  Huh?  Don't we already have a couple of departments doing this work??

Here’s a paragraph on the U.S. Department of Labor. It details the history of this federal agency, now approaching its one hundredth year of existence:

The organic act establishing the Department of Labor was signed on March 4, 1913, by a reluctant President William Howard Taft, the defeated and departing incumbent, just hours before Woodrow Wilson took office. A Federal Department of Labor was the direct product of a half-century campaign by organized labor for a “Voice in the Cabinet,” and an indirect product of the Progressive Movement. In the words of the organic act, the Department’s purpose is “to foster, promote and develop the welfare of working people, to improve their working conditions, and to enhanc…

It seemed like it would work....

I've been at my new job for three months now.  It's been a challenge.  I often feel like this cat - thinking I'm on to something, and then finding myself in a tight spot.  It seemed like it would work...

It's kind of strange to be at this point in my life and having to learn so much.  I thought when I started teaching full-time a few years back that I had found my niche, and that's where I'd be for, well, a long time.  I loved every minute of teaching, even the moments when I had to restrain myself from doing bodily harm to a teenager, and I would have been quite content to remain there.

Life happens.

I really love my new job.  I love the team I work with, and all the new challenges.  However, it seems like every day, I do something wrong.  I step on someone's toes, overstep a boundary I didn't know existed, forget a step in some process I learned the day before...it's endless.  And it's tough.  I like to think of myself of quite competent, but …

Sacred Place of the Day

Varlaam Monastery, Meteora, Greece

If you're feeling a little crafty today...

Have just discovered "Johnny Optimism"

Humor for the definitely-NOT-faint-of-heart!


Getting your daughter to wear decent clothes

http://www.foxnews.com/imag/Style/Get+Your+Teenage+Daughter+to+Wear+What+YOU+Want

Saw this headline on FoxNews.com the other day:  "How to get your teenage daughter to wear what YOU want". 

Huh.

Here's I how I do it.  I buy the clothes.  She wears them.  If she wants something I find immodest or distasteful, I don't buy it.

This method works.

Really, parents:  there should be no argument over this.  You hold the purse strings.  If you don't want your daughter to wear crap, don't buy it. 

Now, that doesn't mean she has to look like she's one of the von Trapp kids either - with a "modest" dress made from leftover curtains.  There are plenty of ways to be fashionable, fun and in good taste.

But stop arguing.  You're the parent.

If I'm mentally ill, am I still a reflection of God?

From Cardinal Javier Lozano Barragan's "Looking at Mental Illness from a Holistic Perspective:...I would like to move a step further and venture a statement that might shed light on the issue, from the point of view of Moral Theology. The statement is that: the mentally ill person is not a deformed image of God but, rather, a faithful image of God, our Lord. Such a statement intuitively finds confirmation in the thought of our Lord when he says: “The Kingdom of God is within you” (Lk17, 21) and “what comes out of the mouth proceeds from the heart, and this defiles man” (Mt 15, 18). “For from within, out of the heart of man, come evil thoughts, fornication, theft, murder, adultery, coveting, wickedness, deceit, licentiousness, envy, slander, pride, foolishness. All these evil things come from within, and they defile a man” (Mk 7, 20).
The Kingdom of God, the existence of the Holy Trinity in each one of us, may be found in our heart, the heart seen as the ulti…

"I'll take just a scrap"

Sunday's Gospel from Matthew is one of the most interesting ones.  It's a story told in Mark, as well:  a woman comes and begs healing for her daughter from Jesus, who seemingly rebuffs her, telling her that He came for the children of Israel.  She is Canaanite in Matthew's Gospel, Syrophoenician in Mark's - not a Jew.

I don't pretend to have any idea what is going on with Jesus here.  I DO know what is going on with the woman though - she is a desperate mother, and those are shoes I've walked in.  She's willing to be humiliated, willing to be talked down to, willing to challenge:  this is her last hope.  And it works.  Her willingness to take a scrap turns into a banquet for her child - and that was all that mattered.

I've walked this hard road as a mother more than once.  Sometimes I feel like I'm begging God for something that is right;  why won't He just give it over?  I don't know.  It's not an easy position to be in. 

I do know tha…

Total rip-off Tuesday

Don't worry.  It's not him;  it's us.

The Crumbling Cult of Obama -

Similarly, Jacob Weisberg of Slate wrote that because of "intellectual primitives" on the right, "compromise is dead" and "there's no point trying to explain complicated matters to the American people. The president has tried reasonableness and he has failed."

I feel so dumb.....

Where children sleep

I found this blog post about the book Where Children Sleep, and found it both fascinating and heart-breaking.  Photographer James Mollison traveled the world to record the conditions under which children slumber.  Just look at these two examples.


The top photo is a young Romanian boy who shared this mattress with his family.  The second is an 8 year old boy American boy.

Feast of the Assumption of the Virgin Mary

We are inspired by the certainty that your eyes, which wept over the earth crimsoned by the blood of Jesus, are yet turned toward this world racked by wars and persecutions, the oppression of the just and the weak. From the shadows of this vale of tears, we seek in your heavenly assistance, tender mercy, comfort for our aching hearts, and help in the trials of Church and country. - Pope Pius X

Debt relief

"We are so broke the church mice are starting to bring over food baskets." - me

Breakfast in Bed

Mary Cassatt

A fascinating life, but her work speaks for itself.  By the way, I want this dress.....

Sacred place of the day

The view towards the crypt at the Basilica of Santa Chiara, Assisi, Italy

Feast of St. Clare

As a Franciscan, I love learning about St. Clare.  She was young and impassioned, but a strong leader.  Most of all, her Faith was focused in the face of opposition from nearly everyone around her.

There are several images of Clare with the Eucharist, and others with a cat, so I chose the one above with both.  At one point, her convent was being over-run by the Saracens, and she is said to have driven them out holding the Eucharist in a monstrance, shielding the building and her Sisters.

She also had a affinity for cats.  One writer suggests that cats, as pets, are good contemplative companions, and any of us that live with cats can agree to that, I think.  They are wonderful playmates and provide lots of entertainment, but are also perfectly content to sit and well, contemplate.  No wonder Clare enjoyed them!

Most high,
glorious God,
enlighten the darkness
of my heart, and give me, Lord
a correct faith,
a certain hope,
a perfect charity,
sense and knowledge,
so that I may carry out
Yo…

Nothing worse than a bad hair day

It's what I like about Buddha

For a nice Catholic girl, I have a somewhat strange fondness for the Buddha.  I'm not really in love with Buddhism, as I don't find it an especially compelling philosophical cult (and I don't mean that pejoratively).  I do like the Buddha though.  That picture above is the Buddha that sits on my desk at work, reminding me to chill, to breathe, to take a moment and pray.

The Buddha got a lot of stuff right (yeah, he got a lot wrong too....I know).  He did recognize that suffering in our lives was inevitable, and that we are way too attached to things.  Learning how to let go of "stuff" in our lives - even emotional "stuff" - is a good way to avoid a lot of unnecessary suffering.  I don't believe we can get rid of all attachments - we humans are meant to be in relationship with each other, and it hurts when we lose those relationships, whether through a break-up, a relocation, a misunderstanding or death.  We shouldn't abandon each other just beca…

Another glass here, please!

"If the Lord can turn water into wine, surely he can turn debt into wine -- which is good, because we're gonna need a drink." -- Stephen Colbert

Just the sort of geeky, religious stuff I love!

http://www.catholicnews.com/data/stories/cns/1103118.htm

High noon: How the sun and moon guided prayer times and liturgy



A long granite strip running from the ancient obelisk through St. Peter's Square at the Vatican serves as a meridian, a line that indicates when the sun has reached true or solar noon and is at its highest point in the sky. (CNS/Paul Haring)
VATICAN CITY (CNS) -- Hidden among the paving stones of St. Peter's Square there is a simple clock and calendar. All you need is a sunny day.

The 83-foot stone obelisk in the middle of the square acts as a sundial that can accurately indicate midday and the two solstices thanks to a granite meridian and marble markers embedded in the square.

Pope Benedict XVI proudly pointed out the hidden timepiece during an Angelus address he gave on the winter solstice a few years ago.

"The great obelisk casts its shadow in a line that runs along the paving stones toward the fountain beneath this window and in these days, …

Feast day of St. Edith Stein, Teresa Benedicta of the Cross

Contest Update

Well, let's just say it didn't go as well as planned, and I'm devising some new strategies for gaining more followers.  I'm reserving the right to hold off on the contest (maybe around the holidays I'll do it....hmmm....).  I do appreciate the few new followers I gained, and I hope you stay with me!

Bleh: Monday

One way of looking at it

I'm not an atheist and I don't think I can call myself a pantheist. We are in the position of a little child entering a huge library filled with books in many different languages. The child knows someone must have written those books. It does not know how. The child dimly suspects a mysterious order in the arrangement of the books but doesn't know what it is. That, it seems to me, is the attitude of even the most intelligent human being toward God.  - Albert Einstein

The Anti-bucket list

As you well know, many people have a "bucket list":  the things they wish to do before they die.  I read recently one writer who was developing an "anti-bucket" list (actually, he called it by a name that starts with "f" and rhymes with "bucket", but my mom reads my blog sometimes, so.....)

I think an anti-bucket list is brilliant.  There are so many things that people have told me I MUST do, SHOULD do, HAVE to do, can't believe I haven't done....and frankly, I don't care. 

Here in part, is my anti-bucket list, and I reserve the right to add to it as I see fit:
Learning to drive a stick shift.  Isn't this why the automatic was invented?Eating squid.Sitting through any Adam Sandler movie.  Ditto for Pauly Shore.Any "show on ice".Camping.   I don't like.  I don't want to do it.  Ever.Finishing a bad book.  I used to make myself read an entire book, but frankly, life is too short.  If the author hasn't gotten me…

Sacred place of the day

Basilica of St. Mary Major in Rome - Feast of the Dedication is today, August 5

Soundtracks to our lives

We all have music that we feel should be part of the "official soundtrack" to our lives - music that got us through a tough time, music that was playing during a pivotal moment of our lives, music that made us laugh or cry.  My mom and dad always said "Peg o' my heart" was "their" song, although it isn't a song I'm really familiar with.

I've always like Melissa Etheridge's music, and "Ain't it heavy" is a particular favorite.  It seems to sum up a lot of my life.  There are a lot of days when I get out of bed and know that the fury and the agony is going to start up all over again - another battle to fight, another lesson to learn and to teach, another banner to be unfurled ahead of the troops.  And quite honestly, I don't want to do it again most days.

I'm feelin' kinda loose I'm feelin' kinda mean
I've been feeling kinda wild since I turned seventeen
Or is it madness
Tell me where can a woman f…

Here's hoping you have no need of this, but just in case....

The Narrow Gate

Enter through the narrow gate; for the gate is wide and the road broad that leads to destruction, and those who enter through it are many.  How narrow the gate and constricted the road that leads to life. And those who find it are few. (Mt.7:13-14)

Total rip-off Tuesday

Decided to go with something more light-hearted for Total rip-off Tuesday.  Thanks to my niece, Emily, for sharing!

Birth control for everyone! No cost! No responsibility!

Q:  Just what disease does birth control prevent?

A:  Children. Duh. 

http://health.newsvine.com/_news/2011/08/01/7219138-do-you-think-birth-control-should-be-covered-for-free  Yes, that right.  Children are now a disease.  They must be prevented.  And I'm gonna have to pay for it.  So are you.

This is an actual question and response from the above website, an ABC poll re' the "free birth control" movement.  The responses on the site are chilling.  I am keenly aware that there are a gazillion knuckleheads that freely mouth off on every topic, regardless of their level of competency on said subject.  However, it is clear from this poll that this is not an isolated opinion:  children are a disease, they are nothing but trouble, they cause nothing but heartache, they are a huge economic expense....frankly, children have no redeeming value and they must not exist.
Go ahead, read the responses and see what you think.  We've come to a point in our nation where children ar…

Ireland on my mind

Rock of Cashel Cathedral, from mid-13th century

Ireland's on my mind.  Dear Husband and I are hoping, praying, scrimping so that we can go next year to celebrate our 25th wedding anniversary.  I've decided (God help me) to learn some Gaelic.  (I can now say "yes" and "no" with the utmost ease...impressive, huh?).  We're going to see an Irish band tomorrow at a local watering hole known for bringing in great Irish talent.

Sigh....I hope I get to Erin next year.

Understanding Ramadan