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Showing posts from December, 2012

I guess I have to make some resolutions....

I don't like making resolutions. Mostly because I don't keep them. But I guess I should, since every other blogger is doing it. So here are my 2013 resolutions:

Keep up with Grumpy Cat. He's my kinda guy.Never, ever read anything about Charlie Sheen again.Try to find a game - other than bowling - that I can actually excel at on the Wii.Read more. But that's hard. I really like knitting. Find a balance between the two?Keep on trying to figure out how to parent children who are over 18. Yeah, that should be a breeze....Say evening prayers. I'm really good about morning prayers, but not so much at night.Tell people that I love, "I love you" more. They need to know.Find new and different music to listen to. Suggestions are welcome.Try to remember not to hunch my shoulders with tension all the time. Maybe shoot for 80% of the time. Trust me, that would be an improvement.Watch at least one stupid SciFi channel a month with Dear Husband. They make us laugh.

Modern Art Monday: The Holy Family

Freakin' Friday Fun

For those of you planning your New Year's Resolutions....

Are you afraid I'll become a Muslim?

When I announced, as a college freshman, that I was going to major in world religions, a certain family member was aghast. He was completely against the idea, stating that I belonged to the one, true Faith (I knew that), and why in the world would anyone want to study anything BUT that?

Then, just for fun, I went on to get a Master's in world religions.

Is there any good reason for a Catholic to study other religions, especially non-Christian religions? I've always believed so, and now the likes of Peter Kreeft agree, in this blog post from Fr. David J. Endres:
As I began teaching the course, the reason behind offering a world religions course to Catholic young adults became more apparent: to help them understand Christian Catholic distinctiveness, what separates our faith from others. By studying other traditions, we attempted to highlight the “what” and “why” of our own beliefs, growing in our appreciation of what it means to be a follower of Christ. When we studied I…

This Unholy Family

This Sunday, we celebrate the Feast of the Holy Family. In 2007, Bl. John Paul the Great said this:
In the Gospel we do not find discourses on the family but an event which is worth more than any words: God wanted to be born and to grow up in a human family. In this way he consecrated the family as the first and ordinary means of his encounter with humanity.... The Holy Family of Nazareth is truly the "prototype" of every Christian family which, united in the Sacrament of Marriage and nourished by the Word and the Eucharist, is called to carry out the wonderful vocation and mission of being the living cell not only of society but also of the Church, a sign and instrument of unity for the entire human race.
When my children were very little, before the youngest ones could even write their names, Dear Husband and I wrote a family mission statement, and had the kids "sign" it with their hand prints. In it, we pledge to follow the example of the Holy Family i…

Into Joseph's Welcoming Arms

Things must have been really tough for St. Joseph. He was a good man, a righteous man, but just a man - a sinner, like you and me. Plus, he was asked to do something incredible: believe an angel that the woman he was about to marry was pregnant with the Son of God. Oh, and raise that child as well.

We hear that story so often, we hardly think about it. Can you put yourself in that place for just a moment? You think the person you love has betrayed you in the deepest way possible, and you're trying to figure a way out of the situation. You toss and turn, you weep, you pray. Then, an angel appears and tells you what's up. AN ANGEL APPEARS. Yeah. Think about that.

And what does this good, but sinful man, do? He welcomes the Baby. He caresses Him, and coos to Him. He protects Him and his Mother, cares for them in danger and turmoil. He fathers that Child...that Child that is not his.

I didn't know this until a short time ago, but there are a lot of people out there who HATE a…

Happy St. Stephen's Day

Not to be macabre, but this is one of my fave Chieftains songs: The St. Stephen's Day Murders, featuring Elvis Costello. For all of you who have had plenty of family fun this time of year, this is your song.






Freakin' Friday Fun: The Christmas Edition

Here's to family togetherness and Christmas joy!

Golfing with my dad

I have no idea why this came to me last night, but I was thinking about golfing with my dad.

My dad passed away about 5 years ago now, and of course, I still miss him. When I was about 9, he taught me to golf, and we spent a lot of time walking around a near-by course together. I have to admit, I never really had the love of the game that he had, but I enjoyed the time spent with him, just the two of us, doing something no one else in the family did.

Dad golfed regularly, and loved it. When he retired, he golfed nearly every day in the summer. He wasn't a great golfer, but a "duffer" - never kept him from enjoying it. Now me: I'm too much of a perfectionist to enjoy golf. It frustrated me and made me tense. I came to wholeheartedly agree with Mark Twain, in that golf is a good walk spoiled.

I was thinking last night, though, about how patient my dad was with me as I learned the game, how he managed to shrug off a badly hit shot, a ball in the drink. He went about th…

Not writing a "good things" post today

I'm not in the mood. For anyone who deals with anxiety and depression issues, Christmas can be tough. And it is for me.

It's like the whole world is telling me: "Be festive! Shout for joy! Celebrate!" and on the other hand the world says, "Jesus? Who cares? A good deal on a big screen tv! That's what I'm talking about!"

Financial issues always seem to be more stressful during the holidays, and knowing I'll have a house full of kids - all of whom struggle with their own issues - can also cause a  lot of worry.

It's hard to be all cheerful and light for me. I try, but that can be exhausting. The best I hope for is a quiet holiday.

If you know someone for whom the holidays are hard, say a prayer and give a hug. We are celebrating Christ's birth, but we are the ones who keep his Sacrificial Love very close, even as the lights twinkle and the bells are rung.

What do we do about evil?

I am not going to write about school shootings.

The question of evil, however, seems to be pervasive since last Friday's events. "What do we do about evil?"





The answer is quite simple, you know. We become saints. And we urge everyone around us to do the same, and support them in their saintly endeavors.

Free Kindle Ebook

Okay, I'm totally ripping this off from my work blog, but it's still completely worthy: a free book!

Acton is offering a free Christmas gift: a free Kindle download of the new book, “A Field Guide to the Hero’s Journey.”  The book, co-authored by Jeff Sandefer and Rev. Robert Sirico, has been called a “the modern ‘how-to’ for entrepreneurs working on accomplishing big things” by Andreas Widmer, and is a terrific book not only for adults but for young people.
You can also listen to the authors discussing their collaboration on this book on this Radio Free Acton podcast. The book will be free on Amazon until Dec. 23 at 3 a.m. EST.

Total Rip-Off Tuesday: The Quran on Mary

Wherein I rip-off another writer on the web. Not taking credit; just sharing good stuff.

Today's choice: Hesham A. Hassaballam, an American Muslim, on the Quran and Mary:

No male child she might have hoped for could ever have been like this female, Mary. She was the mother of Christ; bearer of the Word of God, which was communicated unto her. Mary took on a terrifying task: having a son without a father and having to face the utter shock and likely disgust of her community.
She would have to face horrific accusations and terrible maligning of her character. This character was so impeccable, in fact, that her people—as the Quran mentions—nicknamed her "Sister of Aaron"—and not just any old "Aaron," but the brother of Moses himself. It was an enormous test, and it was so difficult that she cried out as Christ was being born:
Oh, would that I had died before this, and had become a thing forgotten, utterly forgotten! (Quran 19:23). But, she did it with g…

More Tales From the Catechetical Front: Mission Field

I put St. Ignatius of Loyola here because it is abundantly clear to me that we are living in a mission field. Yup, right here in good ole USA. Not outer Mongolia, or Tibet, or the outskirts of the outskirts of Siberia. Here is suburban American, inner-city America, cornfield America: mission field.

I know this because my middle school students have no idea who Jesus is. They rank the Christmas "story" of His birth right up there with Frosty the Snowman and Rudolph the Red-nosed Reindeer: fun holiday fluff that has nothing to do with their lives other than providing entertainment.

Did Jesus really exist? Maybe; they're not so sure. Was He God? Well, He did some pretty cool tricks; does that make Him God? He died for us, but not really sure why or what that means for me. It's just a cool story in a book we never read. We just heard about it once.

I realize many of my students don't go to Mass regularly. I also know that many Catholic students, whether they are in …

Modern Art Monday

Rachel Weeping

Seems to be the only appropriate response to today's events.

Feast of St. John of the Cross

But if you are not waiting for my works, what is it that makes you wait, my most clement Lord? Why do you delay?
For if, after all, I am to receive the grace and mercy that I entreat of you in your Son, take my mite , since you desire it, and grant me this blessing, since you also desire that.
Who can free themselves from lowly manners and limitations if you do not lift them to yourself, my God, in purity of love? How will human beings begotten and nurtured in lowliness rise up to you, Lord, if you do not raise them with your hand that made them?
You will not take from me, my God, what you once gave me in your only Son, Jesus Christ, in whom you gave me all I desire. Hence I rejoice that if I wait for you, you will not delay.
With what procrastinations do you wait, since from this very moment you can love God in your heart?

Freakin' Friday Fun

Three Good Things Thursday

1. No surgery needed! Amen!

2. An increased awareness of love and appreciation of Dear Husband. Two of my dearest friends have lost their husbands at a very young age in the past month.

3. My fast and furious job. Loving it!

What are your three good things today?

A prayer please

I have to go to the surgeon tomorrow for a consultation regarding my disintegrating neck. Please say a little prayer for me that things go well.

Thanks!

UPDATE: No surgery needed! Thanks for the prayers. I'll keep on going to the pain relief clinic....

Wherein Mom Gets a Cat

My poor mother. She had to put up with such a parade of animals when we were growing up. One of my sisters routinely brought home injured animals - birds, rabbits - in order to nurse them to health. It was not uncommon for me to open a dresser drawer and find a turtle or snake. We had a feral cat, dogs, a horse. (There was also an incident with a bunch of pet white mice, but we refrain from speaking of that in order that both my sister and a certain cousin don't continue to get ashes heaped upon their heads.)

And cats. Lots of cats. There was Domingo, whom we had to transport to our cottage whenever we went. Domingo HOWLED the entire trip.

We had Adam and Eve, a brother and sister....who turned out to be Adam and Steve.

Snowball got an eye nearly gouged out and needed eye drops for two weeks. Giving an] eye drops to a cat is a breeze...the first time. After that, it got really dicey.

My mom complained that every kitten was cute and every cat was female - and pregnant.

Now, my mo…

You are what you have on your desk

Has it ever occurred to you that you are what you have on your desk, or perhaps your bedside table? I think it can be very telling.

I live in cubicle land, and I rather like it. I like that I have this little space that's all my own, but I still get to talk to co-workers. Privacy but not secluded...sorta.

One of my co-workers is a piler - you know, piles and piles of files and files. Works for her.

Another one has an immaculate desk with just a touch of personalization: a photo or two.

Mine looks exactly like me - it's pretty clean, but there's a lot going on! There's also an outstanding array of literature, prayer, pictures, religions, writing instruments (even though I only really like that ONE pen), a rosary, a New Testament in Chinese, a Nancy Drew book, a picture of a slow loris (look it up), quotes from fave authors, a to-do-to-do-to-do list....it goes on. But there's space to work and it makes me happy to look around.

If you didn't know me, you could lo…

Total Rip-off Tuesday

Wherein I rip-off another writer on the web. Not taking credit; just sharing good stuff. Today's choice is from the Orthodox realm: Joel J. Miller and a really beautiful meditation on the Immaculate Conception (be sure to read the whole piece - it's worth it!):

A feast? Because someone got pregnant? Obviously the church considers Mary’s conception of great importance. Here’s why.  Scripture repeatedly presents special children as unlikely children. Isaac, Samson, and Samuel were all miraculously born to women who long suffered the grief and disappointment of barrenness. It’s the same with Mary.  Joachim and Anna grieved their childlessness. Eventually, their pain and frustration became acute and, according to The Protoevangelium of James, a second-century book read and circulated in the early church, Joachim fled to the wilderness to pray. Unfortunately, Joachim was too distraught to tell his wife his plans. In her husband’s prolonged absence Anna feared the worst, leavin…

I wanna give gifts: lots and lots and lots of gifts!

I expressed to Curly-Haired Daughter yesterday that I got a little down this time of year. First, Christmas isn't my favorite holiday - I much prefer Easter. I find that Christmas has a lot of stress related to it.

Beyond that though, I always feel a little bad that we can't stuff presents under the tree. Now, Dear Husband and I made a very conscious decision years ago (following in the footsteps of the clear-headed thinking of my brother and sister-in-law) that each kid would get three gifts, just like Baby Jesus. That cut down not only on expenses, but keeps the focus more on The Gift rather than a bunch of toys.

However, I feel a little bad. I would love to get our kids just what they want: that new video system, tech toys, cloths galore, bling and glitter and wow!!! A tree so stuffed with gifts that dad can't get around it to plug the lights in!!! Hours to open all those shiny presents!!!

But we can't.

We can't because we can't afford it, but we also know …

Modern Art Monday

Here's the thing about families...and blogs...

I do not write a news blog, a political blog, a "mom" blog, a blog that focuses mainly on Church politics or one that is about reading. It isn't a knitting blog or a blog about pets. While I am interested in all those things, and all of those things are part of who I am, that's not my blog.

My blog is about what it is like to struggle through suffering in a spiritual manner, trying to get through life's ups and downs while remaining faithful to God and His Church.

I don't write in a vacuum; no one does. I also don't write fiction - what you see here is what you get. I've written some things that didn't turn out the way I wanted them to, and written some things that I probably should have done differently.

When I was learning to write - and write well - Mr. Colebank back at Coleman High School drilled into my head to write what I know. Sometimes you don't know what you know until you start writing, but you write what you know.

Here's what …

Freakin' Friday Fun

My teenagers hate me...and I don't care

Actually, I think only one of them hates me at the moment, which are pretty good odds actually.

Sometimes we have to make tough decisions as parents. Sometimes we have to make downright ugly decisions. This was one of those weeks at our house. Youngest Son was given some choices on Monday night at what we affectionately refer to as a "Come To Jesus Meeting". He didn't like the choices, but was told either he picked or we did. Now he's trying to figure out how to squirm out of his choice, but the Wall of Parenthood is standing firm, and he's not happy.

Too bad.

It would be nice if parenting were easier, more simple. I dream of a Hallmark-moment-all-the-time kind of life, with a well-groomed dog, clean house, cheerful teens baking cookies and laughing with mom. What I've actually got is a puppy who still can't figure out the toilet-training rules, laundry that NEVER gets folded, a calendar full of appointments with doctors, social workers, psychiatrists, a…

May God have mercy on us: 90% of Down's Syndrome babies in UK aborted

According to the Catholic Herald UK, 9 out of 10 unborn babies found to have Down's Syndrome are aborted.

Total Rip-off Tuesday: Fr. Barron

I m ripping off Fr. Barron today. Why not rip off the best?


Dr. Ralph Martin, Professor of Systematic Theology at Sacred Heart Seminary in Detroit, has written an important book titled Will Many Be Saved? The text received a good deal of attention at the recent synod on the New Evangelization, and its opening pages are filled with endorsements from some of the leading figures in the Church today. Dr. Martin's argument is straightforward enough: the attitude, much in evidence in the years following Vatican II, that virtually everyone will go to Heaven has drastically undercut the Church's evangelical efforts.

Why then, if salvation is guaranteed to virtually everyone, would Catholics be filled with a passion to propagate the faith around the world with any urgency? Therefore, if the New Evangelization is to get off the ground, we have to recover a vivid sense of the reality of Hell, the possibility, even likelihood, of eternal damnation for the many who do not come to a lively fai…

The dangers of sentimentalizing Christmas

I don't want this to be a "bah, humbug" rant; I really don't. But sometimes....occasionally....perhaps without much thought.....

We over-sentimentalize Christmas.

I'm not here to take away your candy canes, shut off your 24-hour/7-day a week Christmas music. Don't put away your "Christmas Cookie" candle or take down the giant inflatable Santa from the front lawn. It's okay to enjoy the holidays.

I just want to take the stress off of some things (mainly moms who want to create "perfect" Christmas memories) and put the stress on something else entirely:

God-made-man.

When you're sitting in the pew on Christmas Eve (with the kids fidgeting next to you because they are now no longer terribly excited about the pretty dress they've been wanting to wear for a month and have now realized how itchy it is), watching the children in the parish act out the Nativity scene and place someone's borrowed baby doll in a nest of hay, remembe…

Modern Art Monday