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Showing posts from June, 2014

Can something ugly produce something beautiful?

Those of you who know me and my blog know that I'm passionate about the topic of human trafficking. Thanks be to God, I have a platform in my career that I can use to educate and bring light to this terrible scourge. And of course, to me it's not academic: it's personal. We believe our Dark-haired daughter escaped from a trafficking situation 2 1/2 years ago.

Can beauty come from something so ugly? Of course. We know that the grace of God can redeem any situation. That doesn't mean human trafficking is good; it's evil. But God can move and breath and change and bright light to those involved and those who've survived.

My friend Amanda Vernon recently told me about an artist who's released an EP album based on the topic of human trafficking. "Oh, boy! Fun songs about human slavery!" Yeah, I know, it's hard to imagine beauty coming from this.

Kelsey Rottiers and the Rising Tide have released "Bear Hope" and it's really beautiful. L…

Breathe

More and more, I find myself being drawn to art as a way to meditate and pray. (If you want a nearly perfect example of this, read Henri Nouwen's The Prodigal Son.)

In my office, I have some beautiful art. One is a small framed piece showing four places in Assisi that played a tremendous role in the life of St. Francis. Above that is an icon of the Nativity, and above that, a simple, small crucifix. I gaze at those frequently.

Last week, I had the pleasure of meeting Kathy Self, an artist whose work expresses this:



Color, light, and texture are the windows through which the mystery of God’s grace appears to me. The common grace of a fresh day, of quietly growing leaves that nourish every plant, and the healing prayers that reach the depths of my soul; each of these illumine my mind, bringing to remembrance the wonder and mystery of life.
It's one thing to own a piece of art; it's quite another to be able to speak with the artist who created it. This piece spoke to me,…

Monday Morning Musings

I didn't abandon you, dear readers! Last week was Acton University, and I was a bit busy helping to host nearly 1,000 folks from around the world.

1. The Feast of Corpus Christi. I know...it's supposed to be "The Body and Blood of Christ" but I'm just gonna keep calling it "Corpus Christi," mm-kay?
2. Discovered the hard way that vicious thunderstorms spark migraines.
3. Am loving Amanda Vernon's new CD. Do yourself a favor and listen. "I Shall Not Be Moved" is playing in my head!
4. I always try to find a word or phrase to cling to, mull over, meditate on during Mass and during my morning prayers. Today it's "obedience." This worries me a little.
5. Dark-haired Daughter made it through a week of camp, had an amazing time, was well-cared for and loved. What a tremendous step this was for her - praise God!
6. Some people have no sense of humor. What a dull way to live. Had to deal with a couple of trolls last week on the Acton…

Monday Morning Musings

1. When you repaint a room, and you have a son who is 6'5", it goes so much more quickly when his help is enlisted!
2. Did you know Ozzy Osbourne can actually SING? Neither did I. Tallest Son and I were rocking out to Black Sabbath yesterday while painting. Son also pointed out that the bass lines in their songs were bluesy - and he was right. Who knew?
3. Dark-haired daughter went off to camp for this entire week! HUGE step for her! I'm so glad she decided to go; it was really brave of her. And I know this particular camp will not only envelop her in love, but enrich her faith as well.
4.It's here: Acton University! It's always enormous fun, and our staff gets the joy of meeting so many wonderful people who literally travel from all over the globe to join us. However, we're a small staff, and it's a very demanding week. A prayer or two for us would be so appreciated.
5. Enjoyed Father's Day yesterday with Dear Husband, but miss my dad so. Yesterday w…

Things people without children do not understand

How a normal, intelligent woman can be brought to tears over a child removing his diaper three times in a row. So he can play with it. And watch himself pee.How having all the kids asleep by 8 p.m. can constitute a "date night."The difference between a trip to Target with children (nightmarish, eternal) vs. a trip to Target without children (joyful, delicious)I am dressed.These aren't pajama pants. They're yoga pants.Yoga means, "I am playing on the floor with Barbie, Legos and Elmo trying to please all children simultaneously."Teens are incredible. They can hold conversations, be actually helpful with chores, and are developing interests and hobbies. They will do none of this with their own parent.Parent-teacher conferences cannot be attended while drunk and should not be attended while sober. Conundrum.That degree you got? Yeah. Shoulda gotten a taxi license instead. And a barber license. At least one of your children will be unhappy at any given time. I…

Monday Morning Musings

1. Left to my own devices, I'd probably never leave the house on the weekends. I enjoy the downtime. However, after my recent stint in the psych. hospital, I know this isn't good for me. As one of our counselors said, "We shrink our world and we get depressed. When we get depressed, our world shrinks. And the cycle continues." I knew Dear Husband was going to be busy with open houses for his soccer players, so I decided to call up my sister and have an impromptu day out. Nothing big - just ran some errands and had lunch. Turned out to be a very lovely day.

2. When I got to Mass yesterday, I noticed that all the pews now have prayer cards in them for "prayer after receiving Communion." Have I mentioned how much I love and appreciate our priest?

3. If you hear a long and pronounced scream from this direction, it's just work: getting ready for Acton University next week - about 1,000 people for 75+ countries here in Grand Rapids, MI. Yeah, we're getti…

Talking Someone Off The Ledge

Usually, I go home, shed my professional attire, put on the comfy clothes, try and get in a workout and then relax for the evening.

Not last night.

First, I had to run all over the city after work, picking up two kids from two different places and do some errands.

Next, I had to drive home in rush hour traffic with two teenagers in the car.

Got home, was "hangry" (hungry/angry), sat down next to Dear Husband, and...the house exploded.

Well, not really. It was really Youngest Son who exploded. Why? Who the #$^@ knows...Partially, he was upset about a gaming system that wasn't working. Partially, he was mad because he wanted our "permission" to leave and not come home. Partially, he's depressed and scared out of his mind.

It took me two hours to "talk him down." He was raging, screaming, sweating. Begging to leave, but not making any move to go. Telling us how much we had failed him, yet crying out for help from us. Telling us he'd shoot himsel…

The Truth About Planned Parenthood

"That Family"

You know "that family," don't you? They are the ones whose kids excel at everything, bring home the best grades and the best dates, maybe scratch the car backing out of a mall parking lot. They camp together, post about their great family vacations out West and their awesome family reunion. The parents constantly compliment the kids, and the kids (even the teens) publicly acknowledge how awesome their family is. Oh, sure, they have an occasional bump in the road, but for the most part, they are living the good life - the life they prayed and wished for. They are extraordinarily blessed and they recognize that.You know them, right?

And then there's "that family." That's the family who has psychiatric care on speed dial, who spend endless hours driving to therapy of one sort or another. Vacations don't happen a lot for them, as the bank account gets drained due to all their kids' needs. They may have a wheelchair, a nurse, a basket of meds they h…

Infertile by "choice?" Papa Francis has a few words for you

From his address to married couples at St. Martha's House:

In a marriage this fertility can sometimes be put to the test when the children do not arrive, or are sick. Faced with these tests, the Pope said, there are couples who "look to Jesus for the power of fertility that He has with His Church". “While on the other hand,” Francis reflected, “there are things that Jesus does not like", or marriages that are sterile by choice.” "These marriages that do not want children, that want to remain without fecundity. This culture of well-being of ten years ago convinced us, 'It's better not to have children! It's better! So you can go out and discover the world , on holiday , you can have a villa in the countryside, you have no worries ' ... But it is perhaps better - more comfortable - to have a dog, two cats , and your love goes to two cats and the dog. This is true, is it not? Have you seen this? And in the end this marriage arrives at a…

Monday Morning Musings

1. Took a little trip with Dear Husband this weekend "Up North." (If you're a Michigander, this makes sense to you.) Ate a lot of good food, walked on the beach (Dear Husband found me two! Petoskey stones!), and just had a great time walking around and holding hands.
2. Been struggling to figure out what to do with Youngest Son, who is in a heap of trouble. Came to the realization at Mass yesterday that ultimately it didn't matter what we (his parents) did - it matters what he does. We can give him all the support in the world, but the decisions are in his hands. We can only pray that he makes the right decisions and choices.
3. I'm gonna be a godmother! I've got three godsons in my very large family, but never a goddaughter! My oldest niece and her hubby are adopting two little girls (adding to three girls they already have) and Francesca Elise will be my goddaughter! Cannot wait to spoil her silly!
4. I don't care if my allergies are in an uproar: Spri…