Monday, April 30

Humor for Monday

My sister sent this to me. Please put down all beverages before reading. Consider yourself warned.


A woman named Jill stood up at her church's Testimony Meeting, or as some churches call it, "Cry Sunday", one Sunday morning, took the microphone from one of the church ushers, and bared her soul to the enrapt congregation:

"I want to tell you about the awful accident that my husband, Jim, has suffered this past month. He was riding his bike, lost control, ran off the highway and hit a tree. He was rushed to the hospital, and could have died, but thank the Lord, all he suffered was a broken scrotum." The congregation gasped in horror. The men in the congregation were obviously uneasy and writhed in their seats.

"Jim has been in terrible pain all month since the accident. He has trouble breathing. He has trouble swallowing his food. He can hardly lift anything, he's in so much pain, and he has missed work because of it. He can't lift our children up to hold them and give them the personal love that they need.

"Worst of all, we can no longer cuddle and have intimate relations. He is in constant pain, a pain so terrible that our love life has all but slipped away into oblivion. I would like to ask you all in the congregation to pray for Jim, and pray for us, that his broken scrotum will soon heal and be as good as new."

A dull murmur erupted within the congregation as the full impact of this terrible accident sunk in, and the men in the congregation were visibly shaken up with the thought that, "there but for the grace of God go I."

Then, as the murmuring settled down, a lone figure stood up in midst of the congregation, worked his way up to the pulpit, obviously in pain, adjusted the microphone to his liking, then leaned over and said to the congregation: "My name is Jim, and I have only one word for my wife, Jill. That word is:


How do you see your children?

Mary Meets Dolly has a post up that compares two news items about two sets of parents who experienced unexpected surprises after their children were born. It's excellent.

Sunday, April 29

Little Girl is a Big Girl

Little Girl went out to the school parking lot with Hubby and Big Girl yesterday while I was wrapping up the mowing. Their mission: to teach Little Girl to ride her bike without training wheels.

She came home after falling twice. First time, she scraped up her elbow, which caused her to cry out to Hubby, "I am NEVER riding my two-wheeler again!" She had ridden about 2 1/2 seconds.

Hubby wisely put her back on and got her going again.

She fell again, this time scraping up her belly through her shirt. More wailing and gnashing of teeth. "I am NEVER RIDING MY BIKE AGAIN!" This time, she had stayed up for about 5 seconds.

Again, Hubby encouraged her to get back on the bike. They started again, and Little Girl managed to stay on for 17 seconds! And the only reason she stopped was because she couldn't turn and was going straight for the car. (Hubby grabbed her and stopped her.)

Today, we went out again, and this time Hubby parked farther away from the riding area.

And Little Girl did not fall one time. She even rode for more than three minutes, turning both left and right! (No NASCAR for her!) She had the BIGGEST grin on her face as she rode around us (we no longer needed to run alongside of her) and proclaimed, "I have a lot of perseverance!"

When we got home, Hubby removed her training wheels and put the kickstand from Big Girl's old bike (which was the training bike at the school). It's a big day here at the Soccer Family abode!

We are so proud of Little Girl!

Friday, April 27

Contraceptive Mentality in Protestant Culture and Doctrine

I once had an argument on a public board about Protestantism and contraception with a women who is Lutheran. She would not believe me that until the 1930's, no mainstream religion accepted contraception as morally acceptable. Not one.

She said that her pastor never said anything about it, as if that proved anything. Sure, he's going to highlight in his sermon one Sunday the inconsistencies of the doctrines of the Lutheran church.


This morning, I noticed that Insight Scoop (the blog for Ignatius Press) linked to an article that I'm going to be reading later, and I'll most likely pass it on to my NFP-teachin' friends. Here's the first paragraph, which Carl Olson highlights:

It is a reckless analyst who risks reopening sixteenth-century disputes between Roman Catholics and the Protestant Reformers. I do so in the interest of a greater good, but my purpose is not to say who was right or who was wrong. I would simply like to explore why the Protestant churches maintained unity with the Catholic Church on the contraception question for four centuries, only to abandon this unity during the first half of the twentieth century.

From the bit of skimming I've done so far, it looks like he gets right down to business and takes an honest look at the history of contraception and its acceptance in Protestant denominations. Quite interesting.

Thursday, April 26


Taiwan: woman baptized at age 114

Question on GIRM

After watching the video below, I am curious about something, and I will freely admit that I probably can find the answer in the GIRM but have not read through the entire thing.

After a regular Sunday Mass, it is ever permissible to strip the altar of all linens?

And, in addition, what linens are required as a minimum to be used on the altar?

I noticed in the video below, the priests never took the linen off the altar at the beginning, and I am wondering if the altar is supposed to be covered at all times with the obvious exception of after Holy Thursday Mass. I know that the altar is a symbol of Christ, and I suspect that it is inappropriate to strip it of all linens after every Mass (or after Holy Communion).

Anyone have any information on this topic?

Dream of What Can be Done

When I think of our bare sanctuary and then watch this...sigh.

I have to admit that this will only add to my daydreams about what can be done with our very plain church.

(Even though I'm not able to read the French, I think that this video is just beautiful!)

Blogroll Highlight

Holy Cards for Your Inspiration is a site that highlights old holy cards. It's really a beautiful site, and for the last week, the cards have all dealt with First Holy Communion. If you haven't seen it before, I recommend checking it out, and if you haven't been by there lately, be sure to have a gander at the lovely cards for this past week!

Wednesday, April 25

Mission Quest Thing for Children of Hurin

I was in Barnes & Noble to get First God-daughter a gift certificate for her birthday and saw the new Tolkien book! I hadn't even realized it was out yet, and there it was, 20% off, no less!

I realized with chagrin that I did not have our gift card for B&N, and that my card would have nearly covered the price of the book. Drat. I'd have to come back.

When I returned just four days later, there was not a copy to be found anywhere in the front of the store. It had sold out, and a new order had only just arrived and been logged in that day. In fact, the guys in the stock room didn't even realize that they'd received it!

Rather than have the poor customer service lady go digging for it, I asked if they could instead just hold a copy for me to pick up on Saturday, which is the first day of Educator Appreciation Week at B&N. During Educator Appreciation Week, teachers (PreK through 12) can get a special 25% off all purchases - not just classroom ones, which is how the discount usually works. (Just wait until we really get into literature with the kids. That discount will get used a LOT!) They are even offering a 10% discount on music and DVDs that week.

Homeschoolers, if you didn't know it, you can apply for the Educators' Discount at B&N, and you, too, can take part in the extra discounts. You might need proof of your homeschooling (which can be the local group's ID card or, if you are a member, an HSLDA card), but just sign up and they will let you get discounts on any classroom purchases year-round. Plus you'll get to use the discount on these special events for teachers.

So on Saturday, I'll be headed back to B&N to pick up my new Tolkien book, and I'll be getting 25% off, too! Such a deal has never been seen!

Women's Great Power

Hubby has been taking the Understanding the Scriptures Bible Study at a local parish, and he told me something that really stuck with me. In the first week, his class discussed the Fall. And the deacon running the class said something amazing.

For a brief time, Eve had fallen and Adam had not. So there was a time when only one of them had sinned.


And, he continued, Adam, who loved God and had seen Him face-to-face all his life, loved Eve so very much that he listened to what she said. He, too, ate of the fruit.

Ladies, remember the power we have over our men. It's no shame to let him be the head of the house. When you submit to that, you come to realize that you are the neck.

Funny, It Was a Big Deal When I Was Younger

My birthday is Sunday, and I keep forgetting about it.

Funny how priorities change, huh?

In Other News, Water is Wet

Planned Parenthood to protest late-term abortion ruling

Oh, my! What a shocker! They didn't like it?

Sacraments of Initiation (updated)

I remember when I was at a catechist's training day and a Jesuit told us that Holy Communion is actually the final Sacrament of Initiation. That Confirmation was, for centuries, celebrated first. That the Eastern Rite Church still celebrated it in that order (actually Confirming children at their Baptisms).

I was intrigued.

When I was a sixth grader, Confirmation was seen as "becoming an adult in the eyes of the Church." It's taken me forever to realize that this is not the case. My CCD experience ended one year after I was Confirmed. And I wasn't the only one, either. I think that there was either one or two classes for seventh grade, and that was from a group that had five or six classes when we made First Communion. (And trust me, Saint Joseph's Catholic Church was not shrinking. I think there were about seven parishes that came from ours in the years I lived in New Jersey.)

So when I read this post at Catholic Mom's site, I was very excited. I'd love to see Confirmation put in its proper place, especially if most dioceses are seeing only 40% of children Confirmed.

Of course, parents are to blame here, too. I think that the whole reason it was put off until high school was because too many parents just bring their children to CCD and Mass as long as they have the carrot of another Sacrament being held out in front of them. This kind of change will require a lot of education for moms and dads who will be tempted to stop Catechism classes after their children "get" all the Sacraments they can until marriage. (Because just how prevalent are the parents who encrouage their children to consider the priesthood or religious life?)

Sorry, that's a bit cynical, but it's distressing how many parents see the Church as a vendor in this respect. They see it as the parish's job to do all the religious education, and the are the consumers. It's like piano lessons, except for there being no practice at home. And good golly, I think that the salvation of my children's eternal souls is a bit more important than piano lessons! (Come to think of it, I have seen a lot of parents who put their children's sports activities on a higher priority than their religious training. Come to class late, leave early, skip when there is practice on that day, skip Mass when you are out of town for a game, etc.)

UPDATE: Don Jim has a wonderful post on the topic, though not directly connected to this story. And, though the post is a result of another story, he doesn't really comment on the woman's situation (of which he knows only what was in the news), but on the general phenomenon of seeing the Sacraments as "party favors." One of the parts I liked best was this:

Confirmation is not, and never has been, a "Sacrament of Maturity" or "Becoming an Adult in the Church" or "Personally Confirming Your Parents' Decision to Baptize You." It is not Catholic Bar Mitzvah. It is, rather, the conferral of the Holy Ghost with the grace of His Seven Gifts, and a "strengthening" (a con-"firm"-ing) of the graces of Baptism, to enable the recipient to live out his or her baptismal vows more faithfully. Together with Baptism and Holy Communion, Confirmation fully initiates one into the mystery of Christ's Passion, Death, and Resurrection, and into the life of His Body, which is the Church.

Please do go and read the entire post, though. It's excellent and says what I tried to say with much more clarity than I can muster.

Tuesday, April 24

Saints Meme

I've been thinking about this meme, and since Esther left an open tag I thought I'd go ahead and do it for fun. (I know there have been other open tags, too, but I needed to think it over a little bit first.)

Here are the rules: You have to list your four favorite saints, one favorite blessed and someone who think should have been a saint. (For your entertainment, I added links to each saint's page at the Patron Saints Index.)

First is Saint Peter. Gosh, I love him so very much! Think of this past Sunday's Gospel. First, he jumps off the boat (which is headed the short 100 yards to shore already) so he can be the first one to get to Jesus! I love to close my eyes and imagine him running out of the water, half tripping and stumbling through the surf, and hugging Jesus with all his might! His enthusiasm is just fantastic! I love that he is quick to speak in the Gospels, though he often also seems slow to think about what he is saying. ("I'll follow you anywhere!" "Simon, you can't do that now. I'm going to die." "Oh, God forbid, Jesus!") I love that he has unbridled passion and love for Christ, even though he had to admit at the end of the Gospel reading on Sunday that he could not agape Christ, but could only philia him. I love how he jumped out of a boat and walked on the water until he realized, "Holy mackeral! I'm walking on the WATER, dude!!" and started to sink. If I were a boy, I might have taken Peter as my Confirmation name. (That is, if I'd been thinking about the saint instead of how the name sounded with the rest of my name.)

The rest of the saints in my list are not in any particular order.

Next is Saint Therese, the Little Flower. I love that she felt she was just too little to do big things, but that she could do small things with all of her heart and offer that to God. The idea that I can offer my small sacrifices and actions to God and that He can make something great of it...well, who wouldn't like that idea? I tell my girls all the time that they need only do small things with great love to be able to do God's will. When you are a little child, it's hard to imagine that anything you do can be helpful or good to God. Really, when you are "just" a stay-at-home wife and mother, it can feel the same way. Other people are doing great things. They write important articles that help change how people look at things. They deliver great lectures that inform consciences. They teach classes and educate students and fill their minds with the Great Truth. They travel overseas and meet Important People and exchange ideas. Maybe they even get to meet the pope or a cardinal while they travel through Rome. But here, at home, what Great Things am I doing? I am not doing any Great Thing. But my Small Things, when offered to Christ with Great Love, can afford me graces which I will not know the extent of until I reach my judgement day.

Saint Joseph, foster father of our Lord. Little is said about him in the Gospels, but imagine the faith he had! And his disposition was so gentle! Think of this: he wanted to divorce Mary quietly because he didn't want to cause her scandal. Then he was so open to God's will that he was able to follow the instructions of angels three times (that we are told of) in order to secure the safety of the Holy Family. First, in marrying Mary. Next, to flee to Egypt. Finally, to return to Israel to raise Jesus in Galilee. And to live a life consecrated to chastity such as his and the Blessed Mother's! Who in this time can imagine such dedication to the will of God? Saint Joseph is the patron of the Church, of a happy death, of fathers, of families, and on and on. He protected our Savior and raised Him to be a good and godly Man. He helped to educate Jesus! Can you imagine the responsibility? I can't.

Last, but certainly not least, is the Blessed Mother. Her life is mostly a mystery (if you only have the Bible, that is - sacred Tradition tells us a bit more, though it's still not a full biography). She lived a hidden life. Wife, mother, teacher to her Son. She was to protect Jesus as a child, to raise Him up. She helped Saint Joseph to teach the Child Jesus the faith. The fact that the Mother of God led a life similar to my own (wife, mother, teacher of my children) gives me comfort when I am feeling frustrated with my own life. I remember that Mary was able to do it all with grace and faith. Her complete dedication to God and His will is something that every person, male or female, ought to aspire towards.

My favorite blessed is probably Mother Teresa. I have always been very drawn to her. When I was a girl, I was fascinated by her missionary work, especially when I learned of the caste system that she blatantly ignored. I have a book of quotations by her called The Joy in Loving that absolutely puts me to shame every time I open it. I have two quotes that are from that book to share here.

I always say I am a little pencil in God's hands. He does the thinking. He does the writing. He does everything and sometimes it is really hard because it is a broken pencil and He has to sharpen it a little more. Be a little instrument in His hands so that He can use you any time, anywhere. We have only to say 'yes' to God.

And, boy, is it hard when it's time to be sharpened! That is, if we are even letting Him use us at all. Maybe we are the pencil that is hiding behind the couch in the living room, dropped there during last week's math lesson that was taken off to be worked on elsewhere. But, really, can we hide from God? Here's a hint: It didn't work very well for Adam and Eve, did it?

Dear God, when it comes to helping those in need, help me to see more than myself. I don't think there is anyone who needs God's grace and help more than I do. I feel so forsaken and confused at times. And I think that is exactly why God uses me, because I cannot claim any credit for what gets done. On the contrary I need His help twenty-four hours a day.
We know this is exactly what Saint Paul (another favorite!) was talking about. In our weaknesses, we can show the strength of God. When we are weak, but we still accomplish things, it only serves to show that it is really God behind it. I can attest to that. If this Mother's Day tea comes off at our parish, it will certainly be God's doing, not my own. I'm not a natural leader, and running a Respect Life meeting is nerve-wracking. But God gives me enough grace to do it.

Another thing about Blessed Teresa of Calcutta that I found amazing is that she went through a Dark Night of the Soul. Many people lose their faith when they face a time when they cannot feel God at all. Prayers seem to go into nothingness. You listen but aren't sure there is an answer at all. You feel completely abandonned - forsaken. I've been there, and, if you ask me, I failed the test miserably. But Blessed Teresa's writings to her spiritual mentor revealed that she went through a spiritual desert for the last forty years of her life. That was bascially the entire time she worked in Calcutta. But she continued to trust God and do what He had called her to do. When I first read about this, it brought me to tears.

Someone who should be made a saint, in my opinion, is Father Michael McGivney. And it's not just my opinion, either. The founder of the Knights of Columbus created an organization that started out providing death benefits so that families were not split up if the father died. His own family was very nearly broken up when his own father died, and he nearly had to leave seminary. He'd seen it happen too many times, and he wanted to make a difference. After a number of years, the K of C developed into a charitable organization. They raise money only to give it away again to worthy causes. The Knights at our parish help fund the bus taken to the March for Life each year. They raise money to help fund other organizations that help retarded citizens (the annual Tootsie Roll drive). The Knights provide fellowship for Catholic men around the world, and they remain steadfastly faithful to the Magisterium. I hope to see Father McGivney canonized someday.

This meme has been all over the place, and I'm not sure who has and has not been tagged. If you feel compelled (the power of Christ compells you!), go right ahead and do it. Just leave a link, if you please, in the com boxes.

Outrageous Birthday Presents

My niece just turned ten over the weekend, and her neighbor gave her a $120 gaming system as a present, despite my sister's insistence that the parents not allow her to do it.

"But she really wants to give it to her," was their answer.

Since when do kids get to do and get everything they want? My niece wanted the system, to be sure, but she told the family that it was too expensive for one person to get, so she was asking if everyone could give her money instead of gifts so that she could save up for it over the rest of the year (between birthday and Christmas she probably would have had it). My sister was all for this, and so was the rest of the family. (Okay, Hubby and I are party poopers and insisted on sending a gift certificate to Barnes & Noble, but the girl loves to read, too.) But no one was going to spend that much on her gift alone.

And yet the neighbor kid goes and spends over $100 on her gift! Completely outrageous. I don't spend that much on my own children's birthdays, parties included! I think last year's party for Big Girl cost us a total of $40, and that was because we had cake, pizza and small goody bags. And I might be overestimating. We had the party at the park. And gifts included did not add up to that one gift.

And how do you think the other kids felt after seeing that present? "Man, my present stinks. She must hate it." It's just plain inconsiderate, if you ask me.

What on EARTH are the parents thinking, buying a gift like that??? Or are they thinking at all?

UPDATE: It's a Nintendo DS Lite.

For when it happens

For those with Motumania...for if and when it happens. But remember, just as with the pot of water, a watched moto might never be released! ;) (Be sure to check out Jeff Miller's Motu Proprio Random Date Generator near the top of the left sidebar.)
Update: I noticed that it was spelled "Motu" in some posts. So here's another version in case I didn't spell it right. And, in case you are scratching your head at the phrase (which has been running through my head all afternoon), it's originally from here. (Each time the page refreshes, a different picture is loaded.)

Three-Legged Deer

There are lots of deer around here, especially since we are on the rural side where we live. Big Girl came bounding downstairs last week exclaiming, "Mommy! There are deer outside again, and one of them has only THREE LEGS!"

Sure enough, it was true. One deer is missing its front left leg from just above the "knee" joint on down.

I'll try to post a picture of it, but I'm afraid I just don't have a zoom lens powerful enough to get a good, clear picture.

Monday, April 23

Big Girl's Sense of Humor

Big Girl made up a joke for us, and I was inspired to share it here by this post.

Q: What is a bear's favorite drink during wintertime?

A: A nap-accino.

Computer Trouble

I had not been able to get online Friday night, all day Saturday, and most of Sunday.

I think my router has bit the dust. I'm now directly plugged in to the modem. And I'll need to check out routers at a big box soon.

I'm a little bummed out. Am I supposed to just be grateful that the router lasted four and a half years? Isn't that a little short?


(p.s. that is not my current router - mine is older than that)

Wednesday, April 18

Finally!!! (American Idol Spoiler Alert)

Sanjaya is finally off American Idol! It's about dang time! That boy was WAY out of his league.

Pictures (finally) of Our Minivan

For those who were really interested, I finally took some pictures of the new minivan. It's all very exciting, and the girls are dying to take a long trip so we can use the DVD player. :)

Here are a few pictures, including some that demonstrate the Stow-N-Go seating that was a must for me.

Day two of owning this van, Hubby said, "I cleaned off the windows. What sticker do you want on the back window?" This from the same man I had to fight with to get the first one on our old minivan. AND...he let me keep the two on the Jeep, too. I chose my favorite sticker to place on the back window.

I had a shot of the front of the car, but the license plate was just a bit too easily identified, so I won't post it. But you can pretty much see the beautiful color here. Orlando Magic away uniform blue. Not bad, though Yankees blue would have been my favorite. :)

Thank You, Lord, for blessing us with finding this car when we did! Even in little things, He cares for us.

VICTORY (updated with celebration cartoon)

Amy at Modern Commentaries points out that the Partial Birth Abortion ban has been upheld by the Supreme Court.

Granted, we have a LONG way to go (and the babies will probably be killed in some other fashion), but this is a step in the right direction.
[cartoon is from FaithMouse]

I Aborted to Show What a Good Mother I am

Catholic Matriarch in my Domestic Church highlights an article that contains some disturbing post-Christian thoughts on what it means to be a good mother. The entire article can be found here. One portion of the article laments that Miranda Sawyer was interviewed about her views on abortion and how they have been evolving since the birth of her son:

On Wednesday, More4 broadcast Travels with My Camera — A Matter of Life and Death, a “personal journey” by the journalist Miranda Sawyer. This was heralded by a piece in The Observer, written by Sawyer, explaining the purpose of her quest.

Sawyer’s dilemma has been that, until recently, she had been a dyed-in-the-wool, card-carrying, pro-choice feminist. After the birth of her son last year, however, she began to have doubts about the ethics and logic of abortion. “I was calling the life inside me a baby because I wanted it,” she wrote, after visiting picketed abortion clinics in America. “Yet if I hadn’t, I would think of it just as a group of cells that it was OK to kill. It was the same entity. It was merely my response to it that determined whether it would live or die. That seemed irrational to me. Maybe even immoral.”

Later she explained that: “When you’ve experienced . . . pregnancy and birth, and the fantastic beauty of the resulting child, it’s hard not to question what a termination does, or is.” In a nutshell, since becoming a mother, Sawyer has found herself — while still ultimately agreeing that women should be able to have abortions — becoming more troubled by the pro-life argument.

Actually, the way I would have phrased that is that Miranda is troubled, not by the pro-life argument, but by the pro-choice argument. It is the latter, not the former, that seems troubling to her now. The mere way Caitlin puts this belies the way she'll go here. You see, she is about to explain to us how being pro-abortion - and, indeed, having one to make sure you aren't having too many babies - is really what good motherhood is all about. She writes:

Abortions are never seen as a positive thing, as any other operation to remedy a potentially life-ruining condition would. Women never speak publicly about their abortions with happy, relieved gratitude, in the same way that they would about, say, leaving an abusive partner — despite the fact that this impacts much, much less on their lives than an unwanted child.

Life-ruining? Even potentially, that is a horrific thing that Caitlin's children might come upon. Or how about the way she compares aborting a child with leaving an abusive partner? Yes, that helpless child in your womb is just like an abusive man. Actually, judging by her next sentence, it's worse.

And, really, Caitlin continues, having an abortion is responsible and loving. It's a great thing for a mother to do when she's already had a couple of rugrats.

My belief in the ultimate sociological, emotional and practical necessity for abortion did, as I have mentioned before, become even stronger after I had my two children. It is only after you have had a nine-month pregnancy, laboured to get the child out, fed it, cared for it, sat with it until 3am, risen with it at 6am, swooned with love for it and been reduced to furious tears by it that you really understand just how important it is for a child to be wanted. And, possibly even more importantly, to be wanted by a reasonably sane, stable mother. Last year I had an abortion, and I can honestly say it was one of the least difficult decisions of my life. I’m not being flippant when I say it took me longer to decide what work-tops to have in the kitchen than whether I was prepared to spend the rest of my life being responsible for a further human being. I knew I would see my existing two daughters less, my husband less, my career would be hamstrung and, most importantly of all, I was just too tired to do it all again. I didn’t want another child, in the same way that I don’t suddenly want to move to Canada or buy a horse. While there was, of course, every chance that I might eventually be thankful for the arrival of a third child, I am, personally, not a gambler. I won’t spend £1 on the lottery, let alone take a punt on a pregnancy. The stakes are far, far too high.

I am personally amazed at the people who, upon learning that I homeschool my two daughters, tell me that they love their children but can't stand to be around them all day long. Is this what modern feminists have done to motherhood? Reduced it to a burden, a drag, something that "hamstrings" a woman's career? And how is it that this woman gave birth twice and still thinks that her love is divided, not multiplied, by further additions to her family?

I pray to God that the children of women like this - those who abort after having children already - are not too damaged by the knowledge that their mothers love them conditionally. They are loved only because they were convenient to career and lifestyle.

For the sake of His sorrowful Passion, have mercy on us and on the whole world!

Tuesday, April 17

Who Supports ESCR?

Many thanks to Rebecca, who points out that CitizenLink has a list of research organizations who support embryonic stem cell research, fetal tissue research, or cloning. They also listed organizations that only support adult stem cell research.

With great chagrin, I notice that the March of Dimes supports ESCR and fetal tissue research. :(

Support Embryonic Stem Cell Research and Human Cloning

Alliance for Aging Research
Alzheimer's Society (UK)
American Health Assistance Foundation (AHAF)
Cancer Research and Prevention Foundation
Children's Neurobiological Solutions Foundation
Christopher Reeve Paralysis Foundation
Coalition for the Advancement of Medical Research
Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation
National Multiple Sclerosis Society
Michael J. Fox Foundation
Parkinson's Disease Foundation

Support Embryonic Stem Cell Research

ALS Association
American Cancer Society 1
Multiple Sclerosis National Research Institute
March of Dimes
North American Brain Tumor Coalition
Paralyzed Veterans of America Spinal Cord Research Foundation
The Susan G. Komen Breast Cancer Foundation
Y-ME National Breast Cancer Organization

Support Cloning

American Diabetes Association

Support Fetal Tissue Research

March of Dimes
Support Adult Stem Cell Research Only
American Heart Association
SCI Research Advancement - "The Will Ambler Project"
The Thomas Hartman Foundation for Parkinson's Research Inc

Currently Supports Adult Stem Cell Research

Heart and Stroke Foundation of Canada

Disclaimer: This information was accurate as of August 2005, subject to change based on organizations' positions.

1 While the American Cancer Society onlyfundsresearch involving adult stem cells, their website makes it clear that they fully support research using embryonic stem cells.

From Good, Clean Funnies

This was in my inbox this morning.

We were celebrating the 100th anniversary of our church, and several former pastors and the bishop were in attendance. At one point, our minister had the children gather at the altar for a talk about the importance of the day. He began by asking, "Does anyone know what the bishop does?"

There was silence.

Finally, one little boy answered gravely, "He's the one you can move diagonally."

Received from You Make Me Laugh.


Monday, April 16

Little Girl Reflects on Sunday's Gospel

While discussing the Gospel with Little Girl after Mass, I said, "Did you realize that Jesus talked about you in the Gospel today?"

"Really!!?? When!?"

"Remember when He said, 'Blessed are they who have not seen but still believed'?"


"Well, that's us! We have not seen Him, but we believe!"

"Um, Mommy...we see Jesus every time we go to Mass. Remember the Eucharist?"

Of course! But I did explain that Jesus meant that we did not see Him standing there, with us able to put our fingers in His hands and our hand in His side.

But I love her faith.

Shootings on Virginia Tech Campus

Please pray for the people in and around the Virginia Tech campus.

Update: 17 students are at the hospital with many in surgery. One student has been killed. An elderly (Fox News' word) teacher has also been shot. One gunman has been apprehended, but the police are looking for another. I am close to this area, though not in the same town as VT, and I keep hearing sirens heading down I-81. And I'm about an hour away from VT.

Pray to the guardian angels of the students, ask the guardian angel(s) of the shooter(s) to nudge them to turn themselves in and stop hurting people. Pray to God that the students and faculty and staff remain safe.

Update #2: 20 have died. Fox News has more.

Eternal rest grant unto them, O Lord, and let perpetual light shine upon them. May they rest in peace.

Most Merciful Jesus, lover of souls,
I pray You, by the agony of Your most Sacred Heart,
and by the sorrows of Your Immaculate Mother,
to wash in Your Most Precious Blood,
the sinners of the world who are now in their agony,
and who will die today.
Heart of Jesus, once in agony,
have mercy on the dying.

Yeah, what she said!

The biography for the pontiff is here on the Vatican website.

Raining Mercy After a Spiritual Drought

I prayed the novena for Divine Mercy Sunday. There was only one day when I had to do two days' worth of prayers because I'd neglected to get it done in a timely fashion.

But I was feeling strange about it.

I know, know, KNOW that my faith is not dependent on my feelings or emotions. PRAISE GOD FOR THAT! But I have felt a very strange disconnect for a while now. For a time, I blamed it on the fact that I'd been three months between Confessions. But even after Confession, after the initial graces (I am blessed that I actually feel differently after most Confessions, even though it's not necessary) I felt very much the same as I did before Confession. I was having trouble concentrating at Mass. I felt disconnected. I felt UNAWED by the Consecration (which, I have to say, can often bring me to tears - I'm so emotional!). I received the Body, Blood, Soul, and Divinity of my Lord, Jesus Christ, in Holy Communion but did not feel that closeness.

It was a dry time, folks. And dry times are not fun.

But, praise God in heaven, I've grown in my faith since the last big dry time in my faith. I did not feel abandoned. I did not feel as though God was not there. I did not think that I was losing faith, though I admit that I felt lukewarm. And when I prayed in the Divine Mercy Chaplet for the lukewarm souls, I knew I was one of them.

Yeah, I might look good on the blog, but in real life, I'm just another floundering, lukewarm soul. I lack the fervor my Lord and God deserves from me. I don't deserve the graces and mery with which He abounds.

But, as the Psalmist wrote in our readings this Sunday, His mercy endures forever.

On the way into Mass, I prayed something really specific. I said, "Father, when I prayed for lukewarm souls, I know it was a prayer for me, too. I've been lukewarm. I have been lazy about going to daily Mass. I was lazy about praying the Stations of the Cross during Lent. I am lazy about my Rosary. Help me. I believe - help my unbelief. I love You - enflame my heart so that I love You more. Draw me close."

Oh, man, when God answers prayers in the affirmative, He delivers in spades!

I started tearing up, overwhelmed by God's mercy and love, before Mass began. (I also prayed not to be distracted by the priest this week, who is not my favorite fill-in for our pastor. I feel badly even saying that much, but it can be a real problem when you're already in a dry time.) During Mass, I kept holding back tears. Every reading, every prayer, every response made me feel even more overwhelmed by God's graces!

By the time I was on the way up for Communion, I felt like just breaking down. I genuflected as I approached to receive. When I said, "Amen," I nearly started to bawl. I moved over to genuflect again before I approached the cup. I just wanted to fall on my face in front of Christ!

I took out my prayerbook to say the after-Communion prayers. (They are wonderful ways to focus your intentions - every prayer, though written to be said the same each time, summarizes exactly how you feel and what you desire.) I worked my way through them, and started to cry softly. I finished them (including the beautiful Anima Christi), and moved into praying for my specific intentions (family, friends, etc.). By this time, I was not as quiet as before, and Hubby knew I was crying. Probably people around us, too, but I can't help that. Sorry.

I asked God for the graces to feel more connected. I asked Him to please let me be closer to Him. In His great mercy, He let me get the emotional connection that is not necessary for belief.

I thank God that I know that I need not feel something to know that He is there. But I thank Him all the more that He knows my limitations and gives me the graces to let me feel that way. He knows that little emotional feed this week can carry me on for a long time. And I know that there will be dry times - dark nights - when I cannot feel Him or His grace or His mercy. But I will know they are there, anyway. Maybe someday I will have the faith and strength to get through dark nights the way Saint Therese, Saint John of the Cross, and Blessed Teresa of Calcutta did. Until then, I praise God for His mercy and goodness, which are never-ending!

God is so good! Praise be to the Lord in heaven on high!

Sunday, April 15

I'm a Minivan Soccer Mom Again! (updated)

Yesterday, we went out to look at minivans. "We've been talking about it, and it's raining too much to do deckwork today, so let's go after lunch," was our reasoning.

Okay. So we test-drove three minivans at the Dodge dealership, and wound up buying one! Hubby had to go back home and pick up the car we were trading in (my Nana's old car that we got two years ago). I'll be dropping off the title tomorrow because no one thought to grab it in all the excitement.

The only couple of things that were a must were the 3.8L engine (we're talking Daimler-Chrysler here) and the Stow-N-Go seating. I really, really wanted that seating. Aside from that, things we kind of wanted but wouldn't turn it down if it didn't have were integrated DVD system, power doors, and a towing package. (It would be nice to have two vehicles with which to tow our pope up tramper.) Things that we kind of dreamed about being able to get in it were a power seat for the driver, a satellite-ready radio (I have Sirius in my Jeep), and that nifty console between the front seats.

What we found was a 2005 that had only been brought to the dealership within the last three days with everything above (except the towing package), PLUS a navigation system, dual heated power seats, a sunroof (!!), and leather seats! Holy mackeral! And it was less than what Edmund's online said it should be (that Crackberry comes in handy, you know). Oh, and they gave us a lot more than we expected for our trade-in Ford Focus. All in all, it was an excellent deal.

I kind of thought we might wind up buying something yesterday, but I was a bit taken aback that we managed to shop for and purchase a car in a mere five hours! The kids don't think that five hours was a short time, but it felt a little like it was to me. And in that time, we drove three different minivans, compared them side-by-side, and went through the whole deal and purchase thing.

The picture above is what our van looks like. The color is Atlantic Blue (though it's not called that any more). I can't say just how pleased I am to have a blue car again! My last three cars have been red, and all I've wanted is another blue car. And though I'd prefer Yankees blue, I'll take the Magic blue that my new van is. :)

I really ought to look into having to blessed this week, though I've never had any vehicles blessed. Maybe we should just have Father R. over for dinner so we can get all kinds of blessings on everything vehicular.

UPDATE: I think I should mention that I talk about the bells and whistles on this van, not because I want to boast about it, but because I am stunned at the things that we are blessed with. This car has WAY more to it than I had hoped for us to be able to afford, and yet we were able to afford it. We paid much less than it is listed for on Edmund's (even the dealer retail prices, mind you), probably because Chrysler/Dodge has a glut of minivans that they haven't been able to sell as fast as they make them. (Their contract with the guys who build them says they pay them whether or not the union is busy building minivans. If you're paying them anyway, might as well get some productivity, right? But sales were slower than they thought this year, so the deals are amazing!) So because they are selling brand-new minivans for the same price as dealer retail is on used ones, they are also lowering prices on the used ones.

So, basically, what I wanted to say in this update is that I am not trying to boast, but to show my amazement as God's mercy and His blessings, which are so profound. Even in little things, like buying a car, He cares for us. It's just wonderful! HE is just wonderful!

Saturday, April 14

Friday, April 13

Brain Teaser (UPDATED)

First update is below. Next update will be later this evening.

UPDATE #2: Barb, SFO, got the answer. See comments for her answer. In the meantime, I put the other two clues up.

Next brain teaser will definitely be more difficult. :)

By the Time I Get to Pheonix

One day Nick boasted to his friend, Frank, that he had once driven an automobile from coast to coast in less than twenty-four hours. Naturally, Frank realizes that Nick has finally stretched the truth to the breaking point. Frank offers his boastful buddy five thousand dollars if Nick can cuplicate his miraculous driving feat. Although it pained him greatly to do so, Frank conceded defeat as soon as Nick explained how it could be done.

What was Nick's explanation?

Clues will be revealed throughout the day.

Clue 1:

Q: Did Nick plan to make this drive in another country?

A: No.

Clue 2:

Q: Could Nick have actually performed this feat if Frank had asked him to?

A: Yes.

Clue 3:

Q: Could the average person have accomplished this task?

A: Yes.

Leave your best guesses in the comboxes. (This one is actually not that hard, IMO.)

Divine Mercy Novena, Day 8

The eighth day for the Divine Mercy Novena can be found here.
Intention: The souls who are detained in purgatory.

Living the Life of Riley

Well, everyone, I have to say that I'll miss you all when I start traveling more often. You see, I'm going to be coming into money! I'll share the email I got this morning about it.

Dear Friend,

Good day to you. I may have to trouble your sense of personal achievement and reward for an opportunity properly taken advantage of. I am Mr. David Jones, a representative and attorney to Kenneth Lay, the former chairman & CEO, Enron Corp.Industry: Energy & Natural Resources Home, he was jailed and facing trial on charges of corruption and embezzlement of funds but, presently death now. While in Power. He deposited fifteen million united states dollars ($15,000,000.00) with me when he was in power as the chairman.

I am contacting you because I want you to deal with the bank and claim the money on my behalf since I have declared that the Funds belong to my foreign business partner. You shall also be required to assist me in investment in your country. I hope to trust you as a God fearing person
who will not sit on this money when you claim it but rather assist me properly to share in this ratio, 60% to me and 40% to you. When I receive your positive response I will give you viable information relating to this project i.e. the Finance institution where the money was deposited and the required documentation that will enable you lay claims to the funds, which is very important. What I need is for you to indicate your interest that you will assist us by receiving the money as the beneficiary .

Once I have your details as stated below, the finance institution will contact you for Release of the funds to your account. As soon as payment is effected, and the amount mentioned above is successfully transferred into your account, I intend to use my own share in acquiring some
estates abroad. For this too, I will need your assistance to acquire and manager the properties and you will be paid based on a certain percentage agreed on by both parties. I guarantee you that this transaction will be executed under a legitimate arrangement that will protect you from any breach of the law. Please get in touch with me urgently by E-mail:( provide me the following:

1. Your Full Name
2. Your Telephone and Fax Number
3. Your Current Contact Address.

I look forward to your prompt response.

Best Regards,
Mr. David Jones.

Let's see...40% of $15,000,000 is about $6,000,000. Yeah, that ought to set us up for life, even after paying off family debts and the parish's debt and sending a chunk to Mother Angelica...

Thursday, April 12

Harry Potter

Okay, so I'm a bit dazed after getting through the first six Harry Potter books in the last three weeks.

And the next one isn't out until July?

Gracious, how DO the people who have read them as they come out handle the wait between books?!?

Now I have really got to clear my head and do some housework. If only I could just mutter a spell and wave a wand. But, alas! I am a Muggle, and must do everything by hand.

Divine Mercy Novena, Day 7

The seventh day of the Divine Mercy Novena can be found here.
Intention: The souls who especially venerate and glorify Jesus' mercy.

Wednesday, April 11

Divine Mercy Novena, Day 6

Day six of the novena can be found here.
Intention: The meek and humble souls and the souls of children.

Imus in the Morning

Am I crazy (okay, wait to answer that...), or isn't Don Imus the same guy who once called a diaper service asking for diapers for Baby Huey? And called a burger place for 1200 burgers to go? And repeatedly told us to put our hands on "the ray-dee-oh!"?

When did Imus become a serious radio jock? I thought he was the original bad-boy shock-jock.

(I might have my parents' copy of that record in my house, by the way.)

Tuesday, April 10

I've Been Remiss

I haven't posted the last two Catholic Carnivals. Between the girls getting sick and then me getting sick, I haven't given it much thought. But here is this week's Carnival, hosted by Profound Gratitude.

Divine Mercy Novena, Day 5

Day five is here.
Intention: The souls of separated brethren.

Friendly Reminder

Support This Site

Please consider browsing my Cafe Press store.

And if you are interested in creating your own store for hawking goods, just click the button below.

Design and Sell Merchandise Online for Free
Who are your heros?


Blog Widget by LinkWithin