Monday, October 31, 2011

Two Great Minds....



This is an amazing conversation! These are two of the greatest minds in the world today...What an opportunity!

Sunday, October 30, 2011

So Beautiful....



H/T Creative Minority Report

A Craig's List Win...



Last week I started haunting Craig's List in earnest for a sofa for the basement.
I knew what I wanted. I wanted a sofa with recliners on each end, but not one that was too long.
I also wanted to hold out for one that is in good shape.
After I got the office furniture at such a great price, I wanted to wait for a good deal.
So on Monday I found an ad for the type of sofa that I was looking for down near Baltimore.
I called and the lady assured me that it was in great shape and "hardly used". She wanted 200.00 for it, which was a good price for what she had advertised.
John and I got our act together after school and drove the 40 minutes to where it was located.
I started to get concerned when we turned onto the first street into the neighborhood. This was not exactly the type of place that people own "hardly used"  furniture.
We found the house, went around back to the basement door and went in and found that what the woman had advertised was not what she was selling. The sofa was snagged and dirty and had apparently been there awhile. So much for "hardly used".
When I came home I made a promise to myself that I was going to hold out for a local seller that had what I wanted. I still had the cash, and I just figured I would hold onto it until someone in Harford county showed up on CL. 
I watched the furniture ads for a couple more days and on Thursday night, at around 11:00, just before I was going to bed, I found an ad for a sofa that was exactly what I wanted, in Havre de Grace, for 200.00.
I emailed the lady, who said she still had it because she had JUST posted it! I told her I would be down the next day to see it, but it seemed to good to be true.
When I went in, I could smell cigarette smoke, which is a big red flag, but it wasn't too bad, and the room the sofa was stored in was OK.
It was clean. The recliners worked. It was the right size. The price was right, AND it came apart, so that I could get it in my van! Big plus!
I gave the lady a deposit, and told her I would be back that evening to pick it up.
When we got there I noticed a very small tear in one of the cushions that I hadn't noticed earlier, but it was so small that I didn't think it would be too tough to repair. It wasn't.
John, and his friend Liam, and I got the thing down to the basement in pieces and it began to fulfill it's purpose immediately! The smoke smell is going away and is hardly noticeable. I love it. It is so comfy!
Perfect for long winter evenings.


Another great deal from Craig's List!

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Having a Ball...

The Harvest Moon Ball that is!
On Sunday we were Blessed to attend, and help out at, Good Shepherd's first Harvest Moon Ball dinner and dance.
There was a delicious meal, lots of amazing desserts,

 


and hours of great music!
Mathias, The Fearless DJ
















The youth were the actual hosts of the ball, as it was a fundraiser for their trip to the National Catholic Youth Conference in Indianapolis.
They did a lot of serving, welcoming, clearing dishes, and DANCING!

So many great people...


Some of the kids are going to Swing Dance lessons at a local church, and they have really learned some amazing moves!
There was music for any taste.
It was a wonderful time!

Andrew and Hannah




Great Moves!

"Cotton-eyed Joe"

John and Andrew

Youth!

Saturday, October 22, 2011

Blessed John Paul II, Pray for Us!




Today is the feast of our wonderful Holy Father, John Paul II.
He is a hero within the Catholic Church and the world. We even have a son named after him.
He was the Pope during the most important years of my life. He was truly a Rock that The Church, especially the young Church,  found and clung to. The Holy Spirit placed him in the Chair of Peter at a time when we needed someone to stand for all that is right and good, to show us that we could do the same.
He was, and is, a protector and defender of the Faith.
We miss you Papa, but we know that you are interceding for us in Heaven. And that is a comforting thought.

Saturday, October 15, 2011

"We are not necessarily doubting that God will do the best for us; we are wondering how painful the best will turn out to be."
~C.S. Lewis

Why I Have Hope....Marc Barnes

 What a great article! Marc Barnes is a freshman at the Franciscan University of Steubenville in Ohio, where he studies English. There is a fervor for the truth in young Catholicism. What a cause for hope!

 Why It’s Great to Be a Young Catholic | Crisis Magazine

http://www.crisismagazine.com/2011/why-its-great-to-be-a-young-catholic
October 15, 2011

There was a time in the not-so-distant past when the young Catholic was obliged to begin any defense of the Church with the phrase, “I know the world thinks Catholicism is old-fashioned, legalistic, and otherwise an oppressive force upon the youthful, budding mind, but in actual fact…” Only then could he move into his apologia, having admitted — and thus avoided — the fact that everyone thought his religion was old, stodgy, and outdated.
It is an interesting turn of events, then, that the world has managed to reach such profound levels of boredom, stupidity, and timidity that the young Catholic is currently in the business of beginning any apologetic with the claim, “I have the answer to this boring, legalistic, and otherwise unsatisfactory modern existence; her name is Catholicism.”
Well then: I have the answer to this boring, legalistic, and otherwise unsatisfactory modern existence; her name is Catholicism, and she makes life in this pagan world hilarious, joyful, and worthwhile. Of course, any “Why I Am Catholic” list can only ever be a shoddy, incomplete way of explaining the one reason anyone is ever Catholic — because Catholicism is true. But nevertheless, there’s nothing quite like a good list.

1. Sex, Sex, and Sexy Sex
In case you haven’t heard the rumors, teenagers are rather interested in this whole concept of sex. This interest, judging by the hormones pumping through my body, is a thing that would exist no matter what the state of the culture they inhabit. But what our culture does have is the breathtaking opportunity to take that excitement and either give it life or kill it. I maintain that our culture kills it, buries it, and then tramples on its grave for good measure.
Think for a moment about what we young people are fed: We hear the entire non-Catholic world gravely admonishing us that sex should be safe, like a suburban mom reprimanding the neighborhood kids for riding bikes without helmets. We hear the entire liberal world telling us that sex “really doesn’t matter; it’s just a natural, biological act,” like sneezing and sweating. (These same people, oddly out of sync with their previous “natural, biological” stance, also kindly add that the whole business can be done just as well with another member of the same sex, like studying or shaking hands). The world of pornography says that sex shouldn’t even have to be real; one can just make it a game of vicarious imagination, with all the passion of online chess. Planned Parenthood adds its noble voice to the fray, working hard (and making millions) trying to link our beautiful, youthful excitement to a business of slaughter and genocide — which is very classy on their part, and certainly makes us all want to grab a few condoms and get right to it.
On top of all this, we are bombarded from every side with innumerable voices screaming that sex should be sterilized in foreign countries, displayed on TV, free from moral scruples, taught in kindergarten, performed in groups, improved by various mechanical devices, used among friends, discussed in magazines and talk shows — until sex has been killed, buried, and trampled upon. By the time the average American boy turns 18, sex has been utterly stripped of all beauty, excitement, danger, and passion — and as a result (wonder of wonders!), it has lost any of the intrigue it once possessed. The result is not liberation; it is abject and acute boredom.
In the middle of this clamor — like a solid rock rising above filthy waters — the Catholic Church makes an incredibly radical statement: that sex should be good. Teenagers everywhere perk up. She says that sex is absolutely beautiful — that it is, in fact, a taste of heaven. She says that it is not safe and sterile, but rather that it is so dangerous, so very potent and powerful, that it should only occur between two individuals who have made dire oaths not to run away from it. She says — restating a truth humanity has forgotten — that sex creates life, and that it is mind-blowingly adventurous for this very reason: Two will become one flesh, and that flesh will learn to walk, love, burn with fire for God, die, and spend eternity with Him.
What an age we live in, when it is old Mother Kirk who lifts her beautiful, wrinkled head and reminds her children to have great sex. And what joy it is to be a young Catholic, to live among the bored and the boring, and to see what marvelous — and passionate — light shines through the darkness.

2. The Lack of Youthiness
There is a problem with the word “youth,” and it is one of definition. One might say a youth is simply a human being in the position of being young. Our world, however, seems to be of the opinion that these “youth” are alien creatures in need of special attention and pandering, lest they devour their societies in a fit of anarchy. Thus we have politicians clamoring after the youth vote, media making literature and art for the youth, modern Christianity spending time and money on youth programs and events; in short, much attention is paid to what the youth want.
But if the youth are simply human beings in the state of being young, then all they want is exactly what all human beings want: Truth, Goodness, and Beauty. Sure, they might want it with a more obnoxious passion, and with a painful lack of knowledge, maturity, and understanding — but the desire is the same.
The Catholic Church is one of the few institutions that admits this fact. Where else can a 14-year-old and an 80-year-old receive the exact same teaching, view the exact same beauty, perform the exact same rituals, and be brought into perfect communion with each other, besides at the Holy Mass? Certainly, there are youth groups within the Church — teenage Bible studies, prayer groups, religious education programs, and the like — but in their proper function, they teach the same truths that everyone else receives, and explore the same goodness and beauty that their parents seek.
What a refreshing experience this is — not to be pandered to, coddled, buttered, and told the lie that what we really want is some well-designed websites, smart phones, and porn. How awesome it is to be among my peers and realize that I am not a youth; I am a human being, made in the image and likeness of God, and I am seeking Him like everyone else.

3. The Rebellion
Flannery O’Connor noted that “smugness is The Great Catholic Sin.” There are, of course, those Catholics who use the Faith to smugly float above the filth of the world, always too good for it, never under any pressure to touch down. Sometimes that Catholic is me.
But real rebellion does not avoid the world, or simply contradict it. Real, Catholic rebellion is having virtue next to the man who does not. It is to have love, drinking at a bar full of men who know only lust. It is to sow light in the darkness, to throw Hope into this fumbling, despairing world like a Molotov cocktail and to feed its flames with a reckless joy. It is living “in the world but not of the world,” yes — but it is also living in the absolute confidence that the Truth we hold can save the world.
And that, if anything, is why it’s so awesome to be a young Catholic: We will change the world. Not merely as young people — as already noted, we are under no delusions that we are somehow endowed with special youth-powers — but as Catholics. For there is only so long one can hear lies before speaking the truth, or see injustice before administering justice.
To the young Catholic born into a dying age, this feeling of rebellion comes naturally. Think of the March for Life: hundreds of thousands of young people, rebelling into sanity. There is no protest like it, where sheer evil is checked not by anger but by laughter, joy, and beauty. Think of World Youth Day: Millions come, in stark contradiction to a world that claims that the pope is irrelevant, that the Church’s teachings are outdated, and that the Faith is dead. There is no event like it.
G. K. Chesterton summed it up, as he is wont to do: “The Catholic Church is the only thing which saves a man from the degrading slavery of being a child of his age.” We choose freedom where so many are born into chains, and thus we know what we’ve been saved from, and we love our rebellion all the more. We can see the contrast: The world is dark, truly, but the light shines all the brighter for it.

Friday, October 14, 2011

To Know Him...


[Martha] came to him and said, “Lord, do you not care that my sister has left me by myself to do the serving?  Tell her to help me.” Luke 10:40

     As a young adult, I spent a year as a full-time volunteer at an emergency outreach center.  I worked hard there ~ and felt rather pious and important because of it.  One busy day as I flew about helping people, a homeless man started following me around to talk about God. 
“Why did God make you?” he asked me.  I flipped through the partial catechism in my brain and came up with, “to love and serve him.” “No,” the man admonished gently.  “To know him, love him and serve him.  You have to know him first.”
     And there it was: I was Martha, with full-blown do-stuff-for-Jesus syndrome.  Certainly we are called to serve the Lord by loving and serving one another.  But it’s possible to get so caught up in being worker bees for Jesus that we neglect other aspects of our faith life, like prayer and exploring God’s Word. 
Lord, I want to get to work.  Help me remember to sit at your feet as well.  (Karla Manternac)

H/T to Lisa via F/B
It is so interesting how Mary and Martha are always popping into my life. I appreciated this little story because it is something that I struggle with daily. 
Being a doer isn't a bad thing. Working hard and serving others may be a part of who I am, but Jesus cautions us not to be so busy offering our actions that we don't take time to stop and listen to Him.

When I pray, and when I am simply present to God and listen to what he says to my heart, that is truly a time of Grace. Being with Christ, sitting at His feet, and listening to whatever Truth the Spirit wants to give me, is the best part of any day. 

Mary chose to stop all that she was doing, because she wanted to know Christ. She had to hear what He was saying, and be still and quiet so that she wouldn't miss a word. 
Martha was a good woman, she was a responsible woman, and I'm sure she intended to spend time with the Lord, after all the duties were done. What she missed was that moment, that Truth, that was waiting to be spoken just to her. Jesus speaks to us personally and He has a message that is meant just for the heart that is still, and quiet and open. 

There must be a reason that these two women are becoming such a constant in my life. I know God made me who I am, and He gave me a Martha personality, but I also know that there needs to be time in my day, every day, for more Mary and less Martha.

Thursday, October 13, 2011

The Work in Progress...Progresses

I haven't blogged for almost a week!
Well, it has been kind of busy around here. Projects going in almost every room.
I revamped the entryway again, and got the ugly baskets out of there.


 Now there are cubbies and a place to hide shoes when we want to. Most of the time they will be out by the door, because that is where boys leave them...



I have been moving some furniture around. The bookcase in the corner was downstairs holding the videos and dvds, but I love it because it is actually real wood and I wanted it upstairs for books, so we did some musical bookcases. Tim painted the ugly wooden one that was in the spare bedroom, and that is downstairs right now, although it will probably come back up.
The little table is one that I bought on Craig's List from a very nice lady. It's not quite a coffee table, but the area is small and the other table was just too big. It is going downstairs, after we get new carpet.




Speaking of... we were at Lowes the other night, looking at carpet, and we were thinking that we REALLY need to get the drop ceiling redone in the basement BEFORE we put in new carpet. It's a nasty messy job, and painting the supports over new flooring seems like a bad idea. With that motivation, we bought the ceiling tiles, and Tim started last night.


 
We are slowly clearing out the room to get ready for the installers, but it's going to be a couple of weeks, so we can get all the prep work done.


And then, of course, there's Maggie...

Friday, October 7, 2011

A Full Friday!





Today started early and was stuffed to the brim, but what a great day we had!
Let's see, it started at 7:00 am, with Lilly arriving to spend the day.  She was up WAY before all the boys.
After breakfast we went up to Mass at Good Shepherd for First Friday. It was nice, as usual, and Lilly was very good!
Our friends the Bowers were at Mass with us, and after  we planned to hike up the trail along the river.

 It was SUCH a pretty day. Sunshine made the turtles come out to sun on the logs in the marsh pond along the trail.


The boys were great hikers, and were way ahead of us the whole way.

Lilly was very proud of her leaf collection!



 













After we got home we had lunch with the Bowers, and the kids played games while Christine and I figured out the rest of our First Friday activities. It is going to be a wonderful year!
Then we were off to Co-op, where the boys went to their classes, and Lilly and I visited the nursery.
She enjoyed playing with all the other kids.
Tim and I went to a very nice birthday party for a good friend of ours from the Church.
Now we are all tucked in at home, with the boys and Tim playing cards in the kitchen. A nice start to the weekend.

I am SO tired!

Tuesday, October 4, 2011

Wow...




I got these in an email this morning...
Feel free to comment!
That's what ovens are for....

I don't cry...I reason

Good for mental development...

A CASE!!

Stepford vitamins!

And you were worried about a little juice?

The official cigarette of Obamacare!

Sunday, October 2, 2011

Today is Respect Life Sunday....



Today, the first Sunday in October, we celebrate life!
October is Respect Life month. We are well into the latest "40 Days for Life" campaign, and we have so much to thank God for already.
Respect Life month is also the month of the Rosary, so we have this beautiful combination of prayer, of the beauty of life, and awareness of Our Lady as a loving mother that we can turn to with our petitions for her Son. We go to her with our needs. She is there with her Son, sitting at His right hand. "Do whatever He tells you....(Jn 2:5)" She says.
In the Gospels He tells us to pray, and in the case of certain evils, to fast and pray. MT 17:21
Until we prostrate ourselves and admit that we depend on God to cast out the evil in our land, we will only have partial success.
There have been many efforts, throughout the years, to loosen the iron grip that the abortion industry has had on our country. Many good efforts. But none of these efforts have had the effect that "40 Days for Life" has had. I believe that this is because this effort is prayer focused and dependent on God, in a way that many other efforts have missed. Many people have joined the campaign because they are able to pray everyday, wherever they are, and they are realizing the power of prayer to effect dramatic and lasting change.

Abortion clinics are closing all over the country, for various reasons. Clinic workers and doctors are experiencing conversion and repentance. (The Centurians is an organization for doctors and other professionals who have come to the truth of the evil of abortion.) Babies are being given a chance at life because their moms are seeing true commitment, on the part of those who profess life. These things, and many other miracles, are the ongoing signs of God's Faithfulness to His promises:
2 Chron 7:14  "if my people, who are called by my name, will humble themselves and pray and seek my face and turn from their wicked ways, then will I hear from heaven and will forgive their sin and will heal their land."

We celebrate the hidden mysteries in the month of the Rosary...





To GOD be the glory!