Wednesday, July 24, 2013

I Love This Town!

So we are furloughed.
What that basically means is that someone, somewhere decided that it would be economically beneficial to cut the hours, and hence the pay, of thousands of employees of the Department of Defense, in order to cut costs.
We are glad that Tim has a job, and that we didn't buy a car this year, and that we have the flexibility to make changes so that we can live within our means.
Many people are not able to do that.
So, Havre de Grace has done a very nice thing....

Havre de Grace Offers Furloughed Employees a “Furlough Friendly Community”

From the City of Havre de Grace:
With the support of the Aberdeen Proving Ground (APG) and in partnership with Havre de Grace Chamber of Commerce, and Havre de Grace Main Street, the City of Havre de Grace has developed a “Furlough Friendly Community” campaign. This campaign will have a dedicated distribution through APG personal and reaches out to families impacted by the recent furloughs.
There are over 11,500 people at APG that are currently affected by the recent furlough. For 11 weeks Havre de Grace’s neighbors at APG, who reside and patron our City, have lost more than 20% of their income due to sequester.
Understanding the impact to these families and the potential impact to our small businesses, the City of Havre de Grace has created a “Furlough Friendly Campaign”. To participate in this endeavor, the local businesses offer a 20% discount; Monday through Friday, to APG employees affected by the furlough; providing proper I.D. Some participating businesses have taken this campaign a step further by offering other opportunities that better suit their establishments. This campaign is slated to run until the end of September.
This is a great and much needed opportunity to reach out to all those individuals and families affected by the furlough and encourage them to continue to patronize our Havre de Grace’s businesses. “We have a positive relationship with the APG community and understand the challenges the furloughs have placed upon those who reside, work and play in Harford County,” stated Mayor Wayne Dougherty.
We have created a logo and decal to be posted on the doors of businesses who are participating in this campaign. A list of business participants will be found on the website.

Monday, July 22, 2013

Anima Christi

Anima Christi

Soul of Christ, sanctify me.
Body of Christ, save me.
Blood of Christ, inebriate me.
Water from the side of Christ, wash me.
Passion of Christ, strengthen me.
O good Jesus, hear me.
Within your wounds, hide me.
Let me never be separated from you.
From the malignant enemy, defend me.
In the hour of my death, call me,
And bid me come to you,
That with your saints I may praise you
Forever and ever. Amen.

Soul of Christ, sanctify me...
Oh Jesus, you are Holy. You are the spotless Lamb of God. Unite my soul to yours, so that I may grow in Holiness, and become the Saint that You are calling me to be.

Body of Christ, save me...
Dear Jesus, you are the Bread of Life, you have told us that whoever eats this Bread will never die. Keep me always close to your Heart. I trust in you, my salvation.

Blood of Christ, inebriate me....
In the saving power of Your Blood I find my truest Joy. Fill my heart with the joy of Your True Presence, and let me share Your Joy with everyone that You bring into my life.

Water from the side of Christ, wash me...
Lord, I come to the foot of the Cross. In my sinfulness I beg you to let the precious water from Your side wash over me, as at my Baptism, and wash me clean.

Passion of Christ, strengthen me....
Dear Jesus, You were obedient to Your Father, even when it meant the ultimate suffering. Help me to take up my Cross daily, out of love for You, and to unite my sufferings to Yours.

O good Jesus, hear me...
I know that You always hear my prayers and that You are with me. Give me confidence in Your Holy will, to trust that everything that I need will be provided so that I can know, love and serve You in this world, and be happy with You in Heaven.

Within Your wounds, hide me....
I am so weak and sinful. I am incapable of resisting temptation on my own. Only Your Grace can keep me from being lost. Hide me in Your Blessed wounds. Keep me safe from my own inclinations. I put my trust in You.

Separated from You, let me never be...
I know that only through remaining in the Sacraments will I have the Grace to stay on the path to Heaven. I know that I have You always in the Eucharist. Let me remain close to You in the Blessed Sacrament until I can be with you in Eternity.

From the evil one, defend me....
Oh my Jesus, you have claimed me through my Baptism. You are the Guardian of my soul. When I wander like the lost sheep, rescue me and bring me back to your fold. I beg for Your protection.

At the hour of my death, call me and bid me to come to You....
Oh Lord, at the end of my journey here on earth, call me to your side. Let me see Your face. Jesus, I trust in You.

That with your saints I may praise You forever and ever. Amen.

Wednesday, July 10, 2013

TORCH is Twenty!!

This August our TORCH group will host it's 20th annual picnic, graciously hosted by Michelle and Dan Weber.
It is amazing to think of all the families that have been a part of this wonderful group, and all of the ways that we have been a part of each other's lives.
We have witnessed so many families growing, learning, and launching their children into the world.
We have been together for births, sacraments, weddings, and grandchildren's births. We are now welcoming the second generation of young families. It is so miraculous!
Looking back at all the years and all that we have shared, the time has just flown!
We have friends that have moved away, but are still a part of our lives.
We keep in touch with cards, and on Facebook, or just at Christmas, but we still have that sense of family.
We have past member families in Alaska, Texas, Pennsylvania, Ohio, Utah, and many of the states in between.
We have been so blest, and have tried to be a blessing, to all the families that have been a part of TORCH over the years.
Soon we will be sending off a new crop of graduates to college and into the world of adulthood. We have several families that have children discerning possible religious vocations, and one young lady that is answering the call to the religious life in the coming months.
Twenty years into this journey, some of us have said "Good-Bye" to parents, and some to unborn babies, we have gone through some scary times with illness and prayed each other through some pretty dark valleys.
By the Grace of God, there will be many more years and many more picnics. He has done great things for us, we are filled with Joy!

I can't wait for the picnic!

Monday, July 8, 2013

Maggie...Our Hero

Sometime this morning, before most people in the house were up and about, I heard Maggie in the living room, barking ferociously. Her hackles were up, she was glaring out the window intensely, and it sounded serious.

I came running upstairs and looked out front to see what was going on. She seldom gets that upset.
There was nothing out near the road or in the lot across from us, and there was nothing in the yard.

She was still going nuts, so I looked more closely at where she was looking and I realized that she was looking at the window itself.

Yes indeed, she was protecting her family from a fearsome....


Sunday, July 7, 2013

Goin' To The Dogs

People are taking their pet-love to another level.

I'm sorry, but taking your dog out to dinner is just a bit over the top. We were rather shocked to find that we were sharing the deck at a local restaurant, (not a diner or fast food, but a rather nice place) with, well, dogs.  Imagine trying to enjoy your salad while staring into the eyes of a Pit Bull. It wasn't easy.

Letting little Frankie (yes, that was the dachshund's name) snarl and bark at the poodle at the next table (there were actually three dogs there) is not just bad manners, it is disturbing on several social levels.
I'm sorry, Frankie isn't a child, he is a dog, and he isn't a darling to me. He's an animal, and he doesn't belong anywhere where people are paying to have a nice dinner.

Lately I hear people talking about their "fur-babies" and I wonder where we stepped off the reality train.

Dogs are awesome. I love our Maggie as much as you can love an animal, but she is not my baby, or my child.
She is a beautiful gift from God, but she does not have the dignity of an immortal soul, and she is not made in His image and likeness.
Granted, she is more devoted and faithful than most people I have met, but no matter what attributes her species provides to make her the perfect companion, she is still a temporal creature.

The thing that I find the most difficult to reconcile, is the cultural shift from the desire to share our lives with little humans, to finding fulfillment in making "children" out of pets.

Our pets deserve our affection, care and attention, but they are not more important than the people that should be the focus of our lives.

We are shocked and saddened at stories of animal abuse, as we should be, but when a heinous criminal like Kermit Gosnell is found to have committed hundreds of truly evil acts against human babies, it's like pulling teeth to get the attention of anyone other than committed pro-lifers.

The average number of children, per family, in the U.S. has dropped to almost non-replacement levels. The attention, money, and time that we lavish on pets, has reached truly absurd proportions.

Jesus didn't say "Let the puppies and kittens come to me." He was pretty clear that children are closest to the Heart of the Father. We will find it harder and harder to become like children in a world where they are harder and harder to find.

Friday, July 5, 2013

Independence Day 2013

Yesterday was Independence Day, and we certainly celebrated!

We got the day going early, and I spent the morning making a Chocolate Torte for a party that we were invited to.

The weather was a little iffy in the morning, so we didn't go up to the pool, but John, Nina and Lilly did, and they were there all day!
They had a great time swimming and visiting with friends.

Tim, Brendan, Paul and I went to the cookout. It was hosted by Sharon Wilcoxin, one of Tim's good friends from work. Several of the other folks from the office were there, and it was so nice to catch up!
Sharon has a pool, so Brendan and Paul were able to swim all afternoon after all!

We left the party around 5:00, to come home to get ready for the Ironbirds 4th of July game. It was a great game, and they actually won! Again! This is the second year that we have gone for the fireworks and had the added bonus of a win. They earned their celebration for sure.
The Fireworks afterwards were wonderful, as always, and it was fun to have it on the actual holiday.

Now we have the whole weekend ahead of us! Looking forward to a nice time to relax.

Wednesday, July 3, 2013

Texas, Totally....

Whew!! What an amazing and wonderful week we had visiting the Cooke family in Texas!

We decided to do a trial road trip with Maggie. Yeah, cause driving to Texas is just the perfect maiden voyage for an untraveled dog...

Well, I figured she'd do fine, and she did.
The trip down was really easy, because we put Maggie in the back of the car, in her old kennel, and she rode along just fine.
She was a bit freaked out by the hotel stay, but as long as all her people were accepting it as a matter of course, she adjusted.

We stopped for rest breaks, and did mostly fast food, because we couldn't leave her in the car, due to the heat.
One place that we had to stop into was Howard's Donuts.
We found it on the past trip down. They have HUGE donuts, and the same little old lady was manning the counter.

I noticed that the floor of Maggie's kennel seemed rather hot, and we realized that the back of the van gets really warm. Also, it was hard for her to jump up into the back. I had to lift the rear end while she jumped in. So on the way back we made space for her in the middle instead.

The car did great, and I am so grateful that we didn't have to do anything major to it to get ready for the trip.

It was such a wonderful visit!
The kids are just so much fun, and it was so nice for the "uncles" to have a chance to spend time with their Texas nieces.
Brendan also made a new friend, when this guy showed up at the door. We figured someone probably dumped him out by their house. He was such a sweet and smart dog. We had to call animal control, because he was not leaving. They assured us that he has a very good chance of finding a home.

We took the wooden train sets down, anticipating that someday the little boys will enjoy them. Well, the girls had all kinds of fun. They played with the trains and tracks and Brendan showed them how to set everything up.

There was lots of baby cuddling, even some baby wrestling,

and little girls everywhere giggling and coloring and coming up with all kinds of stories and ideas.

There was time for visiting and catching up on all the details of Laura's life.

I love all the wonderful touches that she has added to their home, the places that they go, and the daily routine that we got to be a part of.

John and Laura spent part of an afternoon building a "water-blob", which is a huge sheet of plastic, duct-taped together at the edges, and filled with water. As heavy as all that water is, even the slightest grade gives the blob the ability to shift, and move downhill. It did manage to roll a ways, and by morning had gotten down the hill and then split, but they had a wonderful afternoon in the Texas heat!

Texas certainly has it's own style and flavor. They are very busy building roads, houses, and new ideas are flourishing in that state.

The Cookes have settled into the Texas way of life, and they are very happy and successful there.
It was such a blessing to see them blooming

in their adopted habitat!