Saturday, June 27, 2015

CNMC - My Favorite Tweets

CNMC15 - My Favorite Tweets

Twitter is one of my favorite ways to experience a conference.  Many attendees use twitter as a way to live blog or take notes about the sessions.  Others engage in conversations both with other people in the audience and with those following at home.

The CNMC is no exception.  If you would like to view all the tweets, Facebook posts or Instagram photos, check out the CNMC15 tagboard created by Lyn Francisco for the event.

Here are a sampling of my favorite tweets from the Catholic New Media Conference 2015.






















































Was your favorite tweet from #CNMC15 included?  If not, what was the message?




*CNMC15 banner image was used and altered with permission



Wednesday, June 24, 2015

CNMC15 - A Crazy Family Reunion

CNMC15 was like a Crazy Family Reunion

In the two weeks since attending the Catholic New Media Conference there is still a tinge of sadness that it is over, that feeling that I didn't talk to enough people, take enough notes (or selfies) or soak in the experience. What I really want is another 24 hours to learn and be in community there, but the truth is the CNMC could be a week long and it still wouldn't be enough.

What is the CNMC? It is part-conference part-celebration of Catholic New Media rolled into one event that is open to Catholics involved in or interested in blogs, podcasts, social media, etc. We come together for a weekend and learn from one another. The CNMC focuses not only on the technical know-how, but also the reasons we put ourselves and our faith out there in the digital world.

Ok, I know what you're thinking. That it sounds very high brow, stuffy, and serious. No way! What makes the CNMC special is the celebration part. We are a huge family, so the CNMC is more like a crazy family reunion. There are the usual people who organize and run the show, the friends you see every year, the online people you've never met IRL, and all the new people you didn't even know existed. You know what happens when you get a crazy family reunion together, right? All kinds of shenanigans and fun! The “remember when we…”, family stories, sharing important details, lessons learned from those who came before you ... New connections ... Deep connections ... and did I mention the selfies? ;)


Selfie Collage from CNMC15 in Atlanta

It’s so much more than just a conference; we come together in community to celebrate our faith and how we witness it online.  

Personally, I absolutely love learning about the nuts and bolts of online media. Presentations like Capt. Jeff's on how to podcast make me want to jump into podcasting with both feet. But what keeps me coming back to the CNMC year after year are the people and the community we’ve built. This year celebrated the tenth anniversary of Catholic new media podcasting by SQPN and the seventh CNMC.

At our first CNMC back in 2009, Shelly and I were new to the blogging scene. We recognized names from podcasts and blogs, although we had never met any of them IRL. Meeting them in person was the most amazing feeling and we were quickly made to feel welcomed as part of the family. Every CNMC since has been the same.

To all those attending their first CNMC this year? I hope I made you feel as welcome as Shelly and I felt six years ago. I hope you experienced that same love and community the CNMC is known for and that the friendships created draw you back year after year.  


Catholic Moms at CNMC 15 with Flat Francis

To SQPN and the members who organized this year's CNMC - Thank you!  You are so giving of yourselves for your faith and our joint passion of evangelizing through new media.  I'm holding my breath waiting for the announcement of the next CNMC!



*CNMC15 banner image was used and altered with permission

Monday, June 22, 2015

What do Catholics Believe About Evil?

Photo by Shelly H Kelly, Of Sound Mind and Spirit
Last week our nation faced another shocking news story that left many people asking, “Why did this happen? Where was God? Why would God allow this to happen to His people?”

To try and understand these answers, I turned to the Catechism to see what the church really believes in “evil” and how it answers the question of why God allows evil to happen.

Evil Comes from Sin
Whether you believe it in or not, evil exists in our world. There are those who may try to explain away an evil act as a developmental flaw, a psychological weakness, a mistake, or the consequence of an inadequate social structure, etc., but evil is a direct consequence of sin and it comes from humanity’s rejection of God and opposition to Him. Sin is an abuse of the freedom that God gives to created persons so that they are capable of loving him and loving one another. (CCC 386-387)

The source of all sin can be found at the beginning of the history of man, with the first original choice to turn away from God, and sin has marked the whole of our human history. All sin, no matter how small, leads us toward evil and away from God.

God is Good, All the Time
However, it is important to realize that God is infinitely good and all his works are good. (CCC 385) He does not do evil and He does not condone evil. He gives us free will to act. He gives us the free will to choose whether we act out of love for Him and thereby for one another, or to shut ourselves off from His love and grace. Unfortunately in our world, there are persons who choose sin, who choose to be separated from love, who choose evil.

Free Will
When faced with this evil, we also have free will to choose our response. We can harden our hearts with grief and hate or we can seek and find God’s love. For He knows what good may come out of our grief. Only God is able to take evil acts and use them to bring light to darkness. He knows we need help fighting evil and so He sent us a Savior in his son, Jesus, to lead us. Nowhere is this free will and Christ's goodness more evident than in the victim's families choosing to forgive. 

The victory that Christ won over sin has given us greater blessing than those which sin had taken from us: “Where sin increased, grace abounded all the more.” Romans 5:20 (CCC 420)



Thursday, June 4, 2015

Four Reasons Why I Remain Catholic

why remain catholic
#WhyRemainCatholic



Raised in the faith, I’ve never been tempted to be anything other than Catholic. Although I’ve not always been on fire for my faith. I’ve been casual. I’ve been lukewarm. I’ve been ignorant.  But I'm working on that. 

Why do I remain Catholic?  Four things immediately come to mind.




Family

Being Catholic means being part of a larger global family as sisters and brothers in Christ. Jesus teaches us to pray to God as a loving father and Mary intercedes for us as our holy mother. Sure, we don’t always agree with the house rules, wanting to move out on our own and be independent, but that familial connection remains, pulling on our heart with a love that never ends. Becoming a parent opened my eyes to the unceasing bounds of human love for another person. If I can love each of my children so completely, how much more does God love me?

Comfort

Our former pastor used to say you come to church to be restored and refreshed after being beaten up in the world. There is silent comfort in prayer, a meditative rhythm in the Rosary, protective power in the Divine Mercy Chaplet. When I’m in pain or need rest, I can fall into the arms of Christ, finding emotional and spiritual healing through reconciliation, communion, and adoration. So many times I’ve experienced a soothing comfort in the real Presence of Christ in the Mass. 

Discipleship

I’m called to learn more. Being a disciple of Christ means intentionally seeking more and more about Him; a learning that never ends. The more I learn, the more I discover I don’t know and it keeps you walking on this faith journey, wondering what else is just around the bend. So many answers available if I just seek them out. The more I learn, the most I want to teach others. So my discipleship, seeking knowledge of Christ, in turn inspires me to teach my children and work with them in Edge and Life Teen. Being excited is catching and I want their own yearning to seek truth and know Christ to burn in them.

Truth

I believe in the real presence of Christ our Lord and Savior. 

The more I learn, the more honestly I believe. Even when I struggle to fully understand the truth, in this confusing world of blurred and ever changing values, it’s so important to be confident in the one thing I know to be true. That one thing is Jesus Christ and His love for us. He is present, waiting, for us to come to Him.

So that’s the quick summary. Each point could be expanded upon, but I’ll leave it clean and simple for today.

I believe in this faith and I invite you to explore the true Catholic faith and the real presence of Christ in the Eucharist.




Wednesday, May 27, 2015

Watching our Children Stumble

I know the plans I have for you
Our babies. When they arrive they are helpless. We take care of their every need.

Love them, change them, bathe them, feed them.
Rock them. Sing to them. Hold them. Love them.

And they grow…

We read to them. Teach them. Pray for them. Pray with them.

And they grow…

We step back a little, let them fall, let them get back up, let them go. We hope they’ve learned how to handle life’s disappointment and hurt, while seeking life’s joy and pleasures. Our steps back, though important, are sometimes difficult.  When we see them stumble, we want to rush to catch them. We want to kiss the hurt away and make things better.

Sometimes we can’t.

My daughter has a beautiful soul.
She’s not perfect, but she is responsible, prayerful, caring;
A Godly young woman who selflessly serves others.

Last week she experienced one of those moments in high school that really hurt. Even knowing that these moments shape and mold us, didn’t make it any less impactful.

When she started high school two years ago she signed up for the FFA organization because they offered an equine science course (which was subsequently cancelled). As a freshman “Greenhand” she worked hard towards several achievements and ended her first year as the newly elected Sentinel on the chapter Officer Team. She attended officer training, summer retreats, and the State Convention and entered her second year enthusiastic for all things FFA Blue and Gold.

Although she doesn’t raise animals, the FFA offers many opportunities to grow through Leadership Development Events (LDE), Career Development Events (CDE), Speaking Development Events (SDE), and Supervised Agricultural Events (SAE). This year her LDE team (Radio Broadcasting) became the first event in school chapter history to advance to State competition. She participated in fundraisers, officer meetings, multiple teams, and competitions, and received several awards recognizing her dedication and teamwork at last week’s annual year-end Banquet.

After such an eventful year, she confidently ran to serve again on the Officer Team.  Since the overall chapter membership grew this year, the FFA advisors added two more positions on the team. Six new candidates joined five of the seven current officers to compete for nine open positions. Unlike last year, the advisors refused to disclose any results until the Banquet and Installation.

My daughter didn’t make it.

As the names were called and new members joined the current officers on the stage, my daughter sat on the stage, the only current officer not re-elected. With a face etched in white stone trying not to reflect her stunned hurt, she somehow held it together while others laughed and clapped each other on the back.

FFA Officer PresentationA minute later she was on her feet at the microphone, smile in place, confidently speaking as she installed a new person into her current position and then turned away uncertain where to return, her former seat taken. Our family sat at our table in the audience in numb disbelief and heartache. The tears my oldest daughter dared not show in public flowed unabashedly down her younger sister’s face.

I’d love to report that there was a mistake in the results. That the next day something somehow changed the results in her favor. Or that we found out the competition was rigged to favor the sons and daughters of those parents who lead the Booster Club in time and money.  But this is real life, not a Disney sitcom. Sometimes you just lose, no matter how hard you tried. We will probably never know exactly what in the four-part election process caused her to be in the bottom two.

Real life means that you hold your head high, accept defeat graciously, congratulate the winners, and keep moving forward, even when it’s not in the direction you planned. Despite her own heartache, my daughter spent a good portion of the rest of that night and the next day consoling and supporting her friend, who was the second person not elected.

Not a gracious loser, I struggled to find words of comfort or understanding, only able to hold her silently in the privacy of our home when she finally allowed herself to feel her pain. However, my husband captured it perfectly when he wrote, 
Tonight a…harsh life lesson was realized and …my oldest daughter showed more poise, honor, dignity, character and maturity than I would have at her age - …maybe even still. She will come back stronger than ever before. Look out world!! I love you.  You amaze me! #prouddad"
And he’s exactly right.     
                             
Ironically, not once did I worry that my daughter wouldn’t get through this. After the sadness and let down of not being selected, she kept her focus through the Bible verse that she proudly wears on her letter jacket; one she believes in that brings her strength when the road is tough.

"For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future." -   Jeremiah 29:11



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