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Showing posts from January, 2010

NASA Remembrance Day

"... We are a questing people - curiosity in action - pushing back the boundaries of the unknown and adding to our storehouse of new knowledge that has served us so well. Within a tiny time frame of history we have leaped past the whole world with advances undreamed of just a few years ago ." - John Glenn Today marks NASA Remembrance Day , where we pay homage to those brave souls who accepted the risks to fulfill their dreams of exploration and sadly paid the ultimate price. This particular week in NASA territory is emotional. These men and women were more than just names on the national news. They were our neighbors, friends, and colleagues. Their deaths will not be forgotten. Apollo 1: January 27, 1967 STS 51-L “Challenger”: January 28, 1986 STS-107 “Columbia”: February 1, 2003 "I know it is hard to understand, but sometimes painful things like this happen. It's all part of the process of exploration and discovery. It's all part of taking a chanc

Not watching

Today I should post an insightful analysis of President Obama's State of the Union address last night. Something clever highlighting his promises, new initiatives, addressing any contradictions and controversies. I'm sure at least one political pundit said something noteworthy or at least cringe worthy during all the hours of coverage. To be honest, I was in my kitchen happily baking rather than watching. I didn't watch any of the SOTU, not even a few minutes. Sure, my husband was watching it, but I'd been promising myself that I would try a new recipe and last night turned out to be the night. If you want lots of analysis this morning, I can direct you to a few websites - Heritage Foundation , American Papist , American Thinker - just to start. When you are done reading about last night, you should check out these mouthwatering Mini Chocolate Meringue Cupcakes by Giada De Laurentiis. They came out light and were heavenly with a tall glass of milk. Maybe next year

The Magic of the Mouse

Last year, my family went to Walt Disney World for the first time. We’d planned the trip for nine years, putting aside a small bit of money each month specifically for the purpose of going when the kids were old enough to enjoy themselves and have a firm memory of the trip. I don’t remember the exact impetus, but one morning we made the decision that it was time to go. We researched it, set a date, and used Small World Vacations to coordinate. We talked to everyone we knew who had been there; we read website after website; we dog-eared our copy of the Unofficial Guide ; and we made a plan. For seven days and seven nights we explored four magical parks, resting each night at the expansive, yet cozy, Wilderness Lodge . Honestly, it was the best time I’ve ever had. Oh, there were things that went awry, but we refused to allow those moments to interfere with our overall vacation. Consider them “learning experiences,” because now I know what few things I’d do differently. Even though it

Movie viewing vs. Movie Experience

Have you seen the latest mega-blockbuster Avatar yet? A preview last month introduced me to the basic storyline, but I haven’t viewed the movie yet. Having seen other James Cameron films, including Terminator and Titanic, I’m familiar with his method of simple storytelling enhanced by amazing cutting-edge graphics and special effects. As with a number of recent films, Avatar is also available in 3D and large-screen format ( IMAX ). Once upon a time, my husband managed an IMAX theater , so I’ve seen my fair share of 3D IMAX movies. Armed with this background, the reported complaints of headache, dizziness, nausea and blurry eyesight from watching Avatar does not come as any surprise. If you consider it, the main point behind IMAX and other large format 3D movies (and ridefilm simulators) is to trick the brain into believing you are no longer sitting safely in a theater, but to physically feel like you are actually there – flying into the movie. Disney has an incredible IMAX film rid

Liberty and Tyranny: A Conservative Manifesto by Mark R. Levin

This week I finally read Liberty and Tyranny: A Conservative Manifesto by Mark R. Levin .  I discovered a book full of substance that lives up to its hype and NY Times Best Seller status, despite being ignored by the main stream media.  This is a must read for anyone who defines themselves as conservative, or anyone remotely curious as to what conservatives think.  Levin does an excellent job of laying out the fundamental truths of conservatism as based upon the founding principles.   After illustrating a strong base in political theory and history, he shows the reader the path our country started on and points out the diversions we’ve taken leading us to our current position.  As he defines and discusses the essence of conservatism, he contrasts them with the beliefs of the modern liberal, or as he labels them, Statists.  It is illuminating to view the two positions laid out side by side from topic to topic through recent American History.  By showing the positions and specific act

The Sacrament of Reconciliation

Lisa & I both have daughters preparing for their First Reconciliation and Communion sacraments this year. My niece will make her first Reconciliation this week. Even though she’s been preparing through her CCE class for the last few months, she’s still a bit nervous. Lisa didn’t receive her first reconciliation until she was a teenager, so she’s asked me how to help her daughter feel more comfortable about making this sacrament at such a young age. My daughter made her Reconciliation at a special ceremony during Advent. Our church asked parents to do the preparation at home and provided us with the student book and teacher guidebook. That’s when I discovered that learning about an Examination of Conscience and walking your eight year old daughter through one are two different matters. My daughter and I read the list of questions on the Examination of Conscience. I explained that we need to sit and think about the times when we acted in a way that would have made Jesus sad, because

Pray for Haiti

Please join us in prayer for the terrible suffering of the Haitian people. Every natural disaster of this size and scope reminds me of our own worst natural disaster in the United States where 8,000 people lost their lives in the 1900 Galveston Storm . The shocking photos and horrific stories that are emerging and will continue to be known in the next few weeks are stark reminders that natural disasters do not change with time and observe no borders. Ultimately, we are all human beings with simple basic necessities and must reach out to one another during these tragic events. The U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops issued a statement yesterday acknowledging the death of thousands, including the Archbishop of Port-au-Prince. Catholic Relief Services is one of many organizations preparing a major emergency response to the people of Haiti. Please anticipate a second collection during Mass this weekend. If you can make a small sacrifice this month, please give money for the recovery eff

Physical Strength to Mirror Inner Strength

For most of my life, I have been a dancer. Shortly after college, I stopped dancing and never really dedicated regular time toward exercising. After I had a baby, I’d make a small effort, but as soon as the weight came off I’d stop. A few years ago, I started hearing more and more from my friends that even naturally thin people have trouble with their weight as they approach 40 because your metabolism slows, your body shifts and you lose strength. That thought hit me hard; I should probably prepare my body to meet that head on. If exercise would become a necessity in my life, then I reasoned I should find something I loved to do. For the last two years, I discovered yoga as the perfect fit for me. I’ve written previously about my love of practicing yoga, as a spiritual and physical exercise. As I practiced yoga, my body grew stronger and leaner. And then, last summer, I felt my body desiring something more, for me to take that next step and push myself with something new. For a few

Sarah Palin - Going Rogue: An American Life

Like so many other women, I followed Sarah Palin’s rise to the national stage when she was chosen as the GOP nominee for Vice President in the 2008 election. Even before McCain’s announcement I was familiar with then-Governor Palin because of her pro-life stance when faced with the birth of her beautiful son, Trig. However, I will admit that until she brought national attention to the issue, I was not aware that 90% of all babies diagnosed with Down’s Syndrome are aborted before birth. My husband and I were electrified during her speech at the Republican National Convention wondering what this seemingly normal woman would bring to the national debate. Only later did we learn she delivered that rousing speech even after the teleprompter failed. The unscripted, now-infamous joke about the difference between a hockey mom and a pit bull became a tagline-- “Lipstick Republican”-- for many of us. Naturally, I was delighted to read her book Going Rogue, An American Life and get to

One life can make a difference

Yesterday afternoon brought the news that Miep Gies, one of the persons who hid and protected Anne Frank, died at the age of 100. The CCE class I teach is studying Making Christian Decisions, focusing on the message that the right thing to do isn’t always the easy thing to do. The role Miep Gies played during the terrifying time of Nazi occupation exemplifies this lesson. Years after World War II, she said simply, “We did our duty as human beings: helping people in need.” She was born Hermine Santrouschitz on February 15, 1909 to a German Catholic family living in Vienna. At the age of 11, suffering from malnutrition brought on by post-World War I food shortages in Austria, she was separated from her parents and sent to the Netherlands. While living in Holland, her adoptive family bestowed on her the Dutch nickname “Miep.” In 1933, she began working as a secretary for Otto Frank, and married Jan Gies in 1941. When asked by her employer to help hide his family from Nazi deportation,

Rosary Time with Small Child

Every Friday morning, my parish offers hosts a group rosary.  There is something really special to me about praying the rosary with others and I’ve been considering attending ever since I first read it in the bulletin.  I’ve been hesitant because I would have to take my three-year old and I worried that she would disturb everyone.  One Friday morning I finally decided to bite the bullet and take her with me.  I reasoned that since she can sit through mass, why not a rosary?  I’ll admit my plan was not well thought out, because my idea was to give her plastic rosary beads to emulate.  It wasn’t until after we began that I realized how noisy those little beads are when she swings them around.  Still, she did OK.  Not great.  There was a moment when I felt the need to walk her outside and discuss sitting still, but no one gave me the evil eye.  Or, more accurately, I didn’t see anyone give me the evil eye.  The others either ignored her or were nice about her being there. I k

Happy Birthday Shelly

Happy Birthday Shelly!  We've spent so much of our lives doing things together. And thankfully, we still are! Thank you for writing with me here at Of Sound Mind and Spirit. I hope you have a great day! I love you big sissie!

Prayer March against Planned Parenthood Abortion Super Center

Since my last post about the abortion super center being built by Planned Parenthood of Houston , the weekly prayer vigils have continued right alongside the construction of what will be the second largest abortion facility in the world . With the largest in China, this late term abortion clinic will be the largest not only in the United States, but also in the Western Hemisphere. What has changed recently is the attention this Planned Parenthood expansion is receiving nationwide. As this late term abortion clinic nears completion, people all over the country are standing up to notice what is being built in our backyard. According to CNSNews , a coalition of pro-life advocates and religious leaders are holding a prayerful march and silent siege in Houston on January 18th. Both events will begin at the Catholic Charismatic Center , just blocks away from the 78,000 square foot Planned Parenthood super clinic, around 9 a.m. on MLK day and participants will silently march towards the

#72 - Give This Book Away

As we celebrate Epiphany today and the end of the 12 Days of Christmas, I am re-reading the Matthew West book, 101 Simple & Thoughtful Ways to Give This Christmas Away in preparation for the end of our giveaway. Looking back through it makes me smile, there are  so many wonderful ideas that I want to implement in my family throughout the year.  While initially reading the book, I shared some of the suggestions with my children as examples of good works.  My 6 year old son has taken #89 truly to heart.  Every time I went into a parking lot during the Christmas shopping season, he would remind me - "Mom, remember to park in the back!"  Now, even when he is at school, I smile as I pull into a parking lot and hear his little voice  in my head telling me to leave the close parking spots open for people who need them.  Speaking of smiles, that's #19!  In celebration of #72 - Give this book away - Shelly and I will be sending a copy of this book to a random person who

12th Day of Christmas

On the first day of Christmas my true love gave to me.... As a child, I often wondered about the days of Christmas. When were they? Did the days begin in Advent... counting down the days to Christmas? I never thought it could mean the days after Christmas, because we all knew that Christmas runs from the Day after Thanksgiving until Christmas Day. After Christmas comes New Years Eve. The days following contained a post-holiday exhaustion that always seemed to linger for a few weeks, until we geared up our anticipation of the Super Bowl parties, followed by Valentine’s Day. After I grew up, I learned that the Twelve Days of Christmas referred to the church Christmas season – December 25 through January 5—culminating in the Epiphany on Jan 6. I know I probably should have learned this in CCE as a child, but for whatever reason it didn’t stick in my mind. Since Christmas Day, my daughters and I have spontaneously broken out in song each day. Without planning it in advance, we only