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Showing posts from February, 2010

A Well-Built Faith - A Catholic's Guide to Knowing and Sharing What We Believe

One of my Lenten resolutions every year involves learning more about my Catholic faith.  If you also like to use this time to deepen your faith, you should definitely read A Well Built Faith, A Catholic’s Guide to Knowing and Sharing What We Believe by Joe Paprocki and published by Loyola Press. I initially chose this book because of the title and description in the Loyola Press catalog, which states in part, “A Well-Built faith … makes it easy for Catholics to know what they believe and to feel confident in sharing those beliefs.”  No matter how much I know about my faith, there is always a hunger to learn more.  This book presents the faith of our Church in a practical, easy to follow style with nice everyday language.  The chapters are cleverly organized around a construction theme that adds nice structure to the book. Though much of the information presented in this book is not new to me, it is presented in a new way that made it interesting to re-learn and absorb.  T

Another Planned Parenthood Abortion Center Violating Child Rape Laws

LiveAction has exposed yet another Planned Parenthood abortion center violating child rape reporting laws .  This 10th case documented by the young pro-life group take place in Milwaukee, Wisconsin .  In this recent video, a 14 year old presents herself for an abortion and is counseled by the Planned Parenthood health worker to not tell anyone else that her boyfriend is 31.  She was then instructed how to get around the parental notification laws to obtain her abortion .  Planned Parenthood's official response to this video was they would have followed the law and reported the sexual abuse had the young woman given them her name; however, the undercover camera recorded the young woman doing just that.  Their response would be considered a weak attempt at justification of violating state reporting laws, except their official statement is patently false leaving them with no defense to their inaction. In response to a another Live Action video, authorities in Birmingham, Alabam

Distracted Driving

"Ultimately, a day we envision a few years down the road is when we all look back and say, 'Remember those days when we used to talk on the cell phone while driving. Boy wasn't that a stupid thing to do',” This statement comes from David Teater, whose son was killed six years ago by a driver who ran a red light while talking on the phone. David is part of a new national advocacy group called FocusDriven that aims at changing the way the American public thinks about using cell phones while driving. U.S. Secretary of Transportation Ray LaHood promoted FocusDriven, calling them an “army of advocates” whose mission will be to persuade people to put away their cell phones. “ We’re going to push for public education, personal responsibility, and enforcement. Enforcement comes with laws.” One law that FocusDriven advocates hope to see uses GPS technologies that can literally block a person from making and receiving calls or sending texts while in a moving vehicle. Se

First Anniversary: A Milestone

Last week, while I was sick at home for two days, I realized that Thursday marked the one year anniversary since Lisa and I started Of Sound Mind and Spirit . It’s hard to believe it’s already been a whole year. Writing a blog has been a real learning experience for both of us and provided us with new and interesting opportunities. For the first few months we worked to find our voices. When I look back at our early posts I remember how we struggled occasionally to keep the message positive, faith-based, and on point. The catalyst for change occurred in June, when we attended the Catholic New Media Celebration and met many other Catholic bloggers and podcasters using the web to express our common faith. The experience opened our eyes to how much we’d been growing in our faith over the past two or three years, and as a result of the CNMC, we began to write more with our faith in mind. And now, a confession. Blogging every day often feels like a job, but it’s not my full time job. And

More Lenten Aids

Even though Lent has already started this year, it is never too late to add new resolutions to aid to your Spiritual journey through these 40 days.  There are so many wonderful ideas and ways to enrich your Lenten season that I want to share a few specific ones I am embracing this year. 40 Days for Life has started their Spring campaign to run through Lent.  People in 167 cities are physically joining to focus on their mission of prayer and fasting for an end to abortion.  If you don't live in one of the locations, you can always join their email list to receive daily updates and a daily devotional.  It is amazing to see the power of prayer working in our communities. 40 Bags in 40 Days is a great Lenten challenge for those of us surrounded by STUFF, as I recently wrote about .  You simply commit to  ridding your home of 40 bags of “stuff” during the 40 days of Lent.   You choose what size bag and whether to give it away or throw it in the garbage.  Call me crazy, but this migh

Too Much Stuff

Today while secretly purging my oldest daughter’s room, I remembered boxing up almost all of their toys, clothes and books three years ago when my husband and I put our former house on the market.   Facing the impossible task of keeping my house in show condition with a 5 year old, 3 year old and 6 month old, I boxed up a majority of our possessions to simplify our lives.  Closets were emptied, cabinets lay bare and toys no longer littered the family room.  It was a glorious few months.  I was able to keep the house picked up and clean with minimal frustration. In the kid’s rooms, most everything was removed from books, stuffed animals and toys.  With very few toys to play with in the house, the kids surprised me with no complaints.  In no time at all, they adjusted to fewer things and focused on what remained.  Their favorite new thing to play became "Shoe Store" with all the various footwear they could find. As I stare at my children’s rooms and playroom today, I look ar

Are you ready for Lent?

As we prepare for Ash Wednesday and the start of Lent tomorrow, I have been prayerfully reflecting on my personal list of resolutions.  Lent is one of my favorite times of the liturgical calendar because we are preparing to once again turn our lives completely over to Christ.  It is a time of reflection, sacrifice and conversion, as we leave behind our past sins and behaviors to embrace new life in Christ. To help you prepare and participate in Lent this year, I'm including resources that I have found useful with my own Lenten preparation and experience.   Aggie Catholics: Lent 2010 Forty Lenten Resolutions by Sherry Antonetti How to Observe Lent as a Catholic CatholicMom Lenten Resources Faith & Family Live! Lenten Blogs And if you are not Catholic, please know that It's not just for Catholics anymore .

Washington's Birthday now called Presidents Day

Today is the third Monday in February meaning the banks are closed, the post office won’t deliver, all federal agencies are closed, and maybe the kids have a holiday from school. (Lisa’s do, mine don’t.) But what do we call this holiday? For nearly 40 years, advertising agencies and calendars have promoted this day as “Presidents Day,” in honor of all our U.S. Presidents; however, the federal holiday is legally and officially still “ Washington’s Birthday” honoring our first President . Congress declared Washington’s Birthday—February 22—an official holiday on January 31, 1879, though Americans honored Washington’s Birthday for many years before, including special Congressional centennial festivities in 1832. So why this confusion between Washington’s Birthday & Presidents Day? In 1968, Congress passed the Uniform Monday Holiday Law creating more three-day holiday weekends for families. The 3rd Monday of February received the designation to honor Washington’s Birthday, ironicall

Green Police

Did you see the Audi Super Bowl commercial that satirically promoted the “Green Police” arresting people for using incandescent bulbs, requesting plastic bags, and not composting or recycling their trash? The alarming thing is that those laws, aimed at forcing a cultural behavior change, aren’t satire. They already have a foothold in our country. Three years ago San Francisco became the first major US city to ban plastic grocery bags. Ironically, the plastic bag was actually introduced as an environmentally friendly alternative to the paper bag to protect America’s forests from destruction. Last year San Francisco toughened up their mandatory recycling laws to include composting. That scene in the commercial where they’re going to arrest the guy for putting an orange peel in the garbage disposal? While you might not be arrested in San Francisco, you could be fined if you are found to be deliberately flouting the law. The current mayor of San Francisco actually twittered, “ Ok .. Th

Hearing the Call

Wendi is a normal mom, with four young children. For several years, we were neighbors. Our older kids used to play together in front yards and driveways while we stood around and talked. We were even pregnant with our third babies at the same time, delivering weeks apart. Even though my family moved out of the neighborhood over two years ago, I have kept up with Wendi and her husband, Sam through mutual friends, Christmas cards, Facebook and our family blogs. I have been aware of Wendi and Sam’s dedication to helping orphans in Africa and their involvement with philanthropic organizations like HopeChest and Red Letters Campaign . But I hadn't fully realized how sincere they were in their dream to live their lives out loud as a testament to their faith in God. Last year, Sam left a nice job so they could start a new microgiving organization named, HopeMongers to fight poverty, address human rights issues and encourage adoption oversea s. We all like to pass on information

Mega Millions Winner Donating to Retired Nuns

An amazing story of selflessness .  William Kiefer, winner of the largest prize in Texas Lottery history is donating 60% of his after-tax prize to charity.  Kiefer said this win is an opportunity to be an example for others regarding his faith and raise awareness for worthy causes such as abused children, relief for Haiti and support for retired nuns. “To see him want to be generous with women who have spent their life trying to be generous to others is a good thing,” Sister Deneen Hubbard, of the Sisters of Charity of Incarnate Word, said. “Whatever it is that the sisters did for him before he won the lottery, it worked.” What an amazing gift that will be greatly appreciated by many.Mr. Keifer proves that there still are wonderfully good people in the world. Winner of $144 Mega Millions jackpot announced Mega Millions Winner donating bulk to charity

Celebrate Family: Team Tebow Tackles Super Bowl

When Focus on the Family purchased 30-seconds of Super Bowl advertising to run a commercial starring Heisman trophy winner Tim Tebow and his mother highlighting the theme, “Celebrate family, Celebrate life,” the controversy began almost immediately. Even before the commercial could be seen, a coalition of women's feminist groups began a protest campaign against the ad. The president of Women’s Media Center lambasted CBS "for inserting an exceedingly controversial issue into ... America's most-watched sporting event." One vice-president for NOW said, “"This ad is frankly offensive. It is hate masquerading as love. It sends a message that abortion is always a mistake." Planned Parenthood went so far as to release a petty preemptive “response” to the as-yet un-released and un-seen commercial spot. Meanwhile Gary Schneeberger, a spokesman for Focus on the Family, accurately suggested that opponents "...will be quite surprised at what the ad is all about

Watching Miss America

Over the weekend, I watched half of the Miss America Pageant.   Having not watched it in several years, I found myself pleasantly surprised at the quality of the pageant.  To start, the opening number was not about flashiness, clothes, hair or makeup, but simply about nice looking young ladies making a lasting impression in their 30 seconds at the microphone.  Gone was the heavy makeup, big earrings, over sprayed hair and super tight clothing of years past. They do still have the swimsuit competition, but the focus seems to have shifted towards physical fitness and self confidence.  When I heard that self confidence was a major component to the swimsuit competition, I was surprised.  That idea has never occurred to me, but I can imagine that it would take an awful lot of self confidence to walk across a stage and pose in a two piece swimsuit on national television. The judges were each asked what they were looking for in each candidate and  Rush Limbaugh's response stuck with me.

We just lost the Moon

Space. The Final Frontier. These are the voyages of the Starship..... Terminated? What if there had been no Apollo program? What if President Kennedy had not been assassinated; if his presidency had simply turned lackluster; if he had faltered in the polls and lost an election. What if the next president had cancelled the Apollo program for budgetary reasons? Seems impossible to imagine now: a world without the infamous Apollo 8 Earthrise image that inspired the global environmentalism movement, and no Apollo 11 lunar landing heralding the greatness of the human spirit. Those of us under-40 have no memory of the lunar landings. Our dreams for great space exploration lived in NASA’s Constellation program – our Return to the Moon, to Mars, and Beyond. Our dedication and focus continued to be inspired by Kennedy’s words: “ We choose to go to the moon...and do the other things, not because they are easy, but because they are hard, because that goal will serve to organize and measure

The Handbook for Catholic Moms Contest

Lisa Hendey , founder of CatholicMom.com , is releasing her first book, The Handbook for Catholic Moms , this month. We met Lisa at the CNMC last June and she has been a supportive friend to Of Sound Mind and Spirit during our first year. We couldn't be happier to help promote her book! The great people over at The Catholic Company are running a cool contest to help spread the word about Lisa's book. "Just send us your favorite, best working, or funniest piece of motherly advice you’ve heard from your Mom, Grandmother, etc. We’ll compile all the entries and pick our Top Five Favorites to win a signed copy of Lisa’s new book! We’ll post all entries online and share the Top Five on YouTube , Facebook , CatholicSpotlight.com and more. Email your entry to Catholic Moms Giveaway ; please include your full name, email address, and mailing address. No purchase is necessary. Submissions will be accepted now through February 14, 2010. Only one entry per person. Part

Wanted: Prayer and a Miracle

Nearly eleven years ago, when I was pregnant with my first child, I went to the internet for answers to some questions. It's hard to believe now, but in 1999 Facebook or MySpace didn't exist. Social networking consisted of bulletin boards on a variety of sites. I signed up for a ParentSoup.com board titled "Expecting in September 1999" and met a number of ladies going through the same stages of pregnancy. The friendships I've developed over the past 11 years are as real and intense as any others in my life. Together we've supported each other through every developmental stage of our pregnancies, births, and babies' lives. We've cried after a stillbirth, prayed during spouse deployments, and offered support during divorce and death. Some ladies I've met in person, and some I haven't. These women are some of my very best friends. They know so much about me and accept me for who I am. One of my Sept99 Mommies is going through every mother's