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Showing posts from June, 2010

Spreading the Faith via New Media

Lisa and I are already looking forward to attending the 3rd annual Catholic New Media Celebration (CNMC) in Boston this August. Last year we had just started our blogging adventure when the CNMC took place in San Antonio . There we met some of our favorite podcasters and experienced Catholic bloggers,  but more importantly we were introduced to a welcoming online Catholic family. We used our experiences at the CNMC to sharpen our focus on those issues we value: our Catholic faith, our family, Pro-life, and summarizing how we view political changes through our Conservative upbringing. The CNMC offers two tracks of sessions for people interested in spreading the Catholic faith via online media: podcasting and blogging. At last year’s Catholic New Media Celebration (CNMC), Lisa and I attended the “blogger track,” where we met and listened to presentations from Matthew Warner , Lisa Hendey , and Danielle Bean . Danielle, a columnist from National Catholic Register and editor of Fai

Glenn Beck's The Overton Window

Glenn Beck’s first Fiction Thriller, The Overton Window hit bookstores two weeks ago and is already #1 on the New York Times bestseller list .   As a listener of Beck’s off and on for the last 10 years and a consumer of his previous non-fiction books, the book's description intrigued me enough to purchase a copy.  Political thrillers are among my favorite books to read, so this one seemed right up my alley.  I was not disappointed with the ripped from the headlines storyline.  Beck has done an amazing job weaving real life events, political theory, controversy and great fiction together to create an exciting page-turner.  He leads the reader down a path that some believe our country is already headed down with chilling results.  Even if you can see what is coming, the development of the story does not disappoint. Set around present day happenings in the United States, the story follows characters caught up in a plan to destroy America using a powerful technique called the Ove

Ultrasounds Show New Babies

Shelly and I are going to be aunts again this year!  Our brother and his wife are happily expecting their third bundle of joy towards the end of the year, and Shelly’s sister-in-law (on her husband’s side) is expecting their first baby two weeks earlier!  Talking with my sister-in-law about her recent ob/gyn appointment brings back a flood of memories of the fear, anxiety, and excitement that a new pregnancy brings to the expectant parents.  She showed me the picture of the new baby at 8 weeks gestation and told me how exciting it was to see the baby on the ultrasound screen.  Even after two previous pregnancies, she is still in awe of how, even at 8 weeks, an ultrasound can clearly show the baby’s forming arms, legs, and eyes. Even the tiny heart beating.  It is an amazing sight. Even at this young age, you can see the human life growing in the womb.  For me, this first ultrasound always made pregnancy very “real”. Recently Oklahoma passed legislation , overriding the Governor’s

Matthew Kelly's Call to Joy

Six years ago, I stumbled on a book by Matthew Kelly in a Christian bookstore and fell in love with his message “become the best-version-of-yourself.”   Since that time, I am reading my way through his dozen bestselling books and spending time on the website for his foundation at MatthewKelly.org . Matthew Kelly’s first book, Call to Joy, is a wonderful study of how God speaks to each of us in our lives and how we respond to him. Inspired by his own personal story of hearing God’s Call to Joy , the author takes us through a spiritual journey that shares God’s message in a straightforward way. I read this book entirely while sitting in my car during soccer practice, carpool, etc.  Knowing the book was sitting in the car waiting for me encouraged me to leave early just so I could sit in the car and read for a longer period of time.  Matthew’s writing is beautifully comforting, peaceful, uplifting and encouraging.  We can all learn to listen to God’s call for our lives.  If we

The Real Cost of Healthcare Reform

Even though the passage of the Healthcare Bill has not remained a hot topic on the nightly news or 24 hour news cycle, the public justifiably remains focused on it. The issues and controversy surrounding healthcare reform are not over. President Obama and Democrat leadership predicted the American public would come to love this new law after it was passed and the details of the bill were unearthed. Instead, the opposite has happened. Now that it has become the law of the land and the details are being exposed to sunlight, Americans are shocked, angry and a bit confused. A new poll shows 58% of Americans now want the healthcare law repealed. Rasmussen Reports’ latest national telephone survey on the new Health Care Bill found that: “Just 24% of voters say the quality of health care will get better under the new plan. Fifty percent (50%) say quality will get worse, Fifty-four percent (54%) believe health care costs will go up under the newly adopted plan. Three-out-of-five voters (60%)

Obama Offshore Drilling Ban to Devastate Gulf Coast Economies

Citing the potential economic impact on the Gulf Coast, Congressman Pete Olson, of the 22nd   District in Texas, introduced a bill in the House of Representatives yesterday to lift the offshore drilling moratorium imposed by President Obama in response to the BP Deepwater Horizon oil spill.  Senator David Vitter (R-La) introduced the companion bill in the Senate stating , “This moratorium threatens to finish what the oil spill started.  If it stays in place, even for six months, it will be a devastating blow to the economy of Louisiana and other Gulf states. My bill would simply nullify the president’s ill-advised moratorium.  The best way to prevent future oil spills is not to stop drilling altogether, but to improve the inspection process to ensure that our rigs are safe.”   Calls for a lift of the moratorium hail from both sides of the political aisle with Senator Mary Landrieu (D-La) expressing serious concerns regarding the effect the drilling ban will have on her home state

The Light of God Shines for All

Although he has attended Mass with me for most of our married life, my husband is not Catholic; he was raised in the Methodist faith. The other day – out of the blue – he asked me if I thought Catholicism was the one true faith. “Yes,” I had to answer. After a moment’s silence, he asked me what I thought about the other Christian faiths. I told him that the best advice I’ve ever uncovered about how to consider the various Christian faiths comes from the author John D. Fitzgerald from his book Papa Married a Mormon . “The Catholic Church is the Mother Church and all religions are windows in the Mother Church. And if you break one of these windows, you desecrate the Mother Church.” The analogy provides a simple, perfect image of God’s love that we can all understand. His light, His love, streams through a stained glass window, where the rays come through in various colors and patterns. How we love God, learn about God, approach God, may vary as it is filtered, but the light, the

Flag Day

On this day in 1777, Congress adopted the Stars and Stripes as the flag of the United States. Beginning in 1885 , patriotic programs honoring the flag on June 14 spread through public schools, leading to President Woodrow Wilson issuing a Proclamation on May 13, 1916 establishing Flag Day as a formal observance. President Harry Truman signed an Act of Congress designating June 14 as National Flag Day in 1949. My parents raised us with a healthy respect for our U.S. flag, mounting the flag on the front of our house regularly. One Memorial Day, a friend and I were so determined to place the flag out front that we literally hung out of a 2nd floor window to reach the mount since we couldn’t reach it from the ground. My daughters are the ones now who remind us to place the flag out front on holidays or any other weekend day blessed with good weather. A friend of mine recently blogged that her son insisted the family salute the flag with the Pledge of Allegiance, even though she was stil

Emotional Mass

Our Grandpa died on June 12, 1997. He had been ill with cancer, and his death, while sudden, wasn’t wholly unexpected. I’d lost others in my life before Grandpa, but I was with my grandmother in his hospital room when he died. It was the first time I’d been present when a person died. And in that moment, I understood how the body is merely a vessel for the spirit. We are not just this body, we are the soul. When Grandpa died, his body was lying in that bed, but in a way I’m not sure I can explain, HE was gone. What made him so uniquely HIM was no longer in the room with us. Grandpa was gone, and in my grief I was not afraid of death. I miss him so much it still aches. In truth, it is we the living who suffer the most from the death of our loved ones. The loved one is with God. Through Him, they have everlasting life. For a long time after Grandpa died, I cried in Mass. Despite my best efforts, tears would fill my eyes and spill down my face whenever we celebrated the Eucharist. I d

Motivating for Success...in the Pool

Here in Texas, we are in the midst of swim team season.  Both of our older kids are enjoying their third year on our neighborhood team swimming with their friends.   Our son is competitive and not only loves to beat his time, but also picks out bigger kids he wants to best during a meet.  Being competitive myself, I love that it motivates him to do better and try harder.  However, even when he doesn't medal or beat the big kids, he just shakes it off and asks for ice cream.  Our oldest daughter is a different story entirely.  Last year, if we encouraged her to beat her time or swim faster, she would actually swim slower and remind me that she is out there to have fun and enjoy herself.  While I personally find her attitude completely frustrating, how do I argue with having fun? Before starting this year’s season, my husband and I really had to “encourage” our daughter to continue with swim team. Our goals for the kids swimming are to encourage great physical activity, to expe

Beloved and Blessed: A Review

Only in the last year or so have I been introduced to the wealth of Catholic authors and theologians available for study. This awareness now includes Scott & Kimberly Hahn after I received a complimentary copy of Kimberly Hahn's latest book from The Catholic Company in exchange for an honest review. Beloved and Blessed: Biblical Wisdom for Family Life is third in a series of Bible Studies based on Proverbs 31. While the earlier books addressed buliding a health faithful marriage and meeting the needs of the family through homemaking, this volume focuses on intimacy and parenting. Beloved and Blessed is divided into six parts to discuss Marital Intimacy, Fertility/Gift of Children, Motherhood at Home, Parenting Styles, Establishing a Faithful Family, and Homeschooling. Hahn immediately jumps right in tackling the sensitive issue of marital intimacy, outlining the values and blessings developed from sensual love within the marriage. She identifies physical and personal challeng

Working Mom Summertime Blues

Though the calendar won’t agree for two more weeks, it’s the first day of summer in our house since school ended last Friday. I have great memories of the summers between school years – playing outside until dusk after 8 p.m., swimming at the neighborhood pool until they turned the underwater pool lights on, riding my bicycle to the Stop & Go on the corner to pick up a gallon of milk for Mom (and candy for myself with the change as a treat). There were swimming lessons at the high school, arts and crafts making melted crayon candles, and piano lessons during the day. When my children were younger, there was no difference between summer vs. school time. My infant and preschooler continued attending their same preK-daycare facility year-round. As they grew older, their childcare facility offered summertime weekly field trips as well as the opportunity for swimming, tennis, and golf lessons. Both of my girls learned to swim through the summer program, and though neither one expresse

Santorum teaches us Trisomy 18 not Incompatible with Life

As I read former Pennsylvania Senator Rick Santorum discuss his precious daughter Bella's struggle for life despite a diagnosis of trisomy 18 , tears streamed down my cheeks.  I am reminded that my husband and I for a short time faced the same diagnosis with our baby boy. Almost 7 years ago, I received a call from my ob-gyn who informed me that my unborn son might also be born with three No. 18 chromosomes.  I was referred for an amniocentesis, to a genetic counselor and peri neo-nataologist for further testing.  Feeling pressured on the phone by my ob-gyn to quickly make these next appointments and confused by the potential diagnosis, I was abruptly informed that if he tested positive, she wanted to make sure I had time to terminate my pregnancy.   There is no way to describe my emotions as I hung up the phone that day.  Or the horrifying range of emotions my husband and I went through over the next few weeks while we surfed the net seeking answers about what is commonly called

Largest Abortion Center in America Opens in Houston

As the numbers of abortions decrease nationwide, with the polls showing that the American public is growing more and more pro-life , Planned Parenthood of Houston opened the doors on its 78,000 square foot abortion center. Constructed to meet the requirements for late term abortions as set in Texas Health & Safety Code Chapter 171 , this facility means Houston is now home to the largest abortion supercenter in the country. With over 8,000 abortions taking place annually in Houston, Planned Parenthood hopes to increase those numbers with the opening of this supercenter. The facility is positioned at the heart of four super-neighborhoods targeting the resident 90% minority population, those struggling in poverty, and college students at two nearby Universities. Prayer vigils led by groups such as Texas Families and  Houston Coalition for Life during the construction of this abortion supercenter are continuing now that it has opened. On June 12, 2010, the Houston Coalition for Lif