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Showing posts from July, 2010

Thanks Dad...

Lisa and I had the honor of being raised by a great father whose birthday we celebrate today. We credit him with teaching us so much about life, integrity, hard work, the value of a dollar and not making excuses. We were not taught “what” to think, but challenged and taught “how” to think for ourselves. He taught us the importance of hard work, knowing when to push us to do better, work harder, and when to back off and let us find our own path. From him we learned right from wrong, and to remain mindful of how our choices affect others. Through his actions he showed us how to appreciate, support, and value others without being judgmental or intolerant. He holds personal responsibility in high esteem; "no excuses, just get it done" is something I can remember to this day. We grew up hearing that life is not always fair, but you choose how you will respond to it. By his lead we grew up knowing that family is the most important thing. Even though we may be different and somet

Largest Tax Increase in US History on the Horizon

In 6 months, America faces the largest tax increase in US history.  The tax cuts passed in 2001 and 2003 (popularly called the "Bush Tax Cuts") are set to expire on January 1, 2011.  Congress and the Obama administration must act in the next few months to prevent this enormous tax increase from causing millions of people, including the President's defined "working families" to pay more to the federal government.   The President promised on multiple occasions not to raise taxes on families making under $250,000/year, calling those Americans "working families".  The President and many in Congress allege that the massive increase will only impact the wealthy, however; with the return of the marriage penalty, the child tax credit cut in half, and all personal income tax rates rising, the expiration of the "Bush Tax Cuts" will result in an across the board tax hike for everyone.  Special tax provisions to help students, adoptive parents, business

Does the Bible Really Say That?

Catholic Apologist Patrick Madrid continues educating lay Catholics with concise clear books; this time answering the question, “Does the Bible Really Say That?” addressing 46 different topics as they relate to Catholics.  Citing scripture and the catechism, the author lays out a roadmap to help us understand why Catholics believe as we do. Some of the topics explained are hot button issues for many Protestants: drinking alcohol, confession, catholic prayers, the crucifix and infant baptism.  Other topics address more universal Christian themes: humility, gluttony, good Samaritan, lust and loving one another. This book reveals the foundation of our Catholic faith through the Scriptures and encourages you to delve deeper and read more of the Bible to enhance your familiarity with the beauty of God’s truth.  When I worked as a waitress as a teenager, members of a local non-denominational bible college repeatedly asked me if I was saved. When they learned I was Catholic, t

The Funnies

This is a little off-topic of family and religion, but I just wanted to share that I love the comics. I think it's amazing how some artists and writers are so talented they can tell a story, make us laugh, make us cry, and even identify with them in just a few short panes of images and words. (Click on the comic to go to the original site.) Comics can be amazingly accurate in their ability to reflect current trends: Sometimes you wonder if they have a secret recording device in your house recording your children: They know about where you live: Comics even address issues related to my career: They teach us: Comics address issues for working moms: And stay at home moms: They tackle political issues: How can you not love Danae’s frank look at the world in Non Sequitor? There’s even comics about blogging: To view most of my comics I use the Houston Chronicle Build Your Own Comics Page for one-stop readings; however, I also subscribe to email delivery for a few others, inc

Indiana Planned Parenthood Caught Giving False Medical Information

The youth-led pro-life advocacy group, Live Action , has caught Planned Parenthood once again spreading false medical information to support abortion. This latest undercover video is the third showing abusive counseling practices at Planned Parenthood of Indiana .  The American Medical Association  Code of Medical Ethics states that “The physician’s obligation is to present the medical facts accurately to the patient.”  This principle of "informed consent" has been codified in nearly every state, including Indiana.  Live Action's  Rosa Acuna Project reveal Planned Parenthood manipulating and falsifying medical information to encourage potential clients to undergo an abortion without informed consent .   Lila Rose , UCLA student and president of Live Action , says the new footage places Planned Parenthood well outside the medical mainstream. "Planned Parenthood's counseling is based on its abortion-first mentality rather than the medical facts that women n

With a Loving Heart

This past Sunday's Gospel came from Luke 10:38-42, where Jesus visits his friends, Martha, Mary, and Lazarus. Our priest, Father Bob, reminded us that it's easy to forget that Jesus had friends. The Scriptures show that Jesus was comfortable with them and they with him; they spoke freely between each other and later Jesus wept when Lazarus died. If you're not familiar with this Martha and Mary story in Luke, here it is: Jesus entered a village where a woman whose name was Martha welcomed him. She had a sister named Mary who sat beside the Lord at his feet listening to him speak. Martha, burdened with much serving, came to him and said,"Lord, do you not care that my sister has left me by myself to do the serving? Tell her to help me." The Lord said to her in reply,"Martha, Martha, you are anxious and worried about many things. There is need of only one thing. Mary has chosen the better part and it will not be taken from her." I've always identified wi

Facing an uncertain future

"Houston, Tranquility Base here. The Eagle has landed." These words marked mankind’s greatest triumph. The Apollo 11 lunar landing on this day 41 years ago culminated the greatest technological achievement of human history. America demonstrated to the world what men can accomplish with a goal, a deadline, inspiration, and motivation. When President Kennedy announced the dramatic and ambitious goal of sending an American safely to the Moon before the end of the decade , the fledgling NASA had completed only one manned space flight lasting 15 minutes 28 seconds and reaching the altitude of 116 statute miles above the Earth. (For comparison, the ISS maintains an average altitude of 240 statute miles and Scaled Composite’s SpaceShipOne won the Ansari X-Prize by reaching 62 miles.) Nine months after President Kennedy’s announcement, John Glenn became the first American to orbit the Earth . Nine years after President Kennedy’s announcement, Neil Armstrong and Buzz Aldrin walke

Fireproof Your Marriage

Over 35 couples joined us at church last weekend for an inaugural adult couples “date night” fellowship. I use the word inaugural because I’m so hopeful that after the night’s success we’ll continue to plan similar evenings. A member of Pastoral Council organized the event, including paid childcare with teen volunteers. Meanwhile, every attending couple brought an assigned potluck dish. Round tables scattered throughout the Parish Life Center provided us an place to sit and view the movie, Fireproof, with other couples. When we take our wedding vows we say “for better or worse, for richer or poorer, in sickness and in health.” Unfortunately, in the present day, too many couples don’t consider how they will handle the worse. Caleb is a fire department Captain, responsible for the lives and discipline of his men. Early in the movie we observe him training a rookie, admonishing him that you never leave your partner, especially in a fire. Yet, when faced with a troubling fire consumin

FaceBook Brought Me Comfort

Our family pediatrician sent our 3-year-old daughter to the emergency room at Texas Children’s Hospital last Friday.  After many hours of testing and waiting, the on call doctor admitted her for treatment and observation.   Sitting and waiting for hours while your little one is extremely sick and in pain taxes your body both physically and emotionally. Thankfully my husband was able to join me early in the day, so we supported our youngest together. We updated our family and friends throughout our hectic day via phone calls, text messages, email and with our FaceBook status.  My sister, Shelly, updated friends through our Of Sound Mind and Spirit FaceBook page throughout Birdie’s hospitalization. Our friends and family then posted our situation on their own status, asking for prayers and positive thoughts. Within moments, Facebook connected our family with friends of friends of friends into an immense prayer chain. I was overwhelmed by the outpouring of love and support offered to m

Summer Reading Programs

As you can tell from the number of book reviews lately here on Of Sound Mind and Spirit , Shelly and I are both reading like mad this summer.  There are so many great books that I find myself counting down the time everyday until I can sit still to devour my current selection. We all know that children can backtrack during the summer while away from their schoolwork.  Participating in several summer reading programs motivates my children to keep up their reading skills during these long hot days.  With a trophy as a reward, the program at our local library rates at the top of our favorites.  The kids and I attend weekly story time at the library geared for the elementary set.  In the last few weeks, my children experienced a puppet show, mad science experiments, marionettes and saw turtles and springer spaniels up close and personal.  Yes, our local library hosts "hands on" library time for the over kindergarten crowd.  In addition, we check out tons of books at each visit.

Patrick Madrid's Search and Rescue

Until I heard Patrick Madrid speak last year at the Catholic New Media Celebration (CNMC) , I didn’t realize people could make a profession from defending the Catholic faith. An amazing speaker, Madrid, infused his knowledge of the faith with humor, humility and honesty. Listening to him inspired me to develop my own knowledge in preparation to defend my faith when called upon. Search and Rescue, How to Bring Your Family and Friends into- or Back into – the Catholic Church is the first of Patrick Madrid’s many books I chose to read. Now to be honest, I was hoping he would have some formula or magic words that I could use to instantly bring family to and back to the Church. Obviously, there is no one magic way to awaken their faith and invite them into the Church. Madrid begins the book advising the first thing we must do to evangelize our friends and family is to “develop the virtues of an apostle.” These virtues modeled by St. Francis de Sales include: Prayer, Absolute trust

Reflecting Him: Living for Jesus and Loving It

Lisa and I were invited to participate in a Blog Tour promoting a new non-denominational Christian women's Bible study titled Reflecting Him: Living for Jesus and Loving It . After receiving the review copy, I realized that I've never participated in a Bible Study before. The study appears very straightforward, using familiar objects and situations on which to focus each week, drawing comparisons that help women become aware of Jesus working in various areas of their daily lives. The study also has an online component through a Reflecting Him Bible Study Group on Facebook . Individuals working through the study on their own can still get the benefits of a group discussion while working at their own pace. Almost 200 people are in the group already and the discussions are really taking off. This fall a leaders guide, videos, and music will be released to accompany the study. As part of the blog tour, I had the opportunity to interview the author, Carla McDougal via email. I’ve n

Update on President's Offshore Drilling Moratorium

We recently discussed the huge economic impact the President’s moratorium on offshore drilling would have on the Gulf Coast .  Two weeks ago, a federal judge in Louisiana issued a preliminary injunction blocking the moratorium on offshore drilling.  His 22 page decision stated that…  “The court is unable to divine or fathom a relationship between the findings and the immense scope of the moratorium.” “The blanket moratorium, with no parameters, seems to assume that because one rig failed and although no one yet fully knows why, all companies and rigs drilling new wells over 500 feet also universally present an imminent danger.” “The court cannot substitute its judgment for that of the agency, but the agency must ‘cogently explain why it has exercised its discretion in a given manner. It has not done so.” http://www.bloomberg.com/news/2010-06-22/u-s-deepwater-oil-drilling-ban-lifted-today-by-new-orleans-federal-judge.html The Secretary of the Interior, Salazar and Press Secretary Robert

We the People of the United States...

  On this Fourth of July, I read the Preamble of the Constitution out loud to my children.  The words really hit home during this election year when so much seems to be at stake.   The words of the Preamble gives us insight as to what the Founders wanted to accomplish with this new government they were creating.  Preamble to Constitution We the People of the United States, in Order to form a more perfect Union, establish Justice, insure domestic Tranquility, provide for the common defence, promote the general Welfare, and secure the Blessings of Liberty to ourselves and our Posterity, do ordain and establish this Constitution for the United States of America. Those words are powerful.  The Founders were forward thinking in establishing a government that protects individual liberty while binding us together in a federal government. For a little extra fun today, here is the Schoolhouse Rock version of the Preamble. Shelly and I hope that you and yours have a wonderful 4th of July

What If...

It is a rainy day here in Houston to top off a rainy week thanks to Hurricane Alex.   A perfect day for a “What if” game.   We all play it – “What if you could meet one dead person?” or “What if you were shipwrecked on a deserted island?” My “What if” question for the day is, “What if you had the fame or the resources to establish a charitable foundation, what type would you establish?” There are so many worthy issues and people in need, how do you decide who to direct your energy and resources to support?   Marcus Luttrell seems to have chosen a perfect fit for him.   If you’re not familiar with the name, he was the lone survivor of Operation Redwing in the desolate mountains of Afghanistan; an operation that claimed the lives of his SEAL teammates and 16 servicemen who were tasked with rescuing him.     His charity – Lone Survivor Foundation   - goes to extraordinary lengths to welcome home, empower and restore American wounded warriors, their families and surviving families.  

Support The Standing for Our Soldiers Troopathon

Move America Forward (MAF) , the largest grassroots pro-troop organization in the United States, is hosting their 3rd Annual Troopathon, entitled Standing for Our Soldiers , today to support the troops with care packages from home. The Troopathon is a Jerry Lewis style telethon online that brings together famous celebrities from radio, television, movie stars, musicians, and journalists to create a one of a kind event.  TROOPATHON 2010 THURSDAY, JULY 1, 2010 4:00 pm to Midnight EST 1:00 pm to 9:00 pm PST   The schedule, starting today at 4 p.m. Eastern/1 p.m. Pacific, includes Sarah Palin, Sean Hannity, Rush Limbaugh, Gary Sinise, Dr. Laura Schlessinger, Mark Levin, Bruce Jenner, Victoria Jackson and too many more to list.   Check out their program to find when your favorites will be on. The goal of the Troopathon is to send care packages to our troops.  In the first year, 2008, over $1.5 million in care packages for our troops in Iraq and Afghanistan was raised in the 8 hour show.