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Showing posts from September, 2011

SQPN: Catholic New Media Conference 2011

As I write this, Lisa is winging her way towards Kansas City for the 2011 Catholic New Media Conference . Of course, by the time I post this, she will have landed. I won’t be attending with her this year, for obvious reasons , but I’m participating in spirit, as well as Twitter, UStream, Skype, and any number of other social media avenues. When Lisa and I started blogging two and half years ago, we struggled to define our sense of direction, our voice. She is the one who discovered the SQPN Catholic New Media Conference and enthusiastically talked me (and our mother) into attending with her. Though we started blogging in February 2009, the CNMC always feels like our true anniversary, since it was our experience at the 2009 San Antonio CNMC that really inspired us and guided our writing in a firm direction. Over the past two years, we have strengthened our voice and our faith through the growing relationships with inspirational people we’ve met and come to know from our involvemen

Thinking About Mary

I woke up in the middle of the night convinced that Jesus must have been a preemie. Or that Mary did not carry him for the full forty weeks we define pregnancy. I know the Bible is big on the number forty, but it's impossible for me to imagine Mary willingly setting off on a four-day cross-country journey to Bethlehem riding on a donkey during the last two weeks of the traditional forty weeks of pregnancy. How did she do it? Did she have any hesitation preparing for this journey when she was so swollen with child? How much did her hips and lower back ache during the ride. How did she get any rest sleeping on the ground? What did Joseph do to make her more comfortable? Did he have to help her up from the ground every morning? How large was she? Was she irritable or calm and serene with a holiness bestowed by God for this purpose? It occurs to me that all my ideas come from the traditionally told version of the Nativity Story, that implies she was “great with child” labori

The Mass is What Catholics Do

“The Mass is What Catholics Do.”  These first words of the book, The Mass: The Glory, The Mystery, The Tradition” by Cardinal Donald Wuerl and Mike Aquilina remind us that celebrating the Mass is the source and summit of the Catholic faith and the most recognizable element of that faith.  But how deeply do we understand the history and reasons behind the individual parts, actions and words of the Mass?  Cardinal Wuerl and Mike Aquilina in this new book magnificently illustrate the innate beauty behind the Mass by breaking it down into various pieces to explain each section in glorious detail. “When the Church celebrates the Mass, she commemorates Christ’s Passover and it is made present: the sacrifice Christ offered once for all on the cross remains ever present.  The Church calls us not jut to a commemoration of long-ago events, as great as that might be, but also to enter the mystery itself- today. We are not bystanders, but participants.” The first part of the book c

Nine Months and Nesting

Many pregnancy information websites and books suggest the nesting instinct is a sure sign of impending labor. While not all women experience the nesting instinct, it’s typically described as a sudden distinctive urge to clean, tidy, and organize in preparation for baby’s arrival. I’m nine months pregnant. My house is a mess. Where is my nesting instinct? My daughters might say I’ve been a bit more insistent that they keep their rooms picked up and the clutter under control. However, pointing out shoes left in odd places, wet towels on the bathroom floor, or dirty clothes dropped three feet from the hamper isn’t something new. And trying to keep up with the inundation of 14,000 pieces of paper sent home from two different schools is an annual event. So where is my nesting instinct? Why hasn’t it happened yet? August proved to be quite a stressful month for me at the office, with numerous important projects piled up one after another, overlapping each other with exhibits, reception

We Are... Catholic

A friend sent me the link to the most amazing Catholic video on YouTube. Thank you to Defend Us in Battle for inspiring Catholics with a powerful visual of our Faith.

The Promised Joy

Nine months ago I found out I was unexpectedly pregnant. I don’t remember much about my first pregnancy, 12 years ago. As the oldest daughter, I was the first to be pregnant, so I received a lot of attention; felt a lot of pressure to do things a certain way, and all of it was a new experience. At the end, I had a brand new beautiful daughter and (despite reading all the books) absolutely no idea what I should be doing. There is nothing quite like the hands-on challenge of learning how to be a new parent. Eight weeks into my second pregnancy, my mother-in-law died very unexpectedly. There was nothing about that pregnancy that I enjoyed. My husband, my family, was turned upside down with grief, anger, frustration, sorrow. We were both just a few months into new jobs, and in the last two months before delivery I became very ill. Even now, nine years later, the basic emotions that stand out from those eight months are crushing depression and frustration. However, in the very second that

How to Choose? Evaluating GOP Presidential Candidates

With 14 months to go before the next Presidential election, the media and pundits are in a frenzy, anxiously attempting to choose President Obama’s opponent. Republican Presidential candidate debates may be found on TV once a week, while social media is abuzz with supporters and detractors of every candidate and issue. At this point in the political process, five months before the first primary election, I welcome the media attention on all Presidential candidates. Many argue the media failed in this regard toward then-freshman Senator Obama in 2008.   Journalists Tom Brokaw and Charlie Rose discussed how they still did not know much about Obama or his beliefs just days before the 2008 election.   This lack of information should be unacceptable to us as voters.  Since our Presidential campaign season lasts well over a year, we should know where each candidate stands on every important issue before ever casting a single vote. It is our job, as voters, to understand and know ou

9-11 What Will YOU Do?

Sunday marks the tenth anniversary of the terrible attacks on our country that changed us forever. In 2009, Lisa and I contributed to Project 2996, writing about Joseph Navas . Last year, Lisa wrote about the emotion of 9-11 , while I shared what I was doing that morning . Our father even contributed a guest post stating what all Americans must remember . This past weekend I noticed posters in the mall calling for a 9-11 Tribute with images showing people pledging to do one thing in memory of 9-11. As our country prepares to commemorate the tenth anniversary of 9-11 this Sunday, I’ve been remembering the emotion of that day. How I felt swept up in a ferocious anger and desire to do something, anything to say we will not give in to this attack. Ten years later, I still remember that emotion and feel that desire. Ten years later, how will we honor the victims. Honor the heroes. What will you do? Go to Adoration. Pray the Rosary. Give blood. Spend time with your family. Pray for o

Looking for Leadership on Civility

In the days that followed the tragic shooting deaths in Tucson, President Obama delivered what may be remembered as one of his more powerful speeches , a direct appeal for the nation to “sharpen our instincts for empathy.” He continued, “At a time when our discourse has become so sharply polarized… it’s important for us to pause for a moment and make sure that we are talking with each other in a way that heals, not a way that wounds.” “I know that how we treat one another is entirely up to us.” As we look ahead towards the impending 2012 national election season, a time when we expect heated passionate discussions, we realize that when you support one party’s approach to solving our national problems over another, it’s easy to get caught up in the rhetoric and energy. However, this Labor Day weekend we heard a marked increase in very disturbing language coming from national leaders, including the Vice President of the United States. Whether you consider yourself sympathetic to Rep

Texas is Burning

Over the last two weeks, the national media provided intense coverage of Hurricane Irene, Tropical Storm Lee and the surprise East Coast Earthquake, but only today seemed to notice that Texas is burning.  Given the gravity of the destruction occurring in the Lone Star State, it's surprising to note that this news seems to be only a blip in the news cycle.  The entire state of Texas is experiencing the worst drought in more than 50 years with over 80% of the state considered "extreme drought conditions."  This map from The Drought Monitor at University Nebraska-Lincoln puts it in perspective. As a result of the drought, there have been a record number of wildfires since the start of wildfire season last December.  During this time, Texas has lost more than 3.6 million acres to wildfires, roughly the size of Connecticut, with damage estimates upwards of $15 Billion.   Although we have been burning for months, the exceptionally strong winds from TS Lee this we

Football, Family, & Fun!

It doesn’t matter if your favorite is high school, college ball, or the good ol’ NFL. Whether you’ve been salivating over the upcoming season waiting for your favorite teams or you’re cross-eyed from reviewing your fantasy draft lineup, take a break this Saturday night to catch a different kind of play. Make plans with the whole family this Saturday night to enjoy the movie “Game Time: Tackling the Past” on NBC at 8/7 central. At the brink of ultimate fame and glory, pro football star Jake Walker’s life and career is interrupted when a family emergency recalls him to a hometown and family that he has spent fifteen years avoiding. As he struggles with the hurt and misunderstanding of the past, he receives the crushing news that he has been cut from the team. With his life, career, and future over, Jake must unwillingly start over and reconnect with himself, his family, and his community. After watching the other Family Movie Night productions sponsored by Walmart and P&