Friday, June 29, 2007

Save Our Lady of Mount Carmel Sanctuary in China!

On May 12, 2007, the Chinese government announced that it will be dynamiting the sanctuary of Our Lady of Mount Carmel, in Tianjiajing China. The shrine, built in 1903 in thanksgiving to the Blessed Virgin for protecting Christians during the Boxer Rebellion, is a popular pilgrimage destination for the Chinese faithful and draws an estimated 40,000 to 50,000 pilgrims each year for the feast of Our Lady of Mount Carmel. The Chinese authorities have proclaimed that the site hosts "illegal religious activity" and will thus be shut down and destroyed.


The faithful of the area have made an appeal to their Catholic brethren throughout the world, pleading: "We ask all our brothers and sisters in the Lord to pray for us and spread our message to all the faithful of the world."


We ask you to please pray fervently to Our Mother, the Mother of All Peoples, to intervene for her beloved children in China and stop this desecration. Offer up Masses, Rosaries, novenas, your love and sacrifices. Let us bombard Heaven with an appeal to save the sanctuary of Our Lady of Mount Carmel. We cannot let the pleas of our brothers and sisters in China go unheard.
http://www.motherofallpeoples.com/index.php?option=content&task=view&id=1075

Thursday, June 28, 2007

The Common Good

In reading the Catechism this morning, I came across a little paragraph that has spoken volumes to me throughout this day. It might strike you as obvious and non-descript. That's the way truth is lots of times.

It was this paragraph, number 1898: "Every human community needs an authority to govern it. The foundation of such authority lies in human nature. It is necessary for the unity of the state. Its role is to ensure as far as possible the common good of the society."

This is from article two (Participation in Social Life) of chapter two (The Human Community) of section one (Man's Vocation: Life in the Spirit) of part three (Life in Christ) of the Catechism of the Catholic Church. Social life is a fairly broad category, and perhaps political issues come first to mind when reading this subsection on authority. But first in my mind as I read is the authority of parents. There are lots of other good things said about what authority is and is not, but this phrase struck me today: its role is to ensure the common good.

I have written before about my ponderings of what authority is all about. Especially this post and this one from about a year ago. Perhaps I am just very slow to truly grasp things, or perhaps today I just received a special grace gift to have this sink in more deeply and more joyfully than in the past. But it just clicked in me: 1) Yes, I am in a position of authority vis a vis my children. 2) There is a God-given purpose for this authority I have. 3) It is not for me to get my jollies out of having power to control others. 4) It is not for me to get my way or to have things easy for me. 5) It is so that all of us together in this family can have the best possible common good.

A few caveats, just for the sake of my pondering in print. I share this authority with my husband, and it needs to be a joint working for the good of all. And of course, littlies are often not going to appreciate that the common good is just that. So it's not quite democratic rule. But what a richness if kids can learn from a young age to aim for the common good in whatever group they find themselves a part. To be honest, 5) is so new in my conscious brain that I almost can't picture how it functions in our life. I'm sure it has, from time to time, occurred by accident. I hope it starts occurring more frequently on purpose henceforth.

I've felt a struggle, long term, whenever I've meditated on authority and its function. I've been attracted to a strong voice of authority, and enjoyed a secure feeling of "real authority." Unfortunately, though, it wasn't. Real, that is. It was more about power and control, fear and submission. (I've tried dishing it out this way too, and it hasn't been any more real.) Still, I've felt a huge emotional need for an authority figure. But now I see that a true figure of authority is one who loves me personally. One who helps me be what God calls me to be.

I thought today (didn't connect the dots until just this moment) of the overwhelming experience of being in the presence of John Paul the Great. I was within the same square mile with him three times in my life: once in Rome, once in the Philippines, and once in Toronto. I was a bit lost in Rome as I was a brand spankin' new Catholic and was overwhelmed by everything my senses picked up. But both the other times, there was this profound sense that he was my Papa. I've seen pictures of young people looking at him and crying with this seemingly inexplicable bursting of their hearts, as if they are throwing themselves at the heart of God and finding there, finally, True Love. I realize God graced this man with a charism that simply emanated from him. Authority. Love. Fatherhood. He was a Father to at least one, if not two, three or four lost generations.

And this is the same grace God calls me to exercise and walk in. Not for the whole world, but just for my (currently) two bright and bouncy kiddos. To love them personally. My person loving their persons. And all of us learning to work together so that we are all the best and the happiest we can be. Not falling off the path toward cowardice nor violence, but stepping forward with charity (CCC 1889).

What can I say? Thank you, Lord, for truth.

This Marine Truly "Gets" Motherhood

This was posted on a Catholic mothers' group I belong to recently, and I received permission to post it here.

Views of the female body.... applied to NIP (nursing in public)

My 19 yr old son is a US Marine and stationed in the Deep South. He is at a mixed base of Army and Marines, the two do not mix well. As he was walking through the base today he happened upon an Army Lance Corporal breast feeding her baby. Her 'buddies' were giving her quite a difficult time, making comments about being next and such. My son, in his Marine uniform which put him at considerable risk, sat down next to this woman he had never met and began a conversation about the base. He looked her straight in the face, addressed her as a person and every time one of her 'buddies' tried to intrude he just spoke right over them. This woman was quite confused until her baby unlatched and he politely asked if she wanted him to switch sides when her baby did. After a moment, the woman said yes and everyone switched. Her 'buddies' were completely confounded by this and left. My son sat with her until her baby was done nursing. She ask him why he was so calm about her NIP and he told her that his mother is a LLLL and nursed him and his sibs until they were 4. I guess they had quite a conversation about NIP and then he called me.

My oh my, I don't think I've ever heard him quite so MAD. He wanted to know why men thought it was ok to ogle breasts whenever they wanted to. How could guys watch a woman NIP and make a sexual relationship out of feeding baby? Then he and I talked about how if it was ok to sexually harass a woman who was NIP that our society should go the way of the Romans. Like I said he was REALLY MAD. (This is the edited version; to say that he scorched my eardrums with his tirade would not even begin to explain.)

Then there was this long silence on his end and he said "Mom as long as men think that women are second class citizens and there for their enjoyment, not their companionship, babies will always be seen that way too." I asked him why he thought this. He said that babies are seen as an extension of their mothers until they are able to fully communicate with society. So if women are second class citizens that makes babies even lower and therefore not worth the effort of giving time, resources, money or the sacrifice of a parent's consideration above their own existence. If a woman was fair game to sexually harass, then a nursing mother was doubly at risk because she was challenging the status quo by making her baby a priority. That NIP or breastfeeding in general would never be seen as ok until women were seen as people instead of sexual toys and babies were seen as individual people instead of as extensions of their mothers.

I thought his thoughts might be apropos.

Just a moment. I have to say it and I know it's bragging but I have a pretty darn cool kid!

Peace,
Maggie Payne, LLLL


I've got to say, Maggie, I agree with you there!

Monday, June 25, 2007

IRL

For those of you who do a lot of email, you might know the title does not refer to Ireland, but the term "in real life". Real life, that is, as opposed to in the virtual world of email and cyberspace.

I realized yesterday that my life has taken a shift recently away from my cyber-relationships and into my "real life" relationships.

For as long as I can remember I have held my breath waiting for mail delivery. It used to be just once a day that I got to breathe, but of course in recent years, I can check or make mail come to me every 60 seconds or so. I hear that little "bum-pum" sound that announces my mail and feel a tiny little satisfaction in me that someone (or something) somewhere is trying to interact with me.

Maybe it has just been the course of life, or maybe it is God's special design (you think?), but I have found myself drawn into real life relationships in the last few weeks. Now, let's admit it -- I'm an "at home" mom, and many days my social interactions are primarily with my children. Occasionally dh and I can have a conversation when we're both home, awake, and fed. Occasionally I interact with librarians, store clerks, passersby, acquaintances at Mass, neighbors. But those interactions are rarely on the relationship level.

I'm drawn for another reason. It's hard. Tell me I'm not the only one. It is hard for me to interact with other people IRL. I don't always know what to say, or if it is ok for me to say it, or how to break into a conversation, or if I've left gracefully enough or if I'm hanging around too long, boring someone or leaving them wondering what the heck I'm trying to say.

It's an area of a lot of potential growth for me. I can clack off my thoughts on my keyboard with ease. Whether it is an email or blog post or elsewhat, I rarely struggle for words for more than a few seconds. If it is a conversation, I might plan it or rehash it again for days.

I'm also finding IRL people, avenues, who address real concerns for me. Real concerns meaning the things I take to cyberspace to find answers for. The Communion and Liberation group I've been attending (and its hostess) have been instrumental in hearing God's direction for me. My Vacation Bible School experience, my visiting friend, interactions with neighbors, all have dovetailed into this IRL directional pull. Even seeing my dh at the computer, and instead of thinking "he's connecting to the vitality of the world", thinking "he's not talking to me", all goes into the mix.

It's summer after all. I always feel more able to be social when it is warm and I don't have to struggle just to stay warm and alive.

But all that said, still need the retreat into what is easy for me to process what is harder.

Friday, June 22, 2007

Stretch a Little, Fill a Little

It seems God wants me full. And the only way to get more in right now is to stretch me out, shake me up, make some more room, then fill in the blanks with more grace.

That's what this week felt like.

Sunday, Monday and Tuesday I had some incredible stretching days. Wednesday was a bridge, but it had plenty of stretching too.

Then, on Wednesday, a friend came to visit for a few days. Nothing gives one a good look at life like having someone from outside one's personal context live in one's personal context for a few days. This friend is one who remained accepting of me after I left the fellowship (i.e. church) where we were both members, and journeyed on to become a Catholic. And in reality, she is the only one who has remained a friend; with the others I've fallen out of contact.

So, she is not Catholic, but accepts that I am. I have no problem accepting that she is not Catholic, because I know that she walks in the the light of the Lord. I'm thinking this is a rare thing in my life, having a relationship like this, I mean.

Anyway, if you are like me, you look at your life and look at it again when someone stays with you. But this friend has the peaceful presence about her that makes being judged or evaluated by her the farthest thing from my mind. Yet in that context, I see how our whole life as a family pulses to the rhythm of Christ's love -- or at least that potential is there. Yes, with company about we are all probably on a little bit better behaviour than we would otherwise be. But it makes me think; the saints watch us from heaven, and cheer us on. Who was it that wrote about wanting to impress heaven? Live in such a way for heaven to applaud, even if no one else will or no one else sees.

I've seen this week that gentleness and understanding with my children is not simply something to undertake when I feel like it or when I think it will get me desired results. It is what children deserve. Their hearts, their souls need to be treasured and nourished by me even more than their bodies and worrying about if they eat right for their blood type.

This week I've seen that I have many potentially great friendships around me -- or at least as many as I need.

I've seen that God calls to me and has more for me than I'm ready to take in. If I get more disciplined in taking things in, more expectant of catching His thoughts, more quick to respond to opportunities, I'll be able to take in even more and life will get all the fuller. Stretch and fill is an ongoing reality.

What else is worth pursuing if not God and His wants?

Tuesday, June 19, 2007

Nobody Told Me There'd Be Days Like These...

Why is it, do you suppose, that the typical parenting books that everybody starts out with end when the child turns two or three? Is it because no one wants to buy a 1,700 page tome? Is it because by the time children are three many of them are off to pre-school or head start or full time day care and therefore they require professional manuals (i.e. books for the "child care professionals"), and parents wash their hands of them? Or go directly to the psychologist's office?

Now, honestly, the books I did get (as gifts, my pride prompts me t add), the What To Expect series, were probably the worst books I have ever read on the subject of child rearing. Well, unless you count the book by the Pearls. That probably was worse.

And I'm being partially facetious here. But honestly, why didn't any one tell me about the "terrible five-almost-sixes"? I haven't read the book yet, how can I just get one sprung on me -- a 5-almost-6-year old, that is, and expect to know what to do?

The wise mamas in my life have been telling me this is a developmental stage, it is an "awakening", a huge transition. Tales of otherwise contemplative little girls (even) turning into little Tasmanians and getting violent. It's all about figuring out who they are, I'm told.

The one we have at our house has been putting us through several days/weeks of ... well, intense need for spiritual togetherness and maternal tenderness, kid gloves, and about 5,000 pounds of patience. I hope we've just about gotten to the bottom of the "awakening", because I could use a peaceful interlude.

But I have an idea I'm in the wrong profession if that's what I want the most....

Really, I know that this is the stuff that sanctification is made of. Just one other quick question.... What Else lies ahead that no one has prepared me for?!

Saturday, June 16, 2007

How I Wish I Could Get Everyone in my Diocese to Read This

The diocese of Steubenville, the parishes of Steubenville in particular, is in the midst of some very difficult moments.

Two images come to mind. One is of my 2nd grade class when we were learning about how to care for our teeth. A visiting public health nurse gave each of us some little red pellets to chew, and then we were to go look at our teeth in a mirror. The other image is of a smallish crowd of folks suddenly trying to run for their lives.

These images come to mind because they are both about revealing what is hidden. Most of the kids in my 2nd grade class looked at their teeth and saw red guck stuck to all the plaque they hadn't brushed off their teeth. I do remember one girl (who always brought a healthy lunch and was otherwise pretty much the Perfect Kid) still had pearly white teeth after that experiment.

And the runners. People who are accustomed to running could go at a clip for quite awhile. Others would be motivated by adrenaline for a short time but then be overcome by their bodies and stop, panting.

Back to the diocese. We are building a new Cathedral and six parishes are being closed down. There is grief, both at the closings and at all of the upset caused by the grief. A few folks have been very vocal in questioning the Bishop (to use polite terms). I admit I was surprised and a bit shocked at first, but that was two years ago.

It seems this change is showing us where our hearts lie. Is it with "what we've always known"? Is it with ourselves? Our desire for control? Are our hearts with Christ and His Bishop wherever they may lead us?

What frightens me the most is the wide range of odd reactions, evident from letters to the editor published in both the Catholic and local newspapers. I thought the idea of Catholics wanting the Church to run like a democracy was only a problem in liberal strongholds, which we are not. One recent letter suggested a vote (to be accomplished by next Saturday, no less) where every person in the diocese would hand off a card saying "yes" or "no" to a plan that was set in place, with extensive planning and imput from lay and clergy, over two years ago, and for which $7.1M has already been raised! Which wall do you want me to bang my head against?

So, I read this message this morning, and found it so fitting.

January 19, 2004


Jesus the King

Dearest children in the world, you are afraid. I wish to alleviate fear entirely from your lives. Followers of the Light should never fear because man cannot diminish My Light. If you carry Me within you, there is nothing that can hurt your eternity. I will protect My Spirit within you and that is the only thing that should concern you, the loss of My Spirit. In this time of change, you must walk in the Light with determination. Children do not often fear because they rely on their parents for everything. When they face a problem, they run to their parents and place the problem with their parents, running off again to continue with their childlike pursuits. Take heed, dear ones. This is what We ask of you at this time. And We ask this for your own peace. This is the way to proceed during this time of change and transition. Soon, it will come naturally to you and you will have no need to remind yourself each day.

I have asked My children to practice their faith and by that I mean continued acts of trust when trust would seem difficult and there is a temptation toward fear and distress. You must say, I have given this to My Father in heaven. God wants to protect Me so I will take full advantage of my Parentage and allow Him to do so. In this way, I am mentally liberated and can do the work My Father wills for Me in freedom. My concentration should be on each task that is placed in front of Me, never worrying about the past, never worrying about the future. Only in the present can I serve My God, and My God needs My service. Would you say, No, God, I cannot serve you now as I must sit down and worry about tomorrow. Find someone else to do your work while I busy myself with this worrying.

My brothers and sisters, your God has not asked you to worry this day. He has planned many tasks for you today and worrying is not among those tasks. So worrying and distressing yourself is your will for yourself, not God's will for you. A true servant, and I want each one of you to be true servants, is joyful because he or she only wants to serve God in the present. This servant knows that in the present God's will is being accomplished and this servant is a part of heaven by the commitment he or she has made. What else can you ask for, little ones? You are on the straight path to heaven. Should you be taken from that path at any time, you will simply complete your ascent effortlessly because I will be there to lift you the remainder of the way. In other words, as long as you stay on the path, there is nothing, nothing, that should have the power to upset you. Your eternity is secured. Do you understand? You will lose everything from this world eventually. That is for certain, as when you lay down to die you bring nothing with you but your service to God. If you are united to Me, your Jesus who loves you, I will stand before you and justice and your sins will be blown away like so many small embers from a fire. So for this day, I ask that you simply concentrate on what it is God is asking of you right now. That is My request, little ones. Focus on serving God's Kingdom today.

Sunday, June 10, 2007

Saturday, June 09, 2007

It's Out!! Rejoice!

I know all of my faithful blog readers are waiting with bated breath to hear the news. The living room carpet is out! The floor is beautiful! It will need more washing, and the furniture is not put back yet (we are still working out how to do so). But I will post a few of the in-process pictures.

The first peel-back.

A lovely pattern is revealed.




How about a close up of that? And exactly what was someone thinking to put carpet over this in the first place?!


And in front of the fireplace, brick work and a hole are revealed. I suppose this means it was actually used as a gas fireplace at one time. Hmm.... potential here?

My son and I have been reading about microbes, dust mites and other creatures that share our lives without being seen. Talk about extra motivation to complete this project quickly. I've been saying for I don't know how long that I would hate to look at our carpet under a microscope. I'm guessing there would have been more microbes in it than there are people in China. Perhaps in the whole world!

I am just so happy! I need to play the Peanuts theme and dance on the new floor!

More pictures to come when we get the room refurnished.

Friday, June 08, 2007

Thought From Today's Homily

A reflection on the book of Tobit, where Tobias marries the wife promised to him by the law, even though the previous seven gents who did so died on the wedding night...

and on the life of Pope John Paul II: what would have happened if he had told God after his father died "This is the third death in my family in eight years; You've taken them all away from me and I cannot serve you anymore!"

"Radical obedience to the will of God in your life can change the world."

And with that in mind, I'm away from the computer and off to read a few paragraphs from the Catechism, and have some quiet time.

Thursday, June 07, 2007

Vacation Bible School Saga

I've volunteered to help out with VBS at my parish this year. Actually, there was an urgent cry for a musician, since the "usual" is out with a newborn. Somewhat reluctantly, I admit, I agreed to do music.

My last experience with Vacation Bible School was when I was about 17, after having gone to VBS myself in my later youth (up through 8th grade). This is much different. It is a very slick package, curriculum planned for each day all the way down to the snacks. The music is very rockin'. It's pretty good, actually. I was a bit concerned as the first time I opened the book I saw songs "sung to the tune of" songs like "My Bonnie Lies Over the Ocean" and "I've Been Working on the Railroad". I could not put my heart into teaching songs like that. Just could not.

So today I met with a woman who also answered a desperate plea for a musician, and she is supposed to help me. She is a pianist for a rather highbrow sacred chorus at the University, and she's not a member of our parish (meaning she doesn't have a feel for its culture). Our too-long discussion this afternoon reminded me of the joke that goes

Q: What's the difference between a liturgist and a terrorist?
A: You can reason with a terrorist.

I completely understand having strong opinions about things. I have them, too. But now, these days, for me, it boils down to serving the need. I don't do curriculum as we learn at home. If there's going to be a VBS, I would prefer a very simple approach without all the orchestration. But this has a curriculum, and orchestration, so I am trying to figure out what is expected and how to fit in. I don't go into fits if kids do hand motions during Mass, even though I don't like hand motions. I don't have a big problem with praising God with loud, rollicking electric guitar music. I don't even have a big problem of using it at Mass, at least for a Mass intended for young children. I don't consider it losing our Catholic heritage. It is just a different part of our Catholic heritage. I like a good organ, but let's face it, Catholics don't pump out huge numbers of great organists, at least not around here. (We could learn a thing or two here from the conservative Lutherans, who pretty much require everyone going into elementary education to learn to play the organ, if they have the remotest musical ability. Then again, I think musical ability is inborn for Lutherans....)

So, it will be an interesting week for me next week, teaching K-4 kids rock songs along with a childless woman who opposes the whole premise. Yes, indeed.

...................................................
Monday's update:

Well, my potential helper did not arrive, and really, it was for the best. I could not have imagined her having any comfort level with it, and the middle school girls helped out doing hand motions, so all was well.

My guitar callouses have been seriously neglected in recent years, however, and I'm in desperate need of a guitar pick so that I don't get another blood blister on my strumming finger!

Wednesday, June 06, 2007

Last Saturday's Accomplishment

Although it isn't part of our living room, I include these pictures of our upstairs hallway. The carpet was all connected, so out it came. I finished the whole upstairs on Saturday afternoon. The wood is much lighter than downstairs, and a bit worn and stained in different ways than downstairs. But I love it!


And I thought I'd throw in a picture of the top of the hallway, featuring our (broken) stained glass window. Fortunately we have all of the pieces that have broken off the window, and perhaps someday we need to get it fixed.



Currently I have about 3/4 of the downstairs entry hallway finished. The wood is lovely, but very dark. My next item of research will need to be the sanding and revarnishing process.

Monday, June 04, 2007

Live the Life of Ease

I have been reading through Part Three, Section One of the Catechism, and today came across paragraph 1804. Check this out (bolding mine):

1804 Human virtues are firm attitudes, stable dispositions, habitual perfections of intellect and will that govern our actions, order our passions, and guide our conduct according to reason and faith. They make possible ease, self-mastery, and joy in leading a morally good life. The virtuous man is he who freely practices the good.
The moral virtues are acquired by human effort. They are the fruit and seed of morally good acts; they dispose all the powers of the human being for communion with divine love.
Imagine that! It's not the brand of cleaner I buy that makes me smile when I clean my toilet! It's is choosing to do it out of a virtuous heart.

So, I gather from this that the only people who truly are joyful and truly have life easy are those who have put in the hard work to gain virtue.

Surely that means I'm not the only one who finds joy elusive!

Saturday, June 02, 2007

A New Blog!

I decided to start a separate blog for my genealogy undertakings. This is primarily because I wanted to post a diary I had worked hard at transcribing a few years back. It was written by my great-great-great grandmother, Almeda Brown, in 1896.

It's up now. So, please come and visit: http://vanvalingenealogy.wordpress.com/

Friday, June 01, 2007

Analyze and Respond: June 1 DFOT Message

Some years back I had an acquaintance who became famous (between hubby and I) for the phrase "analyze and respond". I believe I heard him utter it while as a passenger in his car, he waited for another driver to take the right of way at a 4-way intersection. (Folks are notorious around here for yielding when they should not.)

It's been a handy phrase. Analyze and respond.

I thought of it again when reading the June 1 Direction For Our Times message. We are called to constantly be in communication with Jesus and seeking His will. As I was reading in the Catechism this morning, key ingredients in discerning God's will include: being "sufficiently present to oneself" (CCC 1779), and having a well-formed conscience which formulates judgements according to reason (CCC 1783). And of course, lest I presume the obvious, let's not leave out assimilating the Word of God in faith and prayer (CCC 1802).

To discern the will of God, we must analyze what we have received from the Lord. And we must respond to it. As I have written about before, I have this strange tendency to fall down on the response factor. When we know and then do as instructed by the Lord, we can know that we are in process of discerning God's will. Because we never discern "standing still", right? We are in the process of walking with the Lord, or at least we should be. Perhaps this is why it seems hard sometimes to know what the Lord has for us, because in reality we have stopped walking with Him, and are trying to stand still. And we become unsure, life starts to feel unravel-ly. In order to know God's will, we have to be about doing the things He's already told us.

This is what I have been gleaning in prayer, and it is what I glean from today's message. That, and it's all wrapped up in the larger context of God's overarching plan, which includes bringing lost souls back to Him through us.

The message follows:

June 1, 2007 Jesus

Heavenly consideration is the compass which will insure a true course for each apostle. In every situation, consider heaven's goals for you and for those around you. The apostle who gives thoughtful consideration to heaven's goals will be known for speaking less, rather than more. This apostle will make decisions in My company, aware of My goals. I would ask each of My apostles to practice this today. Move into your day gently,aware that I may wish to adjust your course several times. You expect one thing, perhaps. But I, your Jesus, may need something else from you. You are committed to a certain plan, perhaps. But I your Jesus, may have chosen a different plan altogether. Only with thoughtful consideration will you be alert to My will in each situation. Apostles, you have been prepared to serve in the manner that I require you to serve. You have been taught many things about holiness. If you are humble, you are aware that there are many things still to be learned about holiness. If you are humble, you may protest, saying, "Jesus, I am not ready. I must become holier still." I understand your weaknesses and struggles. I do not fear the limits of your humanity. I have factored your weaknesses into the plan I have for you. You should never be afraid that you lack the holiness to complete the mission that I have willed for you. I will make you holy if you proceed according to My directions. You shall have all you need.Please begin to use all that you have been taught. Begin to see others as I see others, in need of love and tolerance. You have been taught not to make judgements. Do not make judgements. You have been taught to spend time in silence. Spend time in silence. You have been taught to trust Me.Trust in Me now, today. You have been taught not to be afraid of the future. Do not fear the future. Dear apostles, you have been taught to pray. Pray. Now, today, every day. Pray. Ask Me for mercy for this world.Ask Me for conversion graces for this world. Ask Me for the Spirit of truth in such an abundance that all eyes will be opened to God's truth. My beloved faithful apostles, I want you to use everything you have been given to serve Me so that others may be saved. I am with you. I will direct you in each moment. You must be at peace so that others can learn about peace.You must be calm so that others can learn about calm. Do not underestimate the power of setting an example of heavenly consideration. It is this consideration in each apostle that will ultimately allow Me to reclaim a multitude of souls for the Father.

I Am Now Going to Be Way Too Serious About a Cute Commercial

This evening I came across this cute commercial which is You Tubed at this site:
http://amateurhour.stblogs.com/2007/05/25/the-soccer-partner/

Rather than post heavy, ponderous comments on someone else's blog, I thought I would do so here, where heavy is perhaps lingua franca.

In what order did the following thoughts hit me? Not sure:

1) If only it were this easy for every couple to conceive a child. This might just be very painful to watch for many who struggle to conceive. How many people have lost all sense of wonder and spontaneity in their intimate marital relationship because of the need for correct timing, striking while the iron is hot so to speak, regardless of how they feel physically or emotionally. Man, if all it took were a white tablecloth and a glass of wine, there would be a whole lot fewer couples in tears.

2) Deep down, what children want is not more stuff, it is love. Loving people filling their lives. Siblings are the best gifts parents can choose to give their children -- assuming they actually do have it within their power to have a choice one way or the other in the matter (see thought #1!).

3) Ok, now I don't mean to be crass with this thought, but the one thing this boy did not have up his sleeve was an ovulation predictor kit, or his mother's NFP chart (at least, it was not visible to us, the viewers!). I slide from that thought into contemplating how even among fertile women there can be such depth of ignorance about one's own physical workings, one's fertility, how the whole thing works. I wonder how much the average man knows about female fertility. I was just picturing the producers of this commercial thinking that it makes perfect sense that all a couple needs is a romantic setting and BAM, pregnancy occurs. When you are on the wishing end of things, it seems amazing that anyone ever conceives, considering all the variables that have to come together just right.

Right, I know, it's only a cute commercial (and I have to admit I can't tell you now what was being advertised). Anytime you put a newborn baby into advertising, you open the field to very passionate thoughts and feelings. I suppose that's the ultimate point -- it's evocative.

And at least it helps the company (whoever they are) get free help spreading their ad.

The Window Exposed



I took down the curtains and rolled up the shade this morning to reveal a beautiful window. The only downside is that we are so close to the street that there is little privacy without some kind of covering. The window and wood are both in excellent shape however.


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