Saturday, December 31, 2011

Pink Unicorns, Rainbows, and Pasta


One of my beta readers pointed out there is religious satire built around an invisible pink unicorn. Apparently it's something like the flying spaghetti monster--a fabled deity one of my atheist friends enjoys tossing at me via Facebook. I finally had to figure out what the heck she was going on about. If I'm to be ridiculed, I may as well understand the finer points of the taunt. It seems the belief in God is like believing in the spaghetti monster. The invisible pink unicorn is in the same vein.

One of the characters in my wip is a pink unicorn, albeit quite visible. So what? Does this mean readers will assume I'm doing a religious parody? What if my characters consume spaghetti with said unicorn? And heaven forbid if they should do so under a rainbow, because you know who has tried to hijack that symbol. A Biblical symbol going back to the Old Testament when God promised not to flood the world again. Now it's flown by cross-dressers in gay pride parades, as if they were taunting Him to let loose the flood. Lord have mercy. And just to clarify, I've no problem with people with same sex attraction issues. I encourage you to check out COURAGE for help with that.

But pink unicorns, rainbows, and spaghetti have been around before atheists and others took them as their symbols. And they are all things I love. Why shouldn't I enjoy them as they were meant to be enjoyed? How dare they snatch these things from innocence! Allow the pink unicorns to romp in the green fields under rainbows, slurping spaghetti. Hmm, I'm not altogether sure if they do eat spaghetti. Guess I should consult my youngest daughters on that point.

Or maybe I should give in and color my Unicorn blue.


Want proof in God's existance so you can refute the claims of the pink unicorn hijackers? Check out Robert Spitzer's book, New Proofs for the Existence of God: Contributions of Contemporary Physics and Philosophy.

Friday, December 30, 2011

Catholic Blogs, Resolutions, and Hugo Movie Review

Blog Hopping

I went blog hopping at some of the blogs participating in The Conversion Diary's Quick Takes Friday thing. Now I wish I'd been doing it. Maybe I shall this Friday. It might get me blogging more regularly. Maybe that could be one of my New Year's Resolutions- to blog more.

Resolutions

Speaking of resolutions, I'd like to direct you to a post by The Licensed Fool on "Baggage and Belonging"  I felt it inspirational. He talks about taking ownership for one's choices so that you can fully surrender to the Lord. Well, he explains it better. It's worth the trip over there to read his insight.

HUGO

I brought the twins to see Hugo. The movie was as wonderful as the book The Invention of Hugo Cabret by Brian Selznick, about a boy in the 1930's living in the clockworks at a Paris train station. I can't remember when I've said that. It's different because the book had pages and pages of amazing drawings mixed with the narration. But they both have a place.



We didn't see it in 3D, but there was still that feel of movement through the train station and the clockworks. I think 3D glasses would have been inconvenient, actually, because I had tears in my eyes so often. It's such a bittersweet story.

The other nice thing about the story in film form- you get to see some original footage of the old old films such as A Trip to the Moon. I've watched it on YouTube, but something about seeing it on the big screen made it magical.



On the moral meter- this film is nearly perfect. There's no sex or nudity. No bad language. There is minimal violence. One character smokes and drinks too much, but he's not a central character, we don't like him, and he's eventually found dead in the river. (No yuckiness is shown.)

There's a tiny side story that they could have done without. You hear minor adult characters discussing whether or not a man's wife's baby is his or not.

One couple in the movie have a crucifix over their bed. Not that it makes it a Catholic film, but it's nice to see.

Thursday, December 22, 2011

A New Look

I've created a new banner and set up a new look for my Catholic Once Again blog. I thought it needed updating.  It's the same blog with the same topics- Catholic faith, history, books, music, pro-life issues, and all that good stuff. 

Hopefully it's cool to look at as well as easy on the eyes. I tried a black background for the posts but I went crazy trying to read the white type. Let me know if this one doesn't do it for you.

I hope my bloggy friends have a Merry Christmas! :)

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Catholic Rock- A free download from The Thirsting

Howdy,

I've blogged about The Thirsting before (here) and I'll do it again. In fact, I'll do it right now. :) 

They're a cool Catholic rock band and if you go check out The Thirsting Facebook page, you can find out how to download their new song, "Universal Youth", for free. At this moment, it's about the 6th post down. While you're there, click on the link to their web page so you can buy their album--either the physical cd or mp3 if you want it instantly. Makes a great last minute gift, that way. You can send it right to somebody's computer.

No, I'm not getting paid to say any of this. I don't know them personally. I've just been listening to their album as I ready the house for Christmas. Sitting down for a rest, I clicked on their Facebook page and got a nice suprise I wanted to share.

Hanukkah as Part of Christian History

Happy Hanukkah to My Jewish brothers and sisters!

I was thinking about what this festival means in the Christian story.

"At that time the festival of the Dedication took place in Jerusalem. It was winter, and Jesus was walking in the temple, in the temple in the portico of Solomon." Jn. 10:22
 Church in Zabludow

This is a reference to Hanukkah (sometimes spelled Chanukah), the eight day Festival of Lights.

If you have a Catholic Bible*, you'll have the book of Maccabees in it and you can read about the origin of this festival. Look at 1 Mac. 4 and 2 Mac. 10. I'll just quote a bit. Here's 1 Mac. 4: 52-56. "Early in the morning on the twenty-fifth day of the ninth month, which is the month of Chis'lev, in the one hundred forty-eighth year, they rose and offered sacrifice, as the law directs, on the new altar of burnt offering that they had built. At the very season and on the very day that the Gentiles had profaned it... So they celebrated the dedication of the altar for eight days..."

The Talmud adds that they had not enough oil, yet the lamps burned for eight days.


* To learn more about why Catholics have more books than Protestant Bibles, check out this YouTube video about a book by Gary Michutacalled Why Catholic Bibles are Bigger.

Sunday, December 18, 2011

In This Last Week of Advent, Don't Do Like Martha

It's the final Sunday of Advent. You may go here to review today's Mass readings.

As the final rush hits, and you're traveling or preparing for guests, buying and wrapping gifts, putting the finishing touches on your house, please take the time to remember the reason for the season.
I have this on my car! :)

The best gift for any of us is Christ Himself! :)  

Taking the time to pray is more important than an extra batch of cookies. Slowing down to sit and read a Christ centered Christmas story with your family is more loving than making sure the ornaments are hanging just so on the tree. And you'll probably find everyone is a little bit happier for it. My advice- reduce stress and increase your focus on Jesus this year.

Remember Jesus's advice to Martha, the sister of Mary and Lazarus, when she was upset that Mary was sitting and listening to Jesus, while she was so busy with household tasks.

"Martha, Martha, you are anxious and upset about many things; one thing only is required. Mary has chosen the better portion..." Luke 10: 41-42

I don't mean to belittle Martha, and goodness knows our Lord loves her. But He was pointing out that there are more important things than having a perfect household. And if I may be playful-- Although she's amazingly creative, there are more important things than having a Martha Stewart Christmas. ;-)

Hmm, but I wouldn't mind if she came by and gave me a hand this week.

Martha Stewart

Thursday, December 8, 2011

Super Pro Life Fetal Development Video

Because I get many hits on this blog by people searching for prenatal development terms such as "15 week fetus," "9th week of pregnancy," and "abortion in first trimester," I decided to post a link to a video I discovered on YouTube. It's packed with information on the development of an unborn baby.

The video is, "The Case Against Abortion:Prenatal Development." I found the music jarring and turned it down, but the information is good. The video shows pictures of embryos and fetuses and discusses information such as when the heart begins beating, brain development, thumb sucking, and more.

Quick Quiz - What's the difference between an embryo and a fetus? A baby is called an embryo up until the eighth week after conception. From then on, he or she is a fetus. (That fact's not in the vid. That's just my little courtesy aside.)

Most people watching this will be surprised to see that this new little embryo is not just a "clump of cells."

Anyway- do watch, and show it to anyone wondering what a baby in the womb looks like at 28 days, 39 days, 46 days, 7 weeks, and 9 weeks. I hope you'll read the facts presented and think about them. It's good to be informed.


Now, I'm interjecting myself. Getting away from the film content.

I've heard the argument- "Women should have the right to do what they want with their bodies."

No- That doesn't fly.

The baby is a distinct human being.

He's an organism distinct from his mother. (Separate DNA than hers. Separate heart, arms, legs, etc. He's not part of her body.)

He's human. (He has human DNA.  Humans produce other humans. We learned that in kindergarten science.)

He's alive. (He's growing and developing. So we know he's not dead.)

And I haven't even gotten into the religious arguments.

No photo today, because I'm encouraging you to go watch the video. :)

Okay, maybe just one little photo.

Friday, December 2, 2011

Jesse Tree Advent Project

The girls and I are doing a Jesse Tree this year. Basically, you make ornaments that match readings in the Old Testament. There are a number of web sites that can help you with the project. I'll give you links to three that I found: 
1 You can find Jesse Tree instructions at CatholicCulture.org
2 Or this site, which has  everything you need for the Jesse Tree project.
3 Here's a super nice one with instructions to make a Jesse tree with the ornaments on wooden disks.

It's quite the devotional because you journey through the old Old Testament.

We get to color and cut out the ornaments. I have each girl take turns looking up and reading the Bible passage that matches the particular ornament. (Good practice finding the chapter and verse.)

And of course we discuss the passages.

We do the Jesse Tree every couple of years at Advent and each time they get a little more out of it. It's nice this time of year because Advent is a time of waiting for Christ and, in a way, the Old Testament was a very long Advent--the people of God waiting for the Savior.
Working on the Jesse Tree Project

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

The Roman Missal Translation- In a Nutshell

Blessed Advent to You.

Now that you've experienced the changed in the Mass, what do you think? 
I like the new translation of the Roman Missal. The meaning behind the words is deeper. It's truer to the Latin. Plus, we who are experiencing the transition are nudged to pay attention. At this time we can't simply say our responses robotically. We're forced to be mindful and hopefully we'll contemplate the meaning of words such as "consubstantial."

When I've mentioned the new translation, I've been asked, "What IS a Roman Missal?" No, it's not a rocket launched from Vatican City. It's the ritual text containing the prayers and instructions for saying Mass. We used to call it a Sacramentary, at least in English we did. You can read more about the Roman Missal at the USCCB web site.

The gist of this whole thing is, they did a hasty translation of the Roman Missal into English when they decided to begin saying Mass in people's colloquial languages. This new translation is supposed to remedy that. It's more true to the actual Roman Missal and it matches the updated version of the Roman Missal (because it has been updated since then to include such things as prayers for newly canonized saints.) There you have it- the Mass change in a nutshell. Nice and simply put.

But you can read more in Jimmy Akin's book Mass Revision: How the Liturgy is Changing and What it Means for You. It's available as an ebook and in paperback.

I hear and read people's complaints about the changes. Maybe they're uncomfortable having to learn new responses. It was a little clumsy the first Sunday, but we'll get used to it. If you're just entering the Catholic Church, you're lucky. You get to start fresh with the new responses and don't have to unlearn anything.

our Advent candles

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Book Sale: Young Adult Fantasy

It's nearly Thanksgiving, for those of us in the U.S.A. and you know what the day after that is, Black Friday- the big shopping day. I don't know about you, but I like online shopping.

If you have any teenagers or young adults on your list, Catholic or otherwise, maybe get them a book. Maybe buy them my book! :)

There's a sale on the paperback version right now!



Syzygy, is a story within a story.

A young patient in a mental hospital won't reveal his name. He'll only speak to Miriam, a patient who has lost her son and husband. Alternately pensive, then manic, the unknown patient tells Miriam a fantastic love story she suspects only came from his imagination.

The tale is this...

A super-human criminal agent goes rogue to protect the girl his organization is after.

When the leader of Finn's enclave orders him to find and kidnap Bea Jones, Finn falls crazy in love and betrays family and clan to protect her, though in Fir law, traitors are killed.

Getting Bea to return his affection proves more of a challenge than beheading his fellow mobsters and computer hacking.

Bea is funny, sometimes awkward, and basically kind. In short, she's your average young Catholic woman who abruptly learns she's the target of a paranormal-mob ring.  

This fast paced urban fantasy touches on life, love, depression, and true friendship. 

For a limited time you can buy Syzygy at Lulu for 25% off. This is the paperback version of Syzygy listed at Lulu listed at $9.50. 

Use coupon code  BUYMYBOOK305 at checkout and receive 25% off your order. The maximum savings with this promotion is $50. You can only use the code once per account, and you can't use this coupon in combination with other coupon codes.  This great offer ends on December 14, 2011 at 11:59 PM PST.

And, as always, it's also sold as an ebook at Lulu for $2. or for the  low ebook price of $1.99 at Smashwords. And if you want a low low price and you have a Kindle, check out Syzygy at Amazon for only $ .99. 

Check out my sidebar if you want to read a sample of Syzygy or read my article about how Catholic is Syzygy, if you worry it's not in line with Catholic values, or, if you think it'll be too in-your-face-preachy for that non-Catholic on your list. (Don't worry- it's not at all.) 

It appeals to young readers who like fantasy, urban fantasy, Catholic or not. I've had atheist teens rave about it. So there you go. Check one item off your list. ;)

Monday, November 21, 2011

Death Is Eternal Whatever Its Nature *plus* Faith and Reason

It's a cloudy November day. Yes, we have those in California. The kids have colds, so they're spending the day curled in their beds, so I could take the time to work on my novel. But I'm feeling like spending the day philosophizing and that sort of writing could grow annoying in a young adult fantasy novel, so I'll smear it on my blog instead.
On my way home to the Catholic Church a few years ago, one of the first people I stumbled upon was Blaise Pascal. He's a 17th century physicist, mathematician, and Christian apologist. (An apologist explains the faith. It doesn't mean they say they're sorry about it.) You can read a short write up onPascal at the Catholic Encyclopedia. It explains his faults as well, so you'll know he was not perfect.
I "met" him in the teacher's edition of a math book, of all places--well, not "of all places" as if that were strange. He was a math wizard. But what struck me was the little side bar of random facts. I don't recall now which fact it mentioned, but it had something to do with his conversion and faith. It was one of those epiphany moments because I was ready for it.

I'd left the Church in my youth, traveled through misguided beliefs, and wound up lost. As a child, I loved God, tried teaching myself the Rosary, and attempted to read the Bible cover to cover, but had no real guidance. Thinking it was all only sentimentality, I was able to let my religion go. I'm a person who embraces logic. But I'd been aching for God and ready to hear him call me. You never know how he'll call to you.

So, I high-tailed it down to the library and got me Pascal's Pensées and practically swallowed it whole. Here was an incredibly intelligent, scientific man with extreme faith in God. He gives logical reasons for faith, and then tells us that reason cannot give you faith. Pascal, you sly dog. :p

On a semi-related topic, I want to share a fascinating website, the Magis Center of Reason and Faith. There you can read about proofs for God's existance. Fr. Spitzer was on Catholic Answers recently (11-14-11) talking about it.

Friday, November 18, 2011

Sunday Worship Instead of the Sabbath.

The Jewish Sabbath is Saturday, so why do Catholics and most other Christians worship on Sunday? This isn't some new idea. The first Christians did so, as is written in the Bible and other early Christian writings. But why?

Well, it's because Jesus rose from the dead on that day. It's the beginning of the new creation. The early Christians compared the issue with other things in the Mosaic law, such as circumcision.

Read all about it, along with quotes from the early Church, at Catholic Answers in this article about Sunday Worship.

And after you read that article you can "Like" it on Facebook so all of your friends will know. LOL What a wonderful weird world we live in.
I have a cat. I have a bed. I have a computer. But none of these are mine.


Side Note: A few Protestant denominations worship on Saturday. But this idea came about much later in Christian history. For instance, the Seventh Day Adventists formed in the middle of the 19th century.

Saturday, November 5, 2011

Writer's Block and Listening to God

I almost titled this blog post "NaNoWriMo for Catholics." NaNoWriMo, if you don't know, is National Novel Writing Month. It happens each November. Writers and wannabe writers attempt to pound out 50,000 word novels-- or rather, first drafts of novels. Or more commonly 30,000 word first drafts because most of it turns out to be muck. But I digress.

I didn't title the post "NaNoWriMo for Catholics" because it's more about Catholic writers in general and I only happen to be writing this post during NaNo.  In fact I'm writing about writer's block, a big no-no in NaNo. In NaNo, there's no time for blockage. You keep writing even when you're stuck. Helpful (or stupid) writing prompts abound to keep you writing. You can find some here. (That's a link to my other blog).
15th Century Scribe. Did they have NaNoWriMo back then?
But do you suppose writer's block is an opportunity to listen to God? As Catholics we know that prayer is both speaking to God and listening. There are different types of prayer. We talk to Him when we petition, praise, and thank Him. He speaks to us in Scripture and in our hearts. Sitting before the Blessed Sacrament works wonders and I mean, just sitting (or kneeling), without expectations and allowing God access to your heart. I liken it to lying beside your spouse in the wee quiet hours just being close. Or with your newborn baby right after they nursed and you're just blissfully holding them.

"What does writer's block have to do with any of this?" you ask.

In the stillness, maybe we can ask God what He wants for our writing. And in the stillness, we'll hear Him.

Or read Scripture and become inspired in your writing. Nissa, at The Lina Lamont Fan Club is doing that in her NaNo novel. You should pop over there and read what Nissa's up to.

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

All Saints Day Nov. 1

A Blessed All Saints Day to You

So, you heard there was some special day after Halloween. You were right. But what was it?

It's All Saints Day! You see, Halloween is sort of slang for All Hallows Eve. Hallows are "Holy Ones." The following day, November 2nd is All Souls day, or The Day of the Dead.
Sugar Skull

But back to All Saints Day, Nov. 1st. In the fourth century it was established by the Church as the Feast of the Martyrs but extended to celebrate all the saints in the eighth century. In the ninth century it became a holy day of obligation, so if you're Catholic, get your tail to church. :)
St. Augustine and St. Monica

Another little tidbit, to cut through that sugar high, you can munch on pretzels. According to The Catholic Home, by Meredith Gould, they're a traditional food of All Saints Day.

You can read more details about All Saints day, All Souls Day, and Halloween on my previous post on the topic.

*Link to the Saint pic embedded in the caption. The sugar skull pic is my own. Feel free to use it.

Friday, October 28, 2011

The Power of Words and Doing God's Work

Word Cloud for my Catholic Blog
I made a world cloud at Wordle.net for this blog. You just feed it the url and Wordle does the rest. It seems to mainly take into account the most recent posts.

Looking at the most prominent words, I got to thinking about the power of words. Which words I'm placing in my blog, in my current novel in progress, and which words I allow to flow from my mouth or onto my Facebook wall. Do I want to set off my liberal friends with my pro-life views? Sometimes debates are sparked. That's healthy, but exhausting at times because I know the power of words. When the issues are important, the words should be accurate, honest, and compassionate. Ideally, my words in every conversation should be. Though there's plenty of room/time for silly, fun words as well.

So, how about that novel of mine? Is that God's work as much as a pro-life FB debate or a blog whose purpose is to welcome Catholics back into the Church? In three words- it should be.
Word Cloud for my Work In Progress Twelve Keys

St. Therese the Little Flower wrote, "What matters in life is not great deeds, but great love." Everything we do should be for the love of God and love for our fellow humans. Remember Jesus says in Matthew 22:37-40:

You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your mind. This is the great and first commandment. And the second is like it, You shall love your neighbor as yourself. On these two commandments depend all the law and the prophets.

So, again, I ask myself- this novel of mine- in it, am I doing God's work? I had better be. Just as I'd better be doing God's work when I homeschool my kids, cook dinner, clean the house, interact with other people in the world. Do I do it well all the time? Of course not. But I owe it to my God and my neighbor to try.

I wonder, if I did a word cloud of all of my words and thoughts and deeds of a single day, what would populate it? What would populate yours?

Something to think about.


Thursday, October 20, 2011

Christian Review: The Night Circus A Novel

LOL After writing how it's not for kids, I had one of my kids hold it so I could take this pic.

I just finished The Night Circus by Erin Morgenstern. It's a captivating creation--a canvas of words painting vivid pictures, with a story that will take you by the hand, not setting you free until you learn what becomes of the characters in the tale. However, for a Christian, it holds some problems.

I should say, for a young newly forming Christian, it could hold problems. A mature person, already firm in her/his faith could enjoy the fairytale atmosphere, remembering that the magic is part of the life of the book and no more.

At this point in the book review, I'll mention, for those new to my blog, I'm a wildly geeked out Harry Potter fan, not at all paranoid my children will be drawn by Harry into the world of paganism. So, I don't come from that place. In Harry Potter, magic is tool that some people have at their disposal. In The Night Circus, it is something else.

I'll trust you've read the synopsis over at Amazon or elsewhere and you're just here to get a Christian take on it.

Okay, well, you wouldn't be handing The Night Circus to your little ones (some adult themes), but your teens may want to pick it up. I wouldn't recommend it unless they were very firm in their faith.

Tarot and other divination methods are well respected and are a central theme in the novel. In Harry Potter, if you'll recall, Trelawney was a joke and her divination didn't work, at least not on demand. She only foretold events spontaneously, or so it seemed. It always happened at fortunate moments. God's planning?

Magic, in The Night Circus can be learned by anybody. The dénouement (or rather the scene Morgenstern sticks on there after the dénouement) rambles a bit (quite unlike the rest of the book) and involves a character explaining to another how there are no battles anymore between good and evil (moral relativism anyone?) and it's not really magic and few people take time to note it. "Not a one of them even has an inkling of the things that are possible..."

The other responds, "But some people can be enlightened." The conversation sounds suspiciously like a new age or neo-pagen lesson that the author has patched at the end of an otherwise elegant story.

And it is an elegant story. Morgenstern's descriptions express as much detail as The Invention of Hugo Cabret by Brian Selznick (an illustrated novel about an orphaned clock keeper, which you should totally read!) but she does it in words instead of pictures. Her use of omniscient narrator and occasional use of second person, addressing "you" is brilliant. It's told in present tense with little dialogue, giving the story a sense of immediacy.

I make the comparison between The Night Circus and Hugo Cabret because of the steampunk elements in The Night Circus. The characters sometimes blend their magic with clockworks. I find that playful in a Mr.Magorium kind of way.

But the Night Circus isn't all light-hearted. At the core, I found it ominous. There's more going on than meets the eye. The tone set up in the beginning of the novel informs us what sort of book this is. After her mother kills herself, a girl who clearly possesses magic, is sent to live with her rather cold father. When the grey suited man comes to call, certain events are set into motion that change the course of that little girl's life.

But, even with the creep factor, it's an enchanting book that begs to be delved into and adored. There's even a built in fan "uniform." People who follow the circus around, called rêveurs, wear red scarves.

If I have a vote, however-- I'd rather my teen stick to her Gryffindor scarf.


A side note: If you're interested in reading an article on the Incompatibility of New Age philosophy/religion with Christianity, you may like "Jesus Christ: The Bearer of the Water of Life: A Christian Reflection on The New Age" at the Vatican web site. 



Sunday, October 16, 2011

A Pro-Life Story

I got this little story off of facebook. I think it's a good illustration of the pro-life stance. Some might say it's simple- not addressing such issues like "the life of the mother" etc.
 
First of all, most abortions are not about the life or health of the mother. And most of the time she's not pregnant because she was raped.
 
Well, what if she were raped? Should we make two victims where we had one? Her baby wasn't the perpetrator of the crime any more than the wife battering husband's baby was the perpetrator of wife abuse and we wouldn't kill that child.
 
As for the life of the mother, we are not allowed to murder an innocent person, period. Now, certain procedures, such as removing the fallopian tubes in an ectopic (tubal) pregnancy, are morally acceptable because the procedure is not directly attacking the baby. The doctor is removing the infected tissue which, sadly, contains the baby. Please see this article at Catholic United for The Faith  or this one from EWTN written by Edwin F. Healy for more information on the ethics of treating ectopic and other non-viable pregnancies.
 
Oh, and one more thing- should you be in this unfortunate situation (as patient- tough spot because you may be unconscious-maybe a spouse?, doctor, or nurse) don't forget to baptise the baby. I know many nurses keep holy water just in case, but it doesn't have to be blessed to work. Anyway, the Healy article addresses this.
 
*As always, you can find the Rachel's Vineyard website link on my sidebar. They offer healing after abortion for both men and women. 
 
random pic of two of my girls having tea (has nothing to do with today's post)
 
 
Now, on to the little facebook story.
 
***
 
A worried woman went to her doctor and said:

'Doctor, I have a serious problem and desperately need your help! My baby is not even 1 year old and I'm pregnant again. I don't want kids so close together.'

So the doctor said: 'Ok and what do you want me to do?'

She said: 'I want you to end my pregnancy, and I'm counting on your help with this.'

The doctor thought for a little, and after some silence he said to the lady: 'I think I have a better solution for your problem. It's less dangerous for you too.'

She smiled, thinking that the doctor was going to accept her request.

Then he continued: 'You see, in order for you not to have to take care of 2 babies at the same time, let's kill the one in your arms. This way, you could rest some before the other one is born. If we're going to kill one of them, it doesn't matter which one it is. There would be no risk for your body if you chose the one in your arms.'

The lady was horrified and said: 'No doctor! How terrible! It's a crime to kill a child!'

'I agree', the doctor replied. 'But you seemed to be OK with it, so I thought maybe that was the best solution.'

The doctor smiled, realizing that he had made his point.

He convinced the mom that there is no difference in killing a child that's already been born and one that's still in the womb. The crime is the same!

If you agree, please SHARE.

Together we can help save precious lives!

Love says, 'I sacrifice myself for the good of the other person.' Abortion says, 'I sacrifice the other person for the good of myself.'

By: Life is Dangerous: Let's Ban It
 
***
 
There you go.  I think this story makes a good point.

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

Sacrificing Mothers in Movies and Literature

Normally I don't put the same post in both of my blogs, but in this case it seemed fitting. It's a a post I wrote for my writing blog, about sacrificing mothers in stories. I think that's a beautiful heroic character to include in literature and film. And it seems a good post for Respect Life Month in my Catholic blog. So, enjoy! 

One of the most kick-tail hero/heroine types is the sacrificing parent. I'll focus on mothers today. Mothers like, Ellen Ripley (Aliens), Lilly Potter (Harry Potter), Sarah Conner (Terminator). Film and literature are littered with them. I'll mainly discuss two- Ellen Ripley and Lily Potter.
From The Sarah Connor Chronicles
Why do we admire these characters as heroes? What qualities do they exhibit? Bravery, love, fierce loyalty, the ability to focus on somebody other than themselves. All qualities we hope to possess. Qualities we hope we'd find within ourselves when faced with terrifying dangers- be that alien attacks, Voldemort, or the threat of machines taking over the world.
from "Aliens"

Okay, that's fantasy. Let's take it to a realistic level. How about earthquakes, floods, tornadoes, or war? All of these situations can bring out your character's inner heroine.

Or perhaps a more personal tragedy like a car wreck, job loss, illness, or crisis pregnancy. Maybe those aren't as glamorous as flicking wands with Deatheaters, but they can be just as taxing.

I think heroes, such as the sacrificial mother, kicking serious booty to protect her child (or another's child, as is in the case in "Aliens") stirs our own inner hero and helps us feel more prepared to take on challenges. I don't know about you, but when I'm thinking about somebody else, I'm less worried about my own tail and can think more about getting the job done.

Let's look at each of these women:

Ripley (Aliens) has fifteen minutes to save a little girl, nickname Newt, before the space station explodes. The thing is, she has no real reason to believe the girl is alive. You see, they just saw the little girl fall down some... thing-- an air shaft I guess it was, and the aliens take her. Ripley goes to the ship and gets weapons to fight the aliens and rescue Newt all by herself.

She risks her own life for whom? A little girl she recently met and who probably already has an alien gestating inside her wee little body. And we love Ripley for it!

Lilly Potter (Harry Potter) is standing in the bedroom at their home in Godric's Hollow. She hears her husband get avada kedavra-ed and then Voldemort bursts into the room. There's no chance she can stand against old Voldipoo, but she'll try. She stands between the dark lord and her baby and pleads for his life.
From "Harry Potter"
Was it worth is?

Ripley lives and, miraculously, the little girl was able to be rescued. Though she dies in the next film. However, knowing that, doesn't make her heroics any less beautiful. We're petrified along with Ripley as she stands there holding Newt amid the alien pod egg things. Not for a heartbeat do we wish she'd left the girl behind. So, yeah, it was worth it.

Lilly Potter dies and Harry survives. Nobody says, "Foolish lady. She should have stepped aside, saved herself, and run off with Snape, living happily ever after." Not even the Snape-Lilly shippers say that! Lilly's lauded as a loving mommy hero. Heck yeah, that sacrifice was worth it.

In both of these stories, we cheer for the sacrificial mommies and fear/hate the bad guy monster types.

I focused on action scenes in science fiction/fantasy, but in some books and movies, the protagonist faces realistic obstacles, such as poverty or domestic abuse. But she's just as much of a hero when she selflessly puts her child first.

P.S. * Language warning-
Have you ever noticed how Ripley's line to the alien queen, "Get away from her, you bitch!" is reminiscent of Molly's Weasley's line to Bellatrix, "Not my daughter, you bitch!"?  Just an observation. Sorry about the language. ;-)
Ripley and Molly - as they give their famous lines ;)

Thursday, October 6, 2011

October is Respect Life Month

10 week gestation

People (well, some people), say you can do whatever you want with your body. A Christian knows that's not true. God has set down guidelines for our own good, just as any loving parent does. We are not to give in to certain temptations of the flesh such as gluttony, fornication, etc.

And we are certainly not supposed to murder. A Christian (or Jewish- because that's where we originally got the Commandments) person should know this. Whether that other human is currently housed in your womb or outside of your womb makes no difference. Murder is murder. "Ratsakh" in Hebrew. (That would make a great name for a villain, wouldn't it?)

Since the first century, the Church has been stating that abortion is wrong, so this isn't something newly filed under the heading of "murder."

October is Respect Life Month, so "Happy Respect Life Month!"
Umbert the Unborn (click here to check out his site for super pro-life cartoons)

Read about Respect Life Month at the EWTN website.

Learn about Cupcakes for Life, on Oct. 9th.

Watch this awesome video by a pro-life teen. She'll get you fired up to take some action. :)

I like this site to learn about and see pictures of the stages of an unborn baby's gestation. You can see she or he has a little brain and eyelids at only 8 weeks! :)

At sites such as Priests for Life you can buy pro-life books, shirts, and posters (such as the one below that shows the names of women who were killed in LEGAL abortions.)

Or ProLifeBumper.com where I got my bumper sticker. It looks like this one.


*links to image sources are in the image captions unless I otherwise noted the sources- like- it was a product you could buy. :)

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Feast Day of Saint Vincent de Paul - And a cool web site!

Today's the feast day of St. Vincent de Paul. You can learn about him (and each "saint of the day") at AmericanCatholic.org - specifically here where you may listen to a short audio file about him. They even let you send an e-greating card on the saint of the day.

After learning about him, perhaps we'll all be inspired to be more like this charitable saint. :)

St. Vincent de Paul



Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Catholic Flash Fiction

I was thrilled to read The Sci Fi Catholic's post about a new blog called Catholic Flash Fiction. I think this is long overdue. As a Catholic writer and reader, I'm eager to find more Catholic fiction friendly places.

The blog author is a priest looking for stories 300 to 1000 words long. That means you must tighten up your length and make every word count. While doing the practice critique list at The Internet Writing Workshop I learned a lot about using active verbs and cutting out extra words, because you are only allowed to submit very short pieces to that particular list.

Poetry is good source of inspiration. Poets know how to choose the one right word to say much.

Don't drive under falling cows; check out Catholic Flash Fiction. Read a story. Write a story. ;)

Sunday, September 18, 2011

Wanting a Baby VS. Wanting to be a Parent

Sorry, I'm ranting today. Maybe it's a mommy hormone thing.


Have you or someone you known uttered the sentence, "I want a baby"?

I've said it.

What did I mean by that statement?

Did I mean that I desire to carry a baby in my womb even through discomfort, pain, or danger to myself? What if "too many" babies were growing in there? Would I get rid of one or more because I only want one?


 Aggie Catholics recently posted a video with Fr. Barron talking about aborting one twin and keeping the other. You might want to take a look/listen. 

What about financial hardship or inconvenience? When I said I wanted a baby, did I mean I wanted to nurture my child if she were crippled, sick, or deformed or would I only care about her if she were "perfect"?

Did I mean I wanted to mother her through long nights of illness or crying, days of exhaustion, but also of happiness, play, and growth--watching her develop from babyhood to talking and walking, or did I want to pass her off to a paid employee as soon as possible?

When I said I wanted a baby, did I mean I wanted to be a parent, or did I mean I wanted a possession to make me feel good? 

Parenthood is the most exhausting, frustrating, exhilarating, fulfilling adventure. 

Useful websites:

IVF alternatives
http://www.fertilitycare.org/
http://www.naprotechnology.com/

Healing after abortion:
Rachel's Vineyard

Article "Can I Stay At Home?" gives tips on being able to afford to be a stay at home parent.

You who are spiritual parents understand clearly what I mean when I say that our children don't belong to us, but to God. As spiritual parents you pray for your children, be they children or adults, and maybe guide them, but you are always aware that they are not yours, but God's. Physical parents often forget that our children are not ours. We have the privilege to be stewards or guardians, but not the right of ownership.  Just a thought.

I warned you I was on a rant. ;)

*All photos are of my own family. Copyright blah blah blah :P

Thursday, September 15, 2011

Our Lady of Sorrows and Convalidation

Lady of Sorrows

Today is the feast of Our Lady of Sorrows. What are the Virgin Mary's sorrows? I'll tell you. (And don't get them confused with the Sorrowful Mysteries of the Rosary, though you can use a Rosary to help you pray them.)

The Prophecy of Simeon (Lk. 2:34-35)

The Flight into Egypt (Matt. 2:13)

The Loss of the Child Jesus in the Temple (Lk. 2:43-45)

Mary Meets Jesus on the Way to Calvary (Lk. 23:26)

Jesus Dies on the Cross (Jn. 19:25)

Mary Receives the Body of Jesus in her Arms (Matt. 27:57-59)

The Body of Jesus is Placed in the Tomb (Jn. 19:40-42)

One may pray the Chaplet of The Seven Sorrows of Mary. You would name the Sorrow, recite one Our Father and seven Hail Mary's, then go on to the next Sorrow, and so on, while meditating on the Sorrows.

Then, three Hail Mary's

Then, as follows-

Pray for us, O most Sorrowful Virgin

That we may be made worthy of the promises of Christ

Lord Jesus, we now implore, both for the present and for the hour of our death, the intercession of the most Blessed Virgin Mary, Thy Mother, whose holy soul was pierced at the time of Thy Passion by a sword of grief. Grant us this favor, O Savior of the world, Who livest and reignest with the Father and the Holy Ghost forever and ever. Amen.

***

Also, on this date, in 2007, my husband and I had our marriage Convalidated in the Catholic Church.

I found a very detailed pdf at a Canadian parish's website about Convalidation, should you want information on that. Seven Steps to Convalidation.

Me and My Dear Husband at Our Convalidation

Thursday, September 8, 2011

Happy Birthday Mary!


"Behold, from now on will all ages call me blessed" (Luke 1:48)

Today, September 8th, we celebrate the Nativity of the Blessed Virgin Mary. My kids and I went to Mass and baked cupcakes.

Go to New Advent for details on the history of this feast.

Basically, the feast was celebrated at least by the 6th century. Our written source for details on Mary's nativity come from a document written in 150 A.D. called the Protoevangelium of James. It tells us that Mary's parents are named Joachim and Anne. They had no children until an angel appeared to Anne and told her she would conceive.

September 8th, it should be noted, falls exactly 9 months after the feast of the Immaculate Conception of Mary.

Mary's birthday is important to salvation history because she is the Mother of God. The Lord asked her to carry His son in her womb and raise Him. Her obedient yes -"Behold the handmaid of the Lord; be it done to me according to your word" (Luke1:38) brought Jesus to us. She is always bringing her son to us. "Do whatever he tells you" (John 2:5) she says to the servants, but also to us.

Friday, August 26, 2011

How I Attended to My Mind & Soul as I Redecorated My Kitchen

Jimmy Akin books in my newly beautified drawers

Repainting my kitchen cabinets for the last two weeks (did a sort of faux antique wood look) left no time for reading or writing, but I listened to a lot of podcasts. One of my favorites is Jimmy Akin's podcast, where one can learn about all sorts of topics from the Catholic perspective such as Confession, Hell, Transfiguration, and Aliens. I hope you'll give him a listen.

You'll know Jimmy Akin from Catholic Answers (another podcasted thingie I listen to) and such massively useful books as The Fathers Know Best and Mass Revision: How theLiturgy is Changing and What it Means for You.

Speaking of the changes in the Liturgy, I recently went to a series of presentation at my parish that focused on the changes we'll experience at Mass when Advent 2011 rolls around. I hope to put together a little blog post about that. Until then, check out Jimmy Akin's vast collection of reading and listening materials and have a blessed weekend. :)

Monday, August 8, 2011

10 Little Things Every Catholic Can Do to Be a Good Evangelist


nun

As Baptized Christians, we are called to spread the good news of Jesus and to convey the teachings of God. It says in Matthew 28 that we should "make disciples of all nations...teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you." How are you doing that in your life?

If you've just come back home to the Catholic Church or are a recent convert, you might be scared to share the faith, especially if friends and family are hostile to your conversion. People may challenge you on the truth of the faith and you don't know how to answer them.

Some of them don't even want answers, they just want to challenge you. Their ears aren't open. I wouldn't worry too much about discussing religion with them. As it says in Sirach 8: 3 "Do not argue with a chatterer, nor heap wood on his fire."

What to answer those whose ears are open depends on what they are really asking. An atheist is looking for something different than a Protestant. An atheist can't or won't see the truth of God's existence, while the Protestant doesn't see the Catholic Church and her teachings as legitimate.

No matter with whom you're talking, remember one thing- there are good answers to why we believe what we believe even if you don't know it off the top of your head. No one expects you to be a cracker jack Catholic apologist right out of the box.

10 Little Things Every Catholic Can Do to Be a Good Evangelist
1 BUMPER STICKERS- You don't have to say a word, but a good bumper sticker can inform and move the emotions. Just the other day a woman at the gas station thanked me for my Catholic radio bumper sticker because she hadn't known about the station and was thrilled to discover it. I also have pro-life bumper stickers. Check out Catholic to the Max for bumper stickers.
2 CATHOLIC RADIO- Listen to it in the car, while cooking, exercising... You'll learn tons and it focuses your mind on good things. If you don't have a local station, listen on the internet or download podcasted episodes of Catholic Answers onto your iPod.
3 THE NEW MEDIA- Use it! Blog, YouTube, Twitter, and Facebook are all places to spread the message of Jesus.
Soapbox

4 SPECIALIZE YOUR SOAPBOX-  You cannot fight every battle. You may need to focus on a single issue or two when it comes to certain people... at least at first. Have any extreme liberal friends? You'll have to pick which issue to fight for instead of swinging your metaphorical sword wildly. I usually choose the pro-life issue. Bringing a fallen away Catholic home to the Church? Maybe focus on the real presence in the Eucharist. But if a question comes up that you can't answer, don't sweat it. Tell the person you'll find out and get back to them. Then make sure you do! Catholic.com and John Martignoni's Bible Christian Society are great web resources.
5 THE FATHERS KNOW BEST- Buy this must have book by Jimmy Akin. It gives the teachings of the first Christians. Filled with quotes, it's organized into topics such as divorce, homosexuality, etc. Available in paperback and Kindle.
6 LEAD by EXAMPLE- This is both the easiest and the most difficult one, depending on the day. You know the song, "They'll know we are Christians by our love, by our love..." Make an effort each day to live by that. When people know you're Catholic and you live in a loving and happy way, you're a witness to the power and love of Christ. But we all have bad days and we all stumble. Forgive yourself, go to regular confession, and start anew.
7 SPEAK UP FOR CHRIST- Don't be ashamed to be a Catholic Christian. If somebody makes mean remarks about those you love- your spouse, your best friend, or especially your Lord and Savior, you can and should say something. The Church is the bride of Christ. Stand up for her too. Focus on Christ on the cross and what He did for you so you can bear whatever comes your way.
8 INVITE SOMEONE TO MASS- Need I explain this one? Or if not to Mass, to other things at your parish such as Stations of the Cross, adoration, or even a parish festival. It's a start! :)


9 WEAR YOUR LORD on YOUR SLEEVE- Okay, I'm being cute. What I mean is, wear a Catholic themed shirt or bag. Wear your crucifix and have them in your home. You never know when you'll get a fallen away Catholic to thinking about church again. Maybe carry some pamphlets with you in case somebody has questions about what Catholics believe. As Catholics we don't tend to go door to door spreading the Word, but if somebody asks, it's nice to be prepared. Check out Romantic Catholic for some neat shirts. Take a look at the Catechim Tracts and Faith Tracts at Catholic.com

Available at Romantic Catholic

10 PARTICIPATE, VOLUNTEER & CREATE- I put these together because they deal with setting aside time specifically for evangelizing. You might participate in Mass as a reader or usher. Could you spare time to volunteer at the food bank, crisis pregnancy center (a pro-life one), or catechism teacher? If you're creative, create God-centered art- be it paintings, needlework, music, or stories. If you have kids, be sure you're praying with them and teaching them about Jesus and his Church. Even if they're going to a Catholic school or taking classes at Church, they need it from you too.