Monday, December 17, 2007

Another informative article from Zenit.org...

This article explains risks and problems that occur from in vitro fertilization. I had already heard of some of these problems, but I also learned a lot more.

If you truly feel that God is calling you to be a parent but are unable to have children of your own God still has a plan and a solution that doesn't involve test tubes and artificial conception. There are thousands of God's already created, natural, beautiful gifts just waiting to be adopted by a loving family.



IVF'S INSIDIOUS MEDICAL DEFECTS
Data Point to Risk for Kids and Moms

By Father John Flynn, LC

ROME, DEC. 16, 2007 (Zenit.org).- The Catholic Church has often warned of the moral perils associated with in vitro fertilization. In addition, the processes involved in IVF bring with them a series of medical dangers, both for women and their offspring.

One of these risks is the threat of genetically related illnesses stemming from donated eggs or sperm. The Los Angeles Times published on Dec. 8 a special report on the problems suffered by a couple who have a child born due to an ova donation by Alexandra Gammelgard.

To pay for college, Gammelgard sold her eggs to agencies that led to at least four children. One of these donations resulted in a child whose birth was arranged by a homosexual couple, Bruce Steiger and Rick Karl. It later turned out that the child suffers from Tay-Sachs disease, a neurological condition that usually kills its victims before age 5.

Gammelgard is a carrier of the genetic mutation, but was unaware of it at the time she sold her eggs. The other couples who have children resulting from the ova donated by Gammelgard remain unaware of the risks. Even if their children do not develop the illness they will, in turn, run the risk of passing it on to the next generation.

This would not happen with blood donations, the Los Angeles Times noted, as donors and their blood are tracked so recipients can be warned in the case of dangers discovered after donation.

The laws regulating IVF, by contrast, privilege confidentiality, and there is no guarantee users of donated eggs or sperm will be told if it is discovered later on that a donor has serious health problems.

According to the Los Angeles Times, the number of children born in the U.S. from donated eggs reached about 6,500 in 2005. Donated sperm is more common, leading to tens of thousands of births each year.

Couples can also have their hopes falsely raised by the continual announcements of new IVF treatments, warned an article Nov. 15 in the Wall Street Journal. In October a new embryo-screening technique was unveiled, immediately winning a prize from the American Society for Reproductive Medicine (ASRM).

At the same time, however, a group of experts from the ASRM, along with the Society for Assisted Reproductive Technology, published a statement urging caution about certain kinds of genetic embryo screening, saying there is insufficient scientific evidence about its usefulness.

High costs, low success

The Wall Street Journal also noted that a recent study in the New England Journal of Medicine questioned the usefulness of advanced fertility treatments for many patients. Such procedures are often proffered to couples, playing on their fears of remaining without children, but they have no guarantee of success, and cost thousands of dollars.

The ASRM also warned, the Associated Press reported Oct. 22, that women should not place too much trust in frozen eggs. So far there have only been around 500 births from frozen-and-thawed eggs worldwide.

Due to problems with ice crystals forming in the freezing process the eggs may be rendered useless. The ASRM explained that the freezing technique, which can cost more than $10,000, might only have a 2%-4% chance of a live birth for every thawed egg.

Doctors in Ireland also expressed concerns, the Irish Times reported Sept. 11. Next year, two British clinics are set to introduce in Ireland the possibility for women to freeze eggs using the vitrification process.

Already the Human Assisted Reproduction Ireland at the Rotunda Hospital in Dublin offers women the possibility to freeze eggs using another method, the slow-freeze process. Dr. Edgar Mocanu, a consultant with the Rotunda center, warned that the new technique was still experimental and there are no data available yet on possible health problems for the babies born as a result of the process.

A further concern is whether the promotion of egg freezing will induce women to postpone pregnancy. Dr. Aongus Nolan, lab director at the University College Hospital Galway Fertility Unit, told the Irish Times that, apart from concerns over the survival of frozen eggs, the longer women wait the more difficult it will be for them to become pregnant.

Multiple births

Another problem area is the tendency of IVF procedures to result in the birth of twins. Walter Merricks, the interim director of the United Kingdom's Human Fertilization and Embryology Authority, called for a reduction in multiple births, the Guardian reported Dec. 4.

Currently, IVF in the United Kingdom accounts for nearly 1 in 5 of the overall number of multiple births, due to women being implanted with two or three embryos during fertility treatment.

The Guardian article observed that twin births are the single biggest risk factor for babies born through IVF. Dangers include premature birth, low birth weight, cerebral palsy, heart disease and diabetes.

In the U.S., a Nov. 20 article in the Philadelphia Inquirer reported that twins have made up about 44% of all IVF births. The newspaper cited a 2004 report by the national Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, in which researchers commented that in order to boast of high success rates for IVF treatments, clinics tend to favor the implantation of multiple embryos.

Health defects

Apart from problems due to multiple births, children born from IVF techniques tend to suffer more health problems in general. On July 23 the U.K. newspaper the Daily Mail reported on figures published in the medical journal Human Reproduction.

A study carried out by the Imperial College London on almost 900 children found that on average, a 7-year-old conceived after fertility treatment had been hospitalized 1.76 times -- while a child conceived naturally had been admitted only once. By the age of 7, IVF children had spent an average of 4.31 days hospitalized, almost two days longer than other children.

Fits and other conditions affecting the brain were more common in those born after IVF treatment. The immune system was also affected, with IVF children being more prone to infections, asthma and rheumatoid arthritis. While some of the problems could be related to multiple births, the study also found that single children born as a result of IVF were also less healthy than naturally conceived offspring.

Mothers are also at risk, reported the Los Angeles Times on Dec. 3. One of the major problems stems from the number of pregnancies at an older age. Births for U.S.-born women in California aged 40-44 have increased threefold since 1982.

Older mothers are more likely to develop high blood pressure and gestational diabetes and to give birth to premature and low birth-weight babies, the article warned. It also cited a 2004 study of Swedish women, which found that the rate of premature births for women ages 40-44 to be 150% higher than for women 20-29.

Couples who discover they cannot bear children suffer greatly, acknowledges the Catechism of the Catholic Church, No. 2374. Nevertheless, methods aimed at overcoming such problems should be placed at the service of the human person and their rights, as well as respecting the bond between husband and wife and the nature of the sexual act, the following paragraphs explain.

A child is a gift, not a piece of property, and possesses rights that should be respected, adds No. 2378. A teaching whose wisdom is being confirmed more and more as complications from IVF emerge.

Sunday, December 16, 2007

Logan, the Sky Angel Cowboy!

Wow! This kid really gets it. God Bless!

Saturday, December 15, 2007

How The Story of Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer Came To Us


On a December night in Chicago many years ago, a little girl climbed onto her father's lap and asked a question. It was a simple question, asked in children's curiosity, yet it had a heart-rending effect on Robert May.

"Daddy," four-year-old Barbara May asked, "Why isn't my mommy just like everybody else's mommy?"

Bob May stole a glance across his shabby two-room apartment. On a couch lay his young wife, Evelyn, racked with cancer. For two years she had been bedridden. For two years, all of Bob's small income and smaller savings had gone to pay for treatments and medication.

The terrible ordeal had already shattered two adult lives. Now, Bob suddenly realized the happiness of his growing daughter was also in jeopardy. As he ran his fingers through Barbara's hair, he groped for some satisfactory answer to her question.

Bob May knew only too well what it meant to be 'different'. As a child he had been weak and delicate. With the innocent cruelty of children, his playmates had continually goaded the stunted, skinny lad to tears. Later, at Dartmouth, from which he graduated in 1936, Bob May was so small that he was always being mistaken for someone's little brother.

Nor was his adult life much happier Unlike many of his classmates who floated from college into plush jobs, Bob became a lowly copy writer for Montgomery Ward, the big Chicago mail order house. Now at 33, Bob was deep in debt, depressed and sad.

Although, he didn't know it at the time, the answer he gave the little child on his lap was to bring him fame and fortune. It was also to bring joy to countless thousands of children like his own Barbara. On that December night in the shabby Chicago apartment, Bob cradled the little girl's head against his shoulder and began to tell a story . . .

"Once upon a time, there was a reindeer named Rudolph, the only reindeer in the world that had a big red nose. Naturally people called him "Rudolph, the red-nosed reindeer." As Bob went on to tell about Rudolph, he tried desperately to communicate to Barbara the knowledge that, even though some creatures of God are strange and different, they often enjoy the miraculous power to make others happy.

"Rudolph," Bob explained, "was terribly embarrassed by his unique nose. Other reindeer laughed at him; his mother and father and sister were mortified, too. Even Rudolph wallowed in self pity."

"Why was I born with such a terrible nose?" he cried.

"Well," continued Bob, "one Christmas Eve, Santa Claus got his team of husky reindeer - Dasher, Dancer, Prancer, and Vixen, and the others -- ready for their yearly trip around the world. The entire reindeer community assembled to cheer these great heroes on their way. But, a terrible fog engulfed the earth that evening, and Santa knew that the mist was so thick that he wouldn't be able to find a single chimney."

"Suddenly Rudolph appeared, his read nose glowing brighter than ever. Santa sensed at once that here was the answer to his perplexing problem. He led Rudolph to the front of the sleigh, fastened the harness and climbed in. They were off! Rudolph guided Santa safely to every chimney that night. Rain, and fog, snow and sleet -- nothing bothered Rudolph for his bright red nose penetrated like a beacon."

"And, so it was that Rudolph became the most famous and beloved of all the reindeer. The huge red nose he once hid in shame was now the envy of every buck and doe in the reindeer world. Santa Claus told everyone that Rudolph had saved the day, and from that Christmas on, Rudolph has been living serenely and happy."

Little Barbara laughed with glee when her father had finished. Every night she begged him to repeat the tale until finally Bob could rattle it off in his sleep. Then, at Christmas time, he decided to make the story into a poem like the 'Night Before Christmas' and prepare it in a booklet form with crude illustrations, for Barbara's personal gift.

Night after night, Bob worked on the verses after Barbara had gone to bed, for he was determined that his daughter should have a worthwhile gift, even though he could not afford to buy one.

Then, as Bob was about to put the finishing touches on Rudolph, tragedy struck. Evelyn May died. Bob, his hopes crushed, turned to Barbara as his chief comfort. Yet, despite his grief, he sat at his desk in the quiet, now lonely apartment, and worked on Rudolph with tears in his eyes.

Shortly after Barbara had cried with joy over his handmade gift on Christmas morning, Bob was asked to an employee's holiday party at Montgomery Wards. He didn't want to go, but his office associates insisted. When Bob finally agreed, he took with him the poem and read it to the crowd. At first the noisy throng listened in laughter and gaiety. Then, they became silent, and at the end broke into spontaneous applause. That was in 1938.

By Christmas of 1947, some 6 million copies of the booklet had been given away or sold, making Rudolph one of the most widely distributed books in the world. The demand for Rudolph sponsored products increased so much in variety and number that educators and historians predicted Rudolph would occupy a permanent niche in the Christmas legend.

Through the years of unhappiness, the tragedy of his wife's death and his ultimate success with Rudolph, Bob May has captured a sense of serenity. And as each Christmas rolls around he recalled with thankfulness the night when his daughter's questions inspired him to write the story.

In 1949, Robert's brother-in-law, Johnny Marks wrote the song, "Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer," based on Robert's book.

Demo tapes were sent out to several singers, including Bing Crosby and Dinah Shore. Gene Autry was included as an afterthought.

Autry had enjoyed a resounding success with "Here Comes Santa Claus," which he co-wrote and recorded in 1947.

Seeking a follow-up Christmas hit, Autry selected three songs for a four-song recording session. He passed over "Rudolph," saying, "There are already too many reindeer flying around."

But Ina, his wife, liked the song. "Oh, Gene," she told him, "it reminds me of the story of the Ugly Duckling. I think you ought to give it a try. The kids will love it."

As time ran out in the recording session, Autry decided to go with the reindeer song. It was an "only take," and the payoff since for those few minutes has been phenomenal.

Autry recorded the song and by 1950 it was the most popular Christmas song on the radio. Within three weeks of its release, Autry's "Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer" hit the top of the charts.

"Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer" sold two and a half million copies the first year. The song moved Autry onto the pop charts for the first time, and went on to become the second-best-selling single of all time behind Bing Crosby's "White Christmas." It was one of 16 songs named to the music industry group ASCAP's All-time Hit Parade.

Marks became known as a Christmas composer and named his publishing company St. Nicholas Music, Inc. Marks wrote "Rockin' Around the Christmas Tree," "A Holly Jolly Christmas," "The Most Wonderful Day of the Year," and "I Heard the Bells on Christmas Day." Autry recorded several other Marks songs during the next decade, but none achieved the success of "Rudolph."

For children who may remember sitting on Santa's lap in 1939 at a Montgomery Ward store, telling the jolly gentleman their Christmas wishes, they left with a peppermint stick and a colorful story booklet named "Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer

Montgomery Ward distributed 2.4 million copies of the booklet in 1939. By 1946, six million had been given away. May received a magnificent gift that year from Ward Chairman Sewell Avery---the copyright to "Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer." May licensed the character and organized Rudolph the Red-Nosed Enterprises, Inc. The company promoted a book, a technicolor cartoon, a Barnum & Bailey circus act, and other spin-offs. The little reindeer led May to financial security.

Sunday, December 09, 2007

The real Bambi and Thumper

Two shy and timid creatures have found each other in safe companionship.....
through the lens of Tanja Askani in Alberta Canada













Too precious for words. I just had to keep these photos.

Thursday, December 06, 2007

Elder and holiday humor

Yesterday as I was driving I saw this tiny little white haired lady driving a big ol' white cadillac with a license plate that said "OLD." I burst out laughing and thought "this little 'old' lady has a great sense of humor!"

Today as I was driving I looked in my rearview mirror and started laughing because I saw Albert Einstein driving behind me! This little old man had all this bright white hair standing straight out in every direction. I'm not sure if this "hairstyle" was intentional or not (it was a little windy today), but it sure was entertaining for me. I wish I would have had a camera and an opportunity for a photo.

And now some holiday humor:





Monday, December 03, 2007

Too funny

A business had a 'going away' party for a lady in the office. One of the supervisors called Wal-Mart and ordered a cake.

He told them to write:
'Best Wishes Suzanne' and underneath that write 'We will miss you'.
As the picture shows, it didn't quite turn out right. They thought it was too funny not to keep it.



Oh boy, we all have our off days! I think the cake decorator must have been from Wishek, ND (Vishek). : )
(Sorry, those of you who aren't from North Dakota won't get that joke.)

Sunday, December 02, 2007

Prayer request

I received this prayer request this morning. I am continuing the prayer chain through email but I also felt inspired to post this as a blog. I ask that anyone who sees this post please just take a minute to say a prayer for Megan. It won't cost you anything, but it WILL help this little girl. God bless!


I would like to start a prayer chain for 7 year old Megan LaMotte. Megan, who is in my son's 2nd grade class at St. Joseph's School in Devils Lake, ND, is one of the sweetest little girls you will ever meet and she needs our help. She is currently in the Mayo Hospital in Rochester, MN undergoing treatment for an Astrocytoma of the brainstem which is malignant and because of the location surgery is not an option. Also please include Megan's parents (Todd & Sheila) and grandparents in your thoughts and prayers as they too are the nicest people you will ever come across and need our help in this troubling time.

Please keep this prayer chain going and let us see what the true power of prayer and the belief in Jesus Christ can have.


Regards,

J. Frith, IT Coordinator
Ramsey County

Monday, November 26, 2007

Preparing for Advent

I came across the following article today. I wanted to share this because it has some really powerful points and questions to ask yourself. I think everyone can get some benefit out of taking time to go through this. The answers to these questions are really tough, and some are unanswerable for me, yet. I will be spending some more prayer time with these questions.


Setting the Stage For Our Advent Journey, Even Before It Begins.
(From the creighton.edu website. They have a lot of really good stuff, go check it out!)

Getting in Touch with Myself

One of the best ways to prepare for the very special season of Advent is to "get in touch with ourselves." It may sound odd, but one symptom of our contemporary lives is that we can often be quite "out of touch" with what is going on in our very own hearts. We are about to begin our Advent, right at the time our Western culture begins Christmas preparations. It is a busy time, and our heads are filled with details to remember. And, it is a time of emotional complexity that is part of this holiday season - with all of the expectations and challenges of family and relationships: who we want to be with and who we struggle to be with. So, our hearts are a bit tender, if not completely defended from experiencing anything deeply.

We are about to hear some very powerful and stirring readings from Isaiah, the Prophet. We will re-enter the ancient tradition of a people longing for the coming of a Savior. We may remember the days of our childhood when we longed for Christmas to come, because it was a magical time of receiving gifts. As adults, we have to ask ourselves: "What is it I long for now?" The answer won't come easily. The more we walk around with that question, and let it penetrate through the layers of distraction and self-protection, the more powerfully we will experience Advent.

Salvation From

We are about to read and pray about the expectant hope of Israel, as expressed through Isaiah. The images we will be using are about darkness and gloom - about thick clouds covering the people - and about hunger and thirst. They are images that attempt to capture a sense of what we feel when we are distant from our God. There are many images about war and conflict. They express the powerlessness and anxiety we experience when we feel vulnerable and defense-less. Most of all, there are images of a future day - a day that can only be called the Lord's - when all the tears will be wiped away, when there will be plenty to eat and drink, and when there will be no more conflict and no more war. God's salvation will be made known. God's victory will be complete.

These are very precious days for us to come into intimate contact with our own need for salvation. It is a time to make friends with our tears, our darkness, our hunger and thirst. What is missing? What eludes my grasp? What name can I give to the "restlessness" in my heart? What is the emptiness I keep trying to "feed" with food, with fantasy, with excitement, with busyness? What is the conflict that is "eating at me"? What is the sinful, unloving, self-centered pattern for which I haven't asked for forgiveness and healing? Where do I need a peace that the world cannot give?

Coming to know where I need a Savior is how I can prepare for Advent. I am preparing to listen to the promises, listen to these rich texts announcing the liberation I can truly long for. When my heart is open, when my hands are open, when my mouth is open and ready to ask for freedom, healing and peace, then I am ready to begin Advent.

One in a million shot


I think this photo is so great! A smile from God.

I don't know where this photo came from, or if it's real, because it was forwarded in an email. But, if it is real, not just photoshop work, I sure hope this photographer understands how blessed he or she is because then it really is a gift from the Master Artist up above. : )

Friday, November 23, 2007

On humility...


"God is attracted to the man who loves, it is right to love humility and to stay humble," the Holy Father said, quoting Aphraates. "Humble individuals are simple, patient, loving, honest, righteous, experts in what is good, prudent, serene, wise, calm, peaceful, merciful, ready to convert, benevolent, profound, thoughtful, beautiful and attractive."


I have been struggling to really comprehend the virtue of humility since the start of my faith walk. I thought this statement by Pope Benedict, quoting writings by Bishop Aphraates, was great. It gives me a lot to think about...

Thursday, November 22, 2007

A little Thanksgiving Day humor

A young man named John received a parrot as a gift. The parrot had a bad attitude and an even worse vocabulary. Every word out of the bird's mouth was rude, obnoxious, and laced with profanity. John tried and tried to change the bird's attitude by consistently saying only polite words, playing soft music and anything else he could think of to "clean up" the bird's vocabulary.

Finally, John was fed up, and he yelled at the parrot. The parrot yelled back. John shook the parrot and the parrot got angrier and even ruder.

John, in desperation, threw up his hands, grabbed the bird, and put him in the freezer.

For a few minutes, the parrot squawked and kicked and screamed. Then suddenly there was total quiet. Not a peep was heard for over a minute.

Fearing that he'd hurt the parrot, John quickly opened the door to the freezer.

The parrot calmly stepped out onto John's outstretched arms and said to John, "I believe I may have offended you with my rude language and actions. I'm sincerely remorseful for my inappropriate transgressions and I fully intend to do everything I can to correct my offensive and unforgivable behavior."

John was stunned at the change in the bird's attitude. Just as he was about to ask the parrot what had made such a dramatic change in his behavior, the bird continued, "May I ask what the turkey did?"


HAPPY THANKSGIVING!


Remember to say thanks to God at all times for every gift he gives, big or small, joyful or difficult, because it is His will for your life. God Bless!

Thursday, November 15, 2007

What Every Parent (and All) Should Know About "The Golden Compass"

Interview With Pete Vere and Sandra Miesel

INDIANAPOLIS, Indiana, NOV. 14, 2007 (Zenit.org).- The film "The Golden Compass" isn't simply about using fairy-tale magic to tell a good story, it corrupts the imagery of Lewis and Tolkien to undermine children's faith in God and the Church, says Catholic author Pete Vere.

In this interview with ZENIT, Vere and Sandra Miesel discuss the movie adaptation of the fantasy novels written by Philip Pullman. The film, staring Nicole Kidman and Daniel Craig, will be released in the United States in early December.
Vere and Miesel are co-authors of the booklet "Pied Piper of Atheism: Philip Pullman and Children's Fantasy," to be published by Ignatius Press next month on the topic of "The Golden Compass."
Q: The first movie of "The Golden Compass" trilogy is being released at Christmas. For those unfamiliar with the series, what kind of books are these and to whom do they appeal?

Vere: To begin, the books are marketed for 9-12 year olds as children's fantasy literature in the tradition of J.R.R. Tolkien, C.S. Lewis, and J.K. Rowling. "If you're a fan of 'Lord of the Rings,' 'Narnia ' or 'Harry Potter,'" the critics tell us, "you'll love Pullman."

Personally, I just can't see a child picking up these books and reading them. I see them more as books that adults give kids to read.

Having said that, "The Golden Compass" (1995) is the first book in Pullman's trilogy. The second book is titled "The Subtle Knife" (1997) and it is followed by "The Amber Spyglass" (2000).

Collectively, the trilogy is known as "His Dark Materials," a phrase taken from John Milton's "Paradise Lost." This is appropriately titled in my opinion, since each book gets progressively darker -- both in the intensity with which Pullman attacks the Catholic Church and the Judeo-Christian concept of God, as well as the stridency with which he promotes atheism.

For example, one of the main supporting characters, Dr. Mary Malone, is a former Catholic nun who abandoned her vocation to pursue sex and science. The reader does not meet her until the second book, by which time the young reader is already engrossed in the story. By the third book, Dr. Malone is engaging in occult practices to lead the two main characters, a 12-year-old boy and girl, to sleep in the same bed and engage in -- at the very least -- heavy kissing. This is the act through which they renew the multiple universes created by Pullman.

Another example is Pullman's portrayal of the Judeo-Christian God. Pullman refers to him as "The Authority," although a number of passages make clear that this is the God of the Bible. The Authority is a liar and a mere angel, and as we discover in the third book, senile as well. He was locked in some sort of jewel and held prisoner by the patriarch Enoch, who is now called Metatron and who rules in the Authority's name. When the children find the jewel and accidentally release the Authority, he falls apart and dies.

Additionally, Pullman uses the imagery of C.S. Lewis' "Narnia" chronicles. "His Dark Materials" opens with the young heroine stuck in a wardrobe belonging to an old academic, conversing with a talking animal, when she discovers multiple worlds. So the young reader is lulled early on with the familiar feel of Lewis.

Nevertheless, Pullman's work isn't simply about using fairy-tale magic to tell a good story. He openly proselytizes for atheism, corrupting the imagery of Lewis and Tolkien to undermine children's faith in God and the Church.

Q: Many Catholics, including William Donohue of the Catholic League, are speaking out against the movie. What should parents know before they let their children watch this film?

Vere: I don't recommend any parent allow their children to view the film. While the movie has reportedly been sanitized of its more anti-Christian and anti-religious elements, it will do nothing but pique children's curiosity about the books. I'm a parent myself. My children would think it hypocritical if I told them it was OK to see the movie, but not to read the books. And they would be right.

It's not OK for children -- impressionable as they are -- to read stories in which the plot revolves around the supreme blasphemy, namely, that God is a liar and a mortal. It is not appropriate for children to read books in which the heroine is the product of adultery and murder; priests act as professional hit men, torturers and authorize occult experimentation on young children; an ex-nun engages in occult practices and promiscuous behavior, and speaks of it openly with a 12-year-old couple; and the angels who rebel against God are good, while those who fight on God's side are evil. This is wrong. And while it's been softened in the movie -- or at least that's what Hollywood is telling us -- it's still there in the books.
Miesel: Furthermore, there's a great deal of cruelty and gore in the books, not just battles but deliberate murder, sadism, mutilation, suicide, euthanasia and even cannibalism. There are also passages of disturbing sensuality and homosexual angels who are "platonic lovers."

I agree with Pete. Avoid both the movie and the books. It would be best if people didn't picket or make a public fuss because that's just free publicity. If the movie fails at the box office, the second and third books won't be filmed.

Q: The author, Philip Pullman, is an outspoken atheist. Does this come across in the books and the movie as a secularist position or more in the form of anti-Catholicism?

Vere: It's not an "either/or" situation. What begins as a rebellion against the Church turns into a rebellion against God. This then leads to the discovery that God -- and Christianity -- are a fraud.

The 12-year-old protagonists -- Lyra and Bill -- discover there is no immortal soul, no heaven or hell. All that awaits us in the afterlife is some gloomy Hades-type afterlife where the soul goes to wait until it completely dissolves. Thus Pullman uses anti-Catholicism as the gateway to promoting atheism.

Q: The trilogy is being compared to "Harry Potter" and "The Lord of the Rings." Is there a comparison to be made with either?

Vere: On the surface, yes. You've got wizards, heroines, strange creatures, alternate worlds, etc. Although for reasons already stated, the real comparison -- by way of inverted imagery -- is to C.S. Lewis' "Narnia" chronicles. Pullman, who has called "The Lord of the Rings" "infantile," has a particular dislike for Lewis and "Narnia." This is reflected in Pullman taking Lewis' literary devices and inverting them to attack Christianity and promote atheism.

As Pullman said in a 1998 article in The Guardian: "[Lewis] didn't like women in general, or sexuality at all, at least at the stage in his life when he wrote the 'Narnia' books. He was frightened and appalled at the notion of wanting to grow up. Susan, who did want to grow up, and who might have been the most interesting character in the whole cycle if she'd been allowed to, is a Cinderella in a story where the ugly sisters win."
Miesel: That nasty quote is factually wrong on both points. Lewis began corresponding with his future wife in 1950, the year the first "Narnia" book came out, and married her in 1956, the year the last one was published. Susan's problem isn't "growing up," but turning silly and conceited. She doesn't even appear -- much less get sent to hell -- in "The Last Battle."

Vere: Thus what we see here is more contrast and corruption than comparison. Also, the work of Tolkien, Lewis and Rowling is primarily driven by the audience. It is the average reader who purchases these works, reads them, and makes them popular.

Pullman's work, on the other hand, appears to be driven by the critics. The only people I know recommending Pullman's work are English majors and university professors. I don't know a single electrician, hairdresser or accountant who recommends Pullman's work by word of mouth. Thus the books haven't resonated with the average person to the same degree as "Lord of the Rings," "Narnia" and "Harry Potter."

Q: Nicole Kidman, a Catholic who stars in the film, has said she wouldn't have taken the role if she thought the movie was anti-Catholic. What do you make of this response?

Vere: The film has not yet been released, so I cannot comment on it. However, Christ asks very pointedly in the Gospels: Can a good tree bear rotten fruit? The movie is the fruit of the books and Pullman's imagination. These are anti-Christian and atheistic at their core. How does one sanitize this from the movie without completely gutting Pullman from his story?

During an interview with Hollywood screenwriter Barbara Nicolosi a couple of months ago, I asked her whether it was possible to tone down the anti-Christian elements for the movie. Nicolosi is the chair of Act One, a training and mentoring organization for Christians starting out in Hollywood.

She had given the question thought. A few years ago one of her friends -- an evangelical Christian -- had been asked by her agent to pitch on the project, that is, propose to write the screenplay adapting "The Golden Compass" to film.

"We read [the book] and there was just no way we could come in on this," Nicolosi told me. "Pullman's fantasy universe is nihilistic and rooted in chaos. You cannot fix that in a rewrite without changing the story Pullman is trying to tell -- which is atheistic, angry and at times polemical."

But let's suppose it is possible. Let's suppose Kidman is right and that the movie has been sanitized of its anti-Catholicism. The books remain saturated with bitter anti-Christian polemic. So why promote a movie that will only generate interest in the books among impressionable young children?

For the Christian parent, the movie cannot be anything but spiritual poison to their children -- for the movie is the fruit of the book.



I agree with the statement that people shouldn't make a public fuss because that just promotes the thing being fought against. I just want people to be informed so they can make a wise decision to not see the movie, then inform all of their family and friends to do the same thing. If the first movie gets no attention or audience it will fade away and the other 2 sequels won't be made. That would be the best outcome to this sad situation. God bless!

Tuesday, November 13, 2007

A funny for today



A coworker sent this to me. I got a good laugh out of it and thought you might too. Especially cat owners/lovers. : )

Sunday, November 11, 2007

A Martyr's Letter to His Girlfriend


"Let My Memory Always Remind You There Is a Better Life"

MADRID, Spain, NOV. 9, 2007 (Zenit.org).- Here is a translation of a letter from Bartolomé Blanco Márquez, written to his girlfriend from prison the day before he was executed during religious persecution in 1930s Spain. Márquez was beatified Oct. 28; the letter is published in the “Summarium Super Martyrio” of his beatification cause.

Bartolomé Blanco Márquez was born in Cordoba in 1914. He was arrested as a Catholic leader -- he was the secretary of Catholic Action and a delegate to the Catholic Syndicates -- on Aug. 18, 1936. He was executed on Oct. 2, 1936, at age 21, while he cried out, “Long live Christ the King!”

* * *

Provincial prison of Jaen, Oct. 1, 1936

My dearest Maruja:

Your memory will remain with me to the grave and, as long as the slightest throb stirs my heart, it will beat for love of you. God has deemed fit to sublimate these worldly affections, ennobling them when we love each other in him. Though in my final days, God is my light and what I long for, this does not mean that the recollection of the one dearest to me will not accompany me until the hour of my death.

I am assisted by many priests who -- what a sweet comfort -- pour out the treasures of grace into my soul, strengthening it. I look death in the eye and, believe my words, it does not daunt me or make me afraid.

My sentence before the court of mankind will be my soundest defense before God's court; in their effort to revile me, they have ennobled me; in trying to sentence me, they have absolved me, and by attempting to lose me, they have saved me. Do you see what I mean? Why, of course! Because in killing me, they grant me true life and in condemning me for always upholding the highest ideals of religion, country and family, they swing open before me the doors of heaven.

My body will be buried in a grave in this cemetery of Jaen; while I am left with only a few hours before that definitive repose, allow me to ask but one thing of you: that in memory of the love we shared, which at this moment is enhanced, that you would take on as your primary objective the salvation of your soul. In that way, we will procure our reuniting in heaven for all eternity, where nothing will separate us.

Goodbye, until that moment, then, dearest Maruja! Do not forget that I am looking at you from heaven, and try to be a model Christian woman, since, in the end, worldly goods and delights are of no avail if we do not manage to save our souls.

My thoughts of gratitude to all your family and, for you, all my love, sublimated in the hours of death. Do not forget me, my Maruja, and let my memory always remind you there is a better life, and that attaining it should constitute our highest aspiration.

Be strong and make a new life; you are young and kind, and you will have God's help, which I will implore upon you from his kingdom. Goodbye, until eternity, then, when we shall continue to love each other for life everlasting.



Wow, faith and love... there's nothing more I can say!

Monday, November 05, 2007

My favorite scripture passage



Let love be sincere; hate what is evil, hold on to what is good; love one another with mutual affection; anticipate one another in showing honor. Do not grow slack in zeal, be fervent in spirit, serve the Lord. Rejoice in hope, endure in affliction, persevere in prayer. Contribute to the needs of the holy ones, exercise hospitality. Bless those who persecute you, bless and do not curse them. Rejoice with those who rejoice, weep with those who weep. Have the same regard for one another; do not be haughty but associate with the lowly; do not be wise in your own estimation. Do not repay anyone evil for evil; be concerned for what is noble in the sight of all. If possible, on your part, live at peace with all. Beloved, do not look for revenge but leave room for the wrath; for it is written, “Vengeance is mine, I will repay, says the Lord.” Rather, “if your enemy is hungry, feed him; if he is thirsty, give him something to drink; for by so doing you will heap burning coals upon his head.” Do not be conquered by evil but conquer evil with good. (Romans 12: 9-21)

That just says SO MUCH! It gives all the basic guidance you need to get through your time here on earth as a weak, sinful human. We can only pray that God will grant us the graces to live by these words in order to attain our final great reward of making it to heaven to see God face to face as one of his saints. To hear him say, "well done, my child..."

Tuesday, May 29, 2007

The unity and indissolubility of marriage

I have been reading Pope John Paul II's book "Theology of the Body." Tonight I came across this great section on marriage that made me think of my two friends that are engaged. I wanted to share these words of immense wisdom with them as a part of their preparation for the incredible union that they are about to embark upon.

It's a little long for a blog entry but I hope that everyone (especially those that are engaged and married) take the time to really read these amazing words and absorb them. How eloquently and passionately a man consecrated to the celebate life can explain the union of love and marriage. Thanks Pope John Paul II, you are greatly missed here on earth!


General Audience from November 21, 1979

1. Let us recall that Christ, when questioned about the unity and indissolubility of marriage, referred to what was "in the beginning." He quoted the words written in the first chapters of Genesis. In the course of these reflections, we are trying to penetrate the specific meaning of these words and these chapters.

The meaning of the original unity of man, whom God created "male and female," is obtained (especially in the light of Genesis 2:23) by knowing man in the entire endowment of his being, that is, in all the riches of that mystery of creation, on which theological anthropology is based. This knowledge, that is, the study of the human identity of the one who, at the beginning, is "alone," must always pass through duality, "communion."

Let us recall the passage of Genesis 2:23: "Then the man said, 'This at last is bone of my bones and flesh of my flesh; she shall be called woman, because she was taken out of man.'" In the light of this text, we understand that knowledge of man passes through masculinity and femininity. These are, as it were, two "incarnations" of the same metaphysical solitude before God and the world—two ways, as it were, of "being a body" and at the same time of of being human, which complete each other—two complementary dimensions, as it were, of self-consciousness and self-determination and, at the same time, two complementary ways of being conscious of the meaning of the body.

As Genesis 2:23 already shows, femininity finds itself, in a sense, in the presence of masculinity, while masculinity is confirmed through femininity. Precisely the function of sex, which is in a sense, "a constituent part of the person" (not just "an attribute of the person"), proves how deeply man, with all his spiritual solitude, with the never to be repeated uniqueness of his person, is constituted by the body as "he" or "she." The presence of the feminine element, alongside the male element and together with it, signifies an enrichment for man in the whole perspective of his history, including the history of salvation. All this teaching on unity has already been expressed originally in Genesis 2:23.

Rediscover the mystery of creation

2. The unity of which Genesis 2:24 speaks ("they become one flesh") is undoubtedly expressed and realized in the conjugal act. The biblical formulation, extremely concise and simple, indicates sex, femininity and masculinity, as that characteristic of man—male and female—which permits them, when they become "one flesh," to submit their whole humanity to the blessing of fertility. However, the whole context of the lapidary formulation does not permit us to stop at the surface of human sexuality. It does not allow us to deal with the body and sex outside the full dimension of man and of the "communion of persons." Right from the beginning it obliges us to see the fullness and depth which are characteristic of this unity, which man and woman must constitute in the light of the revelation of the body.

The perspective expression which says, "the man... will unite with his wife" so intimately that "the two will be one flesh," always induces us to refer to what the biblical text expresses previously with regard to the union in humanity, which binds the woman and the man in the very mystery of creation. The words of Genesis 2:23, just analyzed, explain this concept in a particular way. Uniting with each other (in the conjugal act) so closely as to become "one flesh," man and woman, rediscover, so to speak, every time and in a special way, the mystery of creation. They return in this way to that union in humanity ("bone of my bones and flesh of my flesh") which allows them to recognize each other and, like the first time, to call each other by name.

This means reliving, in a sense, the original virginal value of man, which emerges from the mystery of his solitude before God and in the midst of the world. The fact that they become one flesh is a powerful bond established by the Creator. Through it they discover their own humanity, both in its original unity, and in the duality of a mysterious mutual attraction.

However, sex is something more than the mysterious power of human bodiliness, which acts almost by virtue of instinct. At the level of man and in the mutual relationship of persons, sex expresses an ever new surpassing of the limit of man's solitude that is inherent in the makeup of his body, and determines its original meaning. This surpassing always contains within it a certain assumption of the solitude of the body of the second "self" as one's own.

Choice establishes pact

3. Therefore, it is bound up with choice. The formulation of Genesis 2:24 indicates that human beings, created as man and woman, were created for unity. It also indicates that precisely this unity, through which they become one flesh, has right from the beginning a character of union derived from a choice. We read: "A man will leave his father and mother and unite with his wife." If the man belongs "by nature" to his father and mother, "he unites," by contrast, with his wife (or she with her husband) by choice.

The text of Genesis 2:24 defines this character of the conjugal bond with reference to the first man and the first woman. At the same time, it does so in the perspective of the whole earthly future of man. Therefore, in his time, Christ will appeal to that text, as equally relevant in his age. Formed in the image of God, also inasmuch as they form a true communion of persons, the first man and the first woman must constitute the beginning and the model of that communion for all men and women, who, in any period, are united so intimately as to be one flesh.

The body, which through its own masculinity or femininity right from the beginning helps both to find themselves in communion of persons, becomes, in a particular way, the constituent element of their union, when they become husband and wife. This takes place, however, through a mutual choice. This choice establishes the conjugal pact between persons,(1) who become one flesh only based on this choice.

Self-giving persons

4. That corresponds to the structure of man's solitude, and in actual fact to the "twofold solitude." As the expression of self-determination, choice rests on the foundation of his self-consciousness. Only on the basis of the structure peculiar to man is he "a body" and, through the body, also male and female. When they both unite so closely as to become one flesh, their conjugal union presupposes a mature consciousness of the body. In fact, it bears within it a particular consciousness of the meaning of that body in the mutual self-giving of the persons.

In this sense too, Genesis 2:24 is a perspective text. It proves that in every conjugal union of man and woman, the same original consciousness of the unifying significance of the body in its masculinity and femininity is discovered again. At the same time, the biblical text indicates that each of these unions renews, in a way, the mystery of creation in all its original depth and vital power. "Taken out of man" as "flesh of his flesh," woman subsequently becomes, as wife and through her motherhood, mother of the living (cf. Gn 3:20), since her motherhood also has its origin in him. Procreation is rooted in creation, and every time, in a sense, reproduces its mystery.


Footnote

1) "The intimate partnership of married life and love has been established by the Creator and qualified by his laws, and is rooted in the conjugal covenant of irrevocable personal consent" (GS 48).

Wednesday, May 16, 2007

When you're down to nothing, God is up to something."

She jumped up as soon as she saw the surgeon come out of the operating room. She said: "How is my little boy ? Is he going to be all right ? When can I see him?"

The surgeon said, "I'm sorry. We did all we could, but your boy didn't make it."

Sally said, "Why do little children get cancer ? Doesn't God care any more ? Where were you, God, when my son needed you ?"

The surgeon asked, "Would you like some time alone with your son ? One of the nurses will be out in a few minutes, before he's transported to the university."

Sally asked the nurse to stay with her while she said good bye to son. She ran her fingers lovingly through his thick red curly hair "Would you like a lock of his hair?" the nurse asked.

Sally nodded yes. The nurse cut a lock of the boy's hair, put it in a plastic bag and handed it to Sally.

The mother said, "It was Jimmy's idea to donate his body to the University for Study. He said it might help somebody else. "I said no at first, but Jimmy said, 'Mom, I won't be using it after I die. Maybe it will help some other little boy spend one more day with his Mom." She went on, "My Jimmy had a heart of gold. Always thinking of someone else. Always wanting to help others if he could."

Sally walked out of Children's Mercy Hospital for the last time, after spending most of the last six months there. She put the bag with Jimmy's belongings on the seat beside her in the car.

The drive home was difficult. It was even harder to enter the empty house. She carried Jimmy's belongings, and the plastic bag with the lock of his hair to her son's room. She started placing the model cars and other personal things back in his room exactly where he had always kept them. She laid down across his bed and, hugging his pillow, cried herself to sleep.

It was around midnight when Sally awoke. Laying beside her on the bed was a folded letter. The letter said:

"Dear Mom, I know you're going to miss me; but don't think that I will ever forget you, or stop loving you, just 'cause I'm not around to say "I Love You." I will always love you, Mom, even more with each day. Someday we will see each other again. Until then, if you want to adopt a little boy so you won't be so lonely, that's okay with me. He can have my room and old stuff to play with. But, if you decide to get a girl instead, she probably wouldn't like the same things us boys do. You'll have to buy her dolls and stuff girls like, you know. Don't be sad thinking about me. This really is a neat place. Grandma and Grandpa met me as soon as I got here and showed me around some, but it will take a long time to see everything. The angels are so cool. I love to watch them fly. And, you know what? Jesus doesn't look like any of his pictures. Yet, when I saw Him, I knew it was Him. Jesus himself took me to see GOD! And guess what, Mom? I got to sit on God's knee and talk to Him, like I was somebody important. That's when I told Him that I wanted to write you a letter, to tell you good bye and everything. But I already knew that wasn't allowed. Well, you know what Mom? God handed me some paper and His own personal pen to write you this letter. I think Gabriel is the name of the angel who is going to drop this letter off to you. God said for me to give you the answer to one of the questions you asked Him 'Where was He when I needed him?' "God said He was in the same place with me, as when His son Jesus was on the cross. He was right there, as He always is with all His children. Oh, by the way, Mom, no one else can see what I've written except you. To everyone else this is just a blank piece of paper. Isn't that cool? I have to give God His pen back now. He needs it to write some more names in the Book of Life. Tonight I get to sit at the table with Jesus for supper. I'm sure the food will be great.

Oh, I almost forgot to tell you. I don't hurt anymore. The cancer is all gone. I'm glad because I couldn't stand that pain anymore and God couldn't stand to see me hurt so much, either. That's when He sent The Angel of Mercy to come get me. The Angel said I was a Special Delivery! How about that?

Signed with Love from God, Jesus & Me.



"When you're down to nothing, God is up to something."

I got this as an email from my sister and I liked it so much that I decided to post it rather than just forward it.

Wednesday, March 28, 2007

Anybody out there?

This was my view on the way to mass on Sunday morning. It was kinda scary and REALLY COOL! :) There are a couple of cars just ahead of me here but you can't see them at all. As soon as I opened the shades and saw the thick fog that morning I knew I had to take my camera with me.

I kept looking around thinking how cool the fog was, but it sure made me uncomfortable to have such limited vision. As a person who is used to always having good sight I felt uneasy with such a limited idea of what is going on around me. I have a deeper respect for the vision impaired after this experience.

Saturday, March 24, 2007

And now...

our gorgeous spring day has just ended with a beautiful blue and pink sunset.

God is good!! :)

SPRING!! : )

The tulips are starting to grow out of the ground and we had 70 degrees today. Good signs that spring is arriving. It is still much too early to think that we won't get more cold and snow, but at least we know it won't last for long at this point.

Happy spring ya'll!!

Sunday, March 18, 2007

I joined the Army today!


The Rosary Army, that is.

The Rosary Army is a great non-profit Catholic apostolate, run by Greg and Jennifer Willits, that encourages people to make, pray and give away rosaries. All you have to do is send them a request (more detailed information can be found at rosaryarmy.com) and they will mail you a FREE rosary. That is how I got my first rosary as I was learning about the Catholic Church, before my confirmation.

Ever since I received that rosary I have wanted to try making an all-twine knotted rosary myself, but didn't want to buy the supplies, not knowing what I was doing. Well, Greg and Jennifer also have a terrific podcast as a part of their apostolate that I listen to regularly. A couple of weeks ago on one of the shows they announced that Divine Twine was offering a FREE "starter kit" of enough twine for 1 rosary plus a metal crucifix. All you had to do was send an addressed, stamped envelope. I was all over that! I checked out the website and saw all of the beautiful colored twine that is being handmade by Teena at Divine Twine and was hooked.

I received my starter kit last week and finally worked up the nerve (and the time) to test my rosary making skills this morning. I watched the step by step instruction video on the Rosary Army website and... viola! The picture above is my final product. Not too bad for a first timer, I think. And I had so much fun creating that beauty that I have already ordered more twine from Divine Twine. All of the colors are so nice that I couldn't decide between them on my own, so I opted for the "Teena's Secret Stash" option where she will send you ten random colors of her choosing. I'm so excited to see what I get!! : )

The people that make, pray and give away rosaries for the Rosary Army are called "Rosary Army soldiers" by Greg and Jennifer. So, today I became a soldier and joined the army by making my first rosary, which I will now go pray, and give away when the perfect (God given) opportunity presents itself.


Side note about previous post: We now have pretty much NO snow left as of about Tuesday or Wednesday of this last week. That is crazy to me when I see the pictures below from just 2 weeks ago.

Friday, March 02, 2007

We've gone adrift...

Over the course of the last few days we have received a fresh coating of about 9" of snow. For about the last 24 hours we have had very strong, gusty winds. Loose snow and high winds = snow drifts!

This is my nephew, Jacob, that is just under 4' tall standing behind one of the drifts in my sister's driveway. Her driveway always has drifts when we get any kind of wind and snow, but this is definitely the worst we have seen.

This is Jodi's (my sister) van for transporting her daycare kids. As you can imagine, they didn't go anywhere today! :)

Even I had some drifts that were a couple feet deep in my driveway, which is fairly rare. I don't have much yard space in the front of the house so the snow piles around the sidewalk and driveway are starting to get pretty deep.

I like how the drifts formed beside the house and made a cozy little shelter for my central air unit. It doesn't look like I will be needing the central air any time too soon!

I'm ready for spring now. :)

Sunday, February 25, 2007

Please welcome...

Christopher Michael Morlan

Born February 19, 2007 at 9:29 p.m., weighing in at 9 lbs 5 oz. and at 21 1/2 inches long. The proud parents are my friends Angie and Tom who live (much too far away) in Colorado.

What a handsome young man! Yes, I am a proud "aunty." :)

Monday, February 12, 2007

Happy St. Valentine's Day to All


The Origins of St. Valentine’s Day
(from americancatholic.org)

A quick quiz: St. Valentine was:

a) a priest in the Roman Empire who helped persecuted Christians during the reign of Claudius II, was thrown in jail and later beheaded on Feb. 14.


b) a Catholic bishop of Terni who was beheaded, also during the reign of Claudius II.


c) someone who secretly married couples when marriage was forbidden, or suffered in Africa, or wrote letters to his jailer's daughter, and was probably beheaded.


d) all, some, or possibly none of the above.

If you guessed d), give yourself a box of chocolates. Although the mid-February holiday celebrating love and lovers remains wildly popular, the confusion over its origins led the Catholic Church, in 1969, to drop St. Valentine's Day from the Roman calendar of official, worldwide Catholic feasts. (Those highly sought-after days are reserved for saints with more clear historical record. After all, the saints are real individuals for us to imitate.) Some parishes, however, observe the feast of St. Valentine.

The roots of St. Valentine's Day lie in the ancient Roman festival of Lupercalia, which was celebrated on Feb. 15. For 800 years the Romans had dedicated this day to the god Lupercus. On Lupercalia, a young man would draw the name of a young woman in a lottery and would then keep the woman as a sexual companion for the year.
Pope Gelasius I was, understandably, less than thrilled with this custom. So he changed the lottery to have both young men and women draw the names of saints whom they would then emulate for the year (a change that no doubt disappointed a few young men). Instead of Lupercus, the patron of the feast became Valentine. For Roman men, the day continued to be an occasion to seek the affections of women, and it became a tradition to give out handwritten messages of admiration that included Valentine's name.

There was also a conventional belief in Europe during the Middle Ages that birds chose their partners in the middle of February. Thus the day was dedicated to love, and people observed it by writing love letters and sending small gifts to their beloved. Legend has it that Charles, duke of Orleans, sent the first real Valentine card to his wife in 1415, when he was imprisoned in the Tower of London. (He, however, was not beheaded, and died a half-century later of old age.)


I found this interesting and entertaining so I thought I would share it with you. I wish you all (all 2, 3 maybe 4 of you who read this blog?) a Valentine Day filled with love, peace and joy!

Sunday, February 11, 2007

It's heeeeeeeeeeeeere...

I believe that spring fever hit home today.

I have been getting a little claustrophobic and feeling very trapped indoors the last few days.

Today I went outside on my back deck a few times in the early afternoon to shake the dirt off of rugs while doing some cleaning. Wouldn't ya know, it felt quite warm and nice because the sun was shining. So, next I found myself sweeping the snow off of my deck in order to spend a little more time outside in the "nice" weather. Well, that felt good enough that I decided I should go for a walk. I have been itchin' to get out for a walk. It's been way too long for me!

I headed out the door with a smile on my face because I was finally gettin' outside to take a much anticipated walk. About a block down the road I started thinking, "ya know, the breeze is a little cool. I better put my hat on to make sure I stay warm." (Luckily I was smart enough to grab my hat on the way out the door, just in case.) A few blocks later I start thinking, "I'm getting kinda cold already. Oh well, I'm fine. I'll just keep going and see how I do." Well... about a block later I was headin' back toward home. I was COLD. I ended up getting about a mile of exercise in the fresh (crisp) air, at least.

You want to know why I was cold? Today it was 14 degrees with a wind chill that made it feel like 6 degrees. Um, yeah, I believe spring fever has STRUCK!!

Saturday, February 03, 2007

Is Jesus mad at me? My morning conversation.

It seems that Jesus and I have been having difficulty finding our relationship and lines of communication.

I know that Jesus is my "Big Brother" who loves me, protects me, forgives me and puts me back on the right path when I have stumbled or fallen. But I sometimes feel like He is angry and disappointed with me and my weaknesses.

When I pray and talk to Jesus I tell him that I am trying to hear, sense and know His will for me at each moment of each day. But I also know that I can be a pretty stubborn, hard headed (German, Irish—thanks a lot mom and dad) human at times and I don't always perceive the subtle messages being sent. So I tell Jesus that if He needs to slap me upside the head to get through to me, He can. Well, I think I got slapped this morning!

I feel a very close bond to the Blessed Virgin Mary, our mother, so I find that I am praying to and communicating with Her more often than I am to Jesus. So this morning I was again praying to Mother Mary. I was asking for help to bring me closer to her son, Jesus. After my prayer, I walked into the kitchen and got myself a bowl of cereal for breakfast. In the middle of eating said breakfast, out of the blue, I found myself in a deep conversation (mental prayer) with Jesus. Yeah, SLAP!

Our conversation occurred in a space where we were surrounded by blank whiteness everywhere. (This must be my imagination's idea of a heavenly conference room or confessional?) Jesus and I were standing face to face. He was telling me that He knows He asks a lot of me at times, but that He always gives all of the helping graces that are needed to get through the trials that we are given. Then He wrapped me in His arms and put my head upon His chest as he said, "my child, I know that you are trying, and at times you do let go completely and abandoned yourself to me. But then a little while later you are back to clinging to earthly things and looking for some sense of control. I know that it is a long path of growth and discovery that you are on, and it will take a long time to reach your final destination. Always know that I AM with you and love you, even when I let you struggle on your own for a while. Try not to fret so much, my child, and continue growing in your life of faith through prayer."

Then, *poof*, it was just me, in my kitchen, in front of my bowl of cereal again. I sat in silence, somewhat stunned, for a couple of minutes. Then I started going through the occurence in my head. I had only "seen" Jesus and I during our conversation in that white space. But upon reflecting, I know that I felt Mother Mary's presence off to the side somewhere. I could feel her encouragement and happiness with the conversation taking place. My only possible conclusion is that it was Mary's intercession that prompted this special time between Jesus and I this morning. Thanks, Mom!

What an amazing, loving, holy family we have in heaven!

Just imagine what our world could be like if we all would speak to each other so openly, honestly and from the heart.

Sunday, January 28, 2007

Misc. pics

I took a couple of pictures this week that I thought would be fun to put on the blog, so here ya go:

Gas prices actually came down to under $2 for the first time in many months. (The sign says $1.97, $1.99 and $2.09 if you can't read it.) I was so excited I had to take a picture. I snapped this photo on the way into work at 7 a.m. By the time I came out of work for my lunch break at about 1 p.m. the lowest price was already back up to $2.09. :( Bummer!

When I woke up and opened the blind on my living room window Saturday morning I couldn't see outside. The screen had been covered with ice from the cold wind that had been blowing throughout the night. Later in the day the sun started shining on the ice which made the pattern of the crystals stand out. It looked really beautiful so I grabbed the camera to capture the moment.

Sunday, January 21, 2007

Winter Nap


The air is crisp and cold. The sky is a cloudy, grey background which makes the bare trees look sullen. A light snowfall is floating through the air. It is winter in Bismarck.

Life has gotten back to a "normal routine" now that the holidays are over. The cooler temperatures and winter atmosphere the last few weeks have sent me into my "winter nap." I go through this stage every winter where I enjoy my quiet, peaceful time indoors at home when I don't have responsibilities calling me away. This has resulted in a quiet Dawn, and a quiet blog, because there is nothing to really tell except that things are normal, good, but normal.

So, for now, I will enjoy this peaceful winter nap knowing that, shortly, spring fever will hit. Then I will get very anxious for the nice weather so I can get outside and be active.