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

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.