Friday, January 30, 2009

More Friday Fun—Charlie bit me!

This afternoon my co-worker showed us the "Charlie Bit My Finger" video on YouTube. I was laughing so hard my face hurt. Then she continued and showed us the AWESOME remix that was put together. Then I was laughing so hard I couldn't breath. I had to share them with you. Enjoy!

Video game dangers

This is a good news clip that was on one of our local news station about the dangers of kids playing too many video games.

These games, especially the violent ones, and the amount of time kids spend with them does really worry me. I don't have as big of an issue with the Wii system since it has more "active" types of games that promote family time together, but you still need to practice and teach moderation.

Friday funny

Thanks to Fr. Ryan for having this on his blog!

A Brief Catholic Glossary

This information is for Catholics only. It must not be divulged to non-Catholics. The less they know, the more fun this list is!

AMEN: The only part of a prayer that everyone knows.
BULLETIN: Your receipt for attending Mass.
CHOIR: A group of people whose singing allows the rest of the Parish to lip-sync.
HYMN: A song of praise usually sung in a key three octaves higher than that of the congregation’s range.
RECESSIONAL HYMN: The last song at Mass often sung a little more quietly, since most of the people have already left.
JESUITS: An order of priests known for their ability to found colleges with good basketball teams.
JONAH: The original “Jaws” story.
JUSTICE: When kids have kids of their own.
KYRIE ELEISON: The only Greek words that most Catholics can recognize besides gyros and baklava. (For you non-Catholics it means Lord have mercy.)
MANGER: Where Mary gave birth to Jesus because Joseph wasn’t covered by an HMO. (The Bible’s way of showing us that holiday travel has always been rough.)
PEW: A medieval torture device still found in Catholic churches.
PROCESSION: The ceremonial formation at the beginning of Mass consisting of altar servers, the celebrant, and late parishioners looking for seats.
RECESSIONAL: The ceremonial procession at the conclusion of Mass led by parishioners trying to beat the crowd to the parking lot.
USHERS: The only people in the parish who don’t know the seating capacity of a pew.

Tip of the day

~ Don't let yourself get distracted by the computer when baking cookies!
(See bucket list post below.)

One pan of my cookies turned out to be "crispy critters" last night. Oops! Needless to say those particular cookies stayed home where no one else has to be subjected to eating them. At least they aren't burnt, just dark brown, and not exactly what you would call "soft." :)

Happy Friday everyone, have a great weekend!

Thursday, January 29, 2009

The Bucket List

This is one of the many memes (what does that mean or stand for?) going around. It has been a while since I participated in one so I thought I would post this on the blog. All the world can get to know Dawn a little better...if anyone cares! :)

The instructions said to put an X by all the items that you have done. And I always feel compelled to add my own little commentary, for some reason. Well, here is what my 36 years of life look like:

(x) Gone on a blind date (A couple of them. Hi, Jason!) :)
(x) Skipped school (Oh, that's a good story. I'm a first grade delinquent.)
(x) Watched someone die (Both of my grandparents on my mom's side. It's actually a very peaceful time.)
( ) Been to Canada (I live so close and have never gone there. That's just wrong!)
(x) Been to Mexico (Just over the border from Texas. Great food!)
( ) Been to Florida (I want to go to Disney World!)
( ) Been to Hawaii (Hopefully, some day.)
(x) Been on a plane (To Texas, California, Nevada, Colorado, Illinois...I'm probably missing some.)
(x) Been lost (Watching "Lost"!) :)
( ) Gone to Washington, DC (I would like to.)
( ) Swam in the ocean (I walked in the edge of the ocean, but no swimming.)
(x) Cried yourself to sleep (No one ever said life would be easy!)
( ) Played cops and robbers (I honestly can't remember for sure.)
(x) Recently colored with crayons (With my nephew, it's so fun and relaxing!)
( ) Sang Karaoke (Oh, NO, not this shy, untalented girl! Singing at Mass is as close as I get.)
(x) Paid for a meal with coins only (Just a couple bucks for fast food, though.)
( ) Been to the top of the St. Louis Arch (Nope, never been to St. Loooooouis.)
(x) Done something you told yourself you wouldn't (How many times so far today...)
(x) Made prank phone calls (Oh, the junior/high school years. I'm sorry!)
( ) Been down Bourbon Street in New Orleans (Doesn't really interest me.)
(x) Laughed until some kind of beverage came out of your nose (Hehe, those are good, albeit painful, laughs!)
(x) Caught a snowflake on your tongue (Lots!)
(x) Danced in the rain (What a great feeling. If you haven't, DO!)
(x) Written a letter to Santa Claus (Even had him write back!)
( ) Been kissed under the mistletoe (Maybe by a relative but I can't remember for sure so I will leave it blank)
(x) Watched the sunrise with someone (One of the best parts of camping!)
(x) Blown bubbles (With soapy water and gum.)
(x) Gone ice-skating (Good wintertime fun. Haven't gone for a couple of years, though. Hmmmm...)
(x) Gone to the movies (Who hasn't? Oh, maybe the Amish and third world countries?)
( ) Been deep sea fishing (I'm not big on fishing. I'd rather enjoy the boat ride, play in the water or relax on the beach.)
(x) Driven across the United States (From Bismarck, N.D. to Arizona, does that count?)
( ) Been in a hot air balloon (That would be fun, I think.)
( ) Been sky diving (I always thought I wanted to but now I think I would be too chicken.)
(x) Gone snowmobiling (Another fun wintertime activity!)
( ) Lived in more than one country (North Dakota and Minnesota, I haven't made it very far. And that's OK with me.) :)
(x) Laid outside at night and admired the stars while listening to the crickets (I can't wait for spring/summer/fall so I can get back out on my deck. This is an almost nightly occurrence then.)
(x) Seen a falling star and made a wish (Before knowing and loving God. Now I pray instead of wish.) :)
( ) Enjoyed the beauty of Ole Faithful Geyser (I would like to!)
( ) Seen the Statue of Liberty (Maybe some day?)
( ) Gone to the top of Seattle Space Needle (Hadn't really thought about it.)
(x) Been to the Grand Canyon (I saw it but didn't get to spend time IN it. I would like to go back for some hiking or something.)
( ) Been on a cruise (I worry I would be seasick but I just don't know.)
(x) Traveled by train (Went to Glacier Park in Montana by train.)
(x) Traveled by motorcycle [sigh] (I love motorcycle rides and it's been way too long since I've had one.) [sniffle]
(x) Been horseback riding (Horses are so strong and majestic. I like riding.)
(x) Ridden on a San Francisco Trolley (It was fun but the novelty would wear off quickly, I think.)
(x) Been to Disney land or Disney World (Disney Land, I would love to get to Disney World, too.)
(x) Truly believe in the power of prayer (Oooooooooh yeeeeeeaaaaahhhh!!) :)
( ) Been in a rain forest (I would like to.)
( ) Seen whales in the ocean (That would be interesting.)
( ) Been to Niagara Falls (I would love to see the falls! That one is on my list of places to go.)
( ) Ridden on an elephant (Um, not that interested, I guess.)
( ) Swam with dolphins (That would be fun. I would want to bring them home.) :)
( ) been scuba diving (I think it would be fun but I kinda get freaked out by some sea creatures. It would be worth it I'm sure.)

OK, your turn if you want to share your life with the world! :)

Radical Love: The Sisters of Summit, NJ

This is a great 5 min. video done by Time about a cloister of nuns. They range from very young to, well, we'll say not so young. :) It's a very nice look into the lives of these special women. Check it out!

Tuesday, January 27, 2009

There are so many reasons for being wary of the contraceptive pill. Why are we not questioning its prevalence?

The title of this post is a quote from this good article from Australia about ALL of the side effects of the birth control pill. Not just to women but to men, animals, the environment...

This one little pill is causing so much destruction in so many ways. It must stop!

Here are the last couple of paragraphs that follow the quote from the title:

The reason is, of course, that it is the sacred cow of the sexual revolution. One imaginative letter writer claimed the Catholic view of the pill was that it was "the great Satan", and actually that is not a bad description. It was marketed as an instrument of sexual freedom, and it has provided that, particularly for men. But one might ask if for women it has been the means of sexual liberation or just a way of turning us into empty vessels for sex? Is it like the sexual revolution itself: a pretty and alluring package that turns out to be - for both sexes - like a series of empty boxes, one inside the other. At the end, there is nothing but an empty box.

The environmental effects of the pill on men may in fact gradually reveal the extent of the damage to our whole society, something that Francis Fukuyama points out in his essay, The Great Disruption: that we can't just introduce something such as this for 30 years and not expect unforeseen consequences, moral, social and, of course, physical. But tragically it will be young men and boys who suffer before women will also free themselves of this burden.

Thank you Angela Shanahan!!

Monday, January 26, 2009

Rex Babin's best interpretation of the miracle on the Hudson

Got this in an email from my sister today.

Quote of the day

"We don’t need more birth control. We need more self-control. And we certainly don’t need more government control. We need more control of our government."

By Matthew Warner from Contraception is Cure for Economy?

Are you doing this for Jesus?

One of my favorite newer blogs to read each day is The Rock and The Sword. It is written by three seminarians who take turns posting their reflections on life, the Church, vocations or whatever comes to mind that day.

Today's post is a great reflection about how we should live every moment of our lives. Here is a teaser to pull you in:

She said, "Are you doing this for Jesus?" He was somewhat confused at this unexpected question, and could only give her a quizzical look before she responded, "You should do this for Jesus. Each time you take a plate to dry it you should pray 'Dear Jesus I love you and I am doing this for you, and I ask you to save a soul because of it."

This post really spoke to my heart because the sister quoted seems to be living the "little way" of St. Therese of Lisieux (my patron saint).

St. Therese made her way to the eternal joy of sainthood by living each moment of her day offering it to God for the salvation of souls. St. Therese's deepest desire was to save souls (in life and in death) and she chose to do that by suffering for others. Therese had a lot of suffering to offer because she was sick for much of her very short life (she died at 24 years old) but she made the most of every moment.

To learn more about this great saint, I suggest reading her autobiography, Story of Soul. This was one of the first spiritual books I read during my conversion and I just know St. Therese is a big reason for my coming home to the Church. I can imagine she was praying up a storm for the salvation of my soul...and still is. :)

God's little flower, St. Therese, pray for us!

NFP vs. Contraception (and the Gardasil shot)

I just listened to a great episode of Catholic Answers Live from last week via podcast. This episode has Jason Evert as the guest discussing and answering questions about Natural Family Planning (NFP) and why it is so much better, healthier and the (morally correct) teaching of the Catholic Church. A lot of great information is shared during this hour that everyone can benefit from.

As a bonus, during the show a mother calls in and asks about the HPV vaccine, Gardasil, that I had blogged about a couple of weeks ago. Jason has a great answer to her question and also directs the mother and listeners to an article about this subject on his website,

Sunday, January 25, 2009

Quotes of the day—Pope Benedict XVI on friendship and modern communication

The following are some of my favorite parts of the:

This is long but I had trouble limiting myself, sorry! Please read the rest of the message by clicking on the link above. It's all good, which is always the case with B-16's messages! : )

"While the speed with which the new technologies have evolved in terms of their efficiency and reliability is rightly a source of wonder, their popularity with users should not surprise us, as they respond to a fundamental desire of people to communicate and to relate to each other. This desire for communication and friendship is rooted in our very nature as human beings and cannot be adequately understood as a response to technical innovations. In the light of the biblical message, it should be seen primarily as a reflection of our participation in the communicative and unifying Love of God, who desires to make of all humanity one family. When we find ourselves drawn towards other people, when we want to know more about them and make ourselves known to them, we are responding to God’s call - a call that is imprinted in our nature as beings created in the image and likeness of God, the God of communication and communion.

The desire for connectedness and the instinct for communication that are so obvious in contemporary culture are best understood as modern manifestations of the basic and enduring propensity of humans to reach beyond themselves and to seek communion with others. In reality, when we open ourselves to others, we are fulfilling our deepest need and becoming more fully human. Loving is, in fact, what we are designed for by our Creator. Naturally, I am not talking about fleeting, shallow relationships, I am talking about the real love that is at the very heart of Jesus’ moral teaching: "You must love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, with all your mind, and with all your strength" and "You must love your neighbour as yourself" (cf. Mk 12:30-31). In this light, reflecting on the significance of the new technologies, it is important to focus not just on their undoubted capacity to foster contact between people, but on the quality of the content that is put into circulation using these means. I would encourage all people of good will who are active in the emerging environment of digital communication to commit themselves to promoting a culture of respect, dialogue and friendship.

Those who are active in the production and dissemination of new media content, therefore, should strive to respect the dignity and worth of the human person. If the new technologies are to serve the good of individuals and of society, all users will avoid the sharing of words and images that are degrading of human beings, that promote hatred and intolerance, that debase the goodness and intimacy of human sexuality or that exploit the weak and vulnerable."


"Life is not just a succession of events or experiences: it is a search for the true, the good and the is in this - in truth, in goodness, and in beauty - that we find happiness and joy."


"It is in and through our friendships that we grow and develop as humans. For this reason, true friendship has always been seen as one of the greatest goods any human person can experience. We should be careful, therefore, never to trivialize the concept or the experience of friendship. It would be sad if our desire to sustain and develop on-line friendships were to be at the cost of our availability to engage with our families, our neighbors and those we meet in the daily reality of our places of work, education and recreation. If the desire for virtual connectedness becomes obsessive, it may in fact function to isolate individuals from real social interaction while also disrupting the patterns of rest, silence and reflection that are necessary for healthy human development.

Friendship is a great human good, but it would be emptied of its ultimate value if it were to be understood as an end in itself. Friends should support and encourage each other in developing their gifts and talents and in putting them at the service of the human community."


"I would like to conclude this message by addressing myself, in particular, to young Catholic believers: to encourage them to bring the witness of their faith to the digital world. Dear Brothers and Sisters, I ask you to introduce into the culture of this new environment of communications and information technology the values on which you have built your lives. In the early life of the Church, the great Apostles and their disciples brought the Good News of Jesus to the Greek and Roman world. Just as, at that time, a fruitful evangelization required that careful attention be given to understanding the culture and customs of those pagan peoples so that the truth of the gospel would touch their hearts and minds, so also today, the proclamation of Christ in the world of new technologies requires a profound knowledge of this world if the technologies are to serve our mission adequately. It falls, in particular, to young people, who have an almost spontaneous affinity for the new means of communication, to take on the responsibility for the evangelization of this "digital continent". Be sure to announce the Gospel to your contemporaries with enthusiasm. You know their fears and their hopes, their aspirations and their disappointments: the greatest gift you can give to them is to share with them the "Good News" of a God who became man, who suffered, died and rose again to save all people. Human hearts are yearning for a world where love endures, where gifts are shared, where unity is built, where freedom finds meaning in truth, and where identity is found in respectful communion. Our faith can respond to these expectations: may you become its heralds! The Pope accompanies you with his prayers and his blessing."

Saturday, January 24, 2009

Discerning your vocation

Earlier this week I was looking for vocation awareness material for the CCD program that I co-direct. On, a wonderful website and apostolate run by Jason and Crystalina Evert, I came across this great little Q&A article about figuring out what vocation God is calling us to. The article is geared toward the teen age group but there is great information in the answer that pertains to all of us, young and old. Take a few minutes to read it and pass it on to anyone you know that is seeking to find God's will in their life!

Here is a prayer for vocations that I like to say, too:

Prayer for Vocations

Heavenly Father, bless your Church with an abundance of holy and zealous priests, deacons, brothers and sisters.

Give those you have called to the married state and those you have chosen to live as single persons in the world, the special graces that their lives require.

Form us all in the likeness of your Son so that in him, with him and through him we may love you more deeply and serve you more faithfully, always and everywhere. With Mary we ask this through Christ our Lord.


Friday, January 23, 2009

Oh, it's good to be "Lost" again!

Tonight I got a chance to sit down and watch the start of the new season of Lost. Such fun! And wonder, confusion, excitement, confusion, distrust, confusion...

Watching the show in HD on the 'puter is great. My favorite part was that all of the scenes in Hurley's home have some kind of Catholic religious article prominently displayed on screen. The big Immaculate Heart of Mary made me smile! :)

Have you gotten Lost yet?

Only women can be mothers. This is beautiful!

Excerpt from The Rise and Fall of Motherhood

Only women can be mothers. Have we forgotten this fundamental?

Only a woman can carry in her body an eternal being which bears the very image of God. Only she is the recipient of the miracle of life. Only a woman can conceive and nurture this life using her own flesh and blood, and then deliver a living soul into the world. God has bestowed upon her alone a genuine miracle — the creation of life, and the fusing of an eternal soul with mortal flesh. This fact alone establishes the glory of motherhood.

Despite the most creative plans of humanist scientists and lawmakers to redefine the sexes, no man will ever conceive and give birth to a child. The fruitful womb is a holy gift given by God to women alone. This is one reason why the office of wife and mother is the highest calling to which a woman can aspire.

This is the reason why nations that fear the Lord esteem and protect mothers. They glory in the distinctions between men and women, and attempt to build cultures in which motherhood is honored and protected.

The dog days of life?

I have been seriously thinking about adopting a dog. I love dogs, they are loyal and loving companions. I grew up with 2 beautiful samoyeds and I miss having dogs in my life, especially now that I have a house with a large fenced back yard. I will have to wait until spring before I could bring home "woman's best friend," though, since my back yard is one large pile of snow right now.

My supervisor sent me this link about adopting dogs from shelters (which is what I would do) and there was a link within the article to a humorous excerpt from the book Before Your Dog Can Eat Your Homework, by actor John O'Hurley. I got some chuckles out of it so I thought I would pass along the link.

I will probably start visiting and/or volunteering at the local shelter and check out what kind of furry friends are available for adoption. Knowing me, I will want to bring them ALL home so this could be a good test in prudence and patience for me. :)

Thursday, January 22, 2009

On this 36th anniversary of the fateful Roe vs. Wade decision...

From The Word Among us
Mediation of the Day

To all who are marching today, know that many more are with you in spirit. May the Lord grant you peace and courage, prudence, and patience as you speak out for the unborn. May your voices blend with the saints and angels, who are praying in a special way today that life be protected and honored and that the tide will turn in favor of a culture of life.

To all who have been affected by abortion, please know that you are in our prayers. The Father of mercies and the God of all consolation has not abandoned any of his children. No sin is too great for him to forgive. No wound is too great for him to heal. May you come to know the warmth of his touch and the light of his smile as he looks upon you in unconditional love and compassion!

While abortion is a great evil, we must all remember that every person who participates in this evil is still a child of God, deeply loved by their heavenly Father and endowed with great dignity. It was Jesus’ unbounded mercy that melted the heart of the sinful woman (Luke 7:36-50). It was the father’s extravagant love that welcomed the prodigal son back home (15:11-24). And it was the look of love in Jesus’ eyes that moved Peter to repentance after he denied the Lord (22:60-62). May we look upon everyone as our brother or sister—even those who call us their enemies. And may the witness of our humble love, our peace in every circumstance, and our joy in life help soften hardened hearts everywhere!

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

Don't regret YOUR decisions.

Quote of the day

"The battle for equal rights has reached a major milestone, but Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.'s dream of full equality remains just a dream as long as unborn children continue to be treated no better than property... President-elect Obama has promised actions that will only increase the number of abortions.. We must pray with persistence and love that, in God's time, what is now deemed unthinkable will become reality - that all our brothers and sisters, from conception to natural death, will be protected in law and welcomed in society."

Alveda King, niece of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.

How do you "hear" God?

This is a great post from Jennifer F. at the Conversion Diary blog about how we "hear" or are led to do something by (our invisible) God in prayer, or at other times.

As she says, it's not usually an actual voice that you hear but there is just this unmistakable clarity and peace that can come only from God.

Most of the time our oh-so-busy brains/thoughts/worries get in the way and God can't get through. But when we do let him in, watch out! It's amazing and you will know it's Him.

Perseverance, patience and opening your heart, mind and soul to God are necessary for letting him show you the way. (And you do want HIM leading the way, not you!)

One of the best pieces of advice that I heard and read when I was new to prayer (and still need to do sometimes) is to pray for the ability to pray. It sounds crazy but makes perfect sense, really. Reflect on it in prayer.

Saturday, January 17, 2009

Quote of the day

From A Theology of the Body
by Fr. Thomas Loya

"...They have some idea of what “Catholic” is but the sticking point is always, always the Church’s teachings on sexual morality.

"But the real sticking point is not Catholic sexual morality, but rather the fact that morality, honesty and true happiness come at the price of having to at times say, “no” to ourselves and THAT’S the REAL reason so many people have trouble with the Catholic moral teaching on sexuality: “Don’t ever tell me I have to say, “NO” to whatever I feel and want.”

Amen, Fr. Tom!!

Women, don't take the Gardasil shot!

This is a must read article for all women, and men that have women in their lives.

Here is an excerpt of what the article has to say:

“Since its approval, there have been at least 3,461 complaints of adverse reactions to the Gardasil vaccine, and there could have been as many as eight deaths attributable to Gardasil. According to Judicial Watch, in several instances, blood clots were reported to have occurred after the administration of Gardasil.”

“Other side effects including paralysis, Bells Palsy, Guillain-Barre Syndrome, and seizures were also reported. The Gardasil side effect reports also include 28 women who miscarried after receiving Gardasil. In May 2007, a 24-year-old woman suffered a miscarriage, which an investigator in a report issued to the federal government said, “may have been caused by Gardasil because the patient received the injection within 30 days of the pregnancy.”" - Parker Waichman Alonso LLP


“There are also some concerns that Gardasil may cause infertility. An early version of the Virginia house bill contained a clause addressing liability issues “if a female who is inoculated with the HPV vaccine becomes incapable of naturally conceiving a healthy child carried to live birth or experiences impaired fertility as a result of the HPV vaccine”.

I was completely clueless about all of this before reading this article and I'm sure there are many more women in the same situation. Please read and share this information with your family and friends!

Friday, January 16, 2009

Friday Fun: Mad Libs

Remember the hours of fun spent playing Mad Libs growing up? My sister and I would roll around laughing at our hysterical "stories" sometimes. We still like playing even now that we are not so young anymore. And now the modern age has brought us Mad Libs online:

Let the fun begin, but keep it clean! :)

Thursday, January 15, 2009

Great vocations videos

On The Catholics Next Door website Greg and Jennifer posted a blog about the musician, Sarah Bauer, they had as a guest on their radio show. They had a link to these videos that Sarah has done that look into the lives of each of the 4 types of vocations. The videos are great! Each one is only about 6 mins. long and gives a good insight into discerning and living the vocation that God is calling you to.

Now stop reading this and go watch the videos... Oh, wait! I had a little trouble figuring out what to do after the first video ended, so I will tell you. Go to the "past video archive" link above the video window on the right hand side and choose the next video you want to watch from there. OK, now go! : )

Wednesday, January 14, 2009

It's winter in North Dakota

This cute poem was emailed to me today. I had to share it. : )

It's winter in North Dakota
And the gentle breezes blow
Seventy miles an hour
At thirty-five below.  
Oh, how I love North Dakota

When the snow's up to your butt
You take a breath of winter
And your nose gets frozen shut.  
Yes, the weather here is wonderful
So I guess I'll hang around

I could never leave North Dakota

I'm frozen to the ground!

Tuesday, January 13, 2009

Enough already!

We have been getting snow, after snow, after snow since the beginning of Dec. Every few days we get from a couple inches up to twelve inches from one storm.

This IS North Dakota but this has been record breaking snowfall for us. Here in Bismarck we have had 61 inches of snow so far and other cities have gotten quite a bit more than us. Around the area there has been several roofs caving in from having too much heavy snow on them, in fact.

I took some photos (now that I can:) around my little house to try and show how much snow is collecting.

This is my driveway just after shoveling the snow that fell all day today, another 5 1/2 inches. There's nothing like coming home to an hour of shoveling after working all day!

My side/backyard is waves of about waist-deep snowdrifts.

This is what 5 1/2 inches of fresh snow "fluff" looks like.

My front deck is getting really buried by the snow piles on both sides.

This is what you can see of my house from the street.

Here I am standing in front of one of the piles by the street. I was trying to show that this snow pile is actually about a head taller than me, but it didn't work. I think you still get the point. :)

So, who wants to come visit me?! ;) We can go sledding. A few of us went last Saturday and had a blast! It's a lot of fun and also good cardio exercise. When you get this much snow you might as well have some fun with it!

Sunday, January 11, 2009

Every moment counts

Here are some good thoughts to keep in mind from an email I received.

Sometimes we are so busy adding up our troubles that we forget to count our blessings.

Happy moments, praise God. 
Difficult moments, seek God. 
Quiet moments, worship God. 
Painful moments, trust God. 
Every moment, thank God. 

Good night, have a good week!

Friday, January 09, 2009

First photo

I'm so excited! (And I just can't hide it... go ahead, keep singing!)

I bought a nice, new digital camera with the money I received as Christmas presents thanks to some helpful advise from Jeff Geerling.

I was overwhelmed by the huge number of cameras available on the market so Jeff helped me narrow down some of the better options to check out in my price range. I chose one of his suggestions, the Canon Powershot SX110 IS.

Here is the first photo I took with it this evening:

I'm sure you're thinking, um... Dawn, that picture is pretty dark. Are you sure you got a good camera?

No fear, it was operator error. Or, operator pushing the shutter button before knowing what she is doing because she just wanted to play with her new :) (Oh, come on, you know you would have done it too!)

Anyhoo, here is another version of the photo once I learned a little more about the camera and flash:

I think this will be a good camera for my (pretty simple) needs. Now I can start sharing some photos on the ol' blog again. Since my other camera died there have been several instances where I would have liked to have a camera so I could take a picture of something to post on the blog.

Getting a new toy once in a while is fun!

Tuesday, January 06, 2009

Amazing Grace

The deepest lessons the heart has to deliver to us become accessible only when it is ruptured. It is anguish that makes the heart an open book because the wound it causes pierces all the way through to the core. These are terrible lessons, the kind that fill one with nausea. We like to think our lives would be happier if we could find a way to avoid learning them; but the only way to do that is to close one's heart and keep it closed, so that nothing gets in or out of it - to make oneself a heart of stone. It is terrible to put into words the one real alternative to this avoidance. But I see no way to get around what seems to be the harshest, the most merciless truth about the human heart - I mean the fact that, to keep it open, once it has been pierced, one must allow it to be an open wound.
- Jerome Miller

This quote came from The Heart of Things blog. Click the link to read why this quote is posted on Bill's site right now.

I have prayed many months for baby Grace and her family. I feel the loss in my heart as well. [tears streaming]

Today's Catholic Woman

The Catholic Exchange website that I often post articles from has opened a new channel (as they call it) today called Today's Catholic Woman. It seems like it will be a good site to have on the ol' RSS reader. I recommend all of you women, and men who want to understand women better, check out the site and subscribe to the RSS feed as well.

is a good article that kicks off the site.


Monday, January 05, 2009

Meditation of the day

From The Word Among Us

It is amazing how we can become adjusted to the dark. Whether it’s the gradual shift from evening to nighttime or the way we grope around when we first enter an unlit room, we gradually become accustomed to the darkness and find some way to keep functioning.

We accept the limitations of the darkness and muddle through the best we can.

What a powerful metaphor for the Sacrament of Reconciliation! Long-standing or repeated sin can create a gathering darkness in our hearts that keeps us stumbling through life, muddling through the best we can. But this isn’t God’s desire for us. Through Confession, he invites us to step out of that darkness and into his glorious light.

We may think that we are doing okay in the darkness because we are accustomed to it. We have learned how to cope with it, and our lives seem to go on unhindered. So why bother dredging up the sin? Why bother trying to change? Because life is so much easier in the light. Because staying in the darkness limits our freedom and places a heavy shroud over our relationship with God. Just as we would be foolish to choose the unending darkness of night or an unlit room, we would not want to live in the guilt and shame of sin.

But there’s more to the Sacrament of Reconciliation than simply receiving God’s forgiveness. Confession also opens us to his healing power. Whatever our “sickness” is—whatever mind-sets we have that keep us distant from the Lord—Jesus wants to heal us, just as he healed the physical sicknesses of those who came to him. Scripture calls these mind-sets strongholds (2 Corinthians 10:4). In fact, there is a strong link between being forgiven for individual sins and seeing these sinful strongholds weakened or destroyed.

The good news is that the kingdom of heaven is at hand! It is there for anyone who steps out of the darkness of sin and into the light of God’s love and mercy. And it all begins with a few simple words: “Forgive me, Father, for I have sinned…”

“Holy Spirit, give me a soft heart that is ready to repent and to know the outpouring of mercy that you have for me.”

Saturday, January 03, 2009

Dave Ramsey's TV show

Oh, I'm excited!

I've posted a blog before about Dave Ramsey and his podcast that I listen to. Dave also has a TV show that I have never been able to watch because it is on the FOX Business Network. (I don't have cable so I don't have access to that channel.) But has put The Dave Ramsey Show on their website so now I get to WATCH Dave and not just listen to him.

Woohoo! Thank you hulu, this makes me very happy!

If you want financial peace in your life read The Total Money Makeover and go check out Dave's TV show and podcast. This is a good episode on hulu to start with to understand his "baby steps" that make up his plan for getting out of debt in "God's and Grandma's way" from his book The Total Money Makeover.

My plan is to be debt free (except for my house) by the end of March, God willing. I just can't explain how happy that makes me. When I make the last payment on my student loan I will doing the happiest of happy dances anyone has ever seen. But, no, YOU won't be seeing it. ; )

Friday, January 02, 2009

Quote of the Day

"Youth don't want to be told just what is good and what is bad, but rather they want to understand the doctrine of the Church regarding current topics."

Cardinal George Pell


A New Years Top Ten List

By Kevin Whelan

In order to make the Theology of the Body useful, we have to learn how to live it. I am convinced the TOB reaches far beyond human sexuality, it can effect every aspect of our lives.

In thinking about how to do that for men 30-50 years old, I decided to come up with a ‘Top Ten’ list. It’s not a real ‘Top Ten’ list, because it’s not funny. These are just ten things I find I am doing the help me live TOB. Since, as the Church teaches, I can only find myself by making a gift of myself, my body must be used for the benefit of others. These are examples of how I do that. These will probably change from time-to-time as my understanding of TOB matures. I offer them as possible new years resolutions and invite you to add your own in the comments section below.

So here, in reverse order of importance are the ‘Top Ten’ things I’m doing:

10 - Set an example of activity: Our bodies are built by God to move and to do things. It quite simply glorifies God when we use our bodies to this created purpose. I make use of the physcal capabilities of my body: I exercise, fix things and care for the house. Besides their obvious benefit, these are also physical expressions of love for my family. When I expend myself to make our home a better place to live, I’m speaking a bodily language that says, “I love you.”

9 - Play with the kids: Of everything I do for them, my children put the greatest value on my spending time with them. When I put ‘My Real Presence’ into something they care about (playing), the message is unmistakable.

8 - Let my family see me serve others: I teach best in what I do, not what I say. By letting my family see me make a gift of myself, I teach them to do likewise.

7 - Study Scripture and the Faith: St. Jerome said, “Ignorance of Scripture is ignorance of Christ.” Knowing scripture will lead me closer to Christ, but it also serves as a living example for my children about what I think is important. I send my children to one of the top Catholic schools in the US; the religious education is superb. Nevertheless, it is my goal that my children see no better expert in faith than me.

6 - Apologize and ask forgiveness: Fr. Benedict Groechel, CFR once told me that “Forgiveness is the heart of the Christian Family.” Forgiveness allows the family to maintain its unity; this unity also expresses God’s image. One of the greatest gifts God ever gave to mankind was the incarnation of His Forgiveness. In order to fulfill the mission given to our families, we should incarnate this forgiveness. I apologize and ask forgiveness for my mistakes, even with my children. It is never conditional; I never say, “I’m sorry I lost my temper, but you disobeyed me and blah, blah.” The ‘but’ negates the apology. I may have a desire to tell them other things, but forgiveness is always a more important lesson.

5- Tell my children I love them, bless and kiss them: My Dad died suddenly six years ago and I know for certain the last words we spoke to each other; we told each other, “I Love You.” I’m certain of this because we ended every conversation this way; I do the same with my children. I also bless them; each night as they go to bed. I make the sign of the cross on their forehead (as I first did at their Baptism) and offer the priestly blessing from Numbers 6:24-27. Our family is the “Domestic Church.” As such, I can bless my children as the priest in this church. A blessing “is a divine and life-giving action, the source of which is the Father.” (CCC1078)

4- We frequent the Sacraments (Mass - Reconciliation): I confess that I don’t understand people who don’t bring their children to mass. Maybe we should look at this from the standpoint of what we would be denying children if we miss mass. If we are not bringing them to Holy Mass, we are denying them the grace that pours from the altar; we are standing as a barrier between them and God. What better use of our bodies than to sacrifice our own comfort to bring our children to mass. Quite often in our home the men of the family (my sons and I) invite the women to join us in the Sacrament of Penance. The graces of these sacraments resound throughout our home.

3 - Live in the Hope of my Salvation: Pope Benedict XIV’s Spe Salve is a remarkable document. Most of it is easily readable and profound. Through it, we learn that if we truly have hope in our salvation, we will live differently. All my scheming to get ahead in life, suddenly makes no sense. Time spent in prayer becomes one of my most productive activities. Hope makes my vocation as husband/father the central drive in my life. I have found the theological virtues of Faith and Love easier to comprehend than the virtue of Hope, but Spe Salve opened my heart to a greater understanding of Hope.

2- Love their Mother and let them know it: My children need to see the physical manifestation of my love for my wife so that they can be assured of the love of God. Obviously, much of this manifestation is private, but they can and must see us hug and kiss each other. I also make sure they see the profound respect I have for their mother. My children must see and know with deepest certainty that I have given my life for their mother.

1- Pray - Pray - Pray: Praying has to be the center of our day. It is through prayer that we unite our every activity to Christ. Without this unity, our activities eventually collapse under their own hollowness. Everything is nothing without prayer. We not only need to pray, but we also need to let our families see us pray. The first thing I do every morning is to pray for the spiritual protection of my children and to offer my day to God. I pray the faith of my children, my fatherhood, my marriage and of course for my wife. I have developed the habit of praying for my family right after receiving the Eucharist; a priest friend tells me that with Jesus intimately with me, my prayer is never more powerful.

I certainly claim neither unique expertise nor research in this list. These are just things I’ve been doing to live out my faith. Above all, our faith must be active; that’s why we have a body. We must, in the literal sense of the word, ‘embody’ our faith. I offer this list of some of the things I do to encourage others.