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Proud Gramma Post

Her name is Trinity. She is three weeks old today. I look at her and all words seem insufficient. So I will just sit here and gaze upon her pictures and look forward to holding her in my arms in another week.

End of an era

My husband is within a year of retiring from the Air Force after a 30 year career. I can tell the career is coming to an end because today I used the last of my scavenged packing tape.

Especially early in his career, we moved every one to two years. You know the move is real when the packers arrive. They turn your house into a cardboard box jungle and the symphony of packing tape fills the air. Then they leave. In their wake, the floor is littered with partially used rolls of packing tape. I always gathered these and took them to our next assignment. The packing tape sealed the packages that kept us connected to our family and friends that lived so far away.

Today as I wrapped up Christmas packages for distant relatives, my tape dispenser gave me the last of my military move packing tape. I guess this is a first baby step into the civilian world.

Worth a Thousand Words

Joy, Awe, Love, Gratitude..... these words and so much more.

Learning to savor Advent

I made two runs to the local thrift shop this week. The back of my Prius was filled with all sorts of stuff. My youngest has outgrown a lot of clothing and there is no one left to accept "hand-me-downs". I had a supply of clothing that I call my "wishful thinking" clothes. My youngest is 16. My oldest is 24. Should my body ever return to its pre-kids shape I will treat myself to a new wardrobe rather than hang on to these reminders of skinnier days. I have also been purging my closets, cupboards, and drawers of an assortment of bric-a-brac that I was keeping "just in case". Just in case of what I am not sure. If I haven't found a use for it in a couple of years, I am not going to so it is time to let it go. I am also getting better at admitting that some things are not even worthy of a thrift shop donations. No one wants that old tattered blanket or those very lumpy throw pillows. It is time to put them in the trash.

It is an interesting dichotomy to b…

Meet Trinity!!!!

Praise God! My granddaughter (doesn't that sound cool?!) was born today at 5:44 CST. We were saying a family Rosary at that time so she entered this world surrounded by prayer. She weighed in at 6lb and 6oz. My daughter-in-law is recovering well. It has been a long couple of days. My son is exhausted but says he cannot sleep because he cannot take his eyes off this little miracle. And what did they name this precious child? Trinity! She is just perfect. This Gramma thing is really fun.

The meaning of life by the numbers

Man has always sought the meaning of life. Douglas Adams (Hitchhikers Guide to the Universe) says the answer to the meaning of life is found in the number "42". I think he was off by a factor of seven. The meaning of life is found in the number "6" as in Baltimore Catechism question #6:

Question: Why did God make you?
Answer: God made me to know Him, to love Him, and to serve Him in this world, and to be happy with Him forever in the next.

In Sunday's Gospel (Lk 21: 5-19) Jesus steers us towards what is truly important in life:

While some people were speaking about
how the temple was adorned with costly stones and votive offerings,
Jesus said, "All that you see here--
the days will come when there will not be left
a stone upon another stone that will not be thrown down."

Jesus reminds us that there will come a time when all the trapping of this earthly life will be meaningless. The question then will be, "Did you live your life in a way that knows God, l…

The Rest of the Story...

Those of you who stop by my Facebook page may have noticed this story about a newborn infant, only a few hours old, who was left in a duffel bag in the parking lot of St. Raymond's Catholic Church yesterday morning. I went to Mass at St. Raymond's this morning and heard the rest of the story.

The parishioner who found the child had initially driven by the bag as had many others. There was nothing about this bag that necessarily attracted attention. He drove to the entrance of the church and dropped off his wife and children. He then parked the car. For some reason he felt compelled to walk from his car to the bag and look inside. Imagine his astonishment at seeing a newborn infant. There was no rational reason for him to go investigate the duffel bag. His compulsion must be attributed to the intercession of angels and saints and the prodding of the Holy Spirit. God is truly good.

Sometimes when you are profoundly aware of the presence of God, the only response is tears. When the…

Microwave Coffee Mug Cake

Yesterday I went to the craft fair at St. Raymond's parish. There were so many clever and cute ornaments, sewing projects, and baby gifts. I picked up a couple of items for my soon-to-be born granddaughter, Trinity. (Don't you just love that name?!) Her due date is November 30.

I also found a cute little kitchen craft that would make a good gift for teachers or neighbors. It is also a project suitable for children to make and give. (Click on the pictures for larger views)

The finished product is a microwaveable coffee mug, wrapped up in pretty cellophane with the cute instruction tag attached. A coffee mug that comfortably holds twelve ounces seems to be the best size.


Unwrap it and you have the coffee mug and a zip-top bag with the dry ingredients for the cake: 1/4 cup flour, 1/4 cup sugar, 2 TBSP cocoa, and 3 TBSP chocolate chips



Mix the dry ingredients, 3 TBSP milk, 3 TBSP oil, 1 egg, and a splash of vanilla in the coffee mug. Mix it well making sure you scrape the sides.



Microw…

Teacher, love your students

Rosemary at A Catholic Mother's Thoughts offers a beautiful reflection:

"To teach John Latin, it is not enough to know Latin-- one must also know and love John."

I ponder this because I have moved from a career of practicing medicine to a career of teaching with a little writing on the side. A couple of times a week I face two dozen community college students and work to impart the intricacies of anatomy and physiology.

I really thought I was called to teach in a Catholic school--and maybe I will eventually. I just want to blurt out all these beautiful truths that flow from the principle of the sanctity of human life. In a secular school setting there is no blurting. So I stand before my students and witness indirectly.

I have an innate tendency to stridently march forward with a hammer in my hand ready to pound my opposition into conversion. I think God is teaching me a gentler and more effective method. He places me before these students ostensibly to teach them a college …

Not with my tax dollars

Plenty has been written about NPR firing Juan Williams because he admitted that he gets nervous when he sees Muslims on airplanes. There is a lot that Juan Williams says that I disagree with. However, he is entitled to his opinion. If NPR was even handed and fired those who denigrated Christians, Republicans, and members of the Tea Party, this incident would not have caused a ripple. However, looking at the history of NPR and its continuous descent into a biased mouthpiece for the liberal Left, this incident is news. In an internal memo sent on behalf of NPR President and CEO Vivian Schiller, NPR policy is stated to be:

“In appearing on TV or other media . . . NPR journalists should not express views they would not air in their role as an NPR journalist. They should not participate in shows . . . that encourage punditry and speculation rather than fact-based analysis.”
More fundamentally, “In appearing on TV or other media including electronic
Web-based forums, NPR journalists should no…

Choices

My husband and I are approaching a new phase in our life. Our youngest will be graduating from high school in less than two years. My husband will soon complete thirty years of service as an Air Force officer and will have to make a change. I am still trying to figure out what I do next. The good news is that the years have brought a little more than strands of gray hair and a few extra lines on my forehead. When I was in my twenties, I was busy figuring out what I wanted to do. Now I am more focused on trying to figure out what God wants me to do.

There are so many ideas that I wish I had grasped sooner. The concept of a vocation is one of them. Marriage is a calling from God. It requires generous acquiescence to His will. We can think about what we want, what we hope for, and what we think should happen. In the end, however, the only desires that matter are God's. That doesn't mean I am supposed to sit by passively and let life happen because it is God's will. I am called…

"We can do no great things, only small things with great love."--Mother Teresa

The current election cycle is reaching its frenetic finish and the invectives are spewing. I have some pretty strong political opinions that I am not afraid to share. However, I am not going to persuade with hate and venom. When speaking and writing to those who agree with me, it is very easy to slip into a mode that demeans and dehumanizes the opposition. This may rally the troops but it does nothing to bring reconciliation between opposing sides. Speaking to the opposition with such disdain only increases the alienation. Conversion requires a change of heart and when speaking to the heart, one must speak with love.

That is why I loved this article in the Arlington Catholic Herald. Two parishes organized an entry in the annual community fall parade. The walkers were marching in support of a local crisis pregnancy center. There were no signs with bloody aborted fetuses. There were signs that offered love and support to pregnant women. A young girl who had been adopted carried a sign t…

The next step in the journey

As I wrote back in June, my husband has lymphoma. No one ever calls this disease cured, but today we got the best news possible. After six cycles of chemotherapy, he is pronounced in complete remission. The roller coaster has paused if not ended. We have completed phase I. We could not have done this without the Grace of God and the countless prayers offered on my husband's behalf. So many of you have generously offered prayers. Know that all of you, whether I know your name or not, have been in my daily prayers. I learned early on in this challenge that we pray our way through situations, not out of them. This is no time for spiritual complacency. My husband and I will continue to pray for you. We are eternally in your debt.

This past weekend we had a first step in our return towards normalcy. Before, just as my husband began to recover from the effects of one chemotherapy cycle he would get zapped with the next cycle. This time there was no next cycle. While he is still feeling …

A little bit of catechetical ranting

Religious education classes have started all over the country. I know because this post with a catechist letter to parents has suddenly become my post popular post. It happens every fall. Once again, I too have started teaching a seventh grade class. This year looks like it will be a pretty good year. How do I know? I surveyed the class and all but two students said they go to Mass most Sundays. This is a change from last year when I only had two students in the entire class who said they attend Mass most Sundays. The young ladies are all fully clothed. Last year I was constantly having to ask the girls to put on their sweatshirts or jackets because they were revealing way too much skin. Also, unlike last year, none of my students declared themselves atheists on the first day of class--a declaration made to the priest who visited the classroom. Yes, this is definitely going to be a better year.

Teaching religious education can sometimes feel like an exercise in futility. How on earth a…

"I already did"

This parenting thing is quite the adventure. Sometimes, you know with absolute certainty you are doing the right thing. Much of the time you are flying by the seat of your pants and praying that the Grace of God will fill in where you have been deficient. So it is cause for great rejoicing when there is some feedback to say you are doing a good job. A couple of days ago my sixteen-year-old son received a text message from a friend to say that he might not make it to the Scout meeting. His brother was in the emergency room. When my son told me of this development, I told him to text back that we would be praying for his friend's brother. "I already did," my son replied.

Providence

Due to my husband's lymphoma, I just haven't made it out to my garden the way I normally do. However, in spite of my benign neglect, my garden has given me some lovely gifts to cheer my kitchen. I picked some leggy mums, some blossoms from the butterfly bush, and some resilient roses. God is good.

A Tale of a Tail

This fellow is known as a Five Lined Skink. One of these is running around my back yard without his bright blue tail. He was sunning himself on my back patio when I stepped outside with Athena, my black labradinger. She was off like a shot chasing the poor fellow through the shrubs and under the drain spout. Unfortunately for him, his tail did not get under the drain spout fast enough and Athena bit it off. The amputated tail continued to wiggle and squirm and kept Athena occupied while Mr. Skink escaped to a safer haven. He looks very awkward right now, but his tail should grow back, though maybe not as colorful as the one he lost.

Cheerleading Update

Not to belabor this issue since there are many more important issues to address, but listen to this radio interview with the cheerleading coach (Click on the "cheer vs mom" tab) of the little girl kicked off the cheerleading team. If you notice, her attitude is the team can do anything it likes because they win awards. As long as the trophies keep coming, nothing is inappropriate.

Actually, I saw this same attitude when my second son was in the high school band. There was no concern for teaching kids a love a music. It was all about filling the school trophy case with marching band awards. At the high school, if students do not participate in the extracurricular activity of marching band, they are not allowed to participate in any of the concert bands. So my son quit the band but wanted to continue to take private trumpet lessons. The band director called my son's private teacher and told him not to continue teaching my son. I learned from my daughter's flute teacher …

Cheerleading

I know that some of you may have daughters who are cheerleaders. I also know that today's cheerleading can be a very physically demanding activity requiring dedication, practice, and skill so is rightfully called a sport. However, the sexualization of young girls by some of the routines is appalling. Consider this story out of Michigan:

A Michigan couple is crying unsportsmanlike conduct after their 6-year-old daughter was removed from a flag football cheerleading team because they complained that one of the team's chants was too risqué.Jennifer and Duane Tesch, of Madison Heights, say their daughter, Kennedy, was unanimously voted off of the Madison Heights Wolverines flag football cheerleading team during a team meeting Tuesday night. The meeting was held to discuss concerns the Tesches voiced last month regarding one of the team's cheers:"Our backs ache, our skirts are too tight, we shake our booties from left to right."But instead of seeing their concerns …

Tolerance?

Iman Feisal Abdul Rauf would gain a lot more respect and support for his Islamic Cultural Center if he would speak out and unequivocally condemn this.

Leading the charge against the Batak Christians has been the Islamic Defenders Front, which is pushing for the implementation of Islamic-based laws in Bekasi and other parts of the nation.They are known for smashing bars, attacking transvestites and going after those considered blasphemous with bamboo clubs and stones. Perpetrators are rarely punished or even questioned by police.The front also pressured local authorities early this year to shutter the Batak church, located in a densely populated Mulsim area, saying the permit was granted without the required approval of residents.The Christian worshipers have refused to back down. Every week, about 20 or so return to the field to pray, defying threats and intimidation.Before he levies charges of bigotry at Americans who find it disconcerting that a mosque is being built on th…

9/11

NEVER FORGET




O Sacred Heart of Jesus, Have mercy on us




Our Lady of the Rosary, Pray for us

Ordinary Things

I know that a few of my blog posts have traveled far and wide and have resonated with literally hundreds of readers. I also know that other blog posts have touched the hearts of a mere handful of readers. Some blog posts seem rather innocuous and unnoticed yet I will be surprised because a single reader lets me know that she was deeply moved by something I wrote. Especially lately, my words may never reach the pages of this blog. My presence is needed in front of a class of college students learning the fundamentals of anatomy and physiology or in the kitchen providing the physical nutrition and spiritual bonding of family meals. Maybe there is someone who needs me to sit at his bedside and hold his hand. Sometimes my work is very anonymous as I wash and fold yet another load of laundry. And sometimes my calling is not to give, but to receive. I need to receive the wisdom of Scripture and the spiritual renewal of prayer. Sometimes I need the physical renewal of a nap.

Each of these act…

Obama's HHS suppresses study that shows parents matter

Back in 2007, there was a great to-do about the alleged failure of abstinence only education. I wrote about it here. [make sure you read the comments for the linked post. They offer even more insight into what this study showed and did not show.] Safe-sex advocates could not put this message out loudly enough. The truth is that the 2007 study showed that in extremely socially impoverished populations, no school based, faith based, or community based intervention impacted the rate of sexual activity among teens. It was not a repudiation of just abstinence only education. It was a repudiation of all sex education programs operating independently from parents.

Now another study confirms this. However, instead of shouting from the rooftops, the HHS is refusing to release the full results of this study:
In a short article about her efforts to obtain a copy of the "National Survey of Adolescents and Their Parents" (conducted by Abt Associates), Dr. Rue says that having been denied a…

The Cancer Roller Coaster

John chemotherapy @ Wed Aug 11 This Google calendar reminder popped up in my gmail inbox. It is not like I needed the reminder. Cancer is not something you forget. Cancer and chemotherapy have prompted several metaphors. Chemotherapy is aptly likened to a roller coaster. Every cycle is like another hill on the roller coaster. You never know what is on the other side. There are all kinds of twists and turns between the hills. No two hills are exactly the same. I've never been too fond of roller coasters.

Living with cancer is very much like having a constant ringing in your ears--tinnitus is the medical condition. Much of the time you can push it to the background and carry on as if it isn't there. There are times when you are totally unaware of it. But then something happens and it marches to the forefront crowding out all your other senses. It interrupts your physical, emotional, and spiritual life.

There is a temptation to try and read the tea leaves. "Oh, (fill in the b…

This is really handy!

Our kids have preferred taking a lap top to college but there are times when a bigger screen is helpful. So we now have the best of both worlds. We get a lap top and a 24-inch monitor. Hook them together and they have the option of using the monitor as a mirror of the laptop screen or as an extension of it. I prefer the extension mode. I look at my email on the laptop and use the monitor screen for web surfing and writing. We got this set up for my daughter a little over a year ago but since she is away at school I didn't get to try it out. Since my son is living at home this semester I get to share his monitor. I drag things from one screen to the other as if they were just one screen. I am really enjoying the flexibility of more screen space without giving up the portability of a laptop. This is so cool! For those of you who are so much more tech savvy than I, this is old news. Forgive my excitement.

Does the Church welcome "liberal" Catholics?

If you do not already read Mirror of Justice, I highly recommend you add it to your blog reading regimen. This is a group blog by a collection of Catholic lawyers. There are diverse viewpoints. Some I agree with. Some I don't. However, for the most part, the discussion is thoughtful, well stated, and respectful. There is a distinct lack of snark that is prevalent on so many sites. I know that I myself have an instinctive urge to issue "zingers" and seek the nods and applause of those who agree with me. Perhaps that is necessary when you seek to rally the troops. However, the real Spiritual Works of Mercy are to instruct the ignorant, counsel the doubtful, and admonish sinners. That cannot be done if you are gleefully rubbing their noses in their errors.

Currently there is a discussion about whether or not self-labeled liberal Catholics are welcomed in the Church. It is an interesting discussion. I have offered a few comments on this post but you can get the complete discu…

Another example of agenda driven school reading assignments

A recurring theme on this blog is the need for parents to be vigilant in monitoring the ideas and principles put forth as truth by school teachers. While there are many very good teachers, there seems to be a culture of indoctrination rather than education pervading many schools. When my daughter was in high school, her AP literature course consisted of politically correct ethnically diverse books with absolutely no discussion as to how these books met the criteria of classic literature. Now my youngest is in high school and he is faced with an agenda driven AP English curriculum.

Most AP courses in our school district require a summer project that is due on the first day of school. For eleventh grade AP English, students must read Nickel and Dimed by Barbara Ehrenreich. The purpose of this assignment is to evaluate a work of nonfiction. In the analysis of nonfiction, it is important to first judge the credibility of the author. The good news is that the AP assignment addresses this. T…

I felt the earth move....

We spent several years living in the northern desert of Los Angeles County and we felt our share of earthquakes including the Northridge Earthquake. However, we left California in 1995 so I haven't really thought much about earthquakes since then. That is until this morning. Here in our Northern Virginia Washington D.C. suburb we were awakened just after 5:00 AM by that familiar trembling. It only lasted about ten seconds. It was a fine vibration as if a train was passing near the house. All the little knick knacks and bottles on my vanity created a high pitched hum as they rattled against the glass top. Soon after my husband and I exclaimed, "Earthquake!" in unison, the shaking stopped. The kids slept through it.

The US Geological Survey says it was a 3.6 earthquake. Nothing really damaged except for a few nerves. Still, I hate earthquakes. During our nearly thirty years of traveling about the country with the Air Force, we have experienced hurricanes, tornadoes, blizzar…

Pass this on for life

Of the twenty mysteries of the Rosary, my favorite is the Annunciation. There are so many facets to this mystery. God calls Mary out of her comfort zone to do something that by human analysis seems impossible. Not only does it seem impossible, but it involves suffering. Mary is betrothed to a good man, Joseph. Who is going to believe that she was visited by an angel? Who is going to believe that her child was conceived by the power of the Holy Spirit? Why should she risk this stable, happy life for the uncertainties of God's outlandish proposal? Because she was blessed with abundant grace, Mary responded "Fiat! Let it be done according to thy word."

When God puts a path before me that is outside my comfort zone, involves suffering, and seems contrary to my expectations, it is very challenging to embrace this path and say "Fiat! I will do it your way, God." That is why the mystery of the Annunciation is so important to me. Mary models perfect trust and perfect ob…

More words of wisdom

It seems the Good Lord is providing just the right words when I need them. This morning I ran across this quote when I was checking the diocesan young adult ministry page:

"Persevere in the exact fulfillment of the obligations of the moment. That work - humble, monotonous, small - is prayer..."--St. Josemaria Escriva

Unexpected words of wisdom

Sometimes words of wisdom are found in unexpected places. Today's mail brought a new Signals catalog. This framed print was a good reminder that faith does not remove our crosses. Faith enables us to successfully carry our crosses.

18 Weeks and It's a Girl!!!!

My oldest son and his wife are expecting their first child. She is 18 weeks along and had an ultrasound this week. Baby looks healthy and now we know it's a girl! I have always called my own daughter my island of civilization amidst her three brothers. I am sure Baby Girl Hunnell will be a joy and blessing for her own parents. (and grandparents too!) I am so excited there are just not enough exclamation points to express it!!!!!

God Must Have Wanted Me to Hear This Today

I have not been able to attend daily Mass as often as I like since the onset of my husband's illness. There have been doctor's appointments that conflicted or his condition was poor enough that I did not feel comfortable leaving him home alone. Some nights he was fraught with pain or chemotherapy side effects that neither of us slept much so it seemed more prudent to grab a bit of sleep and miss Mass. This morning, however, everything worked out that I could go to Mass. My husband is still confined to the house due to concerns over his compromised immune system, but he is feeling pretty good. We both slept last night. There are no doctor's appointments until his next round of chemo on Wednesday. So I went to Mass.

I did not have a missal with me so I could not follow along during the readings. Sometimes, that is better, since it forces me to listen more intently. The first reading was from Paul's letter to Timothy. It struck a chord with me as it spoke about being a pat…

Prayers are working

Just a quick note to say my husband is home from the hospital and seems to be improving. Not fully recovered from the marrow suppression of chemo and now with some other puzzling lab abnormalities, but trending in the right direction. Thanks so much for your continued prayerful support. The prayers are being heard and answered.

a bump on the journey

I know I said I did not want this blog to become just a chronicle of my husband's lymphoma, but truthfully, I find my days focused on him from sun up to sun down. Right now I need prayers. My husband is hospitalized with a dangerously low white blood cell count due to his chemotherapy and also a fever of unknown origin. This is serious since his low white blood cell count means he has no infection fighting capacity. I would be greatly appreciative of your prayers.

The chemotherapy had actually been going relatively well. He didn't feel great, but it was not unmanageable. However, yesterday evening he had the sudden onset of shaking chills. At the time, his temperature was low. We did what any Catholic couple would do--we prayed a Rosary together. By the end of the Rosary his temperature had risen, but not to the level of hospitalization concern. However, over the next hour we watched it rise to a fever so we headed to the hospital.

Feel free to ask for the intercession of your f…

In Sickness and in Health

This is probably the hardest blog post I have ever written. As several recent posts have hinted, there have been some challenges in the Hunnell household. Nearly 26 years ago, I promised to love, honor, and cherish my husband in sickness and in health. I can tell you that today I love, honor, and cherish him far more than I did 26 years ago. And the immediate future looks like there will be more sickness than health. My husband has just been diagnosed with lymphoma. His first chemotherapy session is this coming Wednesday. This came out of the blue. There was no prodrome--no night sweats, weight loss, fevers. In a matter of 15 minutes he went from perfectly okay to in excruciating back pain that looked for all the world like a kidney stone. A trip to the ER revealed no kidney stone, but big lymph nodes in the abdomen. For the last three weeks we have been going through the diagnostic process. After scans and biopsies of every stripe we have a diagnosis and a treatment plan. We have al…

A new friend

One of the great things about being Catholic is that we Catholics know how to interact with the Saints. Blessed Mother, St. Monica, St. Joseph, St. Therese of Lisieux, St. Anthony, among others, all find their way into my prayer life on a regular basis. The lives of the saints are models of holiness. But these holy men and women are not mere historical figures. They continue to live as part of the Church Triumphant. Therefore, it is as natural to chat with them and ask for their prayers as it is for me to ask for your prayers.

Some may say that asking for the intercession of saints is unnecessary. They go straight to Jesus. They are right. It is unnecessary. This is a both/and proposition, not an either/or option. We go straight to God--Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. He hears and answers our direct prayers. But in all honesty, I know there are folks who are much better at praying than I am. Souls who spend their days in the direct presence of God in Heaven are definitely a step above my…

Baby Hunnell

Perhaps a few astute readers noted the slight change in my blog subtitle a month or so ago. In case you didn't, here is the big announcement. My son and daughter-in-law who were married this past December are now expecting a baby! The due date is the end of November. An ultrasound today shows a growing beautiful baby, but no details as to gender. That is okay. Boy or girl this baby is loved.

Memorized Prayers

There have been times when my non-Catholic friends shook their heads at repetitive and rote prayers. The "Hail Mary" is a lovely prayer, but after you have said one, why on earth would you need to say fifty? I on the other hand have often wondered how mothers can raise children without a ready "Hail Mary" on their lips or a Rosary in their pocket.

These last few days have taught me a few things about rote prayer. Most of the time I have no problem carrying on a conversation with God. Unfortunately, I am sure that I also am apt to do more talking than listening. I happily chat with Blessed Mother, St. Monica, and many other holy men and women as I ask for their intercessory prayers. But sometimes, as in the last few days, the need is so great and the pleading so intense that mere intellect cannot formulate the words. That is when my words return to the familiar. A "Hail Mary", an "Our Father", the "Anima Christi", or the "St. Mich…

A little Soul

My husband and I were driving around town this afternoon when I noticed a vanity license plate that said "I GOT". Then I noticed the vehicle was a KIA Soul. Hence the license plate verbiage. The driver's message was "I Got Soul". How cute.

I don't think I had ever taken note of this model of automobile before. It is a small boxy thing. Not really my cup of tea. And this vehicle was black. Does that mean the driver has a black soul? When your Kia Soul needs a bath, does that mean you have a dirty Soul? When it goes to the shop are you Soul-less? When you trade it in do you sell your Soul?

As I said, this style of car is not my first choice, no matter what the name. However, after contemplating the possible implications of the name, I am thinking the marketing folks missed the mark on this one.

Calling all Nurses!!

Please read this to learn about the proposed American Nurses Association position statement on the withdrawal of nutrition and hydration from patients. The National Catholic Bioethics Center has responded with its grave concerns about this proposal and asks all nurses to do the same.

Peeps!

The highlight of the Washington Post's journalistic endeavors is its annual Easter Peep Show. These are so fun! This rendition from Goodnight Moon stole my heart. I have so many happy memories of reading this book to my children.

Dance Me to the End of Love

Last week I found I had a major cultural blind spot. I had never heard of Leonard Cohen. He is a Canadian singer, songwriter, poet, and novelist. The lawyers over at Mirror of Justice were finding that in spite of their political and ideological differences, they could all enjoy the music of Leonard Cohen. It began when Robert George posted this video. Perhaps because my parents and my husband's parents both celebrated their 50th anniversary in 2008, my husband and I celebrated our 25th anniversary in 2009, and our oldest son got married this past December, this video had me in tears by the end. It is hauntingly beautiful.

In a bit of Lenoard Cohen trivia, he is the composer of Hallelujah, that song made famous by Shrek and by American Idol:

Cantemus Domino: gloriose enim magnificatus est

Pope Benedict XVI offered his Urbi et Orbi message yesterday. Please read the whole message, but if your time is short today, perhaps you can reflect on this excerpt:

Yes, my brothers and sisters, Easter is the true salvation of humanity! If Christ – the Lamb of God – had not poured out his blood for us, we would be without hope, our destiny and the destiny of the whole world would inevitably be death. But Easter has reversed that trend: Christ’s resurrection is a new creation, like a graft that can regenerate the whole plant. It is an event that has profoundly changed the course of history, tipping the scales once and for all on the side of good, of life, of pardon. We are free, we are saved! Hence from deep within our hearts we cry out: “Let us sing to the Lord: glorious his triumph!”The Christian people, having emerged from the waters of baptism, is sent out to the whole world to bear witness to this salvation, to bring to all people the fruit of Easter, which…

Have you heard of Spokeo?

My daughter-in-law sent me information about the web site Spokeo.com. It is so frightening. This web site is a personal information aggregator. All you do is type in someone's name, email, or phone number and you are treated to this person's age, address, phone number, email, picture of their home, financial worth, and who lives in their home. You can remove your profile from the public search (which I did), but folks can still pay $35 and get all of this information and more.

I know all of this information is gained from the public domain. However, it takes some effort to dig it all up. Compiling it and selling it as a product is akin to someone taking my picture then selling it. It is illegal to sell my image without my permission. It should also be illegal to sell an "image" of my personal data. I sent the following letter to my legislators encouraging them to address this issue. It would be nice to see them do something that actually contributes to the common goo…

Feast of the Annunciation and International Day of the Unborn Child

Today we celebrate the conception of Christ in the womb of Mary. Read how this day is marked as a day of prayer for all unborn children.

Still Faithful

With the passage of the health care bill Sunday night and the expected signing today, some may ask if I am sad, angry, discouraged, frustrated, etc. My answer is that I am faithful. As Mother Teresa says, we are not called to be successful. We are called to be faithful. What I believe and what I do has not changed.

Yes, we have suffered a legislative defeat. But the battle rages on. There are always more legislative byways and alleys to pursue. Even more importantly, there are hearts and minds to be won. This is not about abortion. This is about understanding that every human being is created in the image of God. Every human being has a purpose in God's great plan of salvation. If more people understood this, the legislative issues would resolve themselves.

Last Wednesday evening our parish RCIA program invited me to give a talk on the "Sanctity of Life". Consider it a ninety-minute whirlwind tour of Catholic bioethics. I took the phrase "life is sacred from conceptio…