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If you are looking for a family friendly cookie...

I have been busy lately. Researching. Thinking. Analyzing. Writing. Praying. More Praying. More Praying. Not blogging.

But life is slowing down a bit and I need to come back to the spot where I blog and smile and just chat. So I have to share one of my favorite Christmas cookies. These are called Santa's surprise cookies. They are a peanut butter cookie wrapped around a mini Snickers candy. After baking you drizzle melted Dove milk chocolates on top. For the peanut butter chocolate fans in your home, these are a taste of Heaven. The recipe is here.

These are also great cookies to make with kids because they can be made assembly line fashion and there is a job for everyone. You make the dough and refrigerate it. Once it is firm (about 2-3 hours) someone needs to form it in to 1 Tablespoon size balls. Next someone flattens these balls and wraps them around a mini Snickers. It is helpful to have someone designated to unwrap the mini Snickers, but it needs to be someone who can be tr…

Back to the Basics

Last night I had the privilege of speaking at Holy Spirit Catholic Church in Annandale, VA. My talked was entitled, "Dare to be Catholic: living Catholic principles in a hostile culture. Normally my talks draw on a topic in which I can claim some level of expertise. Last night was a bit different. It was part pep talk and part brainstorming session as I came to the group as just another fellow Catholic trying to proclaim the Gospel. How can we effect a cultural change when the odds seemed so stacked against us?

And then I think of the Apostles. Twelve men. There was no Facebook, no Twitter, no cable news, no email. Yet their faithfulness to Christ changed the world. So what's our problem? There were more than twelve people in the room last night and there are lots more than twelve faithful Catholics in this world.

And wouldn't you know it, Pope Benedict offered his own take on this topic today in his Angelus address:

He continued, "speaking about God means, first and …

Think outside the big box store

Over the last few decades, I have become less and less enchanted with shopping malls. They remind me of cable television: lots and lots of choices, but very little of any value. So do not expect to see me in the crowds on Black Friday. Actually, I much prefer to do my shopping with a cup of coffee and a keyboard. However, over the last couple of years I have been stirred from my comfy chair to explore some local offering. I have really been enjoying the "buy local" movement, both for food and for unique gifts. 
Here in the DC area, I strongly encourage you to make it over to the Workhouse Arts Center. This is a lively hub of artisans with amazing talent. They will be hosting a special Black Friday showcase from 9am to 7pm.  I also love checking out the many refurbished historic downtowns in the area. Old Town Alexandria is probably the most well known, but I love Old Town Manassas. Historic Occoquan also offers cute shops and restaurants.
Virginia wineries offer another gre…

God Answered Our Prayers

I have been musing a great deal about the state of our country and our culture. The recent election results were heartbreaking for anyone who holds to the Catholic principles of human dignity, the sanctity of life, subsidiarity and solidarity, and the defense of marriage as between one man and one woman. But I had a little epiphany the other day and I want to see what you think.
President Obama's agenda discards the most vulnerable--the unborn, the elderly, the disabled.  His health care plan relies on utilitarian ethics to save money. He promotes abortion as a good thing and asserts that women cannot succeed unless they thwart their feminine physiology. He usurps the authority of religious leaders to delineate the essential tenets of their faith. He usurps the rights of parents to make educational and health care decisions for their children. He rejects the uniqueness of marriage as a covenant between one man and one woman. The fact that our country elected a president who pursu…

Spiritual Informed Consent

A couple of days ago I wrote about how the bishops have not done a good job protecting our Catholic brand. They have allowed too many people to wave the Catholic banner as they offer false and damaging teaching. We are a thinking Church. Every Catholic must follow his informed conscience. In addition to knowing what the Church teaches and why it teaches what it does, an informed conscience must know the repercussions of a given choice or action.
As a physician, I am very familiar with the concept of informed consent. Patients cannot make intelligent information about their health care unless they have all the information about the benefits and risks of their medical options. It is my job to give my patients this information.  I think it would be helpful to use this approach as part of catechesis. Consider it spiritual informed consent.
The goal of medical care is optimal health. The ultimate goal for spiritual health is Eternal Life. Christ died for us that we might live. The gift of…

My annual Veterans Day Post

This is my annual Veterans Day Post. It seems fitting to publish it again. The picture is my oldest son from his college Corps of Cadets days at Texas A&M. He is now an Army officer and has one deployment to Afghanistan under his belt. I again ask that you keep him and all our military in your prayers. Consider adding this Rosary to your devotions.

Using the sorrowful mysteries:
Agony in the garden: for deployed soldiers and their safety
Scourging at the pillar: for wounded soldiers and for their healing
Crowning with thorns: for deceased soldiers and repose of their souls
Carrying of the cross: for families of deployed, wounded and deceased soldiers, and for strength and comfort.
Crucifixion: for our nation, for the victims of war and for peace in the world. And now for an encore presentation of Mother of a Soldier:




Yesterday evening I received this picture from my son. He is a senior at Texas A&M and in the
Corps of Cadets. If all goes as planned he will be commissioned as an of…

Protecting the Catholic Brand

An article by Lisa Fullam at dotCommonweal erroneously proclaims same-sex marriage is consistent with Catholic social teaching. Fr. Araujo at Mirror of Justiceoffers an excellent response to this article and rightly notes that part of the reason that many young people are accepting same-sex relationships as the norm is because they have never been offered a clear presentation of the Church's teaching. Many of those who wrongly claim to speak for the Church are giving a distorted version of Catholic teaching: 
...nominally Catholic institutions of higher education, which have an extraordinary influence on the young, are not teaching what the Church teachers; moreover, these institutions are not exploring why the Church teaches what she teaches in spite of assertions to the contrary. For the most part at many institutions that claim the moniker “Catholic”, students are being exposed to a shadow magisterium which is a corruption of rather than intellectual fidelity to Church teachings…

Are you better off now...

The Good News is that God still loves the world through you. You are God's Good News. You are God's love in action. Each time anyone comes in contact with us, they must become different and better people because of having met us. We must radiate God's love."

—Blessed Teresa of Calcutta
The lovely quote above was sent to me by the good folks at PrayMoreNovenas.com. If you have not signed up for their services, I highly recommend it. It is a wonderful online prayer community that takes advantage of the Church's great treasury of novena prayers. You get a daily email reminder each day during a novena. There is not an active novena going on now so they posted the above reflection on Facebook. It was exactly what I needed.
The last year has been nothing but political candidates flooding the airwaves with messages that we will be better off if they are elected. But politicians are not the only ones who should be asking the question, "Are you better off now than you we…

The Participation Trophy Generation

First let me say that I love teaching anatomy and physiology at the community college. It is a tough course.  Students enter this course with great dreams of becoming a nurse, doctor, pharmacist, physical therapist, dentist, or other allied health professional. Then they meet the mountain of minute details that must be memorized. Some dig in and get the job done while others realize the biomedical sciences are not their real love after all. Every semester I am in awe of some of my students as they overcome obstacles, appreciate the opportunity to get an education, and excel.

Then there is another segment of students. And, unfortunately, it seems this group is growing. These students tell me the course is too hard and I need to make changes to accommodate their desire to make a B, the minimum grade required to enter many of the health professional programs. These students think that because they signed up for the course and paid the tuition they are entitled to a B.

Sorry. This is not …

St. Monica's List

Do everything without grumbling or questioning, that you may be blameless and innocent, children of God without blemish in the midst of a crooked and perverse generation, among whom you shine like lights in the world, as you hold on to the word of life, so that my boast for the day of Christ may be that I did not run in vain or labor in vain. (2 Phil: 14-16)
This is from the first reading today. I am disappointed by the election results, but I am not disheartened. I know that I voted according to faithfully Catholic principles. I worked with many good and holy people to educate others about these principles. Even if we did not sway the votes for this election as we would have liked, I am confident that we planted seeds.
So what now? Actually, not a lot changes. I still pray. I still serve God. I still know that my salvation resides in Christ. And I still take to heart the Great Commission to make disciples of all the nations.
With that in mind, I have a challenge for you. Make a list of…

In case you missed it...

I have been busy churning out words but most of them have not appeared on these pages. In case you didn't catch these articles:

Seeking the Kingdom of God Transcends Politics  I am down on me knees begging that Mitt Romney wins. However, I also know that my vocation does not change based on the election results. I will seek God no matter what. An Obama administration will make it harder to live as a Catholic. But with God, all things are possible.

The Affordable Care Act and its Unaffordable Costs  The Affordable Care Act, also known as Obamacare, presents a real danger for the elderly, disabled, unborn, and others who are infirmed. Committees and agencies that use utilitarian principles will be making judgments about who is fit to receive medical care and who is not.

Obama's "Equality" and "Liberty" for Women  This president believes that women cannot succeed unless they thwart their natural female physiology and become more like men. His lack of respect for …

Mark your calendar for Wednesdays with Pope Benedict

I have much to write about. It has been a busy two weeks. But before I cover anything else I must encourage you to make Pope Benedict's Wednesday general audience part of your Year of Faith commitment. Every Wednesday the Holy Father offers his teachings and reflections and they are not to be missed. Today he once again discussed the role of faith in the modern world:
"In our time", the Pope said, "we need a renewed education in the faith. Certainly this must include a knowledge of its truths and of the events of salvation, but above all it must arise from an authentic encounter with God in Jesus Christ".
"Today, along with many signs of goodness, a spiritual desert is spreading around us. ... Even the ideas of progress and well-being are revealing their shadows and, despite the great discoveries of science and progress of technology, mankind today does not seem to have become freer. ... Many forms of exploitation, violence and injustice persist. ... Moreov…

Pilgrimage for Life and LIberty

Today the US Conference of Catholic Bishops sponsored a pilgrimage for life and liberty at the Basilica of the National Shrine of the Immaculate Conception in Washington DC and I was fortunate enough to go. It was amazing. First of all, the upper church was packed. This is a huge church and we were packed like sardines in the pews and there were people standing in the side aisles and in the many small chapels that line both sides of the church. There were even rows of chairs set up in the open area behind the last pews. The Shrine web site says the upper church seats 3500 and with all the chapels has a capacity of 6000. Bet you didn't see any news coverage of thousands of Catholics gathering to pray for life and liberty.

Archbishop Lori of Baltimore was the primary celebrant. He is the leader of the USCCB ad-hoc committee on religious liberty. He gave a rousing homily that resulted in a standing ovation when he was done. I normally do not like applause during Mass, but somehow his…

Confessio and Caritas

Pope Benedict XVI offered an extemporaneous reflection on the Year of Faith at the Terce service for the Synod on the New Evangelization:
Because God shows Himself in the figure of Jesus, who is the Word, with a content which asks only to enter in us. The willingness to suffer also belongs to the Christian confession, said the Holy Father: Confessio carries within it the concept of martyrology, in the sense that it expresses the willingness to bear witness even up to the sacrifice of life. And it is this that guarantees our credibility. The Confessio should remain in heart and mouth. It must necessarily become public, because the faith carried within must be communicated to others, proclaimed, with the courage that derives from intelligence. Because God, the Pope stated, is not only a spiritual essence. He enters in the life and senses of man. Thus in the Confessio the force of our senses is necessary, which are mutually penetrated in the symphony of God. All of this pre…

Marginalizing parents

This article in the Washington Post struck a nerve. A pediatrician writes of how he struggles to provide quality care to teenage girls but the mothers of these girls won't give him the privacy he needs to ask the tough questions about sex, drugs, abuse, and other sensitive issues. And then when information comes to light about a sexually transmitted disease or pregnancy, he cannot share this information with a parent unless the minor girl consents.

I empathize with his dilemma. In my years of practicing medicine I have faced many similar dilemmas. A mother brings her daughter in for what she thinks is the stomach flu. I run a pregnancy test and it comes out positive. The law says I cannot tell Mom this result unless her daughter gives me permission to do so. This right to privacy extends all the way down to twelve-year-olds.

I know why the law is there. Parents can be intimidating and in some cases there may be a risk for abuse. However, in the vast majority of cases, parents love…

Forgiveness in this season of politics

Politics can be overwhelming. I am heavily invested in the upcoming election. I am passionate about the moral and spiritual consequences that await us on November 7 if the culture of death prevails. And unfortunately, those passions can get downright testy and uncharitable. So it is against this backdrop that I read Msgr. Charles Pope's discussion of forgiveness in Our Sunday Visitor. I continually struggle with forgiveness. People hurt me, hurt those I love, hurt the country I love, and hurt the Church I love. I take this very personally! Does forgiveness mean I am supposed to put all that aside and embrace them over a glass of wine or a cup of coffee? Not necessarily.

Msgr. Pope offers a more realistic view of forgiveness. It is a gift from God. It allows us to view the past without the anger, resentment, and desire for revenge that consumes us when we fail to forgive. Even that is not easy. But with the God's help and grace, it is doable. Forgiveness means I can think back …

Abortion Providers want Conscience Protection

Yes, you read the title correctly. Now abortion providers want conscience protection because their consciences compel them to provide abortion. My response is published at CNSnews.com


In the September 13 issue of the New England Journal of Medicine, Dr. Lisa Harris laments that there is no discussion of conscience protection for abortion providers:  "The persistent failure to recognize abortion provision as “conscientious” has resulted in laws that do not protect caregivers who are compelled by conscience to provide abortion services, contributes to the ongoing stigmatization of abortion providers, and leaves theoretical and practical blind spots in bioethics with respect to positive claims of conscience — that is, conscience-based claims for offering care, rather than for refusing to provide it." Read the whole article here.

NFP vs Fertility Awareness

My latest HLI article is up at the Truth & Charity Forum:

In the latest issue of Ethics & Medics, the monthly publication of the National Catholic Bioethics Center, Elliott Bedford offers an excellent article encouraging us to use the HHS mandate as an opportunity to evangelize to Catholics and non-Catholics alike about the Church’s teaching on contraception. It is clear in the discussions surrounding this mandate that previous attempts to catechize the faithful have been unsuccessful. The current controversy over the HHS requirement that all health insurance plans cover contraception, sterilization and abortifacients  provides a teachable moment to clarify Catholic principles, especially as they were presented in Humanae vitae. Read the rest here.

Need a new analogy

Many of the topics I cover when I teach anatomy and physiology are not intuitive. I have to find analogies to help my students visualize what I am saying. When we cover chemistry, I have to explain isomers. These are compounds that have the same chemical formula but different structures. In past semesters, I have used Tinker Toys to illustrate this concept. If I give each student the same assortment of wheels and dowels and asked them to build something using all of their allotted Tinker Toys, each of their structures would have the same composition but be shaped differently. They would be isomers.

Yesterday was the lecture on isomers. I spoke of Tinker Toys. I got blank stares. I have now hit the point where none of my students have ever seen much less played with Tinker Toys. That is so sad. Am I really that old?
As happens so often when I attend daily Mass, this morning I found just the words my heart needed. The looming election with its consequences for the soul of the country weigh heavily on my thoughts. There are family issues that have furrowed my brow. But this morning, the psalmist eased my anxieties and lifted my heart:

You bring bread from the earth and wine to gladden our hearts. God will provide. I am called to remain faithful. Enjoy the fruits of Providence.

Feast of St. Monica

St. Monica is a patron of this blog and a very special saint to me. She is the mother of the great St. Augustine. Now, I have a tremendous devotion to our Blessed Mother. But, if truth be told, there is a part of me that says, "You know, Mary was full of grace and born without the stain of original sin. That certainly gives her a leg up on the holiness scale." Monica, on the other hand, had a fallen nature,  She had foibles and weaknesses. Yet she was still able to be a great wife and mother. She never gave up on her son when he was careening down the wrong path. She followed him doggedly. He said he was going to Rome so she went to Rome. Of course, he actually went to Milan. So she followed him to Milan. She prayed for him without ceasing. She didn't try to do it alone. She sought the counsel of St. Ambrose. Her son eventually did repent and became one of the greatest minds of the Church.  I look at St. Monica and think, "She was a Catholic mom, just like me. I can…

Is your physician your advocate?

My latest article for HLI America explores the changing attitudes of the medical profession when it comes to the principle of "First, do no harm". An increasing number of physicians are accepting the practices of euthanasia and assisted suicide. Here is a snippet:

For millennia the physician has been charged with being an advocate for the patient. Part of the impetus for the original Hippocratic oath was to ensure that doctors would not be paid by an enemy to give poison instead of medicine. Patients should be able to come to their doctor when they are sick and weakened, and have no fear that their vulnerability will be exploited.


Unfortunately, the sacred trust of the doctor-patient relationship is being strained by a new ethical model. Physicians are being urged to place the “greater good” above the needs of their individual patients. A disregard for the sanctity of human life as well as a utilitarian philosophy that judges the value of a patient to society is becom…

Transitions

I just returned from a quick trip to see my Dad for his birthday. It was a really great visit. It is still hard to grasp that my mother is not there. Her mark on the house is everywhere. Dad is gradually adapting to life alone in the house. Every time I visit we take up a task to make the house more his. This time we cleaned out the pantry. It has been a year and a half since my mother died and there were still boxes of tea and other food items that my father will never use. We tossed out a great deal and loaded up a bit for the food pantry. We gathered 3 boxes of canisters and storage containers for a thrift shop donation. Visiting Dad also is like a little mini retreat since we make it to daily Mass as well as the Divine Mercy devotion.

The home front is also in flux. My youngest moves into his college dorm in a couple of days. I am going to miss all of his daily comings and goings. Once he moves out, the upstairs will be pretty empty. I am glad he will just be up the road and able…

Pro life reflection on Olympics

My latest HLI America article is up:

I am an Olympic blubberer. Whenever I read the news stories or watch the competitions I need a box of tissues nearby. The drama of the competition, the heartbreaking falls, the soaring successes and the inspiring narratives all reduce me to tears. The 2012 Summer Olympics tugged at my heartstrings with so many stories, but none more so than the bronze medal winner in the shot put, Reese Hoffa. When the reporters put the microphones in his face seeking a comment after the medal ceremony, he took advantage of the platform to extol the virtues of adoption. Read the whole thing here.

A reading just in time for the political season

Both parties now have their tickets set for the 2012 presidential election. The campaigns are accelerating. I am sure I will utter a word or two about politics on this blog. I am sure a reader or two will disagree with me. But as we enter in to a discourse over the issues let us remember yesterday's second reading:

Brothers and sisters:
Do not grieve the Holy Spirit of God,
with which you were sealed for the day of redemption.
All bitterness, fury, anger, shouting, and reviling
must be removed from you, along with all malice.
And be kind to one another, compassionate,
forgiving one another as God has forgiven you in Christ.

So be imitators of God, as beloved children, and live in love,

as Christ loved us and handed himself over for us
as a sacrificial offering to God for a fragrant aroma. (2 Eph 4:30-5:2)

Having a different opinion and supporting this opinion with facts is important. That is how civil discussions are constructed. Making broad ad hominem attacks is quite another matt…

One day at a time

As of now, all my children are adults. My youngest just celebrated his eighteenth birthday. Amazing! Back when I was responsible for all the school stuff, scout stuff, soccer stuff, youth group stuff, etc, I wanted to minimize my trips to the grocery store. I was all for buying in bulk. And actually, buying 7-8 gallons of milk at a time really only lasted about a week. Now my life is paced a bit differently. I am working more than I did a few years ago, but it is more according to my agenda and less according to the whims of the English teacher or the soccer coach.

I also have fewer knees under my kitchen table at meal times. Often there are three of us, but it is not unusual to just have two. Every now and then we get four or more for dinner. Gone are the days of filling one grocery cart with just milk bread and breakfast cereal.

It really works out easier now to make a couple of small runs to the grocery each week instead of a huge run every two weeks. I am also learning to buy from…

Pray with me...

Right now there are quite a few members of my circle of family and friends who are facing challenges and sorrows. Let me offer a few lines from the Universal Prayer of Thanksgiving After Mass. This is a rather long prayer, but it covers all the bases. I say it after every Mass. The verses that seem to speak the loudest right now are:

Guide me by your wisdom,
Correct me with your justice,
Comfort me with your mercy,
Protect me with your power.

I offer you, Lord, my thoughts: to be fixed on you;
My words: to have you for their theme;
My actions: to reflect my love for you;
My sufferings: to be endured for your greater glory.
May this prayer provide aid for those in need.

Through Christ our Lord we pray.

What's for dinner?

I am trying out this recipe. I've been trying to be a little more organized with my cooking. I am taking full advantage of the local farmer's markets but I need to plan or I will succumb to buying so much of the gorgeous produce that I cannot use it all. I've experimented a bit with some new vegetables and grains as well. This recipe uses quinoa, a very high protein grain. I also made tabbouleh using barley and my abundant supply of mint a couple of weeks ago. You may notice these recipes are meatless. And it's Friday. And it's not Lent!

The Church never took away the requirement for acts of penance on Friday. What she did was remove the specification that the penitential action had to be abstinence from meat. The reality is that once the restrictions on meat were lifted, most Catholics did not replace it with anything else. In fact, I had no idea we were even supposed to offer up some sort of sacrifice on Fridays until about five years ago. So I tried to come up …

I refuse to hide in the basement

Most of the time I really like what well established Catholic author and my Northern Virginia neighbor  Elizabeth Foss writes. But today on her Facebook page she endorsed and linked to this blog post by Jen Hatmaker:

This is precisely how I feel about the Chick-Fil-A debacle and all the other accoutrements of the culture wars. I am so over it. I'm so over the fear mongering and the hate propaganda. I'm over the political posturing and power plays. I'm over the finger pointing and name calling. The storms are raging overhead, and let me tell you something:I'm going to the basement. Jen Hatmaker goes on to invite us all down to her basement to contemplate the really important things like love, feeding the hungry, justice, etc. She hates how the Gospel has been turned into a "bludgeoning tool".


I have very mixed feelings about this hiding in the basement thing. I agree we do not need to rage at people. We need to love everyone, even those who disagree with us. W…

Seeking souls instead of gold at the Olympics

In these turbulent social times, i sometimes have a tough time making it through the newspaper. Even the comics get tangled up in the issues of the day. My refuge is often the sports page. I love athletic competitions. Not being a great athlete myself, I love to read about the feats of those who are. Athletes are not saints by any stretch of the imagination, but normally the stories focus on values we can all agree upon: discipline, strong work ethic, perseverance. Other than Barcelona FC, I don't have a strong emotional attachment to many teams. I always cheer for the National League in baseball because I hate the designated hitter rule. I tend to cheer for the team with the best back story.

The Olympics is the mother lode of inspiring stories. There are so many obstacles, challenges, and come-backs. However, I was feeling a bit jaded this time around. American soccer goal keeper, Hope Solo, has been dishing about the bacchanalia that takes place in the Olympic Village. Olympic o…

Melinda Gates pushes dangerous solution and more

I know I said I would use this blog for more than just linking to my articles published elsewhere, but I think you will find the following interesting.

Melinda Gates is busy pushing her population control on Sub-Saharan Africa and South Asia. She is covering it with the veneer of trying to improve women's health. Her methods, however, are dangerous and will harm more than they could possibly help.  Read more here.

This article generated quite a bit of media buzz. I did a taped interview for LifeNews radio. Not sure when it will be broadcast. Today I did a live interview with Janet Parshall. You can find it here. It is the broadcast dated July 26, 2012.

Finally, my latest HLI Article for Zenit is up. While prenatal testing is a benefit and a blessing at time, it can also be used for evil purposes. Read the whole story here.

All of my HLI America work is archived here.

Hope you find this work thought provoking and helpful.

It's Natural Family Planning Awareness Week!

In case you haven't heard, the bishops declared July 22-28 Natural Family Planning Awareness Week. My contribution for the week is up at HLI America.
Pope Benedict XVI offered an encouraging message to the recent meeting of the Equipes Notre Dame (translation: Teams of Our Lady), a pro-marriage apostolate. The Holy Father invited all Christian married couples to be “the gentle and smiling face of the Church.” There is no greater way for couples to achieve this than to joyfully open their marriage to the gift of life. Head on over to HLI America and read the whole thing!

In addition, Dr. Donald DeMarco offers some great thoughts on NFP as well.

And I highly recommend the series of posts by Elizabeth Foss.

Happy NFP week!

Exceeding Expectations

I have to admit I settled into daily Mass a bit complacently today. I saw that the celebrant was a priest with a very thick accent. Combine that with a less than stellar sound system and I am often lucky to understand much at all of what he says. But that is okay. I am grateful for his presence and grateful for the Eucharist. I smugly consoled myself with a reminder that I don't necessarily need a rousing homily at every Mass.

But somehow today I did understand his words. The Gospel reading was:

While Jesus was speaking to the crowds,
his mother and his brothers appeared outside,
wishing to speak with him.
Someone told him, "Your mother and your brothers are standing outside,
asking to speak with you."
But he said in reply to the one who told him,
"Who is my mother? Who are my brothers?"
And stretching out his hand toward his disciples, he said,
"Here are my mother and my brothers.
For whoever does the will of my heavenly Father
is my brother, and sister, and mother…

Time to fly

As I mentioned yesterday, I've grappling with letting go--mostly of stuff. But I am also having to let go a little bit of my baby. My youngest graduated from high school last month and will be moving on to college in just a month. Unlike his older siblings, when he heads off to college he will be going five miles up the road instead of 1500 miles across the country. He is going to live in the dorm for at least the first year so that he can get a taste of independence and learn to handle money, time, and school without Mom and Dad right there to double check things. I am pretty sure he is ready. But it is hard to watch the last one fly. Of course, based on his older siblings, the flight in August will probably include a return leg or two and maybe even a few stints back under our roof. However, it will never be the same.
Now all through high school, I did not give my kids total free rein. I had to know where they were, who they were with, and what time to expect them home. I still…

Should it stay or should it go?

As I mentioned yesterday, my mother had a tendency to collect things. I believe I inherited bit of that tendency as well. However, the propensity to hoard that my husband brings to our marriage makes my side of the family look totally detached from things. He wants to save everything. "It might be useful someday!" are frequent words as I try to declutter. Which is why this article recommended by Fr. Z caught my eye.  It offers a pretty good psychological explanation of why we hang on to things. Yet, all the explanations in the world are worthless if they do not also offer a solution. I like this idea:

Now, knowing the power of the bias, for each item I ask myself a simple question: If I didn't have this, how much effort would I put in to obtain it? And then more often or not I throw it away, concluding that if I didn't have it, I wouldn't want this.
Let this anti-endowment effect technique perform its magic for you, and you too will soon be joyously throwing away t…