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Showing posts from June, 2013

Conserving and Preserving

I am in full summer canning mode these days. Actually, it would be summer canning, drying, and freezing mode.

My dehydrator has been busy drying mint for later use and drying lavender blossoms, rose petals, and hydrangea petals for potpourri.

Basil is harvested for pesto which will be frozen.

A combination of herbs and jalepenos from my garden and fruit and tomatoes from the farmers market are combining for some wonderful canned goods. I am not worrying about adding pectin to my processed fruit. According to my go-to cookbook, How to Cook Anything by Mark Bittman, if you heat anything to 224-degrees it will jell. Maybe. Everything has thickened but I am not sure if I would call it jelled. Cherries did. Strawberries, not as much. But that is ok. There is a name for jam that is a bit runny. It is called conserve. It still tastes great on a hot biscuit or over some Blue Bell Homemade Vanilla ice cream.

Last Saturday after my farmers market run I went to Target and bought some more canni…

What can it hurt?

Friday evening, the vigil of the Feast Day of St. Thomas More, American Catholics began a Fortnight for Freedom. Today our priest spoke extensively about St. Thomas More and his deep abiding faith. He was willing to die for his faith. He refused to sign a statement approving of King Henry VIII's divorce from Katharine of Aragon. Nor would he sanction the marriage of the King to Anne Boleyn. His friends and family pleaded with him to sign. What would it hurt, they asked, if he just signed the document. He didn't have to really believe it. Just put his name to it and his life would be saved. Yet, Thomas More would not compromise the integrity of his faith even if it meant he would be killed. He would not risk his soul for earthly treasures.

Some will dismiss the current Fortnight for Freedom as political grandstanding. Why should the Church raise such a fuss? What would it hurt to just accept the HHS mandate and pay for contraception, sterilization, and abortifacients? Isn't…

Gathering daily flowers

I love my garden. Sometimes I can bring in armloads of peonies or hydrangeas, or daisies and make large impressive arrangements. Some mornings, though, my garden yields something much smaller. This morning I picked a single rose, a few white pansies and some sprigs of lavender. This little nosegay resting beside my sink is very calming. Not as flashy as a table centerpiece quality arrangement, but still beautiful.

It is a good reminder that sometimes I want to do great and wonderful things, but my resources and energy are not enough. Occasionally my day's work looks like a dozen long stem roses. But most days, a single rosebud is all I can muster. And there are definitely days where I am lucky to gather a yellow dandelion.

I cannot solve world hunger but I can support the local food bank. I cannot rid the world of sickness but I can bring a meal to  a sick friend. Some days it is an accomplishment to just smile at the person standing next to me in the grocery store line.

Today I…

Connecting the dots in a contraceptive culture

The dots are out there. My latest Zenit article looks at the alarming increase in breast cancer among women ages 25-39. What is the etiology of this meteoric rise? The rapid rise in breast cancer among young women correlates well with the rapid rise in hormonal contraceptive use as well as the increased incidence of abortion. There are also numerous studies showing direct relationships between breast cancer and contraceptives and breast cancer and abortion. These published articles also found that the women most affected are women in the age 25-39 demographic and the effect is most pronounced the younger women start using contraceptives.

So why are health care policy makers establishing clinics inside schools to hand out contraception to girls as young as 12 and 13? Why are we making the Plan B hormonal abortifacient available over the counter for these girls? Why has the HHS declared these carcinogens to be essential health care for women and so necessary that their provision trumps …

Loving both puppies and porcupines

Weddings and funerals bring out interesting family dynamics. Seemingly mature adults are reduced to the level of squabbling toddlers. Decades of perceived insults and injuries rise to the surface and “That’s not fair!” rings through the air. Sometimes literally. Sometimes through hurtful remarks. Sometimes through passive-aggressive behavior. 
I thought about this as I read this beautifully written essay, Love the Sinner, by Bernadette O'Brien. Consider this paragraph: “You can’t blame me for hating my mother-in-law—if you knew what she’s done to my family….” “How could anybody condemn us for expressing the fullness of our love for each other, just because we haven’t had a little ceremony and exchanged rings?” “The Joneses are simply unbearable—if we do talk about them behind their backs, it’s all true, anyway!” “It doesn’t hurt anybody if I look at pornography.” Excuses for sin are always some kind of rationale to explain why the sinner ought not to be punished. The focus is stil…

Pope Francis: Salvation is an all or nothing choice

One of the interesting things about the papacy of Pope Francis is that he has been saying a public Mass every day and we are receiving reports of his homilies every day. His teaching for today is a wonderful follow on for my last blog post.

Consider this quote:
"This is salvation: to live in the consolation of the Holy Spirit, not the consolation of the spirit of this world. No, that is not salvation, that is sin. Salvation is moving forward and opening our hearts so they can receive the Holy Spirit’s consolation, which is salvation. This is non-negotiable, you can’t take a bit from here and a bit from there? We cannot pick and mix, no? A bit of the Holy Spirit, a bit of the spirit of this world ... No! It’s one thing or the other. " Why is this choice so hard? Most of us say we desire salvation. So why is it so difficult to choose the way of the Holy Spirit? Pope Francis answers that question as well:
Why do people "have their hearts closed to salvation?". The Pope …

What a mother really wants

My post over at the Truth & Charity forum about the change in membership policy with regards to openly homosexual boys in the Boy Scouts has generated quite a bit of conversation. Please feel free to head over there and join the discussion.

One of the commenters offered the following:
What if your sons were gay? Wouldn't you want them to be supported and happy and grow up to be decent men who fell in love and got married to the right man - rather than closety and ashamed and even dishonestly marrying a woman to conceal what they are?  In a word, no. As a mother I hope for my children's happiness, but what I really want is their holiness. My job is to do everything I can to help them to the eternal joy of Heaven. I love them too much to want a temporal worldly happiness that imperils their soul. I want all of my children to live chaste lives. If I had a gay son I would not want him to yield to his inclinations anymore than I would want my heterosexual children sexually activ…

Why the change in Boy Scouts membership policy is problematic for Catholics

In my latest HLI Truth & Charity Forum article, I address the problems presented by the new BSA membership policy that allows homosexual Boy Scouts.

...Bishop Robert Guglielmone, the USCCB liaison to the Boy Scouts, was not pleased with the policy change but seemed resigned to it. Bishop Guglielmone stated it was a change that could accommodate Catholic teaching. Canon lawyer, Dr. Edward Peters, seemed to reach the same conclusion in his cogent analysis of the membership resolution.When dealing with this issue isolated to the theoretical realm, Bishop Guglielmone and Dr. Peters are correct. However, when looking at this in the context of a real Boy Scout troop and real Catholic families, it is difficult to see how it can be workable.
Continue reading here.