29 January 2009

Rife with irony

I'm probably a day late and a dollar short with this since you may have already seen this video/commercial created by Catholic Vote. I hear it was even on Rush Limbaugh.

Am having some problems with either my browser or blogger dealing with this video, so if it doesn't work by clicking on the video below, please visit the Catholic Vote site and watch it from there. Or go here for the YouTube link.

NOTE: I removed the embedded YouTube link because the problem was with my computer. You can still view the video at Catholic Vote or the offsite YouTube link above. My new computer is a Quad Core (64 bit) and this video wasn't compatible with my processor. What a bummer. However, I did see it on EWTN last night.

And, Catholic Vote tried to have this video shown during the Superbowl, but the NFL declined to air it because they didn't want to be involved in partisan issues. They can show smut, but not this.

Prayers please

UPDATE: My FIL is home. No damage was found to his heart but a they did find a narrowing by his aortic "Y" just beyond one the stents he has that needs to be addressed. First they will try to treat it with medication. And, there is a spot of calcification they will also treat with medication. A few blockages were found in his legs, at the sites where they had previously entered to run the stents up into his heart.

After four days of horrendous ringing in my ears and getting no sleep, I went to the doctor. I hoped that my cold had caused some inflammation in my ears that caused my tinnitus to amp up so dramatically, since I knew my Eustachian tubes had been infected. Also, I was so jittery and anxious from not having slept for so long that, as much as I hate taking drugs, I was going to ask the doctor to give me some sleeping pills. And, I wanted some anti-anxiety medication in case things got to that point.

Doctor gave me Flonase, a nasal steroid to hopefully clear any inflammation, Lunesta to sleep, and Paxil for anxiety. As soon as I took the Flonase, I could tell the ringing had lessened somewhat. It was that fast. As soon as the Flonase hit, I was able to sleep. I did wake up a little later to take the Lunesta, which totally freaked me out just because I don't like things to take over my body or senses (I would make a very poor drug addict). Honestly, I couldn't tell what the Lunesta did for me, but I did sleep fairly well, just not any differently than usual. Didn't take the Paxil and have no plans to now. My ears have mercifully toned down to slightly more than they had been and at a level where I can function. It's funny that I'm so thankful my ears are only ringing half as loud :)

Thank you St. Jude, St. Catherine of Sienna, St. Therese

Thank you, everyone, for all of your prayers. Thank you very, very much!!

Please pray for my father-in-law who just suffered a minor heart attack. He has had several heart attacks, surgeries, stents, a stroke that left him partially paralyzed, etc., in the past few years. He was just in for a check-up a little over a week ago and they found a slight blockage in one artery. Doctor told him it wasn't a concern at this point, didn't put any restrictions on his activity, just increased his dose of nitroglycerin. Then this happened. Fortunately, early tests have shown no permanent damage to his heart. He was moved to a larger hospital last night for more tests. Please also remember my mother-in-law in your prayers since she is pretty traumatized by these events.

And, could you please pray for a relief to my tinnitus. Just when I got over my cold and got two good nights of sleep, then my ears started ringing much louder than they normally do, making it impossible to sleep since it sounded like I was inside a jet engine.

Thank you, I appreciate your prayers very much. As the Carmelites say, may God reward you.

28 January 2009

Lounging in the pink pokey

Ok, I found this e-mail that I received pretty interesting. I don't know if it's true, so take that as a big ol' caveat, but the idea alone is amusing.

I used to be a supporter of the death penalty and also thought that if prisons were more like dungeons (dank, dark and no cable TV) then criminals would be less likely to treat prison time like a day at the spa. Today, I have a problem with the death penalty because I don't like the government to be in the business of killing its own people, but certainly can see how others support it. I also don't think a dungeon is necessarily humane treatment, but question why there are so many perks for inmates that I don't even have in my own home because I can't afford them.

Some days it's almost worth committing a crime just to be locked up and have the ability to watch the Oxygen network.

But, back on the topic of prisons, I had a good friend in college who was from France. One day she was going on about how awful the British prisons were a few short hundred years ago (think Tower of London). And, I said, "At least they weren't French prisons (think Les Mis)." To this day, the glare I got still gives me chills.

Below is what I received about one man's efforts in the AZ prison system.

You all remember Sheriff Joe Arpaio of Arizona, who painted the jail cells pink and made the inmates wear pink prison garb. Well...SHERIFF JOE IS AT IT AGAIN!

Maricopa County was spending approx. $18 million dollars a year on stray animals, like cats and dogs. Sheriff Joe offered to take the department over, and the County Supervisors said okay.

The animal shelters are now all staffed and operated by prisoners. They feed and care for the strays. Every animal in his care is taken out and walked twice daily. He now has prisoners who are experts in animal nutrition and behavior. They give great classes for anyone who'd like to adopt an animal. He has literally taken stray dogs off the street, given them to the care of prisoners, and had them place in dog shows.

The best part? His budget for the entire department is now under $3 million. Teresa and I adopted a Weimaraner from a Maricopa County shelter two years ago. He was neutered, and current on all shots, in great health, and even had a microchip inserted the day we got him. Cost us $78. The prisoners get the benefit of about $0.28 an hour for working, but most would work for free, just to be out of their cells for the day. Most of his budget is for utilities, building maintenance, etc. He pays the prisoners out of the fees collected for adopted animals.

I have long wondered when the rest of the country would take a look at the way he runs the jail system, and copy some of his ideas. He has a huge farm, donated to the county years ago, where inmates can work, and they grow most of their own fresh vegetables and food, doing all the work and harvesting by hand. He has a pretty good sized hog farm, which provides meat, and fertilizer. It fertilizes the Christmas tree nursery, where prisoners work, and you can buy a living Christmas tree for $6-$8 for the Holidays, and plant it later. We have six trees in our yard from the Prison.

Yup, he was re-elected last year with 83% of the vote. Now he's in trouble with the ACLU again. He painted all his buses and vehicles with a mural, that has a special hotline phone number painted on it, where you can call and report suspected illegal aliens. Immigrations and Customs Enforcement wasn't doing enough in his eyes, so he had 40 deputies trained specifically for enforcing immigration laws, started up his hotline, and bought 4 new buses just for hauling folks back to the border. He's kind of a 'Git-R Dun' kind of Sheriff.



He created the 'Tent City Jail'.

He has jail meals down to .40 cents a serving and charges the inmates for them.

He stopped smoking and porno magazines in the jails. Took away their weights and cut off all but 'G' movies.

He started chain gangs so the inmates could do free work on county and city projects.

Then he started chain gangs for women so he wouldn't get sued for discrimination.

He took away cable TV until he found out there was a Federal Court order that required cable TV for jails, so he hooked up the cable TV again only letting in the Disney and Weather Channel.

When asked why the weather channel? He replied, "So they will know how hot it's gonna be while they are working on the Chain Gang".

He cut off coffee since it has zero nutritional value.

When the inmates complained, he told them, "this isn't the Ritz Carlton...if you don't like it, Don't Come Back."

He bought Newt Gingrich's lecture series on videotape; that he pipes into the jails for the inmates to enjoy! Not!

When asked by a reporter if he had any lecture series by a Democrat, he replied "a democratic lecture series might explain why a lot of the inmates are in his jail in the first place."

With temperatures being even hotter than usual in Phoenix (116 Degrees), the Associated Press reports: About 2,000 inmates living in a barbed-wire-surrounded tent encampment at the Maricopa County Jail have been given permission to strip down to their government-issued pink boxer shorts.

On Wednesday, hundreds of men wearing boxers were either curled up on their bunk beds or chatting in the tents; which reached 138 degrees inside the week before...many were also swathed in wet, pink towels as sweat collected on their chests and dripped down to their PINK SOCKS.

'It feels like we are in a furnace,' said James Zanzot, an inmate who has lived in the TENTS for 1 year. 'It's Inhumane.' he stated.

Joe Arpaio, the tough-guy sheriff who created the tent city and long ago started making his prisoners wear pink, and eat bologna sandwiches, is not one bit sympathetic. He said Wednesday that he told all of the inmates: "It's 120 degrees in Iraq and our soldiers are living in tents too, and they have to wear full battle gear.

But they didn't commit any crimes, so Shut Your Mouths!"

Way To Go, Sheriff! Maybe if all prisons were like this one there would be
a lot less crime and or repeat offenders. Criminals should be punished for their crimes - not live in luxury until it's time for their parole, only to go out and commit another crime so they can come back to live on taxpayers money and enjoy things some taxpayers can't afford to have for themselves.

Warm sunshine on a cold day

Angela, the kind soul who picks Saints of the Year for people, has given me this award. She's very kind considering the amount I've been blogging has dropped off dramatically! Thank you, Angela!

“These blogs are exceedingly charming. These kind bloggers aim to find and be friends. They are not interested in self-aggrandizement. Our hope is that when the ribbons of these prizes are cut, even more friendships are propagated. Please give more attention to these writers. Deliver this award to eight bloggers who must choose eight more and include this cleverly-written text into the body of their award.”

I'm going to pare down that amount a bit and "pick two."

[drum roll]

Mairin at Child of Mary

Chris at Chris and Company

25 January 2009

Excuse me while I...

spew, but maybe "ralf" is more ladylike.

I was born after Kennedy was assassinated, long after the whole civil rights movement was at full-boil. I missed the Beatles on Ed Sullivan, but did manage to see "man" land on the moon. Back then, it seemed the world was going crazy with sex, drugs and rock & roll. But what is it that we have collectively ingested recently that has gotten us well beyond that hedonistic stage?

According to hubby's aunt, any nay-saying I may do about HRH Barack Obama is racist. Honestly, she used that word. So far, my Webster's dictionary does not have the word "racist" anywhere in the definition of "disagree."

Let's look:
Disagree: 1. To fail to agree. 2. To have a different opinion. 3. To argue or quarrel. 4. To cause adverse effects.

It's not Barack Obama's race I don't like, it's his views on life that I have a "disagreement" with. He could be white, like Hillary, and I'd still disagree with him. He is my president and I will support him, up to the point of where I disagree with him on the fundamental right to life.

I come from a long line of military folks, I get the whole idea of "God and country." I get that God comes first in that equation.

Now if Alan Keyes had won the Republican nomination, I would've voted for him in a heart-beat. Even if Hillary, a white woman, was his Democratic opponent. Especially if Hillary had been the Democratic opponent. When will these people see that it isn't their skin color or race or sex or shoe size that I disagree with, it's their politics?

My MIL was still giddy about the inauguration when hubby talked to her late in the week. But, it was all just emotion. She couldn't say what HRH BO was going to do for her, what he would do for the country, what she expected he would do, what she hoped he would do. Bottom line: he wasn't Bush. No rationale, no game plan, no objectives about HRH BO, just glee that "change" had come to America. She did manage to state that change should NOT include increasing taxes, expanding entitlements, more bail outs, or wasting money in foreign countries because we sure need to focus on our problems here at home.

First, I question why she votes Democratic when she disagrees with all the policies of this party except abortion. It wasn't so funny when I told her that one of the first things HRH BO did wasn't to sign legislation that would help the unemployed or those losing their homes or the middle class, it was to use our tax dollars to fund over-seas abortions.

Like you didn't see that coming.

Our country is busy clamoring for change, for a leader -- almost for a king. I hope we remember to read the play book on that one to see how that all turned out previously. Some are calling for an amendment to the Constitution to allow HRH BO to serve more than two terms. Aside from the fact that the man has only been in office a few days and the fact that he hasn't put a chicken in anyone's pot yet, be careful what you wish for.

21 January 2009

Silent retreat

I've been planning to attend one of the Miles Christi silent retreats for a long, long time. Now that I'm not nursing or pregnant, it seems like a perfect time. There is a retreat coming up in late March that I hope to attend and asked the coordinator to send me more specifics, like the cost.

I'm in shock. I knew the cost of the weekend was around $200, but getting the information with the costs on it really took my breath away. The cost was actually $230.

Since I've become a stay-at-home mom I've tried to live very frugally. I clip coupons, I go to garage sales, I turn off lights. Recently, I was starting to plan what books and other items I would use next year for homeschooling and was agonizing over spending $170 for the bulk of the year. That's just an early estimate and it will likely go up, but right now $230 is a chunk of change considering all the other things I could do with the money.

I understand that the retreat center needs to make money, I know the Miles Christi priests need to be paid, but even when I could've afforded $200, I still would've thought it pricey. I'm currently using paleolithic dial-up because DSL would cost twice as much as I'm paying. We got two converter boxes because we have old TVs and don't have cable.

I know the benefits of the retreat to my spiritual life will be worth it...I just have to decide which organ I plan to sell to get the money to attend.

19 January 2009

Six of one

...half a dozen of the other. I can't keep up and I can't keep score.

Below is a collection of some articles I received that make you smile and others that leave you scratching your head.

Parish’s Big Victories

December 21, 2008-January 3, 2009 Issue

When pro-life messages and actions are consistent and regular, pro-life fruits are sweet and abundant. The 4 1/2-year-old parish of St. Helena of the True Cross of Jesus Catholic Church in Corpus Christi, Texas, is seeing several ripen.

Every Tuesday, in numbers too big to ignore, parishioners plant themselves in front of the city’s one remaining abortion business. They pray the Rosary and offer counseling. Led by their pastor, Father James Farfaglia, they’ve been at it for nearly two years.

Thanks to the work of Bishop Emeritus Rene Gracida, along with a very active chapter of Operation Rescue, three of the city’s four abortion businesses had closed by the time the St. Helena group got a full head of steam. Only one remained. On Jan. 22, 2007, after Father Farfaglia finished the Rosary during the annual diocesan Roe v. Wade protest at this lone business, he asked parishioner and longtime pro-life worker Ray Reeves: What next?

* Full story can be found here and more here.

Planned Parenthood Staffer Resigns

Saturday, December 20, 2008

INDIANAPOLIS — A Planned Parenthood of Indiana counselor has resigned after an undercover video showed her telling a woman posing as a 13-year-old that she didn't care about the age of the man who impregnated her, the group said Friday.
Two videos shot at the organization's clinics by an anti-abortion group appear to show workers unconcerned about state law requiring anyone learning of sexual acts between an adult and a child under 14 to report them to police or child welfare authorities. A nursing aide seen in the other video was previously fired.

Planned Parenthood said Friday it has enlisted an outside group to help retrain its workers on the legal requirements for reporting abuse.

Planned Parenthood of Indiana's president and CEO, Betty Cockrum, also called on the anti-abortion group Live Action to give it copies of all the undercover video it shot at clinics in Bloomington and Indianapolis that showed a young patient claiming she had been impregnated by an older man.

"It's right for us to see what our staff said and did," Cockrum said.

The steps were announced a day after the Marion County Prosecutor's Office in Indianapolis said it would have a grand jury investigate whether any laws were broken at the Planned Parenthood clinic in Indianapolis.\

"We took swift action. Both employees were immediately suspended," Cockrum said in a telephone interview Friday. "Both are no longer working for us."

Video released by Live Action on Tuesday shows a counselor at the Indianapolis clinic and 20-year-old UCLA student Lila Rose, who was posing as a 13-year-old and says the man who impregnated her was 31.

"I don't care how old he is," the counselor says in the video.

The Indianapolis counselor, who has not been identified, resigned in the middle of the organization's investigation, Planned Parenthood spokeswoman Kate Shepherd said.

The nursing aide fired earlier from the Bloomington clinic made a similar claim in the other video. Both videos were shot in June.

Rose said Friday the group was sending both unedited videos from Indiana to authorities, even though they had not yet been contacted. She also has said her group intends to post the unedited video online.

"Self-regulation has not worked for Planned Parenthood as they have routinely evaded the very Indiana laws that protect children from sexual abuse," Rose said in a prepared statement. She said Indiana authorities should investigate and hold Planned Parenthood accountable for its "criminal activity."

Cockrum denied the two cases indicated Planned Parenthood has a culture of failing to report sexual activity by underage children, as some opponents have alleged. She said her organization conducts audits to turn up abuse cases that haven't been reported.

Planned Parenthood reported 123 cases of suspected child abuse to Indiana authorities in 2007, Shepherd said.

"I'm very serious when I say it's an imperative here. We take this reporting requirement very seriously," Cockrum said.

Planned Parenthood has enlisted Prevent Child Abuse Indiana to help it retrain staff. Sandy Runkle, programs director for the anti-abuse group, said members met with Planned Parenthood on Thursday.

Runkle said it was too early to say what form the retraining would take and who would provide it.

Planned Parenthood employs a staff of more than 200 at its 35 health clinics across Indiana.

Video http://liveactionfilms.org/

Planned Parenthood makes staff cuts
Funding declines partly attributed to Madoff.

Hit with declines in funding from the economic crisis and the Madoff scandal, the Planned Parenthood Federation of America is laying off around 20% of its staff.
Roughly 30 people were let go earlier this week, according to a source who works for the nonprofit. Executives at Planned Parenthood confirmed the layoffs, but declined to give more details.

“As with many other nonprofit organizations, Planned Parenthood has had to make staff reductions at our headquarters due to the challenging economic times facing our country,” said Maryana Iskander, chief operating officer at the agency. “While taking this action is never easy, we want to ensure the millions of women and men who rely on Planned Parenthood as a health care provider that the reductions will not impact our ability to deliver care to those in need.”

Part of Planned Parenthood’s funding declines stem from the closing of the Florida-based Picower Foundation, which shut down in December because its assets were managed by Bernard Madoff. The $1 billion foundation was one of the few major funders of reproductive rights issues.

Story can be found here.

Planned Parenthood Letter

From: Planned Parenthood MN/ND/SD Action Fund
Subject: The verse is the story. The verse is the message.

"Politicians never hear the verse; they only hear the chorus."

My friend, songwriter Gretchen Peters, took solace in those words the night her song, "Independence Day," was used to introduce Gov. Sarah Palin to the RNC. She had just finished a performance in Ft. Worth, TX, and her song -- about a woman in a desperate situation -- had been used by a politician who didn't know what it was about, and who doesn't relate to women like Gretchen and me.

She put it best herself: "But the verse is the story. The verse is the message."

Gretchen decided to do something remarkable: she donated the proceeds she received from "Independence Day" -- from the moment Gov. Palin took the stage that day until Election Day -- to Planned Parenthood. Supporters like Gretchen -- and like you --are the reason we have a strong, vibrant organization that helps people throughout the world. I can't ever thank you enough.

As always, sincerely,

Cecile Richards, President
Planned Parenthood Federation of America

Gretchen Peters has written and performed for audiences around the world. Last month, she played her hit song "Independence Day" just for Planned Parenthood. Watch the video here: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4D-p-DbsTp8
_ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _

Independence Day by Gretchen Peters

Well she seemed all right by dawn's early light
Though she looked a little worried and weak
She tried to pretend he wasn't drinkin' again
But daddy left the proof on her cheek
and I was only eight years old that summer
And I always seemed to be in the way
So I took myself down to the fair in town
On Independence Day

Well word gets a round in a small, small town
They said he was a dangerous man
Mama was proud and she stood her ground
But she knew she was on the losin' end
Some folks whispered and some folks talked
But everybody looked the other way
And when time ran out there was no one about
On Independence Day

Let Freedom ring
Let the white dove sing
Let the whole world know that today
Is a Day of reckoning
Let the weak be strong
Let the right be wrong
Roll the stone away
Let the guilty pay
It's Independence Day

Well she lit up the sky that fourth of July
By the time that the firemen come
They just put out the flames
and took down some names
And send me to the county home
Now I ain't sayin' it's right or it's wrong
But maybe it's the only way
Talk about your revolution
It's Independence Day


Roll the stone away
It's Independence Day

Remember Catholics for Kerry?
By Donald R. McClarey

Hattip to Jay Anderson at Pro Ecclesia and The Catholic Report. Eric McFadden was the founder of Catholics for Kerry, a group which proudly proclaimed that Catholics should support John Kerry notwithstanding his support for abortion.

After the election McFadden went on to bigger and better things when he was appointed by Ted Strickland, pro-abort Democrat governor of Ohio, in February 2007 to head the Ohio Office of Faith Based Initiatives.

McFadden resigned from that position in October of 2007.

McFadden also served as head of Catholic outreach for the Clinton campaign in 2008. And here we have him making the first comment in this thread, carrying water for pro-abort Obama.

Then we have McFadden writing a public letter attacking Supreme Knight Carl Anderson of the Knights of Columbus for reminding Catholics that Obama and Biden hold views on abortion diametrically opposed to the Catholic Church.

Yesterday he was arrested and charged with running a prostitution ring for 6 years in Columbus, Ohio.

You know, try as I might I am having a hard time being shocked by this story. After continually attempting to rally support for pro-aborts running for the highest office in the land, and doing so under the banner of a Church that views abortion as an abomination, being involved in prostitution during the same time period doesn’t seem like that big of a step to me.

Check out this link for more on the story.


H/T to Jean, Carley and Ray for all the stories

18 January 2009

Being a friend

There was a call on the answering machine the other day that tugged at my heart. It was from one of the Carmelite brothers telling us he missed our visits and friendship. We haven't visited him and the other brothers in quite some time. It could be a year or more.

While my father knew many priests and I grew up having dinner with his very good priest friend every Saturday night, you'd think I'd feel a little more comfortable around priests and religious. I don't. Other than baptisms and things like that, I don't seek out friendships with them, even just to say "hello" and be social.

Maybe it has something to do with the words of Our Lady, telling us to respect priests because they are hers. We are not to criticize them, we are to pray for them and entrust them to her. Hard to do sometimes.

Our family has a long history with the Carmelites in the area. Ever since I was a child, we attended midnight Mass in their cold and very austere chapel. My father was friends with Father John Mary long before Father became a priest. They remained friends until my father's passing, with Father John performing Last Rites for him. My father also was friends with the Jesuit priest, Father Stokel, who said Mass for the Carmelite sisters long before Father John established his cloister for the hermit brothers there and took over the duties of saying Mass for the sisters.

At my mother's funeral Mass, five priests concelebrated. All long-time (even childhood) friends of the family, except Monsignor Lavin from St. Thomas, who attended because I was a student there at the time.

This is just too much for my sensibilities. I can't explain why exactly, but when our parish priest came to bless our home many years ago and stayed for dinner, I remember being on pins and needles until he left. It was one thing to set up an appointment and speak to him in the rectory, but to have him in my home was a cause of anxiety. Even when he came to visit my father on several occasions when my father was dying, I stumbled all over my words every time he was here.

I became friends with one of the Carnelite brothers during the time my father was dying. This brother called every day to see how I was and to find out how my father was doing. After my father passed away, we began taking food out to the brothers. At first we were allowed access to most of the cloister. Then when we brought food, we were allowed into the entry way, eventually we were told to leave it on the step.

To me, this is what I expected of a cloister with hermit brothers. Running all over the cloister just didn't seem right. I completely respected their desire to live their vocation and to be removed from the world.

Then we had kids and the number of our visits dropped dramatically. I began writing this brother to stay in touch and to also allow him the solitude to live the contemplative life of his vocation. Eventually, I began to feel this was an intrusion too and stopped writing.

This Christmas, I sent a Christmas card as I usually do, but was surprised to get a call from the brother relating how he missed having contact with our family. I had never asked HIM how he felt, I had just unilaterally stopped writing.

Another friend and I have been out of contact for a few years now. This person is very difficult to get along with, although it would be interesting to hear her description of me! The last phone conversation we had, and in the last correspondence I received, she said she would call me. That was over a year ago. So, I sent a Christmas card with an update on all the things that have been happening lately. Surprisingly, I received a very warm Christmas card back with numerous Masses. Again, she said she would call.

I'm beginning to see I might need to call her.

Similarly, husband's aunt and I used to be very close. We talked all the time. In the past few years, however, she's kind of retreated, primarily because her husband is dying. I grew tired to calling her repeatedly, having the conversation cut short and her telling me she would call me back, but never keeping her word. I gave up trying.

But, I know how it is to be coping with having a loved one suffer from a serious illness. I remember how I felt let down by friends and family who didn't call or visit.

So, I think it's time to re-evaluate what kind of friend I have been to these people and to others. I think I can manage to write a letter or pick up the phone. Sometimes, a simple act of kindness goes a long way.

17 January 2009

Jumping to conclusions

The MN Catholic Homeschool Conference isn't going to be at St. Thomas this year.

It's going to be at arguably the most liberal college in the state...Macalester.

When I found out about the change in venue, my first thoughts were that St. Thomas was making it hard for the homeschool conference to be held there...kind of like they did to make the Chesterton conference hit the road for Seattle (granted that was over an issue of smoking cigars).

What would happen to the Mass that was always offered? How could a Catholic, albeit CINO, university be so unaccommodating that the Catholic Homeschool Conference packed its bags and inexplicably headed for Macalester.

Well, maybe I need to cut St. Thomas some slack, although the university has been unfailing in giving me reasons to bash my alma mater. Turns out there is a big construction project at St. Thomas that requires the conference to relocate this year. Mass will still be held. All is well.

See you at the conference!

16 January 2009

Unseen hand

It's been a rough few weeks with my cold. Haven't been sleeping very well at all. So, I was not happy when the smoke alarm went off in our room at 2am.

It was cold (-20 F). It was the middle of the night. There was no fire.

Needless to say, I was busy cursing the detector as hubby ripped it off the wall and disconnected it. I felt the fates were against me ever getting a good night's sleep ever again.

Hubby wanted to give the house a good going over, curious about why a hard-wired detector would go off the in the calm and dark of night.

A quick check of the house discovered that the furnace was off. Holy moly, the furnace was off.

At this point we were both a bit stunned because we have three carbon monoxide detectors in the house. It would've been understandable if one of those had gone off since we have gas heat and with the furnace off or malfunctioning, carbon monoxide could've become a problem.

Fortunately, it seems a piece of debris had fallen right on the pilot light and hubby was able to get it started without too much trouble. It would've been awful to have slept until morning with temps that cold...there could've been some serious problems.

Despite all the commotion and noise, neither one of the kids woke up.

But why the smoke detector in our room?

Was that you, Guardian Angels?

15 January 2009


I heard it mentioned on EWTN the other night that all the analysis of the blood from Eucharistic miracles (primarily at Lanciano) turns out to be the type AB. While I don't know if there is any significance that Jesus' blood type is AB, it did pique my curiosity because my blood type is AB.

One thing I had known, is the analysis also showed that the flesh tested turned out to be cardiac tissue. Not only do we receive Christ in the Eucharist, but we receive His heart. How amazing is that? Tell me God doesn't have a sense of humor and appreciate irony. Guess we need to be hit over the head to believe in the Real Presence, but the subtle things, like the type of tissue, that are contained in these miracles are astounding. (For more on the story of Lanciano, click on the link at the bottom of the post to read about the monk who was having doubts about the Real Presence.)

The more I read the bible and attend bible study, the more I start to appreciate how it all connects, how Christ did come to fulfill what had been prophesied. And, in reading about these Eucharistic miracles, it presents such a seamless case that God really has a hand in all this, down to the last details.

It's interesting to find that at Lanciano:
*The flesh is real flesh. The blood is real blood.
*The flesh consists of the muscular tissue of the heart (myocardium)
*The flesh and blood belong to the human species.
*The flesh and blood have the same blood type (AB).
*In the blood, there were found proteins in the same normal proportions as are found in the sero-proteic make up of fresh, normal blood.
*In the blood, there were also found these minerals: Chlorides, phosphorous, magnesium, potassium, sodium and calcium. The preservation of the flesh and of the blood, which were left in their natural state for twelve centuries (without any chemical preservatives) and exposed to the action of atmospheric and biological agents, remains an extraordinary phenomenon.

The findings even over lap with the Shroud of Turin, with analysis on the Shroud showing the blood type to be AB.
Physician Tells of Eucharistic Miracle of Lanciano

Edoardo Linoli Verified Authenticity of the Phenomenon

ROME, MAY 5, 2005 (Zenit.org).- Dr. Edoardo Linoli says he held real cardiac tissue in his hands, when some years ago he analyzed the relics of the Eucharistic miracle of Lanciano, Italy.

The phenomenon dates back to the eighth century. A Basilian monk, who had doubts about the real presence of Christ in the sacred species, was offering Mass, in a church dedicated to St. Legontian in the town of Lanciano.

When he pronounced the words of the consecration, the host was miraculously changed into physical flesh and the wine into physical blood.

Later the blood coagulated and the flesh remained the same. These relics were kept in the cathedral.

Linoli, a professor of anatomy and pathological histology, and of chemistry and clinical microscopy, and former head of the Laboratory of Pathological Anatomy at the Hospital of Arezzo, is the only doctor who has analyzed the relics of the miracle of Lanciano. His findings have stirred interest in the scientific world.

At the initiative of Archbishop Pacifico Perantoni of Lanciano, and of the provincial minister of the Franciscan Conventuals of Abruzzo, and with authorization from Rome, in November 1970 the Franciscans of Lanciano decided to have the relics examined scientifically.

Linoli was entrusted with the study. He was assisted by Dr. Ruggero Bertelli, retired professor of human anatomy at the University of Siena.

Linoli extracted parts of the relics with great care and then analyzed the remains of "miraculous flesh and blood." He presented his findings on March 4, 1971.

His study confirmed that the flesh and blood were of human origin. The flesh was unequivocally cardiac tissue, and the blood was of type AB.

Consulted by ZENIT, Linoli explained that "as regards the flesh, I had in my hand the endocardium. Therefore, there is no doubt at all that it is cardiac tissue."

In regard to the blood, the scientist emphasized that "the blood group is the same as that of the man of the holy Shroud of Turin, and it is particular because it has the characteristics of a man who was born and lived in the Middle East regions."

"The AB blood group of the inhabitants of the area in fact has a percentage that extends from 0.5% to 1%, while in Palestine and the regions of the Middle East it is 14-15%," Linoli said.

Linoli's analysis revealed no traces of preservatives in the elements, meaning that the blood could not have been extracted from a corpse, because it would have been rapidly altered.

Linoli's report was published in "Quaderni Sclavo di Diagnostica Clinica e di Laboratori" in 1971.

In 1973, the Higher Council of the World Health Organization (WHO) appointed a scientific commission to verify the Italian doctor's conclusions. The work was carried out over 15 months with a total of 500 examinations. The conclusions of all the researches confirmed what had been stated and published in Italy.

The extract of the scientific research of WHO's medical commission was published in New York and Geneva in 1976, confirming science's inability to explain the phenomenon.

Today, Linoli participated in a congress on Eucharistic miracles organized by the Science and Faith master's program of Rome's Regina Apostolorum Pontifical University, in cooperation with the St. Clement I Pope and Martyr Institute, on the occasion of the Year of the Eucharist under way.

"Eucharistic miracles are extraordinary phenomena of a different type," Legionary Father Rafael Pascual, director of the congress, told Vatican Radio. "For example, there is the transformation of the species of bread and wine into flesh and blood, the miraculous preservation of consecrated Hosts, and some Hosts that shed blood."

"In Italy, these miracles have occurred in several places," he said, "but we also find them in France, Germany, the Netherlands, Spain " and some in North America.

Another good article can be found here.

14 January 2009

Not my pay grade

Sorry I haven't been blogging in ages. Still have a cold. Just when I thought it was on its last legs, I got congested again last night. I'm still much better than I had been, so don't call a priest just yet.

I also got a new computer and have been battling with the thing since the moment it came in the house. It's not the computer, it's me. I'm quickly becoming a card-carrying Luddite and technology is getting the better of me. Windows Vista is a nightmare...I liked being able to control the operating system, do commands in DOS, make the computer do what I wanted it to do. Now the thing is smarter than I am and does as it pleases. I'm scrambling to figure out how it works and just get myself back to Square One.

Which brings me to my point. I still don't have my camera software installed. Heck, I just got the printer hooked up yesterday, but can't hook-up my very cool, but very old scanner because it doesn't have a USB port. Because I don't have the camera hooked up, I can't show you a picture of the gift my neighbor gave us.

My neighbor is wonderful. He's got to be in his 70s, but gets out and walks MILES every day. If the snow falls, don't worry, Bob will be out there to shovel -- shovel us out before he even shovels himself out. This winter my husband has tried to get out there before Bob, just to be neighborly too, but Bob is hard to top, he's relentless in doing kind things. During the summer, he cuts our grass. Cuts it all summer long. Here's an older gentleman out cutting our grass, the grass of two able-bodied folks. I've even told him we could cut our own grass a few times, but he insists we are too busy with my hubby working and me taking care of the kids. No use in arguing with him, because he insists on helping out.

He seems to take pleasure in doing these things, and many others, for us and we are very grateful. It's like having an angel living next door. At Christmas, we always remember Bob with a small gift, just a small way of thanking him for all he does. One year, knowing he likes to make home-made wine, we got him a large wine rack to store his bottles in (he's always telling us to come over and get a bottle of wine...but I'm not a big fan of wine so usually serve the stuff at the cabin).

Bob loved the wine rack. He raved about it for a very long time. Being active and handy, he reverse-engineered the thing and began building wine racks for friends. Not just a rack, but an entire cabinet that looks like a piece of furniture. When his friends would visit, he would introduce us to them, telling them we were the ones who bought him the wine rack and got him started on his latest hobby of wine cabinet building. Late at night and early in the morning, Bob is in the shop in his garage building his friends wine cabinets.

This year, we were shocked that he had built one for us. It is quite a labor of love.

If I had to point to a person who lives his faith, it would be Bob. If he's in his yard, he always greets you. He is always looking out for our family, always offering his time and resources, always offering to help at any task, always in a happy mood.

But Bob doesn't attend church. Not any church. I know he was raised a Catholic. With his very Irish last name, it would be remarkable to not be Catholic. Unfortunately, his childhood was not happy. Without giving us the details, he told us his mother had turned him off to religion and also turned him off to marriage. To this day, the man is single and doesn't attend church.

Still, Bob's heart is very kind. He opened his house to a friend's daughter who was attending the University of St. Thomas. It isn't too far to the campus from here and he allowed her to live rent free. She is from a very devout Catholic family and has been a good influence on Bob, hanging scapulars around his house and dotting it with other sacramentals.

I wish Bob attended church. I wish he had some formal religion in his life and am glad God gets to be the one to judge, not me. I pray for God's mercy for Bob, but then am left wondering if he's the one who has merited Heaven by his fidelity to God's Word and I'll be the one spit out because of my tepid faith.

02 January 2009

First haircut

Took my daughter to get her first haircut the other day. She's a little over three years old and I haven't cut her hair at all. It was easier with my son because I cut his hair from early on and got control of it, but with my daughter, her hair was all different lengths from the time of her birth and it was more than I wanted to attempt. Especially considering she's pretty touchy about anyone messing with her hair, even to comb it and get a barrett in it. So, off to Kid's Hair we went.


She was excited to go to the hair cut shop (because we got my son a cut before Christmas so she thought she would be able to sit around and play while her brother got chopped.) When she realized she was the one to get a haircut, she protested quite loudly.


But, once she got in the seat, she was a champ. Getting to watch Elmo while getting her hair cut helped, and the sucker and sticker she received at the end seemed to smooth things over nicely.

At home playing with bubble wrap after her ordeal

Sorry, not able to really blog since I've been struggling with a nasty head cold since Christmas Eve. The haircut was the extent of our exciting week having hubby home...he's also sick. And a great time was had by all.