Thursday, January 31, 2008

What is your word for 2008?

Great idea.

Less is more

Some fascinating thoughts on how pornography reveals too little.

A roundup of Lenten plans

Some great stuff.

God and objective good

This is one of the best blog posts I've read in a while. Here's an excerpt:

If I created a universe, I would create one that was "very Jason." The things that I liked would be the things that were considered "good," and the beings that I created in my image would rejoice in those things like I do. And it would be that way not because I thought about it, but because it was a reflection of my nature as the creator. In my universe, 1 Corinthians 13 would say, "And now these three remain: peanut M&M's, Stevie Ray Vaughn, and Star Wars. But the greatest of these is Star Wars." Come to think of it, this universe is probably better than mine would be. But the point remains: The stuff that we see as good is the stuff God likes; the reason we see it as good is because He likes it. This universe is indicative of His preferences; it's "very God." It all boils down to this, my one-liner Philosophy of Goodness:

When we say "God is good," we're not describing what God is, we're describing what good is -- good is God.

Go read the whole thing.

Wednesday, January 30, 2008

Contraception and intimacy

Another honest, though-provoking post from TwoSquareMeals as she continues to ponder this topic.

Meals on a budget

I am better at posting links to posts like this than I am at actually creating meals on a budget.

Ruins of 7,000-year-old city found in Egypt

How cool would it have been to be on this archaeological dig?

via Kevin Adams

The beauty of a day structured around prayer

After reading about my reckless experiment with prayer, Veronica on the Verge reports of her own experience of praying the Liturgy of the Hours:

My anchors are now the prayers that are implanted throughout my day. I am no longer running in scattered circles, from cleaning up breakfast to starting laundry to dressing the kiddos to dressing myself and back to breakfast, and the reckless-mom-cycle continued all day long until I collapsed on the couch utterly disgusted with myself because nothing got done, and I was exhausted.

Now, my days are broken into "before prayer" and "after prayer." I, too, light candles at the start of evening and stop my work (except nighttime routine) and the children love the lit candles. It brings a sort of calmness upon our home and a completion to the day.

That is a perfect encapsulation of my experience as well. I am thrilled to hear that it works for others as well!

On soft-pedaling Christianity

An honest, thought-provoking post from Veronica Mitchell. I'm not familiar with the particular issue she discusses in this post, but the point she makes here applies to all evangelization efforts:

I understand wanting to tell new converts that they don’t need to give up one identity for another. It sounds so compassionate.

But the truth is more stark than that. Choices are not quite so rosy. When you are raised in one religion, choosing to convert to another involves all kinds of loss: a loss of culture, of friendships, of dozens of family traditions. Christian converts make that choice not because they convince themselves that they aren’t really losing anything; they make that choice because they believe Jesus is worth the loss.

Either Jesus is worth the loss or he isn’t. Soft-pedaling that choice does not make it go away.

This really resonates with me. When I was an atheist at a very religious university, people would sometimes try to evangelize by telling me that I wouldn't have to change anything, that being a Christian was all fun and games, so to speak. Not only was that message inaccurate, but it was not compelling.

Tuesday, January 29, 2008

The reality of divorce

A gripping post by a Catholic mom:

When someone asks you if you're married, single, or divorced, simply answering "I’m divorced" does not quite express the drowning feeling that comes with realizing one person cannot hold down a full-time job, keep the house decent, keep food in the fridge, keep close watch on the children’s schoolwork, friends, spiritual upbringing, encourage them to grow in faith and virtue, keep the lawn tended, manage maintenance and improvements on the house, take care of the pets, make sure the children practice their instruments and do their homework, take them to basketball practice or the occasional gymnastics program, make sure the laundry gets done, pay the bills on time, manage the endless stacks of papers that seem to accumulate all over the house, take the children to the dentist, the doctor, arrange for childcare when school is not in session, and so on endlessly...

My husband was raised by a single mother, so this post was particularly touching to me.

via Jennifer Roback Morse

Bedtime Pachelbel

This is my life!

another one via Wittingshire

Amazing fruit and veggie art

I've seen stuff like this before, but these are really good.

via Wittingshire

Would you have made it out of Pompeii?

An interesting quiz.

via Wittingshire

Is having children a right...or a blessing?

A great post from Stephanie.

Monday, January 28, 2008

Planned Parenthood's latest commercial

It's too bad I found this after I wrote my post from today on my other blog. I could have used it as Exhibit A.

via Mary's Aggies

Photo of the Day: Ice on the roof

I think I'll occasionally start posting some pictures I take from around the house. Here's one I took last January when an ice storm blew through:

Anonymous vs. Scientology

If I had a News of the weird category, this would be in it.

via Mary's Aggies

Proud to be a single-issue voter

A great post by Red Cardigan. Here's an excerpt:

[I am] proud to be a single-issue voter. I am as proud to be so as the abolitionists were proud to vote motived by their strong beliefs in the immorality and injustice of slavery; I consider those brave men and women to be, in a manner of speaking, the spiritual ancestors of all who, like me, find no more space in which to tolerate the legalized killing of the unborn than the abolitionists could find in which to tolerate the bloody chains of slavery.

Read the whole thing.

via Driving Out the Snakes

The meaning of work

Melanie has some great excerpts from a fascinating post by Aimee Milburn about women, work, and finding fulfillment.

The angry young guy

A touching post from Wheelie Catholic.

via Courageous Grace (who just had her baby this weekend!)

Friday, January 25, 2008

Pray the Rosary online

An excellent resource for praying the Rosary: look towards the bottom right of the page where it says "The Holy Rosary," choose the current day of the week, and it walks you through praying the Rosary for that day (including checkboxes to keep track of the Hail Mary's). Great resource for Catholics at work.

"Shallow puddles of self"

Interesting thoughts on weddings, funerals and traditions.

via Pseudo-Polymath

What is the most impressive part of this woman's life?

A thought-provoking post from Genevieve.

"What I've learned about homemaking"

Hallie, whose background is very similar to mine, shares some of the tips and tricks she's learned about running a household. I thought this was a great list.

Fascinating: pictures of how much food families around the world eat in one week

This is fascinating. Pictures really do speak 1,000 words.

via Chez Ouiz

Thursday, January 24, 2008

Amy Welborn on St. Francis de Sales

A great read for today, the great saint's memorial. Also, here's a post with a summary of some of the ways in which the work of St. Francis de Sales has impacted my life (scroll down for the parts about his books).

How sewing machines work: an animated gif

This was really helpful to me. I actually had no idea how sewing machines worked.

via Geekpress

Foods help the parts of the body that they resemble?

Somebody just sent me an email about the "Doctrine of Signatures". According to Wikipedia, it is:

[A]n ancient European philosophy that held that plants bearing parts that resembled human body parts, animals, or other objects, had useful relevancy to those parts, animals or objects. [...]

Christian European metaphysics expanded this philosophy in theology. According to the Christian version, the Creator had so set his mark upon Creation, that by careful observation one could find all right doctrine represented...and even learn the uses of a plant from some aspect of its form or place of growing.

Here's an interesting page with some examples. Disclaimer: I have no idea if there's any validity to this, I mainly thought it was interesting because I'd never noticed how much certain foods do resemble the body parts of mammals.

"Tom Cruise" is Spanish for "Heath Ledger"

So says Google Translate (type in "Heath Ledger" and hit Translate). Defamer reports:

If you've been trying to communicate to your friends in the Latino community that Heath Ledger has tragically died telling them, "Heath Ledger esta muerto" but have been confounded and angered by their replies of "Me gusto Cocktail pero el video es loco, cabron!" we might have figured out why. Apparently, at least according to the geniuses at Google Translate, the Spanish for Heath Ledger is Tom Cruise. Interestingly, the Spanish for Tom Cruise is Tom Cruise.


Tuesday, January 22, 2008

Iconoclastic shock

Wow. A very intense post from John C. Wright on the topic of Philip Pullman, The Golden Compass, and atheism in general. Once again, he perfectly captures my experience of atheism. Here's an excerpt:

That central image of God being stabbed and vanishing into dust is a paramount one to the emotional nature of atheists. The atheist (I speak from personal experience) feels like someone fighting a ghost. An atheist utters a simple and logical argument to show why no one should believe in God, and yet, for some reason, the belief in God persists. No matter how often you clobber the ghost, not matter how frail and insubstantial it seems, the damned thing just won't die.

It does not make sense. Reasonable people cannot believe such nonsense, yet, for some reason, everyone does, everyone you admire, all the great figures of history, all your ancestors. The stress of facing the impossible warps the mind: something has to give.

Read the rest. The comments are also interesting.

For every woman who hates clothes shopping

I present to you: the funniest post about shopping for clothes I have ever read. An excerpt:

I take a deep breath and step away from the maternity section (after noting bitterly that now, now, of course, they're selling pretty maternity clothes. As soon as I get pregnant, though, they'll take them all away and start showing clown outfits again).

The mistakes began right away.

First, I try to repair thirty-three years of dressing timidly . . . with a single purchase. I begin to hunt for something completely opposite from my usual taste, because, after all, this one needs to count! If I'm going to take the radical step of actually picking something out, instead of just mysteriously finding it in my closet, it might as well be interesting, right?

If you have ever had a bad clothes-buying trip, read the rest.

Monday, January 21, 2008

Some honest thoughts on contraception

TwoSquareMeals has a humble, honest post about her struggle with the issue of contraception. I enjoyed reading the post and have been enjoying following the comments. Her example of humility and prayerful concern about the issue is inspiring.

Thoughts on eating food that's cheap but also healthy

Lots of good thoughts and tips in this post.

via Two Square Meals

Cool numbers game

Wow, this is neat. I love little math tricks like this.

Sunday, January 20, 2008

Amazing mural

Click on the individual squares to see the details of that painting.

First Temple seal found in Jerusalem

Amazing discovery: "A stone seal bearing the name of one of the families who acted as servants in the First Temple and then returned to Jerusalem after being exiled to Babylonia has been uncovered in an archeological excavation in Jerusalem's City of David."

Election night lowlights

Some amusing clips of media slip-ups and general weirdness.

Are liberals more tolerant?

Some interesting thoughts in the Wall Street Journal.

Saturday, January 19, 2008

Dr. Phil licensed to "tell it like it is"...

...but not to practice psychology. He doesn't have a license in Texas, his home state, because of disciplinary sanctions. He also doesn't have a license in California, where he lives.

Christopher Hitchens on Hillary Clinton

I find myself agreeing with Hitchens a surprising amount. I enjoyed reading his case against Hillary Clinton. Here's one highlight:

On a first-lady goodwill tour of Asia...Mrs. Clinton had been in Nepal and been briefly introduced to the late Sir Edmund Hillary, conqueror of Mount Everest. Ever ready to milk the moment, she announced that her mother had actually named her for this famous and intrepid explorer. The claim "worked" well enough to be repeated at other stops and even showed up in Bill Clinton's memoirs almost a decade later, as one more instance of the gutsy tradition that undergirds the junior senator from New York.

Sen. Clinton was born in 1947, and Sir Edmund Hillary and his partner Tenzing Norgay did not ascend Mount Everest until 1953.

Read the rest here.

via Snarky Bastards

Leprosy of the Soul

Some good thoughts to ponder:

As we look back at how [leopars in biblical times] were treated, on what a sad and horrible life these people must have lived, we can't help but be moved with pity. [...]

It's tough to find a better real life analogy of sin than leprosy. Like people with leprosy of the body, poeple can also have leprosy of the soul. Sin so often begins slowly, but steadily grows. It causes our soul to become numb and decay one piece at a time. If left untreated, it brings about a slow death.

But I wonder what we'd see if when we looked at a person we saw their soul instead of their body. Since we all have sinned, we would see a world full of lepers of varying degrees.

Read the rest here.

I have a dream

Leigh writes of MLK's famous address: "Every single American should hear his speech, in its entirety, at least once. The beauty, the art, and the POWER of words." Listen to it here.

Friday, January 18, 2008

On suffering and loneliness

Some beautiful thoughts from Veronica's brother, who is stationed in Afghanistan.

Christians and self-pity

An oldie but goodie from Darwin:

I think one of the most offensive things about Christianity for those who have chosen to hate it is that there's really no room for self pity in the Christian framework. [...]

Christ denies us that self-indulgence, by having drunk deeper from the cup of human suffering than any of us. We cannot cry to the Christian God that He knows not how we suffer. He does, and more, and he was there first.

Read the rest.

A much-needed reminder

Coralie writes with amazing humility about how she realized that she assumed uncharitable things about others...even though she knew what it was like to be on the receiving end of such assumptions. How many times have I done the same thing? Thanks to Coralie for this wake-up call.

Marriage and mind/body dualism

Some interesting thoughts:

Everyone agrees that marriage, whatever else it is or does, is a relationship in which persons are united. But what are persons? And how is it possible for two or more of them to unite? According to the view implicit in sexual-liberationist ideology, the person is understood as the conscious and desiring aspect of the self. The person, thus understood, inhabits a body, but the body is regarded (if often only implicitly) as a subpersonal part of the human being. [...]

The alternate view of what persons are is the one embodied in both our historic law of marriage and what Isaiah Berlin once referred to as the central tradition of Western thought....[that] a human person is a dynamic unity of body, mind, and spirit. The body, far from being a mere instrument of the person, is intrinsically part of the personal reality of the human being.

Read the rest here.

via A Shepherd's Voice

A reminder to dream big

Fr. John Malloy reminds us to set our hopes high with a list of statements that remind us that humans frequently do what was once thought impossible.

"Who in their right mind would ever need more than 640k of ram!?"
-- Bill Gates, 1981

"Computers in the future may weigh no more than 1.5 tons."
-- Popular Mechanics, forecasting the relentless march of science, 1949

"I think there is a world market for maybe five computers."
-- Thomas Watson, chairman of IBM, 1943

"I have traveled the length and breadth of this country and talked with the best people, and I can assure you that data processing is a fad that won't last out the year."
-- The editor in charge of business books for Prentice Hall, 1957

See the rest here.

Thursday, January 17, 2008

On envying others

I enjoyed following this discussion over at Like Merchant Ships.

If you're going to stir up "freedom of religion" trouble in prison, go all the way

Love it:

An inmate is suing the Utah Department of Corrections for denying him his right to practice an ancient Nordic religion while behind bars. [...]

In the lawsuit, Polk says he has been a member of the Asatru faith since 2005, and in order to properly practice it he needs items including: a Thor's Hammer, a prayer cloth, a Mead Horn used for drinking Wassail, a drum made of wood and boar skin, a rune staff and a sword.

We call this a free country and our prisoners can't even have Mead Horns and rune staffs?!


via Simcha

Putting away the measuring stick

Some great advice.

via Hallie

Wednesday, January 16, 2008

Why we underestimate saving

From the Wall Street Journal:

In a recent study, marketing professors Eric Eisenstein and Stephen Hoch found that most folks underestimated how much savings would grow and how much debt would end up costing.

The problem: People think in terms of simple interest, not compound interest. For instance, if our investments clock 8% a year for 10 years, we don't earn 80%, as many people assume.

Rather, we would notch a cumulative 116%. Remember, we earn returns not only on our original investment, but also on the investment gains earned in earlier years. Similarly, with credit-card debt, we pay interest both on our original purchases and on any monthly interest charges we didn't pay off in full.

Why do bishops place a cross before their names?

A cool bit of trivia.

Americans having more babies

An interesting article. Note what the "experts" believe to be the causes of this baby boom:

Experts believe there is a mix of reasons: a decline in contraceptive use, a drop in access to abortion, poor education and poverty.

Monday, January 14, 2008

Sunday, January 13, 2008

Thursday, January 10, 2008

You can now buy wigs for your cat

Seriously. I'm going to just pretend I didn't read that and go on about my day.

Wednesday, January 9, 2008

Happiness and motherhood

I found this post about happiness and vocations to be thought-provoking, especially this line:

I truly believe that we have to work within the limits of our vocation to truly be happy. Otherwise there is no end to what we will attempt.

I think that that is a very interesting observation, and one that I hadn't considered. Read the rest here.

"Contraception has become a synonym for civilization"

Some great points about how our society views large families from Rabbi Shmuley Boteach.

via Hallie

Artificial light casts shadow over our health

I already mention this interesting article over on my other site but thought I'd post it here for those who missed it.

The Fish 'N Flush

A working toilet with fish in it. I have officially seen it all.

via The Wall Street Journal

Tuesday, January 8, 2008

Artificial Light at Night Stimulates Breast Cancer Growth in Laboratory Mice

This is surprising, sort of:

Results from a new study in laboratory mice show that nighttime exposure to artificial light stimulated the growth of human breast tumors by suppressing the levels of a key hormone called melatonin. The study also showed that extended periods of nighttime darkness greatly slowed the growth of these tumors.

Read the rest here.

"New ideas are simply old mistakes"

Some great thoughts from Chesterton.

Some thought on atheism

An interesting article by a former atheist.

Getting started praying the Liturgy of the Hours

Red Neck Woman has a great little guide.

Monday, January 7, 2008

You don't want to break into this guy's house!

That's some fast shootin'!

Unhurriedness Is One of God’s Characteristics

I'm probably going to reference this great post by a Secular Franciscan in a future post on my other blog, but wanted to link to it now because it makes such a good point. I keep thinking of that phrase as I go through my day: "Unhurriedness is one of God's characteristics."

Helpful hints

This list of household tips was emailed to me. A lot of them look good (though, as with much information that comes through chain emails, I'm not positive that all of it is true).

Friday, January 4, 2008

Construction in Dubai


"Ten books that changed my life"

I thought this was a great list.

(I originally found this site via Like Merchant Ships, when Meredith linked to his decision not to accept most ads anymore. Based on the amount of traffic that site seems to get, that must have been a big financial sacrifice. Impressive.)

Making a difference

A sweet story about the impact that one bagger at a grocery store, a young many with Down Syndrome named Johnny, had on an entire community.

via Mommy Life

How much do you know about Roe v. Wade?

This is a fascinating quiz about Roe v. Wade and Doe v. Bolton. Very enlightening. My favorite part is that at the very end it shows you which ones you got wrong, and cites the Supreme Court decision when showing what the correct answer is.

via Mommy Life

The only known audio recordings of G.K. Chesterton

via A Catholic Mom in Hawaii