Saturday, March 29, 2008

The big companies behind organic brands

An interesting look at which companies own organic brands.

via Monastic Musings

The power of a "thank you"

A great story about the power that an unexpected thank-you note can have.

What does it mean to be humble?

When I first started exploring Christianity I kept hearing about the importance of humility, yet I didn't know what that meant -- I thought it meant to have low self-esteem or something along those lines. I wish I'd read this back then, because it's a great summary. An excerpt:

Humility is not the trait of thinking of self as being of less worth. Humility is not thinking of self at all, whether good or bad. Humility is thinking of others and seeking their advancement...Stop considering your humility and use your energies and confidence to help others.

Read the rest here.

"Prayer Has Nothing to Do With the Animal Part of Us"

Some great thoughts on prayer and emotion.

"Someone is wrong on the internet!"

I've been laughing about this ever since I saw it over at With a Grain of Salt:

Catholics and evolution

They didn't name the blog DarwinCatholic for nothin'. One good excerpt:

My own approach tends to be that one doesn't really need a Catholic book on evolution, so long as one had a proper Catholic understanding of the place of the physical sciences in the overall hierarchy of knowledge. If one has a clear idea of what science can and can't do, evolution as a theory doesn't present any particular worry from a Catholic point of view.

The whole thing is worth reading.

Friday, March 28, 2008

High Tech Cowboys of the Deep Seas

How do you go about trying to save a massive cargo ship from sinking? Find out here.

via The Doctor is In

Thursday, March 27, 2008

"If you cannot transform your suffering, you will transmit it."

A thought-provoking post about joy and suffering (don't miss the acronym for JOY at the bottom -- I thought that was great).

The joy of boredom

I loved this Boston Globe article about the benefits of boredom:

A decade ago, those monotonous minutes were just a fact of life...Boredom's doldrums were unavoidable, yet also a primordial soup for some of life's most quintessentially human moments. Jostled by a stranger's cart in the express checkout line, thoughts of a loved one might come to mind. A long drive home after a frustrating day could force ruminations. A pang of homesickness at the start of a plane ride might put a journey in perspective.

Increasingly, these empty moments are being saturated with productivity, communication, and the digital distractions offered by an ever-expanding array of slick mobile devices.

Read the rest here, and Ann Kroeker has some great excerpts and thoughts as well.

The Power of Christ's Blood

Melanie has a great excerpt from St. John Chrysostom from Good Friday.

2008 Cannonball Catholic Blog Awards

The Crescat offers an alternative to the Catholic Blog Awards, with categories like Best "More Catholic than the Pope" Blog and Best Blog by a Heretic. Hilarious.

via Domestic Vocation

Wednesday, March 26, 2008

Language and the Eucharist

Annafirtree has a fascinating post about two German words for "body" (one for which there is no equivalent in the English language), and the insight the two understandings of "body" can give us into the Eucharist:

I find this highly important, in the German language, the Eucharist is not called K├Ârper. It is called Leib. [...]

So what is Leib? What is this concept, which has not entered our language or thinking? If someone says that it is "more than just the muscles/cells/molecules of our body", that sounds to an American like it means "soul". Yet Germans have another word for soul: Seele. Leib is something physical, but not as we normally think of physical. It is more than what we usually think of as body, but it is not something on the spiritual plane.

Read the rest.

Tuesday, March 25, 2008

On having a personal relationship with Jesus

Fr. Dwight Longenecker has a great post about his Evangelical background and having a personal relationship with Jesus.

via Gift of Self

Sunday, March 23, 2008

Video: Litany of the Saints

I really enjoyed this. I've been playing it every now and then throughout the day as a little prayer pick-me-up.

Saturday, March 22, 2008

Blog of the Week: John C. Wright


I was just about to link to two more great posts from science fiction writer and convert John C. Wright, so I decided instead to just direct you to make is site a Blog of the Week. I've this before and I'll say it again: I don't think it's too much of a stretch to say that John C. Wright is a modern-day Chesterton. His musings about his conversion to Christianity (from atheism) are witty, insightful and fascinating. Here is a "best of" list of his posts from the past few months:

I highly recommend spending some time checking out John C. Wright's posts. Almost every time I read his site I read something that really gets me thinking.

UPDATE: Mr. Wright just announced that he will enter the Catholic Church this weekend. Please keep him in your prayers.

Wednesday, March 19, 2008

A sobering look at the way some people see children

A sad, disturbing ad for condoms (scroll down for the video, but don't miss Edith's comments).

Warning: puzzle blog linked to below

How cool is this: a blog that offers a daily puzzle that you can compete with others to solve. I can't look to closely right now because I am going to need to step away from my computer sometime within the next 12 hours.

An account of an exorcism from the New Oxford Review

A board-certified psychiatrist and associate professor of clinical psychiatry at New York Medical College writes of an exorcism he attended:

[The possessed woman] knew the personality and precise manner of death (i.e., the exact type of cancer) of a relative of a team member...She once spoke about the strange behavior of some inexplicably frenzied animals beyond her direct observation: Though residing in another city, she commented, 'So those cats really went berserk last night, didn't they?' the morning after two cats in a team member's house uncharacteristically had violently attacked each other at about 2 a.m.

I wonder if this member of the team who had the cats was just slightly freaked out.

via The Grapevine

An Easter meal to remember

I love Michelle's idea for a Jerusalem-centered Easter meal.

The healing power of spice

An interesting article about the positive impact that various spices can have on your health. (As a carb-o-holic, I'm going to try the cinnamon one.)


Google Sky

How did I not know about this?

Tuesday, March 18, 2008

"Why my blog is named Wheelie Catholic"

Ruth has a great post about being disabled and being Catholic:

Naming my blog Wheelie Catholic obviously shows that I'm willing to publicly witness as to my faith as well as a person with a disability. The name of my blog, even in the US, has been questioned by some. Some have told me they can't put it in their sidebar because it has the word 'Catholic' in it while others have told me unless I change the name of my blog I can't write for their blog as a group member. I remain Wheelie Catholic.

Read the rest here.

via Snoring Scholar

Monday, March 17, 2008

Saturday, March 15, 2008

Meditations on Mary from a (potential) convert's perspective

Cheryl, who is considering converting to Catholicism, has a fascinating five-part series with her reflections on Mary and her role in the Christian life. I recommend taking the time to read each of the five posts -- I know they've given me a lot to think about. Here's one excerpt:

It's a simple matter of, "Come, enter into your Master's joy". Each of us has our own unique relationship with and toward Christ. We are not clones of Mary or of anyone else. But very few of us have thus far come to Christ on our own. It was other Christians who brought us to Holy Baptism and/or knowledge of Christ. We've received the Faith, because someone else fought to preserve it and hand it down etc. The relationship we each have with Christ although unique has been formed with the cooperation of others. We learn about Christ, who He is, and we grow in greater intimacy with Him in part because of the relationship others have to Him. If Mary's relationship is the grandest of all, then look at the grace of going to Christ through Mary? [...]

By going to Christ through Mary, we are saying, "I will not attempt to reach Christ via the way I think is best, but I will go the way I am told. My life, my personhood, my affections and my will are completely at the disposal of Christ through Mary. It is those who already have a relationship who know the best way for me to enter into a similar relationship. What do I know of what I have yet to experience?"

There are a lot more thoughts on everything from the Doctrine of the Immaculate Conception to the Marian apparitions, all of which I found interesting.

Practical Tools to Help Stop Complaining in its Tracks

Heather, who wrote a popular post about the danger of complaining a while back, has a great follow-up post in which she put together some practical tips (complete with visuals!) to stop complaining.

The world's 50 most powerful blogs

An interesting list.

via Happy Catholic

Thursday, March 13, 2008

A post-Communion meditation

Karen Edmisten has a great post about receiving Holy Communion. I love these types of stories, about seeing the beauty in ordinary life.

Wednesday, March 12, 2008

The power of music

Some great thoughts on the power of music to transform the soul. Love this quote from Pope Benedict:
[Music] has the power to lead us the Creator of all harmony, creating a resonance within us which is like being in tune with the beauty and truth of God, with the reality which no human knowledge or philosophy can ever express.

A mother's devotion to Mary

A touching story of how a mom and Catholic convert "discovered" Mary after seeing a picture of Our Lady of Perpetual Help:

In so many ways, we are all living Mary's life. It seems to me that if every wife and mother is like Mary, then we are entitled to the same grace and peace of God that Mary called upon. Guided by that grace, we can try to love our children the way Mary loved hers, put aside our ideas of what our life should be and trust God to direct our life according to his will.

Read the rest here.

Monday, March 10, 2008

The earth and moon, as seen from Mars

A neat picture.

Realizing it's personal

An excellent post from Simcha:

But Christ is not talking to a crowd. He is talking to me. He didn't invite the whole Church as his abstract, collective bride -- he asked me to come and meet Him.

I'm still a little bit stunned at this new-old idea, and I haven't figured out what it means yet. So far, I've discovered that when I sin, it's not just "what we humans do" -- it's personal. There's another side to that terrifying discovery, though: if it's personal on my end, then that must mean that if I were the only person in the world, He would still have become a man and died for me. [emphasis mine]

Read the whole thing.

Some little girls who can really sing!

A video of the National Anthem from a recent Texas Tech basketball game.

On children and extracurricular activities

Michelle of Scribbit has an excellent post about the trend of having each child in multiple extracurricular activities. She advocates for limiting each child to one extracurricular activity at a time. An excerpt:

It is more important to teach a child that there are many things that they might like to do but that are impractical, that no one has time to do everything, that the world can't accommodate every desire of their heart and that they'll grow up well-rounded and happy nonetheless.

Perhaps this is more difficult to teach a mother than it is to teach a child. Mother Guilt is a powerful force and I too have felt pangs of worry that I'm somehow placing my children at a disadvantage if they're not given the opportunity to explore all life has to offer. But in reality a child learns more about getting along with others, accomplishing something that is difficult or unpleasant, working hard and teamwork from meaningful family activities than they ever would from a soccer team.

I highly recommend reading the whole thing.

Sunday, March 9, 2008

Thursday, March 6, 2008

Interesting facts about this Easter

"The next time it will be a day earlier, March 22, will be in the year 2285...The last time it was on March 22 was 1818." Read that and other interesting tidbits here.

How well do you know landmarks?

Kind of a fun quiz to try to identify various landmarks from aerial photos.

Chesterton on wine

As a Catholic wine lover, I enjoyed reading this post.

Time capsule of your photos

What a neat idea: sign up for this free service and they'll send you a weekly email with your photos from one year ago. Very cool.

via Suburban Bliss

Pope Benedict on conversion

"To be converted" is not to seek after one's own success, not to seek after one's own prestige, one's position. "To be converted" means to stop constructing a personal image, not to work at constructing a monument to oneself, which could often end up becoming a false god. "To be converted" means accepting the suffering of truth. Conversion demands that truth, faith, love become not in a general way, but day by day, in the little things, more important than our physical life or than comfort, success, prestige, and tranquility in our lives. In fact, success, prestige, tranquility and ease are those false gods which largely impede truth and true progress in private and in public life. By accepting this priority of truth we follow the Lord, we take up our cross and share in cultivating love, which is to Cultivate the Cross.

--Pope Benedict XVI, Journey to Easter

via Catholic Mom

Wednesday, March 5, 2008

Fasting from complaining

Heather has a fascinating, inspiring post about deciding to stop complaining for two weeks:

For me, by the time I was in college all that complaining led to depression, loneliness, and misery...For a time I was so depressed and anxious about all my fears and complaints that I was put on anti-depressants and sent to a psychiatrist. That didn't help because he let me complain away. [...]

[Fasting from complaining for two weeks] was especially hard since I also had to stop complaining in my journal and in my thoughts. Cleansing your thought life is tricky. However, if you can't say things out loud after a while you stop thinking them. I started looking for good stuff to say and think instead. I also learned to listen instead of trying to think what to say. (Complainers seldom listen because they are too busy thinking about themselves.) I found that not complaining changed other areas of my life...

Read the whole post, it's great.

Lent and conversion

Some wise words from Bishop Gregory Aymond:

Conversion is a life-long process. At the end of this Lent you and I should not expect that our personalities will be totally transformed by our prayer, fasting, almsgiving. What we would expect is that our lives will be changed in some way, as small as that may seem. I would hope that by the time Lent is over that I will have drawn closer to God, and with God's grace and strength worked on some dimension of my life that is more reflective of his love than it was on Ash Wednesday.

Read the rest here.

Tuesday, March 4, 2008

10 Catholic places to see before you die

A great list.

"If God loves me, why do I hurt so much?"

Heidi Hess Saxton writes a wonderful, honest post about her car accident, and her thoughts after experiencing a "faith healing":

I should have been thrilled, but I wasn't. That night I gave God a good talking to. Why had He seen fit to heal my leg in this unconventional fashion, when I was going to have the problem fixed in a few days anyway? Why would He bother with such a trifle when He had not healed my sister's cancer or my Aunt Rosemary’s ALS? Why would He use "faith healing" to fix my leg, when all over the world people were dying from injury and disease far worse than mine, without any medical assistance?

Read the rest here.

Early Irish Monasticism

A great post with beautiful pictures.

via Tea at Trianon

Some interesting info on the Shroud of Turin

I never knew much about the Shroud of Turin, so I found Christine's article interesting.

via Tea at Trianon

Through the perspective of time

The painting that Abigail features for her latest post in the Lenten Art + Prayer series is really captivating. It's the simple scene of a little girl asking if she can go out to play while her mother changes the bedsheets, which undoubtedly looks familiar to any housewife. Yet the fact that it's from the 17th century is a powerful reminder of how quickly it all goes by.

Sunday, March 2, 2008

A list of former atheists

Wikipedia has a list of former atheists. I also found it interesting to look through the list of converts to Christianity, and the list of converts to Catholicism.

Study shows that people perceive wine to taste better when they think it's expensive

I'm so glad I wasn't a part of this study:

The subjects consistently reported that the more expensive wines tasted better, even when they were actually identical to cheaper wines.

The experiment was even more unusual because it was conducted inside a scanner...that allowed the scientists to see how the subjects' brains responded to each wine. When subjects were told they were getting a more expensive wine, they observed more activity in a part of the brain known to be involved in our experience of pleasure.

I definitely would have been waxing eloquent about how much more complex and rich the supposedly "expensive" wine was, only to find out later that it was identical to the cheap wine.

Saturday, March 1, 2008

Losing a father

Veronica has a touching post after the unexpected death of her father-in-law.

Parenting and decor: a dilemma

I found this article in the New York Times amusing, especially since my husband and I bought all our furniture before we had kids, and are finding that it's not really very childproof (white couch, three kids ages three and under -- we should buy stock in Resolve). Anyway, I thought it was a fun read.

via Stepmomologue

Nobody thinks they're a monster

A post with some good food for thought:

So here’s my theory in a nutshell: when we act like victims, we look like monsters. When trying to fend off pain for ourselves or our loved ones, we often hurt other people. As long as we don’t see the people around us as fully human -- people whose feelings and needs are as important as our own -- we can’t see how much hurt we're inflicting or how scary we can be. These hurt people around us then feel like victims and there's a very strong temptation not to see us as fully human. This can start a cycle of violence. We end up with a bunch of people who see themselves as victims fighting the good fight against monsters. But when we're on the battlefield, we all think we're the victims and we all see monsters, clear as day, in front of us. No one thinks they're a monster.

Read the rest here.

"A letter to my body"

The Blogher gals are encouraging women to write letters to their bodies, with a focus on accepting your appearance despite the onslaught of pop culture messages about what women should look like. If you write one, add you link to the collection at the bottom of the page.

via Magpie Girl

America's most sinful cities

Forbes has a distributive map of America's cities and the highest rates of different sins.

via From Burke to Kirk