Sunday, December 27, 2009

(Re)discovering the Mass

A great post by a fallen-away Catholic who rediscovered the Mass by asking questions about how the first Christians worshiped:

As a happily free range Christian I became really interested in the Jewishness of Christianity and wanted to learn more. As a consequence of this, I held a couple of Seder meals.
During the preparations for the second one (only in 2008) I was thinking alot about how very 'liturgical' the Jewish year was...

Turning this over in my mind got me thinking about church. What exactly did they do, those first Jewish Christians when they got together to 'do church'?

The more I pondered it, and the more I observed the Jewish traditions, the more inconceivable it seemed to me that the first Christians simply gathered together for a rousing rendition of the first century equivalent of Shine Jesus Shine and then listened to an 'excellent talk'.

Read the rest here.

Monday, December 21, 2009

When consumption masquerades as communion

Some interesting thoughts from Cosmos - Liturgy - Sex about the connection of sacrifice and consumption, and how it's all redeemed in the Mass. An excerpt:

The Genesis imagery of the fall indicates that the instead of achieving communion through this act of total-self gift, [Adam and Eve] instead chose consumption. I would argue that whatever the act of rebellion might have actually been, the choice of the consumption imagery is significant. It suggests that consumption -- communion on man's terms rather than God’s terms -- is to be a perennial problem. In fact, consumption now often masquerades as communion. I believe that this is the anthropology behind what we know as "comfort foods" which are standard recourse for many of us, particularly when we have trouble with relationships of communion.

Read the rest here.

Thursday, December 17, 2009

The reason behind the joy

Another great post from Betty Duffy. An excerpt:

Where platitudes are concerned, I dislike them because Jesus is not just the reason we celebrate the season, he’s the reason for my entire life. I don't like the idea that I have to cue up warm fuzzy Advent and Christmas feelings simply because I've pressed the pause button on my crazy life. It so rarely works and then I feel disappointed.

Read the rest here.

Scientists spot nearby 'super-Earth'

Neat article. It reminded me of Mark Shea's thought-provoking article from a while back about whether the discovery of alien life would be a problem for the Christian faith.

Secrets from the bottom of the sea

Deep-sea mission in the Gulf of Oman reveals stunning new details behind mystery sinking of World War II Nazi submarine.

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

For America's Santas, It's Hard to Be Jolly With the Tales They're Hearing

An interesting but sad Wall Street Journal article about how this year kids are asking Santas for things like shoes, eyeglasses and a job for daddy.

Quote to ponder

"Why should we defend ourselves when we are misunderstood and misjudged? Let us leave that aside. Let us not say anything. It is so sweet to let others judge us in any way they like. O blessed silence, which gives so much peace to the soul!"

-St Therese of Lisieux

Wednesday, December 9, 2009

Winter as a time of reflection

Some great thoughts from the Political Housewyf:

As we work through Advent, the season is darkening in the Northern Hemisphere. We are approaching not only Christmas, but the darkest night of the year...Summer is lovely, but we can’t keep up that pace forever. Winter forces us to stop, to wait. In our modern world, we turn up the heat, put on extra clothes, and head out to work: winter, summer, rain, shine, whatever. For most of human history, however, winter meant staying at home, scraping by on what you had harvested over the summer, thinking about the year past, and planning for the year to come.

Read the rest here.

Friday, December 4, 2009

Taking a closer look at Dubai's economic crisis

An interesting article talking about how most people assumed that Dubai's meteoric rise to world prominence was funded by oil money; turns out, it was funded mostly by taking on debt.

"We are the needy"

A beautiful post.

Friday, November 27, 2009

Faith and answered prayers

A touching post from the husband of Anissa Mayhew, a popular blogger who recently suffered a serious stroke. An excerpt:

The thing about faith is it's not about what you want. It's a confidence that God won't give you any challenge you can't handle….you just don't know what that limit is. 'Nissa and I talked about this when Peyton [their daughter] was first diagnosed [with cancer]. For the first time, there was a very real possibility of a poor outcome for one of our kids.

There is, however, a certain calm that overtakes you when you take your hands off the wheel of life and let God do the driving.

Read the rest here.

Thanksgiving leftover recipe ideas

Yummy!

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

World's smallest mom about to have third baby

Despite the risks to her health from being only 2' 4" tall, Stacey Herald says of having kids:

We didn't plan to have more than two kids, we just think that they're a great gift to the world, and when I look at them I see Will and I feel so full of love, it's tough not to want more.

Read the rest here.

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

"He heard every word!"

An amazing story of a man who was thought to be in a coma but was conscious the whole time.

Saturday, November 21, 2009

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Sunday, November 15, 2009

Famous world sites done in Legos

Wow, cool!

What to do if you find that you don't enjoy playing with your children

Author Holly Pierlot offers some good advice to a mom who writes in to say that she feels guilty because she doesn't honestly enjoy spending lots of time playing games with her young children. (Scroll down to the comments below the part that says "Struggling with the 4th P." The 4th P refers to Pierlot's recommendation of prioritizing life according to the "5 P's: Prayer, Person, Partner, Parenthood, Providing.)

Thursday, November 12, 2009

Two interesting archeological stories

Archeologists may have found an ancient army that was rumored to have been lost in a sandstorm, and the discovery of a sixth-century church and its cemetery gives interesting insights into early Christian culture.

"Where I write"

Pictures of famous sci-fi authors in their creative spaces.

Where did the Japanese come from?

A fascinating article for historical anthropology buffs. An excerpt:

These facts seem to suggest that the Japanese reached Japan only recently from the Asian mainland...But if that were true, you might expect the Japanese language to show close affinities to some mainland language, just as English is obviously closely related to other Germanic languages...How can we resolve this contradiction between Japan's presumably ancient language and the evidence for recent origins?

During the Ice Ages, land bridges connected Japan's main islands to one another and to the mainland, allowing mammals -- including humans -- to arrive on foot. Archeologists have proposed four conflicting theories. Most popular in Japan is the view that the Japanese gradually evolved from ancient Ice Age people who occupied Japan long before 20,000 B.C. Also widespread in Japan is a theory that the Japanese descended from horse-riding Asian nomads who passed through Korea to conquer Japan in the fourth century, but who were themselves -- emphatically -- not Koreans. A theory favored by many Western archeologists and Koreans, and unpopular in some circles in Japan, is that the Japanese are descendants of immigrants from Korea who arrived with rice-paddy agriculture around 400 B.C.

Read the rest here.

via Darwin Catholic

Friday, November 6, 2009

Thursday, November 5, 2009

How to Stop a Cold in Just 12 Hours

Some good tips. I thought this part was interesting:

In one lab study from the Nebraska Medical Center in Omaha, researcher Stephen Rennard, M.D., discovered that his grandmother-in-law's chicken soup recipe might help relieve some of the inflammation behind cold symptoms. In the test tube, the soup inhibited movement of white blood cells called neutrophils by 75 percent; researchers suspect that in your upper respiratory tract, this curtailed movement could translate into a reduction in cold symptoms.

Read the rest here.

Spiritual housekeeping

I like Tienne's analogy of sins being like dirt and clutter in a house.

Feeling beautiful

A touching post by Stephanie Nielson, who is recovering from being badly burned in a plane crash.

Wednesday, November 4, 2009

Selfish Reasons to Have More Kids

Some amusing and interesting thoughts. An excerpt:

How Many Kids Will You Want When You’re 60?

A. Due to basic biology, human beings usually have all the kids they will ever have during a span of a few years. Also due to basic biology, those are also the years when kids are the most work.

B. My casual observation: People usually stop having children when they feel exhausted. Smart, right?

C. Not really. Your workload will fall as your kids grow up. Eventually, you’ll be bugging them to spend time with you.

D. If you look far enough into the future, every child you have is a chance to have some grandchildren. And people really love grandchildren – after all, as soon as they cease to be fun, you send them home.

E. None of these means that we should ignore the exhaustion we feel as young parents. But basic economics does tell us that when we make a decision that lasts a lifetime, we should balance our interests over the course of our lives – not do whatever feels best at the time.

F. In short, I’m not asking anyone to stop being selfish. I’m asking people to get better at being selfish.

Read the rest here.

Information is beautiful

A blog all about presenting information graphically. Cool.

Thursday, October 29, 2009

The Cologne Cathedral

Some interesting info:

Construction began in 1248, but by 1560, political changes had taken place, and funds dried up. So all construction stopped until 1842.

There was a massive wooden crane on top of the south tower, that had already sat there for 150 years, when construction stopped. So the crane remained there until 1842. This crane became the symbol of Cologne and it dominated its skyline for 400 years. The timescales are mind-boggling. Entire generations lived and died, for four centuries, looking up at an idle construction relic from, even for them, ancient times.

Read the rest (and see pictures) here.

Replacing "should" with "could"

A powerful little tip.

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Mature audience: Woman describes performing abortion while pregnant herself

A horrifying but illuminating read. (Warning: graphic descriptions of an abortion.)

Self-control and obedience: the important difference

This is one of the best posts I've read in a while, written by a Catholic mom struggling with fear in the midst of hyperemesis gravidarum.

You're hanging out with your kids...but are you really present?

Some good, challenging thoughts. An excerpt:

According to Ms. Brody, too many parents today are literally ignoring their infant and toddler-aged children, even though they may be walking or standing right beside them. How?

She reports seeing mothers and nannies all over her neighborhood tuning into their cell phones, Blackberrys and iPods. Though they might be technically spending "time" with their children, they're clearly distracted -- and missing out on a golden opportunity to nurture and invest in the young lives of those they love.

Read the rest here.

Pope holds up 12th century monk as model for Christians in a frenetic world

An inspiring message.

Monday, October 5, 2009

Thursday, October 1, 2009

Miniature earth

A fascinating video about what global demographic trends would look like if the earth only contained 100 people.

via Czech Chat

Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

Friday, September 4, 2009

"Where is the Body of Christ?"

An interesting point made by a missionary in Africa after a hard day of caring for starving children on the brink of death:

According to several differnt resources, there are an average of 147 million orphaned children in the world today (this statistic includes children who have lost only one parent as well), 11 million children starve to death each year or die from preventable, treatable illness. 8.5 million children work as child slaves, prostitutes, or in other horrific conditions (making things like that cute baby Gap dress Jane wore today...) 2.3 million children world wide are living with HIV.

That is 168.8 million needy children like Michael and Patricia. Seems like a big number, huh? It shouldn't, because there are 2.1 BILLION people on this earth who profess to be Christians. Jesus followers. Servants. Gospel live-ers. And id only 8 percent of those Christians would care for just ONE of these needy children, they would all be taken care of.

Read the rest here.

via Small Treasures

Friday, August 28, 2009

How to Avoid Auto-Repair Rip-Offs

Some good tips.

An online prayer garden

A nice little Flash website. The instructions from the email I received with it say:
First click on the gate door, then you can unlock the door with the key. When you enter the Garden, click on the little Lighting bug and follow instructions. Follow the bug, Open the book. When you get to the fountain click on each rock....(try to find the lighting bug to continue.) You need to click on the sticks on the riverbank and the scrolls on the table. Each page has something to click on but you will be able to figure it out.

Friday, August 14, 2009

Nerd merit badges

Amusing.

Her choice, her problem

Richard Smith has a thought-provoking article over at First Things. An excerpt:

Elective abortion changes everything. Abortion absolutely prevents the birth of a child. A woman’s choice for or against abortion breaks the causal link between conception and birth. It matters little what or who caused conception or whether the male insisted on having unprotected intercourse. It is she alone who finally decides whether the child comes into the world. She is the responsible one. For the first time in history, the father and the doctor and the health-insurance actuary can point a finger at her as the person who allowed an inconvenient human being to come into the world.

Read the rest here.

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

Amazing football video

Showing that Drew Brees is more accurate than a world-class archer:

The saints as MVP's

Katie Rose has a great post (with some great visuals) talking about the saints as the MVP's of Christianity.

Monday, August 10, 2009

No tweets allowed

Party etiquette is changing to include rules about what can and cannot be blogged and posted on Twitter.

Friday, August 7, 2009

The Omnivore’s Delusion

Some thoughts on the modern "agri-intellectual" movement from the perspective of a farmer. An excerpt:

Lynn Niemann was a neighbor of my family's, a farmer with a vision. He began raising turkeys on a field near his house around 1956. They were, I suppose, what we would now call "free range" turkeys. Turkeys raised in a natural manner, with no roof over their heads, just gamboling around in the pasture, as God surely intended. Free to eat grasshoppers, and grass, and scratch for grubs and worms. And also free to serve as prey for weasels, who kill turkeys by slitting their necks and practicing exsanguination. Weasels were a problem, but not as much a threat as one of our typically violent early summer thunderstorms. It seems that turkeys, at least young ones, are not smart enough to come in out of the rain, and will stand outside in a downpour, with beaks open and eyes skyward, until they drown.

Read the rest here.

10 funny doormats

Amusing.

Wednesday, July 29, 2009

Some thoughts on sin

Love this line from a thought-provoking post on sin:

I don't recall where I heard this, but I have long remembered it. It went like this: We need to stop thinking of sin as the equivalent of stealing paper clips from IBM, and start thinking of sin as the equivalent of slapping your grandmother.

Read the rest here.

Monday, July 27, 2009

Be here now

Some challenging thoughts about not being mentally "somewhere else" thanks to modern technology.

Tips for getting through tough days

Bethany Hudson has some great, practical tips for coping with tough days with young kids. I particularly liked this part:

I also try to make sure I always have one room of the house that is totally organized. Usually, it's my own bedroom, because, let's be honest, I have two young kids. Honestly, my house is normally rather put together, because organization calms me and mess distracts and frazzles me, and this is why I have to have one clean room. On Jonah days, if the living room is in shambles, dishes litter the kitchen counters, and Sophia is having a tantrum, I can put her safely in her room for a few moments, escape to my clean sanctuary and pray until I am in a fit state to serve my family again.

Read the rest here.

Tuesday, July 21, 2009

Monday, July 20, 2009

Margaret Sanger in her own words

Some quotes from Planned Parenthood founder Margaret Sanger.

Thoughts on a cultural trainwreck

Darwin has a great analysis of an Atlantic article in which the author suggests that marriage is a passe concept. For example:

I was utterly unsurprised when the one sex-starved woman mentioned her husband heading off into the den to watch his internet porn...In a world in which sex has been totally divorced from its biological meaning, why not retreat into the world of unreality? Why accept a real person with needs and moods and desires and a body which is the product of age, genetics and personal habits when carefully selected bodies can be seen doing anything one desires only a mouse click and a couple dollars away? This is the natural path down which one goes when one separates the mating urge from mating with one's mate.

Read the rest here.

Sunday, July 19, 2009

I'm No Super Mom

Danielle Bean, a mom of eight, remembers back to a tough day when her children were little:

"I can't do this," I heard myself mutter.

The words came out of my mouth before I even knew what I was saying, and the fact that I truly felt incapable startled me. Was I capable of being a good mom? Though I loved my children, I had to admit that, at the end of many days, I did feel disillusioned, depleted, and perplexed by my own weakness and unhappiness.

Now that it's been a decade since I pronounced myself a maternal failure, I like to think I have a little perspective on the matter.

Read the rest here.

Wednesday, July 15, 2009

Saturday, July 11, 2009

Thursday, July 2, 2009

"I am not the mother I wanted to be"

Mary Grace recounts the following exchange when she was out with her four boys"

"Four boys? I couldn't do that. No way. They would drive me nuts."...The woman then shook her head and delivered the jewel: "I couldn't have that many kids. There's no way. I just couldn't be the mother I want to be with that many of them."

Read her response and the rest of the post here.

via Making Home

A secular atheist talks about his discomfort with abortion

Interesting thoughts:

Recently, Sweden's National Board of Health and Welfare ruled that women are permitted to abort their children based on the sex of the fetus. In the United States, a woman can have an abortion for nearly any reason she chooses. In fact, a health exemption for the mother allows abortions to be performed virtually on demand.

If you oppose selective abortions, but not abortion overall, I wonder why? How is terminating the fetus because it's the wrong sex any worse than terminating the fetus for convenience's sake? The fate of the fetus does not change, only the reasoning for its extinction does.

Read the rest here.

via Making Home

Monday, June 29, 2009

Tuesday, June 23, 2009

Questions for a consecrated virgin?

I just discovered a new-to-me blog by a recently consecrated virgin. She's opened up a post for people to ask her questions about her vocation. Just thought I'd pass that along in case anyone has questions for her!

Saturday, June 20, 2009

10 Quirky Economic Indicators

Interesting! (Who knew that romance novel sales go up as the economy gets worse?)

via...I forget -- sorry!

Monday, June 15, 2009

Friday, June 12, 2009

Identical twins...then identical triplets!

Wow! Nice ending line: "It's not how they would have planned it, but it's how they believe it was meant to be."

Friday, May 29, 2009

One of the craziest stories I've seen in a while

You've got to read this. It'll make you wonder about any pictures you've ever put on the internet!

"I never imagined..."

An honest, touching post by a mom reflecting on her experiences as an adoptive parent.

Tuesday, May 26, 2009

21 accents

I must note that the Texas accent could use a little work, but other than that it's a great video. Here's her tutorial on how to learn accents.


via Matteo

Monday, May 25, 2009

Monks continue their tradition of preserving manuscripts in the digital age

I thought this was an interesting story about a Benedictine monk who's seeking out ancient manuscripts to preserve in digital form. Though it's a long way from hand-copying them by candlelight, it's neat to see them doing the same thing they've been doing for more than a thousand years.

The Practices of Effective Catholic Leaders

Some great points.

Dolphin stampede - wow!

Friday, May 22, 2009

"Judge not lest ye be judged"

A thought-provoking article about Christians' fearing being "judgmental":

Society only tolerates sexual sins and sins against life. And that tolerance is strictly enforced. People trudge out the "do not judge" phrase and use it like a club to silence anyone who might speak against such license. Society also rewards anyone who abides by its rules and strikes the word "sin" from his or her vocabulary...We even go so far as to give Jesus a makeover. We preach a weak, winking, desperate-to-be-liked, Jesus. This Jesus didn’t die to save us from sin; he made it so that sin doesn’t exist.

Read the rest here.

Wednesday, May 20, 2009

The one hour BLITZ!

This is a great idea for housecleaning and organization.

via Pursuing Titus 2

Motherhood and control (or lack thereof)

Kate Wicker has a touching, honest post about how the lack of control she has over her daily life as a mom has led her to struggle with disordered eating.

Monday, May 18, 2009

Silencing Chicken Little

Elizabeth Esther offers a fascinating glimpse into life in a fundamentalist family. An excerpt:

When I was kid, we didn't have real Hollywood movie stars. But we did have our campy, quasi-horror flicks. One was called Thief In the Night and it scared me so badly that I had nightmares for years.

For a few years after that movie, I would panic every time I lost sight of my parents. I mean, most kids who lose sight of their parents in a public place assume they're lost.

I assumed the rapture had happened and I'd been left behind.


Read the whole thing here.

5 Ways to Misery



via World on Fire

In blind taste tests, people can't tell pate from dog food

I would not have been amused to have been part of this study.

Sunday, May 17, 2009

Friday, May 8, 2009

Great Depression vs. 'Great Recession'

Really interesting chart showing how our current economy compares to the Great Depression.

Thursday, May 7, 2009

Sunday, April 26, 2009

Stress and pain

The connection between stress and pain. (I personally saw some pretty amazing results to back pain issues after reading Dr. Sarno's book on this topic a few years ago.)

Friday, April 24, 2009

Bacon flavored vodka

Seriously.

via Creative Minority Report

Just got this PR email that I thought I'd share

This site does look good:

I want to make you aware of a new website for Catholics called "Big C Catholics." Big C Catholics is for Catholics who are faithful to the Magisterium and seek the fullness of truth. This is a place to reflect on and renew our faith, deepen our commitment to love and receive guidance on our spiritual journey. We seek to promote understanding of authentic Catholic teachings.among Catholics and non-Catholics alike.

We are currently accepting homilies, short to medium length articles, reflections, commentaries, and reviews of publications of interest to orthodox Catholics. All submissions will be considered, however, we focus on theology, the complementarity of faith and reason, and other issues relevant to the life of the Church.
Please tell your readership about this site and the opportunity to submit articles. Again, all submissions will be considered subject to editorial review.

Friday, April 17, 2009

The Daily 7 for a Highly Successful Household

I thought this was a great list of a few very simple things you can do to keep your house running smoothly. (Although I thought #5 wasn't quite as solid as the others. If I that were easily doable for me I wouldn't need to be reading lists like that in the first place!) :)

Wednesday, April 15, 2009

Inspiring show about adoption on EWTN on Thursday

I got this press release from EWTN and wanted to share it:

What do you do if you’re Catholic couple faced with infertility? Rather than resort to in-vitro fertilization, in which many embryos are created and destroyed, Donna and John Kurtz of Coatesville, Pa. began adopting. They are now the parents of 21 children (17 adopted, four under their guardianship) from all over the world. To feed, clothe and house them -- and others who need help -- they’ve started a non-profit organization called Saint Joseph’s House. Hear their amazing story at 8 p.m. ET, Thursday, April 16 on Life on the Rock.

Horses with hair extensions

Amusing.

Monday, April 13, 2009

Children and the consumer ethos

Some good food for thought. An excerpt:

The consumer ethos is above all one of individual self-fulfillment and autonomy, of keeping choices open.

This makes it irrational to bear a child, since children represent the commitment of a lifetime. In the wonderfully apt phrase of novelist Michael Dorris, children "hold us hostage to the future." They limit a parent’s mobility, their needs dictate how much of their parents' money is spent, and they create "agendas" a parent otherwise would never have imagined-let alone have chosen. Attempting to stay true to consumption as a way of life, we soberly build daycare centers that label children Precious Commodities, fixate on the monetary costs of rearing a child from diapers through college, and seriously wonder whether or not we should "force" our faith and morality on our children.

Read the rest here.

Surviving Tough Times: 12 Books That Will Help

A great list.

via Happy Catholic

Wednesday, April 8, 2009

Tuesday, April 7, 2009

Facebook for rich people only

It's hard not to snicker at this guy's "problem" when he started his rich social networking site, but it's an interesting idea:

RF: How did you get the idea to start the site?

SM: When I sold my internet business (Tunes.Com) for $180 million in 2000, I had what you might call sudden wealth syndrome. Despite our wealth, my wife and I thought Olive Garden was Italian cuisine's panacea. We thought Apple vacations was how you book travel. We didn't have friends who could recommend travel to the French Riviera.

It took me years to build up that network. So the site was created to give people a network of other wealthy people who are facing the same unique decisions and challenges every day.

Thursday, April 2, 2009

"Love should never be confused with pity"

This is a must-read article about how the world mistakenly perceives people with disabilities, and what the meaning of life really is. An excerpt:

Love should never be confused with pity, a sentiment we feel only for those whom we really don’t know at all. It infuriates me that children such as Domenica are invariably described as "suffering from Down’s syndrome". In what way are they suffering? They have no disease. They have no ailment to “cure”, except - via the process of antenatal screening - their very existence.

What underlies this misplaced pity is a kind of selfish empathy. Someone sees a child lolling in a wheelchair and thinks he himself would rather not have been born than exist in such a condition - and so he decides that it would have been much more humane never to have allowed that child to have been born. He does not, however, consult the child.


Read the rest here. Lots of food for thought.

via Confused Agnostic

Monday, March 30, 2009

Feminism, individualism and priorities

Some interesting thoughts from Bethany Hudson:

Lilian Calles Barger poignantly observes, "Today, with much more freedom to choose our own way in the world, we are more likely to lose ourselves in the process. Industrialization and radical individualism have aided in this uprooting." Expounding on what she refers to as the "cult of individualism" predominant in our modern culture, Barger continues, "Instead of kinship and place, our identity is based on ‘lifestyle’ choices, from soccer moms to childfree. The move toward identities of choice, instead of those based on relationship and place, is threatening to turn even previously unthinkable practices into a lifestyle."

Read the rest here.

The handy "Next" button in Google Reader

A great idea for blog reading.

via Waltzing Matilda

Sunday, March 29, 2009

Peace of Mind Amid Injustice

A great point to keep in mind:

Beware of burdens that consume your thoughts and energy and keep you from doing God’s will with regard to your vocation in life. If you are not careful your righteous anger over injustice can easily become self-righteous indignation, full of condemnation and judgment...What good to God is a conscience that loves justice but then becomes consumed with anger, pride, condemnation and judgment? What good does it do for your soul or the souls of others?

Read the rest here.

What a beautiful voice!

The late German tenor Fritz Wunderlich


via Inside Catholic

Saturday, March 21, 2009

The Church's Toolbox

Stephanie is doing a great series for Lent about the various "tools" we have in the Church to help us live the Christian life. Each post is very well done, and she covers everything from liturgical colors to incense to tabernacles to kneeling. Well worth reading.

Wednesday, March 18, 2009

The Story of a Modern-Day Exorcist

An interesting interview with a journalist who followed around an exorcist.

via Creative Minority Report

Women on the Fringe

A must-read article for any mom who has ever spent too much time comparing herself to other Christian mothers.

Saturday, March 14, 2009

Thursday, February 26, 2009

Excellent thoughts on spiritual warfare and sin

What an excellent collection of wisdom, and perfect for Lent. Some gems:
  • Discernment is at the source of all the virtues.

  • The devil is never so happy as when he has succeeded in robbing one of God's servants of the joy in his or her soul.

  • Hate your defects, yes, but quietly, without excitement or anxiety. It is necessary to be patient with them and to benefit from them through holy humility. For if you lack patience, your imperfections, instead of disappearing, will only grow. Because there is nothing which strengthens our defects as much anxiety and obsession to be rid of them.
Read the rest here.

Wednesday, February 25, 2009

Tuesday, February 24, 2009

When life becomes a consumer product...

...Death can be the result if the customer isn't satisfied.

via Mary Meets Dolly

Skepticism and faith

Amy Welborn's post called Yes is wonderful for so many reasons, but one of them is her eloquent description of how someone can both have faith yet feel skeptical sometimes:

It was sort of a joke between us - him calling me to task for my skepticism, for my overthinking. A skepticism which is not a desire that these things be false or a seeking to disprove, but a yearning for definitiveness, for the experience of certainty that touches more than my intellect. I have experienced this certainty at times - rare times - but I will freely admit that while I actually find the intellectual claims of theism and Christianity convincing, something always still nags. A hunger, I suppose, for a full embrace of Love.

Read the rest here.

The 40 Trash Bag Challenge

I just got an email with this great idea for Lent: remove a trash bag full of clutter/trash from your house every day during Lent (or smaller-sized bags for those with small houses):

Every day during Lent this year, empty one bag of 'stuff' that is no longer needed from your house, totaling a loss of forty bags of stuff!

1.) Taking a look at the size of your family and household, with an acknowledgement of how much 'stuff' is present, make a prudential choice on the size of bag to be employed during this challenge. Bag size should be small enough that the goal of 40 bags during the season of Lent is able to be accomplished, while not being too big that you are left with nothing. We must still live in the world, after all!

2.) If smaller children are a part of your family, a 'gauge' may be helpful to keep them engaged and help them keep track of progress. As part of your preparations, make a 'paper chain' of forty numbered links. As each new bag is started, place a new link in the bottom of the bag. This way, as the chain gets smaller, there is a greater sense of accomplishment.

3.) This challenge necessarily involves sacrifice. Each member of the family should be encouraged to give something to each bag, or there could be designated bags for each member of the family.

4.) Instead of just throwing things away, recycling is a great way to encourage good stewardship of the gifts we have been given, as it symbolizes that we are passing along our gifts to others. Families with children are encouraged to pass along clothes that no longer fit or toys that sit dormant in a closet to families in need instead of just throwing them away.

5.) Units of count need not necessarily be trash bags, either; however they should be equivalent. For example, a box of gently used toys or clothes could equate one bag off the chain. A stack of books donated to the parish library is another easy equivalent.

As the family accepts this challenge together, bonds will be created that will last a lifetime. Lessons are also learned not just by saying, but by putting it into practice. Here, the simple lesson will last throughout life that having fewer things can lead to a greater contentment in life.

(Credit due to the Archdiocese of Cincinnati for this handout on vocations and family faith formation)

Here's a post from a mom who tried it.

Monday, February 23, 2009

Dear Birth Mom

Anne Marie shares a beautiful letter she wrote to a birth mother considering placing her child for adoption.

Monday, February 16, 2009

How Apple's "App Store" is helping small-time programmers make big bucks

One dude make $600,000 in one month from a little iPhone game he wrote. (Computer nerds and their spouses will find this especially inspiring.)

via Geekpress

Stimulus watch

A list of local programs that are candidates for federal funding as a result of the stimulus bill. You can sort by city or state to find the ones near you.

What is Lent? (and other questions)

A great list of frequently asked questions about Lent.

The case for life beginning at conception

A great summary of the strictly scientific case that life begins at conception -- some helpful thoughts for discussing the subject with friends who are not religious.:

The point where a life begins is the point where we can say, by reasonable and not arbitrary criteria, that a new organism has begun to exist. We identify it not by looking for the point where the organism can survive on its own, or the point where it no longer needs protection and nutrients. We don't even look for the point where we find unique genetic codes, although that may be a clue. Rather, we identify it by looking for the point where an independent being exists that is innately structured and ordered toward development as a member of the species.

Read the whole thing here.

Sunday, February 15, 2009

Saturday, February 14, 2009

High tech news from 1981

Just imagine: reading the day's newspapers on your computer!

Thursday, February 12, 2009

Want to change the world? Here's how.

A must-read post from Aimee Cooper:

A year or so ago I attended a seminar given by a friend of mine...in which she showed how the great saints in history generally did not become saints all by themselves. They were part of a small group of friends who all pursued holiness, and who spurred and encouraged each other on to holiness. The small things we do – even the friendships we have – can help or hinder us from becoming saints. And it is only by becoming saints, what we are all called to do in this world, that we will be able to have the kind of impact on culture that Christ wills us to have.

Take the time to read the rest of the post here.

Which parts of the world are the most religious?

Some interesting data.

Tuesday, February 3, 2009

I suppose someone was going to do this eventually

Pride and Prejudice...and Zombies:
As our story opens...feisty heroine Elizabeth Bennet is determined to wipe out the zombie menace, but she's soon distracted by the arrival of the haughty and arrogant Mr. Darcy. What ensues is a delightful comedy of manners with plenty of civilized sparring between the two young lovers -- and even more violent sparring on the blood-soaked battlefield as Elizabeth wages war against hordes of flesh-eating undead.

via Lissla

Exhibit A in "The fall of Western Civilization is just about complete"

LOLSaints.

(If you are fortunate enough not to be familiar with the LOLspeak phenomenon, you can find out about it here.)

Baby boomers' struggles with grandparent terms that make them feel old

An interesting article about modern grandparent culture.

The dog and the elephant: an unlikely friendship

Monday, February 2, 2009

Some great frugal tips!

This is a great list of WalletPop reader tips about ways to save money. (The format is a little annoying -- click on the arrows at the bottom right of the main photo to open a popup window with all the tips -- but it's worth it to scan through them. There are some really good ones.)

An incredibly inspiring story of overcoming obstacles

One of the most inspiring things I've seen in a long time. (Note: I linked to this once before but heard that the video was unavailable shortly after I posted it...so here it is again!)

Mother Teresa's Words of Love

A nice way to start your Monday:



via Abigail's Alcove

Sunday, February 1, 2009

The story of the sleepy dog

Just got this via email and found it online here. Very cute.

A prayer list for those who have lost faith

Abbot Joseph has felt called to start a ministry to pray daily for the "last hours" of those who have completely fallen away from God and show no interest changing their ways, praying that they will have a change of heart at least in their final moments. He is accepting names for this prayer list if you know anyone whose names you'd like to include (his email is listed in the post).

Joy Crosses The Placenta

Some inspiring thoughts on pregnancy from Antique Mommy. (For those of you who aren't familiar, the amazing story of her own miraculous pregnancy is here.)

Sunday, January 25, 2009

The myth of the war between science and religion

An interesting article that debunks the notion that believers and scientists have always been on opposite ends of the spectrum.

A quote from one of Galileo's Vatican "persecutors"

Not what you might expect.

A good summary of why Roe should be overturned...

...Regardless of one's stance on abortion. An excerpt:

Like few other Supreme Court cases in our nation’s history, Roe is not merely patently wrong but also fundamentally hostile to core precepts of American government and citizenship. Roe is a lawless power grab by the Supreme Court, an unconstitutional act of aggression by the Court against the political branches and the American people. Roe prevents all Americans from working together, through an ongoing process of peaceful and vigorous persuasion, to establish and revise the policies on abortion governing our respective states.

Read the rest here.


via the Cynical Christian

Laundry problems start with the clothes

A mom of seven reminds us to use feelings of being overwhelmed with laundry to ask ourselves how many clothes our families really need. More thoughts here. An excerpt:

Our family actually got by for several years when the kids were little purely on bags left on my porch by kind neighbors. Yet, this posed a problem. Anxious to keep anything with any possible use, I was actually making a lot of work for myself and preventing my children from helping me effectively.

The truth is, children will only end up wearing a few outfits on a daily basis. They don't like change; they like predictability. Not only is it no use fighting this trait, it's counterproductive. Their drawers and closets are so full of things they don't wear, they actually live out of their laundry baskets most of the time. They simply can't put things away.

In addition, they function within a paradox: they only want to wear a few things, but the knowledge they have many things gives them implicit permission to overuse the laundry system. Clothing doesn't fit in drawers, so it ends up on the floor, or if you are lucky, in a hamper. A garment on the floor is by definition dirty! So you are overwhelmed.