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 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"


(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 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.)