Thursday, December 30, 2010

The arrogance of the "new atheists"

Some great points. An excerpt:
Which brings me to the problem with modern atheism, embodied by the likes of Harris and Hitchens, authors of "The End of Faith" and "God Is Not Great," respectively. So often it seems like a conversation ender, not a conversation starter. And the loudest voices of today's militant atheism, for all their talk of rational thought, don't seem to want to do too much thinking at all. As James Wood wrote in The New Yorker, "The new atheists do not speak to the millions of people whose form of religion is far from the embodied certainties of contemporary literalism. Indeed, it is a settled assumption of this kind of atheism that there are no intelligent religious believers."

Sunday, December 19, 2010

The coolest iPhone app ever?

This is amazing. It's an app where you can point the iPhone's camera at text in a foreign language, and it makes it appear as English (or whatever language you set it to appear as).

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Treasures in Heaven

A touching post by a mom who was trying to inspire her kids not to hoard their possessions, and ended up getting some painful, unexpected lessons herself.

Sunday, December 5, 2010

Great quote

"The Catholic writer, in so far as he has the mind of the Church, will feel life from the standpoint of the central Christian mystery: that it has for all its horror, been found by God to be worth dying for."

--Flannery O’Connor

Monday, November 29, 2010

Chinese villagers may be descended from a lost legion of Roman soldiers

Really fascinating article about a village in China where people have blue and green eyes and fair hair, and are believed to be descended from Roman soldiers from 2,000 years ago.

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Six Things Every Christian Blogger Needs To Know

Beautiful thoughts. I especially loved this point:
Jesus Himself had only 12 followers.
And He lost one.
So if Jesus had only 12 followers… how many followers do we really need? If God Himself had only 12 followers and He lost one — would you blog for even one follower?

Sunday, November 14, 2010

What families REALLY want after they have a baby

A refreshingly honest list of the way friends and family members can really help moms with new babies.

Thursday, November 4, 2010

Love and laundry

This post about Abigail's grandfather asking a neighbor to help with his laundry brought tears to my eyes. Lots of lessons about humility and how letting others help us blesses them as well.

Tuesday, November 2, 2010

Photos of NYC home libraries

Wow! Some beautiful shots.

The duty of the moment

I thought this excerpt from the Wikipedia article about Catherine Doherty was inspiring:

A central theme in Catherine Doherty's spirituality is the duty of the moment. As she herself put it: "The duty of the moment is what you should be doing at any given time, in whatever place God has put you. You may not have Christ in a homeless person at your door, but you may have a little child. If you have a child, your duty of the moment may be to change a dirty diaper. So you do it. But you don't just change that diaper, you change it to the best of your ability, with great love for both God and that child.... There are all kinds of good Catholic things you can do, but whatever they are, you have to realize that there is always the duty of the moment to be done. And it must be done, because the duty of the moment is the duty of God."

Saturday, October 30, 2010

The fun of fear

Some thought-provoking points about Halloween. An excerpt:

I believe Halloween is good -- not the way some people celebrate it today, as a borderline satanic ritual or a dive bomb into the depths of depravity, but in the way it has traditionally been celebrated in this country: a game designed to give the players a shiver (with a few sweets thrown into the bargain).
Because all of us -- and especially little children -- carry around so many fears, large and small, about everything from death to how the rent will be paid this month to (in the case of my oldest daughter) a sudden crack in the earth opening and swallowing us up, Halloween gives us a raucous stage for the free expression of our anxieties.

"Did you always want 11 children?"

An excellent reflection from a mom who just found out she's expecting their 11th child.

Thursday, October 28, 2010

The dynamics of despair

A fantastic post by Abbot Joseph. An excerpt:

If the devil had his way, he would lead us all along a progressive path that looks something like this: sin, despondency, despair, suicide. His ultimate goal is to lead us to despair of salvation, and then to seal our doom by forever cutting ourselves off from the Source of Mercy. This is a fairly long process in most cases, but the devil really doesn’t have anything else to do, so he can apply himself diligently over the long haul to gradually lure souls away from God and then, at the right moment, zero in for the kill.

Friday, October 22, 2010

Why certain baby names are popular

An interesting article. An excerpt:

Metropolis: When we look at the list of girls — Isabella, Sophia, Mia, Emily, Madison, Olivia — they are romantic names or soft names. What is behind that?
Wattenberg: You are sensing something about names. The most powerful trend in baby names is something individual parents are almost never aware of: we don’t like consonants anymore. Every parent will say I like old-fashioned names, quirky, I’m looking for something really powerful and creative. What they don’t say is, I’m really looking for a name with no two consecutive voiced consonants. That is really what America wants.

Monday, October 18, 2010

A picture of a mosquito's heart

This is amazing. Also, details about how they got the shot:

Preparing and photographing a mosquito's heart is an incredibly exacting job. A slit has to be cut into the bug's abdomen. Its stomach and other organs have to be removed. Two types of stain have to be applied to the heart and its surroundings: fluorescent green phalloidin for the muscles, and blue Hoechst stain that binds to the DNA in cell nuclei. Then the specimen is put under a microscope, and filtered light zeroes in on the stained cells.

Thursday, October 14, 2010

Sunday, October 10, 2010

When the womb is empty

Great thoughts from Betty Duffy about the mixed feelings that come with successful use of NFP to avoid pregnancy.

Saturday, October 9, 2010

People in "persistent vegetative states" given the ability to communicate

Very interesting. An excerpt:

The team used the fMRI scanner to measure the patient’s brain response while asking him questions. Brain signals associated with “yes” and “no” are complex and quite similar, and to overcome this problem the researchers asked the patient to imagine playing tennis for “yes” and walking through his home for “no”. Tennis movements activate regions at the top of the brain associated with spatial activities, while moving around the home is a navigational task that activates areas in the base of the brain. Using this technique the patient was able to correctly answer six test questions.

Monday, September 20, 2010

Tuesday, September 7, 2010

Friday, September 3, 2010

Fear is useless

Some great thoughts from Fr. John Corapi:

Thursday, September 2, 2010

Tuesday, August 31, 2010

On religious freedom

A great speech from Archbishop Chaput. An excerpt:

[The modern secular worldview] presumes a frankly "post-Christian" world ruled by rationality, technology and good social engineering. Religion has a place in this worldview, but only as an individual lifestyle accessory. People are free to worship and believe whatever they want, so long as they keep their beliefs to themselves and do not presume to intrude their religious idiosyncrasies on the workings of government, the economy, or culture.

Now, at first hearing, this might sound like a reasonable way to organize a modern society that includes a wide range of ethnic, religious and cultural traditions, different philosophies of life and approaches to living.

But we’re immediately struck by two unpleasant details.

First, “freedom of worship” is not at all the same thing as “freedom of religion.” Religious freedom includes the right to preach, teach, assemble, organize, and to engage society and its issues publicly, both as individuals and joined together as communities of faith. This is the classic understanding of a citizen’s right to the “free exercise” of his or her religion in the First Amendment to the U.S. Constitution. It’s also clearly implied in Article 18 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. In contrast, freedom of worship is a much smaller and more restrictive idea.

Second, how does the rhetoric of enlightened, secular tolerance square with the actual experience of faithful Catholics in Europe and North America in recent years?

Thursday, August 26, 2010

"I feel like I offend people simply by breathing"

A fascinating post from Abigail about how being a Christian deacon at notoriously secular Smith College did not put her on the receiving end of nearly as much scorn as being a Catholic housewife.

Thoughts on "love the sinner, hate the sin"

Some great points from Melinda Selmys, a Catholic writer who was once in a homosexual relationship herself.

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

The most well known top secret project

What's most interesting to me about this article is its commentary on modern information flow: most of what we know about this project is simply due to amateur skywatchers putting their heads together and sharing data.

Micro Air Vehicles

Spy equipment that looks like birds and bugs.

Thursday, August 19, 2010

"Independence is obnoxious"

An interesting post from Betty Duffy. An excerpt:

My aunt is fond of saying that "independence is obnoxious." Having dependence on others or living in community is how people rightly find their place and vocation in life. In community we serve others. In community we must discipline ourselves. In community we learn to forgive others’ faults so we can move on to brighter horizons like card games with friends.

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

Summer "games" for kids

A hilarious list of games to help kids get their chores done, such as:
Town Cryer

Players are assigned a task that involves them working at a slight distance from parent, anywhere from the next room over to the backyard. Players take turns shouting at the top of their lungs, “So-and-so, why aren’t you HELPING?” “So-and-so, GET UP and HELP!” Game is won if parent shows up and spanks So-and-so. Game is lost if parent shows up and spanks everyone. (Town Cryer can be played in conjunction with Unfreeze Tag for double the fun.)

Friday, August 6, 2010

Rock stars then and now


Humility vs. passivity

Another great post from Steve Pressfield. Though he is not Christian, I find his thoughts on creativity and spirituality to be very inspiring.

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

Liturgy in the early Church

Words from Justin Martyr in 150 AD. Sound familiar?

via Thin Veil

One-star reviews from highly acclaimed novels

This is hilarious. A one-star review from Catcher in the Rye: "So many other good books...don't waste your time on this one. J.D. Salinger went into hiding because he was embarrassed."

The Case for Siblings

A hilarious and heartwarming post from mother-of-eight Simcha Fisher. An excerpt:

Then follows the second week, when the toddler suddenly realizes that the baby is ... staying. In this week, everyone is crying, everyone has a rash, everything we own is wet and smelly, and if I had the mental wherewithal, I would be able to form a complete thought such as, “Another baby? What were we thinking?”

This stage lasts for about five weeks, actually.

But then the 6-week marks comes. At six weeks, no one can remember life before baby. She smiles, she’s trying to figure out how to laugh, her belly button is no longer scary, and she clearly likes us. The older kids can hold her while I shower, and the younger ones have figured out how to sit next to the baby without sitting on the baby, so we can all read Katy No-Pockets together for the 923rd time.

Monday, July 12, 2010

Genghis Khan a Prolific Lover, DNA Data Implies

Scientists combine history and genetics to discovered interesting stuff:

An international group of geneticists studying Y-chromosome data have found that nearly 8 percent of the men living in the region of the former Mongol empire carry y-chromosomes that are nearly identical. That translates to 0.5 percent of the male population in the world, or roughly 16 million descendants living today.

Tuesday, June 29, 2010

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

Praying With the Office Chaplain

A neat story about the rise of workplace chaplains. An excerpt:

Following the military-chaplain model, these roving spiritual advisers typically visit offices or factories weekly, greeting employees, hanging out in the break room, handing out business cards and meeting one-on-one with workers. But they're also on-call 24/7, so chaplains rush to hospitals, restaurants or homes on request, providing comfort and support free of charge to employees.

They perform weddings or funerals for people who have no one else to do so. And they pray with employees over problems from medical or marital crises to job loss, addiction and financial woes, holding the information in confidence. The Rev. Warren Wetherbee, a corporate chaplain in LaCrosse, Wis., says he sometimes helps employees make a budget if asked, or sits with them while they decide to cut up their credit cards.

Wednesday, June 16, 2010

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

Access to media is changing from scarcity to surfeit

Some interesting points with lots of implications. Key quote:

A Xhosa tribesman in South Africa with a Vodacom HTC Magic mobile handset has instant access to more information than the President of the United States did at the time of the tribesman’s birth.

Read the rest here.

via Ted Weinstein

World Youth Day 2011 Promo video

via Catholic Seeking

Thursday, June 10, 2010

Life and death, good and evil in the New World

A fascinating PDF article about the role the Dominican friars played in the 16th-century exploration of the Americas. It shows the complicated mix of forces at play in terms of how the indigenous people were viewed, what the motives of the various colonists were, etc.

Wednesday, June 9, 2010

Stephenie Meyer wrote Twilight in three months with three young children at home?

I've never read Twilight, but I thought this story behind its writing was interesting. (For the record, the series has sold 70 million copies and spent 143 weeks on the New York Times bestseller list.)

Monday, June 7, 2010

Saturday, June 5, 2010

How the Church Fathers approached youth ministry

A great article by Mike Aquilina. An excerpt:

Scouring the Patrologia Latina and Patrologia Graeca, I found nothing to suggest that Ambrose had ever led teens on ski trips to the nearby Alps. Digging through the Eastern Fathers, I came up even drier — no junior-high dances — not even a pizza party in either Antioch or Alexandria. In fact, in all the documentary evidence from all the ancient patriarchates of the East and the West, there's not a single bulletin announcement for a single parish youth group.

Yet the Fathers had enormous success in youth and young-adult ministry. Many of the early martyrs were teens, as were many of the Christians who took to the desert for the solitary life. There's ample evidence that a disproportionate number of conversions, too, came from the young and youngish age groups.

So how did the Fathers do it? Read the rest here.

Thursday, May 27, 2010

Catholic Family Community Toolbar

Very cool idea for a product. (This is not an ad -- just something I thought looked useful.)

Thursday, May 20, 2010

Light and Darkness: or an autobiographical interlude

Anne Kennedy shares some fascinating stories from life without electricity when she lived in Africa. An excerpt:

In the afternoon, it is too hot to go anywhere or do anything. And in the evening, the twilight period, the time between full sun and complete black, is only about 20 minutes. If you haven't filled the lamps in the morning or waning afternoon, you are racing against the light to fill them enough to carry you through the evening, and to light them. Once darkness has fallen, the deep quiet and deep darkness restrict movement and work.

But it was, and is, always my favorite time of day.

Read the rest here.

Monday, May 17, 2010

Raquel Welch takes an honest look at contraceptive culture, sees something amiss

An interesting article. Best line: "Seriously, folks, if an aging sex symbol like me starts waving the red flag of caution over how low moral standards have plummeted, you know it's gotta be pretty bad."

Saturday, May 15, 2010

Quote to ponder: the role of the preacher

"The preacher beats the bushes but the confessor catches the birds."

- St. John Eudes

Tuesday, May 4, 2010

Listening to (and Saving) the World’s Languages

A fascinating article about near-extinct languages:

The chances of overhearing a conversation in Vlashki, a variant of Istro-Romanian, are greater in Queens than in the remote mountain villages in Croatia that immigrants now living in New York left years ago.

At a Roman Catholic Church in the Morrisania section of the Bronx, Mass is said once a month in Garifuna, an Arawakan language that originated with descendants of African slaves shipwrecked near St. Vincent in the Caribbean and later exiled to Central America. Today, Garifuna is virtually as common in the Bronx and in Brooklyn as in Honduras and Belize.

And Rego Park, Queens, is home to Husni Husain, who, as far he knows, is the only person in New York who speaks Mamuju, the Austronesian language he learned growing up in the Indonesian province of West Sulawesi.

Read the rest here.

Friday, April 30, 2010

Convert purchasing power throughout time

Enter a sum of money from one time period, and this calculator will tell you what it's worth in another time period.

via DarwinCatholic

The spiritual benefits of eating locally

Some interesting points by Katie Rose.

The Association of St. Francis de Sales

I wanted to share this comment I got to this post at my other blog, since this organization sounds so cool. Geomama wrote:

I loved the Introduction to the Devout Life so much that I set out to find people who lived that kind of spirituality. Check out the Association of St. Francis de Sales. I'm going through a 2-year "formation" period to become a consecrated "Daughter of St. Francis de Sales" (wish they had a catchier name). It's all about living the devout life in any vocation (I'm the mother of 5). Each person in formation is assigned to a "companion" (a consecrated Daughter) who helps us apply the teachings/virtues to our lives.

Very cool!

Wednesday, April 28, 2010

A wholeness of vision

A blogger shares the powerful story of two babies who were conceived under far-from-ideal circumstances, whom many people would consider "poster children for the pro-choice movement." A fascinating post.

Monday, April 26, 2010

The little girl who paints God

A really neat video about child prodigy Akiane Kramarik:

Friday, April 23, 2010

We cannot forget about the power of beauty

A thought-provoking analysis from Rebecca Teti. She writes:

I agree completely with [Barbara] Nicolosi's longstanding criticism of contemporary Christianity, especially Catholic Christianity: that it has radically abdicated its understanding of the power of beauty; and since beauty might be the only argument for God the people of our time are actually open to, that means we are largely failing to tell the Christian story to the world.

Read the rest here.

Thursday, April 22, 2010

Stunning photos from inside the womb

This is some amazing footage, broken down by each stage of development. Click on the links to see the videos. Here's an example of a 9-week-old baby inside the womb.

via Red Cardigan

"How do you reach Easter when you're stranded in Gethsemane?"

A beautiful, poignant article by a woman who unexpectedly lost her mother right before Easter. She writes:

If the Easter message does not apply in every single circumstance of life—however sordid, tragic or mundane—then the resurrection is either a pipe dream or we have failed to glimpse its significance. If the risen Christ cannot answer our deepest agony, redeem the most grotesque sin, kindle flame in the coldest heart, then Christianity, and Jesus Himself, are just childish, pious concepts.

"If Christ is not risen," St. Paul writes, "our faith is in vain."

But if He is...then, as St. Augustine says, the Christian should be an alleluia from head to foot.

Read the rest here.

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

Highlighting beauty in the online world

A site that features Catholic websites and blogs that are well-designed. From their About page:

We believe that being entrusted with the Fullness of Truth, the Church has a responsibility to share this truth with the whole world, so that the beauty of Christ can radiate through his word, his body, and his liturgy.

That includes the way that the truth is presented to people. Eleven hundred years ago, a monk named Theophilus wrote a guide for master craftsmen to follow in creating stained glass windows for churches and cathedrals. Theophilus understood that this technique could be an instrument to teach and inspire people.

It’s our hope that we can inspire the church, just as Theophilus inspired craftsmen to strive only for the highest levels of quality in sharing Christ with the world.

Check out the site here.

Thoughts on the importance of a classics education

As someone who did not receive much education in the classics, I found this article interesting. An excerpt:

The wisest ancients, both sacred and secular, sought as their social ideal the good man or woman who could speak well. A clever use of words wasn't enough; one had to use words for right and good ends...Also, the ancients have taught us to distrust, or at least question, our emotions, our passions, which they seemed to consider guilty until proven innocent. That would be heresy on the afternoon talk show circuit now but, between Seneca and Oprah, I know whom I'd rather trust.

Read the rest here.

Friday, April 16, 2010

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

"The doctrine of Original Sin gets proven in every generation"

A great article on Church crises, anger and the importance of perspective. An excerpt:

The spiritual perils of anger are often caused a lack of perspective. We see what is going on around us, get angry and suddenly move from the realm of righteous anger to the mindset that “this is the worst age ever!” Problems of today are magnified under the lens of the 24/7 news cycle, while problems of the past are either forgotten or seen in a clinical, detached manner. We study the saints of the past, but ignore the sinners.

Being deep in history thus changes one’s perspective: you see the problems of today in light of past crises....Acknowledging the sins of the past doesn’t mean that we can’t have righteous anger today, but it does put that anger in proper perspective, keeping it from disturbing the peace all Christians should have at all times.

The Catholic who allows anger to be his controlling emotion is a Catholic who is full of fear.

Read the rest here.

Wednesday, April 7, 2010

Saturday, April 3, 2010

Quote to ponder: Merton on fear of suffering

"The truth that many people never understand, until it is too late, is that the more you try to avoid suffering the more you suffer because smaller and more insignificant things begin to torture you in proportion to your fear of being hurt."

- Thomas Merton

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

Are big families bad for the environment?

Simcha Fischer has a great takedown of this issue. An excerpt:

Many large families also live with tight budgets. We happily trade a second income for another armful of babies. The quick and easy methods of saving the environment that make the news daily are hardly news to cash-strapped families: Turn down the heat, insulate, avoid anything disposable, buy in bulk, cook from scratch, breastfeed, don’t eat out, don’t waste this, don’t buy that. Turn out the light, close the door, unplug it, wash in cold water, make it do or do without. And if it does not get eaten for dinner, we serve it for lunch.

Read the rest here.

So Much Depends Upon the Airport Pickup

I enjoyed this thought-provoking post by Jane Friedman, and thought this quote that she included was great:

Go through your phone book, call people and ask them to drive you to the airport. The ones who will drive you are your true friends. The rest aren’t bad people; they’re just acquaintances.

- Jay Leno

Monday, March 22, 2010

The Little Lost Marion: Abortion's true costs

A fascinating review of The Little Lost Marion and Other Mercies, an out-of-print book by the author of the famous memoir A Severe Mercy, which discusses the story of his seeking out the daughter that his late wife gave up for adoption after becoming pregnant at age 14.

"Hey, That's My Jet!"

An interesting story in the Wall Street Journal about high-end repo men:

He has reclaimed everything from $18 million Gulfstream jets and Bell helicopters to 110-foot Broward yachts, $500,000 recreational vehicles and even a racehorse. Before the financial crisis, most of the luxury items he pulled in were valued between $30,000 and $50,000. Today, they are valued at $200,000 to $300,000—meaning defaults are hitting people at a much higher income level.

Read the rest here.

Sunday, March 21, 2010

Wednesday, March 17, 2010

St. Patrick's breastplate

I've posted this before, but I thought that this beautiful recording of "St. Patrick's Breastplate" would be appropriate to repost today:

A St. Patrick's Day blessing

A pretty video.

Friday, March 12, 2010

Heart transplant recipient sustained by faith in difficult twins pregnancy

The inspiring story of a mom of twin daughters who were born despite serious pressure from doctors to abort. (Via Be Not Afraid, the excellent online support ministry for parents with poor prenatal diagnosis.)

How they made the new OK Go video

Here's an interesting article about how this impressive video was made:

via Testosterhome

Wednesday, March 10, 2010

The truth about the Church and Galileo

The Political Housewyf has an informative, interesting post that details the complexities of the Galileo/Church dust-up, and shows that it was not as simple as a truth-seeker being oppressed by the entire hierarchy of the Catholic Church.

Monday, March 8, 2010

Remembering a World War II Death Trap — and a Miraculous Rescue

Amazing story.

Heresy Has Always Been An Option

Interesting points:

I've often heard Protestants who admire such figures [Augustin, Francis of Assisi, etc.] explain away their Catholic allegiances and beliefs with the excuse: "Well of course, all Christians were Catholic at that time; there weren't any other options." The only problem with this is that there were other options. There have always been groups outside of the Catholic Church that called themselves Christians.

Read the rest here.

31 Things You Can Do in 1 Minute (or Less)

Great list.

The mega-family blog roll

An interesting idea for a site: a collection of blogs by people with large (and sometimes VERY large) families.

Sunday, March 7, 2010

Saturday, March 6, 2010

Quote to ponder

"Don't ask yourself what the world needs. Ask yourself what makes you come alive, and then go do that. Because what the world needs is people who have come alive."

-Howard Thurman

Great thoughts from books and blogs

Video Meliora has a great collection of quotes from everyone from famous scholars to bloggers. An example:

One of the things that surprised me when I first read the New Testament seriously was that it talked so much about a Dark Power in the universe—a mighty evil spirit who was held to be the Power behind death and disease, and sin. The difference [between Christianity and Dualism] is that Christianity thinks this Dark Power was created by God, and was good when he was created, and went wrong. Christianity agrees with Dualism that this universe is at war. But it does not think this is a war between independent powers. It thinks it is a civil war, a rebellion...Christianity is the story of how the rightful king has landed, you might say landed in disguise, and is calling us all to take part in a great campaign of sabotage. - C.S. Lewis in "Mere Christianity

Read them all here.

Thursday, March 4, 2010

New gene test may help you pick your diet

Some interesting data about eating a diet that's right for your genetic makeup.

How contraception fuels the vocations crisis

Some excellent thoughts. An excerpt:

Now, because of artificial contraception, the whole underlying assumptions and expectations about marriage have shifted. Marriage is no longer a way to give all, but a way to have it all. Therefore, when a young person today considers a religious vocation, they are not choosing between different paths of self-sacrifice; they are choosing between a life that seems to have it all and a life that seems to have nothing.

Read the rest here.

Wednesday, March 3, 2010

Thursday, February 25, 2010

Name that landmark

A quiz to see if you can name the landmark with an aerial view of the location.

Scientists discover colors of ancient bird

Neat article. An excerpt:

The Science study analyzed color-imparting structures called melanosomes from an entire fossil of a single animal, a feat which enabled researchers to reveal rich color patterns of the entire animal.

In fact, the analysis of melanosomes conducted by Yale team was so precise that the team was able to assign colors to individual feathers of Anchiornis huxleyi, a four-winged troodontid dinosaur that lived during the late Jurassic period in China.

Read the rest here.

Friday, February 19, 2010

A video about Lebanon's winemaking monks


You might have a large family if...

  • You have to carry three health insurance cards in your wallet- because that's how many it takes to fit everyone's names.

  • You have a laundry basket devoted entirely to lonely socks seeking their mate.

  • When you can't take all of your children to the doctor's office at the same time because the waiting room has only 10 seats.

  • You go shopping at Costco and the cashier asks if you're having a soccer barbecue.

See more in the left sidebar of this blog.

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

Monday, February 15, 2010

When the doctors say you "have to" use contraception

Theresa Thomas has a beautiful article about how she and her husband handled the situation when she was facing months of chemotherapy after a cancer diagnosis and was told she had to use contraception.

How to Pray with Small Children

Some great advice and encouragement from Abigail (who's back to blogging after a long hiatus).

Friday, February 12, 2010

Fear and grace

Mrs. Parunak has a great post about a time that one of her worst fears played out: she thought she might die and never see her children again. She explains that she was actually filled with peace in the moment, and points out:

[W]hen we are simply imagining chilling scenarios, we are facing the horrible emotions without any of God’s sustaining grace. Every time we imagine something, we put ourselves through agony of a kind we will never have to go through in real life. Because when awful things are actually happening, God walks with us through them and gives us His grace and strength. The peace of God’s presence through a trial is something I can never conjure up in my imagination, and something that only comes with real trials, not the pretend ones I make up while driving. Now I know the difference.

Read the rest here.

Saturday, February 6, 2010

How to write a best selling fantasy novel

I laughed out loud at this. Some excerpts:

4. Create a Wise but Useless Guide: The Guide is wise adviser who knows all about the Quest, but never fully reveals it. He also appears to have immense powers but will not use them when they are most required.
Technology: Fantasy Worlds...are ruled by councils of venerable sages who are the guardians of the accumulated learning of thousands of years and yet have never got around to inventing anything that might actually help them against wights, trolls and orcs -- such as a .44 Magnum.

Note: Fantasy Worlds never have working economies. Very few people work, there is little agriculture and it is not clear where food comes from.
Read the rest here.

via The Writer's Hole

Tuesday, February 2, 2010

"I'll be happy when..."

Some great thoughts on realizing that you already have paradise.

A Tiny Pietà

A beautiful story about how the loss of an unborn child thawed the heart of a Christian theologian. An inspiring read for anyone who has suffered the pain of miscarriage.

How to fall 35,000 feet - and survive!

Wow, fascinating stuff. It includes the story of Alan Magee, who survived a four-mile fall without a parachute in World War II.

via Patrick Madrid

Monday, February 1, 2010

Fear and creativity

An inspiring post about fear and writing (though it applies to all kind of art):

When you are intensely yourself, with all your quirks--and look, we all have them, no matter how normal you think you are--and you can create something, whatever it is, that expresses that, you're speaking to someone else's quirks. And the thing is, everyone thinks they're weird and unlovable, at some level. So when you speak to that part of someone, they open up. They feel better. They bloom a little. You've just changed someone else. Think about that. Five other people might not get it, but so what? A hundred people might think you suck, but you’ve just helped one person have a better day, and how incredible is that?

Read the rest here.

Saturday, January 30, 2010

Tuesday, January 26, 2010

Saving Lives on the U.S.N.S. Comfort

A video about the U.S. Navy's inspiring (though sometimes sad, sometimes frustrating) efforts to help Haiti. Warning: some graphic images. There's a particularly touching scene at the very end.

64 Rules for Eating

Some of these are good. I liked:
  • Don't buy cereals that change the color of the milk
  • It's not food if it’s called by the same name in every language (e.g. Big Mac)
  • The banquet is in the first bite
Read the rest here.

via Janet Berkman (Twitter)

How an "atmosphere of innovation" revolutionized American winemaking

The interesting story of how California wines went from being a joke to beating their French competitors:

via Inside Catholic

Monday, January 25, 2010

Did Jesus drink alcohol?

Some interesting points:

Another point to remember is that back then people had no way of preserving juice. They had no preservatives or other modern processes to keep grape juice from fermenting. So once they harvested the grapes for the year and stored the juice in skins, the fermentation process naturally began. If you put juice in a container and leave it alone for a few months what do you get? Fermented, alcoholic wine. That’s what you get.

The passover feast occurred 6-7 months after the grape harvest. By then the grape juice was surely a nice shiraz, or a pinot (ok…I’m not sure how nice it was). So it would have been impossible to not have alcoholic wine for the passover and really for any occasion during the large part of any year.

Read the rest here.

A brilliant response to the E-Snub

This article will be hilarious to anyone ever blown off by email.

Man uses iPhone app to survive in rubble after earthquake

Great story. I also like the note he wrote in his blood-stained journal for his family in case he died:

"I was in a big accident, an earthquake. Don't be upset at God. He always provides for his children even in hard times. I'm still praying that God will get me out, but he may not. But even so he will always take care of you."

Read the rest here.

What happens when we don't fully turn away from sin

An amusing video with good points:

via Pursuing Titus 2

Thursday, January 21, 2010

Some great thoughts on boys and violence

Another great piece by Sally Thomas:

What I think I have come to understand about boys is that a desire to commit violence is not the same thing as a desire to commit evil...The problem is not that the boy’s hand itches for a sword. The problem lies in not telling him what they are for, that they are for something -- the sword and the itch alike. If I had told my aggressive little son not, "Be gentle," but, rather, "Protect your sister," I might, I think, have had the right end of the stick.

Read the rest here.

via Melanie

If saints wrote Valentine's candy hearts

Amusing (scroll down for the post).

Sunday, January 17, 2010

Fortitude and God's call for you

An energizing call to action to recognize the gifts God has given you and startusing them (and what it will take to do that).

Quote to ponder

"If you want to change the world, go home and love your family."

- Mother Teresa

Most Interesting Bookstores of the World

So neat!

Saturday, January 16, 2010

Firm seeks to introduce sarcasm punctuation mark

Brilliant idea. (I'll leave it to you to decide whether there should be a SarcMark at the end of that sentence.)

Tuesday, January 12, 2010

The Periodic Table of Typefaces


via There Are No Rules

The inspiring story of Patrick Henry Hughes

How a boy born disabled and blind went on to share his incredible gifts with the world, thanks to a lot of help from his father. Incredibly inspiring!

Sunday, January 10, 2010

Amazing jump rope video

Very impressive. (Starts after a 20-second ad.)

Saturday, January 9, 2010

Placebos: Pretty Good for Depression

A new study shows that both medication and placebos help patients with mild depression feel better.

The tango like you've never seen it done before


Quote to ponder

"Creeds must disagree: it is the whole fun of the thing. If I think the universe is triangular, and you think it is square, there cannot be room for two universes. We may argue politely, we may argue humanely, we may argue with great mutual benefit; but obviously we must argue. Modern toleration is really a tyranny. It is a tyranny because it is a silence. To say that I must not deny my opponent's faith is to say I must not discuss it...It is absurd to have a discussion on Comparative Religions if you don't compare them."

- G.K. Chesterton