Wednesday, December 24, 2008
Painting by Marten de Vos
— Nativity (1577, 106x75cm) _ Three little angels kneel with Mary and Joseph in worship of the newborn Child. The ox and the ass stand behind them. Other angels in the distance announce the birth of Christ to a group of shepherds. The ruin behind Joseph symbolises the defeat of paganism by the coming of the Saviour. The artist has made the symbolism even plainer by including a relief in the classical ruin - a recumbent female nude, possibly Venus, and several playful little naked figures. These represent the pagan world and 'impure', earthly love, as opposed to the divine love in which Christ was conceived.
Marten de Vos spent some time in Italy, where he familiarised himself with the new art of the Renaissance. This is apparent in details like the lively poses, the realistic approach to the anatomy and the references to classical antiquity. The divided upper zone, one half containing an architectural setting and the other a deep landscape, was also typical of 16th-century Venetian art.
Click on the photo for the credits, both for the painting and the information.
I love paintings from this time period. May God bless you all this Christmas.
Monday, December 22, 2008
This is appalling. I just heard of this and would like to pass it on to everyone. Google has a new feature, phone mapping. If you type a phone number into the search bar, it will come up with the name and address of the people who have the number. Then you can click on the word "map" next to the listing and it brings up the map of the address. If you want, you can do a satellite image and see the property. HOLY COW, BATMAN! This is scary! The good news is that you can google your number and if your personal information comes up, you can click on the line which reads "Phone book results for..." right above your information. You are then brought to a screen where you can opt out of the program. Go and Google your phone number now! Decide for yourself if you want to lead strangers to your door, do not let this happen to you unaware.
Imagine what could happen.
Friday, December 19, 2008
SONG: 12 Days of Christmas
ARTIST: Straight No Chaser
WHY I LIKE IT: These guys are fantastic! I love their sound, sense of humor and performance style. I chose this one because it is a "12 days of Christmas" medley, um, sort of. I hope you enjoy it!
Monday, December 15, 2008
This one just tickled my funny bone. I thought you may enjoy it.
"Why isn't she Mary?" The perils of being a nativity play mum...
Many primary school age children don't know the story of the Nativity. But fear not - help is at hand. As reported in today's Times, new comic books, and indeed, an instant nativity play, can be downloaded to fill in the gaps.
But many children do still have nativity plays at their schools, and for some, parents as well as children, they are the highlight of the year. One mother I know still hugs herself at the thought of her son dressed as a snowflake, while another is put out that her school only has a Christmas concert, not a play.
My friend and colleague Jennifer Howze, editor of Alpha Mummy, is currently gearing up for her daughter's first school nativity play. And she's trying hard not to be a pushy nativity mum...
"It's happened. The note came from school saying my daughter needed a long-sleeve gold shirt, sparkly tights and some bits of tinsel for her hair. The nativity play had arrived, and she was going to be a star. With no lines. And I thought, Why isn't she a wise man or an angel? Why isn't she Mary? I had become THAT mum.
I would have let it drop. Except when my daughter and I talked over breakfast the next day, planning where we could find the tights and the bit of tinsel, another bit of information came to light. "The star is a very important part of the nativity play!" I said, in my best game-show host voice. "I'm not the main star," she replied, eating her toast. "That's Thomas. I'm another star."
Not THE star; A star. So she was not even the star that mutely waves over the wise men, but part of a star posse that stands around in the background, presumably making calls on their mobiles and ensuring the limo arrives.
She is, of course, perfectly happy being *another* star, along with her friend Frances. I was the one morphing into Gypsy Rose Lee's mother.
Which explains why I found myself in front of my daughter's teacher actually asking her, in as nonchalant a manner as I could muster, how they assigned the parts. And, erm, why didn't my daughter have any lines? She smiled sweetly. "Oh all the ones that take ballet classes are stars. We did that because they perform a dance in the play."
Oh. A dance. Well, that's pretty good. Especially considering how she loves to boogie around, pointing her toes and doing "floaty" arms.
So I calmed down. I chuckled to myself on the walk from the school gate - how silly, worrying that my daughter was somehow overlooked, her talents not appreciated, her star qualities relegated to "star" qualities. I vowed to put more faith in her teachers for recognising her abilities.
That night my daughter proudly told her father she was in the nativity play as a star. As she danced off across the sitting room, he turned to me and in a low voice said, "A star? Why isn't she Mary?"
Friday, December 5, 2008
I am pleased to know some of the originators of this, and though I do not live in the UK, we need to support the efforts of Christian parents everywhere. I have been told by my friend in the UK that in the first four days they've received 250 names including prominent priests and educators. She wrote in an email, "If you have signed, perhaps you would consider sending the link to as many people as you can think of in order to gain more support. The more names the better! Please note, too, that this petition is not only open to Catholic parents but to anyone who wishes to voice a protest as to what is happening here." This fight belongs to everyone, we all need to protect our innocent children.
Petition to the Catholic Bishops of England and Wales
We, the undersigned, respectfully petition the Catholic Bishops of England and Wales to protest in the strongest terms against the latest Government proposals which seek to make sex and relationship education compulsory for children from age 5 upwards. We believe, in line with the constant teaching of the Church, that such education at so early an age could only have a severely detrimental effect on the children involved, on family life and on society in general. We call upon you as our Shepherds in the Faith to issue an authoritative statement on the Church's teaching on this matter, and to declare that you, as our Bishops, oppose any attempt to undermine the sanctity of the parent-child relationship, the innocence of the child, and our God-given parental authority in such crucial matters.
Download a copy of the letter we are planning to send to the Bishops.
Thank you for your support.
Wednesday, November 26, 2008
I love this turkey picture so much I used it from last year! Isn't this guy a noble one? To me, he almost looks like he is daring the hunter, "Go ahead and try, sir, I can take you on! I'm not going to be anyone's dinner!"
I hope you have a blessed, happy, and healthy Thanksgiving. I intend to eat my fair share of Tom!
Saturday, November 15, 2008
Credit: Library of Congress, Prints and Photographs Division, LC-USZ62-13026 DLC
President Roosevelt served from 1901-1909.
This year, my eldest daughter is studying American Government and Economics. I was reading her textbook and came across this very interesting quote from our twenty-sixth president:
Americanism means the virtues of courage, honor, justice, truth, sincerity
and hardihood -- the virtues that made America. The things that will
destroy America are prosperity-at-any-price, peace-at-any-price, safety-first
instead of duty-first, the love-of-soft-living, and the get-rich-quick theory of
Could Roosevelt see the future?
Friday, November 14, 2008
Monday, November 10, 2008
Tea at Trianon posted a link today, to an article about tailor-made clothes, which happens to be the most recent posting on a blog called Edwardian Promenade. The post title will take you there. I have always had an interest in fashion, less recently as fashions are not worthy of notice, most of today's fashions lack modesty and complete respectability. I found this blog to be fascinating. Go visit and take special note of the tabs on the top. The Glossary of Slang was interesting, and The Titles and Orders of Precedence may help clarify such things if you like to read English Literature. I know as an American, when such things come up I'm completely lost. This is a great reference for we 'classless' people as are often found here in the US. (pun intended)
And, thanks to Tea at Trianon, I've found the next movie I'm going to track down in my library system, Juarez (1939) starring the incomparable Bette Davis. Read Elena Maria Vidal's review.
This is cocklebur growing up between the rows of corn. Even here at Trinity Acres we suffer from that blight! Nasty stuff!
This is from my friend over at Trinity Acres, the title is a link to her blog.
Sunday, November 9, 2008
The election is over. It is what it is. There is so much to think about. So much to do. Yet, what is the right thing to do, now that it is what it is? I suppose there is still some hope that we will not suffer an abomination, albeit a very, very small hope. There is still a court order outstanding regarding Mr. Obama's birth certificate. I am watching with interest to see how this is handled, although I do not think for one moment it will have any effect the proceedings for Inauguration Day.
I, for one, need to put my family first, yet I want to mobilize to effect the mid-term election in some meaningful way, to try and offset the balance of power. But, as a home educating parent, I need to put the education of my children first and foremost. Additionally, we will likely be relocating before Christmas. There is all of that to deal with. What to do?
So, while I contemplate my immediate and long term actions and reactions, and while I plan a relocation, and we continue to pursue job opportunities for my husband, I will pray for our nation.
While I am stressing about life, I have a friend who is in her third trimester, carrying a baby with such medical problems that it is not going to live long past birth, maybe not even survive beyond minutes. My friend has spent 8 days recently in the hospital because of her health problems related to the pregnancy. She has endured much pressure about aborting this baby of hers, a girl, who cannot survive. Yet the only life she can give this precious baby is the life she is supporting right now, inside her womb. This baby is created in the image and likeness of God, the most innocent of the innocent, and she is happy and alive right now. Please pray for my friend and her family.
Wednesday, November 5, 2008
Tuesday, November 4, 2008
I've decided that despite his position on ESCR, I must go with the lesser-of-two-evils.
Despite my nausea, I will cast this vote, in NYS where it doesn't really matter anyway, because even though my vote will not count in any meaningful way, my voice should hopefully be heard through canceling an Obama vote.
I have decided not to vote third party, lest it work in favor of Obama. Any vote not for McCain in this election is almost like voting for Obama by proxy. It is just putting your vote into a pool of votes for naught, which ultimately takes the votes away from McCain, who although imperfect, has not sworn to make FOCA a priority in his first 100 days.
The winner in this election will likely nominate Supreme Court Justices, and I cannot sanction giving this power away to Obama because I refused to vote or because I voted third party which resulted in McCain losing votes; I honestly believe that those voting third party are doing so because they detest Obama.
A vote for McCain in this election is a vote for the lesser-of-two-evils. And there you have it. I'm going to vote and I've been sick about it for weeks now.
I'm going to be grateful for my lack of television tonight, although I've traditionally enjoyed election night coverage more than any other day in the year...it is always so entertaining to watch the newscasters forget themselves in their excitement and react to the data where their personal feelings are worn on their sleeves and their professionalism (or the guise of it) is completely lost. It actually is news television at its best...pure entertainment, absolutely zero value.
Tonight I will be grateful for the inability to watch the fiasco, and I will find out in the morning. I've done all I can, and now I will fast, pray, and go help out at the local school this morning, after I visit the voting booth.
Sunday, October 26, 2008
The picture on this page is an untouched photograph of a being that has been within its mother for 20 weeks. Please do me the favor of looking at it carefully.
Have you any doubt that it is a human being?
If you do not have any such doubt, have you any doubt that it is an innocent human being?
If you have no doubt about this either, have you any doubt that the authorities in a civilized society are duty-bound to protect this innocent human being if anyone were to wish to kill it?
If your answer to this last query is negative, that is, if you have no doubt that the authorities in a civilized society would be duty-bound to protect this innocent human being if someone were to wish to kill it, I would suggest—even insist—that there is not a lot more to be said about the issue of abortion in our society. It is wrong, and it cannot—must not—be tolerated.
But you might protest that all of this is too easy. Why, you might inquire, have I not delved into the opinion of philosophers and theologians about the matter? And even worse: Why have I not raised the usual questions about what a "human being" is, what a "person" is, what it means to be "living," and such? People who write books and articles about abortion always concern themselves with these kinds of things. Even the justices of the Supreme Court who gave us "Roe v. Wade" address them. Why do I neglect philosophers and theologians? Why do I not get into defining "human being," defining "person," defining "living," and the rest? Because, I respond, I am sound of mind and endowed with a fine set of eyes, into which I do not believe it is well to cast sand. I looked at the photograph, and I have no doubt about what I saw and what are the duties of a civilized society if what I saw is in danger of being killed by someone who wishes to kill it or, if you prefer, someone who "chooses" to kill it. In brief: I looked, and I know what I saw.
But what about the being that has been in its mother for only 15 weeks or only 10? Have you photographs of that too? Yes, I do. However, I hardly think it necessary to show them. For if we agree that the being in the photograph printed on this page is an innocent human being, you have no choice but to admit that it may not be legitimately killed even before 20 weeks unless you can indicate with scientific proof the point in the development of the being before which it was other than an innocent human being and, therefore, available to be legitimately killed. Nor have Aristotle, Aquinas or even the most brilliant embryologists of our era or any other era been able to do so. If there is a time when something less than a human being in a mother morphs into a human being, it is not a time that anyone has ever been able to identify, though many have made guesses. However, guesses are of no help. A man with a shotgun who decides to shoot a being that he believes may be a human being is properly hauled before a judge. And hopefully, the judge in question knows what a "human being" is and what the implications of someone's wishing to kill it are. The word "incarceration" comes to mind.
However, we must not stop here. The matter becomes even clearer and simpler if you obtain from the National Geographic Society two extraordinary DVDs. One is entitled "In the Womb" and illustrates in color and in motion the development of one innocent human being within its mother. The other is entitled "In the Womb—Multiples" and in color and motion shows the development of two innocent human beings—twin boys—within their mother. If you have ever allowed yourself to wonder, for example, what "living" means, these two DVDs will be a great help. The one innocent human being squirms about, waves its arms, sucks its thumb, smiles broadly and even yawns; and the two innocent human beings do all of that and more: They fight each other. One gives his brother a kick, and the other responds with a sock to the jaw. If you can convince yourself that these beings are something other than living and innocent human beings, something, for example, such as "mere clusters of tissues," you have a problem far more basic than merely not appreciating the wrongness of abortion. And that problem is—forgive me—self-deceit in a most extreme form.
Adolf Hitler convinced himself and his subjects that Jews and homosexuals were other than human beings. Joseph Stalin did the same as regards Cossacks and Russian aristocrats. And this despite the fact that Hitler and his subjects had seen both Jews and homosexuals with their own eyes, and Stalin and his subjects had seen both Cossacks and Russian aristocrats with theirs. Happily, there are few today who would hesitate to condemn in the roundest terms the self-deceit of Hitler, Stalin or even their subjects to the extent that the subjects could have done something to end the madness and protect living, innocent human beings.
It is high time to stop pretending that we do not know what this nation of ours is allowing—and approving—with the killing each year of more than 1,600,000 innocent human beings within their mothers. We know full well that to kill what is clearly seen to be an innocent human being or what cannot be proved to be other than an innocent human being is as wrong as wrong gets. Nor can we honorably cover our shame (1) by appealing to the thoughts of Aristotle or Aquinas on the subject, inasmuch as we are all well aware that their understanding of matters embryological was hopelessly mistaken, (2) by suggesting that "killing" and "choosing to kill" are somehow distinct ethically, morally or criminally, (3) by feigning ignorance of the meaning of "human being," "person," "living," and such, (4) by maintaining that among the acts covered by the right to privacy is the act of killing an innocent human being, and (5) by claiming that the being within the mother is "part" of the mother, so as to sustain the oft-repeated slogan that a mother may kill or authorize the killing of the being within her "because she is free to do as she wishes with her own body."
One day, please God, when the stranglehold on public opinion in the United States has been released by the extremists for whom abortion is the center of their political and moral life, our nation will, in my judgment, look back on what we have been doing to innocent human beings within their mothers as a crime no less heinous than what was approved by the Supreme Court in the "Dred Scott Case" in the 19th century, and no less heinous than what was perpetrated by Hitler and Stalin in the 20th. There is nothing at all complicated about the utter wrongness of abortion, and making it all seem complicated mitigates that wrongness not at all. On the contrary, it intensifies it.
Do me a favor. Look at the photograph again. Look and decide with honesty and decency what the Lord expects of you and me as the horror of "legalized" abortion continues to erode the honor of our nation. Look, and do not absolve yourself if you refuse to act.
Edward Cardinal Egan
Archbishop of New York
Thursday, October 23, 2008
Being a fan of all fine needle arts and crafts, this story caught my eye. It will provide a moment of distraction from the politics of an election.
Tuesday, September 30 2008, 20:08 BST
By Daniel Kilkelly, Entertainment ReporterAn 89-year-old grandmother who went on a tyre-wrecking spree in her street has been ordered to knit jumpers for her victims.
Heidi Kohl, from western Germany, was arrested after one neighbour spotted her slashing the tyres on a car. She later confessed that she had resorted to drastic measures after becoming "fed up" with so many drivers parking in her neighbourhood.
Kohl was initially told that she would be fined for her behaviour, but authorities came up with the more unusual punishment after the woman claimed she would be unable to pay.
A spokeswoman confirmed: "When she's knitted the sweaters, then the matter will be over for us."
Kohl is believed to have wrecked 50 tyres in total. Prosecutors have said that she will not offend again as she has since been moved to a retirement home.
You can purchase those lovely knitting needles by clicking on the photo.
Tuesday, October 21, 2008
That is not exactly what I was told when I tried to see my child's classroom today, the language was different but the message was the same. Am I crazy to think that I ought to be allowed, as a recognized parent known to all the personnel in the school, to be able to see my child, in her classroom, unobserved by the child or the teacher? I had to go to the office to drop something off and thought I would walk down the hall and see my daughter's class. I wanted to observe, unobserved, I wanted to stay completely out of the classroom dynamic and would have been perfectly pleased to be there and not have even interacted with my daughter. The secretary caught up with me in the hallway and told me that I needed to make an appointment. I said, no, I was here, and I was just going to observe, in no way would I disturb the class. She went into the classroom, told the teacher I was there, then all the kids looked to see me. Then the teacher said, "Tell her to come in, though a little advanced notice would have been nice!" I was furious by the teacher's attitude and also about being announced when I stated I didn't want to.
This really pushed all my mama bear buttons, every single one of them! I flipped, unlike any other time in my dealing-with-the-public-school experience, which admittedly is minimal considering the number of children I have and the fact that I am a home educator. For the last few years, I've exercised my right as a taxpayer to send some wee ones to the local public school, for various reasons. I permitted my youngest three to attend kindergarten, and the older two of the three to attend first grade. I bring them home for second grade, FHC year, and keep them home after that. My eldest children have never been to school. Every year a few times a year I drop in, unannounced, sign in at the main office, don my visitor's badge and proceed to the child's classroom to observe, unannounced through the door. My purpose is just to watch my child interact, and set some of my home educator curiosities about my child's behavior at ease. I watch the child interact with the teacher, the teacher with the students, and the overall atmosphere in the classroom.
My daughter seems to be having some issues this year, and I'm trying to sort through them, well actually, it appears to be issues with classroom management, and my daughter is suffering a bit. I wanted to see what was happening, and I was thwarted. I was told to make an appointment. I felt I have the right, as a parent to watch my child interact with her teacher. I marched into the principal's office and told her that I felt the teacher was rude, the secretary disturbed the class and I had just wanted to watch the teacher and the students interact without my child or the teacher performing for me. She told me I couldn't do that, and I asked when the open door policy had been closed. I told her that being intercepted and announced was NOT what I wanted and I, as a parent have every right to see what is going on with my child. I hand her over to them for a good portion of every day, and I have a right to know what is going on.
Apparently not. Am I wrong here?
I understand that voting is a right and a privilege. I do. I really do. But yet, for the first time, I find myself in a position of really questioning our system and not wanting to vote. I just don't know what to do. I am leaning toward voting for McCain but that thought just sickens me. If I vote for him, it will only be to clearly state through my vote, that I refuse to vote for Obama.
The consideration of third party candidates is appealing, but is it reasonable? Some say voting for third party candidates will voice our displeasure in our choices the same way that a no vote would, except that you are supporting someone who, despite having no real chance to win, will show the government what we really want, a choice who isn't nauseating. There is some legitimacy to that argument, that voting for third party candidates still allows you to exercise your right to vote, and still sends a message, but I can't help thinking about Ross Perot. What if our third party choices take just enough votes from McCain to throw an abomination into office? Would it not be better to refuse to vote than allow that to happen through a misguided attempt to have our voices be heard in a way that might cause irrevocable damage?
Of course, there will be some who say that this is precisely why we Catholics must vote for McCain, the lesser of two evils. Then there is the propaganda about Obama being the savior of our country, with votives and all, though some claim that it is just a votive of St. Martin. One must really wonder if the picture put on those votives isn't supposed to make those with little to no knowledge of faith question the salvific qualities of Obama...I think I just choked on that sentence...that is blasphemy, and someone is capitalizing on the resemblance of those votives to the abomination, or deliberately made the image to resemble him, either way, it is propaganda in one of the worst examples I've seen to date.
I've had a campaign hitting my e-mail box, from my friends, trying to convince me that McCain is the only choice in this upcoming election. I've seen and heard many statements to the effect of "If you don't vote, you have no right to complain" and the latest one is "If you don't vote, don't emote." Whether or not we vote, we have a right to voice our opinion about who is in office, because, frankly, I don't think that my vote is going to make any difference in the outcome.
Admittedly, my friends are making some headway in convincing me to cast a vote for the lesser of two evils. But, I am far from knowing what I will do come election day. Here is the latest to arrive in my mailbox, anyone have any comments on this?:
From Dreams of My Father:'I ceased to advertise my mother's race at the age of 12 or 13, when I began to suspect that by doing so I was ingratiating myself to whites.'
From Dreams of My Father : 'I found a solace in nursing a pervasive sense of grievance and animosity against my mother's race.'
From Dreams of My Father:'There was something about him that made me wary, a little too sure of himself, maybe. And white.'
From Dreams of My Father: 'It remained necessary to prove which side you were on, to show your loyalty to the black masses, to strike out and name names.'
From Dreams of My Father:'I never emulate white men and brown men whose fates didn't speak to my own. It was into my father's image, the black man, son of Africa , that I'd packed all the attributes I sought in myself , the attributes of Martin and Malcolm, DuBois and Mandela.'
And FINALLY the Most Damning one of ALL of them!!!
From Audacity of Hope:'I will stand with the Muslims should the political winds shift in an ugly direction.'
* If you have never forwarded an e-mail, now is the time to Do so!!! We CANNOT have someone with this type of mentality running our GREAT nation!! I don't care whether you a Democrat or a Conservative. We CANNOT turn ourselves over to this type of character in a President. PLEASE help spread the word
Send to all you can!
I guess I have some reading to do, and I will be looking for these books when I head out to the library later today. A disclaimer and an invitation about this posting...I am just trying to sort all of this out and would be glad for any further information. My opinions are just that, opinions, and I'm honestly trying to figure all of this out before election day, be charitable my friends, I will honestly consider all of your thoughts, feel free to contact me in the comm box or in my email box. Thank you.
Monday, October 20, 2008
Rehearsal for what? For your funeral! There is an art exhibit currently in Austria, from the Reuter's news article:
Their art installation, which has passed through Frankfurt, Istanbul, Toronto and Venice, blends in well with Vienna, the home of elaborate funerals and with one of the world's few museums dedicated to death.
This may well fit into the category of "I've seen everything" but I wonder if anyone was inspired to go to confession after rehearsing their funeral?
Sunday, October 19, 2008
One of my daughters is due to make her FHC in the spring. We live in the Albany diocese (NY) for now, and it is rather liberal. I've not been really happy with our diocese since we've lived here, it is much more liberal than where we lived previously. I've complained before about the Masses and the liberal views. You can imagine my apprehension when I learned that my daughter would be required to attend a 'Reconciliation Retreat' at a parish where I refuse to attend Mass.
We attend the TLM, and it is a drive to get there. There are no programs for sacraments, which doesn't really bother me because I teach at home. I do take my 2nd graders to the local parish program because it is stellar! A friend of mine teaches it, he is Traditional, he packs in the doctrine. He realizes that this is an important opportunity in the NO parish life, to teach the children. He insists on them completing a large amount of homework, which requires parental participation, thereby he is reaching those parents who fell victim to the post Vatican II CCD experiments. Unfortunately there are a lot of parents out there who really missed out on good Catholic formation in the 1970s and 80s, despite attending classes. I cannot comment on the 1990s though I suspect it is more of the same. In fact, as a little side note, there is a problem in this parish with the parents admittedly not understanding the basics of our faith, we cannot get volunteers to teach the classes because they cannot understand the text books, grades k-6! The second grade program is solid, and it reinforces what I teach at home, someone other than Mom and Dad are saying the same thing, which is always a bonus!
Back to the retreat...the second grade teacher was skeptical, as was I. In the Albany Diocese, their answer to the priest shortage is what they term, "Called To Be Church" and it involves clustering parishes within a deanery together to pool resources, including the priests. The local parish is clustered with this parish where I refuse to attend, the priest serves the two parishes, and we have never had this retreat before, but in the spirit of cooperation he agreed to give it a try. The first half hour was a lecture given to the parents and children combined. The second half hour involved two skits, performed with puppets. Here I should interject that this was held in the church, around the altar. One of the performers sat in the priest's chair. The puppet theater was on the floor in front of the altar. The tabernacle is in a far corner, this is one of those round arrangements of pews sans kneelers around the altar, inside of a square building. The first skit was a puppet talking to an adult woman. The puppet felt badly about lying to his mother, and the woman advised him to apologize to his mother and talk to a priest. Not too bad, the kids were entertained. The second skit was Luke 15: 1-7, the parable of the lost sheep. The children were definitely entertained, I think they will remember the parable, but the message got lost in the entertainment, and it is unfortunate that it was held in the church instead of the large meeting hall in the basement. Puppet shows do not belong in the church. The final hour was devoted to a craft project, and snacks...a rather bountiful table of treats which was definitely pleasing to all the children.
When the children went downstairs to that meeting room, and the parents were left in the church with the priest. He exited to an office, and there was a woman up by the altar, which seemed more like a stage at this point, with props and such. She sat in the priest's chair and pretended to talk on a cell phone to someone about the fact that her son was going to be receiving two sacraments this year. Then she ended her call and prayed, asking God how she is supposed to be sure her son was ready. This is when God spoke to her over the PA system from the priest's office. He explained she was already preparing him by her devotion to him. She has taught him to trust that when he cries out for help, someone who loves him will answer. That opens the door for her son to trust in God. And it went on and on about how God is love. Then the priest came out, and addressed the parents, where he opened with, "That is the only time I get to play God." Next, he said he would take questions, but he would like to address the big question everyone always has, which is, "Why must we go to confession, won't God forgive our sins through our just asking Him, in private, without the priest?" I was hopeful! I actually thought perhaps this was going to turn out FAR better than I had anticipated. But my hopes were soon dashed.
When I taught confirmation classes, I spent two years preparing teenagers for the sacrament. One of the things I was most shocked about, teaching Confirmation in a NO parish, is the lack of attention to the confessional. In our diocese, Confirmation candidates must be at least 16 years old. Most of my students had not been to a confessional since FHC, despite my devoting at least 10% of class time to the topic in class over the two years of instruction. I wondered how that could be, why these students failed to understand the importance. Yesterday's retreat enlightened me. When the priest addressed answered his own question about the necessity of confession, I expected instruction on sanctifying grace and the necessity of obtaining that grace through frequent confession, keeping your soul in a state of grace, etc. Instead we were told to illustrate the necessity by dropping a pebble into a puddle or a dish of water, explaining that sin has a ripple effect, and we must apologize to society for our sins and their resulting effects. The priest is representative of society, so for us to apologize appropriately, we need to confess to the priest.
We were then encouraged to participate in the penance services held within our cluster group, which always occur during Lent and Advent. There was a woman who asked, "Is that what they are teaching now, confession only twice a year instead of monthly?" He said no, that we are expected to make frequent confessions, but realistically, priests just are not readily available, often times the priest cannot make scheduled confession times for each parish. He also added that when he is there, the confessional remains empty.
This brings me right back around to the original point, catechesis is sorely lacking. Between the scheduling difficulties and the lack of proper instruction, of course the confessionals are empty! When we have a captive audience of adults, parents in particular, why is the instruction incomplete? I was disappointed yet again.
Tuesday, October 14, 2008
you would have $49.00 today.
If you had purchased $1,000 of shares in AIG one year ago, you would
have $33.00 today.
If you had purchased $1,000 of shares in Lehman Brothers one year ago,
you would have $0.00 today.
But, if you had purchased $1,000 worth of beer one year ago, drank all
the beer, then turned in the aluminum cans for recycling refund, you
will have around $214.00.
Based on the above, the best current investment plan is to drink heavily
It is called the 401-Keg.
H/T to Mary from SagHarbor Gifts
How many people are there, who not only delay a thought of death until it confronts them, but also, say idiotic things like "I'll convert on my deathbed!" I can not tell you how many people, be they Catholics or Protestants, justify their evils by claiming they will convert on their deathbed? How many more non-believers who entertain some thought of afterlife, say "well, I'll convert on my deathbed." What if there is no deathbed? What if....
Go read the rest!
Monday, October 13, 2008
My short list, which could be much longer if it weren't for the fact that the time is after midnight, and I really ought to at least TRY to sleep:
1. Not just cherries, but any fruit, is a blessing to be thankful for. Heck, why not go all out and say food on the table. Food is a blessing, and one to be enjoyed. Isn't this picture of the cherries just luscious? Click on the picture for a link to the gallery, in case you have extra cash and would like to buy this mouthwatering artwork.
2. Coffee, coffee, coffee, especially made this way, in my french press.
3. Chocolate, oh how I love chocolate, especially Green and Black. It is a toss up which variety is the most scrumptious, but Maya Gold would indeed be a top contender!
(click the image to buy a print)
The Blessed Sacrament (absent from this photograph), Christ crucified and risen, our Glorious Faith, it is a reason to get up in the morning. The Catholic faith provides us with many reasons, not the least of which is to get up and try again when we fall, to find our way to heaven. I do not know how non-Catholics manage to survive without despair. It is hard enough as a Catholic sometimes, how on earth could I manage if I was not a Catholic? Thanks be to God, I will never have to know.
Sunday, October 12, 2008
H/T to The Cross Reference blog for this (see links) I left Jeff's comments in, highlighted in red. This just brings to the surface, once again, that only boys belong on the altar. It is a detriment having girls and women serve, a detriment to vocations. My thoughts on female servers can be found in the links, see Female Acolytes and Vocations.
Here is an address that Pope Paul VI gave in March of 1967 to a pilgrimage of (male) altar servers from across Europe to Rome. I just read it this evening, and I think it's rather timely and appropriate.
Dear sons, in your beautiful white albs you present us with a splendid sight that is a joy to our eyes and our heart. We are happy to address a few words to you, in response to the request expressed in your name by your friend and protector in Rome, the Cardinal Archpriest of St. Peters.
His words introducing you to us suggest the thought that the whiteness of your vestments is a reflection of the whiteness of your souls. Your contact with the altar sustains and develops in your souls faith, devotion, purity, and all the other virtues that are pleasing to God.
You will remember the young man in the gospel who had faithfully cultivated those same virtues since childhood. The evangelist tells us that Jesus looked up him with love: Iesus, intuitus eum, dilexit eum, "Looking on him, Jesus loved him." (Mark 10:21)
We believe that we see the Savior's look also resting upon each one of you with special favor. Are you not the ones who come so very near to him as you serve at the altar? Is it then surprising that his call to an even greater nearness to him should at some time -- as has just been said to us -- sound in the hearts of some of you?
Dear sons, the charge that we wish to commit to you consists in two points: be faithful to carry out in exemplary fashion the liturgical functions assigned to you; listen to the voice of Christ if he graciously calls you to follow him more closely.
To be faithful: that is a whole program for life. As you know the word "faithfulness" includes the word "faith". To revivify that faith at the tombs of the Apostles is the reason you have come to Rome. In that faith St. Paul summarized his whole life as an apostle when he came to the end of his earthly life: fidem servavi, "I have kept the faith," he said to his disciple Timothy. (2 Timothy 4:7) I have been faithful to God, to Christ, to the Church. I have been faithful to my calling, to the ministry entrusted to me. May such a faithfulness be yours and may it be particularly true of those concerns involved in your functions as servers at the altar.
You might at times think that the liturgy is made up of a lot of minor details: posture, genuflections, bows, handling the censer, missal, cruets, etc. It is then that you must remember the words of Christ in the gospel: "He that is faithful in the smallest things is faithful also in the great." (Luke 16:10) Moreover, in the liturgy nothing is little, when we realize the greatness of the one to whom it is directed.
Therefore, dear sons, be outstanding in faithfulness toward carrying out your sacred functions. To that devote your attention, all your heart, and all your love.
Next, listen to the divine call. We will share with you one of our worries. In the face of the vastness of the task of evangelization that the modern world sets before us, we often put the question to ourself: How are we going to find enough priests, enough religious to meet this need? Does it not seem as though God is calling in vain -- that today's young people have no wish to hear him; that they no longer have the taste for God, the response to the ideal, the attraction toward sacrifice?
Dear sons, a good number of those older than you have resoundingly repudiated such fears. May it come true that a great many of you also will follow in their footsteps! Be on your guard against letting the voice that calls you go unheard and unanswered. Pray ardently that from among your ranks Christ may choose many to carry on his priesthood.
(Documents on the Liturgy 338, paragraphs 2919-2920)
Saturday, October 11, 2008
Cut and pasted from Redneck Catholic:
Five people have said to count them in.
Now I'm asking you to join in, if you haven't received an e-mail from me. What I'm going to do is put up a new poll--as the easiest way to count 'em up. If you will join in this fast for America, just answer yes. If not, answer no or ignore it.
And, may I suggest a prayer to the Immaculate conception, who is our nations patroness? I know it's out of style, but this is time of decision for the United States--not the "All the Americas".
Thursday, October 9, 2008
*Note...This is not my sonogram, I am not expecting lest you think otherwise.
I do not believe in casting a vote for the lesser evil. I have done that in the past and have had much Catholic guilt about it. I have also voted for the lesser evil only to have the greater evil elected anyway.
Someone recently said to a group of my friends and me, that she thinks the people in our government are controlled by their lust for money and power, and are therefore blind to the common good. They cannot see what is good for the people because it is at odds with what is good for themselves, it is at odds with their desires. She ended by reminding us to look at how long Roe v. Wade has been the law of the land, adding that if the government doesn't get that there is a baby in a mother's womb, they are not going to get much else.
This is true. Anyone who does not comprehend that a baby is in fact a baby, from the moment of conception, is not going to understand the concept of for the common good beyond what is good for themselves. Show me a politician who has 100% respect for life, and I will cast a vote. Show me a politician who thinks beyond themselves and is genuinely interested in what is best for this country, perhaps even at the expense of their own personal interests, and I will cast a vote. Anything else, to me, at this point in time, is selling out.
May God have mercy on the United States of America. And, if I'm missing something here, may God show me in time to cast a vote, should I be anywhere near a proper polling place at the time of the election.
Wednesday, October 8, 2008
This brilliant photograph is from here.
Upon waking, in the New York mountains today, I find the ground thickly coated with frost. We have tried very hard to get all of our apples harvested, but it is no small task. Our house smells deliciously of apple treats, and fall is my favorite time of the year. Normally by now we are settled into our full swing with homeschooling, and I'm settling into a time of blissful domesticity. Not only do I adore the mountains in all their glory at this time of the year, swathed in the foliage they display with pride, truly at their most brilliant in October, but I love the crisp air, cool and sometimes frosty nights; and the days that tease your nose with the cool bite before warming into a memory of the summer just passed while always requiring you to wear a shawl or light jacket. This time of year makes me long to hit the kitchen and make soups, stews, and especially breads and muffins, and treats of the fall harvest like apple pie, crisp and sauce. The house smells wonderful and that makes me want it to look wonderful too, so I am inspired to sort clothes, changing over from summer to winter fashions, and clean the house. I'm more willing to do the fall cleaning than my spring cleaning. In the spring, it is a cleanse before Easter, in the fall, it is a cleanse because we are heading into the winter, and the house should be cosy and warm, clean and inviting. I love this time of year.
Yet, this year is different than most, or dare I say different from all that I've ever experienced in the past. Instead of reveling in the glories of fall in the mountains, I'm dealing with migraines and stresses. I'm fighting fear this year, of a sort I never thought I'd have to face. It is frightening. Spiritually I know that letting in fear is an invitation to Satan. I keep trying to remember to have faith in God, focus on the beauty of life as it tickles my senses every moment of the day in the autumn. But it harder than ever before, for me, this year.
Pray for me my friends. We are facing a layoff and a housing crisis. There is no prospect of employment at the moment for my husband after his company closes, his layoff date is as yet undisclosed, yet we know it is coming at any time within the next 10 months. We've been seeking employment for him for months now, knowing that this was a possibility, and since there are 700 others effected, we are looking in 12 states, none of which are our home state of NY. Correction, we are looking in NY, and have been, but realise it is a fool's dream to stay in NY with a large family and the cost of living here, given our current circumstances. The amount of salary he'd be required to draw in would be higher here than just about anywhere else in the US. We are considering some radical moves, weighing our options. Things we never would have considered, even six months ago, are on the table now and being considered as real possibilities. Fear of the unknown is setting in, and I cannot succumb to fear, so I'm fighting it tooth and nail. Now I have a migraine.
This economic crisis is not only effecting the fat cats on wall street and bankers who are being bailed out. But as we see, those who were bailed out are continuining in their greed and habits of excessive spending. The average Joe, like Mr. and Mrs. Thorns and their team of children are the ones who stand to lose everything. May God have Mercy on the United States, and all countries of this world governed by greed and godlessness, most especially those suffering at the hands of it, even when they were living a frugal life.
Tuesday, October 7, 2008
Apparently a $440,000.oo price. For starters.
If you'd just gotten a government bailout, you might be tempted to hold a retreat at a nice California hotel -- and that's exactly what American International Group (AIG: 3.51, -0.36, -9.30%) executives did. Read the article here.
After reading the article, consider these quotes:
"All life demands struggle. Those who have everything given to them become lazy, selfish, and insensitive to the real values of life. The very striving and hard work that we so constantly try to avoid is the major building block in the person we are today." -Pope Paul VI
"Stupidity is also a gift from God; but one mustn't misuse it." -Pope John Paul II
I honestly thought that this blog was already on my blogroll!
Now that it is officially on the blogroll instead of just bookmarked on my computer ;-), I recommend you to take a look at these articles by Lady Lydia:
Worrying About Money
Don't Bail out the International Bankers
or many of her archives about lovely crafts, feminism, homemaking, and the art of being a woman. Welcome Lady Lydia and Home Living!
Saturday, October 4, 2008
Hat tip to Jamie and Claudio from Ad Silvam Ibimus for this:
In discussing the Bank Renewal bill with a delegation of bankers in 1832, Jackson said, “Gentlemen, I have had men watching you for a long time, and I am convinced that you have used the funds of the bank to speculate in the breadstuffs of the country. When you won, you divided the profits amongst you, and when you lost, you charged it to the bank. You tell me that if I take the deposits from the bank and annul its charter, I shall ruin ten thousand families. That may be true, gentlemen, but that is your sin! Should I let you go on, you will ruin fifty thousand families, and that would be my sin! You are a den of vipers and thieves. I intend to rout you out, and by the eternal God, I will rout you out.”
This poor woman. This is beyond sad and will likely be repeated over and over and over again. Any person who says things are not so bad, that we are becoming alarmists, is fooling themselves.
The concluding paragraph in this article reads:
Home foreclosure rates are at record highs in the United States, in many cases because buyers with adjustable interest rates could not keep up with sharp increases in monthly payments. The foreclosure crisis has sparked a wider housing market downturn and is at the heart of the U.S. financial crisis.
May God have Mercy!
For the love Thou doth bear to those who ask forgiveness,
Look on me, merciful Lord, as Thou didst look on Thy Mother, Mary,
Let me feel in my heart her compassion for Thee,
Friday, October 3, 2008
It seems to me that The United States of America (and much of the world, but I'm living in the US so I will only speak of that which I know) or more specifically her citizens, are too caught up in materialism and not connected enough to God. We have a dual income society. Not out of necessity, out of want. Our wives and mothers are out there working*, putting children into daycare to be raised by state standards rather than God's standards. Those parents feel they need to both work, but they don't really; they only need to both work if they want more than what the husband's salary can provide. You cannot have a 6000 square foot McMansion, in the suburbs, drive two new vehicles, have ipods for little Jane and Johnny, a flat screen plasma television the size of the living room wall, and the cable connections to infuse into it, blackberries for mom and dad, cell phones all around, Wii for when there is nothing to watch on television despite having 200 channels of smut to choose from, and afford the gas to cart Jane and Johnny to their 5 weekly activities a piece, on one income. What you can afford on one income is a sufficient house (more than sufficient by world-wide standards), a tracphone for mom and dad, a modest television with a DVD player and a library card to borrow videos, books to line the walls, one very nice car or two used cars, a family computer with a dvd/cd burner and some access to a download site such as i-tunes or that other one with the funny looking logo, ipods for the kids if they buy it themselves with their own money, and one extra-curricular activity per child.
I know this, because we live this. Americans do not want to live this way. They want what they want when they want it, which is always yesterday. If the neighbors get something new, well then I will have it too. Americans don't wait until they can pay for something, they buy it on credit. We live large and it is catching up to us. This is why, in my opinion, the best thing that can happen is for the economy to crash. Let people learn what the dollar means again. We will all be in it together, and we will have to pull ourselves up by our bootstraps, just like the pioneers who built this country. I realize this is not a romantic prospect, it is going to be hard, and many will want to give up, but it is time to separate the men from the boys. We will have to get our hands dirty to survive. That is the best thing that could happen to Americans right now. It will be ugly, but in the end, I think this will bring our nation back to God. We need to boot the fat cats out of politics, and boot the self serving egotists out of our corporations. We need Americans to find their entreprenurial spirit and tap into their survival instinct. We need Americans to be self sufficient once again, like we all were at one point. We have it in our blood, not so many generations back either. Find it within yourselves and hunker down for what is going to be a rough time ahead.
Incidentally, in my humble opinion, I think if this bail out goes through, it will only be a band aid. It is just putting off the inevitable. I think, if it does pass, it will buy some people the time to plan better for the inevitable, and that things will end up being worse down the line. The ones who use this time wisely will be the best off. The best way to use this time? Eliminate the excess in your lives. Sell off those expensive gadgets (if anyone will buy them) and use the money to prepare yourself for what is coming. LEARN how to be more self sufficient and live with some 'discomfort' because a little training in discomforts will likely pay off big in the long run.
*I do realize there are some who must work, not for wants but for needs, this does not apply to them. I also realize there are some who work and the husband stays home. That is fine too, if it works for their family. Then, there are those who have important jobs and are motivated by altruism over materialism, again, this doesn't apply to them.
Thursday, September 25, 2008
Saturday, September 20, 2008
Friday, September 19, 2008
Monday, September 15, 2008
Snoopy's Happy Dance!
I'm doing a happy dance...looks like that strange interview last week MIGHT pay off for my husband. He's been asked to interview at the other company next week. Mr. Thorns is at work now, so I won't know for sure when he is going or if it is going to work out at all, but Woohoo! There's something on the horizon, let's pray this is it.
Incidentally, did I mention that Mr. Thorn's international corporation empoyer is shutting its doors? The big announcement was made when we returned from Nashville. Gee, it sounds like intuition paid off this time, for once. Please pray to St. Joseph that we find acceptable employment opportunities for dh, enough salary to keep us going for a while, and acceptable housing as well. Oh it is so complicated and stressful.
Sunday, September 14, 2008
An Addendum, h/t to Thorn in the Pew. This is, I feel, pertinent to the discussion on Digital Hairshirt in that it reminds us of why we are to love, and even helps a bit with why...love is stronger than evil. At least for me, this makes me want to strive harder to forgive and to love.
Saturday, September 13, 2008
My husband and I went to Nashville, we flew out on the 11th and returned on the 12th. It was not a pleasure trip, but a fact finding mission. He had an interview out there, and being a girl from the Northeast, I was not too sure if I could survive the heat down south. IT WAS HOT! 90º on September 11th and 12th. Meanwhile in the mountains of NY it was merely in the low 60s. But, I must say, Nashville is a pleasant metropolitan area. I do not think I would mind living there at all. As far as the interview is concerned, it was rather strange. The interviewer suggested Mr. Thorns contact another company, put him in touch with a person and now we are pursuing a different direction. Boy, if everyone in Nashville is that nice, we are going for sure!
Nashville is a gorgeous city set up like a wheel with spokes on it. The road system is so well designed that you can get from one side to the other VERY quickly. Of course, I will be the first to admit that we do not have a full impression, being there only 24 hours with appointments to keep us busy for much of that time. We ate in a couple of really interesting places. Breakfast was in THE WAFFLE HOUSE which reminded me of Mel's Diner on that old television show from that television show, ALICE, from the 1970s I think. The waitresses had to stand on a mark and yell the orders to the cook, who yelled them back to confirm. The language she was speaking? Pure diner-ese, we had no idea what she was saying when she ordered. She said things like...hash browns, scattered, capped, and smothered, and this was the only thing we could remember because it made some sense. We were laughing. Add in the accent so unique to Tennesseans and so vastly different from New Yawkas and it becomes clear, we were highly entertained trying to comprehend and translate dinerese. We wanted to try the WAFFLE HOUSE because they were literally everywhere we drove around; we figured it had to be good. And, we love waffles. Surprisingly there was only one waffle selection on the menu, so how the restaurant ended up with its name remains a mystery to us. I kept waiting to hear, "Kiss my grits" which were, by the way, on the menu. It was a fun breakfast, the food was good, the bacon was piled high on our egg and cheese sandwiches. We couldn't complain.
We had dinner in the Gerst Haus, which is a German pub style restaurant. It is right across from the coliseum in Nashville. I enjoy a nice mug of dark beer. Guiness has always been a favorite of mine but can claim nothing on the Dinkelacker which I had in a fishbowl! A fishbowl is actually only a pint, and took me through my entire meal. Mr. Thorns and I shared a combination dinner of Weiner Schnitzel (pan fried and breaded veal), Stroganoff, and Sauerbraten (roasted marinated beef). For the side dishes we had hot German potato salad and spaetzle. It was quite a tasty dinner. I'm not a big fan of German dishes on the whole, but I did enjoy this meal. Or maybe I just enjoyed being out with Mr. Thorns, in a real restaurant, which we only manage to do once every 2-3 years. I would definitely recommend a visit to this place if you happen to be at the coliseum in Nashville for a game. I would go for happy hour alone, which we were there for. The aforementioned fishbowl of excellent draught beer was only $2.50 during happy hour. They also had a selection of half price appetizers but we didn't have any, we were there for dinner.
Now we shall wait and see if Nashville will be our new home. Never did this New Yawk girl ever think she'd end up there, especially since we have moved out of metropolitan areas for the quiet life in the mountains, but we shall see. An interesting note about the landscape in Nashville is the fact that you can live suburban or even rural and still be less than 30 minutes from the city. What a neat place to be, if you can take the heat!
One final comment about the south, and a striking difference from the northeast in particular, would be the manners of Southerners. They have it all over us in New York. It was a pleasant experience to see people on their best behaviors, and to find that mothers are still raising gentlemen who mind their manners, to the point of insistance. I did enjoy my visit.
Wednesday, September 10, 2008
Thanks to Digi for finding this!
CHRIS & KEITH 'LEFT' OUT AT MSNBC
September 8, 2008 --
THERE'S been a coup against the leftists occupying MSNBC's election anchor desk. Chris Matthews and Keith Olbermann have been bumped by the Peacock Network, beginning with the upcoming presidential debates and continuing through election night, a spokeswoman said.
David Gregory will be the new political anchor, while Matthews and Olbermann will return to their nightly shows, "Hardball" and "Countdown," respectively.
The benching of the blowhards comes amid accusations that the pair has been shilling for the Democratic ticket.
When Barack Obama accepted his party's nomination, Matthew's hard-hitting critique of the speech was that it sent a thrill up his leg.
Pennsylvania Gov. Ed Rendell recently called MSNBC "the official network of the Obama campaign."
Angry Republicans made their feelings known during Sarah Palin's vice-presidential acceptance speech. When the Alaska governor got to the media-bashing section of her speech, the GOP faithful could be heard chanting, "NBC! NBC!"
But the hatred directed toward Matthews and Olbermann by Republicans is nothing compared to the daggers they've been hurling at each other and their NBC colleagues.
During the Democratic convention, Olbermann appeared to be upset by Matthew's long-winded analysis of Hillary Rodham Clinton's speech. Olbermann made a hand-gesture imitating a flapping mouth. Matthews shot back, "I can do the same to you!" and defended his commentary, saying, "That's what I thought, all right?"
The bickering and infighting has caused embarrassment among colleagues and may have caused the ax to fall.
NBC news legend Tom Brokaw recently said, "I think Keith has gone too far. I think Chris has gone too far."
An insider told The Post that Olbermann responded by pushing to have Brokaw banned from MSNBC.
Friday, September 5, 2008
Click on the picture to see where it came from. It seemed to work so well for my topic.
I was raised by a feminist mother who never talked much about her faith or her politics. She raised us to be strong women and I believe my sisters and I are. Unlike my mother, I am NOT a feminist, but having feminism spoon fed my entire childhood and adolescence, served right up alongside Novus Ordo Catholicism, it was an angst filled road to realize I am a Traditional Catholic with traditional family values, and the polar opposite of a feminist. I'm sure my family wonders where in the world I came from.
The other day I had the pleasure of joining two of my cousins, strong women raised by the sister's of my mother, but were peers of my mother due to the age differences between the sisters, and share a lot of my mother's thoughts and perspective. I wholeheartedly enjoyed the lunch, food aside which was entirely delicious, and learned a lot about myself during this visit.
At one point in the coversation, my cousin remarked that she lives in a world of gray, but her husband is entirely black and white. She was saying that it can be frustrating for her sometimes because he is so black and white they cannot immediately see where the other is coming from on some important issues. I was thinking how I could understand it would be frustrating to live with a person who was so wholly black and white. She described her husband as being resolute on things, able to see the opposing viewpoint but not the middle ground. There are no mitigating circumstances, there is no compromise. I was thinking, this is not a pretty picture, I wouldn't want to be black and white with no gray. Then she continued to say when issues come up, she will always wonder what caused things to be as they are, why did the people involved act as they did, and she will wonder if she should alter her judgement of the actions based upon the circumstances that led to them. I was thinking, that sounds like waffling. Then she said her husband would look at the issue, see what was done and pronounce it right or wrong, agree or disagree, etc. He would not make allowances for the fact that someone made a wrong decision because he was in a situation where it was difficult to make the right one. I was appalled that I fell into this category and admitted based upon that definition, I was a black and white and not a gray. I wanted to be a gray, to have the sort of compassion that my cousin has, to be able to see all the mitigating circumstances and to allow for them. I was genuinely sad that I was not a gray. But only for a moment.
I started thinking about free will. We all have it and we can choose how we will act. We face hundreds of decisions every day from what to wear and eat, how to spend our time, whether or not to vote Republican. Some are big and some are small, but we all have choices to make each day and how we act makes us who we are. I am aware there is gray in the world, but for the most part (not entirely, thankfully) I reject the gray. I have to make an effort to see and react to the gray, for the most part I see things very cut and dry. I do not believe there are mitigating circumstances where abortion should be allowed. I do not believe in excuses. I can be convinced, with my mother's heart, that there can be reasons behind behaviors that are not immediately apparent, but they usually need to be pointed out, I need to stop and consider there is gray. I'm getting better, I want a little gray in my life, it is exhausting being so black and white. But there is a time for black and white with no compromise.
Black and white is what was causing me, for the first time in my life, to be strong enough to go against everything I was ever taught and refuse to vote this election. I talked about it in earlier posts. I cannot in all good conscience vote for either candidate. I've never been so disgusted over my choices. Sarah Palin has introduced shades of gray. I have no idea what to do now. All the reasons I did not want to vote for McCain are still there. But Sarah is gray on the Republican ticket. My first (black and white) instinct is she is not enough to sway my non-vote into a Republican vote. Christopher Ferrara in this article, and Mary Alexander (on and off the blog), and many others are trying to show me the gray. I think this election just got interesting.