Monday, November 17, 2008

Holiday Cheer-up

Okay - feeling a little bit better. Watched the movie ELF with the family, vented a bit, and thought more about Christmas! Thought about what I'd like to sing this year with my family.

(Jessica & Nick's version here)

While searching for old christmas songs for my ipod to lead a sing along, I came across this incredible new music cd by an actress and now christian singer... Kristin Chenoweth.

The big deal was that I wanted the song "Come on ring those bells." Because we have played that every christmas while decorating the tree since I was a little girl, but I no longer have a turntable to play it. When I looked it up as a CD by Evie on ebay and amazon, the current bid was $32 and the buy it price was a minimum of $65. So needless to say, when I could buy this Kristin's CD with the same song and sound - the whole CD "A Lovely Way to Spend Christmas," not a single - for $10, I was thrilled!

Here she is singing "The Christmas Waltz"

and singing I'll be home for Christmas

Gets you in the mood, doesn't it!?

Revealing Myself

The Simple Woman's Daybook
~ Nov 17, 2008

FOR TODAY - I am sharing something really real. Most people have a hard time with hearing such raw thoughts from me. If you are not able to handle reading feelings related to depression, this post is not for you. If you are looking to "save" me somehow, this is not why I am writing. Only a miracle from God can save me today.

I have mostly good days, today is just not one of them.

Outside my window... is sunny skies that are decieving. It's really cold out there.

I am thinking... that life is monotonous and inreconciably disheartening. I'm in a reality slump, and wouldn't mind checking out for awhile.

I am thankful for... television and music that can distract me from this lonliness. Right now I am listening to my playlist on my Myspace. The song that gets me the most is "When I see you smile" by Firehouse.

From the learning rooms... there is not a sound, because the kids would rather play today, and I'd rather not.

In the kitchen... you can see piles of dishes undone, an old bowl full of apples that will never be baked, and a to do list I can't bear to look at again.

I am wearing... my coziest lounge outfit, blue with butterflies. Mostly because it's the only thing that really fits me nicely since my weight continues to go up. And I can't bear to buy anything larger or more of this size - which admits I'm stuck like this.

I am creating... nothing, because it would be a waste of time and money. I am surprised I am creating this post. I am not looking for pity or advice. I just want to be REAL.

I am going... back to bed or on a solitary walk as soon as Tom gets home.

I am reading... other blogs in hopes to find something that doesn't make me feel like such a failure.

I am hoping... for a godsend, a miraculous change in my day without any effort exerted from myself.

I am hearing... my children entertain themselves peacefully, knowing mommy's not "with-it" today.

Around the house... are piles of unfinished tasks, hobby projects waiting to be started, and toys strewn about the floor.

One of my favorite things... to do is watch movies that portray the life I'd like to have. Movies like Dan in real life, Emma, Ever After, Cheaper by the Dozen, White Christmas, Sound of Music, Mona Lisa Smile, Mr Deeds, Fireproof, French Kiss, etc...

A few plans for the rest of the week: I really hadn't thought that far. I'm just trying to get through today. I guess homeschool, go to the gym, homeschool co-op. My uncle's mother died, so I may be going to her funeral if I'm feeling better.

Here is picture thought I am sharing...
a moment I want to relive right now!

For heaven's sake, I am such a mess today. Since my birthday last week (which was a great day thanks to my mom and Jamie), I've been biting my nails again (haven't in over 10 years), I've cried every day and night, I feel embarrased and ashamed of myself, and can't help but wonder what everyone REALLY thinks of me, and at the same time afraid to find out.

If given the chance to hear what other people think of you, would you want to listen?

If given the chance to start your life from scratch, would you?

If you could chose between taking drugs and being numb to your internal feelings, or stay natural and have to fight every day to keep yourself going, which would you chose?

How would you act if you knew who you really were, but being that person would mean living a lonely life, would you chose it or fake who you are to be accepted?

For those who consider themselves very opinionated, do you keep it to yourself or risk alienation by speaking your mind inorder to be honest with your true self?

Update: feeling better, but got a long ways to go to best.

Sunday, November 16, 2008

Advent Conspiracy

I was impressed when I saw this video and wanted to share it with you immediately. I'm going to change my ways this year too. It does make a difference that we're really poor this year compared to others, but I'm more motivated now than before I saw it...

HT: Keeper of the Keys

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

We All Need A Tree

I am posting this great story in dedication to all those who are spending many quiet hours up in trees this hunting week. May they use this time to pray and be consoled by God. You may get more than you went out there for.

The Trouble Tree

I hired a plumber to help me restore an old farmhouse, and after he had just finished a rough first day on the job - a flat tire made him lose an hour of work, his electric drill quit and his ancient one ton truck refused to start.

While I drove him home, he sat in stony silence. On arriving, he invited me in to meet his family. As we walked toward the front door, he paused briefly at a small tree, touching the tips of the branches with both hands. When opening the door he underwent an amazing transformation. His face was wreathed in smiles and he hugged his two small children and gave his wife a kiss.

Afterward he walked me to the car. We passed the tree and my curiosity got the better of me. I asked him about what I had seen him do earlier.

'Oh, that's my trouble tree,' he replied
'I know I can't help having troubles on the job, but one thing's for sure, those troubles don't belong in the house with my wife and the children. So I just hang them up on the tree every night when I come home and ask God to take care of them'.

'Then in the morning I pick them up again. Funny thing is', he smiled, 'when I come out in the morning to pick 'em up, there aren't nearly as many as I remember hanging up the night before.'

h/t: my mom emailed this story to me - I just added pictures I had.

Friday, November 7, 2008

2012 = 4 more years to prepare

side note - be sure to sign the petition against FOCA

H/T: Totus Tuus

Great Pro-Life Quotes

Mother Teresa said:
"The greatest destroyer of love and peace is abortion, which is war against the child. The mother doesn't learn to love, but kills to solve her own problems. Any country that accepts abortion is not teaching its people to love, but to use any violence to get what they want."

"The way to plan the family is natural family planning, not contraception...This (use of contraceptives) turns the attention to self and so it destroys the gift of love in him or her. In loving, the husband and wife must turn the attention to each other as happens in natural family planning, and not to self, as happens in contraception. Once that living love is destroyed by contraception, abortion follows easily . . . And abortion, which often follows from contraception, brings a people to be spiritually poor, and that is the worst poverty and the most difficult to overcome."

Pope John Paul II:
"America you are beautiful . . . and blessed . . . . The ultimate test of your greatness is the way you treat every human being, but especially the weakest and most defenseless. If you want equal justice for all and true freedom and lasting peace, then America, defend life."
-Evangelium Vitae [This should concern everyone, not just Catholics]
"The Gospel of Life is not for believers alone: it is for everyone. The issue of life and its defense and promotion is not a concern of the Christian alone. Although faith provides special light and strength, this question arises in every human conscience which seeks the truth and which cares about the future of humanity. Life certainly has a sacred and religious value, but in no way is that value a concern only of believers. The value at stake is one which every human being can grasp by the light of reason; thus it necessarily concerns everyone."

President Ronald Reagan in 1982:
"Simple morality dictates that unless and until someone can prove the unborn human is not alive, we must give it the benefit of the doubt and assume it is (alive). And, thus, it should be entitled to life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness."
“The real question today is not when human life begins, but, What is the value of human life? The abortionist who reassembles the arms and legs of a tiny baby to make sure all its parts have been torn from its mother's body can hardly doubt whether it is a human being. The real question for him and for all of us is whether that tiny human life has a God-given right to be protected by the law— the same right we have.”~ Abortion and the Conscience of the Nation ~

Archbishop Charles Chaput:
"On the Separation of Sense and State...", August 25, 2008
"Abortion kills an unborn, developing human life. It is always gravely evil, and so are the evasions employed to justify it. Catholics who make excuses for it - whether they’re famous or not - fool only themselves and abuse the fidelity of those Catholics who do sincerely seek to follow the Gospel and live their Catholic faith. The duty of the Church and other religious communities is moral witness.The duty of the state and its officials is to serve the common good, which is always rooted in moral truth. A proper understanding of the "separation of Church and state" does not imply a separation of faith from political life. But of course, it’s always important to know what our faith actually teaches."

All I can say is that anyone who believes that voting for Obama was okay because he has more human rights resolutions to vote for (such as the end to the war, universal health care, spreading the wealth) - has been mislead. These things will not help us, they will only condemn us to an increase in government control in our lives [something I surely don't want] and a risk to our lives to terrorism and a huge risk to the lives of children.

So let's keep praying in confidence that God knows what he's doing - and that we will have the courage to stand up for the truth in the midst of adversity. That God will show us how we individually can reach out to those mislead souls.

HT: Quotes listed by Maria, Some found on a prolife quotes blogspot, and the pope/reagan photo from here.

Wednesday, November 5, 2008

Accepting God's Will

The article below is in whole and discusses that even though things happen which do not seem to be of God, that it is still God's Divine Providence. It is God's Will for this election of Obama to occur inorder for our lives to move in a preconcieved way...

Catholic Family News Article - 11/5/2008

Abandonment to Divine Providence
By Father Reginald Garrigou-Lagrange

Why should we abandon ourselves to Divine Providence?

The answer of every Christian will be that the reason lies in the wisdom and goodness of Providence. This is very true; nevertheless, if we are to have a proper understanding of the subject, if we are to avoid the error of the Quietists in renouncing more or less the virtue of hope and the struggle necessary for salvation, if we are to avoid also the other extreme of disquiet, precipitation, and a feverish, fruitless agitation, it is expedient for us to lay down four principles already somewhat accessible to natural reason and clearly set forth in revelation as found in Scripture. These principles underlying the true doctrine of self-abandonment also bring out the motive inspiring it.

The first of these principles is that everything which comes to pass has been foreseen by God from all eternity, and has been willed or at least permitted by Him.

Nothing comes to pass either in the material or in the spiritual world, but God has foreseen it from all eternity; because with Him there is no passing from ignorance to knowledge as with us, and He has nothing to learn from events as they occur. Not only has God foreseen everything that is happening now or will happen in the future, but whatever reality and goodness there is in these things He has willed; and whatever evil or moral disorder is in them, He has merely permitted. Holy Scripture is explicit on this point, and, as the Councils have declared, no room is left for doubt in the matter.

The second principle is that nothing can be willed or permitted by God that does not contribute to the end He purposed in creating, which is the manifestation of His goodness and infinite perfections, and the glory of the God-man Jesus Christ, His only Son. As St. Paul says, “All are yours. And you are Christ's. And Christ is God's.” (I Cor. 2: 23).

In addition to these two principles, there is a third, which St. Paul states thus:
“We know that to them that love God all things work together unto good: to such
as, according to His purpose, are called to be saints”. (Rom. 8: 28),
and persevere in His love. God sees to it that everything contributes to their spiritual welfare, not only the grace He bestows on them, not only those natural qualities He endows them with, but sickness too, and contradictions and reverses; as St. Augustine tells us, even their very sins, which God only permits in order to lead them on to a truer humility and thereby to a purer love. It was thus He permitted the threefold denial of St. Peter, to make the great Apostle more humble, more mistrustful of self, and by this very means become stronger and trust more in the Divine Mercy.

These first three principles may therefore be summed up in this way;
Nothing comes to pass but God has foreseen it, willed it or at least permitted it. He wills nothing, permits nothing, unless for the manifestation of His goodness and infinite perfections, for the glory of His Son, and the welfare of those that love Him.

In view of these three principles, it is evident that our trust in Providence cannot be too childlike, too steadfast. Indeed, we may go further and say that this trust in Providence should be blind as is our faith, the object of which is those mysteries that are non-evident and unseen (fides est de non visis) for we are certain beforehand that Providence is directing all things infallibly to a good purpose, and we are more convinced of the rectitude of His designs than we are of the best of our own intentions. Therefore, in abandoning ourselves to God, all we have to fear is that our submission will not be wholehearted enough.

In view of Quietism, however, this last sentence obliges us to lay down a fourth principle no less certain than the principles that have preceded. The principle is, that obviously self-abandonment does not dispense us from doing everything in our power to fulfill God's will as made known in the Commandments and counsels, and in the events of life; but so long as we have the sincere desire to carry out His will thus made known from day to day, we can and indeed we must abandon ourselves for the rest to the Divine Will of good pleasure, no matter how mysterious it may be, and thus avoid a useless disquiet and mere agitation.

This fourth principle is expressed in equivalent terms by the Council of Trent (Sess. VI, cap. 13), when it declares that we must all have firm hope in God's assistance and put our trust in Him, being careful at the same time to keep His commandments. As the well-known proverb has it: “Do what you ought, come what may.”

All theologians explain what is meant by the Divine Will as expressed: expressed, that is, in the Commandments, in the spirit underlying the counsels, and in the events of life. They add that, while conforming ourselves to His expressed will, we must abandon ourselves to His Divine Will of good pleasure, however mysterious it may be, for we are certain beforehand that in its holiness it wills nothing, permits nothing, unless for a good purpose.

We must take special note here of these words in the Gospel of St. Luke

“He that is faithful in that which is least is faithful also in that which is
greater.” (16: 10).
If every day we do what we can to be faithful to God in the ordinary routine of life, we may be confident that He will give us grace to remain faithful in whatever extremity we may find ourselves through His permission; and if we have to suffer for Him, He will give us the grace to die a heroic death rather than be ashamed of Him and betray Him.

These are the principles underlying the doctrine of trusting self-abandonment. Accepted as they are by all theologians, they express what is of Christian faith in this matter. The golden mean is thus above and between the two errors mentioned at the beginning of this section. By constant fidelity to duty, we avoid the false and idle repose of the. Quietist, and on the other hand by a trustful self-abandonment we are saved from a useless disquiet and a fruitless agitation. Self abandonment would be sloth did it not presuppose this daily fidelity, which indeed is a sort of springboard from which we may safely launch ourselves into the unknown. Daily fidelity to the Divine Will as expressed gives us a sort of right to abandon ourselves completely to the Divine Will of of good pleasure as yet not made known to us.

A faithful soul will often recall to mind these words of our Lord:

“My meat is to do the will of Him that sent me”(John 4: 34).
The soul finds its constant nourishment in the divine will as expressed, abandoning itself to the Divine Will as yet not made known, much as a swimmer supports himself on the passing wave and surrenders himself to the oncoming wave, to that ocean that might engulf him but that actually sustains him. So the soul must strike out toward the open sea, into the infinite ocean of being, says St. John Damascence, borne up by the Divine Will as made known there and then and abandoning itself to that divine will upon which all successive moments of the future depend.

The future is with God, future events are in His hands. If the merchants to whom Joseph was sold by his brethren had passed by one hour sooner, he would not have gone into Egypt, and the whole course of his life would have been changed. Our lives also are dependent on events controlled by God. Daily fidelity and trusting abandonment thus give the spiritual life its balance, its stability and harmony. In this way we live our lives in almost continuous recollection, in an ever-increasing self-abnegation, and these are the conditions normally requited for contemplation and union with God. This, then, is the reason why our life should be one of self-abandonment to the Divine Will as yet unknown to us and at the same time supported every moment by that will as already made known to us.

HT: Catholic Fire & a homeschool friend named Karla

Fighting though the tears

Well, I've been cheering on this campaign since back when I voted in the Cacuses for Huckabee. The enthusiasm died off for awhile until Gov Sarah Palin came forward to reclaim this republican campaign. There was hope for a wholesome tomorrow with the McCain/Palin ticket. So many of us were moved to campaign for them in our blogs and with friends and family. We felt peace that our country would soon be in good hands. [Though I am in the few who actually aprove Pres Bush and applaud him for his 8 years of dedicated service in tough times.]

Last night, while the crowds cheered for Obama, my heart was torn in two. Early on in the day it seemed obvious that there would be an Obama-Biden win, so it wasn't a surprise - but in that moment, all I wanted to see and hear were the shared tears of many who feel a great loss. Luckily Sen. McCain and Gov. Palin will still be active in our country and still fight for the things they talked to us about. But to not have them leading those causes in turn seems to weaken them all over again.
My words are not as eloquent today, because there is such fear in my shaking hands, tears in my eyes, and a heavy heart trying to accept this new man as my president. An overall sadness for McCain and Palin who wore themselves out during this campaign trying to reach everyone with their plan for a newly reformed government. Could you also see the tears in their eyes, and hesitation in their smiles?

The boos tingled in my veins, but Sen. McCain asked us to stop and remember that this is still a special day for all Americans. It's so hard to see it now, but I can agree. We have come so far, raising awareness in our country about the importance to stay involved in politics if we want to see change. New people have come to push for morality in our government. We've now seen our country united in exclaiming that this is a victory over prejudices of the past. That somehow we can still come together and make the USA a better place to live. McCain reminded us not to be bitter towards the democratic party - but to respect their win and find a way to work with them instead of against them. A real challenge of our integrity and pridefulness.

With this new team firmly in place, I don't think I can ever be at peace. It's far from over. I personally feel this is just a nightmare waiting to happen. I think those of us who strongly supported McCain-Palin will watch vigilantly their every move and decision - especially in the next year. So much is at stake. Life, jobs, the war on terror, the economy. Will his plans be as good as he claims? Are we heading for a depression?

I was sincerely saddened to hear that "economics" were the top voting issue "far above everything else" followed by the war, health care, and energy - I can only hope that defense of human life from conception to natural death will someday make it into the top 3. I hope that those who stepped up in this fight for life will continue beyond this election year. I hope all that were inspired to stand up in the midst of adversity, will stay standing and fight with me.

I am sure President George W Bush will be joining us in fervent prayer, that there will be enough conservative reign in the Senate and House to keep the rediculousness of Obama's policies out - and only allow matters of true prosperity and safety to pass.

And so we continue to pray...

-for the protection of life of the unborn
-for scientific research that doesn't include embryos
-for the protection of the elderly and disabled
-for the sanctity of marriage between a man and a woman
-for growth in economic security and jobs in the US
-for development of our own energy resources
-for security against terrorism
-for the troops fighting for a just cause, that they be enabled to stay, finish, and win!
-for immigrants to join our nation legally and enjoy the riches of this country - and work hard for those riches as we do.
-for all those who think that Obama is their bailout to hardwork and prosperity.
-for all those who chose Obama, obviously unaware of his immoral motives.
-for all of us who have to watch it happen, may we become activists and evangelists in this great time of need for moral direction and economic growth.



>>PS: Thank you to all of you who stood firm in our beliefs and voted as informed faithful citizens. Those who took the time to learn what matters most, based upon our values which were held far over our personal concerns. I am certain God send us many graces to move forward!

Tuesday, November 4, 2008

What if...

What if the bishops could and would say more? What would they say...

(This video uses a generic voice, which is hard to listen to - but the video has great information.)

Read before you vote, please.

Dear Friends and Family,

I have come across many encounters with people who are choosing their political candidates based upon personal problems over moral issues. Issues that our church and GOD has deemed for all time - an unchangeable cause and top priority - the right to life (Pro-Life). IF there is no sanctity of life at all stages (from conception to natural death) than only other evil will follow that candidate’s reign. So I feel moved to share with EVERYONE I know, no matter your stance or religion, a portion of what I have learned during this election campaign. I share this because we will always be human - humans who want to LIVE in a wholesome society! Am I right?

*NOTE: these are my own words, so sorry if you don’t agree or feel offended by them - but this is the GOD GIVEN TRUTH you should know!*
*If you already agree with me, this might seem obvious - but I have some great links to reaffirm your decision and pass on!*

If you need a postcard or blunt message of WHO the Catholic Church wants you to vote for, you’re not going to get it. It is against church law for a candidate to be endorsed by the church or church leaders. The Church has however informed us HOW to vote. For them to talk openly about it has not happened in our area because frankly, they are afraid of what their parishioners will say or do. I’ve heard this first hand from many reliable resources. Including my dad, who’s homily got some undeserved bitterness {and thankfully also a standing ovation and thank you’s.] However, there are those in many positions who do speak about it, write about it, and - - - it IS very clear who they are pointing to if you vote based on the moral values [cherished by the Catholic Church and other godly people] that they ARE teaching and all the information they HAVE been sending us these past few months. Perhaps you just didn’t see it…

*******Perfect one for you to watch if nothing else here!*******

Here is my most recent blog about the many reasons, not just one, why I will NOT vote for democrats.

Some blogger friends of mine who agree and their findings…
Totus Tuus
Catholic Fire

I know many of you have a respect for my dad, who is a Deacon in the Catholic Church. Here is his most recent homily to his Epiphany Parish: Render Unto Ceasar

For those who say “I am not Catholic” so I have no obligation… 7 Reasons

****Perfect one for you to watch if nothing else here! Here is Father Corapi, a wonderful priest recognized by most Catholics… speaking specifically about prolife as the MAIN issue to vote for in this election. FR CORAPI VIDEO

As a Catholic, you must know the importance of the United States Council of Catholic Bishops (USCCB). They have created a website and mission to help Catholics understand what it means to be a faithful citizen.

"Bishop Rene H. Gracida, reminds all Catholics that they must vote in this
election with an informed conscience. A Catholic cannot be said to have voted in
this election with a good conscience if they have voted for a pro-abortion
candidate. Barack Hussein Obama is a pro-abortion candidate."

Want to go higher? Here is what the Vatican has to say. (Specifically Note Lines 18-22 (or topic #4))

Still Not satisfied?

Do you understand that abortion is an intrinsically evil act - and anyone who votes for someone who supports this heinous act (such as Obama) is held accountable to God in this sin?! So in this election, this issue of voting for a candidate based on solely on the issue of unborn human life DOES rule over ANY other issue you may have an interest in voting for. And that IS the Catholic Church’s teaching!

I will be blunt about it, where no church leader can….

There is your answer in black and white. I do however agree that there are sometimes other candidates, such as Collin Peterson - MN DFL, who have a prolife record and may be a suitable vote. And there is a Constitution Party who is also prolife choice. I am simply optimistic that the lead runner McCain is a very wonderful choice and worth your vote. Maybe the church is really wanting to tell us not WHO to vote for, rather WHO NOT to vote for. :)

Now, perhaps you have already voted, or are still dead-set on your decision, and perhaps skipped reading any of these links or comments I have felt compelled by the Holy Spirit to send you. Or perhaps you read some of this and realized that there is more to being a Catholic than you signed up for. I just want you to know that now that you have the information - it is now your turn to VOTE as a faithful citizen. Decide to vote for what matters MOST and only good can follow. Or perhaps you will join me in helping others understand this teaching and pass this on to your friends and family.

In the meantime - I will pray for you all, that the Holy Spirit will guide you to make the right decision. And if you read this, and it is too late to go back - may God have mercy on your soul. I know this is shocking coming from us - but we’ve reached a point where our lives are lived for the Glory of God, and not our own glory - knowing God will provide and He has before. It is only through doing His Will that we have been blessed as much as we have, and feel brave enough to send on these hard to take truths.

A Letter from a Church Leader in regards to this, written after the election.

Your concerned friends,
Melissa & Tom Michalek