Monday, November 16, 2009

Christians and Soap Operas?

"We are no longer able to
hear God. There are too
many different frequencies
filling our ears."

   - Pope Benedict XVI

I once got sucked into NBC's daytime soaps and I was amazed at how it seemed to rule my life. I HAD to see it or tape it for later. I had nightmares that my husband was cheating on me. I was very irritable on a regular basis. When the TV was off for a week, I noticed a significant change in my behavior and dreams - and so did my husband.

Years later I still notice people's addiction to such shows. I worry about their life choices, mentality, behaviors. I was reminded of this often at the local clinic, until surprise surprise - it is now against the rules to have soaps on tv in the local clinic waiting rooms. I am certainly glad for everyone's sake.

So here are some wonderful articles I found regarding this matter. Of course some families say why stop at soaps - just keep the TV off.  Well, that's not such a bad idea some days - except for my daily dose of Fox News!   : )

"With only One Life to Live,
I didn't want to spend mine in front of the TV."

Should Christians watch television soap operas?

First, let’s read a few verses from the Apostle Paul that describe such programs in exquisite detail:

“Now the WORKS OF THE FLESH are manifest, which are these; adultery, fornication, uncleanness, lasciviousness, idolatry, witchcraft, hatred, variance, emulations, wrath, strife, seditions, heresies, envyings, murders, drunkenness, revellings, and such like: of the which I tell you before, as I have also told you in time past, that they which do such things shall not inherit the kingdom of God” (Gal. 5:19-21).

No one who claims to be Christian would admit that the way of life portrayed by soap operas is one they should follow. Pointless adultery, fornication, hatred, deceit and murder permeate each episode. Such “works of the flesh” are even lamented by some television critics—and these are people who often make NO claim to follow Christ!

Of course, it is wrong to physically take part in such acts as Paul described. But Matthew 5:27-28 warns that we must not take part in them mentally by watching them take place! Soap operas and other such shows are of ZERO value to the spiritually-minded Christian.

God wants us to live abundant lives: “Beloved, I wish above all things that you may prosper and be in health, even as your soul prospers” (III John 2). There is no way in which we can prosper by watching soap operas. They will not help you “grow in grace and in knowledge,” as the Apostle Peter admonished (II Pet. 3:18).

Of course, the guidelines applying to soap operas apply to all forms of entertainment. A Christian must exercise wisdom and discretion when making such choices. Activities such as playing music, exercising, reading a book, painting a landscape or gardening are all excellent and constructive substitutes for television and movies filled with violence, fantasy and nudity.

If watching television, carefully avoid programming containing the “works of the flesh” Paul warned about. Remember that those who practice them will not be in God’s kingdom!

Click here to read:

… “It is unfortunate that TV viewers who become addicted to soap operas are often sucked in after watching only two shows. TV viewers are lured back by the need to satisfy their innate curiosity, desire to "root" for their favorite character and a strong sense of loyalty. The story itself with its ability to continue from day to day can connect to the viewing audience because as in real life, our stories do not end after one single day, but continue on and on.

The continuing story of the soap opera creates an addictive and obsessive emotional reaction in the viewing audience. These addictions can destroy marriages and relationships, interfere with work performance and interfere with the living of a normal life. Soap opera addicts will do anything to get their daily "fix" of soap opera viewing.

Soap opera addicted audiences become obsessed with soap operas after being constantly exposed to divorce, unplanned pregnancies, affairs, weird nuns and rich playboys on a daily basis. This is worse than any known narcotic. These people are getting high by watching soap operas.”

Soap Operas and the Heart
by Sarah Brown

"Many Christians believe that as long as they aren’t the ones active in the sin, they aren’t sinning. But watching soap operas and other immoral shows or movies can be committing sin in our hearts. In Matthew 5:27–30, Jesus talks about not only committing adultery, but having lustful thoughts in one’s heart, and explains that it is a sin. Also, by allowing ourselves to view the act of sin (real or fiction), we are making ourselves vulnerable to the present sin, which could have long-term consequences." (Click here to read more)

A Christian's Look at Daytime Soap Operas by Tyrone Short
Religion and Prime Time Television
More book suggestions from Google

Saturday, October 3, 2009

Does God Exist?

Thanks mom for sharing this with me! It goes well with my review of the newer documentary
"Expelled: No Intellegence Allowed" starring Ben Stein.

This documentary was an incredible insight on the foregoing exclusion among scientists of the possibility of an Intellegent Designer (God) and the expulsion of those who step up and question Darwinism. This is not about Creationist theory (biblical relations in scientific discovery), rather being able to recognize that there is most likely an Intellegent Designer of all Creation in an unreligious manner. A scientific explanation of the beginning to all things known. And failure to recognize that several Darwin Theories are lacking evidence crucial to making it be known as factual. Darwin excluded how things began, begins his theories after the first cell was formed, and had no access to moden technologies which would most likely blow his mind and theory if he was alive today.

My mind was constantly intrigued by this documentary, especially its comparision of our culture today and the time of the Holocaust. That years later we are still being subjected to un-natural selection through abortion, euthenasia and degraded care of the poor and disabled. To think that this is being thrust upon us by a collaboration of powerful, atheistic scientists and government officials. Whoa.

What an eye opener! Highly recommended that you view this documentary.

PS - on the DVD is a trailer for "An American Carol." A must see comedy I plan to rent and review soon.

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Bigger Government on its way? I hope not.

Tuesday, September 8, 2009

It's been awhile...

Okay, it certainly has been awhile since I last posted here. I've been busy having a baby - you know. Little Jonathan is just 7 weeks old, therefore it will be few and far between on upcoming posts.

I continue to be conservative in viewpoint regarding the current health care reform debate. I am not at all impressed with the way our government is handling itself. It's really embarrasing. I am however thrilled to find the FOX network maintaining its substantial coverage of important topics relevant to my interests - rather than straying to "who died today" subjects of non-interest. I do skim over the other channels such as CNN, NBC, CBS, etc.... and am pleased to see they are reporting some truths - just not enough. Brainwashing and poppycock schemes seem to apply here.

I continue to homeschool my children. I am proud to do so, especially with the lack ...well... of everything in the public school system. Regarding the latest debate of Pres. Obama speaking to the schools this week... agh! What happened to keeping "opinions" out of the schools? That doesn't only apply to religion, but it applies to political behaviors as well. We don't need this wishy-washy government influencing our innocent children. Again with the brainwashing.

I continue to pray for the unborn children and elderly, the soldiers, the unemployed and the faithless many. Please pray with me.

God bless you all.

Wednesday, April 15, 2009

WE THE PEOPLE - Tax Day Tea Party!

We the People are ready to take a stand and get our country back! What on earth has happened to America? Our founding fathers would be ashamed at the disgraces our Government has imposed upon us. It's time to go back and read the OLD history books that do not sensor why this country began... We ARE a Christian nation who fought long and hard to keep government from controlling and diminishing the significance of our right to prosper. We don't want socialism, liberalism, etc... we want our freedom back, we want our country back!

BOSTON TEA PARTY REVIVED: Conservative grassroots organizations and free market activists will come together on April 15th, 2009 to protest out-of-control government spending. Rallies to take place in 804+ American cities, 16 in Minnesota today. My parents will be at the Capital today [5-8pm], and I can't wait to hear how it went! Update at end of this post!

These videos below say it better than I ever could...


I guess the news coverage was very poor, and very inaccurate. A significant 8-10,000 people gathered at the MN capital building, 400 at the St. Cloud, MN Library, and thousands more at over 800 locations. I got to listen in to a speaker over my mom's cell phone, and it sounded wonderful that this is a NEW MOVEMENT of grassroots parties, conservatives and values voters. We really need some people to stand up and represent us - because we are not a minority!

Tuesday, March 31, 2009

For the Anonymous Readers

I haven't been on here much lately, but I just got an anonymous comment which I am sure he or she would love to be seen... and I would be thrilled to comment on. So here it is...

I think sometimes things are meant to be kept to yourself. One would
think that you would learn to keep things to yourself as it gets you in trouble
and has many times in the past with your family and friends. I think you spend
too much time blogging on how sad you feel, your obesity and family issues. Some
of those issues, like being poor, etc. should be kept to yourself. You can speak
your mind, but don't like hearing what people have to say about you and that is
a big part is giving your opinion. You say manything things that I don't believe
in. I think if you can't afford to have another child, then you should avoid
pregnancy, if you issues with your weight...start exercising and go on a diet.
You have GD because of our weight...IVF helps couples have their own child when
they cannot have one the natural way, Obama is trying his hardest to get us out
of this mess. After finding your blog, I can't believe half the stuff you blog
about. You need to find something better to do with your time and spend it with
your children.

You can't expect to always speak your mind without getting critized for
it. People are entitled to their opinions, but sometimes those opinions are
meant to be kept to yourself, even on a blog. You seen very unhappy with
yourself and you need to do somethng about it. Your comments are pushing you
away from you family and friends. I see a lot of pictures of what looks to be
your family, but do you not hang out with your husband's family? You have lost
friends for a reason, so if you want them back, bite your lip and keep those
comments to yourself.

I certainly agree that I have a hard time with knowing people don't like me. But fortunately I am able to see past these people who hardly know me, and focus on the love and fellowship of those who are truly a part of my life. This lent I have really experienced humility, sacrifice and reflection of my faith and family life.

I am enjoying some wonderful days with my children lately, as I have written on my family blog. Our homeschooling has been doing excellent, and we just finished creating a fabulous schoolroom and hope to enjoy years of joys and challenges in here. We cherish all those simple moments, so much, I often forget my camera - which is odd for me. Our current trials are helping my family come together in a new way, making us stronger and happier.

My husband has a great job that not only provides for our necessities, but because of our new habits of conserving learned from our hardships, we are able to give bigger donations to local charities as we had always hoped. Our future looks brighter today. In our toughest year last year, we actually came out better than ever financially and spiritually. We were able to sort out the true friendships and true values we'd been searching for. We feel truly blessed, and are grateful to an amazing God who provides in all times.

God has even given us a beautiful gift of another child, which we welcome with open arms. He or she is kicking stronger every day, and although it will be a challenge to care for another child with three others already under my wing, I look forward to all the blessings that will come from this incredible gift. I couldn't imagine my life without my children, as I am called by God to be a mother, always have been. My life isn't certainly for everyone, but it's just perfect for me. God knows I can handle it, so I Trust Him that I can.

I'll make my comment on the weight issue as short as possible. There are many reasons that I have become overweight over the years. Whenever I've made big strides to lose the weight, I become pregnant. No complaints, I just start up again when I recover. After years working with programs such as 6 Week Body Makeover, local dieticians, Biggest Loser Club, Atkins diet, etc.... I wanted to take a new approach. Last year I joined LA Weightloss and Golds Gym. I even got a personal trainer. I followed their programs to a T for 6 months total. Imagine their shock when I didn't lose a single ounce. They were baffled and said they had no other suggestions. Just keep trying. I did everything right from counting points and calories, exercising, food journals, measuring food, etc. Imagine my shock when I got pregnant later in the year, and lost 10 pounds. I am over 5 months pregnant and am still down those 10 pounds. Still in the obese category I knew I would be prone to getting Gestational Diabetes again, as I did in my last pregnancy. In the past few days it's finally at a stable point, for now. My mother had GD when she was pregnant some 14 years ago, and was no where near overweight. So that is certainly not the reason for getting GD, it's just a factor. I am excited to restart my weightloss adventure in October, which I have decided to go on my own way - since no professional has been able to help. But I am certainly optimisitic and ready for all the hard work ahead.

Okay, I could comment on the Obama issue, but I think his recent failures speak for themselves. And in regards to his fight for abortion rights and embyonic stem cell reasearch... it certainly saddens me that so many are oblivious to the master design of human life.

I kind of wrote about family/friends that aren't in my life anymore in other blogs, but I'll say that my life didn't include them on a regular basis before, therefore their absence doesn't bother me one bit. Though I wish it wasn't that way. I would hate to pretend to be their buddy, and fake a friendship when I can better focus myself on my truly productive relationships. Regarding my husbands family.... they are not a "get together" type. However we do speak to his parents on a regualr basis over the phone or visits. They live on a farm just 5 miles away. His only sibling is a brother who works a lot of hours all over the state, but we get to see him for all the holidays and occasionally at the farm since he helps there. The kids love their grandparents on that side very much, and love Grandma's homemade goodies and canned goods along with her love, and Grandpa's tractors and cows on the farm are great learning tools for my kids. My side of the family gets together a lot more often, and they are a big part of our life. But we have genuine love for both sides.

I haven't been blogging much this lent, because of this new focus. I began this blog to share my story and share my feelings about my daily struggles and contemplations. It has been a true blessing, and I've made some fabulous, supportive friends. Of course there have been some challenges along the way from anonymous commenters, but that's okay. It has helped me look deeper into myself and build confidence on what I have to say. I remind myself that they are not forced to read my blog if they don't like it. So, I certainly will continue to share my PERSONAL JOURNEY of ups and downs, including my struggles with evangelization and depression, defending the innocent unborn, etc. I will welcome any comments, even those in disagreement, in an effort to spark postitive conversation. Just don't expect me to agree every time.

So in conclusion, I do have friends, I do have supportive family, we spend lots of time together, and I blog to share with them our adventures, and I blog here to create discussion for those who are struggling as I am. I know I am not alone in this fight for happiness and God's abounding graces. For those who continue to read, please share a tid-bit of what you like about my blog. For those who do not, I think we get the picture - you simply don't agree with me. That's okay, it's just in most cases I wish you did.

Thursday, March 5, 2009

A Lenten Reflection

By Fr. Campbell
Associate Pastor at Epiphany Catholic Church

At times, almost unnoticed by ourselves, we drift away from God. We get caught up in practices and routines that lead us away from prayer and God and into a lifestyle focusing primarily on ourselves. During lent, Jesus calls us to rededicate ourselves to the gospel values, focusing our efforts and attention on God and others.

Somebody said to me once, "I am giving up my New Year's resolutions for Lent." We have often thought of Lent in the context of giving up something. Jesus' invitation doesn't seem to be about giving up something, but rather changing the momentum of our direction away from self interest activities toward self giving. Before Lent begins, I always like to take an assessment on where I am and what God is asking me to improve upon. I have always found this little prayer helpful in getting the right frame of mind to do so and I would like to share it with you.

What to give up...
Give up complaining——focus on gratitude.
Give up pessimism——become an optimist.
Give up harsh judgments——think kindly thoughts.
Give up worry——trust Divine Providence.
Give up discouragement——be full of hope.
Give up bitterness——turn to forgiveness.
Give up hatred——return good for evil.
Give up negativism——be positive.
Give up anger——be more patient.
Give up pettiness——become mature.
Give up gloom——enjoy the beauty that is all around you.
Give up jealousy - - pray for trust.
Give up gossiping - - control your tounge.
Give up sin - - turn to virtue.
Give up giving up - - hang in there!

God bless you all and I hope you have a grace filled Lent.

HT: Thanks mom for passing this one onto me!
(it is also found here)

Wednesday, February 25, 2009

The Mis-Conception with In-Vitro Fertilization

With all this media attention focused on the economy, there is a top contender for the spotlight. It is the story of the mother of octuplets, Nadya Suleman.

Her first interview on Dateline NBC was rather inspiring. While I do not condone her method of concieving children, and I do not know her real story, I was pleased to hear the pro-life story of those lonely frozen embryos. How Nadya has spoken up for the right to life for any child from the moment of conception. Of course, the media continues to pluck away at her and her family, deverging from the topic of life. Even Dr. Phil will have his say part 1 today, part 2 airs tomorrow.

Nadya may have the understanding that all children are a Gift from God from the moment of conception, but she has missed the point that it was God's gift to give or not - not her right as a woman to recieve them by any means necessary. I wish she could have seen her infertility as an opening to foster parenting or adoption.

I happen to know some couples who have gone through sterilization, fertility problems, etc. Closest to me is my parents who tried for 15 years to concieve, and instead of turning to unnatural ways - turned to adoption and NFP. Yes, first there was me who came naturally just over a year after they were married, then my beautiful adopted sister who's 9 years younger, than my brother who was naturally concieved when I was 15 years old. At that time it was an even bigger deal, because my mom was 41 and my dad was 48. A whole lot of love and miracles are wrapped up in our family, but all in God's timing and natural ways.

A Catholic married couple we know chose invitro fertilization (IVF) after years of infertility and trying natural methods available. Thousands of dollars later, they have twins through IVF. While I was happy for them, I was still disturbed that as Catholics they had never been told or advised against IVF. I decided it wasn't my place to tell them, instead I chose to pray. But just a short time ago, in conversation with the father, we discussed how both our families wanted more children. While he wanted many more, he came to the conclusion - on his own - that the IVF didn't feel right, it felt like "playing God." There's more to the story that points to the fact that God's reasons surpass our own understanding.

I have also heard through the grapevine, that a Catholic woman who has 2 children, had her tubes tied (has been told it is irreversible), is getting married again and wants to have children with her new husband. He, who is going through the RCIA program, seems to insist that he wants the child to be biologically theirs. But to make matters complicated, they want to use IVF with their egg and sperm - but have his sister be the surrogate mother. I ask those who understand the severity of this decision to pray adamantly for them and other couples who think this is okay. Pray that their engagement mentor couple will have the right words to teach them and help them understand that all of this is against the church's teachings. Pray that they will chose a spirit of love of children through adoption.

If so many couples and women are feeling this urge to have children, as is the natural order of things - shouldn't our government be facilitaing more effective means for adoption and foster parenting? Should we focus less on abortions, and more on efforts to provide healthy and productive lives for these children and their mothers? Shouldn't as parents our focus be to teach our children self control and selflessness, before these issues ever arise?

My mom sent me an article about IFV. Tim Drake is an excellent writer, who's most recent work was to write a book about the movie Bella, called Behind Bella. A wonderful story about chosing life and adoption. He is also a friend of ours through our homeschool group. Here is his excellent article as found on

What’s Wrong With In-Vitro Fertilization

by Tim Drake - National Catholic Register

Catholic teaching has called in-vitro fertilization techniques immoral for decades. But most Catholics still haven't heard the news. California attorneys Anthony and Stephanie Epolite found out the hard way that in-vitro fertilization wasn't all it's cracked up to be. After years of marriage, and facing her 39th birthday still without a baby, Stephanie turned to a fertility clinic. Two years and $25,000 later, the couple had nothing but frustration and embarrassment to show for the time spent on in-vitro fertilization.

"We were emotionally, financially and spiritually spent," Stephanie Epolite said. "The clinic did no diagnostic tests. They loaded me up with fertility medication and determined the right time for retrieval of my eggs." But, after the retrieval and the mixing of the eggs with Anthony's sperm in the laboratory, still no embryo developed. "In the end, they told me I just had old eggs," Stephanie said. She wishes she had known at the beginning what she has since learned: The Catholic Church forbids fertility techniques that try to make babies outside of marital intercourse. "There is no education out there about the alternatives," she said, "so Catholics are flocking to the fertility clinics."

According to the American Society for Reproductive Medicine, infertility affects more than 6 million American women and their spouses, or about 10% of the reproductive-age population. About 5% of infertile couples use in-vitro fertilization. As to how many Catholic couples are among them, figures are hard to come by. But many Catholics seem unaware of the immorality of the procedure.

"Anecdotally, from our consultation experience here. Catholics using reproductive technologies are generally unaware of the Church's moral teaching in this area," said Dr. Peter Cataldo, director of research with the Boston-based National Catholic Bioethics Center. "They're not hearing it from the pulpit or elsewhere." In her teaching on human reproduction, the Church seeks to safeguard human dignity. God wants life "to be the result of an act of love by those committed to loving each other," philosophy professor Janet Smith has written. Anything that assists the conjugal act achieve its purpose of procreation is licit; anything that substitutes for it is not.

In No. 2377, the Catechism explains why the Church opposes methods that separate marital love-making from baby-making.

They dissociate the sexual act from the procreative act. The act which brings the child into existence is no longer an act by which two persons give themselves to one another, but one that entrusts the life and identity of the embryo into the power of doctors and biologists and establishes the domination of technology over the origin and destiny of the human person. Such a relationship of domination is in itself contrary to the dignity and equality that must be common to parents and children. Under the moral aspect procreation is deprived of its proper perfection when it is not willed as the fruit of the conjugal act, that is to say, of the specific act of the spouses' union.

In successful in-vitro fertilization, a human life comes into existence outside the conjugal act and outside the womb. Conception is the result of a technician's manipulation of "reproductive materials." The process for the collection of sperm often necessitates masturbation, which is itself immoral.

Father Tadeusz PachoIczyk, director of education at the National Catholic Bioethics Center in Philadelphia, explained that the Church teaches that the procedure is immoral for several reasons. "It undermines the meaning of sex. It violates the exclusivity of the couple's marriage covenant," Father Pacholczyk said. "It says that it is okay to manufacture life in a laboratory as if it were a commodity, when it should be the result of human love."

"There's also the ancillary evil of freezing embryonic humans that are later abandoned or poured down the sink if they are not useful," he added. In addition, Father Pacholczyk noted that babies created through in-vitro fertilization have an elevated risk of birth defects. "Studies have shown a six fold elevated risk for in-vitro fertilization children contracting an eye disease called retinal blastoma versus normally conceived babies," he said. "In-vitro fertilization is very unnatural. You're extracting ova from the woman, culturing them and inspecting the developing embryo in a laboratory setting. They are in a completely unnatural environment for a very long time before they are put back into the womb.

"Commercial interests offer in-vitro fertilization as standard practice," Father Pacholczyk said. "The Catholic Church is the only voice opposed to it." But there are morally acceptable alternatives to in-vitro fertilization, and Dr. Thomas Hilgers is trying to let more Catholic couples know that.

In response to Humanae Vitae, Pope Paul VI’s encyclical reaffirming the Church’s opposition to contraception, Hilgers devoted his life to the study of human reproduction, developing the Creighton Model System of Natural Family Planning and eventually opening the Pope Paul VI Institute for the Study of Human Reproduction.

In 1991, Hilgers coined the term NaPro Technology (Natural Procreative Technology), a reproductive and gynecologic medical science that seeks to evaluate and treat a host of women's health problems without the use of contraception, sterilization, abortion or artificial reproductive technologies, thereby making it consistent with Church teachings.

NaPro Technology first identifies the causes of infertility and then seeks to treat them. That's not always the case at fertility clinics. "The aim of most fertility clinics is to skip over the abnormality to try to get women pregnant," Hilgers said. "Yet when you skip over the causes, you end up dealing with them one way or another.

"It's ludicrous to promote in-vitro fertilization as the help for the vast majority of 6.62 million with impaired fertility," he said. "When you listen to the national news and morning television shows, you think that in-vitro fertilization is the only thing available to infertile couples, yet less than 0.5% of infertile couples in the U.S. are helped by in-vitro fertilization each year."
Catholic theologians and ethicists would agree that NaPro Technology is morally acceptable Cataldo said. Cataldo pointed out that "certain drug therapies and egg-stimulating medications at doses that don't have disproportionate risks for the children engendered or for the mother" also are acceptable. But other technologies, such as intrauterine insemination (IUI) and gamete intrafallopian transfer (GIFT) fall into a gray area. "Some moral theologians and ethicists see these techniques as assisting the conjugal act. Others see it as replacing it," he said. "Until such time as the Vatican speaks, Catholics contemplating the use of IUI or GIFT should inform themselves of both sides of the moral and theological argument and then make a decision in good conscience."

Regardless of the artificial method chosen, the cost of such techniques remains high and the success rates low. According to the 2001 Assisted Reproductive Technology Success Rates report compiled by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, a survey of 384 fertility clinics showed a clinical pregnancy success rate of 32%.

In a 1990 article published in Social Justice Review, then-associate director of the U.S. Catholic bishops' Pro-Life Secretariat Richard Doerflinger noted that a survey of in-vitro fertilization clinics discovered that half of the clinics had never had a live birth after being in business at least three years, collectively treating more than 600 women and collecting $2.5 million for their services.

"Those with the extraordinary emotions that engulf infertile couples are extremely vulnerable," Hilgers said. "They are easy prey." Not only do natural and morally acceptable alternatives such as NaPro Technology cost far less, but they also are more successful. The Pope Paul VI Institute boasts success rates ranging from 38% to 80%, depending upon the condition being treated.
Following the Epolites' experience with in-vitro fertilization, Stephanie learned about the Pope Paul VI Institute from a Natural Family Planning counselor. In the fall of 2000, the couple applied to the institute, gathered charts they had kept that outlined vital signs related to fertility, and underwent diagnostic testing. As it turned out, both had reproductive issues that their previous fertility clinic had never diagnosed. Anthony's sperm count was low, and Stephanie suffered from endometriosis and blocked fallopian tubes.

Six months later, following treatment of their conditions at the Pope Paul VI Institute and at the age of 42, Stephanie conceived naturally. Their daughter, Claire Marie, was born Oct. 3, 2002.
"At the Pope Paul VI Institute, we saw compassion, concern, help and love," Stephanie said. "They provided individualized treatment, versus the empty feeling that we felt from the fertility clinic. Whereas the fertility clinic bypasses all the laws of nature, the Pope Paul VI Institute works with the laws of nature."

The NaPro Difference
The Paul VI Institute collected these statistics about the NaPro fertility approach:
· It is two to three times more successful than in vitro fertilization at helping infertile couples have children — at a fraction of the cost.
· It is 79% effective at helping women have a successful pregnancy after they have suffered repeated miscarriages.
· NaPro Technology is 95% effective at treating post-partum depression, which afflicts as many as one in five new mothers, often getting results within hours.
· NaPro Technology cuts the rate of premature births in half — thus helping reduce the incidence of birth defects.
· NaPro Technology effectively treats women experiencing infertility with up to an 80% success rate.

Copyright © 2004 Circle Media, Inc., National Catholic Register

A new online space for Catholics

Did you know about

My mom just discovered and shared it with me. It looks a lot like a myspace for Catholics. I have not signed up yet, but wanted to know if anyone else out there uses it and their thoughts. It looks promising!

Here's the link to what 4Marks wants to accomplish.

Thanks much!

Friday, February 20, 2009

You can never care too much!

Just a note to let everyone know that I am feeling better. Allowing my true self to be shown here on this blog is a great release, and seeing what positive support I have from many of you helped me get through the stress associated with posting hard truths.

My husband was so kind as to get my massage therapist, Henry, to come on over and relieve the excrutiating pain in my shoulders and rest of my body. It took longer than usual to break down the tension. It was that bad. It was so bad last Monday, it was too hard to deal with anything emotional the physical pain was so overbearing. Today I don't feel as beat up, and got a better nights sleep. I think I can finally enjoy my 2nd trimester.

Yesterday I saw my psychologist/therapist, who is a gem of a woman. I told her every little detail, and she was very encouraging and commended me on my progress. Usually it would take me a week or so to move past the hurt, but it only took me one day this time. I explained my faith life and little support groups have set me up for success. There is no need for hopelessness when you have God's love through confession, adoration, family and positive friendships. So thank you all. Thank you God.

I've come to the conclusion that the way I care for others is a blessing and not a burden. I just need to learn moderation. That does not mean I hold back. It means that when my caring for others makes me feel unable to function as a mother and wife, that is when I need to put it aside for awhile until I feel up to the challenge.

I explained it to my mother this way: Mom, you care for people very much. You offer advice and offer yourself to others frequently. Sometimes it works out, and sometimes it hurts. But, you can still function and move on from it when it doesn't work out the way you hoped. - - - When it comes to me, I am have enherited that caring and giving spirit. The difference is, when it doesn't work out the way I want it to... I dwell on it and I feel deep sorrow and need big pushes of encouragement to move on.

My new way of approaching this is to realize that God is directing me to plant seeds of faith and His truth. Even when there is a lot of rocky ground out there. But it is not up to me to till the soil, that's God's work. And even if I don't get around to planting a seed when the opportunity presents itself, God will take care of them. That understanding brings great relief to me.

I see this caring and giving spirit in my daughter, Mikayla. She is only 6, but she has it in boat loads. You know, like the ARK... Acts of Random Kidness. (That's from the movie Evan Almighty, one of her favorites.) Anyways, I can only hope to be a positive influence on how she can act upon this spirit, so that she never loses the desire for it.

So, I am doing very well today. A little stressed over catching up on housework and homework. But nothing I can't handle. Heck, it's the weekend and tomorrow night is date night for Tom and I - dinner and dancing! I'm a happy gal.

God Bless,

Supporting the Cause: Pro-life

A homeschool friend of mine's husband writes a blog about the economy. He recently published a post titled:

Please take a moment visit his post, and leave a comment to help share how you believe an effort to decrease or eliminate abortions can be a positive change in our economy and society.

Thank you,

Tuesday, February 17, 2009

Things happen for a reason.

Hello readers. It appears there are more of you than I knew about. A so-so blog has turned into a hot topic link among family and friends, and some aquaintences. While it is nice to see that I have more readers, some who just choose not to comment until it affects them personally, it brings me to that point so many of you fellow bloggers have been at one time or another. You will never forget that post you made, when you got some comments or calls you weren't expecting and wish you never got??? Sound familiar? Then when you're already feeling bummed out, you have to decide if your blog is worth keeping. You have to decide whether to respond or delete. I'm there.

Most of you know that I have a family blog, where I post about family tips, and things that are happening with my family. It keeps our friends and family updated on our everyday things, and connects me to other mom's who are like-minded. It's a good thing.

So when I started feeling like journaling more about touchy subjects, like politics and religion, I figured I better keep that blogging separate from my family. This Growing in Grace blog has developed into a place where I can share silly MEMEs, interesting articles or videos worth sharing, and discussions I care about as a faithful Catholic. It's very personal.

A few weeks ago I realized that I enjoyed sharing more hot topics, because it brought readers and comments I was looking for. While reading other blogs, I saw there was a demand for blogs about living the faith in the public eye. So last week I decided to share a personal experience and how I was currently dealing with it.

I do admit, even though at the time I thought I was being vague, I was told yesterday that I gave enough detail to stir up ill emotions and cause some unexpected discussions to arise from those mentioned in the post. I have gone through the post the best I can to create anonymity for those people, without deleting it completely. It contains good points and things I want to share. My dad explained that politics and religious truths are already in the public eye and open for discussion complete with names, but I need to be careful not to publicize opinion nor fact about those in my private connections (or something like that), which may hurt them. So excuse me for stepping on toes that were put in my path. You'll either have to avoid my path, or rest assured that I'll keep your name/identity more private in the future.

So what's all this fuss about?

Well, I have put myself on the line to help others and find help from others. I have opened the pages of my life, the knowledge in my brain, and the understanding the Holy Spirit has bestowed upon me. Because of this, I have been hurt badly. I knew it was coming, and I promised God I would take with a grain of salt.

Sadly, my depresssion has elevated, possibly due to pregnancy hormones, but worse than before no matter how. I will never reach complete hopelessness, because I have God in my life. He alone has pulled me through each and every bottomed out moment. Yes, there have been many. Sometime God pulls me through it with His voice, or that of my husband's or dear friends and family. Yes, you must believe that God works on his own, AND through others. I often feel the presence of God urging me to do his work for others. It's funny how people love it until it challenges them to make a change in THEIR life.

In the midst of my dispair, I have found the TRUTH and the LIGHT and HOPE. It is God as the Blessed Trinity, which has shown me the real way to live with purpose. Of course, I am not perfect in my personal efforts towards sanctifying grace, I slip and fall, but unlike some others in my "private connections," I get back up and keep following. I DO find ways to strengthen myself, such as through the Catholic Eucharist, confession, bible study, and frienships which nuture this path. I DO NOT find ways to compromise my faith to feel better about my wrong decisions. I DO NOT stray from my faith and find another one that makes me feel better about the life I want. Because GOD'S WILL is so much better than my own. And that's a proven fact.

> This issue began with a post about disturbing truths about our President and his administration, and concern for those who support him regardless. We hoped to inform. We hoped for a respectful discussion. Instead we got rejected, bombarded with hatred for OUR beliefs and facts shared, ignored than ridiculed, and expected to reply in a nice, submissive and compromising way. Who the heck do you think we are? A bunch of gullable idiots who were raised by imbisuls? Quite the contrary. I am not sorry, I have not changed my opinon on the matter, and will not waiver on my faith for anyone.

I WILL NOT agree to disagree, or simply try to "understand" those who are following the wrong path. That is the most wimped out excuse to pretend and divert from the TRUTH. The friend I wrote about in my last post, who hurt me deeply and wants me to just turn this into a

"...success story where you could have then shared a beautiful outcome of
forgiveness and understanding

She wrote "that the issues of the present and the past have been posted for the world to see before [I have] even taken the opportunity to discuss feelings with" her. Which is absurd, since a few weeks ago I tried to discuss this and got the silent treatment and the discussion was deleted and never readdressed privately."

She doesn't understand that even though her compromises in life which have separated us, and the bitterness of her family towards mine, a "beautiful outcome" has already been reached - she just can't see it. She needs to know I have already forgiven her over and over again, and do again today for the ways she has hurt me, how she turned her back on me and her faith. That I understand that she has been manipulated by others and her worldly thoughts away from the faith that she could have embraced, and hopefully someday will. I still see potential in her, and will continue to pray for her. But due to my own human frailty, I cannot resolve this all now. The beautiful outcome is that I continue to hold no grudges, even though I am serverly bruised by her and her family's actions.

With regards to others that were mentioned, some took it well and others not. The addition of those paragraphs about others were meant to emphasize the condition I am in. To let readers understand that it is not just this one incident that brings me down in despair. It is interesting that some have insisted in being a part of my life, yet want little to do with the part of me that cares for them back. It leaves me feeling used. I think I've made amends with those two particular people and there is some understanding of where we're both coming from.

Why do I tend to burden myself with such things?

I care too much? (especially about how people feel about me) Someone once wrote in my yearbook: "Melissa, you're too nice." What the heck does that mean? I didn't realize my concern for others was such a burden. I didn't realize that my love and hope for the prosperity of human kind was overreaching.

It is built into my nature to care more than most. To contemplate more than most. To feel personally attacked, when others can brush it off. A small portion of it is neurological, and will be numbed (treated) with medication after the baby is born. The kind of meds that make me not care as much, yet never get rid of the situations. Most of these feelings are a constant yearning and desire to help others, as embedded in my heart by God from the moment I was concieved. To deny this, is to deny God's will for me. To let go of it would be selfish. And to follow through with it to the full extent that God asks of all of us, is really a dying to myself. How did I come to this conclusion, you ask? Through gifts of the Holy Spirit, and enlightened by my current study of the book "Courageous Love" as I've written about before. The book really calls you to action.


I will be consoling myself in God's love. I will be detaining my compelling desire to share my concerns and advice with others close to me. I am asking God to lift this cross, as it is too much to bear at this time. OR that He will show me how this fits into my path. I will gladly accept the other crosses I bear on a daily basis, per His instructions to me last Thursday night in adoration. To care for my children and household first. And I will gladly pick up that heavy cross with love and charity again when my soul is mended.

Last night I curled into bed around 5pm again, like last week. I was so overraught with concern and sadness, as well as physical pain from my shoulders and hips. My husband set up this week an at home massage with my usual people, and told me it was all taken care of. He ran over to Applebees to calm my craving for an Oriental Chicken Salad. Then cleaned up and put the kids to bed. He is so sweet and understanding. He is Christ-like to me every day, even when it seems like too much for him to bear. I guess I'm his Cross.

Of course I turned on the boob tube, and watched AFV and That 70s Show for a good laugh, then Medium for a thrill. Anything to take my mind of how I felt. But then it came time for my usual reruns of Scrubs, which I watch almost every night. Well, this one (watch it here) actually spoke to me. The focus was on this head nurse who always talks about her faith in Jesus, who states that even bad things happen for a reason. And amidst this "wow" moment of mine, the nurse even quoted:
Romans 8:28 "And we know that in all things God works for the good of those
who love him, who have been called according to his purpose."


What I need is respect and love from those who are in my circle. I ask that you continue with your positive encouragement and suggestions. They have indeed been very helpful. Here are some of my favorites...

"you have to let people love you, like, or hate you the way they want - it stinks sometimes, but at least it's authentic... what is right and so what if you don't ever see or taste any fruits of your labors. You have to trust that He is tilling the fields for you"

"Our beliefs should be strongly and loyally held, otherwise why have them?!"

"I know that when my own personal pray life is in order, as well as my family’s prayer life…I am more successful in situations like these. ...when all this confrontation was happening to me, I figured this was a nudge from the Lord to deepen MY own relationship with him."

St. Theresa's Prayer (I recieved in an email today):
'May today there be peace within. May you trust that you are exactly where you are meant to be. May you not forget the infinite possibilities that are born of faith in yourself and others. May you use the gifts that you have received, and pass on the love that has been given to you. May you be content with yourself just the way you are. Let this knowledge settle into your bones, and allow your soul the freedom to sing, dance, praise and love. It is there for each and every one of us.'

Something I once wrote which connects with last weekend's gospel reading:
Jesus touched the lepers, talked to them, healed them. It was contrary to what others had ever done. Contrary to the worldly view that politics and religion should be a private matter and unspeakable amongst friends... God is calling many of us followers to share his message on the issues that should matter to everyone - not just Catholics!

Thank you to all who took the time to read this long post. I hope it will clear the air, and help you see what I envision for this blog. I hope it will inspire you to pray to step up to what God is calling you to do with your life, and BE NOT AFRAID because God is present in every moment. And in a moment of dispair, realize that even then blessings can come forth - because God wills it to be so!

Tuesday, February 10, 2009

Seeking Serenity, again

UPDATE: This has been edited because those involved want to be censored/anonymous.

I am a fully functional person, full of emotions, who's a procrastinator but performs wonderfully under pressure. Today and yesterday was simply that - a "functional" day. I got up, I talked/wrote a bit, I ate, I made sure the kids stayed alive and fed. Other than that, I was a zombie.

Some of it stems from the fact that just a few weeks ago on facebook, my husband and I posted a simple comment. A "friend" had posted that she had joined the Barack Obama fan club, this was about a day before the inauguration. My hubby's words didn't come out right, but still clearly emphasizing that we could not support a president who's high ranked priority is to make murder via abortion easier. I was so proud of him, and this was very unlike him. Before she even read our brief comments, her 2 brothers chimed in with some vicious and hurtful comments. While responding after much prayer, she began to delete all comments and remove us from her friends/viewing list. I don't even know how much of my response she read. I do know her brothers didn't see my replies at all.

This is a "friend" I grew up with, played with, considered to be like a sister. The older of the brothers, I had looked up to him as if he was my own. I looked past their occasional teasing over the years. She meant so much to me, that when she began talking lightly about drug and alcohol use as a teen, I was concerned and had my mom and her mother intervene. I wasn't sure how serious she was about what she said. So as taught at school I informed my parents OUT OF LOVE I TELL YOU! Of course she lied her way out of it, or she had lied to me and others present. But did she see that, heck no. Years passed, we seemed to let it go, and soon we were involved in each others weddings. I planned her Bridal Shower, and helped with her Baby Shower. Because she meant that much to me. While visiting me recently, she told me she had decided to switch from Catholicism to Lutheran, as her husband is. I stayed polite, since she was my guest, and made strong efforts to pray for her instead of confronting her as I wanted to. But a part of me regreted not discussing it with her in depth. In recent adoration, I had felt called to watch out for her, pray for her, and discuss her new lifestyle with her.

After the "facebook incident" I knew that it would be months or years before she'd move on, as before. And despite my sorrow and fear, last Sunday I attended a gathering at her mom's house. I knew Tom and I were in for either a debate or the silent treatment. I'll be honest, I was hoping for a debate, I was prepared for a debate - but we got the silent treatment instead. I tried light conversation, with little success. Contrary to my usual self, I barely said a word the whole day. I tried not to let it crush my spirits. Yet, it did.

Without going into much detail... At the same time someone very close to me has had a hard time hearing my honest opinions. Last night's chat made it clear that it is best that I just stay out of it all together, even though it affects me deeply.

I am also having friend issues. The same idea that my opinions and self-giving love aren't worthy of respect. That if I don't follow along, than I'm out of the game all together. I hate that - I should be able to enjoy my life, and if I don't want to join in on someone else's idea of fun - I should not have to make excuses, and I should not feel bad about it. I love to be social, but I have social anxieties that many just do not respect. You just might have to drag me kicking and screaming, otherwise say "That's okay, maybe next time you'll feel up to it."

I have had the "just get over it" look or talk given to me one too many times. For those who don't realize - I CAN'T! If I do, it will eat away at me, until I leak everything else out at once. Believe me, my husband doesn't enjoy that at all - because he gets the brunt of it.

So last night, when the heartache got too much to bear, I crawled in bed around 5pm and didn't get out until 11am this morning. I asked Tom if I should go back to my old self, when people liked me a lot. You know, the person who is a good listener, a great friend, but doesn't express her own opinion and focuses on everyone but herself. I remember how many friends I had, but I also remember how used I felt. My weight gain is the best visual of how it hurt.

I decided it would be easier to just go numb to myself, be a functioning person, live my life for God and my family in a more quiet way. It's hard, because I always thought of myself as an evangelist who would someday help others through the armageddon turmoil. But evangelization IS knowledge displayed through positive emotion. It's being a loud example. I just can't get to that positive state of mind with all this heartache and many dead ends.

  • What do you do when you want to help others, but they won't let you help them?
  • How do you soften that rocky soil, or can't you?
  • How can you be an example to others, when no one wants to look at you?
  • What parts of myself am I willing to sacrifice to be seen by others?
  • When will my wisdom show merit?

I try not to have any regrets, and pull the positive out of any situation. I am hoping that God can fill the voids in my heart, and pull me out of this misery. I know people out there generally care about me as a person, just not in the depth that I need. However, I am lucky that my husband genuinely cares enough to help me through it the best he can.

God, grant me the Serenity to accept the things I cannot change,

Courage to change the things I can,

and the Wisdom to know the difference.

Friday, February 6, 2009


Do you need validation?

Watch this video short (16 min), it's Sooooo worth the time!

Recognize the main guy? He's the [rich] scientist on the TV show Bones.

Anyways, this film represents what we can do as Christian people, to bring out the best in others. Try to validate someone you know today.

H/T: Charlotte

Tuesday, February 3, 2009

Not so stimulating news...

In an effort to stop this rediculous "stimulus package" passed by Democratic representatives in the House, I have signed a petition promoted by John McCain. We need the public influence to sway leaders in the Senate. Will you sign it too?

>The Wall Street Journal: A 40 Year Wish List - it's like a program to help the poor want to stay poor! Not to stimulate the economy with new jobs. Not that I have anything against the poor, but this is a sure way to keep the poor poor, and to drag us middle class workers into that category.

>More details here on the 2009 Stimulus Package.

Here is the letter McCain emailed supporters today:

Yesterday, the Senate began debate on an economic stimulus package that is intended to get our economy back on track and help Americans who are suffering through these difficult times. Unfortunately, the proposal on the table is big on the giveaways for the special interests and corporate high rollers, yet short on help for ordinary working Americans. I cannot and do not support the package on the table from the Democrats and the Obama Administration. Our country does not need just another spending bill, particularly not one that will load future generations with the burden of massive debt. We need a short term stimulus bill that will directly help people, create jobs, and provide a jolt to our economy.

I believe we need to evaluate every bit of spending in this stimulus proposal with one important criteria - does it really stimulate the economy and help create jobs - if the answer is no, it does not belong in a so-called stimulus package. Furthermore, the stimulus must include significant direct relief to American workers in the form of payroll tax cuts and programs to help homeowners keep their homes. Finally, we need an end game to this stimulus so that when our economy recovers, these spending programs do not remain permanent and saddle our children with a skyrocketing national debt.

I appreciate the discussions President Obama is having with my Republican colleagues, but the time for talking has come to an end and we must now begin some serious negotiation. But as of yet, Republicans have not been given the opportunity to be involved. The House of Representatives passed a stimulus bill without a single Republican supporting it. In the Senate, the Democrat leadership is trying to jam the existing proposal through regardless of reservations from a number of members. With so much at stake, the last thing we need is partisanship driving our attempts to turn the economy around.

I have long been a fighter against wasteful spending in Washington and long an advocate for a balanced budget -- that will never change. I realize we face extraordinary challenges with our economy today, but that is not an excuse for more irresponsibly from Washington. I hope you will join me in saying no to this stimulus package as it currently exists by signing this petition.

John McCain
Chair, Country First PAC

Tuesday, January 27, 2009

It just occured to me...

Today it occured to me...

My daughters will require my permission before the age of 18

>to get her ears pierced.
>to get a tatoo.
>to get her drivers license.
>to make chargable phone calls.
>..i am sure there are more, as well as anything I deem worthy as her parent.

No acceptions. Oh wait...

Under FOCA, at as young as the age of 12 or 13 she could go get an abortion on her own, or possibly with her rapist at her side, and we'd never know. She'll be allowed the right to murder her unborn child at an age when common sense isn't even fully developed.

Since when is Parental Consent unnecessary for major, permament medical procedure on a minor?! Necessary for a permament tatoo, but not a permanent abortion. Boy, are some people's ideas about constitutional rights mixed up. What's next?

Monday, January 26, 2009

She made me feel special!

Blogging Friends Award

A special Thank You to Paula and (Sarah), who gave me this award for being her blogging friend.

“These blogs are exceedingly charming. These kind bloggers aim to find and be friends. They are not interested in self-aggrandizement. Our hope is that when the ribbons of these prizes are cut, even more friendships are propagated. Please give more attention to these writers.
Deliver this award to eight bloggers who must choose eight more and include this cleverly-written text into the body of their award.”

I would like to pass this award onto my blog friends who encourage me with their comments and advice, and who so lovingly write their own blogs to share with me and the rest of the world. You don't have to repost this - just know I was thinking (and reading) about you today! And please be sure to visit all these blogs this week - they're all incredible and worth the time.

Paula - back at 'cha, for staying connected!
Bruce - for preaching the truth for all to hear/read.
Laura - for being honest, when others hold back.
Jamie - for loving so deeply and lending a shoulder.
Sarah - for living one day at a time.
Tracy - for encouraging creativity.
Jessica - for staying strong in adversity.
Alison - for staying true to yourself.

Wednesday, January 21, 2009

Come Holy Spirit!

Come Holy Spirit, and renew the face of the earth!

So many of my fellow bloggers have been posting information about the state of the American Mass and their being drawn to the conformity and old tradition of the Latin Mass. My recent post regarding old traditions and new positive changes coming soon, speaks to this.

But might I endulge for a moment about what I feel is a treasure to our Catholic Church, that has indeed changed my life forever. I wish more people who are inclined to increase their faith lives experience this level of worship.

The Charasmatic Renewal of the Catholic Church:

Shortly after I was Baptised (in Jan 1980), my parents began to attend a new parish forming, The Church of St. Paul. They were there at the ground-breaking just a mile from our house. They helped build that church, worked in the music ministry, VBS and bible study. I grew up not understanding completely the charisms that occured there, but loved how the Holy Spirit moved through this parish, through this Charasmatic Mass. It's worship, its call to evangelization, vocations and more. When my dad applied for the Deaconate more than 20 years ago, he was told that there was no opening for a Deacon at St. Paul's - so he moved on to my school's parish - Epiphany. We've belonged to many parishes since then, and my dad - Deacon Bruce - is now back at Epiphany. They are great leaders and incredible examples to me and others who witness their great love and knowledge of the Catholic Church and its teachings.

When I was attending the College of Visual Arts, I attended mass just down the road at the Cathedral. It was special to me, because it was the first time in my life I decided to live my faith without the push of my parents. I was deciding on my own, praying on my own - it was just between God and me. At one particular Mass, during the transubstantiation of the Eucharist, I felt God calling me in a loud voice... asking me to leave my college to go back home and be a minister to the youth of the area. Though I had no idea how or what - it didn't take me long to pack my bags and head home. Who am I to question God?

I applied for the NET Ministry team, and was accepted for their retreat interview. They told me that I was right for the vocation, but with limited openings - not quite yet. To reapply in 1 -2 years. I had to take some more time developing my personal understanding of the faith and the Holy Spirit. I don't read much, or often, but after that interview I read several books on evangelization, the Catholic Mass, gifts of the Holy Spirit, and Catholic Apologetics. I attended classes, and most importantly I attended Adoration. By that time my parents had begun a Monday Marian Cenacle and Adoration night. Somewhere in the middle of it all, I was invited to attend a Steubenville Youth conference with some friends and a local parish.

During the Steubenville [Franciscan Youth] Conference in Ohio, I opened myself to a new level of prayer - a Charismatic prayer. I spoke in toungues , was called to evangelization and offered my life up to the possiblity of joining the sisterhood. I gave my most devout confession, and reconciled the burdens of my past giving them to Jesus. It was beautiful. That year I also went to the adult conference in Ohio, then attended as a chaperone the next year to Steubenville of the Rockies CO, and the following year I lead my own parish and homeschool teens to Steubenville North At St. Thomas Univeristy, MN. IN these 3 years I was asked to lead the local Catholic Homeschool Teen group, which was a stepping stone for me in deciding to homeschool my own children. It was during all this, I saw how God's calling for me was being fulfilled. Imbedding the faith in teens and deeper in to myself.


While the Gifts of the Holy Spirit were renewed and released. The Spiritual Gifts - Charisms from the Holy Spirit I have experienced since are: Speaking in Tongues, Interpretation, Resting in the Spirit - possibly more?

Some of these, are enumerated by St. Paul in 1Cor.12. They are 9: "The word of
wisdom, the word of knowledge, faith, the grace of healing, the working of
miracles, prophecy, the discerning of spirits, diverse kinds of tongues,
interpretation of tongues" (I Cor.12:4-10).

This is how I am certain that God has big things instore for me, and I am not nearly finished. My ministry will continue, as a wife and sister, in my motherhood and in my church. God will bring those oportunities to me in the right time. The original 7 Gifts of the Holy Spirit imbedded in us at Baptism and released fully at Confirmation - are in each one of us.

[These] are specially intended for the sanctification of the person who
receives them: The seven gifts of Is 11:2-3: Wisdom, understanding, counsel,
fortitude, knowledge, piety (godliness), and fear of the Lord.

These are incredible, and I can see them in the words you all share with me in your blogs. In your lifestyles, teaching, and faith sharing. IF you feel your parish needs to be uplifted and renewed, consider the Catholic Charismatic Renewal...

The central goals of Catholic Charismatic Renewal include:

  1. To foster mature and continuous personal conversion to Jesus Christ, our Lord and Savior.
  2. To foster a decisive personal receptivity to the person, presence and the power of the Holy Spirit.
  3. These two spiritual graces are often experienced together in what is called in different parts of the world a baptism in the Holy Spirit, or a release of the Holy Spirit, or a renewal of the Holy Spirit. They are most often understood as a personal acceptance of the graces of Christian initiation and as an empowering for personal Christian service in the Church and in the world.
  4. To foster the reception and use of the spiritual gifts (charismata) not only in the charismatic renewal but also in the broader Church. These gifts, ordinary and extraordinary are abundantly found among laity, religious and clergy. Their proper understanding and use in harmony with other elements of the church life is a source of strength for Christians on their journey towards holiness and in the carrying out of their mission.
  5. To foster the work of evangelization in the power of the Holy Spirit, including the evangelization of the unchurched, the re-evangelization of nominal Christians, the evangelization of culture and social structures. The renewal especially promotes sharing in the Church's mission by proclaiming the gospel in word and deed, and by bearing witness to Jesus Christ through personal testimony and through those works of faith and justice to which each one is called.
  6. To foster the ongoing growth in holiness through the proper integration of these charismatic emphases with the full life of the Church. This is accomplished through participation in a rich sacramental and liturgical life, and appreciation of the tradition of Catholic prayer and spirituality, and ongoing formation in Catholic doctrine guided by the Church's magisterium, and participation in the pastoral plan of the Church.

"These goals and the projects that flow from them have marked the Catholic charismatic renewal in individuals, prayer groups, communities, local, diocesan and national service teams and ministries."

This is just part of my renewal in the Catholic Faith - part of my "Conversion Story." Even though I was a cradle Catholic, I didn't always trust and I didn't always live as one. My conversion was when I decided for myself that this is what God is calling us all to. Of course it has only begun - I am still learning and growing in faith. So far, I love what I've found!

Have you?


I would like to branch out and share my thoughts with others and see their comments - so please take a minute to mention me in your blog sometime. Thanks!

Growing in Grace:

St. Brigids Academy:

Tuesday, January 13, 2009

The Interview

A fellow Minnesotan, Laura, just allowed herself to be interviewed, and I asked her to interview me.

1. Leave me a comment saying, "Interview me".
2. I will respond by emailing you five questions. (I get to pick the questions).
3. You will update your blog with the answers to the questions.
4. You will include this explanation and an offer to interview someone else in the same post.
5. When others comment asking to be interviewed, you will ask them five questions.

So, here are the 5 questions with my answers...

1. If your husband died, do you think you'd ever get re-married?
I have thought of this one before. My husband's life is always at high risk with his commercial carpentry job. Especially with my beautiful children, I would certainly consider it. Being a parent really takes two! But the whole idea of it just makes me ill to my stomach - so I just trust God will put the right people in and out of my life when he thinks it's necessary.

2. If YOU died, would you want your husband to get re-married?
I've told him to go for it. I am living a low-risk lifestyle.. so there is no real worries there. But you never know. To find true love twice is to be twice blessed. If God brings you to it...

3. If you died, and your husband got married, would you want your kids to call their step-mom "Mom"?
If he picked the kind of woman who would be a great mother to my children, then yes. I don't think he'd chose anything less. Calling her by her first name would be disrespectful. But I'm sure they'd ease themselves into it. Do you recall this situation from "The Sound of Music?" That's what I'd hope for... without all the nazis.

4. If you could pick a method of death, what would it be? (examples: dying of old age in sleep, car crash/instant death, jump from a building, beheading...)
My ideal death would be none at all. I am really hoping to be lifted off this corrupted world into heaven while God renews it into a new Garden of Eden like in the book of Revelations. But if that is not meant to be, I would like to die in my very old age beside my husband, in my sleep, exactly like in the movie "The Notebook."

5. If you could live forever (longer than most human beings but let's say you know you will go to Heaven), what things would you want to do first...what things would you want to learn since you have a REALLY long time to learn them?
After talked to my grandmother before she died, I realized the last thing I want to do is live to be older than 95, unless of course I am able to live as in the book of Revelations (question #4).
And this is kind of a trick question because we will live forever - in Heaven.

Anyways, if the main question is what are my personal worldly goals in life....
a. I've always wished that I could live at least long enough to see my great-grandchildren.
b.Learn to Play Swing Jazz on piano (and dance to it) - I've already started.
c. Learn to paint a realistic looking portrait, like Thomas Kincaide
d. I really want to visit the Ordway and Chanhassen Dinner Theatre.
e. My huge goal is to visit Italy for one month (or more).

Thank you Laura for the questions. If you want ME to interview YOU, go ahead and put "interview me" in the comments to this post and I'll send you some questions...

Monday, January 12, 2009

New & Old Catholic Traditions

While spending endless hours trying to catch up on reading blogs and emails after a few week break... I came across an interesting topic or set of topics regarding traditions of the Catholic Church. I thought I'd share my findings and opinions. Thank you to all who are participating in this - blogging and online research seems to be the new way of finding out the truths of our Catholic Faith.

The Roman Missal - A New English Translation by 2010

The USSCB has an article regarding the current english translation of the Roman Missal. This article as well as others, discuss how there is a committee appointed and blessed by Pope Benedict XVI, who's current studies show that there need to be a few minor changes in the American Mass. The Catholic Knight Blog seems to have sparked some interest in this being a positive move, as I agree - but for different reasons than he presents in his blog. He refers to an article about the current American Mass being "defective." This committee is working diligently to have these changes presented to bishops and priests by the year 2010. Of course, it will be awhile later before we see it in full at church. I am certain they want a smooth transition for all of us Catholics who are conformed to the almost 40 year old way. Making sure this was all "kosher" with the Vatican... I found this letter from the Pope blessing the committee.

I know many of my Traditional Latin Mass friends are excited about this change. But with all change comes opposition... so please pray for the souls of the faithful. I personally think that if something needs to be more defined or redefined, based on new translations stemming from new research... then let it happen. It will only make us stronger, right?

Will we see a return to Church Veils????
Again, this Catholic Knight seems to have gotten this discussion started. You may have read about it on Ora et Labora or Totus Tuus Family blogs or listed on the right side bar at Shower of Roses.
Their discussion stems from the tradition of women wearing veils or hats at Church prior to the change in the Canon Law in 1983. The previous tradition was enforced by church leaders, but is no longer stated in the new law. Those who still wear veils, want us to know that this is a right that was never taken away. It is no longer a law or enforced, but the tradition of it - and its original intent is still worth consideration. Am I understanding you all right?

Of course I wanted to know where this really all stems from - church documents or journalistic manipulations? I found this article helpful, from Fatima Family, which states there is no longer a force of this law, yet there is nothing restraining us from doing so either. It IS a personal decision and it is NOT a sin to not wear a veil to Mass or Adoration. But for those who chose to wear a traditional head covering when in the True Presence of Christ, they are always a good example of modesty.

I personally feel that wearing veils is up to the individual, if used respectfully and not as just another fashion trend. If it helps you be more devoted and modest, go for it. I personally believe that I will not have a better faith life or incur more blessings by covering my head while in church. I am not trying to disrespect God or the Angels by not wearing one. I however do attend in modest dress. I do not agree that it should be enforced as it was before the 1970s. I do agree that women who chose to wear a mantila or head covering be resepcted for their decision and let alone.

I think instead of a focus on whether or not to wear head coverings, there should be a nation wide effort to focus on teaching modesty in dress for all ages when attending Mass and in the secular world. I think if we simply enforce head coverings, you will begin to see baseball caps and other rediculous styles popular today - and/or it will lead to more vanity. It should be a choice just as much as it is a choice to wear slacks, a skirt, or a dress to Church. Hopefully more will begin to make the modest choices.

Isn't Fasting just for Lent?

I have heard discussions about fasting on all Fridays of the year, not just during Lent. Of course that peaked my curiosity. I went straight to the Code of Canon Law for my answer. You know, our faith is not just based on the Bible. It stands on three balanced legs of Writings, Tradition, and Papal Authority. Those things laid down for us by Christ and his first disciples. I figure their word is good enough for me, I don't have to refer to other websites or blogs for this.

The Canon Law has a section regarding Days of Penance:

Can. 1249 The divine law binds all the Christian faithful to do
penance each in his or her own way.
In order for all to be united among
themselves by some common observance of penance, however, penitential days are
prescribed on which the Christian faithful devote themselves in a special way to
prayer, perform works of piety and charity, and deny themselves by fulfilling
their own obligations more faithfully and especially by observing fast and
abstinence, according to the norm of the following canons.
Can. 1250 The penitential days and times in the universal Church are every Friday
of the whole year and the season of Lent.
Can. 1251 Abstinence
from meat, or from some other food as determined by the Episcopal Conference, is
to be observed on all Fridays, unless a solemnity should fall on a Friday.
Abstinence and fasting are to be observed on Ash Wednesday and Good
Can. 1252 The law of abstinence binds those who have completed
their fourteenth year. The law of fasting binds those who have attained their
majority, until the beginning of their sixtieth year. Pastors of souls and
parents are to ensure that even those who by reason of their age are not bound
by the law of fasting and abstinence, are taught the true meaning of
Can. 1253 The conference of bishops can determine more
precisely the observance of fast and abstinence as well as substitute other
forms of penance, especially works of charity and exercises of piety, in whole
or in part, for abstinence and fast.

Well, I hope you enjoyed learning more about the Catholic Faith. I encourage you to say your peace here, whatever your thoughts. Just try to be respectful of people's decisions, because no matter what we wear or what language we say the Mass in.. we are still all Children of God trying to live our faith the best we know how.