Friday, September 30, 2011

7 Quick Takes Friday - September 30, 2011


--- 1 ---

It's been one of those weeks. I have a huge project due at work that I've been frantically working on this week, putting in many extra hours; Collin's in the midst of a particularly challenging college class that's requiring HIM to put in many extra hours, our van got a flat tire, Violet's teething and ran a high fever yesterday, so couldn't go to daycare (I managed to work from home and still put in 13 hours while caring for her), and my doctor's office told me I was anemic and needed iron supplements. I'm really hoping things will marginally calm down once this week is over.

--- 2 ---

Two pieces of good news this week, though: we asked two of our close friends (the couple who run the marriage prep program at our parish) to be Baby W.'s godparents, and they said they'd be honored. I'm so happy they said yes.

My father e-mailed me to let me know he bought his plane tickets for Christmas -- he'll be here from December 24 to January 3! I'm so excited to see him!

I'm going to see if we can arrange to get the baby baptized while he's here. Usually, babies are only baptized once a month at our parish (usually something like the third Sunday at the 11am Mass), but we had Violet's baptism on a Wednesday evening so that my sister and her husband could attend (they had flown in from ND).

However, one of Baby W.'s godparents is also the baptism coordinator at our parish as well as the son of the permanent deacon who will probably be doing the baptism, so I think we should be able to swing an exception. ;)

--- 3 ---

We're doing another talk for the marriage prep participants tonight - this one on Intimacy and Sexuality, a talk we've given several times before. Since we've been on both sides of the fence, so to speak (contracepting as non-Catholics and using NFP as Catholics), we enjoy sharing our testimony about how freeing and wonderful NFP has been for us as well as sharing authentic Church teaching regarding intimacy and sexuality. We haven't had much time to prepare (see #1), though, so I'm hoping we can kind of wing it this time around. :)

--- 4 ---

Even though this is Baby #4, I've had several people ask me if we have a baby registry. The answer is, kind of, but since we have everything we NEED at this point, the list is generally comprised of stuff it'd be nice to have but aren't necessities. (The one exception is a boy's baptismal outfit... but I'm not going to know if we'll need one or not until s/he arrives! Really, baby can be baptized wearing a simple white onesie, so even that's more of a want than a need.)

Hope this doesn't come across as gift-grubbing or anything (like I said, we have everything we need), but since several people have asked I thought I'd put it out there.

--- 5 ---

I can't believe it's almost October. I have William's Halloween costume already (he's going to be Spiderman), and Violet will wear the cow costume William wore at her age. Elanor is still undecided, although I'm trying to encourage her to be Princess Tiana again, as I think the dress she wore last year will still fit.

If anyone is interested, I have the following costumes available to lend out: a girl's 4-5 Cinderella dress (a little worn as Elanor used it to play dress-up until she grew out of it), a girl's 4-5 Minnie Mouse dress, good condition (both are basically Wal-Mart cheapies - I think I have a Minnie Mouse ear hairband thing somewhere too), a pretty ragged 9-12 month size bumblebee costume, a size 3T frog costume (Old Navy brand), and a size 6-9 month Tinkerbell dress from the Disney store. Pictures available upon request. :)

--- 6 ---

I should not read Peggy Vincent's Baby Catcher right before bed. I had such weird dreams all involving childbirth last night. The only one I can really remember is that Leila and I were pregnant at the same time and due on the same day (which, bizarrely, was true with our toddlers before we met).

In my dream, we were both two weeks from our due date, and we both went to the hospital with contractions 4 minutes apart. We even shared the same room. Leila ended up giving birth to a boy with a full head of black hair named Micah (I think there's actually a birth story along those lines in the book), but my labor stopped and I got sent home to wait a few more weeks! After that the dream was kind of jumbled -- I think my family went camping? -- and I was wailing and gnashing my teeth about being 4 days overdue and how it was so unfair because Leila had her baby two weeks ago! Then I woke up.

(Leila, I'm pretty sure I'm not prophetic, so I wouldn't worry.) ;)

--- 7 ---

I'd like to thank Jissa from Blessed Be Lord for praying for me the last few months. :) Your prayers have been felt and appreciated!

For more Quick Takes, visit Conversion Diary!

Thursday, September 29, 2011

Prayer Buddy Reveal

I signed up to be a Prayer Buddy for the first time last month, and since then I've been blessed to pray for Tess from The Lighthouse. Tess, I tried to pray for you every day -- sometimes pregnancy brain interfered and I forgot, but I think I remembered most days. :)

Happy Feast of the Archangels!

Monday, September 26, 2011

A Response to Lisa Graas Re: "The Moral to this Story"

Lisa made a number of unkind, uncharitable, and outright untrue accusations toward me in her most recent blog post. Given that she turned comments off, I’m unable to respond at her blog so I will have to do so here in hopes that anyone who reads her unjust accusations will also find my rebuttal to them.

1. “If I were to now go and kill myself it would not be because of ‘Bipolarphobia’ on the part of Joann [sic]  for demonizing me based on my disorder, though she did do that.”

Apparently, Lisa’s definition of “dehumanizing” someone with Bipolar disorder is to do the following:

  • State that your husband (of 10 years and counting) has Bipolar Disorder.
  • State that, based on the fact above, you have learned to recognize the signs of when someone’s meds may be out of whack and may need adjusting.
  • State that you have seen signs of increased paranoia and excessive self-recrimination based on perceived insults in someone’s comments (see Lisa’s comment from September 26, 2011 at 1:22 am on this post, for example), and that such rants and ramblings, in your experience, can be an indication of instability on the part of the person with Bipolar Disorder, a sign that that person's current treatment regimen may not be adequate for their needs.
  • Suggest that perhaps that someone may need to visit her doctor to explore the possibility of a medication adjustment and/or new medication, in case the emotional instability has a medical cause. 

The dictionary definition of “dehumanize” is:  “to deprive of human qualities, personality, or spirit.” Given the facts above, I fail to see how Lisa’s accusation that I “dehumanized” her is accurate. I made no judgments regarding the state of her soul, her human qualities, her personality , or her spirit; I suggested that her WRITTEN COMMENTS indicated that her admitted medical condition might be affecting her judgment and ability to be rational, based on my ten years of experience living with and intimately knowing someone who also has her particular medical condition.

2.    “I am not what they think I am, therefore I will not kill myself. I know my value and dignity before God.”

Lisa suggested here that I stated that she has no value or dignity before God. This is false. I made no comments regarding her inherent worth and dignity as a human being and beloved child of God. My suggestions that she seek additional treatment for her medical disorder was in no way a reflection of her inherent worth and dignity as a beloved child of God. I am glad to know she won’t kill herself.

3.    “Leila and Joann [sic] have Bipolarphobia and wish to instruct me on my need to be aware of'homophobia'.  People are not brutalizing people with same-sex attraction who are dealing with it in a holy manner. If that EVER happened, the word 'homophobia' might possibly be a legitimate term.”

First of all, the assertion that I have “Bipolarphobia” would be news to my husband, who has had Bipolar disorder since before our marriage 10 years ago. You would think that my having "Bipolarphobia" would have resulted in his suicide by now, if Lisa is to be believed, yet we're still very happily married.

Second of all, what I wish to instruct Lisa on is the fact that bigotry and hatred against homosexuals does exist regardless of whether or not she acknowledges it. If it did not exist, I fail to see why the Catholic Church would state that ALL homosexuals, EVEN THOSE WHO ARE COMMITTING HOMOSEXUAL ACTS, “must be accepted with respect, compassion, and sensitivity. Every sign of unjust discrimination in their regard should be avoided” (CCC 2358). Lisa seems to believe that only homosexuals living chastely deserve respect, compassion, and dignity – which make her comments above regarding her own value and dignity before God despite her Bipolar disorder truly ironic.

Unlike Lisa, I believe that all homosexuals, not just the ones who are chaste, have inherent value and dignity.  That does not mean that I condone homosexual acts, but that I believe people have inherent value and dignity despite their sins, regardless of what those sins may be.Lisa claims to be “listening to the Church.” However, the Church has said: “It is deplorable that homosexual persons have been and are the object of violent malice in speech or in action. Such treatment deserves condemnation from the Church's pastors wherever it occurs. It reveals a kind of disregard for others which endangers the most fundamental principles of a healthy society. The intrinsic dignity of each person must always be respected in word, in action and in law.” (source)

Note that this paragraph makes no distinction between chaste homosexuals and practicing homosexuals, as Lisa does. It states that violent malice in speech and in action against homosexuals deserves condemnation wherever it occurs, regardless if the homosexuals in question are chaste or practicing. THIS is the Church’s definition of homophobia. This is the true, authentic definition of homophobia, but Lisa refuses to understand that. She will only accept the definition of homophobia as propagated by the liberal media instead of listening to what the Church says.

I’m sorry, Lisa, but I defer to the Church in this matter. I condemn violent malice in speech and in action against ANYONE – be they practicing homosexual, chaste homosexual, person with Bipolar disorder, etc. I’m sorry you cannot do the same.  If you choose to go against the Church with your opinions, then all I can do is include you in my prayers that you will one day come to understand that violent malice, in word or in action, against ANYONE due to their sins is unacceptable.

Friday, September 23, 2011

7 Quick Takes Friday - September 23, 2011



Thanks to Jen for hosting.

1. Collin and Violet had a good trip to ND. The flight there went well (apparently several other passengers commented on how good she was!); the flight back wasn't quite so good as Violet was tired and cranky but refusing sleep. However, they survived intact and even had a fun time. :)

Violet got to spend time with a lot of relatives, including Grandma Jan (my mom) with whom she hit it off really well:


2. I actually had a really productive weekend without a toddler around - go figure! - and got almost all the way caught up on laundry (we had a HUGE backlog; most if it, I'm sad to say, was on our bedroom floor). Collin was shocked and surprised when he walked into a sparkling clean bedroom on Monday night.

3. Oh, I don't think I talked about Elanor's latest stunt. About two weeks ago, she cut Violet's hair. As in, she cut off all of Violet's beautiful blond curls from the back of her head. I loved those curls so I was pretty upset. All things considered, it could have been worse -- she left the front and sides of her hair largely alone. We took Violet to Snip N Snap for Kids to repair the damage and the stylist was actually quite impressed at Elanor's skill; she said it was a good job for a six-year-old!

4. I remembered a funny story from Disneyland that I forgot to share last week. We encountered Alice and the Mad Hatter in Fantasyland, and stopped to get autographs. Elanor went right over to Alice and gave her a hug, and the Hatter said, "Tell your friend [meaning William] to come over too and we'll take a picture." Elanor looked at him and said, "He's not my friend; he's my brother." The crowd around us, including the characters, cracked up.


5. 40 Days for Life begins next week! I'm going to try to commit to praying at an AZ location once a week, probably Tuesday or Thursday afternoon at the Glendale location (specific day/time depends on my doctor appointments - I go every two weeks now). If any of you in the Phoenix area want to join me, let me know! It's nice to have company.

Speaking of 40 Days for Life, Jennifer Fulweiler wrote an excellent article for the National Catholic Register blog called "What I Learned From Praying in Front of an Abortion Clinic." I've written before about my experiences.

6. I did my glucose tolerance test (ugh) on Monday; haven't gotten the results yet but I assume they'd have called by now if they were abnormal. I had a regular appointment on Monday as well; the baby's heartbeat was 140bpm and my OB said, "That sounds like a happy baby." :) We also talked about my desire not to be induced in the extremely unlikely event that I go past 41 weeks (I never have before), and he's fine with that as long as I do twice-weekly non-stress tests to make sure the baby's okay.

I also reiterated my desire for an unmedicated childbirth with as few interventions as possible, and he's also fine with that (although he did ask me to head to the hospital a bit sooner this time around, as last time I arrived at the hospital fully dilated and ready to push, and he barely got there in time!). I heart my OB.

7. Collin and I are giving a talk on "Morals and Values in Marriage" for our parish's marriage prep program tonight. Please say a prayer for us!

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Joe Mizzi's Response

Dr. Mizzi responded, very politely, to my e-mail regarding his NFP article. His response (in green) and my subsequent reply are below (notes in italics are were not included in my reply to him).

Dear Joanna,

Thank you for your letter.

It is too long to answer you on every point.

[I doubt this, as his original article was several pages long and my response was only a few paragraphs. I think he's deflecting my points because he's stymied on how to answer them.]

If you could just answer these two questions, I'd appreciate it:

1. Given that all Christian denominations taught that contraception was immoral until 1930, did God (a) change His mind or (b) allow Christians to believe and teach false doctrine for over 1,900 years?

2. Since spontaneous abortion (miscarriage) occurs naturally (just as the infertile phase of a woman's cycle does), does that mean that induced abortion is also acceptable?

Do not couples using NFP deliberately frustrate the natural purpose of the conjugal act by time sexual intercourse to the safe period? Is not their purpose to prevent pregnancy

Well of course that is exactly their purpose!

[What's interesting here is that he's addressing a point I've already conceded to as if I am disputing it. Note that in my original e-mail to him, I explicitly said that spacing pregnancy was not, in and of itself, an objectively evil or immoral end. I'm not sure if he misunderstood my point or if he's deliberately trying to steer the conversation away from the actual point. I'm going to stay the course, however...]

It is not sinful or intrinsically immoral to desire to space pregnancies for just reasons; moreover, the marital act has DUAL purposes: procreative and unitive, not just the former.

What is sinful is the deliberate frustration of the marital act (i.e., sexual intercourse). When a couple uses NFP to aid in periodic abstinence, they are not deliberately frustrating the marital act because no marital act is taking place. Contraception, however, always frustrates a marital act, either in anticipation of the act (e.g., the Pill, IUDs, diaphragms), during the act itself (e.g., condoms or withdrawl) or after the marital act has taken place (e.g., the "morning-after" Pill).

[I hope he replies, at the very least, to the two questions I sent him... I'm interested to know his answers.]

Monday, September 19, 2011

Responding to Joe Mizzi - "An Evaluation of Natural Family Planning"

Because I'm a glutton for punishment, I subscribe to the "Just for Catholics" newsletter in which Joe Mizzi, a former Catholic, tries to persuade Catholics how wrong they are. Dr. Mizzi and I have had a couple of brief e-mail exchanges and I found him to be a sincere, if misguided, individual (unlike professional anti-Catholic Mike Gendron, who became progressively more rude and irrational in his responses to me).

He recently sent out an article titled, "An Evaluation of Natural Family Planning" (note: opens as a PDF) in which he attempts to prove that NFP and certain forms of contraception are no different from one another (and thus the Catholic Church is wrong to teach that all contraception is immoral). To his credit, he condemns contraception that is potentially abortive, and for that I commend him. However, his points are illogical and unpersuasive, and I sent him the below e-mail in an attempt to point out some of the flaws in his argument.

Dear Dr. Mizzi:

I read this document and found several aspects of it puzzling.

For example, this excerpt:

The basic moral difference between periodic abstinence and artificial methods of birth control is given in Humanae Vitae, 16: „In the former the married couple rightly use a faculty provided them by nature. In the later they obstruct the natural development of the generative process.‟ The basic difference is not in the motive – parents can use either method to avoid pregnancy for some just reason – but in the means to reach that same goal. Since nature already provides a faculty to prevent pregnancy, and since it in certain circumstances it is desirable and good to avoid pregnancy, the Catholic objection to contraception is unsustainable.

I don't understand how anything you say in this paragraph leads to the conclusion that "the Catholic objection to contraception is unsustainable." Pope Pius XI said in Casti Connubii (all emphasis mine):

54. But no reason, however grave, may be put forward by which anything intrinsically against nature may become conformable to nature and morally good. Since, therefore, the conjugal act is destined primarily by nature for the begetting of children, those who in exercising it deliberately frustrate its natural power and purpose sin against nature and commit a deed which is shameful and intrinsically vicious.

and

56. ... Any use whatsoever of matrimony exercised in such a way that the act is deliberately deprived of its natural power to generate life is an offense against the law of God and of nature, and those who indulge in such are branded with the guilt of a grave sin.

Note the words "deliberately frustrate" and "deliberately deprived." Couples who use NFP are doing nothing to deliberately frustrate the marital act. In fact, it is impossible to do so, for no act is being performed -- an act is being abstained from, but that is not the same as engaging in the marital act and taking steps, either in anticipation of the act or after it has taken place, to deliberately frustrate the natural power and purpose. Condoms, for example, deliberately frustrate the natural power of the marital act by preventing the sperm from entering the woman's vaginal canal. With NFP, however, nothing artificial (like a barrier of latex) is preventing conception from occurring naturally.  The only thing that MAY prevent conception is the fact that ovulation either has not yet occurred or has already taken place, and that naturally-occurring cycle was put in place by God and not altered by either the husband or the wife. Given this distinction, I really don't see how you can logically say that condoms are no different from NFP, and your article doesn't really specify either.  (Also, your article fails to mention that NFP can also be used to ACHIEVE pregnancy -- my husband and I have used it several times for that purpose. What other method of birth control is also used to ACHIEVE pregnancy?)

I do, however, commend you for condemning those means of contraception which are potentially abortive -- many of your Protestant brethren do not do so.

In brief, there is no essential difference between periodic abstinence and artificial methods of birth control. Both can be used for exactly the same purpose. Moreover there is no moral difference between the means employed, whether „natural‟ or „artificial‟, since it is right to suppress normal body functions for the right reason, and in any case, nature itself imposes limits on human fertility.

You're partially right with this statement in that spacing births is not an objectively evil end. However, I do disagree with you that the means are exactly the same. With condoms and other forms of contraception, couples seek to deliberately frustrate, through artificial means, the two dual purposes of the marital act (unity of the spouses, and procreative capability). With NFP, no such deliberate frustration is happening. The couple is merely taking advantage of the woman's natural periods of fertility or infertility in the cycle created by God (who could have chosen to make women fertile 24/7, but did not). There is no deliberate frustration going on as there is with contraception, because each and every act is open and unhindered to the possibility of conception, however remote that possibility may be.

I also find your comparison to appetite suppressants to be weak. If a person is using an appetite suppressant, it is because s/he is attempting to suppress an unnaturally or abnormally large appetite. (Also, one should not be using appetite suppressants if their appetite is healthy; rather, they should simply abstain from unhealthy or high-calorie foods as befits the virtue of temperance.) As you note in your piece, the Catholic Church has no problem with using drugs or medicines in order to restore heath or cure an illness. Contraception, when used for the purpose of spacing pregnancy, is not being used to cure a disease or health problem; rather, it is being used to subvert normal, healthy, functioning fertility. NFP, on the other hand, allows couples to space births by practicing periodic abstinence, which is praised by St. Paul (1 Corinthians 7:5).

You also state in your article that "the second purpose [procreation] is not always present in nature and it should not be forced on the intent of the conjugal act."

It's interesting to note that this is the exact same argument many "pro-choice Christians" use to justify abortion. They argue that since embryonic or fetal death occurs in nature via spontaneous abortion (i.e., miscarriage), we are fully justified in aborting children via induced abortion. It seems, in order to be logically consistent, if you use this "not always present in nature" argument for contraception, you must also use it in favor of abortion - yet your article seems to indicate you consider abortion immoral. How do you reconcile this logical contradiction?

Also, you state, "The facts of history prove that the position of the Catholic Church has also changed dramatically" but none of the facts you present prove this statement. The Catholic Church has never taught as official doctrine that it is objectively evil or immoral to space pregnancy, only that it was wrong to deliberately frustrate procreation (e.g., by obtaining "potions of sterility" or by spilling one's seed on the ground, like Onan). The Church has consistently taught, as St. Paul did, that mutual abstinence has been acceptable as long as both spouses consent and there is no danger of either falling into lust and being tempted as a result of said abstinence.

Given that the Church has never taught that spacing pregnancy in and of itself was objectively evil or immoral, Her teachings did not "change dramatically" at all. Once scientists learned that it was possible to discern a woman's potential fertility via outward signs, the Church continued to teach that periodic abstinence was acceptable for spacing births, and that it was not a sin to practice periodic abstinence in conjunction with discerning a woman's natural fertility or infertility based on outward signs. See Fr. Brian Harrison's excellent article, "Is NFP A Heresy?" for a more thorough explanation.

Moreover, given that every Christian denomination taught that all contraception - abortifacent or otherwise - was objectively immoral until 1930, it seems that Christian denominations who currently teach that contraception is acceptable in any form either believe that God changed His mind or that God allowed Christians to believe and teach false doctrine for over 1,900 years. Which of these is your position? Your article doesn't say.

My friend Leila wrote an excellent blog post on this topic which you may find informative. Another excellent, thorough article is Dr. Janet Smith's Contraception: Why Not? I hope you take the time to read and consider the points made in both.

Sincerely yours,

JoAnna Wahlund

Friday, September 16, 2011

7 Quick Takes Friday - September 16, 2011



Thanks to Jen for hosting.

1. I'm up way too late because I'm packing a suitcase for Collin & Violet. Tomorrow they fly to Fargo, ND to attend Collin's cousin's wedding. (Too expensive for all of us to go, but Violet can still fly as a lap baby, so...)

2, I've never been separated from Violet overnight before, and it's hard. I know she'll be in good hands, but... but. She's my baby. (I'll miss Collin too, of course... but I've left him overnight before so it's not quite as hard. :P)

3. I had to say goodbye to her already because she'll still be sleeping when I leave for work tomorrow. They'll return late Monday night. Please pray that they have a safe trip, and that Violet behaves as well as an 18-month-old can in those circumstances.

4. Okay, I need to talk about something else or I'm going to start sobbing. Let me tell a couple of fun stories from our vacation.

5. When we arrived at the San Diego zoo, it was early afternoon the Sunday of Labor Day weekend. The parking lot was literally overflowing with cars. We circled the lot for 30 minutes but had no luck getting a space. I remembered reading a blog post about St. Boniface being the patron saint of getting a parking space (really!) so I began silently asking him for his intercession as we continued to circle the lot.

About five minutes after I started to pray, we caught sight of a car pulling out of the second row of the parking lot, and we managed to claim it. Thank you, God, and thank you, St. Boniface. It's nice to have friends in high places!

6. On Labor Day evening, the kids and I returned to the hotel around 8pm because we were all exhausted (Collin came with us, but planned to return to Disneyland for a few more hours once we were settled). After Collin left, I was flipping through channels to try and find something the kids could watch. As it was late evening, I couldn't find anything very kid-appropriate, not even on the Disney channel (one of the Hannah Montana-type shows was on, YUCK). As I flipped through again, I caught sight of a familiar image:


Elanor immediately said, "Oh, yes, the spaceship show. Let's watch that." So we did. It was a very, very proud moment for me. (The episode, for the Trekkies out there, was Timescape.) It was Star Trek: The Next Generation -- literally!

7. William absolutely loved seeing the pandas at the Zoo. A few days ago, while we were in the van driving home from daycare, he told me the following: "We saw a panda eating bamboo when we were at the San Diego Zoo. Pandas eat bamboo. We saw a panda sleeping, and another panda eating a lot of bamboo! Pandas are bears. Some bears eat children, and that's just rude."

I laughed until I nearly cried at the last line. (I have no idea where he got the "bears eat children" line from... probably his dad, I'm guessing. :P)

Okay, back to packing, and eventually bed. Ugh... 5am is going to come way too soon.

Sunday, September 11, 2011

9/11/01

Collin and I had been married for exactly 11 days. We were living in a small one-bedroom apartment in Minneapolis, MN, where I was a student at the University of Minnesota-Twin Cities and Collin worked as a contractor for a local IT company.

I remember my alarm, set to a local radio station, going off... I can't remember the time but I think it was around 7:30am. The only thing I heard before I hit the snooze button was, "A plane has hit the World Trade Center." Great, I remember thinking grumpily, some idiot in a Cessna went off course and has managed to kill himself.

I got up and fired up my computer, intending to check my e-mail quickly before getting ready for the day. My homepage was set to Yahoo.com and the pictures of an airliner flying into the first Tower leaped out at me immediately. I stared at them uncomprehendingly for a few minutes, then switched on the TV and started watching the news coverage. Then I went to wake up Collin and told him what was happening. He got up to watch the news coverage as well, and the two of us just held each other and watched the news in silence. We watched, live, as the second tower fell. Finally, I had to hurry up and get ready so I wouldn't miss my bus to campus.

As it turned out, I really didn't need to rush... shortly after I arrived on campus, I found that they were shutting it down for the day in memory of all those who had died in the attacks. So I took the bus back home.

As far as I remember, Collin and I spent the day moping around the apartment, just trying to process what had happened. I remember being so thankful that nothing like this had happened to the guests who had flown in for our wedding less than two weeks before. I wondered if Collin and I would begin our married life in a nation embroiled in war.

Photo source

On September 12, 2001, John Paul II said,

Yesterday was a dark day in the history of humanity, a terrible affront to human dignity. After receiving the news, I followed with intense concern the developing situation, with heartfelt prayers to the Lord. How is it possible to commit acts of such savage cruelty? The human heart has depths from which schemes of unheard-of ferocity sometimes emerge, capable of destroying in a moment the normal daily life of a people. But faith comes to our aid at these times when words seem to fail. Christ’s word is the only one that can give a response to the questions which trouble our spirit. Even if the forces of darkness appear to prevail, those who believe in God know that evil and death do not have the final say. Christian hope is based on this truth; at this time our prayerful trust draws strength from it.

He also offered this prayer:

Brothers and Sisters, in great dismay, before the horror of destructive violence, but strong in the faith that has always guided our fathers, we turn to the God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob, salvation of his people, and with the confidence of children, pray that He will come to our aid in these days of mourning and innocent suffering.

1. For the Churches of the East and the West, and in particular for the Church in the United States of America so that, though humbled by loss and mourning, yet inspired by the Mother of the Lord, strong woman beside the cross of her Son, they may foster the will for reconciliation, peace, and the building of the civilization of love.

2. For all those who bear the name of Christian, so that, in the midst of many persons who are tempted to hatred and doubt, they will be witnesses to the presence of God in history and the victory of Christ over death.

3. For the leaders of nations, so that they will not allow themselves to be guided by hatred and the spirit of retaliation, but may do everything possible to prevent new hatred and death, by bringing forth works of peace.

4. For those who are weeping in sorrow over the loss of relatives and friends, that in this hour of suffering they will not be overcome by sadness, despair and vengeance, but continue to have faith in the victory of good over evil, of life over death.

5. For those suffering and wounded by the terrorist acts, that they may return to stability and health and, appreciating the gift of life, may generously foster the will to contribute to the well being of every human being.

6. For our brothers and sisters who met death in the folly of violence, that they find sure joy and life everlasting in the peace of the Lord, that their death may not be in vain but become a leaven bringing forth a season of brotherhood and collaboration among peoples.

O Lord Jesus, remember our deceased and suffering brothers before your Father.
Remember us also, as we begin to pray with your words: Pater noster...

O Almighty and merciful God, you cannot be understood by one who sows discord, you cannot be accepted by one who loves violence: look upon our painful human condition tried by cruel acts of terror and death, comfort your children and open our hearts to hope, so that our time may again know days of serenity and peace.
Through Christ our Lord.

Amen.

Friday, September 9, 2011

7 Quick Takes Friday - September 9, 2011



Thanks to Jen for hosting.

I uploaded over 100 vacation pictures to Facebook last night! If you're my FB friend, you can see them here, but here are some of my favorites from the non-Disneyland portions of our trip (I'll probably do a follow-up post later on this week with our Disneyland pictures -- there are too many for a QT post!)

1.
Waiting in line at Sea World... aren't they cute?


2.
We were waiting in line to feed dolphins!! Elanor LOVED doing this. William took one look at their teeth and flatly refused (he was firmly convinced they were going to eat HIM), and Violet didn't really seem to care. So just Collin, Elanor, and I fed them (we got to touch them, too!). Such a great experience!
3.
Sea World had little signs in all their vegetation indicating what types of plants were around... when I saw this, I couldn't resist! She's wet because she had just finished playing in the jumping fountains at the Sesame Street Bay of Play... definitely her favorite spot! She pitched a tantrum when we moved on to a different part of the park.
4.
I met up with my friend Melanie at the San Diego Zoo! We have known each other online for over 10 years, but this was the first time we had actually met in person. We had so much fun hanging out!
5.
A Zoo shot of my favorite people in the world. :)
6.
We rode the San Diego Zoo Skyfari, and part of the gorgeous view included this building. I've tried Googling but can't figure out what it is. Looks like an Orthodox Church, but maybe it's a museum or something? Anyone know?
7.
On our last day, we decided to head to the beach for a little while. We discovered Little Corona Beach and it was just perfect. Small, secluded, and not very crowded at all. We had a wonderful time swimming in the Pacific!

Friday, September 2, 2011

7 Quick Takes Friday - September 2, 2011 - Vacation Quick Takes



Thanks to Jen for hosting.

Well, we're off to San Diego today! I'm already in lazy vacation mode, so I'm going to slap up a couple YouTube videos that I like and call it good. :) Enjoy!

1. We celebrated 10 years of marriage yesterday! (That means we've been married 50 years in celebrity marriage years, right?)



2. Here's a blast from my past: Kristin Chenoweth singing "Taylor the Latte Boy." I LOVED this song circa 1999 or so. In fact, I still find it pretty hilarious.



3. Another blast from my past - Rockapella performing "Where in the World is Carmen Sandiego?" I watched that show every day when I was a kid. I wanted to to marry the bass singer (Barry Carl).



4. One of my all-time favorite movie scenes. I wish I could get this on MP3.



5. When looking for the above clip, I saw this one on the suggestions tab. Talk about chills! Further Googling revealed that it's Deanna Durbin in the movie "It's a Date." What an incredible voice she has!



6. This is so adorable. I love this kid.



7. Here's another Cover Tune Grab Bag from MercyMe that perfectly fits my vacation mode (and takes place at one of the spots in which we'll be vacationing!). Enjoy!

Thursday, September 1, 2011

What a Difference a Decade Makes

Ten years ago today, I walked down the aisle a single woman...


...and walked up it a married woman.


After the ceremony, we laughed...


...and relaxed...


...and had cake*...

*Actually, all but the top layer of cake is styrofoam. I didn't like buttercream frosting so we served cheesecake instead. We tried saving the cake and eating it on our first anniversary, but it was disgusting.
 ...and kissed...


...and had fun hamming it up for the camera during our wedding dance (which was, inadvertently, Harry Potter-themed).


But we had no idea how much our lives would change in the span of 10 short years, or that we'd go from this:


to this:


 ....plus one:


We've done an incredible amount of growing, changing, and learning since our marriage, and I can't thank God enough for the incredible blessings He has given us during our journey. Without Him in our marriage, I fear it would have crumbled long before we reached this point. Our journey to Catholicism has made us stronger as individuals, but it's also made us infinitely stronger as "one flesh."


Here's to ten great years... and, God willing, many decades more.