Friday, November 21, 2014

SAHMs Are Home Because We Believe That's Best for Our Kids.

As a stay-at-home mother of some 30 years now I really feel that you mothers who have chosen to be home with your children all or most of the time could really use some encouragement.

From the president's recent insult to the feminists' rants you would think there were no women who willingly and gladly chose this path in life.  And yet there are some 10 million of us.

We do not stay home because we are incapable, incompetent or lazy.   We stay home because we believe that the very best care that can be given our children is mother-care.  We love them more than anyone and we want to be the one to teach them, to guide them, to laugh with them, to love them.  Am I right?

And we would not trade the years we have done this for any job whatsoever.  In fact, we would not trade those years for the world.

For those who have not seen it, I talk some more about this from a Catholic perspective here at Catholic365.com.

Tuesday, November 18, 2014

ISIS-- How Do They Get People to Join??

ISIS has some 30,000 fighters from 80 different countries and a few thousand from the West.

I've found myself wondering why on earth people would want to join such a group.  I mean, really.  Murderous psychopaths who commit barbaric acts against innocent civilians....who would want to join them?

Ayman S. Ibrahim has proposed three possibilities in First Things Blog.  First, he says that passages of the Qur'an are interpreted literally to justify the horrific acts of terrorism.  Many Muslims are unaware that there are later interpretations that do not take these passages literally.  Passages about the Paradise awaiting Muslims are also used.

Second, they use early Muslim history to support their claims.  To the Sunnis, the early years of Islam are considered sacred.  Muhammad was a hero and a role model and some of his actions are used to justify current acts of murder.

Third, Ibrahim says there is a great appeal to the concept of the caliphate, one unified Muslim community.

OK.  So those are the arguments they use, but why do they work?  I would think it would take more than some passages of the Qur'an to justify barbarism.  Would joining ISIS not require a complete deadening of the conscience?

Jesse Singal at the website Science of Us discusses why people would join ISIS with psychologist John Horgan of University of Massachusetts Lowell who has studied terrorism for over 20 years.  Horgan says that there is a strong moral pull.  They want to do something meaningful with their lives and many feel "a need to right some perceived wrong."  ISIS also presents people with the opportunity to feel powerful.

Could it be that the there are those who are so starved for the notion of a right and a wrong that even the false, distorted, and broken religious tenets upheld by ISIS have a kind of appeal?  Has moral relativism left such a hole in the hearts, minds, and souls of people in this century that radical Islamism is preferable, even appealing, in contrast to no sense of morality at all?  Perhaps this is the case.

Believers will also find plausible the effect of diabolical influence.  We know there is a spiritual battle going on, that we are fighting against principalities and the powers of darkness.  Clearly, evil is present in ISIS.  One could even say there is a presence of pure evil.  And when things just don't add up very well, it is always likely the father of lies is involved in some way.

Unfortunately, we children of God have demonstrated a real susceptibility to lies.  There was Eve in the Garden of Eden.  She was in close relationship with God.  Her life was perfect, was it not?  And she had none of the innate brokenness brought about by original sin.  Yet she believed the serpent.  She knew God intimately and yet fell for the lie that God was hiding something good from her.

We're weak.  We fall.  It's true for those who decide joining ISIS is somehow a good thing, as well as for  those of us who look on in disbelief.  Perhaps with similar influences we would be equally deceived.  There but for the grace of God......

We must pray against this evil and against all evil.  And we must always speak the truth, even when faced with opposition and ridicule.  There are those who are hungering for the truth.  If they don't hear it, evil can fill the void.

Saint Michael the Archangel, defend us in battle....

Friday, November 14, 2014

LET IT SNOW!!!!!

Yesterday was the first snow I've seen this winter!  (I did hear that it snowed on Halloween but I didn't actually see it.)

The best part of Michigan weather is that we have four distinctly beautiful seasons and the signs of the beginning of each one are always a little exciting-- the first crocuses in the Spring, the first leaves starting to change in the Fall, and the first snowflakes!

The beginning of winter does evoke some mixed feelings though.  Last winter, in particular, was unusually brutal.  The temperatures were bitter cold.  There was a lot of snow.  And we had a great deal of ice that came and just stayed on the streets and on the sidewalks.  Slippery surfaces for a very long time.

But knowing that winter brings adversity adds a certain drama to its beginning.  I must confess, I love a good blizzard.  Once everyone is home, I love the winter weather advisories.  I love predictions of huge snowfalls.  I love seeing it all come down.  (Although I don't love driving in it...not even a little bit.  I don't need that kind of life and death drama.)

So yesterday was the beginning of it.  I heard some people moan.  May we all gain what the Lord would have us gain from this winter, be it patience, endurance, courage, stamina, compassion for others.  There will be all sorts of opportunities for grace.  God is good.  All the time.

Thursday, November 13, 2014

Thanking the Lord for Anne!!

Celebrating the birth of my oldest daughter today!!

Warning:   Maternal Bragging!

Anne is a wonderful sweet, gentle woman.  I am so proud to be her mother.

She is an excellent daughter, sister, wife, and award winning intensive care nurse.  (She is also tough and strong!)

May the Lord bless her with everything good thing!

Thank you, Anne, for the blessing you are to our family!  So happy that you are back in Michigan.  A dream come true!!!
Even though you are working today, may you have a fantastic birthday!!

Thank you, Lord, for the gift of Anne's life.

God is good.  All the time!!!

Monday, November 10, 2014

Sleep!! We've Got to Sleep!!!

I read a very interesting article yesterday in the November issue of Prevention Magazine.  The cover read "Wake Up Refreshed! AND save your brain.  To read the more condensed version of the article go to this site.

Well, who isn't interested in saving their brain?  Those of us who have witnessed Alzheimer's Disease up close and personal are especially interested!!

According to this article, too little sleep damages the brain.  The damage may even be permanent.  And it looks like it increases the risk of developing Alzheimer's Disease.

People who have trouble sleeping, maybe even getting less than 6.8 hrs. according to one study, show changes in brain volume in areas important to memory and problem solving.
Maiken Nedergaard at the University of Rochester discovered something really interesting in a study of mice.  There is, as reported in this article from Prevention Magazine, "a kind of plumbing system for ridding the brain of unwanted waste.  Importantly, this cellular trash includes beta-amyloids and other proteins, the dreaded buildup of which is associated with cognitive problems, including Alzheimer's disease....The researchers found that this system became twice as active during sleep, allowing the brain to vastly increase its removal of potentially harmful gunk.  Put another way: When you don't sleep enough, your brain might get overrun with the most destructive kind of neurological trash."
And for you young people who insist you're getting enough sleep (you know who you are...), one study of healthy young people who had less than 7 hours of sleep for 7 days showed a decrease in cognitive performance that continued even after three additional nights of good sleep.

Link to Alzheimer's-- Studies have shown a definite correlation between sleep deprivation and mild cognitive impairment and dementia.  Both of those conditions are very linked to future diagnoses of Alzheimer's!!  One study of 15,000 people showed that people who have less than 5 hours sleep for several years perform poorly on memory performance tests equivalent to 2 years of additional brain aging!!  Another study of older people showed that people who had had 3-4 years of insufficient sleep had a 50% higher risk of brain again.

Well!!  Time to get more sleep!  This is a simple way to reduce one's risk of Alzheimer's!

And who would not like more sleep anyway.  Makes us happier, more pleasant to be around, and better able to function.  We all know that even without a study, right?

Saturday, November 08, 2014

Obedience Matters....Children, obey your parents....

It seems that requiring obedience from one’s children is very much out of vogue these days.  In fact, there are some parents who make no effort at all to make their chlldren obey. 
I frankly don’t understand this kind of parenting by persuasion.  Don’t get me wrong.  It’s great to teach your children to do what is right with persuasion, gentleness, kindness and respect.  The Catechism of the Catholic Church instructs us in our responsibility to educate our children “first by creating a home where tenderness, forgiveness, respect, fidelity, and disinterested service are the rule.”  But there will inevitably come a time when children will defy the parents and no amount of persuasion will change the child’s mind.  Many parents throw up their hands and give in at this point.  They will blame the behavior on the child and claim that there is nothing they can do about it.
In reality, there is a lot a parent can do about it.  You can tell the child that he must do as you say or there will be consequences.  You can give them to the count of three.  Once you say three, the consequences must be enforced, be it loss of privileges or a time out, or whatever.  For a teen it could be grounding, loss of driving privileges, etc.
I have seen the parents who seem to think it is wrong to enforce their will on the child.  They tell a child that it’s time to go, but the tone of voice conveys very clearly that it’s optional.  The child then ignores the parent.  The parent gently repeats what is evidently a request several different times while everyone waits.  Eventually, the child decides to go and complies.  In the meantime others are incovenienced and the child is taught a dangerous lesson.  You don’t need to do what your parents say.  It’s OK to ignore your parents.
Read the rest of my article here.
See Catholic365.com for other articles from a faithful Catholic perspective.

Thursday, November 06, 2014

Mr. President....seriously?


Noah Rothman has written a good article at Hot Air about the president's press conference following Tuesday's election.  He describes some of the curious statements our president made.  First off, the following:
“To everyone that voted, I want you to know that I heard you,” Obama began. “To two-thirds of voters that chose not to participate in the process yesterday, I hear you, too.”
My question to the president is just exactly what message did you hear from the two-thirds who did not vote?  Did you consider that they might be saying they are so despondent about the direction the country is heading that they didn't care enough to vote?  Did you hear their apathy?  Their disillusionment?  Or did you actually think they were saying something else??

Rothman goes on:
Obama made sure to draw a contrast with Republicans in Congress by noting that he is the figure with the most political legitimacy. “I’m the guy who is elected by everybody and not just from a particular state or a particular district,” Obama said when asked to address the “devastating losses” his party endured, “and they want me to push hard to close some of these divisions, break through some of the gridlock, and just get stuff done.”.....Read more here.
The president thinks that he is "the figure with the most political legitimacy?"  What?  Because the whole country voted for him and not just a particular state or district?  Did your yes-men actually present this argument with straight faces?  May I remind you, Mr. president, that they voted for you two years ago, not on Tuesday.  And that the devastating losses of your party do indeed represent the disappointment of your supporters.  How could it be interpreted any other way? (Read Rothman's whole whole article here.)

They want you to "just get stuff done?"  And what "stuff" would that be?  If they wanted you to accomplish items on your political agenda why would they not vote in your party to help facilitate that goal?  How could you possibly draw the conclusion that they are still behind you?  

The press conference was disturbing.  Our president was so unpresidential, so completely lacking in humility and grace.  May the Lord help him.