Wednesday, April 30, 2008

Madonna University Nursing Pinning Ceremony

Today Anne received her nursing pin from Madonna University.  She chose longtime family friend and R.N. Kathy M. to pin her.  It was very moving.  Kathy was thrilled to do the honors.  And the entire nursing class recited the Nurses Pledge, the same one Kathy herself recited some 30 years ago.

Nurses Pledge

I solemnly pledge myself before God and in
the presence of this assembly:
To pass my life in purity and to practice my 
profession faithfully;

I will abstain from whatever is deleterious
and mischievous and will not take or
knowingly administer any harmful drug;

I will do all in my power to maintain and
elevate the standard of my profession and
will hold in confidence all personal matters
committed to my keeping and all family 
affairs coming to my knowledge in the
 practice of my calling;

With loyalty will I endeavor to aid the 
physician in his work and devote myself to
the welfare of those committed to my care.

Pretty cool....

Tuesday, April 29, 2008

Grand Theft Auto IV-- Hello! Anybody home??

In regards to the release of the new violent video game "Grand Theft Auto IV," the Ann Arbor News reports that Cheryl K. Olson, co-director of the Harvard Medical School Center for Mental Health and Media said "most parents need not worry."  Well... so glad to hear that someone from Harvard thinks there's no need for parents to worry.  (Course we all know of the infallibility of Harvard scholars, right?)

Whether or not these games encourage young people to adopt the behavior modeled in the game, why on EARTH would a parent allow a minor to play a game like this?  Are we trying to raise children of character? Do we want them to become responsible citizens some day?  And most importantly, are we raising children of heroic virtue who will one day be citizens of heaven?  Or are we just trying to avoid conflict with them, allowing them to do whatever they please as long as it's not illegal (and this game should be).

Want to know what I think?  I THINK IT'S A SICK GAME THAT NO ONE SHOULD BE PLAYING!!!!  Where are the adults??  Is anyone in charge in the houses where kids are playing this sick game?

To those who say there is no harm done since it's just a video game, I say why would you want to appeal to the basest of human instincts?  Why would you want to encourage a fascination with evil?  Why would you want your child to enter an imaginary world in which he is committing violent and horrible crimes?  I don't get it.  This is SICK.  It's just plain sick and what a world we live in where people can make money selling games like this to children and the parents do nothing about it.  (And adults who are playing the game are appealing to the darkest, most psychopathic aspects of their beings....they are in danger too.)  I don't know.  Where are the people with common sense?

Sunday, April 27, 2008

Catholic Mass Music

I did mention a few posts ago that I thought some of the music at the PAPAL Mass in Washington sounded like it belonged in a nightclub.  Some have commented that the music at that Mass reflected the diversity of liturgical music at American Catholic Masses.  Since I nearly always attend Mass at my own Catholic Church I thought hmmmm, maybe my knowledge of American liturgical music is limited.

Yesterday, I attended Mass in a different city.  The music was led by a clearly very talented pianist playing a Steinway grand piano.   Much of the music was good music and clearly focused toward the Lord.  But there was something troubling about it.  There was a lot of jazzed up, improv-type embellishment to the melody.  It was actually very lovely.  But it did not feel reverent.  I can appreciate a lot of different kinds of music.  It was not that this music was not my cup of tea.  It did have a sound that seemed more typical for a nightclub than a church.  Had someone jumped up and done a tap dance or a soft shoe kind of dance routine in front of the altar, it would not have seemed MUSICALLY inappropriate with this kind of music as the backdrop.  That's the problem.  

Although it was pretty music, and even though the lyrics were reverent and directed toward God, it somehow seemed to trivialize what was happening at the Mass.  The gravity, the enormous beauty, the unfathomable miracle that occurs in the Mass requires music that is similarly serious.  I think that seriousness can be expressed in different styles of music.  I am not one that thinks reverence can't be expressed with a guitar.  But if the effect of the music is more that your toes feel like tapping than that your soul is turned lovingly toward your creator, then, in my opinion, the purpose of the music in that liturgy has been lost.

Friday, April 25, 2008

Dare I think Spring is here?

My boys played their last hockey game of the season.  And it was indoors.  I really enjoyed the green/red sock combination.  It made it a lot easier to identify him from the other players.  Last hockey game until next winter??  I think that may mean that winter is over....maybe.

And who knew a month ago that these lovely daffodils would be gracing my front walk just a month later.  I think maybe it's truly here.

Thursday, April 24, 2008

Can Teenagers ever eat!!!

I have three teenagers living at home now, and one pre-teen. I cannot BELIEVE how much food we are going through. There's my nineteen-year-old who burns most of his calories attacking the piano and maybe still doing some growing? There's my sixteen-year-old son who is running track (great sprinter) and doing off season weight training for football. There's my thirteen year old daughter who is still in her growth spurt and filling out season. And my 11 and a half-year-old who is starting to grow at an alarming rate. And then there's my 22 year-old who does not live at home but stops by for meals frequently.

OK. You get the picture. We are going through a gallon of milk a day. Yes, one ENTIRE gallon a day. I now buy four to five gallons at a time. (And one of these kids doesn't drink any milk.) We bought 32 bagels the other day. In three days they were all gone, every last one of them. A cereal box (especially if it's a sweet, junky one) will disappear in a day. I bought about four boxes of crackers the other day....gone in three days. I mean GONE. Not a single cracker left. A 9x13 pan of Rice Krispy Treats-- one day, max.  And they don't just eat carbs either. They also devour strawberries, grapes, apples, cheese- (That's where the crackers went) and yogurt. And let's not forget ice cream. A half gallon? I'd give it two to three days, and that long only because they are supposed to ask before they eat ice cream.

God is good. I'm grateful I can keep them full and growing in a healthy manner. It's just amazing, that's all. I guess growth and all that energy burns a LOT of calories. Wish I could burn calories like that.

Wednesday, April 23, 2008

Anne is finished!! Maternal bragging warning....

OK. I'm warning you. I'm about to brag about my oldest daughter. She just took her last college exam today and nailed it. The above picture is at her induction into an international honor society for nursing. She has worked REALLY HARD. School has not always been easy for her, but she is very intelligent and she just does whatever it takes. She learned just the other day that she has also qualified for the Dean's list-- High Honor Roll. WOOHOO!!! You go, girl! She has also worked all through school and paid for a large portion of her expenses. Her new job as an R.N. will be in the cardiac progressive care unit at our local Catholic hospital. My friend Patti said, "That's great. Now she can take care of us (meaning Patti and me) when we end up there." We both have strong family histories of heart disease. It's kind of a joke between us. (a morbid joke?) Better to laugh about the possibility than fret
about it, right? Anyway, Anne, we are so proud of you.

Tuesday, April 22, 2008

I'm feeling old....

When I wait until this time of night to write a post it usually doesn't happen. I'm so tired I can barely think straight, much less write something coherent. So I will spare my readers tonight and do the sensible thing--- I AM GOING TO BED. Sweet dreams.

Monday, April 21, 2008

Fun bird bath project!!

I have no idea if these photos are going to turn out all right on my post. When I put photos on my MacBook they line up on top of each other and it's only when I look at my blog on a full screen that I see how it really turned out. Soooo, i hope you can see these.

This was the cutest project, done by the sixth graders at my children's school. (Yes, I do have a sixth grader.) They made it to be sold at the annual fundraising dinner auction. It's a large flower pot turned upside down and painted. Then they decorated it with aquarium stones and each child signed their name around the bottom. The bowl of the bird bath is the large saucer that would accompany this large flower pot. You can see they decorated the inside too.

Well, I thought it was SO cute I decided I had to have it. Having paid a ridiculous price for it at the auction, we brought it home and it is now set up on our patio waiting for the first birdie-bathers. The value was listed as priceless. I have to agree. What a nice memento of the school year. ( I think it would make a nice teacher's gift from a class too.)

Sunday, April 20, 2008

Pope Benedict XVI in America

I have been so awed by the television coverage of our Holy Father's visit here.  Secular station Fox News has been not only been fair but really positive.  They are getting the message.  They are characterizing his speeches correctly.  They are not saying anything negative nor are they making any false or unfair statements about Catholicism.  

I'm watching Shepard Smith's coverage of the pope's visit to Ground Zero as well as the preludes to the Mass at Yankee stadium.  (I'm watching my recorded coverage.)  Shepard Smith has been so reverent, so clearly moved, I thought he must be a Catholic.  But he just said that he is not.  I'm going to predict that some day he will be.  He seems drawn to the Holy Father.  He's calling him the "Holy Father."  He has had nothing but glowingly positive comments about Benedict XIV.  He just said that the weather has improved so much since this morning.  He said "the heavens" just opened up and it's become a perfect day for an outdoor Mass.  God bless this respectful secular journalist Shepard Smith.  May the Holy Spirit continue to move him and draw him to the fullness of the truth.

Friday, April 18, 2008

The Holy Father speaks of the protection of children.

"Children deserve to grow up with a healthy understanding of sexuality and its proper place in human relationships," he said. "They should be spared the degrading manifestations and the crude manipulation of sexuality so prevalent today. They have a right to be educated in authentic moral values rooted in the dignity of the human person."
The Pope asked: "What does it mean to speak of child protection when pornography and violence can be viewed in so many homes through media widely available today?
"We need to reassess urgently the values underpinning society, so that a sound moral formation can be offered to young people and adults alike."

So spoke Benedict XVI yesterday, as reported by EWTN, while expressing his shame and sadness at the sexual abuse scandal. He was not in any way trying to justify, minimize, or even explain the horror of what happened to these people and many others. There is no way to explain these abuse cases except in the context of utter evil. The pope knows this full well.But I think his above point is well taken. Our culture today has a very warped understanding of human sexuality. Actually the word "warped" is quite an understatement. Does the pornography on the internet not make your skin crawl? As a parent, I find it terrifying.

Shall I bring up my latest irritants on this subject? These are much smaller issues compared to the problem of pornography, but they're really bugging me lately. Why must we hear an endless stream of commercials on Viagra and Cialis on television during prime time viewing? Can nothing just remain in the doctor's office? Is it fair to make children wonder what on earth this discussion is about? Should parents have to explain?

Second gripe--- I am very offended by the salacious window displays of the Victoria's Secret store in our local mall. OK. I know they're mannequins. But they are wearing provocative lingerie in suggestive positions. And it's right in the middle of the mall!

Why no consideration for the protection of the innocence of children? Should we not allow them to be children in every way for their entire childhood? Why must they be introduced to sexual matters just by walking through a mall with mom or watching an otherwise innocuous show on television? I guess it's a sign of the brokenness of the times we live in.

Thursday, April 17, 2008

Papal Mass Music

What was up with the music at the papal Mass? I called my friend Sally in disbelief. "Sally, some of it sounds like we're in a nightclub or something." This was a PAPAL MASS!! At one point as the music changed I looked at the radio puzzled. I actually thought I must have lost the signal on the station. Surely this music is coming from another station. They would never have music like this at a papal Mass. But they DID!!! Even pieces that would have been acceptable were jazzed up in way that seemed totally inappropriate. I was flabbergasted. I will give the benefit of the doubt to the planners. Surely they thought it sounded good, but I must admit it occurred to me that there might have been an element of rebelliousness in their selections. I hope not. I was almost embarrassed. But then, I'm not a musician. Maybe I missed the point?

Is it REALLY here?????

Here they are, those adorable crocuses. These are on my front walk and they've already survived several frosts. I think God made them so hardy because he knew they'd be so brave. Sometimes they come up through the snow here in Michigan. We love them. they are such a welcome sight after each long winter.

These are wood hyacinths (I think.) Correct me if I'm wrong. They are also on my front walk. Very delicate, sweet little flowers. They're hardy too, of course, or they wouldn't be alive here.

And then from my window I see little patches of yellow. Are they really here?????
They are!!!! Even the daffodils are starting to bloom. Does that mean Spring is here in Michigan? Maybe. Probably not. But it does mean it will be here soon. Aren't they lovely?

Wednesday, April 16, 2008

God bless the Holy Father

How moved I am to hear and see the welcome President Bush is giving to the vicar of Christ. Welcoming Pope Benedict at Andrews Air Force Base with both his wife and his daughter, President Bush made me proud to be an American. I'm sure you've heard that this welcome at the airport is the first time any U.S. president has greeted any head of state on the tarmac.

The welcome at the White House today brought tears to my eyes. The warmth, the beauty of the music, the papal flag together with the American flag, and the gracious words of President Bush were all so inspiring. That our country and the rhetoric surrounding this event is turned heavenward, that the values of freedom, human dignity, and love are being addressed is such a blessing.

The President is honoring not only our Holy Father but all Catholics as the Body of Christ. God bless him. And may God bless the United States at this time in which He is offering us great grace and favor. May the Lord answer every prayer of Pope Benedict's for this dear country of ours. And may He keep him safe!!!

Tuesday, April 15, 2008

Jim as Thomas Aquinas

Here he is.  Apparently it went well and, good sport that he is, Jim put his costume back on after school, allowed me to take his picture, and even agreed that I could post it.  So meet Saint Thomas Aquinas.  Actually meet Jim-- apologist in training. God bless him.

Monday, April 14, 2008

Saint Thomas Aquinas-- Go Jim!

Today my son Jim will "play" Saint Thomas Aquinas in his philosophy class. He will argue with other students playing other philosophers with opposing views. This is great practice for Jim because he has been arguing online about Catholic teaching (well, about the truth, actually) with some atheists. How blessed I am that our pastor and Jim's teacher have taken the time to help him with his arguments.
Father Ed lent him an altar boy alb for today and I made him a rough black cape. His Dad gave him a large crucifix to wear around his neck and his youngest sister let him use her two pillows to plump him up for more realism. I hope he will put them on again when he gets home so I can post a picture. It was fun. The class is at 11:30 if you want to send up a prayer for him.

Sunday, April 13, 2008

Taxes are finished.

The taxes are done.  They're in the mail.  I'm really relieved and totally disgusted by how much the federal government is taking this year.  

Friday, April 11, 2008

Embryonic Stem Cell Research-- Human Experimentation

"Mengele saw great potential in human experimentation too."

"On the other hand, if the thought of medical experimentation on human beings is abhorrent, and I hope it still is, then I suggest that the debate over embryonic stem cell research should focus not on the possibility of discovering as yet unrealized cures, but on the heart of the issue - whether embryos are human and deserve to be protected as such, or are just so much tissue to be used and discarded at our whim."

Thus wrote Eric Crist in the April 9 Ann Arbor News. It's a great "Other Voices" essay. Read the entire essay here.

Thursday, April 10, 2008

This is the "lucky dog" who may soon become unlucky.  (Her name is Lucky which lends itself very nicely to expressions like "you lucky dog, you" or "She's a LUCKY dog")  but lately she's been needing more attention, more walks to be specific.  And when she gets like that... OK, when we're neglecting her, she likes to get right in front of where I'm about to put my foot. Somehow she manages to get her long fur right under my feet without any part of her body getting stepped on.  Then as soon as I step on her fur she tries to pull it away.  If she were stronger, or if I were lighter, she would probably pull me over.  Fortunately, we're not even close in either possibility.   She just did this to me (or I did it to her) in the dark.  I think it would be a lot safer to just take the poor thing for a walk.  And the exercise would be good for both of us.  Maybe tomorrow......

Tuesday, April 08, 2008

NFP Conversion Stories Carnival

Stevie from Wheelbarrow Manor is hosting an NFP Conversion Stories Carnival! Check it out! Do you have a story to tell? Maybe, like many of us, you heard the church's teaching on NFP as an adult and immediately recognized the truth, in spite of its being completely contrary to the world's view on the subject. Stevie is offering a Divine Mercy Single Decade Rosary for the winning story. It all starts April 14. Share the blessing!

Thursday, April 03, 2008

The Alleluia Egg

Every year in our Easter egg hunt we have one golden egg called the "Alleluia Egg."  After refraining from saying alleluia for all of Lent, it is fun to have an egg that serves to remind us that "He is risen, alleluia!!)   There is usually some money in the alleluia egg, thus increasing the incentive for someone to find it.  This year it was $20.00!!  Every year I think  I've hidden the alleluia egg in a tough spot and every year they find it within five minutes.  The rule is the egg has to be visible, at least from some angle, without moving anything.  (This to keep the house from being torn apart:-)

This year I found the best hiding place for it!!   I was in the bathroom and noticed that someone had left a gold candy wrapper in the waste basket.  I put the egg just barely visible under the wrapper.  They must have looked for thirty minutes!!!  Nobody thought of the waste basket.  Finally, we had to eliminate the living room as a possible location, then the kitchen, then 
the dining area.  There was only the family room and little bathroom left.  

Of course, it was my oldest who finally found it. (pictured above).  And he generously allowed the youngest to open it see what was inside.  (Although, of course, he did keep the money himself.  Fair is fair.)  It's a fun tradition.

Wednesday, April 02, 2008

God's gift of Flowers

Aren't these sweet, cheery flowers?  I think they are Gerbera daisies.  We bought them for the party we had for Zach's coming into the Church (which I'll post about later.)  Fresh flowers just add so much joy to a room.  In Michigan, at the end (we hope!) of winter they are especially welcome.  We really enjoyed these.