Monday, January 31, 2011

You are Precisely My Cup of Tea

Last night, I helped out at Cast Your Nets, a high school event put on by the Vocations Office of the Archdiocese of Cincinnati. I was put on PowerPoint duty. My finger performed exceptionally well tapping the arrow keys. I think I might have found my true calling in life!

Fr. Kyle asked if I went to Franciscan University of Steubenville, a Catholic college in Ohio and I replied, Nope, I went to Hillsdale College in Michigan. Not as exciting in Catholic spheres, but that hasn’t been the first time someone has thought I went to a Catholic college. Nope. I didn’t even look at Catholic colleges, unless they had a lacrosse program.

My alma mater's religious ratio is (about) 60 percent Protestant, 40 percent Catholic (with about 1300 students in toto). I was blessed to graduate with many friends on campus, but, of my top ten closest friends, seven are Protestants and three are Catholics. (I know, the numbers are so Biblical!)

Thursday, January 27, 2011

Roll call! Paging Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart!

Hm, since it is Mozart's birthday and NOT Beethoven's, I think I should fix the music I originally shared with y'all:


Much better! Thanks for the quick point out, Matt! I know who Mozart is. It's been a long day/ week. :)

"Give your evidence," said the King; "and don't be nervous, or I'll have you executed on the spot."

Last week, I convinced my good friend Anna to read Alice's Adventures in Wonderland. This week, I was thrilled to hear she had not only been to read it, but how much she now loves it too. 

An appreciation of Lewis Carroll is a type of litmus test for many close friends; upon finding out that someone likes Alice too, I immediately like them more. I can't help it! I feel the same way about people who share my fondness for crayons and/ or play soccer.

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Why Read?

"In reading great literature I become a thousand men and yet remain myself. Like the night sky in the Greek poem, I see with a myriad eyes, but it is still I who see. Here, as in worship, in love, in moral action, and in knowing, I transcend myself; and am never more myself than when I do."

-C.S. Lewis, "Experiment in Criticism"

Monday, January 24, 2011

More than Right and Wrong, More than Roe v. Wade

Today is the March for Life in Washington, D.C. and I am not there, sadly. I am very okay with not being there, though. The March should have been over the weekend, on January 22, the actual anniversary of Roe v. Wade, but for some reason decided to do it on the following Monday.

I'd like to go next year, especially if I can procur tickets to the Verizon Center Rally. 30,000+ Catholics, young and old, religious and laity, families and single people- celebrating the Mass together. I'm not even charismatic, but I swear I could feel the Holy Spirit moving the last two times I went. It is an amazing experience, even for those who are not Catholic. The homily is always touching and glorious. I still remember the one from two years ago, which absolutely gave me chills.

To date, 53 million babies have died from abortion. I think it is safe to say, that is a lot of people over a 38 year period. I can see the rationale for legalized abortion, but the arguments are not persuasive. The women's health argument amuses me because our medical advancements are amazing, and if women hundreds of years ago could have twice to three times the number of kids and be okay, so can we. Also, STDs are rampant now. That's not very healthy at all!

Friday, January 21, 2011

Now Taking Applications to Join the Society for the Restoration of Pluto to Planethood

The Ever-Entertaining Chapter Eight, LIVE from a Level 2 Snow Emergency*:


I've decided that I want to become a canon law lawyer. Thanks, Ed Peters. (Oh, and don't worry. I've already e-mailed him and made a new friend! Doubly excited to stay in contact and to learn more.)

In other career news, I'm having an article published by the New England Real Estate Journal next week. I am also applying to take my first graduate-level theology class at the local seminary and for my passport tomorrow. This has been quite the week of plans and planning!

Thursday, January 20, 2011

Two Sides of A Coin

"Two Davids" by David W. Landrum

Michaelangelo's David is too smooth and fair
and too Italian--too much like a boy
who'd stand with a mandolin beneath a stair
and serenade his girl; who would enjoy

good wine and food and music and would dress
in fashion, go disgusted to carnival,
study Castiglione and play chess,
greet friends at the rialto and the mall.

Coifed hair and slender build can't represent
the boy who shivered under naked stars
or sat nights by a watchfire, vigilant
for wolves, his legs and wrists circles with scars

from grappling with wild beasts, his hands calloused
from handling rocks and strong from hefting sheep
onto his shoulders when they were hurt or lost--
his nurture of the flock he had to keep.

Bernini, rather, caught the boy we see
in First Samuel: he grasps the leather sling,
fitting the stone in, aiming angrily
at blaspheming Goliath, tensed to fling

death at his forehead. The rough sheepskin pouch
that held the five smooth stones is crude and plain.
The zeal for God is etched into the crouch
of his body and he can hardly contain

his anger at the curses, at the scorn
the Philistine has flung against the host
of God. He frowns. Tomorrow Gath will mourn.
Goliath's pride will be an empty boast.

Monday, January 17, 2011

Day One of Suiting Up

When I was in the sixth grade, I bought my first J.Crew skirt. It was beautiful- navy with swirly cream designs. It made me feel oh so chic and I liked to practice my French while wearing it.

Fast forward to this past Sunday: I was visiting friends and I mention I need new jeans. I've needed them for a few months, actually, but I hardly go shopping because, well, it's boring. I only go shopping if I need something, like jeans.

Oh, and suits.

Friday, January 14, 2011

What's Right With the World?

Elizabeth Scalia posed the question “What’s Right With World” in a Monday post, focusing on the positives and not the all-too-cumbersome negatives surrounding us. She asked for 3, so I am giving 7 for my Volume Seven:


Let's just get the obvious out there: Calvin and Hobbes snowmen.

Humor is the quickest way to warm a heart and see a truth, and this kid (er, Bill Watterson) has it in spades. My siblings and I have been waiting all winter for the right kind of snow. We've only gotten a lot of wet snow, which is the worst kind. And when we do, I'm making this one:

The creativity is just phenomenal...

For more of C&H snowmen, click here. 

Thursday, January 13, 2011

A Last Lecture, How Romantic

This week is National Vocation Awareness week; a favorite political science professor of mine also published his "Last Lecture" talk, which my academic honorary revived and now hosts every year. Dr. Schlueter's was definitely my favorite, and now it has been published in the Jan/ Feb 2011 issue of Touchstone! This excerpt comes from a section entitled "Personal Reflections" and includes not one but two poems that he wrote about his vocation...

Personal Reflections

I began these remarks by pointing out that my experience of death is an existential German thing rather than a Greek philosophical one. It seems appropriate therefore that I offer a more personal reflection on the romance of domesticity.

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

Atlas Shrugged?

I don't normally share personal correspondence on my blog, but this e-mail is so well-written that I immediately texted D. to see if I could. The writer is a dear friend; a goodly Protestant with a wise mind. I am not going to supplement this with anything, because I haven't the time and I don't want to distract from his fine words. Without further adieu, my friend:

early morning
11 January, 2011

Dear Julie,

Regarding your comment today (yesterday?) about individuals and uniformity I have two thoughts. I think the question was something along the lines of "why are people so caught up with being idividuals while demanding uniformity?" (actually, I know--thanks, chat logs!). Somewhere--and I cannot for the life of me remember where--I have heard a fairly good argument on this. Essentially the idea is that our modern idea of individuality is so touted and built up, but ultimately and more likely early on lacking for any individual who pursues it. But think about this a minute longer--where do the standards or credentials of 'individuality' come from? For almost every American schoolboy they come from his culture and peers or particular group. "I gotta be me" is actually a twisted form of "I gotta be him" in most cases.

Monday, January 10, 2011

Even George Washington Got Hungry

"History is about life. It's awful when the life is squeezed out of it and there's no flavor left, no uncertainties, no horsing around. It always disturbed me how many biographers never gave their subjects a chance to eat. You can tell a lot about people by how they eat, what they eat, and what kind of table manners they have."

--from an interview with David McCullough

Friday, January 7, 2011

Que? Communication Breakdown!

Volume Six:


Yesterday, the Christmas season officially ended. Today, we return to Ordinary Time until Lent. Not before, however, The Management posted this sign in my house's foyer:

Oh, you want to read it? Well okay...

It says: "Robison Family, If you see this sign: STOP. Go into the Christmas tree room and claim ALL YOUR OWN PRESENTS. If this is not done by JANUARY 9, 2011 your presents will be recovered by a team of highly-trained Arabian flying monkey ninjas and sold on the Black market for $1/ a peice [sic] --The Management"

Thursday, January 6, 2011

Another New Years Resolution

"may my heart always be open" by E.E. Cummings

may my heart always be open to little
birds who are the secrets of living
whatever they sing is better than to know
and if men should not hear them men are old

may my mind stroll about hungry
and fearless and thirsty and supple
and even if it's sunday may i be wrong
for whenever men are right they are not young

and may myself do nothing usefully
and love yourself so more than truly
there's never been quite such a fool who could fail
pulling all the sky over him with one smile

Tuesday, January 4, 2011

What's Love Got To Do, Got To Do With It?

Last night, Patty and her husband, the couple who lead RCIA, received a blessing from Fr. George because it was their 41st wedding anniversary. It also happened to be the night we talked about the sacrament of marriage.

My own family background is two Catholics married for life and my five younger siblings (and currently: one dog, three cats). I remember being little and finding such comfort in knowing, that even when my parents fought, they loved each other, they loved their children, and they would never get a divorce. Still, knowing love and being witness to it, I still struggle with what it means to really and truly love another person.

Marriage between a man and a woman is considered a reflection of Christ's love for his Church and a call from God. As Patty said, "[The married couple] become[s] a sign of hope in Christ's power to transform hearts." Just like religious vocations and the single life, marriage is a vocation, which implies a deeper way of living, as married couples serve as both a blessing and a gift to each other and the world.

The Catholic Church has seven sacraments: Baptism, Confirmation, Holy Communion, Confession, Marriage, Holy Orders and the Anointing of the Sick. The sacraments are an outward sign of an inward grace, which is why people with mortal sins on their soul should not take the Eucharist and why the Church takes very seriously the transgressions of a religious person breaking their vows in any way.

The news of Fr. Alberto Cutie's latest book, Dilemma: A Priest's Struggle with Faith and Love, has caused waves in the Catholic press, especially since the non-Catholic members of the press are playing chief apologists. Fr. Cutie is the Roman Catholic priest from Miami, FL caught on a beach with his girlfriend by a Mexican celebrity magazine one year ago. Two weeks after being publicly exposed, he joined the Episcopalian Church and has since been married to his girlfriend. They now have a baby girl, whom he rightly loves. But his love for his daughter or his wife is not the problem: he broke his vows. He did not wait to be laicized by the Catholic Church. (Which means Fr. Cutie is still a Roman Catholic priest, which means he is living in sin.) The "dilemma" is with him, not the teachings of the Catholic Church. It's like a Graham Greene novel, in real life!

Sunday, January 2, 2011

Happy 2011!

Another year has come and passed, and in less than three months, I'll be 23. Great Scott!

Okay: New Years Resolutions. I don't usually make 'em. I don't like making promises I don't keep a month later, usually because of sloth. But... I was very naughty in December 2010 and bought a "few" more than usual fantastic books. Now, I don't regret buying the books, but if I want to travel more, I am going to have to curb my purchases since aggressively paying off my student loans takes a big bite out of my paycheck every month. So, here goes:

Resolution #1: Buy no more than three books a month.  

This will be difficult. Brief poll: do academic books count?

Resolution #2:  Write more letters than blog posts.

My friend Tessa and I formed the St. Francis Society (SFS) for all epistolary communication a year or so ago. I am thinking about branching out the membership. (St. Francis is the patron saint of writers, and we think letter writers should be included.) Also, I've noticed since graduating that I tend to write a huge stack of letters every few months; I think I should write less letters on a more frequent basis, like I did in college. It'll help break up stress too!

Resolution #3: Not eat meat on Fridays.

I've always admired people who sacrifice that one day. We've never done it in our family, but I know other families and friends who do. It isn't quite fasting, but it's something physical and manageable I can offer up to God, since I eat meat every day (Lent notwithstanding).

Resolution #4: Regularly review Latin vocabulary.

Latin is coming up a lot more in readings that I am doing, and it annoys me that I know the grammar syntax and construction but am becoming pretty shaky on actually translating. I intend to remedy this! I'm afraid, though, it will be another type of purgatory, those horrible character building things necessary for life, because one cannot enjoy the joy of translating at sight without the hours of dull memorizing.

What do y'all think about resolutions? Do you make them and follow them? Or do you think they're made to be broken? What are they?

Hurray for another year of life! Happy 2011! Only a few more days left in the Christmas season, so enjoy them.