Wednesday, June 27, 2012

The Most Beautiful Wedding Speech EVAH

Prince Daniel of Sweden to his bride, Crown Princess Victoria of Sweden, at their wedding dinner on June 19, 2010:
Your Majesties, Your Imperial Highness, Your Royal Highnesses, Excellences, ladies and gentlemen, dear family and friends, dear Victoria…
Crown Princess Victoria. Princess of Sweden. Princess of my heart. Nine years ago I had the privilege to get to know a young woman with a great sense of humor and a great sense of duty and who was very, very intelligent. We became friends. The more I got to know her, the more irresistible she became. These couple of years with you, Victoria, have gone by in a wink and have been the best years of my life.

There have been times when Victoria’s official duties have separated us. Often taking her to far away countries and continents. I will never forget some years ago when she left for one of her many trips. This time to China. We were going to be apart for a whole month. The night before she left, she got home late after an official engagement and she had many preparations to make for the long month of duties ahead. Instead of getting some valuable sleep, she stayed up the whole night…writing. In the morning after she had gone, I found a box, and in that box, I found 30 beautiful letters addressed to me. One for every day she would be away. This romantic gesture is typical of you, Victoria. It says everything about the loving person you are.

Once upon a time, the young man was perhaps not a frog in the beginning of the fairytale as in the story first told by the Grimm Brothers, but he was certainly not a prince. The first kiss did not change that. His transformation was not possible without the support of the wise King and Queen who had ruled the kingdom for many years and who were full of wisdom, experience, and had good hearts. They knew what was best and guided the young couple with a gentle hand, generously sharing all their valuable experience.

I feel the greatest gratitude towards Your Majesties, the King and the Queen, for your support and for the way you have received me into your family. I think, of course, also of my own family; my mother and father and my sister and her daughters. Mum and Dad, while growing up, you have always given me your unconditional love. You have helped me through wisdom and you’ve helped me gain a strong self-esteem and security with your good values that have guided me during my life.

Today, when we were driven through the streets of Stockholm, we received unbelievable joy and warmth. It is a memory that we will forever keep deep in our hearts. During the years Victoria and I spent together, I have felt a great support from the people I’ve met. It has been very important to me. Thank you.

I have the deepest respect towards my upcoming tasks. Without a doubt it will be a great challenge. I will do my utmost to live up to the expectations that will be placed upon me. I will do my utmost to support my wife, Crown Princess of Sweden, in her important work.

My darling Victoria. I’m so proud of what we have together. I’m so happy to now be your husband. I will do all that I can to keep you as happy as you are today. Victoria, the greatest thing is love. I love you so much.

I would like you all to join me in a toast to my wonderful wife.


He was her personal trainer and she was a crown princess (as in, first in line for the throne). They now have a baby daughter, Princess Estelle.

What a beautiful display of love, respect and admiration!

Sunday, June 24, 2012

Feel So Close

Blogger has been acting up and not posting my scheduled posts, so here's Calvin Harris singing "Feel So Close" instead. I mean, I wear my heart on my sleeve like a big deal too:


I've been working overtime lately and have been reading my fair share of Agatha Christie ('Zero Game' is pretty rad) and 'O Ye Jigs and Juleps!' by Virginia Cary Hudson, which is absolutely delightful!

Any reads worth mentioning?

Monday, June 18, 2012

Leah: You Say That's Exactly How This Grace Thing Works

In honor of Leah Libresco of Unequally Yoked converting to Catholicism, here is a little Cormac McCarthy:
The old man swung his head back and forth. The way of the transgressor is hard. God made this world, but he didnt make it to suit everbody, did he?
I don't believe he much had me in mind.
Aye, said the old man. But where does a man come by his notions. What world's he seen that he liked better?
I can think of better places and better ways.
Can ye make it be?
No. It's a mystery. A man's at odds to know his mind cause his mind is aught he has to know it with. He can know his heart, but he dont want to. Rightly so. Best not to look in there. It aint the heart of a creature that is bound in the way that God has set for it. You can find meanness in the least of creatures, but when God made man the devil was at his elbow. A creature that can do anything. Make a machine. And a machine to make the machine. And evil can run itself a thousand years, no need to tend it. You believe that?
I don't know.
Believe that.
--Cormac McCarthy, Blood Meridian
(I do so enjoy that passage. Hat tip to my Southern Lit. prof, Dr. Sommerville!)

Welcome home, Leah! You've been in my prayers for so long. God is so good!

Let us all pray for Leah, each other, and all those seeking Truth. Just as we'll never know what happened to Paul on the road to Damascus, we glean that each life has a its own path to God through Christ which shall never end in this world.

Oh, and here's a little Mumford and Sons, which is more than appropriate to blast for any occasion!


 Oh happy Monday!!!!!!!

Thursday, June 14, 2012

The Mythos of Rush

At The Imaginative Conservative:

Frankly, I’d never encountered a mind like [Neil] Peart’s. In my world, only Tolkien and Bradbury rivaled Peart’s intelligence and intellect. He had seemingly read everything (and, I still don’t doubt this), and his music touched upon all the major themes that meant something deep and profound for me. He knew mythology, he knew fantasy (Tolkien, Bradbury, and others) and dystopian literature, and he knew the great authors of the past several centuries. The world of his characters always seemed very real to me.

And, perhaps, most importantly at the time--especially given severe family dysfunction and social pressures--Peart taught me, almost single-handedly, that living with integrity and individual personality has only this as its opposite: not living at all, spending life as a Hollow Man, or a Company Man, but certainly not as a man. I realize it’s nearly impossible for a person to know his path with any certainty, but as I look back at my teenage years, Tolkien taught me ethics and morality, Bradbury taught me community and unlimited possibilities of imagination, but Peart taught me individual self-worth and dignity.

A sample of his lyrics that gave me hope and strength:

Growing up it all seems so one-sided
Opinions all provided
The future pre-decided
Detached and subdivided In the mass production zone
Nowhere is the dreamer
Or the misfit so alone
--from Signals, 1982

He's not afraid of your judgment
He knows of horrors worse than your Hell
He's a little bit afraid of dying
But he's a lot more afraid of your lying
--from Signals, 1982

Ragged lines of ragged grey Skeletons, they shuffle away Shouting guards and smoking guns Will cut down the unlucky ones I clutch the wire fence
Until my fingers bleed A wound that will not heal --- A heart that cannot feel --- Hoping that the horror will recede Hoping that tomorrow --- We'll all be freed
--from Grace Under Pressure, 1984

I also know I’m not alone. The number of men (and some women) my age, or within a decade on either side, influenced by Rush is too numerous to count, frankly. It would be no exaggeration to claim that Neil Peart influenced, inspired, and shaped an entire generation of conservatives and libertarians. For what it’s worth, it’s only fair to note that Peart tends to identify conservatism with control and hypocrisy, and he would probably be far more comfortable with those who found some form of libertarianism, broadly understood, from his lyrics than with some form of conservatism.

My friend, economist and social critic Steve Horwitz has argued quite convincingly that while Peart’s lyrics lend themselves toward libertarianism, they most readily identify with a form of individualism [see Horwitz’s excellent chapter in Rush and Philosophy (2011)]. I would take this only one step farther and claim that Peart’s individualism is the individualism of the Stoics of the pre-Christian world. He seems to present a nearly perfect form of classical Stoicism in the 1979 epic, “Natural Science.”

--Brad Birzer's "Rock as Mythos: Rush's Clockwork Angels"

Monday, June 11, 2012

Parking Lot Tithing

I'm always up for supporting a good cause, which has lately led me to wonder if I actually have a neon "Sucker!!" sign over my head, or if God keeps putting me somewhere for a reason and that reason happens to include giving money away to a needy stranger.

I'm getting married in six months, and I work two and a half jobs so that we can not go into debt and have money to live on for the first seven months before B. finishes school and starts work. I've also been invited to 10+ weddings this summer, which makes me happy and my bank account sad.

Robert Frost understands me and "The Hardship of Accounting": "Nobody was ever meant/ To remember or invent/ What he did with every cent."

So what's a responsible girl to do? I keep my spending down where I can so gas money is manageable. I try to hold off buying wants because needs seem so unavoidable. I've also been approached a few times in the past month for money, and I feel like basic Christian charity has me give, because Christ is in all of us. Moreover, I'm more concerned with my intentions verses theirs, and I suppose it could be considered my unofficial way of tithing.

And tonight: tonight I went to the grocery store to pick up some chicken for my mom so she could make one of our favorite meals before my sister left for Europe for a month, and I was approached in the parking lot by a clearly desperate woman. She was carrying two soft bags, held a cigarette between two fingers, and swayed as she walked towards me.

I froze.

She told me how her boyfriend beat her with a brick and she's run out of money and then, one by one, how seventeen people in her life have tragically died in two years, and her parents are living in the Florida Keys.

I stared at the huge gash by her right eyebrow that really needed stitches (or at least steri-strips). I used to carry boxes of granola bars with me in the car, but I would get hungry and eat them. I'm staring at her: either the best liar or the most down-on-her-luck woman. I chose to give her the benefit of the doubt.

I think I was in a shock-like state when I fumbled with my wallet and realized I had less cash then I thought; so I gave her about $20 and felt like a chump because I don't have any more money, and I was worrying about money earlier today, and here's this woman with absolutely nothing.

Then she hugs me and I hug her back, and I'm not sure which one of us is going to cry first. And now I wish I would have taken her inside of Walgreens and bought her food and vitamins and band-aids. So she says "God bless you" repeatedly after taking my money, and I stand there with Heather on the line, not hearing a thing of what she just said. That kills me. At least I know what I'll do next time this happens.

I hope you'll join me in saying prayers for this woman, and all people like this in similar circumstances! Lord, hear our prayers

Update: My Dad asked me why I didn't bring her home with me. Lord, I pray I have the courage of my Father one day!

I Bet You Think This Post Is About You

The hubris of the Catholic Church is often a huge turn-off to many people. How can she, the Church, this whore (my mother), claim to know the will of God?

A Catholic Church in Munich, Germany
After all, everyone knows her reputation. Everyone knows her mistakes. Everyone believes they know all about her and her kind- those “Catholics” who “claim” to “know” about God, but really, they do dead works and worship dead people.

And yet, the Church lives and copes and, more importantly, thrives. Can that not imply the Church knows something the rest of us do not? Through her faith, she is saved. Through her works, she is sanctified.

Continue Reading at Ignitum Today >>>>>>>

Thursday, June 7, 2012

The Tale of Two Know-Nothings

The basics sound pretty boring: my fiancĂ© and I are virgins and we’re stoked about our wedding night (197 days to go!). Not in the, I-Am-Going-To-Give-You-The-Most-Awkward-Kiss-EVAH kind of wedding excitement, but more of a, Ahh!-Finally-We-Are-Officially-And-Sacramentally-One.

It is surely by the grace of God that I am still a virgin, and that my parents’ “no sex before marriage!!!!!!!” talk continues to resonate that deeply within me. I didn’t know about Theology of the Body until my senior year of college, after an almost disastrous (but certainly a wake-up call) relationship fizzled out. I tell myself, If I hadn’t been Catholic, I probably would have had sex. And that scares me. That I had considered it. Not because I am afraid of sex; but because, now that I am engaged to B., I am horrified at the idea of anyone else being that close to me.

 B., my fiancĂ©, is a med student, and his absolute comfort with all parts man and woman have made our conversations about sex hilarious and genuine. There is nothing I can say to shock him. He’s delivered a few babies now (under his attending, during his OB/GYN rotation) and has seen more women in their real form, not a glorified one. Women do not go into the hospital looking like a super-model, and I take comfort in knowing he sees my body as it should be.

I’m slender and reasonably athletic, but I still have my problem areas, for instance. B. shrugs and says, women carry around more body fat. It’s not an insult, it’s a fact. When we started discussing NFP, he asked me about my cycle. He isn’t grossed out by blood, or easily for that matter. I keep him more-or-less updated on it, since it’s a little irregular. Moreover, since we live two hours away from each other (generally), we’re accustomed to and satisfied waiting; we know this will come in handy when he has long shifts at the hospital or we have to abstain.

The best part about being virgins is the ability to show another person how much you love them without the Trump Card. I don’t have to prove I love B., because I’ve already agreed to marry him, bear his children, and spend my life with him. I love him, so I want to do all these things with him. I want to have sex with him: but not yet. There is an order to life, as we see in the sacraments: first we are baptized and consecrated to God and the Church; then we reach an age of rationality, repent, and receive forgiveness for our sins; then, once we are purified, we receive the body and blood of Christ; this is followed by a re-dedication to the Church, to live out our faith, and a re-infusion of the Holy Spirit to set fire to our lives and souls. After that, what road will we take?

I watched an interview with Olympian Lolo Jones last night. She is a virgin and the interviewer was laughing at her as she said it was harder than training for the Olympics or finishing college. I wanted to shout AMEN SISTER!!! and tell the interviewer to stop laughing. Why would you laugh at another person’s honor and nobility? And stop with the Tim Tebow jokes: their bravery only underscores a weakness in American virtues.

What separates man from beast is reason; sex is the “natural” thing to do, but humans can choose not to do it. Just because you can have sex with anyone doesn’t mean you should, and the most reasonable thing in my mind is to continue to honor and respect my future husband by not having sex with him, just as he does to me. It may not sound very sexy, but much fruit can be born as two commit to sanctifying themselves (and consequently, the other) on their path toward a all-encompassing unity.

B. has blessed my life, and I am a better woman for it. Our shared temptations only bring us closer as we avoid decisions that will radically change our lives. Our wedding night is going to be awesome, in the awe-inspiring sense of the word. I don’t know what to expect, but I’m not too concerned. This isn’t to say I won’t get nervous jitters, but I trust B. so explicitly that I know whatever happens will only further solidify that God matched us in Heaven.

Originally posted on Kate L.'s Real Catholic Love and Sex blog, as Part II of her honeymoon series

Tuesday, June 5, 2012

State of Renewal

The Economist on federalism and sunshine laws:

"But also thank the fact that gridlock in Washington does not mean gridlock in the real drivers of America’s prosperity, its 50 competing states and its hundreds of self-governing cities. It is in those states and those cities that America is endlessly renewing itself. It is at city and state level, for instance, that America’s education system is being rewired, thanks to the independent or “charter” school revolution that was pioneered in places as diverse as New York City and Texas and is growing all the time."