Tuesday, May 29, 2012

Healing

I'm in need of healing. I'm reaching an impasse with someone close to me. It's times like these where trust in God isn't felt, but needed.

I suppose this is where the heart finds its strength in God alone.

Friday, May 25, 2012

Career vs. Baby-Making

Why is there such a sharp dichotomy?



GREAT (informal) video - this really sang to me. Anyone else? Thoughts?

Thanks to Katie at NFP and Me for showing me this. Follow MJ on Twitter too!

Monday, May 21, 2012

Friends Without Labels

A great story on Patheos today by Amy Julia Becker:
Early on in elementary school, Isabel came home with stories about the new cast of characters in her life. Kelson and Jenna and Bjorn and Rebe and Sam. Games they’d play at recess. Jokes they told at lunchtime. Who chose her as a partner in gym class.  
I noticed that many of the stories she told were about her new friend Sam. When their classroom was assigned a student teacher, Isabel reported that Sam initiated the practice of giving the young woman hugs at the end of the day. “Now we all hug her when we leave,” she reported. Another time, she told me that she’d failed a task in P.E. and was “really sad and mad,” but felt better when Sam told her it didn’t matter and gave her one of his hugs.  
“He gives me joy,” she said.  
When I finally met the famous Sam, I noticed his playful smile and the easy way he and Isabel related with each other. I also noticed that he had Down syndrome. That it was not the first thing she told me when describing her friend, but that Isabel never even considered this a fact worth mentioning was compelling to me.  
... Over the past few years, I’ve loved watching Isabel and Sam’s friendship grow. Sam lives near to Isabel’s best friend and the three of them play together in the summer on Sam’s trampoline or at the park across the street from his house. Once, years ago, Sam’s parents took Isabel and me aside and thanked my daughter for being kind to Sam. Isabel was puzzled and later remarked, “I don’t know why they’d thank me.”  
“Well, because he’s different. Do you see ways he’s different than your other friends?”  
“He’s shorter,” she said with a shrug. “And he wears glasses. And he’s never says mean things about other people.”
Read the whole piece here.

And happy birthday to my Dad!


Thank you for blessing me and always reminding me of my inherent dignity.

Sunday, May 20, 2012

Talking About God Ain't TMI

Happy World Communication Day! In the Gospel today, before Jesus ascended into Heaven, he told us to go and preach the Gospel to EVERYONE, including the sneaky snakes and the ones who try to poison the culture.

Here's RomeReports on it:

 

As a confirmed and practicing Catholic, I have a duty to share the Gospel with believers in fellowship and non-believers in faith. This does not mean that I am responsible for someone converting or seeing the light, but rather remembering that we all have a role to play, if only to plant a seed.

This also does not mean that I know everything; Catholics do not become search engines upon receiving the Holy Spirit upon them (though I would have loved to pick up a language or two from Pentecost!). This is where we learn patience, humility, and understanding, all while holding onto our faith.

There will always be something to learn, something to see a different way, something to explain a different way - this is because our God is an awesome God, and he fits into and sanctifies the culture: this gives us reason, too, to live in the world without being of the world.

May your Sunday be blessed and your life bear much fruit, if only for the glory of God!

Friday, May 18, 2012

I Get By With A Little Help From My "Friends"

As a woman, I constantly need to be rescued. I can't say no. I do what I want, and if I can't, someone better give me the means to do it anyways. I am completely free and liberated!

Wait, what?

 I know what you're thinking: since when did liberation mean total dependence on the government?

Since... now! Welcome to 2012, baby! My name is Julie, not Julia, and I don't approve of this plan. Enjoy the show folks, and don't forget that your tax dollars paid for this govertisment.



Continue reading at The Imaginative Conservative>>>>>>>

Thursday, May 17, 2012

No Catholic Happy-o-Meter?

Gregory Wolfe, in his essay "Ever Ancient, Ever New: The Catholic Writer in the Modern World":
By the end of the novel, Sebastian and Cordelia are also living stunted and sad lives. But, as happens so often in the fiction of Evelyn Waugh, a throwaway phrase contains the core of the novel’s meaning: “happiness doesn’t seem to have much to do with it.” 
For Waugh, the notion that the life of faith ought to lead inevitably to worldly prosperity and what the pop psychologists call “wellness” is both unrealistic and dangerous. In a fallen world, afflicted by evil and stupidity, happiness can never be a gauge of fidelity to God. To think otherwise is to confuse happiness, with its bourgeois connotations of comfort and freedom from any burdens, with blessedness, or what Catholics call the “state of grace”. Catholics, Waugh believed, have always clung to the foot of the cross, profoundly and intuitively aware of what the Spanish philosopher Unamuno called “the tragic sense of life”.
Evelyn Waugh

As quoted in "Happiness Vs. Blessedness" by Ron Dreher (in The American Conservative)

H/T Wesley Hill's tumblr, writing in the dust

Monday, May 14, 2012

Holy Hillsdale College, Batman!

In honor of graduation weekend (belated):

"When I am asked what it's like to teach at Hillsdale, I simply explain that I offer to my students what my mentors offered to me - the joy of learning to read critically and access to an academic, scholarly community in the classroom which then spreads across campus and ultimately reaches out to a larger scholarly community in the world.

We are teaching a life of the mind, yes, but also a life of the heart, a life of the soul - these things that aren't simply academic pursuits but the very stuff of which the human person is made and for which he ultimately yearns. At the end of the day, I explain, we aren't merely teaching students skills so that they can succeed in college, nor are we simply teaching them skills that will make them a valuable commodity in the marketplace; rather, we share with them this body of literature that attempts to plumb the inexhaustible mystery of the human person so that they too can continue to rub up against these ideas even after they have left Hillsdale.

Perhaps, they too can pass on to others this difficult joy found in wrestling with what it means to be human - body, soul, and mind - continuing to grapple with a conversation begun centuries, millennia ago - tradition in the best and most meaningful sense of the word."


--English professor Dr. Justin Jackson

More Dr. Jackson from 2010:



Sunday, May 13, 2012

Happy Mother's Day!

To my two favorite Moms:


and




Moms help us through all of life's idiosyncrasies...


Thanks for blessing us, Moms!


Friday, May 11, 2012

Guest Post: North Carolina and the Great Debate

Since I'm barely keeping my head above water with work + wedding planning, blogging has taken a back seat, and I apologize. To remedy the situation, I've got the awesome North Carolinian Brittany Makley, the sister of one of my good friends, to shed some light on the recent voting down South. Brittany is a cradle Roman Catholic, married, works for a think tank, and has a pretty adorable baby. Now, without further adieu:


North Carolina and the Great Debate


by Brittany Makley

 Maybe the Mayans were right, and 2012 is the year when the great apocalypse will end all of humankind. If you listen to the Left’s handwringing after Tuesday’s primary election in North Carolina, the end of the world seems right around the corner. However, here are a few observations from the ground, along with some fun facts that have been conveniently left out of much of the debate and media coverage.

After nearly a decade of continuous efforts to get a bill through the State Legislature that would place a Marriage Amendment on the ballot, and 16 years after the Legislature reiterated that North Carolina law would only recognize marriage as the union of a man and a woman, supporters and opponents of the NC Marriage Amendment engaged in a frantic eight month campaign to get out the vote. While the campaign did open many opportunities for a discussion on the nature, importance, and role of marriage and government’s recognition of it, polls indicate most voters made up their minds on this issue before the campaigning ever began. In the end, more than 1.3 million North Carolina voters and 93 of the State’s 100 counties gave a landslide 22% margin of victory to the Marriage Amendment—61% support and 39% opposed.

North Carolina is an anomaly in politics. Until 2008, we spent about 50 years as a solid red state in national matters, sending the notorious Jesse Helms to the U.S. Senate five times beginning in 1972, giving him a storied 30-year career there. At the same time, this was a solidly Blue-Dog Southern Democrat state internally. The General Assembly was controlled, almost without interruption, by Democrats from Reconstruction until 2010. In 2008, North Carolina fell into the Democrat column for president for the first time since 1976, and, in 2010, gave Republicans control of the Legislature for the first time in 140 years. That Republican legislature passed a bill in September 2011 to place a marriage amendment on the ballot for the people to decide its fate.

On May 8, supposedly “purple” North Carolina slam-dunked a marriage amendment into the State Constitution. We joined all the rest of our southern neighbors in protecting the definition of marriage as the union of one man and one woman in the constitution. We join 30 other states in keeping the definition of marriage squarely in the hands of the people and away from the prying activism of judges or legislators.

And, no, the apocalypse is not coming. FiancĂ©es and boyfriends are not now allowed to beat their girlfriends. Children are not being ripped from their parents’ homes and left without health insurance on the streets. SWAT teams are not storming into unmarried couples’ bedrooms. There are two primary reasons North Carolinians (and our neighbors who wish to avoid being sucked into the black hole created when we poof into our apoplectic oblivion) can breath a sigh of relief, drink some green tea, and do their favorite yoga routine before bed without fear of waking tomorrow in a scene out of Independence Day:

1. Nothing has changed in North Carolina law. Marriage in North Carolina has always been defined, even before we were a state, as the union of one man and one woman. Additionally, in 1996, North Carolina passed a Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA) that says same-sex “marriages” performed in other states will not be recognized here. The federal DOMA, signed by President Bill Clinton in 1996, protects North Carolina’s 10th Amendment right to protect marriage here from attempted redefinition by other states.

So, this long-recognized definition of marriage is now part of the State Constitution. All laws and policies tied to the definition of marriage in North Carolina will continue to be enforced the same today as they were on Monday, because all the definitions in the law remain the same. It is just that one of those definitions—marriage—now requires a super-majority of the legislature and a majority vote of the people to be changed.

2. The second—oft ignored—sentence of the Amendment protects private contracts. I know, I know … there’s a SECOND sentence? Yes. I understand this may surprise those of you who do not make a habit of trolling the North Carolina General Assembly website for exact bill language, because, well, the media and the opponents’ $2 million campaign essentially ignored its existence. Here is the actual text of the Marriage Amendment that is now a part of North Carolina’s Constitution:
“Marriage between one man and one woman is the only domestic legal union that shall be valid or recognized by this State. This section does not prohibit a private party from entering into contracts with another private party, nor does this section prohibit the courts from adjudicating the rights of private parties pursuant to such contracts.” 
Shocking, I know. North Carolina legislators managed to craft an Amendment that protects both marriage and individual rights in private contracts. Across the board, opponents of the Amendment generally ignored this second sentence because it is really inconvenient for their sky-is-falling fear-mongering (dare I say, lies) about the impact of the passage of the Amendment on adults’ abilities to love and live in peace.

 North Carolina’s Marriage Amendment is not, and never has been, about discrimination. It is about preservation. Marriage has always been defined according to the historical, natural law, and, shudder, Christian understanding of society’s foundational institution. North Carolina voters were given the exact Amendment language on their ballots, and then asked whether they were “For” or “Against” marriage. Knowing that marriage is not defined by, but rather recognized by, government, they took a bold stand not just for our State, but for the whole nation, in favor of marriage. Because, inherently, North Carolinians know that “as goes the family, so goes the nation, and so goes the whole world in which we live.” Thanks, Pope John Paul II, for that little nugget of wisdom!

I know this can be an emotionally-charged topic, so, as with all comments on this blog, please keep it civil! No haterade drinking around here. I would also like to add that archaeologists have found a new Mayan calendar, so the world is not going to end on December 21 (which is awesome, because that's the day I'm gettin' married!)



Monday, May 7, 2012

Marked with a Cross

‎"If we attach great importance to the opinion of ordinary men in great unanimity when we are dealing with daily matters, there is no reason why we should disregard it when we are dealing with history or fable. Tradition may be defined as an extension of the franchise.

Tradition means giving votes to the most obscure of all classes, our ancestors. It is the democracy of the dead. Tradition refuses to submit to the small and arrogant oligarchy of those who merely happen to be walking about. All democrats object to men being disqualified by the accident of birth; tradition objects to their being disqualified by the accident of death.

Democracy tells us not to neglect a good man's opinion, even if he is our groom; tradition asks us not to neglect a good man's opinion, even if he is our father.

I, at any rate, cannot separate the two ideas of democracy and tradition; it seems evident to me that they are the same idea. We will have the dead at our councils. The ancient Greeks voted by stones; these shall vote by tombstones. It is all quite regular and official, for most tombstones, like most ballot papers, are marked with a cross."

--G.K. Chesterton, Orthodoxy

Friday, May 4, 2012

Fun Friday


I'm foregoing all stress and deadlines that are stacked up around me and going on a trip I've had plans for many moons now with one of my college besties: The Derby! If you need us, we'll be wearing big hats, dresses, and sipping something delicious while watching horses race around the track for a couple of seconds.

If I was not going to be at The Derby, I have an alternative plan for those looking: this weekend is also Cinco de Mayo, so you could easily combine the two by buying a sombrero and decorating it with fancy ribbons and flowers for your very own Cinco de Derby party!

Any fun weekend plans, y'all?


Thursday, May 3, 2012

All Equals in the Republic of Baseball

Tomorrow is George Will's 71st birthday and his son Jon's 40th birthday. This fact is pointed out to the public in Will's most recent column because his almost 40 year old son has Downs Syndrome and lives quite well.

As some of you may know, in our present time, 90 percent of Downs babies are aborted.

Back then, institutionalizing and sending away the baby away to be adopted were also viable options. Downs babies had an average life-span of 20 years.

Will wrote, "The day after Jon was born, a doctor told Jon’s parents that the first question for them was whether they intended to take Jon home from the hospital. Nonplussed, they said they thought that is what parents do with newborns."

Jon is George Will's first child: "The eldest of four siblings, he has seen two brothers and a sister surpass him in size, and acquire cars and college educations. He, however, with an underdeveloped entitlement mentality, has been equable about life’s sometimes careless allocation of equity. Perhaps this is partly because, given the nature of Down syndrome, neither he nor his parents have any tormenting sense of what might have been. Down syndrome did not alter the trajectory of his life; Jon was Jon from conception on."

More Will on his son: "Judging by Jon, the world would be improved by more people with Down syndrome, who are quite nice, as humans go. It is said we are all born brave, trusting and greedy, and remain greedy. People with Down syndrome must remain brave in order to navigate society’s complexities. They have no choice but to be trusting because, with limited understanding, and limited abilities to communicate misunderstanding, they, like Blanche DuBois in “A Streetcar Named Desire,” always depend on the kindness of strangers. Judging by Jon’s experience, they almost always receive it."

Read the whole thing here.

There are family pictures too; a box of tissues and confetti (to throw about after reading such awesomeness) are not included.

"This year Jon will spend his birthday where every year he spends 81 spring, summer and autumn days and evenings, at Nationals Park, in his seat behind the home team’s dugout. The Phillies will be in town, and Jon will be wishing them ruination, just another man, beer in hand, among equals in the republic of baseball."

Happy birthday to the Will men!

Tuesday, May 1, 2012

We Lepers

"Illness, indeed leprosy, continues to provide the great metaphor for sin. In A Burnt Out Case, Graham Greene, at a time when he seemed unsure as to what or even whether he himself believed, found that the stark fact of the hideous contortions of leprosy made illness at least indubitable. The cure that haunts the novel suggests something far more than being restored to the condition of most of us. It was possible to think of lepers as victims, selected without rhyme or reason for their tragic fate, but it is not some evil that merely happens to us, that befalls us, that haunts Graham Greene."

-- from "We Lepers" by Ralph McInerny