Thursday, August 30, 2012

War on Women, What? Way To Go Condi!

"And on a personal note– a little girl grows up in Jim Crow Birmingham – the most segregated big city in America - her parents can’t take her to a movie theater or a restaurant – but they make her believe that even though she can’t have a hamburger at the Woolworth’s lunch counter – she can be President of the United States and she becomes the Secretary of State. Yes, America has a way of making the impossible seem inevitable in retrospect. But of course it has never been inevitable – it has taken leadership, courage and an unwavering faith in our values."

--excerpt from former Secretary of State Condoleeza Rice's speech at the GOP 2012 Convention

Wow. Pretty powerful stuff.

Tuesday, August 28, 2012

Sesame Street for Lawyers and Cookie Enthusiasts

I love this clip of Kermit and Cookie Monster:

Happy Tuesday, y'all! And happy, HAPPY feast of St. Augustine! I am going to see Restless Heart tonight -- review to follow!

Sunday, August 26, 2012

Don't Pay No Mind To The Demons

Here's Phillip Phillips' "Home":

Back from a whirlwind trip driving with my fiance down to Hotlanta for his next EM rotation and then flying immediately back up for work tomorrow.

Today: 117 days till our wedding.

Tomorrow: B. begins to discern if this program is one he'd be interested in and if this town gets priority in the application process.

Please keep us in your prayers as we move towards our life together- there can be a lot of demons looming around good things, trying to distract from the blessings we all have in our lives. Remember, the Lord is with you! Blessed is his name! Let your witness in this world be a candle upon a hill.

Here's an awesome vocation video by the Dominicans (a.k.a. my faves) too. Pray for all religious and all discerning too! May we lay people support them through our generous hearts, prayers, time and wallets.

Friday, August 24, 2012

Christ, My Wingman

The morning after my future sister’s wedding, my fiance and I attended the family brunch and were asked the question: short or long engagement?

B. said “short” and I said “long” – the listeners laughed.

Fiance and me
We’ve been engaged for eight months now; four more months to go. It’s been a struggle intertwined with the joy of deepening our relationship and connections. As B. prepares to apply for residencies, I’m working, planning our wedding and preparing to transition into married life. We’ve made budgets and meshed five year plans. I’ve decided to delay grad school and he’s studied for and taken test after test following each rotation.

And that’s love, we’ve been told – let each struggle bring you closer together and closer to God, they say. But those practicalities are not even the hardest part for us. No, the hardest part of our engagement is that we’re still single people.

Continue reading at Ignitum Today>>>>>>

To be cross-posted at The Spiritual Workout

Wednesday, August 22, 2012

Go And Make Disciples of All Nations

World Youth Day 2013 is in Rio:

Gave me chills!

I went to WYD in Canada in 2002 and saw (and got a picture of!) Blessed John Paul II go by in his pope mobile, which made up for getting caught in the rain for 3 hours, et cetera. Anyone else have a memorable experience at WYD or hear of anything awesome connected to WYD? I think this event is possibly one of the most important evangelization and witness opportunities for the Church. I'm so excited to see the fruit of this one!

Monday, August 20, 2012

Free Classical Concert!

The Detroit Symphony has a free live webcast playing - today is the last day! LISTEN HERE!

Sunday, August 19, 2012

Women Speak For Themselves

Helen Avare sent out a press release and well, dang. It's so good, I just had to share it!
Women Defy “We Are Women” Rally Claims; Say Let Women Speak For Themselves 
Washington DC, August 18—As some women gather at the Nation’s Capitol today for the “We Are Women” rally, members of the advocacy group, Women Speak For Themselves (WSFT; are making their own voices heard. WSFT began with an open letter to the White House, Congress and Secretary Sebelius in February 2012, demanding respect both for religious freedom and for an understanding of woman’s freedom and equality that goes beyond “free contraception.” It now has over 31 thousand signatories from every state. 
“It defies reason that a few groups could speak for all women on issues of life, family, sex and religion,” said WSFT founder, Helen Alvaré. 
“The 31,000 plus women who have signed onto our open letter will no longer sit silently by while a few political figures and their allies insist that religious freedom has to bow to the theory, the ideology really, that the centerpiece of women’s freedom is sexual expression without commitment,” continued Alvaré. 
Catherine, a woman in her twenties living in New York City and a signatory, wrote to WSFT: “Out of respect for themselves and others, many women choose to live a life of sexual integrity…Many of my girlfriends and I have found this approach to our sexuality to be freeing, empowering, and constitutive of a deep sense of happiness.” 
“I’m a pro-choice woman who respects the rights of other women to hold different views,” wrote another WSFT member Carol, from Vermont. “More specifically I expect the government, in compliance with the Constitution, to protect every person from being coerced into acting in a manner contrary to his or her conscience. The HHS mandates are a fundamental violation of our rights to free speech and religion.”
Hundreds more women wrote to WSFT to express their strong opposition to the message of the Saturday rally. 
“Our women come from diverse political, ideological and religious backgrounds,” Alvaré explained. “But they are united in their opposition to a ‘one size fits all’ version of what women really want, particularly a version contradicted by decades of data and women’s experience in the new sex, dating and marriage markets formed by the idea that contraception, with abortion as the backup, is the sum and substance of women’s equality." 
Jennifer from Indiana, for example, a signatory to the WSFT letter says: ”Women and reproduction are not things that need to be fixed, medicated, sterilized. To equate women’s rights and health to these things is to do an incredible disservice to the rights and health issues that women do face today.” 
“An honest ‘We Are Women’ rally would acknowledge the diverse views held by women. It would acknowledge the science about the decline in women’s well-being associated with the world view this rally represents.” Alvaré says. “No one speaks for all women on these issues. Let women speak for themselves.”
They're on Facebook and Twitter, y'all. All I'm sayin'.

Does it look like I have a problem speaking for myself?
Share, share, share! Get the word out! Women speak for themselves!!

Friday, August 17, 2012

And These Thy Gifts

Earlier this week, I spoke with a financial planner with no real idea of why I was meeting with him. I had a couple hunches, though, to why my friend recommended me to him:
1) I'm getting married;
2) my betrothed is still in school;
3) I will be the only bread winner for the first half of our first year;
4) Our finances and budgeting are going to have to adjust over marriage, moving and any other life changing events that start to come our way.
Where does one even begin??

Fortunately, it begins now, and it begins with honesty.

Look at your finances. Even if you feel crunched under the amount of debt in your life, it isn't unconquerable. In the short term, perhaps, but not in the long, if you are willing to cut down and save.

More importantly, however, finances are more than just a save-here, spend-there mentality. Finances correlate to faith, and not in the Prosperity = God Loves You kind of way. Rather, it begins with an acknowledgement that we owe everything to God. Not our rent check, but our lives, and one way we can show gratitude for the gifts he has shared with us is to give back to the Church. This is called tithing.


The recommended amount one tithes is 10 percent of your income. How you tithe, however, is up to you. For instance, most of my tithing goes into supporting Catholic organizations. I help sponsor my friend Gina in FOCUS (since they have to raise their own salary) and give to the Dominican sisters of Mary, Mother of the Eucharist in Ann Arbor. I also give directly to the Church.

10 percent is actually quite a small chunk of change in one's budget, especially since we're playing the honesty card and realize that one's finances tend to be spent more at or the coffee shop than such a good cause of supporting our Church.

If money is quite tight, another way to give to the Church is through one's time and volunteering at Catholic charities or within programs, like RCIA, being a Eucharistic minister, teaching little children, visiting the elderly and infirm, or even helping with the rectory's upkeep!

The point of tithing is not just offering up a sacrifice; it is combined with the genuine intention of giving thanks. When Mary and Joseph went to give an offering at the temple when Jesus was born, they gave a pair of doves. That was a very humble offering in comparison of what they could have made, but it was a noble one in the eyes of God.

Savings and Debt

The best advice I've heard of this subject came from my aforementioned friend (the one who recommended me to see the financial planner, and works for a big finance company himself). He told me to just cut out the amount you want to save and need to pay right from my budget and pretend it's not there to spend.

This should happen every month to make it into a habit. I repeat: every single month, put those dolla-dolla bills into savings!

Savings does not need to happen in large chunks. Remember piggy banks? Never a bad mentality. Collect your loose coins and dollars and tuck them away for later. The excitement of finding $20 in your pocket will be nothing compared with the realization that you have hundreds of dollars in loose change!

So, to reiterate: X - Y = Z

I made X amount, subtract Y (monthly savings + monthly debt payment) and Z is what I have left over. This equation can (and will!) be made more complicated with more and varied payments, like car payments or rent or food. This means we should talk budget.


I've made a lot of these. They never seem to pan out the way I mean them too, but either way, they are an absolute necessity. A budget is a plan and a guide. Your savings and checking accounts are part of that budget. Your debt is part of that budget. Your semi-annual car payments and oil changes every 3,000 miles are part of the budget.

Budgets say, You can't plan for everything but you can try, and maybe take the edge off when things cost more. This in an invaluable and essential part of having financial savvy. Those numbers don't lie either: find out how much you're really making (after taxes), how much you're spending, and what's left.

Money Matters

You don't have to be making the big bucks to make smart money decisions, nor do you need to go to a financial planner (although it's not a bad idea - and not an expensive one, either!). You absolutely do, however, need to be honest with yourself.

In the film Yours, Mine and Ours, Lucille Ball has 8 kids and Henry Fonda has 10 kids. Then they get married. (That's right, 18 kids.) One of my favorite scenes from the movie is when they are at the grocery store, piling up food into carts and pulling them behind them while discussing each of them adopting the other's children. They didn't have the money and so Fonda made the symbolic and literal sacrifice of putting his beer back as a way to save money.

My parents and their greatest assets!
(Seriously, where have all the good movies gone?!)

Money can be a good thing, although it is not a good unto itself. Money is for spending - but how you decide to do so is what makes a personal financially responsible and secure, not the size of your income. People all across the wealth spectrum are making great and crummy money decisions. You don't want to pay for health services but you want a new pair of shoes and the latest album? Priorities are all askew, yet finances need to be one of them - especially in this age of financial uncertainty.

In tithing, we give back to God, from whom all blessings flow. In savings, we prepare for sun and stormy times ahead. In paying off debt, we honor another's trust. There may be a system (how to pay, when to pay, who pays), but to have any of the above is a gift. Personal financial responsibility helps society just as much as giving unto other can do.

How do you make financial decisions?

Monday, August 13, 2012

Happy Birthday to Alfred Hitchcock!

From fellow director Peter Bogdanovich:

"My own favorite memory of Hitchcock comes from an incident at the St. Regis Hotel in New York in 1964. After some frozen daiquiris had left me a bit tipsy and Hitch quite red-faced and cheerful, we got on the elevator at the 25th floor and rode in silence to the 19th, where, when three people dressed for the evening entered, he suddenly turned to me and said, ''Well, it was quite shocking, I must say there was blood everywhere!'' 
I was confused, thinking that because of the daiquiris I'd missed something, but he just went right on: ''There was a stream of blood coming from his ear and another from his mouth.'' Of course, everyone in the elevator had recognized him but no one looked over. Two more people from the 19th floor entered as he continued: ''Of course, there was a huge pool of blood on the floor and his clothes were splattered with it. Oh! It was a horrible mess. Well, you can imagine...''  
It felt as if no one in the elevator, including me, was breathing. He now glanced at me, I nodded dumbly, and he resumed: ''Blood all around! Well, I looked at the poor fellow and I said, 'Good God, man, what's happened to you?'' And then, just as the elevator doors opened onto the lobby, Hitchcock said, ''And do you know what he told me?'' and paused. With reluctance, the passengers now all moved out of the elevator and looked anxiously at the director as we passed them in silence.  
After a few foggy moments, I asked, ''So what did he say?''  
And Hitch smiled beatifically and answered, ''Oh, nothing -- that's just my elevator story.''
(H/T to my good friend Anna)

Monday, August 6, 2012

Be Transfigured

Happy feast of the Transfiguration of our Lord!

Beloved: we did not follow cleverly devised myths when we made known to you the power and coming of our Lord Jesus Christ, but we had been eyewitnesses of his majesty. For he received honor and glory from God the Father when that unique declaration came to him from the majestic glory, "This is my Son, my beloved, with whom I am well pleased."

We ourselves heard this voice from heaven while we were with him on the holy mountain. Moreover, we possess the prophetic message that is altogether reliable. You will do well to be attentive to it, as to a lamp shining in a dark place, until day dawns and the morning star rises in your hearts.

-- 2 Peter 1:16-19

(Today's second reading; see all of today's readings here.)