Wednesday, February 21, 2007

Lenten Message from Papa

"Lent is a favourable time to learn to stay with Mary and John, the beloved disciple, close to Him who on the Cross, consummated for all mankind the sacrifice of His life (cf. Jn 19:25). With a more fervent participation let us direct our gaze, therefore, in this time of penance and prayer, at Christ crucified who, dying on Calvary, revealed fully for us the love of God...

It is in the mystery of the Cross that the overwhelming power of the heavenly Father’s mercy is revealed in all of its fullness."

Read the rest here.

Holy Ash Wednesday!

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Tuesday, February 20, 2007

Tiny Clarification

I realized that there may be some of you who've thought that my blog heading ("Reflections of an 18-year-old...) is outdated, since when I posted my birthday poem in October I received some "Happy Birthday" wishes! Just to clarify: My birthday is actually March 1st, so my blog header will be duly updated then. :)

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Sunday, February 18, 2007

Today's Funny Moment

Our little 6-year-old friend, when instructed to place his hand on David's cello to feel the vibrations as it was played:

"It feels like a massage!"

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Thursday, February 15, 2007

Today, I Got a Dozen Roses

1. The rose... of waking up to a glorious morning of glistening snow under perfect blue sky and delightful sunshine.

2. The rose... of smiling at all those faces I passed on our community college campus, while there for Spanish class this morning.

3. The rose... of a hug from a dear 90-year-old lady.

4. The rose... of a slice of homemade bread with thick butter and jam for breakfast. One of the simpler, yet finer things in life!

5. The rose... of a sweet Valentine from my violin student.

6. The rose... of laughter with a couple of innocent, carefree young souls.

7. The rose... of a dance through the church parking lot in the sunshine, just because my heart was light!

8. The rose... of my Guardian Angel graciously preserving me from any car mishap when the driver (yours truly) made a thoughtless mistake this afternoon.

9. The rose... of my young piano student hanging over the edge of the piano as I played for him -- with wide, wondrous eyes and the exclamation, "Oh, this is getting good...Teach me how to play that!"

10. The rose... of singing tonight, impropteau, with a group of six active little ones -- all dancing and singing along. "These are a few of my favorite things..."

11. The rose... of receiving the Modesty Survey Results!

12. The rose... of receiving my Lord and Lover: Body, Blood, Soul, and Divinity in the Eucharist.

Indeed, I am blessed!

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They've Arrived! The Modesty Survey

The Rebelution launched them today, in honor of St. Valentine's Day, as a special gift to Christian girls everywhere -- and a gift they are! Over 1,600 Christian guys (12-50+) submitted 150,000+ answers—including over 25,000 text responses to participate in this survey! The Survey Team did an amazing job in every aspect of this project: from publicizing, to answering concerns and questions, to balancing the approach and making the results super-easy to browse.

Most importantly, the survey is presented as a resource to help Christian girls (and guys), not a list of legalistic rules, and it is accompanied by the Modesty Survey Petition -- signed by hundreds of gentlemen -- which encourage young women to focus on the heart, to honor their parents, and to take this to prayer.

I encourage EVERYONE to head over and check it out! AND spread the word to others about this powerful project. The very fact that a team of teenagers conceived the idea and carried it out is amazing! It has been so truly exciting to watch it unfold. Please join me in praying for much good fruit to come from this -- and for the continued rising of our generation to a higher call, discovering the freedom of true discipleship.

P.S. Attention, Gentlemen: signatures are still being accepted for the Modesty Survey Petition, so there's still an opportunity for you to be a part of this!

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Tuesday, February 13, 2007

Google No More!

I've been amazed at the number of folks I have spoken to lately (and active pro-lifers, too!) who don't know about!

Simple and direct, here's the operation: is the "Web's First Pro-Life Search Engine." It is Google-powered (so don't worry, you don't loose any "search competence"!). You and I go to to search the Web just like we would with any major search engine, and the revunes this one generates are donated to Pro-Life charities.

If you have more questions about how it works, go here.

If not, make your homepage today!

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A dear friend just called me

to share this quote she heard on the Christian radio station:

"If you think you're too small to make a difference...
try going to bed with a mosquito in your room."

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Sunday, February 11, 2007

From a Proud Sister

Take a moment to visit Generations for Life and read my sister's essay, which won their recent contest!

Sarah has written a bit for us in the past, too...she has a gift, and is using it for God's glory.

Congratulations, dear sister!

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Friday, February 09, 2007

I'm Going to Nebraska!

Your prayers are requested as I prepare to fly to Nebraska/Iowa to speak from March 7-11. And if you or anyone you know happens to live in the Omaha, NE, Wynot, NE, or Sioux City, IA area -- watch for further details! I'd love to meet you!

Mystical Rose, Pray for Us

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Thursday, February 08, 2007


Food-for-thought received in an email today... let's make it our resolution to keep the simple virtues alive!

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Obituary of the late Mr. Common Sense

Today we mourn the passing of a beloved old friend, Common Sense,who has been with us for many years. No one knows for sure how old he was, since his birth records were long ago lost in bureaucratic red tape. He will be remembered as having cultivated such valuable lessons as: Knowing when to come in out of the rain; Why the early bird gets the worm; Life isn't always fair; and Maybe it was my fault.

Common Sense lived by simple, sound financial policies (don't spend more than you can earn) and reliable strategies (adults, not children, are in charge). His health began to deteriorate rapid ly when well-intentioned but overbearing regulations were set in place. Reports of a 6-year-old boy charged with sexual harassment for kissing a classmate; teens suspended from school for using mouthwash after lunch; and a teacher fired for reprimanding an unruly student, only worsened his condition. Common Sense lost ground when parents attacked teachers for doing the job that they themselves had failed to do in disciplining their unruly children. It declined even further when schools were required to get parental consent to administer Calpol, sun lotion or a band-aid to a student; but could not inform parents when a student became pregnant and wanted to have an abortion. Common Sense lost the will to live as the Ten Commandments became contraband; churches became businesses; and criminals received better treatment than their victims. Common Sense took a beating when you couldn't defend yourself from a burglar in your own home and the burglar could sue you for assault. Common Sense finally gave up the will to live, after a woman failed to realize that a steaming cup of coffee was hot. She spilled a little in her lap, and was promptly awarded a huge settlement.

Common Sense was preceded in death by his parents, Truth and Trust; his wife, Discretion; his daughter, Responsibility; and his sons, Accountability and Reason. He is survived by his 3 stepbrothers; I Know My Rights, Someone Else Is To Blame, and I'm A Victim. Not many attended his funeral because so few realized he was gone. If you still remember him, pass this on. If not, join the majority and do nothing.

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Wednesday, February 07, 2007

Best Catholic News Bytes of Today

- Pope Benedict gives theme of this year's World Youth Day (to be celebrated in all respective dioceses -- not to be confused with World Youth Day 2008 in Sydney)

- Papa encourages the youth to believe in true love!

- And he reminds us of the sanctity of marriage.

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Tuesday, February 06, 2007

A Highlight

from our wonderful Bishop Sartain's homily today at our Diocesan-wide Homeschool Mass!

"We might stand with awe at the edge of the Grand Canyon, but really, we should have the same awe when looking at another human being...

of all God's marvelous creation, only we are made in His Image and Likeness."

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Patroness of Florists,

Saint Dorothy, is celebrated today! A neat saint with a neat story.

Dorothy means Gift of God

Learn about her:

Saint Dorothy on Catholic Online
Saint Dorothy on Magnificat
Saint Dorothy on Patron Saints Index

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Saturday, February 03, 2007

O Christmas Tree, O Christmas Tree, How Ever-Gone Your Branches

Yesterday was Candlemas Day. The Feast of the Presentation. And the traditional close of the Christmas Season. Duly so, our tree was taken down and hauled to the curb last Saturday.

A great deal of family tradition is wrapped up in our Christmas it progressively decorated throughout the four weeks of Advent, in order to be completed by Christmas, and is left intact and lovely for the Christmastide celebration through the end of January.

But this season, our tree was even more special than usual. I know, I probably say that every year, but allow me to elaborate. In part, because the day this story happened, my parting comment was, "Well, at least it'll make a good blog post!" (And no, I didn't get to it). And in part because Veronica made sure to remind me this week that "Claire, you never did do your Christmas Tree post!"

So, in honor of the close of Christmas, the adventure this year's tree-cutting comes to you now, in style.

It was the first Sunday of Advent: over the last few years, we've established a pattern of cutting down our Christmas tree (the self-cutting down being a long-standing tradition for us) on the first Sunday of Advent. We then bring it home, rearrange our dining room to make room for it, and give it the honored placed in the big front window, where it sits in water for a week before anything more is done to it. The second week of Advent, lights are added; ornaments, the third; and finishing touches (namely, hand-done strings of cranberries and popcorn -- a custom from Mom's childhood) in the fourth week. Thus, the state of our tree progresses with the observance of Advent -- a decorating method which works very well for us.

But back to the cutting on the first Sunday of Advent...which, by the way, just so happened to be bitterly cold this season (a little like today -- we're talking wind chill here!). We had just had our first big snowfall of the winter a few days earlier, and this had come after a good rain-turned-to-ice storm. This didn't deter us, though: we simply bundled up like eskimos and went to the tree farm. Now, our all-time favorite type of tree is a Frasier Fur, and this took us to the far back field of the farm where they were located. We children hopped out of the car and took off in all directions, as we always seem to do upon reaching the tree field. ("Look at this one!" "No, this one's better!" "I found a good one over here!") In a moment or so we spotted some nicer-looking trees in the next lot over, and so scampered over there. Mom followed at a somewhat slower pace, and Dad decided to bring the car around.

(Significant detail: The rain-turned-to-ice storm meant lower sections of the mud road were covered with frozen-over water.) "Turning the car around" entailed driving over a section of ice...

"Okay, but don't get stuck!" were Mom's last words before she started to cross the field on foot toward us.

"Don't worry, I won't", Dad assured.

Next thing we know: Dad waving to us from across the field.

Yep, he was stuck...rather, the tires were cracked clear through the ice to the 8 inches or so of water underneath!

Well, we tried pushing. Which colored things up a bit (literally), because Dad had Sarah in the diver's seat with her foot on the gas and the car in reverse, while the rest of us tried pushing against the hood.

"Step on it a little," Dad instructed as we groaned and feet slipped. She did. "A little more...wait, not that much!" Thank goodness Dad was wearing full cover-alls, because they were now fully splattered with muddy water from those spinning tires! It's :)

When all our pushing efforts only produced more spinning tires and spurting muddy water, Veronica and I hiked back to the front of the farm (and I mean hiked!) to get some help.

"Sir?" I approached the gentlemen in the paying booth. "We're...stuck."

We didn't feel quite so silly when this very patient man said he'd spent hours the day before pulling other unfortunate (unwise?) cars from the same predicament. His truck, a chain, and some prayers got us out...but we still had the somewhat small detail left of getting the tree we came for. At this point, just about any tree looked rather nice, so we pretty much walked up to one nearby and said, "It's good; let's cut it." We got out of the cold and took our tree home.

But what Mom thought was the funniest part is that when we got it into the tree stand that night and looked at it again after all that adventure, we wasn't even a Frasier Fur.

(P.S. Everyone agreed the tree was worth it.)

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Thursday, February 01, 2007

How Neat is This?

The Rebelution announced today that the results of The Modesty Survey will be released for St. Valentine's Day! Join The Modesty Survey
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In Honor of Yesterday's Saint

"Do you want our Lord to give you many graces? Visit him often.

Do you want him to give you few graces? Visit him seldom.

Visits to the Blessed Sacrament

are powerful and indispensable means

of overcoming the attacks of the devil.

Make frequent visits to Jesus in the Blessed

Sacrament and the devil will be powerless against you."

~ Saint John (Don) Bosco, Memorial: January 31st

Don Bosco Links...

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