Monthly Archives: January 2013

It’s Enough to Make You Sick

There was a gaping hole in the wall at Mass on Sunday for the second week in a row. Not a figurative one, though we’ve had one of those for a few months now. It’s a real, honest to goodness, gaping, ugly, dark hole in the wall. Our holy water fonts have been removed due to the flu season, and I couldn’t be more displeased. My sister-in-law agrees with the decision, citing the horribleness of the flu.

I continue to disagree. It’s holy water, for crying out loud! It’s been sanctified!5557860487_5d3ee179b3

At Mass last week, we were also told not to shake hands during the sign of peace for fear of spreading the flu. However, I joined a band of rag-tag renegades. We shook hands. For Pete’s sake, the sign of peace was originally the kiss of peace.

Unfortunately, I have further evidence to cite. When one of our deacons was giving us the tour of the church in RCIA, he said that one day he saw a woman slather her children’s hands with hand sanitizer after the sign of peace and he thought that was just wonderful.

Well I’m having a hard time with it.

Let me start off by saying that I’m incredibly sensitive to staph. Not just the really bad staph that is bad for everyone, but lots of staph. I am constantly getting staph infections and sitting on a public toilet is a game of Russian roulette. So, let me tell you, I know full well the power of germs. Therefore, I am actually hesitant to overuse antibacterial products because, well, it’s overkill and more and more research is showing it does more harm than good.  

I just don’t like the attitude. It’s an attitude of fear, when we should exercise an attitude of faith and family. How can we say, “We are the body of Christ…but I’m afraid to touch you.” How can we say, “I have faith in God, and I believe this water has been blessed…but I’m worried I’ll get the flu from it.” It strikes a bad chord with me. I’m not saying we should be careless by any means. If you have the flu, stay home! That’s why we have Eucharist ministers to bring the sacrament to the sick. And as for those prone to infection, well, as someone who is very prone to infection, I know what to do to take care of myself. Dousing myself in hand sanitizer every 5 minutes is not the answer. Avoiding shaking hands with my parish family isn’t either.

I’m torn here. I know I should submit to the authority of our deacons (our Priest would be that figurative gaping hole I alluded to earlier) but being told we shouldn’t touch…I’m not a touchy-feely person. I don’t like to be touched. But at the Mass, I want to embrace everyone around me! St. Francis embraced lepers for crying out loud. Many more great saints lived in filth with the sick as well. How is it acceptable for us to refuse to embrace each other?

I want my holy water back. As bad as it is to tell brothers and sisters in Christ that we can’t touch each other, to give credence to the idea that water that has been blessed will cause illness is an outright lack of faith. It’s enough to make me sick.

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7 Quick Takes Friday, Vol 16

1: Meatless Fridays

We’ve decided to go meatless on Fridays year round. How’s that going for us?

Actual exchange late last night (or about 3am) in the Fletcher house:

Me: We’re almost out of fish filets? *runs frantically to deep freeze* Well, actually, there 2960134096_135f9b0703are six here. Two fishes are a serving, so there’s at least 3 servings.

Scott: Two? I usually have 5 at a time…

Me: What?!?!?! Two fishes is more than plenty!

Scott: Not for me, it isn’t!

Me: Two fishes is more than enough. I mean, Jesus could feed, gosh, probably 5,000 people with two fishes.

Scott: IT’S NOT LENT YET!!!!!

It’s going well. Really well.

2: New Years Fitness Resolutions

Not doing so well. I’ve been working out like a champ, I mean really. My shin splints have flared up horribly, but I’m working around it. I dialed back the intensity of my circuit training (I went a little EXTREME!!! way too soon) and started mixing in some biking and Zumba. However, I’m washing away all of my hard work by over-snacking all night. Ever since I quit smoking, I’ve had snacking issues, which is weird because I never used to be a snacker. The real low point for me was when I ate a half a bag of Sun Chips in one sitting. I’m bored, and I’m at home by myself all evening, but I’ve got to stop this nonsense! I’ve just got to throw myself into prayer like I did when I was quitting smoking. NO MORE SNACKING!!!

3: If my fear was irrational, I wouldn’t be afraid of it. Duh.

Sometimes I wonder, whilst flailing about the living room, “dancing” to my Zumba XBox game, if perhaps my Kinect sensor is recording my performance and sending it off to Microsoft headquarters so they can laugh at it.  

Do you doubt it? I mean really? This is why we don’t have flying cars. The geniuses are all watching fat ladies show of their spasmodic dance skills in their living rooms. Brave new world.

4: We All Need Humbling

Last week, I mentioned I would be painting the Devon tower at a Wine and Palette painting class. So, here’s the tower:

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And this is my painting (keep in mind, the picture above is at an angle, mine is head on):

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Well, we can cross pride off the list.

5: Marriage Challenge–Just in Time for Valentine’s!

Hallie Lord, my personal marriage guru, is hosting a 41 day marriage challenge! Yesterday’s task was to slip a love note into his wallet. Done! He didn’t find it, though. So, I put it in the little envelope he keeps his debit card it, and hopefully when he takes his card out to pay for something he’ll find it?4343621338_1bddfe2369

Today’s task is to send him a sweet text message. I did! I told him I loved him..and gave him an update on the garage door situation. Does that count?

I suck at this.

6: I  Still Want My Monies!

Last week, I ranted about not having my W-2 and wanting our refund money. Well, I got my W-2, and had exactly 5 second of happiness about our refund before I realized our refund would be going entirely toward our medical debts and it wouldn’t even be enough to cover all of them. Unfair! Last year, we bought a new refrigerator and I was able to squirrel enough away to buy a Hawaiian vacation package for Scottie. This year, all of it is going to bills!?!?!?

All but a small portion that will be set aside for my Real Estate school. In another 6-12 months (or however long it takes for me to finish the darn thing) I’ll be starting a brand new career!

7: Pope John Paul II 

In Evangelium Vitae, Bl. Pope John Paul II included a special message for women who have had an abortion. In commemoration of the grim anniversary this week, I think it’s important to share what he had to say:

Pope John Paul II in ArmchairI would now like to say a special word to women who have had an abortion. The Church is aware of the many factors which may have influenced your decision, and she does not doubt that in many cases it was a painful and even shattering decision. The wound in your heart may not yet have healed. Certainly what happened was and remains terribly wrong. But do not give in to discouragement and do not lose hope. Try rather to understand what happened and face it honestly. If you have not already done so, give yourselves over with humility and trust to repentance. The Father of mercies is ready to give you his forgiveness and his peace in the Sacrament of Reconciliation. To the same Father and his mercy you can with sure hope entrust your child. With the friendly and expert help and advice of other people, and as a result of your own painful experience, you can be among the most eloquent defenders of everyone’s right to life. Through your commitment to life, whether by accepting the birth of other children or by welcoming and caring for those most in need of someone to be close to them, you will become promoters of a new way of looking at human life.  

– Pope Blessed John Paul II’s Evangelium Vitae, 99 (1995)

Be sure to keep Jen in your prayers as she continues her recovery and be sure to stop by Conversion Diary for more quick takes!

Yes,  yes, if you click on the little Amazon link on this page and buy something, I’ll make a teeny, tiny profit! 

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A.L.L. Book Review: The Ultimate Saints Guide to the Immaculate Conception

When I bought Scott’s Kindle Fire for Christmas, I had a fair amount of $$$ in my shopping cart, which I suppose is what prompted Amazon to offer me 20$ off a yearly Prime subscription. In addition to free shipping and Amazon Instant Video, I receive one book each month to read for free on one of my Kindle devices from the Amazon Lending Library(A.L.L.). As of the date of this posting, this book is available for free to any Amazon Prime members with a Kindle device.

 

The Ultimate Saints Guide to the Immaculate Conception

by Dan Quinn & John Quinn

Back in September, I shared with great delight that my sister was starting RCIA classes! Unfortunately, a few weeks ago, Betsy advised me that she could not accept the Immaculate Conception. She is continuing RCIA classes for now (it goes without saying–please pray for her!) but will not be joining the Church at this time. I wasn’t sure how to approach the topic with her, so imagine my delight when I stumbled upon The Ultimate Saints Guide to the Immaculate Conception!

For those of us who are Protestant converts to the Catholic Church, our relationship with Mary can feel more like a mother-in-law relationship. It’s awkward and strange, and sometimes it just feels wrong. After all, we were raised to believe that veneration of Mary is sinful. The Immaculate Conception did not become dogma until 1854, which leads many people to believe that is a new theory propagated by the Catholic Church, but that couldn’t be further from the truth, as this book reveals.

 The Ultimate Saints Guide to the Immaculate Conception is really just a wonderful compilation of writings from Saints. The Quinn brothers begin by defining what the Immaculate Conception is (which far too many of us confuse with something else entirely), then telling the story of St. Joachim and St. Ann, taking from the revelations of St. Bridget of Sweden, St. Elizabeth of Shenau, Ven. Anne Catherine Emmerich, and Ven. Mary of Agreda.

Next up, a defense of the dogma of the Immaculate conception by St. Robert Bellarmine. St. Robert dishes up the usual fare: Mary declares that all generations will call her blessed, the woman clothed with the sun of God’s radiant grace can be no one else, and so forth. My favorite scriptural reference, of course, is the foreshadowing in Genesis 3:15:

“I will put enmities between thee and the woman, and thy seed and her seed, and she shall crush thy head.” 

It was, in fact, the Lady of Grace statue at Our Lady of Perpetual Help Cathedral in Oklahoma City that I was gazing upon when I suddenly, completely out of the blue, understood the “whole Mary thing.” There she was, her foot on the serpent, crushing his head, and a light bulb went off. I had read books, prayed, and finally just resigned myself to uncertainty, but in that moment of quiet reflection, I just got it.

My favorite section by far is the writings of Church fathers on the Immaculate Conception. Going back to the first century, to St. Andrew, the Apostle, we have writings of Church fathers supporting the dogma that Mary was full of grace and therefore did not fall into sin. While the idea that Mary was withheld from sin from the moment of her conception is not universally acknowledged, there is evidence that although she was capable of sin, because of the grace given to her, she did not succumb to it.

I especially liked this quote:

“Purity is understood by the absence of what is contrary to it, and, therefore, a creature may be found, than which nothing can be more pure in created things, if it be defiled by no contagion of sin; and such was the purity of the blessed Virgin, who was exempt from original and actual sin. But she was beneath God, inasmuch as there was in her the power to commit sin.”

St. Thomas (8th Century Church Father)

The Quinn brothers also dive into the visions of St. Bernadette at Lourdes, and St. Catherine Laboure of the Miraculous Medal. The story of Lourdes is particularly important to me because that was the story that helped me to accept Mary as Mother and advocate, along with my light bulb moment. It’s very difficult to deny the events at Lourdes, and if the events are true, then what Mary said there was true. St. Bernadette was so poorly educated, and so sickly, but she was also so devout. I just find it difficult to doubt her story.

Overall, I think this is a marvelous little reference on the Immaculate Conception, especially for converts who need a little help with getting to know Mary a little better. As far as being just the thing I needed to convince Betsy….No. I’ve been there. She needs an AHA! moment, a light bulb experience. No one can contrive that for her. Arguing with her won’t change a thing (trust me, you don’t want to try). So, if you’re trying to convince a Protestant, this is a must-have tool, but there’s no magic bullet as far as I’m concerned. Of course, with all matters of faith, sometimes our hearts just have to find a quiet spot where they can sort it out for themselves.

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7 Quick Takes Friday, Vol 15: “Don’t try to assign a theme to it” Edition

1: Words Fail Me

I’ve gotten a bit backed up on blogging and actually have several half-finished posts, most of which I’m sure will be deleted. With everything that I’m hearing as far as guns and gun violence goes, I felt the need to pitch in my two cents. After many attempts at beating around the bush, I decided to just be blunt and say what I feel. Sometimes, blunt is best.

2: The Tooth Fairy Cometh4749403760_e6fce91d73_n

My darling Scott has finally come to terms with the importance of proper dental maintenance. Last week, the poor dear had an abscessed tooth and we got him in to see a dentist on Monday. Unfortunately, (long story) it was a very expensive dental office. Marble counter tops. A Keurig machine in the waiting room. Giant bowls of complimentary chapstick, key chains and gum. The place looks like a flipping palace. So, when he received a quote for a root canal and crown, I scoffed. Being the evil wife that I am, I refused to schedule an appointment to have the work done and told Scott we’d be shopping around. He was so unhappy with me! I forgot to grab a few handfuls of the free chapstick and gum on the way out the door, but I did my share of the Keurig coffee. We got him an appointment at Dental Depot yesterday, and he was able to get the root canal, crown, and deep clean for only slightly more than just the root canal and crown would have been at the spendy place. Poor thing. He had the root canal and half the deep clean done yesterday (same day as his initial exam at Dental Depot!) and he’ll get the rest of the deep clean and the temporary crown on Wednesday. Between now and then, he’s on a soft food diet and in a decent amount of pain. I made him some homemade potato soup, and that seemed to help.

Next time, he’ll go to the dentist when I tell him to. I’m sure of it.

3: It’s Official!

The holidays are over. In addition to Sunday being the liturgical end of the Christmas season, we celebrated 2 family birthdays on Saturday and my in-laws flew back to Saudi Arabia on Monday morning. No more big family meals. No more get-togethers over cake. It’s time to get back on a regular schedule!

4: Rebecca Monet!

I’m going to be working on a new masterpiece tonight at Wine and Palette. My sister, Betsy, and I went last month and did our renderings of the “Peace Angel.”

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Tonight, we shall be doing a rendering of the Oklahoma City skyline with the Devon tower. I am particularly fond of the Devon tower since my husband, the iron worker, built it.

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It was the first job he was sent on as an iron worker two years ago, and he’s still out there working on the finishing touches. Isn’t it just beautiful?

5: Smoking Hot!

166215927_48b7336d26Today, a coworker was on her way out for a smoke break and had to go back out to the front to help a customer. On her way, she put her cigarette down on the counter in the break room. I picked it up and sniffed at it. It was strange. 5 months ago, I couldn’t imagine not being a smoker. It was part of who I was. I set the pace of my days by my smoke breaks. Now, holding the cigarette in my hand, it seemed strange and unnatural.

Another coworker came in the break room and started to flip out. “Don’t do it!” he cried out. “You already quit!”

“You know what’s silly?” I said, thinking of the absolute torture of quitting and the divine intervention required to quit. “After all that, the main reason I don’t want to start up again is that I don’t want to stink.”

“That’s not silly at all,” he said.

I don’t know if I’ve addressed this already, but I honestly did not realize how bad I smelled when I smoked. Now, when I smell a smoker, I feel mortified that I walked around smelling like that. I really don’t want to stink again!

6: I Want My Monies!

It’s that time of year! For Rebecca to complain and moan because I SHOULD have my W-2 by now. This is a modern, advanced civilization, is it not? Everything is electronic, any information can be obtained with a mere touch of a button–except my W-2!

I’m particularly anxious to get mine because….I cheated! I borrowed against my return! When we had our glorious trip to Hawaii, we hadn’t saved up very much money, so I changed my tax filing status to single with 9 dependents, so no federal taxes were taken out for 4 or 4 checks. When I changed it back, I had an extra 100$/check taken out to make up for it, but I’m still a little worried. And yes, I did use the estimator at HR Block to see how much it should be based on our recent pay stubs, but until I get the final result, I’m going to worry!

7: At Last!

When I was 13 or 14, I read Les Miserables, then when I was done with it, I realized it was a8269937687_f7163b369a condensed version. Dangit. I’ve read the first half of the full version 2 or 3 times since then. After reading the condensed version, I bought the soundtrack to the musical and listened to it over and over again, wishing I could see it.

Last Friday, I got to. I’m not going to do a big commentary. It was Les Mis. It was done right. It was beautiful and glorious. I bawled at the end. It was worth every second of the wait.

I can hear the people sing!

Be sure to keep Jen in your prayers as she continues her recovery and be sure to stop by Conversion Diary for more quick takes!

Categories: 7 Quick Takes Friday | Tags: , , , , | 1 Comment

Guns Have Nothing To Do With It

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There are a lot of high emotions right now around guns. We’ve seen absolute horrors unfold has gunmen have plowed through human lives as if they were nothing. There are those who want to take guns out of the hands of civilians, and those who want armed civilians in every public place.

Does anyone else feel like the conversation has been hijacked? This isn’t about guns.

Timothy McVeigh killed 168 people with bombs made of fertilizer. I’m sure you could find a recipe online. If you want to kill people, you don’t need a gun.

Ryan Heber talked down a 16-year old shooter without any sort of weaponry. If you want to defend yourself, you don’t need a gun.

There are plenty of ways to get a gun outside of legal means. Background checks give us no indication of the soul. Arming a civilian does not give them good judgment or create a hero.

More guns is not the answer.

Less guns is not the answer.

Guns are not the problem.

We need to take a step back and consider the fruits of our society. Mass shootings, parents murdering their children, men murdering their wives (even pregnant wives), children who are abused for the span of their short lives, rape, theft, and a never ending stream of violent hatred. We are producing rotten fruit because we are sick. But day by day, we continue to sow the same seeds: violence, pornography, promiscuity, materialism, hatred, abortion, and every other kind of sin that degrades the human person. When there is little or no love to offset the poison, the human person becomes a rotten husk of what it should be.

We sow vile seeds and reap rotten fruit. What a surprise. We can’t legislate our way out of this.

I know a lot of people would not agree, but I truly believe the gunmen, the mass killers are victims, too. They are the product of living in a world of poison without ever knowing enough love to overcome the darkness. What is the answer to this problem? We need to become a society that loves instead of constantly spewing hatred. We need to become a society that values human life above all else, and fosters respect and love for the human person.

3190370532_0b2e71c90bWe can’t legislate love. But if every Catholic and Protestant started living their faith, that would be an outstanding start. We need to be authentic disciples of Christ to break through this darkness.

What can we do? Pray the rosary, fast, practice charity, return to the sacraments. Monthly or weekly confession. These are dark times, and we have to light the way.

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