Posts Tagged With: Rosary

7 Quick Takes Friday, Vol 24: Severe Weather Edition


1: Working for a Living

I can’t believe it’s been so long since I’ve written a post. The reason is quite simple: I started a new job where I have actual work to do instead of playing on the internet. Well, I never played on the internet all day, but I spent at least, oh, 5 hours out of 8 with nothing to do. So, I had plenty of time to write and to read blogs. Right now my reader feed has about 30 unread blogs. Overall, I’m so grateful for my new job I could just burst. I went from selling cell phones to preparing zoning reports for commercial real estate properties. However, I must admit, I do miss my blogging time and I hope to start posting regularly again just as soon as I can get into a regular routine.

2: Sisters and Suffering

We currently live in Norman, OK which is so close to Moore, they’re practically the same. I think of Moore as our sister city. Good grief, I do all my grocery shopping in Moore at Aldi, and half the people I work with live in Moore. Moore and Norman share a vocational school–Moore-Norman Technology Center. Whenever I was job hunting, I included Moore in my search area because it’s so very close. My oldest friend lives there, as do several of the women from my guild at church. I could go on and on. This isn’t some distant, unfamiliar place–this is home. The devastation is just unbelievable. Entire blocks just wiped off the map. Whole housing editions reduced to rubble. There are no words.

3. Rubbernecking 

You’ll notice that I’ve posted exactly zero photos of storm damage. That’s because I have none, not one. For the first week after the first storms hit, it was nearly impossible to get into Moore, or so I’ve been told. I didn’t try because I didn’t have any business there, but so many people came to gawk. Now, a lot of people came to help out, and that’s commendable, but to have a look? Now, I fully intend to take a drive through some areas that are familiar to me to see how they fared, but in a few weeks, the damage will still be there, so it can wait. Right now, people need to keep out so that the folks that are trying to get help in–or just trying to get to and from work–are able to get around.

4: The Blame Game

Jennifer wrote a post the other day about the tornadoes that had me seeing red. Yes, I know people can be unimaginably cruel in comboxes, but I was just appalled by one bit in particular.

 

The tenor of almost all of the negative responses was that the devastation that the people of Moore experienced was ultimately their fault: They supposedly didn’t build their houses out of proper material, they probably supported policies that caused global warming, or they shouldn’t have chosen to live in that part of the country in the first place.

 

Not the bit about global warming. Or not choosing to live in this part of the country. It was the bit about not building houses out of the proper material. That was the bit that well, stuck in my craw if you want me to get hillbilly hostile about it. Do these people understand what tornadoes do? A tornado will reduce a brick house and a dilapidated shack to an equal amount of crumbs. Furthermore, it will reduce a brick house to crumbs and leave the dilapidated shack next door intact. That’s the horror of it. They come and go where they please with no clear path, constantly changing direction, dropping down in an instant and dissipating in another.

While we’re on the topic, though, this isn’t about where we choose to live. This is our home. Hiding out in makeshift storm shelters is how most of us learned to pray!

5: The Shame Game

I’m not going to name names, but people around here will know who I’m talking about. There are a fair amount of home builders that put up mass produced, cookie cutter homes at a rate that would make your head spin. These homes are good quality, too. If you go to their websites, they’re very energy efficient and have extensive warranties. One thing they do not include is a storm shelter. Now, storm shelters have evolved greatly over the years, and I know several people who have a very small shelter in their garage. These shelters are expensive for a homeowner to install, but they would cost far, far less for the home builder to install. Which brings me to the harshest thing I’ve ever said on this blog, and possibly the harshest thing I’ll ever say:

Any home builder that mass produces homes in Tornado Alley, specifically in the Moore/North Norman area where tornadoes are most common, and doesn’t include a storm shelter should be ashamed of themselves. ASHAMED.

That’s all I have to say about that.

6: Another Round

Tonight, we had another round of tornadoes. WOAH! It was something fierce, let me tell ya. A lot of people got on the road and tried to outrun it, which is a smart thing to do a few hours before the storms hit, but not once the clouds start brewing. Again, you just don’t know which way they’re going to turn, where they’re going to go, when they’re going to drop. You’ve just got to hunker down somewhere (preferably underground) and ride it out.

We had a few hours of anticipation and panic as the storms rolled in. Scott and I kept an eye on the TV as the storm came into Norman. I gathered the cats up in their carrier (much to their disdain), we set flashlights out around the house (you never want to be too far from one when the power goes out!) and Scott filled his water jug up. As we were waiting to see if we needed to go to the neighbor’s house and get in their storm cellar, I started to pray the rosary. Before I could finish, the storm eased up and suddenly, we were in the clear. Isn’t that how life goes? There’s so much to worry about, but all you can do is prepare as well as you can, pray as hard as you can, and before you know it, the storm has passed.

7: Our Lady of Charity

I’m not a bad Catholic, I’m just lazy! Is that better than being bad? Anyway, I’ve had an Our Lady of Charity prayer card for several years now, but I didn’t look up the story until last week. I bought a Lady of Charity candle at Wal-Mart, and I burned it during the May 20th storm, and afterwards, my curiosity finally got the better of me. If you don’t know the history, do not delay! Click on the picture below–you won’t regret it!

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Was that an angry rant? I hope it didn’t sound to angry, it’s just been a long couple of weeks! In this calm between the storms, me and mine are all safe and well and I hope the same for you and yours. Pray for Oklahoma and when you’re done, go check out more, hopefully less depressing quick takes at Conversion Diary!

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Visions and Doubts

 But Peter standing up with the eleven, lifted up his voice, and spoke to them: Ye men of Judea, and all you that dwell in Jerusalem, be this known to you, and with your ears receive my words. For these are not drunk, as you suppose, seeing it is but the third hour of the day: But this is that which was spoken of by the prophet Joel: And it shall come to pass, in the last days, (saith the Lord,) I will pour out of my Spirit upon all flesh: and your sons and your daughters shall prophesy, and your young men shall see visions, and your old men shall dream dreams. And upon my servants indeed, and upon my handmaids will I pour out in those days of my spirit, and they shall prophesy. And I will shew wonders in the heaven above, and signs on the earth beneath: blood and fire, and vapour of smoke. The sun shall be turned into darkness, and the moon into blood, before the great and manifest day of the Lord come. –Acts 2:14-20

In two months and 6 days, it will be a full 6 years before I officially converted to Catholicism and 4540497839_211250edb3came into full communion with the Catholic Church. It has been much longer since I fell away from the Protestantism that taught me all of these visions were hogwash, despite the fact that scripture clearly tells us to expect visions and dreams as the final days draw nearer. No, I’m not going all doomsday–it’s a fact. The final days certainly aren’t drawing further away (if that’s even good grammar).

When I converted, I looked at Lourdes and Fatima, and the Divine Mercy and I told myself these things didn’t matter. If they were hard to believe, I didn’t have to believe. These things are best viewed with a skeptical eye, after all.

As time goes on, these visions bother me more and more, because I do look at them with doubt and downright disbelief sometimes. I doubt in my mind what my heart is starting to believe.

In April 2009, my sister and I decided to make mission rosaries. I was working at a call center at the time, and I was able to make knotted twine rosaries as I worked. As I became more skilled, I was able to make 3 or 4 a day. Since I was churning out rosaries at such a fast pace, purchasing crucifixes at Walmart got expensive quickly. I found a seller on ebay where I could get crucifixes for 10¢ each. Outstanding! I ordered 100 liturgy and 100 old fashioned bronze. When the liturgy crucifixes came, I was a little put off. In addition to the familiar design on the front, the back had a strange mark. It read “MEDUGORJE MIR MIR MIR.” I remember wondering what that meant.

And then thinking nothing of it again.

Every day, I made my rosaries and finished them off with a crucifix. Every day, I saw the strange words but didn’t take 10 seconds to type it into Google. Then I quit working at the call center and wasn’t able to make rosaries at work anymore. I still had dozens of crucifixes and they ended up in my purse and everywhere.

EC362Sometime around late August/early September 2010, almost a year and a half after first getting the crucifixes, I was at work looking in my purse for who-knows-what when I saw one of the crucifixes and took a look at it. It had been in my purse for well over a year, and I’d looked at it often. That day, however, it was like it was brand new. Why have I never looked up what this meant? My gosh, I sent off 100 mission rosaries to a charity and half of them had this crucifix on them. What if it meant something vile?

That’s how I learned about Medjugorje. I was stunned, to say the least. These visions started up a few months before I was born. This has been happening my entire life, but somehow, I’d never heard of it. I spent some time at work looking into it, and when my lunch break was over, I forgot about it entirely.

It wasn’t time for me to forget, though. When I went home that evening, I headed straight for our office to get online. Scott had EWTN streaming on the computer. The instant I sat down, I mean precisely the instant my tush hit the chair, a news bulletin came on.

The Vatican had announced an official investigation into Medjugorje.

I told Scott what happened and he was just as flabbergasted as I was.  We both started to wonder if this was something we should be looking into.

As I recall, it was that very night that Scott was looking at a book of short stories about the rosary and he came running to show me that the first story he pulled up mentioned Medjugorje. The very next chance we got, we went down to the Catholic book store and picked out a book about Medjugorje, Medjugorje: The Message by Wayne Weible. I’m not going to sugar coat it, I was just as skeptical as ever when I put the book down, but I started to open my mind up to the possibility that these visions were real. After that, I briefly studied the miracles at Lourdes, and I found the evidence to be strikingly convincing.


I should have kept researching, but I didn’t. Perhaps the time had not come for me to do so, but it’s definitely time now. As I was searching for an Amazon Lending Library pick for February, I stumbled upon Blessed Pope John Paul II, The Diary of St. Faustina and The End Times by Susan Crimp. Why? Because I love the Divine Mercy prayer. I love the message. I’ve carried the Divine Mercy booklet around with me for years. But I have a hard time believing it was given to Faustina in a divine vision. There’s still a big part of me that just doesn’t want to believe that these kinds of things happen. I downloaded the book, and as soon as I started reading it, I knew I’d picked the right one. It feels as if the author is speaking directly to me and knows me all too well.

I started this post with a Bible verse for a reason. We like to believe that the Bible has the words THE END written on the last page, but it doesn’t. In fact, it promises that there will be more miracles, more prophesies, more dreams, more revealed along the way. Not everyone who says or thinks they saw a divine vision has seen one; that I will not argue. However, when it comes to Faustina, “Why would the most famous Pope that ever lived and one of the world’s greatest theological scholars dare to stake his impeccable reputation on these messages?” That’s a question s worth finding the answer to and what better time to go chasing for answer than the Year of Faith?

Categories: Chasing After God, Year of Faith | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

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.

Categories: Amazon Lending Library Reviews, Saints | 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.

Categories: Chasing After God | Tags: , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

7 Quick Takes Friday, Vol 14:

I apologize in advance for the scattered, hair-brained content of this post.

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1: Christmas Hangover

Every day, every stinking day, I realize something I forgot to do for the holidays, now that we’re working to get everything put up. Oh, look, here’s a wreath that never got put out, here’s a pumpkin pie bar mix that never got made, and Snoopy socks I never wore, and HOW DID I FAIL TO PUT OUT THE CHRISTMAS HAND TOWELS?!?!?!?! I just feel like the only way to fix this is to get in the time machine, go back in time and start all over.

But you know what? I kept up with the Jesse tree. The whole season.

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2: 2 is for 2 Years Later

We’ve been living in our current house for 2 years now. This is a joyous occasion. Our marriage has been so full of moving and shuffling around, that the longest we were ever in one place was in our cramped, tiny little apartment. Until now. Now we’ve lived in this lovely little mid-century ranch style house for longer than we’ve been anywhere else.

And after two years, Scott finally fixed the garage door. The chain was off when we first moved in and there was no remote, so the garage has been more of a junk catch-all than anything else. Scott fixed the chain, I found a new remote, ordered it and paired it, and now, at long last, I no longer have to walk in the rain to get into the house! And it’s so easy when I need to haul groceries into the house. I can just drive them inside instead! I turned 31 last month and this is the first time in my life I have lived in a house with a working garage door, where I could park. It’s so exciting! It’s going to take a while for the shiny to wear off of this one.

3: Simone Weil

I saw this trailer on Ascending Mount Carmel and thought I’d share it.

I’d really like to see the documentary, but when I searched for it on Netflix, it told me it was unavailable and recommended Sons of Anarchy and Phineas and Ferb. I wish I had made that last bit up, but I didn’t.

4: Halp!

This is probably not worthy of sharing but I keep seeing this picture and it’s just the stuff of nightmares.

I suppose I’ve probably always been claustrophobic. My experience in the closed MRI has definitely brought this fear, nay TERROR to light. For example, I fail to see the humor in this picture, which keeps popping up:

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No, I look at that picture and suddenly can’t breathe. And want to cry. Moving on.

5: Feeling the Burn

I’ve been doing….fair…on my health and fitness resolutions this year. I’ve had some night snacking issues, which was never a problem until I quit smoking. I’ve been working out pretty consistently–which for me always makes the weight come off more slowly. But, I know I’m building muscle instead of losing it, which is certainly more likely when I’m dropping massive amounts of weight each weak. My stamina is increasing, too. I plan to start running by Valentine’s Day, and do some kind of 5K in the spring. If I’m going to do a run, I want to do it for a good cause, you know? One I believe in! Last summer, I was going to do the Color Run in OKC, but things didn’t line up for me. I was a little ill at ease with it because they didn’t have the “cause” lined up yet. I was a little worried about signing up, paying my fees, and training…only to find out I was running to benefit the Fraternal Brotherhood of Aryan Supremesists or something horrifying like that.

Anybody else working on a fitness routine?

6: All by Myself

Now that everything is back to normal, Scott is once again working every evening and I’m at home by myself all night. However, I’m not going to let that stop me from observing dinner more formally every night.

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Now, if they’ll just wear the little outfits I made them.

7: Hail Mary!

I’m pledging to do the rosary every night. So far this year, I’ve only missed twice. Another spiritual goal for the New Year is to read at least 1 Catholic non-fiction book each month. Finishing 1 each month shouldn’t be a problem.

I’ve already started 5.

Keep the Fulwilers in your prayers and I’ll let you know where the rest of the Quick Takes are just as soon as I find out!

 Update: Found ’em!

Categories: 7 Quick Takes Friday | Tags: , , , , , , | 7 Comments

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