Philippians 4:8

Finally, brothers, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is gracious, if there is any excellence and if there is anything worthy of praise, think about these things. -Philippians 4:8 NAB

Tuesday, May 1, 2012

Linky-do

So I know I just posted something, er, a few hours ago, but I also wanted to link to this great post by Jennifer Fulwiler.  It got me to start thinking about something I hadn't given much thought to in a very long time, and impacted me profoundly enough that I thought it should be shared.  Have a great day!

Monday, April 30, 2012

Feeling Energized

It's very late, and I honestly don't have the time to be writing at this moment... I should be in bed.  But, I got a dose of inspiration after watching Jennifer Fullwiler on EWTN.  And, although I feel as though I should apologize for not posting anything (right, that's anything) in 9 months, I also know that most people understand that life can become so insanely busy that one can even forget that one has a blog in the first place.

One part of the interview linked above that I particularly liked is how she described that all of us have certain "charisms" -- that is, gifts or talents that energize us the more we engage them.  She quite obviously has a writing charism; me, not so much.  But, I like to write and and I like to dialogue and I like to pretend that by posting something online, I'm actually accomplishing something.  Right.  Anyway, it occurred to me that I know darn well what my charism is: practicing medicine.  I mean, I absolutely love it.  I love meeting new people, engaging in cursory niceties, and then grilling them about the most intimate details of their physical selves so that I may investigate (some people have another word for it) what is going wrong, and why, and how to fix it.  And every once in awhile, I actually look like I know what I'm doing!  And then, my patients feel better and think I had something to do with it.  Hah!  But I really get jazzed about seeing how physiology works, and how it is so intricately balanced, and how it is such a clear image of the presence of God.

I know, I'm a nerd.  In fact,  I am such a nerd that even my husband still calls me a nerd.  Case in point: we were enjoying a beer yesterday (BEER! Don't remind me that I'm nursing...), a Hefewiezen to be exact, with some lemon squeezed in (don't knock it 'til you've tried it!), and there were a few lemon seeds that had escaped their puckery little lemon homes into the joy of hops and malt and yeast and they were dancing (yes, dancing!) in the beer.  Well, my dear spouse was pretty mesmerized by these lemon seeds floating up to the top of the glass, wiggling around a little, then sinking back to the bottom, only to be carried up to the top again in this beautiful ballet of germ-free alcohol, and he said, "Wow, that's cool.  I wonder how those seeds keep floating and sinking like that?"  And I, being the nerdy little nerd that I am, promptly told him.  (Carbonation... impurities... precipitation... don't get me started.)  And then, he lovingly looked over at me with a sweet smile and said, "You are such a nerd."

That's what you get for marrying a chemistry major.  Which, by the way, comes in handy when doing things such as brewing beer or writing prescriptions.  Not so handy when trying to answer a 6-year-old's question about being "born-again" in heaven and "coming back" as babies. (Huh???) I should have paid more attention in my philosophy classes... Thank goodness that marriage and motherhood is my vocation -- I need all the grace I can get for those!

What about you? Do you have a charism? (Don't worry, it won't be another 9 months between posts, I promise!!!)

Wednesday, July 6, 2011

On the Fr. Corapi situation...

Yesterday, I came across a press release from the Society of Our Lady of the Most Holy Trinity (SOLT), the religious order to which Fr. Corapi belongs.  The crux of the statement reads
SOLT's fact-finding team has acquired information from Fr. Corapi's e-mails, various witnesses, and public sources that, together, state that, during his years of public ministry:

He did have sexual relations and years of cohabitation (in California and Montana) with a woman known to him, when the relationship began, as a prostitute; He repeatedly abused alcohol and drugs; He has recently engaged in sexting activity with one or more women in Montana; He holds legal title to over $1 million in real estate, numerous luxury vehicles, motorcycles, an ATV, a boat dock, and several motor boats, which is a serious violation of his promise of poverty as a perpetually professed member of the Society.
As a result, I have removed the link to Fr. Corapi's website.  I am personally deeply saddened by this turn of events.  For those who don't know, Fr. Corapi was an incredibly engaging and charismatic speaker, with sound catechesis and a penchant for "telling it like it is."  Such honesty on church teaching was refreshing and, I daresay, much needed (especially in our current culture of death and political correctness).

I do not know -- nor am I willing to speculate -- as to whether the charges brought against Fr. Corapi have any degree of truth.  Based on the above, it appears that there has been some level of misconduct, though again, I am not privy to the details of the situation.  What I do know, however, is that the allegations were filed on Ash Wednesday (mid-March) and that a mere 3 months later, Fr. Corapi announced he was leaving the priesthood.  Regardless of anything else, this one action is cause enough for me to have serious doubts about Fr. Corapi's credibility and stability.  In my mind, this is tantamount to filing for divorce -- and it is an action I cannot support in any way.  Furthermore, his "new platform" of calling himself "The Black Sheep Dog" is just plain weird, and the picture he has chosen to use for his website is, quite frankly, a little creepy in my opinion.

At this point, I can only hope and pray that he comes to his senses and returns to his religious order.  It is a shame for the Church to lose a priest under any circumstances, but this feels like a particularly deep blow.  I encourage you to pray for Fr. Corapi as well.  May this be a good reminder that we are all called to pray for all our priests as there is no question they are constantly besieged by vicious spiritual attack.

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

I've been busy...!

I realized that I haven’t checked on my blog for a couple weeks and, when I finally did so this morning, realized I haven’t written in about 4…  So, what have we been up to?  Well...

Several weeks ago, I was approached by a friend of a friend about gathering resources for a high school health class on the topic of sex ed.  Without going into detail (because it would just take way too long!), I gathered such resources and gave a lecture to mostly 16-year-olds on the nature of STDs (sexually-transmitted diseases).  It was an eye-opening experience – not only did I learn a little something more on the subject, but I also learned how insufficient the knowledge base was for these teenagers (1/3 of whom, according to statistics, are recently sexually active).  I might go in to more detail on a later post.

Around the same time, I was approached by another friend to give a “primer” on Theology of the Body for women, with the aim of increasing understanding to better educate one’s daughters.  The high points included the dignity of the human person, the beauty of how we are each designed, the purpose of our fertility, the wounds of being used and/or using others, modesty, purity, and chastity.  We plan to do a follow-up with the daughters next month, and I pray it will make an appropriate impact.

Then, we had the *big* ultrasound – yeah!  I will post a pic of the little one just as soon as I scan all 18 of the photos onto my computer. ;-)  Yes, we did find out the sex of the baby!  But, we also learned that there are “choroid plexus cysts” in the brain. This is a finding which is typically incidental (meaning it doesn’t mean anything) so long as there isn’t anything else untoward found on the ultrasound (there wasn’t).  However, it’s always a little disconcerting when things don’t look exactly as expected.  We will be getting a repeat ultrasound, though I don’t know when.  I’m hopeful that all is well with this baby, but also trust that God’s plan is greater than ours, and I know we will love this child no matter what may come.

Another week later, I got a call from a local doctor whom I’ve had the privilege of knowing since my college days (seems like eons ago!).  We got together for dinner and, lo and behold, I will be going to work for her in August.  We are optimistic that this will be a blessing for us in a number of ways, not the least of which includes me keeping my clinical skills current (yay!).  I’ll be very part-time (one day per week), with some time off once little one arrives, and will have the potential for increasing over time if it appears to be good for the clinic.  It’s in dermatology – a little different from my past experience (all primary care) – but I feel confident that I’ll have good training with her and learn a lot.

Finally, my oldest started swim lessons last week, which has taken a chunk out of our mornings every day – in a good way!  I cannot believe how much she loves going!  We recently showed her a video on YouTube of synchronized swimming (dancing + swimming = the best!) and she has now told me that she can’t wait until I can watch her do that on T.V.  Wow – is this the same child???  It’s been fun, and has also boosted her confidence, I think.  She also had her first “group” violin lesson of the summer last week and – shocking! – was the first to volunteer to perform a solo for the group.  She did great, loved it, can’t wait to do it again.  (For those who don’t know, this is in stark contrast to her meltdown at the time of her end-of-year recital last month.)

I suppose I should also mention that the flood waters out here have finally receded (no more flood warnings) and, just in time for the 1st day of summer, we had our first summer-like day.  Hooray!!!  Sunny, mid-70’s, pleasant with continued such weather for the next several days.  Perhaps we can all go outside a little and ward off that pasty-gray tone that has settled in our skin.  (That’s what happens when one is cooped up indoors for 8+ months!)

Yeah, I guess we’ve been busy… ;-)

Friday, May 27, 2011

7 Quick Takes Friday (vol. 128)

(hosted by Conversion Diary)
– 1 –
I’ve been up since 4:15 this morning.  I am tired and feel like facing the rest of the day is a daunting task, despite having a (small) cozy cup of coffee by the roaring fire this morning – while both kids were still sleeping.  So why have I been up so long?  Well, as I posted yesterday, we lost our power for half the day.  The power came back on without a problem, but DS woke up at 4-ish cold and wet.  And I was cold, too.  After getting him all nice and dry and snuggling up, he fell back asleep.  I thought I would do the same, but when I came out to check our thermostat, I realized the furnace had been (unsuccessfully) trying to turn on since our power returned yesterday.  And while you wouldn’t think one would need much heat at the end of May, it was only in the low-40’s last night and only about 60 inside our home.  Plan B: turn on the gas fireplace (which is the whole reason we have it!).  Only, the batteries for our remote starter were low.  We only had one more battery in stock and hoped it would give the starter enough juice to turn on the fireplace.  In the meantime, we tried to figure out how to manually start the fireplace (there’s a way to do that somehow…).  Fortunately, changing one battery was enough and the place started to warm up a bit.  An hour later, we called the furnace guy and he advised to check our breaker – problem solved!  So, hooray, our house is warm again.  But I’m still tired.

– 2 –
We’ve got a 3-day weekend coming up!  Yeah!  So, what will we do with this extra gift of time?  Probably nothing.  The forecast is for gloom and rain (sheesh, it’s like being in Seattle again!), possibly even a skiff of snow tonight.  Blah!  We might take some time to work in the yard, though my contribution can only be very limited.  You know, that whole “you can’t do any gardening while pregnant” thing.  In a different venue, I might not take that so seriously.  Unfortunately, our neighbor’s cat has decided our flower bed is a litter box.  I was overjoyed yesterday when I saw that some of our Hostas were finally starting to sprout.  This was immediately followed by utter disgust as I realized one of them had a nice “present” right next to it.  Ugh.  (And cat excrement is a major danger to pregnant mommas.)  Look, I was always a cat person growing up, but seriously… KEEP YOUR CATS IN YOUR OWN HOUSE.  Nothing drives me more bonkers than other people’s pets using our yard as a toilet (dogs, too, which happens a lot in our neighborhood).

– 3 –
It’s high school graduation this weekend for three of our nieces and nephews.  We’re proud of all of them, of course, and wish we could join in on the festivities.  Alas, a downside to living far away from extended family.  I thought about all the things I wish I had known when I graduated high school, and was going to do a post on that earlier this week.  Then I realized that I am really not qualified to be handing out advice under the guise of “wisdom” because I am utterly clueless.  But if I could pick one thing about venturing into college I wish I had known, it would be this: don’t fret about grades so much; they aren’t that important in the grand scheme of things.  Just do your best! ;-)
– 4 –
Speaking of high school graduation, I am now starting to fell old.  Not physically, mind you, but definitely in an I’m-totally-out-of-touch-with-these-kids-today manner.  I was recently visiting with a high school teacher and asking about the format of lectures nowadays.  The answer is, of course, with PowerPoint.  Hah!  I’m pretty sure PowerPoint wasn’t even invented when I was in high school.  We had classes where the teacher wrote notes on the blackboard with chalk or used one of those overhead projector thingies with the markers that needed water to wipe off clean.  Anyone else remember that???

– 5 –
Summer is fast approaching, which means that our life as we know it will be in absolute upheaval very soon.  I’m pretty sure that summer will appear to end as soon as it starts because these next 3 months will be pretty busy.  And then (*sniff, sniff*), my DD will be in school.  All day.  Every day.  And about 6 weeks after that (just enough time for me to get my emotions together), our baby is due.  And then it’ll be the holiday season.  So, really, I figure that once July hits, I won’t really have any memory of the day-to-day stuff of family life until about New Year’s.  Oh well.  At least I should be able to enjoy a bit of wine by then…!

– 6 –
In other news, I think we’ve finally decided where we’re going to put everyone once the baby arrives.  For now (and this changes frequently), we’ve decided to simply keep the status quo.  The older two will stay in their bedroom, though DS will (hopefully) move to a big boy bed this summer.  We’ll have to move the dresser out (probably to our room, along with the crib) because it won’t fit with another bed in there.  Then, we’ll keep the baby in the room with us for 6-8 months, depending on how everyone’s sleeping.  After that – possibly to coincide with the end of the school year – we’ll move the older two downstairs, where they’ll share the biggest room, and put the baby in the upstairs bedroom.  That should work, right?  ….right???

– 7 –
We have the big ultrasound in 11 days.  I’m not seeing that there are too many people casting their votes for whether they think little one is a boy or a girl, so maybe no one wants to know?  Maybe we’ll find out the sex of the baby keep it to ourselves. ;-)  It just might be a bit of fun we can have to knowingly withhold that kind of information and see what happens. mmmWHAHAHAHAHAhahaha!   Have a great weekend!

Thursday, May 26, 2011

No power this morning? We're so lucky!

I was originally going to write today about our experience of having the power shut off (a rarity) this morning as there was some needed maintenance performed on the power lines in our neighborhood.  I thought of the many ways this could be a positive experience, especially for my oldest -- who was quite tearful when the power was cut during the middle of her VeggieTales show.  I reflected on the numerous things we could do that didn't require power, and was thankful to have a forced opportunity to teach gratitude in the blessings we do have.  I was going to write about all these things, right after I checked my e-mail.  And then I checked my e-mail.

I subscribe to a weekly newsletter from an organization called Population Research Institute and happened to receive their latest today, after my power flicked back on.  After reading today's post, I decided that my measly little sacrifice of 4 hours without power paled in comparison to the sufferings of people halfway around the world.  For those who don't know, there are atrocities such as forced abortions, forced sterilizations, and human trafficking that occurs in China as a result of its very strict "One Child Only" policy.  Unfortunately, certain organizations find the "battle against overpopulation" to be ideally modeled by the Chinese (communist) government's atrocious policies and coercive enforcement methods.

I find it interesting, too, that there was a recent post by fave blogger Jennifer Fulwiler (who also blogs here) that took a lighthearted look at the subject of "overpopulation."  (For an enlightening, and at times entertaining, snapshot at other people's views on the subject, be sure to read the 200+ comments on that post.)  Personally, I get blown away every time someone suggests that the answer to the problems supposedly caused by overpopulation is to decrease the population.  These problems, of course, usually occur in very poor parts of the world, where the governments of wealthy countries haven't seen a good enough reason (i.e., enough important resources) to send meaningful aid.  Difficulties such as lack of good food, clean water, appropriate medicine, and suitable clothing and shelter are all problems that could merely be solved if "all these poor people would just stop having so many babies."  And so, entities such as the U.N., W.H.O., and Planned Parenthood (among others) decide to swoop in with the "benevolent" intention of lowering the birth rate by handing out all manner of contraception.  (The logical conclusion, of course, is where China currently sits.)

What always puzzles me, though, is that I have yet to receive an answer from an "overpopulationist" that can explain to me how it is better to tell people in impoverished conditions that it is better for them to accept articial birth control (and therefore fewer children) than to accept clean water and adequate food (which is, by the way, cheaper and causes less waste and environmental pollution).

But I digress... from a practical standpoint, I would like to take the money we saved from not using any power today for 4 hours and send it to some family in need, though I'm not exactly sure how.  (I really don't have a clue on how to quantify how much the electricity we didn't use would have cost us.)  If any of you have some insight, let me know.  If I can figure it out, I'll update my post.  In the meantime, I will look with gratitude upon my three children (especially the one I can't yet see) and upon all the resources I so easily take for granted.

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

For my hubby!

Funny how a little thing like food preferences can highlight the wonderment of marriage.  Hear me out on this one: marriage is such a blessing.  And it requires an amazing amount of work.  (Hmm, kinda like having children!)  But the grace poured out from this beautiful sacrament is the only explanation I have for how my DH has managed to want to stay married to me this long. ;-)  Don't get me wrong, there are numerous things (the biggies, especially) that we are totally united on.  But our palates do not fall into that category.  Case-in-point: chili.  I mentioned previously that my mother (and, actually, all of my family of origin) would be able to state, with absolute authority, that I have never liked chili in my entire life.  (Well, it's always been a little more severe than a simple, "Oh, I don't care for it.")  In contrast, my DH *loves* chili.  Not as much as spaghetti, but it's definitely in his top 5.  So how do we overcome this great chasm in our relationship?  Simple: self-sacrificing love.  The kind of love that is supposed to reflect true Christian love.  Agape love.  For his part, DH doesn't ask for chili but maybe 2 or 3 times a year.  I know this is a sacrifice for him, and I appreciate it.  For my part, I make it for him when he asks.  And every once in awhile, I stumble upon a recipe that, lo & behold, I kinda actually like!  So if I happen to like it, and it also passes his taste test, then it must be a real winner.  The biggest plus: it's fast and uses the Crock-Pot!  So here it is -- Enjoy!

Three-Bean Turkey Chili (from "Crock Pot Recipe Collection")
1 package (about 1 lb.) ground turkey
1 small onion, chopped
1 15-oz. can chickpeas, rinsed & drained
1 15-oz. can black beans, rinsed & drained
1 15-oz. can kidney beans, rinsed & drained
1 4-oz. can diced green chiles
1 28-oz. can diced tomatoes
1 8-oz. can tomato sauce
1-2 Tbsp. chili powder

1) In wide skillet, brown turkey and onion until no pink remains in the turkey.  Drain and discard fat.  Place in  Crock-Pot. 
2) Add remaining ingredients and stir to combine.  Cook on HIGH 6-8 hours.  Makes 6-8 servings.

***Bonus Recipe***
Great Northern Cornbread (from "Baking Illustrated")
2 Tbsp. butter, melted, plus more for greasing the pan
1 c. cornmeal
1 c. unbleached all-purpose flour
2 tsp. baking powder
1/2 tsp. baking soda
4 tsp. sugar
1/2 tsp. salt
2 large eggs
2/3 c. buttermilk
2/3 c. milk

1. Adjust an oven rack to center position and preheat to 425 degrees.  Grease a 9-inch square baking pan with butter.
2. In a medium bowl, whisk together the cornmeal, flour, baking powder, baking soda, sugar, and salt.  Push the mixture up the sides to create a well in the center.
3. Crack the eggs into the well and stir lightly with a wooden spoon, then add buttermilk and milk.  Stir quickly until almost combined.  Add the melted butter and stir until just combined.
4. Pour into prepared pan and bake until top is golden brown and lightly cracked and the edges have pulled away from the sides of the pan, about 25 minutes.
5.  Transfer the pan to a wire rack to cool slightly, about 5-10 minutes, and serve warm.

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