Wednesday, February 29, 2012

So, what did you do today???

I often find myself wishing I had more time.  Another hour to my day.  A few more minutes here or there.  I know there would be so much I could get done if I only had more time!!!

So, today I had more time.   A whole extra day in fact.  A day I don't usually get during the normal year.  It's a Leap Day!

So what did I do today?  Well, I did the usual.  I got up, took the kids to school, went to work, came home, ate dinner, and went to CCD class.  What did I do extra?  Well, honestly not much!  Actually, nothing! 

Here I had an entire extra day (one that I always wish for) and......nothing. 

What does this tell me?  It tells me it's not really about the time.  It's about wanting what you don't have.  Because when I actually had it, I did nothing with it. 

I'm going to work really hard at not wishing my life away and wishing for "more time".  Instead, I'm going to use the time I've been given a little more wisely.  At least try!!!

So if you hear me wishing for more time, remind me of today.  :)

And, in other news, my friend Cyndi's daughter made good use of her time today.  Welcome to the world, little Sara!!! 

Tuesday, February 28, 2012

It's all in the perspective.....and the timing.....

Wow.  That's all I can think of to describe yesterday.  A very newsy day, for sure.

Shortly after I got to work yesterday morning, the news hit that there had been a school shooting in Chardon, Ohio (near Cleveland).  My heart sank as I listened to stories of kids texting their moms and dads (I'm really not sure what I would do if I received a text about that) and the pandemonium that ensued thereafter.  What a scary time, for everyone. 

Last evening, as Jim and I headed to evening mass, I heard a siren heading through town.  We hear them often, living where we do, so oftentimes I find myself saying a quick prayer and moving on.  For some reason, I was tempted to go "the other way" to mass and see where the siren was going (unlike me, but I had that urge).  However, instead, I took the "normal" route.  If only I had known, we could have looked to our left as we drove down the street and seen one of the biggest fires that New Bremen has ever seen.  The Fireside Pub was on fire, where eventually flames would be shooting out the top of the building perhaps 10 or 15 feet above the building.  A huge fire, that's for sure.

I'm in awe of our rescue personnel all over.  People risked their lives to go into that school and lock it down and get the gunman under control, not knowing if there were others involved.  Yet, as their profession, they did it.  Awesome.  Totally not a job I could ever do, so I am very impressed with the work that they do.

Later, hundreds of firefighters braved the night and fought the fire at the Fireside.  Units were called in from all over the area to come and help.  If you are not familiar with our area, I will tell you that most of these firefighters are volunteers.  Meaning, they went to work all day yesterday, were with their families until the call came, and then went out to risk their lives to save the lives of people in our community.  Although I live a block and half away from the fire, without their hard work, that fire could have come my way and put my family in danger.  They were up most of the night fighting (I really don't know what time most of the units left -- I know when I went to bed around 1 am, there were still lots of trucks out there).  This morning, some of them remained -- to watch for hot spots, to monitor the scene, to keep on protecting.

And yet, through both of these events, one thought keeps creeping in.  Timing.  Although both events are horrible, and I am saddened by the loss of life from the Chardon Schools, I keep hearing stories from students saying things like, "I should have been in that library, but I was working on my French project."  Or from another, "If this had happened tomorrow, I would have been in one of the seats that he aimed at."

I look at the Fireside Pub fire and realize really how lucky we are.  One day a week it is closed.  Mondays.  Imagine what could have been if that fire had taken place a day earlier, when the restaurant was jam-packed with customers and workers.  Que's, the barbershop in the same building, holds traditional "haircutters hours", being closed Sundays and Mondays.  No one was in there, either! 

Although we've lost a beautiful historic site in our community (I hope they will either be able to keep the shell and fix up the inside, or recreate the building), I thank God that he was looking out for everyone last night and kept everyone safe.  We can replace a building, and "things", but not a life.

We offer up our continued prayers to all those involved yesterday.  May the good Lord continue to lift everyone up.

R.I.P. Fireside Pub and Ques Barber Shop

Truly, you don't know what you got until it's gone.  Huge huge fire tonight in New Bremen.  Apparently, the fire trucks went out just as Jim and I were headed to mass.  Between mass and our prayer group, someone mentioned to me not to take 274 home, because it was closed because of a fire at the Fireside Pub.  Typical me, I brushed it off, because nothing big ever happens in our town.  Dumb, dumb, dumb!  We were in our prayer meeting discussing things like how to help others in need, etc., all while we could have been starting a plan, and praying for the safety of all those involved!!!

Here's a pic from the height of the fire this evening:

I have to say, all things considered, that we are lucky that no one was seriously injured or killed.  "Things" can be replaced.  People can't.  However, I understand there were many many antiques stored on the second floor, that will not ever be replaced.

My heart aches for these two business people, as they lost everything tonight. 

Our prayers go forth for all of them, but most of all, for the firefighters who risked their lives tonight to ensure that our community stayed safe.  The mutual aid from the surrounding communities was awesome.  We are truly blessed.

We may not have been born in New Bremen, but it is surely our hometown.  I'm so proud of the efforts of everyone (down to the McDonald's who made cheeseburgers and coffee and delivered them to the scene).  When someone is down, we are here for each other. 

Please say prayers for continued safety in the days and weeks ahead, as decisions are made, and the healing begins. 

Friday, February 24, 2012

The Parable of the Kosher Deli

So, have you figured out all of the nuances of the health care mandate yet?  Do you maybe not understand why so many Catholics are up in arms about this?  Think maybe it's a lot about nothing?

Or, do you understand, but sometimes have trouble explaining to others?

Thanks to my friend, Amy Fullenkamp, for showing me this awesome comparison -- putting it in real terms -- food -- that we can all understand.  Please read what's below and see if it helps -- if only a little.

Bishop Lori and the Parable of the Kosher Deli

Bishop William Lori of Bridgeport Connecticut testified before the House Committee of Oversight and Government Reform on the matter of the HHS mandate and its calamitous consequences for religious liberty this morning and gave one of the most unique and incisive testimonies seen in Washington D.C. in a long time.
Bishop Lori, instead of speaking outright on the matter of the state forcing Catholic institutions including Catholic colleges to cover sterilization procedures and contraceptives including abortfacients, told a parable about a kosher deli and a ham sandwich.
Here’s Bishop Lori’s testimony as submitted to the Committee:
For my testimony today, I would like to tell a story. Let’s call it, “The Parable of the Kosher Deli.”
Once upon a time, a new law is proposed, so that any business that serves food must serve pork. There is a narrow exception for kosher catering halls attached to synagogues, since they serve mostly members of that synagogue, but kosher delicatessens are still subject to the mandate.
The Orthodox Jewish community—whose members run kosher delis and many other restaurants and grocers besides—expresses its outrage at the new government mandate. And they are joined by others who have no problem eating pork—not just the many Jews who eat pork, but people of all faiths—because these others recognize the threat to the principle of religious liberty. They recognize as well the practical impact of the damage to that principle. They know that, if the mandate stands, they might be the next ones forced—under threat of severe government sanction—to violate their most deeply held beliefs, especially their unpopular beliefs.
Meanwhile, those who support the mandate respond, “But pork is good for you. It is, after all, the other white meat.” Other supporters add, “So many Jews eat pork, and those who don’t should just get with the times.” Still others say, “Those Orthodox are just trying to impose their beliefs on everyone else.”
But in our hypothetical, those arguments fail in the public debate, because people widely recognize the following.
First, although people may reasonably debate whether pork is good for you, that’s not the question posed by the nationwide pork mandate. Instead, the mandate generates the question whether people who believe—even if they believe in error—that pork is not good for you, should be forced by government to serve pork within their very own institutions. In a nation committed to religious liberty and diversity, the answer, of course, is no.
Second, the fact that some (or even most) Jews eat pork is simply irrelevant.
The fact remains that some Jews do not—and they do not out of their most deeply held religious convictions. Does the fact that large majorities in society—even large majorities within the protesting religious community—reject a particular religious belief make it permissible for the government to weigh in on one side of that dispute? Does it allow government to punish that minority belief with its coercive power? In a nation committed to religious liberty and diversity, the answer, of course, is no.
Third, the charge that the Orthodox Jews are imposing their beliefs on others has it exactly backwards. Again, the question generated by a government mandate is whether the government will impose its belief that eating pork is good on objecting Orthodox Jews.
Meanwhile, there is no imposition at all on the freedom of those who want to eat pork. That is, they are subject to no government interference at all in their choice to eat pork, and pork is ubiquitous and cheap, available at the overwhelming majority of restaurants and grocers. Indeed, some pork producers and retailers, and even the government itself, are so eager to promote the eating of pork, that they sometimes give pork away for free.
In this context, the question is this: can a customer come to a kosher deli, demand to be served a ham sandwich, and if refused, bring down severe government sanction on the deli. In a nation committed to religious liberty and diversity, the answer, of course, is no.
So in our hypothetical story, because the hypothetical nation is indeed committed to religious liberty and diversity, these arguments carry the day.
In response, those proposing the new law claim to hear and understand the concerns of kosher deli owners, and offer them a new “accommodation.” You are free to call yourself a kosher deli; you are free not to place ham sandwiches on your menu; you are free not to be the person to prepare the sandwich and hand it over the counter to the customer. But we will force your meat supplier to set up a kiosk on your premises, and to offer, prepare, and serve ham sandwiches to all of your customers, free of charge to them.
And when you get your monthly bill from your meat supplier, it will include the cost of any of the “free” ham sandwiches that your customers may accept. And you will, of course, be required to pay that bill.
Some who supported the deli owners initially began to celebrate the fact that ham sandwiches didn’t need to be on the menu, and didn’t need to be prepared or served by the deli itself. But on closer examination, they noticed three troubling things. First, all kosher delis will still be forced to pay for the ham sandwiches.
Second, many of the kosher delis’ meat suppliers, themselves, are forbidden in conscience from offering, preparing, or serving pork to anyone. Third, there are many kosher delis that are their own meat supplier, so the mandate to offer, prepare, and serve the ham sandwich still falls on them.
This story has a happy ending. The government recognized that it is absurd for someone to come into a kosher deli and demand a ham sandwich; that it is beyond absurd for that private demand to be backed with the coercive power of the state; that it is downright surreal to apply this coercive power when the customer can get the same sandwich cheaply, or even free, just a few doors down.
The question before the United States government—right now—is whether the story of our own Church institutions that serve the public, and that are threatened by the HHS mandate, will end happily too. Will our nation continue to be one committed to religious liberty and diversity? We urge, in the strongest possible terms, that the answer must be yes. We urge you, in the strongest possible terms, to answer the same way.
Thank you for your attention.


Wednesday, February 22, 2012

Lenten promises -- replacement!

Oh, we go again!!! 

Every year, we have the same discussion at our house:  what are you giving up for lent?  The older I've gotten, I've tried to not necessarily give something up as much as trying to do something to help me grow in my faith:  pray the rosary once a week, or go to mass one evening a week, etc., hoping that if I add something like that I will keep it up after lent is over.

For one reason or another, it really has never worked out well for me to do it that way.  So, this year I've taken on a new attitude.  Replacement.

Here's how my replacement theory works:  I've given up something (holy cow, I gave up Diet Coke -- aaaaaahhhhhhhh!!!!!!!!!).  Now, each day, when I want to have a Diet Coke (which is typically mid-afternoon and sometimes evening for me -- often if I'm driving I will get a large Diet Coke at McDonald's -- cause they are only a buck), I plan to replace that Diet Coke with something that will help my faith life.  So, in the time that it would take me to walk and get a can out of the refrigerator -- what can I do during that time that would help me grow closer to the Lord?   Say a prayer?  Say a decade of the rosary?  Pray for someone special?  Maybe I can take that time in the evening and spend a few extra minutes reading the bible, either by myself, with Jim, or with my kids.  Have a conversation with someone about our faith.  Anything to help me take that next step on my journey.

This thought was brought home to me tonight during mass.  This past Sunday, our mass was full of beautiful music, including a brass choir, which had some trumpeteering going on -- it was spectacular!  A celebration, of sorts.  An ending.  Before the beginning.  Of lent.  Of a time of simpleness.  Not "ordinary" time on the church calendar, but certainly ordinary time in our mass.  Nothing special on or around the altar.  Simple pewter communion cups, with simple bowls for the hosts.  No music for the recessional.  How can I "replace" that?  I've been thinking about that.  To replace, I will do what I used to do when I was a child during lent.  I will pray.  When I was little, I used to give up "watching" during lent.  I used to give up watching the communion line.  I would look down and pray.  No seeing who was in church, or what they were wearing, or what kind of shoes they had on.  Prayer.  In an effort to get my closer to Jesus, I chose this.

I'm choosing it again.  Very publicly this time!  I'm going to use my meditation time to do just that:  meditate.

I hope my replacement theory works.  I'll let you know.

In the meantime -- what is your lenten promise?  If you want to make it public, feel free below!!!  If you haven't made one yet, it's not too late.  You'll never regret it.  Do one thing, something, that will encourage you to stop and think of Jesus either when you do it (i.e. pray) or when you don't (i.e. Diet Coke).

Have a great lent, everyone!

Monday, February 20, 2012

Faith & Family with the New Bremen OCCL

Well, that was fun!  I was asked about 6 months ago to speak tonight at the New Bremen OCCL meeting (I forget what the letters mean, but it's a Mom's group).  I was very surprised at the number of women who attended!  (I don't think they attended because I was there -- I think they attend always :)

I was asked to speak about "Faith and Family".   I thought that was pretty wide open, so I tried to hone in on the opportunities that God gives us each and every day -- and also talk about God's timing and how, while we try to schedule everything in our lives, there are many things that need to be left up to him.  Additionally, I talked about God's timing in how he has a plan and slowly lays it out -- many times while it is happening, we can't figure out why or how this is happening -- but after it is over, we are able to look back and make sense of everything.

I discussed my word for the year, "listening", and talked about trying to listen more in my life -- not only to God and his thoughts, but also listen more to my husband, our kids, and life in general -- to not only hear what they are saying verbally, but what they are saying non verbally.

I had a very surreal thing happen to me when I was done.  Part of my story was telling the birth story of our twins -- whose birth had a real spiritual impact on our lives.  I couldn't possibly tell that story without talking about my awesome OB/GYN, Dr. Donna Diaz.  She delivered all six of our children and is definitely way more in my life than a doctor.

When I was done speaking, I returned to my seat.  Another woman at the table asked if I meant Dr. Diaz that was in an office with Dr. Teteris.  I said, "Well, yes she is!"  She said, "I have an appointment with him tomorrow!!!"  Yet another example of what a small world this is!!!  She is in COLUMBUS -- an hour and a half from here.  Do you know how many OB/GYNs are in Columbus???  How crazy!!!  I tore out the part of my story about her and scribbled a note on it -- and asked her to deliver to Dr. Diaz tomorrow. 

Thanks so much to the OCCL group for asking me to speak.  I really enjoyed it!

Sunday, February 19, 2012

I've been trying to patiently put together a post about the mandates that the President and Congress are trying to impose through the new health care reforms.  I've read a lot about them (the first and the second), and have tried to put my thoughts to paper, but I have not always been able to do it in a way that I wanted.  Tonight, I ran across a homily from Holy Angels Church in Sidney by Father Dan Hess.  I think he verbalizes this succinctly and to the point, so I would like to ask you to watch this video.  What he's telling us is what we will never hear in the mainstream media.  This is a divisive issue, brought up by the President at a time that he wants to weaken and divide the Republican primaries in an effort to continue in the White House.  Please take 17 minutes and listen.  Give me your thoughts.

Fr. Dan Hess homily 2/19/12

In case that video doesn't work for some reason, here is a link to the homily written out:!/notes/holy-angels-church/homily-for-2192012-on-contraception/390412404307768

We must, as a church, fight this fight.  If you haven't already, please contact your congresspeople and express your displeasure at them even contemplating this.

Thanks.  Have a good week.  I promise to be back soon!  :)

Sunday, February 5, 2012

Magnificat of Lima talk

Yesterday was a wonderful day on many counts.  I started the day by going to Lima, o go to a breakfast sponsored by the Magnificat group from Lima.  I wasn't really sure who they were, or what they stood for, but I knew they had asked my friend Kimi Bown to speak, so I knew they had to know what they were doing!!!  :)
Magnificat talk
When I left the house, it was just starting to snow.  I stopped at the bank on my way out of town and was told by the teller that hen she got up in the morning, nothing as happening outside, by the time she left for work, it was snowing a bit, and then, by 9 am, it was snowing pretty hard.  I guess if you live in Ohio, anything is possible!  :)

At any rate, I arrived at the meeting at 10 exactly (which is what time everything was to start).  I looked around and saw a table in the back with two empty seats -- I asked the women sitting at the table if I could sit with them and they said, "Of course!"  I don't usually have a problem striking up conversation with anyone, so we had a nice time chatting and getting to know one another.

First things first -- as everyone well knows, any meeting worth its salt includes food!!  :)  We were at the Old Barn Out Back, so the food was great!  We had breakfast -- which is one of my favorite meals, so it was fantastic!  I looked around for Kimi -- I didn't really want to talk to her beforehand, not knowing how nervous she was or anything.  I finally found her at the head table --looking extremely gorgeous!!!  I also spied her daughter, Natale, who, many moons ago, was in my American Girl club at the coffee shop!

After breakfast were a few of the "every day" things they do -- with prayer intentions, some singing, a little talking.  An then it was time for Kimi -- I was excited and nervous for her!

I have never heard her speak in public before -- but she did great!  She told us her "story" or witness talk, about how she really got involved in her faith -- in spite of many obstacles.  In fact, she told us how she grew in her faith -- in spite of (maybe because of!) many obstacles!!

I hope that some day you will get the opportunity to hear her speak -- she concluded her talk by introducing the entire audience to her nephew, Kaden (hope I spelled that right!), whom she (and many prayer warriors) saved from an abortion!!  Such a beautiful story -- I found my eyes welling up and feeling like an idiot because I couldn't see anyone else around me crying -- until I turned around and saw the woman beside me (who as behind me during the talk) with as many tears as I had.  Such a beautiful testimony!!!

I love watching women come together and support each other in their faith, along with supporting each other in general.  It's a beautiful gift!!!

We spent the balance of the day with our friends Joe and Melissa and their entire beautiful family -- I love how well our families get along.  Parks and all.  :)

Hope your week is fantastic!!!


Friday, February 3, 2012

Dissecting the Our Father......

Loved loved loved Wednesday night's religion class (what am I supposed to call them now -- it isn't CCD any more -- religious ed?  Who knows??  :)

We are currently on a section called "Prayer".  There was an extremely large sign up, so I am team teaching this time with my friend, Scott Frey.  I've never taught with him but have found we complement each other really well.  As much as I love my faith, I am not really into history (especially the historical facts of the church) so I find that team teaching with someone who knows these things really puts a new spark into class!

Up last night:  dissecting the Our Father.  We took it line by line and discussed what it is we are really saying when we say that prayer.  I love the Our Father -- firstly because it is a prayer prayed by most faiths -- so we have that in common.  I also love its simplicity -- just asking for a few things and a little guidance!!!

I can't ever really tell when I/we are gettting through to a class.  We have some interaction, and a little discussion -- I'm not silly enough to think that everyone loves the classes all the time -- but last night seemed to go extra well.  We were looking for "things" in the Our Father -- the petitions -- and they were really thinking about it.  We talked about the prayer line by line and discussed what the prayer really means.

There are so many prayers that we just say and don't take the time to think about, or realize, what we are really saying.  In this case, the Our Father has seven petitions.  Did you know that?  There are three petitions that are out of reverence for Jesus.  There are four that are for us.  Seven petitions.  Often the number seven means perfection (not luck!) -- so sometimes the Our Father is called the perfect prayer.

Did you know all of that?  I didn't really until I started diving into my info for the class.  This is exactly why I teach -- I learn something each and every week!  Then I turn around and teach it and hope the kids learn so they, too, can pass it on!

We had previously decided to take the last 15 minutes of class and have the entire high school together for an assembly of sorts to discuss the rice bowl activity that is going to be taking place.  I have to say that there are some nights when I am watching my clock waiting for class to be over -- last night was not one of them.  I was sad when we were not able to get through all of the information!

I promised them next week's class is going to be memorable.  I can't wait.  I have never done a class like this, about this it should be great!  (I hope!).

Have a great day!!!

Wednesday, February 1, 2012

Tucking In.....

Every once in a while, I am the FIRST ONE in bed at our house (mostly on a weekend, and probably once per year!)......

I actually LOVE to be the first one in bed, because then , everyone has to tuck me in!!!  :)  It's fun to see what the kids do -- literally tuck the covers in around me, or just cover me up, or give me a hug and a kiss.  It really doesn't matter to me, because I love all of it!!!  And truthfully, they love it, too (OK, maybe the older girls notsomuch!)

The other night I was given such a treat.  It got me to thinking (because I was in bed WAY earlier than I'm used to, so I could, you know -- get tucked in!).....about rituals and how much I love them!  Tucking in, saying prayers, the hugs and kisses before leaving for school.  We tend to take those things for granted, because we hear or say them every day, but they are a beautiful part of our everyday lives!  :)  What a gift it is to give to our kids to look forward to each day.

I know sometimes we get rushed and maybe don't get all the way into a particular ritual on a day, and I feel badly about it.  I work really  hard at making the time for the next day!

What are your rituals at your house?  Share -- maybe we can find some more!  :)