Dec 15, 2015

Discernment

We are commanded to love others. We are not commanded to like them, to enjoy spending time with them, to want to sit on their lap, to tell them our deepest desires.

It's ok, Honey. I get it. Clowns are creepy, too.

Nov 22, 2015

How Not to Witness Your Catholic Faith

What good Christian witness this car exhibits!
Choose Life license plate, check.
Keep Christ in Christmas, check.
Catholic radio station magnet, check.

Not one but two bumper stickers calling me stupid and asshole.

Really?

Whatever good you might have done, you just blew it. It's not funny. It's offensive, and makes people think you serve some kind of weird perverse god who teaches that you can call people vulgar names and still be a great saint. The Protestants already think Catholics are evil - stop pouring gasoline on the fire!

If you're going to witness your faith, witness it! If you have a Jesus anything on your car, you'd better drive with integrity. And please get rid of those bumper stickers. You embarrass those of us who really do try to witness the faith.

Nov 16, 2015

Compliments

Compliments, like perfume, are meant to be inhaled, not swallowed. However, false modesty can prevent us from receiving compliments properly.

Do not deny the merit.

"That was a really great somersault, DW!"
Wrong:
"Oh, no! It was terrible! Yours are MUCH better!"
Right:
"Thank you, Emily! I appreciate your coaching."

"You were awesome help at our event tonight, Arthur."
Wrong:
Awwww, you're way too kind.
Right:
Thanks, I'm happy to help.

Make the giver of the compliment, just as the giver of a gift, feel comfortable.

Nov 12, 2015

Luck

At our house, we don't say "good luck." We don't believe in "luck;" we believe in Jesus.

However, I read a quote once that said "Luck is what happens when opportunity meets preparedness." (I don't know the author.) That quote has stuck with me, because what others attribute to "luck" (something that complainers and excuse-makers lament that everyone else has but them,) is really a result of that person's choices. Not one big choice, but an accumulation of a lifetime of choices.

If you consistently live below your means, don't spend tomorrow's prosperity today by incurring stupid debt and payday loans, do settle for less today (even if it means ramen noodles from time to time,) so that you have something to invest, a seed to plant, you will find that when an opportunity comes along, you are in a position to take advantage of it, because you have invest-able money set aside.

Or, you could just live on borrowed money, complain and make excuses.... and wonder why you're not as lucky as some.

Nov 1, 2015

Litany of Saints

I just love the John Becker arrangement.
Lyrics:
Lord, have mercy. Lord, have mercy.
Christ, have mercy. Christ, have mercy.
Lord, have mercy. Lord, have mercy.
Verse 1.
Mary and Joseph, pray for us.
Michael and all angels, pray for us.
Anna, Joachim, Elizabeth, pray for us.
Elijah, Moses, John the Baptist, pray for us.
Isaac, Sarah, Abraham, pray for us.
Jacob, Joseph, Samuel, pray for us.
Ruth, David and Solomon, pray for us.
Isaiah, Jeremiah, pray for us.
All you holy men and women, pray for us.
Verse 2.
Peter, Paul, Andrew, pray for us.
James, John, and all apostles, pray for us.
Mary Magdelene, Veronica, pray for us.
Barnabas, Matthias, pray for us.
Stephen, Philip, and Cornelius, pray for us.
Prisca and Aquila, pray for us.
Timothy and Titus, pray for us.
Linus, Cletus, and Clement, pray for us.
All you holy men and women, pray for us.
Verse 3.
Lawrence and Chrysogonus, pray for us.
Innocent and Boniface, pray for us.
Hippolytus and Origen, pray for us.
Athanasius and Basil, pray for us.
Felicity, Perpetua, pray for us.
Cosmos and Damien, pray for us.
John Chrysostom and Justin, pray for us.
Lucy, Agatha, and Agnes, pray for us.
All you holy men and women, pray for us.
Verse 4.
Jerome and Eusebius, pray for us.
Scholastica and Benedict, pray for us.
Ambrose, Monica, Augustine, pray for us.
Martin and Gregory, pray for us.
Clare, Francis, and Dominic, pray for us.
Francis Xavier, Ignatius, pray for us.
Elizabeth and Catherine, pray for us.
Louis and Wenceslaus, pray for us.
All you holy men and women, pray for us.
Verse 5.
Lord, be merciful, save your people.
From all evil, save your people.
From every sin, save your people.
From everlasting damn, save your people.
By your incarnation, save your people.
By your death and resurrection, save your people.
By your gift of the spirit, save your people.
Have mercy on us sinners, save your people.
Christ hear us, Lord Jesus hear our prayer.
Verse 6.
Lord give new life, hear our prayer.
To his chosen, hear our prayer.
By the grace of baptism, hear our prayer.
Oh Jesus Son of the living God, hear our prayer.
Send your Spirit, hear our prayer.
In its fullness, hear our prayer.
On your sons and daughters, hear our prayer.
Who believe and profess you, hear our prayer.
Christ hear us, Lord Jesus hear our prayer.

Oct 23, 2015

The End of the Parade

At the end of the parade, you get those who are dedicated to doing their job. They don't get the accolades that the Grand Marshal gets. You don't read his name or see his photo in the paper. He just does his job.

More of us are street sweepers than Grand Marshals.

Most of us just quietly do our job without recognition.

I want you to do two things:
1. Keep doing your job with excellence, because the excellent God we serve sees what you're doing and, more importantly, knows your heart.
2. When you see a "street sweeper," make it a point to say words of appreciation.

You could change a life.

Or an eternity.

Oct 21, 2015

Ripples in the Pond

For every person to whom you are kind, there are hundreds of others in succession that your kindness will affect.

Like ripples in the pond, when you are kind to one, you are kind to hundreds. Every word, every deed is multiplied.

Joyce Meyer said (paraphrasing) as many people as you can help, that's exactly how many you can hurt.

Choose wisely. Choose well.

Oct 17, 2015

Respecter of Persons

And Peter opening his mouth, said: In very deed I perceive, that God is not a respecter of persons. (Acts 10:34)


God does not show favoritism, and neither should we. We are commanded to love all people, even those who bus tables, who polish the rails, who deliver the mail. (Does it cost anything to smile at someone and say Hello? To acknowledge them and thank them for doing what they do?)

In your life, you will meet many people who will snub you. You're not worth their time and attention. They discount you, try to make you feel small and insignificant. When God elevates you to a new level, these same people will come back and act like they've been your BFF all along. By their fruits ye shall know them. Don't be ugly to them. But don't befriend them. They're opportunists. 

We should praise God in the valleys, the hard times. Why? Because He's still giving us an opportunity to learn something very useful:

When you are limping along, you'll learn whom to let ride with you in the limousine. 

Oct 16, 2015

Oil in Israel & the Rapture

Israel has lots of oil. (Fox news link) I knew this for 30 years or so, since I studied Bible prophecy. Most of the world acts surprised about it. Google Asher's foot, boot, or toe. It's been a long time since I learned of it. The slant on the sources, unfortunately, were all decidedly protestant. Lots of talk about end times, and last days.

Many think it means we'll be raptured soon. I'm not holding my breath. God did not rapture Daniel out of the lion's den, nor Noah out of the flood. He doesn't remove us FROM our troubles, but gives us the means and grace to go THROUGH.

So, yes, I believe there are storm clouds on the horizon. Every day I read a paper or watch tv, I see that we are not becoming a kinder and gentler world. Things are going to get uglier. But I am not shaken, since I know whose I am. No matter how many days I have left.

Oct 7, 2015

I Can't Make You Happy!

Some people are determined to be miserable no matter what.

You can't make them happy.

I can't make them happy.

It's not my job to make them happy.

As soon as I succeed in "making them happy," they'll find something else about which to be miserable.

Because the problem isn't with me.

It's with them.


Oct 1, 2015

Living In The Moment

You spend all afternoon building something that you know is not going to be there tomorrow.

What's groovy about it is that it forces you to live in the moment. You have to appreciate what you have NOW.

A groovy way to live - every moment.

No one is guaranteed tomorrow.

Sep 30, 2015

Traditions

Traditions make us feel part of something bigger than ourselves. They are something to look forward to, something to count on, something special.

Birthday traditions often include cake. Well, I have a son who prefers blueberry pie. So, guess what we have on his birthday?

In our family, and my family of origin, we sing happy birthday in three verses, not just one. And we don't care who's listening. ;-)

Happy birthday to you
Happy birthday to you
Happy birthday, dear (Name),
Happy birthday to you

We love you we do
We love you we do
We love you, dear (Name),
We love you we do

God's blessings on you
God's blessings on you
God's blessings on you
God's blessings on you

and the birthday girl or boy has to sing back:

I thank you I do
I thank you I do
I thank you, everybody
I thank you, I do

and THEN he/she can blow out the candles.

Sep 26, 2015

Impending Judgment

Do you really believe we can slaughter 56 million babies and God's ok with that?

Do you really think we can redefine marriage, and there is no evil repercussion?

Do you really think that God will apologize to Sodom and Gomorrah?  Me neither.

Lord, please bless those of us who still adore and worship you, who recognize your absolute love of humanity and who set out divine examples of what you intend a marriage to be. Please protect us with Psalm 91 protection as we take refuge under your wings.

The Most Important News is of like mind, that everything we think is normal, in this once-great country, is about to change. And I am sad. I am mourning, like Michael this author. Read what he has to say. He says it so well:


I am mourning for America, because she is dying. I am mourning for a nation that once knew such greatness but that has now fallen to depths that were once unimaginable. I am mourning for the death and destruction that are coming, and I am mourning for a future that our children and our grandchildren will never get to see. I am mourning for a nation that has refused to listen to the warnings and that now stands on the precipice of judgment. I am mourning for games that will never be played, for books that will never be finished, for family vacations that will never get to happen and for memories that will never be made. I am mourning for the economic depression that is coming, for the horror and suffering that friends and family will endure, and for the coming death of the country where I drew my first breath.

To many, these words will seem “over the top” and overly dramatic. After all, despite the thousands of problems facing this nation, things still seem very “normal” at this moment. Well, if you don’t “get” what I am saying right now, just bookmark this page and come back to it later. Eventually it will make sense to you.

Last week, I was invited to be a guest on a major television show that is beamed into the homes of millions of people in the United States and Canada. If you get a chance to view the shows that are being aired this week, you will notice that I wore all black.

I wasn’t just making a fashion statement. I was doing it because I am in mourning for America. Unlike so many that talk about the horrible things that are ahead for this country, I actually love the United States. I truly wish that this nation had become everything that it could have become. I love the part of the country where I currently live, I love the amazing people that I am constantly meeting, and I love the things that I have been able to experience just because I am an American.

Unfortunately, everything is about to change.

There are many out there that believe that America is still a great nation. Well, great nations do not murder tens of millions of their own children. As Dr. Chuck Missler has pointed out, the most dangerous place to be in America today is in a mother’s womb.
Since Roe v. Wade was decided in 1973, more than 56 million babies have been purposely destroyed in this country.

What does a nation that has murdered 56 million of its own children deserve?
I believe that we have just come out of a season of time when America has been shown exactly why it is about to be judged.

It is no accident that the undercover Planned Parenthood videos were released when they were. Now the entire world knows that we slaughter our babies, harvest their organs and sell them off to the highest bidder.
So what has the response of the American people been to the revelation of this great evil?

Yes, a small minority of Americans have gotten upset, but most people have been completely unmoved by this news.

Our government gives Planned Parenthood hundreds of millions of dollars each year, and that isn’t going to change. Planned Parenthood is just going to keep doing what they do, and the American people are just going to go back to ignoring the unprecedented holocaust that is happening behind closed doors all over the nation.

This past summer we also witnessed what I believe is the perfect bookend for the Roe v. Wade Supreme Court decision of 1973. The institution of marriage was permanently altered in all 50 states, and most of the nation greatly rejoiced.

The White House was lit up with rainbow colors to honor what the Supreme Court did. The rainbow is a symbol of God’s covenant with Noah, and in the book of Revelation there is a rainbow around the throne of God. They have taken this symbol that belongs to God, and they are using it as a symbol of their defiance.

Continue reading here.

Sep 25, 2015

If or When?

This meme is funny, because it is absurd. Probably no one is going to give you 5 million dollars. They probably won't lend it to you either, because everyone knows, you only lend money to people who don't need it. They're the good credit risks. (Ooops - sorry - banker's daughter coming out there...)

The real problem I see is that people do not expect prosperity, so they joke about it, but never plan for it.

If you're praying for rain, bring an umbrella. If you're praying for prosperity, make some plans what you are going to do with it. If you won the lottery, would you really buy gum? Then what? A display case full of Disney figurines? (I am not a financial adviser, but it is my educated opinion that buying figurines is not a good way to build generational wealth. The rich buy assets, the middle class buys debt, the poor buy stuff.)

I expect prosperity. I know it is coming to me. I have plans. I have some real estate already selected. I'm going to build an aquaponics farm with solar panels, a well, tiny cottages for rental income, and maybe some free range chickens. There will be a two story building with a store downstairs and an apartment upstairs. These are serious plans, not pipe dreams.

Oh sure, Connie, where are YOU gonna get the money for your great empire? Do you hear the mocking emphasis on the word YOU. This is Satan's way of saying that you are not worthy, that the Most High God of the Universe loves everyone else more than you, because you are nobody from no where, and maybe someone else can get rich, but not YOU.

Do you hear that endless, critical loop? Ignore it. God is no respecter of persons. He uses cracked pots. He uses the weak and foolish things to shame the wise.

There will come a day, when I can walk into any car dealership I want, and pick out any car I want, and not even look at the price tag. There will come a day, when I can walk into any grocery store I want (Publix, Whole Foods, Fresh Market), put any food I want in my buggy, and not even look at the price tag. There will come a day, when I can walk into any clothing store I want (Kasper Suits!!!!) pick out any clothes I want, and not even look at the price tag.

Go ahead and laugh. You'll be posting wishful memes on the internet, and I'll be feeding my fish and chickens.

I'm praying for rain, and bringing my umbrella.

Sep 7, 2015

The Middle Class

Unions built the middle class. Before unions, there were the business owners at the top, and the workers at the bottom. There was also child labor, dangerous working conditions, 7-day work weeks, slave wages.

Yes, there is plenty of power grabbing, greed, and maybe even extortion in many unions, and I'm sorry. That doesn't mean that all union activity is always bad.

Someone tell Walmart. Someone tell the Post Office.

If all owners/managers were always good, there would be no need for unions. Because of the human condition, all owners & managers do not treat their employees charitably.

Unions are a physical response to a spiritual problem. We can't change their heart, but maybe we can legislate or negotiate a contract whereby we are to be treated humanely. A sad substitute, but until the Prince of Peace Himself intervenes, we can only fight with the weapons we have.

Even so, come quickly, Lord Jesus!

Sep 3, 2015

When Beloved Toys Wear Out

The babies in the nursery loved this toy so much, it wore out. "Mrs. Connie, why doesn't the chicken stay down?" "It's just too tired, Darling."

I'm thinking of putting some ornaments on the church's angel tree at Christmas time. Surely someone has a 1984 vintage Pop Up Pets toy that their child has outgrown!

How about a Magna Doodle? Preschoolers can draw without hurting anyone or anything. It's a great toy. Ours, sadly, is worn out.

I hate to ask for toys, when there are plenty, but the well loved ones wear out after a while, and others are just ignored. It occurs to me that if the toy industry really wanted to know what toddlers like to play with, they'd ask me. I've been there since 2006, and some of the toys the kids love were ten years old when I got there!

I'm going to clean out the nursery and donate the toys that no one seems to love or play with. They deserve a better home.

If we get more toys at Christmas, fine. If not, fine. As I said before, it's just stuff. I can sing and we can have a dance party if all we have is an empty room.

Genesis 45:20: That's how I roll.



Sep 2, 2015

Forgiveness

Notwithstanding the spin that news agencies like to put on all things of God, His Holiness *did* grant all priests ability or permission to forgive the sin of abortion.

All priests have the ability to forgive all sins in confession, but excommunication required an extra layer of restoration. That extra layer, which many if not all priests in the US have already had, has been granted to all priests.

Church teaching on the sanctity of human life has not changed.

Aug 31, 2015

The Burse Club

Archbishop Thomas Rodi sent us a letter last weekend, encouraging us to give generously to the Burse Club, as it helps educate our future priests. I always give generously, of course, because God has called me to do so. Just how generous, you ask?

I'm glad you asked. Read this blurb from the Archdiocese website about the Burse Club:
"The Burse Club, founded in 1953 by Archbishop Toolen, was formed to provide scholarships to assist men in pursuing a seminary education in our archdiocese. Archbishop Emeritus Oscar H. Lipscomb was its first recipient while a seminarian in Rome and since that time monies collected over the past 60 years have been a vital source of funding and support for the many men who have followed in his footsteps to the priesthood. Many, who otherwise might not had been able to pursue their vocation, benefit from the burse."
Get that?

1. Bishop Toolen started it in 1953. 

2. The dues were set at $12 and have never been raised.

I don't know anything that costs the same or less now than it did in 1953, with the possible exception of eggs.

So I plugged $12 into the Department of Labor, Bureau of Labor Statistics, Consumer Price Index, Inflation Calculator and found out that $12 in 1953 is equivalent to... (drum roll, please....)

$107.25.

That's right. So be generous. 

God will not be mad at you if you cut a check for $107.25.

Trust me on this.

Aug 30, 2015

To God, Everything Is Now (Even My Family Tree)

God is not restricted to time as we are. I pray backwards and forwards, because I know it's no problem for a big God.

I like this prayer by Rev. John H. Hampsch:

Catholic Prayers: Prayer for Healing the Family Tree 
Heavenly Father, I come before You as Your child, in great need of Your help. I have physical health needs, emotional needs, spiritual needs, and interpersonal needs. Many of my problems have been caused by my own failures, neglect and sinfulness, for which I humbly beg Your forgiveness, Lord.

But I also ask You to forgive the sins of my ancestors whose failures have left their effects on me in the form of unwanted tendencies, behavior patterns and defects in body, mind and spirit. Heal me, Lord, of all these disorders. With Your help I sincerely forgive everyone, especially living or dead members of my family tree, who have directly offended me or my loved ones in any way, or those whose sins have resulted in our present sufferings and disorders. 

In the name of Your divine Son Jesus, and in the power of His Holy Spirit, I ask You, Father, to deliver me and my entire family tree from the influence of the evil one. Free all living and dead members of my family tree, including those in adoptive relationships, and those in extended family relationships, from every contaminating form of bondage. By Your loving concern for us, heavenly Father, and by the shed blood of your Precious Son Jesus, I beg You to extend Your blessing to me and all my living and deceased relatives. Heal every negative effect transmitted through all past generations, and prevent such negative effects in future generations of my family tree. 

I symbolically place the Cross of Jesus over the head of each person in my family tree, and between each generation; I ask You to let the cleansing blood of Jesus purify the blood lines in my family lineage. Set Your protective angels to encamp around us, and permit Archangel Raphael, the patron of healing, to administer Your divine healing power to all of us, even in areas of genetic disability. Give special power to our family members' guardian angels to heal, protect, guide and encourage each of us in all our needs. Let Your healing power be released at this very moment and let it continue as long as Your sovereignty permits. 

In our family tree, Lord, replace all bondage with a holy bonding in family love. And let there be an ever deeper bonding with You, Lord, by the Holy Spirit, to Your Son Jesus. Let the family of the Holy Trinity pervade our family with its tender, warm, loving presence, so that our family may recognize and manifest that love in all our relationships. 

All of our unknown needs we include with this petition that we pray in Jesus precious Name. Amen. [ Rev. John H. Hampsch, C.M.F. ] 

Aug 29, 2015

#ThingsJesusNeverSaid

Apparently, Jesus was not worried about being popular.

Pontius Pilate was.

'Nuff said.

Aug 28, 2015

It's Your Money...

JG Wentworth has a completely adorable tv commercial, with a memorable phone number: 877-CASH-NOW,

However, what we now know about the buyers of structured settlements is disturbing, at best.

Many people who are mentally impaired from lead exposure, and receiving a settlement to pay for their ongoing medical needs, do not have the capacity to form a contract, but annuity buyers seem to be targeting them for as low as nine cents on the dollar!

Is no one advocating for these people? Where is their family?

Friends, we must take care of our families. We cannot let predators steal from those we love. If we do not defend the defenseless, we may find ourselves, one day, with no one to speak for us. Teach your children how to respect the elderly and infirm, by modeling the behavior yourself.

The kids are watching. You're teaching them how to treat you when you are elderly, whether you mean to or not.


Aug 26, 2015

Know What You Believe

There are, unfortunately, a lot of Catholics who were not properly catechized in the faith. If they knew what the Church teaches, and believed that truth, they would be on fire for the faith, instead of using social media to condemn and try to change, that which they claim to believe!

I read this article today, about a Catholic girls' school that rescinded an employment offer after being told that a woman they were going to hire, would be marrying her girlfriend in the fall. They had to uphold Church teaching, after all.

I get that. And I applaud the school admins and Portland Archbishop Alexander K. Sample for hanging tough. (I've also heard that Oregon is very "unchurched." I believe it.) What was sad, though, were the comments after the article. Comments were made by outraged women who used to attend the school, professing "Catholics" who think it's ok for a school to hire teachers whose lifestyle and values are totally opposite of the faith of the Church. (An unrepentant lesbian teaches at an all-girls' school. What can possibly go wrong?)

There were comments calling the school "inhumane," (really? Look it up) and how it was awful to condemn "who God made her..." etc., which tells me the author of that comment doesn't understand Church teaching. I've written about this before: it is not a sin to be gay. Same sex attraction is a temptation just like any temptation. 

There is a difference, however, between (A) being tempted and praying for God's grace to overcome, and (B) living an unrepentant lifestyle, all the while espousing the belief that you have a RIGHT to do so, and publicly shaming anyone who doesn't share your politically correct views.

We're all sinners. We are each called to the sacrament of Holy Matrimony, or celibacy. Choose. I don't parade my sins around and demand special rights be legislated around them. I respect the dignity of every person, and pray for their - and my - conversion from sin. The teachers who teach my children each have temptations of their own. As a parent, I can't have them telling my child a lie - that they have a "right" to live an unrepentant, sinful lifestyle. 

Hang tough, your Excellency. Eternity depends on it!

Aug 25, 2015

Notice Me!

This man was once someone's precious infant:

What makes someone mark up their body? Wear outrageous clothes? Say outrageous things? Knock books off a desk just for attention?

What kind of home does a child come from, where everything about him/her screams "Notice me!"

God bless them. They don't know who they are in the Body of Christ. They don't know the worth and value they have as a precious child of the Most High God.

Father, help me to withhold judgment, because you know their heart. You know their circumstances. You know what motivates them to act the way they do. Bless them, Father, and if there is a message you wish for me to share with them, help me to be bold and courageous. And persistent. Help me to speak your word in love.

Amen.


Aug 24, 2015

Read the Disclaimer Again

Important disclaimer: Connie is not a professional attorney, tax adviser, financial adviser, psychologist, psychic, nor any occupation which requires licensure. All advice is freely given, for entertainment and/or edification only, for you to accept or ignore at your discernment.

Caveat Lector.


Did anyone see the mess that happened in the stock market today?

Are you wearing your seat belt? The craziness is not over. It's going to get worse. I hope you have your money in a safe place. I do not own stocks. This is why. I don't like roller coasters. 

The rich people get rich when the stock market rises. They also get rich when it falls. Someone made a LOT of money today.  

We saw what happened, but what we DIDN'T see, I believe, is equally important. 

Stay tuned.

Aug 22, 2015

Same Ol' Devil

The devil can't create anything new. He can only pervert what God has already created. God created sex. My, how the perversions run rampant today.

Contrast the great "I AM" of the old testament, with today's haughty celebrities who demand ridiculous amenities before performing, and condescend to anyone who doesn't recognize their fabulosity with a horrified, "Don't you know who I AM?"

Contrast Jesus's institution of the Eucharist, saying, "This is my body," with the Feminazi and baby killing (and dismembering, and selling, and profiting enormously all the while accepting $3B in tax dollars for providing a public "good") industry's use of the proclamation "It's MY BODY."

It's rebellion.

Same as ever.

Recognize it so you don't fall into that trap.

Aug 21, 2015

They're Kidding, Right?

Besides the outdated technology, does Walmart really think people are willing to pay $18.64 for a book that is $1 on Amazon?

I've submitted this to Consumerist.com for their hilarious "Raiders of the Lost Walmart" collection.

Aug 20, 2015

Freemasons and the Pope

Why do the masons rejoice over Pope Francis? I saw this article and had to wonder. His Holiness talks of Fraternity and Dialogue. Ok, those can be good things. He seems down to earth; he claims not to judge (which is true - only God judges.) People are quick to misinterpret him, to hear what they want to hear, so maybe that's all there is to it.

I am faithful to the magisterium of the Church. I respect Pope Francis as head of the Church, but *love* everything about him - no. It's not being disrespectful. I love my husband, but I don't hang on his every word. (Don't tell him.) Yes it's been two years. He's said thousands of worthwhile things.I'm leery of loving what (and whom) the world loves. The world loves its own. What am I missing? Someone clue me in.

Are the masons  hoping Pope Francis will change Church teaching?

If so, we must pray that the masons are sadly mistaken. If the masons are right, and this pope tries to change the Church, then hold on to your hats, because there's some brimstone a-comin'.

Did he make a comment about retiring next year? If so, that would certainly throw a monkey wrench in the Petrus Romanus prophecies, wouldn't it?

I pray for him. He's got a tough job. I obey his authority. Just not ready to jump on the adoration bandwagon, though. I should not be made to feel like an outsider for being cautious.

Prudence is a gift of the Spirit.

Aug 19, 2015

Bank Accounts and Haircuts

Disclaimer: I am not a licensed financial adviser. This is my opinion, not advice.

What happened in Cyprus 2 years ago, could be a dry run for what will happen here. The government taxed (stole, basically) 47.5% of all uninsured deposits (over $110,382 USD as of today's rate.)

Don't we have some massive derivative payments coming due? Don't we have a perfect (financial) storm brewing for a shakeup of the world economy?

There is a reason FDIC insurance is only up to $250,000. (And then, if the bank defaults, I've heard they have 99 years to pay back your claim... but that's none of my business.) Anything over that amount, in my opinion, is at risk for being taken, taxed, confiscated. As in, gone.

If I had over $250K, I would look seriously into hard assets, and maybe *some* bank CDs, and foreign based investments, judiciously chosen. To have a bunch of money, and just keep it in a bank (checking or savings) account, in my opinion, that's lazy. Make it work for you.

If I had a 401K, I'd cash it in and buy a working business or start an aquaponics farm with a well, solar panels and rental cottages. Or, I'd be lazy and prepare to lose that, too, when the government takes over 401Ks. Oh, I'm sure they'll manage it wisely, like they do Social Security, the VA, and the Post Office.

Don't worry. Everything's fine. Go back to watching the Karadashians.

Aug 15, 2015

Integrity

There is a construction company of my acquaintance, that hires sheet metal workers to work in big mills. Each mill has its own safety training, and the training is not free.

What that means is, for every man they hire, the company pays for the administrative work of hiring, plus the drug test, plus the mill safety training.

So often, the guy doesn't show up for his first day of work.

No call, no show.

Where is the integrity? If you say you're going to show up, you show up. Nothing hard about that. If the guy's mama taught him better, I feel sorry for her, and I pray for her.

If he has no mama to teach him better, then my indignation has no specific target. And yet more prayers go up for the world which must absorb yet another broken child.


Aug 14, 2015

Those Surveys

$$$$$   CONGRATULATIONS   $$$$$$$
You have been selected to enter an online survey!
You could win $1000 gift card!


Wow. Does anyone besides me find anything wrong with this?

They're clever; that's for sure. They get your attention with the $ and congratulatory note. Makes you think you've already won.

You've been "selected." You're special! (Put this in the same category as "You deserve a break today...")

You  could enter the survey and NOT win. What happens then? Corporate now has data on thousands (hundreds of thousands, likely) of customers, their email and snail mail addresses, probably their phone number, where and when they shop, what they bought (via barcode - connected records) AND

AND

AND

It saves them from doing their job. Bonus! In the fine Tom Sawyer tradition, they get YOU, the shopper, to evaluate whether their cashiers are fast and friendly, so they don't have to come down to the sales floor and see for themselves.

Wait, you thought it was about the cashiers?

It was about the data all along.

Aug 13, 2015

Caller ID

I love caller ID. What a time saver!

Do people not realize that my phone is for *my* convenience? I check caller ID before I answer the land line, because it's so spammified with robo callers and telemarketers.

My real friends/families/business associates have my cell phone.

Which also has caller ID.

My tech guru (a/k/a my son from Turkey) told me in the late 1990s (yes, the 90s!!!) that caller ID could be faked. I think his exact words were, "do you want your mom to get a call from the White House?" so... there's that. But again, who would fake their ID if they were my friend, family, or business associate?

If you want me, call my cell phone.

Or text me.

Or Facebook message.

Or Twitter DM.

Or email, if that works for you. Speaking of 1990s, I've had the same email address since 1995. Cool or pathetic - not sure which.

I'm perfectly available, to people with legitimate reason to contact me.

Unless I'm busy, in which case, I'll call you back.

Aug 12, 2015

Depression and Anxiety

This is not medical advice. Consult your doctor or health care practitioner for medical advice.

I'm just giving my experience and opinion about depression and anxiety. My story is not necessarily your story.

My story:

I've been depressed.

However, I never was depressed when I was taking my elderly friend to her doctor appointments. I never was depressed reading books to the babies in the church nursery. I never was depressed cooking homemade pizza for friends we invited over for dinner.

It occurs to me that getting out of myself and doing nice things for other people makes me happy. Maybe my selfishness (idolatry) is a spiritual problem that manifests itself in depression.

I've been anxious.

Yet somehow, I never get anxious when I immerse myself in the Mass, in praying, in praying the rosary, in Eucharistic adoration, in reading Psalm 91.

It occurs to me that trying to control things over which I have no control (pride) is a spiritual problem that manifests itself in anxiety.


Drugs have their rightful place in medicine. Please take the advice of your doctor or medical practitioner. For me, though, I try everything else before committing to drugs that change how I feel about the world.

Yes, it's a hurt and broken world. Sad things happen, and I cry. I don't want to be numb to my feelings, good and bad. I know, the bad is really bad. But to miss out on the good because you "can't handle" the bad? Well, I'm back on my knees. God has proven to me that I "can" handle more than I think I can. Let me consult the Great Physician first. Sometimes, I've had the answer all along, and it didn't come from the pharmacy. Taking drugs is the easy way out for me. Changing my mind and my way of thinking is hard. I'm taking the hard way. That's my story.

This is not medical advice. Please consult your doctor. 

Aug 9, 2015

The Lord's Day

For Seventh Day Adventists, that would be Saturday. For the rest of Christianity, that would be Sunday.

Or, if you're like me, every day is the Lord's day.

This is the day the Lord has made.

Psalm 118:24

Rejoice! Be glad in it!

Aug 8, 2015

The Catholic Way To Climb a Tree

So I was listening to the beautiful ladies at The Visitation Project on Mater Dei Radio talking about (of all things) "the Catholic way to climb a tree." They weren't sure which of our Church Fathers or other eminent theologian said it, but the concept was intriguing.

My inner geeky pedant compelled me to look it up, and according to this ewtn page, Romana Guardini said it. I don't know who he is. I'm still not sure what it means, other than that our Catholicism permeates *everything* we do. Or it should.

I'm glad Heather, Rebecca, and Bonnie didn't know much about it, either. They were honest about their limitations. It's what makes them authentic and worth listening to. It's hard to listen to people who are so far above you on the holiness ladder, your neck hurts just hearing them speak.

I need friends who lead me to holiness. I need friends who speak Truth. But I also need friends who build me up, not lord over me how much holier they are than I. No one knows better than I what a long way I have to go.

Some smart and holy people remind me constantly how smart and holy they are. I don't like them. I don't want to listen to anything they have to say. I don't want to be like them. (My inner geeky pedant is begging, O Lord, please keep me from being so geeky and pedantic!)

When I am on radio/podcast/whatever, I want my listeners to remind me to be authentic, not pedantic. The world does not need more pedants; it needs more love.

Dear Jesus, more you, less me, please. Thank you. Amen.

Aug 7, 2015

Spiritual Laziness

What makes people racist? I believe that it is spiritual laziness. I'm too lazy to get to know you as a person, so I'll just mentally lump you in with all the other people I don't know, who look like you.

What makes them sexist? Same thing. I'm too lazy to get to know you as a person, so I'll just lump you in with all the other people I don't know who share your gender.

Get the picture?  What if we withheld judgment pending further consideration? What if we got to know someone as a precious child of the most high God, giving them the benefit of the doubt?

That would change everything.

Aug 6, 2015

Premature Decorating

I saw this picture on Facebook, and I had to laugh, because, well, I just did.

Stores like Michael's and Hobby Lobby might be ok having Christmas crafting stuff out. If you make wreathes and sell them at a Christmas Craft Fair in November, you don't wait until Halloween to start making your inventory.

Dollar General, though, what's your excuse? Too soon for that.

Same with the Presidential debates on TV tonight. No way. The election isn't until November of NEXT YEAR! Why is everyone worrying about it now?

Go away, people. Come back when it's time. It's not time yet.

Aug 5, 2015

The Hollywood Scandal So Shocking, You Almost Won't Believe It!

The Hollywood Scandal So Shocking, You Almost Won't Believe It!


That was the teaser on the cover of a McCall's magazine from 1959. As do today's tabloids, they shock you with a headline that makes you want to buy. Online, it's called clickbait.

The inside, unfortunately, is usually a disappointment. You are expecting something earth shattering, and you're left thinking, "Is that all?"

That is especially prone to happen when you read the magazine 50 years later.

The 1959 shocker? Which Hollywood celebrities were getting a divorce.

I hate that we, as a society, are so jaded now that divorce is no longer a scandal. Many things should be now, that aren't.

What's really frightening is trying to imagine what the McCall's magazine (substitute) 50 years in the future will think is shocking.

I don't think I want to know.

Aug 4, 2015

Discretion Is the Better Part of Valor

I'm not saying what I think.

I'm not saying what I think.

I'm not saying what I think.

I'm not saying what I think.

I'm not saying what I think.

It's ok to have a thought and keep it in your head.
I'm growing in holiness. How do you like me so far?

Aug 3, 2015

Pray More Novenas

A novena is a series of prayers on 9 consecutive days. They can be for petition or thanksgiving. The current one is to Saint Philomena. Miracles have been known to manifest by her intercession.

My noncatholic friends have issues with praying to Saints. I'm not worshiping her. I'm asking her, as a friend of Jesus, if she would ask with me for my petition to God. I know that the protestants have no problem with prayer chains, prayer meetings, corporate prayer, and intercession in general. The only difference is that I'm asking someone to intercede who is a "known" friend of Jesus.

If you want someone to pray for you, are you going to hunt down your drug dealing thug on the street corner, or a pious member of your own church? See? That's what we're doing.

If you aren't already signed up on "Pray More Novenas," I highly recommend it.

Pray More Novenas

It is a ministry of a fine, devout couple in Ohio, who send daily reminders of the daily prayers during each novena.

A week or two after one ends, the next one begins. The email reminders help me not miss a day. With my brain and my schedule, I appreciate that so much. Apparently, so do 200,000 from across the globe, as there are a LOT of folks praying with and for each other.

God bless them (us) all.

Aug 1, 2015

That Thing

When God continually answers your prayers with "no" or "not yet," you've got to figure that you're asking for the wrong thing.

What is the thing I should be asking for?

What is the thing that God will say YES to, without hesitation?

How about wisdom.
How about, help me love You more.
How about, Thy will be done.

Yeah, that'll do it.


Jul 31, 2015

Daddy's Knee

Daddy owned a bank. He's retired now, and other family members own it.

But we learned things at Daddy's knee, that many kids did not learn.

We learned to save money. We don't live beyond our means. My  credit rating is stellar, thanks to Daddy.

We learned that credit is a tool. Used properly, it can make a good thing better. Used improperly or recklessly, it can damage something beyond repair.

We learned to respect businessmen. They hire people. They sign the front of paychecks, so that others can sign the back. Don't begrudge them a profit. They must have an incentive, or why not just close the shop? No poor person ever gave me a job.

Taxing the 1% "more" is not the answer, since they'll just raise prices for everyone at the bottom. Don't listen to those who would cause divisiveness, and incite class warfare. They don't want to help you. They're only interested in making a name for themselves. They're using you.

We learned to attend Mass every week. It's what we do. And we support the Church. To whom much is given, much is required.

God bless you, Daddy.

Jul 30, 2015

Bad Bosses

There are certain things they don't tell you in a job interview.

They never say "The environment is toxic, and you will die a little each day."
They never say "Work really hard here, so that others can steal credit for your work."
They never say "It's like working for the fire department: 90% boredom and 10% adrenaline."
They never say "The boss drinks, and his mistakes will be blamed on you - even if you were 1000 miles away at the time."
They never say "The great boss that hires you will soon be replaced by a micromanaging clueless, prideful, unrepentant man who breaks the laws of God and man with equal narcissism."

If they told you these things, who would work there? Yet, here you are, eager and anxious to apply for a job. Then you get in, and 3 months later, when the bloom is clearly off the rose, you want out. Except where would you go? Out of the frying pan and into the fire? You need the money. So you stay, while planning your exit strategy, thanking God that you are able to look for a different job scrolling on your cellphone, without leaving an electronic history on your work computer.

It helps, I think, to view it as a mission trip. You can't just leave, say, Jamaica, as soon as it gets hard or uncomfortable. You can only leave when the group leaves, at the end of the trip. So you force yourself to cope, to put on a smile, and look for Jesus in the annoying people, to bear wrongs patiently, knowing that you are growing in holiness, becoming more saint-like.

And isn't that why we're here, anyway?

We're not made for ease and comfort, but for greatness and purpose. God knows where you are. He's got your back. When you learn to be at peace in the uncomfortable place, then no matter where you are, you will be at peace.

That's the lesson. The sooner you learn it, the sooner you can stop looking for something else, and let the "something else" come to you.


Jul 29, 2015

LGBT is Only the Beginning

Leaders in political and religious circles are predicting that the gay marriage ruling is only the beginning. They're saying that other perversions will eventually be legalized as well: bestiality, pedophilia, etc.

If they're right, God help us all.

If they're wrong, God help us all.

Satan seeks "the ruin of souls." He  doesn't want anyone to go to Heaven. He wants the passions of Earth to be worshiped and governmentally funded.

Forgive them, Father. They have NO. CLUE.

My prayers are so puny. I'm calling in the cavalry:


Jul 28, 2015

Bacon

My sister posted a link of 10 top foods that cause cancer so stop eating them. Fine. Probably a good way to lose weight since everything I eat was on the list.

Then I got to bacon. Really? I'm supposed to stop eating bacon?



Who wants cancer? Who wants to die young?


Then I had to agree with my dad: everyone's gotta die from something.


If I die from bacon, I'll die happy, so it's ok. 



Jul 27, 2015

Hungry Women

We women are really good at beating ourselves up because we are used to being beaten up. If no one is doing the job of beating us up, we happily, as a martyr, do what no one else is doing: beating ourselves up.

What?

Yeah. I know, right?

It's a really perverse cycle. The enemy has us competing with each other instead of building each other up. We say snippy things that cut to the bone. Why? To make us feel superior? We say ugly things about other women to our "friends." Why? To make us feel superior?

H'mmmm. Sounds like a spiritual problem.

Someone has to break the cycle. Someone has to say "I am a worthy and precious child of the most high King and you do not talk to me that way."

Someone has to say "Hey, good luck in your job interview! I hope you get it!"  "You look great! Have fun on your date!" "Here - borrow my jacket. It will look great with what you're wearing!"

Nobody's doing that.

You do that. Fill in the gap. Women are desperate to hear some little morsel of encouragement. They are hungry for the words that YOU can say.

Don't let them starve. Open your mouth and speak so that others may live.

Jul 26, 2015

The Days of Dial-Up

My first word processing program was Multi Mate 5. My first modem was 24 baud in 1990. I've had the same aol email address since 1995, which is practically unheard of.



In 2000, I easily navigated Netscape and backed up data redundantly on iomega tapes.

In 2 decades the entire world is different because of the change in the way we communicate.

Like Gutenberg.  Did he know he was changing the world, by changing its communication? Are we being hopelessly old fashioned by supporting Catholic radio? Not really. People still have radios in their cars. Everyone can't afford satellite.

But its days are probably waning. What will be the next big thing?

Stay tuned. (Pun intended.)


Jul 25, 2015

The Wrong Things

I want to be a supportive intercessor for my friends, but I cannot always be. Sometimes, people ask for the wrong things, and I can't join them in prayer.

Well, Mrs. Connie, who are YOU to judge?

We're commanded to discern right and wrong every day. God judges.

If you want me to pray that your IVF "takes" this time, don't ask me to pray for you.

If you want me to pray that your live-in partner will "finally" ask you to marry him/her/it, don't ask me to pray for you.

If you want a financial miracle to dig you out of the pit because you're living beyond your means....find someone else.

Some things God will probably say "no" because of Who He is. All of my begging and yours will not help you get the wisdom or revelation, which is probably what you ought to be praying for instead.

I'm sorry if this hurts your feelings, but you need to know where I stand. I'm not unsympathetic to those suffering infertility, loneliness, or poverty.

God just might have other, better plans is all. And it hurts right now, but come back in 10 years and tell me how the struggle was really a blessing.

Jul 24, 2015

How to Name Your Child

Those who have large families get to honor many people (Saints) with their children's names. When you name your child, please follow these rules:

1. Make sure there is a Saint (Archangel, Virgin Mother, etc.) in there somewhere: first, middle, something. Your son or daughter will need someone to turn to besides you, some day. Give them someone.

2. Spell the name the normal way. No punctuation, accent marks, or weird spellings. School teachers will thank you.

3. Check the initials and the monogram. Do they spell anything awkward or potentially embarrassing, either backward or forward? Kids will pick up on this. Don't give them ammunition.

4.Give each child a unique name. John Theodore, John Joseph, John Lawrence, John Phillip, and John Charles are not amused. Neither are their wives, the insurance company, or the credit bureau.

5. Remember that your child will someday (God willing) be 30. Bambi & Candy were cute names when they were little, but do not give them a competitive edge when their resume is submitted for a position in global finance management.

6. Think before you speak. I've been called "CatTerBetConnie" for most of my younger years. Your failure to remember which child I am, is humiliating by the time you finally reach my name ... many names later.  Just stop.

7. Always speak your child's name with love. They have to know when they hear their name called, it's for a "good" reason. If you have to say something stern or corrective, don't call him or her - walk up to them and do the correcting. It will keep his or her name - the label that defines him or her - as music, not a word to be dreaded.