Sunday, April 19, 2009

Praise God!!

Here's my second installment of Praise God! Thanks once again to Jennifer for inspiring me to count my blessings.

1. Praise God for the beautiful weather we had here this weekend.

2. Praise God for people who put the needs of others before themselves. You inspire me.

3. Praise God for our recently re-opened farmer's market!! I am so glad to have fresh spinach, asparagus, and eggs to munch on this week--no more tasteless industrial stuff! Oh, and some delicious free range ground beef, too! :)

4. Praise God for an Easter Week spent with family, and for everyone's safe travels.

5. Praise God for my awesome husband!!

6. Praise God that my children are learning compassion for others.

I have so much to be thankful for. I hope I'll make this a weekly post! Happy Divine Mercy Sunday!

Saturday, April 18, 2009

Blessed are the Peacemakers

I've had two fairly well-known names in the forefront of my mind lately: Greg Mortenson, the founder of Central Asia Institute and co-author of Three Cups of Tea: One Man's Mission to Promote Peace, One School at a Time; and Seung-Hui Cho, the troubled young man who killed 32 people at Virginia Tech on April 16, 2007 before killing himself. So, which of these two men do you think has more written about him on Wikipedia? A man who has devoted his life to building schools for children in some of the most dangerous parts of the world? A person who, in the last 15 years, has built 78 schools in remote villages of Pakistan and Afghanistan? Or someone who, in one day, made history as the perpetrator of the worst mass shooting in U.S. history? Guess. OK, now check it out for yourself:

What's wrong with this picture?

April 16 was the second anniversary of the awful massacre at Virginia Tech. I remember that day well, because it happened in my hometown. My father was a professor there for more than 40 years, and my parents still live in the area. His building where he once worked is two doors down from Norris Hall, where Seung-Hui Cho walked in and started killing people. My parents know the family of one of the shooting victims. After shooting two people in a dorm that morning, he walked to the downtown post office and mailed his infamous video to NBC. I've been in that post office many times, and I can trace the route that he probably took from his dorm room to that location. I don't like the knowledge that the town where I grew up will, for many years to come, be known for what happened that day. (Virginia Tech is also known for its great football team and its amazing coach, Frank Beamer; that's a good thing! I used to see him around town from time to time.)

When my mother told me that Greg Mortenson was going to speak at Burruss Hall (which, incidentally, is right next to Norris) on the 15th, the eve of the somber anniversary, the kids and I packed our bags and made the familiar drive to Blacksburg. My oldest son brought his MP3 player so he could make a recording of Greg's talk, and the kids brought the young adult version of Three Cups of Tea with them (and, I am happy to say, have been reading it faithfully). I thought it very fitting that a peacemaker like Greg would be invited to deliver a message of hope in the wake of a tragedy that is still all too fresh in many people's minds. (We snagged a great parking space, and had to walk right past Norris Hall on the way to the event. As we were walking, I pointed out the building as the place where all those people had been killed. I thought it important for my kids to remember what happened; my mother asked me to please not talk about it anymore. For a moment I had forgotten that she spent many days helping to comfort a family who had lost their dear daughter and granddaughter.)

Greg delivered a fantastic talk, complete with slides and video. The timing of his visit was great for us, too, because not only was he in my hometown during spring break when the kids were out of school, but because next Saturday is when we're having the yard sale at the boys' school for Greg's organization, Pennies for Peace; the offshoot if you will of Central Asia Institute, which he founded. (I wrote about this in an earlier post; now when I'm feeling stressed about all that still needs to be done, all I have to do is remember the pictures of the children Greg brought with him, and remind myself that if one person can build 78+ schools, I can help organize one little yard sale.) After the presentation was over, the floor was opened up for questions. My twelve-year-old son raised his hand, and when Greg called on him, he stood up and told him about the upcoming sale, and that all of the money would go to Pennies for Peace. Do you want to know what Greg said? "When kids take the reins, get out of their way!" He thanked him and seemed genuinely pleased that MY KIDS!! were taking the time to help the children that are so important to him.

Seung-Hui Cho might have received a lot of attention in a short amount of time, and many families are still grieving because of what he did. Greg Mortonson may not get the press coverage that Cho did, but he is an excellent example of the difference one person can make in the world. He's up for the Nobel Peace Prize, and I'm rooting for him all the way.

Friday, April 17, 2009

So Many Blogs, So Little Time!

I love this new hobby called "Blogging." I've connected with many wonderful people (mostly mothers like me, plus a few radio hosts and apologists, and other folks much smarter than me), and learned a lot! I've even hooked up with a couple of bloggers from my own church, and I've enjoyed getting re-acquainted with them! I love using this medium to share my thoughts with others. I love to read books, but lately I've been reading blogs so much that some days go by without my reading a single page. That's OK, though; I'm still working on creating that balance. Right now I'm reading "The Thirteenth Tale" by Diane Setterfield. Fascinating.

I sat down at my computer 45 minutes ago intending to write a big chunk of a post that's been buzzing around in my head (actually, there are several of those); I spent the whole time reading and responding to YOUR posts instead. I love it!! Hopefully I'll have time to post back here later, because I'm eager to write about these topics ASAP:

1. The 2nd Anniversary of the Virginia Tech shootings, and the wonderful talk by Greg Mortenson we attended the other night

2. This hoo-ha over the Georgetown thing and covering up the IHS symbol--I'm still not sure what to make of that

3. The Homeland Security's paranoia that pro-lifers like me are violent right-wing extremists. I still need to read that report before I comment further, though.

Meanwhile, I have a busy couple of days ahead of me, so forgive me if I don't write anything for another week. Hopefully I'll be posting much sooner than that.

Thursday, April 9, 2009

Today's the Day of Reckoning for Conscience

I have been dialing an dialing, and getting busy signal after busy signal. I look at this as a good sign that many people are voicing their concerns to President Obama about the potential chucking of conscience clauses. Yesterday I finally got through, but I was on hold for so long I finally had to hang up because I needed to leave the house. (Shoulda used my cell phone, darn it!) I went ahead and emailed the Prez, and relayed to him the same message I would like to say to him over the phone. I'm going to keep trying to call, but if I can't get through, at least I tried!

Pray, pray, pray! I am hoping for good news tonight.

Tuesday, April 7, 2009

My Take on the Notre Dame Scandal

I can't keep my mouth shut about this any longer. My motto usually tends to be, "Mind Your Own Business." Maybe this isn't my business, but as a pro-life Catholic I'm making it my business. I just emailed the following letter to Father John Jenkins, the president of Notre Dame University:

Dear Father Jenkins,
I am writing to you regarding your recent invitation for President Barack Obama to speak at Notre Dame's commencement ceremonies this year, and your plans to present him with an Honorary Doctor of Law degree. I have been hesitant to voice my opinion until now, frankly, because I am not in any way affiliated with the University of Notre Dame. However, as a Catholic and a mother of three sons who I hope may one day attend a Catholic institution like Notre Dame, I want to make sure my children are attending a school that will support the teachings of the Catholic Church.
I suppose it may be unrealistic for me to expect you to un-invite President Obama, but in light of the radical views on abortion and other life issues that Mr. Obama has clearly expressed, and indeed has already begun to impose, I feel that rescinding your invitation to him would in fact be appropriate and even necessary. Notre Dame is a Catholic university, and a Catholic university must uphold the teachings of the Catholic Church. Having a pro-abortion politician, even a popular United States President, speak to the graduating class of Notre Dame would send a message to the students and the general public that Notre Dame University has chosen to disregard Church teaching that abortion is an intrinsic evil. Honoring Mr. Obama with a law degree would further solidify this message; as you know, President Obama has voiced his opinion that Roe v. Wade was a good and lawful decision, and in fact, has promised to overturn abortion restrictions already in place by signing the Freedom of Choice Act. Do you really want to honor him for these views?
I know another priest named Father Jenkins. He was the first priest who I had the privilege of getting to know personally. He taught me the faith and brought me into the Catholic Church. He married my husband and me, and baptized our first child. I can tell you that had this Father Jenkins been the president of a university, he would not have considered inviting any abortion advocate like President Obama. This Father Jenkins holds fast to the teachings of the Catholic Church. Please reconsider your invitation. Notre Dame's integrity is more important than the prestige of having Mr. Obama speak there.

If you want to make this your business, too, click here.
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