Tuesday, December 02, 2008

Shame, shame shame!!

Just came across this editorial in the Washington Times. Well worth the read, check it out here: Editorial: Shame on Planned Parenthood.

My thoughts:
If women are having to make difficult choices between putting food on the table and gas in the car versus getting the health care they need, they should be checking out state supported Medicare programs. There are lots of options for health care out there, Planned Parenthood is not the answer.

PP has an agenda, enough said.

The "gift of death"? Absolutely, see above comment.

I love this sentence:
More importantly, contraception and abortion are not forms of "health care": They are lifestyle choices with life-altering consequences.

Amen!! Life-altering consequences for both the mother seeking the abortion AND the child who is unwillingly losing their life.

And finally, I agree with the statements at the end of the editorial. Support life centers!! Support those centers who have no agenda!! There are many, many options for women who are dealing with an unplanned pregnancy. There may be unplanned pregnancies but there are NEVER any unwanted children. All children are precious gifts from God.

There are many life centers or pregnancies help centers who need support. The end of the year is coming soon and many of us are donating money to charities at this time of year. There are many pregnancy help centers who offer non-biased counseling and support for women during and after their pregnancies. One such organization that I have supported is Birthright. There are also homes for women who can have support during their pregnancies, help finding jobs, continuing their education, learning how to budget finances, and so much more, all to help prepare them for the birth of their child and success in their lives. One such home is up the road from me in Louisville, KY and I know many more exist.

I'll be helping to support a local pregnancy center this Christmas when I attend a UK Student's for Life Christmas gathering next week. We'll be gathering donations of baby shampoo, diapers, bottles, and other baby needs for a mother in need who sought help from this local pregnancy center.

Find out what you can do too. It is the season of giving afterall!!

Monday, December 01, 2008

Quick (?) Update

It's been a while since I posted something personal on this blog. So I thought it was a good idea to at least try a quick update. Hopefully, I can keep it quick or brief.

So, as you may have figured out by now, if you follow my Facebook page or have looked at the top of the blog lately, yes, I am expecting!! I am now 16 weeks along and all seems to be going really well. Had an appointment today and the heartbeat was steady and strong at about 138-140 bpm. We're very excited! The due date is May 15. Oh, and we'll be having our BIG ultrasound December 16. Can't wait, but don'e ask about the gender, we're not finding out!

Chris and I went to Atlanta to visit my family for Thanksgiving. We had a good time spending time with everyone. Thanksgiving Day was really nice with lots of good food and good company. On Friday we visited the Georgia Aquarium with my sister and her family which was a lot of fun. My little niece had a great time seeing the fishes. I also got many of my sister's maternity clothes while I was home, so it was a great trip overall.

In other pregnancy news, there will be FOUR new babies in Chris' family next year. I have three sisters-in law also due in 2009. So we'll have three more nieces or nephews by the end of July next year. Due dates are May 4 (SIL in Bardstown), May 15 (me), July 4 (SIL in Bardstown), and July 12 (SIL in Birmingham). So next summer will be a busy one in our family.

We're starting into the daycare investigation at the moment. I visited two childcare facilities just before Thanskgiving. It's an interesting process. I have at least one more to visit that I've already talked to on the phone. I also have a list of 4-5 other places to still call and visit. So far, I feel lucky that wait lists are either short or nonexistant!

Work is going fine. Nothing major to report there, busy as always.

Coming up for me:
  1. Another band concert in a few weeks. I can't wait for this concert to be over with! It's basically an all Wagner concert. You just got to love orchestral transcriptions for clarinet (i.e. lots of violin work and no breaks!). I don't want to see any more Wagner for a very long time!

  2. It looks like Chris and I will be traveling to Washington, D.C. near the end of January for the annual March for Life. We'll traveling via bus with a group from the Lexington Diocese. It'll be fun to meet other people in the diocese and to be in D.C. for this awesome event.

  3. Sometime in here I'll have to register for baby stuff. I'll squeeze that in somewhere!!

  4. My last trip probably for a while will be in February when I head to Chicago for the Music OCLC Users Group and Music Library Association conferences. Hopefully by then I'll look pregnant and not just like I need to lose weight!

On a more simple, smaller scale: I'm hoping to learn to knit sometime soon. I never seem to have time and by the time I finish what I want to do each night it's already 11 or later and no time to do any knitting! Writing has also been on my mind lately. I hear that pregnancy can inspire more creativity in some women, so I'm tempted to try out a few ideas that I've been thinking of lately. It's been a very long time since I did any writing. Lastly, I need to make a Christmas list for my family gift exchange this year. So far I have one item (a book) on the list. I need five ... by Friday! Any suggestions are welcome!

That's the report for now. Hope everyone is doing well!!

Sunday, November 30, 2008

Catholic Carnival 200!!

I'm a little late in posting this, but if you get a chance , go check out the latest version of the Catholic Carnival here.

It's number 200!! That means the Carnival has been going every week for 200 weeks! I always learn something new or find something very thought-provoking in reading the various posts in the Carnival. So go check it out, it's well worth the time.

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Sign the United Nations Petition

I heard a radio spot today that I had to find out more about and once I did I knew I had to share it with whoever I could. Thus, the reason for this post.

On December 10, 2008, pro-abortion organizations will be presenting a petition to the United Nations to make abortion a universally recognized human right. This is something that would be devastating to generations of children!! This can not happen.

So the Catholic Family and Human Rights Institute has set up an alternate petition. 100,000 signatures are required for this alternate petition to be submitted. This has to happen before December 10, 2008!! Please go to the following site, read the petition and click on the link to sign the petition, then encourage others you know to do the same.


Also, on the website you can listen to the radio spot to learn a bit more. December 10 is the 60th Anniversary of the United Nations Declaration on Human Rights. Let's not let this Declaration be reversed!!

In the words of the late Pope John Paul II: "A nation that aborts its own children is a nation without hope. Those who love and want to defend life must act not."

Life is a fundamental human right! Without life we would have no need to worry about the economy, the environment, taxes, or anything else. Please give all persons the right to life by signing this petition. As we approach the Thanksgiving holiday here in the United States, say a prayer of thanks for the life you've been given and for the lives that all need to be saved.

Sunday, November 09, 2008

Birthright's "Bid and Buy"

Saturday night we attended a fundraiser for Birthright of Lexington. Birthright is a national organization dedicated to helping women who find themselves in crisis pregnancies. I had visited their office back in August to bring them a donation of items to help them out. At the time they were in need of baby toiletries, so I bought about $100 worth of baby lotion, diaper rash ointment, wipes, diapers, baby shampoo, and more. It was so great to go by their office and meet the director and get a chance to find out more about what Birthright does. It is such a wonderful organization!! At that visit is also when I learned about the annual baby shower they hold for their clients, and about the Bid and Buy fundraiser every November.

So Chris and I decided that we would attend in support of their cause. So the event was Saturday night and what a great time we had!!

It was held downtown at the convention center. The dinner was very good and the auctions they had were various and numerous. We ended up bidding on a couple items and winning one. So that was fun!

More importantly was the number of people there. I saw many people I knew or recognized from around town or my church. There were about 4-5 Catholic priests in attendance, including one from my parish. It was really an amazing amount of people: roughly 49 tables of 10 people each, so about 490 people or so were there. That's a lot of people just in Lexington who are willing to come out and support a wonderful pro-life cause.

Also, when we sat down for dinner and introduced ourselves to people at our table I was stunned to meet the chairperson of the Kentucky Memorial for the Unborn. So we talked a little about our experiences. She told me about attending a post-abortive conference after she had gone through an abortion, she also had a miscarriage before getting pregnant again with her son. I told her about my miscarriage and we talked a bit about the healing of naming our children and honoring their lives. She also told me about the power of healing she experienced after attending a Rachel's Vinyard Retreat. It was amazing to talk to her. I also got her card and now have the website for the Kentucky Memorial for the Unborn.

The Memorial will be in Frankfort at the Cemetary there. The Memorial features a statue of Rachel, one of Jacob's wives from the book of Genesis, and a large wall surrounding it with places to sit. It'll be in a quiet place, perfect for reflection and meditation. If you'd like to see more about this check it out here: Kentucky Memorial for the Unborn. The best part of the Memorial (and I haven't actually seen the site myself yet) is that it is apparently very visible from the State House. What a great thing for our legislatures to see from their offices: the unborn matter!!

The Bid and Buy night was a great time and I believe we'll try to make this an annual event (i.e. date night) for us as well. I hope we can get others to attend too!!

Early Thanksgiving

Thanksgiving came early to our house tonight. Hubby just got in the mood for some comfort food and cooked us up a turkey breast for dinner. But once you start cooking turkey, you can't stop there.

So we had turkey (which was reallly good), some cranberry sauce (of course!), butternut squash (cooked in a way I've never had before), mashed potatoes, green beans, and gravy. It was quite a feast!!

I like Thanksgiving and Hubby likes the cooking, so whatever he wants to do is fine with me. It was a great dinner, and now we'll be eating it all week, lunches too!

Too bad we don't have any pie ...

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

THE issue in the upcoming Presidential Election

Okay, so the economy is on everyone's minds. It is an important issue and it seems that the focus of the election at the moment is this issue and this issue only. But there is one issue that trumps all others, even this one. Yes, we're all concerned about our houses, our investments, our children's futures, and so much more. But these wouldn't be concerns if you weren't here to be concerned about them. So what about all those who are never given the chance to live their lives?

Before I go on, read this article from Life News.

Go ahead, read it ... I'll wait.

I found the above article through a blog that I regularly read. It is very interesting to me that so many people don't realize what kinds of dangers are out there depending on the candidate you support. When it comes to Sen. Obama there are some major concerns, particularly in the life issues.

We are slowly becoming a nation with a culture of death. This culture of death already exists in a big way in many other parts of the world and the U.S. is not far behind. We are barely replacing our population and more and more we are seeing proposed policies that will bring this culture of death closer and closer for us. We need a culture of life in this country. The initiative in Washington State to allow assisted suicide, the greater and greater acceptance of euthansia, the millions of babies that have been killed through abortion, all these things and many more create a culture that doesn't respect life: life in all its stages. This election relies very much on this issue and the above article highlights the reasons why.

Some highlights from the article and my comments:
"Barack Obama supports federal funding of abortion."

No thank you, Sen. Obama. You aren't using my tax money to fund abortions!! The thing is, this does happen now. One of the country's largest abortion providers is Planned Parenthood which does currently receive federal funding. This needs to change. Abortion is not something that American's tax dollars should be used for.

"Barack Obama wants to stop federal funding to crisis-pregnancy centers."

Often when the issue of abortion comes up we often here the pro-death candidates/politicians say that they are in favor of limiting and reducing the number of abortions in this country. And yet, they don't vote that way. Want to reduce the number of aboritons?? Support the crisis-pregnancy centers!! Put the tax payer money there, that's where it's needed. Support laws that require abortion providers to do ultrasounds and explain to women that they are carrying another human being, explain that they have choices. Many women entering abortion clinics don't know their choices. So much for the push to keep so-called choice alive.

"Barack Obama has told the Planned Parenthood Action Fund that the first thing he will sign as president will be the Freedom of Choice Act, which will sweep away limits on abortion -- state and federal -- including restrictions on government funding of abortion and laws protecting anti-abortion health care providers."

The so-called Freedom of Choice Act is a dangerous Act for this country. Many, many states have enacted laws that require parental notification if a minor enters a clinic for an abortion, laws requiring abortionists to perform an ultrasound on a woman seeking an abortion and show her the baby that is growing inside her, laws allowing pro-life health care providers to not be involved in abortion or anything that is against their moral convictions. All these types of laws as well as others would be swept away if Obama signed this act. This just can't happen.

This issue is too important to not consider. Yes, the economy is of vital importance, the war in Iraq is definitely an issue that needs attention, and finding ways to make our country energy independant will do a lot to boost our economy. But much more important to any of this is the right for ALL of our citizens to be given the chance to have life. This is a civil rights issue, the most basic human right we have is that of life.

It's even part of the United States Declaration of Independance as one of the three "inalienable rights" of man: "Life, Liberty, and the Pursuit of Happiness."

Actually, it's even the first one listed.

Wednesday, August 06, 2008

Catholic Carnival #183

I'm a little late this time around. Last week's Catholic Carnival can be found here:


Hope you enjoy it!! Looks like a very interesting one this time around! Go check it out!!

Wednesday, July 23, 2008

When does life start?

Recently I was looking through some different pro-life pages on Facebook and ran across a discussion about when life begins. Most of the people participating in the discussion agreed that life begins at the moment of conception, when sperm meets egg. This is the view I agree with and it is what the Church teaches as well. If it doesn't begin there, it gets harder to say that any moment after that is when life begins, because it becomes harder to explain what the union of sperm and egg was from their first meeting until that later moment when life is suddenly there. It's completely logical: life has to start at the moment the sperm fertilizes the egg in the falopian tubes; not at the moment of implantation, not after the first trimester, nor at any other moment.

What was really interesting and disturbing to me was when someone brought the idea of when the soul enters that life. The person who brought this up said that she could not believe that God would create a life and give it a soul only to have it die while still in the womb; therefore she thought the soul probably came later. This totally upset me! Where there is a life there is a soul. And yes, sometimes those babies die. I know that first-hand.

Lately, these issues have been much more on my mind and they have caused me to contemplate more on a TV show I saw a while back, maybe a year and a half or more ago. The particular episode of this show was amazingly pro-life in its message and at the same time addresses an issue that many pro-abortion (or pro-choice) people use to support the killing of unborn babies.

The TV show was House, a medical drama about a doctor, Dr. House, who has a drug addiction but is still incredibly intelligent and does medicine his way, taking risks that others won't take while at the same time working with three residents. In the episode that I remember, he has a patient who is mysteriously sick and pregnant. I don't remember all the details, but essentially, Dr. House feels that the baby is actually killing her and she should abort the child. She refuses and insists that there must be a better way. The entire episode he won't call the baby anything but a fetus. The patient even calls him on it. Finally a solution to her problem is found and they have to perform a very risky surgery (it wouldn't be good TV otherwise). During the surgery, for some reason, they have to go into the womb without hurting the baby. And there is this amazing moment when the baby's hand reaches up and Dr. House notices it and things seem to slow down. As he watches this baby's hand reach up, he reaches out and the little baby fingers wrap around his finger. It is totally an amazing moment!

In the end the surgery is successful, the woman lives, and her baby was not harmed. Before she is discharged from the hospital Dr. House comes to see her and during their discussion he mentions "the baby." She notices right away that he has changed his vocabulary from fetus to baby!!

Most of today's media and certainly most of Hollywood is very liberal. To see a show like this that has such a powerful pro-life message is so rare and something we should be advocating for more of.

For anyone interested in more good pro-life entertainment, go see the movie Bella. Also, if you want to know what movies, books, and other forms of entertainment have good Christian messages and what don't, go check out Catholic Media Review, a blog that reviews all sorts of entertainment.

And, spread the word about life!! Life is precious and should be protected from that very first moment.

Tuesday, July 22, 2008

Some Updates

It's been a long time since I made any changes to this blog. So I have done a few updates the last couple of days.

I did some minor editing. But more importantly I updated the links on the left side bar. I took away some things and added in some different links. In particular you'll notice the section of Catholic/Pro-life blogs and websites. Lots of great info there!!

Also, I finally started using labels (or as we like to call them in library-land: tags)!! Further down on the left side you'll see a list of tags ... I mean labels and at the bottom of each post the labels for that post are listed. I tried my best to go back through all my old posts to add labels, but I tried not to read every old post, so I'm sure I have missed some things.

Hope you find some nice new things to look at here.

Monday, July 21, 2008

Saving the Earth: Plant a Seed

Okay, it's not Earth Day (that's in April) but we all know that taking care of our environment is increasingly more important to everyone. Not only that but taking care of our bodies/health is also a top priority for many (and should be for us all).

Do you recycle/reuse as much as possible?

Have you started driving safer to try saving on gas? Which has a bonus of keeping you, your passengers and other drivers around you safe!

Do you think about the energy you use at home? Electricity, running the washing machine, etc.?

Have you considered public transportation? Walking to work? Biking to work? Carpooling?

Do you buy organic? Shop at your local farmer's market? Or do you grow any of your own vegetables?

We are all thinking about ways to keep our bodies healthy, our families healthy, and our environment healthy. Some of us do more than others, but I think everyone I know is doing something or has at least considered doing something. Just knowing that someone has thought about something means a seed has been planted, it might take a while to germinate but it's there. And that's good!!

So I would like to plant a seed with all of you. While you consider what foods you buy, skipping fast food to eat something healthy and homecooked, and buying local produce rather than produce shipped across the country (or from other countries); and while you consider changing lifestyle choices rather than having to start taking medications/drugs for high cholestral or whatever, have you ever given any thought to Natural Family Planning?

There is an awful lot in the news and online about alternative ways of caring for your body rather than using drugs. Some drugs are good, don't get me wrong, I'm not saying that all forms of medication are bad, but maybe we don't need everything we put into our bodies? I can't see how pumping extra hormones into women's bodies to suppress their natural fertility can be healthy in the long run (and there is lots of research out there to support this).

This week is Natural Family Planning Week. Also, on July 25 is the the 40th anniversary of the encyclical Humanae Vitae (Of Human Life) (follow the link to find the text of the encyclical and other related documents). This is a week to celebrate natural methods of family planning. I encourage everyone reading this to do some internet searching to find out more. With an open mind you might be surprised at how effective NFP can be and how much better for your health (and your marriage) it can be.

Briefly, for those who have never heard of it, there are several forms of NFP. My husband and I learned the sympto-thermal method through the Couple to Couple League. This method tracks temperatures, mucus signs, and cervix position to tell a couple when they are fertile and when they aren't. In addition the couple must communicate very openly about their mutual fertility and decide on a very regular basis whether they want to add to their family or if they need to postpone. By this method they are working in collaboration with God in creating life.

Other methods include the Billings method, the Creighton Method, and several others.

No drugs, no side effects, 100% natural, 100% effective, and many bonuses besides! It's a beautiful way to live your marriage and completely, 100% pro-life!

So I know this is an incredibly hard thing to understand and I know no one is going to suddenly jump on the NFP train just from reading this post. But I hope to plant a seed and if you are interested (even just for the sake of knowing more) then do a little looking around, do some reading, and let me know if you have questions. I may only be able to point you in the right direction, but I will do what I can.

In addition, I am updating this blog and off to the left side I have added a section for Catholic Blogs/websites. One is an NFP blog with lots of great info. I've only looked at part of it, but I can't wait to sit down and check out more.

As this week in celebration of Natural Family Planning continues and as we get closer to the anniversary of Humanae Vitae I hope to post a bit more about NFP things of interest. Stay tuned!!

Saturday, July 19, 2008

Catholic Carnival #181

Go check out the next Catholic Carnival!! It is full of interesting posts from around the Catholic blogosphere. Check it out for some thoughtful insights on life and all things Catholic; it'll make you think, bring tears to your eyes, and laughter to your day.

Check it out here: Catholic Carnival #181

Have a great weekend and enjoy the Carnival!!

Thursday, July 17, 2008

Catholics Not Welcome

Apparently the city of San Francisco has condemned the Catholic Church! What?? Condemned the Church?? Yes, that's right. The only article I can find on the topic is from World Net Daily. See the whole article here:


I was shocked to read that by issuing this resolution the city was asking the Archdiocese to disobey the Vatican!! What in the world is that all about!! Obviously the city government in San Francisco doesn't understand the relationship between the Vatican and its archdioceses.

After reading this article I am amazed that a city thinks it can openly discriminate against an entire religious group based on different moral principles. This is blatant discrimination!

What amazes me is that the liberal people who hate the Church and want to rid San Francisco of it are the same that push for "equal rights" for every other group under the sun, as long as it's not a religious or conservative group. On the other hand, the Catholic Church (and other religious groups, I'm sure) don't "hate" the people who oppose them. The Church prays for all people. The Church wants all people to find love and holiness. Why is that bad?

It comes down to misunderstanding. The Church is misunderstood. In the United States of America a city can not kick a Church out. And a city has no right to tell any organization what it can and can not believe. And what the city of San Francisco has to understand is that the Church is not telling the city what to believe either. The Church is a teacher; it teaches with the hope that others will listen and even if they don't agree will be open to understanding. The Church acts through faith, hope, and charity. Is that such a bad thing that the Church has to be condemned!

Be sure to read the article to the very end. This is not an isolated case. Other things are stirring around the world and it is very scary.

Thursday, July 10, 2008

Celebrating Life

I heard something on the radio on the way home from work today that I have to share. It was such an amazing story with a happy ending that will take place with a wonderful celebration of life this Saturday. At the same time we'll be having our own celebration of life!!

On Saturday July 12 at 8:00am we will be attending mass at our home parish with many family and friends as well as members of our church community. During the mass the life of our baby, Casey Marie, will be remembered. Although we never got to see or hold our baby, Casey was still a precious life created by God and given to us for a very short time. We feel blessed to have been in cooperation with God in the creation of a new life for His kingdom. And we're looking forward to this opportunity to celebrate Casey's life.

I heard today that at 8:00am on Saturday morning in Bethleham, PA at the Church of Notre Dame, Father Frank Pavone of Priests for Life will be baptizing two babies who were saved from abortion. I was listening to him tell the story about how these mothers chose life instead of abortion and he mentioned that he would be baptising them this Saturday. One of his points in telling the story was to show how effective sidewalk counselors and those who spend time praying outside abortion mills can be in helping to change peoples minds to choose life. One mother changed her mind after talking to one of the sidewalk counselors outside the abortion mill she was about to enter. The other mother took a flier from the counselors outside the abortion clinic, started looking at it after she was inside and once she read the flier she immediately decided she couldn't do this to her child and she got up and walked out.

So on Saturday morning, we'll be remembering the small life of the child we have in heaven and up in Pennsylvania two mothers will be celebrating the baptisms of the babies that they chose life for. It is important to celebrate every life and to recognize that life begins at the moment of conception. Every life is important and this Saturday several of us will be recognizing that fact.

Wednesday, July 09, 2008

Our July 4th Weekend

We left last Thursday and drove to Remington, IN to visit Chris' paternal grandmother. We spent the night there and then headed to MI. It took us an hour longer to get to Grand Haven than expected due to several road closures and not very well marked detours, but we did get to see a bit of Valporasio. We spent Friday in Grand Haven visiting Chris' maternal grandmother and then drove to Grand Rapids to spend the night.

Apparently a very large storm moved through the area on Thursday, cutting off power all over the city and flooding areas around the river. So there were a lot of power trucks in the hotel parking lot. All the people brought in from other areas to help restore power were staying at our hotel.

Saturday morning it was off to Detroit where we attended Rita's wedding! It was gorgeous!! We were so glad to be able to be there and witness their wedding vows. It was quite a party too!!

Sunday morning we headed out to a church we had found online. We went to the National Shrine of the Little Flower. It was an incredible church, interesting sanctuary, and gorgeous grounds; the pictures on the web don't do it justice. After church we started heading out of Detroit, careful to avoid the closure on 75 in downtown Detroit. After finally getting past that and back on I-75 Chris discovered that he had left his suit in the hotel room. So it was back through Detroit and north to the hotel, locate the suit, and get back on the highway for the roundabout route around Detroit and back onto I-75. But I have to say that the detours in MI were much better marked than in IN.

It was definitely an adventure!! But we had a good time and we survived many, many hours in the car together!

Monday, June 23, 2008

Cool New Website!!

My favorite local radio station has just rolled out a brand new (and much improved) website. I have only just now gone to take a look, but I can already see that there is a lot to check out on it. Here's the address:


You can listen to the station through the website (which is what I do at work in the afternoons). Also, they are posting diocesan events and podcasts of many of those events (see Events Calendar under Community). Some things to check out:

First, Theology on Tap is currently going on and all are being recorded and posted as podcasts on the site.

Second, beginning this past April 1 the Bishop's Cathedral Series began. Chris and I missed the April lecture that the Bishop did, but we managed to get to the May lecture that Fr. Baima from Chicago did (excellent, go listen to it!!) and to the June lecture. The Bishop will be doing the final session for this year next week on July 1. It too will be posted as a podcast eventually.

Also, the calendar for Rock the Collar is finally posted!! This is an awesome ministry that our seminarians began last year. Check out the schedule and go see them if they are stopping at a parish near you. It's great to meet them and give them encouragement in their vocation.

Another word about the podcasts, you do have to register on the site to have access to the podcasts. I know it gets difficult to have so many accounts everywhere but this is one that is worth it. If nothing else the Bishop's series contains some great theology. Our own Bishop (doing the first and fourth lectures) is a great speaker and, although I missed the first talk, I am sure it was great. I know for a fact that Fr. Baima's lecture was awesome! Go check it out if you have a chance, I will be soon! I want to hear the first talk Bishop Gainer did and I want to listen to Fr. Baima's talk a second time.

Hope you enjoy looking through the Real Life Radio website. Lots of good stuff!!

Thursday, June 12, 2008

Miscarriage and Baptism

It has been over two months since my husband and I miscarried our first child. I have previously written about our loss and in that previous post listed several topics that I felt called to discuss. One of those topics is the Sacrament of Baptism.

One of the defining aspects of Christianity is our belief in Baptism. Without baptism we can not come to know God and be a part of his kingdom. We hear our Lord Jesus tell us, "Amen, amen, I say to you, no one can enter the kingdom of God without being born of water and spirit." (John 3:5). Baptism is an important aspect of all Christian churches. As Christians, both Catholic and Protestant, we believe in the necessity of Baptism for salvation. I know nothing about the theology of Baptism from the numerous Protestant perspectives, so I won't even attempt to go there. I want to focus here on the Catholic perspective.

Catholics (and some Protestant faiths) believe in infant baptism. This isn't my focus here either, but for anyone reading this who is not familiar with why we believe in infant baptism, I'll just mention a few of the reasons why the Catholic church teaches this. First there is the Scripture passage I quoted above. That's the basis for baptism itself. Beyond that there are four things I can point to that defend infant baptism:
  • From the Gospels: "Then children were brought to him that he might lay his hands on them and pray. The disciples rebuked them, but Jesus said, 'Let the children come to me, and do not prevent them; for the kingdom of heaven belongs to such as these.' After he placed his hands on them, he went away." (Matthew 19:13-15; see also the same story in Mark 10:13-16 and Luke 18:15-17). Jesus wanted the children brought to Him and there is no reason to think that He wouldn't want them brought to him now.
  • The book of Acts chapter 2 is one of my favorite parts of Acts, which is also one of my favorite Scripture books. In this chapter is when the Holy Spirit comes down on the Apostles at Pentacost and when St. Peter gives his first long speech/sermon. After his speech, the people ask what they should do. "Peter [said] to them, 'Repent and be baptized, every one of you, in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of your sins; and you will receive the gift of the Holy Spirit. For the promise is made to you and to your children and to all those far off, whomever the Lord our God will call.'" (Acts 2: 38-39). In other parts of Acts there is mention of thousands being baptized at a time after similar conversion moments with Peter or Paul or other disciples. Whenever a large crowd is baptized it is reasonable to assume that women and children were also in the crowd. So children and infants were being baptized from the beginnings of the Church.
  • The writings of the early church fathers also point to baptism of infants and children. They don't write to defend it, however, because it was a general practice; they didn't need to defend it. These writers in the 2nd century were the disciples of the disciples, only two or three generations away from those who heard the words of Jesus first hand. The little I have read from the early church fathers shows a continuous stream of understanding from very early times with very little, or no, discrepancy between writers (the "tradition" part of Catholic teaching). If you want to know more I highly recommend Stephen Ray's book Crossing the Tiber. He includes a LOT of the early church fathers' writings.
  • Finally, don't parents make decisions for their children all the time? One thing I have heard from a lot of people about baptism is that they don't want to make that choice for their children, thus the child should be at an age of reasoning to make that decision themselves. I find a lot wrong with this statement. Parents decide their children's bedtimes, schedules, what they eat, where they go, what school they go to, clothes they wear, activities they can and can not participate in and more. They even make them go to church and Sunday School and so forth. I took a logic class in college as part of a philosophy track and I think there are a number of fallacies in this logic. Your religion is one of the most important things you can pass on to your children; it's why you teach them your faith, make them go to church and Sunday School and pray before meals, bed, etc. Thus in the Catholic church, parents understand that through baptism we are making a decision for our children that will be with them the rest of their lives. It's the parental thing to do.

    Okay, moving beyond that argument ... I don't want to dwell on it, it's not supposed to be my focus ...

    My focus really is the desire to be baptised and what happens if death comes before baptism can take place. Up until now, I have built this piece around Scripture, which is how I prefer to tackle things if I expect that non-Catholics will be reading this. In this case, I want to lay the groundwork through Scripture and from this point on will probably lean more on the Catechism of the Catholic Church.

    So, the Catholic Church teaches that baptism can happen in three ways: baptism by water, baptism by blood, and baptism by desire. By water is obviously how most of us were baptized. Baptism by blood is through death for the sake of the faith, martyrdom. But what is this baptism by desire? From the Catechism:

    The Church has always held the firm conviction that those who suffer death for the sake of the faith without having received Baptism are baptized by their death for and with Christ. This Baptism of blood, like the desire for Baptism, brings about the fruits of Baptism without being a sacrament. (CCC1258)


    As regards children who have died without Baptism, the Church can only entrust them to the mercy of God, as she does in her funeral rites for them. Indeed, the great mercy of God who desires that all men should be saved, and Jesus' tenderness toward children which caused him to say: "Let the children Come to me, do not hinder them," allow us to hope that there is a way of salvation for children who have died without Baptism. All the more urgent is the Church's call not to prevent little children coming to Christ through the gift of holy Baptism. (CCC 1261)

    These two paragraphs from the Catechism taken together show the hope there is that God's mercy will bring these children into Heaven with Him through the baptism of desire. I'm not always the best at putting into words what seems clear to me, so I apologize if the connections aren't very clear. I read those two paragraphs in the context of the Scripture passages above and others like them and from the other traditions of the Church. I think "context" is very key to this understanding.

    It is through reading the Scriptures and from reading the Church's teachings through the Catechism that I can find peace in trusting my child's salvation to God's mercy. I would never presume to know God's mercy, but I have prayed about my deep desire to have God take Casey Marie into heaven with Him. Through his mercy, I know that my desire as a parent to have baptised my child if he/she had lived long enough can be enough to bring about Baptism by desire. It all depends on the mercy of God, and I have great faith in Him and His mercy.

    In my prayers I have also prayed for many other children who were lost to miscarriage, both those I know about and all those babies and families I don't know. I have also included all those children lost to abortion. In God's mercy I pray that they are all saints in heaven, praising God with all the angels and saints.

    In closing I want to mention a small book my sister-in-law sent me after our miscarriage. It is called An Empty Cradle, A Full Heart: Reflections for mothers and fathers after miscarriage, stillbirth, or infant death by Christine O'Keeffe Lafser. The books is comprised of various short reflections accompanied by a Scripture passage and all divided into three sections: reflections for mothers, reflections for fathers, and reflections for both. Near the end of the book one reflection in particular stood out to me and I will share it here along with it's accompanying Scripture passage:

    Some people say it is a shame. Others even imply that it would have been better if the baby had never been created. But the short time I had with my child is prescious to me. It is painful now, but I still wouldn't wish it away. I prayed that God would bless us with a baby. Each child is a gift, and I am proud that we cooperated with God in the creation of a new soul for all eternity. Although not with me, my baby lives. (p. 234)

    For this child I prayed; and the Lord has granted me the petition that I made to him. 1 Samuel 1:27

    Thank you for reading this. I hope it has brought some food for thought or some comfort to you if you have ever been in a similar situation to mine. May the Lord bless all of you and may He bless all the little children in Heaven and on Earth.
  • Thursday, May 22, 2008

    Catholic Carnival 173 is Up!

    The next Catholic Carnival is now up!! Go check it out, it looks like a good one.

    All the posts are arranged into groups based on the four groups of mysteries of the rosary. Our Carinval hostess also included some links to more info on the rosary.

    I've only had a chance to scan through it myself, but it definitely looks like a good read. Go take a look and read other people's reflections and thoughts on various aspects of our faith and how we live our lives as Catholics.

    Saturday, May 17, 2008

    Home Again

    I'm finally home after my travels to Dayton to speak at a conference. Everything ended today around 12:30pm and we arrived back in Lexington around 4:00. Now I'm home for about a week and then we leave for vacation.

    By the time June arrives I'll be happy to be home for a long stretch!!

    Nothing much exciting to tell about the conference, all librarian stuff, so I won't bore all of you with it. I will say that I was so excited to finally hear a speaker whose writings I have read since Library School and his talk was as good as his writing. It was great to be at a conference with him as a speaker. And to be a speaker myself at the same conference. I never would have imagined that 10 years ago.

    Speaking of which!! I graduated from Library School 10 years ago this month! Wow!! Hard to believe it's been that long. :)

    Thursday, May 15, 2008

    Speaking Engagement Success

    This morning, despite not hearing the alarm go off (oh no!!), I believe I presented a very good session at the conference I am attending. My presentation was called "The Reluctant Supervisor." I was calm and confident and I think (I hope) that came across to my audience. I also think I had a great audience and they laughed some and even willingly participated in an "activity." You usually don't have interactive activities in conference sessions, particularly ones that require you to get out of your seat and move around. So I was grateful that everyone was willing!

    The only weird thing during the presentation was that my Power Point slides kept advancing on their own. I had not set a timer in the show (which I know is possible to do because I have used that feature for other things) but I had not done that with this one at all! So I don't know what was happening. So I kept my eye on the laptop and kept moving back when it would jump ahead of me. Then at some point it decided to back up!! So the computer had a mind of its own today!!

    But I took it in stride and we got through the presentation fine. I even had several questions at the end. Several people seemed sceptical of some the meeting model that I use, but I kind of expected that. Plus I have come to realize in preparing this presentation that I have only scratched the surface of this topic. I'm very interested in going deeper, doing more research, and possibly surveying the profession somehow on this topic. I may even have a sabbatical project on my hands!! THAT would be awesome!

    Anyway, today was a success. The weather in Dayton is actually chilly and rainy, but I've been inside all day anyway. The food at the conference has been excellent! This is one of the only conferences I attend, maybe the only one, that provides so much of your meals as part of your registration. And it's usually all very good; though this time may be exceptional. We head back tomorrow afternoon following a morning of more sessions. Hopefully the weather will be better for our drive south.

    Trivia question: I'm staying at the Hope Hotel on the Wright Patterson Air Force Base. The hotel restaurant is called Packy's. Anyone know why the restaurant is called "Packy's"?

    Wednesday, May 14, 2008

    Current Travels

    I got to spend three nights at home before taking off again, this time for a work-related trip. I am currently in Dayton, OH for a meeting of technical services librarias. It's an interesting meeting and I go regularly because it's regional and usually not very long nor very expensive.

    So I drove up today, found my way around Dayton some, and went to the opening reception. The opening reception was at the University of Dayton's Roesch Library within which is the International Marian Research Institute. So I took a tour of the Marian Libary which was amazing. They have the largest collection of print materials on Mary, plus an amazing number of Mary statues from all over the world, paintings and prints and all sorts of art work, and they have over 900 creches from around the world. Some of them are on display, but the majority are in storage somewhere. It's hard to store 900 of these. They currently have on loan from a private collector a collection of paper creches. Those were pretty amazing too.

    I also saw a sampling (a very large "sampling") of bookmarks with Mary on them, postcards from Marian shrines and apparition locations from around the world, and lots of mass cards. I had never seen mass cards with lace around them, and some were very ornate. It was quite an experience. The amount of stuff they have there is amazing!!

    Tomorrow the meat of the conference starts. I am speaking during one of the morning sessions and then I can relax. I have barely thought about the rest of the conference program since I've been focusing on my own presentation. Wish me luck!

    Tuesday, May 13, 2008

    A Letter to the Candidates

    All Presidential Candidates,

    Next Tuesday is the Presidential Primary in Kentucky. On that day I will go to the polls to exercise my right as an American and to make my voice heard as a Catholic. This primary season my choices for upholding the values I believe in as both a Catholic and an American are very few. Particularly in the Democratic Party.

    I have always been a registered Democrat but have been very disappointed in the Democratic Party for several years now. For the first time in my life I wanted to switch parties, but because I missed the December 31(!) deadline KY law would have prevented me from voting in the primary at all. So I have remained a Democrat and hope to send a message with my vote.

    Senators Obama and Clinton, your stance on the life issues makes it particularly difficult for me to support either of you in even the most minimal way. How either of you, who both have children of your own, can think that allowing the killing of unborn babies makes you a promoter of human rights is totally absurd. If abortion is not the killing of a child, tell me when you thought of your children as children? Was it not until they had actually been born? If so, what were they before that? At what point was she no longer just cells and tissue so that you could consider her a baby?

    Yes, I know the argument: you personally would never have an abortion yourself but you would never think to deny someone else the right to "choose." I know the argument well and have used it myself. But many years ago I realized how foolish an argument that is. If you want to be a promoter of human rights for all humans, then don't forget the smallest and most innocent of humans: the unborn babies in all stages of development. If you can't guarantee rights for these tiny lives, what's the guarantee that you will support basic human rights for anyone else?

    Just six weeks ago my baby died. To you my child wasn't even a child, because he/she wasn't born yet. But to me and to countless other women who have lost children during pregnancy, these were real children. At only 18 days old these children's hearts were beating, but even before that, from the moment of conception these children were human. Allowing the killing of unborn children because someone has deemed them "unwanted" is not standing up for human rights. It's called murder.

    My baby was eight and a half weeks old when she died. My husband and I named our child Casey Marie. We'll never get to hold our baby and our parents will never know their grandchild. If you feel sympathy for me and my loss then feel sympathy for all the children lost to not only miscarriage or stillbirth, but for the millions of victims of abortion. And think about your own children. Give them a hug and tell them you love them and remind yourself how special they are in your lives.

    Both of you are professed Christians. Thus I leave you with the following Bible passages. Please think about these things carefully. If either of you find yourselves in the White House, it will not be because of my vote.

    Before I formed you in the womb I knew you, before you were born I dedicated you, a prophet to the nations I appointed you (Jeremiah 1:5)

    Your hands have formed me and fashioned me; will you then turn and destroy me? Oh, remember that you fashioned me from clay! Will you then bring me down to dust again? Did you not pour me out as milk, and thicken me like cheese? With skin and flesh you clothed me, with bones and sinews knit me together. Grace and favor you granted me, and your providence has preserved my spirit. (Job 10:8-12)

    my bones were not hidden from you, When I was being made in secret, fashioned as in the depths of the earth. (Psalms 139:15)

    Monday, May 12, 2008

    My Mother's Day and a Special Memento

    Standing by the cross of Jesus were his mother and his mother's sister, Mary the wife of Clopas, and Mary of Magdala. When Jesus saw his mother and the disciple there whom he loved, he said to his mother, "Woman, behold, your son." Then he said to the disciple, "Behold, your mother." And from that hour the disciple took her into his home. (John 19:25-27)

    This past Sunday was Mother's Day as well as the day after my sister-in-law got married. So we were in Bardstown for the entire weekend. Sunday morning as we were packing up to leave the hotel I went to pick up the Mother's Day card for his mother that I had left on a table and I noticed two cards. The top one had my name on it! But I wasn't surprised, because I know I have a wonderful and sweet husband.

    The card was so nice. The message of the card (with an annotation from Chris) was: To my wife ... you fill our home (and heaven) with love. I wanted to cry, well, I did get a little weepy, but that's not a surprise to anyone who knows me. I'll cherish this card forever.

    After breakfast at my in-laws house we headed off to church. During the Prayers of the Faithful, there were prayers for all mothers, for all children, and for all those mothers who have lost children. I felt especially blessed by the last prayer. Following the prayers the priest then asked all mothers to kneel, that's when I hesitated. I just wasn't comfortable kneeling for that last blessing.

    This morning during my Adoration hour I thought a lot about Mary. I once again asked for her intercessory prayers and prayed that my little Casey and all those who have passed on were safe in heaven with our Lord and her, His Mother. As I have said in recent posts, I know my baby Casey Marie is with our Heavenly Mother. As the passage from John above illustrates, Mary was given to all of humanity as our mother and I take comfort in knowing that the best mother in all of God's Creation is watching after my child.

    To top off my Mother's Day I received a special item in the mail today. I ordered a special memento to remember my baby, and I was surprised at how quickly it was made and arrived. Shortly after the miscarriage I was looking everywhere on the Internet for help and support. I happened to run across a website for bereaved mothers and on the site was a link for Memory Bracelets. You can check out the site here: http://www.geocities.com/bmskeepsakes/. Chris and I talked about it, and decided to order a bracelet for me. It didn't occur to me at the time that Mother's Day was right around the corner. The bracelet came today. I was so excited!! Here is a picture of it:

    This was the end of my first Mother's Day. It was a sad day, but it was a happy day too. It's hard to be too sad when the promise of heaven is so amazing! The bracelet I now have is a wonderful memento to the baby that I never got to hold. My baby will be remembered publicly in July. If you're around, we'll be having a Mass said at our church for Casey at 8am on Saturday July 12. I'm looking forward to having the public acknowledgement and be able to celebrate our child's short life with our community.

    Happy Mother's Day to all mothers!!

    Thursday, May 08, 2008

    Weddings, Moms, and Life

    Friday afternoon we are leaving town and driving to Bardstown, Ky for a family wedding. Weddings are such wonderful times! The beginning of a new chapter in two people's lives and the coming together of two families. So we will be joining my husband's family and watching his oldest younger sister get married. Does that make sense? Probably not, but that's okay. I don't have time to explain, it's already late.

    I'm actually very interested in seeing what happens at this wedding. My sister-in-law told us that their priest convinced them to do some parts of the ceremony according to the old marriage rite. I'm not sure what this means, so I'm looking forward to seeing how it differs from our wedding. It should be interesting.

    So, yes another wedding in our lives. It'll be nice to spend an entire weekend with family. We decided not to bother driving back and forth all weekend, so we'll be staying out there. It's kind of like a mini-vacation for us too. I'm looking forward to being away from home for a little while and in a different environment. It'll be nice to be away for a few days.

    And Sunday is Mother's Day! Happy Mother's Day to all the moms out there! We'll see my mother-in-law on Mother's Day since we'll be there for the wedding. But we won't get to see my mom. :( We'll see her in a few weeks, though!

    I received a "Happy (God) Mother's Day" card in the mail today from my Goddaughter! It was such a pleasant surprise!! It was home made too, the best kind!

    I got another special surprise for Mother's Day. Something I initiated, but didn't expect to come to fruition so quickly. I found a woman online who makes bracelets for moms, specifically as mementos for the loss of a child or children. Apparently her business started with bracelets for moms who experienced miscarriage or other pregnancy loss, but has now expanded to all sorts of bereaved moms and other areas. Anyway, I placed an order with her just last night to have a bracelet made for our baby and already I've communicated with her several times today and the bracelet is almost done and might be shipped tomorrow!! I'm stunned at how fast this has been. She told me she's very busy with Mother's Day so close and I kind of feel bad that she felt the need to rush on mine. I didn't need it now, but I'm so grateful that she takes such joy in making these. I can tell by her wonderful emails. The picture I saw of the bracelet looks amazing and I can't wait to see the real thing!! It might be very soon!!

    So that's our weekend!! A wedding, celebrating moms, and just enjoying life. Next week will be a little stressful, but I'll get into that later. For now, I'm trying not to think too far ahead! Enjoy your weekend!!

    Wednesday, April 30, 2008

    Catholic Carnival #170 is up!

    The next edition of the Catholic Carnival is up!! After many months of reading the Carnival I finally decided to participate. Go check out all the wonderful posts from Catholic bloggers from all over the Blogosphere here:

    Catholic Carnival 170

    Happy reading!

    Wednesday, April 23, 2008

    A Name, An Identity

    In my previous post, A Loss and Our Faith, I talked about how our faith has helped us to accept the death of our child. We never got to see or hold our baby and we'll never know if it was a boy or a girl. But despite all the questions, the occasional anger, grief, and sadness, and the loss of life at such an early stage, we know that this was a child of God who was sent to us as a gift, even if it was just for a short time. We'll never know why God chose to end this child's life so soon, but I trust His will and know that my baby is in heaven with Him. In my previous post I listed several items that have been on my mind since our loss. The first was about giving our child a name. Some may find this a strange thing to do, but I couldn't imagine not doing it. Read on to find out why.

    The first time I heard the idea of giving a name to a child who died in the womb was from a book by Kimberly Hahn called Life Giving Love. It is an amazing book and I highly recommend it (very faithful to the teachings of the Church, including discussions on NFP, which was really my first intro to that topic). In part of the book she discusses miscarriage, she had two herself plus has six living children. It has been a few years since I read the book and I don't currently have it handy, but I remember reading that section on miscarriage and pregnancy loss and being blown away by all her insights and everything she went through. She named both her babies in heaven and the family remembers them in their prayers regularly.

    The Sunday after our miscarriage the spot in our church bulletin usually reserved for a letter from our parish rector contained instead an excerpt about Parents and Baptism from the book Together at Baptism by Robert M. Hamma. There was one paragraph that stuck out for me and I wanted to share it here:

    There are few things that parents do that have a more lasting effect on a child than giving a name. There is a time-honored tradition among Christians of naming children after saints or other biblical figures. Although our culture has changed and many people no longer observe this tradition, we still recognize that a name gives a child a sense of identity. Perhaps it gives a child a role model or expresses something of value for the parents that they want to share with their child. Whatever the case, naming a child is an important responsibility and a privilege.

    This paragraph really spoke to me and was there at the exact moment I needed it. Every child should have an identity and it has been important to me that my child always be remembered as a unique individual. I was also struck by the idea of it being "an important responsibility and a privilege" (my emphasis). Wow, it is a "privilege" for me to name my baby! Why would I reject that privilege that God has given me? Although I can't hold or see my baby, I know he was a gift from God and God is giving me this chance to name my child. What an amazing thought!

    We talked a long time about what name to give our child. I wanted something that would work for either a boy or a girl, since we didn't really know what we were having and I didn't want to make any declarations one way or the other. So we did some searching and the one name we really liked of all those we found was Casey. It isn't biblical and it isn't the name of any known saint, but we liked it. So it stuck. The middle name was a little harder. I came up with several suggestions and Chris finally picked out the one that I was most hesitant about, but I like it now. We decided on Marie for a variety of reasons. First, it is gender neutral! Marie, Maria, Mary, etc. are all used for men just as much for women in a variety of cultures (Carl Maria von Weber, anyone!). Chris has some French heritage, so Marie was an appropriate middle name for a boy, and of course, it is most commonly associated in our culture with girls. The other great part of Marie is that it is a name for Mary. The above quote mentions a name being a role model for the child. What better role model could there be than the Blessed Virgin Mary!! And what about the name expressing the parents values; well, Mary is very important to us both as a role model and as our heavenly Mother. I find myself thinking about Our Mother Mary a lot these days. I wonder if as a mother she has a special fondness for all the small children in heaven who died due to miscarriage or stillbirth, and especially for those who were victims of abortion. I need to start including prayers asking for Mary's intersession more often in my prayer life.

    Casey Marie is a wonderful name and I love saying it to myself. I pray for Casey by name now. It brings tears to my eyes during certain parts of the Eucharistic prayers at Mass when I think of Casey. I just love knowing that my child will always have a unique identity and will always be remembered in my prayers and in our family prayers.

    I welcome comments on this topic and would especially love to know what names others have chosen for children they have lost. Oh, and I haven't done it yet, but I am thinking of adding Casey Marie's name to the Book of Life at the Shrine for the Unborn at the Church of the Holy Innocents in New York City. The church prays for all the families and children in the Book of Life at the 12:15pm Mass on the first Monday of every month. What a beautiful thing! I love knowing that my baby is being prayed for regularly. If you want to help them out, they do accept donations to help with upkeep of the Shrine and all that it entails. We plan on making a donation and I may even make it an annual thing in rememberance of Casey.

    Thanks for reading and listening to the ramblings of a still-grieving mother. May God bless all of you!

    Sunday, April 20, 2008

    A Loss and Our Faith

    A few weeks ago my husband and I experienced a loss in our lives. Most of our family and friends that may read this blog already know what happened and I do not plan on going into much detail here. But I am finding that as I learn to get through my feelings of grief, I want to write more. So that's what I'm doing.

    On March 31, I experienced a miscarriage. The baby we lost was 8 and a half weeks old in the womb and was already becoming a big part of our lives. The loss was very hard to take; many dreams were dashed, many happy occasions were already being imagined and those are all gone as well. But slowly we are starting to see the positive sides and we're moving back into our lives, although differently since our lives have changed now in many ways. Though I still have days when I am angry or sad and I want to step away from my normal every day activities, I have more good days than bad and I believe that a lot of that has to do with the faith that my husband and I share. Without it I don't know how we would have survived this experience.

    Over the last few weeks I have had so many different thoughts, most related to how I have used my faith to overcome my grief, how my faith influences how I think of this baby, and so many more things!! I could go on and on about so many different topics that this has inspired in me. And eventually I may touch on them -- in future posts!

    For now, a preview of some of my thoughts, which may become future posts:
    • Naming our baby and why every child should have an identity
    • The church's teaching/understanding of baptism for children who die before they are born
    • Using NFP after miscarriage
    • Striving to be a saint!!
    • Suffering as part of our Christian faith
    • Why supporting the right to life is so important not only for the average person, but for our politicians as well (those who, supposedly, make and uphold our laws and all our rights as citizens)
    • And, maybe I'll go a little deeper on Faith and how it has helped me so much during this trying time

    I could probably go on, but I think this list will do for now. In regard to the first bullet above (a topic I plan on addressing very soon), for those who are curious, we named our baby Casey Marie.

    Please say a prayer for our little Casey Marie, that Our Lord and Our God will protect him and keep him safe and that Our Mother, the Blessed Virgin Mary, will care for him until I can one day hold him in my arms myself. We are blessed to have a child in heaven, our little saint to pray for us and be our heavenly advocate.

    Today's Mass at Yankee Stadium

    No, I did not get to attend the Mass, though what an awesome experience that could have been. We did, however, watch it on TV. Those who were able to attend had been sitting in the stadium since 10am this morning. The "popemobile" came in a little after 2pm and the Mass started around 2:30.

    Even watching it on TV was an awesome experience! To see the Holy Father enter Yankee Stadium and wave at all the people and to see the thousands of people there all excited to be celebrating Mass with the Pope was astounding. It was so moving watching the people's reactions as the Pope made his way around the stadium and to the sacristy (which I think was one of the dug outs).

    At this Mass they also commemorated the 200th anniversary of the Diocese of Baltimore's elevation to an Archdiocese. In addition the 200th anniversary of four other Dioceses in the U.S.: Boston, New York, Philadelphia, and Bardstown (now Louisville); all four were under the metropolitan of Baltimore at the time, although now all four are archdioceses themselves.

    Anyway, During the liturgy of the Word the first reading (from Acts) was in English, the second (from the first letter of Peter) in Spanish, and they chanted the Gospel reading in English. During the Psalm I wasn't paying attention but I think they sung it in a combination of English and Spanish. Later during the Prayers of the Faithful, they had a variety of people come up to give each one and they each read the intention in their own language. I heard English, Spanish, and French for certain. I think there was an African language, some southeast Asian language (I think), and possibly a few others. Again, I think I was not totally paying attention at that point either. Oh, and the Creed was sung in Latin, the universal language of the church.

    His Homily was very good. Benedict has addressed the sex scandal in the church from the past few years several times since arriving in the U.S. last week. Actually, he first addressed it enroute to the U.S. He also met with several victims of the scandal while he was here. During his homily he did not bring it up explicitely but he did mention working against scandals in the church, in a general sense. Other than that, one of the first big topics he addressed was protecting the unborn!! He got immediate and enthusiastic applause for that one (presidential candidates take note!). Other than that, he talked a lot about hope, which of course was the main theme of his whole trip: Christ our Hope. Not only that, but as Chris pointed out when the commentor on TV was talking about how much he addresses the issue of Hope ("he's definitely making himself out to be the Pope of Hope"), his most recent encyclical is also on hope. We also laughed at calling Benedict the "Hope Pope!" He addressed young people specifically at one point, talked about vocations to the priesthood and religious life, and about raising children in the faith and parents as strong role models. He also addressed the crowd in Spanish (for which he got more enthusiastic applause). Apparently the Pope is actually more comfortable in Spanish than he is English, which did seem to be the case when he first started speaking in Spanish. I'd like to go find the homily somewhere and read it again, since I'm sure I missed something. I'll be checking the uspapalvisit.com website soon to see if all his talks from this past week are there.

    The Eucharistic celebration was very cool. It was so moving to see several couples come forward to present the gifts of bread and wine to the Pope. You could tell that they were overwhelmed by the opportunity they had to be in Pope Benedict's presence. During the actual distribution of communion, the camera focused on the Pope occasionally as he was distributing communion to the faithful and it was so moving. The commentators on the TV even were talking about how at this particular point the Pope is like every other priest, and it was a very humbling experience watching him give the Eucharist to the faithful. Maybe humbling isn't the right word, but hopefully you know what I mean. Oh, and they managed to get communion to all 57,000 people and did it all in about 15-20 minutes!! There were priests everywhere!! Apparently they had done several dress rehearsals for this to make sure they could do it quickly and efficiently while still maintaining the reverence damanded of the Eucharistic celebration.

    Although I couldn't be at the Mass in person, it was wonderful to be able to watch it on TV. I was so moved by the whole thing and I started thinking about how cool it would be to attend mass sometime where the Pope was presiding. What an awesome experience it would be. Don't know if I'll ever get that opportunity in my lifetime, but it would be worth it.

    Thursday, April 17, 2008

    Way too long!

    It has been way too long since I have posted anything. I have had tons of stuff going on in my life, but I also have been wanted to talk here about so many things as well. So much to talk about, but so little time. Now that Blue 2.0 is over, I hope to get back to my usual types of posts.

    At the moment, the biggest Christian event in the US is happening this week. The Pope is visiting!! Find out more about his itinerary here: www.uspapalvisit.com. I believe you can get live streaming of the events on that site. I think I also heard that the speeches and such are archived so those can be accessed as well if you're unable to watch them live (like me). I did find an excuse to go to the Main Library on Tuesday and see the Pope land at Andrew's Air Force Base and President Bush meet him there. The Library has a TV in the basement that's always on CNN. It was cool to watch that live!

    I promise that more will be coming soon!! Keep checking back!!

    Sunday, April 06, 2008

    Blue 2.0: Other Social Networkign sites

    Finally, the last Blue 2.0 activity!! Finishing up the Social Networking Activities, I am to also look at some other sites besides MySpace and Facebook. I have actually been a member of LinkedIn for a long time now, but never realized it was a social networking site. The only reason I am a member is because I got sent a message from someone else who joined asking me to join. This was probably 4-5 years ago. I had actually forgotten that I even had a profile up there until about a year or so ago when I got a message from a librarian in Missouri. Since then I have had several other music librarians add me to their list of contacts and people in UK Libraries have found me as well. LinkedIn is supposed to be a way for professionals to get linked together and advertise jobs, share professional info, and so forth. Although I have a profile there, I've never really used it a whole lot.

    I also recently set up a profile on a social networking site called 4marks. This is a social networking place for Catholics. I had been a part of another Catholic site years ago but ended my membership sometime in 2006. I then got an email months later from 4marks inviting me to join; turns out this was a sort-of spin-off site from the previous site I had been a part of. I never bothered looking into 4marks until this exercise came up. So I have set up a profile there, but haven't really had time to explore much of it. I notice that they have an online magazine with lots of articles on Catholic life, they have events around the country, and they have educational classes offered through the site. Looks interesting and I may check it out occasionally, but I probably won't be spending a lot of time there.

    Blue 2.0: Facebook

    The second social networking site I had to look at is Facebook. Comparing this one to MySpace I have to say that this is a much more user friendly site. I used my personal email address rather than my UK address so I was not automatically added to the UK Community. I tried to find it but kept getting the message "Search is not currently available." I also went looking for the "Blue 2.0 at UK Libraries" group and for the same "Search is not currently available" note. So far, looking for any groups or communities are not working for me. Someone said this was fun to use???

    I did find my sister and now have three friends: her, her boyfriend, and someone I know from High School. Otherwise, I haven't really gone looking for anyone else. I've been busy with a lot of things lately and spending time adding friends to a web page seems like a bit of a waste of my time. Maybe when I have more time later I'll see if looking up long lost friends is worth it. As long as the search function works!!

    I did join a group. It's called "My name is Scannell (like flannel)." Several of my cousins are also members as well as a few people I don't know from Ireland and other parts of the US. That was kind of cool to see that site.

    That's all I've done so far. I think once this Blue 2.0 stuff is over I'll definitely be deleting the MySpace profile, but I'm willing to leave Facebook up for now.

    Saturday, April 05, 2008

    Blue 2.0: MySpace

    This last part of Blue 2.0 has to do with Social Networking. So we've been asked to look at a number of social networking sites. The first is MySpace. I have to admit that I did not find this site very user friendly. It took my a long time to figure out how to change my profile look and how to search for friends. I did manage to add a picture of my husband and I taken this Christmas on our front porch. There is still a lot that I guess I could do, but it seems a little too difficult for me to bother with. There are way too many options and links all over the page.

    I did send an email to have the UK Libraries page be a friend. Otherwise, I haven't bothered doing anything else. I don't even know how to point anyone to my myspace page. Oh wait, just figured it out! Wow, that was not very obvious. Here it is if anyone wants to check it out: http://www.myspace.com/kasclar.

    Saturday, March 29, 2008

    Blue 2.0: Podcasting

    In my last Blue 2.0 post, located here, I blogged about photo sites and video sites. I skipped talking about podcasting at that time. So, that's what I'm doing now.

    I have never made a podcast and have no plans on ever doing one. I don't like my recorded voice, plus I don't know that I have much I would want to say that I couldn't just write about. I have heard of podcasting for a long time, but my experience is actually kind of limited.

    For those who don't know what podcasting is it is very much like radio. However, instead of being on the radio you are broadcasting over the Internet. You can listen to podcasts over the Internet, or download them to an iPod so you can listen to them whenever you want.

    The first time I heard the word "podcast" it was from some of my blog reading and it was from the Catholic blogs that I first heard the term. I saw mention of a podcast from Cardinal Arinze. I'm not sure who Cardinal Arinze is exactly but several people were talking about how wonderful his podcasts were. So for this assignment I decided to try and go find them. Unfortunately I couldn't get them to play. I don't have an iPod or an iTunes subscription, so I have to listen to them through the Internet. However, I wasn't able to get the files to work. But I saw the list of recent podcasts (and video-casts) that he's done. He's spoken about JPII's Theology of the Body, Pope Benedict's encyclical Deus Caritas est (which I'm currently reading), and many other topics, from Catholic apologetics to faith questions and answers. I wish I could listen to them! I've heard that they are wonderful!

    It's not exactly a podcast, but I listen to the radio itself frequently through the Internet. I especially enjoy Relevant Radio. I listen to it locally in my car on AM1380 or online when I'm at work. Up until now, this is probably the closest I have come to listening to a podcast. And actually, the local station has to power down some between sunset and sunrise, so the station is difficult to hear at night. Thus, if I want to hear something and the station has powered down, I can still pull it up online and listen to it clearly there. That's definitely a nice benefit of the Internet and radio, especially when you want to listen to a station that has FCC limitations put on it.

    Today, once my searching for the Cardinal Arinze podcasts failed, I decided to just do a search for Catholic Podcasts. I ran into one called CatholicInsider.com. I found the archive of podcasts here. It didn't look like I could listen to many of the older broadcasts, but the 3-4 more recent ones were available. I'm listening to one now in which the priest doing the podcast is in Winnipeg and he's taking a tour of an old cathedral in that area. He's obviously used to doing podcasts, because he's being careful to describe what he sees and where they are and everything. So it's easy to listen and not be able to see where he is and see what he sees. I don't really care for the website itself. It isn't very intuitive (at least not for me) and I don't like that I can't listen to previous podcasts without subscribing through iTunes, which I don't plan on doing. Actually, many of the sites I visited were confusing. I either couldn't listen to the downloads because I didn't have iTunes or the file was not recognized on my machine or the links just weren't there. I found this exercise a little frustrating.

    Podcasts are interesting, but I'm not sure I could get into listening to them on a regular basis. I'm also not sure what the benefits would be to libraries. I still think video tutorials would be much better for students. Personally, I don't think I'll become I regular user of podcasts. At least not while I'm in the dark ages of preferring live radio.

    But before I write it off entirely, I will say one positive thing I discovered recently about podcasts. My husband and I support an organization called the Couple to Couple League. This organization teaches and promotes Natural Family Planning. Recently they have gone through a major overhaul of all their teaching materials, methods, charting materials, and website. Everything was in dire need of updating and the new stuff looks great (we especially love the new charts they made, much easier to use!!). They are also moving to more online stuff than they have had in the past. And one of their online things to be coming soon (according to the recent magazine we got) is podcasts about NFP. I don't think anything is up yet, but I do think this is a good idea. It's a great way for NFP to be promoted and to provide discussions on different aspects of this method. Now that I've experimented some with using podcasts, I am curious to see how easy or difficult CCLI's podcasts will be once they put them online.

    Easter Season

    The blog has been a bit neglected lately. I've been posting occasionally for the Blue 2.0 stuff at work, but I'm getting behind on that too. Things here have been pretty busy lately: work is crazy, I'm trying to tie up loose ends from a responsibility that I just handed over, and I hired two new people at the same time so I'm occupied with lots of training.

    Anyway, just wanted to take a moment to talk about our Easter. For the first time I attended an Easter vigil service. Usually I attend Easter Mass on Easter morning. That mass is a typical mass, just more celebratory because it's Easter. The gospel reading on Sunday morning is usually one of the stories of Peter and the beloved disciple running to find the empty tomb. But the Easter vigil is very different.

    Easter vigil mass must start after sunset and it must be over before sunrise on Easter Sunday. I heard someone standing near me right before the vigil started tell someone else that in her parish in Missouri they start the vigil at 4:00am on Sunday morning! Ours started at 8:40pm Saturday night. This Mass begins outside where they light a liturgical fire and the Bishop blesses the Easter candle. It was very cold, but a very neat way to begin. Once the Easter candle was blessed and we started processing behind it into the church we started lighting the candles we all had from the Easter candle. All the lights in the church had been turned off, so our only light was from the candles, it was very cool.

    Once everyone was inside and back in their seats the service started. The lights were finally put on again and the readings started. Unlike a typical mass which consists of an Old Testament reading, a Psalm, a New Testament Reading, and a Gospel reading, during the vigil mass we hear seven Old Testament readings! They started in Genesis and moved through Exodus, Isaiah, and Baruch (and something else too, probably). In between each Old Testament reading there was either a sung Psalm or a moment of quiet reflection. After either the Psalm or the reflection there was a prayer and then they went to the next reading. The neat thing was that we read through a huge chunk of salvation history by reading so much of the Old Testament. You really can't fully understand the New Testament and the Gospels without reading the Old Testament.

    Once the Old Testament readings were done the Bishop stood and we sang the Gloria. This was a little different. At most masses the Gloria is done at the beginning of Mass (for those who remember this from music history class: it followed the Kyrie in the Ordinary). The weird placement of it in this Mass was because we don't do the Gloria during Lent. Because the Gloria is the praising of the risen Lord, it is skipped during that period of 40 days of solemnity of Lent and brought back joyfully when we celebrate the risen Lord. So, it makes sense at the Vigil Mass to read through the Old Testament and Psalms, and then sing the Gloria before we read from the New Testament. Following the singing of the Gloria we had a reading from the Letter of St. Paul to the Romans and finally the Gospel reading, from Luke I believe, though I can't remember exactly at the moment.

    The Gospel reading was interesting to me. After years of only attending Easter Mass on Sunday I hadn't realized that there was a different Gospel reading at the Vigil. We read in the Gospel of the two women going to the tomb, finding it open and the angel tells them to go tell the disciples and tell them that the Risen Christ will see them in Galilee. Then as they are going back to the disciples, they run into Jesus on the road and he speaks to them. I guess I had never read this part of the Gospel before! I didn't think that anyone saw Jesus after he had risen until later. The reading just really struck me a lot more than it usually does.

    The Bishop's homily was great too! I don't remember all the details but I do remember this one thing clearly. He spoke about how Easter is the beginning of the 50days of the Easter season leading to Pentecost. Pentecost is considered the birthday of the church. Thus, said the Bishop, if Pentecost is the birthday of the church, then Easter can be considered the conception and the 50 days leading to Pentecost is the gestation! Such a powerful imagine!!

    Once the Liturgy of the Word was over we moved into the baptism of new members into the church. It was so cool to be there to see 7 new people enter into the church. The Bishop baptised all of them and then he administered the Sacrament of Confirmation as well. The entire congregation renewed our baptismal vows also. Again we passed around the flame from the Easter candle and renewed our vows holding the light of Christ. This Vigil mass is so beautiful and wonderful in so many ways. The entire life of the church is on display in so many ways!

    After that ceremony we moved into the Liturgy of the Eucharist. The seven people who were just received into the church were now able to also receive the Eucharist for the first time! I can't even imagine how powerful and amazing it was for these people to be baptised into the Church, receive the Holy Spirit in the Sacrament of Confirmation, and receive Christ himself in their first Eucharist all in one day!! How incredible!

    The Vigil Mass ended about 10 after midnight. Chris and I went home but weren't ready for bed right away. So we had some ice cream together and finally got to bed around 1 or 1:30am. Sunday we slept in and then went to Bardstown for Easter dinner. That was our whole Easter Sunday.

    I hope everyone had a blessed Easter!

    Monday, March 17, 2008

    More Blue 2.0: Week 7 & 8

    This next session of Blue 2.0 involves three activities. There are only two I will address in this particular post. The third is something I'm not really looking forward to doing and really have no idea if I can do it. But I'll save that for another time.

    Today, I'm addressing Activity 1 and 3 of the Week 7 & 8 activites. Activity 1 is to create a photo page. Chris and I already have one of these. We use Picassa, mostly because I already have a google account and it's just easier to keep everything under one account rather than creating more accounts on more websites. I've used flickr to look at other people's photos and I personally find it very unfriendly, from at least the standpoint of looking at photos, not necessarily downloading, etc. When we started with Picassa we just had to download something to our computer, which we did at home. Chris actually handled it and he said it was very cool. Once the program was loaded it found all the pictures already on the computer and moved them into files. From there we just had to arrange everything how we wanted it and choose what to actually show to the public and what to keep private. Currently we have pictures from the wedding, our honeymoon, Halloween, my niece's 2nd birthday, and our first Chirstmas together. I also like that I can link to other people's Picassa accounts, have a map indicating locations of my pictures, and I can get alerts when someone I know adds or changes pictures on their Picassa account. It's also very easy to navigate using the links at the top. You can get in and out of albums easily and back to your own album quickly from anyone else's album. This is the complaints I have about Flickr, no easy navigation functions that I can tell.

    Check out our Picassa site here. As for uses in the library, I guess I can see this as a way to display pictures of the various libraries or areas of the libraries. I'm not sure I see too many uses for it that would help patrons, except maybe as a visual aid. I can see someone checking out what the library looks like when they aren't here. But if they are in the library and looking for a particular area, aren't most people going to be looking at signage, not sitting down at a computer to find pictures? It may be a way to store pictures for use in tutorials. Otherwise it seems like more of a fun thing rather than a practical application.

    The third activity is to look at YouTube and search the terms "libraries." Once we do this and find a video we like we are to comment about it. So I did the search and ran into some music library videos. I found one really cute one called DePauw Music Library: Move in a Minute. They apparently had to move their library collection (looks like within the same building) and they filmed the process. The cute part is that they did it with cute music in the style of the silent movie days with everything kind of fast-forwarded and the black screens occasionally with text to let you know what's happening. Also, the black screens even have the wavy, old look to them. Even though the film itself is in color, it still has that "older," less-refined, early movie days look. It's very cute! Check out the link to view the short film.

    You Tube is great for a lot of things. I was pointed to a series of You Tube videos yesterday created by some seminarians for use in marriage-prep courses in Catholic Churches. They were all very cute and humorous, 6 short spots in all. They are done in the style of the PC vs. Mac commercials that I'm sure we've all seen on TV. Only the topic this time was Contraception vs. NFP. Chris and I watched them last night and had a great laugh.

    I can see a lot of good uses for You Tube or other video sites (another one I know of is www.lovetobecatholic.com). I can see using video to record BI sessions and have them available for students who are working independently. You could have a whole series on searching various databases, basic and advanced videos, what librarians do (ALL librarians), and more. This would be a great medium for promoting librarianship!

    Next is podcasting, which I have absolutely no desire to do! I'll see about posting something about this later, if at all.

    Tuesday, March 11, 2008

    Catholics Come Home!!

    There is a wonderful campaign starting and it looks awesome!! I have seen so much recently about evangelization and it just keeps growing!!

    First: my church started a program several years ago called Catholics Returning Home. In the program they take six weeks and discuss various aspects of the church. Unlike RCIA (Rite of Christian Initation for Adults), which is a program for people interested in Catholicism and guides them toward baptism and/or confirmation in the Church, Catholics Returning Home (CRH) is for former Catholics who are interested in taking a second look at the church. Over the six weeks they discuss: stories of faith, Vatican II changes, the Mass and Eucharist, Reconciliation and Sin, and finally, beliefs and "now what?". I have not been involved at all and have no idea what the success rate of the program is. But I would think it would be a success just to get one person back to the Church. It's a great step in the right direction.

    Second: a new national campaign!! This is Catholics Come Home. I have seen it mentioned in my church bulletin and monthly newsletter and I recently saw it come up in discussion on a Catholic wedding site I still participate in. Check out the website, it is very cool!! Also, there is a TV campaign. They are piloting the TV commercials in Phoenix, AZ and Lexington, KY. I caught one of the commercials tonight for the first time and it was a great TV spot. Really emphasized the good that the church has done throughout the world for centuries: largest social programs in the world, creation of the written Bible, hospitals, education, the college system. The list goes on and on. The program looks great and I highly encourage everyone to go check it out. If you're a proud Catholic, there is a way to donate to the program, if you have any interest in the Church at all, check out the various stories and information on this site.

    I have more on this topic, but I'm going to wait and do a new post. I think my further thoughts warrant a post all their own.

    Monday, March 10, 2008

    Play Week with Blue 2.0, Part 2

    I kind of ran out of time during this last 2-week session to complete two activities. Part of that was that the week started just as I returned from a conference and I'm still trying to wrap things up from that. Anyway, I scanned through the remaining optional activities just now and noticed that one was on Advanced Blogging (or "bling" your blog).

    I did add something new to my blog last week. I finally played around with LibraryThing and made a widget to put on my blog. So now instead of juts a list of some of the books I'm currently reading, I have a list of some of the books in my personal library with pictures of the book covers! Very cool. Other things I have done in the past to add some spunk to my blog include:

    1. A ticker at the top (currently a count down to my first wedding anniversary, but previously it was a ticker to the wedding day). You can get your own ticker for all sorts of things (birthdays, baby due dates, how long you've been married, etc. at Daisy Path.
    2. On the side bar, I have a picture of my patron saint of the year. For more information on the Patron Saint of the Year Ministry check out this link.
    3. I also have a little box to the daily readings for each day of the Catholic Church calendar. It's very cool for those days when I may be going to a daily mass, I can read the readings ahead of time through that link and get more out of the mass when I attend. And If I'm not attending I can still read the readings that I know will be used in every Catholic Church around the world that day. I got the widget for the readings from a website called CatholicContent.com which provides all sorts of widgets for your blogs.
    4. I also joined a webring several months ago. It's called St. Blog's Parish and under the Daily Mass readings you can see a link to the Webring. You'll notice that each word or character is an individual link. Some will take you to another random blog in the ring and others take you to more information about the webring itself. Webrings link together blogs that all have a common theme of some kind. The St. Blog's Parish Webring is currently closed (I believe). It seems that it can be time consuming to try and maintain.
    5. Lastly is the LibraryThing widget I added. And I already talked about that.

    That's most of the "bling" I've added to my blog over time. Besides the things mentioned above, I've added other lists to blogs I like, websites of the various groups I'm involved in, and there are links to all my posts through the archive.

    One last thing, I noticed that Encore was on the list of Blue 2.0 things to explore. I just wanted to comment that I have tried using Encore and I don't find it very easy. I don't like that it takes a very broad approach to everything. There are a few nice features, but the things I like are the things that will be incorporated into the next release of the Voyager software we use. If we can get all the same functionality in Voyager, why do we have Encore?