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: 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!!