Tuesday, December 31, 2013

God's Will and the Single Life

I don't often blog about the single life, but I do read about it on occasion. I've been reading The Catholic Girl's Survival Guide for the Single Yearsby Emily Stimpson. I really liked this quote:

The thing is, if God is calling you to a certain job or educational path, it will not get in the way of the husband. Following God’s will in one area can’t block God’s will in another. The missionary trip to China, the MA in theology, the nursing job in Boston—none of those are deal killers to marriage and babies if they (along with marriage and babies) are God’s will for you. In fact, they may be how you get to marriage and babies.

I've had a few suggest my career choices or my location or whatever else I'm doing limit my opportunities for finding a husband. That can be a scary thought, especially since in some cases I've honestly felt like I'm following God's will in making those decisions.

Here's the deal: if we are following God's will, then God's will won't be thwarted. Always seek God's will then, without fear of missing out on something else He has planned for you.

Sunday, December 29, 2013

Feast of the Holy Family

Today we celebrate the Feast of the Holy Family. Readings are here.

I remember being in Mass a few years ago with my father on this feast. The last half of the first reading can provide some entertainment for adult children and their parents:

O son, help your father in his old age, and do not grieve him as long as he lives; even if he is lacking in understanding, show forbearance; in all your strength do not despise him. For kindness to a father will not be forgotten, and against your sins it will be credited to you. (Sir 3:12-14)

I turned to my dad and said, "I guess that means we have to be nice to you, even if you go crazy. God said so."

Perhaps we have the tendency to think that the Holy Family of Mary, Joseph, and Jesus had a nice happy quiet and simple life unlike ours. Perhaps we think they have nothing in common with us. At the very least they wouldn't have the same problems with child discipline everyone else faces. I think we can also assume little risk of Mary entering a hormonal rage once a month. Our lives can certainly feel a whole lot less tidy and easy!

But they didn't have it easy either. Let's not forget one of the first events in the family's life was an angel appearing to Mary. That looks good in the artwork, but angels were so frightening to behold I'm surprised the Bible does not note anyone ever soiling themselves upon viewing one. Next up, Joseph has to contend with the fact his beloved bride to be is pregnant. He may have been suspicious, or he may have believed her story about the angel and was then rightly nervous about helping to raise God's child. There's all that traveling while pregnant to think about, and then of course they had to flee because Herod ordered all the boys slaughtered. Somewhere in there they go to present Jesus at the Temple and hear all sorts of scary and weird things from prophets, and twelve years later they manage to lose Jesus for three days at the Temple. And of course on Good Friday, Mary watched from the foot of the Cross as her son suffered the most horrible death imaginable at the time. Let's not confuse her state of grace with an inability to suffer - those were real motherly feelings she must have been having.

The Holy Family most definitely did not have it easier than us, and they show us how the family can work together to overcome life's problems.

Saturday, December 28, 2013

Feat of the Holy Innocents, Martyrs

Today we remember the children slaughtered by Herod in his attempt to kill off the Messiah.  Readings are here.
Then Herod, when he saw that he had been tricked by the wise men, was in a furious rage, and he sent and killed all the male children in Bethlehem and in all that region who were two years old or under, according to the time which he had ascertained from the wise men. (Matthew 2:16)
This was not out of line with Herod's historical management style.  He had a history of cruelty and executing his own family members.

I learned from Wikipedia that the approximate number of children involved would have been twenty.  The Jewish historian Josephus recorded many of Herod's atrocities, but did not include this one, perhaps due to the relatively small number of victims compared to more his more grand displays of violence.

Friday, December 27, 2013

7 Quick Takes - A Christmas Story Edition

I had an excellent Christmas with my family this past week.  Much merry-making was done, much food was eaten, and much joy was produced.  It was a great Christmas!  We even managed to watch some of A Christmas Story. Which explains the following 6 quick takes. The bottom one includes things you never knew about this movie!

What is your favorite scene from the movie?

For more Quick Takes, visit Conversion Diary!

Thursday, December 26, 2013

Feast of Saint Stephen, first martyr

Today we celebrate the Feast of Saint Stephen, the first martyr of the Christian church.  The readings are here.
Now when they heard these things they were enraged, and they ground their teeth against him. But he, full of the Holy Spirit, gazed into heaven and saw the glory of God, and Jesus standing at the right hand of God; and he said, “Behold, I see the heavens opened, and the Son of man standing at the right hand of God.” But they cried out with a loud voice and stopped their ears and rushed together upon him. Then they cast him out of the city and stoned him; and the witnesses laid down their garments at the feet of a young man named Saul. And as they were stoning Stephen, he prayed, “Lord Jesus, receive my spirit.” And he knelt down and cried with a loud voice, “Lord, do not hold this sin against them.” And when he had said this, he fell asleep. And Saul was consenting to his death. (Acts 7:54-8:1)
This is a slightly expanded version of the end of the readings today.  Saul would later be known as Paul, of course, after receiving his own visit from the Risen Lord.

Who was Stephen?  He is known from Acts as one of the first seven deacons of the church. The Bible offers no information regarding his life before his ordination.
Stephen's life previous to this appointment remains for us almost entirely in the dark. His name is Greek and suggests he was a Hellenist, i.e., one of those Jews who had been born in some foreign land and whose native tongue was Greek; however, according to a fifth century tradition, the name Stephanos was only a Greek equivalent for the Aramaic Kelil (Syr. kelila, crown), which may be the protomartyr's original name and was inscribed on a slab found in his tomb. It seems that Stephen was not a proselyte, for the fact that Nicolas is the only one of the seven designated as such makes it almost certain that the others were Jews by birth. That Stephen was a pupil of Gamaliel is sometimes inferred from his able defence before the Sanhedrin; but this has not been proved. Neither do we know when and in what circumstances he became a Christian; it is doubtful whether the statement of St. Epiphanius (Haer., xx, 4) numbering Stephen among the seventy disciples is deserving of any credence. His ministry as deacon appears to have been mostly among the Hellenist converts with whom the Apostles were at first less familiar; and the fact that the opposition he met with sprang up in the synagogues of the "Libertines" (probably the children of Jews taken captive to Rome by Pompey in 63 B.C. and freed hence the name Libertini), and "of the Cyrenians, and of the Alexandrians, and of them that were of Cilicia and Asia" shows that he usually preached among the Hellenist Jews. That he was pre eminently fitted for that work, his abilities and character, which the author of the Acts dwells upon so fervently, are the best indication. The Church had, by selecting him for a deacon, publicly acknowledged him as a man "of good reputation, full of the Holy Ghost and wisdom" (Acts 6:3). He was "a man full of faith, and of the Holy Ghost" (vi, 5), "full of grace and fortitude" (vi, 8); his uncommon oratorical powers and unimpeachable logic no one was able to resist, so much so that to his arguments replete with the Divine energy of the Scriptural authorities God added the weight of "great wonders and signs" (vi, 8). Great as was the efficacy of "the wisdom and the spirit that spoke" (vi, 10), still it could not bend the minds of the unwilling; to these the forceful preacher was fatally soon to become an enemy.
This is from the Catholic Encyclopedia.  You cant find more information about St Stephen there.

Wednesday, December 25, 2013

Merry Christmas!

Today we celebrate the appearance of God Incarnate.  He would have been actually present nine months earlier, of course, but we throw a big party at His birth.  I'd have more to say here, but I think Luke does it best.
And it came to pass in those days, that there went out a decree from Caesar Augustus, that all the world should be taxed.  (And this taxing was first made when Cyrenius was governor of Syria.)  And all went to be taxed, every one into his own city. And Joseph also went up from Galilee, out of the city of Nazareth, into Judaea, unto the city of David, which is called Beth-lehem; (because he was of the house and lineage of David:) To be taxed with Mary his espoused wife, being great with child.  And so it was, that, while they were there, the days were accomplished that she should be delivered.  And she brought forth her firstborn son, and wrapped him in swaddling clothes, and laid him in a manger; because there was no room for them in the inn.  And there were in the same country shepherds abiding in the field, keeping watch over their flock by night.  And, lo, the angel of the Lord came upon them, and the glory of the Lord shone round about them: and they were sore afraid.  And the angel said unto them, Fear not: for, behold, I bring you good tidings of great joy, which shall be to all people.  For unto you is born this day in the city of David a Saviour, which is Christ the Lord.  And this shall be a sign unto you; Ye shall find the babe wrapped in swaddling clothes, lying in a manger.  And suddenly there was with the angel a multitude of the heavenly host praising God, and saying, 
Glory to God in the highest,
And on earth peace,
Good will toward men. 
And it came to pass, as the angels were gone away from them into heaven, the shepherds said one to another, Let us now go even unto Beth-lehem, and see this thing which is come to pass, which the Lord hath made known unto us.  And they came with haste, and found Mary, and Joseph, and the babe lying in a manger.  And when they had seen it, they made known abroad the saying which was told them concerning this child.  And all they that heard it wondered at those things which were told them by the shepherds.  But Mary kept all these things, and pondered them in her heart.  And the shepherds returned, glorifying and praising God for all the things that they had heard and seen, as it was told unto them.

Friday, December 13, 2013

Flow Charts and Prayer

December is a very, very busy time of year.  I work in the transportation and logistics industry and it goes crazy around Christmas.  There is a lot going on, and frequently we cannot entirely predict how it will go.  As a natural planner, this drives me nuts.  Some things, like my planning numbers, should never change!

This problem at work is rather minor compared to the rest of life.  Crazy things happen there all the time - life is not tidy.  My dad had a partial hip replacement last week.  He's fine, but there were some unexpected problems once they got in there and the surgery took longer than planned.  He's spending more time away from home than planned.  I'm quite certain none of that was on his list of things to do this month.  Unexpected and not tidy!  Tomorrow I hope to go visit him, but don't even know if I can travel due to a very rude ice and snow storm.  Unexpected and not tidy!

I see on Facebook the unexpected and untidy all the time.  There's a family dealing with a crisis.  Nobody plans a crisis.  There's a mom posting about her sick toddler with the fever.  I can't imagine that's very tidy.  One of my friends keeps liking statuses from a man regarding his horrific cancer treatment.  It doesn't seem he was anticipating that showing up right now.

When things like these happen, I really want a flow chart.  This should come as no surprise to those who know me or just read my blog title.  I want a plan.  I want a list.  I want action items.  I want to know what I need to do and in what order to prepare for the well-defined thing that comes next.  I want it to be neat and tidy and planned and expected and explainable and organized.  In my head, I want it to be predictable.

In my class this semester, my instructor discussed the idea that the Bible does not give us a map - it only gives us a compass.  We need prayer to know where to go.  Talking to the God who created this all and can see the whole picture (predictable from His vantage) is the only way to make sense of it all.  And when I pray, I remember that life isn't tidy.  It isn't meant to be.  Jesus' life certainly was not tidy, or predicable.

God promises to guide us, but we must go to Him in prayer.  Jesus prayed frequently and at length.  We may not get a flowchart out of the deal, but the next step will always be clearer and easier to take than without the light of the Lord.  Let us go to Him in prayer!
Thy word is a lamp unto my feet, and a light unto my path. -Ps 119:105
Let us also remember that God had something to do with the path we are traveling.  The God who created the Universe certainly has the power to guide us in the future, but what has happened before in our lives can serve to help us in our current trials.  The path behind us may have helped us to prepare for the path ahead.

Monday, December 9, 2013


Have you read the Pope's new encyclical, EVANGELII GAUDIUM?  I know, it is long.  But so is that novel you read last week, and the media isn't spending as much time on misrepresenting that work as they are on screwing up our faith.  Go, read, learn.  And here's a video from Father Barron on the subject.

Friday, December 6, 2013

7 Quick Takes

Well I have been off for a few weeks!  As mentioned yesterday, I've been busily finishing up a course at John Paul the Great Catholic University.   I completed the required Rosary Journal paper last weekend, and am preparing to study for the final exam this weekend.  The Rosary Journal was quite interesting as it required finding each mystery of the Rosary in the Bible, identifying how it fulfilled something from the Old Testament, and applying it to my life.  It took some time but I really found it to be helpful!

This week was also busy with travel as I visited my dad who had a partial hip replacement on Wednesday.  He broke his leg near the hip last year, and it never healed quite right.  During the surgery, they discovered the hardware they'd installed last year had broke.  If you're like me, you read that and thought "How does steel equipment like that break?"  There may have been some other, less appropriate words in there too.

I'm spending time with him now and he seems to be recovering well from this surgery.  He's making jokes about dancing the Macarena and getting cranky about any suggestion of vegetables (which is normal for him).  We are blessed to be in a Catholic hospital where it certainly appears nuns roam around bringing the Eucharist to Catholics and praying with all the patients.

This was a different surgeon this year and the hope is the new hardware will not break.  With any luck he'll be up and moving around again in a few weeks.  He won't be dancing though - he's not really into that.  Please keep him in your prayers!

CrossFit is going well, and I am well and truly addicted.  I was invited to spend time with a friend's family for Thanksgiving, with dinner Wednesday night instead of Thursday.  I actually asked how late I could get there so I could go ahead and attend my CrossFit class, and then I attended dinner without showering…  The same family has invited me to celebrate Christmas with them a week before the actual date, and I had to talk myself into skipping CrossFit to say yes.  I never used to enjoy exercise!  I don't know what happened!  The guys at work call it the Burpee Cult.

I certainly seem to be improving at CrossFit.  I feel far more comfortable doing the workouts and I rarely think "There's no way.  I'm going to die."  I no longer spend an hour post-workout laying on my living room floor, staring at the ceiling, wondering if I'll be able to move the next day.  And I feel great!  I feel much stronger and more confident and just overall much better.

If you're thinking of shipping anything for Christmas, now would be a good time.  USPS, UPS, and FedEx will all be busiest the week before Christmas.  Right now, you can use ground service with any company and get it there by Christmas.  This would be your cheapest option.  Make sure you get a service with a tracking number though, just in case.

Starting around the 18th, you'll need to go with an overnight or two day service if you really, really want it there by Christmas.  Sure, you could wait until the 23rd and do overnight, but none of those companies can prevent snowstorms.   Snowstorms anywhere in the country can prevent your package from arriving on time, as it affects the whole trucking and flight network for the companies.

Trust me, I know these things.  :)

I went shopping last week on Black Friday.  I know, crazy right?   I know a lot of people hate the Black Friday craziness going into Thursday, but I spent more time with my friends and family with the shopping.  We had a blast!  We were out from 11 PM to 7AM. The key is to arrive at the store 3-5 hours after they open.  By that point all the people willing to wait and possibly fight over the door busters will be gone.  I went to Sears, JC Penny, Kohl's, Best Buy, and Target without waiting in line at any of the stores.  Starbucks had the only line.  We did accidentally end up at a store when it opened.  I went in, I went out.  It was CRAZY.

Aside from that it was a pretty calm night.  There was one fight at the mall, but it appeared to be unrelated to the specials.  Two teens got into a fist fight outside the candy store.  Footlocker dropped their door in response to the "incident," and I watched an out of shape mall cop try to run.

Winter Storm Cleon is making its way through the country.  I didn't even know it had a name until I started watching the news, who was ALL OVER this story.  On the way to the hospital yesterday we saw a TV van camped out filming the intersection of two major roads.  This was hours before the storm was to hit.  They were still sitting there later when we drove home waiting for the snow.  How would you like to be that reporter and camera guy?

Random movie reviews!  I saw Ender's Game and Catching Fire recently.  Ender's Game was great, so long as the viewer understands they can't actually follow the book.  They can't.  It will be okay.  There's just no good way to cover the time covered in the book.  Ender couldn't grow up that fast.

Catching Fire was awesome!  It was probably my favorite book of the series, and I am in love with the movie.  I want to see it again in the theater.

For more Quick Takes, visit Conversion Diary!

Thursday, December 5, 2013

And I'm back...

I know, I disappeared for awhile.  The problem isn't that there's nothing to write about - I have a stack of links and emails to myself on topics to put here.  I just can't find time to write.

I'm finishing up the Introduction to Scripture class I've been taking at the John Paul the Great Catholic University.  I have absolutely loved this class.  I've learned so much from the reading and the lecture, and I can't wait to take Introduction to Scripture II starting in January.  If you ever have the chance (and time and money of course), I would definitely recommend this course.  They also have a free series on Catholicism you should check out otherwise - Pillars of Catholicism.

Well now that we're here, let me go ahead and give you ALL those links I've been saving up, just for you!

Nine Ways the Eucharist is Hidden in the Old Testament.  I sometimes hear Catholics wondering about the Eucharist, and I think if we better educated ourselves we'd feel more firm on this topic.  All topics, actually.  Are we letting laziness prevent our complete understanding of our faith?

50 Ways to Talk to God.  This is a wonderful blog entry for anyone who has ever struggled with prayer.  They always tell us to find time to pray, but what if we don't know how to get started?  Check out this list for Advent.

Ever heard that the Gospels must have been written after AD 70 because Jesus predicts the destruction of the Temple?  How else would He know about that, right?  While a convenient theory, it totally dismisses His divine nature.  There seems to be a lot of liberal analysis on the Bible that permeates our culture and even what we hear at church, and I find some of the logic used to date various books to fall into this category.  Apparently I'm not the only one.  Dating the New Testament.  Don't let anyone tell you we know for sure that Matthew didn't write his Gospel or Paul didn't write his letters or that Jesus didn't know the Temple would be destroyed.

In the totally unrelated section, we have Stress: It Could Save your Life.  I thought this was interesting. "In people who don’t see stress as a health threat, stress does not appear to increase mortality."

The Teenager Who Saved a Man with an SS Tattoo.  I'd never heard of this story out of Michigan from 1996.  What a great news item, and what a brave teen.

For Shame: I Make Jesus Sleep on My Couch.  What would our houses look like if space was allocated based on time spent doing any activity?  How big is your bedroom?  How big is your kitchen?  Where is Jesus?

You know how I love me some math and charts.  The last link was pretty cool - using math to come up with a spatial analysis.  This article has charts!  The Atrocities of Theism and Atheism Compared.  Hey!  Here's a surprise.  Theism is not actually the cause of more deaths than anything else.

A Sailor's Dying Wish.  This is just a nice story about a Pearl Harbor veteran and some awesome sailors.  Get a tissue.

Why is Jesus Bleeding?  Yeah.  Read this too.  Why IS Jesus bleeding?  Our salvation was not always a pretty thing to look at.

Oh!  Introverted people, how I love you.  From afar… we don't need to talk.  Here are some Signs You're a Catholic Introvert. "You like the Extraordinary Form of the Mass because prayer is easier for you when it involves zero eye contact with other people. The priest faces the altar, no sign of peace … equals introvert bliss."

Wednesday, November 6, 2013

Really Great Video

This is a great video.  I stopped what I was doing to post it here it is so good.  I found it at Aggie Catholics.

Friday, November 1, 2013

7 Quick Takes

This week in my Intro to Scripture class at JP Catholic, we learned all about the connections between the Davidic Kingdom and Jesus and the Kingdom of God.  I'd heard that before of course, but it really opens up the Gospels in a whole new way.  There's always something to learn about the Bible and it just makes it more and more amazing.

I remember when I first started reading the Bible I assumed it would be like reading the Lord of the Rings.  It is about the same size.  I figured I'd read it once or twice, check out some information on the internet, and be good to go.  The truth is I have yet to find anything I can't explore more.  I've forgotten 100 times more of what I've learned than what I can even retain, and I can only imagine that there is a thousand times more I'll never know.

The long story short:  I'm really loving this class and I'm loving the Bible more and more!

CrossFit is still amazing.  The coaches remember my goals and ask me about them every week.  My classmates also remember my goals and encourage me.  They'll even do it in the middle of a workout.  I can't even think about my own goals in the middle of a workout!

Starting Nanowrimo today!  Well, I cheated.  I started yesterday...  Or the day before.  This time, I'm writing about the same book I was writing last time!  There will be thrilling drama!  Some humor!  And the world will be saved!  Not necessarily ours.

As I write this, we are sitting here awaiting Trick or Treaters.  In honor of the faithful departed, I am eating candy.  I can't convince anyone else to share that with the little trick or treaters.  "Here's your candy, in honor of all the dead people she knows."   I suppose that could be awkward.

The other recommendation was to say "Don't be a pagan."

I went ice skating for the first time ever last weekend.  I liked it so much I went a second time.  I liked that so much I bought skates.  The funny thing is I don't really know how to skate.

Apparently it is really good for your health and fitness.  My food and calorie tracker says I expend 300 calories per hour.  I did the research, and in an hour I can skate around 6 miles!

You may have already seen this, but I got a huge kick out of this video this week.  Take a few minutes and take a look!

Last Friday was the best Friday ever at work.  We had a random guy show up and start talking to the service agents.  He acted weird and said his aunt worked there.  She doesn't.  Finally he left and wandered around the parking lot before going and sitting in a Prius in the employee parking.  The agents called the police and we locked down the building.

The police showed up and asked him to get out of the car.  He ignored them.  They told him to get out of the car.  He ignored them.  They yelled.  He finally got out and looked like he was going to comply, and then he took off running.  10 feet later, they nailed him with a Taser.

It turns out he had stolen the Prius earlier and was high.

The great thing about this was we were just feet away in a conference room with tinted windows.  We all sat inside and watched while the whole thing went down.  It was like Christmas.  Not the Incarnation aspect of course, but more like the secular gift giving part.

For more Quick Takes, visit Conversion Diary!

Wednesday, October 30, 2013

An Update and Some Links

Next month, I will again be attempting to write 50,000 words in 30 days as part of Nanowrimo.    I have never before succeeded, but I don't let pesky things like that stand in my way.  I will keep you updated as time goes on!

Here are some links you might find helpful as we pursue the week!

15 Tips to Help Your Prayer Life

Cardinal Dolan's 10 Step Guide to Holiness

Small Acts of Simple Faith

What Every Catholic Needs to Know about Vatican II

Prayer as Warfare

Friday, October 25, 2013

7 Quick Takes

You probably think I'm a well organized person with a perfectly planned blog.  It would make sense, given my profession.  Sadly, you are wrong.  I rarely know what I'm going to do for 7 Quick Takes until I write them, and sometimes not until after.  Today I've decided to use the ten minutes I have to tell you about some of the awesome things I've learned (or relearned) at JP Catholic in my Intro to Scripture class.  Some of these may be full blog posts later, so stay tuned!

I've learned a lot about how Jesus actually existed.  Of course I knew He did exist because I believe He did and He's the Son of God, but I've learned a lot about the arguments for His existence outside any Christian school of thought.  Non-Christian writers and historians wrote about Him, and it is almost impossible to believe He's just a figment of the apostles' imagination.

Did you know there's been disagreement over the order of the Gospels?  For most of history we have thought Matthew was written first.  All the early Christians write about it being written first.  Here lately several have decided Mark was written first.

Then again, several think the Gospels had to be written after 70AD because otherwise how would they have been able to foretell the destruction of Jerusalem?  Aside from that whole God angle, that is.  I now know arguments in favor of a date before 70AD inherent in the text.

I love how Jesus accomplished His mission in the most unexpected ways.  During the temptations, Satan offered everything that we might want or might think the King of the World would need.  Feed the hungry.  Be invincible.  Be in charge!  And instead He goes off to die on a cross.  This is not how we would have planned it.   But look at how amazing the outcome is!  I need to let Jesus be in charge of the planning.

It had never crossed my mind how linked Jesus' baptism is with Jesus' death, aside from they both occur in His life.  They're like massively linked and the implications for our own baptism and resurrection are wonderful!

 I've always been a fan of Mary of course, and I've read all about the Immaculate Conception and Assumption, but I've never had it all click together until now.  Just this week the lecture included a long section about Mary as the Ark of the New Covenant.   I'd heard that before too, but now I can find it.  Luke and John clearly wanted to identify her as such.  It isn't just some additional idea later came up with by pious Catholics.

I'd never thought about how entirely odd it is that an angel appears to Zechariah, a righteous man and a priest, in the temple of all places, and he totally didn't believe it.  Out of all the places and all the people you'd expect an angel to appear to, a priest at the temple has to be high on the list.  He's even a good guy - it says so right there in Luke.  This isn't some random jerk who just likes to be in charge.  Meanwhile the peasant girl is all like "Yes."

The final thing I've learned I'd like to share is how much I really love all this.  I really enjoyed reading the Bible before, but the more I dig the better it gets.

For more Quick Takes, visit Conversion Diary!

Sunday, October 20, 2013

Yay Sunday!

Today is the 29th Sunday in Ordinary Time.  Readings are here.

Last night, we celebrated the Rite of Acceptance in RCIA at the afternoon Mass.  The candidate I am sponsoring is a wonderful lady, dedicated to finding the will of God.  I'm blessed to be able to help her on this journey.  Will you pray for her and the rest of the candidates and the catechumens?

The readings today start with Moses and Joshua taking on Amalek.  The armies of Amalek had not been kind to Israel, and would attack the rear of the Israelites and kill the weak and ill that could not keep up.
17 Remember what Amalek did unto thee by the way, when ye were come forth out of Egypt; 18 How he met thee by the way, and smote the hindmost of thee, even all that were feeble behind thee, when thou wast faint and weary; and he feared not God. ~Deu 25:17-18

Friday, October 18, 2013

7 Quick Takes

Make sure to check out all the other great entries this week at ConversionDiary.com!

In last week's Quick Takes, I focused on things I have learned about CrossFit.  I have not learned seven new things, but wanted to update readers that my original assumptions regarding what it might feel like to tear one's palms while doing pull ups were incorrect.  First, I thought this would not happen with gloves.  But it can!  If the gloves are slightly too big.  Second, I thought I'd be able to tell when it happened.  It hurt pretty much the whole time, so I don't know when it happened.  Third, I had assumed liquid bandage did not A) hurt or B) fall off easily from the hands.  All of these ideas - WRONG.

Fear not, faithful readers.  While I do have pictures, I will not post them here.

I've started my coursework at John Paul the Great Catholic University, beginning with Introduction to Scripture I on a track to get a Certificate of Catholic Theology.  I am really loving the class!  I did forget how much time a college class takes though.  I read a lot!  It helps I can download the lecture to my phone and listen to and from work.

You can do a video course online through this school called Pillars of Catholicism.  That's actually how I found them.

I'm helping out as a sponsor with RCIA this year.  Tomorrow, the lady I'm sponsoring does the Rite of Acceptance.  She's decided she wants to continue the path to becoming Catholic, which is kind of astounding considering who she got stuck with as sponsor.  I feel like I've been slacking!  Pray for her as she continues this journey.

I went hiking last Saturday with a Meetup group.  It was a lot of fun and I met some new people!  This was my view at lunch.

I have found this week I've suddenly become busy enough I make a mess of the kitchen faster than I get it cleaned.  There's no point to this Quick Take, except to say if you're coming over to my house you have been warned.

What do people do to sleep when they workout in the afternoon?  I workout from 4-5 three times a week and cannot go to sleep until midnight or later on those days.

Last weekend I also went to a Pumpkin Patch with a wonderful family and their wonderful three year old.  I have to say it was more fun than the hiking!  I climbed and jumped and played all over everything - a feat I must blame on my recent working out.  That's why I don't mind the torn up hands or the lack of sleep.  I felt ten years younger and able to play!

For more Quick Takes, visit Conversion Diary!

Tuesday, October 15, 2013

Blessed are they

In Pope Benedict's book, Jesus of Nazareth, he discusses the Beatitudes.  I highlighted a section relative to this one in particular:
Matthew 5:10  Blessed are they which are persecuted for righteousness’ sake: for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.
Pope Benedict says
The people who are persecuted for righteousness' sake are those who live by God's righteousness - by faith.  Because man constantly strives for emancipation from God's will in order to follow himself alone, faith will always appear as a contradiction to the "world" - to the ruling powers at any given time.  For this reason, there will be persecution for the sake of righteousness in every period of history. 
This caught my attention at this time in this place because of the subtle and not so subtle ways we are persecuted for our faith.  I often find myself asking why that happens and grow frustrated when it feels like those in power are against us.  It isn't an oddity though - this is perfectly normal behavior for the world.  We are the odd ones.  We are the ones out of place.  And we always will be.  May we always live up to it!

Sunday, October 13, 2013

Sunday Sunday!

Today is the 28th Sunday in Ordinary Time.  You can find the readings here.  I always find that Mass goes better if I've read the readings ahead of time, and even better if I've researched them ahead of time.

Let's look at what happens before the first reading.  This is from 2 Kings 5.
Now Naaman, captain of the host of the king of Syria, was a great man with his master, and honourable, because by him the LORD had given deliverance unto Syria: he was also a mighty man in valour, but he was a leper. And the Syrians had gone out by companies, and had brought away captive out of the land of Israel a little maid; and she waited on Naaman’s wife. And she said unto her mistress, Would God my lord were with the prophet that is in Samaria! for he would recover him of his leprosy. And one went in, and told his lord, saying, Thus and thus said the maid that is of the land of Israel. And the king of Syria said, Go to, go, and I will send a letter unto the king of Israel. And he departed, and took with him ten talents of silver, and six thousand pieces of gold, and ten changes of raiment. And he brought the letter to the king of Israel, saying, Now when this letter is come unto thee, behold, I have therewith sent Naaman my servant to thee, that thou mayest recover him of his leprosy. And it came to pass, when the king of Israel had read the letter, that he rent his clothes, and said, Am I God, to kill and to make alive, that this man doth send unto me to recover a man of his leprosy? wherefore consider, I pray you, and see how he seeketh a quarrel against me.

And it was so, when Elisha the man of God had heard that the king of Israel had rent his clothes, that he sent to the king, saying, Wherefore hast thou rent thy clothes? let him come now to me, and he shall know that there is a prophet in Israel. So Naaman came with his horses and with his chariot, and stood at the door of the house of Elisha. And Elisha sent a messenger unto him, saying, Go and wash in Jordan seven times, and thy flesh shall come again to thee, and thou shalt be clean. But Naaman was wroth, and went away, and said, Behold, I thought, He will surely come out to me, and stand, and call on the name of the LORD his God, and strike his hand over the place, and recover the leper. Are not Abana and Pharpar, rivers of Damascus, better than all the waters of Israel? may I not wash in them, and be clean? So he turned and went away in a rage. And his servants came near, and spake unto him, and said, My father, if the prophet had bid thee do some great thing, wouldest thou not have done it? how much rather then, when he saith to thee, Wash, and be clean? Then went he down, and dipped himself seven times in Jordan, according to the saying of the man of God: and his flesh came again like unto the flesh of a little child, and he was clean.

And he returned to the man of God, he and all his company, and came, and stood before him: and he said, Behold, now I know that there is no God in all the earth, but in Israel: now therefore, I pray thee, take a blessing of thy servant. But he said, As the LORD liveth, before whom I stand, I will receive none. And he urged him to take it; but he refused. And Naaman said, Shall there not then, I pray thee, be given to thy servant two mules’ burden of earth? for thy servant will henceforth offer neither burnt offering nor sacrifice unto other gods, but unto the LORD. In this thing the LORD pardon thy servant, that when my master goeth into the house of Rimmon to worship there, and he leaneth on my hand, and I bow myself in the house of Rimmon: when I bow down myself in the house of Rimmon, the LORD pardon thy servant in this thing. And he said unto him, Go in peace. So he departed from him a little way.
Now we know more of the story when we go on Sunday!

Did you know the first reading and the Gospel reading are linked?  They go together.  Often the second reading goes well too, but for the most part that just goes in order through the letters.

Friday, October 11, 2013

7 Quick Takes - CrossFit edition

If you came here expecting 7 random things about how better to surrender to God, I apologize.  Those posts are on different days.  This post is all about 7 things I have learned about CrossFit in the whopping two months I've been doing it.

Burpees suck.  They make the rest of the workout look doable in comparison, and every stage of the workout is measured by how many more burpees to go.  Oh sure, you'd think it be easy.  Fall down, get back up.  Getting back up is a lot harder after like the 5th rep, and falling down becomes dangerous if you're so tired you don't control your head and do a literal faceplant.  This is even better if your box (what they call the gym) has that industrial black workout matting that makes it apparent to everyone you either just stopped your body with your chin or the priest on Ash Wednesday missed your forehead by quite a bit.

The first rule of CrossFit is everyone you know must know you are in CrossFit.  I had this impression before I began, and had decided I would not be like that.  Crazy people.  There's no need to randomly drop what gym I go to in everyday conversation.  And yet here I am, blogging about it.  The Kool-Aid comes in multiple flavors, and is hard to ignore.

People, especially on the internet, either LOVE LOVE LOVE CrossFit or HATE HATE HATE CrossFit.  I'm talking the kind of passion normally reserved for political arguments, disagreements over how best to discipline children, and debates regarding what Pope Francis really said in his interviews.  CrossFit is either the best thing ever invented in the HISTORY OF EVAH, or it is the most ridiculously dangerously excessive thing you could do to yourself all while setting a horrid example for your children (who you won't be able to provide for when it kills you).  You will either have a wonderfully fulfilling life or ALL of your muscles will explode at random while working out.

Okay, well, most of the people aren't quite that bad.  But seriously - those with opinions have them.

The people there are ridiculously friendly and learn your name (or try to) immediately.  They're very encouraging, no matter where you are in your fitness level.  There is a standard though and they will correct you if you fail to attain it.   It is a little like how church should be.

I can do more than I think I can.  When I started in August, I could not bring myself to even try a box jump to a 20" height.  I had visions of catching my toes on the edge, banging my shins and knees on the top of the box, and doing a face plant into that lovely black flooring on the opposite side.  I came home that night and taped a ribbon across a door at 20" and then jumped over it several times.  Two classes later, I did my first box jump.

You'd think at that point I'd be good to go, but no, the doubt again interfered and since that day I've been stepping up on the box each time the workout called for box jumps.  This Tuesday, encouraged by another member in my class, I tried again.  Eight box jumps later I was without any scuff marks on my shins or my face!

If you're going to catch a wall ball with your face, turn your head so it doesn't hit your nose.  Laugh like you did it on purpose.

I feel amazing.  The type of amazing that makes you stop weighing yourself and just smile when you feel an actual muscle in your arm.  The type of amazing that makes you not want soda anymore.  The type of amazing that improves posture, health, and self confidence.  I seriously love the results I'm seeing in the mirror, in how I feel, and in how I think about myself and my capacity for challenge.

For more Quick Takes, visit Conversion Diary!

Thursday, October 10, 2013

Isaiah 53

Who hath believed our report?
And to whom is the arm of the LORD revealed?
For he shall grow up before him as a tender plant,
And as a root out of a dry ground:
He hath no form nor comeliness;
And when we shall see him, there is no beauty that we should desire him.
He is despised and rejected of men;
A man of sorrows, and acquainted with grief:
And we hid as it were our faces from him;
He was despised, and we esteemed him not.
Surely he hath borne our griefs,
And carried our sorrows:
Yet we did esteem him stricken,
Smitten of God, and afflicted.
But he was wounded for our transgressions,
He was bruised for our iniquities:
The chastisement of our peace was upon him;
And with his stripes we are healed.
All we like sheep have gone astray;
We have turned every one to his own way;
And the LORD hath laid on him the iniquity of us all.
He was oppressed, and he was afflicted,
Yet he opened not his mouth:
He is brought as a lamb to the slaughter,
And as a sheep before her shearers is dumb,
So he openeth not his mouth.
He was taken from prison and from judgment:
And who shall declare his generation?
For he was cut off out of the land of the living:
For the transgression of my people was he stricken.
And he made his grave with the wicked,
And with the rich in his death;
Because he had done no violence,
Neither was any deceit in his mouth.
Yet it pleased the LORD to bruise him; he hath put him to grief:
When thou shalt make his soul an offering for sin,
He shall see his seed, he shall prolong his days,
And the pleasure of the LORD shall prosper in his hand.
He shall see of the travail of his soul, and shall be satisfied:
By his knowledge shall my righteous servant justify many;
For he shall bear their iniquities.
Therefore will I divide him a portion with the great,
And he shall divide the spoil with the strong;
Because he hath poured out his soul unto death:
And he was numbered with the transgressors;
And he bare the sin of many,
And made intercession for the transgressors.
I just wanted to share this again.  In case you'd forgotten.  I'm finishing up Isaiah this week and I always read and re-read this chapter many times on my way through.  Even with minimal knowledge of the Bible, it has always been easy to see how this lines up with Jesus.  And the more I learn, the better it becomes!

Do you think He mentioned this portion of Isaiah on the Road to Emmaus?
Then he said unto them, O fools, and slow of heart to believe all that the prophets have spoken:  Ought not Christ to have suffered these things, and to enter into his glory? And beginning at Moses and all the prophets, he expounded unto them in all the scriptures the things concerning himself.
Luke 25:27
I just love this chapter.  Thank God for our Lord Jesus Christ!

Tuesday, October 8, 2013

Smart does not equal Saved

Did you know that this:
Matthew 4:6 And saith unto him, If thou be the Son of God, cast thyself down: for it is written, He shall give his angels charge concerning thee: and in their hands they shall bear thee up, lest at any time thou dash thy foot against a stone.
References this:
1 He that dwelleth in the secret place of the most High
Shall abide under the shadow of the Almighty.
2  I will say of the LORD, He is my refuge and my fortress:
My God; in him will I trust.
3  Surely he shall deliver thee from the snare of the fowler,
And from the noisome pestilence.
4  He shall cover thee with his feathers,
And under his wings shalt thou trust:
His truth shall be thy shield and buckler.
5  Thou shalt not be afraid for the terror by night;
Nor for the arrow that flieth by day;
6  Nor for the pestilence that walketh in darkness;
Nor for the destruction that wasteth at noonday.
7  A thousand shall fall at thy side,
And ten thousand at thy right hand;
But it shall not come nigh thee.
8  Only with thine eyes shalt thou behold
And see the reward of the wicked.
9  Because thou hast made the LORD, which is my refuge,
Even the most High, thy habitation;
10  There shall no evil befall thee,
Neither shall any plague come nigh thy dwelling.
11  For he shall give his angels charge over thee,
To keep thee in all thy ways.
12  They shall bear thee up in their hands,
Lest thou dash thy foot against a stone.
13  Thou shalt tread upon the lion and adder:
The young lion and the dragon shalt thou trample under feet.
14  Because he hath set his love upon me, therefore will I deliver him:
I will set him on high, because he hath known my name.
15  He shall call upon me, and I will answer him:
I will be with him in trouble;
I will deliver him, and honour him.
16  With long life will I satisfy him,
And shew him my salvation
I brought up Psalm 91 in Logos as Pope Benedict references it in Jesus of Nazareth.  He is linking it to the temptation story in Mathew and Luke, so I already knew the connection.  But it is still cool my software links so well.

That isn't the point of this post.  Satan uses the Bible to tempt Jesus.  Satan is a scripture scholar of the highest degree.  Pope Benedict goes elsewhere (and much deeper) with his analysis, but I try to see this as a reminder that brains alone won't get you anywhere but trouble.  A relationship with God is the only thing that will prevent us from becoming awesome scripture scholars who work for the Father of Lies.  I find this to be especially important for me, as I love studying the Bible but fail to pray as much as I ought.  What a probable pitfall!
5  Trust in the LORD with all thine heart;
And lean not unto thine own understanding.
6  In all thy ways acknowledge him,
And he shall direct thy paths.
7  Be not wise in thine own eyes:
Fear the LORD, and depart from evil.
(Proverbs 3:5-7)

Friday, October 4, 2013

Father Barron Comments on the Pope Francis Interview

7 Quick Takes - Welcome October!

I was sitting down to write random things and I realized it is time for 7 Quick Takes Friday at Conversion Diary.   Yay 7 Quick Takes!

It has been a bit of a time since my last blog post.  Since then, I've done enrolled in a Certificate of Catholic Theology course!  Woo hoo.  It starts soon.  I'm very excited about it and have been reading the required texts ahead of time.  That's how happy I am! 

(Don't worry Dad, I'll use proper grammar for any papers I do there.  Promise.)

I think the last time I posted, there was a picture of a deer.  I went back and saw FIVE deer the next time.

Also since the last blog update, I purchased some amazing Bible software, Logos.  They have a Catholic specific package, Verbum.  A little pricey, but it is amazing stuff!  Everything is linked together, so when you read the Catechism it will link to other texts from the Bible to early Church history.  I can pull in the lectionary and fully research Sunday's readings ahead of time, spanning from early commentary to later commentary.  There are also graphs, which you know makes me happy.

Have I mentioned I started CrossFit?  I mention it now because it is sure to come up again and again.  I had rejected the idea of joining it in January, when I told my doctor "It just seems a little excessive."  And it is. In a good way.  It is my new most favorite cult ever.  Where else do you pay to go be miserable and get smacked in the face with a 10 lb wall ball and actually be happy about it?  It is insane.  And awesome all at the same time. 

I've been stalking all the top athletes on YouTube.  I bought a book that will help increase my mobility - a term I'd not actually heard of two months ago.  I am going to reward my participation with more gym clothes.  Clearly a cult!

Seriously, I sent the following FB message to a close friend just last week:
Will you tell me if/when it goes from "It is cool Julie found a new hobby that improves her health and mental well being all while preparing her for the future" to "someone needs to tell Julie she isn't actually an awesome athlete, she's spending too much time/money on a hobby that she's overdoing and hurting herself and her relationships with, and/or that she seems to care more about her hip flexibility than she does the resurrection?"

Everyone is all crazy over Pope Francis and the ridiculous coverage the media gives him.  Which is to say he gives a 12,000 word interview and they badly misquote a single sentence out of context to prove their political agenda.  Here's the perfect cartoon to lighten our anxieties.

Turkeys, turkeys, turkeys!  Boy do I have turkeys!  Last year on Black Friday, I bought three.  Why?  I don't know.  They were on sale.  Also, my company gave me one.  So I have plenty of turkeys.  I made one last Sunday and then used it to make turkey soup and awesome turkey broth.  I leave the carcass and veggies in a crockpot for days to get all the good stuff out of the bones and then freeze the liquid in ice cube trays for easy use later.  I'm going to have a lot of broth!

Go here and read the best obituary ever.  May our own be so glorious someday.

For more Quick Takes, visit Conversion Diary!

Monday, September 9, 2013

Slow Down

I was off last week and made use of the various city parks and nature center.

I don't know if you can see them in the center, but I was just down the trail from what I would say was a deer and its baby.  I was MUCH closer to them but had to move to get out of the way of the runners using the trail.  They either didn't notice the deer or didn't care. 

This made me think.  We were at a nature center which exists so we can appreciate nature, but all the runners and speed walkers were hastily going through, iPods plugged in, ignoring all the nature.  I applaud their fitness endeavors, but what were they missing?

How often do we rush through life, pursuing some "important" thing or activity, and miss out on something amazing?  This planet, this life, exists for a purpose.  Is our focus elsewhere?


I've been listening to a commentary on Romans.  One of the segments was about sacrifice of the OT. It was all very interesting and good, but it randomly (or not so much) made me think about the OT relative to Pentecost while praying the rosary.  The flame coming down on the apostles is much like the cloud of God descending upon the Tabernacle and Temple in the OT.  Which really shouldn't surprise me because we are called the Temple of God elsewhere.  But I had never made this connection!!

The more you know...

Wednesday, September 4, 2013

Reasonable choice

Still working on Jesus of Nazareth by Pope Benedict; still finding great thoughts!  Here's some on the crowd's choice to pick Barabbas over Jesus and send Jesus to death.
Barabbas figures here as sort of an alter ego of Jesus, who makes the same claim but understands it in a completely different way.  So the choice is between a Messiah who leads an armed struggle, promises freedom and a kingdom of one's own, and this mysterious Jesus who proclaims that losing oneself is the way to life.  Is it any wonder that the crowds prefer Barabbas?
He goes on in the next paragraph to ask a question I don't think any of us really want to answer:
If we had to choose today, would Jesus of Nazareth, the son of Mary, the Son of the Father, have a chance?  Do we really know Jesus at all?  Do we understand him?  Do we not perhaps have to make an effort, today as always, to get to know him all over again?  The tempter is not so crude as to suggest to us directly that we should worship the devil.  He merely suggests that we opt for the reasonable decision, that we choose to give priority to a planned and thoroughly organized world, where God may have his place as a private concern but must not interfere with our essential purposes.
How often do we tend to the matters of this world while de-prioritizing God's role in it?  How often are we anxious about this world - that's the first question that comes to my mind when I ponder this question.  Do I trust God, or am I a controlling type who wants to know and control my ultimate destiny?  Do we, on a daily basis, pick Jesus or do we go with the other, more reasonable alternative?

Sunday, September 1, 2013

Jesus of Nazareth

I'm thinking of taking some classes soon, and one of the required textbooks is Pope Benedict's Jesus of Nazareth.  I'm re-reading it now to help prepare for class.

In the forward, he puts forth a good motivation for the book.  There's a wide disconnect between the various versions of Jesus we might encounter from scholarship.
The gap between the "historical Jesus" and the "Christ of faith" grew wider and the two visibly fell apart.  But what can faith in Jesus as the Christ possibly mean, in Jesus as the Son of hte living God, if the man Jesus was so completely different from the picture that the Evangelists painted of him and that the Church, on the evidence of the Gospels, takes as the basis of her preaching?

As historical-critical scholarship advanced, it led to finer and finer distinctions between layers of tradition in the Gospels, beneath which the real object of faith - the figure of Jesus - became increasingly obscured and blurred.  At the same time, though, the reconstructions of Jesus (who could only be discovered by going behind the traditions and sources used by the Evangelists) became more and more incompatible with one another: at one end of the spectrum, Jesus was the anti-Roman revolutionary working - though finally failing - to overthrow the ruling powers; at the other end, he was the meek moral teacher who approves everything and unaccountably comes to grief.  If you read a number of these reconstructions one after the other, you see at once that far from uncovering an icon that has become obscured over time, they are much more like photographs of their authors and the ideals they hold.  SInce then there has been growing skepticism about these portrayals of Jesus, but the figure of Jesus himself has for that very reason receded even further into the distance.

All these attempts have produced a common result: the impression that we have very little certain knowledge of Jesus and that only at a later stage did faith in his divinity shape the image we have of him.  This impression has by now penetrated deeply into the minds of the Christian people at large.  This is a dramatic situation for faith, because its point of reference is being placed in doubt: Intimate friendship with Jesus, on which everything depends, is in danger of clutching at thin air.

Pope Benedict makes the point in the third paragraph there that if we are led into these various theories, we lose sight of Jesus as our Savior.  We don't think we have much knowledge of Him at all.  We spend time pondering all the different versions of Jesus, and I myself feel a lot more comfortable with the version of the 60's era hippie who is more than happy to let me do what I want.  That isn't Jesus though.

Time and time again, the people of Israel found something "better" than God.  This usually took the form of other gods, which they followed and worshipped and which led them away from the true God who created the Universe and all that is in it.   I find it is still easy to do this, especially with our new "gods" of atheism telling us so many lies about ourselves, our world, and our Creator.  I hate to be a conspiracy theorist, but where do these lies come from?  Maybe the father of lies.

Go pick up your Bible and read one of the Gospels.  Don't just skim through it because you've heard it over and over again at Mass.  Read it anew.  Don't try to put Jesus in some 21st century mold.  He's God.  Get to know Him.  I highly recommend this book as well for that purpose.

Wednesday, August 21, 2013

Vatican II

Earlier, I mentioned I had read the Catechism of the Catholic Church as part of this Year of Faith.  That was enormously helpful and educational.  Since then, I have been reading The Documents of Vatican II With Notes and Comments by Catholic, Protestant, and Orthodox Authorities.  It has also been very rewarding, even though I'm only a bit of the way through.

Vatican II has always been a bit of a puzzle to me.  Obviously I was not alive at the time, so everything I've heard has been filtered by others.  While that is true of most anything, people have had incredibly different viewpoints on this council.  Many of the people I've spoken to seem to think that it was a great modernization and liberalization of the church.  Some are happy and some are unhappy about that.

As I've researched it on my own, I've discovered that much of what I've heard has been exaggerated.  The Council documents don't seem to make sweeping changes to the dogma of the Church, at least when I read them.  Maybe I'm not smart enough?

It would appear that some people have taken various ideas and statements out of context or taken them too far away from what was probably intended.  I've read that elsewhere.  It doesn't surprise me.  We do that all the time!

So, long story short, if you have been afraid to study Vatican II, concerned over what you might find, don't be.  It is part of our history and you can only help yourself and your understanding by reading the documents.  I got this book because the reviewers accused it of being super liberal or super conservative, which were major complaints in some of the other versions.

Saturday, August 17, 2013

More on the Eucharist

A while back I posted a video on the Eucharist by Scott Hahn.  He spoke in that video about the fourth cup and its link to the sacrifice of Jesus.  Here's another video focusing on this same topic with more details about this fourth cup.


What are your favorite resources on the Eucharist?

Friday, August 16, 2013

Quick Takes

None today!  I was going to write them this morning, but this was in my crawl space!  It seems to have siblings down there, so if you need a kitten they are there for the picking!

If you are wondering why they need to be removed, my two dogs have noticed them.  I don't think they dislike cats in particular, but these do tend to look like moving chew toys...

Monday, August 12, 2013

Believing God

Some are tempted to believe God does not exist.  We have no purpose here on this planet.  We are no better than the animals.  These people may be tempted by science to conclude this, even though science cannot prove or disprove God's existence.  I would imagine if you're reading this blog you are not in this category.

So let's say you do believe in God - what's the next best thing we can be tempted with?  I'm not CS Lewis and this blog is no Screwtape Letters, but I have to think if we can't be tempted to disbelieve God's existence altogether, doubting bits and parts would be almost as good.  Surely He didn't mean that, or surely He didn't really to this.  These are just ancient rules or ancient myths - God exists but this all is just made up.  We know better than to believe all that, don't we?

Do we?  Do we know better than to doubt the Eternal Word?  Doubt the God who willed the universe into existence out of nothing?  How can we believe in such a God and yet maintain our own intelligence and reason is enough to grasp His breadth and His depth and His wisdom?  Reason is enough to understand God exists, but is it enough to understand God?

We trust the builders of bridges and houses and airplanes with our lives, even though we do not fully understand their craft.  Why would we not trust God with our lives?

Friday, August 9, 2013

7 Quick Takes: Randomness

Welcome, welcome to my random collection of thoughts for Friday!  I find this post the hardest to write each week because I never know what I'm going to say.

I'm writing a novel!  That's not news, really.  I've been working on it for years probably now.  I enjoy world-building and exploring all the options.  Sometimes I even write scenes.  This week I've been enjoying my new novel-writing aid - Scapple.  This program, along with Scrivener, are the reasons why I'd get multiple monitors to go with my laptop.   I want to draw over THERE!  And see what's over HERE!  CHART ALL THE THINGS!  Multiple monitors would limit me in every other way though, so I guess I'll settle for my single screen.

It has been raining here.  And raining.  And then raining some more.  I mean the type of rain that floods basements in houses that don't have basements level of raining.  This apparently has forced one of my dogs to reconsider her essential nature (dog) and conclude she will melt if she exits the deck while it is raining.  This makes the kitchen the safest place to poop by this logic.  Which she did.

Conversion Diary has already explained the awesomeness of the blog Mama Knows, Honeychild.  If you have not gone to the blog, you should head there now.  It is funny in a possibly pee your pants sort of way, and includes far more pictures than my blog does.  I'd like to point your attention to a particular post: I Hate You, Victoria's Secret.

You're welcome.

I'm having friends spend the weekend, which is odd since we most likely will be here at opposing times.  This would normally cause panic, but I've known them for seven years.  They'll be lucky if they get clean sheets.  Have you ever noticed that?  New friends get the best dinner, best napkins, and cheesecake at the end.  Then they come over again, and you switch to the other napkins and offer some ice cream.  After a few years, you're just like "Um, there's no food in the fridge.  If you want chips, help yourself.  Could you feed the dogs?"  At which point they might as well be family, which is just plain awesome.

I joined a local hiking meetup group.  I can't seem to schedule one of the initial easy hikes on my calendar, so the only ones that are left are 7-8 mile excursions into the middle of nowhere in a different state.  That isn't a disaster waiting to happen for an introvert and people she doesn't know...

CrossFit.  Yes, I said it.  I joined it.  I've been to a newbie class and two introduction classes.  I do have to say they are not the crazy cult most of us want them to be since we're kind of jealous of the results.  The instructors have been nice and very focused on good form.  All the rumors about it being hard are true though!  It is all scalable, but you feel encouraged to push yourself.  So I've come home sore each time.

It did not escape my notice that after posting entirely random movie videos last week, I was invited to put a good blog post up on New Evangelists Monthly.  That kind of thing must be what the internet is looking for!  So here is another random movie video of something I'd like to see.

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