Monday, July 21, 2014

Please read, and act.




This tears at my heart, as my own ancestors hailed from Mosul, in what is now Iraq.

The Christian community there is ancient -- nearly 2,000 years old, almost as old as Christianity itself. But this cradle of Christianity may soon be eliminated, as the terrorists of ISIS are now driving out or executing the last Christians still living in the region. Very few people in the western media are watching or reporting, but we need to be aware of what is happening to our brothers and sisters in Christ. They are on the cross and it is agony.


From The Anchoress:

If you want news on this impending genocide, thank God for the Near-Eastern press because the Western leadership hasn’t much to say about it, and the press coverage is rather thin. Nothing like the saturation coverage of the World Cup, or the launch of a Beyonce album.

This is the latest piece I could find from Western media: The last Christians in northern Iraq are fleeing from places where their communities have lived for almost 2,000 years, as a deadline passed for them to either convert to Islam, pay a special tax or be killed.

One of Christendom’s oldest and deepest roots is being ripped from an ancient garden, and many in positions of power, even among so-called “Christian” nations, seem content to let it go unremarked upon and unchallenged.

Perhaps they feel inadequate to the task of pleading on these Christians' behalf.

Perhaps they believe that any engagement in their defense would embroil them in a larger conflict they are unwilling to face — as though mad tyranny will simply burn itself out if left uncontested.

Perhaps they think there is nothing to be done but fling hands to heaven, in which case they expose not only a lack of imagination, but a distinct misunderstanding of time and space, which they want to accept as linear.


Read it all, and five things you can do to help, here:





Pray for the Body of Christ. We are one, and we are suffering.



Friday, July 18, 2014

Quick Takes: More life updates....



-1-

So many life changes lately (you're going to want to read #4), but one that has left me heartbroken is the closing of my younger kids' little Catholic school. We were like family, and now we will all be scattered. I can't even really talk about it.

Surveying all my options, I've decided that beginning next month I will be doing what I said I'd never do again...homeschooling! And you know what? I'm actually getting pretty excited about it! I always say, I can do anything for a year. So, one year at a time, and we'll see what God has in store as we go along.

I will be using Catholic Heritage Curricula, if anyone wants to know. It is clean and simple, which is just my style.


-2-

This fall was to be the first time in 23 years that I would have had no one in the house during the day. I'm not gonna lie; I was looking forward to those many hours alone. Instead, I will have more people in the house than I did last year, and right as I am starting a masters degree program! I dreamed of a quiet, empty house to get my work done and papers written (instead of typing away at night, like I'm doing now, and never getting quite enough sleep). I even dreamed I'd have tons more time for blogging. Ha ha, I am just laughing at God's funny ways. Okay, God, I am sure you know what you are doing! Jesus, I trust in you.


-3-

About five months ago now, my daughter's fiancé (now husband) injured his back. It's been a terrible ordeal, which brought with it a change in his Navy orders among other things. He was able to get through the wedding last month with grit and grace and a transcendent joy, but soon he will be undergoing back surgery to relieve his pain, as months of physical therapy has not done the trick. Would you wonderful people offer a quick prayer for him, his surgeons, and his new bride? We would be most appreciative!


-4-

Aaaaaaaand, since it's already Facebook official, I am ecstatic to announce that the newlyweds are... drum roll, drum roll, can you guess?? ...expecting a baby!!!!!!

YES, I am over the moon, and so are they! And yes it was very quick, just like her older sister, who also conceived a honeymoon baby! I guess it's a tag team thing? Older daughter gets married; nine months later, younger daughter gets married. Older daughter has a baby; nine months later younger daughter has a baby. Thank you for prayers, and for sharing in our joy! It's been a whirlwind of emotions and I am still trying to catch my breath! Thanks be to God for all of it. Including...


-5-

...this:




Here's what I said on Facebook:
The girls' room now stands stripped and mostly empty. Soon to be transformed into a guestroom. My feelings alternate between melancholy and anticipation. It occurs to me that that is the state of every soul as we work our way through this world to the next, no?
In the end, everything really is theological. And it all has meaning at the level of our souls. I am going to miss my daughters terribly. Neither one will be living within driving distance. But there can be found great joy in suffering. It's what we know as Catholics, it's what the saints have taught us, and it makes everything okay.



-6-

Johanne requested more pictures of my adorable and perfect granddaughter Felicity, so here are a few....


She was still pretty skinny and new here, Little Miss Frog Legs, 
being held by one of her many proud uncles!



"Back off, paparazzi!" 
(She was actually sleeping in this suspended animation. Or else she is a mime.)



Hey, what's wrong with a cardigan in July in Phoenix? 
She'll outgrow it by fall, and it's just too cute not to wear.



Wait... you wanted a photo with her eyes open? 
It's tough to get, but here you go. 
She's at her first girls' lunch! 


Isn't she a sweetie pie and the best baby in the world??????? Grandma thinks so!!!



-7-

As many of you know, I reserve Quick Take #7 for the promotion of adoption, mostly special needs and international adoption. Today I want to share with you an amazing series of blog posts by a huge friend of the Bubble (and now a personal friend), Annie, who is in China adopting two precious babies. 



She writes beautifully, her descriptions of the regions are riveting, and her photographs are so good that I will be using them with my children for homeschooling. Check it out, and praise God! Infertility is a heartbreak beyond words, and yet look at what the Lord has done for this beautiful family of (now) seven:



(You didn't miss the centipedes on a stick, did you??)



+++++++


And that, ladies and gentlemen, is my first on-time Friday Quick Takes in I don't know how long! Have a great weekend, and thanks to Jen for hosting! 









Saturday, July 12, 2014

Just Curious: What are YOU up to?




So, you guys have heard a lot about my life lately, and it's been really fun sharing the big events with my wonderful blog family.

But now it's time to hear about you!

I'm just curious...

What is going on in your life? Have you had any milestones lately? Are you celebrating any special blessings? Are you doing anything adventurous this summer? Have you lost a loved one that you would like us to pray for, or have you been struggling with something lately?

Fill us in! I'd love to share in your joy and also pray with you through your sorrows, and I know the rest of the readers would, too. Life is not meant to be walked alone, and I love getting to know you all better.







Saturday, July 5, 2014

Quick Takes: The Groom sees his Bride!





-1-

I don't normally post personal videos on the blog, but the groom wanted me to make this one public. 

There is that magical moment at every wedding when the bridegroom sees his bride for the very first time. The video below captures that moment, and the groom's reaction has actually made people (who don't even know the couple) cry. Not kidding. The pure love and elation that breaks on his face at the moment he sees my daughter cannot adequately be described in words, but my new son-in-law attempted it anyway: 
It was like an ocean of happiness poured down upon me all at once, and I was filled with a crushing joy....
If you can't wait, go to the 3:50 mark and enjoy! 



(And yes, my son the ring bearer's pants were apparently falling off, so kudos to Matthew for holding on tight and doing his duty valiantly anyway.)

-2-

So, I watched that magical moment on video about a hundred times, and then as Divine Providence would have it, someone posted a four-year-old article on Facebook that speaks directly to the heart of what was being established at the nuptial mass and also explains the look on the bridegroom's face, both in the video and below.

The truth about woman as bride



An excerpt:
“The Bridegroom is the one who loves. The Bride is loved: it is she who receives love, in order to love in return.” (Dignity and Vocation of Women, 29, St. John Paul II) 
That is, that the essence of marriage reveals the nature of man and woman: the man gives the gift of himself to the woman, who receives it in order to return it – and this relationship also forms an image of the spousal meaning of Christ’s union with the Church. The Bridegroom is the man, and also Christ. The Bride is the woman, and also the Church. 
And furthermore, if in His image God made him, male and female He made them, and God’s reality is Trinitarian, then the image is Trinitarian also. Not identity – equal plus equal, congruent, the same – but giving, receiving in order to return the gift, and the gift. Equal but different. 
You see?

Yes, I think I do.





-3-

Sometimes with transcendent joy comes acute sadness. As full to bursting as my heart was at the wedding and reception, it was also aching -- because we knew that this beginning would end with a good-bye on the same day. After the reception (and after many tears from her parents and siblings), our daughter and her new husband left immediately for their home in Charleston where the groom is stationed in the Navy. Charleston is not around the corner from Phoenix.

Mommies' hearts do funny and unexpected things when their babies finally fly away. I wasn't expecting it to hurt this much, but how can I be sad? Everyone said they have never seen a happier bride, and I must agree. These two are without guile, she a walking smile and he a walking heart. I am so very grateful to Our Lord and Our Lady that they found one another. I miss them. But they have something to do in the world, namely, to radiate God's love and goodness to everyone they meet. I wish you all knew them. 


-4-

Now, as you may know, there is a little something that has kept me from dwelling on my younger daughter's absence, and that little something is named Felicity Virginia: 

Grandma loves you!!




I will not think on the fact that she and her mommy and daddy will themselves be moving away in mere weeks.... Pray for me to not be such a wimp about saying good-bye again. I am incredibly blessed, and I know it. And it will be great being the only female in a house full of males... correct??

By the way, a shout out to my amazing older daughter who served as Matron of Honor at three days postpartum. She is a better woman than I! 


-5-

I think we all need to tattoo this on our inner arms:

Do not look forward in fear to the changes of life; rather look to them with full hope that as they arise God, Whose very own you are, will lead you safely through all things; and when you cannot stand it, God will carry you in His arms. Do not fear what may happen tomorrow; the same everlasting Father who cared for you today will take care of you then and every day.    -- St. Francis de Sales

-6-

I just had to post this meme 1) because I find it hilarious and 2) because it cuts through all the nonsense of the Hobby Lobby decision hysteria:



C'mon, you know it's funny.


-7-

There are bigger problems in this world than (chronologically) adult women in America who can't get people to pay for their contraception. For example, two-year-old Frankie needs a family!





Frankie loves to dance, and his favorite toys are cars! Who can resist him?? Please click here for more information, and let's pray that his family finds him soon!


God bless you all and thanks to Jen for hosting!


PS: I will post professional pics of the wedding when we get them! :)
















Monday, June 30, 2014

A small win for religious freedom...



...and a display of left-wing "tolerance" has already begun.

Pray for these terribly misguided and lost people whose rage and hatred run so very deep in their souls.

When the devil faces even a minor defeat, as he did today at the Supreme Court, he does not go down quietly.

May God protect Hobby Lobby and all its employees, and may God pour His grace and mercy upon our land.



+++++++



Related post (and worth pondering as we witness the wailing and gnashing of teeth over this decision):

What is so wrong with women's bodies?


And the best article I've seen on the particulars of the case: 




+++++++


Saturday, June 21, 2014

True Love




First… Felicity Virginia: 






Then three days later… Mr. and Mrs. Dykstra:






Like I said, True Love.




Sunday, June 15, 2014

Be back soon...



…got some things coming up here that need my attention!!!

Prayers appreciated for a holy wedding, a healthy mom and baby, you know, stuff like that! 

And if you don't pray, I won't post any pictures. 

tee hee




Wednesday, June 11, 2014

I'm not buying the false dichotomy



With one daughter's marriage and the other daughter's childbirth just around the corner (love and life! both intricately connected), my reaction was strong when a 20-something male friend posted this sad status on facebook:


Early 20s: Watching your high school buddies get married.

Late 20s: Watching your high school buddies get divorced.


Feeling like I'd been punched in the gut, and angry at society to boot, I messaged him privately to get more details -- turns out there are small children involved, which adds to the tragedy. My friend is a good guy, and he's on the side of marriage, but after I challenged his claim that the young parents in question were "stable, responsible adults, aside from this" [emphasis mine], his follow-up question sent me:
...would you rather have two parents living together, at each other's throats all the time - or two separate but calm homes...

My response:

False dichotomy, Aaron*. We are adults. Barring true abuse, there is a third option. We act like adults and do what is right for the children and our marriage. It's the stable, responsible thing. 

Not much else to add here. I just cannot stand when selfish adults hurt children because (as Aaron recounts their excuse) "well we just can't work it out".

Nope! Sorry! These are children's lives. You brought them into your marriage, and yes you can work it out. In fact, you must.

End of short rant for tonight. Pray for a renewed understanding of marriage and of sacrificial love in our culture.




*Name changed unless he chimes in! :)

Related post:  Women: Save Your Marriage. In Five Minutes.


Wednesday, June 4, 2014

But they just know the Church will change!




If there is one sentiment that baffles me more than any other, it's this:

The Catholic Church will be changing her teachings, and I only need watch and wait. I am foolish for not seeing the "big picture" of how it's all going to go down. It's inevitable. The Church will come around, the Church will conform. It's just a matter of time.

In response, I question how many millennia have to pass without the Church changing before they'll concede the point?

Take a look at what a dissenting* Catholic named James said to me just the other day, about the foolishness of faithful Catholics (emphases mine):

It’s just as frustrating to me to see an intelligent person walking a rigid black and white line that will waver and shift in the coming centuries. When I taught each of my girls to drive they all exhibited the same myopic habit of looking 6 feet over the hood. My first correction to them was to look waaaay down the road to get the big picture, to see what was coming so as to be aware, while using peripheral vision to sort out any immediate hazards. Their driving improved immediately.

James believes that he has vision far into the future; he sees what's coming ahead. If only the Catholic Church could see what he sees or could know what he knows.

Well, I agree that somebody is missing the big picture here, but it's not the Church. The Church isn't looking "six feet over the hood", not at all. In fact, she started her engine over two thousand long years ago, and she began her journey looking out toward all of eternity. She was full of confidence in her mission and destiny then (as now), and she knew exactly where she was going. Two millennia later, she sees in her rearview mirror the ruins of every empire she passed along the way, even as she steadily cruises along, undeterred. She has not "wavered and shifted" off of the road and into any ditches, nor is there any credible sign that she ever will.

There is just no sign of it.

Dissenters and heretics and naysayers and ex-Catholics have been predicting "inevitable changes" since the first century of the Church's existence. Yet, they are the ones who took their eyes off the road. While looking sideways to gawk at shiny distractions, or while looking inward to contemplate the lint in their own navels, they lost the "big picture" and ran themselves into a ditch. Ouch.

But that's not how the Church rolls.

Let's walk through it:

The First Century -- Enemies of the Church are smugly predicting her fall, brutally persecuting her, violently trying to force the change themselves.
The Second Century -- Ditto
The Third Century -- Ditto
The Fourth Century -- Violence against the Church eases, but how 'bout them heretics! The Church is wrong, they say, and she must and will change. The heretics gain lots of followers but lose Christ. The Church keeps driving straight ahead.
The Fifth Century -- The Church still hasn't changed her teachings, still going strong. Dissenters, heretics, and apostates see only six feet over the hood, and they lose the big picture entirely.
The Sixth Century -- The Church still had not changed her teachings. Eyes on the road, driving smoothly forth.
The Seventh Century -- The Church continues to outlast her critics, i.e., the ones who confidently predict her inevitable assimilation to the ways of the world or to their own particular heresy. Same story in...
The Eighth Century
The Ninth Century
The Tenth Century
The Eleventh Century
The Twelfth Century
The Thirteenth Century
(Are you still with me?)
The Fourteenth Century
The Fifteenth Century
The Sixteenth Century -- Special note here: A bunch of Catholics disillusioned with sinners in the Church decide to jettison the Church entirely and preach brand new (heretical) doctrines; Church teaching still does not change, even as internal corruption is cleaned up. The Church continues to drive on her divinely appointed path while the Protestant Reformers and their followers splinter endlessly off-course in all directions.
The Seventeenth Century
The Eighteenth Century
The Nineteenth Century
The Twentieth Century
The Twenty-first Century

Still no change. Yawn. Just checking my watch here. Nope, we're good. Still taking the long view and not getting sidetracked.

The spirit and sins of the age in every culture have come and gone a thousand times over, and the Church has not bowed to any of them.

There is not a scintilla of evidence that the Church is about to reverse course.

But still I get, "Oh, it's just a matter of time now. You'll see. The house of cards will fall." And yet, no one ever sees, and the "house of cards" never falls.

My question: How much time must elapse until the critics are convinced?

It's a serious question, but it's largely rhetorical, of course. The critics will never be convinced in our own time, even as they weren't convinced in the First Century, or the Second, or the Fourth, or the Sixteenth, or the Twentieth.

There have been a million Jameses talking of the Church's inevitable change for centuries on end with not a hint of vindication. Their blinders won't allow them to see the Church that Christ established, the Church protected and charged with teaching the Truth both in season and out.

My advice to James and the others is to take James' advice and apply it to themselves: Stop with the myopic habit of looking only six feet over the hood at the fads and fancies of the day. Look waaaay down the road to get the big picture, use the experience of two millennia to understand what is coming so as to be aware, and use your peripheral vision to sort out any immediate hazards and shiny trinkets that would take you off the steady, narrow road and into a ditch. Your driving will improve immediately.

Your path will be stable, reliable, and clear to eternity.





+++++++




PS: Before anyone challenges me by presenting supposed "changes" in Church teaching, be sure to know the difference between a discipline and a doctrine.



*Updated to reflect that James may not be an ex-Catholic as I had originally believed, but rather a lapsed or dissenting Catholic. I can't really know, since he put a quick comment below and will not be returning to correct me from what I can tell.




Saturday, May 24, 2014

Quick Takes: Why I have become a terrible blogger!





-1-

Because my daughter's wedding is in less than 30 days!! Yes, I said less than 30 days!! Did you hear me??? That is really soon, people. Really, really, really soon!! And there are things like a bridal shower and dress fittings and a ton of other details that are superseding blog posts.


-2-

Because of other wonderful sacraments that we are in the midst of celebrating! My second grader just made his First Confession this week (and he loved it so much he wanted to go back again today), and my third grader receives his First Holy Communion and Confirmation next week!


-3-

Because of graduation season. My nephew's high school graduation activities just passed, and my son's eighth grade graduation is coming up next week (yes, the same week as First Communion and Confirmation).


-4-

Because my son came home from college and was preparing for and just took his MCATs. It is a fun adjustment when an adult family member comes home (and all the younger siblings rally around at the homecoming), but it has its challenges and can make it harder to think about blogging. 


-5-

Because a virus has been working its way through the family members. Six Millers have succumbed. Luckily, it only lasts two days when it does hit, but I won't tell you the number of comforters, sheets, and towels I've washed in the past week (in addition to the clothing). 


-6-

Because my older daughter is due with her baby girl in the next few weeks (yes, right exactly around the time of her sister's wedding, at which she is serving as matron of honor)! And I just can't get get my mind focused to blog coherently! 


-7-

***UPDATE! Debbie has apparently found a family since this post was published. Praise God, and may He see her safely home!


And none of any of that matters to sweet Debbie, who just needs a family:

Click my picture for more details!

This 5-year-old little girl has already been transferred to an adult institution, which should never happen to a child. Please, pray about adopting this beautiful child of God.


Blessings for a wonderful Memorial Day, and please pray for the souls of all the brave veterans who have given their lives for our freedoms. May we never forget their sacrifices, and those of their families. 


Thanks to Jen, for hosting!