Sunday, April 24, 2011

Prayer buddies, info, and random thoughts...

Before I dive back into some meaty topics, a few things:

1) Happy Easter! Jesus Christ is truly risen! Yep, it's literal, and if He did not truly, literally rise from the dead, then our faith is in vain, and we are the most pitiable of men, as St. Paul says. Thankfully, He did rise, and we are not putting our faith in a work of fiction. More on that, soon…

2) I can now reveal that during this Lenten prayer buddy season, I have been praying for Second Chances! I have adored this woman for a long time, and have been so inspired by her courageous witness to Church teaching on reproduction and sexuality, even when she was facing her own pain of secondary infertility. I have rejoiced watching her new baby boy grow into the most gorgeous little man. That last round of photos nearly sent me over the edge! It was an honor to pray for her intentions this Lent, and I will keep her and her beautiful family close to my heart.

3) I discovered that a most amazing new blogger was praying for me! She is Patiently Waiting…Kinda, and I am so grateful and humbled to have been the recipient of her most powerful prayers! I cannot wait to get to know her better, and to follow her journey to motherhood, via pregnancy or adoption. You can bet I will be praying for those intentions, dear Patiently Waiting!

4) Shhhh, don't tell him, but I found a perfect gift for my son who is graduating from high school next month: Two books by Dr. J. Budziszewski (with whom I am currently obsessed --more on that later): 


Ask Me Anything: Provocative Answers for College StudentsAsk Me Anything 2: More Provocative Answers for College Students

I ordered both today. I have a particular interest in helping college students stay grounded in truth, considering the blather they (including my daughter) are exposed to on most campuses, often without ever hearing a reasoned argument from the other side. Professor Budziszewski is an antidote to that. Oh, and his How to Stay Christian in College looks amazing, too.

5) For some inexplicable reason, I have always wanted my blog to look like an ice cream parlor or a candy store. I change the colors from time to time, but they will always be candy/ice cream themed. Yay!

6) Finally, I make a plea to all bloggers (except for TCIE, who is exempt) to remove word verification from their comment requirements. Perhaps I am ADD, but I become almost despairing when I type out a quick comment, ready to click and fly, only to be confronted with a new and cumbersome step. For those willing to take the courageous leap to rid our blogger community of the scourge of word verification (a cause that Sew and Lauren have already championed), I salute you! (Plus, you will get a lot more comments!!)



Blessed Easter to all!

38 comments:

  1. Although I understand the dislike of captchas, they do serve as a good defense against spammers. For anyone who has more control over their blog and wants to help make their comment users at least feel like their captcha time is not wasted, might I suggest reCAPTCHA? http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Recaptcha

    The idea is that the text from scanned books that isn't recognized by the computer is turned into a captcha for humans to identify. So, this has two benefits. First, because the word came from a book, it's a real word, and easier for people to make out. Second, you're using your precious brain cycles to help out the important task of digitizing the world's collection of text - something a computer currently cannot do 100% on its own.

    I actually attended a talk given by the man who invented captcha, and subsequently, reCAPTCHA. His motivation for the reCAPTCHA was how difficult captchas are and how much time they waste.

    Unfortunately, most major blogging services (that I'm aware of) don't allow users the option of reCAPTCHAs.

    Anywho, don't mean to be inflammatory or controversial - just want to offer an alternative to those who can implement it and feel they want to keep their captchas. ^_^

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  2. I love your ice cream colored blog! Thanks for the book recommendation too, and the info about prayer buddies. That's so nice! I feel so happy after a long Lent and joyful Easter, and I can't wait to see what you have to say about the literal history of Jesus! It's always so informative.

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  3. Aw, you're so sweet :) Thank you SO much for your prayers. You already know how they've helped :)

    And I LOVE this purple color on your blog. Love it! Now that I understand the ice cream/candy theme, I will subconsciously become hungry every time I'm here!

    Ok, just for you, I'm going to turn off my word verification. But just for you Leila! I've done it a couple of times before and I HATE the spam I get, but I will sacrifice my frustration in an attempt to get more Leila comments! Plus, I'll just do anything you say now because I owe you for your prayers :)

    xoxo!

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  4. Totally random comment here, but I am curious; was there any mention of Easter on the front pages of your local city newspaper yesterday?

    I get the online version of the New York Times and The Boston Globe, and thought it was odd that nowhere did either mention Easter, (other than there was a place where you could upload pictures for the online Globe, which seemed to consist mainly of children in bunny suits or the ridiculous PROFESSIONAL shots of dogs in bunny ears.
    I thought, it must have taken a concerted effort for both papers not to mention the religious event AT ALL. Maybe not one Christian person works at either institution, which I find hard to believe. I am a person in the middle, who struggles with faith as you all know, but this seemed so eerie to me. I had a hard enough time driving around after our morning service noticing that every commercial establishment was open and most people looked quizzically at us, like we were an odd curiosity dressed in our Easter best.

    I say this, because, last I checked, the Gallup polls had Massachusetts at between 8-18% non-religious. That leaves 92-82% as claiming some religious affiliation. Call me crazy, but I would guess that most of those consider themselves Christian.

    Any thoughts? Maybe the print versions were different?

    Incidentally, the Times did have an article by the usually misguided Maureen Dowd protesting the beatification of John Paul II (which I also have some concerns about) but it seemed like a rude thing to print on Easter.

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  5. YAY for #6!! I've NEVER had issues with spam, so people - please heed the advice!

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  6. Dear Mary, Nope, no mention of Easter in our city papar :-(
    Bring on the ice creammmmmmmmmmmmmmm

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  7. Lol... I so wish I could remove word verification, Leila! When I've done so in the past, my blog has been inundated with spam. I don't know why they love my blog so much. I could do the "moderator approved" function but then inevitably someone's comment will end up in MY spam or it will get missed somehow when I step away for an entire weekend. I just haven't quite figured out yet the best way to manage comments without word verification.

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  8. Budziszewski's "How to Stay Christian in College" had a big impact on me while I was in school a few years ago. It was the first taste I had of a Christianity that was smart, defendable, and not afraid of adverse philosophies.

    Little did I know that though I entered college as an Evangelical, I would follow Budziszewski's same path: four years after him, I entered the Church.

    P.S. If you want an explicitly Catholic version of "How to Stay Christian in College", check out John Zmirak's "Disorientation." It's the perfect read for any serious-minded Catholic college student.

    P.S.S Have you checked out Budziszewski's new book, "What We Can't Know"?

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  9. There was an article on Good Friday in our local paper (Indianapolis), with a picture from the living stations! Was surprised to see it. :)

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  10. Ok, another potential book for future college students: DisOrientation: The 13 "ISMS" that will send you to intellectual "LA LA LAND" The administrator at my parish gave it to me to check out for the seniors in my high school youth group. I haven't read it entirely yet, but I've skimmed it and it looks like a good book. :)

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  11. Haha, Brandon, I didn't see that you referenced this book in your comment! :)

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  12. Complicated Life,

    Great mind think alike! :) I read the book and thought it was very rich (though maybe a tad bit heady for many graduating high-schoolers). And I reviewed it here:

    http://bit.ly/h6AKsR

    Your brother,
    Brandon

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  13. Oh, I am so happy to learn about DisOrientation! I am learning so much. And Brandon, indeed I have heard of What We Can't Not Know… I am in the middle of it and it's going to be my next Bubble review!

    Allie, thank you for that info, and I also want to exempt from my decree anyone who has a lot of issues with spam. I never have had any spam issues, which is odd. I don't know what I would do if I did get a lot of spam…

    Mary, I was so happy to see that FoxNews (as always) had a huge photo and article of the Pope at Easter Mass at the Vatican. But other than that, I didn't see anything. I do know that Massachusetts (my old stomping grounds) is one of the least religious areas of the nation. So sad to me, since it's also one of the most "Catholic". Sigh.

    Glad you all like candy and ice cream! Maybe that is why you subconsciously keep coming back to the Bubble? :)

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  14. Brandon, my son who is off to college in the fall is going to be studying engineering (with hopes of being a mechanical engineer)! I may have to put him in touch with you at some point, if you don't mind!

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  15. Lelia,

    Sounds great--I would LOVE that! Us Catholic mechanical engineers are a rare breed.

    If he has any questions on Catholicism, engineering, young-adult life, or anything else, put him in touch with me:

    bvogt1@gmail.com

    Your brother,
    Brandon

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  16. Happy Easter! I was wondering if your kids are able to attend campuses that have the FOCUS ministry? If you are not already aware of this group and waht they do, it is something I am very in favor of supporting for the same reasons you mentioned.

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  17. I took off my word verification, and already have gotten spam! Ah! So frustrating. But I will offer it up...at least for a day or so!

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  18. SC, oh no!! You are exempt then! That is awful!!!

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  19. "I change the colors from time to time, but they will always be candy/ice cream themed. Yay!"

    Love it.

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  20. Manda, and here is the funny thing... I can only wear jewel tones in my real life, or else I look dead. So, I think my blog is my vicarious way of living in pastels and such. Except for pink lip gloss, which I can wear in real life. Pink lip gloss is a must, especially for older ladies like myself.

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  21. Can I get an official exemption button? When I turned it off (because you asked) I was hit with tons of the most offensive spam I've ever read.

    I would do it for you, but I don't want to.

    P.S. I look dead in pastels, too. It's jewel tones for me!

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  22. 1. INDEED!!!!! CHRIST IS RISEN!!!! Hundreds of people witnessed and went to their death for that fact!

    5. I love knowing this about you! That is so funny and adorable! Could I possibly love you more with this quirky knowledge? :)

    6. YEAH!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! I feel bad for those who get spam. I've never gotten any! Weird! My blog isn't searchable on google- does that make a difference, I wonder?

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  23. The Mom, you totally get an exemption. I can't believe you guys get all that spam! Lauren, my blog is searchable, and yet I still don't get spam. Makes no sense!

    I am glad you love me for my quirks!! Candy and ice cream all the way!

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  24. Totally off topic, but just ran across a great blog post about NFP/contraceptive mentality. Worth checking out! It's here
    Happy Easter! He is risen indeed!

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  25. Just a thought, could having to "Select a profile" make the difference with the spam? Or do ya'll who have the spam problem have the selecting profile too?

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  26. @Mary, Leila,

    Is it really necessary to put Easter in the newspapers? FOXnews does it because they know that their bombastic language and polarized rhetoric draws Christians in. I'm sure the NYTimes has more concern over other conflicts (the budget, Libya, etc) than the local Easter celebration. Their reader base, even if we just consider NYC, is enormously diverse and has plenty of people who don't even consider Easter. I'd be wary of implying societal degradation here, but rather a simple nod towards interfaith living.

    Books- To be certain, I haven't heard much in the way of a reasonable argument from Christians, so I'll probably check out these books. (Right after I finish Love in the Time of Cholera...)

    And, Leila, perhaps one day I'll shun my anonymity and share my blog, though I'm wary enough of spam that I do think I have some sort of security measure.
    -Peter

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  27. Peter, I dunno…. Just a few decades ago, Easter was a big thing in America. Everyone donned their Easter bonnets, communities had big Easter parades, churches were (and still are) full on that day…. It's really worthy of note. It's part of who we are. And frankly, it's a foundation of Western Civilization, which we Americans really should start to embrace again, lest we lose our way, and the foundations of our nation and our nation's laws.

    Easter is kind of a big deal.

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  28. FOXnews does it because they know that their bombastic language and polarized rhetoric draws Christians in.

    PS: This rhetoric makes me chuckle. You are aware, right, that the liberal press uses almost every Easter and Christmas to uncover the "real" "historical" Jesus (yawn) in order to push their own secular, relativist agenda? It's sort of comical. So, if you are going to question the necessity of putting Easter in the news, you need to question why the Left does it all the time, but only in order to mock, debunk and undermine. (No bias there, of course!)

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  29. Hahaha, I can take a fair stab!

    To be certain, I don't even have a TV, and the only news sites I ever go to are WashPo (who don't even bother hiding bias) and CNN (which is just sensationalist). NPR might be liberal leaning, but they give a lot of air time to conservative thinkers, and if I recall correctly, did have pieces on Pope Benedict's speech! All I get is radio, and my college newspaper, which had an AP story on the Pope's speech as well.

    I do question Easter as a foundation of our nation. Christianity may play a role in history making, but our government is set up to be secular to be all inclusive.
    -Peter

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  30. Peter, here's how I'd put it:

    Our nation was founded on Judeo-Christian beliefs and ethics, our laws are based on Judeo-Christian moral law. We have a secular government (no establishment of a specific religion, which is sure nice for us Catholics), and a generally Christian populace. Western Civilization.

    If you disagree, then what makes, say, China's or Saudi Arabia's laws or ethics different from the West? Or do you even see a difference?

    I am going to go out on a limb and say that the Christian basis of western civilization is a very good and influential thing. At least as long as it lasts….

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  31. I see Brandon beat me to it!!!

    Leila I saw this review this morning in Ignatius Press and thought of you.

    http://insightscoop.typepad.com/2004/2011/04/a-guide-for-those-unwilling-to-know-themselves.html

    I hope I find time to read it!

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  32. ...busy morning, sorry. I thought you would like what the review said, not that you need a guide to know yourself. Hahaha! Ok, off to chase kids. :-/

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  33. Just one thing to add to the whole "Easter publication/non-publication" thing: Time Magazine ran a cover story during holy week "What If there's No Hell?" parading around some sort of protestant minister whose decided for himself that Hell does not exist. If that wasn't on purpose I'll eat my own shoe.
    I mean, what a great story for a secular publication like Time to run during Holy Week. Not only do they get to make Christians looks like disorganized yahoos who can't agree on anything, but they get to showcase some misguided person who has decided to remake God in his image rather than the other way around.

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  34. I have taken word verification off my blog before and gotten all kinds of disgusting spam and I'm not sure why. I could try it again (as I've changed my blog address) and see if I have issues...but seriously...some of the stuff was near occasion of sin stuff that I got in my spam/combox.

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  35. Michelle, that's awful! Does your spam filter not catch it all? I hope the new blog address helps! If not, you're exempt. :)

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  36. Do you have any good book/gift ideas for a 14 year old girl who is getting confirmed?

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  37. C, I gave my kids a book called Letters to a Young Catholic by George Weigel:

    http://www.amazon.com/Letters-Young-Catholic-Art-Mentoring/dp/0465092624

    It's a good read!

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