Sunday, November 16, 2014

Quick Takes: Late Again!

How lame is this? I sit down to begin a Friday Quick Takes on a Saturday night. Oh, my.

Eh, it's par for the course...

1) As if it were not enough that I met the incredible Abby Johnson a few weeks ago, last night I met the incredible Walter Hoye at the Bioethics Defense Fund's annual "Passion For Life" event, where he was this year's honoree and speaker. You all know that I'm a shamelessly obnoxious name-dropper (because I still can't believe I somehow get to hang out with these outstanding people), but in the case of Nik Nikas and Dorinda Bordlee (the two attorneys who founded and run BDF), I am honored to say that they are long-time personal family friends. I am blown away by the work they do: "Law in the Service of Life". Heck, Chief Justice John Roberts cited their research in a recent Supreme Court decision, and it's literally just Nik and Dorinda running all over the country and the globe. Heroes they are, and I don't say that lightly.

The mission of BDF: Bioethics Defense Fund (BDF) is a public-interest law firm whose mission is to advocate for the human right to life via litigation, legislation and public education.

The issues they address: BDF provides legal expertise and public education on the issues of healthcare rights of conscience, abortion and its impact on women, human cloning/destructive human embryo research, and end of life issues including physician-assisted suicide, healthcare rationing and denial of care.

Not to mention the new horizon of human reproductive trafficking, which I hope to address soon on this blog. Really horrific stuff going on and the public needs to be informed. As the Culture of Death expands its dark tentacles, BDF will be there to fight for life on every front. God bless them, and let's always have their back! 

2)  Fear is the enemy of love and hope, and in abortion decisions particularly, fear is the motivating factor. Imagine if we could shake off fear and replace it with love and hope every time a woman conceives a child! This very brief video that was shown at the BDF event pretty much says it all:

Fear is useless. Amen.

3)  Okay, people! How is it possible that we are approaching Thanksgiving, Advent, and Christmas yet again? How is this happening so fast? Well, just your luck, I have a brilliant way for you and the family to prepare your hearts and minds. The lovely Leila Lawler (I am so blessed to share her name!) and David Clayton have published The Little Oratory: A Beginner's Guide to Praying in the Home, something I've needed and wanted for a very long time.

You know how it is, right? We moms are trying to get a prayer life going for the family, or have a little "prayer station" or sacred space where members of the family, collectively or individually, can recollect and pray. I never really knew what that was called, but now I know it's an oratory!
"Consisting of a modest table and icons, the little oratory is a visible sign of spiritual awareness and devotion.... Building your own little oratory is simple, and in these pages you'll discover just how easy it is. In fact, you likely have most of the pieces in your home already -- except perhaps the sacred art." 
So guess what? The book includes eight full-color icons ready for framing! Boom, you are setting up your oratory and will be ready for the holy seasons. I love practical help on the road to sanctity.

4)  One crucial reminder from an amazing little book I'm reading on the recommendation of many, Into Your Hands, Father: Abandoning Ourselves to the God Who Loves Us, by Fr. Wilfrid Stinissen:

Rest easy. God is still in control. And He loves you.

5)  I saw this on Princeton Professor Robert P. George's Facebook page today, and I had no idea this was happening at the Vatican, did you? It looks great!

Today I leave for Rome for the Vatican colloquium entitled "The Complementarity of Man and Woman in Marriage: The Witness of the World's Religions." It will begin on Monday morning with an address by Pope Francis. Rabbi Jonathan Sacks will also speak that morning, as will representatives of the Protestant, Muslim, and Jain traditions. Later we will hear from leaders and scholars drawn from Eastern Orthodoxy, the LDS Church (President Henry Eyring), and the Hindu, Sikh, and Buddhist traditions. I'm especially looking forward to speeches by Dr. Jacqueline Cook-Rivers, Pastor Rick Warren, Sister Prudence Allen, and Pastor Christoph Arnold, and Dr. Russell Moore. I will participate in one of the "scholars panels," as will Mary Ann Glendon, Rabbi Meir Soloveichik, Dr. Aaron Kheriaty, and several others. Praying folk, please ask for God's blessing for this event. I am hopeful that great good will come of it. We must unite across borders and traditions to uphold marriage and build or rebuild vibrant marriage cultures in our societies. I'm glad that Pope Francis sees that and was willing to have the Vatican convene this gathering of religious leaders and scholars. This is true leadership. I will, as I am able to do so, post reports from the colloquium.

6)  Speaking of marriage, congratulations to my mother and father, who just celebrated their 50th anniversary! I pretty much owe my life to their decision, ha ha. Weren't they adorable? I wore my mom's dress for my own wedding, and my daughter used their cake topper for her wedding.

I love you Mom and Dad!

And since we are doing some family stuff here, I just really wanted to post my son's charcoal drawing. I know you are terrified and backing away from your computer right now, but don't worry, it's not real and it won't actually eat you. Paul is a 16-year-old junior, and the kids at his charter school are required to take art as part of their core curriculum. It is absolutely astounding what all the kids learn and are able to accomplish.

7) Last but not least, I want you to meet Emil. Oh, this boy is already a teenager and he's been waiting too, too long! He has a large grant ready to be used by any family who will adopt him, and he is apparently a real sweetheart.

Click my photo for more info!
From a missionary who visited with him in August 2014:  Emil is a little rascal that loves attention. He likes to climb up on your lap and blow raspberries. After I kissed him on the cheek he kept squishing his face against mine so that I would kiss him again! He is one smart cookie. He can verbalize lots of different sounds, so he would learn to speak in no time. He can stand and take a few steps with assistance when he wants to! He is lots of fun and needs a Mama and Papa!
God bless Emil, and please spread the word. And pray for this boy to find a home.

And just a reminder that if you do your amazon Christmas shopping through this blog (simply by clicking on the Amazon link on the right side of the blog, then shopping as usual), every penny of the commission I get goes to help families bring these orphans home. It's an expensive, grueling journey for the families who step up, and this is one way we can assist them.

Have a fantastic Sunday and thanks to Jen for hosting!


  1. I love these Quick Takes! And I am so happy that you posted about "The Little Oratory" because I'm always looking for ways to improve prayer life within the family home. Life is so busy, who has time to make a prayer corner? And yet, it is nearly essential in this day and time, to have something visible in our house to call us and remind us to pray. I believe very much in having some sort of prayer corner, especially when you have little kids that need to see it too.

    And that charcoal drawing! Your son needs to draw a picture of the Passion! If he can get a person to feel so much just by drawing a shark, imagine what he could do with the Passion! I had just had a talk with my kids today about Gospel and the parable of using our talents and this is a perfect example of what we can do with our gifs. :-)

  2. Thank you so much for the great recommendation of our book! I pray that families will use it to live the liturgical life along with our beautiful Church! God bless you, Leila! (I get such a kick out of the fact that we have the same name :)

  3. Oh my word I LOVE your mom's and your wedding gown! If you have other photos of it anywhere on here, please direct me to them as I'd love to see...! Your parents are very sweet; congratulations to them!

  4. Paul's artwork is awesome! I would hate having to take art in high school because I am not fond of failing! I don't think my teachers would appreciate my charcoal stick people or my houses that show I know how to draw both square and a triangle.

  5. Sharon, that's the crazy thing! The way they teach the techniques, all the kids have unbelievable AMAZING artwork. It's like they all become professional-level artists (at least to the untrained eye like mine!). And ha ha, I'm better than you because I can draw a square, a triangle, AND a circle!!!!!

    Deirdre, I do have some pictures of me wearing the gown, here:

    Enjoy!!! :)

    (Well, without the pillbox hat... I wanted an ivory rose headband.)

  6. Leila, it was my pleasure! And Becky... I need to tell him that! A scene from the Passion would be amazing!


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