$30 to $100 [per specimen] – The going rate for a human life.

In 2007, Michael Vick was implicated, and later pleaded guilty, to federal felony charges which included an illegal interstate dog fighting ring. The public was devastated to learn that Vick had engaged in the hanging and drowning of dogs that did not perform well in bouts. Fans were rightfully OUTRAGED. Vick’s jersey was pulled from sale, he lost his NFL salary and all endorsements. He served 21 months in prison and 2 months of home confinement. The public rebuke was swift and punishment serious. Continue reading

Tolerance

Sometimes I troll social media to see what is going on in my two stepson’s (S & C) lives. Eric, my husband, and I have been unable to obtain transparency from S & C or their mother through the years. It’s not the kids’ fault; they have learned by example. Their mother has taught them to keep many secrets from us. When S & C are stressed, run down, or acting out I check out the internet to see what sort of chaos is going on in their lives. I’m unapologetic about it. When we know what is going on in my stepsons’ lives, we are able to deploy our prayer, time and resources to help them cope.

Recently, on one such mission, I reported to my husband that the boys were just hanging out with their cousin Mike.  Eric informed me that the boys do not have a cousin named Mike. “Well, there sure are a lot of photos with S & C and their cousin Mike on Facebook,” I replied. My husband was annoyed. He came to the computer to take a look. In shock and disbelief, he informed me that the male Mike in the photos was actually the boys’ female cousin Michelle.

Upon discussing this with S & C we learned that Michelle identified as trans-gendered and had started the process of transitioning from female to male about two years prior when our sons were 13 & 9. We asked the kids how this was presented to them and were saddened to learn that they were simply told to start calling Michelle by her chosen name of Mike and to start referring to her in the masculine. We asked the boys how they were feeling about this new reality (which they had been dealing with for almost two years before we found out). Our oldest expressed being uncomfortable with having to share the boys’ bedroom with Michelle while on family vacations (especially while she still had breasts). Our youngest asked Eric and me how they removed Michelle’s breasts. These were difficult conversations to have.

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The TEN COMMANDMENTS (according to 10 year olds)

I’m a Catechist for the Right of Christian Initiation for Adults (RCIA). I lead the RCIA for Children class at my old home Parish. We provide catechesis (religious Ed) for the children of Catholic converts who are entering the church during the Easter Vigil. One of the things I find the most challenging about leading this group is that the children are of various ages (8-17) and have such diverse religious backgrounds. Some are just learning about Jesus for the first time; while others already have an intimate relationship with Him through their Protestant background.

We have recently been studying God’s Ten Commandments. Children, much like adults, don’t care for rules. Teaching others about God’s commandments is challenging because as a society we don’t like being told what to do; not even from God and especially not from His Church. I understand why children feel this way as they have yet to form their consciences. I admit to becoming a bit more frustrated with adults, who like me, struggle with pride and often neglect God’s laws. Continue reading

A DYNAMIC Prayer Life

During the Christmas Vigil Mass, St. Brendan gifted one copy of The Four Signs of a Dynamic Catholic, by Matthew Kelly to each household. It was a pleasant surprise and reminded me once again how awesome my home parish is!

Matthew Kelly studied parishioner’s church engagement and summarizes the following in his book:FB_IMG_1423155109916

  • 4% of registered parishioners contribute 80% of the volunteer hours in a parish. 6.8% of the registered parishioners donate 80% of the financial contributions. There is an 84% overlap between these two groups.
  • The aforementioned stats mean that 7% of Catholics are accomplishing more than 80% of what the Catholic Church is doing in America today. The Catholic Church is already the largest charitable organization in the world; imagine how engaging just another 1% of Catholics could change the world. Wow, chew on that for a bit.
  • Highly engaged Catholics (the 7% who are accomplishing 80% of the Church’s work in America) are aptly named Dynamic Catholics and have four things in common. The four signs of a Dynamic Catholic are:
    • Prayer: Daily prayer routine.
    • Study: Students of Jesus who spend on average 14 minutes daily learning about Christ, His teachings and His Church.
    • Generosity: Generous with their time, talent, & money. Generous with love in their daily lives.
    • Evangelization: Invite others to grow spiritually by sharing your love of God with others.

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Sunday Night Cook-Up

I’m definitely an emotional eater. I have basically eaten my way through infertility the past 10 years resulting in some serious weight gain. You can read more about that in my previous blog entry LORD HELP ME I’M FAT.  In an effort to get healthy, I’m taking part in a guided sugar detox. Sugar for me is both an addiction in itself and a trigger for binge eating. It is also very bad for people who live with auto-immune disorders. I decided on Sarah Wilson’s I Quit Sugar (IQS) 8 week program because it focuses on a gentle sugar detox while eating real foods. In addition to weekly meal plans (with grocery lists), I have been given access to dietitians, nutritionist and psychologists. There is a lot of support included in the IQS program. My goal is to permanently quit sugar while learning to nourish my body – which is a gift from God in which the Holy Spirit dwells. COR 3:16

Do you not know that you are the temple of God,
and that the Spirit of God dwells in you?
If anyone destroys God’s temple,
God will destroy that person;
for the temple of God, which you are, is holy.

So, yesterday I had my first Sunday Cook Up in which you prep food for the week to save some time. This included some quinoa, chia pudding and a gluten-free buckwheat loaf. Continue reading

My Plan Vs God’s Plan

Got-a-Plan

The reading (Gospel Mk 1:14-20) from last Sunday’s Mass really got me thinking. In this Gospel story from Mark, Jesus is asking Simon and Andrew to drop their plans and follow Him. Now, Simon and Andrew had a pretty good plan for their lives; they were fishermen. Fishing was their vocation, family business and livelihood. Christ says, “Come after me, and I will make you fishers of men.” The Gospel reveals: Then they abandoned their nets and followed Him. Additionally, James and John drop their plans to follow Christ shortly thereafter. Not only was Jesus asking them to modify their vision, but He was ultimately asking them to do something that required a new skill set. He was taking these men out of their comfort zones.  These guys had their entire lives figured out; they had big plans which they abandoned for Jesus’s plan.  As a person who can struggle with God’s will or plan for my life; I find this truly AMAZING.

About 18 months ago, my husband Eric and I realized that we needed to sell our home and move closer to my stepsons. They are getting older and their schedules are busier. Their mother is single mom with an additional toddler whose father is absent. Additionally, my stepsons have experienced chronic health needs which require regular physician visits. It was getting harder for us to manage this dynamic from across town; we needed to move closer to the custodial parent. We sold our home and moved into a rental 5 miles from the kids in their school district.

We had GREAT plans for this move. It would allow us to see the kids more. They could spend more time in our home. We envisioned our home being a quiet get-away from the chaos of their home. We would meet for ice-cream or a quick movie on the weekend. The kids could come over and watch football with their dad. Eric and I would know about (and attend) school functions because we would be just up the road. The boys would come to see our home as their home and not just a place they visit every other weekend. Yep, that was OUR PLAN. It was a good plan, surely God would approve. Continue reading

Lord Help Me I’m Fat!

fat

I’ve really procrastinated writing this particulate blog entry as well as delaying its post. But I’m blessed to have a husband that believes in me and has held me to task, so here it goes…..

Does the world hate fat people? I don’t think so.  I have a little more faith in humanity, but I do think there is a general uncomfortableness and aversion. At worst, there is a widespread disapproval.  Let’s be honest with ourselves, we have all felt that sense of dread when an obese person is assigned to the seat next to us on the plane. We have felt disgusted when watching the overweight friend or family member overindulged in pizza, sweets or soda.  Repeatedly our society has portrayed being fat as a death sentence or personal choice.  There is certainly some truth in that, but it’s not the whole truth. Biology, genetics, illnesses, and social/emotional factors also contribute to being overweight and some of these issues are not within our control. Lastly, not all thin people are healthy and not all overweight people are unhealthy. Continue reading