Thursday, November 24, 2005

Little Derek gets his bottle at Thanksgiving dinner... Ok. Not his bottle. His dad's!!

Auntie works on the turkey. Poor poor turkey...

Wednesday, November 23, 2005

So the word is out. The Vatican is saying NO Thanks to sexually active gay men applying to seminary. That seems a little unfair if you ask me. Word on the street is that seminary's are loaded with sexually active people. One of my favorite priests married a girl he met in seminary. They eventually realized their mistake and that they both were actually called by God. They parted ways. If the Vatican is going to demand homosexual men be celibate for three years before entering seminary then they'd better ask the same of the heterosexual men.

Truth be told, I think my beloved Holy See has mislabeled the issue. This isn't a gay issue. This is a people issue. Sadly, community agencies are loaded with cases of hetero men abusing children. Some lonely people will take what ever they can get.

Long gone are the days when one's parish priest was a part of one's family. When he appeared at the dinner table on a weekly basis. When families wrestled over who would get to host a holiday dinner complete with a real blessing by a real priest. Now our faith is passed along to a once a year Easter celebration. For some, it's a weekly Sunday visit. But rarely do people get involved in their faith community.

But the faith community is what Jesus was all about.

Our faith community involves supporting our religious. Priests and nuns too. So many nuns have given up the habit (sadly) that they aren't recognized for the holy people they are. So they're passed along as another teacher, another secretary. Not as a consecrated person who may not have a local family to spend a holiday with. It's up to us to look after "the least of my brothers (and sisters)" as Jesus tells us in the Gospel of Matthew, chapter 25.

I cringe when I hear people say they've lost their faith over these abuses. If that's true, then we are guilty of what the Protestants have accused us of. Idol worship. If we've put our priests up on such a pedestal so as to make them some kind of god. They are just people. Like us. Loaded with flaws. Their battle is a lot more difficult than ours. As such, we must support them.

I also cringe when I hear people say celibacy is the reason for the priest shortage. Well, then how do they explain the same shortage in Protestant denominations where marriage is allowed? Again, truth be told, the shortage is due to the fact that America worships the mighty dollar, not the Mighty Lord. Over and over again I hear young people say they feel God's call but their parents want them to be a doctor/dentist/scientist - and make a lot of money.

It's too bad really. This country was founded out of love of God. People who fled oppression - looking for the ability to freely express their faith. And now, if the ACLU has it's way - faith will never be expressed in public.

From an article by Joseph Farah:

William Bradford, the leader of the Pilgrims, studied the Hebrew scriptures. The Pilgrims took them very seriously. The idea of giving thanks to God with a feast was inspired by that knowledge of the Bible. In a very real way, the Pilgrims saw themselves, too, as chosen people of God being led to a Promised Land.

At the table, they acknowledged "God's good providence" and "blessed the God of Heaven who brought us over the furious ocean." For "what could sustain us but the Spirit of God and His grace?" asked Bradford. He then quoted Moses, "Our fathers cried unto Him and He heard their voice and looked on their adversity" (Deuteronomy 26:7).

Here's what George Washington proclaimed Oct. 3, 1789:

Whereas it is the duty of all nations to acknowledge the providence of Almighty God, to obey His will, to be grateful for His benefits, and humbly implore His protection and favor; and whereas both Houses of Congress have, by their joint committee, requested me to recommend to the people of the United States a day of Public Thanksgiving and Prayer, to be observed by acknowledging with grateful hearts the many signal favors of Almighty God, especially by affording them an opportunity peaceably to establish a form of government for their safety and happiness.

Now therefore I do recommend and assign Thursday the twenty-six of November next, to be devoted by the people of these States to the service of that Great and Glorious Being, who is the Beneficent Author of all the good that was, that is, or that will be; that we may then all unite in rendering unto Him our sincere and humble thanks for His kind care and protection of the people of this country, previous to their becoming a nation; for the single manifold mercies, and the favorable interposition's of His providence, in the courage and conclusion of the late war; for the great degree of tranquility, union and plenty which we have since enjoyed; for the peaceable and rational manner in which we have been enabled to establish Constitutions of Government for our safety and happiness, and particularly the national one now instituted; for the civil and religious liberty with which we are blessed, and the means we have of acquiring and diffusing useful knowledge; and in general, for all the great and various favors which He has been pleased to confer upon us.

And also, that we may then unite in most humbly offering our prayers and supplications to the Great Lord and Ruler of Nations, and beseech Him to pardon our national and other transgressions; to enable us all, whether in public or private institutions, to perform our several and relative duties properly and punctually; to render our National Government a blessing to all the people, by constantly being a government of wise, just, and constitutional laws, discretely and faithfully executed and obeyed; to protect and guide all sovereigns and nations (especially such as have shown kindness to us) and to bless them with good governments, peace and concord; to promote the knowledge and practice of true religion and virtue, and the increase of science, among them and us; and generally, to grant unto all mankind such a degree of temporal prosperity as He alone knows to be best.

Later, in 1863, with the nation torn apart by the war between the states, Lincoln reinstituted the tradition for two years. Again, in 1941, with a global war threatening, Congress established the fourth Thursday of November as the day for Americans to thank God.

So - thank you God for my freedom, my family, my friends, my health, my good job, a roof over my head, food in the fridge, the ability to walk, to laugh and to love.

Happy Thanksgiving and God bless!

Friday, November 18, 2005

Now that's good coffee!

Thursday, November 17, 2005

God grant me humility!

Suddenly everyone needs to touch my head. When I was considering locs, a number of folks warned me about the bigotries of non-loc folk. So far, I've only encountered one negative comment. Someone suggested I'd done this only so that I'd never have to wash my hair again. Silly silly!! Generally, it's been very well received. But again, many thanks to Jeffrey Bradley with his warning that folks will just walk up and touch you. I'm beginning to wonder how pregnant women put up with complete strangers running up to hold their tummies! Really though. The reactions have been cute.

Tuesday, November 15, 2005

Two posts in one day. Can you believe it?

I went ahead and started my dreadlocks, or as some say "locs."

After all my research, I went with Raw Food Discussion List friend's suggestion of doing braids, then "latch-hooking" them into locks over the next few years.

My hair really loves my Knotty Boy bar shampoo. I used the Knotty Boy wax to smooth down the hair and get a good grip. I started out with a three part braid but ended up doing two strand twists. The two strand twists are easier to do, easier to catch short hairs in and as such look more neat. That being said, the bad part is, it's more difficult to "latch" the two strand twist without making a hole. Mind you, the hole is easy to cover with one or two more latches. But if it's in the back of your head, how do you know?

I had Friday off work. I spent the day cleaning and running in to the bathroom to do a few more braids. So it took all day. It would have been better if I'd waited until I had help to do the back but... Since they're braided, I can always take them out and re-do them. I've done that a few times already, to take larger braids and make them smaller twists.

All in all, the result is fantastic! I have the most wash and go hair I've ever had in my life. No product. A simple bar soap to wash with.

I use very little of my wax to keep them neat and to pull in loose hair. The shorties at my scalp are woven in with wax and a tiny crochet hook. I had the crochet hook already, but I had to go to the fabric store to buy a latch-hook. That's when I found the lovely sushi place I ate at. See photos below.

I love that I can wake up in the morning and have great hair. I love that I can wash it and run out of the house without dumping a ton of product in to tame the frizz.

I might post a photo. I took one. But I'm not much on photos of myself. Give me time...

Thanks must be given!!

Thanks to my boss for her support and understanding.

Thanks to
  • Knotty Boy
  • for great products!!

    Thanks to
  • Jeffery Bradley
  • for some sage advice (via his wonderful publications) on the ups and very big downs of dreadlocks. That is to say, human bigotry. People are so judgemental!!

    And a very special thanks to my raw food buddy
  • Cherie King
  • for her e-books on locs and support while I stumble along.

    God bless!!
    I had dinner with a two friends last Saturday. During the course of the evening one friend piped in that he felt the Catholic Church was responsible for overpopulation due to their policy on birth control.

    Now - why a person of no faith would want to get into a debate about doctrine with two people of deep faith is beyond me but...

    I replied that he just didn't understand the church's stance. He insisted he did. We went round and round. Clearly he was repeating a lot of anti-Catholic misinformation. But the part that really floored me was that he felt people of wealth had no need to help the less fortunate since they'd gotten themselves into that predicament in the first place. That all this was to be blamed on the church. I was really quite shocked at that.

    Starving people are not thinking about sex. They're wondering where their next meal will come from. How they will live to see tomorrow when disease is rampant. How they can send their kids to school with no shoes.

    Sadly, my friend didn't think any of this mattered. He only felt we needed to stop them from having children.

    In the end, he revealed that he was specifically speaking about India. How can the Catholic Church be responsible for overpopulation in a nation that is 80% Hindu and only 2% Christian. Granted the majority percentage of Christian denominations in that 2% is Catholic. But still. 1% vs 80%

    I knew my church was mighty but I had no idea we as 1% could over shadow a faith of 80%

    On the off chance that I was wrong, I spent some time yesterday researching overpopulation. Specifically in India. defines overpopulation :

    Overpopulation is a term that refers to a condition in which the density enlarges to a limit that provokes the environmental deterioration, a drop in the quality of life, or a population collapse.

    The government in India implemented a family planning program back in 1958. Their population increase has reduced by 47% according to

    In 1994 they implemented a new population program pushing birth control. Sadly, their main birth control is sterilization - Of women. 67% of women vs 9% of men. The problem with this is their poor conditions and the invasiveness of sterilizing women - as opposed to the ease and NONinvasiveness of sterilizing men - has caused the mortality rate among women in India to skyrocket.

    Still, India's way worked far better than China's, with the government enforcing a one child law and abortion at gunpoint.

    But - India's population problem is not the reason for poverty and starvation. Improper distribution of wealth is. A great number of India's people are simple farmers. They support themselves and live happily. A great many go into the big cities hoping for wealth or looking for a less severe life. Illiterate farmers can't find work and end up in slums. Millions moving into big cities like Bombay, Delhi, Madras and Bangladore - unable to support themselves.

    For one job in any of these cities 1000 people apply.

    This is what's causing the overpopulation. A large number of people in one area - unable to handle the growth. No jobs. Substandard housing.

    The sad part is - McDonalds has gone to India now. So we have a poor family living in a shack. Three starving to death and one obese.

    Lastly, I found this article by Dr. Brian Kopp
  • Contraceptive Imperialism and Third World Poverty

  • I think this is the sort of misinformation my friend has ingested. In the event you don't have time to read the article - here is a snippet:

    As the problem of “poverty” has been transmuted into the problem of “overpopulation” so have our consciences been mollified. We no longer feel so acutely our duty to make sacrifices in order to alleviate third world suffering with food, shelter, infrastructure, and the means to develop third world economies. We now can say, “It’s your fault. If you’d just stop making babies, you wouldn’t be living in poverty.”

    Instead of corn meal, we ship them condoms. Rather than artificial contraceptives, which can have life threatening complications, always seem to be paired with abortion, and frequently undermine third world societal structures, there is the Church’s alternative of Natural Family Planning. Safe, cheap, and effective, this method confers considerable power to couples to control their fertility for both achieving and, when couples have a serious reason to do so, preventing conception. It is time the misconception that Catholicism is synonymous with ineffective birth control and that her teachings against abortion and contraception are the major hurdle in eliminating poverty around the world be laid to rest.

    Now... Let me take a minute here to talk about the church's stance on birth control. Let's get real. If we believe God created the universe, plant, animal and man - then we really don't believe a little piece of synthetic material is going to stop HIM from giving you a child. No pill. There's even a story out there about a child who survived being aborted. Sadly, her twin brother did not.

    The church's stance is about respect. Deep meaningful respect. Respect for each other. One is never to have "meaningless sex" with one's partner. How would my friend have felt if I'd let fly with the fact that our Holy Father John Paul the Great wrote a book when he was still a cardinal. A book about marriage. A book that stated it's every Catholic husband's duty to make certain his wife is satisfied during their love making.

    Sex should be nurturing. These days sex is recreation. These days it's cool to be an "urban cougar" - that is an older woman who goes after younger men and uses them like exercise equipment.

    When speaking about this with a friend of mine who's wife is a nurse, he explained that in many third world countries women are little more than cattle. They aren't allowed to say no to their husbands. Even when they are provided with condoms the men see it as a slight against their masculinity and refuse to use them. Here, the church's stance on reverence for all life is of utmost importance.

    "The meaning of life is found in giving and receiving love, and in this light human sexuality and procreation reach their true and full significance... Respect for life requires that science and technology should always be at the service of man and his integral development. Society as a whole must respect, defend and promote the dignity of every human person, at every moment and in every condition of that person's life."

    —Pope John Paul II Evangelium Vitae, 81

    Monday, November 14, 2005

    Wowie! I finished Anne Rice's new book "Christ the Lord" this weekend. It was sold out in book stores near me, but my friend Nancy managed to find me a copy for my birthday.

    I've been a fan of Anne Rice since her first book, though I ran out of time to read them some time after Servant of the Bones. As a person who doesn't exactly see things the way others do, I found her world of the unseen a comfort. Anne Rice paints lush portraits in print. I really enjoy that about her books. When she writes about New Orleans, you find yourself standing IN New Orleans. See the sights, taste the food!

    Her newest venture - Christ the Lord - is very much the same. I was taken back to ancient Jerusalem. I experienced walking in the desert and bathing in the Jordan river. I experienced seeing the Great Temple through the eyes of a child. I gained an understanding of the Holy Family that I really must call a gift!

    Most fascinating of all - I experienced my favorite person, Jesus Christ, discovering himself. Well done! Well done!

    Saturday, November 12, 2005


    Ah the delightful Catepillar Roll.

    Yes, I found a new sushi place. Fantastic!!!

    Thursday, November 10, 2005

    I guess the moral of this story is - never EVER give Hollywood permission to recreate events in your life.

    What's the story? George Lutz is my friend. One of the best and most wonderful people I know. Who's George Lutz? One of the family members who lived through a violent paranormal event that would later become a best selling book and top grossing movie called The Amityville Horror.

    But wait - you say - I heard the family came forward and said it was all a hoax. Not true. They've never said that. They've stuck by their story these past 30 years. However, that doesn't stop nay sayers from spreading lies.

    Dimension Films teamed up with Michael Bay and his film company "Platinum Dunes" to remake the movie. They called it a remake but aside of the title and the name Lutz - their 2005 film had nothing to do with the original.

    The film itself was really bad. A patchwork of at least 12 different horror films stolen by the "writers" and director. Most notably "The Shining" - having the father character running around with an ax and the mother character as buck toothed as Shelly Duval. Even similar dialog and events - where she says "let's just pack up and go" and where she finds what he's been up to behind closed doors... Top it off with the fact that the film makers are so arrogant they don't even bother to hide that they've "borrowed" from other films. Watching and reading interviews with them, they talk about each film they pirated. Also, actor Ryan Reynolds said a great number of times that he just didn't care what repercussions his portrayal of a living person had. He was paid to do a job so he did it. Melissa George claims to have read Kathy Lutz's diaries. Didn't happen.

    The Lutzes are all people of great faith after what they went through. Mr. Lutz's three daughters are all youth ministers. How do you explain to teens and children that the movie portraying your father as an insane ax wielding maniac is not true? Especially when the film's entire PR campaign touted it as a True Story...

    There is no truth in that film. There is a LOT of truth to what that family went through.

    Sadly, the courts decided Hollywood's first amendment rights allowed them to portray the family any way they wanted to.
  • Defamation Suite
  • From Zenit - a Catholic news agency

    Pope Encourages "Apostolic Drive" of Secular Franciscans

    VATICAN CITY, NOV. 9, 2005 ( Benedict XVI greeted representatives of the Secular Franciscan Order at a general audience and encouraged them to witness to the Gospel in the world.

    These spiritual children of St. Francis are taking part in their general chapter in Assisi, through Saturday. The event has attracted members from 57 chapters, in 46 countries, as well as some 30 observers and relators.

    Before taking leave of the 25,000 pilgrims gathered today in St. Peter's Square, the Pope expressed the hope that the Secular Franciscan's general chapter "will be for all of you an opportunity of renewed apostolic drive when it comes to spreading the Gospel everywhere, following the example of St. Francis of Assisi."

    The Secular Franciscan Order comprises lay people who follow the Rule and Franciscan spirituality. Its origins go back to 1221.

    Today the order has 435,000 professed members, in 99 countries. ZE05110904

    Wednesday, November 09, 2005

    Here we have Art Takes a Ride. A project between our local public transit and the school system. All the art work is done by the kids. I wish I could have gotten a photo of each piece inside the bus. Sad that I did not.

    Very cool bus.

    My good friend Paul enjoys the kid's art. Or maybe it's the bus fumes...

    Close up of the right side of the bus.

    Monday, November 07, 2005

    This is what I love about not driving. I bet most of the south bound cars missed this rainbow. It was so huge it took three photos to capture it all. I love my commute.

    Traffic on the way to lunch.
    Brittany (my niece) helped me make my first dreads this weekend. I have three. Rather like two and a half because I don't think the third one will hold. Brittany's too afraid of hurting me to make them very tight. I've been tightening them down at the roots on my own. The process itself is very fun. Locking down the roots can be problematic. I brought my fine toothed comb to work today to help with the process. I probably jumped the gun, in not getting the dark wax and not talking to my boss first. Whole Foods only had the light wax. They're a tad lumpy at the moment. Where I've got a good knot in some spots and no good knot in others. Wait and see.

    Friday, November 04, 2005

    To dread or not to dread. That is the question.

    My boss, God love her, got sick of messing with her hair. Trying to find the right way to straighten it and have a decent style. She's such a polished person I about came out of my shoes when she told me she used to wear a massive "fro."

    So she did a lot of homework, then went out and got sisterlocks.

  • SisterLocks

  • Sisterlocks are a thin version of dreads. It looks more or less like yarn hair.

    She looks great and there's no mess. No product. No harsh chemicals. Her hair has great movement and NO frizz! My favorite "side effect."

    I loved them and immediately began looking into getting dreads done. That was two years ago. Here I am again, looking at dreads. I hate my hair. One of the greatest aspects of being able to wear a habit some day is permanently covering my hair. It's curly and frizzy on the top, stick straight underneath. I spend hundreds of dollars on products that don't work. Curly hair is dry. So I buy moisturizing shampoos and conditioners which just cause FRIZZ! UGH!

    In my research I came across this article about dreads. Good stuff...

  • History of Dreads

  • With my aspirations to holiness, you can just imagine how good that sounded.

    I might dread it and just be done with it. If I can figure out how to post pictures I will.
    It has been less than 2 years since the Vatican gave its approval on wearing one's rosary around the neck. When I was a kid, it was considered a profane use of a holy item. Along came the pop star. U2's Bono and soccer favorite David Beckam began wearing rosaries around their necks. The kids who adore them followed suit.

    During The Year of the Rosary, the Vatican agreed that wearing a rosary around one's neck could create excellent opportunities for dialog on the faith. They even created a special brochure for teens to have with them and hand out as needed.

    Now we have a school that bans wearing rosaries around the neck because it MIGHT be construed as gang related.

  • Rosary Debate

  • From a Catholic news source we have a rather scary little article about actual twisting of one's faith by these kids.

  • Youth Gangs

  • To me, a rosary is a sign of one's faith. A reminder to "pray without ceasing" as the Bible advises us to do. Turn every thought, dream and wish to the Lord. Place it all in His hands.

    Rosaries have a special place in my faith formation. Our whole lives are faith formation. I feel very sad for folks who miss that. Anyway... The rosary is a time to contemplate the sacrifice Jesus made for us. God Himself, come to live the human condition. The rosary is my traveling prayer book. It goes everywhere with me. I favor wrapping it around my wrist over wearing it around my neck. I can pray at any time. Even just looking at it I am reminded of how I feel when I connect with God.

    That being the case, I think counseling and faith formation would help the situation. Tucking the rosary away isn't going to solve anything.

    Wednesday, November 02, 2005

    Jersey Girl.

    I just loved this film. I'm not a big Ben Affleck fan. Er... I'm not an Affleck fan at all. Probably the only person on the planet who cared very little for "Good Will Hunting."

    I rented this because I love Kevin Smith's movies. It wasn't what I was expecting. It wasn't Dogma. It wasn't Jay and Silent Bob. It wasn't the kind of slap stick comedy that has me laughing so hard I can skip my nightly sit ups for a week.

    This was touching and warm. A very courageous break out for Kevin Smith. One to watch over and over again.