Tuesday, September 13, 2016

Delightful Moments in Everyday Life

My good friend Anne Reeves, Ana Designs author, photographer, baker, creator and designer extraordinaire who blogs at http://anadesigns.blogspot.com/, loves to talk about delight. What is delight? For her, delight is all about using your senses and your heart to enjoy and appreciate beauty in our world, even when the news and things going on around us and in our towns, families, parishes, and workplaces don't exactly show delight.  She reminds us that it's always there, in the smell of a new rose in your front yard, cleaning off the dirt from a freshly picked cucumber (as I just did from my oldest son's bountiful garden!), the first sip of coffee in the morning (no other sip is as good as the first one), even a smile from a stranger. You may have to look high and low, but delight can always be found no matter where you are. Simple things, simple joys, simple little delights that we can enjoy alone or with the people around us.

If you look around at your day-to-day life, I bet you can find some delightful things about even the murkiest day. I managed to find a few delightful moments in my day yesterday, and yesterday wasn't exactly a stellar day for me! But by the end of the day, I could count several delightful moments God had given me, and I was thankful.

Anne and I met for lunch a couple days ago before her big move to Seattle, because delightful moments spent with good friends are all the sweeter. We enjoyed catching up with one another, saddened by the fact that she would be a four-hour plane ride away from now on, yet still talking about beautiful things, things that make you smile and bring you delight, like her newfound love of Seattle, her art, how you can buy and plant spring flowers there in February, and my writing. We first met while members of the Junior League of Birmingham, Michigan and hit it off right away, and have been talking about delightful things ever since.

What is delight? It doesn't have to be huge, like a trip to Hawaii, or an expensive purse you buy. It can be as sweet as when another good friend (Kelly, I'm looking at you!) calls St. Therese your "gal pal."  Or when you and your sons laugh so hard together that your sides ache! It can be a simple, funny moment you'll remember for a long, long time, like when Anne and I became "mitten sisters."  One day we met for coffee right before Christmas at a coffee shop and fell in love with adorable knit coffee cup cozies that double as fingerless gloves that were for sale near the register. We decided then and there to buy them and Anne declared us "mitten sisters" and each time I wear them I think of Anne and that day we met for coffee on a chilly winter day.  She and I are both "girly girls," and love anything pretty, floral, and pink. Knowing my love for St. Therese, she even bought me a lovely medal of her in Paris. It is very special to me. I had it blessed by a priest and I wear that medal around my neck, along with my Miraculous Medal, every day! See the blog post I wrote about that back in 2009 here. It's a delightful little story!

Anne taught me to look for little delightful things in each day, and I thought of her today when I was at a stoplight. The air was lovely, so everyone had their car windows down, enjoying the day. I let out two loud sneezes. Embarrassed,  I looked over at the lady in the car next to me, who also had her car windows down. I knew she must have heard me, so I smiled at her sheepishly. She grinned back and called over from her car to mine, "BLESS YOU!" I gave her a huge smile back and yelled back, "THANK YOU!"

I had a grin on my face the whole way home.

That's delight.

Friday, September 9, 2016

Foul Mouths: the New "Thing"

There's a Facebook post that's gone viral. Well, what Facebook post hasn't these days? But this one takes the cake. It's a note from a mom of six children to her husband as she goes off on a girls' weekend with friends, a much-needed respite, of that I am sure. Most of the moms I know (myself included) have all needed a little break from the demands of hearth and home! The note about how to take care of the kids while she was away would have been cleverly written and funny, if not for that fact that  it was peppered with the most foul language you've ever read. From a mom. About her children. Really? Really? Is that how a mother should talk about her children? So disgusting. Yes, we moms have all had moments where we've wanted to pull our hair out, come on, admit it. Those nights where they won't go to sleep and you can't even see, you are so exhausted. Those days when a trip to the dentist for a filling sounds like a vacation. 

But the language was so bad that it killed the whole funny out of the note for me. I've said this for years: The funniest comedians are the clean ones. Why? Because it takes more intelligence. One has to work harder when one removes the filth from a comedy act. They actually have to use their brains and sense of humor because they don't have the bad language there as a safety net or to pad material. It's just all funny stuff.

I can't help but wonder what her six children will think when they read that note ten years from now. Embarrassment? Shame? Maybe none of those things, maybe pride, who knows? The point is that swearing and foul language... I don't know, you don't really expect or like it when it comes from your mom, do you? I mean, it's never good from anyone, and when you're in those experimental, angsty teen years, it happens, but hearing that kind of language from a mom is just...icky. 

But the language. Oh, it was bad. And I'm no prude, but it was just out of control. F-bombs every sentence, four-letter words, you get the picture. And oh, didn't the mommies out there just eat it up with a spoon. They loved it—every last, foul word of it.

Okay, so there's that. Read it, forget it, and move on. Think of whatever is pure and lovely. Okay, I can do that. Except I can't, because this foul language culture is sadly the norm nowadays. Don't believe me? I hope you're sitting down for this: It's entering the Catholic book world. A new release in Catholic nonfiction has the word "badass" in it its title. It's described as an "edgy, honest, and often audacious book of Catholic spirituality." 

Is there no end to the filth, truly? We've reached a new low. It's crude.

So, I guess when you have a mother of six ranting in a trying-to-be funny letter to her husband about her #$%@ing children and all the $%&* rest (use your imagination; this is a clean blog), then the next step would certainly be...a Catholic book. But do we all want an "edgy" book about Catholic spirituality? The holy lives of the saints aren't enough for us?  And it really doesn't matter what's inside. No matter how well written, I can't get past the title. 

Moms swearing up a storm, foul words in Catholic book titles. 

Sigh. So unlike Blessed Mother. 

So, so unlike her.

God made us for so much more than this.

Thursday, September 8, 2016

When Parents Have No Say

What happens when parents have no say in their children's moral teaching? What happens when well-meaning parents send their children to a Catholic school and that school fails them by forcing their children to watch a graphic sex-ed video as part of the curriculum? Not only that, if they don't sit through the course, they will get expelled from this school that is supposed to uphold Catholic moral teaching. Parents of students at Father Ryan High School in Nashville, TN are facing this difficult choice right now, and they need our prayers, as does the confused administration at the school.  Apparently what parents say carries no weight with this administration. A petition by TFP Student Action is available to sign here. I hope you sign this petition to stop this atrocity and slap in the face of Catholic parents. They need 15,000 signatures and as of this writing, there are about 6,500. Can you just imagine your child sitting through this trash at school? My heart goes out to these parents, but it's not enough. Sign the petition and spread the word!

Remember that the only thing necessary for the triumph of evil is for good men to do nothing. 

Enough is enough!

Below is the press release from TFP Student Action:

Sept. 6, 2016:  Going against the will of many parents, Father Ryan High School -- a Catholic institution in Nashville, Tennessee -- is forcing students to sit through a graphic sex-ed course or get kicked out of school.

The explicit material covers contraception, fornication and prostitution in lewd detail.

Concerned parents describe it as:
  • Spiritually harmful.
  • Near occasion of sin.
  • Teaches all about contraception.
According to LifeSiteNews.com, school administrators "told parents that students cannot be opted out from the course, suggesting that when parents send their children to school they hand over their right and duty as primary educator."

But even public schools let parents opt out.

Parents are upset because the purity of their children is at stake.  That's why TFP Student Action invites you to sign your prayerful protest to the school, urging them to scrap the inappropriate course.

Susan Skinner, a Catholic mom whose son goes to Father Ryan High School, said:  "I just don't think my 14-year-old boy needs to see [graphic images] while a girl sits next to him in class. We were told this gets taught or you opt out of the school.  I'm trying to raise Godly children," she said. 

Sign the petition.  Share the petition.  Fight for purity.

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