Friday, March 30, 2012

String Theory & God

I love learning about space, physics and quantum theories! I don't understand any of it nor did I take any of these sciences in school because, well there was just too much math involved and boy was I not good in math.
But I am fascinated by String Theory. In very, very, VERY short terms, at least to my understanding, String Theory is what helps connect the two "theories" of the universe together, the smallest things and the largest things. Apparently these two theories have people on both sides who fight amonst themselves as to which is right.
But if you know about String Theory, it tries to explain that both sides are right and that quite honestly you can't have one without the other.  
It's kind of like Creation verses Evolution. To me, you can't have one without the other there either. I mean we've seen animals, plants and humans adapt to their surroundings, hence evolution is adapting to surroundings, darker skin in hot climates, plants tenaciously hanging on in places where nothing should live.
Then of course how can you have evolution without a Creator? A creator had to begin everything.
So String Theory pulls two ideas together and helps make sense of so many things. But in the Spiritual World String Theory makes even more sense. How is it we feel connected to our loved ones who have died?
How do hear the voice of God speak to our hearts? How did visionaries see saints and Mary?
Going out not only on a spiritual but also scientific limb here I suggest that String Theory explains quite a big about how our lives are interwoven with those from the past and those of the future. Why else would it matter who our ancestors were? Why would we care if we are but just one atom of a person floating around in our present time, not changing anything, or caring about anyone or anything?
Why would God make us such shortlived beings if not for the eternal life behind and ahead of us where everyone exists for all time?
These, truly are the things I ponder....more later!

Tuesday, March 27, 2012

Civility Week 13: March 26, 2012

   Civility in dress; I had a hard time finding a quote that fit this. “Modesty is important because it is that which protects the castle, yet it is also the frame that enhances the picture.”
   Why am I on this modesty kick? I know my daughters roll their eyes every time I bring this up, because they hear it so often. But when you have girls, it seems you are constantly having to help them battle the Fashion Attack where dresses, tops, prom gowns, and wedding gowns have gone way too far in the revealing side of our bodies.

   So, dear sisters this week’s Civility Lesson is on being civil in body and spirit! When we treat our bodies civilly we dress not just for comfort, but for the comfort of other people’s eyes!  If we lead men into temptation because of the way we dress or aren’t dressed, then shame on us! You see, it’s a known fact that guys are guided by what they see. Women are guided by not only what they see but what they feel. It’s that whole “sensitive side” we sometimes wish guys understood better!
   And forget arguing about it, it’s just the make up of DNA and genetics at work here and I’m not about to argue with nature.  Be it enough to say that guys react more to things they see and women don’t. You can look that up somewhere else.
   For now, as women, if we aren’t into sewing our own clothes, we are at the mercy of fashion designers who want to make us all look like ladies of the evening.  I have hardware I don’t want anyone but my husband to see. Why would I advertise that to the world?  If I want to act civilly to other men I am not going to flaunt myself in low tops or high skirts.  Even if you are not married why would you flaunt your hardware to just any guy you are meeting on the street?  Prudence would say that was not wise given that statement above about guys and them acting on what they see.  You don’t want that.
   Plus, there’s the whole living like a Christian thing which states we should not lead others into temptation.  In fact, Jesus says those who DO lead others into temptation should have a millstone tied to their necks and be drowned.  Yeowch!!!  That’s enough to scare me into covering everything up!
   While,  yes, men should have enough self control and most of them do, to just “not look” at you when you are wearing something way too revealing is that really fair? Why should they have to be the ones to “not look”.  We make up laws that say you can’t smoke in certain places because we don’t want smell it or reek of smoke, we make up laws that say you can’t kill each other or drive drunk.  Do guys need a law that says, “Hey, don’t dress that way, it’s hard for me to remain a gentleman when you are dressed like that.”
   Bringing back a civil society begins with our dress, our manners and how we, as Christians present ourselves to the outside world. Whether it’s in our cars not yelling at bad drivers or not humming in line at the grocery store or not dressing in a way that says we’re something we’re not, has to begin with you and me. If we take back civility in every way, then we become as human beings something much closer to what God intended us to be. It will be easier to love each other and help us all on the road to Heaven.

Monday, March 19, 2012

Civility Week 12: March 19, 2012

It’s a long road we’ll travel, you and I, lots of drivers, trucks and turns.  We had better remember to pack our civility.”  Mom to Daughter #2

   It’s true. When my youngest child and I are in the car together, it’s something of a circus. At least that’s what my husband says.  This weekend he sat in backseat so my daughter could drive and I could co-pilot.  I am told, mostly by my husband, that daughter #2, who is the youngest child in the family, and I are very much alike, our temperament, our attitudes and outlooks on life. We think much the same way, we see things much the same way…and our mouths also work the same way, especially in the car.

   Yikes, what have I done? I didn’t mean to create a mini me who has the same trouble with keeping her mouth shut as I do when someone rudely pulls out in front of our car, cuts us off, or slams on their brakes in front of us. 

   I guess it would make sense, that as the youngest, she probably has the most experience sitting in the car with me, driving the other two kids to school, to field trips. She was born when my oldest began kindergarten so it was go, go, go from the first few days after her birth, riding in her car seat being entertained by my babbling at her from the front seat to keep her entertained.  She has grown up in the car with me, not always being so good at restraining my outbursts at other dumb drivers who could possibly be endangering my child in my car by their poor driving skills. I call it the Mama Bear instinct. The Mama Bear in the car instinct is the reaction I have when someone pulls out in front of me, cuts me off or otherwise causes me to take drastic action to ensure we won’t have an accident because of their stupidity!  I mean, my child is in this car! What are they thinking!!!

   Remember those little yellow signs that says “child on board”, sometimes I thought some drivers thought that was a dare to see if they could scare the  mom in the front seat to yelling something their children should not hear.

   Anyway, it’s Daughter #2 that has been trying to help me with my civility resolution for this year. In other words when we ride in the car together, if something slips out of my mouth, she reminds me.

Well, this weekend the tables were turned when it was her turn to drive Her father, meanwhile, tried to lean back in the backseat and sleep. But we could see the glimmer of a smile pulling at the edges of his mouth. Hmmm….we had to prove him wrong.  

   Two semi trucks were in front of us, each blocking a lane. Daughter #2 began, “I hate when they do that…”
“Um hmmm…” I said, crocheting away on a pot holder.
Silence… “Can you turn on the radio?”
“Sure,” I replied, the radio is always a good alternative to griping at the drivers on the road, when you are singing it’s a lot harder to yell, “You moron!” at someone cutting you off.

   I’ve been reading several books (Happy Catholic,  Style, Sex & Substance)  lately written by Catholic blogging women who share lots of wonderful ways to increase your faith, some with humor, most with really good ideas about what it is like to be a faith filled Catholic woman in this age.  Despite the fact that pretty much all of these women are much younger than I am, I have been learning a lot of things I have forgotten over the years, like how to not take myself so seriously, how to forgive my own faults, and to get rid of that whole Catholic mom guilt thing. I am so glad to find I’m not the only one who has that!

   Becoming more civil sometimes means you have to release your own guilt about how you parent, how you mess up in life, forget your mouth or whatever gives you trouble and keep bringing yourself back to the foot of the cross and telling the Lord, “I messed up again.”

    Accepting that we ourselves are uncivil at times, resolving to be better at it, and not wallowing in self pity because “Gee!  It’s so gosh darn hard to be civil sometimes in this world,” takes a lot of effort.

   Slowly I am learning that it’s not a one week process, or even a month. I’m really glad I have given myself a year for this Civility project, because in all honesty, I think it may take me a year to let go of my incivility, to remember to keep a civil tongue about anything and to not feel so much guilt about it I give up on the whole thing.

   Because I think learning more civility is important, for me, for my family, for my friends and neighbors. And just then, maybe then, more and more people will see that it’s important for all of us to be more civil. As we meet more and more people on this planet through social media, internet news, and travel, we need to learn to respect each other more and keep a “civil tongue in our faces!”

   Fave quotes:  Katherine McLintock in “McLintock– “You keep a civil tongue in your unprepossessing face!”

Friday, March 16, 2012

Are You Catholic? Part II

1.  I am the Lord your God; you shall not have strange gods before me.
Do I honestly have faith in God and place Him at the center of my life?

2. You shall not take the name of Lord your God in vain.
Do I choose not to take the Lord’s name in vain and not use offensive language?

3. Keep holy the Lord’s Day.
 Do I attend church on the weekend, spend time in positive activities, take rest and not obsess or work extra hours?

4. Honor your mother and father.
 Do I speak of and to my parents with respect, spend time with them and offer them help?

5. You shall not kill.
Do I keep this commandment and also not allow one’s self and children to watch murder related television shows or play violent video games that promote to “kill” images on the screen?”

6. You shall not commit adultery.
 Do I stay faithful to my spouse in body and mind? Do I tell jokes or demean my spouse, make fun of him or her?

7. You shall not steal.
Do I refrain from choosing to steal or from cheating in all aspects of my life? Do I give a good example of faithful giving, sharing the talents and gifts God has given me?

8. You shall not bear false witness against your neighbor.
Do I gossip about other people? Do I pass along untruths or talk down about somebody?

9. You shall not covet your neighbor’s wife.
Do you dress modestly? Do I only look to my spouse for love and affection and model that behavior for my children when they begin dating and looking for a spouse?Married couples show total commitment to each other and marriage is a sacrament meant for life.

10. You shall not covet your neighbor’s goods.
Am I grateful for what I have, my house, car, clothes or do I always act jealous of others and their treasures, gifts and talents? Look for something to be grateful for, thank God for what you have and have an “attitude of gratitude!”

Civility continued...still Week 11

Well it's's been a long week and I think it will be a long year. This being civil is hard work. I know you may laugh, but I always thought I was a peaceful person, but this experiment with civlity has been teaching me just how UNpeaceful a person I am.
It's funny what something teaches you in life. For all I know anyone reading this blog who knows me may already be saying, "Well, it's about time you figured out what all the rest of us know, Lisa."
That I may NOT be the peaceful person I thought I was? Oh I joke about my temper, my mouthing off to other drivers...but really putting the hammer down on my thoughts and my mouth has shown me just how far off base I really was.
I really have a lot of work to do. Maybe it was the Holy Spirit putting this thought in my head to work on my civility this year. If so, bravo Holy Spirit because I realize how much I am uncivil.
But, as any new habit or getting rid of a bad habit that becomes ingrained in your life, it's hard to get rid of.
I honestly thought I would be better at this by now. But sadly I am not. But I am not giving up!

Tuesday, March 13, 2012

Civility Week 11: March 12, 2012

 Be civil to all, sociable to many, familiar with few, friend to one, enemy to none. - Benjamin Franklin, Founding father of the United States, philosopher and inventor
I read an interesting quote from the website, “The Art of Manliness” concerning  Civility and Manliness and I think it applies to everyone:
“A gentleman treats other with dignity and respect, regardless of the kind of forum in which he participates. He treats life’s fellow travelers as he himself would like to be treated. And in doing so, he makes the world a little better of a place everywhere he goes. He leaves those he interacts with feeling edified and uplifted instead of depressed and angry. Every man has the power to brighten his corner of the world, whether that corner be in the office, his home or online. The more men who decide to take the higher road of civility, the more enjoyable everyone’s lives become. And choosing to reject our baser impulses in favor of our high ones is a big part of becoming our best selves and building our legacy.
Well said! We could use more etiquette these days. Etiquette goes hand in hand with civility.  In day’s gone by etiquette books were popular books!  Our ancestors understood something we often forget: no matter how common sense something is, without frequent reminders and practice, humans are drawn to the path of least resistance.   Our culture has almost forgotten what it is to use manners, have etiquette rules and of course civility.
We need more Emily Posts  writing about civility and etiquette and manners. Bring back the manners classes that kids used to take.   Finishing schools  were places where young ladies learned how to fulfill the name “Lady.”
Where does this begin? In your own home! Civility isn’t just about politics or online behavior.  It’s about being ladies and gentlemen and talking, writing and especially behaving that way. 

In our martial arts classes, my husband and I always taught that when it came to break time the ladies got to get a drink first, then the gentlemen. There were usually a lot of groans that came from the new boys at this, the older boys already understood.  Civil and mannerly behavior begins everywhere there are men and women, boys and girls. When we break down the respect we have for each gender, our society breaks down too.  So even though we were teaching boys and girls how to hit and punch in martial arts, we demanded a certain amount of civility. You didn’t throw sucker punches, you respected your opponent and you shook hands before a match. 
Our students were taught to not only respect the instructors but other students, adults and kids too, both in class and outside of class. If a student was reported to have been rude to someone outside of class, they were called on the carpet about it. And it was not fun to have two large male instructors and one bad mama bear instructor shaking a finger in your face about being rude to someone outside of class!
My husband, the other male instructor and I all considered learning about manners to be the upmost importance in martial arts because you were being taught how to harm someone. Even if you were only learning how to protect yourself from bad guys, you still had to know how to use what you learned with reason, discipline and safety for all concerned.
Kids learn at home how to behave mannerly and with civility. We can fight the world’s influence. Yes we can.  It begins with you and with me.

Monday, March 12, 2012

Moms Aren't Meant To Be Cool

I just read the title of a blog by Catholic Mom, Julie Filby, entitled, "The Church Wasn't Meant To Be A Cool Mom!"
Exactly...what kid who is now grown up, doesn't look back at his or her strict mom and say, "Thank God, my mom didn't let me do... (fill in the blank) but at the time I thought she was the meanest Mom in the world!

Good moms don't always have the designation as BFF. You simply can't be your kids best friend at all times. Yet here is our society today, blaming the Mother Church for being out of touch, too old fashioned and way too strict!
What a wonderful compliment!
As a mom raising my three kids, it was always hard to figure out when they could do something with friends, is this movie okay for them to see, what about that activity?
Parenting is no cake walk for those of you who don't have kids yet. Just wait....
Parenting is the reason for sighing...long slow breaths...gray hair...wrinkles around eyes and mouth (though laughter does that too!)
Parenting is also the reason for a heart expanded by love to the ends of the world, a trust that grows until it hurts, pride, laughter, tears, faithfulness and so much more.

Yes, good moms aren't meant to be cool and that's okay, because now that my own kids are in their twenties...they NOW think I'm cool! I just had to wait a few more years for the designation and it was well worth it!

The Catholic Church knows that as a parent you will have to give your children discipline, love, understanding, forgiveness and that good parents Do Not spoil their children, over indulge, forget the guides and rules and cave in on every complaint or request.

Keep up the good work Mother Church!

Thursday, March 8, 2012

Letting Go And Letting God

Wise innocence means you’re willing to leave God’s work to God and throw yourself completely into doing your own. It means you understand that setting a destination gives you only a sense of direction, not a guarantee of arriving. 
 Like curiosity, innocent wisdom gives you the humility to let the world take care of itself instead of forcing it into your mold.  This doesn’t mean giving up your dreams, it means going after the ones you really want.                                                                                                    Barbara Sehr

Wednesday, March 7, 2012

Pointers From the Cardinal

Chosen by the Pope to address the College of Cardinals, Cardinal Timothy Dolan issue these pointers as New Year resolutions:
1. Remembering that even those who boast of their secularism have an innate longing for the divine, the first step of evangelization must be to keep the quest for God alive.
2. "Be not afraid"- confident, without being triumphalist, since it is the power of God who sends His people to evangelize.
3. Knowing that the new evangelization is not about presenting a doctrine or belief-system, but a Person whose name is Jesus!
4. Neverless, this Jesus is the Truth. Hence, evangelization is linked to catechesis.
5. An evangelist must be a person of joy - someone who smiles!
6. The new evangelization is about love - the love of God made concrete in service.
7. Finally martyrdom. A reminder that the Church is now people by those who are suffering persecution for their faith and these martyrs give impetus to the new evangelization.

An Evangelist Must Be A Person Of Joy-Someone Who Smiles

Cardinal Timothy Dolan

Monday, March 5, 2012

Civility Week 10: March 5, 2012

Whatever we do and however strongly we feel, we do it charitably, we do it civilly; we don’t judge the motives of other people.” Cardinal Timothy Dolan

     10 weeks already!!! Argggg….I don’t feel any different yet! Well, maybe…but not 10 weeks worth!!!   I did  notice that last Friday, I was slowing down in my car. I mean, like under the speed limit, not that I was going over the speed limit before, well, maybe like 3-4 mph over, but as of last Friday I began to feel a little more relaxed behind the wheel and actually driving 5 miles UNDER the speed limit.  Could it be? Could civility finally be taking a hold, like one of those tiny trees in the cracks of a sheer cliff along the interstate? Hmmmm…..

     Cardinal Timothy Dolan has asked all of us to use civility when debating the Health Mandate and the flap that arose when a talk show host called a young woman a name. “Whatever we do and however strongly we feel, we do it charitably, we do it civilly; we don’t judge the motives of other people. We just try – in a confident, peaceful inviting way to make our position felt and to invite other people to respect it.”

    Vowing to continue the fight to keep government out of the church, Dolan said, “We bishops are pretty firm in our engagement with the government and the invitation for them to restore religious freedom and to back off from this unwarranted, unprecedented intrusion into the life of the Church.”

   We too have to remain firm in our convictions but getting into a shouting match and calling names doesn’t help our cause.  We can stand up for our rights and convictions, but killing someone whether physically or defaming them doesn’t help us. We wallow right down there in the same mud they are in.

    And truly, was that how Jesus gave us the example? Nailed to the cross, was he spitting venomous words and hatred? Nope, he was forgiving and he died that way. Can’t we too die a little to ourselves by using self control of our words and actions while still fighting the good fight?

Quote #2:
"Civility is not something that automatically happens. Civil societies come about because people want them to." - Jimmy Bise Jr, Us and Them: A Blog conversation Survival Guide, SXSW 2006

   I found this really interesting piece on the web. It’s from George Washington and believe it or not, even with all the slightly odd English in it, a lot of what he says applies to today. (although I hope we don’t have to worry about pulling bugs or lice off ourselves in public. Ugg)  He wrote 110 Behaviors, he was only 16 at the time.

   Here are some of the things he wrote:

Every action done in company should be done with respect to those present.

Show nothing to a friend that might frighten him.

In the presence of others sing not to yourself, nor hum or drum with your fingers or feet (Drats, I hum in the grocery store line! Another thing to work on!)

Put not off your clothes in the presence of others, nor go out of your chamber half dressed. (hmm… the awards shows and Super Bowl half time entertainers should read this one!)

My favorite one was #19:  Let your Countenance be pleasant but in Serious Matters somewhat grave. I am working on having a poker face, but my family, friends and in fact almost everyone who knows me, knows I don’t have a poker face! While that is not always a problem, I smile easily too, I also frown, look puzzled and confused and it all shows on my face. So being civil means working on that poker face more!

Check out the link to his more of his words of civil wisdom:

Quote #3:   You catch more flies with honey than vinegar!”  Mom

Seriously, we’ll never win people over to our way of thinking by shouting and degrading them. So this quote from my mom is something to remember when trying to win over people to your way of thinking whether it's religion, politics or what color to paint the living room!  Thanks Mom!

It’s the truth!

Thursday, March 1, 2012

Christ, yes! Church, no?

   I was reading a chapter from Cardinal's Timothy Dolan's book, "Doers of the Word" and ran across this chapter on "Christ and His Church":
"Christ, yes! Church, no!  This seems to be the chant these days. It seems many want a King without a kingdom, a shepherd but not a sheepfold, a general with  no army, a spiritual family where I am the only child; faith but no faithful. Believe yes, belong, no. In short,they want Christ without the Church."

   Did you realize that a quarter of people who were raised Catholic no longer consider themselves Catholic? Some seem more loyal to the baseball team they cheered on as a kid than to the Church they were baptized and raised in.

   But Jesus strictly laid it out for his followers. "I am the vine, you are the branches!" He didn't tell us we were each our own tree, looking for water and sunshine all by itself. No, we are all a part of a faith community.

  Like it or not, as Catholics, we belong to one huge community of believers. Jesus meant it to be that way or else he would have told his disciples, "Scatter, go do your own thing!" He formed them as a community, sent them in pairs to spread the Good News. They didn't spread their own good news, it was all about Jesus and his teachings.

   So, next time you are tempted to think, I am Catholic, but I don't have to believe in everything the Catholic Church teaches, or go to Mass every week or fast or forget about Lent, THINK AGAIN!

   Ya ain't part of the ballteam if you don't participate!!!