Tuesday, July 27, 2010

Thank You All for Your Service to Our Country--National Korean War Veterans Armistice Day

The White House

Office of the Press Secretary

For Immediate Release July 26, 2010 Presidential Proclamation--National Korean War Veterans Armistice Day


Today we celebrate the signing of the Military Armistice Agreement at Panmunjom and we honor our servicemembers who fought and died for freedom and democracy in the Korean War. This year marks the 60th anniversary of the start of the Korean War and the birth of an enduring friendship between the United States and the Republic of Korea that is stronger today than ever before. Our alliance is rooted in shared sacrifice, common values, mutual interest, and respect, and this partnership is vital to peace and stability in Asia and the world.

Since our Nation's founding, the United States has relied on our Armed Forces to ensure our safety and security at home, and to protect lives and liberties around the globe. When Communist armies poured across the 38th parallel, threatening the very survival of South Korea, American troops braved unforgiving conditions and rallied to the young republic's defense. Tens of thousands of our Nation's servicemembers lost their lives, and many more were wounded, declared missing in action, or taken as prisoners of war. The courageous service and ultimate sacrifices of these patriots and our allied combatants safeguarded a free government and vibrant economy in South Korea, forging a bond between our people that stands strong today.

As we commemorate the 60th anniversary of the outbreak of the Korean War and the eventual conclusion of hostilities at Panmunjom, let us raise our flags high to honor the service and valor of our veterans, to reflect on the principles for which they fought, and to reaffirm the unshakeable bond between South Korea and our Nation.

NOW, THEREFORE, I, BARACK OBAMA, President of the United States of America, by virtue of the authority vested in me by the Constitution and the laws of the United States, do hereby proclaim July 27, 2010, as National Korean War Veterans Armistice Day. I call upon all Americans to observe this day with appropriate ceremonies and activities that honor our distinguished Korean War veterans.

IN WITNESS WHEREOF, I have hereunto set my hand this twenty-sixth day of July, in the year of our Lord two thousand ten, and of the Independence of the United States of America the two hundred and thirty-fifth.


Monday, July 26, 2010

A Thought for today.

"Good works are links that form a chain of love."
-Blessed Teresa of Calcutta

And the King will answer, "In truth I tell you, in so far as you did this to one of the least of these brothers of mine, you did it to me." - Our Lord Jesus Christ (Matt. 25:40)

Saturday, July 24, 2010

Quick Movie Review

Last night my kids and I went to see "The Karate Kid."  My 3 older sons are fans of Jackie Chan.  I quite liked to see him in a less silly role than in the "Rush Hour" movies or "Shanghai Noon/Knights"  movies.  However, I really didn't appreciate the "love interest" part of the movie.  No, not an interest for Jackie Chan, but for twelve year old Jaden Smith's character.  Really?  We have got to sexualize 12 year olds now?   Even my almost 16 year old groaned at seeing Jaden and his 'girl friend' kiss.  I really don't understand why our society is so obsessed with sex.  Does anyone really wonder why we have pregnant 14 year olds?  So, this is a warning for any and all mothers that are a little sensitive to this issue.  Don't take your kids.  My boys and I had a long talk about it on the way home from the theatre.

The rest of the movie was very good.  The boy had to learn about respect for his mother, for his teacher, for a foreign culture.  All that was good.  I like the lesson of karate kid that you need to push through and conquer fear if you are going to live with any kind of self-respect.  The final tournament see was almost exactly the same as the original movie.  One caveat--I do think Jaden Smith is a better actor than Ralph Machio (sp?), however, at least Ralph was a teenager in the first movie and it was the summer before he went to college in the second movie.  The new movie had some good action sequences, but it was a little long for my five year old. 

Friday, July 23, 2010

You Just Don't Understand

I love it when protestants say Catholics just don't understand.  That statement is also usually accompanied by the phrase, but "most protestants don't even understand [insert doctrine here], either."  That way it gives them an 'out' to explain their personal version of [doctrine] and how it is the 'right' or 'true' meaning of [doctrine].  Of course, they are the real arbiters of [doctrine].  That is assuming that all or "informed" protestants agree with their version of [doctrine].  The thing is, many, many of these different groups have different meanings for these so-called doctrines, such as the non-Scriptural doctrines of sola scriptura and sola fide, so essential to their protests against the Church founded by Christ.  Why are there so many different meanings of these doctrines floating around?  Isn't it interesting that the Catholic Faith is spelled out for anyone to read in the current Catechism of the Catholic Church and supported by hundreds of references to Scripture.  Just about every question one might have on the True Faith is there for anyone to read.

St. Michael on CathApol
On a friend's blog, he actually had the gall the try to explain how the "five solas" could be, at least, aligned with Catholic doctrine if one wanted to find some commonality between Christians.  However, in an effort to distance himself from Christ's Church, one protestant felt he must come back with the "you just don't understand what the words mean to us."  For one thing that is not true, not only is my friend a former Lutheran, but I am a former Baptist, both of us highly educated in those faiths and we do know what you mean by "those words."  Just because when he (or we) give a Catholic answer, or explanation, it doesn't mean we didn't understand your meaning.  And, that is what Catholic apologists have been trying to do for centuries--trying to help our separated brethren understand Catholic doctrine with Catholic, not protestant, meanings of the words we use.  Of course, vocal protestants always know better about what we believe than we do, but we couldn't possibly understand what they believe.    You'd think that so-called Christians would actually be interested in giving a Christian witness to the world, but they seem to rather enjoy posting hate-filled anti-Catholic propaganda rather than actually teaching the Gospel of love proclaimed by their Lord Jesus Christ.  

Many, many of the apologists I know and read are converts to His Church.  If you've been around the internet "apologetics" enough you would know names of apologists like Scott Hahn, Patrick Madrid, Dave Armstrong, and many others.  All converts to the church, as I am, all lovingly but firmly trying to explain the Truth in Catholic doctrine to our separated brethren.  They are not using their time and energy on earth spreading hatred and telling people where they are going like most of the protestants I am unfortunately exposed to on a regular basis. 

I do understand.  Many, many Catholics do understand what you are saying, why won't you even try to give us the benefit of the doubt?  We are the original Christians, the only Christians (not counting heretical groups which came and went over the centuries) up until the 16th century.  Interestingly, the more I read the early Christian writers, such as St. Ignatius, or St. Athanasius, or St. Augustine, the more I see the doctrines of the Church still taught today.  If one can apply the Catholic meaning, the proper meaning, to the Early Church Fathers, one could not help but be Catholic.  Protestants love to take Church Fathers sayings out of its Catholic context to try to make it look as if they disagree with the Church, when point in fact, their writings helped build the doctrine of the Church as we know it.  Many were inspired, many made mistakes, many are admired.   At the very least, let us be what we are -- Bible believing Christians.

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

A Couple of Recipes

On a friend's blog she has a recipe exchange on Mondays and has some stored on her site.  Well, today, I was thinking of a couple of things I like to do, but have not made it on her Monday list, yet.

Today I made the following for dinner.  It is quick (takes about 10-15 minutes depending on how fast your stove boils water) and easy when mom is out of ideas and energy.

2 boxes Mac and Cheese mix (I use two because I have 5 kids-use only one if you have only one or two kids--and only if they are not teenagers.)
margarine, as called for on box(es)
milk, as called for on box(es)
1 bag frozen broccoli baby florets (I really don't like to get a bag full of stems.)
1 to 2 cans Spam

1.  Cook Mac and Cheese as directed.  Put steamer on top of boiling pasta. 
2.  Put Steamer on top of boiling pasta.  If you don't have a steamer pot for your set, us a metal colander on top of your pot.  Put broccoli in steamer/colander.  Cover.  Lower temperature so it doesn't boil over.
3.  While that is cooking, cube Spam.
4.  When pasta is cooked and broccoli is steamed to perfection, mix cheese sauce as directed on box.
5.  Add cooked broccoli and cubed Spam.
6.  Serve.  I can serve my five kids (two of them teenage boys) with this recipe.

How about desert?  Cold S-mores Parfait.

1 or 2 boxes of instant chocolate pudding (depending on how many you want to make)
4-6 graham crackers
mini marshmallows

1.  Crush graham crackers to coarse crumbs
2.  Mix chocolate pudding as directed on package.
3.  Take out desert glasses, parfait glasses, deep cups, anything you got to layer the dessert.
4.  Put in small layer of pudding.
5.  Cover pudding with a layer of graham crackers.
6.  Sprinkle in marshmallows.
7.  Repeat steps 4-6 twice.  Make sure that you end with Marshmallows on top.  I had some that were stars.  It looked great!  Watch out the portions can look small but they really fill you up.
8.  Serve and enjoy.

Voile!  Dinner and desert in 1/2 hour.  Gotta love it.

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

"Your" Virgin

One of the ignorant detractors of Mary, commented about "your" virgin, meaning Catholics, today.  How is Mary our virgin?  Since this protestant says she is a Sola Scripturist, why does she not believe in Scripture?  (Quotes from the NIV, not a Catholic Bible.)

""The Virgin will be with child and will give birth to a son, and they will call him Immanuel"--which means "God with us.""  (Matt 1:23)

Which refers back to:
"Therefore the Lord himself will give you a sign:  The virgin will be with child and will give birth to a son and will call him Immanuel."  (Isa 7:14)

"In the sixth month, God sent the angel Gabriel to Nazareth, a town in Galilee, to a virgin pledged to be married to a man named Joseph, a descendant of David.  The virgin's name was Mary."  (Lk 1:26,27)

"How will this be,"  Mary asked the angel, "since I am a virgin?"  (Lk 1:34)

Those who are members of His Church understand that those outside His Body, and continue to protest her teachings, but still call themselves Christians, have to rebel against all teachings of the Church no matter what.  Mary is not "our" virgin.  She is THE virgin of Scripture.  If you don't believe that you're not a sola scripturist, let alone a Christian.  If you don't believe that Mary was a virgin, then the Holy Spirit was not His Father, and Jesus is not the second person of the Holy Trinity.  Therefore He is not God, and you cannot be a Christian. 

Now, I understand that many protestants do not believe in Mary being "ever-virgin."  Calling her the "Blessed Virgin" is not going to make Catholics think that you accept that Mary stayed in the virginal state all her life.  We understand that.  But to object to a title, such as the "Blessed Virgin Mary," just because you feel you must be anti-Catholic, is just beyond ridiculous.  Mary is the Blessed Virgin of Scripture (I have referred to "virgin" above):

"...Elizabeth was filled with the Holy Spirit.  In a loud voice she exclaimed, "Blessed are you among women, and blessed is the child you will bear!  But why am I so favored that the mother of my Lord should come to me?...Blessed is she who has believed that what the Lord has said to her will be accomplished!"  (Lk 1:41b-45)

"From now on all generations will call me [Mary] blessed, for the Mighty One has done great things for me--holy is His name."  (Lk 1:48)

Actually, the question should be:  If one claims sola scriptura, why don't they call her the Blessed Virgin, too?  That is who Mary is in Scripture.


I've been on a few apologetics sites for a few years now, and one of the constant themes is attacking Mary.  Now, we, Catholics, know you don't agree with the Church.  That is a given, as you are protestants (you protest against His Church at all costs, even your own soul), after all.  However, all Catholic teachings about Mary are actually teachings about her Son, the Son of God.  Why would any Christian reject, say, to the virgin birth, or the title "Mother of God?"  Yet, so-called Christians do.

"It may be objected: 'Our Lord is enough for me. I have no need of her.' But He needed her, whether we do or not. God, Who made the sun, also made the moon. The moon does not take away from the brilliance of the sun. All its light is reflected from the sun. The Blessed Mother reflects her Divine Son; without Him, she is nothing. With Him, she is the Mother of Men." 
 --Bishop Fulton Sheen

Here is a basic outline of the Catholic beliefs about Mary:

1.Mary, like every other person on earth, was saved by the sacrifice of her Son, Jesus Christ.
2. Mary is the Theotokos--the "God bearer."  If you actually believe in Jesus as God the Son, why would you object to this?  That is what we mean when we say the smoother phrase in English--"Mother of God."
Try this: 
Jesus is God. 
Mary is His Mother. 
Mary is the Mother of God. 
It really is that simple.
3.  Mary, through a special grace given her by God as the Theotokos, was sinless all her life.
4.  Mary, also through special grace, was a virgin her whole life.
5.  Mary was her Son's first disciple.
6.  Mary is the Mother of the Church.  She is Jesus' Mother.  We are called the Body of Christ.  She is our mother.
7.  Mary was assumed, that is taken up into heaven, body and soul by God.  We know that Enoch (Genesis 5:24 & Sirach 49:14) and Elijah (2 Kings 2:1-12) were assumed into heaven.  The Church has sacred Tradition that says Mary was assumed bodily, but she also sees the result of Mary's assumption in Revelation 12:1. 
8.  Mary was crowned Queen (Mother) of Heaven.

What the Catholic Church does NOT believe about Mary:

1. She is a goddess.  (She is not worshipped by Catholics.  Honor and worship of God are two separate things).
2. She is equal to Jesus, and therefore is part of the Trinity or quadinity (Yes, some ignorant protestants really believe that we believe that.)
3.  She was perfect.  (Sinless and perfect are not the same).

Some object to Catholics praying TO Mary.  First off, we only pray (old fashioned word for asking--"Pray tell, what time is it?"--English is a very imprecise language) to her to ask for her to pray to us.  She obtains things for us from God by asking, not by any power she has independent of God.  Since she's right there next to Jesus, her Son, don't you think that her prayer would be heard?  Yes, we can and do pray to Jesus directly all the time.  

Second, my God is the God of the Living not the dead.  (Mark 12:27)  All our "friends", for that is what saints are, are enjoying the heavenly vision.  That is the Christian hope, is it not, to be with Jesus eternally alive in Heaven?  So, why would anyone begrudge Mary that privilege also?  That is one thing I cannot fathom.  That Mary is in Heaven, no one calling themselves Christian can or should doubt.  I understand why they would not believe she cares for them, but I, personally, find that a little sad.  I need all the hope I can get.

I'll stop there for now.  Mary is under attack there will be more to come.

Sources:  http://www.fisheaters.com/mary.html

Monday, July 19, 2010

You Don't Want to See Me When I'm Angry

Yesterday, we went to the only second hand bookstore in town. It is the only place in town that sells the paperback series my 13 yo is reading. He begged me for 3 days to go to the shop, and it is too hot out to ride his bike. We went on a quiet Sunday afternoon. I made the mistake of bringing my rambucious 5 yo.

Yes, he is high energy. Yes, he can be loud. Now, really I thought we were going to a book store not a library. I led him to the miniscule kids' section to look at kids books. However, he was not interested in used Elmo or chewed-on alphabet books. He took me on a tour of the "Historical Romance" section, which is like a mini maze. He was a little loud and I shushed him a couple of times. I stopped to see if I could find an author whose books had been adapted to movies I've enjoyed. After about 2 minutes looking at the alphabetically arranged shelves, I could not find her. I heard my 5 yo being lound again. I turned the corner to see him oohing and aahing into the floor fan, and laughing. I've enjoyed that myself, in the past. The sour look on the clerk's (maybe owner, not sure) face, made me shush him again. I picked up a book in the "new" books section that I was interested in and browsed the inside of the cover. Then my son talked into the fan again and I asked him to stop. He trotted over to my 13 yo and talked rather loudly exclaiming over the pictures on the covers in the comic book section. Then the clerk said, shaking his head, "He's gotta go. He's gotta go." While boiling inside, I put the $13 book, that he apparently didn't care to sell to me, back on the shelf, took my son by the hand, and walked out. I started the car because it was 98 degrees out and I wanted to start the AC. I didn't want to disappoint my teenager, so I walked back in, with the car running, and handed him some money. I looked straight into the clerk's face and said, "We won't be back," and walked out.

Really? My 5 yo was what? Disturbing the one other customer in that tiny shop? To offend the homeschooling mother of 5 kids is not a very smart business practice when you're a book store constantly on the brink of bankrupcy is it? For heaven's sake, we were in his precious shop for less than 5 minutes. Apparently, he doesn't actually need business.

Saturday, July 17, 2010

Like a Good Neighboor...

No, I'm not writing about an insurance company this time...

I tried to get my teenagers to mow the lawn before noon when it really gets hot.  It was already 94 at 10 AM.  My 15 yo went out about that time to "prove" to his brother that the thick, long back yard could be mowed.  The argument lasting the 20 minutes it took me to go to the hardware store and back for trimmer string.  My oldest mowed the back yard.  By then it was after 1130.  It was now my 13 yo son's turn to mow the front.  First thing he does?  Yell at his brother for putting the lawn mower away.  It took him a full 15 minutes to get the lawn mower around to the front, find a hat, wet the hat, get the mower in just the right starting place, and...start the mower.  It took a while with the 'mulching' push lawn mower to cut the thick, high grass (did I mention we've had more rain this summer than the last three combined?).  He had to stop frequently to let the grass out from under the blades.  Then low and behold, our neighbor Walt came riding by on his lawn mower.  At that moment, I was struggling to restart the mower then realizing it needed gas, sent my son for the gas can.  Walt thought the mower was not working, rode up over the curb, and started circling our lawn.  Not only did he mow the half my son hadn't gotten to yet, but mowed what he had.  It took him all of 20 minutes to mow our whole front yard.  I looks terrific and I can't thank him enough.  It has been a long week and I am weary in body and mind.  It was nice to have just a little help from a good neighbor. 

[16th century Dutch painting called 'The Master of the Good Samaritan' in the Utrecht Museum.  Picture is in the public domain.]

Friday, July 16, 2010

In the System

Today, I had the dubious pleasure of delving into the dark world of our government-run insurance company.  Let me start off with the preface that my oldest has diabetes melitus (for those who don't know that is type 1 or Juvenile Diabetes).  It is (at this time) incurable, but can be managed with daily monitoring and insulin.  He has to see his endocrinologist four times a year, but in our insurance company's infinite wisdom he is still required to get a referral from his "primary care doctor" once a year.  Well, I just got a bill from his endocrinologist because the insurance company did not pay a red cent to him for my son's care.  What is the first thing I do?  I called the doctor's billing office.  I thought I'd check to make sure that they had submitted the bill to the insurance company before I called.  They don't work on Friday.  So, I called the insurance company directly.  Well, the rude person on the other end of the phone felt it her job to talk to me as if I were five and inform me not only was there no referral "in the system" but that I would need to go to his primary care physician and my local insurance company's office to get one.   I said, "Thank you," and hung up the phone before I said something very unchristian.  Well, after trying several local numbers for the insurance company and the medical clinic where my son's primary physician works, I decided to go there and find a real person to talk to.  First I went to the pediatric clinic where my son's doctor works.  The lady who worked there was very helpful but could not see any reason why there was no referral "in the system" but she could not find it either.  I explained that his last primary doctor said he would take care of it, and in my experience with him, he always did what he said he would.  She had another nice lady check to see if a referral had been ordered and put "in the system."  Well....she produced a piece of paper that said that his doctor had put in the referral. 
Next, I need to go to the insurance company's office down the hall.  I went to "referral management" first but she said I need to go to the other office in the next hallway.  I went to that office and she seemed happy enough to help.  She, condescendingly, told me that there was no referral "in the system."  That piece of paper said that a referral was to be put "in the system" but is not proof that is it indeed was put "in the system."  She would do me the favor of putting in an exception request just for the appointment he had over a month ago, because there was no referral "in the system."  She went on to explain how it was my responsibility to make sure that the referral had gone through.  Let get this straight--I took him to his primary doctor like I was told to do--I filled out all the paperwork I was told to--the doctor put in the request, in April mind you--that request somehow did not get "in the system"-- and I was responsible for it not being "in the system" because I didn't notice that I didn't get a piece of paper in the mail that tells me it went through.  Riiiiigggghhhhtttt.  It is all my fault.  So, after controlling my self very well, I went back to the "referral management" office.  The lady there (thanks Jean, if you ever see this) looked "in the system" to see if it was there.  Apparently, someone had tapped on a keyboard somewhere about the referral because there were "notes" on it "in the system."  However, "for some reason" there was no referral "in the system."  So, she said she will put it "in the system" and make sure it is back dated.  I have her number now to make sure it is "in the system" on Tuesday.  Because, after all, it is my responsibility to see that it is "in the system", even though I did everything I was supposed to do.  If that three hours of mental torture is not good for some time in Purgatory, I don't know what is.  Please God, don't make me ever go there again.

Thursday, July 15, 2010

Smellin' Good!

We've had a long week of vacation bible school, with all the kids running and jumping and getting all sweaty.  When we got home it was time for a little relaxation.  My five year old sat next to me as we enjoyed a few minutes of television before bed.  Well, he lifted his arm and said, "Smell my arm pit."  I made a face and said, "Ew, I don't want to smell that."  At which, he ran out of the room.  I chuckled and went back to my program.  The next thing I know, he's back and says, "Now, smell."  I could smell the scent of his teenage brother's deodorant waft through the air.  I almost fell off the couch laughing so hard.  Aren't kids wonderful?

Saturday, July 10, 2010

Feeling Sorry

Have you ever had one of those days, weeks?  I have.  Yesterday (Wednesday) was just the "topping" on the Sundae that is my life.  Friday, of fourth of July weekend, our van brakes went out.  Well, any plans to go anywhere for the holiday died right there. Our mechanic was already closed for the weekend, and not a rental car in sight.  We limped along on Saturday with or 16 year old second car and went no where.  Sunday, my husband took me out to lunch, as he was leaving town soon and wanted some alone time.  We go out to the car, loaded, by the way with our oldest's camp gear, and low and behold the transmission doesn't work.  So, we walk home. 

Praise God for a loving neighbor--shout out to LANCE!!!  He drove to where our car was and helped my husband put our son's camp gear in the back of his truck.  They came back and Lance handed the keys to his truck to my husband, and said I could drive it to camp.  I pray my son is having the time of his life right now at camp.  It was about an hour and a half round trip, and I immediately returned his truck safe and sound.  Then he and my husband went back to the car, found a not-too-expensive part for the gear shift, and repaired the car.

Monday, the van was repaired.  Not too expensive but still more money than we could afford.  Tuesday, rain.  Our basement flooded yet again.  I have yet to assess the damage.  I tried my best to save all school items from flood or splashing.  Our sump pump gets overwhelmed when there is a deluge.  Now there is also a hole in the floor where water went under the tiles.  I have no idea how we can afford to fix the basement.  We need it water proofed and there has got to be a better solution for the sump.  I am trying my best not to cry about it.  Yes, it is a great house but I am pushing 50 and I can't bail for years to come. 

To top it all off, I went out to the garage to put some towels in the dryer and slipped.  I did the splits I never thought I could do again.  I slammed my right hip into the cement stairs, and twisted my left leg behind me, up the stairs.  It seemed as if I would break like a wishbone but, no, I survived.  I had to sit on the couch with just about everything below my knees packed in ice.  I can walk though so I don't think I broke anything.  Today, my back hurts, I must have wrenched it, and my hip is excruciating--the only thing I didn't ice last night. 

Update...Friday (yesterday, now) the A/C went out while I was out working on VBS materials for Monday.  The first place I called couldn't come out until Monday.  Are you kidding?  No A/C in Oklahoma in July all weekend, really?  I said thank you and hung up.  I called another A/C repair place and got a message machine, I hung up.  The third place, the "Kool Guys", came within an hour.  The technician informed me that they mostly work on commercial buildings that is why he was not on a "house call" at the time.  Praise God!  We now have air conditioning. 

I pray that trouble will leave us alone now. 

I'm on my way to get my oldest.  It rained 3 days/nights this week.  I hope they had lots of alternate indoor activities planned.