Showing posts from October, 2014

Dinosaur Arms, and Ust'-Ishim Man's DNA

Paleontologists uncovered a huge pair of arms, plus assorted ribs and vertebrae, in the Gobi Desert 49 years back. Discoveries since 2006 supplied the missing pieces of Deinocheirus, the largest known theropod dinosaur.

Other scientists are filling in more of humanity's family history, with 45,000-year-old DNA.

More at A Catholic Citizen in America.

Calling All People of Peace and Good Will

Official Maryann D'Amico - People of Peace

Speak Peace!
Please click the link above to enter the People of Peace Page on my website!  Please share the link and speak Peace into existence. Think Peace into existence. Act Peace into existence. I would love to see your name on my Peoples Petition for Peace Worldwide!

Halloween and Heaven

October begins with the feast day of St. Therese of Lisieux, patron saint of the missions. The same month ends with Halloween, or the Vigil of All Saints’ Day, soon followed by All Souls’ Day (Nov 2). On the surface, these three feast days may seem to have nothing in common, since mission may seem unrelated to death, but a closer look shows that both mission and death have a common denominator: Heaven. Mission, or “gospel”, is bringing good news to kind ears, good news of Heaven. Saints, too, are only saints because there is a Heaven. And since Halloween is the vigil of All Saints’ Day (and not to Christians a feast of the occult) Halloween celebrates Heaven.  Continue reading...

All Souls Day

My daughter told me recently that she always prays for the dead and the souls in purgatory because Ken Colby taught her that. Ken Colby was her religion teacher in grade school.  Ken's teachings left a huge impact on my daughter and myself.  I remember the "Children's Mass" always had great visuals.  To this day, we parents talk about Ken burying the "Alleluia" for Lent. You can read the rest at Being Catholic ... Really.

Do You Pray for the Dead?

Do you pray for the dead?  Do you pray for the souls in purgatory?  November is the month we set aside for the prayers for the dead, but it's a subject that periodically comes up and it seems to be a lost practice among some Catholics.
You can read the rest at Being Catholic ... Really.

Mindful of Our Deceased Loved Ones

At our parish in November, the month of the poor souls, we write the names of deceased loved ones in a book. This year there is a new twist. Our pastor invited us to bring pictures of our departed relatives and place them on the window sills of the church. The pictures will surround us, reminding us that these people are with us celebrating the Eucharist. They are still present and loving us, although they are invisible. They exist in another dimension, one that we too will be slipping into one day. Click to continue

Staying Sane When You're Crazily Busy

To say that I’ve been “busy” during the last month is an understatement. Swamped is a little more like it. We’re in the middle of a major relocation and my time has been divided between job hunting and now going through the process of clearances, etc. to be able to start my new job, finishing up as much work as possible for the school we left behind in Iraq and miss dearly, freelancing on the side, and doing a bunch of other stuff my husband and I need to get done as part of the move (e.g. car-hunting, home-hunting, paperwork and more paperwork, etc.), IN ADDITION to spending time with the kids and doing the “normal” range of errands, chores, etc.
So both my husband and I have been pretty overwhelmed. I know this is an exceptional time period – we won’t always be dealing with all the demands of a major relocation, but at the same time, I think being very busy is pretty much a regular part of life for most of us.
Although some of the things we’re juggling now will disappear within a f…

Pro-Life IS Pro-Women

Perhaps I have finally discovered a label to describe myself – a pro-life feminist. At first glance theses two terms seem to oppose each other but true feminism is not the antithesis of motherhood or a pro-life stance. Contrary to standard stereotypes, one is pro-womanprecisely when one is pro-life. My story is simply a witness of a woman who discovered a liberation as a mother of a large family. I am a conundrum because I am a joyful mother of nine children. Ifeel vilified by modern environmentalists as well as ‘feminist’ career women and of course beatified by the religious right at the same time. Most people of all persuasions, expect me to appear haggard and  filled with regret or unfulfilled dreams . For example, when a journalist interviewed me for an article on Mother’s Day a few years ago for our city’s major paper, she asked me if I ever regretted not using my degree to pursue a career. I simply stared at her in shock  for a few moments, my mind blank.  “No”, I finally repli…

Less Perfectionism-More Peace (And Joy!)

I have been working on letting go of perfectionism for years. Last week with my little ones help I was able to actually let go a little. See how here!
Blessings to you,

How to behave in these end times

Another friend on Facebook this weekend was bemoaning all the struggles in the world right now. I say another, because this happens often. Something is wrong with the world and many of us sense it.

The other night I watched an interview with the journalist who introduced Edward Snowdon to the world. When she spoke of how the government was watching her every move, trying to force her to reveal her sources, I was eerily reminded of the fight for religious liberty. Priests are being subpoenaed to break the seal of Confession. Pastors in Houston have had their sermons subpoenaed. The Bill of Rights is crumbling.

Isis is beheading Christians in the Middle East. The last week saw terrorist attacks in the US and Canada. There’s an Ebola epidemic, great moral decay, and the scandal over the relatio from the Synod on the Family.

Continue reading at Contemplative Homeschool.

The Proverbs 31 Woman and St. Josemarie Escriva's Heroic Minute

The Proverbs 31 Woman is an absolute ROCK STAR of virtuous living. She does it all - from being the perfect wife, to owning a business, to making clothes, serving the poor and more. What is her secret? The most important attribute she has - the one that fuels all her other virtues is that she is a "woman who fears the Lord." (Pr. 31:30) Her relationship with the Lord is the motive and strength behind all her other undertakings. It is no surprise to read that she too lives out the Heroic Minute - "rising while it is still provide food for her household and tasks for her maidens." (Pr. 31:15)

Click here to read more about what we can learn from her Heroic Minute...

Things That Make Me Happy

God was lavish with me on Sunday, drawing me close to him through church, music, family, community, and nature. Why would I sabotage his invitation to intimacy, his consolation? I must continue to pray and discern how to help others who suffer, certainly, but the panicky guilt I suddenly felt constricting my heart was a dirty trick. The movement I had noticed all day was joyful consolation; only an enemy would be interested in sucking the gratitude out of me. Once I got that straight, I decided to accept God's gift, gratefully, and to store up the peace for more difficult times that might lie ahead.

Brimming with joy, then, I made this little list of 5 things that make me happy. Maybe they will make you happy too, or remind you of other happy things you've been meaning to thank God for. And now, Things That Make Me Happy:

Find out at Praying with Grace!

The Woman Caught in Adultery and the Woman At The Well

Alone at St. Stephen the Martyr.  In the dark, in front of the tabernacle, just me and Him.

This is where I am happiest, with Him.

The door opens and a woman comes in in nurses scrubs, and sits down.  She is crying.   She is crying so loud it tears at my heart.  I go to her.

With tears in her eyes she looks up at me.  She sees perhaps the compassion in my eyes and that I want to be with her and moves over so I can sit down.

"I'm here if you need to talk, if you need anything."

Should Parents Introduce "Bad" To Talk About "Good?"

There is a dilemma that all parents face when raising their children. Desiring to keep them as innocent as possible for as long as possible is what lurks behind this conundrum. And the decision made in each family is the right decision—even when the decisions differ from family to family and even from child to child.
The issue at hand?
Do we as parents talk about “bad things” in a way that allows us to introduce the “good things?” And if we do, how “bad” can “bad” be without being too “bad?” And, of course, every parent’s definition of “bad” is different.
How do we equip our children to live in the world—and be salt and light—without robbing them of their innocence? Is this even possible? More importantly: Is it necessary?
Can you talk to your young daughter about chastity without telling her—in honest language—what she will encounter in the world of boys? Can you speak to your young son about temptation and hormones—in a realistic way—without introducing characteristics that girls exhibit …

8 Steps to a Cloistered Heart

A person stepping into the physical enclosure must move forward. She does not become cloistered simply by standing outside the door looking in. She does not wait for someone to pick her up and carry her.

She walks to the enclosure door and steps inside. 

If I am to be cloistered in heart, I must step as well. Not just once, but many times. I must step toward the cloister, then over the threshold, then ever more deeply into the cloister of God's will. I am to do this in every circumstance of my life. 

Each step is a step away from self-will and toward the will of God.

Perhaps I can look at some of the steps I have seen so far..... (click here to continue)

Neighbors, Love, and Upping the Ante

When a scholar of the law asked Jesus for the greatest Commandment, my Lord gave two....

...The Samaritan: An Unexpected 'Good Guy'
After two millennia, the shock of a Samaritan being the 'good guy' in this sort of story has worn off. Jews and Samaritans did not get along: at all.

These days, it'd be like telling a story in a redneck bar: where a coal miner, poor farmer, and truck driver wouldn't help the accident victim: but an east Asian immigrant did....

...Okay: I've had a cup of coffee, walked around a bit, and calmed down. Let's see, where was I? The greatest Commandment, the good Samaritan. Right.

The rules are simple, but not easy....

...I'd like to end world hunger, establish a lasting peace, and cure the common cold. That's not gonna happen. For starters, I don't have the connections or power to get any of that done.

Besides, things take time....

More at A Catholic Citizen in America.


CREDO What do you really believe? CLICK HERE

Front Row With Francis: Ezekiel’s Bones and The Church

Pope Francis invites us to read Ezekiel chapter 37 which describes the Spirit of God breathing life into a Valley ofDry Bones. Francis always emphasizes that God is in charge and in control of the Church, not man. In Ezekiel, it is God who, through the prophet, sends the Spirit upon the skeletons. Ezekiel humbly admits he doesn’t know what God’s plan is. Similarly, it is God Himself who breathes His life into the Body, the Church. Francis explained that”the vision of Prophet Ezechiel, in which God’s Spirit gives flesh and life to a field of dry bones, is a foreshadowing of the Church, filled with the Spirit’s gift of new life in Christ and united in fellowship and love.” In addition, it is important to notice God sends Ezekiel in the midst of a rebellious house of the exiled Israelites. The dry bones are Israel, cut off from the of life God. By zeroing in on this scene of the Valley of Dry Bones, the pope makes a parallel connection with individual members of the modern Church who act l…

The Devil's Heartbeat

One day a new demon was asking questions of his demonic mentor, the elder demon assigned to show him the ropes so to speak. 

"Why does the illustrious evil one hate humans so?" asked the new demon.

"You don't know?"  


'You shall love the Lord your God . . .you shall love your neighbor as yourself.' Sunday Reflections. 30th Sunday in Ordinary Time Year A

St Matthew and the Angel,Vincenzo Campi,  San Francesco d'Assis, Pavia, Italy [Web Gallery  Readings(New American Bible: Philippines,  Readings(Jerusalem Bible: Australia, England & Wales, India [optional], Ireland, New Zealand, Pakistan, Scotland, South Africa) Gospel Matthew 22:34-40 (New Revised Standard Version, Catholic Edition: Canada)  When the Pharisees heard that Jesus had silenced the Sadducees, they gathered together,and one of them, a lawyer, asked him a question to test him.“Teacher, which commandment in the law is the greatest?”He said to him, “‘You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your mind.’This is the greatest and first commandment.And a second is like it: ‘You shall love your neighbor as yourself.’On these two commandments hang all the law and the prophets.”

Motivating your phlegmatic child (and yourself?)

After I wrote a post with tips for your choleric child, a readers asked if I would write one for phlegmatics as well. I’ve been thinking hard about how to motivate phlegmatics, as I work with C, age 8, who is phlegmatic/sanguine. Since I am phlegmatic/melancholic, I have also looked closely at what works for me.

In reading Fr. Conrad Hock’s book about the four temperaments, I was disappointed by his treatment of phlegmatics. He takes about two pages with each of the other three temperaments, but his main section about phlegmatics says only this:

The training of phlegmatic children is very difficult, because external influence has little effect upon them and internal personal motives are lacking. .....
Not very encouraging for parents, is it?
Continue reading at Contemplative Homeschool.

Earth's Wandering Poles, A Comet, a Wobbling Moon

Robot explorers observed a comet as it whizzed past Mars, there's something very odd about a moon of Saturn, and Earth's magnetic field will probably flip much sooner than predicted.

About Earth's magnetic poles switching places: I'm pretty sure we'll notice the event, but it won't be 'apocalyptic.'...

...Earth's magnetic field is weakening a whole lot faster than scientists expected. Our planet's north and south magnetic poles will switch places "soon:" on the geologic time scale.

More at A Catholic Citizen in America.

Catholic Author Jean Heimann of CatholicFire Tells Us How to Stay Married 10 Years & Then Some

Following up on last week's blog tour where I reviewed Jean Heimann's new book Seven Saints for Seven Virtues, Jean and her husband Bill return to Can We Cana? for some advice on How to Stay Married 10 Years & Then Some.
1. How many years have you been married and how many kids do you have?Bill & Jean:  We have been married 22 years and have no biological children. Bill has an adult son from a previous marriage, which was formally annulled by the Catholic Church prior to our marriage in the Church in 1992.
2. Name 3 things that have helped you to stay married this long.Jean: Our strong Catholic faith bonded us from the beginning and has kept us together over the years. We are “equally yoked” as the Protestants say. We were both actively involved in leadership roles in various ministries prior to our marriage (and continue to be) and saw eye to eye on the important issues that face engaged couples: openness to life, putting God first in our lives, serving others, stewards…

Stunning Medieval Church Inspires Praise

I am in awe of incredible architecture of the past, created without modern machinery or even power tools. The results are stunning testaments to faith and dedication to God. They inspire praise and prayer.The experience must be even more powerful in person if mere images can move us. St. Denis Basilica in Paris, has sheer columns, arches and exceptional stained glass. It is the first monumental masterpiece of Gothic art. The Basilica of St Denis  marked the change from Romanesque architecture to Gothic architecture. The French Gothic was then spread across Europe as the Middle Ages international style. Then after, workshops at cathedral building sites propagated the new way through the training of master builders. continue>

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Saint Pope John Paul II and the Heroic Minute

Today the church celebrates the first official feast day of Saint Pope John Paul II.  His heroism and total devotion to his prayer time, even during times of illness, injury and suffering, that propelled him to the heights of holiness and made him a compelling witness to the world of a life lived in complete surrender to the Lord.

Click here to read more about Saint Pope John Paul II's morning prayer routine.

The Power of Little Things

Once when I was in charge of the songs for a retreat Mass, things went very wrong. I came too late to begin the opening song, I started one song too high, and so on. After that fiasco, I sat in the chapel feeling ashamed and miserable. As the other sisters filed out, one of them gave my shoulder a little squeeze. Suddenly things weren’t so bad . . . because of that little gesture. Click to continue

My least favorite time of year

My least favorite time of year is when the political ads on TV and phone calls incessantly fill my life.  Facebook is filled with everyone's opinion on politics and my head starts to hurt and then explode.

You can read the rest at Being Catholic ... Really.

Women of the Bible I would Like to Meet:: Part 2::The Women at the Empty Tomb:: Joanna, Mary, and Mary Magdalene

There were two Mary's who  went to the empty tomb to finish the burial work of Jesus.  One was Mary Magdalene and the other was Mary, the mother of James and Joseph. Both of these women  had been at the cross with Jesus, Mary, His Mother, and John, and Joanna. 

Mary Magdalene is the woman who was weeping in the garden who spoke to Jesus and didn't recognize Him at first in all His Glory.

When I meet her at His Tomb, I would like to ask her so many questions about her meeting with Jesus.

Of course, you were distraught over your Master's death.  How did you feel when you went to His tomb to finish His anointing for burial?

Did you leave the home of Mary early to spare her the duty of finishing the burial rituals?

What are your memories of the cross?  You must have wept with the other courageous women there?
Read More Here at:: His Unending Love

The two videos that rendered me speechless

You can view the videos at Being Catholic ... Really.

How many good works must we do?

In the thinking of St. Therese, what does it take to be a saint?
Therese grew up in a culture influenced by Jansenism. Jansenism was a heresy from the seventeenth century that over-emphasized the role of grace in man’s salvation. It had a long-lasting effect on  the Church in France. In the late nineteenth century, during Therese’s life, the French clergy often preached “fire and brimstone” sermons. They focused on man’s sinfulness and the horrors of Hell.

During the school retreat before the first anniversary of her reception of first Communion, Therese was greatly frightened by the priest’s warnings against mortal sin. She was suddenly overcome by scruples. How could she be sure she was on the road to salvation? How could she be sure she was in God’s graces? Maybe she was guilty of mortal sin without acknowledging it. How could she ever be good enough to please God?
Continue reading at Contemplative Homeschool.

Praying with Music

Come! Let us sing to the Lord
and shout with joy
to the rock who saves us.
Let us approach him
with praise and thanksgiving
and sing joyful songs to the Lord.
Psalm 95:1-2
"Americans spend more money on music than on sex or prescription drugs."
"There is no known culture now or anytime in the past that lacks [music], and some of the oldest human-made artifacts found at archaeological sites are musical instruments."
Both of these provocative lines come from books written by Dr. Daniel J. Levitin. The first is from his 2006 best seller This Is Your Brain on Music: the Science of a Human Obsession, and the second is from his more recent book (2008), The World in Six Songs: How the Musical Brain Created Human Nature. Once a professional musician, sound engineer, and record producer, Levitin is now a neuroscientist who runs the Laboratory for Musical Perception, Cognition and Expertise at McGill University.
In The World in Six Songs, Levitin explains that when people sing togeth…

You can go home again

There's an old saying, "you can't go home again,"but I have many times.  I live just a few blocks from where I was raised and sometimes when I go on my walk, I visit the neighborhood where I grew up. Come walk with me: You can read the rest at Being Catholic ... Really.

The “Yes” God wants from us by Nancy HC Ward

What God wants is for us to say “yes” to him and “no” to everything else. Of the millions of good things available to us, he wants us to have the best. That’s because he loves us so much. He loved us, even while we were yet sinners.
Every one of us doubts that we are loved. After all, each one of us knows who “we” are. It surprises us when someone loves us completely and thoroughly. But the Lord is after us to believe it. He wants us to know that he loves us inside and out.
We can begin by saying “yes” to believing that we are worthy of God’s love. We can say “yes” to believing deep within our being, that God, our Creator and Savior, loves us. We belong to him. He loves and cherishes us. He wants to protect us with his gift of faith and trust in him. Before we can serve him and love him fully we must first say “yes”’ to letting him love us. 
How does he convince us that he loves us? That’s up to us. He’ll do whatever it takes to convince us, but not against our free will. When we can bel…

Embrace Real Life (@ Melody's Harmonies)

Somedays life isn't Pinterest or blog post worthy.  Somedays you don't bother to put on makeup.   Somedays you don't bother to shower.   Somedays you wear jeans to mass.   Somedays you sleep in and arrive at mass late.   Read the rest here.

I am Broken Too

'.....I'm sweeping my kitchen floor and my back is starting to ache a tad more than usual. ('O God, come to my aid; O Lord make haste to help me!')

Help me to sweep without grumbling today. Help me to be grateful for dust and kitchen crumbs, and a few extra twinges. ('Lord, I offer these pains up for our dear friend who is battling cancer and who loves You so much!')

Help me choose to do this monotonous housework with a light heart, even though I'd rather be reading a book or gardening. Help me to be careful not to put too much stress on my old broom today... 

and to remember this... I am broken too. 

So broken, You have to reach right down from Heaven itself to make any use of me.... '(a guest post from our friend Trish. Click here to continue)