Wednesday, August 29, 2012

Autumn is starting!

Well, this post has nothing to do with my usually topics of choice-- those mostly controversial things I'm passionate about! Rather, I'd like to bring your attention to some practical points of beauty I've seen around me recently. 

This summer, I had many grand adventures and travels, and one thing I have paid more attention to than in years past is the amount of butterflies! In fact, I have seen on several occasions-- including on the Blue Ridge Parkway-- bushes full of colorful and whimsical butterflies!  I didn't take this picture-- the bushes I saw were too deep in the thicket to get close enough for a photo. But, this is generally what it looked like.

Now, autumn is starting. Around here (Charlotte, NC area), it is mostly the crepe myrtles that are shedding soft yellow leaves... meanwhile having their blossoms in full bloom! I did take this stellar photo...  with my droid!

Also of note, I spotted two buds on the rose bush outside my office.

Monday, August 27, 2012

Book Review!

I recently started my third read of a book that has already changed my life. I thought if one read could change my perspective, re-reading a second and third time would work wonders too!

Trustful Surrender to Divine Providence: The Secret to Peace and Happiness is a compilation of short spiritual quips on accepting and having joy in the present moment. Half of the book is written by a saint, and the other half is written by a priest. They were contemporaries of one another, living in 18th century France.

From the publisher's website:

A good book.
To remain indifferent to good fortune or to adversity by accepting it all from the hand of God without questioning, not to ask for things to be done as we would like them but as God wishes, to make the intention of all our prayers that God's will should be perfectly accomplished in ourselves and in all creatures is to find the secret of happiness and content.

Today at Mass, Abbot Placid mentioned that there is great peace in "accepting our crosses." He said: You may not like it, you may not want it, but if you accept it, it will be the best thing for your soul.

There are many things in life we absolutely cannot control like death, disease, natural disaster, etc. Yet, these things are so hard to accept and live through.

My greatest joy from reading Trustful Surrender has been: in the end, these situations are revealed as opportunities to form our personalities and lives into being more peaceful and happy people, just like the sub-title says.

I recommend reading the book just one or two pages at a time. There is so much to take in and think on, and this will help the message to sink in better, especially when it's a hard lesson to learn.

Sunday, August 26, 2012

Democrats coming to Charlotte

Just in time for the Democratic Convention 2012, the Democratic party ousted the possibility of any pro-life candidates for the 2012 race by proclaiming officially that their party is pro-abortion. Also on the agenda is pro-gay  marriage. Contraception, in the party, is seen as a universal right not to be interfered with by religious objection.

The Diocese of Charlotte is responding and reaching out with simple, hard-to-miss messages across the street from the convention location.
These very visible banners are meant to provoke dialogue and encourage evangelization, diocesan officials said, during a time when the national spotlight will shine on Charlotte like never before – and where attention will especially be drawn near St. Peter Church, the oldest Catholic church in the diocese and located in the heart of the convention area.

Thank you Bishop Jugis!

Saturday, August 25, 2012

Chicken v. Coffee

It doesn't seem like it makes a difference, but the recent campaigns for Chick-fil-A and Starbucks show what we can do by putting our money where our mouth is. The current war is between Chick-Fil-A v. Starbucks. Even Belmont Abbey College -- first in the country to speak out against the HHS mandate-- recently dumped Starbucks from their lineup of student offerings.

So, here's my story of putting my money where my mouth is:

I am not the adventurous type when it comes to makeup. My friend Jamie took me for a makeover three years ago. Although the nice ladies at Origins wouldn't believe me that I owned exactly no makeup, they gave me a complete makeover and told me exactly what to wear. I bought it all.

But last Fall, I ran into Origins to pick up some foundation, and a breast-cancer awareness ad caught my eye. It was three nude women embracing. It was a waist-up shot from the back, so technically "nothing" was showing, but it still made me uncomfortable. I told the clerk that it doesn't seem necessary to exploit women to advertise for breast-cancer awareness. The lack of modesty and good taste offended me. She said thanks and put the ad behind the counter. I wrote to the corporate office for Estée Lauder (owner of Origins) to request a more prudent choice of advertisement in the future. I wrote:
To advertise for breast cancer is seen as a universally good cause, however to use explicit nudity between three women is hardly prudent. In a fight for the health of women, must we exploit them? I also pity the three women and the producers and photographers who had to work on such a display. It is not necessary to provide a shock in order to support women suffering from cancer.
Their response:
The intent of the 2011 BCA Campaign, with its bold and inspiring visual, is to raise awareness while emphasizing the collective power of people joining TOGETHER around the world with one voice to spread the all- important message of breast health and that early detection saves lives.
"Bold and inspiring?" If they wanted to be bold and inspiring and express "together"-ness about Breast Cancer, why not show the women's fronts, not their backs? That would be bold. The ad they used, however, was just imprudent.

I'm running out of foundation, and now I need a new makeup company. It has to be organic. I don't want strange chemicals on my face all day long. I have never looked better than when I began wearing Origins. So, it has to be good. I googled "organic makeup," and to my surprise, I realized that Amway's Artistry makeup is organic and their CEO recently gave a big donation to National Organization for Marriage!

Little changes like this scare me because it's so much easier just to buy the same makeup I've always used. But, I believe that this change is necessary. I want to put my money where my mouth is.  Now, I'm going to be an Amway customer! Thanks to Amway for sticking up for traditional marriage.

Wednesday, August 8, 2012

Athletes giving glory to God

Tonight, I watched Allyson Felix and Aries Merrit-- two new Olympic Gold Medalists-- give glory to God after great races. Further, they attributed to God their ability to perform well and gain the skill needed to do their best.

That was such a breath of fresh air. Not only do both Allyson and Aries have beautiful smiles, they are both full of joy and determination. I especially appreciated Aries's thoughts on improving his game right after winning the 110 meter hurdles. Whenever I can find that video on YouTube, I'll post it!

Congrats to all our Olympic athletes!

Ruined sex?

Condoms seem to solve the problem of wanting organic sex while preventing pregnancy and disease, but a new website, www.1Flesh.org blew the whistle on that.

Quoting a 2009 article on a federal study on why men won't use condoms which brought a bit of criticism from guys who say it's not mystery why guys don't like it.
"Also, it's an interruption when a couple is in the 'heat of the moment' where you have to change focus to something decidedly unromantic," he said. "[It's] pretty much the same as if the woman, at the same juncture, needs to jump up, run to the bathroom and insert a diaphragm. It breaks the mood.

"Men wear them because they are slightly more desirable than a combination of embarrassing diseases, 20 years of child support payments and death," Shaw said. "And if you took the death part out of the equation, a frightening number of us would probably still roll the dice on it if the lady was willing."
But the shocking part for me is that men's semen actually helps a woman be happier and is also protects against preeclampsia in pregnancy and uterine cancer.

I never thought that semen was good for anything besides making a baby! So I suppose when it says in Scripture, "And the two shall become one flesh," the Lord who created us had some concrete remedies in mind also for the husband and his wife.