Oct 10, 2013

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Nemo: 5-days-old

October 10, 2013. A short video from our second morning with Nemo. Note that Ellie Mae is right nearby, keeping an eye on...

Oct 8, 2013

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Nemo’s Corner

Nemo’s Corner

After several weeks of photographing and filming Nemo, the orphan kitten my husband and I took in on October 8, 2013, I decided to organize everything on my blog. I have been uploading photos and videos to my Facebook, but have been encouraged to gather them all in one place.  Perhaps visitors will be amused, fall in love with cats for the first time or simply gain some encouragement if they decide to take on the care of...

Sep 15, 2013

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See The Fly?

A common housefly can be a source of irritation. Or amusement and comfort. Growing up, my parents took my five siblings and I on many camping trips. On one of those adventures, a fly had gotten into the family tent. This turned into a contest of sorts when each of us would call out, “See the fly?” or “See the fly go by.” Quite silly, and still makes me laugh when I think about our dad saying these...

Jun 17, 2013

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Summer Reading

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Jun 15, 2013

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Gratitude

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Jan 21, 2013

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40 Years of “Pro-Choice” – What Does That Really Mean?...

“The only differences between the Herod of old and the Herods of today are in the weapons used and the number of victims. Herod used swords and spears to kill the Holy Innocents. Today’s Herods use abortion, “The Pill” and other chemical weapons. And whereas Herod killed a relatively small number of babies, today’s Herods have butchered literally hundreds of millions … with no end in sight!” ~Msgr. Ignacio Barreiro-Carámbula, HLI Interim President,  Spirit & Life Newsletter, December...

Jan 6, 2013

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Epiphany: The Wise Guys Arrive!

Epiphany: The Wise Guys Arrive!

  January 6 marks The Epiphany, also known as the “Holy Light of the Manifestations.” The Epiphany recalls the visit of the Magi, the three wise men, to the Christ Child in Bethlehem. It is also about the revelation of the Jesus Christ to everyone who is in darkness. This day is a reminder that anyone can choose to follow the light of Christ, to follow in his ways and share His love with those around them. The...

Jan 5, 2013

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On the Twelfth Day of Christmas

On the Twelfth Day of Christmas

Why 12 Drummers Drumming on the Twelfth Day of Christmas? The 12 drummers represent the twelve articles of the Apostles’ Creed. Apostles’ Creed (New translation for Catholic Church, effective Nov. 2011) I believe in God, the Father almighty, Creator of heaven and earth, and in Jesus Christ, his only Son, our Lord, who was conceived by the Holy Spirit, born of the Virgin Mary, suffered under Pontius Pilate,was crucified, died and was buried; he descended into hell; on the third day he rose again from the dead;...

Jan 4, 2013

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On the Eleventh Day of Christmas

On the Eleventh Day of Christmas

Why Eleven Pipers Piping on the Eleventh Day of Christmas? The eleven pipers represent the eleven faithful apostles: Simon Peter, James the Great, John, Simon (the Zealot), Jude (a.k.a. Thaddeus), Andrew, James the Less, Matthew, Phillip, Bartholomew, and Thomas. On the Twelfth Day of...

Jan 3, 2013

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On the Tenth Day of Christmas

On the Tenth Day of Christmas

Why Ten Lords a leaping on the Tenth Day of Christmas? The ten lords represent the Ten Commandments. It is always a good time to have a refresher on that list, so here it is: 1. I am the Lord thy God; thou shalt not have strange gods before me. 2. Thou shalt not take the name of the Lord thy God in vain. 3. Remember that thou keep holy the Sabbath day. 4. Honor thy father and...

Jan 2, 2013

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On the Ninth Day of Christmas

On the Ninth Day of Christmas

Why ladies dancing on the Ninth Day of Christmas? The nine ladies dancing represent the nine choirs of angels. Here they are in ascending order: Angels Archangels Principalities Powers Virtues Dominations Thrones Cherubim Seraphim On the Tenth Day of...

Jan 1, 2013

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On the Eighth Day of Christmas

On the Eighth Day of Christmas

Why maids a-milking on the Eighth Day of Christmas? This is to recall the eight Beatitudes (Matthew 5:3-12) Blessed are the poor in spirit: for theirs is the kingdom of heaven. Blessed are the meek: for they shall possess the land. Blessed are they that mourn: for they shall be comforted. Blessed are they that hunger and thirst after justice: for they shall have their fill. Blessed are the merciful: for they shall obtain mercy. Blessed are the...

Dec 31, 2012

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On the Seventh Day of Christmas

On the Seventh Day of Christmas

Why Seven Swans a-swimming on the 7th Day of Christmas? Seven Swans a-Swimming represent the seven gifts of the Holy Spirit: Wisdom Understanding Counsel Fortitude Knowledge Piety Fear of the Lord The seven swans also represent the seven sacraments of the Catholic faith: Baptism Confirmation Holy Eucharist Penance Extreme Unction Holy Orders Matrimony On the Eighth Day of...

Dec 30, 2012

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On The Sixth Day of Christmas

On The Sixth Day of Christmas

Why Six Geese a-laying on the Sixth Day of Christmas? Six Geese a-Laying represent the six days of creation: 1st Day: Creation of light and its separation from darkness 2nd Day: Creation of the firmament and division of the waters 3rd Day: Collection of waters (sea) and formation of dry land (earth); creation of plants according to their own likeness 4th Day: Creation of heavenly bodies in the firmament (sun, moon, and stars)5th Day: Creation of sea creatures...

Dec 29, 2012

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On the Fifth Day of Christmas

On the Fifth Day of Christmas

Why Five Golden rings on the Fifth Day of Christmas? Five Golden Rings are symbolic of the Pentateuch, the first five Books of the Old Testament: Genesis, Exodus, Numbers, Leviticus, and Deuteronomy. He who has not Christmas in his heart will never find it under a tree. ~Roy L. Smith On the Sixth Day of...

Dec 28, 2012

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Holy Innocents

Holy Innocents

A voice was heard in Ramah, sobbing and loud lamentation; Rachel weeping for her children, and she would not be consoled, since they were no more. Matthew 2:18 December 28 (in some communities, December 29) is remembered as the Feast of the Holy Innocents. This commemorates King Herod’s order to kill all boys in Bethlehem, and the nearby area, who were aged two years or less. Herod had learned of the birth of Jesus from the Magi, the...

Dec 28, 2012

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On the Fourth Day of Christmas

On the Fourth Day of Christmas

Why four Calling Birds on the Fourth Day of Christmas? Four Calling Birds represent the four Gospels and Evangelists: Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John. Christmas waves a magic wand over this world, and behold, everything is softer and more beautiful. ~Norman Vincent Peale On the Fifth Day of...

Dec 27, 2012

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On the Third Day of Christmas

On the Third Day of Christmas

Why Three French Hens on the third day of Christmas? The three hens represent the three theological virtues of Faith, Hope and Charity. These were given from God and poured into our hearts. The three hens are also symbolic of the Holy Trinity: Father, Son and Holy Spirit. On the Fourth Day of Christmas...

Dec 26, 2012

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On the Second Day of Christmas

On the Second Day of Christmas

Why Two Turtle Doves on the second day of Christmas? The two doves represent the two parts of the Bible: Old Testament and New Testament. On the Third Day of Christmas...

Dec 25, 2012

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On the First Day of Christmas

On the First Day of Christmas

There is a misconception that the twelve days of Christmas are those days that lead up to December 25. Not true! Today, Christmas Day, is the first day of Christmas! The 12 days go through the Feast of the Epiphany, also known as “Twelfth Day.”  In the olden, golden days, the twelve days of Christmas were a period of joyful prayer and a rest from unnecessary labor. Christmas tree lights would be lit and families would gather around...

Dec 23, 2012

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Fourth Sunday of Advent

Fourth Sunday of Advent

Most blessed are you among women, and blessed is the fruit of thy womb. Luke 1:42 I love the gospel reading used in today’s Mass. From the book of Luke, the reading is about Mary’s visit with Elizabeth; both women are pregnant – Mary with Jesus and Elizabeth with John (the Baptist). Every time I have heard or read these verses, I have always wondered about the very human element of those involved. Certainly, these two unborn babies would...

Dec 10, 2012

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Second Sunday of Advent

Second Sunday of Advent

Father, I want to hear your voice today. Open my ears, so that I can here you; Open my heart, so that I can embrace you. On December 9, 2012, I had the privilege of participating in the Rite of Acceptance with Kristi. The Mass was offered at Holy Trinity Church, where she and my son, Jeff, have been attending. Our entrance into the Mass was quite dramatic. Following the Introductory Rites, the teens in our RCIA group...

Dec 2, 2012

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First Sunday of Advent

First Sunday of Advent

O come, O come, Emmanuel And ransom captive Israel That mourns in lonely exile here Until the Son of God appear Rejoice! Rejoice! Emmanuel Shall come to thee, O Israel. Today marks the first Sunday of Advent, that time when the colors in the church are a violet purple shade, the Advent wreath adorns the side altar, the Giving Tree is prominently displayed and we begin to prepare for the celebration of the birth of Jesus. Earlier this...

Nov 30, 2012

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Convicted Sex Offenders and Felons Should Not Be Elected. Ever....

Mel Reynolds wants to be re-elected “So he can finish the work.” Seriously? What “work” would he like to “finish”? Perhaps sexually assaulting more minors? Perhaps committing more bank fraud? Perhaps by lying more? All this talk of convicted sex offender, Mel Reynolds, wanting to be a Congressman again, even though he is a CONVICTED FELON, made me realize that folks like him are really delusional. He thinks his crimes should be “forgotten” because they happened so long...

Jul 28, 2012

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I Support Religious Freedom

All this hoopla about Dan Cathy, CEO of Chick-fil-A, believing that marriage is between one man and one woman has caused a lot of interesting discussions. Add in Mayor Emanuel claiming that the views of Cathy are not the views of Chicago, while also supporting Louis Farrakhan, who also believes as Cathy does, and the discussion continues. Some who have discussed this topic suggest that Farrakhan is entitled to his view because he is a “religious leader” but...

Jun 21, 2012

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Chase Bank is Still Screwing Up

Two years ago, we switched our personal and business accounts from Chase Bank to Marquette Bank  because of lack of customer service. In that process, we changed our mortgage payments to be deducted from the new bank. Unfortunately, our mortgage was also with Chase Bank. They were supposed to have started withdrawing from our new account in July 2010. Unfortunately for us, they took it in June 2010, causing us nearly $100.00 in overdraft fees. Multiple letters and...

Jun 14, 2012

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HP Customer Service…Or Lack Thereof...

I like to listen. I have learned a great deal from listening carefully. Most people never listen. ~Ernest Hemmingway  4:17pm I had to call Hewlett Packard twice today about a printer replacement. The second guy was such a moron. I began the conversation with: “I called this morning to request a return label to send back a broken printer. I received the replacement printer, which is working fine, but there was no return label. The gentleman I spoke...

Jun 3, 2012

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It’s All in the Planning

In April 2011, I made myself a promise to exercise at least 4 days a week. For the past 4 months, I have made a point of exercising nearly every day. Since February, I have also tracked my food using MyFitnessPal.com. This tool has helped me lose 15 pounds, since February 26, 2012, by  tracking and planning my exercise and my meals. Every week, I set a new goal for myself by changing one thing. Just one thing....

May 27, 2012

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Using Our Gifts

The particular manifestation of the Spirit granted to each one is to be used for the general good. To one is given from the Spirit the gift of utterance expressing wisdom; to another the gift of utterance expressing knowledge, in accordance with the same Spirit; to another, faith, from the same Spirit; and to another, the gifts of healing, through this one Spirit; to another, the working of miracles; to another, prophecy; to another, the power of distinguishing...

May 18, 2012

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Another Thing Obamacare Does Not Fix

Always laugh when you can. It is cheap medicine. ~Lord Byron Yet another thing Obamacare did NOT fix: I went to pick up meds today and was told my order was “conveniently converted” to a generic format. When I asked where it was made, I was told “it’s made by Teva USA so it must be made in the USA.” I guess I must have really rolled my eyes, rather than thinking about it, because the girl at...

May 10, 2012

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It All Started With a Dance…

  Love is like an earthquake: unpredictable, a little scary, but when the hard part is over you realize how lucky your are. ~Anonymous Today marks what would have been my parents 54th Wedding Anniversary. Four years ago, my folks renewed their vows at the 4:00pm Saturday  Mass on their actual anniversary, May 10, 2008. For years, my parents were regulars at the 4:00pm Mass; it was wonderful to share their special renewal with the church community of...

May 9, 2012

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When Momma’s Happy, Everyone is Happy...

A mother is the truest friend we have, when trials heavy and sudden, fall upon us; when adversity takes the place of prosperity; when friends who rejoice with us in our sunshine desert us; when trouble thickens around us, still will she cling to us, and endeavor by her kind precepts and counsels to dissipate the clouds of darkness, and cause peace to return to our hearts. ~Washington Irving Snug and cozy in my mother’s arm, adorned in...

Feb 4, 2012

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Life’s a Dance

“Life’s a dance you learn as you go Sometimes you lead, sometimes you follow Don’t worry about what you don’t know Life’s a dance you learn as you go” ~John Michael Montgomery Some fifteen or so years ago, my husband and I regularly took ballroom dance lessons. At the time, our sons were young and we really needed some time together away from the house and kids. Our neighbor’s daughter would graciously babysit the boys while we went...

Jan 30, 2012

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Silence Equals Acceptance

“Our lives begin to end the day we become silent about things that matter.” Martin Luther King I came across this quote the other day when I was doing some research on how recent mandates by the Obama administration violate the First Amendment. This quote reminded of when my dad used to say, “If you see something going on and stand by silently, you are accepting it.” So very true! Over the past week or so, I have...

Jan 29, 2012

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Let’s Just Trample the First Amendment...

Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the government for a redress of grievances. ~First Amendment  On January 20, 2011, the Obama Administration announced it will force all insurance plans to provide coverage for abortifacients, contraceptives, sterilization, and abortions, including those plans provided by religious organizations vehemently...

Jan 23, 2012

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Obama: Government, Privacy and Dreams...

“As we mark the 39th anniversary of Roe v. Wade, we must remember that this Supreme Court decision not only protects a woman’s health and reproductive freedom, but also affirms a broader principle: that government should not intrude on private family matters. I remain committed to protecting a woman’s right to choose and this fundamental constitutional right. While this is a sensitive and often divisive issue—no matter what our views, we must stay united in our determination to...

Jan 22, 2012

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Pro-life – The Only Choice

On this day, in 1973, abortion was made legal in the United States. Since that time millions of unborn babies have been killed. While some may call this “choice,” I call this tragedy. Today, in remembrance of this anniversary, I am sharing the words of others, words of life. To me, life is the only choice.  “He who denies that human life begins with conception does not need to contend with religion, but science. To deny this certainty...

Jan 20, 2012

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What Do They Mean By “Choice”?...

“If we accept that a mother can kill even her own child, how can we tell other people to not kill each other? Any country that accepts abortion is not teaching its people to love, but to use any violence to get what they want.” ~Mother Teresa January 22, 2012, marks the 39th anniversary of Roe v. Wade, the legislation that legalized abortion. On that day, pro-abortion groups are sponsoring a “Blog for Choice Day.” I am joining other...

Jan 15, 2012

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That First Kiss Revisited

I originally wrote a version of the following piece in my journal following the delivery of my oldest son. Today, I celebrate the 23rd anniversary of his birth. I reflect on what I wrote all those years ago and realize that many of my concerns were very real and worked themselves out in their own way and in their own time. I look at my oldest son, along with his two brothers, and I feel confident in writing that...

Dec 26, 2011

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Fun With Comcast

Calling Comcast about a bill increase is always fun. For me, it goes something like this: Me: Hi, Will, yes, I love Comcast! However, my 6 month promotion just ended and my bill went from $110.67 to $131.85 per month. What can you do to make my plan more economical? Will: Sorry, Mrs. Hoogland, the only thing I can advise is to drop your TV service or your Internet service to the next lower level. We do not...

Oct 6, 2011

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Ladies Home Journal: Dispelling Myths About IUDs?...

But because we live in an age of science, we have a preoccupation with corroborating our myths. ~Michael Shermer In the November 2011 issue of Ladies Home Journal, tucked a few pages after recipes for Sticky Buns, smart phone apps to give you dietary willpower and information on diabetes, there is an article called, “The Best Birth Control You’re Not Using.” The article is about IUDs (intrauterine devices). It is on page 146 for those who get the...

Sep 23, 2011

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Fall is in the Air

By all these lovely tokens September days are here, With summer’s best of weather And autumn’s best of cheer. ~Helen Hunt Jackson   The season of autumn officially began this morning. Fall is my favorite time of the year. The oppressive heat of summer has passed. The nights are cooler. Some days are rainy; others are brilliantly sunny. The combination of these has always given me a sense of renewal, along with the urge to jump in the...

Sep 4, 2011

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And Boys Will Be Men

You have to do your own growing no matter how tall your grandfather was. Abraham Lincoln   This year has been one full of big changes in our household and family. This weekend I was looking through some old photographs and found many that were scout related. All of our boys joined Boy Scouts of America when they were in first grade. Our oldest is an Eagle Scout; the middle one reached the rank of Star; and the...

Sep 3, 2011

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And Another Year Passes

Old as she was, she still missed her daddy sometimes. ~Gloria Naylor Today marks the third anniversary of the death of my dad, Remo. Three years without him here. How did that happen? During that last year of his life, I attempted to picture what my life would be like without my father being there to talk to, to laugh with, to hug. The reality does not match the vision. At times, the reality is much more empty...

Jun 25, 2011

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Concealed and Carry Laws

The Wisconsin House and Senate both passed a bill to allow law abiding citizens carry concealed handguns. This makes Illinois the only state that does not. In a recent article in the Daily Caller, Illinois Governor Pat Quinn was quoted as saying, ““About two-thirds of the people of Illinois are strongly opposed to that proposed idea and public safety comes first. We should listen to the everyday people of our state when it comes to their safety that...

Feb 27, 2011

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Take the Time

If a dog jumps into your lap it is because he is fond of you; but if a cat does the same thing it is because your lap is warmer. – A. N. Whitehead We have a saying in our house that Jethro, our first cat, goes from person to person to “steal their warmth.”  At times, I find this annoying, particularly if I am trying type on the computer. Other times, I find it endearing, such as...

Feb 16, 2011

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Tell Senator Ed Maloney to Withdraw SB 136 – and Do Not Amend It!...

Yesterday, thousands of homeschoolers traveled to Springfield, Illinois, to attend a hearing regarding SB 136. This bill would require non-public school students to register with the Illinois State Board of Education. It is sponsored by State Senator Edward Maloney, 18th District. This happens to be my district. It seems Sen. Maloney plans to amend SB 136 so that the language specifically references homeschooled students. I have several questions about this bill: I am wondering how a bill can...

Feb 13, 2011

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Senior Tax Freeze Renewal Must Be Completed Every Year...

You have to love how our government officials keep making laws that basically screw the regular guy. A recent change affects the senior citizen property owners here in Cook County (or perhaps I should call it “Crook County?’). Since 2007, seniors who filed for the Senior Freeze Exemption for their property taxes automatically had that exemption renewed yearly. Starting with 2010 taxes, which are payable in year 2011, seniors will have to submit an application every year in...

Jan 20, 2011

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Ask Them What They Mean By ‘Choice’ Blog Day is January 21!...

“The undeniable fact is that those who defend the destruction of innocent human life in the form of abortion and euthanasia cannot confront the moral issues, nor can they confront the history that proves beyond a doubt the similarity between their reasoning and that of the most heinous murderers of history.” ~ Msgr. Ignacio Barreiro-Carámbula, HLI Interim President, Human Life International e-Column, September 24, 2010 Tomorrow, January 22, 2011, marks the 38th anniversary of Roe v. Wade, the...

Jan 15, 2011

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Remembering Uncle John

“Trust in God’s timing. It’s always right.” (This essay was originally written on Monday, December 20, 2010.) I am trying to keep this saying close to heart today. This morning, my dear Uncle John was called home to heaven at 9:45am. To some who saw him, but did not know him, he probably looked like just another elderly man, toting around his portable oxygen for the past couple of years. To me, he was always the man who...

Jan 11, 2011

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Spam-a-Lot

In the last few weeks, I’ve gotten many comments to this blog. Unfortunately, most seem to be from people advertising pay-day loans, web hosting, vitamins or other such nonsense that has absolutely nothing to do with the entry they commented on. Come on, folks, quit sending me silly comments!...

Jan 25, 2010

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Is Silence Really Golden?

” I swore never to be silent whenever and wherever human beings endure suffering and humiliation. We must always take sides. Neutrality helps the oppressor, never the victim. Silence encourages the tormentor, never the tormented.”  ~Elie Wiesel Yesterday, our priest gave an excellent sermon on the sanctity of life. He has been one of our priests since I was a child. He is about the same age as my folks (a year younger, actually); we share the same...