7 Quick Takes: Bethanie Cleans Off Her Desktop Edition #1

Today I give you a hodge-podge of random stuff that has been sitting on my desktop for a while. On my desktop, I keep an ever growing pile of stuff to “someday” write about. The huge pile is starting to annoy me.

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quoteaboutmarriage

A self-explanatory quote about marriage

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amotherknows

Another self-explanatory quote about motherhood and a mother’s sixth sense.

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slacktivism

When I saw this political ad on my FB feed a while back, I felt convicted. I’m totally guilty of this. I think we all are. We bitch and moan about things online. We sign petitions thinking that we’re doing something. Never mind the person suffering at our front door. Look at this cartoon and think about what is a concrete act you can do this week to really help someone. Here’s a good website full of ideas to get you started.

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prolifesign

Speaking of the devil (slacktivism), I just hope that the above quote gives you something to say the next time you talk to a pro-choice person about the suffering of a woman in a crisis pregnancy.

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praying

On a lighter note.

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dirtylaundry

And to go deep again. Ever feel like this? This guy has a lot of thought-provoking paintings like this. Check out his website here.

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AudreyHpeoplevs.things

I think this fits in quite nicely with all the other pics I’ve shared and it is a fitting conclusion. Never abandon your spouse. Never abandon your children. Help people, particularly those in crisis pregnancies. And, always, always pray and participate in the sacraments. Never throw people away. Their value is immeasurable.

Now my desktop looks like this:

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Expect that I will be doing another purging next week.

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7 Quick Takes: Why Halloween Rocks!

Don’t tell Pope Francis, but my favorite holiday is Halloween.

Except for the horrible, indisputable fact that I only get to see my family at Christmastime, Halloween has always been my favorite holiday. Why? I’m going to give you 5 reasons and 2 more neat things.

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Candy!

Chocolate

I like chocolate. I don’t like the sugary fake fruit flavored stuff. And I don’t like all chocolate either. I really don’t like crunch bars.

It’s a good thing really that the majority of the chocolate my two-year-old has gotten so far this year has been crunch bars because 1) I don’t get the opportunity to eat even worse than I already have been and 2) he gets to keep his chocolate.

By the way, I think it’s hereditary. James is already a chocolate addict,  although unlike his mom he likes the fake chocolate flavor of tootsie rolls (yuck).

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Dressing up! I love dressing up and pretending I’m someone or something else for the night.

Past highlights for me include: dressing as Stephen King and the year I went out as the night sky. My Stephen King costume was almost entirely homemade except for the wig. That year I was responsible for maning the door at my parent’s house. Some of the parents who came to our door with their little ones recognized who I was going for and that was fun.

The year I went as the night sky I was a sophomore in college. I took my dark blue bedsheet and bought glow in the dark star stickers to put all over it. Of course, I then wore it to the party at the Catholic Newman Center. Everyone thought I was going for Our Lady of Guadalupe. Oh well.

This year, the initial intention was to go as grey-scale, like I just walked out of a black and white movie, but my makeup skills are not that great so it’ll probably come across as some sort of ghost.

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Speaking of which, Ghost Stories! My husband and I are fans of the show Ghost Hunters on SyFy. I think we’ve both seen every episode.My dad was once obsessed with this stuff so I’ve seen an episode or two of all of the copycats,  but none are as good as the original.

Of course, in my pre-Christian life, I tried to contact the dead. I was a witch for crying out loud, except without the nose wort.

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And I wasn’t green.

 

Now, as a Catholic, I have struggled to reconcile my interest in ghosts and my faith. One of the conclusions I’ve come to is that of place memories. That’s the idea that when a really traumatic event occurs or a lot of suffering, it kind of imprints itself on a place. Think about it, most hauntings are at locations that have seen a lot of suffering or seem to be connected to one horrible event like a murder or suicide. However, this theory doesn’t account for so-called “intelligent” hauntings. Maybe some events are imprinted deep enough to seem “intelligent”?

I believe the Catholic stance on this is much like the Catholic stance on aliens. You can believe in it all you want as long as it doesn’t turn into an idol. And don’t try to communicate with the dead. And definitely be aware that the devil and his minions exist and can mimic hauntings.

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I guess that takes us somewhat smoothly into our next one. Death!

I think the world would be a better place if we all thought about it more often. Maybe we’d be kinder to each other,  keeping in mind that we will someday be judged. Maybe we would waste less time in trivial things, remembering that our time is short. We will all spend a lot more time dead than alive. We have been proceeded in death by billions of others.

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Just to lighten things up a bit.

 

I’m not as comfortable with it as I once was. It’s been years since I’ve seen someone die, although in the course of my 29 years, I’ve seen more than most Americans my age. I guess I’ve been out of the game too long and, as the parent of a young child, I have a lot more to worry about than just me.

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As a parent, I now get to Revisit Childhood in all of the holidays, including Halloween. I remember when my son finally understood what was going on last year. His eyes got really big and he started to walk quicker, knowing all he had to do was be cute and hold up his bucket and he’d get candy. This year we’re working on the “trick or treat” and the “thank you.” Any advice on that front would be appreciated.

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Lil Bit at Malloween last year.

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As I was brainstorming other cool things about Halloween, I uncovered this really (mostly) neat list of 40 creepy two-sentence stories. Some highlights:

I woke up to hear knocking on glass. At first, I though it was the window until I heard it come from the mirror again.

 

There was a picture in my phone of me sleeping. I live alone.

 

The funeral attendees never came out of the catacombs. Something locked the crypt door from the inside.

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Important fact about Halloween: You know it means All Hallows Eve, right? It has deep Catholic roots and has historically been a target of anti-Catholic bigotry. So, stick it to the anti-Catholics, get dressed up, and get some candy! To learn more, check out this informative article from Word on Fire.

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7 Quick Takes: My Favorite St. Teresa of Avila Quotes

 

This Wednesday was St. Teresa of Avila’s feast day. Looking for quotes to put up on JPII Center’s Facebook, I fell in love with way too many. Here I would like to share 7 of them with you in one post instead of spamming everyone with Teresa of Avila goodness (not that it would be a bad thing!).

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Many of the images used in this post come from Death to the Stock Photo. If you are in need of stock photos, sign up for their mailing list. They are awesome! The last pic is from user mompes at freeimages.com.

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7 Quick Takes: Good News Edition

 

It seems as if we’ve been inundated with bad news lately. I could rattle a bunch of them off, but I don’t think anyone needs that. What we need is good news! Strange news! Funny news! Without further ado…

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Let me start you off with a young man who was desperate to keep his job. He lies about witnessing a horrific murder so that he wouldn’t get fired for delivering a pizza late. Worth a shot, right? Well, the news doesn’t say if he still has a job or not, but he is behind bars charged with filing a false report.

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Altered fireworks, live chickens, weapons and marijuana, oh my! That was all found in an overturned SUV in Alaska. Must’ve been going to one heck of a party! There is cause to mourn, however. As the last sentence in the article states, “Baylous [the suspect] said he didn’t know the fate of the chickens.” Thirty of them got out of the crashed vehicle never to be seen again. Except maybe somebody’s dinner plate.

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In the midst of the rioting in Ferguson, there was a visit by Tibetan Buddhist monks. It is part of a long-planned national tour, although the visit to Ferguson to pray was unplanned. They then visited the Healing Arts Center, where they made and destroyed a sand mandala. The video below talks about it. See it here if the embedded video isn’t working.

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You can’t do a 7 Quick Takes like this without a feel-good hero story. The man above and a friend helped save people from a burning building that claimed one life and injured 9 people.

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In a St. Petersburg, FL Starbucks, 700 people have “paid it forward” during kindness chains. The one this week happened over the course of an entire day (Wednesday) with a store record of 450 people. This is not unusual for this location or for any store in the Starbucks chain. As a worker says, people just want to extend kindness by paying for the person behind them.

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I’m sure you’ve heard of the Black Mass that is planned in Oklahoma City. The archbishop is relieved today after the return of the consecrated host that was going to be desecrated in the ceremony. He is still concerned that the ceremony will go on and he is holding a Holy Hour for the time that it is supposed to take place. Let us pray in thanksgiving for the Eucharist’s return and pray for the cancelling of the ceremony.

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Jesuslovesyouthismuch

 

An important thing to remember when things are bad.

Finding Favour- Say Amen

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7 Quick Takes: 7 Cool Catholic Women You’ve Never Heard Of

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Juliana MorellThe first woman to receive a doctorate in law was a Dominican nun. Juliana Morell (1594-1653) had a difficult childhood. She lost her mother at a young age. She was taught by Dominican nuns. She proved to be a bit of a child prodigy, writing a letter to her father in Latin when she was only 7 years old. When she was 8, she and her father fled their home in Barcelona. He had been accused of murder. She continued her studies, culminating in earning her law degree from the University of Avignon. She defended her theses in front of a distinguished audience at the papal palace in 1608. That same year, she entered the convent in Avignon. She took vows in 1610. She was named prioress on three separate occasions. She left behind her many written works in several different languages.  

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laurabassiThe first woman to earn a position as professor at a university was a devout Catholic and Pope Benedict XIV was her main patron. Laura Bassi (1711-1778) was mainly interested in Newtonian Physics. When she got her degree and her professorship, they were huge events that involved her whole community. People knew they were participating in something special. She served in her position as professor delivering lectures to students. She married and had 12 children. As a mother, she successfully petitioned the University to allow her to lecture from home and give her a better salary so she could buy her own equipment. This makes her one of the earliest female scholars to be a work-at-home mom before the advent of the lightbulb, much less the internet. Speaking of the lightbulb, she and her husband were among the pioneers of the new science of electricity.  

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220px-Maria_Gaetana_AgnesiIf you’ve studied Mathematics, you may have heard of the “Witch of Agnesi.” It is a curve named after the famous Mathematician Maria Gaetana Agnesi (1718-1799). She was the second woman ever to earn a position as professor in a university (although it was largely honorary). She wrote the first book discussing both differential and integral calculus. She was a child prodigy, knowing 7 languages by the time she was 11. Her father was widowed and remarried twice, making her the eldest of 23 siblings and half-siblings. She was tasked with teaching her younger siblings. This task is what likely prevented her from living her dream of joining a convent. Pope Benedict XIV was one of her patrons, himself appointing her to the professorship at the University of Bologna. 

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sisterireneSister Mary Irene Fitzgibbon (1823-1896) was the foundress of New York Foundling which continues to be one of the city’s oldest and most successful child welfare agencies. Seeing abandoned children and infants in the street, she wanted to do something about it. At the time, children who were found on the street would be sent to almshouses where they often died. She visited numerous homes for abandoned infants around the US and set the foundation to start one in NYC. Sister Irene and her religious sister, Sister Teresa Vincent, started the asylum with 5 dollars to their name and an empty cradle at the front door. They left the front door unlocked and word was sent out that any woman could leave their child there, no questions asked. Within their first month, 45 children were left at their door. She had found a need and filled it.  

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Ellen_Gates_StarrEllen Gates Starr (1859-1940) was a co-founder of Chicago’s Hull House and an adult convert to Catholicism. As a life-long advocate for women and children in poverty, she worked to reform child labor laws and she was very active in the labor movement and immigrant rights. She had an interest in Catholicism for most of her life, but she felt that the Church did not do enough for social justice causes. She eventually changed her mind and converted to Catholicism at the tender age of 60. She spent her last twenty years in the folds of Holy Mother Church and died in a convent of the Sisters of the Holy Child Jesus (but never actually entered the order). Her co-founder of Hull House, Jane Addams, has surpassed her in fame. Ellen Starr is little known outside of Chicago history. But her impact was huge. Hull House remained open helping the immigrant community in Chicago for over 100 years. It was forced into bankruptcy as one of the many non-profit victims of the Great Recession

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200px-Catherine_Doherty_1970Catherine de Hueck Doherty (1896-1985) is the foundress of the Madonna House Apostolate. She was born to a wealthy family in Russia. In World War I, she served as a nurse as her husband served as a soldier. She was touched by the suffering she witnessed, but she was about to face suffering personally in the hands of the Russian Revolution. Her family fled Russia, immigrating to Canada. In this time of upheaval, she converted from Russian Orthodox to Roman Catholicism. Her family prospered in their new country, but she still felt dissatisfied. In her Bible, she turned again and again to Jesus’ call to “sell all your possessions and follow me” (Matthew 19:21). She started her apostolate among the poor, living in community, voluntarily poor serving all those who come to their door. Now there are two dozen Madonna Houses all over the world and more than 200 lay men, women, and priests belonging to the group.

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EJ-Navy-horiz-1Eleanor Josaitis (1931-2011) has been called the “Detroit’s Mother Teresa.” As a busy stay-at-home mom, she was touched as she watched the news and saw civil-rights protesters being tear-gassed and clubbed. She decided she needed to do something. With Fr. William Cunningham, she started Focus HOPE in Detroit. She felt that education and opportunity were the answers to poverty and racism. Her mission was to clean up her city and to help Detroit’s poor and minority populations. She helped provide them with food, job training, basic math and reading classes, and etiquette classes so they could break through all the stereotypes that are placed on the poor. She was an organizer and an activist. Later in her career, she added the needs of senior citizens to her list of causes.  

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7 Quick Takes: John XXIII Edition

 

It seems as if all I’m hearing about is “John Paul II this” and “John Paul II that.” Granted the organization I’m blogging for is called John Paul II Center for Women and the people old enough to have any memories of John XXIII don’t live online. For many of the bloggers in the blogosphere, John Paul II was the first pope they remember. While John XXIII did die more than 20 years before I was born, I do remember some of the things I learned about him in college. Here are some of my favorite facts about him and a look at the canonizations.

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Let’s start off with some fun quotes:

  • “It often happens that I wake up at night and begin to think about the serious problems afflicting the world and I tell myself, I must talk to the pope about it. Then the next day when I wake up I remember that I am the pope.”
  • In reply to a reporter who asked, “How many people work in the Vatican?”, he reportedly said: “About half of them.”
  • Not long after he was elected pope, Blessed John was walking in the streets of Rome. A woman passed him and said to her friend, “My God, he’s so fat!” Overhearing what she said, he turned around and replied, “Madame, I trust you understand that the papal conclave is not exactly a beauty contest.”

All three quotes were taken from this article.

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As you can tell from the quotes, he was a witty, fat Italian man. He came from a poor family, which probably in part explains his congenial charm.

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Look at him. Doesn’t he look like an Italian grandfather? Original caption: “Pope John XXIII: He was a bighearted man and a man of God, who had gained the confidence and affection of people everywhere. (CNS)”

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Here’s a good video from Rome Reports about him. Now that I think about it, he really reminds me of Pope Francis.

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The thing about him that strikes me the most is his surprising drive. Working as a nursing assistant, I saw time and time again that you should never underestimate an elderly person.

John XXIII was elected basically to be a seat warmer. Nobody expected the 77-year-old man to do anything. But he spent his first days as pontiff praying for God’s guidance. When he was sure where God wanted him to go, he announced the council to a room of stunned, silent bishops.

Between World War II and all of the moving and shaking of Pius XII, the cardinals just wanted a “stop-gap” pope. In John XXIII, I hope they all learned to never underestimate anyone, much less an elderly person, again.

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Busted Halo is very good at explaining Church stuff. Here is their explanation of canonization:

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 I will end with the speculation as to the political motivations of canonizing these two popes at once. Pope John XXIII for many reasons, rightly or wrongly, has been a kind of patron saint for liberals in the church. Pope John Paul II, on the other hand, has been recognized by conservatives. It has been speculated that Pope Francis is canonizing them both in an attempt to bring the two sides together. Everywhere, it is as if everyone is going into their camps and refusing to even be civil to those who disagree with them. People on the far left and on the far right are leaving the Church. Peace between the warring factions is necessary for the well-being of the Church.

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There is however, one big problem with this characterization. We in the US keep trying to put our labels of “liberal” and “conservative” on the Church. But the Church is neither conservative or liberal. John XXIII said:

The Catholic Church has a dignity far surpassing that of every merely human society, for it was founded by Christ the Lord. It is altogether fitting, therefore, that the language it uses should be noble, majestic, and non-vernacular.”

Wait a sec, the liberal pope was pro-Latin. Only those crazy conservatives want to use Latin in the liturgy. And John Paul II said:

Furthermore, society and the State must ensure wage levels adequate for the maintenance of the worker and his family, including a certain amount for savings. This requires a continuous effort to improve workers’ training and capability so that their work will be more skilled and productive, as well as careful controls and adequate legislative measures to block shameful forms of exploitation, especially to the disadvantage of the most vulnerable workers, of immigrants and of those on the margins of society. The role of trade unions in negotiating minimum salaries and working conditions is decisive in this area. –Centesimus Annus 15

Government and unions protecting the rights of workers, what kind of liberal hogwash is that?

Yeah, the Catholic Church rejects your categories and substitutes it’s own.

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