Obamacare's Violation of Religious Freedom

January 29th, 2012 | Posted by Bryn in Faith - (Comments Off on Obamacare's Violation of Religious Freedom)

So yesterday I attended a wedding shower for my future sister-in-law and did a music trivia night to benefit our local Catholic high school, so I ran out of time to post anything for my Saturday Spruce-Up. I know my rabid readers are so disappointed, and I apologize…

Anyway, I was just introduced to a great article detailing the slippery slope we may be on in Obamacare’s mandate that everyone pay for things such as contraceptives, abortion causing drugs, and sterilization, even if it’s against one’s own conscience. Here is an excerpt from the article on WSJ.com by Timothy Dolan:

The Catholic Church defends religious liberty, including freedom of conscience, for everyone. The Amish do not carry health insurance. The government respects their principles. Christian Scientists want to heal by prayer alone, and the new health-care reform law respects that. Quakers and others object to killing even in wartime, and the government respects that principle for conscientious objectors. By its decision, the Obama administration has failed to show the same respect for the consciences of Catholics and others who object to treating pregnancy as a disease.

This latest erosion of our first freedom should make all Americans pause. When the government tampers with a freedom so fundamental to the life of our nation, one shudders to think what lies ahead.

In addition, Dolan explains that it’s not just the Catholics that object to this mandate.

Certainly many of these good people and groups [who objected to the mandate] were Catholic, but many were Americans of other faiths, or no faith at all, who recognize that their beliefs could be next on the block. They also recognize that the cleverest way for the government to erode the broader principle of religious freedom is to target unpopular beliefs first.

Click here to read the full article–it’s worth the five minutes!

The government is basically attempting to take away freedom of conscience for the individual, which is against the Bill of Rights (Remember the first amendment – Freedom of Religion?). So what can we do about it? Pray, pray, pray. Spread the word, and don’t be afraid to speak up.

No matter what you believe, this is not just an issue about contraception, it’s a direct violation of everyone’s freedom of religion. If we just let this go, what’s next?

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March for Life 2012 – Love is the Answer

January 25th, 2012 | Posted by Bryn in Faith | Kids - (Comments Off on March for Life 2012 – Love is the Answer)

You may or may not have heard, but the March for Life in Washington, D.C. took place again this year on Monday, January 23rd. The main stream media is not super interested in covering this because abortion is such a widely accepted practice in our country. Pro-lifers are almost seen as radicals in our day. Tim Muldoon, a blogger for Patheos.com, wrote an amazing post about the March for Life, calling it the “March for Love.” Here is an excerpt from that post (with parts I liked best in bold):

In our experience, the metanoia of loving has meant seeing orphans not as problems to be solved, but as beloved children who will gladden adoptive parents. If you are pro-choice, or if you are someone who has had an abortion, perhaps it may help to imagine what gives fire to the pro-life movement. Each pregnancy we see as a new opportunity for love, an irreplaceable gift that challenges us to love anew. We see abortion as an interruption of the potential for love, the opportunity for love, and so we hope to build a society in which those opportunities are welcomed. Our hope is both simple and profound: to treat human beings through the lens of love, rather than primarily through the lens of reason.

In the big picture, love is the far more powerful way of looking at the world. Love is the game-changer. People die for love; they stretch their energies and resources for love. They move to the farthest ends of the earth for love. They take on the greatest challenges for love. They fast, tighten their belts, work extra jobs, lose sleep for love. They imagine new possibilities. Reason is often a wet blanket: it tells us why we can’t do something (it’s too expensive; it will require too much work; it’s too hard…). Love, on the other hand, moves us to find the ways we can do something. It is the most deeply human dimension of our lives, because it is at the same time the most deeply rooted in the divine.

Wow, if we can all truly look at life through the lens of love, think of what our world could be. There are no “official” statistics out there, but it is estimated that between one and two million couples are waiting for a child to adopt, waiting to be able to show their love to a beautiful little child. So what is the right thing to do if you are experiencing an unplanned pregnancy? LOVE is always the answer.

I also found this video trying to help people understand the reasons behind the March for Life posted by The Bad Catholic. Check it out here:

And if you believe in the power of prayer, please pray for the victims of abortion, for their mothers who have been hurt emotionally, spiritually, and physically by abortion, for those pregnant women who are feeling alone and scared, and for a change of heart our country’s leaders.

Make-A-List Monday – Gross Outs

January 23rd, 2012 | Posted by Bryn in Faith | Make-A-List Monday - (Comments Off on Make-A-List Monday – Gross Outs)

Since I became a mother, my gross-out threshold has shot way up, but there are still some things that have a real ick factor. Let’s hope I’m not the only one.

  1. Cheese out of an aerosol can(like Easy Cheese). Really, what must that stuff be made out of?

    It's hard for me to even look at this picture! Yuck!

  2. Getting poked with needles. I’ve given birth three times and had to be given IVs and had blood taken numerous times, but really, ew.
  3. The smell of vomit. Yes, I’m a mother and I deal with it. I have to muscle through it when my kids are sick, but it really, really grosses me out.
  4. Roaches. Thank God we’ve never had them in our house. We’d have to move.
  5. Mice. These disease-harboring rodents give me the creeps, but at least they aren’t roaches.
  6. Man vs. Food. Have you seen this show? A guy takes these food challenges and gorges himself on whatever the food of the day is. No matter what he eats, he looks like he wants to vomit when he’s done.
  7. Raw chicken. Enough said.
  8. Feet. Little tiny baby feet – adorable! Big kid or adult sweaty dirty feet – ew!
  9. The low priority placed on faith. We as a country get so excited about sports, but we are never as excited or up front or even able to defend our faith. Think of the rejoicing that would go on in heaven if everyone got as excited about God as they did about the football games yesterday! Can you even imagine?

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The Saturday Spruce-Up – Coat Closet

January 21st, 2012 | Posted by Bryn in 2012 Resolutions | Living Simply | The Saturday Spruce-Up | Uncategorized - (Comments Off on The Saturday Spruce-Up – Coat Closet)

This week’s Saturday Spruce-Up is the big closet in our bathroom. Since we moved in six years ago, this closet has been a catch-all–just throw something in and quickly shut the door. When I actually opened it up and cleaned everything out, I couldn’t believe how much stuff we had packed into that tight little space. Here are some before shots:

This isn't even a true before shot, that would have been WAY too embarrassing...

Crowded, unorganized shelves, lots of clutter, and general dustiness

 

I am attempting to turn it into a little mudroom. Our 1400 square foot house is always tight on space, so I want to eke a little more use out of this big closet. I still want to paint the inside walls and get something to contain the shoes, but check out these “in progress” shots:

We're getting there!

Now I have a place to put two baskets of dirty laundry so my bathroom doesn't get taken over, a basket for winter hats, mittens, and scarves within the kids' reach, and a shelf for my diaper bag. Love it when everything has a home!

And we even have room for coats in our coat closet! Plus, the shelves are organized with gift bags, duffel bags, and stuff to sell on ebay.:)

No fancy-schmancy makeovers here, but at least we now have a functional mudroom instead of an embarrassing mess. Have a great weekend!

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Funny Friday – Facebook Posts

January 20th, 2012 | Posted by Bryn in Funny Friday - (Comments Off on Funny Friday – Facebook Posts)

Okay, I know these are all over the internet, but a friend posted a link today, and I literally laughed out loud.

Photo courtesy of buzzfeed.com

Check out these “35 Most Unforgivable Facebook Statuses.” Enjoy, and have a great weekend!

 

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Make-A-List Monday: Revolutionary Discoveries

January 16th, 2012 | Posted by Bryn in Kids | Make-A-List Monday - (Comments Off on Make-A-List Monday: Revolutionary Discoveries)

Recently I have made some great discoveries. I feel like a scientist discovering a new plant species every time I try something new, but it’s just typical stuff that most people in the generation ahead of mine take for granted.

Prepare to be astonished:

1.  Tea kettles are awesome! My mom and dad gave me a tea kettle for Christmas, and it is one of the greatest inventions ever. At our daughter’s first birthday party, I heated up the tea kettle and everyone had a choice of various delicious green teas, hot chocolate, or… coffee! What?! But coffee must be made in a french press or a percolator or a coffee maker! No longer true, folks. You can buy coffee in individual tea bags! Genius!

Yum! And it's much healthier than microwave popcorn!

2.  Popcorn doesn’t always have to come out of the microwave. So I always knew that movie theatres had those big popcorn machines, and my mom had an air popper when we were growing up, but most of the time when I made popcorn, it came out of the microwave. No longer true! I made the recent amazing discovery that you can pop popcorn in a pan with a little oil on the stovetop. Genius! Here is the “recipe” I used… yes, I did have to look up instructions on how to do it. :/

3.  Flat cloth diapers are the most useful baby item I’ve had to date. Flat cloth diapers can be used as, well diapers, of course. I have a few that are reserved just for burp rags and snot rags, which is very useful this time of year. They are good as light blankets and nursing covers too. When I do use them as diapers, they wash up beautifully and are 100% cotton so they don’t retain any lingering stinks (a big plus because I’ve got the nose of a bloodhound). I’ve also heard that they are extremely useful for cleaning because they are lint-free. Whoever invented flat cloth diapers is a genius!

4.  Clothes come out looking cleaner if you separate lights from darks. Wow, my mom is smacking herself on the head right now, thinking, “Who raised this child?!” She always told me I should do this, but knowing and actually doing it are two different things. Anyway, when Peach was first born, she wore pink literally all the time, and all of a sudden her tiny pink baby clothes were looking dingy. I started separating, and voila, pretty pink jammies again!
5.  I can french braid my own hair… sort of. I spent a lot of my childhood french braiding doll hair, but I never tried it on myself until just a couple weeks ago. It doesn’t look great; it actually reminds me of the shake-out braid of the early 90’s (remember those?), but it gets a little better after each attempt.

Photo courtesy of allrecipes.com

6.  If you can read, you can cook. My wonderfully intelligent grandma always used to tell me this, and it is true. Sometimes you have to read and re-read (again and again sometimes in my case) to get the picture, but most of the time, my cooking turns out somewhere between okay to pretty darn good. Last week I made pulled pork cooked in the Crock Pot with root beer and it was a big hit with everyone in our little family. Click here for the recipe I found on Pinterest.

The Saturday Spruce-Up: My Tupperware Cabinet

January 14th, 2012 | Posted by Bryn in 2012 Resolutions | Living Simply | The Saturday Spruce-Up - (Comments Off on The Saturday Spruce-Up: My Tupperware Cabinet)

Today starts a new (hopefully) weekly series to get my house spruced up by summer. Welcome to the Saturday Spruce-Up. I am hoping to post different projects around my house, declutter-ization and organization in our little “That 70’s Show” house–notice the groovy brown vinyl floor and mint green insides of our cabinets shown below.

Today I organized my Tupperware cabinet. Okay, so it’s not a very big project, but I have to start somewhere, right?

So here is the before:

I may have thrown a bit of a mommy-fit last night looking for a lid of a piece of Tupperware I was using for leftovers. Can’t blame the kids for this one…

Anyway, as you can see, it was a crazy mess even before my little outburst, with papers and random items I have hoarded crap that needed to be thrown out or to be found a new home.

I spent a couple hours–yes it took hours–to go through the entire cabinet, I even found some papers and junk mail from 2009. Yay. After everything was cleared out, I finally had room to put the Tupperware I use back in, and I am even getting rid of some of it that I never use. I’m hoppin’ back on the declutter train!

Here is the after:

Aaahhh. Much better, and I even have all the lids together. I’m taking just one step at a time, and I’m on my way to ridding my house of CHAOS (Can’t Have Anyone Over Syndrome, thank you, FlyLady.net) for good.

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Just because it's snowing doesn't mean it's Christmas again

January 12th, 2012 | Posted by Bryn in Kids | Our Crazy Life - (Comments Off on Just because it's snowing doesn't mean it's Christmas again)

Finally. A day with snow. I love living in the Midwest because we get such a wide variety of weather. This morning we woke up to a wintry wonderland, while yesterday–yes, literally yesterday–we were at the park with no coats.

So what to do on the first snowy day of 2012? My son TT decided it’s Christmas again and spent at least 15 minutes trying to convince me it really is. TT doesn’t have preschool on Thursdays, so we had planned to go to Bonkers (think McDonald’s playplace on steroids) but my friend who was supposed to go with us called to say her street wasn’t plowed yet. Bummer.

Peach and TT all ready to get out there and play!

So I got them all bundled up to go outside, which took at least a half hour. Notice the socks on TT’s hands – I couldn’t find any mittens for him, so I had that ingenious solution. To my credit, his hands were still warm when he came back inside.

Anyway, I was really feeling like the mom on A Christmas Story. Never seen it? Check out this video.

Peach lasted about ten minutes, but TT lasted a good twenty out in the windy cold. Now everyone’s back inside, baby’s napping, big kids are eating popcorn and watching Harry Potter wrestling like lions. (Have you seen the end of Lion King when Simba and Scar fight? That, only a two-year-old and a four-year-old. It’s super fun.)

So, no, it’s not Christmas, but it’s gearing up to be a fantastic snow day!

 

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The Power of Prayer – for Ella Cain

January 7th, 2012 | Posted by Bryn in Faith - (Comments Off on The Power of Prayer – for Ella Cain)

I believe in the power of prayer. Do you?

This week in Quincy, IL, a family lost their home to an electrical fire. Their 15 month old daughter suffered severe burns and will likely be in the hospital for several months. If you believe in the power of prayer, please pray for Ella Cain. You can join the Facebook group to pray for her and receive updates here.

In addition, if you’d like to donate clothing, toiletries, other household items or make a monetary donation, please visit help-ella.com.

I have never met anyone in this family, but I do believe in the power of prayer that this little girl’s tiny body may be healed. If you don’t know how to start your prayer, just pray with me now.

Psalm 30:2 – O Lord my God, I cried to you for help, and you have healed me.

Almighty Lord, I praise you and adore you. You are my creator and you rule over all things. You are everything that is, was, and shall be.
I am truly sorry for everything I have done wrong lately, and I know that I am not worthy of your love and mercy. Please forgive my sins. Thank you for loving me and all your children anyway.

Lord Jesus, thank you for all the blessings in my life and for the blessings you have shown the Cain family. Although Ella is hurt, she is alive, she is the care of excellent doctors and nurses, and she has given so many people a real reason to hope and pray. Please heal her tiny body, lay your healing hands on her, Lord. Be with her doctors and nurses; guide their hands as they perform surgeries and procedures, and give them the knowledge on which paths to take in her recovery. Lord, be with Ella’s parents, her brother, her family, and everyone who loves her. Give them comfort in their times of need. Give them strength in times of weakness. Give them hope when things seem hopeless. And let them feel your love and the love of the thousands praying for them. Please also bless all those suffering for any reason, especially children and their parents. I ask these things in your holy name, Amen.

See? It doesn’t have to be anything fancy, just a quick prayer will do.

To read the full story of the Ginster/Cain family’s house fire, visit help-ella.com.

2012 Resolutions, and I'm Stickin' to It

January 3rd, 2012 | Posted by Bryn in 2012 Resolutions | Living Simply - (Comments Off on 2012 Resolutions, and I'm Stickin' to It)

Happy New Year everyone! Welcome to 2012. First, I have a question for you, do you call it “two thousand twelve” or “twenty twelve”? Just curious. I think I’ll call it “twenty twelve.”

Anyway, we are three days into the new year, but there is always time to make resolutions. I don’t usually take new year’s resolutions too seriously, but this year, there are a few things I’d like to do.

  • Pray more. I’d like to start doing a daily devotional and praying with my husband more often. In our Why Catholic? group this fall, we talked about prayer and spontaneous prayer (rather than memorized prayers) with our spouse. This is something I’d like to do more regularly.
  • Go on dates. With my husband, of course. I’d like to make a point to go on a fun, creative date once a month.
  • Be healthy. It is totally amazing how exercise, eating healthy and drinking boatloads of water can make me feel. Sure, I’d like to lose a little weight and get thinner, but being healthy so I can have the energy to keep up after the kids is my main goal here.
  • No more CHAOS. Flylady says that many of us are living in C.H.A.O.S. – which stands for Can’t Have Anyone Over Syndrome. Many days, that’s true in my house. This is the year I’m keeping my house picked up and clean and getting out of CHAOS for good! (If you haven’t heard of Flylady, click here for more info. She’s awesome.)
  • Be bold and enterprising. I plan on expanding my blog this year and have a couple other projects on the back burner. This year I’m not going to chicken out or make excuses, I’m just going to go for it and use my God-given stubbornness on something worthwhile.
  • Simplify. I need to continue to organize and declutter my house and my mind. Instead of talking about selling and donating our excess stuff, I’m actually going to do it. See above on CHAOS.
  • Keep learning. I’d really like to learn how to sew. I have a really nice antique Singer that was left at our house by the previous owner, so I might as well. I’m also going to start actually doing projects I have pinned to my Home & DIY board on Pinterest.
  • More quality time with the kids. This is a constant thing for me. More trips around town, more reading, more playing. And less TV.

What are your resolutions for 2012? Any suggestions on how I can get on track with mine?

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