29 April 2009

I Could Have Been...


I was killed today. My life cruelly taken from me. Next week I was going to leave for college. I hope no one else has to die the way I did.









I was killed today. I was smart and funny and I had a great giggle. I wanted to be a famous chef like on Food Network.










I was growing so fast, my parents said. Every day I did something new, but now my life is over. I was killed today. Everyone says it's a terrible crime and the person responsible should be punished. I just wanted to live and grow up.





I don't understand, though...


Why is it a crime for someone to kill me then...



but it's okay for you to kill me now?


Don't you recognize me?
It's me... I'm still me.



You wouldn't dream of killing your snuggly, sleepy baby, or your giggly little girl with big dreams, or your lovely daughter ready to chase those dreams and fulfill her potential...would you?


But you did. I never got to do any of those things.
You didn't let me.

You didn't see me... I guess you thought I was too small.

You think you only got rid of this "blob" of cells...

but you actually got rid of me.


I could've been...if only you had let me.



Save the baby humans. And their mothers. Choose Life.

© 2009 Jennifer Hartline

28 April 2009

Ms. Attitude

Part three of my "conversation" with Ms. S...

Feminine culture seems to have been taken over by this pervasive, insidious disease I can most politely call Her Royal Highnessitis.


The obvious symptom is attitude. Snotty and in-your-face. Replete with SASS.

(Now, in the interest of full disclosure, I have to admit that I have a pretty generous measure of sass myself. Anyone who knows me will attest to that! In fact, I tend to be suspicious of folks if they don't have at least a smidgen of smart-aleck in them somewhere!) But women today have taken sass to such obnoxious heights that it's simply offensive.


Girls today almost seem to claim their "Diva rights" as standard issue along with their cell phone and car keys. It's almost expected that they will have a "Diva 'tude" and carry on like a spoiled, wrongly-dethroned princess.




"Ms. S, I hate to break it to you, but the world does not revolve around you! You are not entitled to have your every wish come true, and you are not owed anything by anyone! You are not exempt from facing the consequences of your actions, and your choices affect people other than yourself Get over yourself!"

It's not limited to teenagers by any stretch. Grown women carry on like this all the time. It fits hand-in-glove with the modern feminist rhetoric that screams about having sovereignty over our bodies, having rights and choices, but never speaks of responsibility. Sacrifice. Selflessness. Humility. Generosity. Purity. LOVE.

Trying to raise daughters who will cherish and protect their feminine graces in this modern world is a demanding swim upstream against a powerful current. The women held up today as examples are simply not who I want my girls to emulate.

To be quite candid, I don't much care for the "modern woman" because the modern definition of a woman has lost its sacred honor and privilege. If the modern woman must be "independent" and tough, crass and sexually "liberated", ambitious or worse, dim-witted, then you can have it. I have no appetite for it. And I'm very weary of all this sassy, crassy, diva-ness.

My feminine heroes are of a very different philosophy:

She who shapes the hearts of her home, shapes the world.


"She is clothed with strength and dignity; she can laugh at the days to come. She speaks with wisdom, and faithful instruction is on her tongue. She watches over the affairs of her household and does not eat the bread of idleness. Her children arise and call her blessed; her husband also, and he praises her: "Many women do noble things, but you surpass them all." Charm is deceptive, and beauty is fleeting; but a woman who fears the Lord is to be praised. Give her the reward she has earned, and let her works bring her praise at the city gate." Proverbs 31:25-31


Graciously,


27 April 2009

A New Day Dawning in Catholic America



So much is happening so quickly today regarding Notre Dame, and it absolutely amazes me that Fr. Jenkins continues to dig his heels in and refuses to budge. This man is blinded by pride and the promise of political clout and prestige. He has truly sold the soul of Notre Dame, and possibly his own, for thirty pieces of silver.



I am proud to know that Ambassador Mary Ann Glendon has chosen otherwise.


I believe the day of decision has dawned for the faithful Catholic remnant in America. If any good has come of this, it's that the line has been clearly drawn, and it is time for all who say they belong to Christ to choose. There can be no more sitting on the fence, no more having it both ways. We cannot serve two masters any longer and expect God's blessing.

I sincerely hope this is a time of rebirth for our church in the U.S. It is time for some housecleaning. If not, I truly shudder to think what my children will be inheriting.

I am not easily inclined to pray for Fr. Jenkins or for our President, in all honesty. I feel anger toward both of them for their stubborn and manipulative support of the evil of abortion. Fr. Jenkins can try to spin it all he wants, but by honoring Obama, he IS lending support to the evil of abortion. And he's doing it under the name of our Blessed Mother, which is simply reprehensible.



But folks, I am wrong not to pray for them, and I am wrong to be angry. "I confess to Almighty God and to you, my brothers and sisters, that I have sinned through my own fault..."
We must pray, and we must pray earnestly. Surely this grieves the Lord and His Mother more than it does us. They are waiting for the tidal wave of prayer to rise from the Church militant, and They will answer us.


I hope the opposition that has been vocalized and shown by so many of our wonderful bishops will be remembered by the faithful for years to come, and they will in turn make their own choices in obedience to the Church's wisdom and live out their faith in the public square.

I have written Notre Dame and told them they have certainly lost three future students. Same goes for Georgetown and every other "Catholic" university that betrays the faith. The next place we all have influence is the ballot box. Let's all use our votes wisely and faithfully.

And pray. For we do not wrestle against flesh and blood...

26 April 2009

Praise!

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"Declare his glory among the nations, his marvelous deeds among all peoples.
For great is the Lord and most worthy of praise..." 1 Chronicles 16:24-25


This week amidst all the discouraging news headlines (Plan B now available to 17 year-olds over the counter, Sebelius one step closer to confirmation, Georgetown following in ND's footsteps, etc.) I have had to remind myself that we may lose some battles, even some very important ones, but God will have the final victory, and we must not despair. We must keep fighting faithfully, and we must PRAISE our good God for all His marvelous deeds!

1. Praise God for His steadfast love that never changes, never ceases, never gives up, never falters.

2. Praise God for His good will, that seems unclear to me, and even seems indifferent to suffering sometimes. Yet, I know that His will is always good and just.

3. Praise God for His patience and mercy.

4. Praise God for the great gift of three healthy, beautiful, sweet children and the joy of being their mother.

5. Praise God for sunshine that brings out the flowers and the bees. (Folks, that is a real sacrifice of praise, for I do not love the bugs and bees, and I really don't need much sunshine. I'm a winter gal!)

6. Praise God for a trip this summer when I will get to see my big sister whom I haven't seen in almost two years! Oh, what joy!

7. Praise God for... ... can anyone guess?


CHOCOLATE!
DARK, RICH, DECADENT, HEAVENLY CHOCOLATE!

What are your Praises this week? I can't wait to read them! Link up below with Mr. Linky!
Have a wonderful Sunday everyone!


Love,
Jennifer


25 April 2009

Coolest Mom EVER

Bunny Tracks Ice Cream for dinner!


And all the children screamed, "Yea, Mom! You're the coolest mom EVER! Thank You! Yippee!"


Yessirree, I. AM. THE. BEST. MOM. IN. THE. WORLD.

24 April 2009

Confrontation

How willing are you to confront a stranger who is blatantly breaking the law and endangering a child?

In the parking lot today after the kids came out of school, after they had piled in the van and I was getting back in my seat, I noticed the PT Cruiser parked next to me with two young children in the back seat. Using only the adult seat belts, I might add. And this was the worst part. One of those kids ( a girl who looked about 8) was holding a baby on her lap! The baby was probably 9 months old.

I think the woman driving was the grandmother. She got in and started the car and I realized there was no car seat for the baby and the older kid was going to hold her like that as they drove! YIKES! I was dumbstruck. And then aghast! What do I do? This baby could be killed if they were to get hit by someone.

I felt I had to do something, but what? I said to this woman, "Ma'am, you know that baby needs to be in a car seat!" She replied tersely, "Yes, we know that."

It was about to be my turn to head out of the parking lot and I had to get back in the van, so that's where it ended. But as I sat there, I was seriously tempted to try and find a police officer somehow and report this woman.


So... what would YOU have done?


When do we confront danger/stupid behavior/law-breaking carelessness and when do we mind our own business? There was a child involved today... and I have to wonder, did I do enough?

20 April 2009

Ms. Manner-less

Continuing on with my "conversation" with Ms. S....

"Ms. S, how I wish you would acquire some manners. Your speech, for instance, is peppered with expletives and it's simply too loud in public. Pardon me for being blunt, but you sound rude. Snotty. Obnoxious."

"Yes, dear, I know this makes me terribly old-fashioned...practically from the Dark Ages! When you get home I'd like you to look up a word in the dictionary - DECORUM."



(Sigh) I miss gentility. I miss women acting like ladies in public. I miss mildness...mild speech, mild behavior, mild makeup, mild clothing, mild manners. I miss feminine dignity.



I am especially disheartened by the crude manner in which so many women talk nowadays. Their mouths seem to have no filter whatsoever! I cringe every time I hear people swearing, especially the "F" word... it is most painful when it comes out of a woman's mouth. I wonder if women have some bizarre idea that it makes them seem powerful or strong. I think it just makes them seem very unladylike, unfeminine, and badly in need of some "softening up."

"Here are a few more new words for your vocabulary, dear. Grace, dignity, tact, sweetness, patience, reflection, discretion."

"Try them on and see how they fit. You might be surprised to discover how much fun it can be to be a LADY. And in the meantime, when you see me out and about with my daughters (my ladies-in-the-making) please mind your manners! Little eyes are watching you and learning from you whether I like it or not!"


Here's a little wisdom from our Heavenly Father on the subject:

Psalm 141:3 "Set a guard over my mouth, O Lord; keep watch over the door of my lips. Let not my heart be drawn to what is evil, to take part in wicked deeds with men who are evildoers; let me not eat of their delicacies."

Proverbs 16:23-24 "A wise man's heart guides his mouth, and his lips promote instruction. Pleasant words are a honeycomb, sweet to the soul and healing to the bones."

Matthew 12:34
"For out of the abundance of the heart the mouth speaks."


Yikes!
You mean what comes out of my mouth is the abundance of my heart?!?

"Yes, Ms. S, that's what I've been trying to tell you. I'd like to think there is so much more deep down in your heart than what's coming out of your mouth. Please, learn to tame your tongue! Please learn to think before you speak, and weigh your words more carefully, for they either give life or take life away."

Respectfully,
Jennifer


19 April 2009

Shame and Mercy

Here's a few snippets of an article I wrote that's at Catholic Online right now...



I love the story from Mark’s gospel (5:25-34) of the woman who’d endured years of suffering from bleeding. She was a social pariah and no one even dared get near her for fear of becoming unclean themselves. Though she was shunned and outcast, she was brave enough to push her way through the crowd hoping to touch Jesus’ cloak. In her shame she didn’t dare hope to see His face, to meet His gaze, or touch His hand – she knew that was too much to expect. Still, she believed that just the touch of His cloak as He passed by would be enough to save her. And immediately she received the healing she sought.


But the best part is what Jesus does next.


Yes, He healed her body and stopped her bleeding, but now He was determined to restore her. He would not allow her to slink away unnoticed, and continue in her shame. When she had summoned the courage to admit it was she who touched Him, He did what probably no one had done in years – He looked at her and spoke to her. “Daughter, your faith has healed you. Go in peace and be freed from your suffering.”



...Shame can and should bring me to my knees at the Cross. It is right that I should be ashamed of my sin and feel heartbroken at the pain I have caused His Sacred Heart. But my shame should never go any further than the foot of the Cross, for His heart is full of only one thing for me: Love. Endless, merciful love...



...A beloved priest once told me something I’ll always remember. After a wonderful yet intense time of confession and talking with him, he said, “From now on, this past sin is no longer your tormentor, but your teacher. You have been forgiven and God remembers it no more. You will remember, of course, but now it is to be your teacher, to help you grow in love and mercy for others.”


Read the whole thing here...(and feel free to let me know what you think! Either here or at CO.)


Blessings on this Divine Mercy Sunday night...peace be with you.

Praise!

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"Great is the Lord, and most worthy of praise..."


'Tis the end of Spring Break around here, and I think spring has officially sprung for good. No more wintery days ahead. Oh well... somehow I will have to survive until autumn rolls around!


1. I praise God for a productive day yesterday and a restful day today.

2. I praise God for my family and how precious they are to me.

3. I praise God many household chores to do each day, for it means I have a home and family.

4. Praise God that He never changes.

5. Praise God for His mercy that we beg for the whole world on this day of Divine Mercy.

6. Praise God for Hope in an otherwise hopeless world.

7. Praise God for the incomparable pleasure of moist, rich, heavily-frosted dark chocolate cake. (I'm going to have another piece!)



What are your Praises this week?
Please link up below with Mr. Linky and share your Praise!

And remember to pray the Divine Mercy Chaplet at the three o'clock hour today if you can. I heard an excellent suggestion that we should beg for our President's conversion during this special hour of mercy. Sounds like a plan to me.

Have a blessed day y'all!
Jennifer



18 April 2009

My Sign

The sign I made a long time ago to remind me what is true:


God is not going to accomplish my sanctification
outside of my role as wife and mother,

but entirely within it.

I am not going to progress on the path of holiness
in spite of the household chores
and childcare duties, but because of them and through them.

Wife and mother is my vocation and it is holy. Period.

The laundry, dishes, dusting, vacuuming, toilet-scrubbing, floor-mopping, and even the poopy diapers are the tools by which God is crafting my soul, training my heart, and taming my will. They are the devices of holiness.


(Many thanks to Holly Pierlot.)

With that, there are many chores waiting to be done. Have a wonderful day everyone, and please stop by tomorrow for Praise! and be sure to link up and share yours!


Tootles,
Jennifer

16 April 2009

Cowards



Starry-eyed cowards are popping up all over the place! Now we can add Georgetown University to the list of Catholics who are willing to betray the faith for the sake of Presidential placating.




We serve an Almighty, All-Loving, All-Powerful, Merciful God whose Passion and death we just finished remembering.







Can someone please tell me how exactly Obama compares to that?






Why are these people cowering before him, accommodating his every insulting wish and betraying the faith they profess? I bet he's paying them all with the same thirty pieces of silver.


Shame on them! Cowards!

15 April 2009

Ladies

Returning to the subject of true femininity and the unique strengths of women, I find myself having a "conversation" with a modern-day young woman I've named "Ms. S". I have a long laundry list of things I'd like to tell her, as well as a few things I'd like to smack her upside the head about.

First on the list: "Ms. S, would you please put some clothes on? I really don't want to see your lingerie, or your bosom falling out of your teensy-weensy little top. You have a mind and a heart and a talent that has nothing to do with your breasts or your rear end, yet you have reduced yourself to only those two things. How sad."

What infuriates me even more as a mother is how this overtly sexual behavior is being pushed on little girls. Even clothing for six year-old's is becoming revealing! And stop marketing High School Musical to my kindergartener!

"Ms. S, I am trying to raise daughters who know their own inner strengths, their talents, their value as human beings, and their significance as women. These things are not wrapped up in their bodies or their "sexiness", and seeing you parade around half undressed sets a very bad example. Not to mention the harm you are doing to yourself. You are more than sex! No man in the world will be motivated to treat you with respect if you don't respect yourself enough to be a lady."



So how do you counter the culture of sex in your house? How do you help teach your daughters about modesty and propriety? What concrete things can we do as mothers to help our girls hang on to their innocence for as long as possible?


For me, a few things are obvious. No High School Musical anything in my house. No Hannah Montana. No Bratz dolls. No toys of any kind that portray girls in skimpy clothing with snotty looks on their faces.


Also, my own manner of dress is crucial. I decided a long time ago to forgo the strappy tank tops and deep V-neck shirts. Short skirts are also deep-sixed. And bathing suits.... oh, don't get me started! I would gladly be the chairperson of the campaign to eliminate bikinis from the planet. I don't know a single woman who would venture out in public in her bra and panties, so somebody please tell me, what's the difference?? How does the fabric make it okay to walk around in front of people (other men!) like that?


My girls' swimsuits this year are skirted on the bottom, and sleeved on the top. Modesty and great sun protection in one pretty package, thank you. My bathing suit is the same.


I can't expect my girls to appreciate modesty and respect their bodies if I don't model those qualities for them, and the way a woman dresses plays a huge roll in teaching virtue. Attractive doesn't have to mean revealing. Modest doesn't have to mean boring and frumpy. I love cute clothes as much as any gal, but I won't trade virtue for fashion.

What are your thoughts?

Modestly yours,
Jennifer

(Part two of my conversation with Ms. S coming soon! So many more things to talk about!)

12 April 2009

A Morning Like This

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"Why do you look for the living among the dead?
He is not here; he has risen!"


Praise God for the most beautiful sight in all the world, in all of time....




an empty tomb!



"Death has been swallowed up in victory."

"Where, O death, is your victory?
Where, O death, is your sting?
The sting of death is sin, and the power of sin is the law.
But thanks be to God! He gives us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ."
1Cor 15:54-57


A very joyful Easter to all of you!
Jennifer



11 April 2009

Holy Saturday

In the dark and silent tomb
there is suddenly a gentle wind


Father and Spirit are there


He leans in close to whisper in a blood-stained ear



"Son...Son, it's Me. It's Dad. Wake up.
It's time to get up."




(Fr. John Congdon, Ft. Irwin, CA)

09 April 2009

Good Friday

On the Mount of Crucifixion
Fountains opened deep and wide
Through the floodgates of God's mercy
Flowed a vast and gracious tide




Grace and love like mighty rivers
Flowed incessant from above
Heaven's peace and perfect justice
Kissed a guilty world in Love


Thank you, Jesus...




Reminder: The Divine Mercy Novena begins today.

Repose



"My soul is overwhelmed with sorrow to the point of death.
Stay here and keep watch with me."




06 April 2009

Awareness Week

On the interstate coming home today the digital highway information sign said:

"Work Zone Awareness Week."


Geez, there's an Awareness Week for just about everything now!



It got me thinking... if Christianity has an "awareness week," this week is it.
Holy Week is
it.



"Soul Disease Awareness Week"


"Eternal Destiny Awareness Week"


"Cross of Christ Awareness Week"


"The Real Cost of Sin Awareness Week"


"Your Ransom Price Awareness Week"


Other ideas?

Jennifer

05 April 2009

Palm Sunday Praise

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"Hosanna!"


"Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord!"
"Blessed is the coming kingdom of our father David!"


Hosanna in the highest!"

All praise and honor and glory to you, Lord Jesus Christ!


1. Praise God for the richness of our faith and traditions...sacred liturgies, incense, palm branches, vibrant red color, and the tingling knowledge that our brothers and sisters ALL OVER THE WORLD are experiencing the very same thing, and we are one in the Spirit.

2. Praise God for the 150,000 new Catholic Christians in America during this Holy Week! God bless them and strengthen their new life in Christ.


3. Praise God for sunny spring days and colorful flowers blooming everywhere.


4. Praise God for a productive day of housecleaning.


5. Praise God for beautiful, sweet children I never thought I'd have.


6. Praise God for small but valuable bits of insight and wisdom when I'm not expecting it.


7. Praise God for the glorious delight and giddy pleasure of dark chocolate! (You knew it was coming!!)



Share the Praise! Link up below with Mr.Linky and make your own list! As always, I look forward to reading them!

Have a deeply blessed Holy Week, everyone.

Jennifer


03 April 2009

Facelift

My Chocolate Heart went under the knife tonight...so far the results are good, I think! More tweaking to come in the days ahead, but this is a good start. You like?

Keep in mind: Link up on Sunday and share your PRAISE!

Holy Week is upon us. I pray it's a rich and blessed week for all of you.

Jennifer

02 April 2009

In Praise of Women


I’m praying for the day when "modern" women will stop trying to be like men and appreciate the value of being feminine. (No male-bashing here. I’m a big fan of good men!)


I’m just anxious to see the strength and honor of the feminine gifts restored in our society. I hope the next generation of women will understand the value of being different from men by design. Generally speaking, men are made to be “hunters and gatherers” and women are skilled at being home and people-builders. God gave us big hearts, intuitive minds, and bodies expertly suited for holding babies on one hip while shopping, cleaning, and a hundred other things.


Now ladies, I’m not saying we’re all running around like the Scarecrow without a brain. It takes a lot of intelligent brain power to mange home and family! But I wonder if some of women’s dissatisfaction with their lives comes from not appreciating the special gifts of the feminine, thinking they need to be more like the masculine. There is incredible and eternal value in being a woman!


Women’s divinely created nature is a beautiful gift when appreciated properly and used appropriately. By far our greatest privilege is to be co-creators of new life, but it doesn’t end there. Whether mothers or not, we are made to be life-givers, life-nurturers, life-sustainers. Our softness, deep feelings, warmth, protective instinct and loyalty are part of what makes us Gentle Warriors.


This is the feminine genius, or rather, the genius of God who fashioned us with a unique strength and grace. Far from being a weakness, our tenderness, our sensitivity, and devotion is our fortitude and our steel. (Steel Magnolias, anyone?)


Femininity, at its authentic best, is indeed a force to be reckoned with!


Think of Naomi and Ruth, both widowed and essentially homeless. Their devotion to each other becomes their strength and ultimately, their saving grace. Ruth vows to stay with Naomi come what may…”wherever you go, I will go. Wherever you die, I shall die…” They remain committed to each other’s needs, and with wisdom and industry, they secure a new home and future for each other without ever compromising their virtue.


The gospel stories of the crucifixion reveal the strength of feminine devotion in the women who were present. It is interesting to me that all four gospels mention the presence of the women who followed Jesus from Galilee and remained with Him all the way to Calvary.


With all that was going on, with all the people that were there, in a society where women were certainly not treated as equals, why bother writing down what a group of women did that day?


Because they stayed.



They walked with Him, and ministered to Him, and dried His blood-stained face, and wept. Yes, they wept for Him and the suffering He was enduring. But mostly, they stayed when others ran. St. Luke tells us, “When all the people who had gathered to witness the sight saw what took place, they beat their breasts and went away. But all those who knew him, including the women who had followed him from Galilee, stood at a distance watching these things.”



It is no wilting or fragile flower that stands there witnessing the most horrible death in history!


Their tender and unwavering devotion for Jesus was the iron in their spirits that allowed them to stay when others left.


I'm blessed to know many such genuinely feminine women in my life. These ladies stay when things get rough. They stand firm and remain devoted. They pray like crazy. They forgive, and they love, and they feed people and clean and call to check up, and send cards to say "I love you" because they care. They have big hearts. They cry a lot and keep on going. They are ferociously protective of their families. They are gentle, fair, tender, emotional, sensitive, and tough as nails, too. They will not accept abusive or immoral treatment; they will protect and take care of themselves, too.


They are the smartest people I know, because they love being feminine, and they know that strength of heart is the greatest strength of all.


To Women, and the wonderful Father who made us!


Jennifer

01 April 2009

Random Fuzziness

It's the middle of the week, I have a cold and my head is fuzzy, so I have all these random, unrelated thoughts floating around up there.



Why is thinking only "free thinking" or "clear thinking" when it excludes God? This is the favorite criticism of believers by unbelievers. Who invented thinking in the first place?


Why does my two year-old insist on walking around in her big sister's old shoes?


Why is it that exactly 30 minutes after I have mopped the kitchen floor,
someone will spill something sticky?



Why can't I ever seem to catch the gremlins that multiply the dirty laundry in the middle of the night?


Why do pro-abortion feminists not care about the rights of the girls being killed?



Why do I have medicine-head when I haven't had any medicine?


After all the lint I have collected from the trap in my dryer, why is it my towels haven't just disappeared?



Is it okay if I just live on coffee and donut holes today? I can't smell anything anyway.



How can anyone with even an ounce of tenderness in their heart not love Jesus?


How would I look without a nose? It is possible I may rub it completely off my face before this cold is over.

Sneezey (sniffle)

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