30 January 2010

Praise!

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"I will sing to the Lord all my life; I will sing praise to my God as long as I live."  Psalm 104:33

My Praises are simple today.

IT SNOWED ALL DAY!!  Inches and inches and inches of gorgeous, pure white fluffy stuff all over everything.

Thank you, dear Father for giving us such a treat.  Tonight as I look out the window, the world seems to be sleeping beneath a white blanket, and everything feels calm.  Praise to the Lord.

I hope your week ahead is blessed abundantly.  Thank you for sharing a few moments with me and sharing your Praises to God with everyone.

A Good Day

I am delighted -- just giddy -- to stare out my window at the SNOW outside!  We've gotten at least six inches of pristine, powdery snow.  Everything is covered in a thick layer of fluffy white.  It's absolutely gorgeous!

I know it won't last long, but at least for today and tomorrow, I can enjoy my snow.  We've thrown some snow at each other and tried to make a snowman, but it's too powdery and won't pack.  It's still fun to play in.  And it provides a great excuse to make hot cocoa and have cookies for lunch.

This is a good day.

27 January 2010

Animals in my Garden

I felt the end of my rope just fly out of my hands. I heard screaming and crying, then a crash as something hit the wall, then something grabbed my leg and wouldn't let go. Somehow I wrestled free of whatever had attached itself to my leg, and I ran like crazy.

I knew I was mere seconds away from a total mommy meltdown, so I made a mad dash for my office and quickly locked the door behind me. It took a few moments before I could form a coherent thought in my head again, but by that time, I'd been found. Now there was pounding on the door and more crying. My ears were buzzing and I could swear I heard a ticking sound like a timer counting down... 10...9...8...7...6... soon my head would explode.

“Mooooooooooommmyyyy!”

I said nothing. I made not one sound. I hoped that if I was quiet enough, maybe the creatures out there would give up and go away. Maybe they'd think I wasn't really in here.

(knock, knock, scream) “Mooooooommyyy!”

With no water or food, I know I can't stay in here forever, but I think I can tough it out for several hours. Surely I can outlast them. As long as the door holds out. I close my eyes, take some deep breaths, and then I lose the fight with my tear ducts. I plop down in a watery heap and grab a tissue for my runny nose.

“I quit! I'm done! Lord, I don't care what anyone tries to tell me, there is no way – NO WAY – that any of this is holy. As a matter of fact, what's going through my mind right now is decidedly un-holy. Got that? UN-holy! Those little people out there have just pushed me off the cliff. There I go... down... down... down... splat. Come to think of it, I'm not even sure they are little people. I think they might be animals because they constantly spill their food on the floor (and then pick it up and eat it), they chew on books and toys, their room right now is a groundhog's heaven, and every single one of them has peed on the carpet at some point. Oh, and from down here it sounds like a herd of elephants upstairs. And let's not forget the poop, Lord. The poop just never ends around here.”

I'm tired. I'm hungry. I have a headache. And honestly, I'm not even sure I like those little people/animals right now. I want to hear what quiet sounds like. I want to hear myself think. I want a nap. Can I just lay down right here and take a nap?

(wail!) “Moooooommyyy!”

“Lord, they're not going away. But I just can't go out there right now. I'm spent. I don't want to be touched anymore today. I've been grabbed and poked and yanked and clung to way too much and I am touched-out. Patience seems like the elusive ice cream man around here. I can hear him down the street, but he never shows up at my house. I just don't want to deal with them – I want to hide.”

(sniffle, sniffle, whimper) “Mooommaa, where are you?”

Ouch – that hurt. Great – once again, I win the lousy mother of the year award. Criminey.

“Lord, how exactly does this serve You or please You? How exactly is any of this holy and worthwhile again? I'm not even doing a very good job at it today. But I want to... yes, I really do want to. The little people/animals really are precious to me and even when I don't like them I love them and I want to do right by them. Please help me.”

And then, amid my tears my heart is reminded of something. “Cultivate your own garden... do not desire to be what you are not, but rather, desire to be exactly what you are. It is in your present situation that God wishes you to act.”

I've been reading a lot of St. Francis de Sales lately and in this moment, God uses his gentle direction to lift my downcast face and nudge me up off the floor. “Each one loves according to his taste; few love according to their duty or the taste of our Lord.”

Desire to be exactly what I am... Love according to my duty, not my preference... It is in my present situation that God wishes me to act. What am I, and what is my duty? Today I'm a mother, and right now my duty is to those little people. Some of the particulars of my duty involve much cleaning of various and sundry messes and poop. The bulk of my frustration is not so much the normal trials of caring for children as it is my reluctance to devote myself entirely to my duty without wishing I was doing something else, somewhere else.

Quite certainly nothing so much hinders us from reaching perfection in our own vocation as longing for another.” For me the road to intimacy with Jesus, the road to greater holiness, stronger faith, deeper love, and true happiness – yes, happiness – lies outside my office door where the crying little people are. He wants me to be obedient in doing what He has put in front of me today, right now (including the pee and the poop). “Know that God wants nothing else of you for the present but that. Don't waste time, therefore, in doing anything else.”

“Okay, I hear You. I un-quit. I'm sorry. Please give me strength to serve You in this moment in Your rather annoying crying-child disguise. No really, Lord...I love You and I love them. Help me live my vocation well today.”

Just as I'm blowing my nose and gathering my courage, the oldest one knocks on the door. “Mommy? Can you please open the door and let me in?”

“Just give me a minute, honey” I say.

“But Mommy, I really have to go to the bathroom bad! Please let me in!”

Mommy's time-out is over – if I don't open the door soon there'll be more pee on the carpet.

24 January 2010

Ta-Da!!!

Drumroll please..............................................




It's finished!!!





My very first quilt!  Still can hardly believe I did it!  Not too bad for a beginner like me, eh?  It's full of mistakes and imperfections, and I love it that way.  It's just like me, so it suits me real well.

That was so much fun...time to start the next one!

23 January 2010

Praise!

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"Those who know your name will trust in you, for you, Lord, have never forsaken those who seek you."  Psalm 9:10

I don't know about all of you, but I've found myself noticing my every creature comfort this past week, and thinking, "Wow, am I spoiled rotten."  People in Haiti right now don't have a drink of water or a piece of bread or place to lay down and sleep comfortably, or a hot shower and clean underwear.  No roof over their heads. 

This week I am more grateful than ever for my life and the fact that my every need is met.  But I'm sure I'm still not grateful enough.  I bet I still don't really get it.  I'm gonna Praise God anyway and mean it as deeply as I can.

Thank you, Heavenly Father for clean water, plentiful, safe food, a sturdy house to dwell in, a soft bed to sleep in, warm coats to wear in the cold, shoes on my feet, clean clothes on my back, and no real reason to fear that tomorrow I will not have all these things once again.

Praise God for every single person who has gone to Haiti to help the people there.
Praise God for every person who has donated money to help meet the needs of the Haitian people.
Praise God for every person who's been pulled out alive.
Praise God for the promise of Life for every soul who has died there. Let perpetual light shine upon them, Lord.
Praise God for the generosity of nations around the world.  May that generosity continue.
Praise God for the families who have finally received in their arms the children they've been waiting years for... the "Haiti 80" who are now home with their forever families.  Bless them, every one.

I hope your week ahead is rich with blessings and gratitude for those blessings.  Be a light on the hill in your own world.  Thanks for sharing your Praises with me!

Peace be with you,
Jennifer

22 January 2010

Red Friday

It's Red Friday... for all the blood that's been spilled.

Black Friday... for the mourning of all the lives taken.

On this anniversary of Roe v. Wade, I pray those who believe in "choice" will have their eyes opened and their hearts softened.  I pray they will see each child as a gift, a blessing, as a promise waiting to be fulfilled.
Lord, hasten the day when life will be protected and the killing will stop.  Have mercy on us, in our sin and blindness, and heal our land.

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

20 January 2010

Living Psalm of Haiti

I've never read anything like this in my life and it broke my heart.  If you haven't seen this, you really should read it.

The most recent update says that some aid may finally be arriving... I pray so.

And then another quake this morning.  Please Lord, quiet the land.  Stop the tremors and command the earth to be still.

What strikes me at times like this is the rather embarrassing fact that I really have no idea what suffering is.  I wonder if I have ever suffered anything at all in my life.  It seems that suffering is so unfairly distributed sometimes.

After reading that post from Anchoress, I wished I could jump in my car with bottles of water and bags of food and just drive over to where those people are and help them before they starve.  In my moments of doubt and sadness, I wonder, does it help at all that I offer my feeble prayers for them?  I may never know, at least not this side of heaven.  But I will keep praying.  I will keep praying.  I know you will, too.  We have to.  Something in the depths of my soul tells me it does matter, it does help, God hears and He will answer.

O Lord, please let the rescue workers reach the people in Petit Goave who are waiting for relief.  Hurry, Lord...please hurry.

19 January 2010

US Troops Are The Best!

After watching a news update on the situation in Haiti just moments ago, I just have to say that I am so damn proud of our troops.  Anyone around the world who is sitting back criticizing U.S. efforts can jolly well kiss my you-know-what.




Our awesome troops have stepped into a chaotic, horrific disaster with absolutely no infrastructure, no electricity, no running water, no local government present, no nothing, and they are doing a stellar job bringing relief and assistance and order as quickly as possible.


They are doing more than 90 flights a day over the city dropping bundles of aid by parachute.  (Any other country doing that?  I didn't think so.)


They had electricity at the airport within 24 hours after arriving there.


Our guys are amazing and doing a helluva job.  I'm extremely proud to be a military wife.  Those who are stupid and arrogant enough to criticize can just shut up.  Or show up and help.  These are the moments when I am very proud of my country.   God bless the people of Haiti, and God bless our troops!!!

I LOVE OUR TROOPS!!!  THEY ARE THE BEST IN THE WORLD!

18 January 2010

Something New

I'm trying something new.  Well, a lot of something's new, actually.  It's a new year and I'm trying new things.



Today I should be receiving my first shipment of Melaleuca products, mainly vitamin supplements and a highly-regarded lotion for my family's very dry skin.  Can't wait to use this stuff.


From what I know right now, I like this company because everything seems to be very natural, free of nasty chemicals and additives, and healthy for me and the earth.  And the prices are not out of this world, like many other products.  I am eager to dive in and try a wide variety of things.  I'll keep you posted as I go and let you know what I like.


I am really praying the vitamin supplements will make a difference in how I feel.  I think I've mentioned before that I have rheumatoid arthritis and my most painful joints are my fingers.  Things are basically under control for me and I'm not prohibited from doing anything I really need to do, but I'm sure open to feeling even better!

Anyone else trying something new right now?

17 January 2010

Praise!


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"For you created my inmost being; you knit me together in my mother's womb.  I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made; your works are wonderful, I know that full well."  Psalm 139:13-14


Happy Sunday in ordinary time!


Today, I am praising God for my life and all the blessings it has held.  It's my birthday.  And though the temptation to be depressed is there, I am also very grateful to my Heavenly Father for giving me life and to my Savior for ransoming my life back for me.


I'm Praising God for my family.  The husband He's given me, the children He's given me, and the love they give me.


I Praise God for all my extended family.  They're good folks, and in today's world, that's saying A LOT.


I Praise God for helping me survive two childhood accidents that could have ended tragically.  The first was when I fell out of bed onto a can of newly-sharpened pencils and several pieces of lead went deep into my skull.  The ER doctor said I was well on my way to lead poisoning if we hadn't come in that night.  (I didn't feel any pain and I almost just went back to sleep... but something made me cry and my mom heard me.  Thank you, guardian angel!)
The second was when I fell out of my family's truck when I was about 11.  Not wearing a seat belt, sitting in the front, passenger door not closed, my arm went on the door, and OUT I went!  My dad was driving and he didn't realize I'd fallen out and he just kept going.  I watched the tire go RIGHT BY my face.  A skinned knee and elbow was all I suffered (thank you again, guardian angel!).


I Praise God for the countless times He has spared me from terrible outcomes of choices I made in ignorance or immaturity.  


I Praise God for the countless people who have looked out for me, looked after me, given of themselves for me, shown me generosity and kindness, and been a reliable example to me of what it means to follow Jesus.


I Praise God for giving me a serious love of Chocolate.  Forget gold -- in my heaven, the streets are paved in dark chocolate.


Yet, surprisingly enough, my cake today is not chocolate!  (Gasp!)  It's a pink champagne cake with sparkling frosting.  Now doesn't that sound celebratory and girly?  And yes, there's really champagne in the cake and in the frosting!  Cheers!


I hope your week ahead is filled to the brim with God's grace.  Thanks for linking up and sharing your Praises!


Happy Day,
Jennifer





14 January 2010

Men and Women: R.I.P.??


I have a nightmare in which I look ahead twenty-five years or so and I see a bland, ambiguous society simmering with an undercurrent of antagonism. I see a culture largely without men and women, made up instead of some strangely amalgamated human creature. This creature is not truly human anymore because it has declared gender and the Natural Law to be irrelevant and oppressive. In that tragic mistake, it lost its freedom and fulfillment.

I think it’s more than just a melodramatic bad dream. It's slowly coming true right now, in bits and pieces every day. Amidst all the new sexual classifications – gay, lesbian, bi-sexual, transgender – we’re losing the awe-inspiring truth about men and women as we were created to be. Such forgetfulness will be disastrous.

Being male or female does matter. God certainly would not have bothered to create two separate ways of being human with distinctly different yet perfectly complimentary attributes – physical, emotional, mental, and vocational – if the difference wasn’t important. We ignore this difference to our severe detriment and we trample on it to our self destruction.

If we weren’t so pigheadedly set on our asinine idea of a limited, instrumental understanding of equality which is rooted in function we’d be able to understand the inestimable worth of our differences. We might see how our opposite natures as men and women are intended to strengthen and enhance our individual gifts and form a complete foundation for life when brought together in marriage and the family and society founded upon it.

No such foundation exists within a relationship that excludes either man or woman. It simply can’t. God created us, male and female, for each other, to be the complete and perfect companion, and to be a sign and symbol, a reflection of Christ’s love for His church. Same-sex relationships can never be a true reflection of that love for many reasons, just one being that they necessarily reject the opposite sex. It’s two men saying, “Sorry, ladies, we don’t really need you,” and two women saying, “Thanks anyway, guys, but we don’t want you.”

That’s a grossly distorted image of femininity and masculinity that only serves to drive a wedge between men and women with its errant message that we don’t need each other. It feeds the hostility of those who insist that all men are oppressors of women everywhere. Worse, it promotes a culture in which men and women are increasingly used for their reproductive functions without any attachment, commitment or respect, all of which are a part of an authentic understanding of love and communion.

Two women who wish to become mothers simply need a guy to give them some of his DNA (which he'll be financially compensated for, of course). No father is necessary, thank you, just some sperm. Two men who want to be parents need a woman who will simply be a “carrier” for them, donating an egg and her womb (which she'll be financially compensated for, of course), then leave the child motherless.

To create by design a fatherless or motherless home for a child is utterly selfish and damaging. I can't fathom how two homosexual men could possibly teach a little girl what it really means to be a woman nor how two lesbian women could show a little boy how to be a man.

More importantly, it reduces children to some kind of accessory that can be purchased and manufactured at will, and it opens the door to endless scenarios in which the courts are left to decide who gets parental rights, while the child is the one who suffers. None of this equals giving life as God intended. None of this is love.



11 January 2010

Brit Hume’s Courage an Example to All Christians

I’m sure you’ve all heard about Brit Hume’s comments to Tiger Woods last week and the ensuing uproar and criticism he’s received from just about every corner, including some Christians.  Maybe some of you, like me, didn’t know about the tragedy of his son’s death 11 years ago and how that affected Hume’s faith.  I hope you’ll read this article and perhaps send Brit Hume a note of thanks and encouragement.  He spoke the truth knowing he would be persecuted for it... bravo, Brit.  God bless you.

 

Much hay has been made this past week about Brit Hume's remarks on the Fox News Sunday program in which he told Tiger Woods he should turn to the Christian faith to receive forgiveness, be restored and be a great example to the world.

Later on The O' Reilly Factor, Hume went on to say that what Tiger needs is a genuine conversion, and if he experiences such a miracle, as other public figures who have fallen hard and then altered their lives' course by turning to follow Christ (Chuck Colson was mentioned), then we, the public, would know it by the evidence of his life. We would witness his conversion and know it was real by the fruits of his life thereafter.

Naturally, the anti-Christian crowd was furious, said Hume was proselytizing, then demeaned him personally. Washington Post critic Tom Shales was particularly rude and declared, “the remark will probably rank, even only a few days into January, as one of the most ridiculous of the year.” Shales concluded his snarky column by saying Hume must apologize for getting “carried away” with his faith, doing “the satellite-age equivalent of going door-to-door and spreading what he considers the gospel” and “not try to cross-pollinate religion and journalism and use Fox facilities to do it.” He then threw his final insult at Hume by implying that Hume is “worse than fading” as a journalist. (Tim Graham at newsbusters.org takes Shale's ignorant and condescending column apart quite effectively.)

David Shuster of MSNBC made the nutty remark that talking about Christianity on the news is “denigrating” and actually diminishes the significance of Christianity.

Some forms of Buddhism (Theravada) are atheist and thus better categorized as a philosophy rather than a religion. Others (Mahayana) do incorporate deities and religious elements. However, all forms emphasize an understanding of “liberation” which is radically different than the Christian vision. They do not have a concept of sin or recognize the need for a Redeemer. If a belief system offers no Redeemer because it doesn't acknowledge sin then Hume is accurate in saying Buddhism does not offer real forgiveness and redemption.

Continue reading...

10 January 2010

Praise!

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"May the words of my mouth and the meditation of my heart be pleasing in your sight, O Lord, my Rock and my Redeemer."  Psalm 19:14


Praise to the Lord on this feast day of His baptism!


I'm Praising God for the week of cold weather we've had.  No snow, but definitely winter weather, which I'm loving.


Praise God for little gifts of encouragement and good news amidst the deluge of bad news each day.


Praise God for good friends in Christ.


Praise God for a quilt that's almost finished!  :)


Praise God for all the things I take for granted: clean water, indoor plumbing, heat, a soft bed, plenty of food to eat, the ones I love alive and well around me, and a thousand little luxuries.  Thank you, Lord, and may my gratitude increase.


Praise God for puzzles being put together on the kitchen table... a piece here, a piece there, a half hour here, an hour there... great fun.


Praise God for slipper socks.


Praise God for peppermint hot cocoa and peppermint mochas.  I'm having lots of them these days!

Have a blessed week ahead everyone!  Praise God! 




08 January 2010

5th Joyful: Joy in Finding Jesus

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The 5th Joyful Mystery: Finding the Child Jesus in the Temple

While his parents were returning home, the boy Jesus stayed behind in Jerusalem, but they were unaware of it. Thinking he was in their company, they traveled on for a day. Then they began looking for him among their relatives and friends…After three days they found him in the temple courts, sitting among the teachers…His mother said to him, “Son, why have you treated us like this? Your father and I have been anxiously searching for you.” Luke 2:43-48

Let this mystery teach us joy in finding Jesus.

I have to be honest, it really seems to me like Jesus got a pass here he shouldn’t have. He really didn’t think that by staying behind he’d scare the living daylights out of his parents? He didn’t think they’d mind him just disappearing? Worrying them that way was not a very thoughtful thing to do!

There’s Mary, worried out of her mind after searching for three days, and this is his response: “Why were you searching for me? Didn’t you know I had to be in my Father’s house?”

Well, no, actually, we didn’t know that! Why would we know that?!? You could have just said so before we left, instead of making us look for you for three days!!

Anybody else thinking they would have wanted to dish out some serious punishment if their sassy teenager had done this to them? (Who knows, maybe Mary and Joseph did!)

His boyhood thoughtlessness aside, there’s an important message in this mystery for the whole world: our worrying ceases when we find Jesus. Our hearts are anxiously searching for Him, and we are troubled and frightened until we find Him. There is joy in finding Jesus; there is worry and fear without Him. This is true for every soul that has ever lived whether they realize it or not. “Our hearts are restless, O Lord, until they rest in You.” St. Augustine

In every event of our day, in every encounter, every task, every challenge, every burden, every struggle, there will be joy once we find Jesus in it. We will be overcome with worry til we do. He is there with us in everything and He wants to be found. It only remains to be seen whether we will look for Him.

There are a hundred opportunities every day for me to look for Jesus in what I’m doing and what’s happening in my life. Too often, I simply don’t look. I’m too wrapped up in my own head, too caught up in a hectic schedule to stop and look. And so, I find stress and anxiety instead of joy. I find worry and fear instead of Jesus. Silly me.

You will seek me and find me when you seek me with all your heart. I will be found by you, declares the Lord.” Jeremiah 29:13-14

Blessed Mary, ever patient Mother, teach me how to find Jesus… always… in everything.

06 January 2010

Women Who Support Abortion: The Truth Comes Out

The truth is the truth is the truth, and it sometimes comes out in the strangest ways...

Two things happened in the last month to change my perceptions of what committed, pro-abortion women really think about babies and pregnancy. Any hopeful thinking I might have entertained about their intentions or any doubt I had about the depth of their dishonesty and violence, was pretty well wiped away by two separate, unrelated events.

The first was Major General Tony Cucolo's order to his soldiers serving in Iraq that female troops will be punished if they get pregnant and males will be punished if they are the father. I'm of the opinion that Cucolo's order is logical, reasonable and justifiable. It's war over there, not a training exercise, or fun and games. A combat zone is no place for an expectant mother, and a female soldier who has to leave her unit because she becomes pregnant places an unsafe burden on her fellow soldiers and disrupts the mission. I'd go a step further than Cucolo and the Army for that matter and say that women don't belong in front-line combat in the first place. But I digress...

The liberal feminist reaction to Cucolo's order was rife with the most stunning show of hypocrisy. Suddenly the “you must treat women exactly the same as men” crowd was having a fit because women soldiers would be reprimanded for something that's uniquely normal to being a woman. Kary Jencks, public affairs director for Planned Parenthood in New Hampshire made this statement: “I think it's unfortunate that once again, the natural capacity that a woman's body has is disciplined. It's always viewed as a handicap, not a normal aspect of being a woman.”

But the best part was the demand made by 4 Democrat senators that Cucolo rescind his order immediately: “We can think of no greater deterrent to women contemplating a military career than the image of a pregnant woman being severely punished simply for conceiving a child. This defies comprehension.”

And Jencks other comment: “The military should be happy that a couple are bringing new life into the world rather than viewing it as a handicap.”

Conceiving a child... bringing new life into the world. These are the words of some of the most pro-abortion senators in the country: Barbara Boxer, Barbara Mikulski, Jeanne Shaheen, and Kirsten Gillebrand, along with a spokesperson for Planned Parenthood. Suddenly it's not an embryo, or a fetus or a zygote or a nameless, faceless “choice”, but a child. New life. Life.

They have betrayed themselves and their word games and their facade of compassion and caring. We may have always suspected, but now we know for sure, that they know the truth. Abortion kills a child. A new life. Pregnancy is not a handicap or a problem, but the natural capacity of a woman's body. Committed pro-aborts know this is true, and it's a truth they cannot live comfortably with, so they must deny it, ignore it, and rationalize it away in order to quell the conflict within themselves. They want this counterfeit notion of freedom enough to kill for it, and that's another uncomfortable truth they can't face.

What the senators don't say, of course, is that they object to Cucolo's order because of the military's even greater sin – that women in uniform are not provided abortion services through government healthcare. They probably wouldn't care about the no-pregnancy order if the women could just have the child they conceived killed – oh, wait – I mean, terminate the pregnancy.

The second event that changed my understanding of militant pro-abortion women was more heartbreaking than infuriating. I have, in recent months, occasionally visited the ferociously pro-abortion blog, RH Reality Check, and engaged in comments on some of their articles. Call it a naïve attempt to talk some sense into the women there, hoping to change someone's mind or at least cause them to stop and think. To my deep sadness, I was rudely awakened to the depth of some women's hatred toward babies and pregnancy. Yes, hatred.

The more I spoke of the right of the child to live and be born, the more I spoke of the dignity of the preborn child, the more I spoke of the sanctity of human life, the more vitriol I got. I expected the blog's supporters to be totally loyal to their pro-abortion (pro-choice as they say) philosophy, but I didn't expect the unabashed willingness to admit they'd gladly abort without a moment's hesitation. Or to hear them absolutely drip with disdain when they branded my pro-life position as “fetal idolatry,” or seethe with contempt when they ranted about how sick and tired they are of hearing about the “preshuz baybeez” and the “non-existent rights” of “insentient tissue.”

I am still hopeful that most women who support abortion do so foolishly, ignorantly, or halfheartedly. I'd even settle for selfishly over the unmasked, cold aggression I've encountered over at pro-abort headquarters. But my hope is growing dimmer, and I shouldn't be surprised at all. A new generation of women has grown up under the illusion of freedom through abortion, and Satan has successfully planted enmity between mother and child like never before. Violence has made its home in the womb, and has birthed more violence and death; death not just to the baby, but to the woman's own natural instinct to love and protect her child.

No, we're not dealing with a rational enemy who will respond to reason or be persuaded by facts. We're dealing with evil that has made a comfy home for himself in the quiet, hidden center of humanity; the womb. Changing minds will not do the trick. Hearts must be changed. Hearts must be converted and blind eyes must be made to see. Only God can do that. Only the love and power of Christ can reveal the truth to hardened hearts.

Today we stand on the precipice of a new law that will allow for a massive expansion of abortion in the U.S. The people writing and passing this destructive bill, Boxer, Mikulski, Shaheen and Gillebrand among them, are knowingly endorsing the killing of children. The truth has come out, ironically even from their own mouths. A pregnant woman has conceived a child, which means the “choice” they fight for is not reproductive freedom but legalized child-killing.

Let's not pretend that verbal sleight-of-hand can disguise the truth. Nobody's fooling anybody anymore.

Lord Jesus, have mercy on our nation and bring the light of Your truth to the darkened places in our minds. Send Your Holy Spirit to change the hearts of those who refuse to welcome the new life You bring. Hasten the day when we will protect human life from the moment of conception and cease to use our laws as channels of death. Blessed Mother, pray that our nation will receive our children as lovingly as you received the Christ-child. Forgive us, Lord, and deliver us from evil.

from Catholic Online

4th Joyful Mystery

The 4th Joyful Mystery: The Presentation in the Temple

When the time of their purification according to the Law of Moses had been completed, Joseph and Mary took him to Jerusalem to present him to the Lord, (as is written in the Law of the Lord, “Every firstborn male is to be consecrated to the Lord.”) and to offer a sacrifice in keeping with what is said in the Law of the Lord: a pair of doves or two young pigeons.” Luke 2:22-24

Let this mystery teach us obedience.

It’s rather humorous to read that paragraph. Mary and Joseph took the Lord to Jerusalem to present him to the Lord! The Lord presented Himself to Himself!

The Father demanded no special treatment for His Son. No exceptions, no favoritism. The Law of Moses was the Law and the Law was to be obeyed. God was not about to break His own rules. He came to fulfill the Law, not toss the Law out the window. He came to live our human experience is every single way that we do, including obeying the law.

But notice, please, which law we’re talking about here. God’s law – the law that is always just and right and good. We needn’t ever worry when obeying God’s law. It will always be for our benefit and His greater glory. Obeying God’s law will never steer us wrong or lead us down a destructive path. God’s blessing is always in His law.

We live in a time when there are many unjust and just plain immoral laws, and one day we just might have to choose between following God’s law and following the law of the land because the two may be in irreconcilable contradiction. But that is then; today is now, and for today, there will most assuredly be occasions, however small, where I have to choose to obey God. I may be sorely tempted to ignore or “forget” His commands and then try to justify my rebellion. No surprise – that never works out well!

Time to refresh my memory about why it’s so good for me to follow God’s law:

The law of the Lord is perfect, reviving the soul. The statutes of the Lord are trustworthy, making wise the simple. The precepts of the Lord are right, giving joy to the heart. The commands of the Lord are radiant, giving light to the eyes.” Psalm 19:7-8

I gain understanding from your precepts; therefore I hate every wrong path.” Psalm 119:104

The wicked have set a snare for me, but I have not strayed from your precepts. Your statutes are my heritage forever; they are the joy of my heart. My heart is set on keeping your decrees to the very end.” Psalm 119:110-112

Great peace have they who love your law, and nothing can make them stumble.” Psalm 119:165

Strength, wisdom, joy, light and clarity, understanding, courage, and sure footsteps… all the benefits of obedience. God is good!

05 January 2010

CWDkids catalog part two

My latest reply to Mr. Jim Klaus of CWDkids catalog.  Catch up by reading the comments from the first post (below this one). 

Mr. Klaus,

Interesting discussion is all well and good, and I'm glad you're talking about it amongst yourselves, but why wait til next year when you can do the right thing today?  Remove these immodest suits from your line today.  Take them down off your website and explain why.  Don't put profit ahead of what's good for our children.

I urge you to be brave and set a fine example for other retailers to follow.  Help moms like me (there are many) who are looking for modest yet still stylish clothing for ourselves and our daughters, and particularly concerning swimwear, keep it decent!  Less revealing, less "skin" and more modest.  Modest does not have to be boring or frumpy.

I guarantee you would make many new happy and loyal customers by putting an emphasis on modesty and decency for girls, while still keeping the clothes cute and stylish.  And I assure you, I am equally vocal about the companies I like as the ones I don't.

I appreciate your willingness to answer me, and I encourage you to come back to my blog post and read the other comments, including one from a man who gives a valuable perspective.

Think about it.  Better yet, pray about it.  Ask God if He minds His little daughters parading around wearing virtually nothing.  I pray you will have ears to hear His reply.

God bless you,

Jennifer Hartline

04 January 2010

CWDkids catalog outrageous swimsuit for girls

Update 2:00 PM:  Check the comments for the latest!


Update 10:00 AM:  Read Mr. Klaus' response to my letter in the comments section, along with my answer to him.  I'll keep you posted if I hear back from him again.


Following is the letter I just mailed to the president of CWDkids catalog, Mr. Jim Klaus.

Here’s a picture of the bikini that got me so fired up:

ladybug bikini
This is a little girl’s bathing suit!  Shocking!  What in the world?!?  Is it just me?

Anyone else who would care to chime in can contact Jim Klaus at JimK@cwdkids.com or by mail at:
3607 Mayland Court, Richmond, VA 23233
------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
04 January 2010

Jim Klaus, President
CWDkids
3607 Mayland Court
Richmond, VA 23233-1453

Dear Mr. Klaus,

I'm writing to express my shock and dismay at what I found in your catalog today. I admit I have only briefly glanced through your catalog on the occasions it has arrived in my mailbox, and I've thought, “Oh, those are cute clothes!” How very glad I am that I have never purchased anything from your company.

My jaw dropped when I saw the little girl's “bathing suit” on the top of page 7. Two small ladybug patches held up by spaghetti straps is supposed to be a top?!? It looks like something fashioned for a stripper in a nightclub. And that teensy little bottom is supposed to be cover a little girl's behind? The entire “suit” is so highly inappropriate I cannot find words to describe it. To think that anyone finds that cute, or endearing, or in any way acceptable for a little girl is unimaginable. It is appalling and you should be ashamed of yourself for selling it.

And then I flip through the rest of the catalog and find skimpy bikini after skimpy bikini, and the suit on page 43 with half the mid-section cut out, and I am just speechless! Who in the world thinks these “suits” are appropriate for young and little girls? The sexualization of our children has got to stop, and this is an excellent place to start.

I find it outrageous that your company is peddling this attire to little girls. It only further reinforces the idea that a girl's body can and should be put on display in public, even at the most tender young age. Instead of encouraging girls to respect their bodies and develop a sense of modesty, this kind of “clothing” teaches girls that it's only their breasts and rear end that matter, and this is long before they've even developed breasts.

Little girls deserve to be decently covered and not be dressed as miniature adults.

I will never be a customer of CWDkids, and I will encourage every mom I know not to patronize your catalog either. I hope you will decide to discontinue this terrible line of bathing suits from your clothing line, and will instead become a company that supports the virtue of modesty and respect.

Sincerely,

Mrs. Jennifer Hartline
mother of three daughters

The Rotten Tree

The political wheels will soon be turning again, and we have to get back in gear and prepare to fight against the Senate health care bill as it’s sent back to the House for passage.  No time to let up, folks.  Call and email and write your Reps. 

I guess I'm a simpleton. I listen to all this intellectual bickering about the health care legislation and public funding of abortion and I feel like one of those cartoon drawings with steam coming out my ears. People who are supposed to be pro-life, who claim to be Catholic, are trying to make the argument that it's actually anti-life and anti-Catholic to oppose this Senate bill – even though it mandates public funding of abortion – because defeating this health care reform will mean denying health care services to millions of people who don't have health care and the Church is clearly in favor of making sure everyone has access to medical care so Catholics must support this health care reform. What?!?

It seems the root of their reasoning is that in this instance, the ends justify the means. “Yeah, it's a flawed bill, and we'd really prefer it didn't fund abortion, but other than that, it's a good thing and it will help a lot of people so the needs of the many outweigh the rights of those little ones who can't vote and don't pay taxes anyway. The true pro-life position here is to pass the bill so multitudes of people will finally have the health care they deserve. Later on we can worry about dealing with the abortion issue.”

That just doesn't compute for me. My simple little brain says, “Wait a minute. We're planting a rotten tree, and we seriously expect it to yield good fruit? We're starting with something that is fundamentally corrupt from the outset, and we think that over time it will get better or we'll be able to diminish the effects of the corruption?” How can something that is against life be good for life?

It's not complex. It's simple – we cannot destroy innocent human life. It's wrong – period. Human life begins at conception – period. Abortion is always immoral and gravely evil. It isn't justifiable or acceptable – it is most definitely not a choice or a right. And it certainly is not healthcare.

We should at least be able to agree on that! Yet clearly we don't, since many “Catholic” groups are doing their darnedest to make plausible-sounding arguments in favor of passing a new federal law that will mandate public funding of a grave evil. Suddenly instead of insisting that evil is evil and we cannot make deals with it, they're “overlooking” evil in order to advance the “greater good.” That makes no sense spiritually or logically.

The whole tree is spoiled at the root. The fruit may look shiny and ripe and appetizing, but it is rotten. It simply can't be otherwise. You cannot plant a rotten tree and yield good fruit.

No matter how the supporters of this bill want to frame it, we simply cannot trust that it will result in better care for everyone and here's why: People who are willing to sacrifice the weakest and most vulnerable members of our society for profit, personal gain, “freedom”, or power do not have benevolent intentions toward anyone. They do not have anyone's best interests at heart. When snuffing out one life solely at the discretion of another more powerful can be justified and rationalized, only the strong survive, and the weak and vulnerable are expendable. The preborn, the elderly, the disabled, and the terminally ill are “burdens” on a system that has greed and deceit at its center. (If anyone doubts that greed and deceit are at the center of our system, I would ask them whether they've heard of Harry Reid and Ben Nelson.)

If people do not look at a preborn child and see a person deserving of life and protection, then we can rightfully question whether any policy decision they make will be worthy or noble or borne of compassion. Such virtue comes from love, and love serves, creates and gives life, and life is sacred. Not most life or some life, but all. Those who refuse to acknowledge that truth are constantly spinning in circles around selfish reasoning – “My choice.” Some choices just do not belong to us, no matter how hard we try to spin it.

A society that wants the betterment of its citizens will begin at the beginning – with the sanctity of all human life – and build from there. Every decision made must be to further and protect that one simple truth. A “choice” that places weaker life at the mercy of stronger life is simply not a real choice. So, back to the drawing board. When goals begin from the right place, they have a much better chance of ending up in the right place. Start from a position that says, “Each life is precious and must be protected.” From there, we can figure out how to give everyone the medical care they need.

God supplies our needs when we seek Him honestly and humbly. God provides inspiration and enlightenment and perspective when our ambitions are honorable. If we are out of ideas on how to accomplish our goal of health care for everyone, I submit it's because we are not starting from the right place. I daresay most of those in power have not sought God's provision or inspiration because they surely know deep in their own hearts that their objectives are not honorable.

The sick must be tended with compassion and dignity until natural death. The elderly must not be rushed toward the grave. Both mother and child must be protected and cared for. These principles cannot be compromised or set aside or traded in for some facade of “universal care.”

No matter what bill comes out of Washington this month or the next or the next, it will not serve the best interests of the American people unless those writing it and passing it are of a mind to protect every citizen equally. Right now, that's not the case and that's why this bill is a waste of paper at best, and a frightening Pandora's box at worst.

I don't know anyone – anyone – who is against reforming our healthcare system. Catholics should and do want healthcare reform, but we cannot under any circumstances support any bill that encourages the destruction of our preborn children. Any bill that mandates public funding of abortion – which the Senate bill does – is simply unacceptable and must be rejected. Woe to us all if we start calling something good which is evil. The fruit of this rotten tree will kill us.

from Catholic Online

03 January 2010

Praise!

Photobucket



"...the star they had seen in the east went ahead of them until it stopped over the place where the child was. When they saw the star, they were overjoyed. On coming to the house, they saw the child with his mother Mary, they bowed down and worshiped him." Matthew 2:9-12





Happy Epiphany to all of you!


I know I haven't posted Praises in a couple of weeks, and I apologize. I took a blogging break during the Christmas vacation, but I am back! There's so much to Praise God for!

Praise God for the joyful Christmas season we've just celebrated.  I still shake my head in awe when I think, "He came... He became one of us."  Wow.


Praise God for our beautiful mother, Mary, and her servant heart.


Praise God for stars and angels and shepherds and kings and incense and candles and evergreen.


Praise God for crisp winter air on my cheeks.


Praise God for peppermint hot cocoa in my mug.


Praise God for more cookies than I could possibly eat!


Praise God for days spent in pajamas, putting puzzles together, baking yummy treats, playing games, and doing absolutely nothing.


Praise God for my healthy, whole, all-together family.  I can't ask for more.


I hope all of you had a blessed season, and I'm very sad it's nearly ended.  I always hate to see Christmas end.  It always goes by much too quickly.


Keep the spirit as long as you can... let it linger...


May God bless your 2010 with abundant grace and prosperity, and thanks for sharing your Praises with me!  Thanks for your friendship and fellowship.



God bless you,
Jennifer



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