Thursday, February 23, 2012

Giving Up People for Lent!

Lent is a time of preparation for Easter - and, a time of giving things up to heighten our focus on Christ.  Lent, or "Lint," as my 12 year old keeps calling it by accident, then correcting himslef - can be a challenge for even the most well-intentioned Catholics.

I, in the past, have given up People magazine; why in the world do I need even a few minutes a week of celebrity gossip?  What is that bringing to my life?  Well, in a sign of the times, I am giving up People.com this year; I now read People online.  It may seem a small thing to give up, but it is kind of important; in a society where celebrity no longer has anything positive, on the whole, to offer us, not a moment should be spent idly perusing pictures and articles about people who seem more and more to be in their own version of hell.

Kids are amazingly good at sticking to their Lenten obligations; one year my youngest son gave up video games, and I never heard a thing about them for 40 days - while I was at the check-out line of the grocery store cocking one eye at the magazine rack and deep-breathing through the screaming headlines and "fun and flirty" fashions being worn by air-brushed stars that I could "copy at home - myself - even on a budget!"  Oh no - was one of my favorite stars having a breakdown, taking pills, or having an affair?   It's funny, but once you are actively giving something up - cigarettes, caffeine, sweets, a relationship, celebrity mags - you begin to see in high detail their pull on your life; the exhaustion and stress even seemingly innocent things can cause.  In this way, Lent frees you, instead of imposes on you.

So, I will continue to avoid People, and when I want to read it - or, more accurately, when I, like a zombie, move to my drop-down bar on my computer to select People.com in a break from work  - I will pause and say a prayer to be better, to give more, to thank my lucky stars for everything I have, everyone good and fine I am blessed to have in my life.  And my son will be quietly and steadfastly giving up all soda for the next 39 days, without a word of longing or complaint, fulfilling a promise he has made to God.  Amazing, energizing, and something to emulate.

Thursday, February 16, 2012

Sunday, February 12, 2012

Whitney Houston - Didn't We Almost Have It All

I

I have two wonderful memories of Whitney Houston's music, although I have a great familiarity with most of her songs as her music was my generation's music, and she was part of the soundtrack of my young adulthood.  The first memory is of dancing to Whitney's I Want to Dance with Someone who Loves Me with my young husband at a friend's wedding, and being so happy that I was dancing with someone who loved me.  I can still remember it well; bee-bopping around and thinking, "Wow, I'm married!"

The second memory is of this song that I've posted, Didn't We Almost Have It All.   Back when I had my first  two little boys, I took an aerobics class every day, and at then end of the class the teacher would lower the studio lights and we would stretch and relax soundlessly, listening to this song in the dark, tired and open to the music.  There were more than a few eyes glistening when the lights came back up.

Thank you Whitney, for being a big part of my soundtrack back in the day.  Rest in peace.

Wednesday, February 8, 2012

Can Santorum Swell be turned into Conservative Tsunami?

I would be all for a Santorum Swell in the Republican race for candidate for President of the U.S. of A.  Is the time right for this Catholic to feel some faith from the voters?

Santorum needs to fix a few things if he is to continue, in my opinion, but they are things easily fixed.  He can be whiny, as a debater, and does a little too much pleading, and not enough commanding of the debate stage.  This is easily overcome with the right debate coach and a little practice - in front of the mirror, in front of his wife, , his team, his kids...whomever.  It is imperative that this be corrected, or Obama will mop the floor with him in Presidential debates, should it come to that. When speaking to a crowd Santorum is much better - he is passionate, and can clearly crystallize a cohesive conservative message for the masses.  Interestingly, he was the best, and most relaxed I've seen him, when he returned from his very ill young daughter's bedside to comment on his campaign; he was relaxed, unruffled, and speaking with the insight of one who has just had his priorities re- aligned by the health of a child.

One of Romney's senior strategists compared Santorum's three-state sweep on Tuesday night to a
"student body election," effectively dismissing the importance of Santorum's victories - even an embarrassing, to Romney - victory in Minnesota, where Romney has Pawlenty stumping for him, and is a state he won in 2008.  Of course in 2008 he was a conservative state's conservative choice against McCain...and now in 2012 there's a new conservative kid on the block in the sweater-wearing, clean-cut, unabashedly Catholic Santorum (we have heard precious little about Mitt's Mormonism - for good reason, he must feel.  Voters are as a whole way too unsure about what Mormons believe - which equals a potential weakness for the Romney campaign in the general, I would surmise.  Although in a general election, you would fight one "Mormonism" with a Reverend Wright comeback, and come out ahead.  Of course, all of this would be un-spoken, and in the mind of the voter, but faith may be a real factor in the general election, because Church and State is becoming a hot-button issue in the country.)

Santorum's biggest asset, right now, is the backward movement of the government, the courts, and the "Boob Group," Susan B. Komen Breast Cancer "Race for the Cure."  I call them this not because I disrespect breasts - I have two myself, have had two biopsies in the last ten years as a result of mammograms, and care about everyone's breast health.  But SJK acted like boobs when they walked back their cutting of ties to Planned Parenthood - a group under Congressional investigation, and an organization that is a "pass-through" in the breast cancer fight; they issue referrals for mammograms, but do not offer mammograms directly.  Why is it wrong, Komen, to only offer grants to organizations that do offer the mammograms themselves?  (Note: Check out the Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center for an alternative to Komen when donating; Komen CEO makes $450,000 per year in salary, funded by you.)

Santorum can take the outrage of conservatives over 1) Komen, 2) the California court's over-ruling of the will of the people - a ban on gay marriage, and 3) the White House's recent decision to make Catholic Charities provide "health services" (morning-after pill, birth control) and bundle it into a perfect storm for a real conservative candidacy to be backed by both the Republican establishment, and conservative America.  He can stand up forcefully - skip the whining - and speak from the heart, and from his record.  He can fight the vast moneyball of the Romney campaign as best he can, and give conservatives a true choice with which to battle Obama. ( Romney is not a good debater, and I think that we are in trouble right there if he gets the nomination.  Can you see a flustered, high-octave, bumbling Romney agains the King of Slick and Cool?  C'mon, he can sing!  Marvin Gaye and Al Greene!)  Plus, Romney's money, his tactics and his faux-conservatism irk me to no end.

Is the Santorum Swell a tsunami in the making, or just an errant wave on a low-tide sea?  Time will tell.

Obama's Missed Legacy

A thought I find so troubling and just plain sad in the wake of the Dallas shootings and all the other racial unrest bubbling up in our na...