Sunday, January 25, 2009

Reflections from the March

Parades were never my thing. Crowds are just too difficult.

"I have separation anxiety," I laughingly say to my family and friends if we are out together. On a trip to the mall or even a very large store, I like to have a designated meeting place, and am grateful for the invention of cell phones.

Yet, here I was in Washington D.C., with our group of eight, in the midst of tens of thousands of people. We were four adults and four young people. Two of the young people were not ours. One of them I had never met before. And she was my angel because she took my arm as we struggled through the crowds. It gave me a feeling of security. As I said to her with a smile, "I have one less person to worry about." I always wondered if she, or Someone who sent her, wanted me to feel more secure, as well as her. And her having my arm probably helped keep me from falling when I'd turn around while walking, in order to count heads.

"One, two, three, four, five, six, seven, eight," just like counting the family, when we used to go to amusement parks...except there were more people surrounding us, and this was no more an amusement park than it was a parade.

Yet, it was more exciting and more fulfilling than going on a pleasure day. Here were all these people. Some were elderly; some had chronic health conditions. Some were young and healthy, but all were offering up various things to be there: the cold, tiredness, fear of crowds. But we soon forgot all that. We were here for the babies, for life, for God's right to give life where He will.

Reminders of our purpose were everywhere. Banners and posters held high, people of all ages and walks of life marched, ambled, squeezed through the throngs, pleasantly, optimistically, but with a purpose.

“N.Y. Rabbis for Life” one man’s sign said, and the woman next to him had a sign, “Jewish Women for Life”.

“Lutherans for Life” read another banner nearby.

Nuns and priests appeared frequently, scattered through the crowds.

A man in a Harley Davidson jacket and bandana explained his stand to a cameraman.

Scores of people walked with black signs stating, “I Regret My Abortion”. When we found ourselves in the midst of them, one of them gently suggested we might want to veer off, out of their group. They had such kindly smiles for us as we moved off to the left, closer to the schools and other families and homeschoolers.

The greatest numbers seemed to be the young people, especially high school and college students, who waved their signs, chanted, sang, full of hope, full of a love for live - their lives and the lives of others. And that, after all, is what it’s all about: our young people, and hope, and love.

Saturday, January 24, 2009


A couple of years ago, my son Peter read and loved the book Inkheart, by Cornelia Funke. He urged me to read it, and I liked it too. So he was excited that they've made it into a movie, and so was I.

Peter invited me to see it today to celebrate my upcoming birthday! We brought my husband along, as well, although he hadn't read the book.

Ed enjoyed the movie, and Peter and I were very satisfied in how the movie makers handled the story. We didn't mind the minor changes because the basic plot and theme remained. The characters were very true to...well, very true to character.

When some people read aloud, the characters come to life. No, I mean they really do come to life. Those characters may not want to be in this strange world...and then again, some of them do, though not all of them for the right reasons.

The movie is rated PG. I wouldn't recommend it for young children who scare easily although I don't think it's any scarier than, say, Wizard of Oz.

Good triumphs over evil; a character can re-script his own life for the good; and love and hope win in the end.

Friday, January 23, 2009

In God We Trust

What a beautiful post I just discovered this morning at Cay's blog "Cajun Cottage Under the Oaks". It's entitled In God we Trust, and I found it very uplifting.

Thursday, January 22, 2009

March for Life

Where, oh, where did the March for Life go? Where on the news, I mean! I have checked several sources and not even found a mention, so far. But "yahoo" for Yahoo on this one. Not that I liked everything they had to say, but at least they did feature it!

This year I had the great privilege of being there, along with my high school son. I so wish I had taken my camera! Oh wait, I don't have a camera. (The one I used at Christmas was disposable, you see.)

I don't know how many people were there, but the crowds were absolutely overwhelming. But they were pleasant, kindly crowds.

People of all ages were there, with an abundance of enthusiastic teenagers and young adults among them.

Our group found ourselves, at one point, walking near a very large contingent of people with signs that read, "I Regret My Abortion". Hopefully this will give a message to others that this is not the "solution" some might think.

The talks that were given before the March - as well as the atmosphere everywhere - were filled with hope and trust in God.

You can watch the EWTN coverage by checking their website for the schedule (scroll down).

Although I came home exhausted, I am so grateful that we were able to go!

Wednesday, January 21, 2009

May We Be Hopeful

I would like to share with you, my dear readers, a response I wrote to an article, which I found posted to an online list that I am on. Although the article to which I responded had ended on a positive note, it was too painful for me to get that far. I had the same experience recently with a talk I heard. I'm sorry I can't share with you what I was responding to, as it was a forward rather than a link.

Below is my email:

Personally, I find articles such as the one you shared with us to be discouraging. Of course, I could always hit the delete button. But instead I would like to share a bit from my own life...a different perspective from a different middle aged woman.

In my senior year of high school (class of '71), I thought the world was indeed a gloomy place. My fellow classmates were being conditioned to accept abortion and euthanasia; my school was on a new academic system that I thought was designed to ruin education; and, in addition, I felt that my parents and I seemed to be living on two different planets.

Attracted to the Catholic Church, but not well grounded in its spirit, I was ripe for the plucking by a pseudo-Catholic cult. Its leader ranted about the problems in the country and raved about the problems in the Church. With reverently offered Masses, public Rosaries, and Benediction what more could one want? Although I left the cult after a couple of months, it took longer to realize more fully what had been missing there: Not only did they not have true unity with the Church but living, growing hope and charity seemed to also be lacking. And just what are hope and charity?

Hope is an abiding confidence that God will give us all the graces we need to go to heaven. But I believe that hope is also a daily virtue of confidence that God will always somehow bring good out of evil, that Our Heavenly Father will guide us and our loved ones through each day, come what may.

Charity is to love God above all, and to love our neighbor as ourselves. Over the years I have come to feel that it also means separating the sin - which offends God - from the sinner - whom He loves, whom He loved so much as to give Himself on the Cross for him, yes, for each and every one of us individually.

I have observed over the years that if we focus too much on the problems, sometimes a temptation to pride arises, a temptation to think that we are special because we are the elite, the chosen few. If we are overly critical of people who make bad choices, then sometimes when young people grow into young adults and find kind, happy people who make the wrong choices, they decide - at least temporarily - that maybe the choices were not so bad, after all. I have noticed through the years that if we put too much emphasis on what is wrong with the world, we sometimes discourage our young people from pursuing what is right.

Change is constant. Sometimes the pendulum swings back and forth, as in a "conservative" or a "liberal" government. Some other changes occur for the worse and remain, but there are others that occur for the better, as well. In my lifetime, I have watched the evil of abortion become legalized. On the other hand, I have also watched homeschooling become legalized, and parents, both homeschooling parents and others, take a great interest in their childrens' lives. While I have watched homosexuality be encouraged as an alternate lifestyle, yet on the other hand, I have taken great joy in observing a greater respect for all God's children, without regard to race...just like in the Communion of Saints.

Good and evil exist together. And yes, these are indeed difficult times. Today, many of us know someone who needs health care and can't afford it, or we may have a family member who is looking anxiously for a job. I believe we need to pray for one another and encourage one another even more in these challenging times.

Do I think we should put our heads in the sand, like the proverbial ostrich? No. When I was that high school senior, I was writing articles for our high school newspaper, trying to alert parents to what I saw as flaws in the new educational system. My dad once told me that a couple years later they gave up the new system, due to pressure from parents. I think I was right to take a stand. But I think it was my mistake to put a chip on my shoulder, "looking for help in all the wrong places".

Tomorrow some of us will participate in the March for Life. Others will join us in other ways, or in prayer. Let us fight the issues we face, one by one. But let us also count our blessings, one by one.

As the song says, "Count your blessings. See what God has done." If we look, if our eyes are not darkened by discouragement, we will always find many good things that God has done.

May God bless us, everyone.

Margaret Mary

Friday, January 09, 2009

A Letter Off

It pays to read carefully before you report the "news". The other day, after I took one of my sons to work at 4:30 a.m., I told my husband that I saw that a local hotel is being sold. I was saying how bad the economy must be for them to sell this hotel.

The next afternoon, I drove by the same hotel and saw the sign again:
Hotel Fur Sale.

P.S. If there is anyone visually impaired, reading this with a screenreader, the sign said "Hotel F-U-R Sale".

Saturday, January 03, 2009

How Old is Your Car in People Years?

My beloved minivan is 94 years old in people years!

How old is your car? You can find out here.

Thursday, January 01, 2009

Our Holiday Celebrations

We had a wonderful Christmas visit with our out-of-state kids here. We now have another year of memories, one more year of love filling our lives. No matter how much or little money we have at a particular time, no matter what struggles individual members have been going through, no matter whether there have been tragedies (none for us this past year, thankfully), no matter what, love always trumps it all!

If you now have a picture of a loving family sitting placidly around the table, re-set the lens. We are not very placid. Although our kids are basically all of the same Faith, there are many differences in political views, matters of opinion, and anything that could possibly be "up for discussion". The great thing is that everyone has matured to the point where the animated - sometimes a little bit heated - discussions draw to a close with no door-slamming and with everyone smiling. And then come the games: Monopoly and Who Wants to Be a Millionaire this year, as we only had a couple days before people had to return home. All of us here miss all of them, but we keep close throughout the year - through email and, mostly, by telephone.

New Year's Eve found me missing more than just the children who returned home, but our parents, our siblings (by birth, marriage and friendship), and other geographically-distant family and friends. But God provides...and kept me distracted and filled.

After going to my part-time job yesterday (and enthusiastically exchanging greetings with co-workers I hadn't seen, since I had taken time off for Christmas), I then picked up a few things at the store, fixed an easy light supper, and we headed out to a friends' house for a "Pre-New Year's Eve Celebration" from 6-9 p.m. We enjoyed hot spiced apple cider, appetizers, and companionship.

When we came home, I called my co-worker and neighbor to say "We're home now," because earlier in the day I had spontaneously invited her to watch the New Year arrive with us. She and a friend of hers joined us for a little champagne, a lot of sparkling juice, and some chips and dips, but mostly for lots of great conversation. We talked about many of the same things we had talked about at the previous party: fun or exciting stories about the area, traffic, neighborhoods, public transportation, and travel in other areas in the country.

Today we attended Mass, and are now relaxing, watching the rerun of this morning's Rose Parade.

I pray that you and your family may have a blessed, joyous, peaceful New Year, trusting in God for His loving care in your lives.