Monday, June 30, 2008

Rights and Gifts

Here is an excellent homily by Bishop BASIL of the Antiochian Archdiocese on abortion and the sanctity of life. It is a ten to fifteen minute talk which begins with a reading from the Holy Gospel on the healing of the ten lepers. Each part lasts about four minutes
These recordings can be found at the Orthodox Christian Information Center. More of his homilies can be found here.

The Audacity of Death

From the Wall Street Journal
As an Illinois state senator, Barack Obama twice opposed legislation to define as "persons" babies who survive late-term abortions...Mr. Obama said in a speech on the Illinois Senate floor that he could not accept that babies wholly emerged from their mother's wombs are "persons," and thus deserving of equal protection under the Constitution's 14th Amendment.


In 2002, as an Illinois legislator, Obama voted against the Induced Infant Liability Act, which would have protected babies that survived late-term abortions. That same year a similar federal law, the Born Alive Infant Protection Act, was signed by President Bush. Only 15 members of the U.S. House opposed it, and it passed the Senate unanimously on a voice vote.

From the Northwest Herald
He had a 100 percent rating from the Illinois Planned Parenthood Council for his support of abortion rights...One vote that especially riled abortion opponents involved restrictions on a type of abortion where the fetus sometimes survives, occasionally for hours.

The restrictions, which never became law, included requiring the presence of a second doctor to care for the fetus.
...Obama – who joined several other Democrats in voting “present” in 2001 and “no” the next year – argued the legislation was worded in a way that unconstitutionally threatened a woman’s right to abortion by defining the fetus as a child.

“It would essentially bar abortions because the equal protection clause does not allow somebody to kill a child, and if this was a child then this would be an anti-abortion statute,” Obama said in the Senate’s debate in March 2001.

"Look, I got two daughters — 9 years old and 6 years old," he said. "I am going to teach them first about values and morals, but if they make a mistake, I don't want them punished with a baby"

Thursday, June 26, 2008

Going Green

I've decided to change the color of my blog from poopy diaper ochre to green. Green is a friendly color. It is a happy color. It makes me think about grass, trees, vitamins, and picking up litter.

I need to take more vitamins.

If my insignificant blog can make other people decide to pick up litter and take vitamins then my role as a human being is fulfilled.

I’m just kidding.

I hope for much more. But this topic is a little more personal than I am willing to discuss on a public blog.

Something my husband said once was this: “The healthier you are with vitamins, exercise, and organic living, the more likely you are to be hit by a bus.”

We actually don't know anyone who has been hit by a bus.

Maybe we aren’t green enough.

Why to Blog

Remember that nothing is nobler, stronger, more vital, or more useful in future life than some happy memory, especially one from your very childhood, from your family home. A lot is said about upbringing, but the very best upbringing, perhaps, is some lovely, holy memory preserved from one's childhood. If a man carries many such memories with him, they will keep him safe throughout his life. And even if only one such memory stays in our hearts, it may prove to be our salvation one day.

F. Dostoevsky, Brothers Karamozov

Tuesday, June 24, 2008


About a year ago Margaret and I were in the car alone. I'm not sure why, but I might have been rewarding her for good behavior and letting her ride with me to the dump down the road.

Why the children enjoy riding in a van loaded with sometimes drippy and often stinky trash bags is a mystery to me. Nevertheless they consider themselves honored above all men if I select one or two of them to accompany me to this fly-infested location to dump our trash.

I used to keep our van stocked with necessities of every kind: diapers, wipes, bibs, bottled water, lotion, ointments, saline solution, nose spray, ibuprofen, liquid acetaminophen, cough drops, eye drops, Kleenex, paper towels and--of course, band aids.

On the occasion I was riding with Margaret I happened to have a striped band aid lying in the bottom of the cup tray. Margaret must have noticed this as she entered the car because after getting only a little ways down the road she asked, "Mom, can I have that thing in the cup tray?"

I looked down, "You mean this?" I held it up for her to see.


It was stripy and colorful. I imagined she could find some part of her body to stick it to so I handed it to her. No doubt I mused that these are the little perks the children look forward to when they get their individual "mommy-time" on the way to the dump.

Often the children quietly look out the window. LMark is the quietest. Max points out unique cars or large construction vehicles. Ella never stops talking. She goes from one topic to the next, usually without finishing her previous thought, and begins the next idea with, "Oh, guess what?" Since she rarely finishes one tale before starting the next, I am often left "guessing what."

Margaret, on this occasion was more quiet than usual. I often look back on these few quiet moments and wonder what she was thinking as she unwrapped the band aid and sat in the back seat thoughtfully chewing it.

Perhaps it was, "Where is the jungle fruit flavor?"

Instead, she asked:

"Mom, are you sure this is gum?"

Monday, June 23, 2008

Men in Black

Last Saturday Fr Mark returned from NYC after meeting with our new Metro- politan. They visited for two hours and talked about our mission in SC. In the news on the Synod website there are photos of the Metropolitan touring and serving at parishes here and there around the country. One I saw brought tears to my eyes because the church was so tiny. That the Metropolitan would serve liturgy in a church the size of a two walk-in closets led me to hope he recognizes the need for serving the missions.

This isn't a criticism of anyone at all--only a hope for the future.

Fr Mark stayed at the Holy Cross Monastery on Long Island. His bestest friend, Fr Maximos, is the abbot there. They hung out together like old times, and the way Orthodox people usually do (reading, talking, drinking cognac, and attending the Services--although not at the same time, I'm pretty sure).

They also took a trip to Ellis Island. Fr Mark found a photograph of a Greek priest and his family among the many pictures of the immigrants coming through Ellis Island. It would be interesting to find out where this priest ultimately served. Certainly there is a record of it in a Greek church somewhere.

After Ellis Island they went to an Orthodox homeless shelter in Harlem called Emmaus House. The founder was a priest-activist who was originally a Baptist then a Melkite. He converted to Orthodoxy in 2004, a few years before he reposed. Emmaus House provides temporary housing to homeless people and offers job training as well as services to people with AIDS. It is also a food pantry. It appears to have declined somewhat since the founder passed away, but Fr Mx is coordinating an effort to revive it.

Friday, June 20, 2008

Crazy Canada

This and the Mark Steyn trial...

12-Year-Old Grounded for Too Much Internet Use Gets Punishment Overturned in Court

A Canadian court has overturned a father's punishment for his daughter after she refused to stay off the Internet, his attorney said Wednesday.

The girl, 12, took her father to Quebec Superior Court after he refused to allow her to go on a school trip for chatting on Web sites and then posting "inappropriate" pictures of herself online using a friend's computer, AFP reported.

The punishment was for the girl's "own protection," according to the father's attorney, Kim Beaudoin, who is appealing the ruling.

"She's a child," Beaudoin told AFP. "At her age, children test their limits and it's up to their parent to set boundaries. I started an appeal of the decision today to reestablish parental authority, and to ensure that this case doesn't set a precedent."

Otherwise, she continued, "Parents are going to be walking on egg shells from now on."

According to court documents, the girl's Internet usage was the latest in a rash of disciplinary problems. But Justice Suzanne Tessier, who was presiding over the case, found the punishment too severe.

Tuesday, June 10, 2008

Home is Where the Kitchen is

I had a conversation with Margaret today about Eternity. We discussed how the soul lives after death, and how our lives on earth are short compared to the Reality of God and the history of the universe.

We talked back and forth and Margaret nodded wisely.

As she appeared to understand, I continued, "Margaret, our real home is in heaven. Even though you might spend, perhaps, a month, at your grandmother's house, and even though you might get used to where you are, and you might feel at home in this temporary place, there is a part of you that knows your are not where you are really supposed to be--this place is not your home."

Margaret cocked her head, nodded, and lowered her eyelids as if to say, "Aah, I understand, Mother."

I continued more animatedly, "Our life is like grandma's house, you see? Our real home is in heaven! But we behave as if grandma's house is our real home! Our true Home is with God, but we spend time in this place which we think resembles our Home. We feel more and more comfortable here...but we aren't in our real Home."

"I see..." Margaret sang, "it's like..."

I waited for the profound musical wisdom with which my children often astound me.

"It's like, after going to Grandma's house--you can't find the kitchen."

"Ok, Margaret. Let me explain try to explain this a little better..."