Thursday, October 31, 2013

The Halloween Tree

Have you ever seen The Halloween Tree?  Or have you ever read it? 
Originally, it is a book by Ray Bradbury, however Hanna-Barbera made it into an animated film.
It's my favorite Halloween movie.  In fact it's one of my favorite movies, period.
I discovered it many years ago sitting in the emergency room waiting area at the Army hospital.  Kayla was a month and a half old and John was having some sort of stomach pain (If I remember right) which prompted our visit to the ER.
The Cartoon Network was on the TV and this movie was playing.
It captured my attention and then my heart.
Its a story of friendship and of love. With some Halloween history thrown in.
It's the story of five friends who are taken on the adventure of a lifetime.
It is Halloween night and each friend is dressed for the occasion.  Tom as a skeleton, Ralph as a mummy, Wally as a monster, and Jenny as a witch.
Four of the friends are chasing the spirit of the fifth friend, Pip, after they discover that he might be on his death bed with appendicitis. 
They follow him to a huge old mansion and meet Moundshroud who has an ulterior motive to help the four friends find Pip.  Moundshroud wants to capture his spirit in one of the pumpkins on his pumpkin tree. 
Pip's spirit has stolen the pumpkin and escaped to the past, four thousand Halloweens past.
Moundshroud asks them why they are dressed the way they are dressed.  They can't answer and so he initiates the chase for Pip and telling them they need to visit the old country to find out why they dress as skeletons, mummies, monsters, and witches.
The adventure begins as they fly through the air. 
They land in Egypt and see the spirits trying to get into the houses on the feast of ghosts.  They end up in a pyramid as the natives begin to mummify Pip.  Ralph, dressed as the mummy has to save Pip.
Pip is saved but flies away again.
This time they land in England, in the dark ages, in the middle of a broom festival.  They then get a lesson on why the witches were called witches.  The were smart, had their 'wits' about them. 
So Jenny, dressed as the witch, saves Pip this time.  She does and he flies away again.
This time they are off to the French Quarry to build Notre Dame.  Of course the Cathedral is missing the Gargoyles which have to be called by Wally, dressed as the monster.  Pip is trapped in one of the statues and only Wally can save him.
Pip is freed from the statue and flies away.  This time to Mexico on the Day of the Dead.
They see the celebrations going on but end up following Pip into the catacombs where the skeletons are.  Tom, dressed as the skeleton faces his fear for Pip saying, "If we face death eyeball to eyeball, it loses it's power over us". 
Pip is saved, however Moundshroud finally scoops in to capture Pip's spirit in his pumpkin.
The four friends had spent the evening pouring out their hearts to Pip.  About how much they need him and how supportive he is of all of them. 
So now they fear the worst for Pip.  Moundshroud has his spirit captured.  One at a time, they negotiate a year off the end of each of their lives to save Pip's life.
Moundshroud is touched by this, and it is enough to send them all flying home.
They arrive near Pip's house and go to see him.  Pip is alive and recovering from his appendicitis. Pip being the true friend to them is appreciative of all of their sacrifices.  They all wonder how he knew and he says he had some really great dreams while he was at the hospital.
The end!
Don't you love it?
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Sunday, October 27, 2013

Matthew Kelly Talk

Yesterday I attended a Matthew Kelly talk.  Have you ever heard him speak?  He does presentations all around the country and he also has many CDs and books that he has produced/written.  You can take a look around his website or there might even be some available at your local parish.

I wanted to share some of my favorite points the Matthew made during yesterday's talk.

He began talking about the qualities of people who are engaged.  The first is that they are hungry for "best practices", the second is that they are committed to continuous learning.  The got me thinking not only about my religion but also about the people who I manage.  Looking through the lens of the qualities, I can really identify the people around me who are engaged in what they are doing.  The ones who want to do the best job correctly, and constantly want to learn more.  These are the people I want to surround myself with.

Among the three areas that he talked about hearing the ordinary voice of God every day, he mentioned getting some time in the classroom of silence.  The noise of the world consumes us and we are not listening for God anymore.  The three areas where we should be listening are our legitimate needs, our talents and abilities, and our deepest desires.

One of the strongest points Matthew made that will stick with me for a long time is about what some people say about Jesus.  There's little doubt that you have heard different people and even different religions say that Jesus was only a great prophet and teacher. Here's the thing though...Jesus said he was the Son of God, so if you deny that he was the Son of God, you are saying that he was a liar.  Would you call a liar a great prophet and teacher?

Of course there were many other things that Matthew spoke about and I took a lot of notes, but these are a couple that I wanted to share.

Speaking of notes, we were given a little notebook to take notes in and on every page there were quotes and sayings by various people.  Here are some of my favorites:

“Anyone or anything that does not help you become the-best-version-of-yourself is too small for you.” ~Matthew Kelly

“Some people are going to like me and some people aren’t, so I might as well be me. Then, at least, I will know that the people who like me, like me.”  ~Hugh Prather
“The dictionary is the only place that success comes before work. Hard work is the price we must pay for success.  I think you can accomplish almost anything if you’re willing to pay the price.”  ~Vince Lombardi

“We who lived in concentration camps can remember the men who walked through the huts comforting others, giving away their last piece of bread. They may have been few in number, but they offer sufficient proof that everything can be taken from a man but one thing: The last of the human freedoms – to choose one’s attitude in any given set of circumstances – to choose one’s own way.”  ~Victor Frankl
“The challenge life presents to each of us is to become truly ourselves – not the self we have imagined or fantasized about, not the self that our friends want us to be, not the self our ego would have us be, but the self God has ordained us to be from before we were in our mother’s womb.”  ~Matthew Kelly

“What lies behind us and what lies before us are small matters compared to what lies within us.”  ~Ralph Waldo Emerson

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Friday, October 18, 2013

The Catholic Church is So Much More

*Disclaimer: Where I refer to protestants in this post is strictly related to the experiences I had growing up in a Nazarene and then in a Southern Baptist church.  I fully know that they are not all alike.

Recently, I had a conversation with a trusted group of friends that have been there for me in my continued conversion to Catholicism.  We were talking about my background, being raised protestant, and a few things stood out to me that I hadn’t thought of from that angle before, “that angle” being how a cradle Catholic would see a protestant Christian formation.

One of the questions was what authority the protestant churches looked to.  I didn’t have an answer, but I think I didn’t have an answer because really the only authority they ever used was the bible.  The problem with that is that it is up to each denomination or worse, each individual pastor to determine the meaning of the passages in bible.  In my experience (at least not that I can remember), I was never introduced to scripture through the lens of its actual context, place in time, or its meaning in the original language it was written in. Don’t take that lightly, it makes a difference, sometimes a big difference.

This particular group of friends is very much into liturgy, I would say, more than your common cradle Catholic.  They get that a Mass is different than a church service, but I think a lot of people don’t get that.  In a church service growing up there was some good teaching, some good praying, and some great music, but it just isn’t the same as a Catholic Mass.  Obviously, the biggest reason is the Eucharist.  Actually, because the Mass Liturgy is actually two liturgies, the Liturgy of the Word and the Liturgy of the Eucharist, in a church service at other churches, it really is just the Liturgy of the Word part that you get.

Something else that seemed to catch their attention was things that I had to “unpack”.  For example, I grew up believing that Mary was a virgin when she conceived the Son of God. But I was taught that Mary wasn’t always a virgin and that Jesus had brothers and probably sisters.  When you have never thought about it any other way, it may be odd or even interesting to hear what others are taught.

And there are a lot of other things, a lot. 

Have you ever heard this or some variation of this?  “Being Catholic is basically the same as any other Christian” or “Catholics basically believe what Protestants believe”.

I have to admit, when I was brought into the Catholic Church, I said those sorts of things.  At the time, it was enough for me on such a basic level to believe that what I had learned growing up was what the Catholic Church taught.

Boy was I wrong.  And if you believe that the Catholic Church only teaches what any Protestant church teaches, you are wrong.

The Catholic Church is so much more.  It is depth, fullness, truth, tradition and authority, and it is so much more.  And part of the blessing of the Church is that there is so much that you can continue to grow and learn forever and never learn it all.  Thank God!

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The ABC's of Me

I saw this on another blog this week and I thought it was a neat idea and that I would give a whirl.  So here goes:

A. Age - 42

B. Bed size - Queen

C. Chore that you hate - Folding socks, but if I'm being honest, sweeping the floor is the worst.

D. Dogs - One, my Sophie girl

E. Essential part of your day - Coffee, duhhh

F. Favorite Color - It depends on what we are talking about, but in general I would say red.

G. Gold or Silver - Silver

H. Height - 5' 4"

I. Instruments - I played the flute in junior high and gave the piano a try too, but I didn't stick with either of them.

J. Job title - Practice Manager, Alice Hyde Outpatient Medical Services

K. Kids - Daughter Kayla and son Hunter

L. Live - Small town, single family, three bedroom, two bath home

M. Mother's name - Michelle

N. Nicknames - Ang, Angie, Angie B.

O. Overnight hospital stays - When I was little I had really bad asthma and had to spend several extended stays in the hospital, even Christmas one year.

P. Pet peeves - I hate when people drive the wrong direction in parking lot aisles, then try to pull into the parking space from the wrong direction.

Q. Quote from a movie - I'm coming up blank, sorry.

R. Right or left handed - Righty

S. Siblings - Two sisters, Kara and Christianna

Me and my sisters in 2009

T. Time you wake up - My alarm goes off at 6:00 am on work days but I don't really wake up till several minutes later at some point in the shower.  Weekends it's a lot later.

U. Underwear - Um, yes...

V. Vegetable you hate - Asparagus, that slimy gross stuff.

W. What makes you run late - When I think I have a enough time to do one more little task.

X. X-rays you've had - Hand, wrist, knee...I think that's it.

Y. Yummy food that you make - I don't love to cook, but there are few things that I do pretty well.  Chicken enchiladas, vegetable pasta dish, cream of potato soup, and a full Thanksgiving meal.

Z. Zoo animal - My favorites are the big cats.

Did you learn anything new about me?

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Friday, October 11, 2013

7 Quick Takes: Intro to Blogging and Commenting

A few weeks back our parish secretary put my blog info in the bulletin. Since then there have been a few people that have asked me questions about my blog, blogging in general, and also about commenting on a blog post. So I thought I would put together something to try and help them out.

Some of these people have never been blog readers before. I am somewhat new to the blog world myself (well, it’s been about a year, boy that went by fast!) but I think there are a few pointers I could offer that might be helpful.

--- 1 ---

So first of all, what is my blog about? When someone asked me that recently, I pretty much just stammered though well, you know, a lot of different stuff, it doesn’t really have a theme. But later I was a little upset with myself. I should have had an answer.

So what should I have said? I should have said “it’s about me. It’s about all the different things that make up who I am. It’s a place for me to reflect on things in my life, past, present, or future. It’s also just a place for me to document whatever I want to.”

I’ll get better at my response, it'll just take some time and some self confidence.

--- 2 ---

Now, about blogging…there really are no rules. You can find a blog about any subject you can image. There have got to be millions of them. There are blogs about cooking, fashion, family, faith, and probably just as many more like mine with no particular theme. 

There are blogs that are private, some that are run by multiple people, and others that are run as businesses. 

There are blogs to help you be a better blogger. I think you get the point.

--- 3 ---

Blogging can really be a place of community. If you can find several blogs by people who have similar interests, similar beliefs, and in a similar place in life as you are it is easy to start to feel like you know these people, like they are your friends. And true friendships really can be formed through blogging.  I feel like I have a couple blossoming friendships started myself.

Most bloggers feature their favorite blogs in a section of their blog, usually on the side. This is a great way to find other bloggers that have the similarities like I mentioned above.

--- 4 ---

Blogging is a lot of fun too. One of the fun things, that I have done a little bit of, are link-ups. Link-ups are a great way to discover other great blogs and bloggers. (This Quick Takes post is a link-up hosted by Jen at Conversion Diary)

Another fun thing on some blogs is give-a-ways. I have yet to win anything, but it is still fun. Usually a blogger will do a review of a product and then the company will give something away to a lucky reader. Sometimes bloggers will do give-a-ways that are not company sponsored, just something they have or something they made. It’s all fun.

--- 5 ---

A couple things to get you acquainted with blogs:

A. Sometimes in blog posts there are hyperlinks that will take you somewhere else when you click on them. They are usually easy to see because the text is a different color.

B. A lot of bloggers can also be found on other social networking sites like Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram. You can usually find links to ‘friend’ them on their blogs.

C. Most blogs have a ‘follow by email’ submission box. You put in your email address and you get an email when this blogger posts a new blog post. There are other ways to follow blogs but not necessary to keep up with your favorites.

D. Many blogs have tabs across the top (sometimes the side) that take you to other pages of the blog. Often times an ‘about me’ page, but there could be anything on the tabs, it’s completely up to the blogger.
Notice I don't have an About Me page -- I'm working on one -- stay tuned

E. Most blogs have a section that are quick links to past blog posts. Usually it is in a year/month format, but sometimes it is just a search box. When you find a blog you like, this is a good way to catch up and read older posts they have published.

--- 6 ---

Now for commenting on a blog post…

The first thing you should know is that bloggers LOVE comments.

--- 7 ---

Second, to comment you usually have to have an account with one of a few various providers. The good thing is, if you have a Gmail account, that will usually work for most blogs.

The next thing might be a little complicated, but you should know whether you are looking at the home page or an individual post. Here’s the way to tell: if you scroll down the page and you see more than one blog post, you are probably on the home page.

You can get to the comments from here, but the easier way is to click on the title of the post. This will change the page to just that one post and at the end of the post will be the comment box.

Type out your comment and then you will have to pick what account you want to use to comment as. This is what I was talking about above. If you have a Gmail account, pick Google and log in. Make sure you don’t forget to click on ‘publish’.

Depending on how the blog owner has set it up, you may have to enter letters or words from a picture. There will be some sort of message saying you have to enter it so the computer knows you are a human and not a computer. I have that feature turned off on my blog. I find them annoying.

But what I do have turned on is that I must approve all comments before they can be seen. That is so if I get spam or a nasty commenter, I can choose to not publish the comment.  If you comment on my blog, you will probably not see your comment until I approve it.

There are several different ways to comment on different blogs, but once you do it a time or two, it should be pretty easy to figure out.

So there you go! I hope this had some valuable information and that you will comment now!

P.S. Here’s an extra…if you were ever thinking about blogging yourself, here is a link to a great blogger’s post that gave me some tips when I was starting out myself.  Plus you’ll love her blog.

For more Quick Takes, visit Conversion Diary!

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Friday, October 4, 2013

Theme Thursday: Secret

Linking up with Cari over at Clan Donaldson for this week's Theme Thursday.
The theme? 

Shhh...the secret is...Sophie doesn't know she's not a lap dog!  :)

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