Monday, May 25, 2015

On Truth, Beauty, and Being Free

Or, Just Because You Can Doesn't Mean that You Should

My #StreamTeam Musings on #MemorialDay

Here's the truth: I don't know where I'm headed with this post. On the one hand, I don't want to offend the good folks at Netflix. On the other, I don't know that I can't offend least in part...because I don't always agree with what they want me to watch.

That's the beauty of being free, isn't it?

Being free to disagree.

Being free to and me.

So here goes.

It used to be, I didn't watch TV at all. In college, I didn't own one, and whenever I'd go to a friend's who did, I would often be shocked by the stuff that was broadcast. I suppose I was scrupulous and to an extent, I still am.

For example, I still can't watch sex scenes without it feeling weird. Why? Because I'm a conservative Catholic, yes, but also because I wasn't always and know from personal experience where sexual freedom got me. To me, sex is private. Sex is 100% committed. Sex is the ultimate expression of married love, a love between one man and one woman and if it's not...

Well, I'm convinced that it is wrong.

Why? Because sexual "freedom" ultimately leads to bondage, and I don't mean that in a Shades of Grey way. If you don't believe me, ask a man who's struggling with an addiction to porn or a woman who deeply regrets having aborted her child. Ask a boy who can't stop masturbating or a girl whose heart's been broken by a guy she loved.

Ask the two young sisters at a friend's girl scout meeting last week whose lives had recently been turned upside down. Their parents have divorced, you see, because their dad decided to become a woman.

In my way of thinking--and yes, it's Catholic--there is a plan for our sexuality. There's a purpose. There is Truth.

So when the #StreamTeam newsletter arrived this month, I was dismayed to see that it featured "Grace and Frankie," a brand new series about two men leaving their wives for each other. It's a comedy! Because leaving one's wife is super funny!

Martin Sheen, how could you? After The Way? You're Catholic!

Clearly, many Catholics disagree with the Church's teaching on homosexuality. I am not one of them, but it's not because I'm any holier than them. It's because I believe in a universal truth--a truth that, in the words of St. John Paul the Great, is not always the same as the majority decision.

In other words, and to put it bluntly, men were not made to have sex with each other.

Biologically speaking, it's not God's plan.

In other words, Ireland, I disagree

* * *

So where does that leave me with my Netflix subscription? Thankfully, it leaves me with plenty of other options and I'm never at a loss for good shows to watch.

Whew, right?! I am more than happy to change the tone of this post.

The kids and I have discovered Cutthroat Kitchen and have been devouring the episodes one by one. Have you seen it? Four cooks compete in a death-by-elimination showdown, with the option to purchase various culinary sabotages.  Could you make a "dessert" macaroni and cheese? Could you make a delectable sauce using processed cheese and chips?

These chefs can and they do, with often hilarious results. 

There's a bonus for me personally. Watching Cutthroat Kitchen has spilled over into my real-life kitchen in an unexpected and exhilarating way, in that I tried my hand at baking without a recipe.

Peanut Butter and Oatmeal Muffins: Made from Scratch without a Recipe

This is huge for an OCD chef like me!  This is extremely liberating.

(The muffins, I might add, were delicious. If only I could remember what I did. ; )

* * *

So there is freedom and there is Freedom.

On this Memorial Day, I am thankful for both.

Sunday, May 24, 2015

The Gift{s} of Pentecost

Gifts. Plural. There are thousands of them that I  could be requesting today, and also thousands of things for which I'm thankful. 

Like this little guy:

...who turns six today!

This year, he shares his birthday with the Church. : )

You may remember that George is our miracle boy, a gift (there's that word!) from God after four consecutive miscarriages and at the "advanced maternal age" of 42.

All things are possible, truly, with God.

I thank Him for the gift of my six-year-old.

I'm also thankful for your prayer intentions, shared so beautifully and humbly. I took them with me to my holy hour this morning, and I will be offering them up at Mass later on. Some of these intentions concern unthinkably difficult situations--job loss, cancer, the death of a son by suicide. I wish I were able to personally console the mourners; I wish we could share a cup of tea and an embrace. 

More than anything, I wish I could help you make sense of these hardships. 

I can't, but the Holy Spirit can. 

His gifts are ours for the asking today--the gifts of wisdom, understanding and fortitude; of knowledge, counsel, fear of the Lord and piety.

And then there are all those beautiful fruits! The fruits of the Holy Spirit that are so rich and necessary, like kindness, patience, faithfulness and love.

One day, I pray, we will be one in this love.

Until then, let's just keep on trying.

Thursday, May 21, 2015


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