Showing posts with label Seriously.... Show all posts
Showing posts with label Seriously.... Show all posts

Wednesday, November 12, 2014

Introducing Tanner

Friends, let me introduce you to a young boy named "Tanner."

Tanner is a 13 year old boy with Down Syndrome and some hearing loss.  He lives in a country in Eastern Europe (not my son Alex's country).

He lives in an orphanage.  He has no family caring for him.

He is one of the 200+ children with Down Syndrome listed on Reece's Rainbow, available for adoption.  There are even more children with other special needs on the site.  The idea is to create adoption grants for them, to help pay for an international adoption.  One of RR's mantras is there are people who want to adopt these children and provide them families--the initial cost is the primary barrier.

I'd like to make him one of the 1000+ (!!!) children Reece's Rainbow has helped get into families in the past five years.  Look at that number--over 1000 children found families with their help.  THIS IS POSSIBLE.

I agreed to be Tanner's "angel tree warrior" for this month and next. The idea is to raise $1000 more for his adoption account (which is already pretty healthy at $8000!).  We have $750 to go.

I am talking to my university's Students For Life group, and they may be interested in helping raise some funds.  But while it is a great opportunity for outreach and education and a little money, I don't think they can raise $750.  Tanner needs your help as well.

Please consider sharing this page with others and contributing yourself.  They take paypal, or you can send a check (write "Tanner #31-1" in the memo line).  Even the change in the bottom of your purse counts!  And if you want to make a substantial donation, keep in mind Reece's Rainbow is a 501c3 organization--you can write this off on your taxes (if you are an American).

Y'all--I'll be honest.  The stats tell us that kids with special needs have an uphill battle in getting adopted.  So do boys.  Especially older boys.  But he needs a family.  Orphanage life is no life for a child, and it usually goes from bad to worse at adulthood.  He lives in a country that has a straightforward and relatively quick adoption process.  There is hope.

We can do this.  WE CAN DO THIS.  Please pray, pass the word, and plunk in a coin at Tanner's profile today.

Thanks, Susan
aka IC

Saturday, April 19, 2014

Happy Easter!

Alleluia, Christ is risen!

Wednesday, December 25, 2013

Merry Christmas!

Merry Christmas to all!

Wednesday, October 16, 2013

Publication news! Theology of the Body, Extended: to be published summer 2014

Everyone, you may not realize it from this blog, but I have another life.  That is, I'm an academic theologian at a Catholic university (gasp).

So firmly wearing that hat, I have news!  A book I have been researching and writing for two years is getting published.  It is titled Theology of the Body, Extended: the Spiritual Signs of Childbirth, Impairment, and Dying.  It takes the first half of the 1979-84 audiences delivered by John Paul II and presents the potential of that understanding of the human being as sign in other defining life events: giving birth, living with impairment (disability, injury, or illness), and the dying process.  The book is getting published by Lectio Publishing, a new Catholic academic press, this summer 2014.  (And I shared some of my self-rejected lines from the rough draft--too ironic and flippant for prime time--here.)

More here.  If you're interested, add the book blog (with ToB reflections, clips from the manuscript, reviews of other books) to your blogroll or feed, and feel free put yourself on the email list (which I promise to use sparingly: announcements of publication dates, sales, etc.).  Thanks all!

Saturday, June 29, 2013

RSS-related hellfire rains from heaven

Bye, Google Reader.  Sniff.
Yes, that would be the typical start of a fake news story here, but this is a purely serious public service announcement.  If you have been following this blog through an RSS feed, the most popular version of reading RSS, Google Reader, dies a horrendous and unnecessary death on Monday (not that I have opinions on any of this).  I encourage you to import your Google Reader subscriptions to (and it is easy--I just did it).  I can't guarantee it will be the same, but they do seem to have a clean interface and nice features.  Plus you keep in touch with the blog.

I am visiting family in Alabama right now.  I have been exploring how to "fix" the %^&*% blinky dinks on this blog.  Right now, I am leaning toward Squarespace, but am figuring out whether I can import this whole clunky thing.  In any case, I know it has been quiet, but consider it allowing the field to go fallow for a few days/weeks while I figure this out.

Peace, get out an umbrella, and go to!

Saturday, March 30, 2013

V. Christ, Our Light. R. Thanks be to God.

Vigil light

May the light of Christ, rising in glory, dispel the darkness of our hearts and minds! 

Triduum photos (Thursday through Sunday) via the talented Fr. Lawrence Lew, OP.

Thursday, March 28, 2013

Holy Thursday

The Last Supper

This blog has a practice of silence during Triduum. Dive into the mystery, and enjoy the photography the next three days.  Peace.

Thursday, March 21, 2013

Thinking About Hunger Strikes (a Close Gitmo Blog-in post)

This is a humor blog.  But this is not a humor blog post.  You are hereby warned, but I ask you to read anyway.

I'm thinking about hunger strikes.

Hunger strikes are truly a course of last resort.  If everything you have has been stripped from you--freedom, relationships, your voice--refusing to eat is your last way to make a statement.  One that could cause your slow, painful death, so that better be one hell of a statement.  Anyone who says that people do hunger strikes for attention--perhaps that's true but it isn't like you're campaigning to be homecoming queen. You are manipulating the very last thing you can control to say something important.

Although you wouldn't know it via American mainstream media, there are Guantanamo Bay Detention Camp prisoners hunger striking.  How many is not clear.  Lawyers for the prisoners are saying a majority of them (there are 166 prisoners in Gitmo now).  Those in charge of Gitmo say much fewer than that, but acknowledged they have been force-feeding some prisoners through tubes in their stomach.  U.S. Military officials are saying that some are refusing meals but living on snacks in their cells.  Lawyers are stating there are prisoners who have lost 20-30 lbs in the past five weeks.  It's hard to know what the exact truth is (and that's part of the problem, isn't it), but it is clear: some men are seriously hunger striking.

The prisoners say through lawyers that they are striking because of mistreatment of their sacred text, the Koran.  In the spirit of the Golden Rule and common human decency, I truly hope that is not the case, and military officials are denying the charges vigorously.  But the issue is bigger than that--its about what leads people to hunger strike. This detention camp has been running for 11 years, under two administrations of different political parties.  There are men there who have been cleared of all charges and are not being released.  There are others who have been in legal limbo, with no court date in sight, for years.  All while we live with a second term president who promised to close Gitmo in his first term, and seems to be doing nothing on the issue now.

If I were a prisoner, I have no idea how I would respond to such circumstances.  Hunger striking may look like a way out of no way. 

I won't deny there are complicating issues here.  But it isn't so complicated that a nation that is supposed to stand for freedom and justice can't make that stand here.  This is the simple reality human decency demands: release the prisoners who have been cleared.  Make an assessment of charges and order speedy trials for the other prisoners.  That is what should have been done--years ago. This isn't a political issue, and its not a security issue; it's a human rights issue.

America should be better than this, and I think we are.  The people are the source of any governmental power in a democracy, so if enough people speak out, our legislators will get the spine to do the right thing.  No one wants to touch this issue because 1) there is no political reward in this, and 2) it uncovers an eleven years that may make the United States look bad...but that is no excuse to not do the right thing now.  And as a Christian speaking primarily to other Christians, we believe in the power of prayer as well.  If hunger striking is some men's "way out of no way," I suggest we make prayer ours.  This situation cannot stand.  We cannot be imprisoning foreign citizens indefinitely, and incarcerating ones who have been cleared is an absolute outrage.  We need prayer and we need people willing to act for what is right.

  • If you are an American citizen and want to send messages to your elected officials to close Guantanamo now,  here is how you bug contact people:
    • Your U.S. Congressional representatives and their contact information can be found here.
    • President Obama may be contacted here.

  • Some mainstream media reports for your background, if you don't know anything about this (and I don't blame you, because it isn't really getting covered):
    • This week from Reuters 
    • This week from here and here. 
    • Op-ed from UK's The Guardian, with good background.
    • "Future of Guantanamo remains unclear on 10th anniversary" WaPo, Jan 2012.
    • Long piece from WaPo, on why Gitmo hasn't been closed, dated April 2011.

This post brought to you courtesy of a Bunch Of Catholics Blogging To Close Gitmo, and I encourage you to join us by writing your own post/status/tweet today, March 21st.  My compatriot Sherry Antonetti is working with me on this, and her excellent post is here.  And before you say, is this what America has come to--a rally for change led by two humor bloggers?--let me be the first to say, unfortunately, it has.  But others are joining us and some have worked to educate on this issue a long time.  I tip my hat to their hard work.  Now let's get praying and calling!

Other posts I know about, all better than mine:

Sherry Antonetti's post "Nothing That Concerns You Has Happened"
Thomas MacDonald's God and the Machine
Frank Weathers' Why I Am Catholic
Mark Shea's Catholic and Enjoying It
Erin Manning at Coalition for Clarity 
Rob Kroese's webpage; "Are you being tested?" (p.s. Rob is an honorary Catholic today)
Bernadette Raspante's reflection on graduating from grammar school, opening Gitmo.  (Guess who's been able to move on?)
Dcn Scott Dodge: "Redress the Wrongs"

Wednesday, March 13, 2013

Habemus Papam And Ironic (But Loving) Observations

Habemus Papam!
First, I am thrilled, joyous, and beyond happy that we have Pope Francis for about 1,000 reasons.  You haven't seen me bouncing around my office and home today, so trust me on this.  I look forward to seeing him work as the Vicar of Christ.  By all means, let's pray for this man!

But of course, there are a few joyfully ironic comments the occasion yields as well:
  • Oh my gosh the man is a miracle worker. He reconciled Franciscans and Jesuits on the first day in his ministry.
  • Given his penchant for public transportation, the Popemobile will now become the Popebus.
  • From Kevin Koulopoulos on fb:  "Plot twist: His first order of papal business is to turn the entirety of Vatican City into a university."
  • Upon hearing the name proclaimed, the entire staff at Jesuit-run America Magazine fell to a dead faint.*
  • From Thomas McDonald on fb, riffing off Francis' famous locution: Francis, rebuild my website.
  • Let's see: first developing world Pope, first Pope of the Americas, first Jesuit, first "new" name since 913 AD.  It's amazing they didn't choose purple smoke instead of white, just to shake it up a bit more.
  • I was out in our campus hallway giving students high fives.  I may need to rein it in. 

 What a great day!

*Look, I have published in America. I usually like it. This isn't a slam against them at all, just...who expected a Jesuit Pope?

Last but not least, from Catholic Memes:


Wednesday, February 27, 2013

My favorite Benedict XVI quotation (and everyone else's too!) tribute to Pope Benedict XVI today.  Please go ahead and choose your own "favorite paragraph" or statement from his written materials (audiences, encyclicals, books, interviews, you name it) and post it...if you let me know through the comments box, I will post links as much as I can today.  Blessings, everyone.

Saint Augustine, in a homily on the First Letter of John, describes very beautifully the intimate relationship between prayer and hope. He defines prayer as an exercise of desire. Man was created for greatness—for God himself; he was created to be filled by God. But his heart is too small for the greatness to which it is destined. It must be stretched. “By delaying [his gift], God strengthens our desire; through desire he enlarges our soul and by expanding it he increases its capacity [for receiving him]”. Augustine refers to Saint Paul, who speaks of himself as straining forward to the things that are to come (cf. Phil 3:13). He then uses a very beautiful image to describe this process of enlargement and preparation of the human heart. “Suppose that God wishes to fill you with honey [a symbol of God's tenderness and goodness]; but if you are full of vinegar, where will you put the honey?” The vessel, that is your heart, must first be enlarged and then cleansed, freed from the vinegar and its taste. This requires hard work and is painful, but in this way alone do we become suited to that for which we are destined[26]. Even if Augustine speaks directly only of our capacity for God, it is nevertheless clear that through this effort by which we are freed from vinegar and the taste of vinegar, not only are we made free for God, but we also become open to others. It is only by becoming children of God, that we can be with our common Father. To pray is not to step outside history and withdraw to our own private corner of happiness. When we pray properly we undergo a process of inner purification which opens us up to God and thus to our fellow human beings as well. In prayer we must learn what we can truly ask of God—what is worthy of God. We must learn that we cannot pray against others. We must learn that we cannot ask for the superficial and comfortable things that we desire at this moment—that meagre, misplaced hope that leads us away from God. We must learn to purify our desires and our hopes. We must free ourselves from the hidden lies with which we deceive ourselves. God sees through them, and when we come before God, we too are forced to recognize them. “But who can discern his errors? Clear me from hidden faults” prays the Psalmist (Ps 19:12 [18:13]). Failure to recognize my guilt, the illusion of my innocence, does not justify me and does not save me, because I am culpable for the numbness of my conscience and my incapacity to recognize the evil in me for what it is. If God does not exist, perhaps I have to seek refuge in these lies, because there is no one who can forgive me; no one who is the true criterion. Yet my encounter with God awakens my conscience in such a way that it no longer aims at self-justification, and is no longer a mere reflection of me and those of my contemporaries who shape my thinking, but it becomes a capacity for listening to the Good itself. [bold added: I just especially like those lines]

From Spe Salvi #33.  The whole encyclical is deeply touching, but I love this paragraph.


Other tributes:
 Benedictus qui venit.
 Goodbye, Papa (more Spe Salvi!)
 Encouragement to young Catholics. 
 From Jesus of Nazareth 2: Bearing witness. 
 From his address to the conclave forming after John Paul II's death.
 On the way of beauty.
 "The judgment of God is hope, both because it is justice and because it is grace. ...." (more Spe Salvi!)
From WYD 2008.
" were not made for comfort, but for greatness."
Prayer as a school for hope. (yet more Spe Salvi!)
On beauty (making connections to Fr. Barron's remarks)
Some final words as Pope.
Letting God act on us: that is Christian sacrifice.

Tuesday, December 25, 2012

Friday, September 28, 2012

Catholic Speakers Month: Interview with Ralph Martin

Not me!  This is Ralph Martin!
It's Catholic Speakers Month!

I'm one of the bloggers participating in this month to give some attention to excellent Catholic speakers across the USA (and beyond, I suppose, but I note they are English speakers!).  Other speakers and their interviews available at Brandon Vogt's The Thin Veil.

I drew Ralph Martin, who is director of Graduate Theology Programs in Evangelization at Sacred Heart Major Seminary in Detroit, the host of an EWTN Show "The Choices We Face," president of Renewal Ministries, consultor to the Pontifical Council for the New Evangelization, and the author of many books, including The Fulfillment of All Desire: A Guidebook for the Journey to God Basedon the Wisdom of the Saints and his newest, Will Many Be Saved? What Vatican II Actually Teaches and Its Implications for theNew Evangelization.  He and his wife Anne reside in Ann Arbor, Michigan.

He graciously agreed to answer a few of my emailed questions in spite of going to Rome, like, practically tomorrow.  If you want to see him in action, there is a Renewal Ministries channel on Vimeo with a lot of his speaking (another is embedded at the end of this interview).  Everyone: enjoy!


IC: I'm a college professor more than a speaker, but I find when I talk Catholic theology, I encounter a lot of ignorance and a lot of spiritual thirst, thirst they don't even know they have.  What do you encounter?
RM: I seem to encounter two types: those who are open, want to be Catholic and are moving towards deeper commitment; those who are confident they are Catholic but have developed a very deficient view of what Vatican II actually teaches, have drifted far away from a Biblical and truly Catholic world view, and are shocked when they hear the Bible, Vatican II and the Catechism taught with confidence and authority.

IC: You have a new book out on the New Evangelization.  Does encouraging and cultivating excellent Catholic speakers (in person, online, podcasts, etc.) have a role in the New Evangelization?  If it does, what does that look like?  
RM: Every form of speaking truth in love is part of Catholic evangelization, whether it be preaching, teaching, counseling, apologetics, personal conversations, or social media.

IC: I'm going to play devil's advocate here for a moment.  Most of the life-changing encounters with God in my own life have occurred in relative silence, or quiet conversation--in prayer.  Couldn't someone argue we live in a culture that is noisy enough? 
RM: We have to detach from the constant stimulation of the culture in order to have enough silence in our life to hear the voice of God. As the psalm says: Be still and know that I am God.

IC: I'm a supporter of Renewal Ministries and think you all do great work.  One reason I support it is that I have a charismatic background and spirituality, and find some sympathy there.  Where do you think Catholic Charismatic Renewal is going these days?  
RM: Charismatic renewal is doing differently in different countries and in different parts of this country. I think the most significant thing is that the scriptural, theological and spiritual awareness that has been stimulataed by this renewal is now being received in a very real way by the whole Church. 

IC: Who is your favorite saint?  And is there a saint that could really be called a saint for our time...a patron of the early 2000s?  
RM: I like them all and what they all have in common no matter how different their way of life or particular vocation is that they loved God and their neighbor mightily.

IC: It is clear from The Fulfillment of All Desire that you are appreciative of John Paul II, and his call to make parishes "schools of prayer."  How can Catholic speakers help do that? 
RM: A lot of the practical teaching contained in the wisdom of the Church in her saints and explicated in The Fulfillment of All Desire  is virtually unknown by most Catholics today. It needs to be taught – from the pulpit, in adult ed classes, in RCIA, etc.

IC: Finally, most Catholics aren't going to become Catholic speakers at missions, parishes, conferences, on podcasts. But we are called to speak up to the best of our ability as needed for the faith.  How do we all become "better speakers for Christ"?  
RM: We are all “on mission” whether we know it or not and our mission includes our family, our work environment, our neighborhood and our parish. We all are called to be alert to the promptings of the Holy Spirit and be prepared to “give a reason for the hope within us.”

Thanks so much for the exchange of emails, Ralph, and I encourage people to listen to him speak or read one of his excellent books.  Let's go out and speak the truth in love, everyone. --IC


Wednesday, August 22, 2012

10 things that ought to count for white martyrdom

The feast of St. John Vianney passed a few days ago, and I was reminded of his "white martyrdom" of the confessional, to the tune of hearing confessions 12 hours a day at times.  Trust me that I can imagine that is grueling--that kind of intensive listening, interaction, and being fully present for 12 hours without a break--no question, tough stuff.  BUT if we're going to extend white martyrdom to hearing confessions for a really long time without a break, I have a few suggestions for us other saints in training:

White martyrdom is:
  1. Sitting with your kids through the 10am $2 show of Alvin and the Chipmunks' Chipwrecked, because your 7 year old wanted it as her treat for the summer.  ALVIN AND THE CHIPMUNKS, people.
  2. Six committee meetings in one day.  Must not be Dilbert, must be cheerful, constructive and fully present, even when the mini-lunch period is cut in half.  (Ahem.)
  3. Swimming in a lake registering at the upper 60 degree range.  Dear God (this is a prayer people, not taking his name in vain), I miss the South.
  4. Your kids, throwing up.  On you.  And you don't move away.  Nuff said.
  5. No one comments on your last caption contest.  (Oh, all right. I retract that.  Mostly.)
  6. Putting aside your desire for a new skirt so can afford your kids' school supply lists (I'm having a bad school supply list experience this year).
  7. Singing [insert hated liturgical song here] without eyerolling because you don't want to distract others from the liturgy.
  8. Figuring out how to use 38 summer squash before they spoil.  Yes, God's bounty and all, but I am beginning to wonder what God was thinking.  Pattypan squash breed like bunnies, are not nearly as tasty, and look like UFOs.
  9. Toilet-training.  See #4, related.  Honestly, bodily fluids and children=white martyrdom.  Expand as needed.
  10. Praying when it hurts.  Getting up the next day and starting over...again.
Add your possibilities in the comments.

Sunday, July 22, 2012

Welcome home, Alex

Alexander Joseph Windley-Daoust, baptized July 21, 2012,
born September 25, 2006,
adopted June 12, 2012.

Chic (Child of the Ironic Catholic) #5.

Welcome home, sweetie.

p.s. we weren't trying to dunk him in...Alex wanted to do the "let's splash in the holy water" position rather than the "let's lay back placidly and allow this man to pour water on my head" position....

And one a little more photogenic and happy:

For more information about adopting children with special needs internationally, check out Reece's Rainbow: they can give you the how tos, the what ifs, and support. Or contact me, even if you are just thinking about it.  There are kids waiting, and their future in many countries is pretty bleak outside of adoption or significant societal change.  

Thanks for the support and prayers, everyone.

Monday, April 30, 2012

The great big giveaway for a new life for Harper! UPDATED again!

May 20 PM UPDATE: Since the adoption grant for Vera's family is within a hair's breath of being fully funded (THANK YOU) with Vera's blessing we are adding another family to the mix.  Rebecca and Mark Jenks are adopting two infants with DS, and while their grant is sizable, more money is required to adopt two children.  They are also traveling really really soon--probably within the month.  So if you are late to this giveaway, we encourage you to donate EITHER to the Cooper grant for Harper (at end of post) or the Jenks' grant for Sydney and Lucien (follow the link). Your choice.  You get entries (if you email me or comment at the end of this post) either way!

ONE REQUEST: whether you are contacting me through the comments or email, please give me your full name and your email address!  I have quite a few first name entries, no email.  Also a couple of email addys, no name.  Hope we don't have two "Tyler"s contribute, for example....  Otherwise, carry on, spread the word, and God bless!  

Oh, this is going to be so much fun.  But first, you need to read this!

Many of you know my husband and I are adopting a little boy through Reece’s Rainbow, a Christian ministry that advocates for the international adoption of kids with special needs. We anticipate completing that adoption within the next month or two. In the meantime, we’ve been going through a bureaucratic ropes course (so to speak) to move forward on this. Alex is totally worth it, but I admit, it has been grueling. Kind of like doing five years of taxes with PMS while in line at the DMV.

I met Vera (her website) through the support group for those adopting from our hoped-for son’s home country in Eastern Europe (we can’t name the country online, sorry!). Vera and her husband Joey were trying to adopt another little boy, same age…but towards the end of their paper trail, found out the child was suddenly not be available for international adoption after all. After a few months of trying to find clarity on what was a complicated family court situation in his country, they were advised to give up hope on adopting this particular child they had loved and prayed for. Not knowing what else to do, they grieved, and just tread water for a few weeks.

But that desire to adopt, that sense someone was out there and meant to be in their family, caused them to look again. And they saw 4 ½ yr old pig-tailed Harper (not her real name).

This darling girl needs something to smile about, I say.
...and knew. She’s the one. They made quick inquiries—truly? She’s available when she’s 5? Actually, they were told, she’s available NOW. Because she has HIV and HepC…two diagnoses that are manageable on their own, but together, require very savvy medical care to keep in check.  (If you wonder how safe it is to adopt a child with HIV, check here. Very safe!)  Because of the coinfection, they’ve been told Harper is a sick little girl and needs better medical care asap. Vera and family are almost entirely ready to go paper-wise--the dossier is being sent this week--and they have paid thousands out of pocket for nearly all costs to this point. But they had expected to have a few months to fundraise and gather resources for travel and facilitation fees. To get Harper the medical care she needs as quickly as possible, they need to raise about $15,500 in...two months.

Like most families adopting kids with special needs, the problem is not really how to afford to care for the kids once home: decent medical insurance helps a lot with this, and there are federal rules for what people need to earn to be able to adopt. People who choose this kind of adoption think it to death, trust me! Vera and family are ready to love Harper and provide good care for her. But the costs of international adoption—well, no one I know has that kind of money lying around. We are able to complete our adoption through the incredible generosity of friends and family. Look, God can do this. But He needs His people’s help. Another woman who has just adopted through RR (Jennifer Doloski) and I schemed to run a fundraising giveaway for Harper. Everyone, the situation is serious, but this part of it is going to be fun—as it should be, because we all get to be part of saving a little girl’s life. We’re celebrating, people!
I'm a dead ringer for this woman. Not.

The giveaway concept is simple. Donate money to their family sponsorship fund at the bottom of this post (a fund that Reece’s Rainbow releases for their adoption when they get a travel date), and you get entered in the giveaway pool.  More you donate, more entries! See bottom for details. Share this fundraiser on your blog, you get another entry. Share on facebook or twitter, you get yet another entry. See, you don’t even have to contribute money to help! One of the coolest things has been seeing people respond to my pleas for items so quickly and generously. We’ve got 42 items to give away! (Very willing to take more items, esp. giftcards, if you want to donate them...but let me know asap!)  We’ll run this giveaway until May 25th.

And as “The Ironic Catholic,” I need you tell you all—Vera is THE Ironic Eastern Rite Catholic! (She’s Ukrainian Catholic.) She has made me laugh hysterically throughout this often trying process. For that alone, I’d give her all the money to get Harper home if I had it. But I don’t…so I do this instead; and maybe it is better this way, more people to pray Harper home. Please, consider spreading the word and donating your coffee money or more this month. All donations are tax-deductible; Reece’s Rainbow is a 501c3 organization.

Now let's have some fun here!

When we assemble the pool and entries, we will draw (through for these donated items:

Giftcards! ($230 worth total!)

$50 Kohl's giftcard, donated by Pam, sister-in-law of Jennifer Doloski
$50 Tiffany's "gift coin" good for merchandise at a Tiffany's store, donated by Kimberlie Meyer
$25 Barnes and Noble giftcard, donated by Leann Putz
$25 Amazon giftcard, donated by Elizabeth Sullivan
$25 Scentsy giftcard, donated by Bianca Montelaro-Olivier
$25 Subway giftcard, donated by Mary Windley (thanks, Mom!)
$25 Applebees giftcard, donated by Mary Windley
$5 Potbelly (restaurant) giftcard, donated by Stephanie Frey

(Signed!) Book-o-rama!

Julie Davis' Happy Catholic: Glimpses of God in Everyday Life, signed and with an extra quotation for fun, "a favorite that didn't make it in" says Julie.  I own a copy, reviewed it on this very website; trust me, it's a fun book, mining funky TV shows, movies, songs, pop and classic novels, and cartoons for surprisingly Christian insights.  As others have said, it's inspirational reading for people who hate Chicken Soup for the _$*^%^(_ Soul books.  And people who like that will like this better.  Julie is way Catholic, but non-Catholics will like this too: it's basically "desperately seeking Christianity" in pop culture.  Fun. 

Mark Shea's The Work of Mercy: Being the Heart and Hands of Christ, signed.
New!  To say Mark is a crisp writer and passionate Catholic is to understate things.  I haven't read this, so you'll have to win it, read it, and tell me about it!  The book blurb: At the very heart of the Gospel are the Corporal and Spiritual Works of Mercy. Just as Jesus was God "hidden" in the flesh, mercy is the incarnational echo of God's presence in our world. His light shines forth through you and me, powerfully illuminating the dark places and guiding us along the path of sanctification.  In The Work of Mercy, we take a good look at these fourteen forms of service to the weak, defenseless, and poor that have been embedded in the Christian tradition from the beginning and learn how each of them must and can be carried out today by God's people.  Spiritual and practical, The Work of Mercy helps a 21st Century reader live the ancient teaching of the One who said, "as you did it to one of the least of these my brethren, you did it to me."

Style, Sex, and Substance: Ten Catholic Women Consider the Things That Really Matter, bookplate signed by all 10 authors (Including Simcha Fisher, who is donating this copy....)  A typical Amazon review (they are all 5 stars--impressive!): "What a great book for Catholic women. This book really matters - great stories on topics that are important not only to Catholic women, but women everywhere. I think this is a book we should all recommend to friends. Loved it!"

Why Is There A Menorah on the Altar? Jewish Roots of Christian Worship by Meredith Gould, signed.  Meredith is another one of those "unique writing voices", and this book is both fun and important.  I wish I could write this well, frankly! From one Amazon review: What about Christianity is Jewish besides Jesus? Meredith Gould tells you with wit and depth. The book is excellent -- erudite and charming and breezy (in a good way) all at the same time. And she has constructed a book for today's short attention spans with boxes, lists, etc., without sacrificing fact, history or theology.

Marcel LeJeune's Set Free To Love: Lives Changed By The Theology of the Body, signed.  Marcel is a campus minister at the megaministry at Texas A&M (Aggie Catholic, y'all) and popular apologetics speaker.  A glowing Amazon review: "This book is truly captivating--you won't be able to put it down. If you haven't experienced the Theology of the Body or you don't see its importance, you must read this book. The stories are life-changing and will cause your heart to yearn for something deeper in your relationships. Perfect book for all people of all ages, married, single, or religious."

Jonathan Potter's House of Words, signed.  This is a wonderful book of of the poems was recently read on Garrison Keillor's "A Writer's Almanac."  A reviewer: "House of Words is an intelligent, heartfelt inquiry into the simple and sublime, into the mysteries of faith and love and whether poems can ease 'the ache of years.'"

Brandon Vogt's The Church and the New Media: Blogging Converts, Online Activists, and Bishops Who Tweet, signed by Brandon.  A fun collection of what's happening now in the virtual Church, with questions about there this goes in "The New Evangelization."  Five endorsements by cardinals and archbishops!  I think that's a record.  Even Thomas Aquinas didn't get that kind of love while alive....

Mary DeTurris Poust's Walking Together: Discovering the Catholic Tradition of Spiritual Friendship, signed.  One of the book's many glowing reviews is from Fr. James Martin SJ: "This enchanting new book is also an important new book, inviting readers to reflect on an often neglected part of the spiritual life: friendship. Using examples from the scriptures, from the lives of the saints, and from her own life, Mary DeTurris Poust shows us how love is connected to friendship, how charity is connected to companionship, and how loving relationships with one another lead to friendship with God. Helpful, wise, provocative, sensible and always inspirational, this is a book for all Christian disciples, whom Jesus called 'friends.'"

Amy Welborn's Wish You Were Here: Travels Through Loss and Hope, signed.  A lot of us remember when Amy (Catholic writer and blogger extraordinaire) posted that her husband Michael Dubruiel had hours before died of a sudden heart attack.  This book is the story of the next few months, and not surprisingly, it's wrenching and beautiful.  From the illustrious Fr. Robert Barron: Amy Welborn's latest book is a must-read spiritual treasure. It reveals not only the heart-wrenching dynamics of grief but also the odd and wonderful way grace illumines even the thickest darkness. Funny, engagingly written, spiritually profound, Wish You Were Here is a gem."  

The Ironic Catholic's Dear Communion of Saints: amusingly apt advice for foolish Christians, signed.  Reviews.  Sorry if you win this one (blush).  Um, moving on....

The Tall Tales of the Tenacious Tomboy by Regina Bradley, signed. "What do you get when you cross a tomboy and the Ozark wilderness?"  Regina is adopting from RR herself and wrote these stories for her daughters.  I would strongly suggest reading it just for the alliteration of the title....  

(OK, non-Catholic friends and contrbutors.  I know that was a whole lot of catholic going on--what can I say, I know Catholic authors--but I really think every Christian would like these books.  Each book has a connection to the "bigger world" out there. So don't be afraid!)

Fun things!

Five (5!) Interpreting Christian Art apps.  Called "art/y/fact.Xn," and reviewed here by Sarah Reinhard. (Just Apple versions...sorry, Android version not available for the giveaway; app creator Eileen says blame Googul for that!)  This app is just fun.  Helps you go to the museum (or church or book or internet) and interpret Christian art through questions and mini essays, when a goal of deepening meditation through art.  People have a real blast with this app, and shhh, its educational too....  Donated by Eileen Daily, theologian, art lover, and now app creator.

Pinback button set: Vote St Catherine of Siena '12, Vote Augustine '12, and I Support The Communion of Saints Ticket "political buttons".  (Look, even if you are supporting a specific candidate, you may find these appealing..."Faithful Citizenship approved"...moving on....)

Yummy goodies!

Roshen Chocolates: for the record, these chocolates are made in Harper (and Alex's) home country.  People coming from there absolutely mourn the loss of this chocolate like it was their very best friend.  It is apparently that phenomenal.  Think the best quality swiss chocolate, then a bit better.  This batch is donated by Sara Wall...she is trying to get this box pictured and an assortment of Roshen chocolate bars.  Don't blame me for your subsequent addiction.

Beautiful things!

Lia Sophia "Fairytale" necklace and earring set (value $90), donated by Jennifer Doloski.

$15 credit toward Wiehl of Faith Jewelry, item(s) shipped free.  Winner chooses from selections, which can be seen here. The above blue bead necklace is just an example; Kathy does lots of different and beautiful beadwork, reasonably priced.  (p.s. She's selling them to fund her own RR adoption too!)  Donated by Kathy Wiehl.

Three handcrafted Italian millefiori glass bead bracelets, win as a set.  Donated by Carla Dobrovitz, and made by her talented daughters!

A FRAMED print: Kissing the Face of God, donated by Laura Lewis
8x10 print

The other 8x10 print

Two 8x10 photographic prints, suitable for framing, by Life Through the Looking Glass Photography, donated by Regina Bradley

A baby layette and baby girl outfit, new with tags, 6-9 months old, donated by Elizabeth Sullivan

 Lace stitch neckwarmer, handcrafted of Merino wool, donated by Christy McClain Ferguson

Lace stitch scarf, handcrafted of Merino wool, donated by Christy McClain Ferguson

(I love the colors on both of those!)

Thirty-one organizing utility tote in "Circle Spirals" pattern, donated by Lauren Butler Hodges

Handcrafted brown and burnt orange curly scarf, donated by Beth Duffy.  Beth says the glass head is not included and she knows it's kind of scary...focus on the cute scarf!

Four sets of Bath and Body Works lotions, scents, and soaps, donated by Amanda Menix Sadler.  Each scent group counts as one item to be given away, and bottles are full-sized:

  • Japanese Cherry Blossom: shower gel, lotion, body spray.
  • Black Raspberry Vanilla: lotion, shower gel, body cream.
  • Warm Vanilla Sugar: body cream, lotion, shower gel.
  • Dark Kiss: body cream, lotion, body spray.

Holy things!

A free handcrafted rosary of your choice from Roses for Mary, my sister in law Becky's Etsy shop.  The picture above is an example (yes, she's a relative, but trust me, these are absolutely lovely; look at her store feedback!). If you win you get to choose one from stock on hand, except the listed wedding rosary (sorry!). And guys, they aren't ALL rosey.  You could get one too.  Or give a rosey one to a woman in your life.

A variety of Holy Cards from Harper's home country, donated by Jennifer Doloski.

All these items will be mailed to the US addresses for free (offered "credits" may include shipping costs though).  If you are donating from another country, we ask that you would help the person donating cover international ship costs.  We'll give you the person's address and you all can work it out.


Whew!  Ready to help us celebrate?

THE DRILL, once more:
1. Donate.  All donations are tax deductible.  You can send a check to Reece's Rainbow if you prefer that to paypal.
2. Share on facebook/twitter if you wish
3. Share on your blog if you wish
4. Tell me how much you donated and if you shared.  Jennifer and I promise to keep this information in complete confidence.  You can tell me in the comments box, please, with email address for contact.  (I have comment moderation on so I won't post comment on donated money, I'll just receive it, okay?) OR you can email me ironiccatholic at yahoo dot com ; please put "giveaway" in the subject heading!

Entries key:
One entry for a blog post mention on the giveaway, linking to this post.
One entry for a Facebook or Twitter share on the giveaway, linking to this post.
Donate $1-10 = 1 entry
$11-20 = 2 entries
$21-30 = 3 entries
$31-40 = 4 entries
$41-50 = 5 entries
$51-75 = 8 entries
$76-99 = 12 entries
$100-150 = 18 entries
$151-199 = 25 entries
$200+ = 30 entries and a big virtual hug

You can donate right here!>>> 

Or if you prefer, you can donate on the Reece's Rainbow site here (which gives you instruction on sending checks if you prefer that).

The Jenks' family grant is found here, if you prefer to donate for them instead!

We're all done May 25th!  Drawing for items will be soon afterward.

God bless you, everyone.  Please don't forget the prayers for Harper.  And you need to tell me what you donated and if you cyber-shared if you want to be gain entries for the giveaway, because the money is going directly to the family's Reece's Rainbow account, not me!  I don't see it, I just see the rising total...I hope....

Peace and all good,
Susan aka IC

Sunday, April 01, 2012

A poem for Holy Week

A short poem(yes, I wrote it). Hey, the Korrektiv folks post their own material.
Off the blog this Holy Week. Blessings to everyone.
--Susan Windley-Daoust

Mary Magdalene

based on Mark 14:6


In Memory Of Her


“Leave her alone.”

And for the rest of my life, they do.

They are not supposed to look at me, but

sidelong glances and traitorous sounds tell them

I am crying,

and words I want to say are choked, stillborn.

I couldn’t tell them how I knew

unless they, too, saw it was obvious

that he was not meant to stay with us forever.

He seemed to know it that day,

the way he ate so slowly, deliberately,

staring at people, boring into their eyes,

the occasional pause, blink,

seeing something we could, or would, not.

He was with us and not,

and I knew: it was time.

So I rushed to get the jar of spikenard,

my dowry,

and stepped over reclining men,

to his place.

With a pleading glance, I knelt down,

cracked the seal,

and poured out a portion, then the whole, of my hope

on his head, and then his feet.

Kneeling in fragrant mud, I wept

with the knowledge of what I had done:

I have given my future

To this man, who will die.

As that perfume filled the room,

He smiled, touched my chin, lifting it, and addressed me:

…you will not always have me

She has done what she could

anointing my body for burial

Amen, I say to you

wherever the gospel is proclaimed

what she has done will be told….


So I was left alone by men.

No one understood, then;

truth, I barely understood myself.

But in that gift, my center shifted

And I knew

despite his coming death

that I was meant to be alone, for him, somehow.


All that strange sabbath,

after the catastrophe,

I cradled the broken jar,

losing myself

in the tang of lingering scent,

as I hoped.