Thursday, February 28, 2008

Aunt Mary: An Update On Her Condition

Last Tuesday night we received news that Aunt Mary has Stage IV ovarian cancer. The news has been hard to swallow, but it is important for all of us to remain positive and optimistic. Mary is a very strong individual and I know that she will fight this, and I know she has a lot of support. Not a day has gone by since I first heard the news that I haven't thought about my aunt Mary and prayed for her. That is about all I or most of the rest of us can do. Keep praying and staying positive. Below is an update on Mary's situation. This email was forwarded to me from my mom and sent by one of Mary's close friends (I have left out contact information):

Hello Mary's Friends and Family-
Mary asked me to send you all an e-mail to update you on her
current situation. She met with the gynecological
oncologist, Dr. Davidson this morning with her surgical
team. She is scheduled to have surgery this Friday,
February 29 at 6:30 am. The surgery will take 2.5-8 hours.
Her parents are on their way here and are making
arrangements to have someone from her family here throughout
her recovery. Mary felt incredibly comfortable with Dr.
Davidson and trusts her. She said that she cannot give her
a clear prognosis until she gets in for the surgery. She
will be out of work for 4-6 weeks for recovery from the
surgery. She asked that you not call right now because she
has a million things to do before Friday. Feel free to
e-mail her. I'll have my computer with me at the hospital
and will send updates as much as possible. Thanks to you all. Mary feels
incredibly supported right now. Carla
Please remember my aunt Mary in your prayers and say a special prayer for her tomorrow morning when she will be in surgery. As always, I thank you for your continued prayers for my aunt Mary and wish all of you good health and may God bless you.

“Oh, how great are God’s riches and wisdom and knowledge! How impossible it is for us to understand his decisions and his ways!” (Romans 11:33 )

Below is a video clip of the beautiful music sung by John Michael Talbot, who came to my church, St. Michael the Archangel, recently. The song is the popular church hymn, "Be Not Afraid". I think it is suitable for this time. We must not be afraid but trust God. You may want to push play and then pause the video for a minute so that it won't skip. I think you'll like it!

Sunday, February 17, 2008

Please Pray For My Aunt Mary

I recently found out that my aunt Mary, who is also my Godmother, has just been diagnosed with cancer. Little is known at this time. She received a PET scan on Friday and will receive the results on Tuesday. She is a wonderful human being who has been one of my inspirations for this blog. I ask that you join me in praying for her in this difficult time.

Saturday, February 16, 2008

Planned Parenthood Gives Pro-Lifers New Name

I was reading the AJC (Atlanta Journal Constitution Newspaper) this morning and found a readers response section on abortion. The topic is hot in Georgia because the state is proposing a human life amendment. Several people have interesting view points to say the least. One of the comments came from the Georgia head of Planned Parenthood. She was clearly upset that her organization has been condemned by those of us who are pro-life people. She took the opportunity to call us names and shout jabs at us. I even saw that she came up with a new name for us: Anti-choice Activists. That got me laughing out loud. She can't be serious about this can she? She sarcastically brought up how we are for a "culture of life" when we do "nothing" in her mind to promote the culture of life she invisions. She scrambles off all of planned parenthood's accomplishments in regards to providing birth control. So why is she so mad? We don't support her organization and this is why:

Are we anti-choice activists?
- First of all, what the heck does that even mean? In this context I guess you could say that we are against the choice to terminate the life of a baby. Abortion is not an acceptable choice. Pro-lifers are just as pro-choice as pro-choicers except for the fact that we don't support the choice of abortion. Pro-choice simply means endorsing abortion. Everyone has been blessed and cursed with free will. God allows us to make choices: both good and bad. We are not saying that nobody has a choice, because God has made us so that we do have a choice. We have a choice between good and bad, right and wrong. The fundamental difference is that we disagree on what is right and what is wrong. This is because we disagree on what is life and what is not. It is not that we are anti-choice because we understand that as humans we have been given free will. What we believe is that choices have consequences. Yes a mother, a father, a doctor all have choices. You know who else has a choice? A murder, a rapist, a drug dealer and all those other criminals who made the wrong choice.

When discussing the issue of abortion, I don't know how the term choice ever surfaced. It isn't completely black and white, but to me you are either in one of three thoughts of mind: anti-abortion, pro-abortion or uneducated. Certainly there can be extreme circumstances such as the mother's health is in serious danger, but these cases are very rare. The difference between all these groups is their perspective on life. If I were the head of planned parenthood it would be very simple. I would simply have a sign on the room that says in big bold letters: If you are not ready to be a parent, do not have sex. That's it, class is over. Nothing more needs to be said. Instead we have people at planned parenthood taking the exact opposite position. Their sign says something like this: If you have sex and don't want to get pregnant, use this birth control that I am handing out to you now. This will protect you against an unwanted pregnancy. You can have sex, but just make sure to use protection. Oh yeah, and if it doesn't work for some reason the baby isn't alive until birth so you can get rid of it in the first trimester.

What kind of message does that send? Birth control is just a false sense of "security" for people who want to enjoy the physical pleasures of sex without having to "worry" about the consequent result. In my opinion, birth control and abortion are directly linked. I'm not saying that birth control is the same as abortion, but I think that it's widespread acceptance has changed the way people perceive life. I know that several people say that they use birth control but would accept a baby if it was God's choice. The problem is that many people place more trust in some "magical pill" than they do in God. When society encourages sex out of wedlock by handing out birth control, they are showing a lack of faith in our young people and a lack of faith in God. Life is the greatest gift God has given to us, and we must always protect life from beginning to end. If we do this, God will bless us more than we can even imagine. The hardships that life brings pales in comparasion to the blessings and joy life provides. I pray that our society as a whole will awaken to the message of life and to the message of God.

Thursday, February 14, 2008

Happy Valentine's Day

Today is Valentine's Day, and to many that doesn't mean anything. To some of us, Valentines Day may seem insignificant because we don't have a partner to share the day with. Some of us ignore the day because we think we should appreciate our partner year around, not just one day. For whatever reason, Valentine's Day has lost it's way with several of us. Maybe we should concentrate more about the origin of the day rather than on what the day has come to symbolize.

The story about St. Valentine differs depending on which historian you hear, but they can all agree that St. Valentine existed. Most believe that he was a priest in Rome sometime around year 270. Christians were being persecuted during the reign of Claudius. St. Valentine put his life on the line in order marry Christian couples. He was caught and soon after sentenced to death. In year 496, Pope Gelasius marked February 14th as a celebration in honor of his martyrdom. The date was chosen in part to become a substitute for the heathen practice boys and girls were accustomed to on the 15th of the same month. In that way it is very similar to Halloween.

St. Valentine was not the only priest during that time to die in defense of his Christian faith. In fact it is believed that there were several St. Valentines. Most of our major holiday's here in the United States revolve around our Christian heritage, and we must make sure we always keep that in mind. In this time where it is norm to De-Christianize everything in the public eye, we must work even harder to make sure that our Christian faith becomes the forefront of our thoughts and works. Valentine's day is more than just about candies and flowers, although you beautiful ladies are very deserving of those treats. Instead of looking at this day in disdain, try to appreciate it for what it was to those early Christians.

St. Valentine, like all the saints and good Christian leaders gone before us, teaches us a valuable lesson. Our faith is not something that can be compromised. Our faith will be challenged and we will be tempted to fall into the norm of the day but we must never lose our faith. St. Valentine is especially special to me during this time because he is the patron saint of love, young people, and happy marriages. I think I fit in two of those categories, and in a couple months I'll fit in all three. He saw the love these young Christians had for one another and risked his own life so that they might be one in marriage. That takes tremendous courage. He understood the value of marriage between a man and a woman. Even that basic principle is being challenged today. It is but one of the several fights we as Christians face in the present day. Every generation is faced with challenges. We will all experience times when our faith will be challenged. Our views and values may not always be the most popular, but God's way is always the right way. God made man and woman. Jesus came down from heaven to show us how to live our life on this earth so that we might reach heaven.

Express your love on this day even if you think you do every day. Even if you do not have a partner at this stage in your life, you are loved. Know that God has a plan for you and for us all. Ask God to give us the strength and courage of St. Valentine, who ministered to young Christian couples in time of persecution. Ask God to bless your relationships and to help your relationships grow in unconditional love. We must love regardless of whether or not we are loved in return. Jesus has shown us how to love. Let us follow his lead.

Thursday, February 7, 2008

Romney Quits Race

Romney Quits Race

This is good news for Huckabee and the Republican Party. I give Romney a lot of credit and respect for making this tough decision when he clearly could have continued. I truly believe that Huckabee will gain strong support of Romney backers and give McCain a run for his money. I knew that this was the only way Huckabee had a chance, and it is amazing how things are falling in place for him. I never lost faith in Huckabee who has proven to be the one social conservative in the race. Like Romney says, the important thing in the end is that Obama or Hillary is not president. Although I did not support Romney, I feel he had lots of good ideas and hope that Romney supporters will now back Huckabee. If McCain is the one that the nation determines to be the candidate, I will stand behind him in his presidential bid. It is important to remember that neither Huckabee nor any other presidential candidate is a savior, and that regardless of who gets nominated it is up to us ultimately to make the world a better place and to spread the good news.

Monday, February 4, 2008

Tomorrow is the Big Day

If your state is holding elections tomorrow, please go out and vote. Vote for Huckabee. The media is still trying to paint the picture that Huckabee has no chance and that he stands in Romney's way. The way I see it, Romney stands in our way. Please go out, vote for Huckabee, promote Huckabee to undecided voters, and pray for a good outcome. After that, it's out of our hands.

Sunday, February 3, 2008

Lent Is Almost Here

February 6th is not only Super Tuesday where several states will hold primary elections, it is also Fat Tuesday before the Lenten Season. I have done some prayer about my lenten season this year and I am determined to make it the best Lenten season of my life. I figure that if I post my Lenten sacrifices on my blog I will be held more accountable. It also gives me a chance to correct some bad habits that I have picked up. I have tried in the past to eliminate my bad habit of biting my nails during lent, but I found that habit to be engrained in my mind to the point where I do that without thinking. I can't promise to give up biting my nails, but I have decided on what I will do:

1) Morning and Night prayer daily
- I have neglected this routine for a long time and it is something I want to do and continue doing long after the Lenten season ends. There is no better way to begin or end a day and I want to get back in the habit of doing these daily prayers.
2) Go to Confession
- It has been an embarassingly long time since my last confession. I guess it was easier to not go as time went by, but I am missing the great blessings that a good confession offers. I know that after I go to confession again I will have a great feeling of God's forgiveness that can not simply be felt except through the confessional.
3) No television or internet usage (with the exception of this blog) on weekdays, and limited internet access on the weekends.
- This blog has been very good for me, but I also realize that I have spent an unacceptable amount of time on the internet. I spend lots of time on sports sites and blogs in addition to several other "fun" sites. I do not want to lose readership to my blog, so I will continue posting on this blog and check my email during lent, but avoid all other websites.

I think these three things should help me during this lenten season come closer to God. I can do more than just these three things, but I don't want to make too many changes so that it becomes hard for me to fulfill any of them. I feel like I have become addicted to certain things that keep me from God. I want to be addicted to God and good works. This is difficult because we can't feel, hear or see a physical God like we can many things. I have had a growing sense that I need to "do" something. Voluneer or do some other good works. Often I feel lazy when I should be out doing good works and proclaiming God's message. So I ask you to comment on this blog with some ideas for ways in which I can spend my free time to do good works. What can I do so that I don't feel lazy on weekends but feel satisfied that I have done something that will impact lives? Please comment and give me ideas on ways that I can make a difference. Thank you, God Bless, and have a very faithful and loving Lenten Season.

Friday, February 1, 2008

Taking A Step Back

My last several blog postings have been in reference to the republican presidential primary. I don't want you to confuse this blog with a political blog. I have concentrated on the primaries because I think they are important for us as Christians and as responsible citizens. I think it is important that we elect those people who best reflect our Christian values and will fight for those issues most near and dear to Christians. I believe Mike Huckabee is that man. I feel strongly about my endorsement for what it is worth. His lack of money has made him a long shot at the presidency, but I feel it is my responsibility as a Christian and a citizen to voice my opinion on this important event. That being said, I realize that I may have taken a harsh stance on some of the other candidates. It now looks as if this thing is a three-man race and I'm willing to consider the possibility of one of the other candidates winning the nomination.

I have come down hardest on Romney, but I don't think he is a bad man. He has good ideas for this nation and all indications are now that he is pro-life. It is possible for a person to have a dramatic change in the way they view things and possibly Romney has had that life altaring change of viewpoint on this issue. He has said that he only had that viewpoint because he could not win otherwise in a very liberal state of Massachusetts. I personally don't like that he would pander to those in Massachusetts and abandon his personal convictions, but that is done. He is a business man and he does know the life of the business world. He will undoubtedly be gaining support from several big business and the wealthy. He has attacked all of the other candidates pretty harshly including Huckabee, but McCain has also attacked him. In the current landscape, Romney has become the sole villain and I believe that is somewhat unfair.

John McCain deserves some of the heat he has been receiving. In the California debate a couple nights ago, he and Romney went at it for about 5 minutes. Their dislike for each other is obvious. Romney seemed to have the upper-hand in those arguments even though he did come off as a little arrogant, but my hope is that the real winner out of the McCain-Romney fight is Huckabee. Huckabee constantly reminded the interviewers that he was also part of this race. Both McCain and Romney looked bad as a result of this fight over wording and Huckabee sat idol. He doesn't participate in the normal political attacking and arguing. My only worry is that he appeared to viewers as a little disparate and impatient. Who could blame him if he was? The only way he can have a chance is if he is given a chance to speak and let his message be heard. I do think that Huckabee has made a slight political blunder by failing to challenge McCain's positions on several issues. He has challenged Romney, but he has not made a strong enough case against McCain and has since almost been labeled in the same camp as McCain and that is not accurate. He and McCain can be friendly towards one another and have differences of opinion.

I will be voting for Huckabee on Tuesday. I'm happy to report that Shelly and her mother have already voted for Huckabee. Her mother was undecided up to the last minute, but in the end she found Huckabee to be the best choice. Although she is not sure he will win, she voted for him because he was the best candidate. That is what we must do, because that is how we make our voices heard. If after Super Tuesday Huckabee does not do as well as expected and is forced to leave the race, I will still be proud of my vote for the man I see as the best candidate. I also want to say that I would support McCain or Romney in the upcoming Presidential election. Although I'd prefer Huckabee, both McCain and Romney are MUCH MUCH better than the alternative. Both, while not nearly as strongly or consistently as Huckabee, are pro-life in most cases and say they will appoint conservative Justices.

Once the primaries are coming to a close, I will focus more on other issues that I deem important or simply interesting and give you my take on from my Christian perspective. That is what this blog is all about. It is my attempt to spread my Christian views to those of you readers and hopefully you are spreading the message to your friends and the people you know. That's what we are called to do, and I hope that this blog is my small way of spreading the wonderful message of Jesus Christ. God bless you all and thank you for your continued support.