Monday, December 29, 2014

If Christians Had Chutzpah

It's December 27th and Christmas is only 2 days old...yes, 2 days. Catholic/Christians forget that up until the 25th it is Advent. Christmas is celebrated for 12 days and ends with the Feast of the Epiphany. I was told by a sage Episcopal priest that for Christians to rush about during Advent buying, wrapping and giving gifts along with Christmas cards that include a New Year wrong. We have the luxury of sending out cards and giving gifts for almost 2 weeks longer, but like many original traditions...this, too, has been secularized. If Christians had chutzpah and abide by this tradition, we wouldn't be so rushed, stressed and often disappointed that "Christmas is over" on the 26th. Please, don't get me started.

If Christians had chutzpah we would push back against the commercialism that has nearly destroyed the true meaning of this Sacred Season.  The phrase, Jesus Is The Reason For The Season, has been said airily so many times that it has become a trite phrase that lacks conviction and meaning. Pablum.

Many Baby Boomers, and now their children, have raised brats...Christmas brats. We are willing to go into debt at Christmas to give them everything they've asked for. We can't say no. Once, two gifts and some candy or fruit in a stocking sufficed. Now if the kids and grand-kids don't open a minimum of 6 gifts....Christmas joy goes into the dumpster. If a family decided to give one gift and spend a certain sum on the needy instead, how many of our kids would be pleased? How many would understand that this IS the way to celebrate Christ's birth? And I'm not saying that needy children should get all the gifts either....hello? the lesson is for ALL Christians. I'm suggesting that $$ go to a charity for ill children, wounded veterans, soup kitchens, food banks, etc.

I'm tired of the Christmas bashing. I'm tired of feeling guilty because I believe that Christ is born on Christmas Day. Merry Christmas....horrors! Not on ads, not on flyers, not on the lips of the employees taking a Christian's God-given money. Please, don't get me started. If Christians had chutzpah we'd cash in our bargaining chips...don't buy but one gift for your child(ren). Remember the charities...and you'll see how quick the Merry Christmas banners will go up!

And what's with every group under the heavens being represented in the Town Square along side of the Nativity? This past Christmas, Karl Etters of the Tallahassee Democrat, reported that the Florida Capitol's holiday display would include a greeting from the Church of the Spaghetti Monster and the Satanic Temple. Read it here:  satanic-temple-joining-capitol-displays. What do these groups have to do with Christmas??? Do you really think that their " good wishes" are heart-felt? Do you really think that their desire to express their freedom of speech is to spread peace and love-the essence of the Christmas season? Humbug. Why does a Temple that represents the Evil One need or should be displayed at Christmas time? It, along with the Atheists and others of this ilk, have only one common reason for wanting to be represented....their animosity for Christ.  

This isn't Happy Holiday time, people, it's Christmas. I don't buy gifts for Thanksgiving....I don't buy gifts for New Year's Eve. I buy as a nod to the from the Three Wise Men to the Savior of the World.  Oh, non-Christian business owner....alert! if Christians had chutzpah they'd keep out of your shops during Christmas time and shop at Christian based stores for that one-gift-they-will-buy.  Most churches have a gift shop, Hobby Lobby is Christian owned, as well as Mary Kay cosmetics. There are Christian book & gift stores galore on-line. Don't harass Christmas and we will bless you with our God-given money. Freedom of speech, you say? My antlers it is! It's just being plain mean spirited. Do you think Christians want to hone in on an Atheist's holiday? They can declare April Fool's Day as their High-Holiday. I'd be fine with it and have no desire to add my Christian sentiments to their special day.

I believe that anti-Christmas groups are emboldened because they know there are so many disinterested Christians. Poinsettia and lily church goers have no passion for Christ. The Birth of Jesus is nothing more than a time to over-eat, over-drink and out buy the Jones'. Many children from these Christian-lite homes have no clue why there's a star on top of the Christmas tree or that the lights on their house is supposed to reflect the Light of the World. Will disinterested Christians even notice when all remnants of religion are removed from "The Holiday Season"? Christmas Squelchers are counting on it, and as long as nothing gets in the way of the latest's all that matters...on both sides.  

The world is riddled with war. Our country is ablaze with anger and hate. So here we have a season to reflect on peace and good will to all humankind and society has allowed anti-Christmas groups to strangle it into silence. Really? Really? Instead of everyone banning together and using the joy, love and generosity of this Sacred Season to heal our hurting world...God's intention all along...they use it to slash the heart out of hope. They label it political correctness and freedom of speech when in fact it's the lying, liberal voice of Satan. If Christians had chutzpah we'd protect every wonderful, grace-filled aspect of Christmas as though we were protecting the Baby Jesus Himself. Merry Christmas.

Christmas, my child, is love in action.  Every time we love, every time we give, it's Christmas.
--Dale Evans

Friday, November 21, 2014

Christmas Friendly Stores 2014

Rating the Top Retailers and How They Market to Christmas Shoppers


Please support retailers that market Christmas properly. Mention that you appreciate that they advertise CHRISTMAS

AFA's 2014 listing of top retailers and how they recognize Christmas:
BLUE: An AFA "5-Star" rated company that promotes and celebrates Christmas on an exceptional basis.
GREEN: Company uses the term "Christmas" on a regular basis, we consider that company Christmas-friendly.
YELLOW: Company refers to Christmas infrequently, or in a single advertising medium, but not in others.
RED: Company may use "Christmas" sparingly in a single or unique product description, but as a company, does not recognize it.
 American Family Association continually update the list, so check back often. AFA site for updates
Criteria - AFA reviewed up to four areas to determine if a company was "Christmas-friendly" in their advertising: print media (newspaper inserts), broadcast media (radio/television), website and/or personal visits to the store. If a company's ad has references to items associated with Christmas (trees, wreaths, lights, etc.), it was considered as an attempt to reach "Christmas" shoppers.
If a company has items associated with Christmas, but did not use the word "Christmas," then the company is considered as censoring "Christmas."
Want to report a company? Send your detailed report to Please know that we receive hundreds of reports (emails) each day. We are unable to respond to each one personally, but your report will be read by one of our staff.
Note: AFA does not list local or regional companies. Only nationally-recognized companies will be listed. This list only reflects a company's "Christmas" advertising and does not take into account other corporate policies AFA may not agree with.
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Tuesday, June 24, 2014

When They Just Don't Get It

Taste of Heaven Awaits Us

Ignorance is bliss, so the saying goes. In the age of the Internet where knowledge abounds... ignorance is just plain laziness. I'm not referring to non-Catholics who are clueless about Catholicism. I'm not talking about those who don't consider or realize that Catholics are Christians. Nope. I'm writing about uninformed Catholics.

Sadly, many "lazy" Catholics have never, ever taken the time to learn what the Catholic Church believes & teaches. IF they did, they would come to realize the beauty, the richness, the love affair with Christ that is the foundation of the One, True Faith. As the beloved Bishop Fulton J. Sheen said, "Not 100 in the United States hate the Roman Catholic Church, but millions hate what they mistakenly think the Roman Catholic Church is." Unfortunately, there are many baptized in the Catholic faith that can not defend her.

At the age of 8, I was given the St. Joseph's Missal to follow the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass. In the Introduction, it explains the principle parts of the Mass. This red bound book paved the way to my understanding why Catholics do what we do every Sunday of our lives. This journey continues and I hope never ends. So what makes someone thirst for knowledge and others not?

Parents: My parents are/were devout Catholics. Mom at the age of 91 still attends Mass on a daily basis. She prays for hours each day and is an avid reader of Catholic literature. My dad, who has died, prayed the rosary, attended Mass and was unashamed of his love for Our Blessed Mother. He wore a gold Miraculous Medal for forty years. One day, I saw him go to his garden and pick a yellow rose. I asked him where was he going with it. In a reverent tone, he said, "I'm bringing it to Our Lady." This big, bear of a man gently placed it in a bud vase by the statue of Our Lady of Grace on mother's dresser. This kind of gesture helps a child realize there is something wonderfully special about his/her faith.

Example & Tradition: All Catholic holidays/holy days were made special in my family. The focus, unlike today, was on the religious aspect rather than the secular. Midnight Mass....a church filled with poinsettias, choir singing its heart out to Emmanuel. To this day, I sing "Happy Birthday" to the baby Jesus as I place the tiny statue in His manger. Easter....shhhhhh, the vigil Mass....a dark church suddenly alive with hundreds of lit candles to welcome the Risen Christ, Alleluia! With a palm dipped in holy water, the male head of our household blesses the family gathered around our Easter table. Regardless of what friends we are with...what restaurant we are at, we are unashamed to make the sign of the cross, bow our heads and say grace before our meal. Growing up, saints were honored in neighborhood festivities....St. Joseph feast, a fair in remembrance of St. Marie Goretti. The story of this young saint who was raped and murdered, but who forgave her assailant before she died, was recounted each year. It set the example of forgiveness and grace for the children who heard it. Remember incense? For me, it was a hint of what God might smell like. Okay, now I associate Him with the scent of pine. (Scent of God ) But as a child....God wore incense cologne.

Get Involved: It's amazing how many think that Catholics are ignorant of the Bible. Poppycock! Pick up the Mass Book at church. When cycle A B C of this book is completed, the whole Bible has been read. There are plenty of Catholic Bible study guides, countless CDs & DVDs explaining the Bible by Catholic authors. Classes are full with Catholics wanting to learn more about Sacred Scripture. Renew programs, Cornerstone retreats, Charismatic Conferences abound for those who hunger for knowledge of the faith. I took a friend to a charismatic prayer no time she was clapping her hands as we sang God Is An Awesome God. Grinning she asked, "Why hadn't I known about this?" Not all Catholics sit at the back of the church and look like the "frozen chosen".  Get involved. Make an effort. Join. It can be something as fun as helping with the church carnival. Being active in a church program puts you together with other Catholics. There is nothing more deeply spiritual than sleeping on a carpeted floor in front of a displayed Monstrance with other adoring Catholic women. I actually had this wonderful experience at a Woman's Cornerstone Retreat.

Friends: Birds of a feather flock together. Befriend a priest or nun. They are often separated from family. Invite a religious to share a meal at your home. Is there a visiting priest in your parish? He most likely hails from another country. What a wonderful opportunity to hear how foreigners celebrate the Universal Faith. And boy, do they! My life has been enriched by the friendships of priests, monks and sisters. I sat at the feet of Benedict Groeschel C.F.R., a Franciscan author, psychologist & activist, and listened to him speak. The nuggets of truth and wisdom he shared brought me closer to Christ. Truly, he is a living saint. My circle of Catholic friends is forged with the spirit of love and familiarity. We intercede for one another, we grow in our faith as we learn together and edify each other. Through these relationships, I have grown spiritually stronger. They have made me a better person in countless ways.

Read, Read, Read: Many voracious readers will go from one romance, mystery or self-help book after the other and never think of picking up a book about his/her Catholic faith. I know a Catholic man who reads many books on "spirituality"....A Course In Miracles, Power of the Subconscious Mind, The Secret, but has never picked up one written by St. Augustine, Dorothy Day, John Henry Newman, Peter Kreeft or St. John Paul the Great. He can talk for hours on what makes a person a good Christian, a good person, but is clueless about the Catholic faith he practices. I believe there would be fewer disenchanted Catholics if they educated themselves in the most beautiful faith on the entire earth...the one created by Christ. Yes, there have been scandalous popes, priests, nuns and situations, but if we looked at the lineage of Christ.... murderers, adulterers, schemers, cowards....we might could someone so perfect come from this? And so it is the same with Catholicism.
I cringe when I hear, "I don't get anything out of the Mass" mainly because the homily wasn't riveting. A stirring homily is nice, but that's not why I'm there. I love the prayers, the hymns and liturgy, but most of all the Eucharist. It takes my breath away. How can you not fall in love with the Holy Mass when you know the true Presence of Christ is in your midst? This knowledge brings me to my knees and tears to my eyes.  Everything from the vestments the priest wears, to the beauty of the chalice, the stained glass windows, the awesome statues makes me aware that I'm on holy ground....I'm in the home of the King of Kings. I'm there to spend an hour with my Savior. Every gesture, every word, every part of the Mass has a special purpose. Knowing what that meaning, that purpose is, gives us a glimpse into the eyes of God.

Converts: No one is more on fire than a convert to Catholicism. They put most "cradle Catholics" to shame. These men & women didn't convert because their future spouse asked them, they systematically xed off  all the "obstacles" that prevented them from converting. Intelligent, Bible believing people seeking the Truth listened to the whisperings of the Holy Spirit. They heard Christ's call to leave all behind and follow Him...straight home to the Catholic Church. The books converts have written explains Catholicism in a no-nonsense approach. Some are: Scott Hahn's Rome Sweet Home, Jeff Cavins', Great Adventures Series, Kim Hahn's, Catholic For A Reason & If Protestantism Is True by Devin Rose. The most riveting testimonies come from Jewish converts, Hebrew Catholics. It is said that Judaism is the root and Catholicism is the flower. Want to better understand and appreciate being Catholic, then read, Honey From The Rock: Sixteen Jews Find The Sweetness Of Christ, complied by Roy Schoeman. Hebrew Catholic Association.

I just don't get...When They Just Don't Get The Catholic Faith. For me, my heart bursts with pride-I feel privileged to be a Catholic, an enchanted Catholic. Thank You, Jesus!
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Thursday, January 30, 2014

Gun Control: A Pro-Life Issue


The Catholic Conference of Bishops label gun control as a Pro-Life issue. I agree. People using a gun to murder are as guilty as those who uphold abortion...both stop a beating heart. Stricter gun laws are needed, but gun control is a social problem as well. In addition to tighter gun regulations, the bishops have asked us to “make a serious commitment to confront the pervasive role of addiction and mental illness in crime,” and have also called on society to “provide health services and support to those who have mental illnesses and to their families and caregivers.” Stable people do not commit crimes. We can’t leave mental health care to the government. It is up to parents to admit that their child has problems that need to be addressed before that child has a chance to obtain a weapon. It’s time to actually be a parent and say no to bad behavior. It's time for parents to censor the entertainment their kids watch. It's up to parents to spend time with their children so they can be more aware of who they hang with, where they are going and the changing barometer of emotions taking place within them.

We, the people, have the right to bear arms. That doesn't mean just anyone should be allowed to own a gun. Stricter laws should and must be enforced. Along with these restrictions, parents need to be more responsible. Open dialogue on the dignity of life is way overdue. Kindness should be nurtured and bullying not tolerated. Use real-time tragedies as a learning tool by discussing the consequences of violent actions. Pray together…invoking the help and blessings of the Prince of Peace. When attention is focused on the The Lamb hearts soften and hands do good not evil.
Back in the day, Westerns were the rage. Receiving a pair of holstered guns was a coveted gift. Cap guns were a close runner up. Roy Rogers and the Lone Ranger were heroes. The outlaw's head wasn’t blown off…nope… he just fell off his horse. That's as graphic as it got. We played “shoot ‘em up” all the time and I don’t know one friend who has been convicted of murder. The break-down of the family unit and lack of Godly men contributes to the culture of death prevalent in our society. The dismissal of God is the other factor. With no one to respect, bad behavior goes unchecked.

So factor in Hollywood’s lust for blood drenched flicks with godlessness and dysfunctional families and Here We Are.  Hollywood and video game creators contribute to gun violence and anyone who thinks they don’t should see a shrink. It’s time we admit that viewing violent movies and playing violent games have desensitized us. There is no room for the Prince of Peace in our spirit when we are bombarded with graphic violence. How can a youngster know unconditional love when his mother aborts his sibling? Grabbing a gun and killing is no different for this young person than his mother snuffing out the life of a preborn infant.  The sanctity of life is non-existent in such a home. It is time to admit that violence against our own flesh and blood, as well as viewing violence, has negative emotional, psychological and spiritual effects. It is time that our children know the security of being cherished.

Sin begins in our hearts. Hollywood pumps our hearts, worse our children’s hearts, with sewage and calls it entertainment.  Producer, Harvey Weinstein, is scheduled to produce a movie starring Meryl Streep that will make the NRA wish they never existed. His movie would “take ‘em down”. Well, well, well, Mr. Weinstein….you glorify violence and made millions by doing so. Movies can’t get much bloodier than your films: Pulp Fiction, Kill Bill, Gangs of New York, Scream. And you have the audacity to threaten the NRA? Viper! the Good Lord would call you. Does Harvey carry a gun? Nope. He has hired "security" to protect him. 
Mr. Weinstein is between a rock and a hard place. He should be reacting to the fact that viewing violence causes a person to use aggression to resolve conflicts. A steady diet of violent programs, movies and video games darkens a person’s view of the world, seeing it as a hostile environment. Put a gun in the hand of a person with this mindset and we have a real life scene out of Pulp Fiction. Statistics show that by the impressionable age of six, a child in the U.S. will have witnessed 8,000 murders and a 100,000 acts of violence on TV.  Cinema is even worse! Thank you Harvey Weinstein, another Hollywood hypocrite, acting righteous with blood on his hands. Does the word, Pharisee, come to mind? 

In the song, Teach Your Children by Crosby, Stills, Nash & Young there is this line, "Teach your children what you believe in. Make a world that we can live in". Truer words were never sung. The government may let them down...society may let them down, BUT, Godly parents will not. Parents whose hearts are filled with Christ's love and teachings will teach their children well.  Pray and foster the dignity of life so that-- a beating heart is never again stopped by gun violence.

Pray To End Abortion

Gun Control: What does the Church say?
A Catholic Case For Gun Control 

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