Thu, April 28th, 2011

Framing the Domestic Church – The Catholic Family in Crisis

Many of you probably know that the Church places great importance on the family and has coined the phrase, “The Domestic Church” to refer to the vocation and importance of family life.  Each family is called to be a Domestic Church.  “Domestic” reminds us of reality of family life, but “Church” implies a divine mission and eternal partnership with our Creator and Savior. 

One common discussion among the clergy and faithful is a concern that the Domestic Church is under serious attack and is in crisis in our nation and through much of the world.  With rising divorce rates and media and political agendas that undermine family values, the sanctity of marriage, the sacredness of sex, and the human dignity of the unborn, sick and elderly, many are discouraged and Church leadership has spoken up.

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Wed, April 20th, 2011

Passover

Moses called all the elders of Israel and said to them, "Go and procure lambs for your families, and slaughter them as Passover victims.  Then take a bunch of hyssop, and dipping it in the blood that is in the basin, sprinkle the lintel and the two doorposts with this blood. But none of you shall go outdoors until morning.  For the LORD will go by, striking down the Egyptians. Seeing the blood on the lintel and the two doorposts, the LORD will pass over that door and not let the destroyer come into your houses to strike you down. (Exodus 12: 21-23, NAB)

This makes me think of all that I have been spared because I have been marked by the blood of the Lamb.  The emptiness and loneliness and searching in this world and regret and potential suffering in the next is lessened each time I partake in the Passover sacrifice at every Mass.  What a gift to be Catholic!  May we never take it for granted.

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Wed, April 13th, 2011

Rockabye my Baby part 1

Review:  Lullabelly® prenatal music belt

You may know that I’m expecting our fifth baby this summer.  I’ve written in the past about the benefits of music in the womb, but I’ve never really made a deliberate effort to play music FOR the baby.  I’ve seen the benefits for the children who were in the womb when my life included more music and singing, but I’ve never strapped the headphones to my growing belly.

It looks like this active little guy will be the guinea pig.  I received a Lullabelly® prenatal music belt for review and as I am approaching the third trimester, I am beginning a daily diet of prenatal music for him.  I plan to start with Mozart’s Piano Concertos, partly because I particularly love them, and partly because music of the Classical Period, and Mozart, in particular, has been found to provide the greatest benefit to a child’s brain growth.

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Wed, April 6th, 2011

Appreciation

Many years back, I was watching a television program which portrayed a dopey husband who couldn’t remember the details from his first encounter with his wife.  Of course, I felt it was a good time to ask my husband if he remembered our first meeting.  I was both smug and dismayed when he answered, “Yes, in the cafeteria of the school.”  He was the Business Manager of the Navajo Mission where I was the school music teacher, and our work paths rarely crossed.  I corrected him and reminded him about the party early in the school year at which we talked for a few minutes. 

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Thu, March 31st, 2011

Seasons

In almost every preschool and kindergarten curriculum we find an emphasis on the seasons of the year.  Spring, summer, winter, and fall influence décor, songs, art and science projects, and even television programming for the younger set.  This is why we take such pains to emphasize the Liturgical seasons of our Church at Making Music Praying Twice.  Everything from song selections to the color of our book and CD covers are influenced by Advent, Christmas, Ordinary Time, Lent, Easter and Pentecost. 

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Wed, March 23rd, 2011

Lent and the Little Things

I’ve had some pretty stellar mom years, if I do say so myself.  There were years when most of my time and energy could be spent focusing on the Liturgical Seasons, including Lent.  We’ve made special table center pieces, baked homemade pretzels each week, said special Lenten family prayers, attended daily Mass and added Scripture reading.  One year we made meatless dinners based on peasant food around the world while saving money for the missions.  Another year, we ate only pre-prepared casseroles that I made prior to Lent.

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Thu, March 3rd, 2011

Pleasure

Recently I heard a podcast featuring Daniel Levitin and Adam Gopnik discussing the neuroscience behind our emotional responses to music and individual taste in music.  Our brains are amazing, complex creations which help us to negotiate and experience the world.  Whenever I read or explore more about the growing brain and music, I am amazed at how little we really know about it.

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Wed, February 23rd, 2011

Fresh Baked Bread

A few days ago, knowing that I was having a very difficult week coping with stress, pregnancy, and some medical complications, a friend invited my boys over for a playdate and sent home dinner:  lasagna and freshly baked bread.

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Thu, February 10th, 2011

Valentine’s Day

Each February, our society puts tremendous pressure on us for romance and intimacy that is, at best, contrived.  Commercials for flowers that can help your sweetie one-up her cubicle neighbor are followed by teddy bear, greeting card, chocolate, and even sexual enhancement advertisements.  While St. Valentine is credited with supporting young love and is the patron of love, young people and happy marriages, this is certainly not a celebration of his journey to sainthood. 

Having children in your life gives you the opportunity to return to the fun, innocent Valentine’s Days of our youth.  Cutting out hearts, consuming sweets, and exchanging cards with friends and family celebrates love in a more Platonic, human-family kind of way.  This is closer to a saint’s perspective, if not quite on the mark.  How many people know that St. Valentine was a martyr, a priest (maybe even a bishop), or in addition to the above mentioned, the patron saint of bee keepers, epilepsy, fainting, travelers, protection from the plague, and Bussolengo, Italy.

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Thu, February 3rd, 2011

Wrapped in Mary’s Robes

We needed a break.  It seemed like trial after trial was coming our way.  Amid the normal fears and financial tribulations of running a two-year-old business that we are passionate about, I’m dealing with the hormone shifts of a young pregnancy, and everyone must deal with me while adapting as a family to the changes that came with our 19-year-old niece moving in to help us out as a part-time nanny.  Our homeschooled clan is missing Mommy’s attention and the guilt is as powerful as the fatigue and morning sickness.  Suddenly, I’m faced with a couple of serious pregnancy complications, and health-insurance nightmares that keep pushing me toward a pro-choice prenatal clinic.  Our son is diagnosed with Lyme Disease, and my father-in-law dies of a sudden heart-attack.  We are trying to work out doctor’s appointments, plan a last minute 12-hour road trip for a family of seven complete with funeral wardrobe, and deal with the stress.  All of these trials are part of the normal storms of life, but it happened all at once.

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