Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Wisdom for Wednesdays

"Nobody will ever deprive the American people of the right to vote except the American people themselves and the only way they could do this is by not voting."

-Franklin D. Roosevelt

(Please vote, dear friends! the Bible. Vote pro-life. Vote pro-marriage. Vote pro-God. Vote pro-family. Locally and nationally. God bless you in your discernment!)

Tuesday, October 30, 2012

You Thought You Knew Him...

Mmmm. We may have just had our Indian Summer for the year. This past week was one of beautiful sunny days with temperatures reaching the high 70's. Gorgeous, gorgeous, gorgeous.

I put the top down on my convertible for probably the last time this season and left it down into the evening. I pulled into the driveway after a long day and stopped. The temperature was still warm and the sky was full of stars, so I turned off the engine and the lights and just lay there in the reclined seat. Star-gazing. Praying. Enjoying the stillness and the vastness and the beauty.

Then I had one of those moments.

Where you realize you're talking to the God who created all this. That you know Him, love Him, and live your life for Him. That you're talking to Him as if you know Him He's a friend or a Father... but that you've never even seen Him. That all these planets and stars beyond your mind's grasp are nothing compared to His power and might and glory.

And all of a feel pretty small. And you feel like perhaps you don't know Him at all.

So you sit in awe and wonder and a little hesitation. You ponder the stories of Creation and Redemption and try to wrap your mind around them...around Him, which is of course impossible. But you remember He became man--one of us--and helped bridged that gap. That He walked here on this earth so you could learn to be His friend, His child, His beloved.

You look back up at the starry night sky with gratitude, a humble trust. You realize...even though it defies explanation or comprehension at do know Him.

And He knows you.

Can silence be a prayer? Because tonight...words just aren't enough.

Monday, October 29, 2012

Feminist and Pro-Life Leader Writes to Obama

WOW! Thank you to Women of Grace blog for sharing the following open letter to President Obama from Kelly Manley, Hunstville, Alabama pro-life leader, feminist, and single mom. Please read and feel free to share with others to educate them on the real "war on women."

Dear President Obama:

As a Single Mother of two beautiful children and a Feminist, I am writing to you to respectfully express my discontent with your leadership and your anti-Woman, anti-Child policies here in America. As a Military Veteran, I am also disheartened by your anti-American views and your attempts to harm a nation that was founded on the principles of Liberty, Freedom and Justice for All.

Under your leadership, the number of women living in poverty in the U. S. has soared! From 2008 to 2011, the number of women living in poverty in America increased from 14.4% to 16.3%. On January 19, 2009, the average price for a gallon of gasoline was $1.85, and today that number is $3.82. That’s a 106% increase! Food and clothing costs have also increased significantly. A staggering number of well-educated women and recent college graduates in America are either standing in food lines to eat, underemployed by working in fast food restaurants, or stuck in the "slavery of welfare" with no way out. College tuition costs continue to soar annually, but yet, federal Pell grants and student loans have remained almost the same over the last four years. For instance, between 2011 and 2012, Pell grant spending decreased by over 6%, while tuition and room/board costs increased from $17,092 to $18,497 from 2009 to 2011.

Under the Affordable Health Care Act (ObamaCare), you have deceivingly promised women in America "better options for health care". I have reviewed your health care plan, and I see VERY FEW good benefits and options for women and children. In fact, it is my opinion that you would rather offer women abortions and free contraceptives, rather than offering us what we really need…higher education. How are women supposed to compete equally with men in the work force under your leadership which does almost nothing to help women obtain higher education, but rather promotes promiscuity and abortions which lead to the demise of women physically, emotionally, psychologically, and spiritually? How are single mothers able to get ahead during this life with enormous gas prices, ever-increasing food costs, and very few career and educational opportunities during our state of economic crisis? Do you not realize that most people in America, with the exception of a few, are struggling to put food on the table for their families? And yet, you are offering free contraceptives and abortions, rather than REAL solutions? I’m sorry Mr. President…Women Deserve Better! Your policies are a Disgrace to the Dignity of Women in America!

As a Single Mother of two beautiful children, I refuse to allow my children to be victims of your hidden agenda for children contained within your health care plan. Obamacare funds child sterilizations, as early as age 15 without parental consent in some states such as Oregon. Also under Obamacare, Planned Parenthood, the largest abortion provider in America who destroys the lives of innocent children inside the womb and who also promotes the exploitation of women, will educate our children in public schools under the PREP program. Have you no shame Mr. President?

If you wanted to make a difference in the lives of women and children in America, then you could start by offering affordable options for child care at public universities. After that, you could work to build a strong economy in America, which would create better career options for women, rather than a state of welfare and fast food jobs. Then, you could work to pass other laws which support the choice of Life, rather than the exploitation of women! Finally, you could respect Religious Freedom in America, which is precisely what this great nation was founded on.

As a Military Veteran, I took an oath to protect and defend the Constitution of the United States of America, and that’s a promise that I intend to keep. I want a President who loves America so much that he or she respects and embraces our Constitutional Liberties and Freedoms. I want a President who loves America so much that he or she feels honored in placing their right hand over their heart and proudly reciting the Pledge of Allegiance. I’m sorry Mr. President…but your level of respect for this great nation and our flag falls very short of the expectations of the American people.

You have failed women, children and all Americans over the last four years, which is why I will not vote for you on November 6. In fact, I am working tirelessly to expose your agenda for women and children in America, and I hope and pray that I will be able to watch you pack your bags and leave the White House on January 20, 2013.

For Life and Liberty,
Kelly M. Manley

Sunday, October 28, 2012


I sat on the beautiful second-story balcony with my friend K. at the bed-and-breakfast. Dusk was quickly settling on the peaceful Amish hillside. There were no lights for miles, just farmland and barns and white farmhouses in this sweet country of the Plain people.

I unzipped my Bible cover and opened the Word. There was peace in my surroundings but inwardly my heart was hurt and confused and unsettled.

K. had listened to me tearily relay that morning a struggle in my relationship. Misunderstanding. Uncertainty. Tension. (The perfectionist in me hates the messiness in human relationships...but the redeemed child of God in me reminds me that it's okay not to be perfect as long as we belong to the One who is...and that He's pretty amazing at redeeming the messiness).

I opened to Chapter 1 in James. I knew it well--all about doubt and being tossed like waves on the ocean. Yes, this one was fitting for us. Though I don't want to share details, there was some pride in my wounded heart as I chose this chapter tonight. These words were for him, not for me, I thought.

I should know by now that when we read His Word, He usually wants to talk to us...not about other people.

Instead of going right to verse 6 about faith and doubt and such, I started at the beginning. And I felt His Voice deep in my heart, comforting and instructing.

"Count it all joy, my brethren, when you meet various trials, for you know that the testing of your faith produces steadfastness. And let steadfastness have its full effect, that you may be perfect and complete, lacking in nothing." (James 1:2-4)

Count it all joy.

The testing of your faith produces steadfastness.

Let steadfastness have its full effect.


That word kept echoing in my mind and heart. I wasn't loving him steadfastly. I was loving him conditionally. I wasn't loving him as Christ loves us--constantly, unconditionally. Steadfastly. This was my call. I heard it in my heart as clearly as if He had spoken it from the heavens in the clear, starry sky tonight. Not to mull over the details of the messiness. Not to worry or to figure things out or to place blame. But to love. Always to love. As Jesus does. He says that this testing of my faith would help produce that kind of steadfast love in me. And choosing to love steadfastly would in turn "have its full effect," which may not be a change in the situation...but a change in me.

He does transform the messiness. Time and time again. So today, months later, as I find myself getting discouraged and in another trial, I remind myself to count it all joy.

And as I catch up with a few friends' blogs on this cozy Sunday afternoon, a little verse sticks out to me at the bottom of my friend Christine's post...James 1:2-4. Thank you, Lord. You always know just what I need.

Wednesday, October 24, 2012

Wisdom for Wednesdays

I'm not a bumper-sticker-kinda-girl...I love reading them on others' cars (except the inappropriate ones--really, people? Do you really want that to be the only impression I have of you?) but I've never desired to join the club of letting my car speak for me...

Until now.

My brothers found this one for me. It really stuck out to me...and then on my car.

Wednesday, October 17, 2012

Wisdom for Wednesdays

You're the one who conquers giants
You're the one who calls out kings
You shut the mouths of lions
You tell the dead to breathe
You're the one who walks through fire
You take the orphan's hand
You are the one Messiah
You are I Am
You are I Am.

"You Are I Am," by MercyMe

(LOVE this song...we serve a great and mighty God who is also tender enough to take our hand.)

Saturday, October 13, 2012

This will be my last update...

...from the coffee shop, that is. We are getting internet at home this coming week!

(Excuse me while I go do my happy dance for the hundredth time.)

For two years I have lived without internet at home. (welll...technically one year, since I do have a smartphone that works rather slowly and strains my eyes with the tiny words...) It was great. It was simplifying. It was peaceful. It saved moolah.

But it was also really inconvenient.

My dear friend R. and I at a wedding last year
I love blogging. I love looking up recipes, checking my library card account, emailing friends and family, and yep, Pinterest as well as the occasional
stalking browsing on Facebook. While I enjoy visiting the library or coffee shop to do that, I am so ridiculously excited to be able to hop on anytime at home. You'll be hearing a lot more from me, for better or for worse.

For tonight, I'm going to enjoy these moments in the coffee shop with my girlfriend and fellow blogger, R., while we sip our cozy-warm tea and write to our heart's content...

Wednesday, October 10, 2012

Wisdom for Wednesdays

"The glory of God is a human being fully alive; and to be alive consists in beholding God."

-St. Irenaeus

Wednesday, October 3, 2012

Wisdom for Wednesdays

"All people feel the interior impulse to love authentically: love and truth never abandon them completely, because these are the vocation planted by God in the heart and mind of every human person." (emphasis mine)

-Pope Benedict XI

Monday, October 1, 2012

Autumn Update

Beautiful, ordinary day. You are most welcome today.

It's been a long time since I've lounged in this coffee shop with tea, my laptop, and my roommate. I love it. An earlier bike ride in the gorgeous fall weather and now some down time with a tasty mug of cranberry autumn tea.

Summer tends to be a crazy whirlwhind of travel and spontaneity...I totally enjoy it but by the time autumn breezes begin to blow, I'm so ready to settle into a routine. This really is one of my favorite seasons. (I know. They all are. But especially this one.) I'm ridiculously happy to see the golden, sun-dipped evenings and to feel the whispering winds and to taste crockpot chili and pumpkin cookies...I'm stirred by wistful nostalgia and quiet walks and flickering candles, and I'm delighted with hayrides or bonfires...and then there's all those cute decorations people have that just make me smile! (V., I know if you're reading this, you're laughing at my passion for seasons!)

A few more things are warming my heart and making me smile this season...

-my friend J. is entering the Catholic Church and I'm so excited to be his sponsor this fall and to walk with him on this journey. It's been beautiful to see the Lord work in his heart and life and to draw J. closer to His heart.

-I traveled with my bestie K. to a bed-and-breakfast in Ohio Amish country several weeks ago. Gorgeous views of rolling farmland and charming local shops. It fed my soul as we walked along the country roads, discovering beauty in quiet simplicity. (And the food itself was rather tasty, too!)

-Our parish launched its new Wednesday night religious education program, for babies through adults! It's been inspiring to see the amount of people responding in a positive way. The Field of Dreams line echoes in my mind--with a twist, of course..."If you feed them (spiritually!), they will come."

-We started a share/accountability group for women once a month at the coffee shop here...and wow, God's grace was poured out in abundance. Love these sisters and their sincere hearts!

-Got to hang out in the big city of Baltimore for P.'s brother's wedding in September. I'm definitely not trendy enough or earthy-crunchy enough to live there, but so fascinating to see! We took a day and traveled to nearby Washington D.C.--wow!!! What an emotional experience for this little patriot! I could have spent so much more time there...but I know I'll be back!

-While in D.C., I was able to meet my online friend Tess, a fellow blogger from the Catholic Young Woman! What a crazy-fun time going out to lunch together at Union Station (and many thanks to our sweet men who came along even though I'm not quite sure they get the whole blogging thing!)

-And then there are the quiet moments. How I love the quiet moments with friends and family. Tea with K. as we chatted and watched her little boy play outside...spending the night with my sister and my precious nephews while their daddy was out of town...garage saling with A. and K. on a Saturday morning...farmer's market conversations and new friends...long walks with the riding on country roads with the man I love...

-Speaking of him, what a gift! Can my heart overflow any more??

Now in the midst of all these happy moments, there are plenty of sins and struggles that make their appearance in my heart and life, let me tell the green monster of envy that reared its ugly head recently--yuck, how did that get in my heart?! Or the fact that PCOS is in the ring for another battle round just when I thought I had it under control. But God's grace is always abundant...and rather buoyant, even with the not-so-fun stuff, life is beautiful. Thank you, Father.