Tuesday, February 3, 2015

We got a "Girl in the War"...part 1

"Girl In The War"

Peter said to Paul you know all those words we wrote
Are just the rules of the game and the rules are the first to go
But now talking to God is Laurel begging Hardy for a gun
I got a girl in the war man I wonder what it is we done

Paul said to Peter you got to rock yourself a little harder
Pretend the dove from above is a dragon and your feet are on fire
But I got a girl in the war Paul the only thing I know to do
Is turn up the music and pray that she makes it through

Because the keys to the kingdom got locked inside the kingdom
And the angels fly around in there but we can't see them
I got a girl in the war Paul I know that they can hear me yell
If they can't find a way to help her they can go to hell
If they can't find a way to help her they can go to hell

Paul said to Peter you got to rock yourself a little harder
Pretend the dove from above is a dragon and your feet are on fire
But I got a girl in the war Paul her eyes are like champagne
They sparkle bubble over and in the morning all you got is rain
They sparkle bubble over and in the morning all you got is rain
They sparkle bubble over and in the morning all you got is rain  
-Josh Ritter
The war I speak of is not on the other side of the world, it's not in the middle east, it's not over there, it's not somewhere else....it's here in our own world.  The war? The struggle to be independent, her own person, who she is and will be for the rest of her life.  It's the breaking out of the cocoon of which she has been living in her whole life.  Its the war of morals versus free-will.  It's the war of wills versus rules, it's the fight against what was taught and what everybody else is doing, it's a war of what has been proven true and what needs to be yet proven again....the hard way.

Age of Enlightenment

There is this thing that seems to be happening to young girls as they turn a certain age, 16...17, or worse 18.  At age 18, the world changes for the parents...forever.  Doctors, teachers, guidance counselors, therapists stop talking to them....unless the parents had the smarts to have the child sign a waiver which states that they approve open communication with the parents after she turns legal.  Even with this permission, the communication can be guarded to protect the new "adult".

Rules change

All of a sudden the relationship changes within the family and that young, sweet girl disappears, I hear, for a time and then returns in a different form, calmer and more mature.  But until that time, the household goes into turmoil...for a time. New rules need to be drawn up and enforced to help alleviate some of the stress on the parents and instill some control within the home.  But theses rules may be the "first to go."

Mourning ensues

The parents, at a complete loss, looks at their transforming off-spring and wonders what they did, didn't do, or just "what happened to my little girl?"  Since there is no way to penetrate the stubborn hard shell that covers this precious young lady, all the parents can do is.....

.." turn up the music and pray that she makes it through".....

Monday, January 12, 2015

Holding on to Proverbs 22:6!!!

Proverbs 22:6 says, "Train up a child in the way he should go, and when he is old he will not depart from it." 

 Well, it’s that time a year again…the end of the year.  It’s that time again when you hear about goals, resolutions, changes to make our lives better, better than it was last year.  We are a fallen people so we don’t have it all down perfectly, I included to be sure.  Resolutions are usually self-made rules that are quickly forgotten, broken, or deemed too hard to keep after a few weeks into the new year.  I think its funny how you pass by the gyms around town the first few weeks in January and see how crowded they are with all the goals, resolutions and changes folks pledge to make the new year better, but by about February or March these same gyms are back to the same usual pace.  I have not been any of those people.

However, this year is going to be different for me, after 18 and 20 years of being mommy to two young daughters, I am now the mom to two adult women who do not need me like they used to.  Their brother, now 32 and married for over 6 years, moved into his adulthood while I was in the throes of toddler-hood and the early homeschooling years.  I was happy, busy, with a full schedule of activities for many years with his two young sisters ahead of me to focus on.  All those lovely years are passed now and they are both in college and making their own future plans.  One is engaged to be married in a few years when she is out of college and the other one is not yet sure, but feeling the need to be independent.

This year I need to become more of the mother bear that chases her cub up a tree, this year I need to be the woman who chooses a second career and embraces her marriage and life as an empty-nester.  No children to care for, no kids at home waiting for dinner to be cooked, no homework to grade, or music lessons to pay for.  That part of my life is over, literally over and I am missing it already.  Terribly.  I was never one of those mothers who couldn’t wait for holiday break to be over, I never felt tired of being a mother, nor did I relate to others who complained about their how their kids drove them crazy.  These statements never came out of my mouth.  I loved having them around and loved being their mom.  

We have done the best that we could,  took them to Church, talked about Jesus, prayed with them, sang with them, worshiped with them.  We loved them, hugged them, apologized when we were wrong, praised them when they did well, and scolded them when they did wrong.  We took them on trips, camped, hiked, visited historic sites, and holy places.  We taught them to read, write, and do math, we taught them to think for themselves, learn and not memorize.  We made them good learners, both honor students, graduating from high school with a 3.9 and a 4.0.  I taught them the theology of the body, to respect themselves and others.  

It's time to see how we did....what sunk in and what needs yet another layer of education..the school of hard knocks.  I know that much of this is normal and I have to have faith that they will turn out as fine and decent human-beings, God-fearing, faithful, and headed for eternity.  That's what we were going for and that they will pass on the knowledge of Jesus Christ and His teachings and of course His bride, the Church.

It is my prayer.

Wednesday, December 31, 2014

2014 in Review

This year has been a busy one for the Pillar household. We experienced many changes as the children in the house became young adults and college students by the fall.

This first month of the year was celebrated with a beautiful snowfall....which meant snow cream!  Also the first beer brew of the year, both delish!

In February, we celebrated our 21st year of marriage and our daughter turned 19......wow.  Also, our youngest daughter was confirmed!  It is a great accomplishment to have all your children making their sacraments under your watch!

 March was a quiet month, I did lots of crafting, paper-piecing Dr Who motifs and canning my first batch of sauerkraut and Sarah had a piano recital after receiving a Superior rating in her piano festival competition.

 April brought another batch of beer, a high school concert staring our daughter who was the concert master after only 4 months after major wrist surgery! Along with more crafting from me, this time a crocheted scarf for my mother.

May was a silly month with little activity worth mentioning, so we decided to be the month of selfies:

June is the month of graduation, we are so proud of our scholar, 3.9 GPA! All the cords and stole represent the honor societies she was inducted into, Theta Mu- Math, English, Science, and  the National Honor Society.

July was my beloved husband's birthday and also a busy month for the new graduate as she was the Youth Camp counselor for the Upstream/Downstream Connection camps for the 4th summer.
  August is my birthday month and also the month I worked like a dog as a retail project merchandiser for a major sales and marketing company.  These are just a few of the project I was a part of.

September was a big month for the family as I got a promotion and went full-time with the company as a member of a direct sales team, DRT, for a major corporation....here's a hint of who that might be.....
October was a somewhat quiet month with school, college, new full-time job going on.  the costumes are a scream below here.....note the tardis headband!  Hahaha.

November brought us a big surprise when our college freshmen got engaged.  Mixed feelings about it so soon, but we have to trust that these two will make the right choices down the road.  We will be there for them whatever their path takes them, however.  We got to travel to visit my family and meet our newest member, little Ellie.  The girls has a blast with her. 

December has come and is gone in a few hours. Its hard to believe another year has come and gone, but it has.  Our youngest graduated from high school half a year early with a 4.0 GPA, got her driver's license and turned 18!!!  Double wow!!  Can't believe the changes, empty-nesting will be us very soon now.  (Karl is the fella in the background....the fiance)
From the Pillar Household to yours, may 2015 bring you peace, health, hope, and lots of love!


Friday, December 26, 2014

St. Stephen and a hog-killin

Wow, right off the bat, we have to be confronted with the martyrdom of a young brave man from the early Church.  We have to wipe that smile of joy and celebration amidst the gifts, food, and fellowship off our faces, we have to be confronted with sadness and unbridled meanness contained in human nature.

Why, pray-tell?

Does it make sense right at the beginning of our celebration season that we should be sobered by the fact that this celebration came with a price?  St Stephen, by the way, the name in Greek Stephanos, means crown, was a deacon...and a well respected one at that.  The apostles, after Christ's death and resurrection, after walking the road to Emmaus and being rejuvenated by Christ himself, took to the ministry with renewed zeal and all seriousness.  They realized that they needed help with the service of the ministry, the feeding and raising money for the poor and widows. So, they appointed seven followers they knew to be of respected spirituality and knowledge to help in these capacities.  Stephen was one they specifically pointed out as being, "a man full of faith and of the Holy Spirit." (Acts 6:5)

How can one celebrate something without really understanding the beginning, or the why, a celebration is in the first place?  I recently watched one of my favorite programs concerning cooking and a chef and a farmer, called "A Chef's life".  It was the Christmas special containing many traditions of her family concerning food and customs.  During the program, they had a "hog-killing" which was quite emotional for all of them.  Life is life, right?  Well afterwards the chef was cutting up the hog at a table and talking with a fellow chef, she said after experiencing this, I don't want to waste any part of this hog, I want to use it all.  Her husband noted, that if you don't know this part, you have no right to be in the grocery store buying pork chops.  I get what he means, sounds harsh, but I understand now after watching the hog alive, then hearing the rifle go off and seeing the chef's face before and afterwards.  It's part of life, God's provisions for us, but it is painful and life is lost...a hog's life, but its where a pork chop begins.  yes, yes, we can be carnivores without knowing or witnessing the killing of the animal, but there comes an appreciation that seems to make the bacon taste all the better.

Back to St. Stephen and his martyrdom and why the Church calendar has us acknowledging his being killed for the sake of the Church right after the nativity. To understand what price was paid to be where we are today, gives us the appreciation necessary to celebrate.  Without learning what brave souls we have to thank, to aspire to, to be in awe of , how can one see the present and into the future with hope and a fervor to save, celebrate and carry on the mission Christ was born to?

It is my prayer that this Christmas season brings those Catholic Christians that are lukewarm, disenchanted, lost, or just plain lazy about their faith into the path of an on-fire Catholic Christian and receive the necessary tools with which to wake up and join in the fight to save, celebrate and carry one the mission!

Merry Christmas from the Pillar household to all!

Wednesday, November 19, 2014

A TLC Book Tour: Glimpsing Heaven

"A Shower of light..."  "A connection to everything and everyone..."    "Absolute love..."

"Who are we, the living, to decide what or who is coming for us right before or during death?  It seems as though pretty much anything can happen."

"Glimpsing Heaven, The Stories and Science of Life after Death" is an exciting book or better yet, study and witness of those who have experienced death one way or another and lived to tell of their experience.  You would not believe some of the amazing stories that fill this book! 

Judy Bachrach writes with great interest and clarity the accounts of these special and very real experiences and puts them together in a book for those of us to see a side of death that could and should calm our fears of the inevitable for each and everyone of us.  I personally applaud her bravery in facing her own fear of death and for those facing death around her by "confronting it-and them-twice a week every week' tending to those facing death.

Ms. Bachrach's book consists of nine intriguing chapters of individuals and their families and many times their physicians' accounts with scientifically proven facts to accompany these experiences.  A great and quick read, Glimpsing Heaven come highly recommended by the Pillar household and many others on this blog tour.

Thank you to both Judy Bachrach for her wonderful work and to "TLC Book Tours for this opportunity to read and spread the word about "Glimpsing Heaven"   The book was generously supplied by TLC Book Tours for this review.

Saturday, September 27, 2014

Who really is first or last?

In the Gospel of Matthew 20:1-16a Christ describes the Kingdom of God as a landowner who goes out five times to find men that need work, hires them, sends them into the fields and pays them all equally in the end.

Crazy, right?  Well, that is our normal thinking at first hearing this story, but what about it?   Here's another "twisted" parable that Christ gave his band of average guys to change their way of thinking, causing them (and us) to ask the question: what is fair, or what is equal in the eyes of our God?  In this parable, what WE think is completely equal and fair has been thrown out the window, because God sees our needs as individuals very differently and very individually.  Those workers that were chosen early in the morning were very fortunate to have been hired right away, they didn't have time wait and worry about feeding their families.  Those chosen at nine waited, but not so long, as for those chosen at 12 and 3, they had time to wait and worry, but those chosen at 5 could very well have nearly given up hope.....but they didn't. Hour after hour they waited, worried, and hoped beyond hope to be hired to work and get paid.  Even though the laborers that bore the day's burden and heat working, those who waited and worried, bore another quite different and equally burdensome labor and the landowner took pity on them and gave them a charity they appreciated deeply....probably more so than those laborers that "earned" their pay.  The all-day laborers grumbled about it.....but without being in the shoes of the later chosen, we can be so unfair and downright uncharitable, but God doesn't function that way at all.  In this case, the first shall be last and the last shall be first.

Here's another twist to this parable:  God seeks us out!  We are always hearing how we need to or want to or should seek God first and all will be answered.  But what about God seeking us out?  Looking for us and finding us where we are, possibly in the corner wallowing in our fears, and trials...and saving us? Not that I think we can just sit on our laurels and wait for Him, but there are times when I just know He is there at the right moment in our life at a time when we can not help ourselves and He hears our plea.  The laborers that were hired at the end of the day, God saw them and saved them as per their own individual need.

The bottom line here is that what we think is first and last cannot be anywhere close to what is truly God's way.  God's way is really the way things should be, not our way, however that dastardly thing called freewill comes into play here.  Freewill causes us to think differently, selfishly at times, changing the way we think and function.  Enter, Christ and His amazing parables that twists around the scenarios back to the way of God.

Sunday, September 21, 2014

Women priests: my response to one lady who says she is the first woman priest in NC

"I was the first woman in North Carolina to be ordained as a Roman Catholic Woman Priest.

"The association whose program I completed is validly ordained in the right of the holy orders of the Roman Catholic Church. The first women were ordained by a male bishop who is in good standing with Rome and remains anonymous because he would be excommunicated if it were ever known that he had taken part. That movement started in 2002, so I'm just part of that movement."
Ok, if this bishop is “in good standing with Rome” but remains anonymous says only ONE thing, he is not right with Rome…or the Holy See, so whatever he does in the name of the  Roman Catholic Church is invalid.  Period.  Nothing more needs to be said here.  We have books, magazines and papers that pour over the many new seminarians and novices that are working towards finalizing their callings, but there is no reason at all to publicize schismatic and disrespectful activity such as this.

What kinds of complications are involved with becoming a priest if you are female?

"The teaching is that we have excommunicated ourselves automatically by disobeying canon law. But we believe that God's law comes first. There is a moral imperative to change an unjust law and when an unjust law cannot be changed then it must be broken. That is social justice 101. Many Catholics may not think of this as a social justice issue, but it is. I didn't do this just to do something different. I did this because I had a call. I processed this call for years with other spiritual guides, most of whom are in good standing with the Roman Catholic Church, both priests and sisters. The studies show that 50-60% of Roman Catholics would welcome women in the priesthood. There is nothing in the Bible, nothing scripturally, that prevents women from being ordained in the priesthood. The current theology shows that women were ordained in the early church, certainly not the ordination that we have now, that process developed over 2,000 years, but women were leaders in the early church. Mary Magdalene, throughout the ages has been called the 'apostle to the apostles.'"
There is also nothing scriptural that backs up female priests. What it does emphasize scripturally is that women have a very important and necessary role in the Church.  
It was precisely to Mary Magdalene that St. Thomas Aquinas reserved the special title, "Apostle of the Apostles" (apostolorum apostola), dedicating to her this beautiful comment: "Just as a woman had announced the words of death to the first man, so also a woman was the first to announce to the Apostles the words of life" (Super Ioannem, ed. Cai, § 2519).

What is lost here in these so-called social justice 101 canon law-breakers is the complete lack of attention to detail in the biblical role of women.  Unlike the obvious male role as apostles, priests, etc., women held roles of support and influence bar none.  It is Mary, who bore the Godhead to redeem the world, it was Anna, who recognized the Christ child in the temple, and it was the woman with the alabaster jar of oil, washing Christ’s feet that we remember most assuredly, as Christ instructed us to.  It was Mary Magdalene who announced the resurrection to the group of disappointed apostles, and a group of women followers that had the means to keep this missionary band with food and means to carry on the work for 3 years.

The “current theology” shows that women were ordained in the early church”…nothing could be farther from the truth.  Yes, yes, we had a lady named Phoebe who was a deaconess, but 2,000 years ago no title of any formality was definitive as yet.  The early Church was just beginning.  No one in their right mind would interpret this title as something more than affirming their selfish desire to be a priest.  What organization in its infancy has their hierchy in place right out the gate?  It takes time and the Catholic Church truly took her time.  Did I say “Her”?  Why yes, the Church is referred to as a woman!  The Catholic Church is referred to as the bride of Christ.  He gave his life for her and it is in this verse in Ephesians that we see why the Church is the bride of Christ:
"Husbands, love your wives, as Christ loved the church and gave himself up for her, that he might sanctify her, having cleansed her by the washing of water with the word, so that he might present the church to himself in splendor, without spot or wrinkle or any such thing, that she might be holy and without blemish" (Ephesians 5:25-27).

Do you have any advice for others who follow the faith?

"In spiritual direction, we try to get in touch with how God is working in our lives. We try to become conscious of that working of God. How is God speaking to me? How do we appropriately respond to that?

"Christians have largely been taught that it's all indoctrination, it all comes from the past or the hierarchy who have determined how to translate God's actions, but I believe you should listen to the God within you. God is closer to you than you are to your own self. God is deep within. It is within the day to day living out, the reflection, prayerful reflection, silent reflection. Listen to that still small voice. That is in Isaiah, God is in the still small voice. Have the courage to follow it. That is what I am trying to build, a community that listens to this still small voice. Go against the grain if you need to, confront the power structures. I believe God is a God of justice and I feel we need to move deeper into that realm of justice."
The God inside you is the God of the past, present and the future!  He has not changed and he will not change.  Christ made enough rebellious noise in his time to the shock of those around him.  He ate with tax collectors, sinners, and the like, he didn’t wash his hands, and performed great works on the Sabbath.  Do you think if he had intended women to be one of the apostles, he would have done so?  Of course he would, but he didn’t.  He did not have women in the roles of apostles for a very good reason.  He needed them to have their own purpose and role necessary to the ministry’s future.
In short, without the generous contribution of many women, the history of Christianity would have developed very differently.
This is why, as our newly canonized St. John Paul II wrote in his Apostolic Letter Mulieris Dignitatem: "The Church gives thanks for each and every woman.... The Church gives thanks for all the manifestations of the feminine 'genius' which have appeared in the course of history, in the midst of all peoples and nations; she gives thanks for all the charisms which the Holy Spirit distributes to women in the history of the People of God, for all the victories which she owes to their faith, hope and charity: she gives thanks for all the fruits of feminine holiness" (n. 31).
All in all, discernment of one’s vocation may take months or years and it also depends on which “little voice” you listen to.  Men and women have very different bodies, minds and roles in life, which is exactly how God created us.  We are all of one body, but different parts, and different roles to play.  No job, no matter what size needs all supervisors, there needs to be planners, surveyors, architects, finishers, etc.  Because without these other roles, the mission cannot be completed!