Saturday, December 31, 2005 (New Year’s Eve)
A year blogged
With occasional technical glitches or lapses in attentiveness, this has been a year well blogged. (for a comparative review of 2004, see 12.31.04.) Here is the ubiquitous end-of-year list that attempts to place 365 days, 357 blog entries, 30 training presentations, 4 articles published, 1 pod-cast effort, and a little thing like a job change in perspective. Whew!
Top Five Personal Events
• Spending time with Family: Care Packages 01.16 Spring Training 03.24-25 Baseball 06.19 We are Family 07.09 Meghan Visit 08.03,05 Why We Stay 09.01 Monopoly 09.06 Kid Weekend 10.14-15 Thanksgiving 11.22,27 Meghan’s B-day 12.10 Halls are Decked 12.20
• The Job Change: Discernment 01.23 Making Application 02.02 Our Lady of Hope 04.26 Self-referential Blog 05.10 Transitions 05.24 Act Like You’ve Been There Before 05.25 Thanks 05.31 One 06.17 Simple as Changing a Shirt 06.23 Introducing Myself 07.02
• The Stir Causing Social Partner: Hugged your blogger today? 05.19 Circle of Friends 06.05 The dream 09.12 Boiling the Bunny 11.15
• Master’s Degree 12.02
• Hanging with Arinze 08.19
Also blogged about… 47 01.30 Raven’s Pre-Season Comeback (signs of things not to come) 09.01 and lots of baseball
Top Five Ministry Efforts
• What’s Cooking with the NDC 10.20
• World Youth Day 08.12-23
• New Kind of Vocations review of NCCYM 01.18
• ABCEE 11.10
• Web Pages on Pope’s Death and Tsunami
Also blogged about… Justice Action Week 07.01 Santa Rosa 06.20-21 Middletown 10.23 NCYC 10.26-30 Podcasting 12.19
Top Five Movies
• Sideways 02.06
• God is Brazilian 04.12 (just ’cause any movie list needs the obscure foreign film)
• Rent 11.27
• Narnia 12.09
• Wedding Crashers 08.06 (just ’cause any movie list needs the rude humor film)
Also blogged about… Shall We Dance? 05.07 "Star Wars: Episode III — Revenge of the Sith" 05.18 Batman Begins 06.23 Fantastic Four 07.15 Good Night and Good Luck 11.05 Chicken Little 11.26 Producers 12.28
Top Five Theater Events
• Hairspray 12.28
• Into the Woods 04.16 (A high school production!!!)
• Much Ado about Nothing 04.29
• Abridged Shakespeare (This was an after-show extra following Nunsense which exceeded the main show)
• Lion King 08.04
Also blogged about… Jesus Christ Superstar 01.02 and Godspell 07.06
Ok, 2006- bring it on!!!! << Blogging >>
Friday, December 30, 2005
news that does not lift one’s spirits
Nearly one in 10 American teenagers, or 2.2 million, experienced major depression last year. Depressed youths were more likely to smoke, drink alcohol or abuse drugs. Major depression was considered a period of at least two weeks that included a loss of interest, depressed mood and at least four other symptoms such as a change in sleeping, eating or concentration. Read more here. << Youth Ministry >>
Thursday, December 29, 2005
the difference between men and women – again
CNN – Internet users share many common interests, but men are heavier consumers of news, stocks, sports and pornography, while more women look for health and religious guidance, a broad survey of U.S. Web usage has found. Read more here. Read to the bottom where it includes information regarding teenagers. << Blogging >>
Wednesday, December 28, 2005
Good Morning, Baltimore!
Oh, oh, oh Woke up today Feeling the way i always do
Oh, oh, oh Hungry for something That i can’t eat
Then I hear that beat The rhythm of town Starts calling me down
It’s like a message from High above Oh, oh, oh
Pulling me out To the smiles and the Streets that I love
In the movie version of The Producers, Leo Bloom (Matthew Broderick) steps beyond his fears during a musical number and yells out, "Stop the world . . . I want to get on!" Last night, during a road production of the musical Hairspray, the cast started out at a decent level and continued to ratchet it up song-by-song. The actress who played Tracy Turnblad, Keala Settle, was relentless on chewing up the stage, constantly in movement. More and more, I have become a push-over for passion and this show had it in bunches. It had me at hello and until the last bow.
You cant stop an avalanche As it races down the hill
You can try to stop the seasons, girl But ya know you never will
And you can try to stop my dancin’ feet But I just cannot stand still
‘Cause the world keeps spinning ‘Round and ’round
And my heart’s keeping time To the speed of sound
I was lost til I heard the drums Then I found my way. <<Culture >>
Tuesday, December 27, 2005
understanding the holiday
From one of today’s better philosophers: "Peace on Earth, good will toward men. That’s what Christmas is all about, Charlie Brown." (Linus Van Pelt, 1965) << Culture >>
Monday, December 26, 2005
beyond the crib
The God who became small leads to a bigger message. The first three feast days after Christmas remind us of all that lies ahead. Today is the Feast of Saint Stephen, the first martyr of the Church. December 27th, the Feast of Saint John the Apostle, who was given the care of the Blessed Mother by Jesus, from the Cross. December 28th, the Feast of the Holy Innocents, when children were slaughtered. These are not exactly feast days that endear us deeper to the Christmas feast, yet they are the church’s way of saying, “don’t get too comfortable at the crib; look at what’s ahead.” << Church >>
Sunday, December 25, 2005 (Christmas Day)
"God who became small"
Christmas is the greatness of God who becomes small so that we can love him, says Benedict XVI. "God is so great that he can become small," the Holy Father told the faithful in a crowded St. Peter’s Basilica. "God is so powerful that he can make himself vulnerable and come to us as a defenseless child, so that we can love him." God "is so good that he can give up his divine splendor and come down to a stable, so that we might find him, so that his goodness might touch us, give itself to us and continue to work through us." "This is Christmas," said the Pope, "God has become one of us, so that we can be with him and become like him." << Pope >>
Urbi et orbi – "to the city and to the world"
At the start of his message, Benedict recalled the "immense" progress that had been made in recent centuries in technology and science. "But the men and women in our technical age risk becoming victims of their own intellectual and technical achievements, ending up in spiritual barrenness and emptiness of heart," he said. To combat such a void, he urged the faithful to open their minds and hearts to the birth of Christ. "The modern age is often seen as an awakening of reason from its slumbers, humanity’s enlightenment after an age of darkness," he said. "Yet without the light of Christ, the light of reason is not sufficient to enlighten humanity and the world." << Pope >>
Saturday, December 24, 2005 (Christmas Eve)
Nazareth carpenter being held on charges involving underage mother
Bethlehem, Judea – Authorities were today alerted by a concerned citizen who noticed a family living in a barn. Upon arrival, Family Protective Service personnel, accompanied by police, took into protective care an infant child named Jesus, who had been wrapped in strips of cloth and placed in a feeding trough by his 14-year old mother, Mary of Nazareth.
During the confrontation, a man identified as Joseph, also of Nazareth, attempted to stop the social workers. Joseph, aided by several local shepherds and some unidentified foreigners, tried to forestall efforts to take the child, but were restrained by the police.
Also being held for questioning are three foreigners who allege to be wise men from an eastern country. The INS and Homeland Security officials are seeking information about these who may be in the country illegally. A source with the INS states that they had no passports, but were in possession of gold and other possibly illegal substances. They resisted arrest saying that they had been warned by God to avoid officials in Jerusalem and to return quickly to their own country. The chemical substances in their possession will be tested.
The owner of the barn is also being held for questioning. The manager of Bethlehem Inn faces possible revocation of his license for violating health and safety regulations by allowing people to stay in the stable. Civil authorities are also investigating the zoning violations involved in maintaining livestock in a commercially-zoned district.
The location of the minor child will not be released, and the prospect for a quick resolution to this case is doubtful. Asked about when Jesus would be returned to his mother, a Child Protective Service spokesperson said, "The father is middle-aged and the mother definitely underage. We are checking with officials in Nazareth to determine what their legal relationship is.
Joseph has admitted taking Mary from her home in Nazareth because of a census requirement. However, because she was obviously pregnant when they left, investigators are looking into other reasons for their departure. Joseph is being held without bond on charges of molestation, kidnapping, child endangerment, and statutory rape.
Mary was taken to the Bethlehem General Hospital where she is being examined by doctors. Charges may also be filed against her for endangerment. She will also undergo psychiatric evaluation because of her claim that she is a virgin and that the child is from God.
The director of the psychiatric wing said, "I don’t profess to have the right to tell people what to believe, but when their beliefs adversely affect the safety and well-being of others – in this case her child – we must consider her a danger to others. The unidentified drugs at the scene didn’t help her case, but I’m confidant that with the proper therapy regiment we can get her back on her feet."
A spokesperson for the governor’s office said, "Who knows what was going through their heads? But regardless, their treatment of the child was inexcusable, and the involvement of these others frightening. There is much we don’t know about this case, but for the sake of the child and the public, you can be assured that we will pursue this matter to the end." << Culture >>
Wednesday, December 21, 2005
The Shortest day
Today was holiday errand day. Working on Nichole’s college loans, gift shopping, nap time. Amidst it all, the Catholic Review published my Christmas reflection today. << Blogging >>
Tuesday, December 20, 2005
Back from the future
Subbed this evening with the middle school program- it was lightly attended. This afternoon was the staff office lunch. The Secret Santa activities were full of duplicity, shock & awe, and surprise- nothing says the holiday more. We received a chicken related gift basket from evangelization and catechesis. It was a full and lively day. << Parish >>
Monday, December 19, 2005
halls are decked
Nichole came over tonight, we went tree shopping, set up the lights, hung the ornaments. It looks like Christmas. << Friends and Family >>
According to Wikipedia, Podcasting is a term used to describe a group of technologies for distributing audio or video programs over the Internet using a publisher/ subscriber model. Podcasting enables independent producers to create self-published, syndicated "shows." Yesterday, the website underwent renovations to make space for the newest sub-file on the site: Podcasting. Enjoy! << Blogging >>
Sunday, December 18, 2005
convivencia de Jovenes
On Saturday, I went and hung out in a different language. It was interesting to note that a kid skit about parent relationships is recognizable as is a slide show- even if they are in Español. I learned a wicked new ice-breaker (and when was the last time that I ever said that!!) It was a cool day. << Work Day >>
world youth day video
I know, I know… this reference is soooo yesterday. Nonetheless, I just found it and can’t imagine many others were aware of it. USCCB put out a 7:33 minutes video on World Youth Day. It’s pretty good. << World Youth Day >>
Christmas holiday greetings
Please accept with no obligation, implied or implicit, my best wishes for an environmentally conscious, socially responsible, low stress, non-addictive, gender neutral celebration of the winter solstice holiday, practiced within the most enjoyable traditions of the religious persuasion of your choice, or secular practices of your choice, with respect for the religious/secular persuasions and/or traditions of others, or their choice not to practice religious or secular traditions at all … and a fiscally successful, personally fulfilling, and medically uncomplicated recognition of the onset of the generally accepted calendar year 2006, but not without due respect for the calendars of choice of other cultures, and without regard to the race, creed, color, age, physical ability, religious faith, or sexual orientation of the wisher.
This wish is limited to the customary and usual good tidings for a period of one year, or until the issuance of a subsequent holiday greeting, whichever comes first. "Holiday" is not intended to, nor shall it be considered, limited to the usual Judeo-Christian celebrations or observances, or to such activities of any organized or ad hoc religious community, group, individual, or belief (or lack thereof).
Note: By accepting this greeting, you are accepting these terms. This greeting is subject to clarification or withdrawal, and is revocable at the sole discretion of the wisher at any time, for any reason or for no reason at all. This greeting is freely transferable with no alteration to the original greeting. This greeting implies no promise by the wisher to actually implement any of the wishes for the wisher her/himself or others, or responsibility for the consequences which may arise from the implementation or non-implementation of same. This greeting is void where prohibited by law. << Culture >>
Saturday, December 17, 2005
Apprenticeship in grace
I missed it but Mae called my attention to this. The dude who won this week’s Apprentice did not have the class enough to win gracefully and share the victory or the moment. Yea, he’ll go real far… Just remember, Randall, that the folks you stepped over on the way up are the dame that you’ll meet on the way down. Watch the video clip here. << Culture >>
Died yesterday of a heart attack at 59. It’s a little sad this morning for West Wing fans. He seemingly was a good guy. Rest in peace. << Culture >>
Friday, December 16, 2005
wait a minute…
All of a sudden this afternoon, with a relatively easy week behind me, I saw an exponential growth to my to-do list. I was being good. I was being quiet. Why, oh why, did this occur the octave before Christmas? YIKES! All this and Christmas shopping. Anyway, learned a fair bit regarding pod-casting today. It’s a new game going into the new year! << Work Day >>
Thursday, December 15, 2005
One of my pet peeves as a NFCYM staffer was when the membership used us/them language when referring to the organization of which they were members. Yesterday, I found myself back in the NFCYM conference room for a meeting on adolescent catechesis and at one point, I referred to the NYCYM in a sentence as "they should…" I immediately caught (I don’t think anyone else did), apologized for it, and moved on. Yep, I moved on…! << Work Day >>
Wednesday, December 14, 2005
right here in river city
"Everyone knows that teenagers are trouble, and particularly religious trouble." So begins Rev. Andrew Greeley’s review of Soul Searching: The Religious and Spiritual Lives of American Teenagers. Read more about it here. << Youth Ministry >>
Tuesday, December 13, 2005
Give. Live. Love.
Took a shot at some writing today. It was about Coke’s holiday ad campaign. Submitted it off to two usually friendly sources. . . we’ll see how it plays. << Culture >>
Monday, December 12, 2005
in it for the cookies
The office festival of fun began today with gingerbread cookie baking. I was responsible for pressing down the cookie cutouts. << Work Day >>
Sunday, December 11, 2005
All travels went smoothly and we were rewards with a beautiful sunrise over Tampa Bay. Thanks to the miracles of airport wireless, I was able to check e-mail in Tamps and blog in Charlotte. << Blogging >>
Saturday, December 10, 2005
The youngest is now 14. A warm day involved some Christmas decorating of Grandma’s condo, cards (rummy, hearts, spoons), an outdoor meal watching a Christmas boat parade, and early slumber in anticipation of an early flight tomorrow out of Tampa (two-an-a-half hours away). It was a quiet, wonderful weekend in Daytona Beach. << Friends & Family >>
Friday, December 9, 2005
the Witch, The Lion, the Movie
The Chronicles of Narnia turned out to be pretty decent. It had the kid movie feel with a slight amount of more sophisticated sense of right and wrong. It subtly played out "the Passion of the Aslan" with those who want to work the Jesus connections having to work a little at it. Those connections were not overtly Disnefied nor were they sledgehammered into us. Thumbs up! One a personal note… three movies in a row for which I stayed awake. << Culture >>
Thursday, December 8, 2005
Greetings from Tampa
The bad news: 65 degrees and overcast- – - seven hours to kill before picking up Meghan at school.
The good News: TPA airport has free wireless! << Blogging >>
Tuesday, December 6, 2005
The office staff did some archival house cleaning yesterday. I whittled down three boxes saved from my previous incarnation at this office into a small handful of memories. I rescued three articles that I had previously written and had lost or forgotten. They are now in the Publishing file at the very bottom. Included in the oldest one is this ten-year-old picture. Duuuuude! << Blogging >>
Monday, December 5, 2005
An illustrated life
Finally got camera and computer in the same location. Pictures from Friday and Saturday’s entries can be found below. (Click on pictures to enlarge)
Baltimore Tonight: Snow this evening will diminish to a few flurries late. Low near 25F. Winds N at 5 to 10 mph. Chance of snow 70%. 1 to 2 inches of snow expected.
Daytona Beach this weekend: Party Cloudy. High near 75F. Winds 7 WSW 7 mph. Chance of precipitation 10%.
I’m going to Florida this weekend! << Blogging >>
Sunday, December 4, 2005
really dumb fund-raiser concept of the year
Wow! And there just so many possibilities out there… but, no, the calendar being made available from a Protestant youth group in Nuremberg, Germany clearly takes the prize! Of, course, the "organ restoration" project was in consideration. Thank God, neither of these involves a Catholic church!! I think it’s safe to say we all extend our best wishes to pastor Bernd Grasser for his upcoming search for future employment. << Funny Business >>
Saturday, December 3, 2005
DECK THE HALLS
The silly folks down the hall who had hung the Turkeys (that were replaced by little rubber chickens) have chosen to hang empty wreaths on their doors on Monday. We were stunned. Kristin likened it to victims of domestic violence who incite a fight just so they can control the abuse. Of course, chickens appeared last night on the center wreath. This afternoon, we went to our storage basement and brought up a massive amount of old giveaways. (We have our clearance giveaway this weekend at a retreat.) We also found Christmas decorations and immediately brought it up and prepared a very Essex Christmas display. The highlights are that a rubber Chicken with wings hovers over the manger and that our plastic Charlie Brown tree is up another winged Chicken’s butt. Now the same folks down the hall posted a note contesting if our very Essex Christmas tree was an authentic presentation of The Christian message (which was my contribution to the NDC trainings) Below is my response:
May the Peace of Christ be with you.
A concern has been expressed regarding if the “holiday tree” at the youth and young adult ministry end of the hallway reflects an authentic presentation of the Christmas message. The answer is “Of course!”
This tree has allowed us to reflect on the importance and value of appropriately decorating Christmas tree as this time of the year. As we decorated the tree, we remained mindful of the celebration of the birth of Jesus Christ. Further, we are reminded that it is the Creator who has blessed us with the beauty of nature and trees that are symbolized by the holiday tree down the hall. As we decorated, there was a celebration of the Spirit of the holidays, the Church, and our faith.
Clearly, our decorations celebrate the Good News of the Christmas message that God is with us. As diocesan employees, the very decoration of the tree became an ecclesial endeavor.
Our worked honored the tradition and history of holiday tree. Please refer to this link. As modern day society is debating Christmas trees vs. holiday tree, we have opted to embrace the culture, and just put up any old tree. The dignity of the human person was continually respected throughout the process; although, unfortunately, the same can not be said for a few rubber chickens. Finally, this was a real attempt to engage is sharing in a common language of festivity that this season has brought to the 5th floor.
Hope that alleviates anyone’s concerns. Have a Blessed Advent season! << Funny Business >>
Friday, December 2, 2005
A matter of degrees
My diploma arrived in the morning mail. I didn’t attend the graduation ceremony as they would not allow me to attend commencement wearing the same outfit that I had for my on-line classes- in my underwear! Nonetheless, I am a Master of Arts in Religious Education. Who’d a thunk?
Anyway, Mother Teresa reminds us that: At the end of our lives we will not be judged by how many diplomas we have received, how much money we have made or the great things we have done. We will be judged by ‘I was hungry and you gave me to eat. I was naked and you clothed me. I was homeless and you took me in.’ Hungry not for bread—but hungry for love. Naked not only for clothing—but naked for human dignity and respect. Homeless not for want of a room of bricks—but homeless because of rejection. This is Christ in distressing disguise." << Blogging >>
Thursday, December 1, 2005
World AIDS DAY
Today we commemorate and pray for those impacted by this deadly pandemic. More resources can be found here. << Youth Ministry Stuff >>