Tuesday, October 31, 2006
"Would you like some pumpkin pie?" Mrs. Sherman smilingly offered me one afternoon as Mark and I ran into the house, all sweaty from playing leap frog in the garden. I had never heard of pumpkin pie before that but I think I did try a slice. I don't remember at all how it tasted but since then I've held a fascination for pumpkins and the whole "pumpkin culture" surrounding halloween.
Too bad I didn't exert more effort to stay in touch with Mark before he left for the States to pursue college (or to work, I'm not so sure). Then his parents sold the house a few years later and moved to a more quiet neighborhood. I haven't heard from them but the sight of pumpkins (which is likely to happen at this time of the year every year) sure reminds me of Mrs. Sherman and the baked treats she'd churn out from the oven.
Of course with halloween in the air, pumpkins are everywhere again. I wish I had a copy of "It's the Great Pumpkin, Charlie Brown," but for now I'll have to make do with borrowing a friend's and hope he lends me the whole Charlie Brown Halloween-Thanksgiving-Christmas DVD collection.
Well, well...as I surfed to look for Peanuts photos to put here, I discover that it's the 40th anniversary of "It's the Great Pumpkin, Charlie Brown"! Happy anniversary!
Monday, October 30, 2006
Books for Less branches are at SM Mall of Asia, Alabang Town Center, Pearl Drive in Ortigas Ctr., Roces Ave. in Quezon City, Robinsons Metro East and Robinsons San Fernando in Pampanga, among others (the website lists the other branches' locations).
Shepherd's Staff is located in Greenbelt 1, Glorietta 4, SM Mall of Asia, Festival Mall, Market Market, and SM San Lazaro.
If you missed the press release I posted here several weeks ago, here's another to give you a glimpse of what's in the mag's latest issue:
Love Life magazine puts a different spin on family life, marriage and children in its latest issue packed with news, features and facts on various life issues. A publication of Pro-Life Philippines, Love Life offers interesting reads in its sections on family life & marriage, life before birth, and features. Other sections are “What in the world is going on?” which gives a lowdown on global news, and “Photofinish!” which showcases the pro-life world in pictures. Feature articles delve on infidelity, the pre-born baby’s 9-month journey, and the issue of sex education.
Love Life is available at Totus Bookstore (2nd flr. Red Ribbon Bldg., Connecticut St., Greenhills), Books for Less Bargain Bookstore and Shepherd’s Staff. Call Pro-Life at (02) 422-8877 for subscriptions, advertising and other inquiries.
Sunday, October 29, 2006
Silence can be a good thing, just like the day of each year since 2004 when Stand True Ministries embarks on its Students' Day of Silent Solidarity (renamed Pro-Life Day of Silence), which for this year happened earlier this week. Pictures and stories are up on their website, so do drop in! Clearly the group is all set for next year's event, too!
There are times, however, when speaking up is called for. To wit:
How students can break the 'code of silence'
A number of resources let students anonymously voice their concerns about troubling issues at school.
By Stacy A. Teicher Staff writer of The Christian Science Monitor
Telling on people isn't popular. But when it comes to preventing violence at school, kids who know something about a plot are often the first line of defense. Anonymous hot lines and e-mail systems are gaining momentum in the push to encourage students to tell an adult.
Full story at The Christian Science Monitor
British toy retailer Tesco comes up with something for kids aged 5-7 years. Then advertises the product on its website with "Unleash the sex kitten inside..."?? The £49.97 kit comprises a chrome pole extendible to 8ft 6ins, a 'sexy dance garter' and a DVD demonstrating suggestive dance moves.
Thank God the company has been condemned for selling the pole-dancing toy (I think the product has been removed from the company's direct sales site).
More links to the issue at Feminine Genius. Modestly Yours also discusses the matter here.
Saturday, October 28, 2006
Beans that grow hope
An aid group heals hatred in Rwanda by getting historically hostile ethnic groups to grow coffee together.
By Melanie Stetson Freeman | Staff photographer
BUTARE, RWANDA – The "land of a thousand hills" is in the midst of an uphill climb back to normalcy. Known for the genocide that a decade ago claimed 800,000 lives in 100 days as Hutus massacred Tutsis, Rwandans may find that one road to healing leads through their country's thousands of coffee fields, where Hutus and Tutsis now grow their crop - together.
First, Do Harm
I’ve watched only one episode of "Grey’s Anatomy"--because the spectacle of watching doctors who could be operating on me tomorrow having adulterous sex in what were supposed to be patient consulting rooms proved a bit much.
It wasn’t so much that it strained the bounds of morality. Worse, it strained the bounds of credulity. Or at least I hope that’s not the way it was when I had minor surgery at my local university hospital a couple of weeks ago. That episode of "Grey’s" also featured an in-ward prom (yes, you read that right, a high-school prom in honor of the chief of surgery’s cancer-stricken daughter, a patient), in which all the comely young doctors got dolled up in tuxes and evening gowns and waltzed around the surgical equipment under a disco ball--until the fiance of one of the youthful surgeons, also a patient at the hospital, upped and died--whereupon she climbed into the hospital bed with his corpse, evening gown and all. No, I don’t think so, I said to myself.
That episode that had me resolving "never again!" for "Grey’s" involved a heart transplant--to that very fiance. The story was that he had been on a waiting list for that transplant--so his doctor-girlfriend, an intern at the hospital, fudges around with his medical records to make him sicker in order to move him to the list’s very top, ahead of several other people even worse off than he. As you can imagine, such conduct is an extraordinary breach of medical ethics, not to mention lawsuit-generator if, say, the folks bumped down the translplant list ever found out. The hospital conducted an investigation, but all the rest of the beautiful young interns--who knew perfectly well what happened and even gave her a hand--played "I Am Spartacus" and kept mum, thwarting the investigators and playing them for fools. Then, the fiance, after doing well with his new heart for a couple of days, suddenly did the flat EKG thing. Hence the scene with the evening gown and the corpse--played for high pathos.
Read more at Independent Women's Forum
Tuesday, October 24, 2006
The Annual Students' Day of Silent Solidarity -- now on its 3rd year and which is an initiative of Stand True Ministries -- is set for Oct. 24, Tuesday. You'll never know what being quiet for a whole day can accomplish when it's done for a cause, such as to pay tribute to the millions of voiceless who never saw the light of day.
From the 2005 Day of Silent Solidarity, in which students from some 1,200 campuses took part --
A white paper sign I taped to my black shirt read, "I AM SILENT TODAY IN MEMORY OF THE UNBORN BABIES WHO LOST THEIR LIVES BEFORE THEY EVER HAD A VOICE. My mother chose life, and now I'm here. Please pray for others who must make the choice.
Here are some reactions people had when they found out what I was doing:
"I don't believe in picketing abortion clinics, but that silence thing is a good idea. It's like a fast."
"Are you the only one doing it, or are there more?"
*understanding smile and nod*
"Aww... and now I forgot what you ordered 'cause I was reading your shirt..."
Read more from last year's post
The silver lining
I really appreciate your comments. One thing I need to make clear is that for the past year as my daughter tried to distance herself and her children from me, I have been nothing but loving. This is really a lot of growth for me: five years ago when this happened I got angry. The only thing that resolved that was when Tripp and I were getting ready to move to Virginia and my daughter found out and called and not only made peace, but decided to move here too.
But the relationship was very up and down. Last year when the same thing happened, I cried and got in touch with the fact that I often react to hurt with anger and toughness - which misleads everyone about where I'm coming from. I decided to just keep loving my daughter by visits, sending presents, etc. When I wasn't invited to her last baby's birth (I was blessed to be at the birth of three of her children - one was born the last time she wasn't speaking to me) or her baby shower, I just let it go. I really understood and respected her right to create whatever boundaries she wanted. And - a real breakthrough for me - I loved her regardless of how she felt about or acted toward me.
And I certainly love my grandchildren, although they seem a little confused about their relationship with me. It's probably difficult on them to not know where I stand in their mother's heart.
Even last week when she told me I couldn't come over to see the kids, I remained kind and loving, letting her know I would be here for her as soon as she was ready to see me. She mentioned outside help and I said I thought that was a wonderful idea, and that I would be happy to go too if needed. I honestly feel nothing but love and compassion and hope for a brighter tomorrow - which is the spirit in which I'm asking for your prayers.
I almost went over anyway so we could talk in person. It's way too easy to create monsters of people when you shut them out of your life. She had mentioned once before that it meant a lot to her that I continued to reach out even when she was pushing me away. I know I've learned with my children at home, that holding them on my lap and hugging - or in the case of one of my adult sons, him holding me on his lap and hugging - can melt away all kinds of perceived problems.
So I wrestled with it. Should I just go over and demonstrate - I'd already expressed it in words - that I love her and care for her anyway? I was worried that then she would be mad that I had encroached on her boundaries. My husband - who raised her from the time she was seven but whom she has completely marginalized - said it would not be a good idea and that if she reacted negatively, it would be bad for the children to see.
So I didn't go. I still don't know if that was the right call. I know that in my heart, I'm holding her close and wiping her tears and assuring her that I will love her forever no matter what.
For a person who's never known that kind of love on earth, that shows tremendous healing. And if God can heal a person like me, he can heal anyone.
Saturday, October 21, 2006
This is the part I like the most in a piece I found at Newoman.org. I think it says a lot about what many couples who tie the knot don't know before they even consider marriage.
Chasing Prince Charming
By Becca Danis
I have to admit, I've always had a weakness for chick flicks. You know -- the hopelessly romantic kind that end with the courageous-yet-vulnerable heroine and the ruggedly handsome man realizing they're perfect for each other and sealing their 'happily-ever-after' future with a kiss. Needless to say, the ending of Pirates of the Caribbean melted me on the spot.
Full article at Newoman.org
By not having divorce on the table, my husband and I have an excellent incentive for making this work and growing through the problems without contemplating finding a new spouse. However, NOT getting divorced does not mean that our marriage is taken for granted because there is always the possibility that we could separate and live apart. So both elements --treating the marriage carefully because it is fragile and yet not worrying at every step one is considering trading in the other for a newer model -- helps us to take our marriage vows seriously and live in the peace that these vows offer.
With these thoughts in mind, I read an article in Glamour about Faith Hill, where she says, "We have disagreements, but we got married to stay married. If you didn’t want to walk the same path or believe the same things, it could be difficult, but if you have the same goals you can get through bumpy moments. It’s remarkable to have someone walk beside you as you grow and change; it would be nice to see [marriage] that way instead of it being a major challenge."
Full blog post at Modestly Yours
Friday, October 20, 2006
'Therapeutic abortion' being used to open door to more abortions in Peru
Nicaraguan president sends anti-abortion bill to Congress
UK government 'postpones' gay propaganda in kindergarten after parents object
Portuguese gov't launches campaign in abortion referendum
130 South Dakota doctors endorse abortion ban
Wednesday, October 18, 2006
Noblesse Oblige – with nobility comes obligation – a French term intended to convey that those who posses strength, intelligence or wealth are responsible to use such privileges to serve the common good.
It was out of this term that the concept of a gentleman sprang forth. A gentleman was a man who took care to serve and protect those weaker than him – either physically, mentally, or financially – a man who showed respect and consideration for others both by courteous manners and good grooming. It is for this man, or should I say, his modern day equivalent, that I am an advocate today. The gentleman has all but disappeared in our day, and it is high time we brought him back.
In my studies I have found the most neglected aspect of gentlemanly behavior is that of male interaction with the fair gender – in modern English: what it means to be a gentleman toward a lady. Narrowing my subject to this aspect I will also focus, though to a lesser extent, on the responsibility of the ladies to respond to and encourage the proper behavior of the gentleman in their lives, and finally, on both the gentleman and the lady in their responsibility towards God in this area.
Is chivalry dead?
For decades gentlemanly behavior has experienced decline. Not only are men becoming less apt to offer service, but ladies are much more likely to refuse it. A man gives up when his assistance is consistently shunned and so does the poor lady left sitting in the car waiting for a gentleman to open the door.
In an attempt to remedy this sad situation I could, as many do, lay out the rules of basic etiquette, encompassing the obvious doors, chairs, boxes, bags, and other such practices. Yet while all of these now uncommon courtesies are admirable they are merely signs that one is a gentleman or lady, not the means of becoming one. And as such a mere review of the appropriate actions is unlikely to cause lasting change.
You see, gentlemanly behavior is an attitude of heart, not a set of rules. Once the proper mindset is attained opening doors, offering chairs, carrying baggage, and the like become merely the predictable consequences of the changed attitude, and become voluntary rather than compulsory.
An appeal to the ladies
Now, I appeal to the ladies, and especially to my sisters in Christ. If you don’t embrace your role as the recipient of our consideration we cannot act effectively as the gentlemen. You can show your care and serve your brothers by making it possible for us to become the kind of men God wants us to be. Give us opportunities to do the right thing. We may need subtle hints such as, “Will you open the door for me please?” You know we need to be reminded sometimes. And when you can see us trying, please encourage us and allow us to serve you. If our actions are made from a servants-heart don’t take it as implying that we don’t think you can open the door or carry the box. You may not need our help, but we need to help. Please don’t take your side of this process lightly, your response is just as important, as our initiative.
The entire piece (delivered originally as a speech) is definitely a worthy read. Check it out at The Rebelution
Monday, October 16, 2006
Sunday, October 15, 2006
While we ought to take care of our physical well-being and strive to look our best, too, real beauty -- which has more to do with doing good than looking good -- is what's worth aiming for.
Dove's campaign is one positive presence. Check this out --
Commercial explores photo manipulation of models
Before and after pictures expose dramatic changes and conception of beauty
Thursday, October 12, 2006
by Spero News
Labeled "a Dove film", the commercial is entitled "evolution". Beginning with a woman walking into a photo shoot. From there, she is primped and plucked by hair and makeup artists, then tweaked on a Photoshop-like program.
The photo-manipulation is then posted on a billboard for the fictional "Easel Foundation Makeup" brand. Two young, teenage girls walk past, glancing at the board.
"No wonder our perception of beauty is distorted" ends the ad in text, "Every girl deserves to feel beautiful just the way she is."
Full article at Spero News
I've rearranged the list of links on this blog, clumping the related ones together to make sorting through them a bit easier. The first bunch is composed of blogs, followed by entertainment- or design-oriented blogs, resources on family and abortion topics (plus one on perinatal death and bereavement -- The Haven Network), great and substantial reads, news sources, sites that delve on the right to life issue -- including youth resources -- and a hodgepodge of other sites that could prove useful in some way.
Please take the time to drop by any of them, whether it's respite or research you're in need of.
Saturday, October 14, 2006
As with so much contemporary legislation, the law is only seeking to fill a gap left by the vacuum in custom and manners. When we see a warning notice at a toll booth, a check-in desk, or even on a bus, saying that employees are entitled to carry out their work without being threatened by violence or verbal abuse; or when there is a sign at a post office informing customers that they must switch off their mobile telephones while speaking to the person serving them – this is the law is trying to teach manners and respect.
We should not have to be told that it is rude to conduct a phone conversation while dealing with the person behind a counter; or that it is unacceptable to swear or verbally abuse a bus driver or someone otherwise serving the public. But where manners and custom fail, the law now tries to step in. Yet the law is often blunt, and impersonal, and works with a sledgehammer effect, so that all are subjected equally, when a fine discrimination is sometimes judicious.
In the matter of age and ageing, what many older people appreciate is a sense of acknowledgement that they have lived a little, and in that living have often garnered interesting and helpful experience. They do not want to be dismissed, just because they are less attuned to a more raucous age of instant data, or because their physical powers or appearance aren't quite what they used to be.
It is nice when younger people are kind and show some respect – and many younger people can be kind and even respectful: in America, younger folk have a gratifying attitude towards seniors who have "paid their dues" and have thus earned a certain "entitlement" to be heard. It is pleasant not to be patronised and regarded as a dithering old biddy. Such social adjustments might be positive outcomes of anti-ageist attitudes.
Full article at Telegraph.co.uk
Friday, October 13, 2006
Yunus, Grameen Bank win Peace Prize
By DOUG MELLGREN, Associated Press Writer
OSLO, Norway - Bangladeshi economist Muhammad Yunus and the bank he founded won the Nobel Peace Prize on Friday for pioneering the use of microcredit, the extension of small loans to benefit poor entrepreneurs.
Grameen Bank has been instrumental in helping millions of poor Bangladeshis, many of them women, improve their standard of living by letting them borrow tiny sums to start businesses.
Loans go toward buying items such as cows to start a dairy, chickens for an egg business, or cell phones to start businesses where villagers who have no access to phones pay a small fee to make calls.