July 8, 2012

A Hug A Day...

Hugging is nothing less than a muscle drug.  

It helps the body's immune system, cures depression, reduces stress, and induces sleep.  

It is rejuvenating and invigorating, yet has no unpleasant side effects.  

It is all natural, organic, and naturally sweet.  
It contains no preservatives, no pesticides, no artificial ingredients, and is 100% wholesome.  
There are no batteries to wear out, no periodic check-ups, 
has low energy consumption, and high energy yield.  

It is inflation proof, non-fattening, non-taxable, non-polluting, and of course, fully refundable.  

In fact, hugging is practically perfect...  :-)

True story.  Have a lovely day.

July 2, 2012

Happy Birthday, America!!!

Ahh, the Fourth of July, Independence Day...  Family, friends, fireworks, food, and all sorts of fun stuff...  This one special day set apart to celebrate the great nation we have inherited from our forefathers, and I must admit that I personally have grown in appreciation for this particular national holiday.

Did you know that the actual separation of the American Colonies from Great Britain really happened on the 2nd of July in 1776, instead of the 4th?  That was the date when the Second Continental Congress met in Philadelphia, and took a vote to authorize the resolution of independence, which had been proposed the previous june by a man named Richard Henry Lee.  When Congress had finalized their vote for independence from Great Britain, it turned its attention to the Declaration of Independence (the statement giving an explanation of their decision) which had been prepared by a private cabinet of 5 men, having Thomas Jefferson as its primary author.  The Declaration was finally approved and passed on the fourth of July.  Hence, we celebrate our independence on this date, not the 2nd.

But all this talk reminds me of something that all of us Americans cherish, and sometimes even take for granted because we have lived with it all our lives.  Liberty.  Because we are so used to it, we cannot afford to let our guard down when it comes to defending our freedoms, to do the good which we are called to do, and our freedom of religion, some of the American blessings which are, unfortunately, under attack in today's society.

Pope Benedict XVI (Sixteenth)
Earlier this year, the Holy Father, Pope Benedict XVI said to the Bishops of our country, "At the heart of every culture, whether perceived or not, is a consensus about the nature of reality and the moral good, and this about the conditions for human flourishing.  In America, that consensus, as enshrined in your nation's founding documents, was grounded in a worldview shaped not only by faith, but also a commitment to certain ethical principles deriving from nature and nature's God.  Today, that consensus has eroded significantly in the face of powerful new cultural currents, which are not only directly opposed to core moral teachings of the Judeo-Christian tradition, but are also increasingly hostile to Christianity and such."  He continued, "...It is imperative that the entire Catholic community in the United States comes to realize the grave threats to the Church's public moral witness presented by a radical secularism which finds increasing expression in the political and cultural spheres.  The seriousness of these threats needs to be clearly appreciated at every level of ecclesial life.  of particular concern are certain attempts being made to limit that most cherished of American freedoms, freedom of religion."

Our Pope is not making an exaggeration here.  Simply look at the dreadful "Health and Human Services Mandate" that our government just voted for.  If it is not overturned, Catholic institutions will be forced either to provide contraception, sterilization, and abortifacient drugs to its employees, or  severely limit the services they offer.  What we as Catholics have to remember, though, is that this particular controversy is not about whether or not you personally feel that these "procedures" are wrong, but that it is about whether or not religious institutions and/or people may be forced by the government to provide coverage for these things that directly violate their religious beliefs and their consciences.  As a Catholic myself, I sort of feel like my religion just took a slap in the face.  And without a doubt, this is a freedom issue.

On a happier note, though, I must say that I am so very proud of our Bishops.  The government of Obama miscalculated the results of this action, and have woken the "sleeping giant" as a friend of mine says.  Our leaders are digging their heels in, standing strong for our faith, followed by thousands upon thousands of their people.

But this is not just a Catholic issue.  Nor is it a Methodist or Baptist issue... It's not any one denomination's issue.  I have attended the various rallies for religious freedom in the cities surrounding me.  Never before have I been so proud to say that I am a Catholic American.  What a powerful witness it is to be surrounded by people who are pouring their hearts and souls into this fight, working to protect the first freedoms protected by our constitution.

I am more than just cloth shaped into a design.  I am the refuge of the World's oppressed people.  I am the silent sentinel of Freedom.  I am the emblem of the greatest sovereign nation on earth.  I am the inspiration for which American Patriots gave their lives and fortunes.  I have led your sons into battle from Valley Forge to the bloody swamps of Vietnam.  I walked in silence with each of your Honored Dead to their final resting place beneath the silent White Crosses, row upon row.  I have flown through Peace and War, Strife and Prosperity, and amidst all I have been respected.  My Red Stripes symbolize the blood spilled in defense of this glorious nation.  My White Stripes signify the burning tears shed by Americans who lost their sons and daughters.  My Blue Field is indicactive of God's heaven under which I fly.  My Stars clustered together, unify 50 states as one, for God and Country.  "Old Glory" is my nickname, and I proudly wave on high.  Honor me, respect me, defend me with your lives and your fortunes.  Never let my enemies tear me down from my lofty position, least I never return.  Keep alight the fires of patriotism, strive earnestly for the spirit of democracy.  Worship Eternal God and keep His commandments, and I shall remain the bulwark of peace and freedom for all humankind.

I am your flag.

God bless you, and God bless America.
~ Iris (Schmooel)