March 28, 2013

Scribbles in the Bible

I haven't written anything substantial for the "Triduum," since, well...  I got nothin'.

But flipping through my Bible during Adoration yesterday evening, I came across some of my favorite quotes scribbled in the margins of the delicate pages.  I thought I'd share them with you since I don't have anything else to say...

I did not come to you because you were worthy.  I will not leave you because you are not. - Jesus

Prayer is not asking.  Prayer is putting oneself in the hands of God, at His disposition, and listening to His voice at the depth of our hearts. - Mother Teresa

Your buried talent - dig it up again!  Make it yield. - Josemaria Escriva

Let nothing disturb you.  Let nothing cause you fear.  All things pass; God is unchanging.  Patience obtains all.  Whoever has God needs nothing else; God alone suffices. - Teresa of Avila

What you are is God's gift to you.  What you become is your gift to God. - Hans Urs von Balthasar

What the Father gives is the capacity to be a self, freedom, and thus autonomy, but an autonomy which can be understood only as a surrender of self to the other. - von Balthasar

Pray as though everything depended on God.  Work as though everything depended on you. - St. Augustine

We are to love God for himself, because of a twofold reason: nothing is more reasonable, nothing more profitable - Bernard of Clairvaux

All the darkness in the world cannot extinguish the light of a single candle. - St. Francis

Pray, hope, and don't worry. - Padre Pio

Have a great day and a blessed Triduum, y'all.
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March 27, 2013

Am I Ready for Death?

Am I ready for death?

Sooner or later it will happen – it is unavoidable.  And it’s not easy for anyone… the suffering, the separation.

But, the upside is that “LOVE is stronger than death” (Song of Songs 8:6), and “God so loved the world that He gave his only Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish, but have ETERNAL LIFE” (John 3:16).

One scene in Mel Gibson’s Passion of the Christ has embedded itself in my mind.  The roughly hewn beams of the Cross are placed before our broken, bloody, and exhausted Jesus, and he falls to his knees.  He embraces the Cross, resting his face against it.
He knew it was His Father’s will for Him to die.

He embraced such horrendous suffering and death for us, because he loves us despite our many flaws, and he offered his life in atonement for them (Gal. 2:20, Ephes. 5:2.25).

He loved his own to the end (John 13:1), and in this love, not that we loved God but that He loved us and sent his Son to be the expiation for our sins (1 John 4:10).

“For the love of Christ controls us, because we are CONVINCED that one has died for all; therefore all have died.” (2 Cor 5:14)

In a marvelous and mind-blowing exchange, Christ gave up his glorious throne for a cross – the instrument of death for criminals – restoring us to glory as His sons and daughters, brothers and sisters.

"He humbled himself and became obedient unto death, even death on a cross.  Therefore God has highly exalted him and bestowed on him the name which is above every other name, that at the name of Jesus, every knee should bow, in heaven and on earth and under the earth, and every tongue confess that JESUS CHRIST IS LORD, to the glory of God the Father." (Phil. 2:8-11)

Jesus Christ is my King.
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March 26, 2013

Introducing... the Blog Button

I've been trying for weeks to figure out how to do this... and it has finally worked.  So please, feel free to grab it and stick it somewhere on your blog, if you have one!

and then, she {snapped}

Pretty, Happy, Funny, Real (Lenten Style, and not on a Thursday)


I make these every Palm Sunday...  they have grown to be in very high demand.


Can dogs be happy?  She looks happy.


late night psychology class + Photo Booth = this:


[If you have issues with blood, do not scroll down.]

On an intensely more serious note, it doesn't get more real.

Make it a great day.  Live it for HIM.

March 24, 2013

Catholic Distractions

Happy Palm Sunday, all!

My apologies for no highly philosophical meaty post today (ha ha ha haaaaa....).

I have discovered this man.

March 23, 2013

.: on a thursday morning :.

“Thank you for not staring at me once I got into my car,” she said sheepishly.

“Oh, you’re welcome,” I said, taken aback.  I hadn’t even realized either way. 

It was a bitter cold and windy Thursday morning as I stood on the frozen curb outside Planned Parenthood, and I tightened the scarf around my neck as a red sedan flew around the cul-de-sac into the parking lot, kicking salt in my face with it’s tires.

A pleasant-looking young lady popped out wearing clothes that obviously weren’t warm enough for the weather, and rushed into the clinic, ignoring my cheery calls to “come over and talk for a second, I won’t keep ya long!”  As the heavy blue door closed behind her, all I could think was, God, don’t let her come out with papers.

After about twenty minutes, the young lady emerged from the ominous white plaster building with a white piece of paper folded in her mitten-clad hand, and my heart sank.

At a place like this, coming out the door with papers can only mean one thing.

Nevertheless, I called to her again, holding up one of the pamphlets we give to Planned Parenthood’s customers if they are willing to stop for a moment.  She came over to me, and for whatever reason, my throat tightened up, and all I could say was “thanks for coming over… Please don’t take the baby out.”

She stared at me for a moment, and continued to her car, fingering through the small bundle of papers I had given her.

By the time I had thought of anything to say, the young lady was already in her car and I was mentally kicking myself… of course knowing exactly what I should say and when.  After the fact.

To my surprise, though, the blood red sedan slowed to a stop at the “No Outlet” sign near which I stood, and the window rolled down slowly, humming as it went.

“Thank you for not staring at me once I got into my car,” I heard quietly behind me.

Apparently that had touched her in some way.  I hope it did.  I don’t know how it could, but I think and hope it did.

I suppose the moral of this story is that we never know whose heart we might touch and how we might touch them…  A look.  Looking away. A smile.  A wave, maybe.  We never know how what we do may have an impact on someone’s life tomorrow.

And just because we don’t see the immediate fruit doesn’t mean we should get discouraged.  It doesn’t mean the flower isn’t beginning to bloom.  The only thing we can do is to follow our God wherever he is leading us, and remember that as we live to serve our purpose in this world, His fruit is growing within our hearts.

That is what’s important.  Even if it seems like nothing at the time.

Have a great day.  Make it a great day.

~ Iris Hanlin

March 22, 2013

7 Quick Takes Friday (vol. 1)


Okay, it's not science, but I am going to try something new today.

I've decided to try this bloggy thing called "7 Quick Takes Friday" (hence the title of this post) (you're welcome, from Captain Obvious and the voices in my head).  Let me know what you think!

Here goes:

-- 1 --
I found this incredibly random thing of beauty on the side of the road a few days ago, and I snapped a few photos.  I don't know about you, but I think it's pretty neat.  Things like this never fail to arouse my passion for mystery...

My brother graduates from Medical Field Training today.  I's so proud of my lil-not-so-lil Nicky-boy. :D

Shout out to the men and women in the military...  God bless you.
We thank you for your service.

I'm going to Steubie again!  The above dude's girlfriend is graduating from Franciscan University of Steubenville this coming May, and my parents and I are going down for the ceremony.  We booked the room last night, and I'm already getting excited.

Apparently, I'm a rather loud typist.  (Thank you, random gentlewoman at the library...)

I'm hosting my first ever Facebook giveaway for my bloggy. :)  Still gettin' the hang of it...  We ran into a little snafu when I messaged my followers, and one of them started a long discussion which got sent to everyone on the chain (and I think people got annoyed)...

Máthair (my momma) and I celebrated St. Patrick's Day at my Aunt Nancy's house with some family and friends for the first time in a looonnnnnnng time...  When my grandmother moved a few years ago, she sold the family home to my Aunt Nancy, and it has now become the gathering place for most of our family events.  My aunt (God bless her) spent all day preparing a fantastic buffet meal of Rueben sandwiches, goat cheese and basil spread, and some kind of mexican taco mix that was out of this world.

We only stayed for a short time since I had some homework to catch up on before the week fell into full throttle, but it was so lovely to spend some time with our family and their friends, becoming reacquainted people we hadn't seen in years, and meeting some of their friends.  I even found a kindred spirit in a young horse lover...  We had a great time chatting about animals and one of my greatest loves, James Harriot.

I'm going to buy a cactus for my room sometime in the near future, because I'm still going through some serious California withdrawals and I need something tropical to salvage what little sanity I still possess.  Maybe one like this:

so beautiful...

So that's that!  Have a great day.  Make it a great day.  It IS a great day because YOU are in it.

~ Iris Hanlin

March 19, 2013

At the Mercy of Music (philosophy of music according to a really tired college kid)

Brace yourselves…  I’m about to get all philosophical-like.
MUSIC.  Yesterday, I wrote about a fantastic young artist named Lindsey Stirling (if you didn’t read the post, click the link, go read it, and then come back to me), and I touched on the fact that some music has the power to move a person either positively or negatively.
So, is there a “perfection hierarchy” when it comes to music?  In other words, can we really say with assurance that some pieces of music are greater in excellence than others?  I think so.  Aristotle and Plato thought so, too…  As aforementioned, music does have the ability to deeply affect a person, and ultimately our society – and it can either change them for the better or worse, depending on what type of music is popular at a given time.
Aristotle wrote in Politics, “Music directly imitates the passions or states of the soul… when one listens to music that imitates a certain passion, he becomes imbued with the same passion; and if over a long time he habitually listens to music that rouses ignoble passions, his whole character will be shaped into an ignoble form.”
In English, music is influential.  If a person listens to music that arouses noble inclinations, that person as a result will grow in nobility.  If a person listens to music that arouses the base, that person will be influenced toward the base.
In his dialogue entitled The Laws, Plato wrote that music had a rather prominent role in the moral perversion of Greece, headed by “poets who were men of a native genius, but ignorant of what is right and legitimate in the realm of the Muses.  Possessed by a frantic and unhallowed lust for pleasure… their folly lead them unintentionally to slander their profession by the assumption that in music there is no such thing as right and wrong, the right standard of judgment being the pleasure given to the hearer, be he high or low.”
Again, in English, the corrupt morals of his native Greece were largely a result of poets who wrote pieces based on what was pleasurable instead of the good, true, and beautiful.  Why would it be any different in our culture today?
If music does have an impact on the soul of the listener, then I encourage the examination of musical tastes in relation to some objective standard be on the to-do list of every conscience-heeding person.  Does music have a positive or negative effect on your spiritual life?
I believe that a clearer understanding of music’s deep moral element will provide us with the ability to critique and understand our personal lives as well as our societies.  Because of the unbelievable advances of technology in our modern world which allow music to have more influence than ever over the average person, this is very important.
So where exactly do we find this “objective standard?”  There’s something to be said for common sense and honesty, which can show us a good deal of the effects that different styles of music have on the behavioral traits of other people and our own emotional/mental states.
Is the music we listen to representative of the good, true, and beautiful?
I’m not trying to tell you what genres/kinds of music are more objectively moral than others… I’ll leave that to you to figure out.  I just thought I’d present you with some food for thought.
Have a great day!  Make it a great day.  It IS a great day.
~ Iris Hanlin

Violin be Playin' on Mah Heart Strings

Get it?  *weeoop weeoop*  Pun Alert!!  'Cuz, like, the violin has strings, and then there's heart strings, and, like, they both have strings...

(Told you I was weird.)

But on the more serious side of things...

There's something remarkable about music, and the power it holds...  Even without words, music has the ability to stir a person's heart and lift spirits, or break someone down completely.  It can bring tears of joy or tears of sorrow, or it can turn a heart to stone.

I think rock music can be beautiful, too.  True, a great deal of modern rock is ...less edifying than it should be... but I admit to being seriously moved by some of it.  Maybe it's just my curse of finding a deeper meaning behind just about everything. ;)

Last Saturday night, some friends and I were blessed with the opportunity to see Lindsey Stirling in concert for a second time... and I tell you, it gets better every time.

If you haven't heard of Lindsey before, she is an American violinist, who performs choreographed performances in a variety of music styles, from classical to rock to pop to hip hop, all of which are incorporated with her insane talents as a violinist and a dancer.  She writes her own music and performs covers of (and with) other musicians and their various soundtracks.

Aemelia, Sam, and I arrived at the club two hours early, and were joined later by the others in our group.  We were all frozen solid by the time the doors opened at 7, but it was worth every minute of griping and huddling and Red Bull chugging.

My mind was repeatedly blown throughout the course of the evening.  We had the opportunity to see her last October, and it was amazing to see how her show had changed since then.


The music, of course, was spectacular, and the set was astonishing.  She had a massive screen as the backdrop for the stage, and all the while there was some sort of image on display.

michael jackson medley (note the sparkly glove...)
Her talent is simply incredible.
Here are my favorites, if that's possible...  Lindsey is one of those artists who have so many fantastic pieces it's hard to choose a favorite.

some kind fellow snapped a picture for us, and we were photobombed (by the dude in the front with the poster).
What a fantastic night...

Now y'all go 'n have a great day.  Make it a great day!

~ Iris Hanlin

March 18, 2013

I couldn't think of a good title for this post. . .

Ever feel like this?

At the risk of sounding irrevocably hypocritical (considering this post), I do too, sometimes.

So here... 

Have some cute stuff and pointless distractions to ogle over while I catch up on everything I should've done but didn't over the weekend and try to write something decent for tomorrow.

Have a great day.  Make it a great day!

~ Iris O'Hanlin (Hooray for luck o' the Irish-by-adoption!)

March 17, 2013

St. Patrick's Day, 2013

I bind unto myself today

The strong Name of the Trinity,

By invocation of the same

The Three in One and One in Three.
I bind this today to me forever

By power of faith, Christ’s incarnation;

His baptism in Jordan river,

His death on Cross for my salvation;

His bursting from the spicèd tomb,

His riding up the heavenly way,

His coming at the day of doom

I bind unto myself today.
I bind unto myself the power

Of the great love of cherubim;

The sweet ‘Well done’ in judgment hour,

The service of the seraphim,
Confessors’ faith, 
Apostles’ word,
The Patriarchs’ prayers, the prophets’ scrolls,

All good deeds done unto the Lord

And purity of virgin souls.
I bind unto myself today

The virtues of the star lit heaven,

The glorious sun’s life giving ray,

The whiteness of the moon at even,

The flashing of the lightning free,

The whirling wind’s tempestuous shocks,

The stable earth, the deep salt sea

Around the old eternal rocks.
I bind unto myself today

The power of God to hold and lead,

His eye to watch, His might to stay,

His ear to hearken to my need.

The wisdom of my God to teach,

His hand to guide, His shield to ward;

The word of God to give me speech,

His heavenly host to be my guard.
Against the demon snares of sin,

The vice that gives temptation force,

The natural lusts that war within,

The hostile men that mar my course;

Or few or many, far or nigh,

In every place and in all hours,

Against their fierce hostility

I bind to me these holy powers.
Against all Satan’s spells and wiles,

Against false words of heresy,

Against the knowledge that defiles,

Against the heart’s idolatry,

Against the wizard’s evil craft,

Against the death wound and the burning,

The choking wave, the poisoned shaft,

Protect me, Christ, till Thy returning.
Christ be with me, Christ within me,

Christ behind me, Christ before me,

Christ beside me, Christ to win me,

Christ to comfort and restore me.

Christ beneath me, Christ above me,

Christ in quiet, Christ in danger,

Christ in hearts of all that love me,

Christ in mouth of friend and stranger.
I bind unto myself the Name,

The strong Name of the Trinity,

By invocation of the same,

The Three in One and One in Three.

By Whom all nature hath creation,

Eternal Father, Spirit, Word:

Praise to the Lord of my salvation,

Salvation is of Christ the Lord.

I hope you all had a lovely and blessed St. Patrick's Day.

~ Iris O'Hanlin  ;)