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At the Register: We Who Are About to Camp Salute You

As I write, I may have nothing packed, nothing purchased, and nothing planned, but I do have a very tidy and detailed list of the things I am sure will go wrong on our trip. They are as follows:

  • We will run out of food and we will starve, because obviously we won’t be able to get into the car and drive to a store and buy more food. This is camping, and we are going to have to make do with sand tea and acorn kabobs.
  • Sharks. Okay, there are not going to be any sharks, but I’m afraid my kids, who somehow wore us down and got to watch Jaws, are going to be so afraid of sharks that their little brains will actually explode with anxiety. And do you know who is attracted by brain matter in the water? SHARKS.
  • We will be surrounded by such awful, noisy, inconsiderate people that we won’t be able to enjoy our awful, noisy, inconsiderate family.

Read the rest at The Register.

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Right Brain Summer Drawing Club – don’t forget!

This week, we’re reading through chapter three and doing the exercise in chapter four of Drawing on the Right Side of the Brain. I’ll put up a picture share link on Monday (not Tuesday, because we’ll be away on our camping trip). I’ll leave the link-up open indefinitely this time, because people are working at different paces.

I really enjoyed looking through the pre-instruction drawings in picture share #1! Thanks for going to the trouble of uploading your pics and linking up. If you don’t have a blog but want to join in, you can start a Tumblr or Flickr or Photobucket (oretc.) account and use that link — or just upload your drawings to the comment section. And of course your’e welcome to work along with us without sharing your pictures! The more, the merrier.

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At the Register: SCOTUS: Pro-Lifers Are Citizens, Too

In effect, the law [which was just ruled unconstitutional] created a First and Fourteenth Amendment-Free Zone for a certain class of people. It made it a crime for some citizens to be on a public sidewalk, or to say things in public. Today’s decision reasserts that all citizens have equal protection under the law, and should enjoy freedom of speech and freedom of assembly. In short: you can be places and say things and not go to jail for it, even if you’re a pro-lifer.

Read the rest at The Register.

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For All the Saints (That I Don’t Really Like)

Today is the feast day of Josemaria Escriva. He is not one of my favorite saints, in the same way that Vegemite is not one of my favorite ways of delighting my mouth. Yes, I have tasted it — yes, more than once. And I stand firm in my statement that it is not one of my favorite ways of delighting my mouth.

 

 

PIC Vegemite

I’m not saying that nobody should like Vegemite. I’ve heard it’s very nourishing, if you don’t have to fight past the gag reflex. It’s just that I don’t like it, I don’t need it for my own kind of balanced diet, and I’d just as soon put my hands in my pockets, turn my head, and whistle a happy tune in hopes that the person who offers it to me will go away quickly.

What I’m trying to say is, happy feast day, St. Josemaria. Thanks for being the kind of saint who is so good to so many people who aren’t like me; and thanks for being a reminder that God is good, because He gives us so many different kind of saints.

PIC thousands of saints

 

 

p.s. I didn’t even brush my hair today. Ha ha!

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Please tell your daughter she’s pretty.

Powerful Ad Shows What a Little Girl Hears When You Tell Her She’s Pretty” runs the headline on the Huffington Post, describing a new ad by Verizon.

Before we even watch the video or form an opinion, let’s remember one thing. The real, true, deep down message of this ad is that you, the viewer, should like Verizon. Whatever societal goals it may have, it’s an ad. It is trying to sell something, and so it’s a given that the message it’s sending is calculated to stroke the egos of the viewer. So there’s that.

Now for the actual message. The Huffiington Post sums it up like this:

The video depicts one girl’s development from toddler to teenager. She wanders curiously through nature, examines the plants and animals around her, creates an astronomy project, and builds a rocket with her older brother. But all along the way, she hears many all-too-common refrains from her parents: “Who’s my pretty girl?” “Don’t get your dress dirty,” “You don’t want to mess with that,” and “Be careful with that. Why don’t you hand that to your brother?” These statements are subtle, but the ad suggests that they can ultimately discourage girls from pursuing traditionally male-dominated STEM subjects in school.

Sure. If someone followed me around telling me “Knock it off!” every time I got interested in math or science, I would probably stop pursuing math and science. It’s a bad idea to thwart kids (boys and girls) and to discourage their curiosity and intelligence; and it’s especially absurd to tell girls, overtly or by omission, that their main job is to be pretty. I’m fairly sure Thomas More, Edith Stein, and Gianna Molla already knew that, without any help from Verizon.

But the ad ends this way: “Isn’t it time we told her she’s pretty brilliant, too?”*

Is that what we’re doing when we do say, “You’re so pretty”? When girls hear, “You’re pretty,” does that automatically mean they can’t hear anything else we say? Not that I’ve noticed. Here is what I have noticed:

  • When girls never hear their parents — especially their fathers — say that they are pretty, many of them will go find someone who will say it to them. And sometimes that turns out to be someone who wants to hurt or use them, and uses “pretty” as a hook.
  • When girls get no attention for dressing prettily and looking nice, they find other ways of getting attention with the way they look. A lot of those girls whose entire style is super sexy sexy sex all the time? They’re just trying to be pretty, and no one has taught them to recognize any other form of appeal besides sexiness.
  • If they want to be admired by men, but have been taught that that this desire is a sign of pettiness and lack of character, then many women will become so twisted inside that even marital sex is pure anxiety and guilt.

Why? Because women were made beautiful. They were designed that way. No, not every woman; no, not all the time; and no, not beauty above all other things. But the world is a machine, and one of its driving forces is the attraction between the sexes, where men delight in women and women delight in showing their beauty to men. This is not oppression; this is not sexism; this is not some manipulative societal construct — or at least it doesn’t have to be. It’s a gift from God that girls and women can cultivate and delight in beauty — the beauty around them, and the beauty in themselves. Yes, even their physical beauty. Yes, even from a very young age.

 

 

So no, don’t tell your daughters that they must be pretty because they can’t be anything else. But don’t make them think that beauty is petty, either. Beauty is one of the transcendentals, which means that beauty it is one of the paths to God. Even when that beauty resides in a little girl.

And one more thing: it is good for us, the beholders, to praise beauty when we see it. It is a good thing to see something beautiful and to let ourselves murmur, “Oh, how lovely you are!” We are made to receive it and to enjoy it. We are not made to quash and rein in everything that brings us delight. There is not much beautiful in the world. Why deny yourself what little there is? Parents, let yourself tell your girls they’re beautiful. She needs it, and so do you.

 

 

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*Actually, recent studies show that kids do worse when you praise them for being smart. If you want
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At the Register: The Tabernacle Holds the Heart of the Church

PIC tabernacle

I struggle hard to believe the best about people’s intentions, but I cannot find anything good in the impulse to put the tabernacle away, to the side, out of sight, hard to find, easy to overlook or even forget. Why would you do that? Why would you make it hard to do the thing you’re there to do? How would a body function if the living, beating heart were shifted off somewhere else, to a left foot or an elbow, maybe stashed off site in your coat pocket? What kind of body would that be, and how would it function? And why?

Read the rest at The Register.