what doth it profit a man…if he gain the whole world…

Readers who have continued to visit, despite my political musings of late, know that I have been engaging in Internet conversations with respect to America’s presidential election. As can be expected, the chatter is fast and furious, with both sides tossing their opinions into the ring. It’s the civilized way of…throwing punches.

Politics, and religion, are not topics most folks care to discuss. Understandably so. Confrontation isn’t something we seek out.

However, defending one’s beliefs and fending off those who would make mincemeat of them, is an honorable venture. And sometimes, as in the case of which path our country should take towards economic recovery…I find it a moral obligation to step up to the plate.

In the process of doing so, I’ve learned some very disturbing facts.

My previous post, declining an award, spoke to my deepest frustration…that our government is where men like oil-billionaire brothers, David and Charles Koch…shop. You might want to see what I’ve written about their infiltration into the U.S. Congress.

Not lagging far behind is my concern about the example being set for younger generations, now and into the future.

Romney

Romney (Photo credit: Talk Radio News Service)

Presidential candidate Mitt Romney has proven himself extremely adept at dancing around the truth.

Unlike most, I don’t feel President’ Obama‘s seeming lackluster  performance at the second debate is fully owing… to his lack of preparation…or not wanting to be there…or wanting to appear presidential.

Yes, I think all these things may have been in play. However, I give credence to the President’s assertion that…he wasn’t prepared for…the new and improved Romney. Actually, he wasn’t reformed. He just moved from the extreme right of the Republican Party…back toward the center.

Trying to play to the Tea Party folks, Romney claimed a lot of things throughout his campaign…which he began disavowing in the first debate.

Romney’s opportune transformation back to a moderate Conservative were motivated by his descending poll numbers.

Having been proclaimed the winner of the first debate, Romney’s campaign gained traction. So much so that the race to the finish is now…neck and neck.

Meanwhile the youth of America, as well as the world, see with their own eyes and hear with their own ears, that it’s okay to…sell out one’s values to get what you want…to curry favor with folks who matter when it counts…to rough up your opponent or even knock him to the ground…to say one thing in private and something else in public…to use capitalism as one’s own family crest…to politicize others’ misfortunes to one’s own advantage…to hold oneself unaccountable when asking others to have faith in your promises.

It’s difficult for me to reconcile Romney’s being a man of faith…with what he practices in his professional life.

According to Webster’s, FAITH…1.confidence or trust in a person or thing. 2. belief in God. 3. a system of religious belief. 4. loyalty or fidelity.

How can I have faith in someone who seems to abandon his faith…when it’s convenient?

Is this what we want to teach…our children? How does Romney square what he does…with his 5 sons?

To his credit, Tagg Romney, the eldest, when asked how he felt during the second debate, said he…wanted to go down and take a swipe…at the President.

The younger Romney said what he felt in his gut.

He might have been spared the embarrassing made-for-TV moment…had his father not taken him down the path… by accusing the President of lying in the Rose Garden the day after the attack of the U.S. Libyan consulate.

Moderator Candy Crowley rightfully indicated that the President had, in fact, called the incident “a terrorist attack,” the day after the occurrence.

Truth in journalism…long the hallmark of our beloved Walter Cronkite.

Truth in life.

While we fight to regain our economic standing, to guarantee jobs for everyone, to renew the promise that all can realize the American Dream, to ensure a better future for our children and grandchildren…let us always remember…

For what doth it profit a man, if he gains the whole world and suffers the loss of his soul? 

…leading…by example…

………hugmamma.

As expected, most residents of Utah where Romney’s Mormon faith is headquartered will vote for him. Not everyone, however. Utah’s Salt Lake Tribune  has endorsed President Obama in an article entitled “Too Many Mitts.”  http://www.sltrib.com/sltrib/opinion/55019844-82/endorsement-romney-obama-president.html.csp

building empires…

English: Photograph of a mural entitled Indian...

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Like pioneers circling their wagons preparing against an Indian attack, my thoughts gathered round until, once in formation, the idea for this post was born. I only tell you this so that you understand…there is no let-up whatsoever for my weary brain. It’s working, nearly 24/7.

I’m not a builder of empires. Perhaps being the youngest of 9, there was no one whom I could lead. Remember, practice makes perfect. Obviously I wasn’t able to practice…at home.

Here and there, I did get to be a leader among friends and classmates. Being the youngest sibling, I had an uphill struggle. I wasn’t use to being at the front of the pack. When I was, I found it nice…yet somehow uncomfortable. Head alpha was not the skin into which I’d been born. Getting it to fit involved a lot of talking…to myself.

I’ve not changed, even as an adult. I’ve a lot of great ideas…with an overworked brain like mine…I’ve no choice. But when I have the opportunity to get up on the box to expound about this, that and the other, I like to have others standing up there with me. Call it comfort, call it insane, call it whatever you like. I’ve never, ever enjoyed having the spotlight…all to myself.

Catholic Cross JesusThose who know me well can confirm that I will tout the virtues of my husband and daughter until the earth implodes…before I ever talk about my own. I couldn’t even tell you what my own virtues might be. I’ve never taken the time to think along those lines. I say that because I’ve never felt confident enough. Still don’t. Remember I’m Catholic-educated, having been taught to renounce false pride. And I had a mom who had her hands full to overflowing…without having to include boosting my ego to her “to do” list.

Baby-boomers understand. We knew to just get out there, suck it up, and do what we needed to do…to survive. Street smarts meant picking up whatever we needed, however we could, from whatever resources we found. Along with that, however, comes a lot of bad information…which, unfortunately, sticks…as friend and fellow blogger, jeanne,  http://nolagirlatheart.wordpress.com mentioned in a comment recently.

My own bad info led to my discomfort at being in charge of more than 1 or 2 people. I know I would’ve been a compassionate leader. I’ve had many an opportunity to manage in my career path but always failed to go the distance, because I felt insecure with power…and found it difficult to dictate to others. 

Instead I have delighted in managing my family of 3…with me at the helm in many ways…enabling my husband and daughter to be the natural-born leaders they were meant to be. And they do amazing jobs. Their bosses, peers and subordinates will testify to that.

Moses with the tablets of the Ten Commandments...

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While I may not relish physically sitting in a position of authority, I’m equally resistant to being led down a path I do not choose for myself. Very resistant. My mom was the last person to whom I ever relinquished the control panel…and I fought tooth and nail before I gave in. She was my mom, after all. And remember, I’m a Catholic. The fourth Commandment says “Honor thy father and thy mother.” I had a hard time getting around that one.

When my mom passed, I slowly began to find my own voice. I refused to succumb to any one’s demands anymore. It didn’t come easily. I spent many, many, many years arguing with myself. Still do on occasion. But my husband and daughter are my sounding boards, giving me the courage to believe in my own thoughts and perceptions and decisions.

Aristotle tutoring Alexander

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There are those who are proficient as little emperors.” Napoleon was one; Hitler another. I’m sure there were others not as bombastic as these, who may even have done a world of good. I think Alexander the Great might have been one. I’d have to ask my husband; he watches the History Channel 24/7…except if there’s a football game he’s interested in seeing.

Amongst us peons, I’ve observed that there are those who engage in empire building. I don’t think they’re aware they’re doing it, it’s just that they’re born to lead and don’t mind doing so. They’ve strong personalities; they may not have a bottomless reservoir of patience; and they probably prefer getting things done, rather than waiting around for others. What makes them successful, is their unwavering self confidence. They know, without a doubt, that they’re right for the job. They don’t need to be convinced and they’re more than willing to lead others. More power to them. If they are compassionate leaders…I’ve no complaints.

I can’t build empires; I’ve not the stomach nor the stamina for it. In my own little queendom (new word?)…I rule with a lot of hugs and kisses…and tears. My daughter swears my tear ducts are directly tied to my heartstrings. Guess I’m a…

 

The Great Dictator

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…mushy dictator………hugmamma.  😉

 

 

 

daily post challenge #222: do i prefer to lead or follow?

Female Mallard with ducklings

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What I’ve noticed in four decades of marriage is that I’ve become the social leader in our family. Those of you who are married, don’t you find that’s true in your families as well? It seems to evolve naturally over time, that wife and mom becomes “it” in deciding when to do what, with whom, how, why, when and where.

Empowered

We’re probably partly to blame because anything hubby suggests might be rebuffed. Been there; done that. Not at the beginning, mind you. I was very acquiescent. Aren’t we all when in the throes of budding romance? But as relationships evolve, women feel more empowered to make suggestions. Batting our eyelashes, we get our way. That’s when men relinquish all say-so in their social lives, like it or not. And we, the fairer sex, win the title of “Social Leader for Life!” Yeayyy…us!!! But wait a minute. Should we be celebrating? I’m not so sure.

For the rest of our relationship with that special someone, which could amount to decades, we women are charged with making all decisions pertaining to where to go, what to do, what to eat, how many days to vacation, where do we board the pets, who’ll mind the kids, what clothes to pack, who should we invite, where do we spend the holidays, what kinds of gifts to buy and for whom, with whom do we socialize, with whom should the kids socialize, keeping in touch with family and friends, making new friends, what to serve at parties, planning parties, grocery shopping and cooking for get-to-gethers and cleaning up afterwards…and on, and on,and on. The list is as endless as we want to make it. Yeayyy…us!

If I had it to do all over again? I’d shut my mouth and let my wonderful hubby have at it………hugmamma.

……..what about you?……..and you lucky, lucky men……..any opinions?  😉

catholic education, a good thing

Father Brian was not on hand today. He and the pastor of Mary Queen of Peace, in Sammamish, switched parishes today so that our pastor could promote St. Joseph’s School and Catholic education, as an alternative to public schools. A charismatic public speaker, I’ve no doubt Father Brian got his point across, and some.

Of course my antennae were on full alert, ascertaining that Father’s “star” is indeed, “on the rise.” As a result of his impending 3-year review, I’m almost certain he will be moving onward and upward to a larger parish. He is such an asset to the Church’s growth with his youth, energy, intelligence, leadership, people skills, and passion for his calling. He deserves advancement where he can realize the utilization of all he has to offer. I will miss him, as will his entire congregation. But there is need for men like Father Brian in transforming the Catholic Church into a religious institution for today. It has long outgrown its facade of centuries past. We are overdue for another ecumenical movement.

Then again, I may be “barking up the wrong tree.” My husband will definitely be smirking if I’m wrong, and Father stays put. It won’t be the first time. Once I almost convinced my daughter a woman dressed like a beautiful gypsy, sashaying in front of a cathedral in Florence, Italy, was a “lady-of-the-night.” I think I said “p——–e”, but this is a religious post after all. I say almost, because a little later my daughter pointed out that the woman was carrying a flag, leading a group of tourists. That was my daughter’s “aha” moment, meaning mom doesn’t know what the heck she’s talking about. From then on my grown daughter  has questioned my word as being the gospel truth. In fact, I think she starts out thinking I’m guilty until proven otherwise. I jest of course,… at least I think.

As part of today’s homily, a homemade video was shown depicting a day in the life of the students at St. Joseph’s. It was charming, reminding me of my days as a Catholic school student in Maui. Attending St. Anthony Girl’s School from first grade through my senior year in high school, gave me the foundation I needed to overcome barriers that were part of my reality as a person born into poverty. The Maryknoll nuns not only taught us academic skills with which to earn our living as adults, but they imbued us with lifelong values. We graduated as well-rounded young women, prepared to take our places as citizens of the larger community. In today’s world, that kind of education would be a priceless commodity.

I left Mass today, committed to making a donation to both Catholic schools, St. Anthony’s and St. Joseph’s. Just as children need to practice their 3 Rs–aRithmetic, wRiting, and Reading–everyday, so too they need to practice their values.

treating others as we would have them treat us…should be a lifelong lesson…hugmamma.  

  

a friendly place

Getting up for 8:15 Mass is a struggle. I’m not a morning person, as I’ve said in previous posts. So making it to exercise and church services is a labor of love, or else insanity, maybe both. The “drawing card” for me are the teachers, Kristina at the gym, and Father Brian at St. Joseph’s. Their common denominator is their compassionate, warm, “open” personalities. Neither basks in the limelight, rather they are humbly passionate about spreading their messages, Kristina “speaks” to exercise as essential for our well-being; Father Brian shares the gospel that God loves and cares for all of us.

Probably the youngest priest I’ve ever encountered as pastor of a parish, Father Brian, is a natural-born “shepherd.” He gathers his parishioners, his “sheep,” about him, with concern for our safe deliverance into the hands of God, our Maker. He doesn’t prod us with pokers, rather he relates stories, personal or biblical, which encourages us to think and to decide by what values we should live. The church fills with laughter when Father Brian tells a joke or humorous anecdote. He’s not even above pointing a finger at himself, whether in fun or to confirm that he too is human. His manner is easy, his smiles always forthcoming. He is accepting of ways that are different from his. If there are rules, and there must be, by which the parish operates, they do not seem “set in stone.” Perhaps his youthfulness and relative newness to pastoral duties has him proceeding with caution, allowing himself to blend into the congregation’s routine, to become one with, not one above, us.

Today my ears were extra perked when listening to Father’ sermon. He spoke of our need to focus upon the “small things” in our lives. These, he said, are the building blocks of the kingdom of Heaven. God does not reward us for “flash”, but rather for what we do “behind the scenes.” As stewards of God’s gifts, our services toward and on behalf of one another will be rewarded. Our faithfulness will be recognized. Romans 12:6-8 from The New Testament testifies to this:

“We each have different gifts, according to the grace given us. If a man’s gift is prophesying, let him use it in proportion to his faith. If it is serving, let him serve; if it is teaching, let him teach; if it is encouraging, let him encourage; if it is contributing to the needs of others, let him give generously; if it is leadership, let him govern diligently; if it is showing mercy, let him do it cheerfully.” 

As an introduction to his homily, Father Brian spoke of witnessing small, but meaningful, human gestures that “built up the Kingdom of God.” Friends from out-of-town were visiting with him. A couple and their 2 daughters visited the popular tourist attractions. In their comings and goings, Father witnessed the loving care bestowed upon the littlest child by her sister and her parents.

On a recent visit with his elderly grandparents at their assisted living facility, Father celebrated the Mass in their apartment, the 3 huddling together. At the “kiss of peace”, his grandparents turned and pecked each other on the cheek, mouthing the words “I love you” to one another. This demonstration of their affection spoke volumes of their 67 year-long marriage.

After weekday Mass one morning, Father Brian noticed a lone woman moving through the pews, collecting congregation booklets, which she would then return to their housing. On another occasion, a parishioner asked Father if she could bring flowers from her garden to place around the altar. Walking over to it, he fingered one of the daisies, lovingly displayed in a vase. Matching arrangements were staged prominently in other areas.

It is obvious that Father Brian is like family to his parishioners. He freely speaks to us of his mother, other relatives, his friends, his love of basketball, his personal impressions of a recent visit to the Vatican, and his own faith journey. And he eagerly awaits us outside after Mass, shaking hands and smiling broadly. He always remembers our daughter, though she’s not a regular. Because he attracts everyone with his charismatic style, I said to Father Brian one day “You could be a rock star!” To which he replied, after letting out a belly laugh, “Jesus is the rock star!”

no “Hell, fire and brimstone” here, only warmth…hugmamma