Thursday, December 20, 2012

Salvation Army: Bells for Abortion?

Ring-a-ling-a-ling goes the bell as stalwart souls stand in the cold, next to the familiar red kettle beseeching passersby to give alms every Advent. Looking into their faces you can see kindness and dedication to a cause in which they fervently believe. Their expression is joyful and they banter with anyone who is willing to donate to their cause – the Salvation Army (SA). Yet there is, as Paul Harvey would say, ‘the rest of the story’. Are we really free to sacrificially give and then go merrily on our way with a placated heart and soul? Not so fast!

As with any aspect of our Christian lives, it behooves us to become well catechized before we act. When we donate to a large organization it isn’t the same type of faithful giving as giving the man on the street corner your last $20 because he is hungry. That act is done out of faith – on an individual basis. Sure, you don’t know this man and he could take your gift and buy himself a bottle of cheap bourbon – but the onus is on him because you have given out of true charity and a clear conscience. When it comes to organizations, however, we have the ability – and duty – to delve a bit deeper into the mission and moral standing of the recipient. There are pertinent questions to be answered before a wholesale submission of a gift is given.

Click the link to read Salvation Army: Bells for Abortion? in its entirety.

See more pro-life graphics by Designs by Birgit by clicking here.

Wednesday, December 5, 2012

Advent – Don’t Rush! It’s not Christmas Yet!

It’s not Christmas!

A friend recently bemoaned her inability to ‘get into the Christmas spirit’. Her discomfiture was painfully evident and brought to mind the necessity of a properly observed Advent. We humans have been an impatient bunch from the very beginning – always looking for a shortcut. In fact, throughout the ages the virtue of patience has had a rough ride. Holy Scripture is filled with admonishments for patience thus demonstrating that we are not alone in our lack of it. I don’t think that lack of patience is ever more evident to me than when Christmas is hustled into the forefront all too soon. This year appears to have been the worst in memory. Even before all of the Halloween merchandise had been marked down for clearance, the Christmas d├ęcor and songs began. What a dizzying debacle it was! Ghosts, witches, Pilgrims and turkeys joined Santa and Christmas ornaments on store shelves – all at the same time.

Saturday, December 1, 2012

Advent - a Time of Waiting Craft

Happy Advent!

A pet peeve of mine during the season of Advent (and before), is that the world we live in doesn't like to wait. Patience is not a virtue that gets a lot of notice. How then, are we to teach our little ones about the benefit of waiting? How can we demonstrate that sometimes the sweetness of the attained goal is intensified by preparation and patience?

This really home with me on a trip to a local department store. Here it was, barely October, and yet Halloween, Thanksgiving and Christmas were keeping company on the shelves! My resolve to make Advent relevant in the eyes of my family was solidified that day. So here we are, the first of December, and I'm hoping to share this simple little project to spread the word - it's not Christmas!

Let's resolve to sweeten this beautiful yet low key and penitent season. After all, good things come to those who wait!

This is one of those projects that has something for everyone. The adults have control of the overall look achieved - so those who tend to be OCD (ahem, me) can micro manage as much as we like. Even the youngest child can finger paint and older ones can help at their own level, so no one is excluded. So let's get started.


Wooden clothes pins
Finger paints
Paint brushes
Small paper plates
Sharpies: black and silver
Journey to Bethlehem picture
Nativity picture
Mod Podge - I used glossy
Hot glue gun and glue sticks
Pipe cleaners in matching or accent colors


Count out the required number of clothes pins and clip them to one of the paper plates, adjusting spacing as evenly as possible.

Using the silver Sharpie, color the gaps between the clothes pins - filling them in completely after marking the spaces. Next, use the black Sharpie to number the spaces.

Let the kids paint the clothes pins in your predetermined colors. We chose red, green, and yellow because they appeal to the younger set to which I am catering. With older kids I would have gone with white and yellow with silver and gold accents or perhaps the liturgical color of purple.

While allowing the clothes pins to dry you can begin to work on the art.

The artwork can be something that you have available or you can do what I did and Google 'Nativity' and 'Journey to Bethlehem' for suitable pictures. I went with a black and white print for the journey to drive home that Advent is a low key season.

Print out your art and trace a circle the size of the *inside* of your paper plate. Carefully cut out and glue to the bottom of the paper plates.

After the glue has dried, paint a top coat of Mod Podge over the entire picture(s) - all the way out to the edge of the paper plate.

I waited for the first coat to dry (just a few minutes) and then applied a second, heavier coat for added sheen.

While the second coat was still wet, I sprinkled glitter over the entire paper plate - picture, edge and all. Set aside and allow to dry.

Now comes the individualized part. Come up with a list of people or intentions for prayer. This is something that should be done as a family so that everyone can offer ideas. You will need as many petitions as you have clothes pins. Write them on one side of the clothes pins using the black Sharpie.

On the other side of the clothes pin, write an activity. It can be drinking cocoa, coloring a picture and mailing it to someone lonely, reserving pennies to give at Mass or any other meaningful or fun activity your family members can come up with.

When you have finished writing on both sides of the clothes pins you can add a top coat of Mod Podge and allow the kids to sprinkle glitter for an added sparkle. Now it's time for assembly.


Gather all of your components and begin assembly.

Take a pipe cleaner and fold in half, then twist the ends to form a loop. This will become your hanger. Using hot glue attach to the top of one of the paper plates on the *inside*. Now place the paper plates together - pictures out - and run a bead of hot glue all around their circumference, joining them together. While the hot glue is still sticky, place a pipe cleaner into the glue to fill in the gap making sure that your hanging loop remains in the proper position.


Each day you will pin a clothes pin onto the appropriate number. The person or petition written on it will become your prayer focus for that day. The activity on the other side is what you will do for that day's Advent observance. In this way you will not only count down until the long awaited feast of Christmas comes, but you will be actively participating in a meaningful observance of Advent.

Happy Advent - hope it's holy!