Sunday, November 28, 2010

Armor of Light {Advent 1}

Zachary lights the first Advent candle before Mass, as Father Qui Thac blesses the Advent Wreath.

Preparing ourselves for the celebration of Christ's birth at Christmas is important, 
but preparing ourselves for the day when we will meet Christ is paramount.
Advent allows us an opportunity to do both.

For our salvation is nearer now than when we first believed;
the night is advanced, the day is at hand.  
Let us then throw off the works of darkness and put on the armor of light;
let us conduct ourselves properly...
~Romans 13:11b-13a

At Church and at home, our domestic church,
the season of Advent provides many opportunities to ready the way of the Lord, and put on the armor of light.
Added prayer time, extra acts of charity, offering up unpleasant tasks or suffering, decorating (armoring our home with light!) and even baking special treats are all ways we can stay awake, for although we know the exact date that our celebration of Christmas will begin, we must
be prepared, for at an hour (we) do not expect, the Son of Man will come.

This Advent, my hope is that we do not get lost or spiritually bankrupt in the chaos of mounting "to do" lists and extra business.
It's far too easy to be caught up in the action of this season
and miss out on the meaning.
May we truly long for Christ, and not go through the motions of the external arrangements for Christmas without a sincere interior preparation which will allow us to grow in His love and truly rejoice in His presence.

Let us conduct ourselves properly...
Our Savior is coming!

Thoughts for this week:  
What 'works of darkness' do I need to throw off?
In what ways can I put on an 'armor of light' this Advent to prepare for Christ's coming?

Thursday, November 25, 2010

Extreme Gratitude {Thanksgiving}

Thank God!  
Give him the praise and the glory.  
Before all the living, 
acknowledge the many good things he has done for you, 
by blessing and extolling his name in song.  
Before all men, honor and proclaim God's deeds, 
and do not be slack in praising him.
Tobit 12:6
Our holy place to worship God on Thanksgiving and every day
Today's servers (including Peter) with Father Qui Thac and our acolyte, Zachary, preparing for Mass in the sacristy.

After worship, play
and play!
then feast!

Do not let a day slip by without considering God's favors; 
praise and exalt his generosity, particularly in contrast with yours... 
Faithfully remember the gifts bestowed by nature 
as well as those you enjoy by chance and grace 
and by the promised glory that, 
unless you happen to lose it through your own fault, 
is as certain as the rest. 
Think intently about the special and general graces from the Lord 
and admit truthfully that you received them from his hand. 
Preserve them assiduously in the greatest possible purity and love them dearly, 
but even more, love him who so blessed you.  
Withdraw and guard against offending grace and the Lord of grace...
~Father Fracisco de Osuna, O.F.M. +1540

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Hit and Run {Ice}

"Mom is like the hug bank; whenever you need a hug, she'll give you a hug.
Of course, I don't often want a hug."
~Joseph (12)

Zachary could use a hug.
His car has been parked since last Friday night, when the snow and freezing weather hit.  We decided it would be best if he wasn't out driving on the icy roads, and he agreed.  

Yesterday evening I asked Zac if he would go pick up Joseph and Peter from their swim team practice, to which he replied, "In the dark?  On the icy roads?  In your car?"
I thought twice, and took another trip to and from the pool myself, assigning him a job in the kitchen instead.  
En route, along the main arterial, I had to swerve into another lane to avoid a giant section of a fir tree which had snapped in the high wind and was dangling upside down blocking the entire lane like a wall of evergreen. Was I ever glad that it hadn't been Zac behind the wheel at that moment!

Today the weather warmed up a bit, and it seemed safe enough for Zachary to drive to swim team practice.  Unfortunately, his car wouldn't turn over.  The battery probably got zapped from the cold spell.  As he and Ezra were coming back toward the house to ask me for a shuttle to the pool, Zac noticed that his rear license plate was dented... and the frame was broken off... and there was amber colored broken plastic on the ground... and there were two large cracks to his back bumper... and the car had been pushed forward about six feet from where it had originally been parked Friday night in the snow.

Zac's car was hit!  And the driver left without owning up to the accident.  Nice.
So much for keeping the car safely parked during the icy weather.  At least we were able to keep the kid safe!

Oddly enough, it was in that very same parking spot in front of our house a few years ago that our van was crashed by a neighbor's nanny who was distracted with her cell phone.  

Maybe we need to put up a cement barrier to protect our parked cars from the neighborhood drivers!

Monday, November 22, 2010

The Runaway {Age 3}

Imagine my surprise when arriving home from youth group last night at 9:30, 
I discovered these shoes in our entry way!
Turns out there was a three year old runaway at our house!
This is his story of angst, of the trials and sufferings of a being three year old with a new baby brother...

 Our dear friend, Joseph (3), had been scolded by his mama for snatching a toy from his six year old brother's hand.  Warned of the impending consequences, he reluctantly gave the toy back to his brother. He then sought out the warm and welcoming lap of his mama, only to be reminded that there wasn't room on her lap for him since baby brother (6 mos) was nursing.  
Joseph would have to wait his turn for mama's lap.
"I hate this home. I want to live with Peter!" came Joseph's emotional reply.
"Really? So you want Peter's mama to be your mama?"

Playing along, his parents told him if he was going to move out and live with Peter he had better get ready.
Challenge accepted.
Laughing amongst themselves, they heard Joseph's joyful singing from upstairs, where there were occasional thumps and the sounds of doors and drawers opening and closing.
As the family gathered to pray their evening rosary (a Gospel contemplation), down each step with a thump thump thump came Joseph, packed suitcase in tow.

"I'm ready!" he announced.

Sure enough, the suitcase contained all that he would need at Peter's house:
toothbrush, toothpaste, pajamas, pull up, and his jacket.
"How long do you want to live with Peter?"
Holding up all his fingers on both hands, Joseph announced, "THIS many days."

Told that he wouldn't be allowed to move out until after the family rosary, he willingly joined in the prayers. At the final "Amen" Joseph asked, "Can we go now?"

His parents decided to allow him the opportunity to come to our house, considering the amount of time and energy he had spent preparing for his departure (and the fact that they had a grocery errand to run).

When Joseph's six year old brother realized that his parents were actually going to take his brother to Peter's house, he came unglued.  Wailing and begging his little brother not to leave, he pleaded, 
"You're my brother, you can't leave me!"  
Distraught and defeated, he cried as his little brother took his suitcase and headed to the car.

Upon arriving at our house, mama offered a heartfelt apology for anything she might have done that had hurt his feelings, causing him to want to move to Peter's house.
Joseph's reply, "Can we go in now?"

Greeted with cookies and milk, his parting words for mama were simply, "Bye mama."

Joseph's tryst into independence lasted a few hours, with Lincoln Logs and "shoot the bird." 
His papa came to pick him up once he had brushed his teeth and readied himself for bed.
No doubt his family was happy to see him home safe and sound.

Saturday, November 20, 2010

Snow Report {Goofy}

three goofy brothers in the snow

Guest post by Tim:
Last night, Zachary was at his friend Taylor's house when it started snowing.  As Zac has no snow driving experience, we decided to drive our 4-Runner to pick him up and that I would drive Zac's car, a 98 Lumina with baldies, home while Bridget and Zac were in the 4-Runner.  After I cleared the snow off the windows, I decided to turn on the windshield wipers to get the small stuff.  Much to my surprise, the driver's side wiper completed its motion without the blade.  Apparently it had fallen off before and Zac simply put it back on.  He had never put the blade back on when the wiper was covered with snow and ice (nor had he told me of the problem).  I drove home in the snowstorm by leaning over to the passenger side to get a glimpse of the road.  About once a mile, I had to get out of the car to clear the wind shield of the snow that kept building up.  Sledding down a hill on the bald tires was almost a relief compared to driving while blind.  I hope to pray as fervently in church tomorrow as I did while driving Zac's car last night. 

Friday, November 19, 2010

Male and Female {Created}

At Hannigan Pass, Zachary and I stopped to capture the moment after hiking our first mile on a 50 mile trek across three passes and over to our destination: Ross Lake.
Ok, so Zachary didn't really want a photo of himself being kissed by mom... but I was thrilled that he had hiked back a mile to carry my pack that last bit of the way.

Zachary crossing
Descending Whatcom Pass, heading for Beaver Pass
Very happy to see Tim, and even happier to let him carry my pack the final 4 miles out

After a 43 mile, 4 night hiking adventure; and a 4 night canoe camping adventure, our family was reunited on Ross Lake.

One of my best memories from the 50 mile hike with Zachary and his friends and their mom was the day that Tim and the boys (and the other half of the other family) hiked in several miles from their canoe campsite on Ross Lake to hike out with us.

Was Tim ever a sight for sore eyes!  Of course I was happy to see Joseph and Peter, but seeing Tim was like a seeing a light at the end of the tunnel!  He immediately offered to carry my pack and I gladly agreed.  I know there was a time in my life when I would have flatly refused such a gentlemanly offer for the sake of proving my own strength or independence.  But I humbly accepted his offer and I felt so loved and cared for (and light) on that hike out.
Such a simple gift, but so meaningful.

On day 3, near the summit of Beaver Pass, Zac (then 14) had hiked back down about a mile (after reaching camp and setting down his own gear) to offer to carry my pack.  I tried to kiss him I was so happy.  The kiss part didn't work out, but the bid to relieve me of the weight of the load for the final mile was a winner.  The gratitude in my heart made that last mile a breeze.

I fondly remembered these moments from the summer of 2008 after an incident at Costco...

While shopping at Costco yesterday, I stopped to sample some Brie on crackers with topped with spicy goo.   The sample lady couldn't open the can of goo, and when I spotted her male associate approaching I suggested that she let him open it for her.
Not so fast!  She was clearly not willing to relinquish the task, and instead tried stabbing the lid with her knife to get it open.

Again I proposed, "Let him open it for you." 
He took it and opened it easily and wandered back to whatever he was doing.

She said, "I was determined to open it, I didn't want him to have to open it for me!"
I replied, "I say just hand it to the guy and stand back and watch him work!"

Questioningly, she asked, "That's all they're good for?"
"No," I explained, "That's what they're made for!"

Thursday, November 18, 2010

Craftsman Badge {Webelos}

Grandpa Cliff welcomes members of Peter's Webelos den to his shop.

Grandpa Cliff instructs the Scouts in proper use of the nail gun.

Enoch works on his bird feeder.

Peter uses the scroll saw.
Helping facilitate the Craftsman Badge with Peter's Webelos den this month, Tim supervised knife building & engraving, leather branding & lacing, and Grandpa Cliff hosted two Saturdays in his shop for woodworking instruction.   This badge is particularly interesting for the Webelos' dads, and most of them were on hand and assisted during all the meetings.

It's awesome to watch the dads (and grandpas) working closely with the boys, passing on their know-how and helping the boys learn new skills.

This was a repeat for the most part of Joseph's den's Craftsman Badge from two years ago...

The concept for the knife building dates back to Tim's Webelos' days when his dad, (now known as Grandpa Cliff), helped his den build knives (which are not Scout legal by today's standards due to the {impressive} blade length).

Like father, like son!
Passing it on....

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Blowtorch Project {Scouts}

Using his hand-made branding iron, Peter presses the design onto a piece of leather. 
Peter displays his finished brand: a mountain with the number 3 (for Troop 3, his future troop).

Would you let your ten year old son work on a craft project involving a blow torch?

Two years ago, Joseph's den worked on this very same Craftsman requirement.
Peter has been waiting for his opportunity to brand a leather neckerchief slide, and last night his waiting ended.

The Craftsman Badge is a real hands-on experience for Webelos, and one of our favorites to lead.

May I suggest an inspirational article for you today?
Read about a home schooled hero at work!

Fighting for Life


Monday, November 15, 2010

Teaching Through Failure

a stool built by Joseph for the carpentry merit badge: 
Joseph works independently on his stool project.

During the Scout meeting last week, Joseph quietly told me that his stool had failed.  This simply meant that it would not count for the requirement, and that he would have to build something else to complete the merit badge.  This project failure hit Joseph pretty hard, as he had spent several hours constructing the stool (working in the dark, up until the moment of departure for the meeting).

A friend of mine who had overheard Joseph, and could see that he was visibly disappointed asked me, "What are you going to do?"

My reply, "Nothing."
Joseph's legitimate authority, the counselor for the merit badge, had failed the project.  I had no temptation to try to change the outcome of that decision or 'go to bat' for my son.

Up until that point, Joseph had taken complete ownership of his project, found all his own supplies and tools, measured and designed his stool, and worked hard to complete it before the beginning of the meeting.  When I had checked in on his building progress, I was impressed with his ingenuity and perseverance.  Hearing that the stool had failed made me sad, and hearing that Joseph's stool had been held up as the example of what not to do was disconcerting.

However, his failure served as a fine teaching moment.  Tim and I worked through the failure and the feelings of defeat with Joseph.  We helped Joseph understand how his own sharp words, even when spoken in a 'joking' manner, afflict and harm others.  We reminded him to forgive his leader, whose words had been humiliating, and to hold no grudge against his friends who had laughed at him.  How many times have you laughed at your friends?  How many times have your words been callous, hurtful or overly critical?

Joseph decided to make the most of this ordeal, and to move forward with plans to build something else.  He asked Grandpa Cliff (a master woodworker) for guidance.  In a homeschool writing assignment, he reflected upon the experience:

I went to lots of trouble to make a stool for the carpentry merit badge.  I cut some plywood for the top of the stool, and the cut, though not perfect, was pretty good. The supports split when I drove the nail in, so I just had the "legs" and the top.  It looked hideous, but it worked just fine.  When I took it to the (Scout) meeting, Mr. _____ said it wouldn't pass for a Webelos project.  But that isn't the worst.  He used it for an example as how horrible it was during the class.  So now I'm going to burn it.  I learned a lesson, though, which is that I should ask for help before I do a big project like that.                     ~Joseph (12 yrs)

Unless the LORD build the house, they labor in vain who build. Unless the LORD guard the city, in vain does the guard keep watch.       Psalm 127:1
"A building just begun is not the perfect work; final perfection is brought about only in the very process of building."  St. Hilary, bishop (+367)

Saturday, November 13, 2010

Facebook Solution {Warn the other Friends}

Grandpa Cliff teaches Peter in the shop

My cousin, Ryan, suggested that I post a warning on the former Facebook friend's wall, alerting his/her other friends about her true (or false) identity.  I agree that the other potential victims should be warned.
But the page of the former friend doesn't allow for posts, only for messages.

In order to warn the other friends, I sent each of them a message, warning them about the fraudulent identity of our common friend.  This was a time consuming process, and involved opening up each page of a mutual friend, hitting "send a message to ______" and cut & pasting the message about my discovery.

Here are a few of the replies I received before I had contacted everyone on the false friend's page:

  • She has tried communicating with me but virtually everything like that out of africa comes from Nigeria.
  • Thank you, Bridget! I have suspected this for some time once the money requests started, but in charity hoped that I was wrong. I did mail her one of my books (expensive to Uganda!), but I just pray that it got into someone's hands who could use it, so no big loss. Thank you for researching this and contacting me!  God bless!
  • Thank you so much!!!!! WOW, some people!! 
  • Thank you Bridget for letting us know. We appreciate this information. We thought something wasn't right when this person started asking for money as soon as she became a friend. In our hearts, we felt this was not a genuine need. Thank you again.  Blessings.
I got quite a surprise as I attempted to send a message to the next friend on his/her list.  A pop up from Facebook read:

Block!  You are engaging in behavior that may be considered annoying or abusive by other users.  You have been blocked from sending messages because you repeatedly misused this feature. This block will last anywhere from a few hours to a few days. When you are allowed to reuse this feature, please proceed with caution. Further misuse may result in your account being permanently disabled. For further information, please visit our FAQ page. 
Kind of ironic, isn't it?  I've been blocked from sending warnings to the friends of a fraud!
Guess I'll have to find a different hobby.

Friday, November 12, 2010

Facebook Problems 4 {Fact or Fiction?}

Joseph on fiddle, Peter on mandolin in character on the Cub Scouts' Old Settlers' Parade float, which won first place.

Zachary as color guard for the Old Settlers' Parade in Ferndale, 2006

Waiting for Father Luke's contact in Uganda to report the findings, I remained hopeful that the truth would reveal my Facebook "friend" to be everything she claimed to be.  Likewise, my "friend" remained hopeful that we would be the answer to her prayers for a better life:
Sister, let me hope that your Husband is doing nicely and others? here life is just on try, am ever worried that am going to fail to sit for the national exams and again i will have to repeat when i fail this year and it will be next year again while my friends are going to University.
Sister, i always pray for you and i really do appreciate your plans towards to me. you always in my prayers and your family. thank you for having such a heart. God bless you and family. 
yours young sister _____

Within about a week, our answer from Father Luke's contact arrived:
About the girl in question, She is not there. That is an impostor. I have called the principal of the school and he has taken his time on the same issue. He finally called me up and told me that he does not have that name in the school. I believe the name that was given to us as the teacher is the real person who calls himself or is writing to you as the girl. Incidentally, the teacher is there in that school.
The tuition is _______ and not 181500 as stated. And also at that level students do not sit for national exams so as to attract a fee. National exams here attract a fee of about (minimum) ________.
I think this will be useful information for you. In case of any questions you are welcome, and feel free to ask.   All the best.God bless you.
A kind message followed from Father Luke:
Dear Bridget and Tim,  Good morning.  Thanks again for showing compassion and for being wise and vigilant.   Blessings.
I felt violated and naive for having been taken in by a scam artist... by someone who had found me through a Catholic link on my Facebook page and intended to deceive me and steal from me.  I also felt deeply grateful for the whole experience, and offered up prayers for my "friend" asking God's mercy upon him/her.

Of course it occurred to me that Tim's intuition was correct from the beginning.  His scam radar works well.  How humbling.  I love my husband!  I appreciate his patience with me as I took the time and trouble to go through with the investigative process, just to be certain that we were not turning our backs on someone that perhaps God had put into our lives for a reason.  I have often wondered what that reason might be.  Although tempted to just ignore the person (un-friend?) and forget the whole embarrassing situation, I felt called to 'admonish the sinner,' a Spiritual Work of Mercy.

I replied to the person, my former friend:
It has come to my attention that you are not who you claim to be.
Reports from my friend in Uganda (who investigated the school you claimed to attend, and spoke to the principal of the school) revealed that you have a false identity.  Your story did not hold up.  There were many contradictions and it was clear that you have lied to me.
I am sad that the person whom I have befriended, and who called me 'sister' does not exist.  Whomever you are, you are a person, and you were created in God's image and likeness.  Whomever you are, I pray that you will repent and change your ways.  You yourself wrote:
                     "i fear to be punished on sides of God when lying is not accepted." 
I have prayed for God's mercy on your soul, and that you would confess your sins and seek God's forgiveness.  
God's mercy is endless!   God's judgement is just.   
With that, the Facebook "fictitious friend" saga ends.
But problems with Facebook do continue, that's a fact!

Posted in the hour of Divine Mercy...

The Corporal Works of Mercy
                 To feed the hungry
                To give drink to the thirsty
                To clothe the naked
                To visit and ransom the captives
                To shelter the homeless
                To visit the sick
                To bury the dead

The Spiritual Works of Mercy
                To admonish sinners
                To instruct the ignorant
                To counsel the doubtful
                To comfort the sorrowful
                To bear wrongs patiently
                To forgive all injuries
                To pray for the living and the dead

Thursday, November 11, 2010

Facebook Problems 3 {But Wait! There's More}

Gabriel cares for a headstone in the children's cemetery, removing moss.

Janell helps Joseph refill his spray bottle at the children's cemetery clean-up on All Souls' Day, as Samuel looks on.

I shared the Facebook situation with my dear friend, Janell.  She and her husband met while volunteering with the Missionaries of Charity in India.  She shared a story of a desperate street beggar, crying out for money to be able to bury his dead son, lamenting that he couldn't afford to buy the casket. Janell lovingly (perhaps naively) gave him the money for the cost of the casket.  She remembered how so many people walked right past him, as if he was invisible.     A few blocks away, a few days later, Janell came across the same man pulling the same stunt with another naive foreigner.  Janell ran at him, chastising him for his scam, and he ran away... to another corner, probably.  With poverty comes desperation.

Even after hearing Janell's story, I found myself troubled with frequent thoughts of a suffering person who had asked me directly for help.  Her request for help paying for school fees kept ringing in my ears.  I continued to pray for her.

Amazingly, a visiting priest (via California) from Uganda entered our lives right in the midst of my unrest about not being able to help this person in need.  On a hike with Father Luke, I shared the story of my Facebook friend from Uganda, and expressed sadness at not being able to help her.
Zachary pitched in, "St. John Vianney said 'If you can't help someone yourself, then pray that someone else will help them."  Wise counsel.

Fr. Luke offered to help us determine if her request for financial aid for school was legit.  He had in fact, taken a few students (family members) from Uganda into his financial care to help provide for their education.  He had close contacts in Uganda who were willing to research and investigate the claims made by my "friend" to help discover the truth of the matter.

In the meantime, her pleas for help kept hitting my FB message folder:

Bridget, great to hear from you and all your words were so great to read, i have understood your point my dear friend, i don't take you as a bad person but always good to me, well thats how everyone thinks when someone is coming out requesting for help, but with me am not such kind of who just gets to lie, with lying i can't gain and am a God believer, i fear to be punished on sides of God when lying is not accepted. 

let me guess that you fine and doing all good, am very sorry my dear friend if it annoyed you but as you know when someone needs to be education much is ever up and down looking for the possibilities to be in school ever. life is just going on somehow, hope one day God will accept out my prayers. let me wish you the best my dear friend, God bless you and your family.
i always pray for it, but Bridget what should i do to be helped out with my studies, i see like my future is getting to be blocked, my mother can't afford now anything, she is completely down.. please help me my friend, connect me to someone who can at least help me... complete my studies or go through this high school, then after i can find a course to do.. if of University fee not available.

please am sorry to budge you, my friend i need help, so that i can survive in future, and also to help others. send regards to your one heaven sent husband.  God bless you all.

Having been budged, I was so relieved to know that soon Father Luke's contact in Uganda would have a concrete answer about whether or not this appeal for help was fact or fiction.   At his request, I asked my friend for the name and address of her school and for a copy of her most recent report card.  These items were sent to me, and I forwarded them together with every single bit of correspondence I had received from her.  Father Luke sent them on to his contact in Uganda.

And then, I waited...

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Facebook Problems 2 {Continued...}

Tim leads the Webelos in a Craftsman Badge pocket knife building project.
Yes, Amy, my new "friend" on Facebook asked for money!  Yes, Kristy, there were serious pulls at my heartstrings!
Rebecca, I concur with your wisdom about only accepting "friend" requests from someone you know. 
OK Simone, I'll get blogging and continue the saga...

As you know, I told my new "friend" that yes, she could ask me a question. Her reply:
well how are you doing my beloved one friend, i really feel so good reading from you Bridget, you so a great friend heaven sent. how is your true one husband God sent to you? send him regards and other family members.  here life is a bit on try, par now am not attending school because of some school dues. Please Bridget, here i come up by requesting you to find me someone with a helping heart to sponsor me in my education for my dreams to come true.. we are 3Children, staying with my mother, my daddy passed away some years back. we are 2girls and 1 brother, my sister is 14yrs and the my brother is 10yrs. 
i wish you the best and stay in touch. you always in my prayers. thanks for writing, _____

I wrote back, asking her to explain what exactly she was requesting (in a sponsor) and if her school had a sponsorship program.  I also asked for a few more details. She replied:
Bridget hi, how are you doing and how is life taking you over there, how is everyone, how is your heaven sent husband? you all in my prayers.

am so happy reading from you, and really thank so much for your heart of help to consider out my request of getting a sponsor, here life is just on try, as you know am missing school a lot... but everyone home is fine, at school they don't have that program of sponsorship, i think it would be better for me to have a private wth a heart of help to pay my school fees up to university to complete my studies, my Job in mind is becoming an accountant or studying law, this is my final class to university but then right now am missing school yet we have to sit for the National examination, i would like to register but registration fees my mother can't really afford it, thats why my friend Bridget please help me out with this so that at least i sit for this final year of high school.
with fees par term we pay 181,500/= Ugandan shs, with Registration fee for the National examination is 15,000/= Ugandan shs we pay it once for only National examination.
thanks so much for my dearest friend Bridget may God still keep you with that great heart of help. yours always in my prayers
I used an online conversion program to determine how much money was being requested in US dollars, and the total was around $200.  I showed Tim the series of messages and his scam radar went off immediately.  This is where the beauty of marriage becomes so evident:  While I was emotionally moved by this person's cry for help (as a mother would be), he was moved into protector mode (as a father should be).  Tim put it straight:  We would absolutely not be sending money to a stranger, even if she was my "friend" on Facebook.

Tim's decision made perfect sense. So I sent her this message:

We are not going to be able to send you the money, but we will pray for you and hope that you can find a sponsor for your education.  I do hope you will still want to be friends, even if we cannot pay for your school and examination fees. I know this will be disappointing news, but I want to be very honest with you and not give you the wrong idea. With friends, it is always better to be completely honest, even if it's hard news.

I did keep her in prayer, and her reply caught me off guard:
thank you for refusing to find me a sponsor to my education.   bye

I guess I should have simply let the whole thing go.  But somehow this strange Facebook situation (and the thought of a desperate child in Africa) kept nagging at my conscience...

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

Facebook Problems 1 {Where to begin?}


Hope & Hannah


Enoch & Jonah

I accidentally joined Facebook 2 years ago.

A friend had posted a photo album on her FB page and invited me to view it, which meant I had to create a FB identity.  In the process, I somehow managed to send "friend invites" to everyone in my Gmail contacts.  This list included our parish priest,  whom I would not normally ask to be my "friend."  How embarrassing!

About 6 months ago, I received an intriguing FB friend request from a young lady in Uganda.
A few days after we became "friends" we started corresponding in the message area (off page).
I enjoyed the idea of sharing our faith (she had found me through a Catholic site) and of learning about her life in Uganda and sharing ours.  When I inquired about the different names she had used in her messages (which Tim thought was very curious) she replied:
Hi my good one friend, how are you doing today? how is your family? send my hearty regards to all at home... My real names am called ____, i take ____ as my first name, because it is the clan name... thanks so much for the prayers, i also do the same to pray for you and your family... i thank God much for making us be friends.. and i wish forever to be friends. God bless you and your family.. bye.. your friend ____ from Uganda East Africa.
Within 5 days of our "friendship" I received this message:
Hi Bridget, how are you doing and how is life treating you via there? well am glad to read from you today, i really feel so good whenever i read from you such a great person in my heart you? how was the day of Fathers? in fact i didn't know that we have even that day in the world, i was just knowing Mother's Day. hope you really enjoyed it well? 

How is your heaven sent husband? really send my regards to him, with Sandra is my youngest sister, so sometimes i use her name and most here call me Sandra. 
my dear i would like to request you one thing if you don't mind? i will make it when you get to allow me ask.
good time and God bless you with your family, you ever in my Prayers and mind.  ____

I replied that of course, she could ask me anything.
What do you think she asked??

Monday, November 8, 2010

Today's Trash {Keepsakes}

Some of the photo cards we received last year from family and friends with greetings for Christmas.

Cleaning piles of accumulated paper is never a very fun job.
One of my least favorite jobs, to tell the truth.

In my parents' house, we had an extra bedroom which became the landing zone for piles of paper (and all kinds of other odds & ends) that needed sorting, filing and/or discarding.
It was pretty handy, right off the kitchen, and made the mess easy to conceal when company came to call.
We had a beautiful house, don't get me wrong... the kind of house we could only dream of owning.
But there was that one room...clutter central.  Come to think of it, I guess my bedroom was easily as messy at that room!  And there was always the garage... but I digress.

I admit my weakness with controlling clutter, isn't that the first step toward recovery?
Today I tossed a pile of 2009 Christmas cards!  It wasn't easy, as they have an emotional or sentimental appeal.  But I like the idea of a clean desk (yes, they were on my desk) better than the idea of an old Christmas card collection.