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Tuesday, October 30, 2007

That sound stops me in my tracks everytime

D A G A play it twice and I will stop dead in my tracks. It is the beginning of the song (tab format) that my wife sang to me at our wedding reception.

At my brother-in-laws wedding this weekend I heard this song and it stopped me dead in my tracks. Unfortunatley, we couldn't dance due to the nursing baby but that didn't stop me from sitting with my wife and enjoying her company. I love you Dawn, my dearling, my Davy. Thank you for the wonderful weekend.


Under the Mercy,
Matthew S

The Scratching Post: The Feline Theocracy Hosts the Catholic Carnival

Well, here it is, the one, the only, the Catholic Carnival! ! !
Dog lover though I may be, lets hear it once for the cats! ! !
The Scratching Post: The Feline Theocracy Hosts the Catholic Carnival

Under the Mercy,

Matthew S

Monday, October 29, 2007

I think I lost my head. . .

Originally uploaded by
I know that some people say at times I act like a chicken running around with my head cut off but the past week has been busy and today has been a great relief and rest. From hosting the Catholic Carnival at the beginning of the week, working hosting a conference, working, having a wedding/dinner/dance, brunch the next day and getting to Church for Sunday its been a little crazy. We kept up good and got everywhere on time and jumped back into the swing of things here at home with me even doing the cooking today. I even got Dawn out to a knit-in at one of her friends homes. I am feeling like I have accomplished much today, I think I even found my head.

Under the Mercy,
Matthew S

The better portion?

Something that comes up from time to time in our life is if what we are doing is really important? Does it really make a difference that we: nfpecologicalbreastfeedgeneroustonewlifesleepinginafamilybedhomeschoolourkidsononeincomeprotectingtheirinnocence ? Yes, at times it feels like a mouthful at times and it means sacrifice. We feel that at times we have to forgo social invitations and having some of the nicer things in life for the sake of our children and at times we wonder if its really the better portion.

We have good Catholic schools, would they really be worse off? Would it hurt if my wife worked and we had a little more income and nicer things?

I keep coming back to one thing, do I seek my reward now or later? Would it be so bad to have some of my reward now? I am working hard and I need to be strong to keep working so something nice around would be helpful to keep me feeling refreshed.

I have come to a conclusion, its hard to feel it because at times God feels far away when raising a child never seems to end. The Snoring Scholar said it well with her post after the birth of her last child saying, "these are the longest days and the shortest years." My conclusion is simple if we look at our reward as food.

As I do my work as a parent God is cooking me food. In society we want things done well and done now, thus we have created FAST FOOD. If I want my reward now, that is what I can have, Two Cheeseburgers, some fries and a Coke. However, God is cooking a feast, a banquet for us, he cannot give us that food now, it is not ready for us to eat, it would make us sick until it is prepared. So at times we settle for FAST FOOD. I think I would rather wait for the banquet in Heaven.

So, is it worthwhile? When I am not so shortsighted, focused on myself and looking for gratification the answer is very clear. When I am with my children and my wife, then answer is very clear.


More on the busy week past later.

Under the Mercy,
Matthew S

Thursday, October 25, 2007

Sigh, do we really have to do this again?

Okay, so it isn't that suprising that the United Nations has come out and criticized the teaching that the Catholic Church holds and defends on sexual morality. It isn't even suprising that the logic makes no sense. However, it is none the less irritating.

"In Latin America the use of condoms has been demonized, but if they were used in every relation I guarantee the epidemic would be resolved in the region," said Alberto Stella, the UNAIDS Coordinator for Honduras, Nicaragua and Costa Rica.

Well, I wonder if this is a really true and good statement, someone just blowing smoke for an agenda or simply a misinformed soul?

I don't know the answer but I know that if condoms were used and used perfectly we would still have AIDS transmission. Here is an article talking about the fact that the condom only prevents pregnancy 98% of the time when used properly.

When condoms are used reliably, they have been shown to prevent pregnancy up to
98 percent of the time among couples using them as their only method of contraception.

Considering this is not a measure of failures of the condom as you have a very small window for pregnancy to occur over the course of a woman's cycle it has to make you wonder how many other times sperm gets through but doesn't achieve pregnancy? Ok, wait we are talking about AIDS, not how often sperm get through, right? Well, sperm are bigger than the AIDS virus.

Average HIV particle is 0.08 um wide and the average sperm head is 4 - 5 um
long and 2.5 - 3.5 um wide. --Dr. Holodniy , Stanford University school of Medicine.

To sum it up that would be about the difference between the size of a dime (HIV virus) and a tennis ball (head of a sperm). We also know that their are pores in the latex condoms, their is debate and varying studies as to the size and danger from them. I did find a few studies that observed some virus making it through. More important though is infection rates, I will concede in no small fashion that the rate of infection goes down in a monogamous couple that uses a condom where only one partner is infected as found in this article.

In a multi-center Italian study that followed 305 sexually active seronegative female sexual partners of HIV-infected men for a median of 24 months, 3.9 infections occurred per 100 person-years (py). (Saracco) The HIV incidence was reduced by 84 percent in women who always used condoms compared with women who used them inconsistently or never (rate ratio 0.2; 95% confidence interval [CI] 0.1-0.5).*

Basically, the rate of infection went down by 85%. What does that mean? Well, if we have a situation that kills 100 people every month, we are now only killing 15. Is this the solution we really want to SOLVE the problem of AIDS? So, do condoms resolve the problem? Uhhh, no!

I found another article that also cites the facts that I have cited and it is found here. Again stating that you have a 2% perfect use chance of getting pregnant and 85% less chance of getting killed, I mean getting AIDS (for all intents and purposes these two things are the same right now) versus not using a condom at all. Again, I must reiterate if you have the following three choices which do you pick?

  1. Have a 50-50 chance of being killed.
  2. Have a 7.5% chance of being killed.
  3. Almost zero to zero percent chance of being killed.

Just the facts, abstinence and chaste monogamy make it hard for the HIV virus to get in the door.

Alright, back to the article again:

"The fact young people start to be sexually active between 15 and 19 without sex education contributes to the spreading of the virus, as well as the fact that the evidence shows abstinence is not working," Stella told Reuters.

No, actually abstinence works just fine, people these days are choosing not to use it and are placing themselves in danger. Show me how someone actually being chaste/abstinent contracts AIDS and I have already shown you how someone out in the world living it up contracts AIDS and at almost infinitely greater rates than someone who is abstinent or in a faithful committed and monogamous relationship.

Really, do I need to make a parody? No, it wasn't that funny anyway. The cold hard truth is that people not doing the safest thing doesn't mean the safest thing doesn't work. Alright, I am going to get off my soapbox for a few and try to get some sleep. If everyone would just be faithful and not live life like immediate sexual satisfaction was the be all end all, we would have this AIDS epidemic shut down in no time but some people just can't stop running across the street in front of the bus. Sadly, some people will continue to get hit by the bus, even if we put soft bumpers on the bus they will still get hurt. If not through AIDS, through the emotional damage of imperfect sexual relations designed around personal pleasure and not love for spouse.

Under the Mercy,

Matthew S

p.s. The Curt Jester has some good insight and did a wonderful commentary on this yesterday while I was at work showing the condom distribution doesn't solve the problem.

Monday, October 22, 2007

Catholic Carnival #142 (my 100th blog post here)

Welcome to the October 23, 2007 edition of Catholic Carnival.

Let us start with a picture:

K T Cat presents YAPS posted at The Scratching Post, saying, "It's not theological and it's not social, it's just a wonderful, beautiful gift from God." I just hope I can get this good with my camera. Still learning what all those settings do on my camera. I know KT Cat has to be looking forward to this edition of the Carnival because it means she is down to just days until her turn to host next week. I have all the information at the bottom of how to submit your article for next week and don't forget to link to this edition so that we get lots of interest in the Blog Carnival.


RobK presents Faith in Rudy? No! posted at Kyrie Eleison, saying, "Discussion of staying true to our values in picking a presidential candidate, particularly in the current discussion about Rudy Giuliani." Some country songs say you shouldn't talk about "Politics, Religion and Her." I agree with Rob and see no need to stay away from "politics" when it affects our faith, "Religion" is a no-brainer (this is the CATHOLIC Carnival) and "her" is always ok as long as its the Blessed mother.

Speaking of Children, you can't have Children without parents and Denise at Catholic Matriarch in my Domestic Church aka Catholic Mom gives us some insight into the role of a parent and the role of society in her post I am Not the Enemy. Now I think I understand why someone wrote the book, "It Takes a Village". I should stop now or we will end up with a full blog interlude here in the middle of the carnival.

Seth sent me his memories of The Night to Life in Oakland from his blog CatholicLand, hmmm, sounds like a good name for an amusement park.

Now here is someone that I can respect and actually have probably bumped into at the Midwest Catholic Family Conference, Jean from Catholic Fire brings forth a series of quotes that should help strengthen your understanding and provide you a little bit of moral support with a set of Contraception Quotes by some prominent saints and saints-to-be.


Ian presents If A Three Year Old Can Sing Chant, What?s Your Choir?s Excuse Again? posted at A Call For Volunteers - Review Your Religious Education Material!. A short video and all I can say is, "From the Mouth of Babes."


Okay, everyone get your thinking caps on and head over to help Therese at the Aussie Coffee Shop and give her some quality feedback on socialization and homeschool. I may have to go with a full out blog post instead of a comment but lets just say I would rather my kids learn from me right and wrong than from the kid doing drugs in the neighborhood park.

Maybe we should start this section with expectation and a beautiful poem from Courtney at her blog Peace! Be Still! and Poem about a Kick experienced from the Mom's point of view. As a dad I only feel them in my kidney or on my hand and they always come from without. I am jealous of that feeling of the kick from the inside.

Now we come to share some wonderful news from a previous host of the Carnival, Sarah has had her baby, I will let her share all the details in her blog post that is wise beyond its longest days and shortest years in just another day of Catholic Pondering.

Speaking of birth, that can only mean baptism is around the corner and Melissa, at a Third Way, gives us a story about her son's baptism and special gifts to and from our Lady to this new mother. This story definitely brought a smile to my face as it reminded me of each of my four daughter's baptisms. Oh, and I love the Bible quote you use on your blog, one of my wife's favorites too.

Now that we are talking about kids, nothing is more fun than going to the theater with the kids. I would however reccomend skipping The Golden Compass (link to my post on the subject) and Jay at Living Catholicism has some excellent alternative movies.

Before I forget I should take everone past my wife's blog, Turning Water into Wine: Vino Per Tutto and two of her recent posts that have become favorites of mine. The first is simple: Your mission if you should choose to accept it, pull off a nature walk in the morning with 4 kids (8, 5, 3, 11 mo.) while your husband works second shift thus throwing your whole scedule off. My wife prepares with a positive frame of mind in her Before Nature Walk Routine and yes it was successful. Secondly, for all you moms and dads that are feeling a little (or a lot) overwhelmed, read bit by bit for some uplifting inspiration.

Well, if you have parents then we should pay a visit to The Heart, Mind and Strength weblog to find some inspiration for our marriages and our prayer life and Kevin gives us this reflection on Faith, Prayer and Scripture that I really should look over again a few more times when the day is quieter, okay, who am I kidding I should wait until the still of the night when the four kids are sleeping restfully because when they are awake and I am home I should play with them.

Okay, time for a musical break and that means a visit to Bryan Murdaugh for his short reflection and song All in the Family.


Joe brings us a little bit of Lectio Divina in his blog post Not a Chump, from his blog Ho Kai Paulos (you need to explain what that means). We have to stand up for what is right, this is one of my favorite Bible verses as a man.

Now for a little bit of Apologetics and basic Logic/Philosophy!!! Come on, just because I said the P word doesn't mean its boring!!! Nicholas Hardesty brings a simple syllogism (a verbal equation) on his blog PhatCatholic Apologetics to show one form of a defense of prayer to saints. Go over and comment now, the combox may get active on this one.

Now from the Catholic Spitfire Grill we have another well written piece of Apologetics, this time on the charge from protestants that always shocks me when they claim we worship x, y, or z; instead of Jesus.


Heidi, being slightly overactive has brought two posts, one from each of her main blogs (you have time for more than one of these?????) to the table. From Mommy Monsters we have another reflection on the past Sunday's readings. Then we roll off to Streams of Mercy and find her reflections on her mission trip to Africa, hats off to you!

At Deo Omnis Gloria we can find an interesting perspective on the bonfire of John Paul the Second and how as Catholics we seem to be more readily able to see the miraculous.

Barb Szyszkiewicz presents Poverty and Christianity posted at SFO Mom, saying, "Reflections on the meaning of "poor" versus "poor in spirit," from a Franciscan perspective." A beautiful and simple post and I don't mean to offend but it sounds like your husband may have a little Carmelite influence, he appears to have a simple thirst for a simple way to help souls, much like "The Little Flower."

Jim, at Bethune Catholic brings us a wonderful post on the Immutability of God based on Aquinas' The Ways of God. Make sure your printer has paper and sit back for a reflective read.

That concludes this edition. Submit your blog article to the next edition of
catholic carnival using our carnival submission form.
Past posts and future hosts can be found on our blog carnival index page.

Wow, this was lots of work, enlightening and fun. Thanks for reading and thanks for sending in your entries.

Under the Mercy,

Matthew S

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Walking through a field (aka Nature Walk)

Originally uploaded by
Of course, I could make it better, what fun if this was truly out in the country and in your hands was a shotgun. Well, it is too early in the year to really go rabbit hunting as we haven't had a good freeze.

Under the Mercy,

Matthew S

I am being overrun at work

Originally uploaded by
I had a wonderful suprise the other day at work. Well, it wasn't a complete suprise as they did call first and we had to let them in the building but it wasn't planned much in advance. 5 people that made my day.

Love you girls!!!
Under the Mercy,
Matthew S

Thursday, October 18, 2007

Hosting The Catholic Carnival

This is my 97th post and I am announcing that post #100 here is going to be the next edition of the Catholic Carnival, I am working alot this week and starting to get everything ready for the carnival. You can see the information about the carnival here and you can submit an article here. You can also find the current edition here at 50 Days After.

Wednesday, October 17, 2007

40 reasons to have a child

Okay, so I highlighted posts by Karen and Sarah in response to the 40 reasons not to have kids. Well, I figure we should have 40 reasons to have another child from a dad's perspective

1. I don't know why they say grown men don't cry.
2. Children are much more fun much longer than any new cell phone or Ipod.
3. Put that geekiness to use, have a daughter and teach her how to use that GPS so you can GeoCache together.
4. A small voice in the middle of the night, "Daddy, I'm scared."
5. You always remember the first time that 1 month old fall asleep on your chest.
6. Have you ever seen a smile that will break your heart? You Will.
7. A kiss is a terrible thing to waste.
8. When you are carrying a baby, you always have an excuse out of any awkward social setting.
9. Candy Land; Chutes and Ladders, need I say more?
10. Someone to mow the lawn with you.
11. 7 minutes old, they will try to get your glasses but already have your heart.
12. Late night television is much better while holding an almost asleep infant.
13. You change their diapers today; you will have someone to change yours in twenty-forty years.
14. No better gift than someone to stand by them than a sibling for your kids.
15. The first time you see your newborn child is thirty times more intense than your first love.
16. The pitter patter of your child’s steps when you come home from work will brighten your day.
17. Really tight and snug bear hugs.
18. Someone that wants to hear all those exciting stories of your childhood over and over again.
19. Learning to love was never this much fun before.
20. Nothing quite like having someone that truly believes you can pull a quarter out of their ear.
21. The enjoyment of having someone steal your nose.
22. The ability to kiss a bobo and make it all better.
23. Because you love their smile when they beat you in a race or any game for that matter.
24. The feeling of them clinging to you the first time a pet or someone they love dies.
25. From the mouth of babes come truths that are beyond their years.
26. Milk and Oreo tea parties.
27. Licking the bowl while the cookies are in the oven is more fun when its shared.
28. They are cuter covered in mud than your dog is covered in mud.
29. Better than a cat, plus no litter box.
30. Immortal soul = Eternal relationship.
31. Become closer to God, create something with him.
32. The only thing more beautiful than your pregnant wife is when she is holding your new child for the first time.
33. You like pickles and when your wife is pregnant you will have a good excuse to go get some in the middle of the night.
34. Teaching a child to mow is a very rewarding experience.
35. Playing patty-cake with an 11-month old never gets old.
36. Perfect reason to pop popcorn and watch a favorite classic childhood movie.
37. Children know you are invincible and you have the privilege of wrestling the monsters out of their room.
38. Butterfly kisses.
39. The perfect reason to get out some coloring books, crayons and have fun.
40. The realization that fulfillment in life is found in living it for someone else is priceless, so is the value of your child’s immortal soul.


In an effort to increase the visibility of the positive, I am trying to add links here to other posts higlighting this, just to increase authorities and popularities on blog search sights if we all do this it will help.


The BookwormMontessori for Everyone (who has 75 reasons!!!)

Catholic Wife and Mother

The Bookworm

My thoughtful Daughter

So, last night I had to work a 4 hour OT shift at work (until 0300) and I called home to let my wife know that I wouldn't be walking through the door about 2310 that night. My oldest daughter answered the phone and we had a wonderful conversation about her day and I asked her what she was doing. She told me she was making choclate pudding and that is one of my favorite desserts. My daughter politely informed me that she was going to be saving a serving for me. As I got home I peeked in the fridge and my pudding was waiting for me, but I was so tired that I ended up going straight to bed. I know that my favorite dessert is waiting for me after lunch and my daughter loves me. Thank you Mary Beth, I love you sweet daughter.

Under the Mercy,

Matthew S

Tuesday, October 16, 2007


It is my Mnday and I am about to be off to work for the day, I am going to keep working on my 40 reasons post while I am at work (getting close to 1/2 way). Also, I am getting ready to make a big announcement about something that is going to happen next week, so stay tuned.

Under the Mercy,
Matthew S

Sunday, October 14, 2007

just another day of Catholic pondering: My 40 Reasons to Have Kids

In my prior post I highligted Karen's reasons, another great set is found here:

just another day of Catholic pondering: My 40 Reasons to Have Kids

Maybe I should work on a list from a Dad's point-of-view.

Under the Mercy,
Matthew S

Saturday, October 13, 2007

Karen Edmisten: 40 Reasons to Have Kids

This may be written by a mother for mothers but with a little changing of the verbage and position of the speaker it applies to dads and its just plain awesome.

Under the Mercy,
Matthew S

Karen Edmisten: 40 Reasons to Have Kids

The Moat Monster

I guess I really can draw....never would have thought I could. See my wife's blog post about Fine Art Friday's.
Under the Mercy,
Matthew S

Tuesday, October 9, 2007

Homeschoold Adventure #2 (VideoCast)

Okay, another video is up, still learning all the ins and outs of Windows MovieMaker.

I should also check into finding some podsafe music or something for bumpers, an intro and credits.

Under the Mercy,

Matthew S.

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The wonder of Children

Found this little gem while I was waiting for the latest edition of Homeschool Adventures to compile.

I am truly blessed as a father. I love you girls.
Under the Mercy,
Matthew S

Saturday, October 6, 2007

Call me "The Great White Hunter"

Well, my oldest daughter needed a second cricket for her terrarium (my old small 5 gallon fish tank turned into a terrarium that is) as the current tennant, Nemo Shark, was a bit lonely. Mary Beth, my oldest, sent me off to work with a piece of tupperware for this purpose and I mentioned it to a few of my co-workers. Well, on the way out I wasn't having much luck until one of my co-workers told me to hurry over, they had found the elusive female cricket. I may have to start doing short video podcasts, it was definitely fun.

Tuesday, October 2, 2007

Eating solid food is hard work

I don't think most of us realize what a challenge it is for a 10 month old to eat solid food. They are use to the ease of nursing and now they are continually eating more and more of this stuff that they have to pick up, chew and then swallow. I have a pretty good hunch that it is exhausting work.

Under the Mercy,
Matthew S

Monday, October 1, 2007

First Day of School

First Day of School
Originally uploaded by
Well, Math and Reading galore is taking over the house today. Formal schooling has begun again, no more carefree days of carefree learning, well at least during the week, we are working on the formal lessons of the year. If you look carefully, Mary is learning her needlepoint and Anna is working on her beadwork. Hmmmm, this sounds very much like something Mary and Laura might have done in the Little House books.

Under the Mercy,

Matthew S