Sunday, November 23, 2014

Why the Diocese of Knoxville rocks . . .

I take pictures for the diocese, and one venue I enjoy is when we have a special Mass and reception to honor married couples.  As part of the celebration, the couples can get a free portrait with our Bishop, the Most Rev. Richard Stika.

Now, Bishop Stika is a gregarious fellow and was talking to the wife of this couple while the husband continued to hold a pose.

He asked me, ""When are you going to take the picture?"

I joked, "When your wife stops making time with the Bishop there."

She heard me and seized the opportunity.

God bless Mr. and Mrs. O'Malley - married 58 years and still clowning around!

Wednesday, November 19, 2014

Can This Marriage Survive?

Something tells me this is not the strongest of partnerships.
I've got some of the standard maternal guilt that is ingrained in our culture: I worry that I am not spending enough quality time with my son, while also worried that I may be a "helicopter" mother. But my main source of guilt springs from the mere fact that I created a person. Specifically, an American person who will inevitably leave a large carbon footprint. It's environmental guilt. 
There is a little voice in my head that chastises me every time I forget to bring my canvas bags to the grocery store, when I throw away coffee grounds that should be composted, or when I drive when I could walk or take the subway. The thing is, I'm just too damn tired sometimes. I have a one-year-old. 
And that little voice; well, it's actually my husband's voice. I married an environmentalist who bikes to work and stops by the farmers market to drop off our compost twice a week. Usually, I love this about him. He challenges me to be a better person. But in 10 years of togetherness, our most heated arguments have been about my failure to live up to his environmental standards. 
"I'm not willing to gag every time I enter the kitchen for your precious banana peels!" I yelled one summer when his composting experiment in our kitchen (which is not air-conditioned) turned into a repulsive, foul-smelling goo. 
And later: "I want to use cloth diapers, too, but it's day 10 with pee and poop soaking through them and onto my clothes, and we're 15 loads of laundry in, and I'm the one doing it all!”
His comeback was to suggest I pay closer attention to our newborn’s "pee cycles" and change his diapers more often.
What happened to the love between a man and a woman, so strong that it desires to manifest itself in the creation of a new human being?

Now clear your mind with the brilliant words of Lord Jonathan Sacks, Chief Rabbi of the UK, at the Vatican's Humanum colloquium:
What made the traditional family remarkable, a work of high religious art, is what it brought together: sexual drive, physical desire, friendship, companionship, emotional kinship and love, the begetting of children and their protection and care, their early education and induction into an identity and a history. Seldom has any institution woven together so many different drives and desires, roles and responsibilities. It made sense of the world and gave it a human face, the face of love.
Go and read Lord Sacks' entire speech, it is wonderful.

Tuesday, November 18, 2014

Let's scare the White people . . .

The "leaders" for the protest in Ferguson, MO released this list of "Potential Action Locations" for their planned protest as soon as the grand jury releases its decision.

Let's not fool ourselves.  Whether or not the police officer is indicted is irrelevant.  There will be action.  Never let a crisis go to waste.  And if there is none, manufacture it.

But look at some of the targets "action locations."  Missouri Botanical Gardens?  St. Louis Gateway Arch?  The Ritz Carlton?  These places have nothing to do with the shooting of a Black teenager.

I doubt that the organizers of these protests - many of whom are from outside the area, as with Al Sharpton - have enough people to cover all of these locations.  So why bother releasing this list?  I suspect it is to plant a germ of fear into Whitey's head, that angry mobs may just disrupt a 3rd grade class outing from a school in a predominantly White district at the botanical gardens.  Nice monument to westward expansion you got there.  Shame if something happened to it.

It's called bullying.  It's called agitation.  It's call extortion.

And no, it is not in the name of justice.  It is in the name of power.  For themselves and not the community.

Ask yourself this, has anything changed in South Central since the Rodney King riots?  How much support is Trayvon Martin's family getting today?  These incidents are used as conduits for shucksters like Al Sharpton and Jesse Jackson for themselves.  Why are they never arrested or tear gassed?

Monday, November 17, 2014

Sometimes things happen that make it easy to succumb to despair.

So I received a letter today from my health care insurer.  I had recently changed plans, not because I wanted to, but the plan that had served my family just fine was declared non-compliant with the Affordable Care Act and would have to expire.  So I used a broker and found a new plan, one that has a higher deductible and a higher monthly premium.  In fact, my premium was increased by some 90%.  But I only get two months to enjoy my new premium because as today's correspondence told me, starting January 1, 2015, an additional $110 would be added to the premium.

As I write this, the governor of Missouri has placed the National Guard on alert because, I do believe, he feels "something" will happen in Ferguson regardless of what the result the grand jury delivers.  Something bad.  Because the mob rules and we are devolving into a country where bullies flourish.  I found myself thinking, perhaps it is time for the good folk to take up pitchforks and torches, and descend upon the monster in the castle.

Then I see an article posted by a friend on Facebook regarding comments made by an American Cardinal concerning women priests.  People who pride themselves on standing true to the Catholic faith posted comments such as "He sick," "Jack-ass," "WHAT!!!!!!!!!!!!!! ass hats," and "Well, that is NOT a priest of God. He must be a closet unbeliever."  I can understand disagreeing with a member of the Magisterium, but there is no justification for calumny.

So, with all these, I have a heavy heart and I am simply tired.  I am tired of being exposed to a new outrage each day.  I am tired that I no longer have a country, it seems.

So . . . ":Jesus, I trust in You."

Sunday, November 16, 2014

Busy me

I have not abandoned this blog, although it seems as if I have.  The truth is, I have been busy with various projects, one of which included a trip to Fargo, ND (where, yes, I did see the actual wood chipper from the movie).

I built a Dia de los Muertos altar for my son's school:  I shot the Bishop.  I shot the Bishop again.  I photographed a wedding in Chattanooga.  I did an engagement shoot in Fargo.  I restored some photos.  I am marketing a book.  I wrote a short story and started another.  I have photographed football games.  I have photographed kittens and puppies for a local shelter.

It's just been busy.  But I am not complaining.

Projects for 2015:

MORE photography, of course.  I want to increase my commercial work.  I have now been published by the East Tennessee Catholic, Maryknoll magazine, FAITH magazine, Catholic News Service, and the Glenmary Missioners. I also want to build a home studio.

Continuing short stories.  I have created a character, Fr. David Pennywise.  Yes, I know that is the name of an evil clown, but I am claiming it.  The character is bsaed on Fr. John Moneypenny, but note the term based, so some aspects of the priest may reflect facts taken from the person, others are fictionalized - largely.  Of course, there is no accounting for what people like to read into a character - look at Al and Tipper Gore, who somehow saw themselves in Segal's Love Story.  I have written one story already, but even that needs to be refined.  The next one will be a humor piece.

The second book for SimpLex Guides, now that the first is published.  We will be doing some marketing soon, but the next book will be something that both people in divorce and their attorneys can use.  I have also been doing some Family law consulting as a result of this, which I am enjoying.

I have to get two kids graduated this year.  Plus, I have been asked to be the sponsor of a candidate for Confirmation.  I take these things seriously.

So there you go.  Be patient, I just have so many hours in a day.

Thursday, November 6, 2014

If I wanted to steal a gun . . . I'd go to California

California:  a state that makes it extremely difficult to obtain legally a license to carry a firearm . . . but just reduced the theft of one from a felony to a misdemeanor.
But it gets worse. It’s not just that gun theft is no longer a felony. The new law required by Proposition 47 now bans arrests for gun theft. Instead of arresting those suspected of stealing guns, police are required to write them a ticket and ask for them to appear in court.
But don't you dare smoke in public parks!

You know, felonies require arrests and paperwork and all that rot.  Now you can get off easily with a fine.  A fine - revenue for the state, safety be damned.

BTW, possession of date rape drugs now become misdemeanors under this proposition.

California: waging a war against women.

We love Mia!

Listen to a truthful and lovely woman: