What If Advent Feels Awful?

12/03/2010 Comments (1)

Catholic Spiritual Direction, a blog featuring the spiritual writings of Fr. John Bartunek, L.C. (President of Circle Media and author of The Better Part), is an excellent resource for those seeking spiritual advice and direction.

This week, Fr. Bartunek takes up a topic that is close to the heart of those who are suffering during this Advent season of hope and waiting. A reader asks:

“Advent is usually a season of hope. But what about when there is little reason for hope? When life is far from joyful, how can we experience the true joy and peace of the Advent season?  Our family has suffered many losses this year and even my children are despairing at what a bad year it has been. My...READ MORE

Filed under advent, advice, christmas, depression, hope, spiritual direction

Choosing Life for Girls Pays

12/01/2010 Comments (4)

The state government of Mumbai is planning an incentive program to improve its birth rate.

Now this is not just about encouraging couples to have more children in general, with incentives like they’ve used (with limited success) in places like Italy.

This incentive program is aimed at encouraging citizens not to abort—and not to abandon—their baby girls in particular.

The state government is formulating a scheme for cash incentives to citizens to combat female infanticide. Under the scheme, planned by the state ministry of women and child development, families with girl children will be given incentives on fulfilling certain conditions, including school enrollment and delay in marriage...READ MORE

Filed under abortion, daughters, girls, india, infanticide, mumbai

It's Not Christmas Yet

11/30/2010 Comments (26)

Every year, I seem to fight a losing battle with the culture, my kids, and myself in an attempt to observe Advent properly. Too often, what’s meant to be a time of waiting and preparing for Christmas turns into a premature celebration of Christmas—complete with parties, presents, Santa, and Rudolph.

I hate to be the grinch that says no to parties, so I try to keep a positive focus through Advent. One way to do that is through music, I have found. Advent has a music all its own, if you know where to look for it.

I like this version of O Come, O Come Emmannuel by Enya, for example. If you prefer a more classical version, this one is very nice.

What kind of music do you like to listen to...READ MORE

Filed under advent, christmas, december, enya, music

That Sexist Macy's Parade

11/26/2010 Comments (16)

Do you watch the annual Macy’s Thanksgiving Parade? What’s your favorite part? The corny commentators? The baton twirlers? The teeny-bop music?

Or ... all those giant sexist balloons?

You see, Mr. Potato Head isn’t just a fun character and an amusing part of the traditional holiday festivity. He’s an inflatable symbol of the oppression of little girls everywhere.

On November 10 of this year, Lynnette Long, president of Equal Visibility Everywhere—a not-for-profit charmingly acronymed EVE—published a blog on the astounding under-representation of female characters among the Macy’s parade balloons. For a few key feminists, despite the holiday, it was a call to action.

In the 84-year,...READ MORE

Filed under feminism, macy's, parade, sexism, thanksgiving

Gratitude, Lincoln Style

11/24/2010 Comments (9)

I can’t be alone in thinking our nation could use a healthy dose of Abraham Lincoln right about now, can I?

Come on, closet Lincoln-philes—out yourself. There’s no time like Thanksgiving to share your love of our country’s greatest president.

One year, my husband had our oldest son memorize this proclamation to recite at Thanksgiving dinner. It was a great exercise in memorization with a bit of American history thrown in. As he practiced the speech in the weeks before Thanksgiving, the entire family was steeped in these wise words and I became a lifelong fan.

Some highlights from Lincoln’s Thanksgiving Proclamation in 1863 (read it in its entirety below):

Population has steadily...READ MORE

Filed under abraham lincoln, gratitude, president, proclamation, thanksgiving

Burial Services Dignify Babies' Lives

Which side are you on?

11/17/2010 Comments (13)

This video Matt shared today shows a funeral service for the aborted babies whose remains were discovered in jars during the raid of an illegal abortion clinic earlier this year. You can read that grisly story at Life News.

In a similar story, we learned earlier this week that Reverend Earl Boyea, Bishop of Lansing, Michigan, plans to provide a proper burial for 17 babies whose bodies were found in a dumpster outside an abortion clinic in Eaton County.

As sad and disturbing as these stories are, I am glad to see them getting news coverage, and I wish they would get still more attention in the press.

Many of us Catholics are accustomed to hearing these kinds of stories. As I read the...READ MORE

Filed under abortion, babies, burial, funeral, pro-life

Share the Good Stuff on TV

11/16/2010 Comments (14)

– http://www.flickr.com/photos/uglyagnes/523024766/lightbox/

So I had my post last week where I trashed modern American television—“reality” television in particular.

After that post, I heard from a few readers via email who wanted to let me know that television is not all trash. They’ve inspired me to take a more positive look at TV this week.

To get us started, let’s consider this list, sent to me by reader John who opened my eyes to the fact that not all reality TV is trash. I might take issue with certain shows he endorses, but on the whole, I think he makes a good point. I hope you’ll read this through, offer your thoughts, and add your own “Good TV” list in the comments.

John writes:

Examples of reality television shows in which the human...READ MORE

Filed under entertainment, reality tv, television, tv

We Are What We Watch

What Reality TV Costs Us

11/12/2010 Comments (14)

– http://www.flickr.com/photos/dhammza/

The sheer amount of “reality television” on the air most evenings is disturbing. Even more disturbing is the fact that the vulgar, base, inane, and otherwise offensive content of these television shows passes for entertainment and many young Americans are being raised on a steady diet of this brainless garbage.

For these reasons, I was intrigued to happen upon a new book and website dedicated to exposing the insanity and danger of reality TV:

Reality Bites Back

In Reality Bites Back: The Troubling Truth about Guilty Pleasure TV, Jennifer L. Pozner, founder and executive director of Women In Media & News (WIMN), takes a fierce, funny, and in-depth look at how reality TV affects our...READ MORE

Filed under books, entertainment, popular culture, reality tv, reviews, television

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About Danielle Bean

Danielle Bean
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Danielle Bean, a wife and mother of eight, is editorial director of Faith & Family magazine and author of My Cup of Tea, Mom to Mom, Day to Day, and most recently Small Steps for Catholic Moms. Read more of her blogging at Faith & Family Live and DanielleBean.com.