When It Comes to Building a Community, Choose, Don't Drift

01/02/2014 Comments (21)

The other day, I did something I'd been trying to avoid: I took a swipe at Catholics who just don't like Francis.  I regret this -- not because I was wrong, but because it wasn't helpful.  Furthermore, among the people who don't like Francis, there is a wide range of motivations.  Some people are just plain ignorant, and aren't interested in remedying that ignorance.  It's easier and safer to just say, "Well, he's just naive and/or a commie, so don't listen to him.  Now, who wants to buy my newsletter?"

I regret the three minutes I lost getting upset over stupid stuff like that.  But I actually have more sympathy for people who don't like Francis because of of the fight they're...READ MORE

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Do You Even Deserve a New Year?

12/31/2013 Comments (22)

Take this simple quiz to find out!

How did you fare as a pet owner?

(a) After rescuing, spaying, and neutering all the chinchillas in the tri-county area, I have established a fellowship to fund chinchilla rescue, spaying and neutering in perpetuity.  Pretty soon, the chinchilla population will be so rescued, there won't be any at all!

(b) The cat is now litter trained, and the dog now poops in the backyard.  Good enough for me.

(c) Petco, Petsmart, and the Humane Society have posted Polaroids of our family with "DO NOT LET US HAVE LIVING CREATURES NOT EVEN BETTA FISH" scrawled in marker underneath.

How are your people skills coming along?

(a) I don't mean to brag, but...READ MORE

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Why Busy Parents Should Always Go to Midnight Mass

12/26/2013 Comments (31)

At our house, if we do something one time, the kids assume it's a tradition.  Not only a tradition, but an indispensable tradition without which life is nothing but an empty fraud.  This is frustrating when the insta-tradition is something like feasting on jumbo shrimp, which happened to be on sale on someone's birthday last year, but it certainly isn't on sale this year. 

We didn't mind at all, though, when the kids just assumed we'd be going to Midnight Mass this year, just because we did last year.  To them, it was a tradition, and we were happy to play along, even though we have tons of little kids and live in the great, frozen North:

It's the opposite of camping out all night...READ MORE

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The Light of the Child

12/24/2013 Comments (4)

Many years ago, my father Phillip Prever wrote a melody for Chesterton's poem, "A Christmas Carol."  There was harmony and a descant, too, but who knows where they are now -- in an attic, tucked into a book, or just gone.  Here is the poem:

The Christ-child lay on Mary's lap,
His hair was like a light.
(O weary, weary were the world,
But here is all aright.)

The Christ-child lay on Mary's breast
His hair was like a star.
(O stern and cunning are the kings,
But here the true hearts are.)

The Christ-child lay on Mary's heart,
His hair was like a fire.
(O weary, weary is the world,
But here the world's desire.)

The Christ-child stood on Mary's knee,
His hair was like a...READ MORE

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How Delmar Got Saved

12/19/2013 Comments (10)

In today's second reading, poor Zachariah gets a one-two punch:  first he was doing his duty as priest, burning incense in the sanctuary, when he's terrified by the sudden appearance of an angel.  He survives the shock, but then the angel tells him that his wife will bear a son -- and his first response is, "“How shall I know this? For I am an old man, and my wife is advanced in years.”

A reasonable response.  They were old; they thought their time had come and gone, and it seemed obvious that God was going to allow them to remain in the "disgrace" of being childless.  But the angel answers,

“I am Gabriel, who stand before God.
I was sent to speak to you and to announce to you this...READ MORE

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The Stupids Buy a Tree

12/18/2013 Comments (28)

Christmas trees?  Don't talk to me about Christmas trees.

In the past, when we go to pick out a tree, we've gone the ultra rustic route, where you pay eight dollars for the privilege of choosing a rusty bowsaw off the side of a shed and wandering in gladness through glittering fields of snow, until, maybe forty minutes later, you finally find the perfect tree -- and by "perfect," I mean that it's the one that everybody hated, rather than the one that one person hated and everyone else liked, or the one that everyone hated, except for one person who would rather die than not come home with this particular tree. And yes, when we got home, that particular tree rained melting snow for six...READ MORE

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A Mother who Looks Like Me

12/12/2013 Comments (33)

In recent years, some in the adoption community have been rethinking the ideal of "colorblind" adoption.  Deborah Johnson, an adoptee from South Korea who works with adoptive families, says

Years ago, we were taught that the best way to handle racial differences was to ignore them altogether. “Color-blindness” was considered open-minded in many social circles, including the adoption community ... We have since learned that issues of race cannot and should not be ignored.

Race -- and obvious racial characteristics -- do matter, she says.  Hollee McGinnis, Policy and Operations Director of the Evan B. Donaldson Adoption Institute says the same in an interview with NPR


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Advent for Adults

12/10/2013 Comments (19)

Here's a neat tidbit about that very familiar Advent hymn, "O Come, O Come, Emmanuel":  the words are based on the O antiphons, which have been sung since the very early days of the Church.  According to CatholicEducation.org, each of the antiphons is one of the titles of Christ:

O Sapientia (O Wisdom),
O Adonai (O Lord),
O Radix Jesse (O Root of Jesse),
O Clavis David (O Key of David),
O Oriens (O Rising Sun),
O Rex Gentium (O King of the Nations),
and O Emmanuel.

Here's the neat part:  look at the first letter of each title.  From first to last, it reads SARCORE.  Now read the letters backwards, and you get EROCRAS.  So what?  ERO CRAS is Latin for "I am coming," and you have...READ MORE

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About Simcha Fisher

Simcha Fisher
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Simcha Fisher, author of The Sinner's Guide to Natural Family Planning writes for several publications and blogs daily at Aleteia. She lives in New Hampshire with her husband and ten children. Without supernatural aid, she would hardly be a human being.