Sunday, June 12, 2011

Carmel of Jesus, Mary and Joseph, Valparaiso, Nebraska

Tuesday, June 7, 2011

My take.


What can I say? I make ugly food. They tasted all right but they definitely didn't come out the right way. 

Poof Hair style


A little different, but similar. I loved wearing this style and got lots of complements. It was surprisingly really easy to do; all it took was back combing and bobbie-pins. 

Friday, June 3, 2011

by Michelle Amas

Nathaniel I

Normally I would write off the above as 'modern art' (not true art) and label it 'ugly', but recently I've been more interested in it. My interest began during my painting class freshman year. Before that class I thought that pantings such as these require zero talent and could have been done by a two year old. After the class I realized these paintings do actually require some talent, planning and time. My interest grew further a couple of weeks ago when I visited the School of the Art Institute of Chicago MFA Thesis Exhibition. 

Although, quite honestly, I thought nearly all of the work was quite horrible and disturbing I also thought that in general it was very reflective of my generation: confused and chaotic, unguided and amateur, and meaningless. Harsh, I know, but its the truth. So although I obviously didn't enjoy the work of the thesis exhibition I did find it interesting how expressive it was of the youth in America. The visit to this exhibit was followed by a trip to the Chicago Art Institute. Since I was the only one out of the group of people that had been to that institute recently I was chosen to guide everyone. I led them to my favorite rooms, which consisted of European paintings from the 18th to 20th century and French Impressionists.

After leading them through a few of these rooms one of my friends expressed a desire to explore the contemporary art section. Those were rooms I always avoided, seeing as I never liked that kind of art, but I was willing to oblige him and change course to lead us there. Thus I found myself in the contemporary art rooms for the first time. The contrast between the realism of 18th century European paintings and the abstract, modern America art amused and intrigued me. It reinforced what I saw the the thesis exhibit - that art is a reflection of the society it comes from. Again, although I did not especially like the contemporary paintings, viewing them with the idea that they were reflective of society that produced these artists was fascinating. This idea has brought me to an appreciation for modern art, and although I typically still do not like modern art, I do enjoy it much more then I ever have before.

 I think the above paintings by Michelle Armas are beautiful. I love the use of color and the color combinations. I would definitely hang one of these in my home. Perhaps side by side with a realistic painting of the same size and color scheme? 

Sunday, May 29, 2011


"The world's largest salt flat is located in Salar de'Uyuni, Bolivia. During the rainy season, the water turns it into the world's largest mirror. The reflection of the sky creates a sense of infinity, like you're walking among the clouds." 

Friday, May 27, 2011

Royal wedding lag

I know the huge buzz of the royal wedding has already died down and almost dissipated, but this article was just printed in the National Catholic Register. Even though I didn't get very swept up in the whole event, once the pictures were plastered everywhere, I did enjoy looking at them.

Here is a picture that I never saw posted anywhere, of one part of the wedding I never considered - the sermon. Along with most of the world, I looked at the event as a pretty dress and real life fairy tale - not as a beautiful sacrament. This article reminded me of what the true focus of the wedding should have been.

The Royal Wedding's Lessons

Truth on Love and Christian Marriage Proclaimed

by Joan Frawley Desmond, Register Senior Editor

LONDON — Diehard romantics, celebrity hounds and Anglophiles feasted on last month’s royal wedding, replete with a fairy-tale prince, Posh and David Beckham and enthralling British pageantry. The estimated worldwide television audience of 2 billion got just what they hoped for on April 29, along with an unexpected, and perhaps unsought, bonus: an unapologetic affirmation of the truth, beauty and transformative power of Christian marriage.
At Westminster Abbey, the gravitas of the nuptial sacrament, the fruits and ends of marriage intended by the Creator, and the sacrificial nature of genuine married love were on display, at times outshining the British Monarchy’s trove of Crown Jewels.
Facing a congregation that included a global contingent of monarchs, the ex-mistress — and now second wife — of the groom’s father; Elton John and his “husband” — proud parents of a boy delivered through a surrogate mother last Christmas — and assorted commoners from a nation that has witnessed a precipitous decline in marriage, the Anglican Bishop Richard Chartres of London delivered a rousing sermon that could have been crafted by Pope Benedict XVI himself.
He began with a quotation from St. Catherine of Siena, noting that it was her feast day: “Be who God meant you to be, and you will set the world on fire.”
“In a sense every wedding is a royal wedding with the bride and the groom as king and queen of creation, making a new life together so that life can flow through them into the future. William and Catherine, you have chosen to be married in the sight of a generous God who so loved the world that he gave himself to us in the person of Jesus Christ. And in the Spirit of this generous God, husband and wife are to give themselves to each another,” stated Bishop Chartres.
“A spiritual life grows as love finds its center beyond ourselves. Faithful and committed relationships offer a door into the mystery of spiritual life in which we discover this; the more we give of self, the richer we become in soul; the more we go beyond ourselves in love, the more we become our true selves and our spiritual beauty is more fully revealed,” he continued, with the bride and groom listening intently.
Once upon a time, the “goods” of marriage were broadly understood to include the procreation of children. Though it is still written into canon law, that expectation now competes with many options in today’s society — one reason, perhaps, for growing public acceptance of same-sex “marriage” in the West. Yet in the context of a royal marriage that will hopefully beget an “heir and a spare,” children are not optional, and they are expected to be the direct fruit of the “one flesh” union of husband and wife.
The royal marriage of Kate and William was executed against the backdrop of scandal and tragedy — the collapse of the marriage of Prince Charles and his late wife, Diana, who was herself a victim of her own parents’ acrimonious divorce. The bishop of London did not address these events. But he readily acknowledged the reality of human frailty and suggested that in the absence of a deep faith in God, sin and human imperfections would wreak even greater havoc on married couples and their families.
“As the reality of God has faded from so many lives in the West, there has been a corresponding inflation of expectations that personal relations alone will supply meaning and happiness in life. This is to load our partner with too great a burden,” he suggested.
Instead of turning to New Age nostrums or the reflected glory of a celebrity-obsessed culture, he advised the bride and groom to place their trust in God and maintain a ready supply of forgiveness.
Before the ceremony commenced at the cathedral, television commentators made much of the fact that Kate and William had lived together for years and were thus better prepared to both avoid the tragedy that struck Princess Diana and manage the extensive public obligations and intrusions on their privacy.
Reflecting on the growing tolerance of cohabitation, one British commentator couldn’t help but note the transformation in cultural attitudes: “It used to be called ‘living in sin,’” she remarked with a giggle and an expression of amazement.
According to the British Office of National Statistics, 231,490 couples married in 2009 — down from 232,990 in 2008 and the lowest total since 1895. Meanwhile, divorce rates have risen. Predictably, some British groups have argued for providing legal benefits to cohabitating couples, a familiar trend in much of the West, as the young find it harder to identify the specific value of marriage or clearly distinguish between marriage and cohabitation, which, of course, the Catholic Church continues to teach on (see Catechism teaching on the Sixth Commandment).
As Blessed John Paul II noted in Familiaris Consortio (On the Role of the Christian Family in the Modern World), “In the first place, the gift of the body in the sexual relationship is a real symbol of the giving of the whole person: such a giving, moreover, in the present state of things cannot take place with full truth without the concourse of the love of charity, given by Christ. In the second place, marriage between two baptized persons is a real symbol of the union of Christ and the Church, which is not a temporary or ‘trial’ union, but one which is eternally faithful. Therefore, between two baptized persons, there can exist only an indissoluble marriage. ... True education in genuine love and in the right use of sexuality, such as to introduce the human person in every aspect, and therefore the bodily aspect too, into the fullness of the mystery of Christ” is needed.
The bishop of London, who reportedly advised the couple before their nuptials, did not specifically address the morality of cohabitation. But his remarks left the strong impression that the solemn exchange of nuptial vows was something quite different from a live-in relationship and that the abundant graces of matrimony offered vastly greater benefit — particularly for the children to come — than “playing house.”
“As we move towards our partner in love, following the example of Jesus Christ, the Holy Spirit is quickened within us and can increasingly fill our lives with light,” he said. “This leads to a family life which offers the best conditions in which the next generation can practice and exchange those gifts, which can overcome fear and division and incubate the coming world of the Spirit, whose fruits are love and joy and peace.”
In an age of “disenchantment,” when the central institutions and values of the West are more likely to prompt skepticism than affirmation, the bishop of London’s sermon provided a window on the sacrament of matrimony. At the very center of all the pomp and pageantry stood the sacrament — the words, actions and materials that affirm the marriage vows and lay the foundation for the indissoluble bond of husband and wife.
The bishop of London acknowledged the fears and hopes of a modern society that has come to doubt the existence not only of a loving God, but of love itself. To a skeptical world, he proposed that the survival of the institution of marriage, rightly understood, could help secure the fulfillment of our common hopes.
“We shall not be converted to the promise of the future by more knowledge, but rather by an increase of loving wisdom and reverence, for life, for the earth and for one another,” he concluded.
To which the congregation at Westminster gave in reply — with perhaps mixed emotions and some perplexity — a vigorous “Amen.”

Here is a video of the complete sermon: