Monthly Archives: January 2010

Grocery Shopping!

Because I know how fascinated you all are with my grocery shopping habits and are dying to see what I buy the few times that I actually make it to the store! 🙂

Many, many mangoes! 🙂 I LOVE these! They had a 10 for $10 sale and I decided to buy a small plethora with the idea of making a mango pie. I’ve tried the mango pie before, and it was good, but a little too juicy the way I had made it, so I’m eager to try again! I really don’t think there’s a way I wouldn’t like this fruit. Yum!

More fruit! Yums! I’ve been on a blueberry kick for a while — can’t explain why….

Eggplant! I have never, ever made eggplant before in my life, although I think I’ve tried it before. I grabbed one, because, well, because it was there and I figured I needed a vegetable in addition to my fruit. 🙂 I’m not certain what I will do with it, but I thought of eggplant parmesan, maybe.

Cereal stuff — the Honey O things were new and I thought I’d give them a try over my usual Cheerios.

The Dairy Food Group (minus the milk, because you probably all know what a gallon of milk looks like):

The Pasta Stuff Food Group (the perciatelli is like a think spaghetti-type thing, looked interesting):

Well, I *AM* sick, so….

Wasting away again in…. Mmmm, salsa….

Is that a wall of soup? Why, yes, yes it is!

And some reading material, because I couldn’t resist the checkout display…I was held hostage…and it was either this, or more on the continuing saga of Jen-Brad-Angelina, and I just couldn’t do that today.

2009: A Rapid Review

Every year seems to go by both very slowly and very quickly, and 2009 was no exception.

I started off 2009 by going to Midnight Mass at Our Lady of Good Counsel in Plymouth, MI for Mary, Mother of God.  I wanted to make a conscious choice about the priorities I wanted for myself this year:  God first.  I didn’t want the first thing I did this year be a bar or drinking, as important my friends are to me and how very much I love them — I wanted God to be first.  I remember being very tired and nearly falling asleep during Adoration before Mass, but I was so happy that I had gone.

Later that day, I got to bring communion to my godmother, Pat.  This was actually the last day that I would get to see her.  Her brother and her sister-in-law were in town taking care of her.  It’s a year later, and I still cry because my heart hurts at how much I have lost — which is really a testimony to how incredibly much she gave me in her friendship, that her absence leaves such a ragged, gaping hole.  People are so precious; and relationships are the greatest gifts you can ever receive.  We spent our time talking about a third person, a mutual friend who is very important to both of us.  There was something that this person had said about me that she had wanted to make sure that I knew.  I can’t tell you how many times I have relived that conversation, and how many times I really needed to hear what she had said.
Pat McDonald, Overlooking Jerusalem, Gallicantu Area

A couple weeks later, I heard God asking me to take a new step in my life:  to go back to school and get a Master’s in Theology and PhD in Bioethics.  Wow!  That’s not some small thing!  I’m not sure I can do it.  I wasn’t even sure that I would get accepted — after all, my grades from U of M weren’t that great, and I’d never taken the GRE.  Despite all that, I felt that if the Lord truly wanted me to do this, He would find a way to work everything out.  I applied to Sacred Heart Major Seminary on January 23rd, and that night attended my first Priests vs. Seminarians Basketball game. I had ordered a shirt that said “Sacerdotes velint! Scholares modo delint!” Which, very roughly translated, means “Priests dominate! Students (seminarians) only hope to!” I arrived early and tagged along on a tour of SHMS by one of the seminarians. Because of my ‘inflammatory’ text on my T-shirt, I kept my coat on and zipped during the entire tour, and was dying of heat by the end!


After the game, Lindsay and I did some exploring on our own and found God:
and did some praying in front of the tabernacle.

Then, we continued our exploration, and happened upon:
Hel-LO, Harry Potter! -- DSCN5709Fr. JJ, The Boy Band Days -- DSCN5711
Fr. Harry Potter and one of the boys from N’Sync. 🙂

The next day, Jan. 24th, I got to witness two dear friends get married,
Fr. John, Homily -- DSCN5785
along with an astounding number of presbyterati (4 priests and a deacon!).

On a narcissistic note, I was all dressed up and looking cute.
Take note. This doesn’t happen very often. 🙂

On the 1st, I served at Mass for the first time as an Extraordinary Minister of the Eucharist. I was nervous and excited all at the same time!

The next day, I attended a Mass with our new Archbishop Vigneron, where he gave me permission to belong to 2 different parishes. 🙂

It was a fairly quiet month, although I did get to start a Catechism study with Jerad, hear Fr. Tad speak on bioethics,

attend the Rite of Election:

and of course:

Celebrate Krystin’s 30th birthday!!!

Lent was the major theme of this month. Although, we did break our fasting just a bit with Irish Night 2009:

I attended Parish Missions both at St. Anastasia and Our Lady of Good Counsel, did some Stations of the Cross, but of greatest note was the fact that I decided that I just couldn’t take it anymore. I decided to give up the cold weather (for Lent, right?). So, I made arrangements, and Lindsay and I went to:

DSCN6343DSCN6378DSC03572Laurence, Jenn, Lindsay and Alec - DSC03700
Ah, Montego Bay… How I miss you! 🙂
And, just so you don’t think it was all fun and surf. We devoted read spiritual books (on the beach) and went to Mass at the cathedral every day (walking a mile to get there, uphill both ways!).

Most notable for HOLY WEEK!!!!

Palm Sunday:

Stacy and Michael’s Bridal Shower:

My first attempt at a Passover Seder Dinner:
Mmmm, Passover Seder Dinner (minus the chicken) - DSCN6842


Lindsay’s Tour of Detroit:
General Motors Building - DSCN6933DSCN6936
Donny’s in the background. He came up to visit, not realizing the extend of Massapalooza that he would be dragged to. 🙂

Lord’s Supper Mass and Pub Crawl of the Altars of Repose:


Dinner with the Schmitts (Always a lovely time!); Girl’s Night; Visiting with Adam; and Geocaching

My first day at Seminary was on the 4th, Introduction to Sacred Scripture with Dr. Healy. 🙂
I loved that class! 🙂 And Dr. Healy is awesome! 🙂

I had seen a bulletin article about someone who needed a place to stay for a few months, who had been working with a crisis pregnancy center. On the 15th, the young woman and her year-old baby girl moved in.

The very next day, two more lovely friends got married:
Congrats to Stacy and Michael!!!

The next day, we lost a dear friend, Adam, to cancer.
Adam Thad Riviera
I love you. I miss you. And you had BETTER be praying for me up there! 🙂

We finished the month by having a baby shower for Adam and Tina’s new little girl, Gianna.

June is when the medical issues started coming out in full force. I had been noticing a decline in my ability to run and jump and things like this, with an accompanying shortness of breath and chest pain upon exertion. During the first week of June, I noticed a significant amount of edema. So much so that our nurses told me that I needed to be seen by my doctor before the weekend. She ended up sending me to the ER on the 5th, where I was cleared for any DVTs and sent home. I went to a bowling fundraiser the next night, and had Jury Duty on the 9th and 10th.

On the 11th was Father’s birthday, so I dropped off his presents and pie,
How Full is Your Bucket? - DSCN7916
went to Mass and work and ended up back in the ER that evening, where they admitted me for a cardiac work-up, looking at congestive heart failure, among other diagnoses. I stayed in the hospital until Saturday, when I was released, cleared of anything major going on with my heart, but still no real answers to what was going on. Oh yeah, and I was seen by Derm when I was there, because in the few days between ER visits, I had managed to acquire a case of poison ivy. Joy.

I started off this month with my first speeding ticket. Ever. And I *so* deserved it. 😉

A few days later, there were some aerial explosions:

On the 12th, my grampa died.
Raymond Hitchcock - DSCN8760

On the first day of the month, I got to take pictures of Jerad and Krystin at Cranbrook. Not only are they wonderful people, but they are very good-looking, too! 🙂 See for yourself:

Newsboys Concert:

Annual William B. Davidson Golf Outing for St. Anastasia B.A.S.I.C. Youth Ministry:
Team 18A - DSCN9409

Wine Tasting and Night of Mayhem at Krystin’s house!

Analee’s Baby Shower was the next day on the 22nd.

Fr. Mark tried to set the Church on fire and blame it on the Young Adults on the 25th…

Jeremy Abbott

Jeremy Abbott figure skating

Originally uploaded by qp2516

I got to see the US Nationals coverage tonight. This guy was AMAZING! He skated a clean program and made all his jumping passes look effortless.

I cannot wait to see him during the Olympic Games in Vancouver! 🙂

What was especially refreshing was his unique choreography. It truly suited him and reminded everyone watching that this wasn’t merely figure skating artistry, but it was a masculine artistry.

Bring on the Games!!!

Happy Thursday!

Pope Benedict XVI

Originally uploaded by Jari Kurittu

Some days you just need a little smile from your Papa to make you feel better! 🙂

I think today should be Optimism Thursday — just because.

Let’s try an exercise in optimism. Post in the comments what you are optimistic about, thankful for or looking forward to!

While terribly sad for all the people affected by the earthquake disaster in Haiti, I am encouraged by the people who have been quick to give of themselves for their brothers in need.

I am hopeful that this Year of the Priest will be incredibly fruitful, both for the priests themselves as they benefit from the grace offered and multitude of prayers from the faithful, as well as people in general, as they learn more of the vocation of the priesthood and, concurrently, the vocation of the laity.

As we heard recently, it a duty of the lay person to evangelize and sanctify the world. It is the duty of the priest to equip the laity for this task.

No one lives in a bubble — Thanks be to God! We all rely on each other and live in community and in communion.

God’s peace and love to you all!

Philosophical Foundations 1/20/10

Descartes – French – Jesuit education
He’s not really a skeptic. He wants to prove the existence of God, and that the mind is distinct from the body.

He keeps re-centering himself on doubting everything that comes from the senses.

Movie: “The Name of the Rose”
At this time, the Sorbonne was a very well-respected center of learning.

Natural credulity principle

Descartes – would have had to do Ignatian spiritual exercises

Meditation 1
The senses have deceived us. Dreams. Mirage. Typical sense deception. Small things.
Atypical sense deception – people are robots; props looking like trees and barns. Matrix. Logical possibilities, if not probable.

Dreams – he could be dreaming – problem because it is not real. When you are dreaming, unless it’s a lucid dream, you think it’s real.
But dreams are based on things which actually exist. We have an idea of corporeal nature in general. Had to have gotten this from experience.

First principles come from disciplines such as arithmetic and geometry.

If God lets me be deceived sometimes, could He let me be deceived all the time?

We have feelings of certitude about things which are false.

Can you really withdraw your assent to all beliefs? Not really.

“-doxy” = “belief”

If you do this, you are making yourself crazy. It is our natural tendency to be credulous.

He doesn’t start with beliefs, but with the method of doubt.
Descartes believes we can control our assent.

He concentrates on knowledge and not action because to live in the world, we need to believe in certain things, e.g. the floor, etc.

He hypothesizes an evil genius.
Everything he’s known before could be false. About discernment. What is the truth?

Satan as both a person/presence and a privation of good.

If you think you are continually getting misinformation, it makes a certain amount of sense to try and get rid of all prior knowledge and re-discover truth.

Doxastic habits

Meditation 2

External senses (5)
Internal senses: memory, imagination, common
Descartes rejects all sense information.

If I was persuaded, then I must have existed. If I was deceived, then I must have existed.

If I think “I am, I exist.” – This is necessarily true.

Nicomacian ethics – Aristotle

We perceive that we perceive
We think that we think

This means that we exist

Something beyond the thinking that thinks.

Can a thought exist without a thinker?
If you stop thinking, do you stop existing?

[Lack of critical thinking – lack of true living, true citizenship?]

Maybe thinks of some sort of power of thought. He identifies his “I.” He identifies his self with thought. I am this mind, this reason. He hasn’t said anything about a soul yet. But, doesn’t there need to be some substance underlying these powers? We are not always thinking – it is sometimes on and sometimes off.

He’s looking for something we do that doesn’t involve the body. We need our body to sense things. (Dreaming uses internal senses.) They used to think internal senses were located in the brain and external senses were located in the sense organs.

Mind connected to the brain – evidence;

Brain injury
You can consume things that affect your thinking

Is there any part of the mind which doesn’t depend on the body?

Hemispherectomy – re-learn or re-wire functions onto remaining tissue

Mind as a power of the soul

Mind is connected to the brain, but can transcend the brain.


Sight : Color Mind : Brain
Mind : Image Sight : Eyeball

The mind needs something to think with

Images come from imagination, which come from the brain. A reverberation of sense perception. We learn from particulars, from examples.

Mind and soul are technically distinct.

(Descartes – certain he exists. He’s a thinking thing. Doesn’t know about the body.)

Soul – according to Aquinas – in an act and a potentiality. Mind is one potential of the soul. Soul and the body are actualized (come into existence) together/at the same time.

Example of the wax:

Pretty much everything about it changes as it gets close to the fire.

Do we actually see wax? No. We sense the accidental properties. Wax is just a concept of my mind underlying these accidentals. Preference for mind, which can think more universally than your imagination or your senses.
It is extended, flexible, mutable.
Mind alone perceives the essence of the wax.

Things we see that we don’t really see:

Man walking across the street, but could be a robot
We never see concepts – wind is a concept
We speak in universals. We don’t see essences.

Descartes wants to get very precise.

Philosophical Foundations 1/13/10

Descartes – I think therefore I am

Jesuit schools
Thought he could prove the existence of God

But his philosophy ends up lending itself to atheist and agnostic belief structures

He was looking for absolute certainty

Kant – starts with subject and moves to the world, unlike other philosophers

What does Descartes think the human person is?

Dualism = mind/body separation

Thinking substance and extended substance
Body is not who you are as a person

Catholic outlook – without either body or soul, you are not a person

(Aquinas says only separated souls are currently in heaven, and are not persons)

[If reasoning is bad to some Protestants, how can they believe in solo scriptura?]

Soul – exists like a substance after death, but isn’t a substance

We all have a collection of beliefs.
In the bottom, in the foundation, are the beliefs upon which the other beliefs rely and which are self-evident, such as 1+1=2. There are incorrigible beliefs – which other people can’t call into question, such as what’s going on in your head.

Many people believe that to be rational means that you need to have arguments supporting your belief structure

Do I have to prove everything I know?

We have many more beliefs than concrete knowledge.

Start from particular beliefs, don’t start with a method.

Epistemology – the branch of philosophy concerned with the nature and scope (limitations) of knowledge; it asks: What is knowledge? How is knowledge acquired? What do people know? How do we know what we know?

Intuition – what you know without argument; understanding without apparent effort; the act by which the mind perceives the agreement or disagreement of two ideas

Dark night of the soul – contemplation in the presence of God – mystical knowledge of God – intuition through inspiration. 460 – through charity this knowledge is communicated to the intellect – intellect is unable to operate – the darker the night, the closer you are to God. When we get charity, we become like God –> connaturality – to know something by becoming like it.

Boy Question on a Practical Matter

Just to add a little variety to the questions that I ask … or … because inquiring minds want to know … or … because this is a real question that I have.  🙂

At what point do you need to replace your windshield?

Obvious answer:  when it’s broken.

Let me rephrase.  At what point do you **NEED** to replace your windshield?  And then, at what point *should* you replace your windshield?

See, I would place in the NEED category:  when the police tell you that you have to; when rain comes in; and when it obstructs vision in a significant way.
And in the SHOULD category:  when it gets cracked, but doesn’t obstruct vision significantly (Yes, I know that’s kind of subjective)
And in the PFFT, WHATEVER category:  those little chips and stuff that happen daily

Scenario:  I had a Pfft-Whatever ding at the bottom of the windshield that I intended to have patched or glued or whatever they do…sometime soonish.
However, Saturday night this turned into a bigger Should-style crack, but you know less than the size of a dollar, which the TV people (sources of ABSOLUTE TRUTH, especially the late night infomercial people) say is totally still patchable.
Plan:  to call the patchy people.
However, tonight the crack decided to grow into a footlong, and not one of those 5 for $5 kinds.

I blame the cold weather.
Cold weather is like my scapegoat.

So, here’s the question:  Does a roughly foot long vertical crack on the right side of the windshield about a foot from the edge constitute a NEED or a SHOULD?  And how long could a SHOULD be deferred?  Because I’m certain that in a fit of anthropomorphic rage the cold weather will lob another meteor at me as soon as I get it fixed.  🙂

Boy Questions are so much fun!  🙂  🙂

Epiphany Blessing of a Home

I received these prayers in a gift box of frankincense, gold and myrrh from the local Catholic bookstore, but for expediency, I have copied them down from this website.

three wise men

Originally uploaded by SpacePotato

All: Make the Sign of the Cross.

Head of Household: “Peace be to this house, and to all who dwell here, in the name of the Lord.”

All: “Blessed be God forever.”

Reader: “In the beginning was the Word and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. He was in the beginning with God. All things come to be through him, and without him nothing came to be….  And the Word became flesh and dwelt among us, and we saw his glory, the glory as of the Father’s only Son, full of grace and truth. ”  (John 1:1-3.14)

Using chalk, write on the outside of your house, above or next to an entrance:

(write the first half of the current year)
(write the other half of the year)

These words mean:  “May Christ bless this house.”   (Each word could be written by a different member of the household.)

Or optionally you may use the names of the Magi:

(write the first half of the current year)
(write the other half of the year)

(Each name could be written by a different member of the household.)

All: Lord God of heaven and earth, you revealed your only begotten Son to every nation by the guidance of a star. Bless this house and all who inhabit it. May we be blessed with health, goodness of heart, gentleness and the keeping of your law. Fill us with the light of Christ, that our love for each other may go out to all. We ask this through Christ our Lord. Amen.

Serenity Prayer

God grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change;
courage to change the things I can;
and wisdom to know the difference.

Living one day at a time;
enjoying one moment at a time;
accepting hardships as the pathway to peace;
taking, as He did, this sinful world as it is, not as I would have it;
trusting that He will make all things right if I surrender to His Will;
that I may be reasonably happy in this life and supremely happy with Him forever in the next. — Reinhold Niebuhr