Thursday, May 30, 2013

Big 10 Countdown - #4 & Random Acts of Kindness Blog Hop, Day 4

by M. J. Joachim

Thou Shalt Keep Holy the Sabbath Day

Catholics keep the Sabbath holy by attending Mass on the weekend. One hour or so is devoted to God through the attendance of Mass on Sunday. Of course, we have our share of Christmas & Easter Catholics, as well as those who only go to Mass when they really want or feel the need to. There are plenty of Catholics who go to daily Masses too.

Keeping holy the Sabbath shouldn’t be as much about routine and habit, as it should be about loving God, which results in loving others. It should be about engaging in our relationship with God, as opposed to putting Him off in some strange Tabernacle, only to be taken out on Sunday for an hourly visit.

Keeping something holy is more than rote actions, required by church mandates. It is a frame of mind, an act of will and desire and a willing purpose.  Therefore, keeping holy the Sabbath day requires more than giving up an hour of one’s time on the weekend, if that is even possible for some people. After all, work and family obligations get in the way at times. No guilt need blast the soul tending to necessities, all the while putting God first in his life.

Random Acts of Kindness Blog Hop

Today’s Random Acts of Kindness is all about promoting fellow bloggers and sharing the love in Blog Land. I recently launched a Blog Hopper Marathon feature on my site. Using running as the backdrop, I’m hosting blog hop races to encourage people to visit and comment on other blogs, all while having fun competing against each other.
Today I hosted my first Blog Hopper Marathon Long Jump, requesting people to compete to get others to comment on a friend’s blog. It’s a pay it forward type scenario and I’m hoping lots of bloggers join in on all the fun.

This post is part of the Random Acts of Kindness Blog Hop

Links relating to Random Acts of Kindness



Thank you for visiting Being Catholic.

M. J.

Photo credit:  A Catholic Tabernacle, Creative Commons Attribution – Share Alike 2.0

©2013 All Rights Reserved

Wednesday, May 29, 2013

Big 10 Countdown - #5 & Random Acts of Kindness Blog Hop, Day 3

by M. J. Joachim

It’s the strangest thing. I’m spending more time for the RAK Blog Hop on my Writing Tips blog than I am here, and this is the blog I entered in the fest. What’s a girl to do? For whatever reason, that’s the way it’s working out. It’s all good. RAK gets double exposure from me this way, which technically could be considered another random act of kindness, I believe.

And now for our Big 10 Countdown #5

Honor Your Father and Your Mother

Oh, do I have a few things to say about this one…

Times sure have changed, haven’t they? Even when I was blood curdling mad at my folks, I wouldn’t dream of saying some of the things kids say today to them! When did we decide it was okay to let kids run amuck at the mouth and get all high and mighty with their elders? I blame it in part on too much child psychology – something I took more than my share of college classes for, during my quest to become a teacher way back when.

My years of teaching are a distant memory now, my dream of being a teacher more than fulfilled, with memories that couldn’t be more satisfying. One of my biggest conflicts with teaching, however, is the political push to undermine the parents. I didn’t realize how much of a problem this was until I had my own kids. By the way, if you don’t play, they soon leave you alone, as long as your kids remain off their radar.

I got into teaching to teach ordinary classes in extraordinary ways. Hands on was my preferred method of choice and my students enjoyed learning the material they later proved to master through test scores. I didn’t dink around with trying to second guess parents. Parents and families always came first in my mind. Teaching was a service I provided, much like hiring someone to clean your home or help you stay healthy. You need and appreciate their services, but you don’t want to give them the power to take over and rearrange your life.

The tail wags the dog when priorities aren’t in their proper order. I blame adults and a misguided society for much of the disrespect too many kids express toward their parents and authority figures these days. Parents need to be uplifted, to be honored and respected the way I believe God intends in the fifth commandment. The attack on parents as primary authority figures in their children’s lives is unacceptable, and the price we pay for it is clear.

This post is part of the Random Acts of Kindness Blog Hop

Links relating to Random Acts of Kindness



Thank you for visiting Being Catholic.

M. J.

Photo credit:  David’s Charge to Solomon, Edward Burne-Jones (1833 – 1898), US-PD

©2013 All Rights Reserved

Tuesday, May 28, 2013

Big 10 Countdown – #6 & Random Acts of Kindness Blog Hop, Day 2

by M. J. Joachim

Thou Shalt Not Kill

Um, duh! When you kill that means you murder someone, and when you murder someone, they’re no longer with us in body and spirit. So when it comes to killing, I say put down the butcher knife and that vile, splicing tongue that for whatever reason takes offense, talks down to others and is just plain mean once in a while.

Hey, we all do it. It’s not like any of us are perfect or anything. But truly we should watch ourselves and put a muzzle on our mouths sometimes. Harsh words cut deep, and they can take a lifetime to overcome too. Imagine hearing nothing but “shame on you, you’re not good enough” words for any length of time. It’s a torture unto its own, that stuff is.

Dare I get into the subject of putting the fear of God in some people, except they aren’t afraid of God at all, because frankly, if God were as mean as the person or people they’re up against, hell hath no fury? You know the type and we all know it’s best to turn and run, not walk the other way.

Don’t even get me started on murder and actual killing. Think drunk drivers, neglectful adults who misplace or forget about the children, only to find out the children drowned at the bottom of the pool or suffocated in a hot car during summer. Yea, I went there, because summer is almost here and the reminder is more than a little important this time of year.

Let’s not forget about the little ones that haven’t even been born yet, the ones growing in the womb … and the elderly or sickly who still have so much to give, even though we label them as unable to contribute effectively to our society. Do we really have a right to judge such things? I wouldn’t think so, and I sure as heck don’t want to answer to God Himself for playing God during my lifetime when I die.

Onto Random Acts of Kindness, Day 2 now…



I started a new game on my Writing Tips blog to help promote my fellow bloggers today and in the future. It will be totally random, and anyone can play. Hop on over to check it out and join in the fun, and maybe even make it into the new and exciting Blog Hopper Marathon Hall of Fame. A neat aspect of this game is that you never know when another Blog Hopper Marathon is going to take place. Enter as many marathons as you want and compete against the best of the best blog hoppers here in Blog Land.

This post is part of the Random Acts of Kindness Blog Hop

Links relating to Random Acts of Kindness



Thank you for visiting Being Catholic.

M. J.

Photo credit:  The Murder, Paul C├ęzanne (1839 – 1906), Google Art Project, Public Domain

©2013 All Rights Reserved

Sunday, May 26, 2013

Random Acts of Kindness Blog Hop

by M. J. Joachim

It was 1999, if I remember right, Thanksgiving Day. This was no ordinary Thanksgiving. This was the day our little nuclear unit of five moved into our very first home, all the way across town. The U-haul was ready for the weekend, when all the furniture would follow. Several small trips with cars loaded to their gills had been made throughout the week, providing necessities, without large furniture items. Everything was either in boxes, stripped, packaged or taken apart. Sleeping bags were ready for all of us to sleep in the living room or our new home.

The kids were little – ages 4, 5 and 9 respectively. They couldn’t have been more excited. We were moving to a house with a big tree and a pool in the backyard. It’s an older home, a “fixer-upper,” one where mom wouldn’t freak when kids were being kids, because this house was pretty much kid-proof, if you know what I mean. No worries about grape juice staining carpet with tile floors, type thing.

As we sat on boxes in the kitchen area, exhausted after moving all day, I looked at my husband and said, “I saw a grocery store around the corner. I’ll bet I can get us something a little better than fast food for Thanksgiving dinner tonight.” He looked at me and said, “I don’t know. It is Thanksgiving. They probably close early today.”

The kids were clearly hungry, and I needed a moment to collect myself anyway, so I took the car and headed to the store. Once there, I went straight to the deli section. It was almost 6 p.m., which is when the store closed. I must have looked a sight. The lady behind the counter took one look at me and said, “You must have had a busy Thanksgiving today, dear.” I nodded, told her we just moved to the neighborhood and had three little ones with no furniture or electricity yet. We were having a campout tonight and I needed to come up with our first meal in our new home.

She smiled and said, “I’ll be right back.” A few minutes later, she came back out with a box. Inside was a fresh, hot Thanksgiving dinner, complete with all the trimmings. She even tossed in paper plates, napkins and plastic silverware for us. Then she slapped a half price sticker on it and told me the family who had ordered it, cancelled their order at the last minute.

You can’t imagine my family’s surprise when they saw me bring the biggest and best Thanksgiving feast we’ve ever had through the door. We all sat down on a big blanket in the center of the kitchen floor and ate like kings. It’s one of my very favorite Thanksgiving memories, one I’ll treasure forever.

Thank you for visiting Being Catholic.

M. J.

This post is part of the Random Acts of Kindness Blog Hop

Links relating to Random Acts of Kindness




©2013 All Rights Reserved

Big 10 Countdown – #7

by M. J. Joachim

Before we go on with the Big 10 Countdown, I must make a small confession. I’ve heard the 10 Commandments all my life and I do my best to live by them. What I didn’t realize is that there are two separate versions of them, one for Catholics and one for Protestants. So here I am looking each one up by its respective number, doing searches for “10th commandment, 9th commandment, 8th commandment,” etc. [It appears Google brings up Protestant 10 Commandments much more than it does Catholic ones, so my Big 10 Countdown uses the Protestant version of the 10 Commandments in this series. However, each commentary highlights all of the 10 Commandments according to the law God gave Moses that was handed down through generations to all of us.]

Along comes #7 – I finish my write up and am looking for pictures when suddenly two completely different commandments appear in my searches, prompting me to see where the confusion lies, ultimately revealing two sets of 10 Commandments. Call me crazy, but I really didn’t see this one coming. We’re all Christians, after all, and Moses did stand on the mountain and receive the stone tablets. Centuries have passed and interpretations have been shared. Somewhere along the lines, Catholics and Protestants got their wires crossed, resulting in two versions of the 10 Commandments.  Who’s right? Who’s wrong? I’m not so sure it matters, since Biblical teaching is being adhered to in both communities. To learn more, please see one of my references for this, Catholic Bible 101.

Thou Shalt Not Commit Adultery

For better or worse, you married your spouse. Infatuation goes out the window quicker than it arrived. Lust and longing from those weeks, months and possibly years of dating “your better half” … STOP THE PRESSES! Backspace on the computer…

Who are we kidding? Most people don’t wait to have sex until they get married anymore? Touchy feely is a well-known part of the game almost everybody plays these days. Quite a few couples even go so far as to test the waters by living together first – to see if the roof doesn’t cave in and the wars aren’t too testy in their relationship. Wouldn’t want to make a big mistake about something as important as who to marry now, would we?

The honeymoon phase is usually grand. It’s a time for overlooking the small and not so small grievances you may find aren’t so easy to overlook later on. It’s a time to indulge on spoiling each other and making googoo eyes still. It only lasts so long, because sooner or later, she’s going to be praying to the porcelain god with morning sickness, thanks to all that spoiling and googoo eyes. He’s going to see a whole new side of her and life will enter a new, not so infatuated, lusty phase – the one where complaining about aches, pains and bills all too easily becomes the only thing to talk about together. She’s going to wonder what happened to that big strong man who made her feel like she was his world, the one who now resembles all the guys in those sitcoms only too eager to get a break from their loving, but ever too matronly wives.

Once that happens, no holds bar, everything else can either survive or land with an over extended splat, as if it were being tossed directly out of a 4-story window of some high-rise building neither partner has a right to be in in the first place. It’s probably not a lack of love that leads to taking in other views from a different perspective, as it is a decision to be complacent in one’s relationship. The thrill is gone, but that doesn’t mean you have to give up your family, after all.

Well…yes it does, because complacency wasn’t part of your vows – for better or worse was, and to be complacent is non-committal, something not even remotely related to getting, being and staying married at all.

Marriage isn’t an “I” proposition, a choice that solely affects one person. It’s a joint proposition where two people agree to be faithful to each other and spend the rest of their lives together. Now I know the divorce rate is high, and I realize some of these people really do need to be divorced. I also know that getting divorced for any number of reasons is a far cry from cheating on your spouse.

Divorce if you must, but keep your pants on until your relationship is over. Don’t pour gallons of vinegar on your already wounded relationship, because you knew you were going to end up divorced anyway. Why make it harder than it has to be?

As for those who just get bored or for whatever reason – maybe they like the thrill of keeping secrets or something, I don’t know…the spouses who have no intention of getting divorced and like to fool around anyway…SHAME ON YOU!!! This is your marriage and family you’re messing with and you really need to cut it out!!!

Aside from the fact that it goes directly against God’s 7th (ahem, 6thCommandment, that is...I mean, no biggie, it’s only eternity we’re talking about, unless of course you don’t believe in God. Then it’s still from dust we came, to dust we shall return, which doesn’t make it any less wrong.

Thank you for visiting Being Catholic.

M. J.

Photo credit:  Moses & the 10 Commandments, James Tissot (1836 – 1902), US - PD

©2013 All Rights Reserved

Friday, May 24, 2013

Big 10 Countdown – #8

by M. J. Joachim

You Shall Not Steal

Entitle me not to something I ain’t got! Finders keepers, losers weepers. Do we really teach this stuff to our kids?! Hard luck blues means Uncle Sam pays your expenses – not in a perfect world anyway. I’m all for charity, but before we go on a never ending spending spree, let’s sort out the needs from the wants, okay? Stealing goes way beyond taking something that doesn’t belong to you. It’s about pride and dignity too. I read one blogger’s post about a kid that “put her in her place,” after ringing her doorbell to let her know her dog got out. This kid got all up in her grill about being a responsible dog owner. Tell me he didn’t steal her dignity challenging her like that, raising a ruckus like he was some unequivocal human being, taking a stance as if he were some expert in humanity. We’ve stolen manners and respect right out from under our children’s noses when they act like that. We’ve turned them into snotty nosed spoiled brats who think they rule the roost – the tail wagging the dog when kids can talk like that to another human being without flinching or knowing it’s completely wrong.

Thou Shalt Not Steal – property aside, human decency requires common sense, etiquette and pride.

Thank you for visiting Being Catholic.

M. J.

Photo credit: Daily scene in the Louvre, Samuel D. Ehrhart, US Library of Congress, Public Domain

©2013 All Rights Reserved

Thursday, May 23, 2013

Big 10 Countdown – #9

by M. J. Joachim

Thou Shalt Not Bear False Witness Against Thy Neighbor

I suppose this includes dear old Dad & Mom, siblings, spouse, children and extended family members too. If we need to lie about someone else or put them down just to make myself feel better, we’re nothing but lousy liars. Gossip is strictly verboten! Does that mean it’s safer talkin’ about the weather and what our favorite foods are? Yes, I suppose it does. I also suppose it wouldn’t hurt throwing out a compliment or two. When in doubt, praise, don’t shout …all those nasty things that have a way of throwing people under the bus, if you know what I mean. Pat someone on the back, instead of slamming their face into the ground type thing. No harm, no foul. Lift a person up, for crying out loud – or leave them alone and move on.

As the old saying goes, “If you can’t say nuttin nice, don’t say nuttin at all!”

Thank you for visiting Being Catholic.

M. J.

Photo credit:  Dienstbotentratsch, Photographie aus Wien, Emil Mayer (1871 – 1938), US - PD
©2013 All Rights Reserved


Wednesday, May 22, 2013

Big 10 Countdown – #10


by M. J. Joachim

Thou Shalt Not Covet Thy Neighbor’s House, Spouse, Servant, Ox, Donkey or Anything of Your Neighbor’s.

As if I don’t have enough closets and cupboards to clean and organize in my own house. As for my neighbor’s spouse, I wouldn’t trade mine for the entire world. Marriage is for better or worse. Remember? (Personally, I think mine falls in the better category.) Ox or donkey, I have none, and to be quite honest, my dog rules, and he’s smarter & quieter too. As for the rest, I think I’ve been blessed. Frankly, I’m not so sure why they like and own some of the things they do.


And the good news is, they probably feel the same way about me.

Thank you for visiting Being Catholic.

M. J.

Photo credit:  Dreamstime, ID: 17443420
©2013 All Rights Reserved

Friday, May 17, 2013

Regarding Ghosts and Spirits


by M. J. Joachim

We have a “ghost!” Now please hear me out, before you get all carried away thinking I may have lost my marbles or something. It’s the touch lamp – the one in the family room. The darn thing turns on all by itself randomly throughout the day anymore. Then there’s this one door that closes by itself too. Don’t get me started on all the creaking when big trucks go by and strong winds blow. Brass tacks…in all the years we’ve lived here, this house has never been quite so noisy.

Being catholic and believing in spirits easily go together. There are legends and myths about saints that go way back, not to mention the story of Lucifer and how a grand and glorious angel challenged God, wanted to elevate himself to the heights of God, only to be cast into the depths of despair with all those too proud and conceited to realize there is only one God, and we are not it.

People died (and still do die) for this stuff. Miracles happened – sometimes false ones. Religious zealots hell-bent (literally) on judging others in the name of God. I struggle with that kind of religion. It doesn’t make sense to me. The God I know loves me more than I will ever understand. He teaches me in my heart. He speaks to me through the holy Bible. He came to earth as a little tiny baby, grew up and ministered to the people, so he could die to pay for my sins, offering mercy and love throughout the ages for everyone.

It doesn’t make sense that He would be the sort of god who would fulfill mythological stories, where gods toyed with their subjects to increase their own power and fought among themselves to determine who was most powerful. That’s the stuff of humans – not God.

Intermission…(I started this post a few days ago and am finishing it up for posting today.)

The lamp has been replaced. It was fun entertaining the notion of a friendly ghost and all, until the thought of fire hazard entered my mind. As for the door, there’s enough hot air in this house to make it do all sorts of things. And the wind has been unbelievable these past few weeks too. Short answer…I was just having a bit of fun with the circumstances at hand.

Reality check – we are who we are. We can’t be anyone else. Ours is not to judge or accuse. We are born to love and lift each other up. That’s what Jesus did and that’s what He still does today. Humans get it wrong sometimes. Humans need to put on their big people pants and get over their big bad selves too.

Thank you for visiting Being Catholic.

M. J.

Photo credit:  The Storm Spirits, Evelyn de Morgan (1855 – 1919), Public Domain
©2013 All Rights Reserved

Friday, May 3, 2013

Comment Appreciation Time


by M. J. Joachim

It’s the grand finale, dear people. I’m supposed to write a reflection post about my participation in the A – Z Challenge. The only problem is I honestly don’t know what to say.

I want to thank Pat Hatt for stopping by on each and every post, paying me a visit and commenting here. He started doing this even before the challenge. Having one very faithful visitor makes a huge difference on a blog like this, where you’re sharing something as personal as your faith, how you feel about it and the influence it has on how you live your life.

I want to thank all my visitors, some who know more about the Catholic faith than I’ll ever be able to learn in my lifetime. And those who used to be catholic, and made a point to appreciate what I’m sharing here.  We share some common ground. I get it and respect you for following your heart and welcoming mine.

I want thank those who aren’t catholic and kept an open mind when visiting me. Your kindness did not go unnoticed here. The fact that you spent time here and shared your thoughts on the music I shared, as well as how you feel about God, faith and religion means the world to me. You kept an open mind and let me in. I gladly reciprocate your kindness.

So there you have it. I wasn’t the giver here, though I did prepare the posts. Your thoughtfulness and generosity make a huge difference in my life, one I thank God for, one that hasn’t gone unnoticed and one that will help me become a better catholic.


Thank you and God bless. Please know you will all be in my prayers.

Thank you for visiting Being Catholic.

M. J.

Photo credit:  WP Clipart

©2013 All Rights Reserved

Wednesday, May 1, 2013

May, A Month to Honor Mary


by M. J. Joachim

Let the music play in the background as we begin blogging in the month of May. May is traditionally considered Mary’s month in the Catholic faith. It is a month to honor her and focus on her demeanor and role in our lives. May first (or sometime during the first week of May) often hosts a grand celebration in Mary’s honor, complete with a May crowning where Catholics place wreaths of flowers on a statue of Mary, symbolizing her role as Queen in our faith.

Catholics do not worship Mary. That is a myth, misunderstanding and flat out lie some people use to slander our beliefs. We honor, respect, revere and acknowledge Mary for the role she plays in our salvation. (Think of Princess Diana, if you will. Some 15+ years after her death people still remember her fondly and speak of the great things she did while she was alive. Consider Mother Teresa too. Her work continues everyday throughout the world, though she also passed on some 15+ years ago.)

Out of all the women in the entire world from the beginning of time, no one else was chosen and offered to carry Jesus in her womb. No one else bore the Son of God or can claim to be the Immaculate Conception. No one else is the Father’s daughter, Spirit’s spouse or Son’s mother.

Catholics prioritize Mary’s role in the history of the world as one of great significance that only she fulfilled. She didn’t do it because she had to either. Mary was summoned, but she didn’t have to say yes. God did not take away her free will in the process of offering such a gift.

It is appropriate therefore that Being Catholic participate in the Random Acts of Kindness Blogfest this month. As a catholic I have an opportunity to work with many other bloggers promoting kindness in our world, something I do in honor of Mary and God’s generosity in my own life. Please see margin and page tabs at top of blog for more information and to join this blogfest.



Thank you for visiting Being Catholic.

M. J.

Photo credit:  L’Assomption de la Vierge, Tizian (1490 – 1576), Public Domain – Yorck Project
©2013 All Rights Reserved