Elena Maria Vidal's Blog, page 2

August 21, 2016

From CNS News :
You probably know that Turkey, a key NATO ally that is 98 percent Muslim today, has deep Christian roots. The Book of Acts tells us that the followers of Jesus in Antioch, Antakya today, were the first to be called Christians. Revelation’s Seven Churches of Asia were in what is now Turkey. The first seven Ecumenical Councils in church history were held there. The magnificent Hagia Sophia in Constantinople—today, Istanbul—was one of the crown jewels of Christendom, until the city fell to the Ottomans in 1453. For the past 85 years, the Hagia Sophia, under secular rule, has been a museum, a cultural artifact of a proud Christian past. However, Muslim prayers are again being heard from within its walls.

There are other sounds in Turkey, too—the sounds of glass shattering, of fires burning, of shots fired, of people screaming. You likely heard of the failed coup by the military against the Islamist-leaning government of President Recep Erdogan. The government has rounded up or jailed more than 15,000 people suspected of participating in the coup. Scores are definitely being settled.

All of that is bad enough, but we are seeing something else in Turkey common in Muslim-dominant cultures when chaos breaks out: Christians become convenient targets. London’s Express newspaper reports that hardline Sunni Muslims, whipped into a frenzy by imams calling on them to take to the streets, targeted a small, Protestant church in a shopfront in Matalya. Shouting “Allahu Akbar,” the mob smashed the church’s windows, although no one was hurt. (Read more.)
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Published on August 21, 2016 22:00 • 2 views
From The Medieval Hunt :
In 1938 they found an old hat. Its was a ordinary felted hat of 18 cm height and a brim with a 46 cm circumference. The hat emerged when a bog was being diked out. The special conditions of bogs can keep textile, especially wool, in a very good condition for a long time. Time went by and it was delivered to the local museum in 1966 where it was dated to around 1600 somewhere, mostly based upon its shape. The hat was carefully conservated and mounted. It was placed in its natural shape and not as it might have been worn. It has a rather distinct shape for 17:th century hats. In 2014 some workers at the museum had started wondering if the hat might not be older  than this. A small piece was cut from the edge of the brim and sent for C14 dating. The test showed that it was from between 1310 and 1440, with a probability peak of around 1400. This makes it one of the best preserved medieval hats in Sweden, Scandinavia and possibly even Europe. (Read more.)
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Published on August 21, 2016 21:00 • 2 views

August 20, 2016

From Harper's Bazaar :
She is more forthcoming about what she will do if her father wins. Ivanka most definitely would have a role in a Trump White House, she tells me. "The presidency of the United States is an incredible thing. You have an ability to effectuate change at the highest level. There are issues I am deeply passionate about." Such as? "Well, obviously, I'm a huge advocate for women and women's issues, like child care. The cost of child care is incredibly onerous. In half the country, the cost of child care exceeds the cost of housing. It's the largest expense for households. It's not sustainable or appropriate." Clearly she has her platform thought out.
Presumably Ivanka's husband, the real-estate developer and owner of the New York Observer Jared Kushner, will also be involved. The two are a golden couple by all estimations, but it couldn't have been easy to find the guy not be intimidated by her. "I can't imagine that I would be the person I am today if, over the last seven years, I had been married to somebody who didn't feel 100 percent comfortable with my drive, my ambition, my interest in thinking big and swinging for the fences." (Read more.)
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Published on August 20, 2016 23:00 • 10 views
From Townhall :
Starting in the 1960s, the values that made for civility came under attack. Corporal punishment was banned. This was the time when the education establishment and liberals launched their agenda that undermined lessons children learned from their parents and the church. Sex education classes undermined family/church strictures against premarital sex. Lessons of abstinence were ridiculed, considered passe, and replaced with lessons about condoms, birth control pills and abortion. Further undermining of parental authority came with legal and extralegal measures to assist teenage abortions, often with neither parental knowledge nor parental consent.

Customs, traditions, moral values and rules of etiquette are behavioral norms, transmitted mostly by example, word of mouth and religious teachings. As such, they represent a body of wisdom distilled through the ages by experience and trial and error. The nation's liberals -- along with the education establishment, pseudo-intellectuals and the courts -- have waged war on traditions, customs and moral values. Many people have been counseled to believe that there are no moral absolutes. Instead, what's moral or immoral is a matter of personal convenience, personal opinion, what feels good or what is or is not criminal.

We no longer condemn or shame self-destructive and rude behavior, such as out-of-wedlock pregnancies, dependency, cheating and lying. We have replaced what worked with what sounds good. The abandonment of traditional values has negatively affected the nation as a whole, but blacks have borne the greater burden. This is seen by the decline in the percentage of black two-parent families. Today a little over 30 percent of black children live in an intact family, where as early as the late 1800s, over 70 percent did. Black illegitimacy in 1938 was 11 percent, and that for whites was 3 percent. Today it's respectively 73 percent and 30 percent. (Read more.)
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Published on August 20, 2016 22:00 • 3 views
From Seton Magazine :
Conscience is directly traceable to God; in fact, you could say that conscience bears the imprint of a Creator. As Saint Paul explains in the Letter to the Romans:
“When Gentiles, who do not possess the law, do instinctively what the law requires, these, though not having the law, are a law to themselves. They show that what the law requires is written on their hearts, to which their own conscience also bears witness; and their conflicting thoughts will accuse or perhaps excuse them…”
It is important to recognize that the link between Creator and conscience is not merely one of Catholic theologians and Scripture scholars, but practitioners in other fields as well such as anthropology (the study of the nature of man), sociology (the study of the nature of society), and epistemology (the study of the nature of knowledge).

Many practitioners in these fields have regarded this link between Creator and conscience inescapable. In a nutshell, they ask: If there is no God, where in the world—both literally and metaphorically—does conscience come from? For instance, some anthropologists and sociologists ask: Why do all cultures in history consider things like theft and lying wrong? The variables of times, place, and cultural influences may vary, but the constant is that the moral judgment of these behaviors is not exclusively reliant on religious explanations. They often conclude that conscience is a clear cut case of nature—not nurture.

Some epistemologists, those who study the science of knowledge, ask: Where does morality come from? How can we know that good is good, and evil, evil? And how does man, even when he is separated by external religious influences and external moral codes, tell the difference between the two? Of course, the answer is not external, but internal—intrinsic—to man. (Read more.)
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Published on August 20, 2016 21:00 • 3 views

August 19, 2016

From The Vintage News :
From 1883 Monet lived in Giverny, where he purchased a house and property, and began a vast landscaping project which included lily ponds that would become the subjects of his best-known works. In 1899 he began painting the water lilies, first in vertical views with a Japanese bridge as a central feature, and later in the series of large-scale paintings that was to occupy him continuously for the next 20 years of his life In this video, you can see a 74-year-old Claude Monet doing a bit of outdoor painting in his garden at Giverny in 1915. (Read more.)
Water Lilies
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Published on August 19, 2016 23:00 • 4 views
From Catholic News Agency :
Although the majority of those incarcerated in the death camps were Jews, targeted by the Nazi regime for extermination, many of the victims were Catholics, including priests and religious sisters. St. Maximilian, a Franciscan friar, died in 1941 after asking to take the place of another prisoner who was destined for execution. The following year, Edith Stein, the German Jewish philosopher turned Catholic Carmelite nun, was also killed at Auschwitz, most likely in the gas chambers upon her arrival.

They are joined by countless other Catholics who lost their lives during the Holocaust, many of them for trying to rescue Jews from the Nazis. The sacrifices of these Catholics, both living and dead, were quietly remembered throughout  Pope Francis' pilgrimage to the infamous Auschwitz death camp. He prayed at length in the prison cell where the St. Maximilian had been kept during his incarceration. He also greeted a group known as the “Righteous among the Nations” – non-Jewish men and women who had risked their lives to save Jews from the Nazi extermination.

According according to several biographies, the young St. Maximilian had been personally called to martyrdom by the Virgin Mary. In his account, Mary came to him in an apparition holding two crowns, indicating for him to choose: one was white, representing purity, the other red, for martyrdom. He chose both. (Read more.)
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Published on August 19, 2016 22:00 • 2 views
From Funds for Writers :
Grants are the free money everyone wants. Here you’ll find grants that cover a simple conference fee or a six-month retreat to write and get away from it all. Some pay for specifically designed projects and others exercise your ability to match writing with a social cause. No two are alike, so keep coming back to see what might suit your fancy.

These grants are legitimate. But like any market or contest, read the guidelines to make sure you fit the mold. While some of them are for big dreamers who face stiff competition, others provide new talent with opportunity. Find out why FundsforWriters is the specialist on grants available to freelance writers. (Read more.)
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Published on August 19, 2016 21:00 • 3 views

August 18, 2016

I visited Hillwood when I was young and loved it. From Victoria :
In 1955, the heiress purchased the 25-acre property known as Arbremont (renamed Hillwood, after the palatial Long Island estate she had shared with former husband E.F. Hutton) with the express intent of utilizing the neo-Georgian mansion as both a home and a gracious milieu in which to showcase her vast collections. “She felt that her way of life was one that was ‘fast disappearing’ and that there was value in sharing it with the next generations,” says Lynn Rossotti, director of marketing for Hillwood Estate, Museum & Gardens.

From the moment visitors cross the threshold into the grand entry hall, they are greeted by the regal gazes of Russian royalty peering from portraits and the sparkling visage of a rare French rock-crystal chandelier—the first glimpses of the opulence that fills each elegant room. The dining room holds special allure, with walls of carved-oak paneling serving as a backdrop to four large Dutch paintings depicting hunting scenes. An antique Aubusson carpet lies beneath an enormous mosaic-topped table commissioned from Opificio delle Pietre Dure—the celebrated artistic workshop in Florence, Italy. (Read more.)
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Published on August 18, 2016 23:00 • 4 views
From Patti Armstrong:
1)  When critical thoughts slip into your mind, think about God tuning into your thoughts.  How does it look to him? Consider how it pleases God if you strive to think kindly rather than critically of someone.
(2)  “The measure with which you measure will be measured back to you” (Matthew 7:1).  Love others, pray for them to make up for what is lacking and you will receive back from God in full measure.
(3)  When your mind strays to critical thoughts, force yourself to come up with positive attributes about that person.  "Make it a practice to judge persons and things in the most favorable light at all times and under all circumstances"— St. Vincent de Paul.
(4)  If you are a parent, remember how much you love your own children faults and all, and imagine how much his parents love him.  Or perhaps they didn’t love him, which would be tragic and bring out sympathy. In either case, it helps block negative feelings.
(5)  Pray for anyone that irritates you and push the irritation out of your mind.
(6)  Think of the person as a child of God. Remind yourself that God loves them as much as he loves you. (Read more.)
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Published on August 18, 2016 21:00 • 2 views