Writing a letter to your confirmation candidate

It seems that one of the biggest events in confirmation preparation in this country is the letters of support to be given to the confirmation candidates during their mandatory retreats.

I have three such letters saved on this blog:

Confirmation letter to my daughterConfirmation letter to my fourth sonConfirmation letter to to my third son
I've asked my children what they remember about the letter they got from me and their dad, and also what they remembered about the letters they received. 
The answer was not much, or at least nothing specific. In general they were happy to have gotten a bag full of letters and there was a sense of feeling loved and supported. I guess that's the main thing - for them to have a sense that this is an important step in their spiritual growth, and that people they know, love and respect have taken the time out of their lives to let them know that! So here are some tips on procuring and writing letters for young confirmation candidates. Start thinkin…

My Domestic Links of Interest

The big encyclical was released today
Here's  my favorite - and I'm going to cite it often! Put your cell phone down - the pope says!

(4) Look up from your phones and encounter each other:

(47) When media and the digital world become omnipresent, their influence can stop people from learning how to live wisely, to think deeply and to love generously. In this context, the great sages of the past run the risk of going unheard amid the noise and distractions of an information overload. Efforts need to be made to help these media become sources of new cultural progress for humanity and not a threat to our deepest riches. True wisdom, as the fruit of self-examination, dialogue and generous encounter between persons, is not acquired by a mere accumulation of data which eventually leads to overload and confusion, a sort of mental pollution. Real relationships with others, with all the challenges they entail, now tend to be replaced by a type of internet communication which enables us to choose or eliminate relationships at whim, thus giving rise to a new type of contrived emotion which has more to do with devices and displays than with other people and with nature.

Laudato Si  - Pope Francis's encylcial, is available on line!
Reactions - Father z,

Midwife's making a Comeback. 

 In 1989, the first year for which data is available, midwives were the lead care providers at just 3 percent of births in the U.S. In 2013, the most recent year for which statistics are available, that number was close to 9 percent.
The growing popularity of midwifery care is partially a response to rising Caesarean rates, says Eugene Declercq, a professor of community health sciences at Boston University who studies American maternity care. Currently, around a third of all births in the U.S. are Cesarean sections, a number far higher than the World Health Organization-recommended target of 10 to 15 percent. The inflated rate is due in part to longstanding misperceptions in the U.S. medical community about how quickly labor should progress and when medical intervention is necessary.According to Declercq, the high rates of surgery and other unneeded interventions have led to increased interest in the midwifery model, which is lower-tech, less invasive, and less inclined toward intervention without a clear medical need; a 2011 study in the journal Nursing Economics found that births led by midwives in collaboration with physicians are less likely to end in a C-section than births led by obstetricians alone. According to Ginger Breedlove, the president of the American College of Nurse-Midwives, the real reason for this difference is in the approach to care: Midwives typically promote patience with the natural progress of labor and discourage intervention to speed the birth process. “It’s a different model,” she explains.
Delaware de-criminalizes homebirth with midwives.

Delaware Gov. Jack Markel (D) last week signed a bill into lawthat will allow for the certification of non-nurse midwives, who will be able to attend to home births.HB 70 establishes the Midwifery Advisory Council, which will be responsible for creating regulations and overseeing the practice of midwifery in the state. This is a step forward for certified professional midwives (CPMs) who, until now, could face criminal charges if they helped a woman give birth at home in Delaware.

Dave Ramsey - 9 Biggest Lies about Student Loans.  

1. Lie: In order to be successful, I need a four-year degree.Truth: A bachelor’s (or master’s) degree can open doors, but hard work keeps those doors open. Some of the world’s wealthiest businesspeople didn’t even finish college—think technology tycoons Bill Gates, Larry Ellison and Michael Dell. They’re proof that the traditional route isn’t the only path to success.Other options include trade schools, community colleges, apprenticeships and good old-fashioned entrepreneurial drive.

Also from Dave Ramsey - 10 book recommendations.  

What do Benjamin Franklin, Sheryl Sandberg, Steve Jobs and Nike founder Phil Knight all have in common? Each of these incredible leaders credits a big part of their success to reading. And they’re not alone. Recent studies have shown the majority of CEOs of Fortune 500 companies read an average of four to five books per month.Luckily, great books and the lessons they contain are not limited to super executives at mega-big corporations. They’re available to anyone. The only problem? There are so many great titles out there that selecting just one can be overwhelming.So to help out, we decided to ask some real-life business owners and leaders what book has made the most impact on their business and leadership skills—excluding EntreLeadership, Dave’s practical step-by-step guide for growing a business. Here’s what they had to say.