Saturday, September 25, 2010

Yes, I'm Aiming Toward Freelancing

I've been busy the past few months as I've focused on developing my side graphic communication business. You might say, "Where do you get all this time to do so much stuff?" Well, the truth is, I don't have more time than anyone else. Obviously, I'm updating this blog less often as a result. So now you know why I don't blog more often, although I hope to someday add more posts.

However, at this time, I'm working a day job and then at night, developing my ideas. I attended a great free online conference to celebrate International Freelancers Day (September 24) and as a result, gathered a whole slew of new followers who are either freelancers themselves or working toward becoming one. (Welcome, and thanks for following me!)

If you're interested in what I'm doing, feel free to check my website, Bootstrap Graphic. I'm offering these services: logo design, copywriting, website design (I lean toward helping develop WordPress blogs), and print communication.

I'll share more later, but for now, I wanted to give you an update. :-)

Friday, September 24, 2010

The Failure of Liberal #Catholic High Schools

There is a battle heating up and the lines are being drawn. On one hand, I am sad for this battle, for it is one that should have been between the world and the Church. Instead it is the worldly church against the Truth. On the other hand, this battle is purifying the Church.

Despite charges against those who stand for what the Catholic Church believes (that homosexuality is a sin, but one who struggles with same-sex attraction is to be loved, and also challenged to live a chaste and obedient life to God), it is becoming clear who is willing to listen to truth and pursue it -- and those who are not. Supporting the gay agenda and ordination of women, have become our modern-day litmus test.

Contrary to supporters of active homosexual lifestyles, those who support the Catholic Church's position are not "intolerant" and "ignorant." It is not "ignorant" to uphold Biblical truth. or desire to see people set free from sin. It is not "ignorant" to love God to the point of surrendering our lives, turning away from what displeases Him, and trusting in His purpose for our life.

It is "ignorant," however, to avoid the truth of God's commandments for our lives and the counsel of the Catholic Church that seeks to keep our souls from falling into mortal sin.

I am finding that sin isn't mentioned too often by those who embrace the radical gay and feminist agendas. I even heard a horrifying story of one liberal priest scoff, "Sin? We don't believe in that, anymore."

Oh, really? Interestingly enough, God still believes in it and wrote an entire book called the Bible to educate us on it. He also sent His only Son, Jesus Christ to die on the cross to free us from it. I don't think God would waste His time if sin was not a problem.

Last night, I read of the Sacred Heart School in Kingston, Massachusetts, who is just one example of a liberal school that has failed to impart Catholic doctrine to its students. In fact, I found the entire sordid tale appalling on several levels.

Here's the story: In May of this year, a graduating senior decided to write a story for the school newspaper about how some of the students were "in the closet" regarding their sexuality. Evidently he found several who were willing to talk to him about being either gay or bisexual. These were both young men and women who were students of a school that presents itself to its community as being Catholic.

Where was the principal? The teacher advisor? Who was driving this bus, anyway?

It turns out that the principal was fully aware of the newspaper story and gave permission to run with it.

Again - this is supposed to be a Catholic school.

The Sacred Heart High School administration approved the publication of the article in the school newspaper. The article directly contradicts Catholic teaching as it relates to issues of homosexuality, bisexuality, transgender behavior, God's merciful love, and sin. The teacher moderator of the student newspaper, Scott Dalton, approved the publication of this article, as did the principal, John Enos. The school newspaper is distributed at school and not published on the Web. In general, most parents who send their children to Sacred Heart School have no idea this article was ever published.


This story has now spilled over onto the Internet. You can follow the link above to read about one parent, Michael Kelly, share his tragic story of gathering with other concerned Catholic parents and confronting the school on this matter. The obstinacy, arrogance, and complete disregard for the parent's input on the Catholic education of their children is both bewildering and outrageous. Any parent who sends their children to a Catholic school can vouch for the sacrifices that are needed to do so. They send their children to a Catholic school precisely because they don't want the anti-God, anti-American, pro-abortion, pro-gay, pro-radical feminism indoctrination they would get with a public school. And Catholic school tuition isn't cheap.

And this is what is given to them? Unfortunately, there is more.

Her comment area was soon filled with vile, hateful accusations from the Catholic students of the school, and allegedly, of their parents. I will include one comment from a student, which speaks volumes:

As an academically rounded young woman and a Sacred Heart High School student, you disgust me and my bones shudder at the thought that you were not aborted.

So, now we can add a lack of teaching about abortion in the mix, in addition to a lack of teaching about homosexuality.

The rest of the comments are horrendous. Not only do they show the void of Catholic moral teaching, they show an absence of decent human discourse. Has no one taught these students how to debate reasonably without allowing emotions to control the argument? Evidently not. The students resort to ad hominem attacks, vulgar language, and hateful threats -- even going so far as to post Carol's address and telephone number.

This, my brothers and sisters, is the moral bankruptcy of liberal Catholicism.

It has failed to not only produce Catholic sons and daughters who understand their Catholic faith, it has rendered them incapable of being able to conduct themselves wisely in the world. This story should shame their parents, the administrators of this school, and the diocese. Bad fruit indeed, from a rotten tree.

It is by the grace of God that I am where I am in life. I attended an all-girls Catholic high school, but it was liberal. I remember our English teacher was gay. During a school dance, he brought his "partner." Nothing was said about it, but everyone knew. No attempts were made by our school to discourage it. In fact, I would often wonder why a Catholic school had a gay teacher to begin with. It was 1978.

Fast forward to today and the mess many of our seminaries are in, coupled with the sexual abuse cases by priests. Is this the fruit of Vatican II? I realize now that was not its intent, but obviously something went off the rails. I know of good Catholic teachers who have had trouble getting jobs in Catholic schools because they're too traditional. I've heard of some of these same teachers being fired from their posts because they presented pro-life curriculum or spoke out against homosexuality.

This is happening within Catholic schools.

Where will it stop? When Catholic schools start to hand out condoms and birth control pills?

It stops when Catholic identity becomes clear. It stops when parents get involved with their Catholic schools, checking the curriculum and attending meetings. It stops when it is exposed for what it is -- lies and deceit about our Catholic faith, and corrected with the truth.

I know I'll continue to do my part. May St. Michael gear up for battle and fight on our behalf because it will only continue to become worse unless we take a stand.

(Note: Comments will be moderated.)

Thursday, September 23, 2010

Homosexual Advocacy Group Not Legitimately #Catholic, Says Military Archbishop

(Warning: A bit of bad language is in this post.)

Someone anonymously placed my name on the email list of the homosexual advocacy group, "Catholics for Equality." The only reason I'm mentioning this is because of the news story I recently found, where the Archbishop of Military Services said that the group “cannot be legitimately recognized as Catholic.”

From the news story:

Last week leaders of the group joined a lobbying effort sponsored by Servicemembers United. They lobbied Congress and asked key senators and Catholic leaders to support changing “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell.”

Catholics for Equality Board Member Patsy Trujillo, a former New Mexico state legislator, said the group was confident that senators would vote to change present policy.

“Further, we trust our Catholic Senators will vote in their conscience and the will of the pro-equality Catholics in their state, and not the misinformed dictates of Rome,” she said in a Catholics for Equality press release.

On Tuesday the U.S. Senate blocked the bill that would allow changes to the “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” policy. While 60 votes were required to start debate, the final vote was 56 to 43.

While his latest statement did not reiterate the archdiocese’s position, in a June 1 statement Archbishop Broglio opposed the policy change. Saying moral beliefs should not be sacrificed for “merely political considerations,” he explained that Catholic chaplains can never “condone” homosexual behavior.

At the time he also voiced concern that a change in policy might negatively affect the role of the chaplain in the pulpit, the classroom, the barracks and the office.

CNA’s inquiry to the archbishop recounted CNA’s previous report on Catholics for Equality.

The organization was founded by groups such as New Ways Ministry and Dignity USA with cooperation from the homosexual advocacy group Human Rights Committee (HRC). It aims to “support, educate, and mobilize equality-supporting Catholics to advance LGBT equality at federal, state, and local levels.”

It also charges the Catholic hierarchy with favoring discrimination and having an “anti-equality voice” that does not represent Catholics.

In his Monday statement, Archbishop Broglio explained that according to canon law a group may call itself Catholic if it has been approved by a bishop or recognized by the Holy See in some manner.

“It is doubtful that the group in question has such approval. Therefore, it cannot be legitimately recognized as Catholic,” he commented.

“Translating the language of political systems to the Church simply demonstrates a lack of understanding of what the Church is,” Archbishop Broglio commented.

He also insisted that Church teaching is based in love and truth.

“It is not the desire of the Archdiocese for Military Services to offend anyone, but there is an obligation to teach the truth in love, even when that truth is displeasing to some or politically incorrect to others. The Holy Father made that quite clear in Caritas in Veritate.” (Bravo.)

Phil Attey, the present acting executive director of Catholics for Equality, is a former employee of HRC. Last year Attey created a website to “aggregate reports on every gay priest” in the Archdiocese of Washington to help them “stand up to the church hierarchy” on homosexual issues.

The Catholics for Equality website asks readers to report “anti-equality activity” in Catholic parishes, dioceses or community activities.

Those who are Catholic and experience a same-sex attraction know very well what the Catholic Church says about it. To use the name "Catholic" in their name implies sanction from the diocese bishop or Holy See, which it has not received, nor will ever receive.

Remember the two-pronged attack: approve homosexual unions and approve women ordained as priests. Both go hand-in-hand. As the relentless march toward secularism continues in our society, we will see those two camps get louder and more militant in their fight to change the Catholic Church according to their political whims.

If you're the one who placed me on the email list, please know this: The Catholic Church is not a political party. It can't be bent to your will. It can't be pressured to march alongside the world, because the world's system is anti-Christ and anti-life. It truly is "the culture of death" on so many levels; not the least of which is a promotion of a warped sexuality that is the result of a broken heart. A wounded heart is the root of so many wrong choices and this is one of them.

No matter how many "rights" activists win (and I'm talking broad activism, here, that advocates government force), there still is "one more battle" to be won before they can be happy. Except they're never happy. It's never enough. They go from battle to battle, growing more embittered and resentful as they think the whole world is against them and dammit, they're going to make the world love them!

It doesn't work that way. As far as I know, the gays, lesbians, bisexuals, and transgendered in the United States enjoy freedoms that are unknown in other parts of the world. Support the creeping influence of Muslims? (Who of course are claiming their "rights.") They kill homosexuals in their countries.

And really, what "rights" are left to claim? So what if you're in the military and you can't "tell" that you're gay. Why is that so important, anyway? You're in the military to fight for our country, not gallop around insisting that people recognize your sexuality. So do your job and fight the right battle, the one you're being paid to do. My brother was in the Army and as far as I knew, the Army owned him. He wasn't allowed to do many things. His "freedom" was curtailed so he could do the job he was trained to do.

That's what I say to gays in the military. Get over it. Do your job. It is a sacrifice that many in this country, including me, appreciate more than you'll know. I know it's a sacrifice to give up your choices, to go where you're sent and do jobs you'd rather not do. But you signed up for it. It was your choice. You knew the rules going in, so to me, it's rather unfair that you expect to change the rules now.

Do I want a bunch of whiners in the military? Hell, no! The military is supposed to be one mean fightin' machine. All this whining does is make me wish I was in the military so I could kick some ass and take names. I'm sure I'm not alone.

Now, dialing down on my gung-ho attitude, I'd like to reiterate something the Archbishop said. The Catholic Church's position on homosexuality is both Biblical and compassionate. Speaking the truth about sin is never easy when someone is enjoying their sin. Our "inner man" is a tough one. Insisting on its own way, being willful and deliberately thick-headed when it comes to hearing from God about something he'd rather not change. But if you are reading this and are gay, please ask yourself this: Why? Why is it a sin? Why does God condemn homosexuality? If you are honest with yourself and open to God's voice, you will hear the answer. There is healing for you if you struggle with this. I've known several gay men who turned toward God, surrendering everything, and were radically changed, even as far as getting married and having children. Some remained single and celibate, deciding to give God their sacrifice as worship. And they were filled with joy.

It can happen. But it won't happen if you have a group who purports itself to be "Catholic" encouraging you to ignore God and do whatever the hell you want. In fact, I know exactly who acts the same way and his home isn't in heaven, but in the fires of darkness that he desires to drag all of us into. Don't listen to his lies.

Thursday, September 16, 2010

What I Love About Catholicism: The Fear of the Lord

The fear of the LORD is the beginning of wisdom; a good understanding have all those who practice it. His praise endures for ever! - Psalm 111:10

The Hebrew word used for "fear" in this verse is yir'ah. It means 1) fear, terror, fearing a) fear, terror b) awesome or terrifying thing (object causing fear) c) fear (of God), respect, reverence, piety d) revered. The Hebrew root of the word is yare', meaning fearing, reverent, afraid. It is interesting that the word yare', when pronounced, sounds like "Yahweh," which was the name God identified Himself with when He spoke to Moses in Exodus 3:14. ("I AM THAT I AM" Hebrew: hayah, 'asher, hayah, translated to HAH.)

I like to delve into the Hebrew and Greek meaning of words when I start to dig into God's Word because many times, there are deeper truths to be found. Sometimes when we hear Scripture, there can be a tendency to gloss over portions that we've heard over and over again. Looking into the etymology of a word can be very beneficial. (For those wondering, I've used the online Blue Letter Bible for years. I have many Bible study aids but find myself doing more research online. I've not found a Catholic counterpart to the BLB yet. If you know of one, please let me know.)

The "fear of the Lord" is sadly lacking from many churches. Israel knew how to fear the Lord. Whenever anyone had an encounter with God in the Old Testament, they fell prostrate before Him and were filled with awe. (Moses in Ex. 3:6, King David in 1 Chron. 13:12, Ezekiel in Ezekiel 1:28) Even our Blessed Mother Mary had the same response for the Angel Gabriel immediately said to her, "Fear not." (St. Luke 1:30)

I lost the fear of the Lord when I was involved in the non-denominational church. It was no surprise since there was little to support it. When you have a church that creates a coffeehouse atmosphere complete with cool music and large screens hanging from the ceiling, pumping out slickly produced videos, it's difficult to find a place for fear.

The fear of the Lord has been hijacked by an misunderstood desire to become intimate with Him. Instead of encouraging the faithful to understand and worship the holiness of God, many churches have removed that foundation that elicits awe by saying we need not to be "afraid" of God because He loves us. Well, of course He loves us. But He is still God.

Israel, God's nation and His people, the Israelites, understood fear. The Levitical priests would wear bells sewn into the hems of their robes and a rope would be tied around their waist. As the High Priest would enter into the Holy of Holies, the soft jingle of bells would be heard. If the bells stopped ringing, something happened; and the men outside would pull the rope to literally drag the priest out from the Holy of Holies because they themselves knew if they tried to enter the sacred area that held the Ark of the Covenant, they would die. That's how much they feared the Lord God Almighty. And rightly so.

God has shown Himself in fire, that purging element that eliminates all impurity. He has parted the Red Sea and provided manna in the desert. His Son stilled the storms and walked on water. All these and more should be enough to send us to our knees as we ponder the great mystery of His love for us. The pure holiness of Jesus Christ, His sinless life, and His ultimate sacrifice should also drive us to our knees as we bow before Him and say, "I am not worthy." Our Father
understand this but loves us so deeply that He has offered us redemption.

I am beginning to reclaim this sense of fear and awe through my Catholic faith. The sacraments, the Bible, the catechism, the Magisterium, the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass -- all play their part in reminding me that the Trinity is holy and to be feared.

Fear isn't in fashion these days. Everyone wants easy and comfortable. It isn't comfortable to say, "God is to be feared." Just the other day, I heard a woman call in a Catholic radio show. She had divorced her husband but was now returning to the Catholic Church and wanted to do things right. She was starting to date other men, who were none too pleased to find out she did not believe in pre-marital sex. Her response to them was, "It's wrong. I fear God and I fear for my soul if I involved myself like that."

Her answer was so refreshing and sadly, so rare. I can't remember the last time I heard a woman say such a thing, or a man. Instead, singles are encouraged by our culture to do whatever feels good, which often includes having sex with someone outside of marriage. But this woman knew that God was calling her to a higher standard. And she feared Him.

Ask any parent -- fear isn't such a bad thing when dealing with children. I know my brother and I towed the line on many an occasion because we didn't want to get in trouble with our parents. Yes, we feared them but only because we knew the consequences when we disobeyed them. Not only would we have to deal with the misery of our poor choice, but the unpleasant act of correction when our parents discovered our transgression. We also knew that the source of those rules in our lives, was their love.

Fear keeps us in line. It is not to control, but to guide us toward a better life. You would think such fear would have been placed within the hearts of Adam and Eve when God told them that everything was permissible except to eat from the Tree of Knowledge. But they did it anyway and paid a steep price, as did all of mankind.

Do I really fear disobeying God? Does the possibility of falling into sin put the fear of God in me? How calloused has my heart become? These are questions I'm asking myself more and not being happy with the answers. I can see how the non-denominational church was lacking in defining sin and explaining thoroughly its consequences. There is certainly a place for joy but there is also a place for serious examination of one's conscience.

I am finding that I need to be reminded of these ancient truths on regular basis. Sure, within the non-denominational church, there would be a "series" on sin every once in awhile. But only within the Catholic Church do we have the gift of remembrance that occurs each Sunday at Mass. Each time the priest raises the Eucharist to re-present it to our Father in memory of what Jesus did on the Cross, I am reminded. I need this reminding so badly. Because my flesh, which would much prefer the soft cushion of a "feel good" religion, knows that only by meditating on this truth will I be transformed into the likeness of Jesus Christ. The more I recognize how sin poisons my relationship with God, the faster I can avoid it. The more I fear the Lord, the more wise I become to the lies of this world. The fear of the Lord, brings life.

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

"Clerical Whispers" Blogger Outed #Catholic

I just received an email today and am reprinting it below. I did remove the "Clerical Whispers" blog from my blogroll because believe me -- the only time liberal Catholicism will be on my blog is when I'm ranting about it. I have no interest whatsoever in linking to any liberal Catholic blogs or bloggers.


Dear fellow Catholic bloggers,

I'm writing this because I noticed that your blog has a link to the "Clerical Whispers" blog.

Its author was believed to be a Roman Catholic priest in Ireland. However, I found out this week that he has been identified as a clergyman in a tiny denomination.

Someone has even set up a blog dedicated to exposing him, at the URL

According to the information on that site, the blogger "Sotto Voce" was Joseph Ryan, a priest of the very liberal "Reformed Catholic" church until it dissolved a few months ago. Perhaps this is why he identified himself on "Clerical Whispers" as "an RC priest".

I'm writing merely to pass along this information and correct misunderstandings. If "Sotto Voce" meant to fool people and pass himself off as a member of the Roman Catholic clergy, it really is wrong, and the imposture should be exposed. Let us pray for his return to the true faith and the authentic Church.

As a point of disclosure: I'm relying on the information on that web site and do not have independent confirmation about it.

Independently, at least one other blogger has noticed the pro-gay opinions of "Sotto Voce" and dropped him for that reason in 2007:

Thanks for your work in sharing the Catholic faith through your writings on the

God bless--

(writing at the "Catholic Light" team blog,

Thursday, September 9, 2010

What I Love About Catholicism: Defining Mortal and Venial Sin #Catholic

This is an area that has taken me at least two years to comprehend since returning the the Catholic Church.

When I was involved within the non-denominational churches, sin was spoken of but almost in passing, as though I was a sinner, involved in sin, but now that I had accepted that Jesus Christ had forgiven my sins, I was absolved. The forgiveness seemed to be extended into my daily life, and never did I hear from the pulpit that I was to engage in a daily examination of my conscience, my actions, and my choices.

When I would read such verses as Romans 7:14-21, the meaning didn't hit me full force. (emphasis mine)

We know that the law is spiritual; but I am carnal, sold under sin. I do not understand my own actions. For I do not do what I want, but I do the very thing I hate. Now if I do what I do not want, I agree that the law is good. So then it is no longer I that do it, but sin which dwells within me. For I know that nothing good dwells within me, that is, in my flesh. I can will what is right, but I cannot do it. For I do not do the good I want, but the evil I do not want is what I do. Now if I do what I do not want, it is no longer I that do it, but sin which dwells within me. So I find it to be a law that when I want to do right, evil lies close at hand. (RSV)

Within the non-denominational church, there is a different understanding of grace. It struck me that it was more comprehensive, more lofty and generous, almost like a soft blanket wrapped around me. I knew it was through God's grace that I was saved. But it wasn't emphasized that only by God's grace was I still alive, still being given the opportunity to please Him and live in obedience to His Word. I didn't comprehend the severity of it.

Only by returning the the Catholic Church and examining the Sacrament of Confession am I finally starting to understand. Because you see, only by understanding the depth of my sin can I fully appreciate the grace that is given through Confession. It is only by asking God to show me the truth of mortal sin that I can begin to understand the depth of my own sinfulness; and how wily my flesh is in trying to deny it.

I used to think "sin is sin." I didn't understand why the Catholic Church emphasized that there are two different types of sin, mortal and venial. Let's define mortal:

In order for a sin to be mortal, it must meet three conditions:

1. Mortal sin is a sin of grave matter
2. Mortal sin is committed with full knowledge of the sinner
3. Mortal sin is committed with deliberate consent of the sinner

Now this will set you back on your heels once you start to think about it. How often have I deliberately done something that I knew was not pleasing to my heavenly Father, but I did it anyway because I wanted to? And how often did I justify it by thinking, "It's no big deal. I'm not perfect. I'm a project under construction." Many, many times. More times than I want to admit.

What happens when you recognize this? When you suddenly realize that each time you deliberately reject God's love and mercy, you are wounding His heart? When you realize that you are jeopardizing your own soul for a few moments of cheap thrills or the venting of emotions to achieve some sense of power and control?

I am now realizing how many times I have committed mortal sin. This thought is both frightening and sad, with a bit of indignation thrown in that very few churches "get it" when discussing sin -- or rather, dodging any serious discussion of it. I attended many churches where the primary objective was to "feel good" about oneself. We are loved. We are cherished. We have a destiny, a purpose. But the flipside that St. Paul spoke of in Romans is not visited too often. It's far too uncomfortable. Convicting. Frightening.

Venial sin is slight sin. If I deliberately got drunk so that I killed someone, that would be a grave matter, a mortal sin. But if I deliberately got drunk and told my neighbor what I really thought of them in uncharitable terms, that would be venial. (At least from what I understand so far.) Venial sins still damage my relationship with God and need to be forgiven.

The point about mortal sin is this: I must know that it is sin and then still decide to do it anyway. Sin separates us from God and that is what I need to focus upon. I am deliberately making light of the sacrifice He made when He gave His Son to the world for the forgiveness of sin because of my self-centeredness.

My fellow Catholic blogger, "Cathy of Alex" wrote about her own intense conviction of her sin, to the point where she was frantic about being able to find a parish to go to confession and receive the sacrament. I know some would read that and roll their eyes, thinking this is one Catholic who went a little overboard with their devotions. But when you start to get serious about God, and start seeking Him within the Sacraments; you begin to understand why the Catholic Church is so serious about sin. Because it is serious. And when it comes to our souls, no one looks out for you like the Catholic Church.

Sunday, September 5, 2010

A Fellow Blogger Examines the Sacrament of Confession #Catholic

This may not be entirely fair to post this on a Sunday. Some parishes do offer Confession before a Mass on Sunday, but many do it on Saturdays. Still, my fellow Catholic blogger, Cathy of Alex, has a powerful post, Endless Wait and Panic, about the importance of going to confession.

Have you ever had one of those occasions when you are in serious sin,perhaps even mortal sin, and you are panic stricken at the thought of not being able to find an open Confessional? What if you don't even know where a priest is? What if Father is late for his regularly scheduled Confession times and there you sit in utter despair and panic. The wait seems endless. What if he doesn't show up? What is your backup plan? Where else can I go? What should I do?

What, indeed. Well worth the read.

Friday, September 3, 2010

Why I Love My Gray Hair

Several things converged around the same time.

1) I bought the huge telephone-book sized Fall Vogue magazine, which I've not done for years.

2) I read a great article by Aliza Sherman who gave a fiery response to Michael Arrington of TechCrunch, pontificating about why there weren't more women in tech start-ups. (And I loved her comment about women who have gray hair are often passed over for jobs let alone venture capitalists.)

3) While flipping through the pages of Vogue, I wondered what happened to one of the more interesting supermodels of the 90's, Kristen McManamy.

4) I discovered that Kristen, now 46 years old, had decided to no longer color her hair and allowed it's silver magnificence to wreak havoc upon the fashion world. I was smitten.

I had a conversation with Aliza via Twitter. She admitted she loved my gray hair but had trouble thinking she could go through with it. I've received this response many times from women. Strangers will greet me at a store, for instance, and say, "Oh, my gosh.. I just love your hair!" Meanwhile, I can tell they're still coloring theirs. I thank them and say with a smile, "I'm not sure if you considered it, but if you do it -- believe me, you'll be spoiled!" They usually laugh and say "Maybe someday..."

Yes, we live in a culture that idolizes youth. And people like Oprah don't help matters when they say, "The quickest way a woman can look younger is by coloring her hair." Oh, yeah? Well I've seen plenty of women who color their hair but the color is all wrong for them. Or they color their hair too dark and it accentuates their older features.

In fact, this is what I find so hilarious: it's a long-held beauty rule that as you age, you lighten your hair color. How wonderful it is that God gave women natural "highlighted" hair by adding silver? No need for anything "extra."

When I met my husband when I was 38 years old, I had been coloring my hair blonde for many years. In fact, I started to color my hair when I was 19. So for about twenty years, I spent quite a bit of money and time on trying to achieve that perfect color. I was platinum blonde, honeyblonde, dark blonde, reddish brown, chestnut, auburn, black (which turned out awful) and then back to a light ash blonde. So when I asked him what he thought of me letting my hair grow out the color, he was thrilled. I, on the other hand, was just plain tired of the work.

There are many reasons I love my gray hair, not the least of which is minimal upkeep. But my absolute favorite reason is that it sends a message loud and clear that I'm not stuck on "looking young" forever. I like getting older. In fact, I see each day as a day closer to getting to my true home, with my Creator, my heavenly Father. I like the joys that aging brings -- renewed appreciation of relationships, wisdom, and the delightful sense of freedom that comes with caring less what most people think.

I honestly would not trade my current life for the one I had at twenty. I loved being twenty, when I was twenty. But there was a part of me that couldn't wait to reach "middle-age" because I suspected I'd feel more confident in who God created me to be. I was right.

There are more and more women who are choosing to go gray. It's an honest choice, reflecting a woman's beautiful individuality and experiencing the joy of every stage of life. If you're a woman who's not quite sure but intrigued by the prospect of going gray, I highly recommend readingGoing Gray: What I Learned about Beauty, Sex, Work, Motherhood, Authenticity, and Everything Else That Really Matters by Anne Kraemer. It's a poignant tale of how one woman took the plunge toward letting go of certain expectations to discover her own brand of beauty.

If you do take the risk, let me know. I'm betting you will be pleasantly surprised.