Sunday, December 28, 2008
Thursday, December 18, 2008
His name is Spongebob Squarepants.
Danielle recently hosted a little forum on her blog about families allowing his sponginess' presence in their homes. (Danielle allows him.)
There were a lot of moms who said no. Some had objections to content. Some to tv in general. But a few confessed they (and their kids) watched and liked him.
One mom states they were an anti-Spongebob house for a variety of reasons. Then they had an autistic child who responded to the yellow kitchen sponge who lives in a pineapple, has a pet snail and works as a fry cook. They found they could engage their child in ways they were never able to previously through Spongebob. And they became an SB household. In recent months, in speaking with several specialists (speech therapists, play therapists, OTs, psychologists, etc) who work with autistic children I have found that Spongebob is a rare character that seems to engage many autistic children. I learned that there is even a study as to what about this one particular character seems to reach kids that so often will respond to nothing else.
The objections were many, and a lot of moms said they didn't like the "ickiness" of the characters. I have a co-worker who disliked the cartoon for the same reason and told her kids that Spongebob was too "repulsive looking" for them to watch. A few weeks ago, she came to work VERY upset. As it turns out she has a new neighbor who has a daughter her daughter's age. The neighbor's child has severe facial deformities. After a few meetings between the families, the neighbors invited my co-worker's daughter for a play date. When the co-worker asked her daughter if she would like to go, the little girl said, "No. She is too repulsive looking, just like Spongebob." My co-worker was mortified, even more so because two other neighbors were over at the time and heard the exchange. I understood what upset my co-worker most is that she greatly underestimated her four-year-olds ability to translate her mom's dislike of a character into a dislike of real people. In a way I understood her, but I also felt like it was all to easy to make an assumption that kids wouldn't understand what she "really" meant.
Kids are pretty savvy. They understand a lot more subtleties than we truly give them credit for. We act shocked when a child repeats profanity, but what do we really expect. If they hear it being used, they assume it is okay for use. Especially if the person saying it is a parent, older sibling, grandparent or other trusted adult. And we make it worse when we pass it off as, well, they don't really know what they are saying. They may not be sophisticated thinkers, but small kids can make inferences. In fact, that's how they learn about a lot in their world.
You can ban Spongebob, you can allow him. Same with any other cartoon. One does not make you a better parent than another. And while we should be honest with our children in our decisions, we should also be clear. Had my co-worker explained to her child ahead of time that this is a cartoon character, not a real person, perhaps the child would not have turned the rationale on another human. But, then again, children crave consistency and it gets sticky with the world of make-believe.
A mother at daycare recently told me she did not allow her children to watch a locally produced show that included martial arts because of the violence. The show actually is about empowering kids and shows how kids should use discipline. In fact, most people don't put their kids into martial arts programs to exercise a violent outlet, but for the discipline these eastern arts teach. But I digress. I could understand this woman's initial resistance until she added this statement, "I only allow my kids to watch Boomerang, and Looney Tunes." I hope she did notice the look I gave her when she mentioned Looney Tunes. I love Bugs Bunny too, but if violence was her objection, what about "Duck Season, Rabbit Season," Wile E. Coyote and Roadrunner, or the endless anvil dropping. I mean, is it okay for a duck and a rabbit to suggest that Elmer Fudd shoot one over the other? This violence is acceptable because it's animated creatures, or because it wasn't a big deal when mom was a little girl and her parents allowed her to watch it? I have only caught the local martial arts program a few times and it mostly includes kids breaking boards and bricks, talking about how the "program" helps them to focus in school, and even has included a few segments about students being bullied and finding a non-violent way to stop it. Yes, there are some scenes of sparring with pads on under the tutelage of an instructor, but we aren't witnessing kids "jumping" each other on the playground. It struck me that unless this mom's kids pointed guns at each other yelling, "duck season! Fire!" she probably wouldn't realize the violent nature of the animated creatures.
There are no hard and fast rules for allowing one program over another with most children's progamming. And while we should all be aware what our children are watching and the lessons they are learning, there has, in recent years, developed a generation of "super-hyper-vigilant" parents who reject much of the programming they see that is new while allowing much older programming that often extols the same "values." It doesn't help to harbor under the delusion that older is always better.
And there is the temptation to get rid of the television altogether. I understand this sentiment as well. We very often feel we will build a better, smarter, more skilled, more Catholic child with no television.
The bottom line is, good parenting is good parenting, tv or no tv, Spongebob or no Spongebob. Good children will come out of homes that don't own a television and those that do. Productive citizens will have grown up watching Nickelodeon and just not. Good Catholics will be made from kids who only watched EWTN kids and those that might not have.
Tuesday, December 16, 2008
1) Zuma Nesta Rock Rossdale (son of Gwen Stefani and Gavin Rossdale)...I mean really, this kid is going to be in therapy for a LONG while.
2) Knox Leon Jolie-Pitt (son of Angelina Jolie and Brad Pitt)...I'll admit, could be worse, but this one makes me think of Knox gelatin.
3) Bronx Mowgli Wentz (son of Ashlee Simpson-Wentz and Pete Wentz)...this name is just awful. I really wanted Ashlee Simpson to be a good mom who proved people wrong about her. This name does the exact opposite.
4) Jagger Joseph Blue Goldberg (daughter, yes DAUGHTER, of Soleil Moon Frye and Jason Goldberg) Okay, so Soleil Moon Frye has the excuse when it comes to odd names, but Jagger and Joseph for a GIRL? Come on sweetie, you're not doing anything to help the cause that Hollywood kids can grow up normal.
5) Ignatius Martin Upton (son of Cate Blanchett and Andrew Upton)... I will admit I feel guilty about adding this one because I love that Cate Blanchett is so open about naming her son after a Catholic saint (she openly admits he is named after Ignatius of Loyola) but his nick-name, Iggy, as in Pop, ugh!!!
6)Viggo Moriah Hanson (son of Taylor and Natalie Hanson)...can anyone say Lord of the Rings? And Moriah, I mean, I understand it's a Biblical mountain, but is this kid gonna get teased or what?
7) Buster Miller (son of Jonny Lee Miller and Michele Hicks) ok, Jonny Lee Miller is Angelina Jolie's first husband. That is no excuse for giving your son a dog's name!
8) Peanut Rademacher (son of Ingo Rademacher and Ehiku) The name came, wait for it, from the picture of the little guy on his first ultrasound. My kids looked like peanuts too. It's a nickname, not something to scar your kid with in high school!
9)Kadence Clover Hawk (daughter of Tony Hawk and Lohtse Hawk) so Tony Hawk finally has a baby girl, and we have the lovely alliteration gone bad. Personally Clover makes me think of a cow chewing cud. And I have a friend who named her daugther Cadence. Cadence Ann. I think it should be a law, unusual first name must be paired with a normal middle name.
10) Rain Amethist Ryan (son of Lee Ryan and Samantha Miller) how is this a boy name?
1) Honor Marie Warren (daugther of Jessica Alba and Cash Warren) a virtue name that is not overused and Marie is a well suited middle name.
2) Harlow Winter Kate Madden (daughter of Nichole Richie and Joel Madden) Harlow is a look back at old Hollywood and while Winter is not conventional, it has been used in the early part of the 20th century and Kate puts a nice normal spin on it. And who would have thought Nicole Richie would be the type of mom to insist on breastfeeding and making her own baby food.
3) Vivienne Marcheline (daughter of Angelina Jolie and Brad Pitt) in honor of Angie's late mom Marcheline Bertrand and her French-Canadian heritage. It also has an elegance not often found in baby names these days.
4) Stella Doreen McDermott (daughter of Tori Spelling and Dean McDermott) in following Tori's heritage and naming your child after a loved one who has passed, little Stella's middle name Doreen was the name of Dean's late mother.
5) Olive Cohen (daughter of Sasha Baron Cohen and Isla Fisher) something simple and classic from two over the top actors.
6) Samuel Kai Schreiber (son of Liev Schrieber and Naomi Watts) the simplicity of the first name and the exotic middle name (beautiful in Hawaiian) make this little guy a winner!
7) Alexander (Sasha) Pete Schreiber (son of Liev Schrieber and Naomi Watts) don't know about how I feel abot Sasha as a boy's nickname, but this little guy has a solid name to fall back on if and when he out grows it.
8) Thomas Boone Quaid (son of Dennis and Kimberly Quaid) his name means twin and he is one. The poor little guy fought for his life at ten days old, and proved maybe a strong biblical name doesn't guarantee strength but seeing is believing.
9) Zev Isaac Miller (son of Marisa Jaret Winour) the hairspray star chose a name that honors her Jewish heritage without sounding so outrageously ethnic as some others.
10) Levi Alves McConaughey (son of Matthew McConaughey and Camille Alves) simple, biblical, mom's maiden name as a middle name. Unique but not so far out.
So what about you? Any baby names that riled you up or made you say "Yes! Someone normal in Hollywood!"
Saturday, December 13, 2008
I try to live my life by, judge not, lest thou be judged. I find it's a pretty good policy because we never know another's circumstances just from appearances. But some of the harshest judgments I have ever heard were by Catholic women, in church, about other families. A woman in my church has only two children. Her two girls are her source of joy. She would have loved to have a platoon of kids, but that wasn't to be. I was sitting by myself one Sunday and saw her come in with her girls and husband, genuflect and sit down. She smiled and waved to me (we are acquainted) and I returned the gesture. Behind me, I heard a growl. I didn't turn around as I knew the couple sitting behind me. Not well, and I don't plan on getting to know them that well, but, I have met them. I heard the woman behind me's voice to her husband, "I can't believe they can go up and receive communion when they are so blatantly using birth control!" I prayed for God to give me strength. I prayed for God to give me self-control. I prayed this woman would stop the sin of gossip. I prayed she would realize she was wrong about this. The woman with the two children does not use birth control. She doesn't need to. Like a member of my family, she nearly died during a vbac birth when her uterus ruptured and she almost bled out. A hysterectomy was performed to save her life. I was part of a prayer chain the prayed for her when it was uncertain if she would survive. And in talking to her after her second daugther was born, I found out she didn't want the vbac. She wanted a repeat c-section, but her SAHM Catholic mothers playgroup convinced her she had not experienced birth because of her c-section with her first daughter, a transverse postioned baby. I was aghast that these women in her group had treated her that way. Even moreso because, okay, now she had a "natural birth" and almost a "natural death."
"Had I listened to my own heart and not worried about the judgment of others, I could have had more children," she said woefully to me at the time. I wished this woman sitting behind me could have heard that.
One commenter to the article about the Jolie-Pitts stated that Catholics are now becoming "contraception-minded" and part of the culture of death. Her reasoning made perfect sense to me. Because of their "openness to life" many in our pews feel it is their duty to be the inquisition where the reproductive lives of others are concerned. Now, I am not talking about abortion here. That is wrong, we all know it. But as this commenter stated a common and prevailing them from many moms (and sometimes dads) of large families: "If you WEREN'T contracepting, then clearly God would give you as many kids as he gave us!" Sadly, I've seen and heard it all.
And it is precisely this attitude that brings me to the second item I discovered recently. Over at Crunchy Con, Rod Dreher is taking a break and Erin Manning is filling in for him. She posted recently about an NYT review of a new book chronicling an infertile couple's quest to have a child by surrogacy. She went on to mention how many poor women are deciding to become surrogates to help supplement their income and the moral and ethical implications of surrogacy.
(A warning, I LOVE this blog, but some of the commenters are a bit "colorful" so, know the sensitivity of your constitution before wandering the comboxes.) The commenters blew up, Rod, taking a break from his break, turns this into a "liberals v conservatives" debate again and there is a lot of space, waste--er devoted--to this by some of the commenters, but there are also some who just question the overall morality and the ethical question. One male commenter points out that having biological children is not a right. Several commenters point out that they know people who were unable to conceive naturally and went to adoption only to have the door slammed in their faces. But, very quietly, a few posters remind that having one's own biological children is a standard among which many are judged in our culture.
And so it is. While the culture at large does put a price on carrying on your family name, as Catholics we often wrongly put real pressure on people to conceive and carry their own children.
We are, after all, the denomination that adores Mary (we do not worship her) for being the woman that carried Christ. Just yesterday, we celebrated the feast day of Our Lady of Guadalupe and Monday, the Feast of the Immaculate Conception. We revere the family unit. We ask pregnant women to come forward for a "special" blessing on Mother's Day. We pray that "blessed is the fruit of your womb, Jesus."
I don't disagree with any of this. But all of this allows some members of our church to justify judging others. When a woman is unable to conceive, there is a deep and profound sense of loss that cannot fully be understood by someone who has not gone through it. Before having my own children, my husband and I went through a period of infertility due to an anatomical abnormality of mine that had to be surgically corrected. As I watched friends become pregnant while we were trying and month after month went by, I kept thinking, something is wrong with me. What are they doing that I'm not? What have I done to anger God so much that this we can't have a baby? I would pray at my church's chapel to Our Lady of Guadalupe for forgiveness, I would ask God what I should do to repent. No one I knew personally was going through this, and my husband and I felt very alone. I would see large families at mass. I would watch baptisms. I would think, will this ever be me? I knew the church was against IVF and IUI. I knew surrogacy was out of the question even if the church allowed it because of money. I was from a large family, no one else in recent history had fertility problems as a young person in their 20's, I just didn't get it.
I look back on that now and see that although no one said anything to my face, seeing so many with their own babies and large families, did play into my psyche that something was wrong with me. It makes me wish the Catholic church would promote blessings on Mother's and Father's days of people unable to become parents (not one where you get called out to the altar, but a general one). After all, I had looked into adoption too, and that was very prohibitive and almost more difficult than fertility treaments. The general lack of support I have written about before from many Catholics for adoption (by adopting themselves) also discouraged me.
I can very easily see where many couples would be tempted by judgment of others as well as a lack of support for adoption and a feeling of inadequacy due to culture within the church to seek out fertility treatments. While biological children are certainly not a right, there are many out there who see them as a responsibility and if you can't do it on your own, well, then are you really a responsible Catholic in good standing? And the Bible is a bit murky on this for us. After all, Sarah, desparate for a child, gives Hagar to Abraham and we have our earliest known surrogate. And Hannah prays for a son while we are told her husband's other wife is fruitful and multiplying.
We must stop judging one another. We must realize that there are pains for families both large and small. As much as it galled me when a friend said she didn't think she would have more than two children because she and her husband would be outnumbered (forgetting she was a third child evidentally), I find it every bit as wrong for someone with eight to say that the mom of one must be contracepting.
Instead, we should all be praying for one another. We should be loving each other. We should stop thinking of "our family" v "their family" and think of ourselves as the ONE body of Christ. We should realize that all families have their unique struggles and respect those. We must promote adoption as a way to increase the body of Christ. Adoption of the disabled as well as the healthy, the babies that look like us vs those who do not. If we take on these challenges, we will be true promoters of life.
Thursday, December 11, 2008
Wednesday, November 26, 2008
Late night mothering gives us the rare opportunity to be selfless in ways we don't expect. And at a time when no one can laud us for the "heroic sacrifices" of motherhood. It makes muscles ache and heads spin with exhaustion. And not so a voice can say, "Thanks Mom" but so we can see a smiling face just eating breakfast and find a child tearing apart his or her room with so much energy it just can't be possible.
I am happy to report that said toddler is fully recovered now!
Friday, November 21, 2008
And so should be the idea of Thanksgiving. Thanking God for the gifts in our life should be an action of our everyday lives. We should be celebrating the abundance God gives at each family meal and gathering. And we should be using our talents in ways pleasing to God on all occasions.
This post is the result of my enduring much grousing by others regarding not getting to spend a traditional meal on a particular day with certain people. I understand well the emotional pull of family and cultural traditions. But I feel sadness that these people cannot see past the the disappointment to celebrate the bounty of their life's harvest.
I love the cold weather. It makes snuggling under blankets and cups of hot cocoa and hot cider all the more cozy. Apparently I am raising babies who feel the same way. The other night, we were preparing for bed. The two-year-old was jumping on her mini-trampoline. And the baby was crawling around. He was looking for a place to crash. He crawled over to his sister's toddler bed and pulled down her pillows and made himself a small palate. Then he squealed with delight as I wrapped him up in a blanket. His sister, stopped jumping and joined in, wanting Mommy to wrap her up too! We looked like a burrito family, wrapped up tight in our warmth and love.
Saturday, November 15, 2008
"I go to church on Sundays. Church here is awesome.The priest is a Navy Chaplain. He starts by greeting each company in a very enthusiastic manner and the music is Catholic hymns sung in a gospel type manner. His homilies relate the gospel to us as marine recruits. Mass is so cool that the people who are not catholic choose to go."
The first sentance alone gave me joy.
It gives my heart peace to know that his faith is a companion for him on this journey.
Forever a mother am I.
Wednesday, November 12, 2008
This morning, a body was found at a local elementary school. It was an adult and the death was determined to have been from natural causes, but classes were cancelled at the school and the children were taken to a nearby middle school to have their parents pick them up. My husband text messaged me that he hoped that none of the children had seen the body. I told him I hoped so as well, but I was sure counselors would be on hand tomorrow just in case.
He then text messaged me that only liberals would want counselors and his solution was to take the kids the funeral home and the baby hospital (the mother-baby floor in a local hospital) to show death and life as natural things.
Now this really boiled my blood here are the three follow- up texts I sent to him:
1) Having counselors is not a liberal vs conservative thing. And I don't suggest that taking children to a funeral home is a good thing for kids because those people don't "look" dead.
2) Both birth and death are traumatic experiences for those who witness them. Counselors help facilitate for children that it is okay for them to have mixed emotions or happy or sad ones at such an event and how to express those emotions. (In short, we have to learn to grieve and work through our grief. Children often need the assistance of a counselor to walk them through this process.)
3) I agree that birth and death are natural processes and should be treated as such but that should not negate that they are emotional processes as well.
His response was a message saying I was right. What was that? I was right?
A recent thread I was reading on a blog was about loss, specifically miscarriage.
Having suffered a miscarriage, I knew greatly the sadness of losing a child one loved so much but had not met. The woman who started the thread had just suffered her second miscarriage in less than six months. Many women responded to her fears that she was too old (39) to have children. Many more responded to her sense of loss. I suffered a miscarriage at 24. Most women don't get a reason. I got one. I was born with a defect in my uterus which prevented the baby growing. The doctor also suspected I had had several other miscarriages that were early and for that reason not detected. The only thing I could do was undergo surgery. Surgery we couldn't afford until I switched jobs and got better insurance. I was then blessed with two children. I hope, someday, I may be blessed with more.
One woman very insightfully noted that the original woman who posted should take adequate time to grieve each of her children. It was a sentiment that struck me. After our loss, I sought out guidance from my priest. A wonderful man, he asked me how I felt about attending a "Mass of the Angels." I had never heard of this, but it is a beautiful mass the church created especially for this type of loss. I was touched by the number and range of women I saw at the mass. The church was crowded. Instead of a homily, our priest asked a woman to come forward and speak about her loss. The woman who spoke was in her early seventies and lost her first child as a twenty-year-old. She talked about how not a day in her life goes by that she doesn't think of that child. How, with each child she gave birth to, the whole in her heart became smaller, but never fully went away. She talked about teaching her children of their brother or sister in heaven who was looking out for them, and helping their guardian angels watch over them. In her voice, I could hear the strength God had given her to overcome this loss. And I also heard the sadness of a child she never knew, but would one day meet in heaven.
She also talked about how unrealistic the views of healing from this type of loss were fifty-odd some years before. How her family expected her to, "snap out of it." How friends didn't know how to react. She spoke of how, when speaking to her niece recently who had also suffered a miscarriage, her niece asked for guidance when people would say things to her such as, "Well, at least you know you can get pregnant," or "you can always have another one." Comments that were well intented, but well off the mark. Every woman seemed to nod, we had all heard them. It made me think to one of the few comments that had comforted me early on, a male co-worker, hearing of my loss, said, "I want to tell you how sorry I am, but I really believe God has something else planned for you and that baby. I know that's probably not what you want to hear and doesn't make the pain any easier, but I had to tell you and I know I wouldn't be your first choice to talk to, but I'm always here, and you'll be in my prayers." It was a clumsy attempt, but it was genuine. He wasn't searching for the "right thing to say," he was just saying it.
The woman giving the "homily" was giving the advice to pray for the person saying these things, that they were just trying in their imperfect, human way to acknowledge your loss.
In her book, A Catholic Woman's Book of Days, Amy Welborn relates a similar lesson, when after the loss of a pregnancy a friend said to her, "It's too bad, but I guess it's better than getting a broken doll, isn't it?" Welborn doesn't relate her response, but offers this prayer, Lord, forgive me for the times I have hurt others with my words, even unintentionally.
These are lessons we could all apply regardless of the type of loss.
1) Give yourself time to grieve.
2) Do not put a time table on healing. God works on His time, not yours.
3) People's human responses are just that, human, and therefore, imperfect.
4) Don't expect to never feel sadness, that whole in your heart may grow smaller, but it will never disappear.
5) Sadness is an emotion, God gave us these emotions and they are good.
6) Loss is natural, it is also emotional.
7) You cannot prepare for a loss, the finality is only real when you've experienced it.
8) Trust that God will have different plans for you although you cannot understand it.
9) We must respect the pain that others go through in their losses.
10) No loss is small to someone experiencing it. Don't roll your eyes at the neighbor whose cat has died. That cat may have been all they had.
"For I know the plans I have for you says the Lord..."
Monday, November 10, 2008
Today is not one of those days. This is one of those days that I wish God did not trust me so much.
Right now God is trusting me to not lose my cool when customers cuss me out. He's trusting me not to quit my job because of a hostile work environment (see the customers cussing me out above), fatigue, and missing my kids.
I am praying for strength. I am praying for sanity. I am praying that at least one of my customers will realize I am a human being and that I deserve to be treated like one. (I'm not counting on God answering that last one the way I would like.)
The day will be over soon and I hope I will get a good nights sleep. After all tomorrow will be its own gift.
Saturday, November 8, 2008
Snips and snails, and puppy-dogs' tails,
That's what little boys are made of.
What are little girls made of?
Sugar and spice, and everything nice,
That's what little girls are made of.
I've come to realize over the last couple of months that boys are very different than girls.
Well, duh. And you think I would know that being the only girl with three brothers growing up, but I guess, I forgot. And I hadn't seen this from a mother's perspective before.
Joseph Patrick, my wonderful son who I named after the father of our Lord and the saint who drove the snakes out of Ireland, some days has horns growing out of his halo. He is angelic in appearance with blond hair, and big, innocent looking blue eyes. He smiles and is sooo cute. Then he pulls his sister's hair.
There are some things that Shelby did not do, that her brother is teaching us all about. First there is the hitting. Joey can't give a kiss without following up by hitting you in the face. I'm not kidding. Last weekend, at my parents' home, my mother came over to me holding Joey and exclaimed happily, "He gave me a kiss!"
"Did he hit you in the face right after?" I asked.
"Yeah, pretty much." This woman gave birth to three boys. Some days I wonder how she has any semblance of sanity.
Shelby did bite for a very short period of time (and this was restricted to me, with the exception of my mother one time). Joseph has been biting for 3 months. Everyone. Luckily, at daycare, they have been able to stop him before another child was the victim.
And here we come to something that Shelby could not have done if she wanted. On my birthday, while he was supposed to be napping, I heard a squeal of delight come from Joseph's room. This, I knew, could not be good. Previous squeals of this sort revealed a dog having his ears pulled or a newspaper being shredded and eaten. He was in his crib though, what could he be doing? I opened the door. He had removed his diaper and was standing up peeing through the slats on the crib onto the floor. On, the upside, a friend with two boys said, he might potty train more easily since he has the standing thing down. On the downside, he knows how to take his diaper off and peed on my floor! He was ever so proud of himself and continued to squeal even when I told him, "It's not very nice to make Mommy clean up pee-pee on her birthday!"
My brother Michael (Joseph's uncle and Godfather) informed me that, of course Joey had to be delighted. Being able to stand up and pee was the greatest thing since sliced bread. I didn't know what I had been missing.
Now for those who think I must capitalize on this development...we have encountered another problem. The potty we were given for Shelby to start training is being used by Joseph, to put in whatever he wants to discard. His socks, an empty sippy cup, a toy he is done with, have all be retrieved.
Now, I did learn something important from that...our bathroom door remains closed. If there is one thing I know about children in general and boys in particular is that if you hear a toilet flush and then hear "uh-oh" it's already too late.
Friday, November 7, 2008
Or in this case, a marine.
He is my son.
He is a grown, educated man who wants to serve his country.
He attended college and earned a Bachelor of Science degree.
He spent a few years in the workforce.
When his most recent job came to an end due to cutbacks,
he saw it as an opportunity to pursue what he had always wanted to do.
Become a United States Marine.
In another year, it would be too late.
He told his father and I that he did not wish to look back with regret.
Today he is a recruit in training at Parris Island,SC.
After weeks of anxiousness and concern,
and with several weeks of basic training still ahead,
I am left feeling...
Lord, be with Michael on this journey.
St. Michael , Pray for us.
Wednesday, November 5, 2008
Whether the election turned out the way we wanted or not, one thing is clear: Barack Obama will be the president of the United States of America. Our president. We at the Register were very focused on the life issue, and will remain so. But we we always knew John McCain was no pro-life hero (he supports using taxpayer money to fund fatal experiments on embryos) and though we disagree on much, we always liked Obama.
He is a civil, decent man. His historic election is exciting in that it hails, we hope, the end of an era when race was factored into decisions it had nothing to do with.
There used to be ground rules for the way a president is treated. We wish to review them here and renew them.
1. Be not afraid. In America, there’s no reason to fear the president. We still live, by the grace of God, in a democracy. We still can convince people of the truth and provide opportunities for them to vote the truth into law. Under Bush, many Americans turned their opposition to the president into exaggerated fears and premature anger. We needn’t do that. Oppose what he proposes that must be opposed, but don’t believe the voices that say “America has changed forever.” Mr. President: We will be here applauding all that you do that is good, and reminding people just how heinous it is to kill America’s future in the womb, if you dare attack the voiceless, defenseless unborn.
2. Respect. In America, we respect and teach our children to respect the president. Many children were taught to dislike President Bush and belittle him. They got that from their parents’ poor example. That undermines civic responsibility and social cohesion. Barack Obama is an impressive man who will be celebrated by many people who in their hearts are pro-life but who haven’t translated their pro-life principles into their voting decisions. We needn’t ostracize ourselves; we can respect the man and honor his exciting achievement, and keep lines of communication open with our neighbors about the right to life.
3. Reach out. In America, people aren’t swayed by intellectual argument but by stories. Painful stories of difficult circumstances make people pro-abortion; hopeful stories of children who were spared make people pro-life. Sad stories of homosexual couples make people favor same-sex marriage; stories of the despair homosexuals feel disproportionately and the abuse faced by so many children in their circles reminds people that this is a disorder in the human soul. Tell your stories. Subscribe to the Register to hear more stories you can pass on.
Find out more in the next issue, but we intend to begin a campaign of compassionate truth in the paper to build on the majorities that even now are on the side of life and morality.
Today isn’t the end of an era. It’s a bump on a road. And it’s more than that. It’s a day to say to Obama and his supporters: Congratulations. You have done something great. Let’s work together in support of the founding principles of America — all of them.
-- Tom Hoopes
Please pray for President Obama that his heart may be guided to life. Please pray, as I am, and ask the intercession of St. Augustine for a conversion. We are armed with prayer. Allow it to use its ammunition. And may God Bless us all.
(The item I disagree with is that sexual abuse occurs more in homosexual circles. Please, do your own research on this. This is akin to thinking that priests are more likely to abuse because they are celibate)
Tuesday, November 4, 2008
The announcement hidden in comments on Jen's page
Brigid Maureen Callihan born 1:37 PM HK local time. No complications. That is all I have right now.
That was for today November 4, 2008. HK local time is for Hong Kong.
We hold the Ambrose/Callihan family close in prayer at such a special time in their lives!
Thursday, October 30, 2008
Tuesday, October 28, 2008
Amazing, this little vial of medicine injected in my arm, despite the pain, will keep me from becoming very sick (provided I don't catch a strain not covered by this vaccine).
A little thing. A big payoff.
Prayer is like that too. No prayer is ever too small of insignificant. They are all important to God. Whether it's a, "please help my dog feel better," or a "we need a miracle to heal grandma" nothing is ignored.
The important thing to remember with prayer, though, is that all prayers are answered although not in the way we might like. I remember this when my cousin Andy fell ill this time last year with an inoperable brain tumor.
I never prayed for being cured. I only prayed for God's will to be done. Now, there may be some out there who feel I was wrong. I know my mother wanted everyone to pray unceasingly and fast and believes if we had done this, Andy would be 100% cured now and still with us. But I just can't believe God works like that. If that assumption were true, than we would have to assume that God only answers the prayers of people in the way in which they would like when we don a sackcloth and offer sacrifice. We all know that is not true. I did neither and yet, I was given two children when doctors at one point thought I had a less than 10% chance of carrying a healthy baby to term. That assumption would also lead us to believe that those who offer prayers that are brief and not public would never hear God answer them with a yes. See where I am going with this?
In the movie Bruce Almighty, Jim Carrey is given the awesome powers of God but also the awesome responsibilities. Remember the scene where he is answering prayers (in the form of heavenly email) and responds yes to all of them. Remember the fall out from that?
I viewed Andy's illness as a win-win, either God would cure Andy and allow him to stay with us here on Earth, OR, God would bring Andy home. That is not to say I wanted Andy to suffer the brutal effects of chemotherapy and radiation and the inevitable emotional pain of cancer. I would have spared him 100 times if I could have, but that was not what God wanted.
As the weeks of Andy's treatments went on, I kept hearing people say things like, Andy didn't deserve this (no one does) and they could not accept that God would allow Andy to suffer like this, what kind of loving, benevolent God allows children to get cancer? I struggled with hearing these comments, because in my heart it had been revealed to me, not the outcome, but that there was a purpose for this and that it was not for me to understand. With great heaviness, I accepted that revelation (which came while praying the Divine Mercy chaplet). I knew others might not believe or trust me. One day, as I was driving around town, listening to Relevant Radio, I heard Father John Corapi say something that spoke to my heart. I don't know the exact quote, but he said something to the effect of, as humans, we struggle with God's decisions. We want to know why, but we can't. We cannot understand because we are not God and it is not for us to understand. Only God in his divine wisdom can understand the struggles we endure and the pain we sometimes suffer. I pulled over in a parking lot and cried. I knew I was supposed to hear this, I knew Father Corapi was chosen as the instrument, and I knew now that when someone made a comment to me that Andy shouldn't have this happen, I had to share these words. And I did often, with friends and co-workers and family. I remember telling one co-worker, a single mother of two boys who desperately was praying for Andy and our family. She is not Catholic, so I hesitated just for a second. When I told her, her face and whole countenance changed as if she was truly hearing the word of God. Now I don't claim to be an instrument of God, but it's hard to deny what happened in those few moments. She later emailed me that she was going through a severe crisis of faith because of both Andy's illness and her son's behavioral issues. She said hearing that moved her toward God just as she felt she was drifting away.
And in the months of his illness and treatment, Andy touched thousands, probably millions around the world with his faith. Child saints are revered for their undying faith in God. Andy's faith never waivered. He never asked, "why me?" He was saddened by the fear that lived in his parents and siblings. He knew he would miss them, but he joyfully accepted God's will. He posted on his caringbridge site about revelations he received in dreams. He inspired people around the world to pray. And he was unselfish, he used the platform he had to ask for prayers for others. In particular, for one little boy who posted on his site frequently whose mother was fighting breast cancer.
When Andy was brought home by God in May, he went peacefully, joyfully. He loved his life, his home on the lake and the mountain house, his golden retriever, Honey, his sisters and brothers, his parents, his best friends, his godparents, but most of all he loved God and trusted God. He knew no prayer was too little. And he knew God answered all prayers.
Prayers are like the spark we light in the darkness. They guide us to God and an answer. We must learn to accept the answers God gives us and accept we may not understand God's answers, but it may not be for us to understand. Instead we are to walk with him in faith and understanding that because He is God, He will always do what is best for us.
"He has shown you, O people, what is good and what the Lord requires of you. But to do justice, and to love kindsness and to walk humbly with your God."
Friday, October 24, 2008
His name is Andy and I am proud to be his godmother.
On May 9, in the Year of Our LORD, two thousand eight, at the age of 13 ,Andy began his new life with Jesus and all of the angels and saints in Heaven.
When a body is given the privilege of being a godparent he is charged with the responsibility of of supporting and bearing witness to the faith development of the child. I loved the special "holy" gifts and offering up prayers for all of my godchildren. I hoped for them all to be inspired by my faith I imagined them giving testimony of my example at the celebration of my mass of the resurrection.
I never in my wildest dreams imagined that one of them would witness to me the way to walk the walk. I never thought that I would be the one proclaiming Scripture at their memorial service. But that is, in fact, what came to pass.
God spoke to Andy. Without hesitation and in the purest of faith, Andy passed it on.
"Love God, Jerusalem"
When you think about it, it really does encompass all that is good.
Shortly after Andy's homecoming a poster on his website cited all of the child saints and suggested that even though Andy is not formally canonized he can surely pray with us and for us in his state of grace.
Recently I attended a concert that was part of Christian Singer Sara Groves' Art*Music*Justice Tour. Sara Groves' music speaks very deeply to Andy's mother, Eileen. Her songs of hope have ushered Eileen to the first baby steps of healing from the depths of her grief. Eileen, my brother Jim and their children had the opportunity to meet with Sara prior to the concert and tell her of Andy's great faith. At the concert Sara spoke of the faithful souls that have gone before us. She said that they had finished the race and crossed the finish line. Before us they are, cheering us on. "I can see Andy is right there along with all the others", she said.
This past August a veil of sadness over Andy's loss darkened my heart as it does from time to time. Now August is the month of my birth, and this year I turned fifty. I was taking a walk and I decided to talk to Andy.
"Andy,please pray for me. Talk to God, and send me the perfect thing to smile about."
Andy loved frogs and used acronym F.R.O.G. (Fully Rely On God). I am fond of red hair and Andy and I had joked about my "naturally red hair". When I arrived home from the walk, a little RED frog was in our driveway. My family will all testify to it. It is pictured right here on this post. The frog lingered in our driveway and garage for a few weeks. The last we saw of him was early September. He made me smile. A Lot! I am blessed indeed.
After Sara Groves had called on the image of saints cheering us on she led into her next song by "O I want to be in that number...."
So do I, Sara.
So do I.
Peace and All Good.
Thursday, October 16, 2008
Right now I have a one year old who is practicing walking. He is getting better everyday, it kind of scares me. Soon the little people walking in my house will be even with the big people.
There is something so cute and also funny, not to mention nerve-wracking about a child beginning to walk. As my dogs have found out, you tend to get out of the way of one so little and so uncertain on their feet. You want them to learn alone, your heart stops when they fall. You cherish the independence it will be as it will free up your arms and time. You mourn that your baby is growing up and no longer needs you for this.
What then must God think of us, muddling through our lives. Not quite making it. Falling down more than we stand up. I think of the Footprints wall hangings and of God carrying me when I cannot make it on my own, the same way I carry my children when they become to weary to stand on their own feet. I realize the love God must have for me, as in the infancy of my eternal life, I am taking very small baby steps closer to his outstretched arms.
Wednesday, October 15, 2008
If you are somewhere that you can light a candle, please do, if not a prayer will be enough. Please pray for those babies taken before life in abortion and miscarriage. Please pray for those taken after birth by the hands of violence. And please pray for the mothers and fathers mourning the loss of a child they never knew or a child they knew all too briefly.
Tuesday, October 14, 2008
It is funny to me how older relatives like to ask, "Do you feel older?" When I was a kid that confused me. No, I didn't, in fact, I felt quite the same as I did yesterday.
Now I answer, "yes," which is usually received with good-natured laughter, although, depending on which day you catch me on, I might be serious ;).
What does a life of almost 30 years encompass at this point?
1) I had 3 little brothers (although now all 3 are bigger than me).
2) I graduated high school.
3) I went to college.
4) I fell in love.
5) I graduated from college.
6) I got married.
7) I got dogs.
8) I bought a house.
9) I had babies.
10) I opened a 401 (k)
Some other things you might be familiar with happened in that time:
1) Ronald Reagan became president and Iran released hostages on the day of his inaugeration.
2) The Challenger space shuttle exploded in mid-air.
3) The Berlin Wall came down.
4) Bill Clinton did not have sexual relations with that woman.
5) The stock market hit 10,000.
6) Mass genocide killed thousands in Rwanda.
7) A monster named Slobodon Milosevic held the former Yugoslavia under a brutal regime.
8) September 11, 2001
9) The US invaded Afghanistan, Iraq.
10) Michael Phelps broke the record for most gold medals won in an Olympics.
My life has been filled with hopes and disappointments, both personal and global. I remember in the 10th grade, at the mere age of 16, which discussing the holocaust in my world civilizations class, the consensus was, we could never let this happen to another people. But it had and still goes on today. In a way, I look at my life as the more it changes, the more it stays the same. Kind of a cynical view you could say. I mean, what could I, one person do? Yet this little voice (which I believe is my guardian angel) tells me each day to get up and be the best person I can be. That somehow, it will make a difference. Who knows, maybe I am grooming a future president, or someone who will find a cure for AIDS. Everyday is a battle to be good wife, a good mother, a hard worker, a compassionate soul, a believer in Christ, to keep my faith strong. I don't always succeed at all or any of these, but I get up and do it again. I once read a quote that was attributed to legendary Alabama football coach Bear Bryant, "Courage is not the man who fights and falls. It's the man who fights, falls and gets up again." I don't think of myself as courageous, but I do think there is wisdom in Coach Bryant's quote. It's how I live my life. All almost 30 years of it so far.
"For when the great scorer comes to write against your name, he writes not whether you won or lost, but how you played the game."
Tuesday, September 30, 2008
Because this co-worker also has bi-polar tendencies (as several people have mentioned in passing after certain events) I keep my opinion to myself when she shares. But here is what I think.
No family is perfect. But all families are perfect in their own way. I have two children. A girl and a boy. They are fourteen-months apart. We live in a small home we own in a suburb. But we are NOT perfect. We are, however, happy. We love our children, we try to meet them where they are at and we don't always succeed. Another friend of ours is single mother of one. She struggles, but makes sure all her son's needs are met. She gives out of love and never stops. She has a good relationship with her ex-husband and he keeps in close contact with his son. She never dreamed this would be how she would be raising a family, but she has chosen happiness in all things and has made her family situation perfect for her.
So, my advice to this friend is to give up what the world tells you is perfect and embrace what God gives. Only this will bring happiness and a "perfect" family.
Monday, September 29, 2008
I like the idea of being Christ for someone else, but what does that mean?
Obviously there are many interpretations. Mothers and fathers are Christ for their children, they sacrifice in love for the safety and well-being of their children.
Recently, a family member of mine made a rather earth-shattering and life-changing decision and at the same time, a friend of mine I have not had personal contact with in a number of years made a national announcement that took a lot of courage. And I'd like to think that my response to each was, in a way, being Christ.
I'll start with my friend. Back in high school, I was friendly with and worked at the YMCA with a guy named Clayton Grissom. Clayton was kind of nerdy, very loud, very talented and had a voice that sounded like satin. He was amazing. He was funny. He loved kids. And, unfortunately, it seemed he would be "stuck" in our town with his talent put to very little use. One day, my mom asked me if I had ever known Clay Aiken from high school or the Y. No, name didn't ring a bell. "He's on American Idol," she said annoyed with me. I never watched American Idol. So, I scanned it the next time. And there was this guy, boy did he look familiar (American Idol spruced him up a bit by this time), was this the guy she was talking about? Then I heard him start to sing and my jaw dropped. What had Hollywood done to Clayton Grissom? He lost Idol, but went on to the fame he deserved. And in the last couple of weeks, as we all know, he came out on the cover of People magazine as gay. Now, for those who knew him, this was not a shock as Simon Cowell so eloquently put it, "It's like finding out Santa Claus isn't real." Some people may have been put off by it. Some may have applauded it. But for me, it was like the "Clay Aiken" mask had come off a bit and now people could see the Clayton I knew from high school. The guy who wasn't afraid to share his opinion. I felt pride that now the world could see the person I had known. I pray for strength for Clay (as he would still like to be called) as he is going through a great transition as a person and a father. I pray for his friend Jaymes and their baby boy Parker. I pray that he continue to keep the dignity that led him to teach special ed and love kids of all colors and creeds at the Y. I am doing what I hope Jesus would in loving him and praying for him.
I cannot divulge here all of the details of my family member's recent decision. What I can say is that the decision made was his alone and our family is both supportive of him as well as scared for him. I have been praying to Saint Michael to protect him and also praying for spiritual discernment for him. I again think back to high school and the bracelets that were all the rage "WWJD?" Well, Jesus would love him, pray for him, and patiently wait for this person to come to him. And so I do the same. I do not believe this family member made a wrong decision, I just want him to be able to live with this decision.
I hope that I am able to be Christ for all those in my life in some way. Don't you?
Sunday, September 7, 2008
Friday, August 29, 2008
Dorothy was a woman I knew in my teenage years. Her daughter, Christine, and I became friends through the church youth group. Dorothy took attendance. She was a faithful Catholic and a mother of ten. Christine was her youngest. I also became close for a time with two of her other daughters, Eileen and Caroline. Shortly after I graduated from college, Dorothy passed away. I recently reconnected with Christine online and we had been sharing pictures and stories of our children and families now.
So, back to the present day, about two weeks ago, I was home with the kids on a Saturday, alone, as I usually am on those days. Someone was crying, someone was having a temper tantrum, and this had been going on for the better part of about 45 minutes. This was after a fairly trying morning that had included a child feeding a dog off of a spoon that she refused to use to feed herself, another child hitting his sister hard enough to leave a mark, and a delivery man coming to the door which had caused dogs and children alike to go bonkers. In the middle of it all I said outloud, "Dorothy, I don't know how you did this ten times!"
Suddenly, I heard Dorothy's voice, clear as day, "They're only this young once. Just love them and enjoy them." It was so clear and real I turned in the direction I heard it but, of course, she wasn't there. I looked down at the two squalling toddlers at my feet. I felt my eyes tear up and a lump in my throat. I knelt down and scooped up the baby in one arm and coralled the two-year-old to me with the other. I just held them and we sang Twinkle, Twinkle Little Star a couple of times. The crying began to subside. The temper was cooling and the two-year-old was now cuddling. I looked up at the cross hanging on the bedroom wall and whispered, "Thank you Dorothy, your intercession was just what I needed!"
Thursday, August 14, 2008
I pray for their safety and for those they care for. I read on a blog of hers recently that roads are so bad there they pray for angels to be with them each time they drive. There is plague in Madagascar and they have found rats in their home from time to time. There are frequent kidnappings, especially of foreign children.
I pray for them because, without people as courageous as Heather and Aaron and their kids, Isabelle and Josiah, there would not be people receiving medical care or hearing the word of God. I pray for them, because I myself am not couragous enough to leave the comfortable country I live in with my children and husband to live in a place where I know no one and don't know the language just to spread my faith.
But Heather and Aaron are examples to me of something else. They are examples that we should all be missionaries in our every day life. We should pray and read the Gospel and live the life God wants us to live so that others may see and be converted.
God Bless the Santmyire family in Madagascar and all the other brave Christian missionary families and religious brothers and sisters. May God always protect them as they spread His word.
Sunday, August 10, 2008
My sister shared a story that she had read that proclaimed that the greatest gift that you can give your child of any age is your healthiest spiritual, mental and physical health. It was like a dagger in my heart.
I love my four children more than myself, more than life itself. I sacrificed in so many personal ways. I made sure that they knew about God, went to church,and were fed well. We ate meals together, had a nice home and a lot of material things...But I neglected myself. In neglecting myself, I neglected them. My physical and mental health were deplorable. I was obese and I was a mental train wreck tormented by useless anxiety.
The conversation was a life altering moment that would define the path that I would choose, with God's help, for the rest of my life.
I had to loose weight and with prayer and tears that is where I began.
Today, with the Lord always before me, I am ~100 lbs less and very active.
I am working to secure a future that will allow me to be a light in the lives of my children and grandchildren and not a burden.
I continue to walk closely with God and seek Him in every way.
I talk to HIM.
I am fit and active and moving in toward a very healthy weight.
I aspire to be a joy and comfort in the lives of those I love.
I cannot spare them the pains and disappointments that life will inevitably throw them,
but I can love them, attend to them and be a HEALTHY sounding board and resource.
I can RUN!!!!
I may not leave my children the wealth of this world,
But by Faith, prayer and the Grace of God,
I can leave them the riches of heart and soul,
and the best Me I can be.
What wondrous love is this?
A casual family conversation lead to a pivotal moment of truth.
My cup runneth over.
Peace and All Good!
Friday, August 8, 2008
Saturday, July 26, 2008
Well, not really, Daddy had come home though. Daddy, who the kids hadn't seen all day. Daddy, who played different games than Mommy and read with different inflection. Daddy, who brought home McDonalds as a special treat for his homebound family. Who says the sun wasn't shining at our house?
Friday, July 25, 2008
I was at lunch at work watching a rerun of Yes, Dear. The premise was that Kim and Christine wanted the family to go to church. While at church, they found out about a men's group and pretty much forced Greg and Jimmy to join. Greg and Jimmy were surprised to find the minister leading a group that gathered to watch football and ultimate fighting. Not discuss feelings and the Bible.
It made me realize how much I myself, would like to be part of a group of moms that met like that. And also how much I would like to be a part of the other type of group, the one that does pray and have God as the focus each week.
Thursday, July 24, 2008
Some days, but not right now. I've got to start therapy for Shelby, start potty-training, get someone to sleep in her bed not the floor, help someone who is desparate to walk, feed and water dogs, feed and water kids, feed and water plants, vaccuum, dust, sweep, mop, fold laundry, go to the park, and say prayers. It's wonderful to be needed!
Wednesday, July 23, 2008
Last Friday, we were told Shelby has Pervasive Developmental Delay Not Otherwise Specified or PDDNOS. It was not a very unexpected diagnosis, but one we have to live with and work with. I have started a blog dedicated just to the struggles and joys of having a child with a developmental delay called At My Own Speed. Please see us there for more on Shelby and our life. This blog will obviously keep going, but will not focus on these issues.
Friday, July 4, 2008
~Abraham Lincoln's Second Inaugural Address Delivered March 4, 1865
Today we are facing a battle much like the Civil War in our country. It is pitting brother against brother. American against American. And neither side will back down. The battle is for God's presence in our country. Instead of guns we are armed with our faith. We live in a society that is not godless (for God is everywhere regardless of one's belief) but is ignorant to God or worse turns its back on God. We live in a society where secular values and beliefs seem prevalent. We live in a culture where doing what is right is often trumped by doing what is popular. And so we must fight. We must pray for strength in our fight and for the souls of those we are battling against and that their hearts may be changed.
Like Bob the Builder says, "Can we build it? Yes we can!"
"Can we fix it? Yes we can!"
God Bless America, Land that I love. Stand beside her, and guide her Thru the night with a light from above. From the mountains, to the prairies, To the oceans, white with foam God bless America, My home sweet home.
~God Bless America, Irving Berlin
Thursday, July 3, 2008
It is also full of sunshine, short on rain, plenty of lightening and bugs galore.
Days like today, are rare. At 8 am it is only 66 degrees outside. Right after Shelby was born, we experienced a brief summer withdrawal from the heat. For a couple of short weeks, temps were cooler, in the seventies as opposed to 90's. It was a couple of weeks I could take her out for walks. Last summer, huge and pregnant with Joey while chasing a toddler around, I had no such break.
This year, it is nice to have a break from being pregnant, although now chasing a toddler and a crawler, and getting a little break in the heat.
Thank God for small blessings.
Wednesday, July 2, 2008
My co-workers question was, is attachment parenting a religious practice. His reason for asking, the couple were West African and practicing Sunni Muslims. And being that he had never known anyone to practice this, it seemed a fair question. As far as I know, Islam doesn't dictate attachment parenting. I have known Muslim families who didn't practice it. I do know for sure, that there are a fair amount of Catholic families who practice attachment parenting as well. Don't believe me click here.
It is common that we criticize what we don't know or understand. It is just as common for us to promote our way of thinking as the "best and only way." We forget that just because our way works best for us, doesn't mean it works for everyone else.
Case in point, attachment parenting. I was never committed to the idea. Good thing too, my daughter, wouldn't have stood for it. She wanted to sleep in her own bassinet or crib from day one, although she demanded to be nursed and did until she was nine-months old and I was pregnant with her brother. I think the milk changed and she stopped liking it. My son, on the other hand, was not a very eager nurser (he did well, just wasn't as gung ho as his sister) but slept in our bed until the age of five months. He disliked being put down and would not sleep anywhere but with us. So, really, attachment parenting didn't 100% mesh with our family. I know a lot of people disagree that I put my children in a crib, but just as many feel it was child abuse to let my son sleep with us. Either way we did what was right for our family. And I can't waste my energy on what other people think...as St Francis of Assisi said, "Preach the Gospel at all times...when necessary use words." Point being, I can't hope to convert anyone to anything through angry rhetoric, but if I live my life and people see I am happy, they will begin to wonder, and their conversion will begin.
Tuesday, July 1, 2008
Sunday, June 29, 2008
Yesterday, we watched the first Vespers from the Basilica of St Paul in Rome. I was touched by the ecumenical nature of the vespers, which Pope Benedict also commented on in his homily. Any and all Christians should know well the ministry of Paul spread Christianity far and wide. With brothers and sisters from the Eastern Church and Anglican church taking part in the service, it was truly showing the "catholicism" of Christianity.
I am starting the Pauline year by rereading one of my epistles, his letter to the Romans. Paul was one of the first to baptize Gentiles and it is because of this that today we have a German pope and that my Italian and Polish family is Catholic.
Paul, please pray for those of us in this world today, a world of ungodliness and secularism. Please pray we may evangelize to those whose hearts have not been opened to the word of God. Amen.
Monday, June 23, 2008
I know a lot of moms, particularly Catholic moms, who feel as though their presence alone is what keeps the home running. Don't get me wrong, as a Catholic mom myself, I almost feel like it would be a testament to me if the whole house crumbled because I took the day off. But what I really and truly think this becomes about (after the obvious boost to our egos) is undervaluing our husbands. When we fail to realize that Dad's can do some things we can very well, we fail to appreciate gifts they have. When we act as though Dad cannot take over even the simplest of chores in our stead, we ignore our very wedding vows that say "in sickness and in health, for better and for worse." Let me tell you, my mom worked night shifts and our dad did a lot of meals. Sure a lot of them were chicken nuggets and french fries (the freezer brand not McDonalds) but we all survived. And that wasn't every night. We had plenty of london broil with baked potatoes and other dishes that showed Dad knew his way around the kitchen. It made their marriage a true partnership.
Would I not want to stay home and prepare every meal for my family from scratch? Of course I would, but that's not the life my family lives right now. And for all those who are envious that I married a chef, try being at my home when I see what my children were dressed in for school...he still has his little quirks.
Monday, June 9, 2008
I often wonder why God made us humans so stubborn, so silly that we cannot accept his grace.
Free will is a gift, but it is also a responsibility.
So, I am praying to accept God's plans for us whatever they maybe. I pray a lot harder for that now that Andy is no longer on Earth. I think Andy's intercession is helping me.
Not much to report as far as life goes. We are always day to day in all of our struggles. Tomorrow will bring yet another morning of getting babies diapers changed and dressed and getting them off to school. I am really trying hard to discern what is the best way to lead our family closer to God and into lives we can accept and are happy with. It is a struggle and right now, God's answer to us is to keep going day to day. That's God's will and we are accepting it, but not without some difficulty.
Saturday, May 10, 2008
We will miss your smile, your humor and your indominable spirit. It hurts that God took you so soon, but we know we will see you again! We are so blessed and thankful God allowed us to be a part of your life!
Kristen, Jeff, Shelby, Joey, Giant Mike, Matt and Ben
Your Aunt and Uncle
Lynn and Mike
Saturday, April 5, 2008
And in fairness to how people react to poor treatment, a lot of people did feel as though they had given peace a chance, only to get worse treatment in return. Marchers were met with firehoses and mace. Students like the Little Rock Nine, teenagers, had adults threaten them as they walked into school under National Guard escort. People were spit on and had dogs attach them for peaceful protests like sit ins. And then there were the little girls, who instead of going to a march went to church and were fire bombed in their pews for the color of their skin. As frail human beings, we eventually strike back with violence.
But Dr. King still held his head above all of these things. In the Friday edition of the New York Times, there is a report about a retreat that was built for Dr. King in St Helena Island, SC that he never had the chance to use. Part of the article includes an interview with Frieda Mitchell, an 82-year-old woman and former staff member of the Penn Center on St Helena Island where the retreat was to be built, recalled Dr King and something powerful he left her with.
Thursday, April 3, 2008
Or was it?
Perhaps it is how we are all called to be.
On that beautiful day, even the turtles had guardian angels.
How marvelous your works O God! How wondrous your creation.
Sunday, March 16, 2008
Friday, February 22, 2008
We sat out on the deck at around 8:30 and snuggled under down throws. Cabo is a husky and was oblivious to the cold.
The clouds moved quickly like the curtain in a theatre and revealed the spectacular astronomical show. Minute by minute the moonshadow of orange encompassed the bright full moon. At the height , the sky became alight with the beautiful stars whose light is ordinarily dimmed by the moon. We saw saturn.
As we lay we found ourselves grounded with peace and gratitude for our awsome world,
I had an apple.
He ate popcorn.
Cabo had both.
Do you suppose that's how Eden was before the bad apple?
For All Of Creation, God is good!
Sunday, February 10, 2008
Every year growing up, we discussed what we would give up. And even non-Catholics would ask, "so what are you giving up for lent this year?" And I guess that if anyone had a certain holier than though air about not having to give things up, I would console myself that I was on the path to heaven because I knew about sacrifice. I didn't expect this year to be any different.
This past Ash Wednesday, I arranged for an extra hour off at my lunch and went to mass to get my ashes.
Our priest, Father Bob, is a great and sometimes funny homilist. In his homily, he talked of lent as a time of either addition or subtraction. Wait, was that addition I heard as well as subtraction? It was. He described that for some lent was a time for giving things up. But for others, it was a time of adding something to their lives to bring them closer to God. In all my 28 years of being alive and Catholic, I'd never heard of this. He also urged us not to try to do too much or we would fail. This, he said, after all was only going to be six weeks.
So, I opted to add the rosary daily. Specifically the sorrowful mysteries. And the reason for that goes back a few years. Five years ago, shortly after my wedding, the US invaded Iraq. It was Lent. We all remember hearing about the army convoy that was ambushed and we looked on in horror as the American POWs included a woman named Shoshana Johnson. I heard her giving her name over the radio to the Iraqis and my heart seized in fear for her. I heard a voice say, get your rosary and pray, the sorrowful mysteries. I didn't question, I just did. And did every day until I heard of her release when Marines liberated her and her comrades.
Months passed and then I saw an interview on television with the POWs. In the interview, Shana Johnson talked about how when her mother was alerted to her capture she told reporters, "I hope she had her rosary with her." Shana didn't have her rosary. But back in NC, I had mine. And I honestly believe that helped her in some way gain her freedom and face very little mistreatment at the hands of the Iraqis.
So this Lent, for all those around the world who are suffering in some way, I offer up my rosary that their suffering might be lessened. And that by this addition in my life, more than just my life will be enriched.
Saturday, February 2, 2008
Mine, for the most part are like the stars- too numerous to count.
Of late, I have to say, it's my "baby brother", Jim.
Through hard work in his career Jim has provided his wife, Eileen, and their four children with a comfortable home and lifestyle. Recently, the fruits of his labor have provided critical healthcare for his 12 year old son, Andy. In November 2007, Andy was diagnosed with a brain tumor.
Andy is receiving his treatment from an institution that is roughly two and a half hours away from his home. His regimen has required travel and intermittent stays nearer to the treatment facility. Jim for the most part has stayed at home maintaining his work commitments and helping grandparents with the other three children. His wife mostly stays with Andy. In the middle of each weekly stay, Jim would leave work at the end of the day and head to Andy and Eileen, spend the night, and travel back home late the next evening. I was visiting on one such evening while Jim was preparing to depart for home at 9pm. He mentioned that he was going to do some final preparations for a presentation for work in the morning. It was cold, dark, and late, and I wanted to cry for him. But he wasn't complaining at all, in fact he seemed happy. He was full of gratitude for for the enjoyable time he had at Red Lobster with his wife and son. That special time made all of his sufferings worth it. As he embraced Andy he gently lifted him saying "I love you Andy, you're the best!" And off he went into the hostile night. But something in his mood and spirit was almost reminiscent of the joy of Singin' in the Rain
A seriously ill child is difficult for any parent. You want never to leave their side and it's painful when you must be apart. Jim says over and over that Andy is his hero.
Of course Eileen, Andy's mother is wonderful too. She holds a special place of nurture in my heart. She is very special to a lot of people. I think that we naturally run to the side of the mother in times such as these and the father maintains a quieter, behind the scenes role of strength, comfort, providence and assurance. St. Joseph modeled this role for us as parent and provider for Jesus. Hence he is the patron saint of fathers and workers.
Over the last three months my baby brother has journeyed through terror, tears, searches for treatment, anguish and more prayer. He has lifted himself to the heights of hope. Through his love for his family he lives in the moment with joy.
I fix my eyes upon him and I see
May your love grace your moments as well.
Peace and All Good!
The Litany of St. Joseph
The Litany of Saint Joseph is a traditional, indulgenced prayer, often recited in public with one person introducing each invocation, and everyone responding with the conclusion ("have mercy on us," "pray for us"). For a wallet-sized copy of the litany, click here, print, clip, and fold.
Lord, have mercy.
Christ, have mercy.
Lord, have mercy.
Christ, hear us.
Christ, graciously hear us.
God, the Father of Heaven, have mercy on us.
God the Son, Redeemer of the world, have mercy on us.
God the Holy Spirit, have mercy on us.
Holy Trinity, One God, have mercy on us.
Holy Mary, pray for us.
St. Joseph, pray for us.
Renowned offspring of David, pray for us.
Light of Patriarchs, pray for us.
Spouse of the Mother of God, pray for us.
Chaste guardian of the Virgin, pray for us.
Foster father of the Son of God, pray for us.
Diligent protector of Christ, pray for us.
Head of the Holy Family, pray for us.
Joseph most just, pray for us.
Joseph most chaste, pray for us.
Joseph most prudent, pray for us.
Joseph most strong, pray for us.
Joseph most obedient, pray for us.
Joseph most faithful, pray for us.
Mirror of patience, pray for us.
Lover of poverty, pray for us.
Model of artisans, pray for us.
Glory of home life, pray for us.
Guardian of virgins, pray for us.
Pillar of families, pray for us.
Solace of the wretched, pray for us.
Hope of the sick, pray for us.
Patron of the dying, pray for us.
Terror of demons, pray for us.
Protector of Holy Church, pray for us.
Lamb of God, who take away the sins of the world, spare us, O Lord!.
Lamb of God, who take away the sins of the world, graciously hear us, O Lord!.
Lamb of God, who take away the sins of the world, have mercy on us.
V. He made him the lord of his household.
R. And prince over all his possessions.
Let us pray.
O God, in your ineffable providence you were pleased to choose Blessed Joseph to be the spouse of your most holy Mother; grant, we beg you, that we may be worthy to have him for our intercessor in heaven whom on earth we venerate as our Protector: You who live and reign forever and ever.
Singn' in the Rain: