Tuesday, March 31, 2009

From Today's Gospel

Jesus said to the Pharisees:"I am going away and you will look for me, but you will die in your sin. Where I am going you cannot come." So the Jews said,"He is not going to kill himself, is he, because he said, 'Where I am going you cannot come'?" He said to them, "You belong to what is below, I belong to what is above. You belong to this world, but I do not belong to this world. That is why I told you that you will die in your sins. For if you do not believe that I AM, you will die in your sins." So they said to him, "Who are you?" Jesus said to them, "What I told you from the beginning. I have much to say about you in condemnation. But the one who sent me is true, and what I heard from him I tell the world." They did not realize that he was speaking to them of the Father. So Jesus said to them,"When you lift up the Son of Man, then you will realize that I AM, and that I do nothing on my own, but I say only what the Father taught me. The one who sent me is with me. He has not left me alone, because I always do what is pleasing to him." Because he spoke this way, many came to believe in him.

Jn 8:21-30

Monday, March 30, 2009

Guess Who's Coming To Dinner?

Congratulations Mr. Speaker!

HT: John T on FB

From Today's Gospel

Jesus went to the Mount of Olives. But early in the morning he arrived again in the temple area, and all the people started coming to him, and he sat down and taught them. Then the scribes and the Pharisees brought a woman who had been caught in adultery and made her stand in the middle. They said to him,"Teacher, this woman was caught in the very act of committing adultery. Now in the law, Moses commanded us to stone such women. So what do you say?" They said this to test him,so that they could have some charge to bring against him. Jesus bent down and began to write on the ground with his finger. But when they continued asking him,he straightened up and said to them,"Let the one among you who is without sin be the first to throw a stone at her." Again he bent down and wrote on the ground. And in response, they went away one by one, beginning with the elders. So he was left alone with the woman before him. Then Jesus straightened up and said to her,"Woman, where are they? Has no one condemned you?" She replied, "No one, sir." Then Jesus said, "Neither do I condemn you. Go, and from now on do not sin any more."

Jn 8:1-11

Lord, help us to remember the beam in our own eye before accusing our brother of having a speck in his. Teach us to accept that you are judge and jury and anyone who seeks forgiveness from you will receive it.

Sunday, March 29, 2009

From Today's Gospel

Some Greeks who had come to worship at the Passover Feast came to Philip, who was from Bethsaida in Galilee, and asked him, "Sir, we would like to see Jesus." Philip went and told Andrew; then Andrew and Philip went and told Jesus. Jesus answered them, "The hour has come for the Son of Man to be glorified. Amen, amen, I say to you, unless a grain of wheat falls to the ground and dies, it remains just a grain of wheat; but if it dies, it produces much fruit. Whoever loves his life loses it,and whoever hates his life in this world will preserve it for eternal life. Whoever serves me must follow me, and where I am, there also will my servant be. The Father will honor whoever serves me.
"I am troubled now. Yet what should I say? 'Father, save me from this hour'? But it was for this purpose that I came to this hour. Father, glorify your name." Then a voice came from heaven, "I have glorified it and will glorify it again." The crowd there heard it and said it was thunder; but others said, "An angel has spoken to him." Jesus answered and said, "This voice did not come for my sake but for yours. Now is the time of judgment on this world; now the ruler of this world will be driven out. And when I am lifted up from the earth, I will draw everyone to myself." He said this indicating the kind of death he would die.

Jn 12:20-33

Saturday, March 28, 2009

A Few More of My Favorite Things

1) Villanova in the Elite 8--they are the last Catholic school hold out, and I think they can beat Pitt to go to the Final Four!

2) "I Did It!" Joey's favorite phrase. Of course, soon enough I'm sure that will change to "Not Me!"

3) Shiny, Happy People and Stand by REM--they are the best songs to dance to with toddlers lately!

Are you Comfortably Numb?

Lisa Hendey over at FFL recently blogged about Earth Hour this evening. She blogged about how some diocese were urging their members to participate as part of their Lenten sacrifice and more than a few were using it to help teach conservatism and stewardship of the Earth.

Maybe I'm more Franciscan than most, but I believe we are called to be a part of nature not apart from it. I have read Genesis, so I am more than aware that God gave man dominion over the Earth and the animals. I have also read Revelations 7:3: Do not harm the earth or the sea or the trees. I don't believe dominion means that we use and abuse. A father has dominion over his home, does that mean he can behave in any manner he would like toward his wife and children? No, it means he must act responsibly and with their best interests at heart.

What gets me down about these ideas like Earth Hour is the response given by many: the act is so insignificant, it won't make a difference there for we should not even bother. It is a stunt and we will just double our consumption in the following hour. And four out of five posts read this way in the comments to Lisa's original one.

Have we become so numb in our views of the world that we believe no one can make a difference? Seriously, the March for Life each year is small scale compared to how many people are pro-life and the number in our country, should we stop marching because we are in a first world country and a bunch of do-gooders who can accomplish nothing? Let me tell you the women who responded negatively about Earth Hour would scream NO! NO! NO! at the top of their lungs. Nor would they ever consider that a stunt.

We have free will so we can pick and choose our battles and if these women feel that conservatism and stewardship of the Earth is not worth their time, so be it, but I hardly feel that justifies putting down people everywhere for trying to make their world a better place for their children, ecologically speaking. I live minutes from a military arsenal dumping ground and a nuclear power plant. If one hour less of NCAA basketball and lights on in my house means that nuclear power plant's chance of melting down goes down even minisculey, you best believe I am going to do it. If my planting a small garden to nourish my family with helps to cut down on the CO2 emissions coming from the dumping ground, well, I'm all for it.

What these women fail to realize is when they rail against something that they are politically opposed to (as they all came to admit they were) by saying it cannot make a difference is that they then dilute their very powerful beliefs that they can make a difference in areas they are passionate about (pro-life issues for example).

One commenter took a different tone, saying she admired the ambitions of Earth Hour (regardless of the actual impact it would have) and pointing out that Pope Benedict XVI is referred to as the "Green" pope because of his focus on conservation and stewardship. I wanted to stand up and cheer because while I know full well that Earth Hour will have probably no effect on government or public policy, it's the intent to try and make this world a bit more positive and safe, is noble. And if I can be an example in anything positive for just one of my neighbors, I know it can be paid forward.

Don't fall into apathy for any cause. When you do this, you set a dangerous precedent for yourself. If you are against something, don't use apathy as a defense for your position, instead, argue your points strongly. Apathy is a cop-out, no matter what way you slice it.

Oh, and for those who believe that conservation and stewardship are not "Conservative" issues, I urge you to re-read Newt Gingrich's Winning the Future.

From Today's Gospel

Some in the crowd who heard these words of Jesus said,"This is truly the Prophet." Others said, "This is the Christ." But others said, "The Christ will not come from Galilee, will he? Does not Scripture say that the Christ will be of David's family and come from Bethlehem, the village where David lived?" So a division occurred in the crowd because of him. Some of them even wanted to arrest him,but no one laid hands on him.

So the guards went to the chief priests and Pharisees, who asked them, "Why did you not bring him?" The guards answered, "Never before has anyone spoken like this man." So the Pharisees answered them, "Have you also been deceived? Have any of the authorities or the Pharisees believed in him? But this crowd, which does not know the law, is accursed." Nicodemus, one of their members who had come to him earlier, said to them, "Does our law condemn a man before it first hears him and finds out what he is doing?" They answered and said to him,"You are not from Galilee also, are you? Look and see that no prophet arises from Galilee." Then each went to his own house.

Jn 7:40-53

Lord, please remember to let us find you wherever you are.

Friday, March 27, 2009

Whose Tradition?

My husband's family has a lot of arguments about tradition. These often revolve around holidays and are made even more tricky because my husband's parents are divorced. I was married in a Protestant church where the pastor was careful to say to us that family is important, but the most important traditions for us to respect were the ones we established, especially for our children.

There are many traditions my in-laws do not like that we have started. We don't "do Santa." We like Christmas trees, but we don't feel they are required especially in a small home with two dogs and this year two toddlers and a baby. We have decided to have our children wake up each Christmas morning in their own beds. We try to avoid candy in Easter baskets. We don't subscribe to what are necessarily "traditional" meals on holidays (for example: last year's Christmas dinner was shrimp creole and hot roast beef sandwiches and a smoked turkey made by my sister-in-law's father who was with us for the meal).

I can deal with all of those questions and comments as I know when they are coming and have pretty good responses already in store. What catches me off guard is the questions about our everyday life. Particularly, our "traditional" roles.

I was surprised recently to get an email from a friend who was confused/upset because I have blogged that as my husband is a chef, he handles meal preparation and cooking. She felt it was her "responsibility and duty" to inform me that I was abandoning my traditional role as wife and mother by allowing my husband to perform these duties. Now most women, even "traditional" wives and mothers are jealous (in a good natured way) that I have a husband who knows how to pour milk for dinner much less can cook one that is nutritious and tasty.

I have to stop and say here that Jeff and I were dating for three years and engaged for one before we got married, so we knew each other pretty well. We never sat down and had a conversation about who would do what in the household. It was never a matter of deciding that we were a 21st century couple with role reversal, or a modern couple who split everything 50-50 or a very conservative traditional couple in which I would stay home and be housekeeper, cook and mother and he would go off to work each day and mow the lawn. A lot of couples have those in depth discussions and I think that is great. However, for us, we knew each other's strengths and weaknesses. I can certainly make a healthy dinner that is not too bad tasting, but Jeff's is healthier, better tasting, oh, and we might get to eat it before 9 pm. Because I am more consistent, a lot of child discipline is left to me. I also do most of the baking (read: cakes, brownies and the lasagna's) because I seem to have more of a knack for it. And while Jeff can pick out a mean stereo system, it's usually up to me to make sure we don't end up with "extra parts" and it is put together soundly.

In a way, we are following our family traditions. My husband's parents divorce meant both of his parents had less "traditional" roles and he learned to cook out of necessity for his two brothers when his mother went back to work. While my parents are still married (30 years and counting!) when my mother made the difficult decision to go back to work and worked nights, it was my dad who got us up for school, cooked breakfast, signed permission slips, etc. And he began making dinners. I was aghast one night when my dad went to a parent-teacher conference at school and our babysitter said her dad couldn't make a bowl of cereal and the only time he went into the kitchen was to ask their mom what was for dinner (she made this comment after finding out my dad had pulled together a dinner of frozen chicken nuggets and french fries and a can of vegetables, not Julia Child, but it impressed her!). I think I was all of about 10 when that happened. Now that my parents are largely empty-nesters (my youngest brother is in college a few hours away), they have fallen into a routine of whoever is home cooking dinner for the other as my dad has the option to telecommute and my mother works revolving hour shifts. And when it comes to homemade pizza, my half-Italian mother is the only one who can make the dough right, but it's my dad with the wicked sauce.

Our family traditions are right for us. There are many women I know who just would not feel comfortable allowing their husband's to do any more cooking than grilling hot dogs. There are a lot of men who hate the idea of their wives working. Good for them, they know what works in their situation. Just as they do, we have a symbiotic relationship in it's own way. We are not afraid to do what we know works in our home. Sure, sometimes things get a little bit blurry, but we know when we are at a place where one of us can pick up the others slack.

From Today's Gospel

Jesus moved about within Galilee; he did not wish to travel in Judea, because the Jews were trying to kill him. But the Jewish feast of Tabernacles was near.

But when his brothers had gone up to the feast, he himself also went up, not openly but as it were in secret.

Some of the inhabitants of Jerusalem said,"Is he not the one they are trying to kill? And look, he is speaking openly and they say nothing to him. Could the authorities have realized that he is the Christ? But we know where he is from. When the Christ comes, no one will know where he is from." So Jesus cried out in the temple area as he was teaching and said,"You know me and also know where I am from. Yet I did not come on my own, but the one who sent me, whom you do not know, is true. I know him, because I am from him, and he sent me." So they tried to arrest him, but no one laid a hand upon him, because his hour had not yet come.

Jn 7:1-2, 10, 25-30

Thursday, March 26, 2009

Small Successes


1) I am becoming more content with letting God be in charge. Especially where this pregnancy is concerned.

2) I am branching out with my recipes...and not afraid to ask my good friend Karen for some help now and then!

3) I am drinking more water! I hate water, but I am making more and more effort to drink it. Not to my goal yet, but hey, starting small here!

From Today's Gospel

Jesus said to the Jews: "If I testify on my own behalf, my testimony is not true. But there is another who testifies on my behalf, and I know that the testimony he gives on my behalf is true. You sent emissaries to John, and he testified to the truth. I do not accept human testimony, but I say this so that you may be saved. He was a burning and shining lamp, and for a while you were content to rejoice in his light. But I have testimony greater than John's. The works that the Father gave me to accomplish, these works that I perform testify on my behalf that the Father has sent me. Moreover, the Father who sent me has testified on my behalf. But you have never heard his voice nor seen his form, and you do not have his word remaining in you, because you do not believe in the one whom he has sent. You search the Scriptures, because you think you have eternal life through them; even they testify on my behalf. But you do not want to come to me to have life.

"I do not accept human praise; moreover, I know that you do not have the love of God in you. I came in the name of my Father, but you do not accept me; yet if another comes in his own name, you will accept him. How can you believe, when you accept praise from one another and do not seek the praise that comes from the only God? Do not think that I will accuse you before the Father: the one who will accuse you is Moses, in whom you have placed your hope. For if you had believed Moses, you would have believed me, because he wrote about me. But if you do not believe his writings, how will you believe my words?"

Jn 5:31-47

Wednesday, March 25, 2009

And So Today...

we celebrate the feast of the Annunciation. The day when Mary showed amazing faith at a young age that she believed the message of an angel that she would carry in her womb the savior of the world.

Today I went through NST number 1 for baby number 3. He performed beautifully. And on this day, I found out we will be meeting him a few days prior to when we had originally anticipated. Apparently, he measures a bit large. My belly should measure the number of weeks I am in cm (that's 32). But I measure 33 3/4 cm. Almost two weeks ahead of schedule, which isn't a predictor of delivery, but since I can't ever make it to 39 weeks nevermind the full 40, my doctor wants to eliminate any chance of me going into labor and breaking my water early again (since I am having my third c-section). Next week I go to the high risk doctor (because of my blood clotting disorder) for another ultrasound and we will have a much better indication of exactly how big this baby is.

This is the first pregnancy appointment I've ever had to fall on a date associated with the birth of Christ. I am, in a way humbled, that today, the day we celebrate the faith of Mary full of grace, I am also hearing my son's heartbeat is strong and thanking our Mother for her protection during this pregnancy. When finding out I was due in May, I immediately began trying to think of what version of Mary I wanted to put in a girl's name in honor of our mother. Of course, all of that was before we found out that we were having a boy and not a girl. Then, in December, I was told that the baby had chorionic cysts on his brain (which depending on size can indicate Trisomy 18) and a possible developing heart defect. While I awaited a second ultrasound, I prayed to Our Lady of Guadalupe for her intercession that our family be given strength to endure whatever the outcome was. A few minutes later, a second ultrasound revealed that there was nothing wrong with the baby's heart (he was just in a bad position to try and measure it in the previous ultrasound) and that the cysts were small in size and he was opening and closing his fists, eliminating the possibility of Trisomy 18. In a month's time, the cysts were gone. I owe Mary so much for this pregnancy. Our devotion to her as a family has grown substantially as we pass each milestone.

So, today, despite the fact that a slightly earlier birth does make our childcare plans for the terrible toddler twosome a bit more cumbersome, I am offering that up and thanking Mary for her faith. Her example of faith in all pregnancy related things has helped me to endure what has been our most uncertain pregnancy thus far.

From Today's Gospel: The Feast of the Annunciation

The angel Gabriel was sent from God to a town of Galilee called Nazareth, to a virgin betrothed to a man named Joseph, of the house of David, and the virgin's name was Mary. And coming to her, he said,"Hail, full of grace! The Lord is with you." But she was greatly troubled at what was said and pondered what sort of greeting this might be. Then the angel said to her,"Do not be afraid, Mary,for you have found favor with God. Behold, you will conceive in your womb and bear a son, and you shall name him Jesus. He will be great and will be called Son of the Most High, and the Lord God will give him the throne of David his father, and he will rule over the house of Jacob forever, and of his Kingdom there will be no end." But Mary said to the angel,"How can this be,since I have no relations with a man?" And the angel said to her in reply,"The Holy Spirit will come upon you, and the power of the Most High will overshadow you. Therefore the child to be born will be called holy, the Son of God. And behold, Elizabeth, your relative, has also conceived a son in her old age, and this is the sixth month for her who was called barren; for nothing will be impossible for God." Mary said, "Behold, I am the handmaid of the Lord. May it be done to me according to your word." Then the angel departed from her.

Tuesday, March 24, 2009

From Today's Gospel

There was a feast of the Jews, and Jesus went up to Jerusalem. Now there is in Jerusalem at the Sheep Gate a pool called in Hebrew Bethesda, with five porticoes. In these lay a large number of ill, blind, lame, and crippled. One man was there who had been ill for thirty-eight years. When Jesus saw him lying there and knew that he had been ill for a long time, he said to him,"Do you want to be well?" The sick man answered him,"Sir, I have no one to put me into the pool when the water is stirred up; while I am on my way, someone else gets down there before me." Jesus said to him, "Rise, take up your mat, and walk." Immediately the man became well, took up his mat, and walked.
Now that day was a sabbath. So the Jews said to the man who was cured,"It is the sabbath, and it is not lawful for you to carry your mat." He answered them, "The man who made me well told me, 'Take up your mat and walk.'" They asked him,"Who is the man who told you, 'Take it up and walk'?" The man who was healed did not know who it was, for Jesus had slipped away, since there was a crowd there. After this Jesus found him in the temple area and said to him,"Look, you are well; do not sin any more, so that nothing worse may happen to you. "The man went and told the Jews that Jesus was the one who had made him well. Therefore, the Jews began to persecute Jesus because he did this on a sabbath.

Jn 5:1-16

Monday, March 23, 2009

Because Karen W is awesome and I'm ahead of the Game this week: Meal Plan Monday!

We plan mainly dinners around here because breakfast is on a pretty much 3 day rotation of items the kids will eat and lunch is usually leftovers or a 3-4 day rotation. Karen and I are keeping each other going with this meal planning thing being that we are both expecting our third children in a few months (a boy for me, a girl for her!), we both have two toddlers running around the house and husbands in the restaurant industry AND we are both trying to use our slow cookers more.

So, here we go for next week:

D: Meatloaf

D: Slow Cooker Chicken Stroganoff

D: Vegetarian Chili

D: Fettucini Alfredo with Chicken

D: Sloppy Joes

D:Fish Tacos (for me)/ Baked Chicken (for the non-Catholic husband and the non-abstaining toddlers)

D: Hot Roast Beef Sandwiches

On Wednesday here our grocery store circulars come out and I plan on scouring them for deals for the following week, especially since my brother will be here for some of that week and Easter will be the following Sunday!

Identity Crisis?

It used to be I would only log online to check my email. Then I started blogging. Then I added social networking sites. And now I tweet too.

Now, the emailing has largely fallen off except to people who are not into blogging, don't belong to social networking sites and have no idea what a tweet is. I don't mind this, really. Actually, the blogging and social networking site (one word, starts with an f) help me to communicate quickly with a much larger number of people who want info. I gave into peer pressure about twitter, but it's quick and short and very to the point.

I've been reading a lot lately about how everyone is commenting on how these electronic communications are either a necessity in today's world or the downfall of humanity. In response to the Pope speaking out about facebook, one friend shared this.

I think that online there is a sense of creating your own identity and reality. However, I resist that. Not that I think I am sooo interesting that I couldn't use some "creative improvement" :). It's just that creating an alternate universe is too time consuming and confusing for me. If I could be confused about what is real and what is fake about myself, just think about what it would do to everyone else.

But my even being online is confusing to some. For example, there are the members of my family who refuse to do any more than barely email. They do not understand that the Kristen of social networking is the Kristen of the phone or snail mail, just more efficient. One member of my husband's family despises computers and the internet. This person complained to my husband recently that because we are online we don't call enough or send enough pictures. Now, to be fair, this person calls us far fewer times than we call him or her. And the pictures this person would like are studio pictures which we feel are a tremendous waste of time and money. I could understand if this person was upset because we never, ever called or shared pictures, but that simply isn't the truth. We print and send candids (and a scan of my last ultrasound) and my husband calls at least every other week if not more frequently.

So what are we to do? As long as you don't lose your identity online, my theory is to keep on keeping on. Someone will always dislike technology and some may never understand it, but if it keeps you in touch with most of your world, there is nothing wrong with that. And when I can spend fifteen more minutes with my kids because I posted an ultrasound picture to the web vs making copies and mailing them, well, then technology is ok by me.


Over the last week many of us have seen as part of our national newscast and cable news shows about the death of actress Natasha Richardson of a massive brain injury after a seemingly harmless fall while taking a ski lesson on a beginner's slope.

While her death at age 45 was the end of a short life and a tragedy leaving behind two teenage sons, many I know looked at is as a classic case of the media trumping up the death of Hollywood royalty. To an extent I see their point, but I also know it opened up a discussion about safety precautions and how a seemingly harmless fall turned deadly. Who is to know if she had gotten more immediate care, if she might have survived in some form, but it again put a spotlight on brain injuries and how some may be preventable.

And for me, the tributes and coverage have actually been decidedly low-key. Much like the actress' life itself. While I have seen her in film before, she was hardly the first name basis on par with Julia Roberts or Reese Witherspoon. But one moment from all the coverage stands out to me particularly. It was of Richardson's mother, Vanessa Redgrave. Redgrave, undoubtably, is suffering from the loss not only of her daughter but from seeing her grandson's lose their mother. However, in a shot I saw this morning of her leaving the funeral this weekend, Redgrave did not hide her face or wear dark sunglasses, she bravely faced the world with a kind smile and waved to on-lookers while saying, "Thank you." In her greatest grief, she was able to muster gratitude for the fans and well-wishers paying their last respects.

When we lose a loved one, there are a lot of conflicting feelings. There is anger, sadness, and of course a huge sense of disbelief. Gratitude is hardly the first thing we think of. Over the last few years, I have just begun to learn about gratitude amidst loss. I remember the first time I saw the movie Grumpy Old Men and hearing Ann-Margret's character talk about the loss of a friend and how she could be thankful for having the privilege to have known him. It made an impact on me, but it was a movie, I had never seen someone react that way in real life. Since then, in my own losses and losses of others that I have witnessed, I have been humbled to find that gratitude for the time we had with the person we lost, no matter how brief, and for who that person was, is a key to healing.

And in a very real way this lent, I am thinking of gratitude. I mostly am remembering a popular t-shirt from my teenage years that read something like, "I asked God how much He loved me, and He stretched out his arms and said, 'This much' and died" accompanied by a picture of Christ on the cross. Do we always have gratitude for the sacrifice Christ made for us? Are we thankful for the time we have with Christ in our crowded, secular world? Do we thank God for every moment we are given, good, bad or indifferent?

From Today's Gospel

At that time Jesus left [Samaria] for Galilee. For Jesus himself testified that a prophet has no honor in his native place. When he came into Galilee, the Galileans welcomed him, since they had seen all he had done in Jerusalem at the feast; for they themselves had gone to the feast.
Then he returned to Cana in Galilee, where he had made the water wine. Now there was a royal official whose son was ill in Capernaum. When he heard that Jesus had arrived in Galilee from Judea, he went to him and asked him to come down and heal his son, who was near death. Jesus said to him,"Unless you people see signs and wonders, you will not believe." The royal official said to him,"Sir, come down before my child dies." Jesus said to him, "You may go; your son will live." The man believed what Jesus said to him and left. While the man was on his way back, his slaves met him and told him that his boy would live. He asked them when he began to recover. They told him,"The fever left him yesterday, about one in the afternoon." The father realized that just at that time Jesus had said to him,"Your son will live,"and he and his whole household came to believe. Now this was the second sign Jesus didwhen he came to Galilee from Judea.

Jn 4:43-54

Lord help us to remember that true faith will come when believing is more than just seeing.

Sunday, March 22, 2009

From Today's Gospel

Jesus said to Nicodemus: "Just as Moses lifted up the serpent in the desert, so must the Son of Man be lifted up, so that everyone who believes in him may have eternal life."
For God so loved the world that he gave his only Son, so that everyone who believes in him might not perish but might have eternal life. For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but that the world might be saved through him. Whoever believes in him will not be condemned, but whoever does not believe has already been condemned, because he has not believed in the name of the only Son of God. And this is the verdict, that the light came into the world, but people preferred darkness to light, because their works were evil. For everyone who does wicked things hates the light and does not come toward the light, so that his works might not be exposed. But whoever lives the truth comes to the light, so that his works may be clearly seen as done in God.

Jn 3:14-21

Saturday, March 21, 2009

Feeling A Little Bit Pregnant

I always wonder if Mary had morning sickness. Or incontinence. Or was short of breath. Or had any of the number of other ailments I have while pregnant. I know she had to have dealt with it much better than I have.

People ask me a lot now, at 31 weeks, how I feel. And my answer is always the same: pregnant. For me, there is no other way to feel at this point. Luckily, because of how my babies tend to grow, I can still see my feet and put my own shoes on, but that's about it for what's left of my pre-pregnancy self. All of my children have had a fascination with lying on my sciatic nerve for a very long time. They have all given me some degree of nausea, vomiting and heartburn. And they have all caused me to feel as though I could not get enough oxygen while simultaneously causing me to pee my pants.

Exhaustion is setting in now especially since I seem to have the two most active toddlers on the Eastern seaboard. But so is a sweetness. As I approached these last few weeks in my first pregnancy, my OB told me how she loved seeing women in the last month or so. She said she had this feeling of amazement as there would be a baby soon, that soon it would all be over, but beginning as well.

I am hoping the next few weeks will pass quickly and without incident. We have cleaned out our closets. We have gone through and gotten out baby clothes. We have gotten the kids rooms reorganized. I am not nesting though. That would mean Will is coming quicker than we would like. For as much as I would like to not have those "unfortunate" symptoms of pregnancy, I would like even less to have a preemie in the NICU.

A Prayer for All Mothers Everywhere

Greetings of Peace and All Good from the Dormant Poster on this site, Lynn.
I Last posted in November of 2009.
Life has been a storm, but I am learning to like storms because there is always something better in the end.
When we began this blog we envisioned it serving as a bridge that united mothers who shared a desire for holiness while maintaining reverence for,
and celebrating their diversity.
Today I celebrate motherhood.

A mother is a mother forever.
From both sides.
She is forever the child's mother,
and the child is forever her baby.
I am the mother of four young adults.
My heart still races with their triumphs,
I still have butterflies with their trials, and
my stomach pits with their failures.

My deepest prayer for each of them is Faith and well being in this world and that they attain fullness of joy in the next.

As a pediatric nurse, the most common complaint that we get from new parents is that the baby doesn't sleep well. I remember those days myself. How I yearn to go back.
I tell the parents to look at their baby and mentally catalog every sweet moment of baby and young childhood. Those sweet memories are what get you through the challenges as they become teenagers. I can remember the agony when one of my strays would break curfew: You pace, you stretch your neck to see headlights that aren't there, you try to will the phone to ring, and at the same time you pray it doesn't etc....
During those sleepless hours I would remember the twilight hours with them as babes in arms. I'd pray to God and ask for the intercession of Mary, the angels and saints, for a mantle of protection over them. I prayed the rosary, a lot. I believe that those prayers and warm recollections protected the child not only from evil and harm, but also from my irrational, sleep deprived wrath. Rational wrath is always the wrath of choice especially in dealing with teenagers:)

The closest I've ever lived to my mother in my adult life was a four hour distance away.
I can remember my twenty something self rolling my eyes when my mother would ask us to call and let the phone ring once when we would travel home. Back in the day long distance calls were quite expensive. Charges began when the receiver picked up.
One ring let our parents know that we were safe at home. They could rest easy. I always made the call out of respect and obedience, but felt that I was above it and it was silly..
Forgive me, Mom, for the eye rolling thing. I was a brat.

Induldge me,if you will, and allow me to mention the love, concern, anticipation and unending prayer that a mother has as she awaits the arrival of each grandchild.

My Mom, Kristen's grandmother, remains the forever mother. She has perpetual concerns her children's happiness, health and well being. When my nephew Andy went to the Lord last year, my parents suffered not only the heartbreak of losing a grandchild, but the agony of watching the suffering in their own child as he watched the life of his thirteen year old son slip away.

I recall a few years ago when a friend had lost her elderly mother. She shared this:
"She was 96 years old,
she couldn't do much,
she didn't remember much,
but she's my Mom and she's not here,
I love her and will miss her
until we meet again."

As His mother, how agonizing those last days of Jesus' life must have been for Mary.

Last August, Mike and I made a long awaited pilgrimage to Our Lady of the Rockies in Butte Montana. She stands atop a mountain on the continental divide and blesses Our Nation. She is dedicated to women everwhere. The story of her construction is amazing and is chronicled in the book, Our Lady Builds a Statue. There is a chapel at the site that holds name plates in honor of hundreds of women along its outer walls. What amazed me more than the statue was the heartfelt reverence to Mary by non Catholic townspeople.

I brought to the statue the names of every mother I could think of and finished my list with "every mother everywhere". I prayed a rosary and left the list inside of the statue. If you are a mother and you are reading this, know that you are being prayed for.

There is no problem, I tell you, no matter how difficult it is, that we cannot resolve by the prayer of the Holy Rosary." Sister Lucia dos Santos ...

For our Children, for our Mothers, let us pray:
Holy Mary, Mother of God, pray for us.
Our Lady Of Kibeho, pray for us.
St. Monica, patroness of mothers, pray for us.

Oh, and, one more thing, adult children, when they're not acting like adults, fight too.

From today's Gospel

Jesus addressed this parable to those who were convinced of their own righteousness and despised everyone else."Two people went up to the temple area to pray; one was a Pharisee and the other was a tax collector. The Pharisee took up his position and spoke this prayer to himself, 'O God, I thank you that I am not like the rest of humanity greedy, dishonest, adulterous or even like this tax collector. I fast twice a week, and I pay tithes on my whole income.' But the tax collector stood off at a distance and would not even raise his eyes to heaven but beat his breast and prayed, 'O God, be merciful to me a sinner.' I tell you, the latter went home justified, not the former; for everyone who exalts himself will be humbled, and the one who humbles himself will be exalted."

Lk 18:9-14

Lord, be merciful on us sinners and help us to remember humility.

Friday, March 20, 2009

Toddler Fights

Yesterday I posted about breaking up toddler fights. Something I have, unfortunately become very accustomed to of late. I know that almost all siblings fight sometimes, I was just hoping this wouldn't start for another year or so! Here is a brief rundown of some of the causes of the fights:

1) Elmo came on tv and a shoving match started about who was allowed to kiss Elmo on the tv. (No one fought over who got to clean the kissy marks off the tv, Mommy got to do that.)

2) Both kids felt like the two-year-old's seat should be their's. So, after the two-year-old was already in her chair, the 18-month-old climbed into it on top of her, then got behind her and pushed her out onto the floor.

3) Daddy brought home only one Thomas the Tank Engine to play with. That caused a hitting fight.

I have to say, I am glad that pulling hair (although the baby does it to the two-year-old) is not more prevalent and that biting is non-existent. Still, when we found out we were pregnant with number 2, we had hoped that the kids being 14 months apart would mean they would be very close. Maybe this fighting will make them stronger and closer in the future?

The fighting confuses my husband because these two are a boy and girl and he was of the opinion that only siblings of the same gender fight. This is a man that grew up with three brothers and no sisters. I pointed out to him that his experience wasn't necessarily one to base all knowledge on. I had three brothers too and I fought with them and have a few scars to prove it.

Now, on a positive note, all of this fighting has been accompanied by random bursts of love. Hugs and kisses seem to be on the up too. As are chasing games, and we are even working on a bit of sharing and turn taking.

From Today's Gospel

One of the scribes came to Jesus and asked him,"Which is the first of all the commandments?"Jesus replied, "The first is this: Hear, O Israel! The Lord our God is Lord alone! You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, with all your mind, and with all your strength. The second is this: You shall love your neighbor as yourself. There is no other commandment greater than these." The scribe said to him, "Well said, teacher. You are right in saying, He is One and there is no other than he. And to love him with all your heart, with all your understanding, with all your strength, and to love your neighbor as yourself is worth more than all burnt offerings and sacrifices." And when Jesus saw that he answered with understanding, he said to him,"You are not far from the Kingdom of God." And no one dared to ask him any more questions.

Mk 12:28-34

Jesus, help me to see you in all that I meet that I may truly love my neighbor as myself.

Thursday, March 19, 2009

Small Successes


1) Thanks to Mom, I have the calendar up and have written on it and referred to it!

2) I have decided to attempt another neighbor get-together since it's been a year since the last one and we all have kids the same ages who get along!

3) I have broken up multiple toddler fights without losing my patience in the last 24 hours. Please, someone tell me they grow out of this phase!

From Today's Gospel Reading for the Feast of St Joseph

Jacob was the father of Joseph, the husband of Mary. Of her was born Jesus who is called the Christ.

Now this is how the birth of Jesus Christ came about. When his mother Mary was betrothed to Joseph, but before they lived together, she was found with child through the Holy Spirit. Joseph her husband, since he was a righteous man, yet unwilling to expose her to shame, decided to divorce her quietly. Such was his intention when, behold, the angel of the Lord appeared to him in a dream and said,"Joseph, son of David, do not be afraid to take Mary your wife into your home. For it is through the Holy Spirit that this child has been conceived in her. She will bear a son and you are to name him Jesus, because he will save his people from their sins. "When Joseph awoke, he did as the angel of the Lord had commanded him and took his wife into his home.

St Joseph we ask for your intercession today that you may help to strengthen all marriages and that you will ask God's blessing for all fathers, all workers, and all adoptive parents. St Joseph pray for us that we may join Jesus on that final day.

Wednesday, March 18, 2009

Three of My Favorite Things

Inspired by Suzanne and her sharing of three things she loves occasionally, I decided I would share three things that made me especially happy of late:

1) Fried Clam Strips and the house tartar sauce at the Sanitary Restaurant: these were not your frozen clam strips, they were homemade and the BEST I have ever tasted. And the tartar sauce actually received rave reviews from Jeff (the picky chef). It was so good, he went back after our dinner to pick up two bottles to take home. You can order it from their website.

2) Little Caesar's Pizza: $5 for a pizza that feeds our whole family! I was sad to discover that in my ten year absence of Little Caesar's (we just got 2 new franchises in our area, none before that) that Baby PanPan is no more, but I also introduced my family to the goodness that is Crazy Bread and Crazy Sauce and even though there is no delivery and it's a little bit of a drive for us, we are willing to make the occasional sacrifice.

3) The pictures hanging in our hall of family: Joey says goodnight to them each night and is learning to say everyone's name. He is confused though as to how the little newborn in the carseat is his big sister.

From Today's Gospel

Jesus said to his disciples: "Do not think that I have come to abolish the law or the prophets. I have come not to abolish but to fulfill. Amen, I say to you, until heaven and earth pass away, not the smallest letter or the smallest part of a letter will pass from the law, until all things have taken place. Therefore, whoever breaks one of the least of these commandments and teaches others to do so will be called least in the Kingdom of heaven. But whoever obeys and teaches these commandments will be called greatest in the Kingdom of heaven."

Mt 5:17-19

Jesus, Remember me, when you come into your kingdom.

Tuesday, March 17, 2009

To_____or not to_______


Danielle shared on FFL's blog about a recent anti-breastfeeding rant in the Atlantic by a "feminist." This article reveals that the author has decided that breastfeeding has kept her from truly meaningful work, which is a huge slap in the face to those of us who feel that there is no more meaningful work than giving birth and raising children to become productive parts of society. On the other hand, there is an in-depth discussion about how breastfeeding studies are conducted and the faults that occur with them, which is worth reading objectively, especially if you're a mom who has had great difficulties with breastfeeding or is ONLY doing it out of guilt or pressure. Let me explain:

A few years ago, when I was pregnant with Shelby, a co-worker gave birth a few months ahead of me to a baby girl. She desperately wanted to breastfeed. First, because nothing the doctors could do would get her to dilate past six centimeters (her water broke and she spontaneously labored on her own), she was forced to give up her dream of a drug free birth and had a c-section. Because of complications due to her size (she was overweight long before becoming pregnant) she had to be put under for the c-section (doctors couldn't get the spinal or epidural into the correct place in her spine due to her size). This delayed starting breastfeeding as, of course, she had to come to before that could start. Then, she had a baby who just would not open her mouth well. Lactation consultants came in and finally little girl opened her mouth wide enough, but then refused to latch. Finally, just as the first 24 hours were coming to a close, baby was opening her mouth, and latching. And with the help of pumping, Mom's milk started to come in within the next 24 hours or so. But instead of baby's stool going from black, to brown, to yellow, it was bloody. And tests revealed the unthinkable, this little girl was allergic to Mom's breastmilk. It's rare, but it had happened. Devastated, this woman started her baby on formula. And to add insult to injury, she was derided by others for this. It wasn't exactly a choice, but that hardly mattered to a few of her new "friends" that she had met through a local breastfeeding class (not LLL) who felt that she had caved to pressure from the pediatricians and had not fully utilized the lactation consultants. This sent Mom into a funnel of depression that had to be treated medically as well. She told everyone that she felt like a truly horrible mother.

This was an unfortunate and extreme case. I was just two weeks from delivering my daughter when she told me and I cried. What would happen if I could not breastfeed? What would people think of me? I didn't have to worry, after all, I had this baby who was born to know how wide to open her mouth, how to latch, and how to be a great little breastfeeder. But I can understand how women can feel betrayed by breastfeeding experts and it have nothing to do with feeling as though their personal trajectory was interrupted.

While pregnant with my daughter, I dutifully read The Womanly Art of Breastfeeding and every other breastfeeding manual on the market. My mother went against the grain when choosing to breastfeed myself and my brothers. Her three sisters and two of her sister-in-laws followed suit. For me, it was nothing short of expected that I would breastfeed and I wanted to! It was a marriage made in heaven. The more I read, the more I was hooked on the advantages to my baby that would occur with breastfeeding. I took LLL up on a chance to meet with some of the local groups to "try out" and find what would work for me. One group heavily frowned on working mothers. I was out. One group disliked pumping for any reason as it would create a breach between Mama and baby. I was out. One group advocated a vegan diet. I'm sorry, I love red meat but more than red meat, I love fish, I wasn't going back. I quickly realized this was not quite the "support" my breastfeeding needed. I had encountered what my step-mother-in-law (a breastfeeder and breastfeeding supporter) had referred to as the "La Leche Nazis." And so I decided to go it alone. I was so excited to give my daughter all the advantages. And subsequently, my son.

When my daughter had her first ear infection at three months, I figured, okay, this could happen, breastfeeding decreases the amount of ear infections, but a month later she had another one and the following month. It wasn't pretty. My son still developed nasal allergies, in his first year. Turns out they were genetic from his paternal grandfather and great-uncle. (That took over eight visits to the pediatrician to decipher.) I slowly came to realize as I looked at my own kids and the breastfed kids around me, that breastfeeding was never going to be a cure-all. The real kicker was a friend with a six-year-old who exclusively breast fed for 12 months and then breastfed with solids until 2 years to prevent obesity. Her little girl was short and off the charts in weight. She was considered morbidly obese.

But everything I had read told me otherwise!

I stopped feeling guilty that at nine-months I had had to stop even non-nutritive nursing for my daughter because my pregnancy with my son had caused my milk/colostrum flow to stop and I was so sore with my first trimester that putting a bra on hurt. I stopped touting all the "medical benefits" of breastfeeding and started focusing on the bonding benefits and the convienence benefits. And I listened a lot more sympathetically to moms who couldn't breastfeed or stopped before they wanted to.

I never regretted my decision to breastfeed and plan to continue with Will. But, I have come to feel as though those of us who support breastfeeding need to stop judging those who do not for whatever their reasons.


May the road rise up to meet you.
May the wind always be at your back.
May the sun shine warm upon your face,
and rains fall soft upon your fields.
And until we meet again,
May God hold you in the palm of His hand.

From Today's Gospel

Peter approached Jesus and asked him,"Lord, if my brother sins against me, how often must I forgive him? As many as seven times?" Jesus answered, "I say to you, not seven times but seventy-seven times. That is why the Kingdom of heaven may be likened to a king who decided to settle accounts with his servants. When he began the accounting, a debtor was brought before him who owed him a huge amount. Since he had no way of paying it back, his master ordered him to be sold, along with his wife, his children, and all his property, in payment of the debt. At that, the servant fell down, did him homage, and said, 'Be patient with me, and I will pay you back in full.' Moved with compassion the master of that servant let him go and forgave him the loan. When that servant had left, he found one of his fellow servants who owed him a much smaller amount. He seized him and started to choke him, demanding, 'Pay back what you owe. 'Falling to his knees, his fellow servant begged him, 'Be patient with me, and I will pay you back.' But he refused. Instead, he had him put in prison until he paid back the debt. Now when his fellow servants saw what had happened, they were deeply disturbed, and went to their master and reported the whole affair. His master summoned him and said to him, 'You wicked servant! I forgave you your entire debt because you begged me to. Should you not have had pity on your fellow servant, as I had pity on you? 'Then in anger his master handed him over to the torturers until he should pay back the whole debt. So will my heavenly Father do to you, unless each of you forgives your brother from your heart."

Mt 18:21-35

Lord, teach me to forgive all who have done wrong to me and my family. Please shower me with your gift of forgiveness.

Monday, March 16, 2009

Some Days It's All About Comfort

Today it is rainy and cold. It's one of those days. My husband and kids are enjoying naps. I had a tomato sandwich for lunch (yes, I know about the heartburn thing, I'm buying stock in Rolaids).

It's a March day. It's an Irish weather day. It's a day that if we had a fireplace, I'd be burning a fire. It's a day that when I snuggle under my blankets, I thank God that I have them and a warm bed and a place and people I call home.

From Today's Gospel

Jesus said to the people in the synagogue at Nazareth: "Amen, I say to you, no prophet is accepted in his own native place. Indeed, I tell you, there were many widows in Israel in the days of Elijah when the sky was closed for three and a half years and a severe famine spread over the entire land. It was to none of these that Elijah was sent, but only to a widow in Zarephath in the land of Sidon. Again, there were many lepers in Israel during the time of Elisha the prophet; yet not one of them was cleansed, but only Naaman the Syrian." When the people in the synagogue heard this, they were all filled with fury. They rose up, drove him out of the town, and led him to the brow of the hill on which their town had been built, to hurl him down headlong. But he passed through the midst of them and went away.

Lk 4:24-30

Jesus, Remember me, when you come into your kingdom

Sunday, March 15, 2009

Are You Trying to Win the State Fair?

Will weighs just over 3 lbs now at 30 weeks cooked and my doc has scheduled my c-section.

Like most pregnant women at this point, I'm exhausted, full of heartburn, sciatica, back pain, and short of breath. Constantly. I wouldn't trade it for the world. In just a few more weeks, we'll be done with this part of the journey.

This pregnancy has been very different from my first two, especially because, it's a winter pregnancy. Now, true, I became pregnant shortly before Labor Day (I know, the irony) and winter chooses not to show up here until just before Christmas, but considering I had baby number one just days after July 4 and we were seeing 95+ degree days with 100 % humidity every day and baby number 2 in late September causing me to be my most pregnant in the hottest days of our year in August, this has been a mild weather pregnancy. I even saw snow, twice (!) in this pregnancy. So, I tend to think that is the reason I am less whiny in general this time around.

I was telling a friend who just had her second son last fall that because Will is the size he is right now and very active, I feel like I can't breathe and have to pee pretty much ALL the time. She lives a bit further south of me in an equally tropical climate and now with her early fall baby, she knows a bit about being this uncomfortable. She emailed me that when she was about this far along, it was so hot, and she was so miserable that when her doctor told her at an ultrasound that her son was over 3 lbs, her response: "Are you trying to win the state fair? Get him out!" She did have to wait a few more weeks and now she is happy she did, of course.

While having a 3+ pounder this early does make it look as though I might be going for a record, the only record I want, is the birth record saying my third child has been born!

From Today's First Reading

In those days, God delivered all these commandments:
"I, the LORD am your God, who brought you out of the land of Egypt, that place of slavery.
You shall not have other gods besides me.
"You shall not take the name of the LORD, your God, in vain.
For the LORD will not leave unpunished the one who takes his name in vain.
"Remember to keep holy the sabbath day.
Honor your father and your mother, that you may have a long life in the land which the Lord, your God, is giving you.
You shall not kill.
You shall not commit adultery.
You shall not steal.
You shall not bear false witness against your neighbor.
You shall not covet your neighbor's house.
You shall not covet your neighbor's wife, nor his male or female slave, nor his ox or ass, nor anything else that belongs to him."

Ex 20:1-3, 7-8, 12-17

Lord, teach me to follow your commandments and ways.

Saturday, March 14, 2009

From Today's First Reading.

Shepherd your people with your staff, the flock of your inheritance, That dwells apart in a woodland, in the midst of Carmel. Let them feed in Bashan and Gilead, as in the days of old; As in the days when you came from the land of Egypt, show us wonderful signs.
Who is there like you, the God who removes guilt and pardons sin for the remnant of his inheritance; Who does not persist in anger forever, but delights rather in clemency, And will again have compassion on us, treading underfoot our guilt? You will cast into the depths of the sea all our sins; You will show faithfulness to Jacob, and grace to Abraham, As you have sworn to our fathers from days of old.

Mi 7:14-15, 18-20

God thank you for your gift of forgiveness. Please pardon our sins that we may join you at your heavenly throne.

Friday, March 13, 2009

And now you know...

the rest of the story.

This week in Raleigh, a couple of hours from my home, a judge in a divorce proceeding ruled that three children being homeschooled by their mother must now attend public school as their father wishes.

This is a very hot-button story. I have several friends who have all said they would never, ever, under any circumstance under the sun do anything but homeschool. Some are marching on Raleigh to protest this ruling.

But this story raises multiple questions in my mind. First of all, it's a divorce proceeding, so is this a vindictive husband trying to take power from his wife? Or is the wife using the homeschool time to try and change her children's feelings toward their father? We can't know. We aren't there for her lessons and we don't know if homeschooling was a source of discontent in the marriage. Second, according to the story on WRAL.com the children were not being homeschooled until their mother joined the Sound Doctrine church where, the story states, "all the children are homeschooled." Does this mean that if she left the church she would stop homeschooling? Or if she joined another church this decision would change based upon the beliefs of the church? Is the children's father a member of the church? Does he have a falling out with this group? Are the children members of the church? Do they feel they should be homsechooled as part of church doctrine. Third, do we really know if a public school education would be better for the children? Would it be worse? These children range in age from 10yrs to 12 yrs and have only been homeschooled for the past four years according to the story, do they have a preference?

It is very easy to see this as an attack on all homeschoolers. I could easily fall into the trap of being outraged, but there are so many unanswered questions. And for me they all lead back to the fact that this is a decision based out of a divorce proceeding. I don't think this is a landmark precedent case endangering the rights of all homeschoolers as the children's mother claims when she is quoted as saying, "I cannot sit back and allow this to happen to other homeschoolers." I know other divorced couples for whom this argument never entered their divorce settlement. Many homeschooled before the marriage ended and continued after. And there is no disagreement that the kids are doing well being homeschooled, the judge is not delivering any type of edict that homeschooling is inherently evil or wrong. He is making a decision based on this one situation. If the parties involved had not put this into their divorce settlement proceedings, there wouldn't be this type of fallout. This comes down to a disagreement between two adults regarding the raising of their children that they could not settle between themselves and forced into the courts.

Since none of us knows what is going on behind closed doors for this family, it is impossible for me to choose sides. The personal decisions between my husband and I about how to school our children do not appear to be affected by this as I am Catholic, READ: DIVORCE IS NOT GOING TO HAPPEN and my husband, as a child of divorce, would not allow it to happen either. Until I know the rest of the story, I'm reserving judgment, on the homeschooling issue. To speak on the divorce issue, I will say this, it destroys lives. This case appears to be no exception. Children will be without both their parents together and, as this disagreement illustrates, may not be able to count on their parents to come together when it is in their best interest.

Jesus said to the chief priests and the elders of the people: "Hear another parable. There was a landowner who planted a vineyard, put a hedge around it, dug a wine press in it, and built a tower. Then he leased it to tenants and went on a journey. When vintage time drew near, he sent his servants to the tenants to obtain his produce. But the tenants seized the servants and one they beat, another they killed, and a third they stoned. Again he sent other servants, more numerous than the first ones,but they treated them in the same way. Finally, he sent his son to them, thinking, 'They will respect my son.' But when the tenants saw the son, they said to one another,'This is the heir.Come, let us kill him and acquire his inheritance.' They seized him, threw him out of the vineyard, and killed him. What will the owner of the vineyard do to those tenants when he comes?" They answered him, He will put those wretched men to a wretched death and lease his vineyard to other tenants who will give him the produce at the proper times." Jesus said to them, Did you never read in the Scriptures:

The stone that the builders rejected has become the cornerstone; by the Lord has this been done, and it is wonderful in our eyes?

Therefore, I say to you,the Kingdom of God will be taken away from you and given to a people that will produce its fruit." When the chief priests and the Pharisees heard his parables, they knew that he was speaking about them. And although they were attempting to arrest him, they feared the crowds, for they regarded him as a prophet.

Mt 21:33-43, 45-46

Jesus, remember me, when you come into your kingdom.

Thursday, March 12, 2009

Small Successes


1) I am eating grapes and canteloupe for breakfast. It is satisfying the sweetness pregnancy craving and is healthy.

2) Instead of praying for people to change, I am praying for their sanctification. And so far, it is working.

3) I am offering my pregnancy pains up more easily. Not necessarily automatically, but it is becoming a bit easier.

From Today's Gospel

Jesus said to the Pharisees: "There was a rich man who dressed in purple garments and fine linen and dined sumptuously each day. And lying at his door was a poor man named Lazarus, covered with sores, who would gladly have eaten his fill of the scraps that fell from the rich man's table. Dogs even used to come and lick his sores. When the poor man died, he was carried away by angels to the bosom of Abraham. The rich man also died and was buried,and from the netherworld, where he was in torment, he raised his eyes and saw Abraham far off and Lazarus at his side. And he cried out, 'Father Abraham, have pity on me. Send Lazarus to dip the tip of his finger in water and cool my tongue, for I am suffering torment in these flames.' Abraham replied, 'My child, remember that you received what was good during your lifetime while Lazarus likewise received what was bad; but now he is comforted here, whereas you are tormented. Moreover, between us and you a great chasm is established to prevent anyone from crossing who might wish to go from our side to yours or from your side to ours.' He said, 'Then I beg you, father, send him to my father's house, for I have five brothers, so that he may warn them, lest they too come to this place of torment.' But Abraham replied, 'They have Moses and the prophets. Let them listen to them.' He said, 'Oh no, father Abraham,but if someone from the dead goes to them, they will repent. 'Then Abraham said, 'If they will not listen to Moses and the prophets, neither will they be persuaded if someone should rise from the dead.'"

Lord, I pray today for all those unable to hear your words by way of their own self-induced deafness. May our hearts be open to your word and that of the prophets.

Wednesday, March 11, 2009

Pride is a Sin Too

I recently read a very good post about Catholic parenting and parenting in general in which the author described herself as being a "crunchy" parent in some ways and a "creamy" parent in others using the metaphor of types of peanut butter to classify different elements and dimensions in her parenting.

Yeah, I'll admit, I'm somewhere between the two. I breastfeed, but have all c-sections. I immunize, but we try to grow a lot of our veggies too (which is every bit about the money as the nutrients). I've worn Birkenstocks and I've worn patent leather pumps.

What struck me about this post and some posts I've read elsewhere, is that this mom is trying desparately to say that while she doesn't agree with everyone's parenting in the world, she is also not interested in fighting over whether it's a good thing to shave your arm pits or not or whether the decision to make some clothes for her kids is about sustainability of the land or economic sustainability.

Nothing turns me off more than when someone comes up to me and professes their way of life is the best. That's true in parenting, religion, politics you name it. What offends me is when someone does one of these things online and uses a pseudonym or tries to remain anonymous. While I will admit, there are some situations where, for personal safety or to protect the privacy of someone else your identity may need to be kept under wraps, but I have seen many an open forum where people are using obscurity to go after one another and attack each other.

And lately, I've seen A LOT of this going on on Catholic sites. What is so important for me to remember is that pride is a sin. When we tout our way as the best way and only way and all others are going to you know where if they don't comply and ESPECIALLY when we do this anonymously so that we can't be called out by name, we are acting out of sinful pride. Now, I am not talking about calling someone out who is speaking falsely about the church or against the truths taught by the church or someone who is doing something that is harmful to a child (starving them for example), but, when we make a snarky comment about how someone gave their child a piece of chocolate during lent and how our child knows better than to ever ask for something so indulgent whether it is what is being given up or not and we do it under a pseudonym (like SuperCatholicMom or the like) or anonymously, are we not acting out of pride. Are we not trying to make ourselves better than the person we are comparing ourselves to?

It's a careful dance, but we must always remember that anonymous on the internet to readers or not, God knows who is at the other end of the ip address. And it is to God that we must answer when our pride gets the better of us.

From Today's Gospel

As Jesus was going up to Jerusalem, he took the Twelve disciples aside by themselves,and said to them on the way,"Behold, we are going up to Jerusalem, and the Son of Man will be handed over to the chief priestsand the scribes,and they will condemn him to death, and hand him over to the Gentiles to be mocked and scourged and crucified, and he will be raised on the third day."

Then the mother of the sons of Zebedee approached Jesus with her sons and did him homage, wishing to ask him for something. He said to her, "What do you wish?" She answered him, "Command that these two sons of mine sit, one at your right and the other at your left, in your kingdom." Jesus said in reply,"You do not know what you are asking. Can you drink the chalice that I am going to drink?" They said to him, "We can." He replied, "My chalice you will indeed drink, but to sit at my right and at my left, this is not mine to give but is for those for whom it has been prepared by my Father." When the ten heard this,they became indignant at the two brothers. But Jesus summoned them and said,"You know that the rulers of the Gentiles lord it over them, and the great ones make their authority over them felt. But it shall not be so among you. Rather, whoever wishes to be great among you shall be your servant; whoever wishes to be first among you shall be your slave. Just so, the Son of Man did not come to be served but to serve and to give his life as a ransom for many."

Mt 20:17-28

Lord, Help me to know what I ask and to be humble in my requests. Jesus, remember me, when you come into your kingdom.

Sunday, March 8, 2009

From the Gospel for March 10

Jesus spoke to the crowds and to his disciples, saying,"The scribes and the Pharisees have taken their seat on the chair of Moses. Therefore, do and observe all things whatsoever they tell you,but do not follow their example. For they preach but they do not practice. They tie up heavy burdens hard to carryand lay them on people's shoulders,but they will not lift a finger to move them. All their works are performed to be seen. They widen their phylacteries and lengthen their tassels. They love places of honor at banquets, seats of honor in synagogues, greetings in marketplaces, and the salutation 'Rabbi.' As for you, do not be called 'Rabbi. 'You have but one teacher, and you are all brothers. Call no one on earth your father; you have but one Father in heaven. Do not be called 'Master'; you have but one master, the Christ. The greatest among you must be your servant. Whoever exalts himself will be humbled; but whoever humbles himself will be exalted."

Mt 23:1-12

Lord, help me to humble myself to enter the Kingdom of Heaven.

From the Gospel for March 9

Jesus said to his disciples:"Be merciful, just as your Father is merciful.
"Stop judging and you will not be judged.Stop condemning and you will not be condemned.Forgive and you will be forgiven.Give and gifts will be given to you;a good measure, packed together, shaken down, and overflowing,will be poured into your lap.For the measure with which you measurewill in return be measured out to you."

Lk 6:36-38

Lord, help me to remember to sow what I would like to reap.

Six Years Ago Today...

From Today's First Reading

God put Abraham to the test.He called to him, "Abraham!""Here I am!" he replied. Then God said:"Take your son Isaac, your only one, whom you love, and go to the land of Moriah. There you shall offer him up as a holocaust on a height that I will point out to you."

When they came to the place of which God had told him, Abraham built an altar there and arranged the wood on it. Then he reached out and took the knife to slaughter his son. But the LORD's messenger called to him from heaven, "Abraham, Abraham!" "Here I am!" he answered. "Do not lay your hand on the boy," said the messenger." Do not do the least thing to him.I know now how devoted you are to God, since you did not withhold from me your own beloved son." As Abraham looked about, he spied a ram caught by its horns in the thicket. So he went and took the ram and offered it up as a holocaust in place of his son.

Again the LORD's messenger called to Abraham from heaven and said: "I swear by myself, declares the LORD, that because you acted as you did in not withholding from me your beloved son, I will bless you abundantly and make your descendants as countless as the stars of the sky and the sands of the seashore; your descendants shall take possession of the gates of their enemies, and in your descendants all the nations of the earthshall find blessing—all this because you obeyed my command."

Gn 22:1-2, 9a, 10-13, 15-18

Lord, help us to hear your voice when you call and to obey you even when we do not understand your plans. Help us to accept that it is not always for us to understand your ways because you are God and perfect.

Saturday, March 7, 2009

From Today's Gospel

Jesus said to his disciples:"You have heard that it was said,You shall love your neighbor and hate your enemy. But I say to you, love your enemies,and pray for those who persecute you,that you may be children of your heavenly Father,for he makes his sun rise on the bad and the good,and causes rain to fall on the just and the unjust.For if you love those who love you, what recompense will you have?Do not the tax collectors do the same?And if you greet your brothers and sisters only,what is unusual about that?Do not the pagans do the same?So be perfect, just as your heavenly Father is perfect."

Mt 5:43-48

Father please help me to love not only those dear to me, but those who may persecute me and be my enemies. Help me to remember that your love is perfect and is for all, as mine should be.

Friday, March 6, 2009

And Some Grace to Spare

I was recently reading on another site where a mom described saying yes to a request she would normally have said no to and discussing why she made an exception. The horrible thing she said yes to was a sugary sweet marshmallow lollipop thing. She describes saying yes out of weariness, but not regretting the decision later.

We all want to be good parents and do what is best for our children. That is why we set rules and limits. No more than 2 hours of tv during the week. No candy before dinner. Only milk or water at meals. But every so often, the best of us succumb to fast food or allowing a soda while out shopping or even the forbidden cartoon Spongebob for an extra hour. Does that make us bad parents? Are we now failures? Can we no longer claim our stake with our children that we make rules because we have their best interests at heart?

I have been thinking a lot about this lately because some of the comments to the post I read contained things like, "Now all your kids will want to accompany you every time you go to the store," and "I never say yes to something like that because if I do it once, the kids think it's allowed and now I've trained them so well, they don't even ask anymore!" Most of these comments were left by anonymous users or users using a pseudonym which made me wonder even more....

Personally, I think it takes a certain type of grace to occasionally make an exception. It takes grace because you run the risk of having a child now assume that the previously forbidden. It also could force you into over-explaining why in this one case we are allowing "it" and why it won't be allowed in the future. And we have now put ourselves up for all of the parents we know to now criticize our decision and makes claims like the one about how well-trained their kids are.

The little girl, to whom this mother said yes, was grateful and gracious, telling her mother how she would savor this special treat and how she was going to make it last. I don't know if mom had some explaining to do to the other kids at home or if she went into detail about how this was a one time thing for this little girl, but I am sure that God had some grace to spare when and if those things came up.

From Today's Reading

Jesus said to his disciples:
"I tell you,
unless your righteousness surpasses that
of the scribes and Pharisees,
you will not enter into the Kingdom of heaven.

"You have heard that it was said to your ancestors,
You shall not kill; and whoever kills will be liable to judgment.
But I say to you, whoever is angry with his brother
will be liable to judgment,
and whoever says to his brother, Raqa,
will be answerable to the Sanhedrin,
and whoever says, 'You fool,' will be liable to fiery Gehenna.
Therefore, if you bring your gift to the altar,
and there recall that your brother
has anything against you,
leave your gift there at the altar,
go first and be reconciled with your brother,
and then come and offer your gift.
Settle with your opponent quickly while on the way to court.
Otherwise your opponent will hand you over to the judge,
and the judge will hand you over to the guard,
and you will be thrown into prison.
Amen, I say to you,
you will not be released until you have paid the last penny."

Lord, help me to behave justly to all my brothers and sisters.

Thursday, March 5, 2009

Small Successes


Here we go:

1) In two days, my husband and I have completely cleaned out TWO closets and consolidated them into one!

2) I have been so far faithful every day to my lenten promise to say the rosary, that day's mysteries and the sorrowful mysteries AND the rosary of the Seven Sorrows!

3) I have been making my dusting goal (all surfaces with a feather duster every day!).

Now, if you will excuse me, I have to make good on last week's small success and plan a menu!!!

Today's Readings

The First Reading:
Queen Esther, seized with mortal anguish,had recourse to the LORD.She lay prostrate upon the ground, together with her handmaids, from morning until evening, and said:"God of Abraham, God of Isaac, and God of Jacob, blessed are you. Help me, who am alone and have no help but you,for I am taking my life in my hand.As a child I used to hear from the books of my forefathersthat you, O LORD, always free those who are pleasing to you.Now help me, who am alone and have no one but you,O LORD, my God.
"And now, come to help me, an orphan.Put in my mouth persuasive words in the presence of the lionand turn his heart to hatred for our enemy,so that he and those who are in league with him may perish.Save us from the hand of our enemies;turn our mourning into gladnessand our sorrows into wholeness."

Est C:12, 14-16, 23-25

The Gospel:

Jesus said to his disciples:"Ask and it will be given to you; seek and you will find; knock and the door will be opened to you. For everyone who asks, receives; and the one who seeks, finds;and to the one who knocks, the door will be opened. Which one of you would hand his son a stonewhen he asked for a loaf of bread,or a snake when he asked for a fish? If you then, who are wicked,know how to give good gifts to your children,how much more will your heavenly Father give good things to those who ask him.
"Do to others whatever you would have them do to you. This is the law and the prophets."

Mt 7:7-12

Lord Jesus Christ,
Help us to remember that you answer all the prayers of us, your faithful people. Help us to accept all your answers, especially when we may not understand them.

Wednesday, March 4, 2009

From Today's First Reading

The word of the LORD came to Jonah a second time:"Set out for the great city of Nineveh,and announce to it the message that I will tell you."So Jonah made ready and went to Nineveh,according to the LORD's bidding.Now Nineveh was an enormously large city;it took three days to go through it.Jonah began his journey through the city,and had gone but a single day's walk announcing,"Forty days more and Nineveh shall be destroyed,"when the people of Nineveh believed God;they proclaimed a fastand all of them, great and small, put on sackcloth.
When the news reached the king of Nineveh,he rose from his throne, laid aside his robe,covered himself with sackcloth, and sat in the ashes.Then he had this proclaimed throughout Nineveh,by decree of the king and his nobles:"Neither man nor beast, neither cattle nor sheep,shall taste anything;they shall not eat, nor shall they drink water. Man and beast shall be covered with sackcloth and call loudly to God;every man shall turn from his evil wayand from the violence he has in hand.Who knows, God may relent and forgive, and withhold his blazing wrath,so that we shall not perish."When God saw by their actions how they turned from their evil way,he repented of the evil that he had threatened to do to them;he did not carry it out.

Jon 3:1-10

Lord, help me to hear your voice and recognize it as you. Help me to turn away from evil and follow the gospel.

Tuesday, March 3, 2009

Need Some Poetry in Your Lenten Journey

Or maybe just three questions to contemplate? Or maybe a beauitful prayer? If you answered yes to any of those three than this is the book for you...

Ashes to Easter by Father Robert Morneau includes meditations for each day of lent centered upon that day's gospel. I was introduced to these meditations in 2005 when I was a member of a Little Parish Family Group at my church and we decided to use these Lenten meditations as discussion points. The book was wildly popular among all who read it and I decided this year to pull it out again. I find it even more relevant now. If you are looking for something a little different but moving for lent, check it out!

From Today's Gospel

Jesus said to his disciples: "In praying, do not babble like the pagans, who think that they will be heard because of their many words. Do not be like them. Your Father knows what you need before you ask him.

"This is how you are to pray: Our Father who art in heaven, hallowed be thy name, thy Kingdom come, thy will be done, on earth as it is in heaven. Give us this day our daily bread; and forgive us our trespasses, as we forgive those who trespass against us; and lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil.

"If you forgive men their transgressions, your heavenly Father will forgive you. But if you do not forgive men, neither will your Father forgive your transgressions."

Mt 6: 7-15

God our Father, remind us always that You alone know what is best for us. Please help us to remember to forgive others, that we may be forgiven. We do that in memory of You. Jesus, Remember me, when You come into your kingdom.

Monday, March 2, 2009

Whatsoever you do, for the least of my people...

From today's Gospel:
Jesus said to this disciples: "When the son of Man comes in his glory, and all the angels with him, he will sit upon his glorious throne, and all the nations will be assembled before him. And he will separate them one from another, as a shepherd separates the sheep from the goats. He will place the sheep on his right and the goats on his left. Then the king will say to those on his right, 'Come, you who are blessed by my Father. Inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world. For I was hungry and you gave me food, I was thirsty and you gave me drink, a stranger and you welcomed me, naked and you clothed me, ill and you cared for me, in prison and you visited me.' Then the righteous will answer him and say, 'Lord, when did we see you hungry and feed you, or thirsty and give you drink? When did we see you a stranger and welcome you, or naked and clothe you? When did we see you ill or in prison, and visit you?' And the king will say to them in reply, 'Amen, I say to you, whatever you did for one of these least brothers of mine, you did for me.' Then he will say to those on his left, 'Depart from me, you accursed, into the eternal fire prepared for the Devil and his angels. For I was hungry and you gave me no food, I was thirsty and you gave me no drink, a stranger and you gave me no welcome, naked and you gave me no clothing, ill and in prison, and you did not care for me.' Then they will answer and say, 'Lord, when did we see you hungry or thirsty or a stranger or naked or ill or in prison, and not minister to your needs?' He will answer them, 'Amen, I say to you, what you did not do for one of these least ones, you did not do for me.' And these will go off to eternal punishment, but the righteous to eternal life."

Mt 25:31-46

Lord help me to see your faces in the faces of all those I meet. Teach me to find the goodness and right in all people. Remind me to always use my time, talent and treasure for the least of your people.

Sunday, March 1, 2009

Today's Second Reading

Sorry, went to later mass, so this is a bit late in the day....

Beloved: Christ suffered for sins once, the righteous for the sake of the unrighteous, that he might lead you to God. Put to death in the flesh, he was brought to life in the Spirit. In it he also went to preach to the spirits in prison, who had once been disobedient while God patiently waited in the days of Noah during the building of the ark, in which a few persons, eight in all, were saved through water. This prefigured baptism, which saves you now. It is not a removal of dirt from the body but an appeal to God for a clear conscience, through the resurrection of Jesus Christ, who has gone into heaven and is at the right hand of God, with angels, authorities, and powers subject to him.

1 Pt 3:18-22

Lord help us to remember that you wait patiently for our return. Jesus, Remember me, when you come into your kingdom.