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June 30, 2012

Happy Birthday Vincent!

Today is the first birthday of my sweet baby boy, Vincent. I just went for a run and through the sweating and hills I was thinking about how quickly a year flies by and how much changes. I feel like the first year of a baby's life gives a perspective to moms on life, living, time, growth and family. 

The birth experience itself can be a place where life and death take on brand new meaning for a mom.  And each time (for a mom who has more than one child) can shape that meaning into different things.  Labor with Vincent was so clearly different from each of his older siblings -- the time (27 hours!), the nature (26.5 hours of...."well, is this baby going to decide to be born today?"), the sweet way he was so quiet as long as he was in my arms and would start screaming when they took him away from me (and he still does that today!)

Throughout Vincent's first year, I have tried to cherish what it means to have him in our family.  


Dominic has a little brother and Vincent has a best-est buddy.  
 

The girls have gotten a chance to help in ways they never could before due to the fact they are at ages where they can.  

Craig and I have learned a whole new way of balancing what needs to be done in our family with regards to our jobs, their school schedules, extra-curricular activities and just the whole loving-on-everyone thing.  

Many times it is not readily clear just what God's plan for you is while you're in the middle of it. Even though I have struggled to understand and Craig and I have continued to discern whether Vincent is the last little one, or just the beginning of the next string of little ones, I do know that God intended Vincent for this world at just this time and just this place and just this place in our family.  My ponderings often turn to the fact that Vincent is a #5, his dad was a #5 and his paternal Grandpa was a #5.  There has to be something about that.  Because his paternal Grandpa was a loving and generous man by all accounts and his dad is the most gentle, loving soul I know.  So, while Vincent will make his own way in the world, I have no doubt  the potential is there for something great with this one.

My mama's boy...  


My fireball... 


I love you...  



Happy Birthday!



June 22, 2012

7 Quick Takes - 27




--- 1 ---
I walked to our Cathedral from work over the noon hour and went to Daily Mass today!  Yay!  I really need to commit to doing that every day...at least more often anyway.  I had started walking over lunch down to the Farmer's Market to get produce.  So when the Fortnight for Freedom started yesterday, I was trying to figure out how I could do more praying and decided I would attempt daily Mass at least today.  Now I am looking at my schedule to see how I can do it more often.


--- 2 ---
So this past week, I got 61 activity points.  But it didn't do much for me on the scales at my Weight Watchers meeting yesterday.  Boo on me.  A friend had a good point that maybe I'm not eating enough to feed my body properly for my increase in activity.  While she gave me some food for thought...I really think my problem last week was eating fried chicken and cinnamon rolls on Saturday followed by a breakfast buffet on Sunday followed by a birthday party where I consumed cake on Tuesday.  I suppose it could have been way worse, huh?

--- 3 ---

Got to meet our parish's new priest last night at our parish welcome potluck.  It was nice.  The priest is something like 26 and he looks it!  I love seeing new solid young priests coming out of seminary (this year our parish had 7 total).  I told Father we'd like to have him over for dinner and that perhaps I should make the call because I've been waiting on my husband to invite our pastor over for awhile now and maybe the project just needs a woman's touch.  Nah...actually, we're just too darn busy.  But we really need to make time.

--- 4 ---

At work today, the Cafeteria had "Sushi Friday."  I don't know if I have ever mentioned on here before how much I love sushi.  Well, i only got 2 pieces to go with my salad because I wasn't sure how many PointsPlus they are.  Well it's only 1 PointsPlus per piece!!!  Yay!!  I'm glad to know that because Sushi...is DEFINITELY worth the points.

--- 5 ---

My baby boy has an ear infection.  He's been spiking a fever off and on for the last week and a half.  At the same time he has been whining and grabbing his mouth, so I kind of thought it was just teething.  My kids have always gotten a bit congested when they are getting teeth in, so I chalked it up to that.  But finally, last night, I had had it.  Vincent was up for 2+ hours just whining and crying and hot with a fever again.  So, Craig took him to the doctor and they discovered an ear infection.  He turns 1 next Saturday and this is the only ear infection he's had.  I don't know if he's been in the pool or not (Craig takes the kids swimming if they go).  But either way...I'm not glad he has an ear infection, but I am glad to have an answer for the last week and a half and sad that we didn't tend to it sooner.  :(

--- 6 ---

Dani and Helen are doing really well with swimming lessons.  The teacher for Dani this session was surprised she hadn't passed her level, so he asked her to bring her test paper and she did.  So now he's working specifically on those things that she had trouble with.  I think she's gonna pass this time.  :)  Helen has gotten so brave and gets her head underwater and blows her bubbles.  I can't tell you what a relief it is to have my kids swimming.  The boys will be projects starting next summer, but it's a HUGE relief to get the girls all to a point where they will be able to survive and have fun in the pool.

--- 7 ---
Sarah and her team have improved in volleyball.  A LOT!  It's exciting to watch!  They are going to be in 6th grade this year and I am looking forward to seeing how they do this fall.  Dani gets to start playing this fall, too!  I'm glad my girls at least want to try volleyball.

Can you believe we only have one more week of June!?!?  Holy Moly!  Time flies!

Okay, so I had to add a BONUS!  #cathsorority ladies rock!  We are gonna do 24 hours straight of rosaries and I am just floored at the commitment of everyone to do this.  God is good and I feel so blessed to know you and belong to such a wonderful Catholic women's community!

For more Quick Takes, be sure to head over to Conversion Diary.  Thank you, Jen, for hosting!


June 21, 2012

Prayer for the Protection of Religious Liberty


Prayer for the Protection of Religious Liberty 

O God our Creator, 

Through the power and working 
of your Holy Spirit,
you call us to live out our faith in
the midst of the world,
bringing the light and the saving
truth of the Gospel
to every corner of society.

We ask you to bless us
in our vigilance for the gift of
religious liberty. 
Give us the strength of mind 
and heart
to readily defend our freedoms
when they are threatened;
give us courage in making our 
voices heard 
on behalf of the rights of your Church 
and the freedom of conscience of all people of faith. 

Grant, we pray, O heavenly Father, 
a clear and united voice to all your sons and daughters
gathered in your Church 
in this decisive hour in the history of our nation, 
so that, with every trial withstood 
and every danger overcome— 
for the sake of our children, our grandchildren, 
and all who come after us— 
this great land will always be "one nation, under God, 
indivisible, with liberty and justice for all." 

We ask this through Christ our Lord. 

Amen.

A Fortnight for Freedom - Who's In?


June 21, 2012 is the beginning of a Fortnight for Freedom.  The Bishop Helmsing Institute Blog had this post explaining what the Bishops prescribe and how to carry it out.  It's a time for increased, focused prayer, study, fasting and public action.  

The fourteen days from June 21—the vigil of the Feasts of St. John Fisher and St. Thomas More—to July 4, Independence Day, are dedicated to this “fortnight for freedom”—a great hymn of prayer for our country. Our liturgical calendar celebrates a series of great martyrs who remained faithful in the face of persecution by political power—St. John Fisher and St. Thomas More, St. John the Baptist, SS. Peter and Paul, and the First Martyrs of the Church of Rome.  Culminating on Independence Day, this special period of prayer, study, catechesis, and public action will emphasize both our Christian and American heritage of liberty. Dioceses and parishes around the country have scheduled special events that support a great national campaign of teaching and witness for religious liberty.

Today, I commit to a rosary every day for a fortnight (14 days) for the intercession of our blessed mother as we seek to be heard and have our freedom to practice our faith protected.  

I'm not sure what kind of public action I can take, but I do intend to do a video to share with many other women through the Women Speak For Themselves initiative. 

I also intend to try and make it to Mass on Friday, the dual feast days of St. Thomas More and St. John Fischer.

14 days - a Fortnight 

PRAYER. STUDY. FASTING.

Are You In?

 

June 19, 2012

Catholicism Nerd: The Return of the Altar Rails

It's been a few months since I explored a topic from my nerdy Catholic perspective

Photo Credit
Why were Altar Rails part of the structure of a Church in the first place?  

The Altar Rails encircled the altar on all sides.  There was often a gate through which the bishop, priest, deacon or acolytes would enter in order to say the Mass.  The gate was small - narrow if you will.  The Sanctuary houses the Tabernacle - the "Holy of Holies" where our Lord remains after Mass.  The Altar Rails provided a boundary indicating the end of one space and the beginning of another.  As we are still here on this Earth, the boundary is a visual reminder of the holiness we still hope to attain and the Grace we still need in order to end up in Heaven.

When I mentioned yesterday that our pastor is planning to install altar rails into our "modern" church, I thought...why did churches ever remove them in the first place?  According to last year's article in the National Catholic Register, there is nothing in Vatican II documents mandating their removal.  

One reason given was the idea that kneeling was a position of submission and seen as disrespectful to the modern person.  I find this strange.  But maybe that's why I'm a Catholic nerd, haha.  I get that "the modern person" doesn't want to kneel before any mere man...but we're talking about God, the One who made us, the One without whom we do not exist, inside His house.  I mean, if you don't believe you're there in the presence of God, then you probably aren't approaching to receive the Eucharist anyway, and if you are a Catholic disposed to receive the Eucharist, then, you should believe you're approaching God, and I'm not sure why a person in such a state does not want to kneel in His presence and pay Him the homage and reverence due to Him as the Creator of all.  

The idea of making Catholic sanctuaries to look and feel more like Protestant worship spaces is confusing to me.  Why would Catholics want to be more like Protestants?  I will never understand this.  Catholics have the source and summit of our faith - the Eucharist - and for 40-plus years now, so many Catholics in our country have turned their own backs to it and tried to encourage all of us to do so.

There are some people that may not like the idea of a distinction between the nave and the sanctuary.  Interestingly enough, the article discusses the root of the word sanctuary, it comes from the word "holy" which means "set apart."  The sanctuary is the holy place where our Lord comes to be with us, and I think it makes sense to set it apart because we are not yet in Heaven.

Perhaps I am alone in thinking I need that barrier between myself and the Holy place of Heaven?  I mean, I know I am not worthy to receive our Lord, I say so every Mass, "Lord, I am not worthy that You should enter under my roof, but only say the word and my soul shall be healed."  Where does this idea come from that we are on a plane with Jesus while we are still in this world?  

Photo Credit
It seems to be the case that many Catholic churches are returning to the use of Altar Rails, many with swelling parishioner support.  Even with my parish's "modern" structure, I look forward to the day when there is a distinction between the sanctuary and nave of our church.  It's nice that we have kneelers currently so that those of us who feel drawn to do so, may kneel in front of our Savior to receive Him.  How wonderful it will be when there is simply a rail all the way around the Altar?

I think it's beautiful to consider the Altar Rail as the meeting point between Heaven and Earth. 

Perhaps with a greater distinction between what is holy and what is not, there might be greater consideration and reverence when approaching to receive the Holy Eucharist.  I believe it would help me and my children.  There is so much confusion, I fear, in our broken world.  I sometimes wonder how deep the belief runs in us (yes, myself included) that we truly are receiving our Lord - Body, Blood, Soul and Divinity - in the Eucharist.  As fallen human beings, it is truly something difficult to wrap our heads around, that our Lord would humble Himself to be with us in this way.  I like to kneel to receive because it helps me focus on this aspect and puts me in a better frame of mind.  And I'm fortunate to have this option at my parish.  

Perhaps a visual reminder, such as an altar rail, will cultivate that sense of awe, wonder, amazement and evoke the reverence that is due as one approaches the edge of Heaven to receive His Holy Grace.

What do you think?  Do you have Altar Rails in your church?  Do you have a preference with regard to their presence?  

 

June 18, 2012

Monday Mumbles - 32

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Today, I mumble from the comfy confines of home as I am off work for the day. Nothing special really, just a paid day off from work. I'm not high enough on the totem pole to get to take 2 weeks off around Thanksgiving time and have there still be time left in the summer to take an actual vacation. 

1.  I hope you all had a lovely Father's Day.  Ours was pretty low-key.  Mass in the morning, followed by Brunch.  Then we came home and just lounged around.  Craig had to work the graveyard shift so he needed to sleep, the baby fell asleep in the car, so he was out and I was feeling kind of yucky, too.  So, it was good we all just stayed quiet for the day.

2.  I did manage to get to the Boot Camp session they have on Sunday evenings since I won't be able to go tonight.

3.  I have my first School Board meeting tonight.  I'm excited to see how that goes.

4.  Sarah has her first summer volleyball game tonight.  I am excited to see how that goes, too.

5.  I took this picture below yesterday...on the left is my foot.  On the right is Sarah's foot.  My feet are not small (I wear size 9 or 9.5)...

6.   My phone interview Friday went okay.  I don't get the feeling I will get this particular job, but I'm on the radar now in a different department where I could get more exposure within my company.  We'll see what happens.

7.  Saturday night's #cathsorority meet up with Maggie and Katie was awesome!  We had dinner and literally talked for something like 3 hours.  So. Much. Fun.!!!  There's just not much that can replace having time with other Catholic ladies where you can talk about the challenges and Grace and generally awesome experience of being Catholic and loving it.

8.  I am planning to write a post about how I think you get your kids ready to fly the coop.  It's not because I want my kids to fly the coop now, but I think you have to start from very early on to get them to understand that self-sufficiency by a certain age is a requirement or else the parents end up doing everything and the kids learn nothing and then...well, then you have a bunch of lazy-ass kids who don't move out when they become adults.  And that is NOT something I am interested in having.

9.  I was talking with our pastor after Mass Sunday.  We are getting a church-full of new pews and the layout of the church was sitting on the table.  I asked a few questions and he explained that it's a more traditional layout.  Then he showed me that he's moving the front pews back so that ultimately, he can install a communion rail.  That sounds so cool!  (We attended Mass at a parish in Richmond, VA in April that had their communion rail still in place and I was so glad the girls still had the opportunity to kneel to receive the Eucharist like they have at our parish.)  He also mentioned that he tried to find a layout where he could move the choir to the back (we don't have a choir loft), but it was a logistical nightmare...so up at the front they will stay.  Anyway, I am very excited about all of this.  Our parish church was built in the '60's, which means it's a "modern" style, so there are some challenges, but I like how Father has handled those challenges so far. 

10.  Our new associate pastor (newly ordained a month ago) said Mass Sunday morning.  Very cool.  I look forward to all the positive changes having two priests at our parish will bring!

Have a great Monday!!




June 15, 2012

7 Quick Takes - 26




--- 1 ---
I think sometimes there can be an attitude of self-righteousness that pervades our attempts to do good and influence others to live a holy life.  I will go on the record and say that I don't believe reading a book is a sin.  I don't believe reading a book with lots of sin in it is a sin, you're reading a book!  Reading the book is your action.  When we start judging another person's heart based on the fiction they decide to read (especially if we have decided not to read it and don't know what the book is about other than snippets and soundbites), it makes me sad.  It's almost as if there is nothing safe from the "mommy wars" -- even an escape into a good fictional story.


--- 2 ---
Boot Camp is bringing me to Jesus.  Don't believe me, do ya?  Well, on Thursday evening, we did something called Timed Volume.  I would imagine you could do it with any old exercise, but we did it with pushups.  So we do 6 pushups (trainer/coach counts) and then we stay in pushup position "resting" for 6 seconds and then we do 6 pushups, then 6 seconds.  You get how it goes, right?  Well we did that for 6 minutes.  When he said we were halfway through, I realized I needed to do something to keep going.  So, I started thinking about Jesus on the Cross and I reminded myself things could be so much worse.  I had tears and sobs, not to mention sweat, but I just kept working.  I am not going to lie to you...I felt awesome afterward!  Not awesome in, it felt good, but awesome in, "Wow!  I did that!"

--- 3 ---
I've been going to Weight Watchers at work since February.  I did really good and hit 5% milestone a couple of months ago and then everything went to %^&*.  So, I felt like I was starting over a few weeks ago.  I committed to making sure I hit a weekly meeting all the way through the summer.  This shouldn't be hard because I don't have any Thursdays off work until August.  So, I knuckled down.  This past week was cool.  I got 53 activity points.  Part of that is using my new pedometer - that rocks!  The other part is I have worked out consistently.  So, I had a really nice loss to show for it yesterday.  And I can feel something changing.  I know next week will be challenging (due to physical challenges) but I am already telling myself how I don't want to go backward anymore.  So I am already gearing myself up to stay on the wagon.



--- 4 ---
Today is our floor's monthly food day.  I am pep talking myself all over the place to still stay within my daily balance because I have an outing tomorrow where I may have a drink or two and I want to save my "extra" points for that.


--- 5 ---
Speaking of that outing.  I get to meet up with From the Heart's Maggie and NFP and Me's Katie tomorrow!!!!!!!  So excited to finally meet Katie.  We're gonna have some din-din and drinks!  Yay!!!


--- 6 ---
I have kind of hit a rut with motivation at work.  I need to find my mojo again.  But, I've been doing the same thing for 4.5 years.  That is SO not my style.  I like to move around, learn new things.  I have a meeting with a recruiter in 45 minutes.  Pray for me, that I can work together with her to find a path to new adventures around here, if that be what's in store.  I am seriously feeling like I am banging my head against a brick wall and don't have anywhere to go.  I am fairly happy with the work I do, it's just old...and I am ready for something different.

UPDATE - I have a phone interview this afternoon!  Please say some prayers because this might be a great opportunity to get to do something new (and not take a drop in pay, either!)


--- 7 ---
It's Father's Day on Sunday.  Mother's Day and Father's Day are so strange for me.  I never know what cards to get or if I should get a card for my parents.  And then of course, I need to make the day special for Craig who is the most wonderful father to our children.  He is involved in our childrens' lives in so many ways and I am so thankful to have him to share this experience with.  Hope you all have a blessed Father's Day!



For more Quick Takes, visit Jen at Conversion Diary!

June 14, 2012

Wouldn't Want To Be Anywhere Else!

If I were not a Catholic, and were looking for the true Church in the world today, I would look for the one Church which did not get along well with the world; in other words, I would look for the Church which the world hates. My reason for doing this would be, that if Christ is in any one of the churches of the world today, He must still be hated as He was when He was on earth in the flesh. If you would find Christ today, then find the Church that does not get along with the world. Look for the Church that is hated by the world, as Christ was hated by the world. Look for the Church which is accused of being behind the times, as Our Lord was accused of being ignorant and never having learned. Look for the Church which men sneer at as socially inferior, as they sneered at Our Lord because He came from Nazareth. Look for the Church which is accused of having a devil, as Our Lord was accused of being possessed by Beelzebub, the Prince of Devils. Look for the Church which the world rejects because it claims it is infallible, as Pilate rejected Christ because he called Himself the Truth. Look for the Church which amid the confusion of conflicting opinions, its members love as they love Christ, and respect its voice as the very voice of its Founder, and the suspicion will grow, that if the Church is unpopular with the spirit of the world, then it is unworldly, and if it is unworldly, it is other-worldly. Since it is other-worldly, it is infinitely loved and infinitely hated as was Christ Himself."     --Archbishop Fulton Sheen


I haven't ever spent a lot of time wondering what I would do if I weren't Catholic.  I suppose that might be strange.  As a "cradle" Catholic, attending Mass and such was part of my life from an early age.  Even when we fell away from it when I was in high school and then college, I self-identified as Catholic.I was a poorly catechized young adult Catholic, but I felt as though I were Catholic nonetheless.


Interestingly enough, the sentiment found in Archbishop Fulton Sheen's quote above is at the core of why I came to believe fully everything the Catholic church teaches.  I remember when we went to our first Natural Family Planning course.  We learned through the Couple to Couple League and the first session was full of Catholic Theology and a history of all Christian denomination teaching on the topic of birth regulation.  It was where I learned that until 1930, Christianity was united in disapproval of artificial means of birth control.  And, the fact that the Church stood strong and did not waver to the demands of the society of the time to change on the matter struck me not as stubborn or discompassionate, but moreso as something solid, something strong, something true.  


Further reading on the topic, including the Encyclicals Casti Connubii (1930 - in response to the Lambeth Conference, which was the site of the first split) and Humanae Vitae (released July 25, 1968) emboldened my belief and faith that this teaching was indeed not something that could not be changed.  The Catechism seems clear to me regarding the WHY's of the Church's teaching (go check the Catechism here.)  Pope Pius XI and Pope Paul VI clarified beautifully in these two encyclicals.  They did not acquiesce to the popular, but stood by the then-almost-2000 years' teachings of the Church.


The fact is that the Church IS in opposition to the world on many issues.  The Catholic Church has never wavered core magesterial teachings.  


The Catholic Church is, always has been and will continue to be despised, hated, ridiculed, ignored and unpopular.  


Damn, it is good to be Catholic!

June 13, 2012

The Diversity and Inclusion Exercise

I am spending time this year at work going through a series of Diversity and Inclusion workshops. It has been interesting to learn some things about myself and the way I view the world vs. the way others view the world. We had to do a "Discovering Diversity Profile" at the beginning which was interesting.  

Photo Credit Here
During the last seminar we attended, we did a "break out" exercise.  we were placed into three groups of three people each.  My group was made up of a middle-aged, white male dressed in a suit (I'll call him "Suit"), a mid-to-late range age white female (I'll call her "co-worker"), and me. Our facilitator assigned a personality for whom we would list Descriptors and then Thoughts/Feelings.  Our group was assigned "mother of young children".  My awareness was heightened almost immediately.


I want to address mainly what happened in  my group.  But what happened in my group was similar to what happened in the other two groups.  

I had elected to be recorder and write our words on the flip chart.  As such, my teammates were quick to start and I didn't have a lot of time to actually contribute.  As we began coming up with descriptors for "mother of young children" I had to keep reminding Suit that our leader had said "mother of young children" and not "young mother of children."  He seemed to have a hard time keeping it straight...but as the exercise went on, I realized that it told me a lot about his worldview.  The two of them were eager to participate and I hardly got a chance to get a word in.  When I did get a word in, it was never the right one.  Honestly, I was flabbergasted at what they were coming up with to describe a "mother of young children"


Here are some of the descriptors my teammates came up with:

  • unorganized
  • disheveled
  • frazzled
  • always rushed
  • poorly dressed
  • physically out of shape
  • young (Suit refused to let it go.  Apparently if you have young children you must be young.  I am a mother of young children...I am not what we consider young, anymore.)
  • frown/furrowed brow
  • poor
  • dependent
Here were some of the thoughts/feelings of a mother of young children that my group came up with:
  • unhappy
  • insecure
  • tired
  • unfulfilled
...no.  I am not kidding.  It was strange, I kept saying, "You do realize you are describing someone like me." But it made no difference - especially to Suit.  He seemed to think that all "mothers of young children" were stay-at-home moms, that they were economically disadvantaged because of this and there was some question as to the level of education she had.  I said at one point..."if so many moms are stay-at-home moms, then why is there a huge daycare industry?"  He just kind of looked at me like I didn't know what I was talking about and didn't answer.

The point of the exercise was to show that the more descriptive we are of people at the outset of our interactions with them, the more negative we tend to be about them.  Our facilitator could have simply given us "mother" and it most likely would have led to far different results.  Additionally...Lord only knows what might have been on our flip chart paper if she had given us "African American single mother of young children."  As a Catholic wife and mother, I know all too well the assumptions made about me as soon as I mention that I am Catholic and that I have five children.  Wow...wonder what Suit would have said about that!

Obviously, the point was made without getting all that descriptive - which is a bit unsettling about us humans and the way our brains work.

I found it interesting the laughter that accompanied the wider group discussion of my sub-group's descriptors.  Everyone seemed to think it was funny that our group called a mother of young children disorganized and poor, making the assumption she didn't work outside the home and that she MUST be young.  Perhaps some of it was awkward laughter, but no one vehemently disagreed with it except for me.  And most likely I guess that is because I am still in the throes of mother-of-young-children-hood.

Our facilitator said what came out of our group is in line with what many people in our industry believe.  She said that it is kind of ridiculous though because 51% of the workforce at our company are women and she said that "almost 97%" of those are mothers. A somewhat high percentage (though she didn't give it to us) are mothers of young children currently.  Even so, if they were mothers at all, at some point they were mothers of young children and they probably worked during that time.

Suit seemed to be oblivious to the fact the women he works with are mothers, possibly of young children, or perhaps he doesn't work with women at all.  I wanted to ask him..."Are you married?  Do you have children?"  But perhaps he is married and perhaps his wife stayed home with the children, and perhaps they were poorer than he'd like because of that, so that has framed his ideas.  Kind of like the fact that I work outside the home, I am part of a double-income household with young children, therefore my assumption is that I am an example of what a mother of young children looks like.  I've been a mother of young children for 11 years now, and I would imagine, I could be described in any number of ways at any given point in that time.  I think what disturbed me most was how hard it was for the group to come up with positive descriptors.  

The exercise was flipped after we had group discussion and our group was to do descriptors and thoughts/feelings of a father of young children.  Maybe it was because we'd just had discussion and the point of the exercise had been made, but the descriptors of father of young children were much more positive.  Suit threw in "Spiritual Leader of the family" as a descriptor.  The words Strong and Reliable made the list, too.  


My experience could have led me to list words like "abandonment" and "remarried", though that would have gotten a bit more personal than I wanted for a workplace seminar.

When discussion turned to how we could think of all these positive things now, he mentioned that he thought people originally seemed to take the exercise too "personally" (finger pointing at me, right?) and the descriptors he had mentioned when discussing the mother of young children weren't aimed at anyone in particular.  I simply said, "But I think that's the point, isn't it?  That even though you weren't aiming, you were shooting, and the people you interact with everyday could be the very same that you just made assumptions about."

I have thought about this exercise a lot.  I thought about the fact that Suit, who by all appearances, fits into the mold of middle-aged white male, thinks that mothers of young children are poor, unorganized, disheveled, dependent, poor women.  It just really struck me that a man like that really exists.  I simply don't come across men like that on a regular basis on a personal level.  And maybe it was good that I was forced into this interaction so that I had an experience that struck this chord with me so I can be more aware of how my own assumptions might cause me to view others.

I suppose that it surprises me that in 2012, when women are at least half of the workforce, that we have to get past something as stupid as appearing disorganized because we are toting a few kids behind us on Saturday.  Women everywhere are actually so organized that they balance a full-time job, multiple kids extracurricular activities, church commitments, their husband's schedules, exercising, school schedules and even manage to squeeze in some exercise and maybe manage a decent prayer life.

Now when relaying information, though, I am very conscious of my presentation.  I consciously try to use the least amount of descriptors.  When communicating, I feel myself tending toward the bare minimum so that the people can stick to the facts at hand and not cloud their brains with details that don't matter. 

Feel free to share your thoughts on the exercises and whether this blog post made you more aware.  What are your experiences with things like this?

 

June 11, 2012

Monday Mumbles - 31

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It never fails...Monday comes around and inspires me to at least Mumble. :)


1.  I attended the Brothers of the Sun Concert Tour 2012 last night.  I had not been to a country concert in over a decade, but it was lots of fun.  Nothing better than Tim McGraw followed by Kenny Chesney.  Fun!


2.  Not so much fun watching twenty-somethings act like 10-year-olds.


3.  I am contemplating and preparing to publish thoughts on this gem of a song...




4.  So here's a quote for your Monday morning...something to contemplate:
"It's amazing to me how many people think that voting to have the government give poor people money is compassion.  Helping poor and suffering people yourself is compassion.  Voting for our government to use guns to give money to help poor and suffering people is immoral self-righteous bullying laziness.  People need to be fed, medicated, educated, clothed and sheltered.  If we're compassionate, we'll help them, but you get no moral credit for forcing other people to do what you think is right.  there is great joy in helping people, but no joy in doing it at gunpoint." -- Penn Jillette
I saw that on my friend Rebecca's FB page.  I had to ask her who the guy was because I didn't recognize his picture...you know, my life under a rock and all.  LOL


5.  According to google (I admit, I don't know much about Penn and Teller, or keep up with a lot of that stuff), Mr. Jillette is an atheist.  He and I may not be in the same spot on the religious spectrum (I don't agree with this bit here.  Maybe it's because I was born and raised as a Catholic, but I have never felt like I only do good because I fear God.  I think that's part of it, but I also do good because I love God, and love my neighbor).  Anyway, we might also not be in the same spot on the political spectrum.  Regardless, I like what he said there.  


6.  I bought the Weight Watchers pedometer at my meeting last week.  I used to kind of "poo-poo" the idea that it would do anything for me motivation-wise.  But I wore it on Friday and with all the steps I took, (just under 10,000) I added 4-plus miles to my activity for the day which meant I got 3 extra Activity points.  Added those to my boot camp (which was especially hard on Friday evening) and I got 10 activity points for the day!  That felt pretty cool.


7.  Boot camp.  Oh.  Boot camp.  I started going to the evening sessions last week.  The morning sessions were just too late for me to get cleaned up and to work on time, but they have sessions at 5:15, 6:15 and 7:15 each evening, so I made it three times after work last week.  yay me!


8.  Friday's boot camp was especially painful...in a good way.  It was quite possibly the most difficult, most exhausting workout I have ever had in my life.  Not going to lie...I loved it.


9.  The principal of the school called me last week.  He asked me to be on the school board for the upcoming school year.  I said yes.  I am kind of excited to be a part of it.


10.  5 quick sentences on each of my kids:

  • Sarah has volleyball practice today! 
  • Danielle tells me she will pass her swimming level on the test this week.  I hope so!
  • Helen  is reading the Magic Treehouse books.  So cute.
  • Okay, this will be more than one sentence, but I have to share this Dominic story:  He loves to watch the PowerPuff girls.  He came up to me the other night and says, "Mommy, Chemical X will give you the perfect little girl."  And I said, "is that right?  Interesting."  And then he says to me, "Blossom, Bubbles and Buttercup are the perfect little girls."  And I said, "I know you like the PowerPuff Girls."  So, then he says, "You should have used Chemical X on my sisters."  (he was totally serious, too)
  • Vincent is soooooooo close to walking - but crawling is just more efficient.  I have a feeling he's an efficiency guy.

Have a great Monday!

June 6, 2012

You Are Beautiful - A Guest Post!

Today, I am guest posting over at Reflections of A Catholic In Formation!  Please go and check it out!

Beauty.  

They say it's in the eye of the beholder.  I struggle with that saying because it puts the onus on another person's opinion.  These days, as I approach forty, I'm thankful for the wisdom that age often brings.  Because part of that wisdom is the realization that reliance on others' affirmation is time-consuming, pointless and makes me weary.


 

June 4, 2012

Monday Mumbles - 30

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Happy Monday!  Have I done 30 of these?  That kind of jars me awake for some reason.  I will be brief...

1.  Sarah took off for Challenge camp yesterday.  Well, I dropped her off at 4:00 p.m. anyway.  I think she'll enjoy the time away.  I will miss her, but I think she will have a great experience.

2.  A woman with whom I was in sync as we birthed our first four children, is expecting again!  This is her #6 and I was a bit overwhelmed at how happy I was for her.  Our number 5's are about 9 months apart (her numbers 1-4 were all born within 6-8 weeks of my numbers 1-4 -- and get this, she had three boys then a girl and I had three girls then a boy, LOL).  Anyway joy just filled me when she told me and I felt happy about it all day.

3.  Craig and I ran a 10K together on Saturday.  It was fun!  I think that's about as far as I care to run anymore.  I've done the marathon and the half-marathon thing.  For now, I just don't feel the need to train and try to run farther than 10K.  

4.  This race was very hilly!  Probably a good thing I have been running around my home as there are lots of hills there, too.  Probably nothing quite as bad as what Rebecca has to deal with in Morgantown, but hey, the Midwest is anything but free range flatland.

5.  A picture from the Finish Line:
Beer for of-age finishers (Michelob Ultra in case you are wondering...which may not qualify as beer to some of you)
6.  Our world - and some of the heinous things about it - makes me sad sometimes.  And things that aren't taught in history classes or reported by historians make me sad, too.

7.  I feel like I have been waiting forever for Vincent to start walking.  He's the first of my children to crawl and so I just figured that meant he'd get going walking pretty quick.  But he's been crawling for almost 4 months now and he is so fast, that I think it discourages him from walking. Here is a picture of him playing at his tool bench.  Several times he stood there without touching the bench and bouncing around on his legs and dancing that I thought maybe he'd take a step or two toward me.  But he didn't.


8.  Please pray for a special intention with regard to my work.  I can't go into detail, but I sure would appreciate your prayers.

9.  And if you don't mind...maybe another one with regard to Craig's scheduling opportunity with his work.  Again, no details at this time, but would appreciate prayers with regard to some possible changes.

10.  Swimming lessons for Dani and Helen start today!  They are excited and so am I.  I was a natural in the pool, but neither Sarah or Dani seem to have this gift.  I'm interested to see what happens with li'l Helen.  She is built a lot like her momma, and I'd really be excited if one of my kids takes affinity to the sport.

Have a great Monday!!