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January 30, 2013

When My Mind Wanders...

This random post brought to you by preggo-brain.  Sometimes when I am suffering my anxiety of an unsure world, I need to take solace in the happy things my mind can dwell on.

When my mind wanders these days...

...I'm done with pregnancy and pulling this old body back together

...I get pool time and can swim any time I want

...I can walk for miles and climb stairs for days

...I can run 13.1 in sub-2 hours

...and not only survive but KILL IT for 45 minutes of Boot Camp

When my mind wanders to places long ago forgotten...

...I'm recording "kills" and "aces" on the volleyball court

...and shooting the game winning baseline jumper

...and winning my one and only individual swimming event, 11-12 100 Yd Individual Medley

When my mind wanders into the future...

...I'm taking Sarah shopping for a Homecoming gown

...I'm attending a solo performance by my kick-ass guitar-vocalist, Dani

...I'm crying happy tears while my baby girl, Helen, receives her first Holy Communion

...watching Dominic win the State spelling bee

...peeking through my fingers to watch as Vincent takes a jump/fall on a bungee cord

...holding an as-yet-unknown-to-me child in my arms

When my mind dreams big dreams...

...one of my children enters a convent or a seminary and devotes his or her life to God

...there are graduations, and ambitions, and weddings, and grand-babies

...Craig and I come to a place so filled with love and memories, 
that even though it's "empty"...it's not


January 25, 2013

7 Quick Takes - 40

--- 1 ---

It's the day for the March for Life!  Since the MSM won't be covering any of it, it's probably good if as many of us out on the interwebz make sure as many people as possible know about it.  I would imagine my readership already knows about it, but just in case you didn't....guarantee there are LOTS of people on the Mall in DC today marching for Life.  I know of several "big kids" from families around me are there.  I really want to go some day.  I might go in a year or two and take Sarah.  She should be old enough then to be able to handle everything that goes on there (I'm not a big fan of graphic images depicting abortion, even though I know the only way to fight it is to bring it out in the open, I need to make sure my kid is ready to see that sort of thing).
--- 2 ---

Pretty eventful week around here.  On Wednesday I suffered a 90 minute bout with a chest pain that flared from chest to back.  It was alarming enough that I called the doc (who is out of the office on Wednesdays, yay!)  The docs at the practice ordered me to the ER and paged my doc so he'd know what's going on.  He called me ahead of my trip to the ER to prep me for what I could/should ask for and what to avoid (i.e., try to figure something out using ultrasound on legs and progress slowly to things involving radiation and opt for CT Scan over VQ Scan...stuff like that)

--- 3 ---

I left work to go to the ER around 12:30 and didn't leave the ER until around 5:45!  Word...CT scans are scary.  They put a shield under me and two over my abdomen but I was still frightened to tears about whether it would harm the baby while it was going on.  Once all that was over and they determined I had not had a heart attack and I did not have any blood clots in my lungs (or anywhere else!) I was sent home with instructions to follow-up with my doctor.
--- 4 ---
I worked from home on Thursday, Yay for awesome bosses who understand that I can be productive even if they don't see me there!!  I had my follow-up and the doctor ruled out anxiety reasons and things like gall bladder inflammation.  He said it could have been reflux.  I thought it was weird, but he said that if it happens again, he'll probably prescribe an antacid for me to take.  then if it still happens, we'll have to look into other causes.

And then I asked him to listen to the heartbeat for the baby because that CT scan was scary and I just wanted the reassurance.  So he did.  And baby was on the move!  But we finally got it nailed down and hearbeat was 130. Good and strong, and...I'll let you in on my hunch -- I'm thinking another boy.  My girls were always higher...up in the 160's.  Dominic was usually in the 120's and Vincent was usually 135 (neither of my boys ever went over 140).  So...perhaps the ultrasound will prove me wrong in a few weeks, but there is my hunch.  :)

--- 5 ---

And the doctor's office JUST called and said I can stop the progesterone injections!!! Yay!!!

--- 6 ---
Ok, back to abortion awareness.  I read a few posts this week that I wanted to link to here that I think would be good to review if you care about this issue:

Calah at Barefoot and Pregnant:  There Is No Freedom In This Choice
Rae at There Is No Wealth But Life:  I Don't Trust The Pro-Life Movement
Bad Catholic and his response to this evil, diabolical ad: Happy 40th Anniversary, Baby

--- 7---
Cold weather and me -- nyeh...don't really get along.  My skin dries out, I shiver and my teeth chatter and because I like to have a managable energy bill, we layer up in our house instead of spiking the thermostat.  The thing is, that I do like it to get cold for a good period each year because I am really not a fan of bugs -- especially the kind that get bigger and bigger because it didn't get cold enough to kill them off in the winter.  So, I guess you could say I have a love-hate relationship with the cold.  This week has been bitterly cold in Kansas City.  Not as cold as Minnesota or some place like that.  But still, pretty darn cold.  with that being said...I am READY for SPRING!!!!! 

How about you?

Be sure to visit Jen at Conversion Diary for more 7 Quick Takes

January 22, 2013

The Deafening Silence

It has been 40 years since the landmark Supreme Court decision, Roe v. Wade, made abortion legal in this country. 

 I turn 40 years old later this year.

Ever since I was old enough to make the correlation that my birthday was the same year as the year abortion became legal in this country, it has stuck with me.  My mother could have aborted me.

I am a member of Generation X...a generation cut in half from previous generations because of legalized and widespread use of contraception and because of legalized abortion.  My generation can never make a difference like the Baby Boomers.  We are too small, therefore we are ignored.  We are silent, because half of us are missing.

We live in a world where science has confirmed that something new with its own DNA is created at the moment of conception, yet we lack the conviction to stand up for these human beings and allow them to be born. We live in a society where more and more people believe it is wrong to kill an unborn child, but no one wants to tell anyone else what to do.  We live in a world where someone who shoots and kills a pregnant woman and the baby she carries can be convicted for two homicides, yet we ensure the right of a woman to enlist the services of an abortionist to terminate an unborn human being with no consequence.  We live in a country where we are told a woman must have this choice and we bill it as a choice, but the reality is that the women who show up for an abortion usually claim that they have no choice. 

I often wonder what a full-fledged Generation X could have done in this country when we never had the chance. What friends might I have made, given the opportunity? Sadly, many people of my generation are missing siblings.  I know the option was given to my mother on a couple of different occasions with my younger siblings...thank God she did not go that route. How different would the landscape be if we were all here?

Many studies about Gen X discuss how we are the most let-down generation in history...and it all started with the fact that so many of our parents aborted us. 

Obviously, Generation Y and all the generations subsequent to mine can claim the same.  There have been 50,000,000 children slaughtered in this country in the one place that should be the safest for them -- their mother's womb.  Lord have mercy.

Today, I will pray for the millions of children who never get a chance to live.  Most Holy Innocents, pray for us.  Most Immaculate Heart of Mary, pray for us.  Most Sacred Heart of Jesus, have mercy on us.


January 21, 2013

Monday Mumbles - 38

Happy Martin Luther King, Jr. holiday! I'm happy to be spending this Monday NOT at work. :)

Are you doing anything special for the day?  Me?  I have Dominic's 4-year-checkup and Vincent's 18-mo checkup, but not much else going on.

1.  One thing I didn't do very well with the last five babies was take belly shots.  So, I thought I would do better this time, in case it's my last shot at it.

2.  Here is the belly at 13 weeks:

3.  Okay, so there you go.  I wish I could get over disliking photos of myself.  But the damage runs so deep I just don't think I'll ever get there.

4.  Took the girls to the skating rink Sunday evening and got some good mom-time with a couple of other moms there.  That was nice.

5.  Here are the pictures I snapped.  It's times like this I start noticing how grown up my girls are looking.

Helen -- these little "helpers" are pretty cool...

Sarah (in the pink)

Dani while upright -- poor girl took quite a few tumbles
6.  Before the skating rink, Sarah had volleyball practice.  They worked her quite a bit on setting today...

7. The 40th anniversary of the Roe v. Wade decision legalizing abortion in this country is January 22. It is not lost on me that I was born the very same year. More on this on Wednesday...

8.  Turning 4 was a monumental occasion for Dominic.  On Friday, he tried to give me trouble about going to school.  He said he belonged in Mrs. P's class because he was now 4.  I told him he is still in Mrs. T's class and the fact that he turned 4 had no bearing on that.  He was not impressed.

9.  So, it's been on my mind quite a bit what we are going to do when Sarah goes to high school.  We have a decent school district and a wonderful Catholic high school to choose from.  It feels so stressful because I really do believe when we decide for Sarah, we will decide for the whole lot of the kids.  

10.  We really need to figure out some way to make every weekend a 3-day weekend.  At least for work.  I don't care about the kids getting 3 day weekends necessarily.  I mean, we are heading into February and my kids don't go to school for a full week the entire month (omgoodness, I'm going to have to have a gripey post about that at some point.  Every February, it ticks me off for some reason.)

Okay!  Enjoy your Monday!

January 18, 2013

7 Quick Takes - 39

--- 1 ---

I am tired, y'all.  Oh. so. tired.  Sometimes, I fear this is what I do at work:

--- 2 ---

I am pretty sure I've been caught yawning...:

--- 3 ---

No lie, on Wednesday night, this was me about 2 seconds after walking in the door after work:

--- 4 ---
And I hardly moved from the couch all night.  Craig brought me dinner, but I did rise off the couch and go into the kitchen to eat.  Craig got the kids ready for bed.  


Okay, enough about that.  Ahem.

--- 5 ---

So, remember I told you all Monday was my first OB appointment?  I hadn't had an opportunity to hear the heartbeat yet.  And, I gotta tell you all, I was nervous the past 8 weeks or so wondering if ultimately, I would hear only one heartbeat.  I wasn't real vocal about my nervous anxiety about twins this go round, but as irrational as it was...it was there.

So, after sitting through the initial info-gathering portion of the appointment answering questions about previous deliveries, prior pregnancy issues, etc., the doctor finally grabbed that doppler thingy and I was all "okay, this is it..."

I mentioned my irrational anxiety to the doctor as he prepared the doppler and he was kind of like:
--- 6 ---
The doc put the doppler on my tummy and immediately I heard the swoosh-swoosh-swoosh and:
...sweet relief!

--- 7---
Then it was very clear that there was only ONE heartbeat.  And while the blessing of twins is definitely something awesome indeed, I still felt like this:

January 16, 2013

My Little Buddy is 4 Years Old Today!

Happy Birthday, Dominic!

Four years ago, you were born on a snowy, wintery day. You are my first son. From the minute they left you alone on the warmer, and you were alert, but quiet, and you draped your leg over the edge like you were just "hanging out, dude"... from that moment, I knew you were a laid back kid. I had a hunch you would be "just like your daddy" and you really are in so many respects.

 For starters, you're the spittin' image:

All of my boys in Nov 2012
Dominic at 3 years 11 months


I have been known to say that I carried you in my womb for 9+ months, but that's pretty much the only obvious way to tell you're not a Craig-Clone. :)

But not only are you a look-alike model of your daddy, you are compassionate and sweet and oh-so-smart! You have a wit that most people would die for. You find the perfect opportunity to say something funny and you make people laugh. You are happy and full of beautiful life!

You have taught me so much.

You started preschool this year...wow!

Dominic all ready for his 1st day of preschool!
Dominic with his preschool teacher

You have such a way with people and it's amazing because you are so young!  You like to make faces...
Dominic's "Home Alone" face

Dominic's pensive look

You enjoy yourself and you are a pretty cool cat...

I could never have imagined all the blessings bestowed on our family because you are here. You're a wonderful baby brother to your sisters and a loving big bro to Vincent. You're a sensitive boy who avoids getting in trouble or having to sit in time-out. 

You have the sweetest demeanor about you...

yes, it seems like it is ALL. THE. TIME.

Happy Birthday, Little Buddy.  

Your mommy loves you more than you could ever know.  

You're gonna knock 'em dead as a 4-year-old!

January 14, 2013

Monday Mumbles - 37

It's Monday again! Funny thing about Mondays...they always come back around. I haven't mumbled in a few weeks, but we had a "happenin'" weekend, so I thought I'd share!

1.  At 8:30 a.m. CT today, I'll be having my first OB appointment.  Pray that the heartbeat is strong and easy to find?  :)

2.  Our weekend was crazy!  Crazy! 

3.  Sarah's first club volleyball tournament was Saturday.  First and foremost:  it was a blast!  I had so much fun watching her play.

4.  I'm very proud of her with how much she's improved since the end of our school league play.  She's now serving overhand (regularly and reliably) nice and strong.  She's also getting a good feel for setting the ball and giving her teammates good looks for hits.

5.  Pool play was 2 games against each team in the pool and I will do a little bit of momma-bragging and say that the three losses did not come when my baby girl was on the court.  (is that wrong of me?)  And, the last game in pool play that they won, Sarah was the player serving 3 straight points for the win!!  I was so proud!!

6.  She was exhausted Saturday.  Just to give you an idea:  we arrived at 7:00 a.m. at the venue, they started pool play at 8:00, they played all through pool play and made it to the playoffs, they played the playoffs and then had to referee the next game after they lost and we were finally on our way home around 5:30 p.m.

7.  I was exhausted, too!  It's hard to sit on those benches all day long.  I loved watching my kid play, but my butt was sore from those bleachers.  Note to self:  Must get cushy-seat-thingy.

8.  Sunday, she still had volleyball practice and her coach worked them hard.  (I have a girl-coach-crush on her coach:  she is the kind of coach I want for my daughter because she is tough and she works them hard and she doesn't take any nonsense!)

9.  My volleyball player!!

10.   We booked our lodging for our vacation over spring break!  We are actually going to have a family vacation for the first time in 3 years!  I'm excited!!!

January 11, 2013

7 Quick Takes - 38 (Pregnancy Update Edition)

--- 1 ---

I told my boss Monday about the impending arrival of Baby Hughes #6.  It went well.  She seemed genuinely happy (it wasn't a canned "Congratulations" with the look on her face like she was racking her brain trying to be sure she had an appropriate response -- yay!)  My boss is one of six children herself (and a twin, to boot!) so she seems to "get" a large family, even though she didn't opt for one herself. 

--- 2 ---

Following Monday...and Tuesday...I finally said to myself:  "Self, it's time to bust out the maternity wear."  So Wednesday, I started wearing maternity clothes and I'm oh-so-happy I'm not stuffing myself into my regular clothes anymore.  yay!  I do have a rather larger-than-I-remember-for-12-weeks bump, but I'm sure that's just my fatty showing through.  That's okay...it won't be long and I'll start feeling this little baby move around and I can just not worry about my inner fatty for a few more months.
--- 3 ---

Oh!  I missed my scheduled first OB appointment last Friday.  Brilliant, right?  Well, to be honest, I hadn't a clue it was actually scheduled!  They called me an hour after it was scheduled to tell me I'd missed it and to reschedule.  I had just been wondering that morning, "hmm, I guess I should call and make my first OB appointment..."  Anyway, it is now scheduled for Monday morning.
--- 4 ---

My children keep asking when we will find out the gender of the baby.  Last night, on the way to swim practice, Dani asked me and I said, "Oh...probably March or April sometime."  She was very disappointed and told me, "Mom I just want to know whether I'm praying for a baby brother or a baby sister."  <heart melts>
--- 5 ---

Some good news is that I was able to lower my dosage of Progesterone from 200 mg twice a week to 100 mg twice a week.  They didn't actually give me the number from my last bloodwork, though, so I am not sure whether it climbed or my doctor just figured I was getting to the end of the 1st trimester, so it was time to coerce my body into trying to let the placenta take over.  Chances are my number did go up, but I really wish I had pushed the issue and asked.

--- 6 ---

Once I started wearing maternity clothes at work, other folks got in the know about my pregnancy.  It's interesting reading people's facial expressions and listening to what they say.  One woman at work, (actually the same woman from this conversation) looked at me in disbelief and then she said, "You know, as a person who is childless by choice, it's just hard for me to fathom."  I get that.  I did tell her all about how Craig and I entered marriage thinking (again, not unlike many young couples, I would guess) kids weren't a huge priority.  Yeah, she didn't get that either.

--- 7---

Pregnancy fatigue...is...well, it's just exhausting.  It is interesting to me that I basically felt very rested and caught up on sleep when I went to work Monday, but this week has so drained me that I fell asleep at Dani's swim practice last night.  And this morning, I literally dragged myself into the shower and around the house as I got ready for work, praising God it was Friday.  Of course, tomorrow will be a tiring day as it's Sarah's first volleyball tournament (these things are all day things).  Also, the older I get, the less energy I get in the 2nd trimester.  I almost worry that this time around, it will be non-existent.  Give me a few weeks and I'll let you know.

Today, Jennifer is feeling well enough host 7 Quick Takes.  We are keeping Jennifer in your prayers, and we are encouraged by her recovery thus far.  Be sure to check out Conversion Diary for more Quick Takes!

January 9, 2013

10 Coping Strategies: WOTHM with Children Preschool to 5th grade

Mandi and Jamie found themselves in situations where they would have to go back to work after being at home to mother their little ones. They wrote blogposts (Mandi's here, Jamie's here) sharing coping strategies to share what had worked for them when they found it hard to be away from their babies.

As I read them I realized that I have something to share in this regard myself, only now with older children. Some of those coping strategies have evolved to enable me to stay sane during the preschool all the way through the elementary years.  And as I thought about it, it made sense that these coping strategies would evolve because the needs of my children and my own needs have matured as my children grew older and our family grew in size.

In addition to helping me cope, some of these strategies actually helped me to stay engaged with my children, their schoolwork, their social activities and the parents at the school.  I work hard to stay involved at our parish school:  I have been on the Parent-Teacher-Organization Board, I have volunteered at just about anything where volunteers were needed, and I am currently on the School Board.  Our family is visible at many church and school events -- and that is intentional.  I do it to stay engaged, but it helps me to see the fruits of my labor of working outside the home.

Here are 10 Coping Strategies for a WOTHM of children in pre-school through elementary (usually 5th grade) that I have found useful.

1.  School Pictures -- get them taken and buy at least a sheet of wallets so you can take them to work and show them off.  It's best to do it every year so you have updates.  The children change so quickly in a year, it's important to have a current picture of them with you.  Yes, I'm THAT mom -- the one who brings pictures of her kids around to show everyone at work, whether they care or not.  It helps me to share my family with the people at work because it helps me to have that connect to my children during work hours. 

2.  Field Trips -- Find out as far in advance  as possible about the "big" field trips and try to make sure you can make one of them.  You won't be able to make everything, and as disappointing as it is to miss, sometimes getting in the one really cool one makes up for it.  It's always fun if you can manage to arrange a PTO day so you can be off work to attend something like an apple orchard with your preschooler, or a special spring trip with one of your elementary age children, sometimes it can make all the difference in how you're feeling about your role as a WOTHM.

3.  School Work -- Stay on top of their grades (once they start earning letter grades).  Most schools have online systems now where parents can log in at any time and see the grades recorded for their students.  The fact that I congratulate my 3rd grader after I see she got a 100% on a D.O.L. quiz sometimes makes all the difference to her.  She's thrilled that I know what she did recently.  For the preschoolers and Kindergartners, cherish those handmade crafts that come home!  I try to rotate every few months what I have on display at work.  For 1st and 2nd graders, try to spend some time having them read to you every night.  Staying connected to their school work goes a long way in alleviating some of the guilt and pressure felt from working outside the home full-time.  And it does not go unnoticed by your littles that you know what's going on with them.

4.  Special Opportunities -- Stop in and have lunch with your child periodically.  It's not always possible, but I try at least once a school year to surprise my children by dropping in while they are at lunch.  I can sit down and talk to them about their day and lots of times, their friends tell you all about their days, too.  :)  In the lower elementary grades, the teachers are often quite open to having an adult reader visit the class to read a story.  I have done this sporadically, too.  Being present on school grounds during the day provides a connection for your children, too.

5.  Ask About Their Day -- Allow the kids ample time to tell you all about their day.  Sometimes, it is difficult at the end of a long day at work to wait as your child recounts every last little detail about their day (for example, my Helen likes to start with entering the classroom and doing her "morning work," bathroom breaks, recess, and everything all the way to coming out to be picked up by her daddy).  But, let them tell you everything anyway.  They want to share the time they are away from you -- they believe you miss them just as much as they miss you (and of course, they are right!!)  You can often get invaluable information this way, too.  For example, I learn who my children sit with at lunch, what they do at recess as well as what they did in religion class that day. 

6.  Share Your Day -- Tell your children about your day.  I often start by telling my children that I missed them, but then I let them know what kept me busy all day.  I try to let them in on what I ate for lunch and whether I took a break to walk the stairs.  I try to relate the things I do to the things they do.  Lunch time is my break time.  I go to meetings where I have to sit, be quiet and listen/learn, just like they have to sit, be quiet and listen/learn their subjects in school.

7.  Cherish the Time You Have -- Make the most of the evening.  The kids are at school all day, you are at work all day, you both get home and have some time together in the evenings.  We have dinner together.  On the nights we don't have extra activities, if homework is done, we'll play a game (just the other night, my girls and I played Scrabble before bedtime).  Keep the TV off.  The rule in our house during the school year is there is no TV in the evenings on school nights.  It's amazing the difference it makes.  We play games, or we read or we just hang out and I braid my girls' hair after their showers. 

8.  Parents of Kids in Your Kids' Classes, Get To Know Them! -- Knowing the parents helps you to know the kids, somewhat.  For younger elementary kids, this can provide outlets for play dates or other social gatherings.  As the kids get older, arranging rides to events (especially helpful for parents of large families!) or finding some compatible and positive friend time becomes easier by working with the parents you know.  You probably won't know all the parents to the same degree, but being involved and learning what makes the parents tick can help you help your child build positive relationships at school.  This is more of a "get involved" strategy than coping, but you never know!  I have been surprised more than once at how I've clicked with a mom of one of my kids' friends.  I truly believe I've made some lifelong friends in some of the parents of my children's classmates.

9.  Get Involved! -- Find out what you can do to be involved...and commit to being involved.  It's so easy as a WOTHM to make the excuse that you're just too busy to volunteer for this or that.  I don't volunteer for everything, but I step in where I can.  At first I didn't realize what a difference intentionally getting involved and volunteering while maintaining my hectic schedule would make to the way I felt about my vocation.  Many people I encounter tell me they have no idea how I have time to do the extra that I do.  Honestly, sometimes I wonder myself.  But just like anything else (exercise, studying) if I put it on the calendar, I get there.  Classroom parties are a joint effort between my husband and me.  And at this point only one time have we completely flopped on that.  I am on the school board, and when our church has events, I offer to help in many different ways.  I've baked 3 dozen cookies to help with a reception after our parish's Mass and procession on the Feast of Our Lady of Mt. Carmel.  I've signed up for and provided meals to post-partum mothers, grieving families, or any other family in crisis.  I've coordinated our parish's Humanae Vitae Mass two years in a row.  Being involved in this way ensures I know many people in our parish and many parents of children in our school.  Doing these things helps me to avoid resentment at my role as a WOTHM.

10. Pray -- Pray with your families at meal times and bed times. Teach your children to pray.  Allow them to "God bless" anyone they want.  Encourage them to lay their days and nights at the feet of Jesus.  Pray on your own.  Join prayer circles so that you are aware when a need arises for extra prayer.  Pray the Rosary, if that helps.  Having a person and/or an intention adds purpose to your prayer and engaging in purposeful prayer brings peace.  

These things have helped me to get through my first 11.5 years of being a WOTHM.  I have to trust they will help me through the next 20 years.

What are some ways that you carry out your role as a WOTHM faithfully and joyfully?

January 3, 2013

7 Quick Takes - 37

--- 1 ---

Please pray for Jennifer Fulwiler, our weekly host of this great link-up.  She was in the hospital and had 2 pulmonary embolisms in her lungs.  She was discharged Thursday night to treat the clot at home, praise God!!  She is pregnant and due in May.  Her saint for 2013 is St. Michael the Archangel, so please ask for his intercession on her behalf.

--- 2 ---

We had a beautiful Christmas!  We love to take pictures of the kids in front of the Christmas Tree.  I found this particular sequence amusing:

My pretty girl, Sarah

My Dani-girl
Helen!  With Curls!!
Handsome boy, Dominic!

Yes, when his Daddy said, "Vincent let's take a picture!" Vincent lay down face-first and threw a fit.
--- 3 ---

Helen lost her second top front tooth!  Oh my gosh, she is so cute.  I just can't stand it.

--- 4 ---

Sarah got contact lenses a few weeks ago.  She really only cares to wear them to play volleyball.  But what a difference it has made for her to wear them as opposed to the sport glasses she used to wear.  She's gotten so much better!!  I'm sure the added height and weight doesn't hurt, but I think the fact that she can see and has peripheral vision makes a huge difference.  The other night she served 6 overhand serves in a row in a scrimmage!!  Very proud of how hard she is working.

--- 5 ---

The principal at my Catholic grade school passed away New Year's Day.  This woman was a blessing to our family in many ways.  She was there for my  mom when my mom was struggling.  The sisters lived across the street from us and would watch out for us all the time.  I am going to try and make the prayer service tonight.  The funeral will be crazy busy, so I'm thinking it might be better to make the prayer service.

--- 6 ---

I used Jen Fulwiler's random saint generator to get a saint for 2013 that I could pray to ask intercession.  I thought about it and I clicked the button.  Up came St. Clare of Assisi.  As I read the little information available about her on the bio I found, I was amazed at how these things work.  First of all last week, I was thinking about gender and what name we might use if we had a girl and Clare popped into my head, just crazy-like.  I had never considered Clare before, but for some reason, the name popped up as I was thinking about it.  And, St. Clare of Assisi is a patron saint of laundry workers (what is a mother of 6, if not a laundry worker, right?) and also a patron of embroiderers, eye disease, eyes, goldsmiths, telephones, televisions and television writers.  Her feast day is August 11.  I am planning to get a book about her life to read very soon.

--- 7---

Poor little Vincent has been suffering a bout of pneumonia this week.  The good news is I think he is on the mend because last night he was kicking his high chair and squealing and seemed to enjoy the fact he was irritating Dani.  Also, Wednesday night was the first night in over 2 weeks that I got at least 2 hours of good sleep.  So, I feel a little better, but I am praying for a few more nights (at least!) with good sleep.

Today, Hallie Lord at Moxie Wife is hosting 7 Quick Takes for Jennifer.  Be sure to keep Jennifer in your prayers.   Thank you, Hallie for hosting! 

January 2, 2013

Incarnation - Crucifixion: The Mystery of Christ's Life

During the days leading up to Christmas, I read a piece of writing reflecting on the idea that Jesus was  born to die, and contesting with the notion that Jesus was only born to live for us.  The writer wrote that he was “sad that anyone could reduce the mystery of incarnation to the tragedy of crucifixion.” 
I bookmarked the piece and thought about it for the past few weeks.  Why does it not bother me to think of Jesus’ birth as simply the means to his death?  I celebrate Jesus’ birth fully and am overcome with gratitude that my Lord and Savior humbled himself to become like me – a human – though he retained his divine nature.  Do I consider his death to be more important than his life?  Why do I pair his crucifixion with his Incarnation as though they are equal and desirable pieces to the puzzle of my faith?
A recent e-mail in my inbox titled “Read the Catechism in a Year” (day 76) contained a Catholic perspective on this very topic that I’d like to share with you:
The Catechism states [in Part 1:  The Profession of Faith, Chapter 2: I believe in Jesus Christ, the Only Son of God, Article3, Paragraph 3 (pertaining to The Mysteries of Christ’s Life)]:
512     Concerning Christ’s life the Creed speaks only about the mysteries of the Incarnation (conception and birth) and Paschal mystery (passion, crucifixion, death, burial, descent into hell, resurrection and ascension).  It says nothing explicitly about the mysteries of Jesus’ hidden or public life, but the articles of faith concerning his Incarnation and Passover do shed light on the whole of his earthly life.  “All that Jesus did and taught, from the beginning until the day when he was taken up to heaven”, is to be seen in the light of the mysteries of Christmas and Easter. (emphasis, mine)
We do have some stories of Jesus’ life in the Gospels, but those stories that are present in the Gospels are written down “so that you may believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God, and that believing you may have life in his name.”  As humans, we desire to see Jesus more as the “man” and less like the “God” but our faith, as Catholic Christians, is that he was equally man and God, therefore, we cannot make one nature greater than the other.  Only God could endure the suffering Jesus did, no mere man.  I think these assertions that we should focus more on the fact that Jesus came to live for us, as it is put in the article, are more like attempts to mold God into our image, as opposed to maintaining the truth that man is made in God’s image.
It is not a natural human inclination, to dwell on the death of our Savior.  As humans we eschew all that is pain and suffering and cling to anything that makes us feel good.  However, just because we, as humans, have a hard time understanding that Jesus’ suffering through His passion and death was freely chosen by Him and lovingly endured in order to save us from our sins doesn’t mean that it isn’t truly the point of his coming.  What other point was there for him to take on humanity?  The author of the article contends that it was to show us how to live.  I would contend that God had been doing that for centuries before Jesus’ coming.  Did He not provide the Ten Commandments to Moses?
And while I understand the desire to focus more on the life of Christ rather than his death,  the honest truth of the matter is that most of Jesus’ life is not written down anywhere for us to reference and learn about.  The Catechism speaks to this as well:
I.                    CHRIST’S WHOLE LIFE IS MYSTERY
514     Many things about Jesus of interest to human curiosity do not figure in the Gospels.  Almost nothing is said about his hidden life at Nazareth, and even a great part of his public life is not recounted.  (emphasis, mine) What is written in the Gospels was set down there “so that you may believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God, and that believing you may have life in his name.”
I’m not sad when I see a message reminding me that Jesus was born to die.  I know what He died for and that I’m not worthy.  Jesus’ death and resurrection is not tragic – it is beautiful.  And I believe it has every bit of a place paired with his Incarnation.  His death and resurrection brings the greatest purpose of all to His coming.  Earth, to my understanding, cannot compete with the beauty of heaven.
We celebrate His birth, not because he died, but because he humbled himself to become man at all. We celebrate His death, not because we're masochistic and that 33 years of his life were meaningless, but because his death was the Victory over sin and death itself. We celebrate Jesus as our savior because life on Earth is NOT eternal life, it is temporal and it is not free of suffering and sacrifice and we look toward the life after death in union with our Creator.
I DO believe Jesus came to live for us, but my faith remains that the death and resurrection of Jesus conquered sin and death once and for all and is the only reason for him to humble himself to humanity at all.  And THAT is why I celebrate the Crucifixion alongside the Incarnation.