Archive for January, 2009

Welcome new readers!!!

I’ll be updating my blogroll soon with all of you new readers. Thank you for adding my blog!!!

To let you know more about me, I’m cutting and pasting from that dreaded Facebook “25 Things about Me” meme. Please feel free to introduce yourself and share more about who you are, too!

1. I am a consummate romantic who believes that anything worthwhile in life is simultaneously in harmony with who you are and requires you to change. This true for me as a Catholic, as a wife and as a mother.

2. Point 1 is partially because I lean Chestertonian, especially in that I am highly suspect of the concept that people should believe in themselves. Ever watch American Idol? Believing in yourself isn’t enough. Believing in truth, though, particularly a personified truth that you reach out to in love is worth everything in the world.

3. I am exceptionally hard on myself, and am starting to accept that this is not a virtue.

4. I have spent the last nearly 5 years of my life continuously pregnant or nursing our children.

5. Two of my children were born at home with a midwife, in our kitchen. I believe that birth is a natural, human event that can offer tremendous spiritual benefits if you are willing to embrace it.

6. In labor with our most recent baby, we played LIFE until well into labor. Ironically during this game I had no children.

7. I do not like cheese.

8. I have no use for any religion or relationship that doesn’t require me to change. I am well aware that I am flawed, and am profoundly grateful for relationships that hold me accountable to be a better human being.

9. I bake enough home cooked food that I can taste the preservatives in prepared food now.

10. I am hypermobile. This means my joints are all really flexible, so my back goes out of alignment all the time.

11. I love French Impressionism. I could live in Musee D’Orsay and be a very happy woman.

12. I have asthma.

13. I wish I had learned to play the piano.

14. I wear the Brown Scapular.

15. I get cold very easily, and have a warm brown sweater as defense against the New York cold.

16. I would like to have at least one more daughter.

17. I could not care less about going to a high school reunion.

18. I read a ton of books.

19. I hate video games and anything that is noisy without a purpose.

20. I am not afraid of death.

21. I have tried to kill Texas cockroaches by swinging at them with a metal baseball bat.

22. My children are the most precious elements of my life.

23. I have never used drugs.

24. I believe that faith and reason are always in harmony with eachother.

25. I know exactly how lucky I am to have the marriage I have, through difficulties and triumphs. I think that the literary couple we most closely resemble would be Anne and Gilbert from Anne of Green Gables. Or at least that’s my best guess, given how frequently I whacked Steve over the head with my Western Civ textbook.


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Love is patient

Well, evidently God had different plans, or at least I’m more readily seeing part of the plan God has for teaching me how to be like Him.  Evidently “patience” is on the docket for this week… month…. year… decade???????


Sassy, our almost 2 year old, has a new favorite word: boo-BOO.  The accent is on the second syllable, and she’s said it at least 15 times so far.  It’s only 10 am.  


Needless to say, this has gotten really old really quickly, no matter how cute it was at first.  This is especially true given that at least 90% of these “boo BOOs” are fictional.  As a way to keep from going nutty, I’ve started complaining to my husband about boo BOOs.  With rolled eyes and frustration brimming in my voice, there have been an awful lot of times this week where my response has become teasing “Oh God… boo BOO…” in an attempt to get sympathy for being the mother of a two year old who cries over imagined boo BOOs.


The truth is that I don’t deserve any sympathy for having been given the gift of being the mother to a beautiful little girl and while the boo boos might be imagined, Sassy’s tears are real and that matters more than all the aggravation I can muster.  She has a far greater claim on my patience and kindness than what I have been willing to give her.  It’s funny how virtues go together, and how being at home with my children gives me innumberable opportunities to practice patience, kindness, and so many other virtues necessary to the life in Christ.


I’ve heard people say that they could never stay home with their kids, and I know that for some people that is not what God has called them to do.  However, home is the right place for me to be, in particular because of the inherent challenges of coming to grips with human weaknesses and sin (particularly my own) on a regular basis.  Maintaining love, or at least the appearances of it, is easy if you spend not very much time together but I get the privilege of helping to form my children every hour of the day into the people God is calling them to be, and having that work help me on my path towards personal sanctity.  


And so I will kiss boo BOOs without anger or impatience, knowing that Sassy will grow out of this and find a new favorite word or activity, and being grateful for the opportunity to learn patience and kindness at my daughter’s tiny hands.

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Over on HancAquam, Fr. Philip invited his readers to repudiate the reversal of the Mexico City Policy.  Part of sainthood means speaking against evil so that lies do not go unopposed.  As a Catholic mother, and someone who has experienced a sort of disenfranchised maternity, I feel a sense of responsibility to speak against the statements made by Ms. Pelosi.

In keeping with my effort to “rejoice in the truth” I’m trying to make a habit of actually writing to elected officials when they are in error instead of just grousing about it, so I did write an email to Ms. Pelosi regarding her statements and including contraception in an economic stimulus package.  I call upon all Catholics, but particularly Catholic mothers, to speak out against this hostility towards women and children.

Here is what I emailed in:

Dear Speaker Pelosi,

Frankly, I’m quite alarmed at the joining together of a “new era of responsibility” with your push for contraception. That such a move should come from a Catholic woman is beyond a disappointment. How about making reliable programs for student mothers to complete their educations without sacrificing motherhood? To support contraception without supporting motherhood is not pro-choice: it is an attack against the poor. You’re not reducing poverty, you’re reducing poor people and there is a very big difference between the two. Try helping mothers to not be poor instead of telling the poor to not be mothers.

Pushing a radical social agenda like this when the country is bleeding is infuriating, and is a surefire way to bring back the Republicans in 2012. In short, knock off the pandering to the extreme left and fix the very real problems that confront America, or you and all your fellow Democrats will have a whole host of angry constituents to answer to.

Please feel free to post your email to Speaker Pelosi in the comments!  I’ll add to this post with all of what y’all say.  Let’s get moving everyone!!

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Sun Jan 25 2009 22:13:43 ET

Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi boldly defended a move to add birth control funding to the new economic "stimulus" package, claiming "contraception will reduce costs to the states and to the federal government."

Pelosi, the mother of 5 children and 6 grandchildren, who once said, "Nothing in my life will ever, ever compare to being a mom," seemed to imply babies are somehow a burden on the treasury.

The revelation came during an exchange Sunday morning on ABC's THIS WEEK.

STEPHANOPOULOS: Hundreds of millions of dollars to expand family planning services. How is that stimulus?

PELOSI: Well, the family planning services reduce cost. They reduce cost. The states are in terrible fiscal budget crises now and part of what we do for children's health, education and some of those elements are to help the states meet their financial needs. One of those - one of the initiatives you mentioned, the contraception, will reduce costs to the states and to the federal government.

STEPHANOPOULOS: So no apologies for that?

PELOSI: No apologies. No. we have to deal with the consequences of the downturn in our economy.

Hold ON now!  Madame Speaker, aren’t you supposed to be Catholic?  With companies falling apart and people being laid off left and right, you’re focusing right now on making sure that poor people don’t have children?  I’ll admit to being unnerved when a “new era of responsibility” that we’re in seems to involve rendering oneself sterile if one’s financial circumstances are challenging.

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From the kid files

Me:  Edmund, you need to be quiet!

Edmund:  I don’t feel like being quiet!  You’re not my best friend anymore!  

Me:  I don’t care if I’m your best friend, Edmund.  I’m your mother, and that’s way more important.

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So, my goal in Project Sainthood is to become a saint.  But what does sainthood mean?  To be a saint means to be fully myself while at the same time being a true image of God.  Therefore, I need to express through my life divine truths in everything I do.

Scripture tells us that God is love, so in order to be an image of God, I need to have my entire life as an act of love.  But what exactly does that mean?  I can’t walk around with my head in the clouds all day, like some sort of Disney movie.  I have real responsibilities to fulfill, and love isn’t really just a feeling anyways.  So, I go back to Scripture, to one of my favorite Bible verses:  1 Corinthians 13 .

Love is patient, love is kind…Oh boy, am I in trouble!

  • I am patient in some things, but not in others.
  • I am mostly kind, although I struggle with kindness to people who try my patience.
  • I am not typically envious.
  • Pompous?  Not exactly, I don’t think.
  • Inflated?  Yes.
  • Is not rude?  No, I think I’m ok here, for the most part.
  • Does not seek its own interests?  Not looking so good there in most areas, although I’m good in some.
  • Is not quick tempered?  Here I’m actually fairly good.  It takes a lot to get me to really lose my temper, although I am starting to think that this might not always be that healthy.
  • Does not brood over injury????  Well, define “brood.”  This one could go either way.  I am naturally introspective and mull things over a lot, so that could be considered “brooding” but I also forgive and reconcile when agreement has been reached.
  • Does not rejoice in wrongdoing?  This is probably the one I have down the best.
  • Rejoices in the truth?  Yep, I’m screwed!
  • Bears all things?  I’m pretty good at sucking up difficult realities, although I’m not sure I bear them all well.  Interesting distinction there.  I’ll have to go back to that later.
  • Believes all things?  I am actually fairly ok at this.
  • Hopes all things?  Depends on for whom.  I tend to be far more optimistic for others than I am for myself.
  • Endures all things?  Well, when I make a commitment, I am generally in for the long haul, so I think I’m at least moderately ok on this.
  • Love never fails.  Ok, I am going to need to look this up in my New Testament textbook from college.  I want to know exactly what the definition of “fails” is there.

So, I’ve got a LOT to work on.  I’m going to go with “rejoicing in the truth” for right now as what I am hoping to work on first.  I want to figure out how to rejoice in truth that isn’t pretty, and how to tell the truth when the truth is not easy.  I will have to write about this topic more later.

So, other Project Sainthood people, what are YOU working on right now???  🙂

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There’s something about baking bread that seems to keep me grounded.  The smell of yeast.  The rhythm of kneading dough in my large turquoise mixing bowl.  I enjoy baking other things as well (as my muffin munching 4 year old will agree!) but there is no satisfaction for me quite like the gentle domesticity of baking bread by hand.

It is so easy to take things for granted, and to let the simple joys of life take a back burner to the more attention grabbing chaos of grocery store runs, after school classes and the never ending pile of laundry that never really seems to go away.  This my daily bread:  to mix together yeast and water, flour and salt, kneading dough to the rhythm of the unheard song.   There is a time to mix and to rest, to knead and to let rise: the minuet in the stillness to the song of all creation.  This is my dance to my Creator, a flour plastered waltz in the kitchen.  The work of my hands to feed the hungry beggars entrusted to my care.  Lord, give us this day our daily bread.

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