December 24, 2008

Please Pray

We are headed off to the perinatologist this morning for a follow up ultrasound. They saw a mass on my placenta last Wednesday and we are praying that the baby is and will be ok. More after we get back from the appointment.

**Update**
Well we got some good news and I am so thankful to God and our Blessed Mother for that. The tumor on my placenta (it's a chorioangioma) hasn't gotten any bigger in the last week and is just on the borderline of of being a size that can cause major complications. The baby looks normal, all the measurements look good, the heart and brain are normal, and baby is growing well. I am so relieved! Now we just need to keep praying that the tumor won't get bigger/cause problems for the baby. We also found out it is a little girl! I was very surprised at first since from the beginning of my pregnancy I "felt" like it was a boy. Now we just need to pick out a girl name.

December 5, 2008

A new hobby

Sewing! Well, sewing diapers and covers to be exact. Now that I am working part time I have more time (and energy!) to get ready for the baby. Here are my latest accomplishments.
These took me a LONG time to make but I am encouraged by the results. Hopefully as I get better at sewing it will get faster. Aren't they cute!?

November 23, 2008

November 11, 2008

First week

So what's new? Well I am 17 weeks and 2 days today and feeling much better. The nausea has mostly subsided and I have a little more energy these days. Also for the first time, as of this week, I am working part time, on purpose, and not because I have other obligations such as school, etc. I am working only 3 days a week and to be honest it feels a little weird. As someone who has either worked full time for the last 5 years or so and who always was trying to fit work in anytime I could when I was in school it feels a little strange to have this sudden... freedom. Not that I have nothing to do, there are things to be done, housework, preparation for the baby, projects to finish... Just the knowledge that I can make my own schedule is kind of wonderful and frightening at the same time. Sometimes I think it is a little crazy and selfish of me to take this time when the economy is in such dire straits. Money is certainly going to be tight around here for quite awhile. On the other hand, I didn't realize how exhausting it would be for me to continue to work full time while pregnant. It isn't that I can't do it, it's just that at the end of the day I rarely have any energy leftover for the things in my life that are really important: my husband, my home, prayer, and my personal well being and health. Well anyway, it seems like this post has started to ramble a bit so to spare anyone my long winded musings I think I will leave it at this. Trim the sails me hearty! We are off into uncharted waters.

October 7, 2008

I am still here

Still sick all day every day, still throwing up every couple days or so, but still here. This has been much more difficult to handle than I thought it would. God is truly testing me and I don't think I am passing most of the time. I am s-l-o-w-l-y learning to place my trust in Him, however, since so much of what is happening to my body is completely out of my control and the realm of my experience. For example: I always used to say that I just "don't throw up". I hate it so much that I refuse to do it, I won't let myself, etc. etc. I used to believe that it was simply a mind over matter type of thing. I even sometimes thought that people who throw up when they get sick either: a) don't mind throwing up or b) didn't have sufficient willpower not to. Oh how silly and sad and wrong I was. I even read this before I got pregnant and didn't quite believe it, well I believe it now!
(Excerpt courtesy of babygaga.com)

"Some women are lucky; they don’t get morning sickness. There are some that have a little less luck; they get some morning sickness. Then there are the rest of us, the women with weeks of nonstop vomiting.

All that nonstop vomiting has a name: Hyperemesis. I have a feeling that hyperemesis is Latin for “Poor woman that vomits everything in sight.”

Since hyperemesis isn’t that well known, most people tend to ask questions such as “have you tried crackers?” or “I hear that ginger works.”

For many women, the only thing that works is having an 8-pound baby shoot out of her crotch

.

I know that people are trying to be helpful, but it is really hard not to go postal on someone offering “advice,” especially if you spent the night before in the emergency room, getting IV fluids for dehydration.

I can’t tell you how many times I wanted to say “Crackers? Really? That’s all it takes? Eating a few stinking crackers? I’ve been vomiting for five months straight and all I needed to do was eat a stinking cracker?” "


Thank goodness I don't have it that bad!

September 13, 2008

May she rest in peace

My grandmother died this morning at about 6:30am. Please pray for the repose of her soul.

September 4, 2008

SARAH PALIN VP - 2008 RNC SPEECH

For anyone who didn't get a chance to watch her speech last night, you can find it all on Youtube. This is the first part. This woman gives me hope for this years election.

September 1, 2008

Onward and Upward

As I sit on the couch, trying not to move too much and eating re-fried bean and cheese quesadillas very v e r y slowly, I have a sinking feeling that things are going to get worse before they get better. I am just 7 weeks pregnant yesterday and I spent a good portion of this morning dry heaving while my wonderful husband tried to find something for me to eat that would make it stop. I got some sea bands or travel bands which seemed to help at first. And they may still be helping, but I think the nausea is simply getting worse. In fact as I type this I can feel that wonderful feeling creeping up on me again. Ugghh, sometimes I wish I could fast forward to the second trimester...

August 29, 2008

First ultrasound picture

We went for an early confirmation of pregnancy appointment today and we got to see the baby's heartbeat! It was both exciting and a little odd at the same time. It seems strange sometimes to think that there is another person inside of me, especially when I can't see any signs of it on the outside. I was thinking about posting the picture, but, well it is pretty unremarkable. He or she is still so small and even in the office it looked kind of like a white blob with that amazing little flickering heartbeat. In the meantime I have yet to get my hands on some sea bands to combat this nausea so I can be more productive at work. Hopefully this weekend we will get some. In the meantime I am trying to eat at least every hour to two hours and getting up early in the morning and eating cheese and crackers, still drinking ginger ale as well. I hope I can make up for not eating so well when this all day sickness goes away.

August 26, 2008

Morning Sickness...

...actually make that all day sickness, has reared its ugly head. I hate being sick and I hate throwing up even more. This leaves me in the predicament of feeling like I am going to throw up a lot and fighting against this feeling... a lot. My DH says I should just throw up because I will feel better if I do, somehow I don't quite believe him. Anyone else have any helpful advice? I am trying pickles and ginger ale today with some moderate success. I think it is more the ginger ale than anything else though.

In spite of the sickness, or more accurately because of it, I am constantly feeling reassured that this is a strong pregnancy, and I am *trying* to give my suffering up to God for the salvation of poor souls.

August 19, 2008

Thank You

I just wanted to say thank you to everyone for all of the wonderful prayers. I am pleased to report that as of yesterday my HCG levels were looking great! On Friday my HCG level was about 2800 which my Dr. said was great and on Monday it was about 7000. He said they should double every 48 to 72 hours. I am definitely feeling more relieved. Thank you again for the support and prayers.

August 14, 2008

A blessing

We have been blessed once again with new life! I am so happy and nervous at the same time. I am just praying we don't lose this one and that we will have a healthy 9 months and beyond.

August 3, 2008

Having Faith

So. I think I have reached an obstacle in my spiritual development. For awhile now I have been dealing with issues of faith. Specifically faith that God has a plan for all of us and that we belong to him, not to ourselves. Most of this struggle has been centered around issues with death. My own death, the death of other people, sickness, etc. I tell myself to just "let God take care of things" and that, if he decided to take me or someone close to me tomorrow, not only could I not do anything about it, I also have to trust that he knows what is best for all of us. My selfish and self centered nature fights against this very strongly and all of this struggle manifests in severe anxiety and fear at times. My husband, wonderful man that he is, has tried his best to be as supportive as possible. He thinks that it may have something to do with the way I was raised. He thinks I never really dealt with the idea of death when I was young and now it is harder for me to deal with. He could be right... I don't know. All I know is that this is HARD. This fight against myself is one of the most difficult internal struggles I have ever experienced. Just trying to remain positive, not give into fear, and have hope... it is like a battle raging inside my head. I started reading "Love is Stronger Than Death". I forget the author offhand and I will let you know if it helps or not.

Meanwhile, we watched the movie "Bella" this weekend. All I can say is wow! What a wonderful, beautiful, sad, and life-affirming story. To say I cried would be an understatement. Of course, I have been more emotional than usual lately anyway but still. I think that movie will be on my Christmas shopping list for everyone in my family this year.

July 10, 2008

What I have been up to lately...

First a pair of socks for my Mom's BirthdayOne down and number two about 10% done. Next up is some of my handspun yarn. I am getting better at making the thickness more consistent. I love the color of the blue and white one but it isn't the softest yarn. I will have to think of something creative to do with it.

This yellow is very soft but there is only a tiny bit of it, it came as a free sample with my Drop Spindle.
Purple left over from my first spindle kit.
And finally, I was working on some socks for me with this lovely soft 100% merino sock yarn but I am doing too many sock projects right now so I frogged the sock and decided to make a baby hat out of it. Pattern is from 'Simple 1-2-3 Knitting' .
I also recently picked up this sampler from Knitpicks and I love love love the yarn! I can't wait to start some of the patterns.

Major merger.

Well, maybe not major so much as minor. I am going to merge my knitting blog with this blog since that is what I am spending a lot of free time doing these days. I seem to be writing challenged though. I have been having some lovely philosophical, political, and religious conversations with my husband recently, which has been wonderful, but whenever I sit down to blog my thoughts seem to dissipate like a mist at sunrise.

June 27, 2008

A Victory...

...posted over at FUMARE. Go read about it here.

I especially like the quote from the geneticist:

"Becoming a member of our species is conferred immediately upon conception. At the moment of conception a human being with 46 chromosomes comes into existence. These chromosomes, the organization, the chromosomal pattern is specifically human. The RNA, the messenger protein, the proteins are distinctly human proteins. So this new human being is a member of our species, and humanity is not acquired sometime along the path, it occurs right at conception. Dr. Peeters-Ney also stated that an embryo or fetus is whole in the sense that “[a]ll the genetic information sufficient and necessary to mature, and the information that is needed for this human being’s entire life is present at the time of conception”; that it is “separate from the mother” because “[t]he genetic program is totally complete and this human being will mature according to his or her own program”; and that it is unique because it has “a totally unique genetic code.”

It makes so much sense its scary.

June 15, 2008

Happy Father's Day!


Happy Father's Day to all of you Dads out there!

June 4, 2008

The bad news...

So I went for my follow up appointment today (well I guess it would be yesterday now since it is 2am) and it was short. The nurse handed me a pamphlet about early pregnancy loss. It really only confirmed what I already knew. Still, it was hard to look at the pamphlet in my lap and the results of my repeat HCG level from Monday. I wasn't surprised, but I wanted it not to be true. So many dreams gone so easily. I know we can keep trying, but I will never have that baby. Still I am thankful that I got to carry a beautiful tiny new life, a brand new soul, inside of me even if only for a very short time. And someday I hope I will meet that soul and know the person who I never got to hold in my arms.

May 30, 2008

Which do you want first, the good news or the bad news?

Well the good news is I am pregnant! I found out last Sunday and was ecstatic and a little stunned. All of our family was happy for us and it was a perfect way to end our vacation. Also I found out today that I will start my new job (day shift wahoo!!) on June 9th, thank goodness.

Now for the bad news. I started spotting yesterday... then bleeding. :( I was totally freaked out and unhappy last night. I went to the doctor this morning and he did an ultrasound which showed a sac in my uterus which was good because he was worried about an ectopic pregnancy but he said he still can't completely rule out the possibility of one. I have been feeling pretty scared about that but I am trying to remain hopeful. I am supposed to head for the ER if I get stabbing pains. So far I have just felt a little crampy but I have felt that way since before I found out I was pregnant so it really isn't new. I just feel like I am having a period. My mom said when she was pregnant with me she had a full blown period the first month. I just hope and pray I don't lose the baby. That is about all for now, I am supposed to go back on Monday to get a second HCG level drawn and then again on Tuesday for a follow up appointment. I will post updates when I know more.

April 30, 2008

Quote of the week

"It was the anti-clerical and agnostic world that was always prophesying the advent of universial peace; it is that world that was, or should have been, abashed and confounded by the advent of universal war."

-G.K. Chesterton

April 23, 2008

An Update

I am struggling but I am still here. I have applied for a new job (one that actually starts and ends in the daytime as opposed to 7:30pm to 8am- what I have been doing for awhile) and I am going to cut down my hours some in order to slow things down for awhile because of some health problems I am having. While, if I get the job, this will hopefully help my stress level and general well being, it will undoubtedly cause some financial strain. If you remember, toss a prayer or two my way and also for my wonderfully patient and supportive husband, it would be much appreciated.

April 9, 2008

Frustration, Worry, and Prayer

I am an anxious person. I worry about all kinds of things, large and small. Lately I have been worrying a lot more than is probably good for me. I don't like to worry, it is kind of like self torture but I have such a hard time trying not to. I *know* I am supposed to pray and give it up to God, knowing he has infinite wisdom in his plan for me, for my life, for the lives of my loved ones. The thing is... I am still pretty new to my faith and it is not as rock solid as it should be sometimes. I have doubts, I have fears. Mostly I am afraid of death, my own and that of my loved ones. It seems like it should be irrational to fear it, especially since I have become Catholic. Don't get me wrong, the realization that this life is not all there is and that when it ends it doesn't mean that it is THE end for us has really brought me comfort. The problem is I still fall back into old habits and thinking patterns. I suppose it makes some sense since my whole life I had those doubts and fears and questions. I have only in the last 2 years begun to see life in a different way. It doesn't really help matters that I have a few health problems that surface from time to time and make me realize my mortality very acutely. One of them is problems with my heart rate and rhythm, another is an autoimmune disease that attacks my thyroid. I sometimes become overwhelmed with fear and I find I cannot be very inspired in the prayer department at those times when I probably most should be.


I have thought about going to talk with a priest about these things, but in the end I have a feeling that it will still be my struggle alone to deal with. Maybe it is a test or maybe it is my cross to bear... but lately it has been impacting my everyday life more and that is not good, or at least I am not dealing with it well and it is affecting my husband lately too. I have set goals in life which I am failing to meet and that causes me to be more frustrated and worried. I know I should pray more about it and I am going to make a serious effort to do so, but sometimes it is hard not knowing the answer. Maybe in the long run I will realize why things are the way they are now, and God's plan for me will be revealed. It is just so hard to see that from my small and limited perspective.


Sometimes I think maybe I am making mountains out of molehills. After all, I do not lack for food, shelter, clothing, or love in my life. Perhaps I am simply spoiled and ungrateful? I have a good job, or at least one that pays the bills and allows us to set some money aside for savings every month. Not to say that my job isn't stressful, but I am luckier than most people in this world.


Well that is enough venting from me for now. Hopefully it will help relieve some of the pressure and maybe now I can focus enough to go have a conversation with God and be patient enough to wait for his answer.

March 25, 2008

March 19, 2008

Confirmation

I am so excited that I will finally be confirmed this Saturday at Easter Vigil! My first confession was yesterday and it was a wonderfully healing experience. I feel so much lighter and I am so grateful for God's mercy and love. My sister and brother in-law are here visiting for Easter with their six week old daughter (my first niece!!) And my mother and father in-law are scheduled to arrive later this evening. I feel so blessed to have all of them in my life and also for my wonderful supportive husband. In spite of his own struggles he has helped me so much along this spiritual journey. I just feel so very glad and blessed.

February 18, 2008

Look what I made!



I knitted this for my new niece but I think it is (much) too big for her right now. Still, I was encouraged that it came out halfway decent and I think I will try again.

February 16, 2008

Blogger is driving me crazy...

I can't seem to get the font right, the size of the font right, or the order of posting right. It is driving me crazy and I apologize for any sudden font changes you may experience while reading this blog.

On Marriage and Gender Roles

There was an interesting discussion going on over at Fumare that I posted some responses too. I copied my responses and pasted them here because I have been meaning to write about this subject for awhile but have a hard time articulating exactly what I think. The articles linked there got the writing juices flowing so to speak. Here is a link to the article that inspired the Fumare post. And here is another article that someone posted a link to in the comments.


"Well here is another female perspective. I first have to say the article made me very sad indeed. I have to agree with Anyonymous and Columcille above. Women do have to wake up and realize that this idea of a perfect fantasy man who will ride in, sweep her off her feet, and spend the rest of his life trying only to serve her and make her happy is completely absurd. We are all flawed creatures. I don't like how the author talks about marriage as "settling". I think people should simply have a more realistic, understanding, charitable view of their fellow human beings and especially of the opposite sex. Women today seem so selfish and concerned with finding a "perfect" man. There is no such thing. As Anonymous said above:


"I'm so glad to see that someone is finally realizing that women need to be told that they DO have to make a choice to marry and not keep waiting forever. It's not really "settling" per-se, but it is a wakeup call to realize that we DO have to make choices. And if our dream man is impossible, then we are really choosing to remain single."

If a woman is self centered and unrealistic about what a relationship with the opposite sex really should be then she truly is choosing to remain single, even if she doesn't realize it. Another problem women have these days is how negatively men are represented in main stream culture. We are brainwashed from an early age that men are chauvanistic (sp?), immature, weak, and perverse. Mainstream culture says: if a man wants to marry a woman who will stay home and raise his children he is both chauvanistic and possibly perverse, maybe even immature because he needs someone to take care of him. Heck, lets throw in weak as well since he obviously couldn't stand to be married to a woman who is more successful than him, he must be trying to make himself look stronger by marrying someone passive. HOW RIDICULOUS!! And that is only a mild example of how badly men are maligned in today's culture!
Once upon a time I was a feminist, I thought I would go to college, grad school, maybe get married and then someday think about having children. I have been lucky enough to have been shown the light, so to speak. I married my true love and guess what? He isn't perfect. He is, however, the man of my dreams. How can anyone call that settling?

In response to Yikes! above I would venture to put forth the idea that women are at least in part, if not mostly, the reason men today don't "man up" anymore as she (i am assuming Yikes! is a she) put it. The sexual revolution supposedly gave women the power to "enjoy" casual sex as simply another form of entertainment and personal pleasure. So we have women who are no longer discerning with whom they copulate with and do not value their chastity. Think about the effect this has has on men. Why buy the cow indeed! It used to be that men were manly because they had to be to get a mate, they needed to be respectful, responsible, and generally upright sorts. There was more of a dance of courtship between the sexes. Now it seems to go something like this: "I think he's cute and he seems really nice, I wonder if the third date is too early to sleep with him... maybe I should wait till the 4th or 5th." Once she does, having no deeper meaning than a handshake and no build up of anticipation and true feeling, the relationship sooner or later ends and both parties are more injured and empty from the encounter.
I am not suggesting that men are driven solely by their desire for sex in life, many men are driven to do great and not so great things in life by many other factors. However, when it comes to the opposite sex isn't it often the physical attraction to a person that stimulates the formation of a romantic relationship? Why is that a bad thing? I am sure everyone has had a friend of the opposite sex that never became a romantic interest simply because the physical attraction was not there. I think God made us that way for a reason, there is nothing wrong with sexual attraction bringing two people together. The problem is when sex is not taken as seriously as it is intended to be. Women used to have more power when they assumed traditional roles because of their attraction for men. I also would venture to say because they were more mild, modest, and feminine (at least in appearance) they inspired a desire in men to provide for and protect them. Keeping some things a secret only makes them more tantalizing. Men want to feel like MEN, they want to be needed and feel strong. Women today do not inspire this sentiment in the opposite sex for the most part. Their dress is far from modest and their behaviors are often aggressive and uncultured. If you don't believe me take a look at Hollywood. Compare a female actor's appearance and mannerisms from, say, the 1940's or 50's with the female celebrities of today. Which girl is a true man going to want to marry? The sweet and modest girl next door, or the girl who dresses a few notches away from a common prostitute and eschews any behaviors that might give the impression of softness or femininity? Maybe that is a bit extreme and most women fall somewhere in between those two contrasts. Because women treat themselves so crudely, men no longer have to be manly to attract a woman. It will be enough that he is simply good-looking enough to go to bed with. Why should he put in any extra work to become responsible or mature? Now I know there are still men out there who are responsible and mature (I married one ) and lucky is the girl who lands one of these! I also think that there are many men out there who want to be that man but have never been given the opportunity. These are the men that simply need a little nudging and care from a woman who is not afraid to be a womanly.


The article Yikes! linked supports my point here. I have to agree with Yikes! when she (again assuming) she says that too many women focus on their careers. I think it is a little more involved than this though. It brings to mind the adage that "A woman needs a man like a fish needs a bicycle." Women, it seems, actually bought into this. They try and achieve a career, family, hobbies, and a fulfilled life all by themselves. The men in their lives are seen as incidental, providing only physical pleasure, comfort, and a warm body to stave off loneliness.

"symptoms of backlash, a masculinity crisis. Men feel threatened by female empowerment, these thinkers argue, and in their anxiety, they cling to outdated roles."

(An excerpt from the article) I don't think men are threatened by empowered women, to say so is misleading. I think men sense the true attitudes of modern women, that they are really only an accessory to a woman who already "has it all" or is striving for this type of life. And if all he is is an accessory, why would we expect him to "man up" or grow up? Who wants to be some high powered, workaholic, oversexed woman's sidekick? Any volunteers? It reminds me of the Queen of heart's husband in Alice in wonderland. If I were a man I would choose to be a boy forever rather than be sentenced to that kind of existence.

Now, for anyone who does not know me, I am a working woman and I currently happen to be supporting us so that my husband can finish law school. I am not saying that every woman who goes to work fits into the category described above. I just think too many women lose sight (or maybe never had it to begin with ) of things that are really important in life. Marriage is about work and sacrifice and compromise. Love too of course, love above all else makes it possible. Our ideal plan would be for me to stay home and my husband to work but that simply isn't possible right now. So I work and when I am not working I do the best I can to be a supportive wife. I don't always do it perfectly or even well but we have an understanding about where we are in life right now and what each of us is capable of. The important thing is that we both strive to cultivate our marriage, we respect each other and try to keep the other person's best interests in mind. Anyway, this post might need some editing but I wanted to get it all down so that I would actually POST it and not just mull it over and over till it faded away into some dimly lit corner of my brain. :)

Back to the drawing board.

So I did a little reading about my new skin care solution (or so I thought). While the Noxzema does work... it has some not so good chemicals in it that could be toxic. So, as the title says, back to the drawing board. Any suggestions about natural products that help acne?

February 10, 2008

Problem Skin?

For those of you uninterested in ramblings about the woes of modern day skin care, this post is not for you. :)

Ok, so I have had "problem" skin since I was about 12 years old. I used to think I would "grow out of" my acne and oily skin, but that has not happened yet and I am going on 26 so I think it would be a safe bet that I never will. I have tried many many products, mostly over the counter stuff although I did see a dermatologist when I was in high school with unsatisfactory results (liquid nitrogen- ouch!, some kind of cream that made my face look like it was unevenly burned... enough said). So in the past 10 years or so my skin care regimen has been based on products with salicylic acid in them. It doesn't do too bad a job keeping the worst of the acne at bay and sometimes my skin would even look more or less clear, but I have some problems with these products. First of all, it seems like when I use them (especially in winter) I have a strong tendency to get bloody noses. We arent talking a tiny bit of blood on a kleenex here, we are talking 'it looks like someone just punched you in the face' bloody noses. Also they seem to lose their effectiveness over time. So then I would switch to some all natural, organic, nothing in it that I couldn't pronounce, type of product and suffer the oiliness and breakouts again for awhile till I eventually went back to the Neutrogena/Biore/etc. products. Sometimes I would even combine the two, Neutrogena wash, burts bees cream, all natural face wash, Salicylic acid cream, whatever. Did I mention that this type of system is also kind of a pain? It would usually involve a seperate cleanser for day and night and a serperate cream for day and night. Four products in all and extra time to morning and bedtime routines.

Then, a few weeks ago, I got fed up with all the half empty product containers in my bathroom, the bleeding, and the time consuming routine and decided to try something different. Lo and behold it worked! I was down to one, just one, product! No creams, gels, washes, scrubs, anti-acne anything! My skin started to look more even and my breakouts are subdued at least as well as they ever have been if not better. Not that I look like Jessica Simpson on those Proactive commercials or anything but my skin looks good enough that I don't feel too self conscious if I go out to get groceries with no makeup on. What is this miracle product you ask? It is plain old, teenage retro, cooling, soothing Noxzema! I was keeping a jar of it around for soothing sunburns. I have since gone out and bought another jar having used the rest of what I had. The best part is, since I buy the kind with "added moisturizers" I don't even need a cream or lotion. Just wash and I am done. I know this may not sound exciting or interesting to most people but if anyone has battled with their skin for as long as I have (or longer) you will understand the relief in getting rid of all of the junk in your medicne cabinet, cutting about 5 min off your morning and evening routine, and, in my case, no more bloody noses! Alright, that was enough superficial mundane stuff, back to my regularly scheduled (or not so regular) blogging.

Edit: After reading this post I found it sounded like a Noxzema advertisment, which it is not. Well, at least I didn't intend it to be but it sorta turned out that way lol. Too bad they aren't paying me!

February 5, 2008

My first Lent

Ok well technically, I suppose, my first Lent won't be until next year since I am not yet Catholic but as I think about Lent being a time of conversion it seems appropriate to call it my first. RCIA is going well, I have to admit I was initially disappointed. I think I expected a lot more hand holding and a sense of being led gently into Catholicism. Instead my RCIA classes have been more of a challenge. When I first realized I wanted to become Catholic (about a year and a half ago) I initially had an abundance of wonder and hope, doubts to be sure, but the overall feeling I had was very warm. I wasn't able to participate in RCIA at first because the parish we were attending had started their classes much earlier in the year and I would have already missed out on too much. I was disappointed but resolved to learn more and prepare myself for RCIA the following year. I didn't expect to continue to have so many issues with doubt but it seems the more I learn the more I have to take a long hard look at myself, my motivations, my beliefs (ingrained and otherwise), and my life. This kind of self examination and realization has been hard work, harder than I ever expected. I think the thing I struggle the most with is trusting God. I fall too easily back onto relying only on myself and trying to control things which no one really has control over. I then find myself extremely anxious, fearful, and sometimes depressed, even in light of my general good fortune in life. I was reading this post today and it got me thinking. I know exactly what she is talking about here, for the first time in my life I am starting to have a peek at what real joy can be. I have been happy before, don't get me wrong, but I sooner or later would have to deal with the feeling of that happiness not being quite enough, or quite right. I too assumed that I simply had a bad outlook, that, as a result of my childhood, I believed good things couldn't really happen to me out of some sort of poor self esteem issue. I always felt undeserving and apprehensive that anything good in my life was sure to be followed by something bad. I think now that it more accurate to say good things can't happen without God. Or, in other words, even our most joyful successes and achievements are meaningless without God. We are undeserving, but God still loves us and only the full acknowledgment and pursuit of that love can bring us true happiness. I struggle with myself daily in trying to let go of my habits and fears and just trust. I need to always remember that, for all my reading and rationality, faith is still a gift. It is not something I can conjure up on my own and I must continually ask and pray for this gift. I need to depend on God for my happiness and spiritual comfort. I cannot comfort myself because I cannot control every aspect of the world around me. I cannot comfort myself because I am human and weak and vulnerable to sin and anxiety. Only God is above all of this.
This Lent is going to be both extremely challenging and extremely transformative for me. I am both looking forward to it and afraid at the same time. I only hope that I can continue to grow towards God and learn to trust myself to him in every way.

February 1, 2008

I am an aunt!

Yay! Congratulations Al & Jen, hello baby Dagny!

January 25, 2008

Apologies

I know there aren't many people who drop by this little blog in it's little corner of the web but I have to apologize if anyone has tried to email me and didn't get a response. It seems my yahoo email has been inactivated from under use (eep!). So I linked a different email in my profile (one that I check more frequently). Once again my humblest apologies if I missed your email.

January 23, 2008

Thoughts on Abortion

While perusing the blogosphere in the wee hours of the morning it occurred to me that the idea that a baby isn't a person until it has been born is quite simply medieval. I think so called "pro choice" Americans think that they are supremely progressive and that people who are pro life are sadly misguided and mired in the remains of stodgy, stuffy, old fashioned traditions or perhaps are just plain ignorant. For some reason this suddenly strikes me as utterly ludicrous. It could be that it is 5:40 in the morning and I haven't slept yet tonight (last night? oh well...) but I am suddenly struck by the irony of this. With modern science making it possible for babies at younger and younger gestational ages to survive premature birth, with the advent of 3D or 4D ultrasounds that allow us to observe babies as they move about, smile, suck their thumbs, and sleep inside their mother's wombs, even with all of this remarkable progress these "pro choice" proponents insist that it is the mother's choice to kill or not kill the child that counts. They insist in not so many words that a baby, unborn, has no intrinsic value, no rights, no desire to live or die. It is like saying "I can't see germs with my own two unaided eyes, therefore they neither exist, nor have any bearing or effect on my life at all." As if belief in germs (or in an unborn baby's person-hood) was mere superstition. We all know the end of the story with germ theory, why can't we (as a culture) seem to grasp that life, in any and all forms, has value... simply because it is. Life. It is a miracle that each and every one of us is alive today. Only the deeply wounded soul wishes that it was not and only because it has been so very badly damaged and is in such pain that all seems hopeless. Even then the body will revolt against the will and fight to survive. Everything that is alive struggles to remain so, no exceptions. It is a miracle I was conceived and survived to term, it is a miracle my mother and I survived birth, it is a miracle I didn't die of a childhood illness, it is a miracle I am alive today, a miracle I am eternally grateful for. Every child that is born will fight with all the power it has in it's tiny fragile body to survive, the unborn child is no different, for it is just as alive and present as any tiny baby could be. The only thing that separates these two babies is moments of time. In one moment you are unborn, the next you are born. Is it really so difficult a concept? You didn't change into something new when you came out of your mother's womb, it was just the first time anyone had ever seen your "you-ness". You were there for nine months growing and developing, a person the whole time, just so very small and voiceless. A person does not come into existence the minute they exit their mother's body, a person exists the moment they come into existence, as soon as all of the person's DNA is present and lines up the way it will continue to line up for the rest of their life, the moment they are conceived.

January 22, 2008

Random Updates.

Well I finally started to do some much needed reading these last few weeks. I am currently reading "To Know Christ Jesus"by F. J. Sheed and I read "God is Love" the first Encyclical by Pope Benedict XVI a couple weeks ago. The Encyclical was great and will bear another reading (or 4 or 5) It was kind of a lot to digest. Maybe I am starting in a bit over my head but I was really moved by some of the excerpts I had read and wanted to read more. The book I am reading now is really wonderful. It is bringing me to a whole new understanding of Christ's life. Whenever I have thought about Christ's life in the past it as always been with a kind of misty fairytale perspective, I can imagine all of the events happening but they seem so... well imaginary I suppose. Not so since I started this book, the author makes his life so real and present. This book will also merit a second or third read through since 1) I don't have a bible (I have been meaning to get one) and he references verses and passages that I wish I could read and 2) There is also a lot to digest in this one as well, just trying to wrap my head around the idea of God as man is simply mind boggling at times.

In other news I am suffering a severe case of baby fever. I have been wanting to have children for what seems like a long time now (over a year or so) and my wonderful husband is finally open to the idea (we have been using NFP to avoid pregnancy). I was really hoping this month would be it but it doesn't look like it is going to happen (or happened?). Sometimes I feel like I wasted so much time in my youth trying not to get pregnant. My priorities were all screwed up back then. I pretty much never questioned the lie that our culture tells its young women, which is if you put yourself and your career first before anything or anyone else you will be happy. Don't get married and have kids young for goodness sake, don't you know you are letting men oppress you if you do that? No, don't save yourself for marriage, we prefer to call casual sex an "expression of personal freedom" (not the personal abuse that it is). Go back to school, move further up in your career, work more hours, climb the ladder, don't put family or your marriage first because they will just weigh you down. When I think of all these falsehoods I just feel so sad sometimes. I suppose I could get really down about all the time lost but a part of me knows if life hadn't happened to me the way it did, I probably wouldn't even be where I am today. I would probably still be chasing that lie instead of being happily married and growing in faith. I am so grateful that I have come to my senses in that respect, God has truly blessed me and continues to bless me even though at times it feels like a struggle. I know God will bless us with children in his own time and that may not be what I think is the right time. In the meantime I will just have to get my baby fix vicariously. The good news about that is that we are going to be an aunt and uncle for the first time pretty soon! I am saying lots of prayers for my sister in law that she will have a safe birth and a healthy baby (she is due Feb 1st). Ok that is probably more than enough rambling for now. :)

In Honor of Roe v. Wade

This kind of music is not normally my thing but it made me cry.



Hat tip to the Regular Guy.

January 5, 2008

It's a Wonderful Life

My husband absolutely LOVES this movie. We have watched it every Christmas since we were married and a few before that. For some reason it never really took hold of me the way it has a hold on him. Sure I would cry at the end when George is returned to his family, and I could appreciate the message of the movie in a simple way, but I didn't really understand his passion for this movie in particular. I think I do now and I am a bit sorry to say I am one of those who was troubled by this movie in the past. I never could quite believe that everything would be alright in the end. I wasn't raised in an environment that promoted the belief that it is a "Wonderful Life". I suppose I was raised a cynic, such a sad thing really since children are naturally quite optimistic. I am even a bit like George Bailey, I always had dreams of becoming a doctor, or a scientist, or someone famous, but I will never be those things. I am not sorry because of it but something in me still hangs on to that hunger for... I don't even know what. Even writing those words was a little difficult for me. I will never be those things. I am a George Bailey, although not nearly as good a person as him, and struggling with my own demons. This article has really given me some things to chew on and I think we may be watching a few more Frank Capra movies in the future. Thanks to Danielle Bean for the link!