Thursday, August 31, 2006

Love is...

Once again it's Love Thursday

Love is...
Photobucket - Video and Image Hosting
When you just can't get close enough...

Tuesday, August 29, 2006

Warren and Boyd Blow My Mind

A couple of weeks ago, after Dearie and I finished up David Letterman, we happened upon The Charlie Rose Show. As guests, were Rick Warren and Gregory Boyd. Now, I read The Purpose Driven Life and Dearie has read The Purpose Driven Church. The man is no idiot. He has alot to say. I ended up not liking the book, though because Warren made God sound like a whiny teenage girl. God wants me to constantly tell him/her how great s/he is. And God tested our friendship to make sure I really liked him/her. etc. etc. It just made God sound so...pathetic. I'm pretty sure God is confident in his omnipotence and God knows my heart and my weakness.

I had never heard of Gregory Boyd until coincidentally a few minutes before we came upon the show, Dearie was telling me about his church in St. Paul. (We love St. Paul and miss Minnesota terribly) from the New York Times article (there is a link on his website) " Before the last presidential election, he preached six sermons called “The Cross and the Sword” in which he said the church should steer clear of politics, give up moralizing on sexual issues, stop claiming the United States as a “Christian nation” and stop glorifying American military campaigns. 'When the church wins the culture wars, it inevitably loses,' Mr. Boyd preached. 'When it conquers the world, it becomes the world. When you put your trust in the sword, you lose the cross.'" Boyd is a very influential conservative Christian minister. And this sermon series lost him 1,000 of his 5,000 members.

As we watched the show, my mind was completely blown. And in a good way. I felt such joy and warmth welling up in me. Here were two of the most influential Evangelical church leaders. Warren talking about ecumenism and finding common ground and that as Christians we have more in common than we do dividing us. And Boyd saying "When were we ever a 'Christian' Nation?" When we were slaughtering Native Americans as we colonized their land, when we were capturing and dragging thousands of African peoples here to be slaves? All I could say over and over as I listened to him talk was "Holy Crap!" I've just ordered his book based on the sermon series.

So, does this mean that I am moving farther from the left and more toward the center? Does this mean that they are moving away from the right and into the center? Yes, and no. No, because hopefully God will continue to reveal him/herself to us in vastly different ways so that we can see how none of us has a handle on who God is. So we can begin to understand that God surpasses our measily human understanding, is bigger than any box we try to put him/her in. I still disagree theogically with many of the Fundamentalist beliefs, and many of their social stances. But Yes, we are hopefully moving to the center, if the center finally becomes God and not our idealologies and earthly agendas. Yes, if we are ready to learn from each other. Yes, if we finally get the religion out of the government.

Monday, August 28, 2006

Hmmmm...not quite sure what to make of this.

But, Hey! We're doing our part! The Fertility Gap

"Liberals, it is said, have a baby problem. They don't have enough of them, compared to conservatives. And this failure to replenish their ranks is a reason why they lose elections. Call it a fertility gap.

"The political right is having a lot more kids than the political left," Syracuse University professor Arthur Brooks says. "The gap is actually 41 percent."

It goes on to say basically that liberals are so anti-family that it only makes sense that we are being outnumbered. Whatever. I mean, honestly, whatever. I hate that the article makes it sound almost like this is some kind of a political strategy. I know alot of conservative large families. And I can tell you, they are wonderful people. We would disagree on about every issue you could throw out there politically and probably theologically, but nonetheless these are wonderful loving families who have lots of kids because...well, they love kids!

And should it become a battle cry for liberals to start having larger families just so they can keep up with the conservatives? That seems like about the worst reason I can think of to have children. Like some kind of wierd population race! That's way too creepy. UGH! I am just so tired of everything becoming a devisive issue along party lines! Get over it!

Sunday, August 27, 2006

15...There's still time for you.

ahhhh...15. 15 sucks. 15 was definitely the hardest age. and you are. Mothering 15 is even harder. trying to let you be who you are, who God is trying to break out of this childhood shell. Trying not to fix everything that I did wrong at 15. Trying not to make your 15 world's above my 15. But, that's just it, isn't it? It's YOUR 15 not mine.

I don't have any idea what boy 15 feels like. I only know what girl 15 felt like, and it sucked. 16 will be better, 17 will be even better, 18 you're tops, 19 was my favorite. 19. I was only 4 years older than you are now when I had you. 19. What a baby. with a baby. But, we've done alright. We've come through.
But, 15. 15 and only making the bench for the freshman soccer team. 15 and having a great girl for a "girlfriend" someone who is your friend, who likes what you like, who plays guitar with you, who listens and cares for all the worries that I can't help with anymore...because you're 15.

15 and starting fresh at highschool. 15 and wanting to do good, wishing everyone would get off your case and just let you do good. 15 and being an awesome big brother to a sudden brood of little brothers and sisters after 11 years of being an only child. 15 and wanting to connect but trying to figure out how on this new playing field.

Your 15 makes me cry for the growing pains you'll go through, the uncertainity, the fear. A mother's fear that you won't make it through. That you'll hurt too much. That I won't be enough....and I won't. I'll pray hard for you everday you're 15. Pray that you'll know what we know, that there is a strength and a sweetness and a generosity and a sense of humor and of creativity that the Divine has written on your heart. And you WILL find your place. There's still time for you. Take it slow. Have faith. Have hope. Believe in love.

Friday, August 25, 2006

Love is...

Well, we find ourselves at another Love Thursday
So, here is mine.

Love is...having someone to share the view

Wednesday, August 23, 2006

Jeez~I'm all nervous and stuff...

ok. So Danigirl tagged me. *blush* and now I have to look all cool and profound.

"The idea behind this meme is that you're supposed to click on this page, generating semi-random quotations until you find the five that best express who you are or what you believe." A pretty large undertaking for a blogging Newbie such as myself, but I will do my best.

I think it would be a good idea.
Mahatma Gandhi, when asked what he thought of Western civilization
Indian ascetic & nationalist leader (1869 - 1948)

Grown-ups never understand anything for themselves, and it is tiresome for children to be always and forever explaining things to them.
Antoine de Saint-Exupery, "The Little Prince", 1943
French writer (1900 - 1944)

The time not to become a father is eighteen years before a war.
E. B. White
US author & humorist (1899 - 1985)

Hope is the thing with feathers
That perches in the soul.
And sings the tune
Without the words,
and never stops at all.

Emily Dickinson
US poet (1830 - 1886)

Too many have dispensed with generosity in order to practice charity.
Albert Camus
French existentialist author & philosopher (1913 - 1960)

Egad...they are all so damn serious. Hang on...

Now this guy was a genius:
Efficiency is intelligent laziness.
David Dunham

and truth
I believe that professional wrestling is clean and everything else in the world is fixed.
Frank Deford I'm supposed to tag someone else? Is that right? In that case I will tag Beth because she needs to be distracted from her pending travel plans for her upcoming adoption. yay! and Shelly so you can see her pretty pictures and drool over her life

Tuesday, August 22, 2006

oh Eve...not the apple again

yes. yes. YES! the apple again. For fear of disclosing info about my location, we will call these Wonder Apples. Though I would love to send you all out searching desperately for them, in the interest of protecting all the parties involved that the apple will remain anonymous.

The Wonder Apple was supposed to come out last Monday. But the stupid pecan farmers couldn't get their acts together well enough to get a couple of tons of premium chopped pecans to my local confectioner on time! How hard is it, people?!?! You grow the pecans, you harvest the pecans, you roast the pecans, you deliver them to my local confectioner where they take the beautiful crisp tart Granny Smith apples, dunk them in the richest creamiest caramel you can imagine and then finally dunk them into your humble harvest of nuts. So instead, for the last 8 days I have become an apple stalker. I have called everyday to find out if the Wonder Apples were ready. Please understand. This is a very small window of time. One week out the 10 they are available is...well, one whole week!

I will confess to you all my profound addiction to the Wonder Apples. I have a 2-3 a day habit. 2-3 whole Wonder Apples. They had to have been joking when they made a half of a Wonder Apple a serving. Kind of like the 2 Girl Scout cookie serving that I have always assumed meant 2 sleeves. I need them desperately. I go against my own morals and values to get them. They are only available at the confectioners or at a chain of grocery stores that I have completely boycotted because they refuse to build in the city. But even these convictions are not strong enough during Wonder Apple season. Last Year, I was working part time at Borders bookstore and there were 2 Satan's Grocery stores within a mile of my work. Plus there was one right across the county line next to a carwash. It was a perfect set up. I could go in a buy up 6 Wonder Apples, make up some excuse about a Girl Scout meeting/Slumber Party/Grandma's favorite/Halloween party (becasue they give you odd looks when all you're buying is 6 giant Wonder Apples.) and I could have a pretty good rotation going on so nobody knew I was completely insane. Plus, my husband was amazed at the really shiny van we had for 10 weeks.

So, today I am driving Behemoth packed full of darling little ones on the way to pick Skaterboy up from soccer practice. (I have to drive right by the local confectioner to get to his high school! *giddy hand clapping*) I drive by slowly checking for signs of the Wonder Apple and all I can find are ads for chocolate covered strawberries, which are lovely but not what I'm looking for. On the way back I see the sign. On the back of chocolate covered strawberry sign is Wonder Apples now available. This is where it gets sad and embarrasing. I pull Behemoth over and without even thinking about the fact that I have only $10 til tomorrow evening and I am supposed to be stopping to buy a gallon of milk (Back to School killed us this year) I run inside and buy not just 1 and then later a gallon of milk, I buy 2. leaving me $1 and some change.

When we get back to the house, I slice one to share with my protein and calcium deprived offspring and HIDE THE OTHER IN THE BACK OF THE FRIDGE TO EAT WHEN EVERYONE IS IN BED. That was just now. I have justified this activity with the fact that a growing Flea needs the fiber and protein and fat to thrive just weeks away from delivery. I haven't abandoned ALL of my children. The littlest ones need the most care.

and tomorrow...I'll be picking Skaterboy up from soccer practice again. Dearie better get his ass to the bank in time.

Sunday, August 20, 2006

The New Look of 90...

Friday, my grandmother had her 90th birthday and my father had his 60th birthday. Amazing. It's odd. I am never really effected by own count of birthdays (I'll be 35 in a couple of weeks) but other people's birthdays can downright traumatize me.

35 was a big one for Dearie. He said that was a real tough one. And I have friends that had a difficult time at turning 30 and 40. But so far, my own aging has not meant a whole lot to me. Now, my oldest turning 15 in a week is mind blowing. And my father and mother both turning 60 within a month is very startling. Dearie's father, who is closing in on 70 just had another mini-stroke yesterday. Maybe that is where it is getting me. Not that I am becoming middle-aged, but that my parent's are becoming old. I can't really be middle aged if I am still having babies! Can I? But my grandmother is 90...

My grandmother and I have always been very close. When we lived in northern Minnesota, I would call her and she would hang up on me because of the cost of long distance! I would tell her, "Grandma, long distance is like 5 cents a minute anymore. I have a dollar right here that says I can talk to you for 20 minutes. It's either that or I am sending you a CARD! That's right a greeting card! That will cost at least $2 and then there's the 30 cents for a stamp! Hah! How would you like that?!" of course she had to relent under such a threat.

She is a pistol (as my grandfather would say) She always told me about all the boys she dated and how my grandfather became so excited when he was moved up to her Saturday Night date, because that meant she really liked him. She didn't at first. They had grown up together. He was the tubby kid. But then he went away to boot camp and showed up at her door, svelt and in uniform. It was all over at that moment. He was in the Air Force and they married on one of his leaves. The only material they could get ahold of for her dress was his parachute. So, her wedding dress was quickly thrown together. It was later cut up to make Christening gowns that her sons have all been baptized in.

My grandfather died 20 years ago. My grandmother took in her mother (who was 90 and lived to be one month shy of her 100th birthday) She volunteered in a home for blind ladies so they couldn't see how old she was! and then about 3 years ago, she had a stroke. And that was kind of it. The light in her eyes just... blew out. just like that. She now suffers from dementia, the left side of her body is useless and heavy, and she is prone to crying jags. And sadder still, when she sees a man in the dining room and her heart is broken because she doesn't know why her husband is mad at her, and why he won't even come over and say hello.

She has no idea who I am. Sometimes she knows we are related, but she very very seldom knows it's me. I go have lunch with her every Monday and every Monday she tells me what a nice nurse I am and then breaks down crying. But, look at the picture again...There's still a glimmer there, isn't there? Look at her smile.
I can pretend, too. I can pretend that she was smiling at her granddaughter taking her picture and not at the wonderful baker who always gave her and her sister cookies from my store on Penrose Ave. but then, I can pretend that too. It seemed to make her so happy that I would come to see her and bring her a lovely cheesecake.

And yes, that is a rare picture of Skaterboy. Don't worry, the helmet on Porkchop is just a toddler obsession not a necessary precaution.

Saturday, August 19, 2006

Peaceful Worthwhileness...

I am reading this book. And I can tell you that it is taking for-freakin-ever. It's not the book's fault. The book is amazing. A beautiful and challenging look at the writings of the Desert Fathers and Mothers written by Rowan Williams, the Archbishop of Canterbury (the Head of The Church of England/Episcopal/Anglican). It's basically about how we cannot be our true selves (that is, "a unique echo of God") unless we are living in community with others. I'm beginning to think I'm just not smart enough for it. I've been reading it for 2 months now and I'm on chapter 4. CHAPTER 4 PEOPLE!! I'm a book a week kinda gal. But this one...ohhh this one. I have to reread every chapter 3-4 times. no lie. I'll read a chapter, have a huge moment of epiphany, and then when I try to explain to Dearie the profoundness of how my perspective has been changed, it's gone.

But this is my big one for the week. My big epiphany (if I can get it out). It has to do with spiritual formation and religious education. Williams says basically, that the most important thing we can teach our children in all aspects of the educational environment is this idea of the "peaceful worthwhileness" of each person. And here I quote,

"Individuals as they are at rest are worthwhile, just as they are."

go ahead and read over that a few times, I'll wait...sure sure, we all like to talk about the fact that human beings have intrinsic value. That's the whole deal behind the human rights stuff. But, the reality of that fact in our day to day lives simply doesn't bare that out. Our worth is determined by our production, our paycheck, our good deeds, our church attendance etc etc. What Williams is so simply telling us is that it's not about how much you donate, how much you volunteer at the soup kitchen, how much you rack up the good deeds, the fact that we have been created, and the quietness that goes along with that is where are worth lies.

And to add to that the idea that I teach my children this fundamental message is huge for me. I had to step back and look at my dreams and expectations for my children. Am I stressing grades too much, pushing for college too much, insisting on manners and civility too much, pushing church and bible and prayer too much? Not that any of things are bad or wrong to impress upon our children, but am I doing these things in a way that take away from their own peaceful worthwhileness? How do I teach them values and faith without making salvation another goal to achieve?

Williams suggests silence. Helping our children learn to be at rest. That the Desert Fathers and Mothers would ask our young people, "What's the hurry? Take your time." What an amazing gift for our children. He goes so far as to say that in the environment that pushes the "messages of anxiety about the need to fill in all the open spaces, whatever you say in spiritual or religious education, you are actually breeding atheists, because you are creating a shrunken humanity."

So, that will now hopefully become a part of my parenting philosophy and not be forgotten in a week. I think it is such an essential thing. Not shovelling more and more information but making time and place for more and more experience with the Divine.

Summer in the City...

What could be more fun living in an Urban Heat Island (UHI) than taking advantage of your neighbors watering their front lawn and then sharing a towell with sibling or cousin. The little girl with Jellybean is my sister's daughter. Don't worry, we of course followed up with Bomb Pops for everyone

Thursday, August 17, 2006

The One Flea Circus

Today was my 34 week OB appointment. It was here that I was given the vague instruction to take it easy for a few weeks. hmmmm.... "Take it easy for a few weeks." I wonder what that will look like. Flea is doing well, but it seems she has already engaged and I have already begun to dilate to 2cm. Funny story though, Just as she shoved her forearm up my hoo-ha, Dearie calls on my cellphone (He has his own ring) I laughed and said it was my husband, to which my OB replied, "My, he's territorial!"

Now as my OB said, it is very possible that I could go past my due date having been dilated to 2. But, she just wants to be a little cautious and make sure I get to at least 37 weeks, since I did go into preterm labor twice with the twins. As if this pregnancy wasn't already lasting longer than Elle's, I now have this possibility of going early dangling in front of me. Since this will be my last pregnancy, I am trying to savor every last moment of it. But I must admit, I'm done. already.

This makes me sad. I really want to take note of every last detail. Take my chance to get/do everything right. But, then there is reality. It also makes me sad that this will be my last. I know, I know, I have 5 already, already! And the looks and comments from the nurses and doctors at the Infertilty Clinic that we used was more than enough. I know how lucky we are. I know how blessed we are. God knows I know. And I have had such an amazing and lucky infertility journey. I have met and cycled with some of the most amazing funny supportive women I've ever had the pleasure of supporting and being supported by. And I know that my journey has been ridiculously easy compared to some. But now, when Flea comes to us healthy and beautiful, I will have broken even. I'll have my 5 kids to balance my 5 losses. How could I think of messing with that balance. And at some point you have to give up the trying-to-conceive and get on with enjoying your children. I am fully ready to move past my reproductive years.

Just please, God, let us have Flea healthy and beautiful...

Wednesday, August 16, 2006

I've never met a nun I didn't like...

picture from Unveiled

well, not yet anyway. You want to talk about some of the coolest original feminists, you need to hang out with some nuns. Take Sr. Jeanne. Sr. Jeanne lives across the street from us. We live in an urban "transitional" neighborhood. Sr. Jeanne has lived here since way before it became transitional. She has kicked out crack dealers and pimp houses. She's probably 75-80yrs old. Who knows? She worked for 30 years as a nurse midwife in migrant farming communities in Florida and Texas. Now, she heads up a battered women shelter.

Yesterday as Dearie was walking to work, he rounds the corner at the top of the block and sees Sr. Jeanne with some guy backed up against a car and she is yelling at him, "I saw you with your hands on her!" Dearie looks around. Quickly assesses the situation. A crying hysterical woman sitting on the curb with 2 other women. Police sirens in the distance getting louder. Two men, who later turned out to be other witnesses, on the OPPOSITE side of the street. Dearie walks over to just backup Sr. Jeanne, as if she needed it.

Turns out the man had dragged the woman screaming from the apartment building into the alley behind it. It also turns out he had a knife from her kitchen. Luckily for this woman, Sr. Jeanne was driving by and saw it.

Now yes, I am Catholic. And I'm completely aware how cool it is to beat up the Catholic church right now. And yes, I am fully aware that the rights and powers of women and lay people in general seem to be going backwards at the moment. (I'm Catholic, not an idiot.) But, I am still surprised by how the Catholic church is attacked as being anti-woman. You see, the reality is I learned to be a feminist in Catholic schools. And no, feminism does not need to be directly linked to Pro-Choice. At least it used to be much more than that.

I was having a discussion with a female pastor in Dearie's denomination about how I must have suffered as a girl stifled by the Catholic church. I looked at her puzzled. I asked her how many women in posititions of power she saw in her own church upbringing. The reality is that eventhough denominations are ordaining women, they are still getting the crap jobs and not getting paid near as well as the male pastors. Sure, it is a step in the right direction, but let's not pretend we're there, yet. And the Protestant denominations have all but stripped Christianity of it's women. I began to explain how I was raised by the Catholic church surrounded by women of incredible rebellion, strength and power. Hell, my own patron saint, whom I chose when I was confirmed was none other than Joan of Arc. I was given role models of the likes of Catherine of Sienna, a Doctor of the Church or St Margaret of Antioch who refused the advances of a man by pinning him with her foot to his neck, and said, "Lie still, proud demon, under the foot of a woman." She was later tortured and beheaded for her refusals. Women who spoke directly with God and whose words are still sacred and studied today for they way the contributed significantly to the formulation of Christian teaching. St. Teresa of Avila, St. Hildegard of Bingen, St. Julian of Norwich. These were women who defied dictators and governments, fought their own church hierarchy, and stood up for justice and women at some of the world's darkest times.

And then there were the women who educated me as a girl. Women who disappointed their families and joined convents so they could be educated and live their own lives of faith and charity. Women who went to and were killed in El Salvador. Women who hung a banner in the front hall of my high school that said "If they can put men on the moon they can put women in the Constitution" Women who led our masses and only brought in the "rent-a-priests" for Consecration and Confession. Women whose mission was to educate and empower us as the leaders of tomorrow. Women who don't just talk about social injustice to women, they pull their car over and stop a man from dragging a woman into the alley and ensure that they have adequate prenatal care even when they have no legal status. No the women of the Catholic church I know, actually "do" feminism they don't just walk around with banners and buttons. So, yes of course the governing body of the Catholic Church has a long long way to go (especially since it seems to be going backwards) but the women of the church have been and continue to be incredible examples of power, wisdom, and faith.

And I'm glad to have Sr. Jeanne across the street so Jellybean can beg to go to her apartment and stare with love and wonder at all of the statues and paintings Sr. Jeanne has of Mother Mary breastfeeding her infant Jesus Now that is power...

me? a blogger?

So, here we are. Everyone else is doing it, so why not me. That's just what my husband asked me the other night. Why didn't I have a blog? My reason...because everyone else does, and having always been one of the cool kids who had to ditch the Cure when they broke my heart and "Just Like Heaven" was played on the radio and every preppy girl at my college was singing it at every frat party on campus, I can't do what everyone else does.


and that seemed like a dumb reason.

So, although I doubt I will ever tell anyone that I ever became a blogger, though I have been a blogging addict for awhile now, I guess, my time has come.

I feel I must remain as anonymous as possible so as not to effect my husband's position. For identification purposes, I am Cakes, husband is Dearie, 15 yr old son is Skaterboy, 4 yr old daugher is Jellybean, 4 yr old son is Meatball, 2 yr old son is Porkchop, and the new girl is called Flea.