Vincent went as Ming Ming Duck from the Wonder Pets. Ming Ming has been his favorite character for a while now, so after piecing together this costume for over a month, I'm pretty proud of the results. Vincent loved running around in his little cape all night.
Happy Halloween, everyone!
Warning - this is going to be another one of those "My Pastor is better than your Pastor" entries. Ha ha ha.
In all seriousness, though, my pastor is incredible. It's like every week, my heart has to grow bigger just to fit more appreciation and love in there for him. I sometimes wonder if that's what's going to happen in Heaven when I finally meet Jesus face-to-face. Am I going to have to explode repeatedly from the love that keeps springing forth from my heart? Ha ha. Our wonderful priests really are precursors to what we can expect when we meet the man they vowed to serve. I've been so blessed to have so many amazing priests in my life.
Anyway, the homily. I'm going to paraphrase and summarize, but here's the idea:
He said, “Ya know, Halloween is a great time for kids to pretend, for a day, to be anyone they want to be. It sparks their creativity, and creativity is a blessing from God. Sometimes, though, us adults forget that Halloween is for kids. We dress ourselves up in Catholic movements, we speak a good Catholic game, but when it comes down to brass tacks, we don’t always act with true Christian love in our hearts. We put on the mask of Christianity, and tell ourselves that we’re better than we are. We lack humility, just as the Pharisees did. We exalt ourselves in public, we look for praise and respect.
But God sees through those masks to the heart of who we are. He sees what is in our hearts. There’s no tricking God. The best we can do is lay bare our souls to Him and strive to live by His Gospel every day.”
I really, REALLY liked that analogy. We really do tend to ignore (or make excuses for) our sins while picking apart those of others. Instead, may we open our eyes to the truth, and own up to our faults so we can better correct them. Let’s leave the pretending to the children… if we’re claiming to be Catholic, let’s TRULY be Catholic (that means YOU, Cafeteria Catholics!!!).
Isn't this beautiful?
I finally found my way into a confession box this weekend. I decided to make this one of the best confessions ever, so I took some advice from a friendly blogger on WDTPRS and spent a bit of time doing a real examination of conscience. I cracked open a new notebook for the purpose, and got to work.
I first went through the list of Vices - I had to look up Avarice just to be sure I wasn't mistaking that definition for Envy (which I sorta was in my mind), then upon completion of that list, I began on the 10 Commandments. Once I finished with those, I did a quick Google search for another "Examination" just to be 100% sure I covered my bases. All in all, I ended up with like 4 or 5 pages of sins (and this was in SHORTHAND!), and a sinking feeling that the unfortunate priest who would get me would be a little put-off by my lengthy list.
I don't think he'd've been upset by the sins so much as the "list" feature. I was worried if I got "caught" with a book the confession would seem insincere (since I was just reading off a list) and cold. However, I really liked the idea of being 100% sure (okay... about 98% sure) that I'd covered my bases. How often do we come out of confession only to realize two words into our penance that we forgot X, Y or Z?
Heck, to be honest, even with my little list, I had to stop Father just before absolution to tell him one more! Just to be sure...
Ha. He was very kind, though. I ended up getting the room behind the screen, so he couldn't see my book anyway. I told him I had it anyway, because I wanted him to know that even though I sounded like I was just reading from a list, I'd put a lot of thought into it in order to make a good confession. Ah well.
All in all, I think I'm going to go that route again. I felt scrubbed down afterwards. And the best part? It was a great conversation-starter for a friend of mine and I about confession.
She's getting married soon, and when I brought up confession as a great way to prepare, she explained her fear behind the sacrament (ah, the familiar fear of humility). I shared my old fears of Confession, and even showed her the book that housed my list. She was surprised, to say the least. I dunno if it made her feel better about confession, but hopefully it planted the seed somewhere. Maybe, in a few weeks, it'll spring up in her heart. One can hope, right? :)
I had an incredibly unsettling discussion with a 'friend' of mine last night regarding the government's assault on religion (specifically through slowly shredding 1st Amendment rights). He said something that was so offensive and so disheartening that I had to stop the conversation for fear that any remaining respect I had for him would also be flushed down the drain.
As I lamented the various tactics that have been shuttering Catholic institutions, undermining Judaic orthodoxy, or otherwise shackling religious freedom, he responded, "I don't care. If the government wants to piss on all religious people, let them. What do I care?"
I was so taken aback but such a callous, thoughtless, SELFISH notion that I couldn't contain my surprise or disgust. I asked, "Oh, so when the Nazis wrote off the Gypsies and no one cared, that's not at all the same?"
Now mind you, I hate likening anything to Nazism. It's simply too overplayed and the example is typically extreme. In this case, however, that's EXACTLY what Nazism did. It lumped folks together and did a lot worse than piss on them. They exterminated them, and the German people didn't care - they ignored the situation because, in their minds, it had no effect on them.
And yet this "friend" of mine couldn't see that? And this "friend" then became indignant and offended that I'd compared his statement to Nazism?!
I was officially disgusted for the rest of the night, and truth by told, I still am. I am beyond flabbergasted that folks can hold such dark ideas in their mind and think nothing of it. How can folks not understand that allowing abuse to happen (even against folks you don't like or don't agree with) is wrong? How can folks not understand that apathy is the strongest weapon of evil?
Ugh - my heart absolutely breaks for my son. Considering all the abuse the Catholic Church is enduring right now, I honestly fear what may become of us by the time he's an adult. May God have mercy on us soon. We are lost if not for His saving grace.
Let's take care of some business that apparently needs to be repeated... again... for the thousandth time...
Gov. Andrew Cuomo, you are NOT a Catholic. Please, for the love of all that's sane and good in the world, STOP PARADING YOURSELF AROUND AS IF YOU ACTUALLY UNDERSTOOD WHAT BEING CATHOLIC MEANS.
You are about as far removed from Catholicism as it gets. In fact, you're actively working AGAINST the Church and pretending it's all for the sake of equality. Your stances on (and continued work for) such things as abortion and gay marriage effectively excommunicated you.
Congrats! What you did (and continue to do) was (and is!) so OUT-OF-LINE with the Church that you didn't even NEED your bishop to sign off on your excommunication! The anti-Catholic acts which you CONTINUE to be a party to were cause enough to cut you off from the Church. And since a "Catholic" like you probably has no idea how excommunication works, go look up Excommunication Latae Sententiae. That oughta clear it up for you.
In fact, Cardinal Burke (who heads the highest court of the Vatican, BTW) hit home this point about Cuomo when he said,
So Gov. Cuomo, if you still had ANY confusion in that already mangled mind of yours, allow me to set you straight - you're not Catholic. I don't care that you're not Catholic. What I DO care about is your consistent proclamation that you ARE Catholic. Do you have any idea how confusing that is to folks? Let me explain it this way...
You frequent one of the nicest country clubs in the nation. You know their dress code, you've abided by their dress code for a good ten years or so. Then one day, you decide to walk in wearing cut-offs, flip flops and a t-shirt. At first, folks are pretty taken aback when they see you. The waitress probably pulled you aside and explained the dress code. One or two of the patrons probably tried doing the same. But you kept coming back, week after week, insisting that cut-offs, flip flops and Tees were perfectly normal attire.
Those not part of the county club see you walk into the club and assume that's normal attire. Even some IN the club - who KNOW better - begin to question the rules since you refuse to listen to the staff and continue to trample on their requests for you to adhere to the code. See how things begin to get murky?
So if you wanna believe in abortion and gay marriage and even aliens from Jupiter, go right ahead. Just don't call yourself a Catholic, because you're NOT and you bring shame to our name. You are a disgrace, and I want your name NO WHERE NEAR my faith. Until you come to terms with the fact that YOU don't get to write the rules of Catholicism, I don't want to hear the word "Catholic" fall from your lips again.
Dang it - this is why I'm so anti-Cafeteria Catholics. They do more to destroy our faith than the atheists do!
So what brought all this on? On Wednesday, Gay City News reported a journalist asked Cuomo what he thought of the arguments against gay marriage that were presented to him. His response?
“There is no answer from the opposition. There really isn’t. Ultimately, it’s, ‘I want to discriminate.’ And that’s anti-New York. It’s anti-American.”
So glad the repeated letters from several bishops, the citizen protests, the fact that almost all the other states refuse to participate in this farce, and the mountain of letters Cuomo and the NY representatives got leading up to this were "no answer." I see... good to know that we're all "anti-American" for voicing our opinions. Good to know that this "anti-American" outpouring of vocalization in favor of the views held by the majority of voting citizens has labeled us so negatively by the Governor of NY. Deplorable.
May God grant me patience. I simply have no more for this man. He needs prayers, specifically to the Holy Spirit. May he have his eyes opened up to the Truth. If he cannot reconcile his ideas with the Church, then may he at least understand his harm in continuing to call himself Catholic (especially one that partakes of the Eucharist).
In the meantime, let's pray for his Bishop and parish priests... may they have the brass to handle him accordingly with patience, charity and, if necessary, tough love.
See these three beauties? They're my other children - Piper, Zoey and Lucy. Piper and Lucy are sisters we found behind our work-building when they were about 5 weeks old. Zoey came two years later, a banged up kitten of 5 weeks with two impossibly broken legs and a horrible respiratory infection.
Anyway, I've had tabby cats all my life. I find them to be the most beautiful of all cats with their interesting markings and special relation to the Blessed Mother. What relationship is that? Well, there's a old legend that goes a little something like this:
The night Jesus was born, the air was very cold and damp. Little baby Jesus was shivering, and the Blessed Mother was unable to warm Him enough. Even the oxen who crowded around their God could not provide enough heat for Him. In walks a beautiful tabby cat who hops into Christ's cradle and curls up beside Him, sharing his warmth and lulling Him to sleep with constant purrs of love and gratitude. The little Christ-Child was soothed and warmed, and as a result of this act of kindness, the grateful Mother raised her hand in blessing over the humble creature.
This is why tabby cats are honored with the familiar "M" mark on their foreheads. It denotes the special blessing Our Lady imparted to them through the generosity of the small cat who wandered in to pay homage to his King.
Ever since hearing that story as a small child, I'd bless my tabbies by placing my thumb over the "M," thanking Our Lady for her blessing, then praying a Hail Mary over my furbaby asking for her continued protection. I'd repeat this every so often with ALL my tabbies. Zoey's my first cat who isn't a tabby. She's all black! Ha ha. So when I pray over my two girls with the familiar "thumb over the 'M' motion," I feel like I'm sorta leaving Zoey out of the mix. Of course I ask Our Lady to bless her, too, but it doesn't feel the same.
Ha ha. Ah well. I realize that's silly, but just something I was thinking about tonight after snuggling up with my girls. It reminded me to share the story of the Nativity Tabby with those of you who might not have known it otherwise! :)
Ever get into bed only to realize you forgot to say your nightly prayers?
I do this at least once a week. I know, I know... awful. I'm being honest, though.
This is what always follows that realization...
1. I feel intensely guilty about forgetting to say "Thanks" to the Guy who got me through my insane day.
2. I then feel doubly guilty for not realizing that even though it was an insane day, it was an immense blessing.
3. Say an immediate "Sorry. Thanks, God, I really do appreciate everything you do for me and my family."
Here's where the fun begins...
Conscience chimes in "But DO you really appreciate everything? You couldn't possibly know ALL the things God blessed you with on any given day."
I retort with "Conscience, I know enough, and for all the stuff I don't, let's agree to count them among the things I'm thankful for anyway, ok?"
Conscience scoffs and says, "You realize we have this conversation every time you get in bed without saying your prayers because it pushes off getting back out of bed, right?"
Feelings of shame make me blush because I realize my conscience is right. I don't wanna give in so quickly, though, so I pretend like that's not true and barter. "Okay, God, I promise I'll just pray double tomorrow night, okay?"
Conscience steps in with, "Oh yeah... like that'll happen. And besides, who exactly are YOU not to make time for God? GOD!"
Darn it, Conscience!
"Seriously, - stop having this stupid conversation with me and just get out of bed!"
"Uugh... can't I just pray in bed where it's warm and I'm comfortable?"
"Sure, 'cause Jesus stayed in bed through His Passion. Great idea. You're awesome. What a gracious little creature you are, huh? The God of the Universe endures untold torture to bring you Salvation, and you can't give up the fluffy comforter for five minutes while you kneel on your fluffy carpet to help round up some souls for Him? Real nice."
"Darn it, Conscience... now I REALLY feel like a jerk!"
"Good, 'cause you are a jerk. Now stop being a jerk, get on your knees, and thank God for even giving you the chance to be a jerk. Then apologize for choosing to be a jerk and, as a show of gratitude, say your prayers with the intention of bringing souls back to Him. I hear He appreciates that sorta stuff."
"Okay, okay. You win."
Then my attention diverts back to God and I have this conversation:
"I'm really sorry about all that. You know I don't mean to offend You, but sometimes I'm a really selfish jerk who doesn't think of all the reasons why I should constantly have my face planted firmly on the floor in thanksgiving. Thank You for giving me an irritating conscience who nags me until I realize how selfish I'm being. You really are awesome. I'll try to nix at least part of the conversation the next time this happens and get out of bed faster. May my prayers bring some of Your children back to You tonight."
Then I pray the Divine Mercy chaplet for anyone God wants to use it for (be they sinners on earth or in Purgatory). I really do figure that's the best way to show my gratitude for His Blessings.
Seriously, though, I always feel like such a jerk when I forget because, without fail, this is the conversation that plays out in my mind. *Shakes head* Ah well... at least I know my conscience is looking out for me. :)
I have this veil in Merlot! LOVE IT!
I just came across the most wonderful letter ever from a husband who rejoices in his wife's desire to veil.
You can view it here, along with another contest from Veils by Lily.
Upon reading it, my heart practically melted into my shoes. The love and respect this husband has for his wife overflowed from every sentence. The fact that he acknowledges they're normal just like the rest of us (writing checks during the homily... ha!) made me even more willing to hug him in my heart.
At the same time, though, I felt a sadness. Far from loving or respecting my desire to veil, John is embarrassed by it. Granted, he's also embarrassed by any and all signs of my Catholicism, but the veiling is particularly cringe-inducing for him. I understand that. It's a testament to the fact that I'm not only Catholic... I'm a "traditional" one at that. I'm a "crazy old-school" one.
He's not alone, though. My youngest sister saw me veiled for the first time about two months ago and she openly scoffed at me, rolling her eyes and insisting I was ridiculous. My brother, just this weekend, saw me veiled for the first time (at my neice's baptism) and backed away, making a joke about "not wanting to know" about the crazy that had somehow seeped into my brain.
Veils, for many, are an awkward topic of conversation because it's such a traditional, outward sign of faith. The convoluted history of veiling doesn't help this awkwardness, either. Some folks mistakenly think veiling is a form of oppression. Some, like my brother, thought it was something you did while attending a funeral. Some think it's an outdated practice that traditionalists cling to in an effort to spite Vatican II. Still others think it's a way for women to act "holier-than-thou-art."
I touch on the history and meaning of veiling here. I don't normally get into it with those who question my choice because I realize they're not questioning my choice so much as scoffing at me for it. I don't mind, to be honest. I realize the scoffing isn't really an attack so much as an expression of "I'm not really sure what to say because I don't really understand why you'd wanna do something like that." So unless they question me further, I allow them an easy escape route and simply smile at their awkward laughter, slight quip, or indignant eye-roll.
This entry, however, made me feel a little jealous of the wife. Heh.
Obviously I don't want to exchange him for John. I love John and know he's the only one for me. :) He's the most perfect father and provider a woman could possibly ask for. He, in so many ways, is my best friend.
What I'm jealous of is the sharing of faith. For as many things as John and I share, faith isn't one of them. And I don't hate him for it, and he obviously doesn't hate me it. Same as he doesn't hate me for not loving movies as much as he does. We understand there is simply a divide there, and though we secretly wish the other would be more enthused about our individual passions, we respect that sometimes there are things we must do on our own.
So for as much as I'd like John to attend Mass every Sunday with me, and be an active part of the faith, I know that won't happen and would never enforce it upon him. For as much as he'd like me to take part in every meeting / screening / film shoot he does, he understands it wouldn't happen and doesn't hold it against me.
Just a thought I had. Regardless, I wanted to share the note (and subsequent contest) with you folks in the hopes that you can take part in that which I cannot! Enjoy and best wishes!!!
So a couple weeks ago, I contacted my SD and priest-friend for a very special intention. Both assured me of their prayers, and both, I knew, would storm Heaven on my behalf.
I've never been one to doubt the power of prayer. But boy did I get the biggest surprise confirmation of this power over the weekend!
The intention, which I'd been grappling with for about three years, finally wore me down to the point where I was forced to request outside assistance. I realized I couldn't do it on my own, and God coaxed me - kicking and screaming - to humble myself enough to share the burden with others.
Here we are, barely two weeks later, and the intention I'd been just about hopeless on corrected itself. Seriously. I hadn't uttered two words about it since opening my heart to my SD / priest-friend, and bam, within 2 weeks it fell from Heaven like manna.
I believe in the power of prayer, but wow. Something I'd been denied for 3 years is somehow granted to me, effortlessly, within weeks of having my intention lifted by my SD and priest-friend. Wow. Alright, God, You win. If You wanted to be sure to reinforce the power of prayer in my mind, well done.
However, I think God also wanted to teach me the importance of humility and the power of GROUP prayer. It's not that God doesn't answer individual prayers. I think it all goes back to Divine Providence. God requests that we take part in His Love. Prayer is another way we can do this. Praying for one another to solicit blessings is a very powerful work of mercy.
:) This weekend, I am a happy, happy girl. Awe-struck. Absolutely awe-struck.
"What's the Church's stance on infertility?"
This is a common question I get. Funny thing, though, is that half the people asking are genuinely curious and looking for an answer that might guide them through some very difficult choices. The other half are simply trying to convince me that the Church is a backwards, patriarchal mess hell-bent on ensuring no one is happy - EVER.
Truth be told, for the first half of folks this is a really, REALLY tough question with even tougher answers. For the second set, however, nothing seems to satisfy them and my answers only serve to frustrate them more (since my answers only reconfirm my staunch support of and faith in the Church).
Anyway, I am gearing this response to the first group. Men and women dealing with infertility have my deepest heart-hugs. I understand what it means to desperately want a child and grapple with the threat of miscarriage. I understand the feelings of inadequecy, the self-loathing and the anger at God, the world, biology, genetics. I really do.
However, Church teaching, tradition and examples have made this much clearer for me, and through my own threatened miscarriage, it is what gave me peace.
The Church teaches that children are a blessing from God established through the union of a married man and woman engaging in sex the way it was intended. That is the only way children are ever supposed to be brought into the world as ordained by God. However, because humans take part in the creative process, we've got children born out of wedlock, we've got teen moms, abortions, child trafficking, etc.
What recourse does a couple have when they want children, but are biologically unable to produce those children?
The answer, in the Church's mind, is adoption and patience. I, for one, truly believe infertility is God's way to answer the problem of unwanted children. The Church also teaches patience on this through the examples of Sts. Joachim and Anne. They, too, were childless and infertile for MANY years. They trusted in God's Will and remained patient and prayed. As a result, they were blessed with the most perfect child (barring Jesus) in creation - the Blessed Mother.
IVF, "test tube babies" and surrogates are all contrary to Church teaching. Many people find that arrogant / heartless. How can an institution deny the basic desire to procreate with your own genes, especially when science has evolved to help us with that? The answer is simple - Science does not account for the Will of God, and those who chose the IVF route may very well derail the Will of God. Instead of granting that couple a child a month or two down the line (or even a year or two down the line) so he or she is the proper age to marry the person He created for her, or to have the teacher that would inspire him or her to become a religious, president, or doctor who cures cancer, they place their own desires above the desires of God through science. Slippery slope there.
We are asked to trust in God's Providence. We aren't asked to understand, just trust. In the end, God always rewards those who trust in His Will with countless blessings.
Also, I'd like to direct you to this article. Infertility is sometimes a gift given specifically so God can glorify His Blessed Mother through miraculous healings. We never can fully understand the Mind of God, so we do best to simply accept His Will with the trust that He will provide exactly what we need when we need it, both for our good, and the greater good of all people (children and future children alike).
All lives (past, present and future) are hand-made threads sewn into a tapestry that only God can see. When we attempt removing threads (through abortion), cutting threads short (euthanasia / murder), or pushing an extra thread through the needle before the time is right (IVF, surrogates, etc), the tapestry becomes sullied. God blessed us with the unique ability to take part in the creation process with Him, however, we have the responsibility to trust in His Design. Doing things contrary to His Will is a lack of trust in His Design, and I honestly feel that sin against Him must hurt most of all.
After all, God loves us so much and knows exactly what each of us wants / needs to reach salvation. He laid out the path for us to follow, but time and again we turn from that path for our own selfish reasons. Though a heartbreaking trial, infertility could very well mean salvation for not just the couple dealing with it, but the children they would have adopted had they not chosen IVF. Or the children THOSE children would have impacted positively having felt the loving embrace of adoptive parents.
We cannot see how the threads are to be intertwined. We don't know our parts to play until all is said and done. The best we can do is trust that God has our best interests at heart.
Infertility, at its root, is an opportunity to trust the Will of God and take part in Divine Providence.
My prayers are with all men and women dealing with this issue. It truly is a difficult cross to bear. May the angels surround you and guard you in your decisions, and may the Holy Spirit be kind and kiss you with extra wisdom, that you may see His Plans for you and your family.
Thanks to The Deacon's Bench for the great find! I had no idea this was even a charity video until the very end. What an absolutely BRILLIANT way to go viral! Worked for me. :)
If you are unable to donate to the cause, please consider remembering them in your prayers. Please go to HopeForGabe.org to find more information on this beautiful family, their son, Gabe, and their courageous foundation. May they see the cure of Muscular Dystrophy in all its forms.
Be warned - this contains graphic images and an impressive display of willful ignorance.
I wish Ray went over the "building" analogy. I'll delve into that more tomorrow, but I honestly felt like that was one of his stronger arguments and it fell off somewhere, almost as if he'd never brought it up.
All in all, his logic is wonderful. Pass it on.
I got an e-mail from one of my regulars late last night. She wanted to alert me to the fact that another reader lifted a large chunk of a recent entry and posted it to his own page as his own work.
As a teacher, the fact that I was given proof of plagarism made me cringe. That's like breaking the Golden Rule of Teaching. Ugh.
As a Catholic, I was simply glad the message was getting out to a wider audience (this person's blog is admittedly much better traveled than mine).
As the person who wrote the blog in question, I first felt a little cheated. However, upon further reflection, I realized I didn't have a right to be angry or upset. After all, the ideas weren't really mine to begin with, right? I was just writing what was given to me. The information in this blog isn't just meant for me... it's meant for everyone. So who am I to flip out and feel slighted when I see "my" work being paraded on someone else's page?
They may be my words, but they are not my ideas. They do not belong to me. They belong to everyone.
That being said, I wrote the blog-owner a quick message giving him permission to use the entry. He altered his blog and apologized.
Moral of the story - please do not commit a sin by stealing the work of someone else. Especially me... someone who is ready and willing to hand over everything I've got for your benefit. Just ask, or at the very least, link back to the originator of the commentary. Simple gestures like that keep your credibility in good standing, and help open the eyes of others to a larger breadth of perspective.
Please note: For this particular entry to make sense, you'll have to read the original one which can be found HERE. It's titled "Question Box Stumper - Adam and Eve."
This'll be jumbled, but I was in the shower a second ago when another thought struck me...
Adam, as a man, would have carried both an X and a Y chromosome. Since he technically had no mother, where did the X come from? EVE!
Women do not carry the Y chromosome. Only men. Women, instead, have a double X. Since we were taken from men and "closed up" with flesh, the only thing God would have taken would have been the X chromosome then finished us off with a second helping.
More proof that Eve was part of the equation from the very beginning... even though Adam was completely unawares!
:) :) :)
So last Tuesday, I chose the Big Bang Theory question out of the question box. While I was elated to delve into that with my students, I got smacked with a stumper at the tail end of that discussion.
One of my kids shot her hand up and asked "Why did God create man before woman?"
I knew it would happen eventually. My first stumper! I took a moment and said, "That is a great question! I honestly am not sure of the answer. Looks like this is one we get to save for next week!"
She was triumphant. She deserved to be. All the questions that got sent my way this year have been cake. To finally stump me... all the kids got excited. Ha ha ha. It was fun to see them so giddy. The best part, though, is I know all of them will be looking forward to how I tackle it this week. It's one of the reasons I love the question box so much. I've always got something to get them psyched about coming back!
Anyway, this one really did stump me. I talked it over with my Spiritual Director to gain some insight, but she had the same original reaction I did. We both had a good laugh over it, but neither of us offered any "concrete" answer that would satiate (and not befuddle) 6th graders.
My original thought process was "Man was created in the image of God. God, though "genderless" personifies the creative capacity of men moreso than the creative capacity of women. Though women take part in creation, it's a more passive role - accepting into herself the life that man offers. Mind you, I don't claim women are more passive in bearing forth life ('cause let me tell you, honey... we're about 1,000 times more active than men are in that regard). However, in the simple act of creation, women are the passive recipients of the life force men actively give.
Also, Adam may very well have come before Eve to solidify that God wishes men to be the heads of families.
That's when it hit me... God didn't create man first. God created man and woman at the same time. After all, when God brought forth Eve, He brought her forth from the rib of Adam. Eve, though not "alive" in the way we picture her - wandering around the garden getting hustled by a wily snake - existed within the bosom of Adam. God wished of Adam to recognize the need for a true mate so that Adam would appreciate the gift when God deemed him ready to accept her.
I then went and looked up the Hebrew versions of Adam and Eve. Here's what I found:
Adam comes from the Hebrew word "adamah" which means "earth" (a hilarious note for Battlestar Galactica fans out there). It also traces roots back to an Akkadian word, "adamu" meaning "to make." Akkadian, by the way, is a defunct Semitic language, so it's no wonder it shares the sound of the Hebrew.
Eve (or Eva) comes from the Hebrew word "havah" or "chavah" meaning "to breathe" or "to live."
Keeping this in mind, it makes sense, then, that Adam (earth) already possessed the breath of life (Eve) within himself. Until he was mature in both mind and spirit to appreciate understanding this gift, God with-held this knowledge from him. Adam thus had to ask God for a mate (prayer, anyone?). Only when Adam understood his need and God as the answer to that need did God cause Adam to sleep, thus enabling Him to "awaken" Adam, opening his eyes to the gift of woman that He chose to bless humanity with.
Okay, for real, how awesome is that?! The Holy Spirit let me dangle for a whole week this time, but ya know what? He knew the kids would be hounding me tonight, so He cut me a break. :) Three cheers for the Holy Spirit! :)
Father Fausto Tentorio, a missionary priest (PIME) working in the Phillipines, was gunned down early Monday morning. Police are currently looking for suspects.
Already, however, the people Fr. Fausto served are pouring into the church that holds his body. People from all over the country are gathering to pay respects, comfort one another, and voice their love of and appreciation for all that Fr. Fausto did. Reading the commentary and some of the signs they're leaving for him is beyond moving.
Most moving of all, however, are Father Fausto's own words, written to superiors years before his untimely death:
Grateful to God for the great gift of missionary vocation, I am aware that it involves the possibility of being involved in situations of serious risk to my health and personal safety, due to epidemics , kidnappings, assaults and wars, even the possibility of a violent death. I accept it all in the confidence that I am in God's hands, and lay down my life for Christ and the spread of his Kingdom.
May we be blessed with missionaries as true and beautiful as Father Fausto. May our missionaries be blessed to be so loved by their people as Father Fausto no doubt was. May the Blessed Mother keep them, guard them, and grant them whatever privileges they need to continue their important, courageous work.
This Sunday's gospel is of great interest to me. Only recently did I come to understand the meaning of "render unto Caesar that which is Caesar's."
I admit that as a child, I was always highly confused by this. First, it's on the heels of Jesus' seemingly psychotic reaction to moneychangers in the Temple. That, in and of itself, was at odds with my idea of the peaceful, loving Jesus of the NT. The Jesus who overturns tables, scatters the merchants, and physically assaults the wares of the temple-goers seemed so fundamentally wrong that I'd brush it off, unable to reconcile the differences.
Next, Jesus seems to be saying that just because a coin has the Emperor's face on it, it belongs to him. That seems like a cheap way to say "Well, his name is on it, so give it back." That always reminded me of the bully in school who would say "That desk is mine!" and when you'd look at him thinking "What?" he'd point out his name, angrily etched into the grain, as proof the territory belonged solely to him.
However, I came across a book not too long ago that taught me how to delve deeper into the context of these passages. In attempting to better understand the Bible, this is one of those passages I took out for a test drive.
As I try to teach my current crop of students, we cannot fully appreciate the lessons of the New Testament without first understanding the Old. We also cannot understand the lessons of Christ without looking at His messages as a whole.
In other words, I'd been going about processing this particular story all wrong. Instead of "ignoring" the images of Jesus I was uncomfortable with, I needed to embrace them. Instead of reading this story out of context (just a snippet of a larger message), I needed to place this on the timeline of Christ's message and hear what He was trying to say and listen to the message as one of those present would have.
So let's lay out the framework for those less familiar with this particular story.
Jesus is preaching, publicly, to a group of the faithful.
The Pharisees send a representative to entrap Jesus with a question. The answer to that question, they believe, will indict Him against Rome and ensure His execution as traitor.
Jesus discerns the motive for the question and reprimands the representative, not before, however, indicting the representative against the Jewish people He was preaching to.
Now that we have the framework, we need to place this in a timeline. This exchange happens on Holy Tuesday... two days after Palm Sunday and three days before Good Friday. Unless you really know your gospels, that fact can be lost when you're hearing this reading on a Sunday in October.
The reason this is particularly important is the holiday in which it occurred. Jesus was in Jerusalem for Passover. Passover brought INCREDIBLE numbers of Jews from all over the empire to the temple to celebrate their most important feast. Keep in mind... since Jerusalem was a huge mecca the week leading up to Passover, extra Roman authorities were brought in to keep Roman rules in check.
In other words, there were a lot Jews in Jerusalem and because of that, there were a lot of Roman soldiers eyeballing everyone as a potential threat. That's also why Pontius Pilate was in Jerusalem. He didn't typically reside there. He, too, was brought in as an extra presence... a heavy reminder that though the Jews were allowed to practice their religion, they were still to recognize Rome and Caesar as the supreme "Son of God."
As a result, it makes perfect sense that the Pharisees would be extra inclined to get Jesus out of their hair. After all, Jesus represented a very real threat to them. They weren't just concerned that He challenged their religious authority... they were extremely concerned that He threatened their very existence in the face of THEIR bosses (the Romans) who had tasked them with keeping their people under the authority of Caesar.
So the fact that Jesus is running around preaching, in public, about the Kingdom of God and inviting the lower classes to unite (peacefully) against the materialistic, imperialistic and oftentimes violent Rome... it's no wonder their panties were in a bunch! If Pontius Pilate caught wind that the puppet leaders of the Jews weren't doing their job in assuring the authority of Rome, not only could they have been deposed - they could have been put to death as traitors themselves!
Again, this is VERY important to understanding why the Pharisees were so gung-ho about trapping Jesus in a public setting. Considering that Jesus had already gone berserk with the moneychangers just a day earlier, their nails were bitten to the cuticle and they needed to prove themselves as capable of squashing this rebellious leader.
The question they posed to Jesus was this: "Is it lawful to pay taxes to Caesar, or not?"
Truth be told, that is an absolutely BRILLIANT question to ask. To answer "No!" would label Jesus a rebellious traitor who could be jailed or worse for His denial of Roman rule. To answer "Yes!" would label Jesus as a traitor to His own people. Remember, the Jews at this time were under the rule of Rome. The yearly siphoning off of their hard-earned money was a painful reminder that they were not free and were, instead, working to prop-up the arrogance and wealth of their overlords. This is why tax collectors were hated. This is why money-changers weren't trusted.
So the Pharisees figured this question was win-win for them. A "no" would ensure Jesus was sent to jail and a "yes" would ensure every Jew listening to Him would spite Him henceforth. I have to give credit where credit is due, and they deserve credit here. That is a BRILLIANT question to pose.
No worries, though. For as brilliant as that question is, Jesus' answer trumps it by a mile. Jesus says "Why put me to the test, you hypocrites? Show me the money for the tax."
This first piece of information, though typically glossed over, is hilarious. Why did Jesus call them hypocrites? Why did He ask them to show Him a coin?
Because Jesus didn't have a Roman coin! None of the people He was preaching to would have had a Roman coin. Only the Pharisees or their corrupt representatives would be carrying around Roman coins! Jews would have to go to the Temple to change their local currencies into Roman currency in order to pay the tax. Once the tax was paid, they'd go right back to using local currency, doing their best to avoid any and all ties with Roman lordship (including use of Roman money).
Jesus, in asking for a coin, proves two things at once. First, He is unified with His Jewish followers against using Roman money. Secondly, He proves that the Pharisees were NOT unified with the Jews because they DID, in fact, keep and use Roman money.
This is why Jesus revealed them to be hypocrites. They put Jesus to the test without realizing that they, themselves were guilty of that which they were attempting to paint Christ into a corner with. Ah... hilarious.
Anyway, after they acknowledge the image of Caesar on the coin Jesus' response continues "Render therefore to Caesar the things that are Caesar's, and to God the things that are God's."
This response is in no way evasive. It seems like that at first glance, though. However, in order to understand how precise this response is, the listeners must first understand the reference Jesus makes. Since the Roman soldiers wouldn't have been avid followers of Jewish Scripture, they wouldn't have picked up on the fact that Jesus was calling His listeners to mobilize for the coming revolution. The Jews Jesus was preaching to, however, would have heard the message loud and clear. The representatives of the Pharisees, too, would have understood the message, but would have been powerless to explain it to Roman soldiers. Thus, Jesus spoke the Truth free from reprisal.
You may be wondering how this could have been a call to mobilize. Again, let's go back to the Old Testament.
1 Maccabees, Chapter 2 deals with the defilement of the Temple and the enslavement of the Jews by Gentile forces. A small group of Jews decided to accept the violent force the Gentiles were using in coercing them to ignore God and His Commands. As a result, they were murdered viciously. Another small group of Jews, seeing this attack on their way of life, banded together and began a rebellion against the Gentile forces, demanding respect for the laws of God in the face persecution from Gentiles (those with no regard for God's Commands). The leader of this rebellion, Mattathias, was put to death for his part. However, before he accepted his fate, he pressed his followers to continue the fight for the right to follow God's Will above all else. His final words before execution were "Pay back the Gentiles what they deserve and observe the precepts of the law."
Mattathias wasn't telling his followers to pay the Gentiles taxes. He was requesting that his followers avenge the violence committed by the Gentiles and to always give God the obedience His Law deserves.
This entire nuance was lost on the Roman soldiers who no doubt stood watch over the crowd. Jesus' followers, however, must have inwardly rejoiced, amazed - no doubt - by His courage and desire to overthrow the Romans who so viciously ruled them.
Jesus took their very dangerous trap and turned it into such a triumphant victory that the Pharisees were probably besides themselves with fear. It's no wonder they stepped up their efforts (through Judas) to dismantle Jesus' "Kingdom of God" rebellion before they, themselves, ended up killed.
So now, having a better grasp of the timeline, framework, and audience of this exchange, we come to understand that Jesus isn't just saying "Everything belongs to God." Jesus is concretely saying: "Followers, I have come as I have promised you. I have begun the rebellion as your Messiah. I have come to bring you salvation... to bring you the Kingdom of God. For that, I am happy to die. I now ask the same of you. After My Death, you must continue to carry out God's Commands. You must continue to strive to follow God's Will, and God's Will alone. Despite imperialism, despite materialism, despite the persecution that is sure to come, you MUST be willing to abandon yourselves to the Word of God. YOU carry the stamp of God within your soul, and as such, YOU belong to God. Give yourselves to Him wholly in all you do."
A very interesting and spine-tingling note about Mattathias' final words that only more firmly cements Jesus' prophetic call to action:
"Here is your brother Simeon who I know is a wise man; listen to him always, and he will be a father to you. And Judas Maccabeus, a warrior from his youth, shall be the leader of your army and direct the war against the nations."
Just as Mattathias left his followers Simeon (also known as Simon or "Thassi") as a wise and trusted father for his people, Jesus left for us Peter (ALSO known as Simon) as our first Holy Father. It's interesting to me that Mattathias' Judas is a champion of the Jewish armies while Jesus' Judas turns out to be unwitting champion of the enemy's army.
"Behold, I make all things new!"
I've been very blessed to have my best friend in the world stick by me all these years. We've been friends since kindergarten. Incredible when you think about it... no one knows me quite like her, and doubtful anyone ever could. Doubtful anyone would want to. Doubtful she wants to. But she does... and I'm glad she does. :)
It's that time of year... when folks with any sort of decency cringe at the sight of overtly slutty costumes for girls as young as six.Instead of a GI Jane, she wants to be a "Major Flirt." Instead of a nurse, she wasn't to be a "Helloooooo Nurse!" Instead of a cat, she wants to be a sex kitten. Instead of a devil, she wants to be devilishly sexy.
And when you take a gander at many of the costumes out there, it's no wonder! Halloween is the one time of year where it's socially acceptable for women to run around being as trashy as possible. It's the only time of year women are thoroughly encouraged to bare as much as possible, to look as slutty as possible, and to attract as much untoward attention as absolutely possible.
Girls pick up on that and want to emulate this horrible trend earlier and earlier. Costume makers aren't helping with their shorter hems, tighter, form-fitting fabrics and "asset bearing" styles. And of course, you've got popular shows like Toddlers and Tiaras highlighting this seriously disturbing trend with such glitz and glimmer we've got no one to blame but ourselves.
C'mon now. They're kids! Why do costumes like this even exist?! *Grumble grumble grumble*
Thank God I've got a little boy at this point. If I'm ever blessed with a little girl, I don't know what I'm going to do with myself when the time comes to slam the door shut on this one. Eeps.
This post is full of highly upsetting subject material. I warn you of this because some folks are much more sensitive to these types of things than others. Stop reading now (and CERTAINLY don't click on any links) if this sounds like you.
Children in Uganda are being ritually sacrificed by wealthy businessmen who are hoping the sacrifice will bring success and money to them in return. This article details some of the cases and even goes so far as to track down one of the prime witch doctors guilty of these murders. Unfortunately, the government is a combination of understaffed and unwilling to go after these vicious murderers, leaving families absolutely terrified of allowing children to go about their normal lives. May the Holy Spirit anoint these people with both understanding and compassion... that they turn from this life of ignorance and greed.
On an entirely different front, we're abusing children here in the States through this sordid attack on sexuality. While I have no doubt this problem is legitimate for some families, it is symptomatic of an on-going problem that has permeated society for the last 100 years! The idea that they'd dole out hormonal treatments to children who very well could grow out of this is mind-boggling to me. Of course the media hops all over it and presents it in such a "compassionate" way as to solicit music from the heartstrings of readers, once more numbing the populace quietly with these imperceptible Lidocaine injections.
Then, over in San Fran we've got children subjected to THIS stupidity. Now granted, San Fran is probably the last place I'd wanna raise a child considering all the perverse things going on there, but still... this is a special level of ridiculous.
Dear God... please protect our children. We, ourselves, cannot. In fact, we are the ones destroying them. Open our hearts to them. Instill in us the understanding of how special they are... how in need of love and protection they are. Pour out Your Grace over the world... we need such healing. We need such strong, fast healing...
I love the idea this graphic depicts!
So one of the questions I pulled from the Question Box this week was:
"Did God really make the earth like it says in the Bible or is the big bang true?"
I laughed at this, because I'd been meaning to write up a blog on this very topic for MONTHS now. So many people accuse religion and science of being mortal enemies. In fact, religion and science typically go hand-in-hand. You just have to pay attention to how the pieces fit.
The Creation Story of Genesis is my favorite example of this (followed closely by the Exodus from Egypt saga). When you tell someone that you believe the Bible speaks the truth, 9 times out of 10 they'll say "Oh, so you believe God made the world in 6 days, dinosaur bones were buried just to test us, and the first two humans were Adam and Eve? So the world is like, what... 20,000 years old to you, right?"
Seriously... I have gotten into this discussion so many times it's laughable. I do enjoy it, though, because by the time I'm done explaining how the Judaic Creation Story fits within the Big Bang's framework, they're typically at a loss as to how to respond to my points.
I'll go ahead and take this time to throw out as a quick reminder that the Genesis Creation Stories were finally written down WAY before Charles Darwin (father of evolution) or Georges Lemaître (father of the Big Bang Theory) existed.
Anyway, pull out your Bible's and follow along. I'm going to give you the Cliff's Notes version.
Remember... just because a scientist didn't theorize this until way later doesn't mean someone (namely, whoever penned down the creation story of Genesis in the first place) couldn't have come up with it first.
1st Day - "Light"
Think of the original "Big Bang" as the biggest explosion of light ever. Considering that EVERYTHING in the universe was crunched into a space the size of a pin-head and suddenly SURGED outwards at a rate incomprehensible to human minds, an incredible amount of energy / light was released, encompassing huge amounts of "space" in the process. Thus, a massive amount of light. MASSIVE.
2nd Day - "Separation of Waters"
Welp, since our early "Earth" was a boiling hot mess, most "water" was in the form of vapor. As the temperature cooled, water began to liquify, so we've now got liquid water on the earth as well as in the air as vapor. Poof - separation of waters.
3rd Day - "Dry land and plants"
Now that the earth had cooled even more, the crust was becoming visible beneath the water, and plate techtonics began to create the continents we know today. Obviously, now that the earth was emerging from the waters, plants were evolving and springing to life.
So we're halfway there, and it's looking like the Bible and the Big Bang / Evolution are still saying the same processes took place. Let's move on down the line...
4th Day - "Sun and Moon"
Woo hoo... our two favorite celestial bodies are now in plain view of the Earth since the weather patterns have been properly established. The overpowering vapor / gas clouds have cooled enough to separate, and we have our first glimpse of the sun and moon. Plus, the kicker here is that if you follow popular theory about how the moon formed, another, smaller planet smashed into the Earth at about this "time" as well, thus marking even the moon's "creation."
5th (and 6th) Day(s) - "Animals" and "Humans"
Congratulations. We have now arrived at the fulfillment of our evolutionary process (up to this point, anyway). Animals... and obviously complex creatures like humans, came late to the game due to the time necessary for our development.
Once again, I'd like to remind everyone that Genesis was written way before "science" as we understand it even existed. That being said, it's incredible that these ancient authors were about as spot on as it gets regarding the evolution of the cosmos and life on Earth.
Anyway, in conclusion, the Genesis creation story does fit in line with Big Bang / Evolution. And as for the "days" argument, MOST Christians (Catholics included) teach that the "days" translated from the Bible actually equate millennia, not literal "24-hr" days. They're referred to as "long days" when this particular story is taught to children. And considering 24-hr days are man-made products anyway, with the sun not showing up until "day 4" how exactly would one hold God to a standard that didn't technically exist until the middle of the "week?" Ha ha.
So see? Religion and science don't always have to be enemies. Sometimes they really are two sides of the same coin and can be very complimentary. This is one of those cases. I enjoy this example because it really does serve to bridge divide.
Looking for something to make your heart soar above the clouds?
Look no further. Read one of the most perfect stories of Divine Providence ever right here. God, in His infinite Wisdom, made sure to have all the pieces come together in so perfect a way as to save not just the lives of the three children, but the children they may create one day (and so on down the line). God stepped in and said, "Take my special graces. I've aligned everything perfectly for each of you. Take heed and choose to accept these gifts which I so lovingly created for you." Each of them did. Blessings to those volunteers who acted as little angels paving the way for this triumph. Blessings to that specially selected tech who was called, unwittingly, to be there exactly when God knew she was necessary.
Upon reading this story, I felt like my heart was lifted out of my body, carried by my guardian angel to the gates of Heaven where I could repeatedly sing out my thanks for so generous a grace.
And if you're wondering why I should be thanking God for this at all, regardless of who it is, lives were saved. Who knows how those lives are meant to change the course of humanity... even my own little slice of it? Maybe one of those children will grow up to cure the cancer than my future grandchild will have? Maybe one of those children will marry Vincent! And if you wanna get REALLY creative, maybe 10 generations from now, one of the children now able to exist through this singular act of grace may be the person to establish time-travel. Who knows?! The point is, EVERY life give is a blessing to EVERY person on earth. Thus, God stepping in at this precise moment in so careful and brilliant a way is a special kind of blessing. These children (or their lineage) are meant for something wonderful. Blessings to ALL of them. :)
So I didn't end up going to Mass on Sunday. Not for lack of trying, mind you! That doesn't mean I don't feel like a jerk about it. Doubly so, because I think John got the impression that it was due to his pressure that I missed. It was partly my fault anyway. I had pushed off thinking about the trip for such a long time that I had to scramble last minute to find a Church I could attend. Because that was only a day and a half before I left, I couldn't find the proper contact info for the church (all the info on their site had expired). I had wrongly assumed the front desk would be able to tell me when the Masses were (or, if not when, at least the proper contact info). Struck out there. Finally, I went to the taxi drivers who I assumed got a lot of visitors asking to be taken to Mass on Sunday. He looked at me like I was insane.
Then he attempted to charge me through the nose for the 15 minute trip to the church (which we had passed on the way to the resort, so I knew - round abouts - where it was). Just because I'm a visitor doesn't mean I'm a total idiot.
So unless I wanted to get lost attempting to go there myself (not a very safe idea) and wait around for a few hours hoping that I'd strike lucky with a Mass, I was out of luck. And I felt AWFUL.
You see, before we left, I had mentioned to John that I'd be going to Mass. Apparently he took that as a sign that I was spiting both him and our relationship in lieu of God. His solution? "Just go to Mass twice next week." Even better... "We're going to a wedding... shouldn't that count?"
*face palm* (Though I definitely laughed at his "shouldn't that count" logic.)
I have to admit that I didn't foresee this discussion happening at all. John has never told me I could not go to Mass, take part in a religious event, or practice my faith. Never. So the fact that he was specifically telling me not to go to Mass in Jamaica because "we're on vacation" was mind-boggling to me. Absolutely mind-boggling. And that fact that he was angry the thought had even entered my mind was almost too incomprehensible for me to wrap my head around.
I likened it to me telling him not to go to a film festival or take part in a movie meeting. I'd NEVER do that. NEVER. Movies, to him, are like a private religion. He devotes a bunch of time to them, and making movies makes him happy. Going to Mass and being a practicing Catholic make ME happy. Just as I'd never think to stop him from doing movies, I honestly never thought he'd ask me to stop being a Catholic (for even a weekend!).
Truth be told, I'm still floored by this. Atheist, agnostic or spaghetti monster follower, I don't care who you are or what you believe so long as you leave me to believe and practice that which I wish. If I don't expect you to alter your belief (or non-belief) system for me, don't expect me to alter mine for you. And typically, John fell in line with that. But this trip to Jamaica... I couldn't believe what I was hearing!
So yeah... it really irked me that I couldn't go to Mass, especially because I didn't want him thinking he'd "won" and "pressured" me to go lax in my faith. Mind you, it's not that I wanted to "win" or "prove him wrong." I'm worried that him seeing me "sway" so easily reinforces that religion isn't really important and can be altered when he needs it to be. Or worse, that he can pressure me into ignoring my obligations and, if given enough time, would be able to convert me away from Catholicism altogether.
Ugh. I dunno. It hasn't really come up again. I realize this isn't really John so much as satan getting angry about how gung-ho I am with the faith. Where there is strength and conviction in Christ, there is undoubtedly evil angrily working against it, hoping to tear it apart before it converts others. I see this for what it is, and again... I know where victory reigns. I know how the story ends, so... onwards. :)
However, I really, REALLY need to go to confession because I feel like I did something wrong. Even though I did try to get to Mass, it was still my fault for not checking sooner. Also, I guess I could've paid through the nose to get there, but that felt wrong, too. I dunno. I realize that missing Mass is a mortal sin, but considering I did try to get there, maybe it's been downgraded to a venial one? I hope so. I kept asking God to forgive me because I really did feel bad. Next available confession time for me is Saturday. I tried calling a neighboring parish (my pastor is really busy), but even they are all over the place. Thus, Saturday is my ticket back. Bah.
The view from our balcony.
We're back, safe and in one piece. Vince, too, is perfect. Thanks for all the prayers and messages of support during my insanity in the days leading up to the trip. As I had anticipated, about a half hour after dropping Vincent off (running away to sob in my car so he didn't see me), I was perfectly fine. He was, too, considering every time I called while we were away he was giggling or napping, blissfully unaware that Mommy and Daddy were a thousand miles away.
Anyway, Jamaica was beautiful. Even though it rained every day we were there, the rain was so nice that it didn't effect our enjoyment of everything. The sun mostly shone even while the rain was falling. Ha ha.
The first night there, John and I had gotten our times confused (apparently there's an hour time difference we hadn't realized). So we were waiting around for dinner a full hour earlier than we should've been. We enjoyed just hanging out anyway, so it wasn't like it was a big deal, but when dinner finally did roll around, we were told that we had to adhere to a specific dress code that we didn't match up to (John was in shorts, and shorts are a no-no for this place).
So we grumbled to ourselves as we went back to our rooms to change. I kept repeating to myself, "Okay, I'm sure You've got a reason for things turning out this way, but wow... this is annoying!" I hate being late for things, and considering this was our first "dinner" at the resort with the whole group, it REALLY irritated me that we were so ill-prepared.
Anyway, of course it turned out that God had planned it that way on purpose. Because we were late, we were seated away from the "group" and were able to have a nice, intimate dinner with another couple who found themselves a little "late to the party" as well. They were so nice, and John and I had a great time getting to know them. We had such a great time at our table, while the larger table was a jumbled mess of folks talking over each other in an attempt to be heard.
I smiled to myself almost immediately at the situation because I realized, as always, I should quit my constant grumbling and just thank God for whatever perceived road bumps are tossed my way in an attempt to steer me towards something better.
The rest of the trip I found myself in similar circumstances. I quit my grumblings and just offered all the frustrations up in full faith that they were meant for a reason greater than my understanding. Not once was I disappointed.
Even on the way home, we got in super late. After making our way through the airport, I realized that my two rosaries (the ones I use all the time - one for the actual rosary and one for the Divine Mercy chaplet) were missing. I knew immediately that I'd dropped them in my seat on the airplane. Instead of being upset or freaking out, I just noted that God wanted someone else to find them - and hopefully use them - in the same way I did. Who knows? Maybe me losing those rosaries will help someone else find their faith again. One can hope, right? :)
I think I broke mine!
Have you noticed my flurry of posts? All failed attempts to calm myself and push off thoughts of the impending child-abandonment that I am going to have to commit tonight.
Ugh ugh ugh. I wasn't able to sleep last night (hence the double postings), and my anxiety is so high that I've got a migraine that would shame a sledgehammer.
For the last two days I've been walking around with this horrible pit in my stomach knowing that I'd have to drop Vince off with his Mi-Mom for a weekend. I fully understand this is ridiculous. I also know that after I survive this weekend, subsequent partings won't be as difficult. Even understanding this in my rational mind does not alleviate the irrational fears, feelings of guilt, and desperate worries that are becoming more and more apparent through physical symptoms of my leap off the deep end.
Dear God, what is wrong with me? I have no doubt that Vince will not only be perfectly content with his Mi-Mom, but that he'll likely be blissfully unaware that John and I are even gone, too. Is that what's bothering me? Do I think he's going to forget about us or something in the short time we're away? No... I realize that's stupid, but considering all the other irrational thoughts that've been completely tearing me to shreds the last few days, I wouldn't put it past my subconscious at this point.
I am a little worried about the random accidents that do happen. God forbid something happens while we're so far away. I'm trying to take comfort in the fact that God always provides and does what's best for us, but my goodness... this is a toughie for me. Even with all the time He's given me to prepare (which I foolishly squandered by pretending this vacation wasn't happening)... Bah.
No doubt the second I step into our room everything will be right as rain. Again, I am fully aware of this. It's going to be a really nice time, and I'm sure I'm going to wish it were longer than the few days we've got. But again... knowing this and feeling this are so far disconnected right now that it doesn't seem possible to reconcile the two as quickly as I know it'll happen. Ha ha.
Just shoot a quick prayer our way that we have a safe trip and I don't pass out from hyperventilation while kissing Vincent goodbye. I swear I'm never this emotionally psychotic. Guess it's that special brand of motherhood that makes us ladies go a bit on the psycho side where our little ones are concerned...
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