I dunno about the rest of you bloggers, but 9 times out of 10 (okay, more like 10 times out of 10) I forget that I have a Twitter. I don't really know how to use it, and I never really log in to see if someone has said something to me or not.
So imagine my surprise this morning when I get a message in my inbox that says Jeff Cavins is now following this blog on Twitter.
No, seriously. For a quick second, just imagine my complete surprise and subsequent jolt of pride that Mr. Cavins - for even three seconds - thought my page was even remotely worthwhile to follow.
Mind = blown.
For those of you who don't know who Mr. Cavins is, please do yourselves the favor and google him. I first found out about him via EWTN through a program called Our Father's Plan (I've talked about it several times on this blog).
I had only caught a glimpse of one episode a few years back. It really stuck with me. I ended up searching it out and ordering it off EWTN a few months ago. BEST. DECISION. EVER.
And for the record, you can watch it with the fast-forward on to 1.5x and still understand everything. I was able to knock out all of the disks this way while still being able to take notes. If ever there was something I didn't catch or wanted to re-hear, I'd just replay it.
That series is INVALUABLE, btw.
So yes. To have a man I have such incalcuable respect for take even a second to click "follow" on my page - this must be what the girls who cry at Justin Beiber concerts feel like. Ha ha ha!
What a happy surprise. So, Mr. Cavins, if ever you do stop by to read this, please know how grateful I am to you for sharing your intellect. You have an incredible gift and you've certainly helped deepen my faith. You and Dr. Hahn are very much a part of why I blog at all.
May you, your family, and your ministry be blessed always. :)
Blessed candle on our stove
First of all, thank you to everyone for your prayers!!!
All of us on the East Coast appreciate them!
So far, things have been coasting along over in our neck of the woods. We weren't expecting anything to happen until this evening, but things are starting to get a little nutty.
Parts of the NJ shore have already fallen into the ocean. The waves are eating our boardwalks like they're nothing more than mini-quiches. There are reports of massive flooding all throughout the region.
So far, our home has remained relatively safe since we're about an hour north (and west) of the coast. Unfortunately, we have a creek down the street from us that tends to overflow during a light shower. It's already closed several of our streets. I can't even imagine what's going to happen come 7pm as this storm touches shore.
I just peeked out our window and noted that the tree in our backyard has already lost some of its branches. Nothing major, but considering the storm hasn't even really reached us, I'm curious to know what will be left of it come tomorrow afternoon.
Same for our tree in the front yard. I'm betting $50 that we lose a good chunk of that one into our roof. Ugh.
Our neighbor already lost part of his shed roofing. Our next door neighbor lost the wall to his above-ground pool. So far, though, no flooding of my basement (a miracle in itself) and no damage to anyone's actual homes. May God protect us!
As you can see in the photo above, I took a reader's advice and lit one of my blessed candles and placed it on our stove. I wasn't entirely sure where to put it, but the stove really does seem like a good spot! If you can't tell, that's Our Lady of Grace on the front. I figured she was a good bet, right? :)
Also, here's a photo of Vince enjoying his afternoon nap in the camp-out room.
So far, he's been glorying in our extra-family time. John found a ridiculous show called "Wipeout" that Vince is officially in love with. He asks for it by saying, "Daddy, water park, please!" because the point of the game show is for contestants to make it through obstacles that, if not navigated correctly, will land them in the water. Guilty pleasure for sure, but Vince has been getting an absolute kick out of it!
Again, may God be with us. I can't help but think this storm is meant to remind us that we're not as smart or as strong as we think we are. Stay safe, dry and blessed everyone!
There's a Storm Comin'!
If anyone knows the artist, message me!
My little house on my little street is in the path of Hurricane Sandy. Floods are already being reported and the storm hasn't even come close to sniffing at my doorstep. Heck, it's 6:50pm and we've barely been teased with showers.
In fact, all I feel is silence. Ominous, ominous silence.
A state of emergency has been declared through Tuesday. I've packed myself, my husband, and our little munch suitcases in the off-chance we need to evacuate (our area floods... a LOT). I've also stuffed a tupperware bin full of ready-to-eat food and juice in case we're without electricity for a while.
Instead of sleeping on the second floor, I've made up the guest room to serve as our camping grounds for the next few days. Since we've got a lot of trees around us, I never feel too safe upstairs since any one of them could come smashing through the roof.
So, we sleep in a guest room off the back of the house on the main level. It's got a queen sized pull-out bed, so the three of us get a little cramped, but we're glad to be safe and together. Vince typically gets a kick out of us all piled into the bed anyway, so it's win-win all around.
I also have an empty tupperware bin lined with a blanket that will serve as our cat carrier for the three girls should we need to leave. When storms like this hit, we keep the three of them shut into the room with us so we don't have to go running around the house trying to find three scared kitties. Plus, putting them all into one carrier makes our lives a lot easier. One of us can take the tub while the other takes Vince.
Finally, I made sure to have those candles and flashlights out! I recently had six candles blessed by Fr. Eucharist, so I'm feeling pretty good about our lighting situation. I also made sure Vince and John had hot meals throughout the day in case we have to go without them for the next few. Hopefully we won't, though!
Yipes, though. Let's hope this is all bark and no bite. May the storm pass quickly and quietly, and may we all make it to the rainbow in safety.
To the wonderful person who gift-wrapped this for me today - you are amazing. To the priest who braved his congregation to deliver this necessary homily - may he be blessed a thousand-fold. Obviously this message is one that resonates for it to have spread so quickly. Well done, Father. Well done.
Loving this Picture!
So I was checking out the Wall Street Journal the other day when this front page caught my eye:
I didn't care about the headlines. What I cared about was this picture, detailed below:
How adorable is that??? Ronzulli brought her baby girl with her to work!
The first thought that crossed my mind was "WELL DONE, Mom!" Then I went to read the caption to find out who she and her daughter were. I then did a cursory search in the hopes that the article was something about these two, but alas, it was not.
How wonderful is it, though, that Italian culture so reveres its children that to bring them to work - even such an important, international meeting - is accepted?
My work policy explicitly states that children are not allowed to be on the premises - and I work for the Church! Ha ha ha.
Seriously, though, I absolutely LOVED this picture because it was a reminder that women can be both mothers and employees. We don't have to abort our children, give them up for adoption or be shunned in the workplace because we're "tied to our families."
We can still be incredibly helpful to our employers while keeping our families our priority.
I'm so surprised the WSJ chose to print this. I love it!
My Aunt Loretta
I don't even know where to begin with this. How, exactly, does one begin to write about an event for which there is no proof and sounds INCREDIBLY fictional... even a little crazy?
I guess I start with who my Aunt Loretta is.
My Uncle Gene had a common law marriage with Aunt Loretta, a woman I never really knew. Since my uncle wasn't close with our family, we didn't see him or his wife (which is sad, because I know I'd've loved her).
Anyway, Aunt Loretta passed away when I was still pretty young. Her passing wasn't even a blip on my radar because, as a child, you're preoccupied with childish things - especially when the person who passes is someone you barely know.
Fast forward to when I was about 9 years old. For a brief three minutes my family and my uncle's family were close. I half think it's because his new wife, (my current Aunt Jeannie), is the sweetest person ever and was really looking to reach out to our side of the family. I became close with one of her daughters (from a previous marriage) and the two of us would badger our respective parents in order to hang out. During this very brief span of family bonding, my mother, siblings and I were enlisted to help my uncle move out of his old house.
I can't speak for my other siblings, but I really - REALLY - enjoyed clearing out my uncle's house. I was also pierced by a deep sadness for him. Everything - and I mean everything - in that house was a testament to his love for Aunt Loretta. He had so many pictures of her, so many of her books, so much of her jewelry, so many of her dresses, and countless scrapbooks full of her Astrology clippings (Aunt Loretta wrote for several newspapers as their professional astrologer).
At this point in my life, I didn't know much at all about Uncle Gene. He was just the silent, brooding uncle who showed up for family functions wearing cowboy boots, never said anything to us kids aside from the obligatory "Hi" and "Bye" and played the piano. I saw him laugh a couple times, and he had a laugh very similar to my Grandpop's. Grandpop's was definitely more jovial... it seems to resonate from deep within himself. Uncle Gene's, though it carried a similar raspy tone, never carried the full depth of joy that Grandpop's did.
But I digress.
I didn't dislike my uncle. I didn't fear him, either. I was just confused by him. I could tell he was extremely uncomfortable around children (he never had any of his own) which just made us kids extremely uncomfortable around him. As a result, I knew NOTHING about him. So going through all of his stuff was like putting bits and pieces of his personality together. That day forward I had a very, VERY different perspective on him. And it was all because of Aunt Loretta.
In all of their pictures, Uncle Gene was a different person. The amount of love and admiration he had for her - it oozed out of the pictures. He looked so relaxed, so overjoyed, so happy in all of them. There was even one where he was full-on laughing as his arm hung over her shoulders. I realized by looking through his stuff that he was a person with emotions, too. Deep ones that really came alive for her - likely even because of her. And I wonder if his aloof and brooding personality wasn't a reflection of the deep pain he felt at loosing the person who so obviously gave him so much joy. He kept all of her things because he didn't want to let go of her. So as we moved out all of Uncle Gene's items, we were also moving out Aunt Loretta's. I felt as if I was getting to know her, too, and ever since then I've always been incredibly bummed that I'd never gotten a chance to really know her.
She seemed like such a wonderful, vibrant woman. That she was able to bring about such a different side of my Uncle... she must've been something special.
Anyway, fast forward again through the years. Most of my readers know that I've always had a very special place in my prayers for the souls in Purgatory. Whenever I pray, I typically toss a nod their way. I always keep in mind my friend, Karen, who passed away too young. I always keep in mind Grandmom and Grandpop in the very off chance that they haven't reached Heaven (because even if they have, and I believe they did, those prayers will still be effective for helping someone else). I also keep my Aunt Pat as a prime intention because I adore her and want to make sure that she not only makes it to Heaven if she's not already there, I want to make sure she knows I'm still harassing her like I said I would when she was with me on Earth.
However, for all the times I've prayed for the souls in Purgatory, I've never once specified Aunt Loretta. She just wasn't a person who came to mind as I said my prayers.
Well, this morning I was saying the Divine Mercy chaplet on my way to work. I was thinking a lot about Purgatory and the souls there in part because of a series I recently saw courtesy of Anabelle Hazard.
So as I closed out my Divine Mercy chaplet, I made sure to remind God that the chaplet was for the souls in Purgatory. No sooner did I finish the final prayer than did I feel completely overcome with joy. Joy is a terribly pathetic word, too. The tidal wave of emotion I felt caught me so off-guard that I began tearing up as I crossed the bridge into Philadelphia. As the tears began pooling, I immediately cried out, "God, don't let me cry before I get into work!"
As soon as I said those words aloud, the wave of unspeakable joy passed, but I was left with the distinct impression that my Aunt Loretta was in the car with me. I half expected to see her in the rear-view mirror!
What's odd about that is I've never connected Aunt Loretta with purgatory. I haven't connected her with anything except my Uncle Gene, and considering how seldom he pops into my thoughts, she pops in even less. So what was she doing attached to that intense feeling of joy?
We never know where our prayers go or who they help. I think God chose to use my chaplet to help Aunt Loretta either enter Heaven today, or at least move up the level so she was closer.
I realize this sounds crazy. I accept that. But I have no other explanation for the sudden and inexplicable experience of radiant, fathomless joy that solicited an immediate physical response from me. Stranger, I have no other explanation for connecting my aunt, a non-Catholic who I never really knew, to it.
I'm appreciative, however, that I was given such a generous gift this morning. I want to share it with you to remind you of the importance (and POWER) of prayers for those in Purgatory. Never forget them.
(These photo spaces will remain blank until I'm able to find ones of Aunt Loretta. Again - this is just more proof that I have very little connection to her at all. That doesn't mean my prayers can't help her, though! How gloriously merciful is our God!)
Sisters of Life Need Help!!!
I'm sharing this with all of my readers in the hopes that these wonderful Sisters and the work that they do is not only helped along through your generous donations, but also your prayers!
Please keep these beautiful women and the cherished families they help in your daily intentions. We are blessed to count these brides of Christ among our own.
Dear Friends and Co-workers of Life,
'Emmanuel', God is with us. As we prepare to welcome the Christ child anew in our hearts this December, we are welcoming the new life around us in the women we serve. It is our desire that as they have courageously chosen life for their child, they may know the joy of Christ's presence and loving support, so often through the hearts of others. And that they may know truly, God is with us!
We are organizing our December 15, 2012 Christmas party for the women we serve and their children, and sending out some gift ideas for anyone who is interested. We have added websites for your convenience but you are certainly not limited to using them. Thank you always for your prayers and generosity!
We need shopping bags! We always need big bags with handles to give to the women when they stop by. We fill them with maternity clothes and baby clothes, etc***
T-SHIRT BAG - PLASTIC- CLEAR - 90121 Store Supply Warehouse: Your Source for Retail Supplies and Store Displays 9801 Page Avenue | St Louis, Missouri 63132 | Phone: 800-823-8887
All gifts need to be delivered by Monday December 10th, 2012.
For shipping purposes this is our address:
Sisters of Life
257 East 71st Street
New York, NY 10021
Questions concerning drop offs contact: (212) 737-0221
Any other questions and concerns contact: (347) 843-8900
We are so grateful to you for all your sacrifices, big and small, for our mission of building a culture of life.
In Christ Our Life,
The Sisters of Life
I've been sitting on this post for about a week because I haven't had a proper camera with which to take my photos. *GRUMP GRUMP*
Anyway, my iPhone ended up taking the ones you're about to see, so I really, REALLY apologize for the blur and lack of clarity.
A wonderful friend of mine asked me to create a pair of Pro-Life earrings for a friend of hers. This friend works across from an abortion facility and it breaks her heart that she must work across from this place day after day.
She wanted some small way to remember their suffering throughout the day... some small way to speak out against the atrocity and remind others that there were those willing to speak for these voiceless children.
Thus, these earrings were born.
I went through several charms and versions, but the Precious Feet (though pricey) were the way to go.
Thus, I've created a whole batch for those who wish a pair for themselves. These can be customized with pink, blue or red beads. However, one crystal will remain on all of these to remind us of the innocent souls that are being torn away from us each time an abortion is carried out.
10% of all sales go towards the Pro-Life Union of Greater Philadelphia. They do some incredible, incredible work. Please spread this particular entry along. I want Pro-Life jewelry to spread just as much as ribbons for breast cancer, puzzle pieces for Autism, or bracelets for Alzheimer's.
Club Divorcee: The Look
Banana? Of COURSE I want a banana.
That's right. I got "The Look."
Ya know... the one you get when the person you're talking to says something that you're supposed to understand on some innate, personal level?
It was a look that said, "C'mon, Gina. You're married. You've got a husband. You know how much it sucks to always have a man around."
I was absolutely dreading it. I didn't want to laugh them off and join in the man-bashing they were so keen to take part in. I also didn't want to ruin the dynamics for the rest of the day by telling them that the only reason they were having this "yay divorce" session was because they were still - after 10 and 6 years respectively - attempting to get past the fact that their divorces STILL hurt and weren't as rosy as they kept trying to convince themselves they were.
But that look was like a line in the sand. I saw the line. I understood it for what it was. Crossing it meant I'd be on their side. I'd be a woman who understood just how much being married sucked. I'd be in their club - the one reserved for angry vent sessions about men and all the things they do to make women miserable.
If I stayed on my side, however, I'd be the enemy. I'd be the naive, young and pompous twit who rode her high horse around the world because I was too stupid to understand that in a few short years, I'd be joining their ranks. And then... oh... staying on my side of the line would ensure their constant vigilance for the day I'd wake up and find myself alone and miserable. They'd both be waiting to pounce on my broken, bleeding heart with a victorious "I told you so, now come with us so we can tear into men together again!"
That pause - it only lasted a moment. It felt like forever because I fully understood the war I was about to wage by speaking the truth of my feelings. I was trying to calculate the words and what effects they'd have so I could do the least amount of damage while still conveying my point.
"I can't really complain about John. My marriage isn't perfect, but I'm pretty sure I'd be up Crap's Creek sans both paddles without him. He's a good guy. I'm happy to be 'chained down' with him. I even got a cute kid out of the deal."
Chained down is their term, not mine, but I figured I'd hit home the point that even though I understood their feelings, I didn't share them. I then tried to buoy the response with our shared love of children - their living reminder that once upon a time, their marriages were good, too.
Unfortunately, it didn't work. Go figure.
As I had anticipated, I was immediately seen as the enemy. What did I know? I've only been married 5 years. That's all honeymoon. Just wait until he gets that 7 year itch. I'll see. And when I do, they'll be there with margaritas and cyber-dating for me to chase off the self-loathing.
After that stellar session with the Cynic's Crystal Ball, they physically turned their backs to me and continued their husband / marriage bashing.
Our culture is replete with these Divorcee Clubs. Every divorced woman gains automatic entry while every other woman is assumed to simply await the day they, too, become part of the club - because even if you don't divorce, you'll still know enough about men to think they're generally terrible.
I get that sometimes it's fun for girls to get together to poke fun at the guys. I partake of it myself. However, I tend to limit it to slight jokes that don't actually call into question my love for my husband or my appreciation for my marriage vocation. I'll roll my eyes at some of the more ridiculous things his mind wanders off to while I'm trying to have a conversation about Honey To-Do's, but his eyes are probably rolling just the same as my eyes glaze over when he starts talking about football.
There are inherent differences between men and women. I enjoy poking fun at the stereotypes or even pinpointing some of the more ridiculous highlights that John and I play out in our marriage. I don't like the conversations that devolve into hating on ex-spouses for the sake of hating on them. Venting is one thing, but when you start bragging about how awful he was and how much better you are without him (several years AFTER the divorce), the entire conversation just comes off as pathetic.
Ah well. I hate those situations. I never know how to properly extricate myself from them.
Divorce shouldn't be something we strive for. It also shouldn't be something we accept as joyous celebrations. Again - as Dom so rightly put it, divorce is a terribly painful, life-altering act that defies the very act of God who brings forth the union of two souls.
Now this entry was not to say that all divorces were created equal. This is not delving into abusive relationships or marriages that took place when there was something fundamentally wrong with the couple. This is more about negative trash-talk than divorce itself. It's more about glorifying what is essentially a terrible thing in order to overcompensate for the desecration and destruction one feels at the hands of such a travesty.
My prayers are with all of those couples who have experienced divorce. They are with all married couples who daily struggle to take the hard road of their vocation. May we all be granted the strength to find the Will of God in our lives - and in our spouses.
Club Divorcée: Backstory
I've been sitting on this post for a week now. Actually, it's been brewing for longer than a week, but last Wednesday really sparked up some irritation regarding a few divorced women I know and their overt "We're awesome because our ex-husbands are evil people" pride.
I was at a meeting that devolved into a debate over our deacon's homily the previous weekend. I'd gone to a different parish that weekend on account of being sick (I missed my normal mass by an hour), so I was all sorts of curious to know what the hullabaloo was about.
Apparently our deacon preached about the sanctity of marriage and decided to use his God-given vocation to state, unequivocally, that homosexual marriage goes against the Law of God, and that to participate in such unions is a mortal sin. He also delved into the murky area of divorce and why those who sought Communion with the Church after such civil proceedings were dealing with mortal sin. Considering so many people are unaware of this, it's important to teach these things from the pulpit every now and again (especially with divorce rates being as high as they are).
I must've had the most confused look on my face. At first I thought the person relaying the "problem" was joking.
I actually said, "So people are upset that he's speaking the truth?"
I looked over to my council-mate who gave me the same stunned look of confusion I knew I was wearing. He said, "I was there. I heard the homily. I have no idea what the problem is, either."
This was met with the response of "Deacon Strong (as henceforth I'll call him) needs to learn to be more politically correct. You don't just alienate a bunch of parishioners by throwing that stuff in their faces all the time. He didn't need to talk about marriage at all. It was pointless, and he upset a lot of people. A LOT of people."
Now, you need to understand the dynamics of the table at this point. I was sitting at the head with our pastor, a great and wonderful priest. He was relatively silent at this point since I think he was genuinely trying to understand the complaint being lodged. On one side of the table, there were a few council members who seemed to agree with the complaint being lodged against Deacon Strong. On the other side of the table were those of us who were confused that there was a complaint at all.
How strange is that? We all ended up sitting in such a way that we actually split ourselves down the middle regarding supporters and not-so-supportive supporters of Deacon Strong ('cause everyone loves Deacon Strong - just not that particular homily).
Anyway, still being completely confused, I pointed out the fact that all of the readings for that weekend were, in fact, about marriage. Of course his homily would reflect that. Of course he would want to talk about the sanctity of marriage in light of those readings. Him speaking the truth in light of the readings is not "throwing it" in anyone's face.
Plus, I've heard enough homilies between he and our pastor... that would've been the first peep I'd've heard from either of them (from the pulpit) regarding homosexuals marrying / divorcees lining up for Communion. So to accuse Deacon Strong of "throwing it" in anyone's face is absolutely LUDICROUS.
I then pointed out that we were in the middle of the 40 days for Life event that's been pushed by the Bishops. Marriage is considered the foundation for life. It is through marriage that the gift of life is supposed to be given to the world. It is through marriage that this gift can be fostered and nurtured into another vessel of love which can continue the cycle of love through marriage and subsequent children. In fact, to hit home that point, many parishes throughout the country were doing special blessings over married couples during the Mass.
So yes... again... MARRIAGE WAS THE POINT OF THE HOMILY THAT WEEKEND.
After pointing that out, the response was "Jesus didn't come to condemn anyone. We need to love everyone as God made them."
I immediately retorted with "Jesus came to DIVIDE. And He did! He said some really hard things that got a whole lot of people angry. In fact, it's why He ended up dying on a cross."
And to her credit, the woman lodging the complaint was simply trying to do her job as a council-member considering there were "lots" of people upset with the homily. I wasn't upset with her so much as the fact that people were getting this up-in-arms over something that EVERYONE KNOWS.
Catholics don't believe in homosexual marriage and we don't believe that divorce is copasetic in the Eyes of God. As this entry so clearly expresses, divorce is a painful, messy business. Homosexual unions very obviously undermine the sanctity of true marriage. These are basic truths of our faith. They shouldn't come as surprises to folks. I mean, do people feel as though the Blessed Mother's virginity is thrown in their faces every week (considering it's part of the creed and all)? So when these issues of homosexual unions or divorced Catholics come up once in a blue moon, why all of the sudden the theatrics with storming out of the church or declaring yourself an Evangelical?
You have no right to act surprised, offended or indignant that no one told you about this part of the faith.
I'm all for walking out the door when you come to terms with the fact that you don't believe in what we preach. But attempting to vilify the person who is telling you what you already know simply because he's saying it out loud and not pretending like the Church teaches something different?
No no, good friend. Methinks you're at the wrong party.
And what finally solicited this particular entry was the fact that one of the women at the meeting took this opportunity to glory in her role as a divorced Catholic.
I've heard jokes in passing on several occasions, but I typically keep my mouth completely shut when it comes to folks talking about their ex-spouses. I, like most people, I'm sure, steer clear of that topic like it is the Plague.
However, the joke was timed to coincide with the bragging of a different woman altogether. This woman is someone I speak to often. She divorced about 10 years ago and was - that very morning - bragging about how she was so glad to be rid of her husband, how much better she was doing without him, wishing him nothing but misery, and touting herself as free and able to be with who she wanted, do what she wanted, and not care one way or the other. Oh, but isn't it so great to be divorced???
She was doing this with a mutual friend of ours, another divorcee. I was in the room, and was by default assumed to be part of the conversation. I simply kept my mouth shut. Both women were gloating about their freedom and how much it sucked to be married to such terrible men. Then they turned their attention to me - silent little Gina - and I got exactly what I'd been dreading.
Spoiler Alerts, My Broken Record
I apologize for my complete lack of posts. I was pretty sick last week and on top of the head cold, I was hit with a barrage of work, home and even internet issues.
I had actually taken a mini-breather from blogging on account of a superbly... entertaining message from a reader of this page. Normally I'm perfectly capable of handling angry folks who are offended by my stance, but her arrogance came at a really sucky time that compounded a personal struggle I was having.
This is going to sound ridiculous, but I probably would've been fine had I not been catching up on a television show with John. He and I tend to unwind by catching up on our favorite TV shows. Last week, we barreled through How I Met Your Mother, Season 7.
Now what John doesn't realize - and what most folks don't realize - is that I was absolutely DREADING this season. One day, however, John "surprised" me with the DVD set and was all aflutter about catching up. So I swallowed my fear and trudged forward. I watched as he unwrapped the set, knowing full well that he was opening a can of worms I wasn't 100% ready to handle.
SPOILER ALERT - Anyone who has not watched Season 7 of HIMYM, stop reading. There will be a few spoilers, but considering how popular the show is, I doubt it's going to be earth-shattering. But still... if you don't wanna know, skip this post.
Season 6 ended with news of Marshall and Lily finding out they were pregnant. So I knew that Season 7 was going to deal a lot with her pregnancy. However, it's not her pregnancy that worried me. It was John's reaction to her pregnancy that was going to set me off. It's the same reaction he had when Bones got pregnant on that series. For a guy who refuses to have any more children, he tends to get ridiculously excited when fictional characters get pregnant.
And I admit that really, really bothers me.
So I end up watching him more than I do the actual TV show, because I'm completely mystified. How is it that he's going ga-ga for fictional babies and saying, "Oh man, I miss when Vincent was that small" but refusing to acknowledge the fact that he could be going ga-ga for his own progeny and re-experiencing the delight of holding a newborn for himself? I just... I just don't get it.
I actually asked him at one point (while we were watching Bones, actually) how it was that he could get so supremely happy for fictional TV characters having kids but loathing the idea of us having more. His response was pretty much "I can live vicariously through them. I get to see cute kids but not have to actually deal with them when they're not cute."
Obviously he didn't say it exactly like that, but those were his sentiments. And I guess I can understand them. It's the same as folks going "Oh I love playing with kids so long as they're not mine. I can give these ones back."
The idea is "Kids are fun until they're not fun anymore. So I'll enjoy them while they're fun, but as soon as I get tired of them or they start to act up, I can easily give them back to Mom or Dad."
And again, I get that. I really do. But I'd be lying if I said watching him ooze joy over these characters and their unborn children didn't hurt. I feel cheated and somehow defective. I can't help but be hurt by his excitement over Lily's baby when he's horrified by the prospect of a sibling for Vincent. It just... it just doesn't compute for me, especially given the fact that I know he'd end up loving that child as much as he loves Vince.
Seeing the whole season revolve around this baby was tough, especially enduring the episode in which Robin speaks to her own "children." It was just really, really difficult. I didn't talk to John about it as this is a discussion we've had in the past. So I accepted this particular bout as one to shoulder on my own. I was okay with that until I got a message from a reader who just had incredibly awful timing.
I will be praying for you in your obstinance. ('Cause you know letters starting off this way are ALWAYS entertaining.) It is obvious that you have made up your mind regarding God's place in your marriage and I would be remiss in my Christian duties if I didn't tell you that you've made the wrong decision. Placing your husband's desires before those of God will only bring unhappiness. You've made your bed of thorns and you're taking to the internet to gain sympathy.
I cannot give you sympathy (oh, darn), but I can give you prayers and advice on how to get out of your unhappy marriage. As you noted in your comments, you can annul the union based on his refusal to abide by the vows he took before the altar. Annulment is a formality at this point as your marriage was a sham the moment he said No to God's law. (Wow, really? a SHAM? I didn't realize it was that easy to destroy a bond that God, Himself, created before the altar of His Sacrifice. Does this give John's "No" more power than God's "Yes?") Prettying it up on your end and calling it a sacrifice only helps you to delude yourself into thinking what you're doing is right. It is not right, it is not just, and it will not help you, your husband, or your son reach Heaven. (Hell, I tell you! You're all going to hell!)
Please consider speaking with a priest different from those you've found yourself amongst. You need a traditional priest - one who is willing to stand up and defend the truth of the faith (Did anyone else read this as: "Find another priest... one who agrees with me. Obviously the ones you've sought have fallen under the control of Satan. Unless they agree with exactly what I'm telling you, they're not "priest-enough" ?) . Until you seek out a proper priest, you're going to end up feeling miserable. For someone who seeks to do God's will, this WILL cause you to resent your husband. No matter how much you think you can handle it, no matter how much grace you think God's going to send, the inevitable will happen - you WILL divorce or you WILL regret that you did not for the rest of your life (because that's right - God is either not going to help me out, or His Grace isn't good enough. Either way I look at that assertion, I come away thinking she doesn't exactly understand the concept of God as Father). And if you do neither, your son will, and the onus will be on you because YOU are the one who knows that something is wrong but will not move forward to seek a proper solution. (Again, that proper solution being to break my own marriage covenant by seeking divorce... because that makes any sense.)
The letter then goes on to detail the many ways I've failed as a Catholic, a mother, and a wife. And the crazy thing is I absolutely believe this woman means well. She is all sorts of hopeful that she can help my soul (and those of my family) get to Heaven.
That's nice of her, I guess. It's good to want Heaven for others. It's not good, however, to presume you know exactly how it is to get them there, especially when you've only got a few entries worth of info from which to base the guidelines on.
But hey, I can normally take e-mails like this in stride. However, this one was timed to coincide with a particular episode that made me want to curl up in bed with Vince, clinging to every desperate second that made him grow, change, and eventually stop being my little munch. While wishing to keep him my tiny little baby forever, I also wanted to have a new baby to have because, again, my family doesn't feel complete. I'm still waiting on all those babies I conjured up as a child as I dreamt not of weddings or houses or winning the lotto, but of bearing and raising my litany of happy little munchkins.
No, that's not correct. I'm not exactly waiting for them so much as grieving for them. It's a continuous process. It's not something I can just write about once or twice and expect to be "OK" with. These emotions crop up - a lot - and yes, I write about it a lot. I realize that I sound like a broken record on this, and maybe it does sound like whining. I don't mean for it to. I don't mean to sound like I'm complaining or that I'm resenting John or that I need sympathy from people in order to make it through the day.
None of those things are true. I don't resent John. I understand his hesitation. I even appreciate the fact that his concerns are for the family. I can't resent him when I know his intention is good. I still love him and appreciate him as a husband and father.
I also hope you don't think I'm whining by constantly bringing this up. I know some folks probably roll their eyes at this issue because I've spoken about it so much already. And for that feel that way, I do apologize. I don't want you folks feeling as though I'm soliciting a pity party through these entries.
However, I also didn't start this blog to entertain others. I feel like that's what a lot of these letter-writing folks tend to forget (especially that one person who felt as though I didn't do enough "shading out" of my husband as if he were some character in the novel of my life).
This blog began as my own personal journey towards understanding and living out my faith. I wanted to share the journey with others, and I wanted others to share their journey with me. I realize that in sharing my life so candidly with others, I invite critical commentary. I get that. However, this is a personal blog which means I get to write about personal things. And considering the personal, life-alternating nature of this particular situation, it's going to crop up. I'm going to have ups and downs with it, and it's going to continue to test my faith, forcing me to grow closer to Christ through developing my trust in His Plan. So I'm going to talk about it. I don't talk about it nearly as much as I think about it, but sometimes I need to let off a little steam, and this blog is the perfect place to do it.
So no worries on sending me balloons for the pity party. I don't feel bad for myself. I don't want to divorce John. I don't believe I need to go searching for yet another priest to tell me what I already know. I just need a spot every now and again with which to process some of my anxiety or sadness. The same as I enjoy a spot to celebrate my joy and appreciation for all the wonderful things that come my way.
So if you'd like to stick around for the ride, I appreciate the company. If not, I can understand why reading about the same thing repeatedly might give you a headache. No hard feelings, I promise.
I've been blessed with several artistically inclined friends. Being someone who can't draw a straight line with a ruler, having these artistic friends has always given me a bit of a boost. I can live vicariously through their skill set. Ha!
Long-time readers of this blog know that I absolutely adore paintings. I'll try to sneak them into most entries and sometimes I'll even go on wild tangents trying to figure out their layered symbolism. I just really, really enjoy that sorta stuff!
Anyway, an old friend of mine dropped me a line this weekend. (I've already had this discussion with her, so no worries about wading into a public battle of wits. We've reached an understanding and she gave me permission to post this.) This friend, "Lilly," is a pretty incredible painter. I've linked to her material on my page in the past, and I've attended two of her shows in the last year. We don't really talk much, but I tend to comment on her albums as she posts new work. Every now and again she'll comment on a pic or two of Vince, but that's about the extent of our communication.
I was thus happy (and surprised) to hear from her this weekend when she called. She said that she'd been reading this blog for about a month and has been debating asking for my help with selling her paintings. She said that in exchange for selling her artwork on my page, she'd share my blog with her friends.
Now at first glance, that's not a ridiculous offer. However, I admit that I took offense to it simply based on a conversation I'd recently had with John.
Let me explain:
I've been posting to Facebook about my husband's upcoming movie release. Many of my readers already know that he sold his first movie to Lionsgate and the release is this week. In my attempts to support him in his dream to make and sell movies, I not only agreed to be in the movie (with Vincent), but I helped make the food, solicited help from my best friend, Mary, and have been plugging the movie left and right for it's various screenings, releases, and news-bytes.
Now, what most of you don't know is the name of my husband's movie. The reason for this is that the content in the movie. It's rated R, but it should really be closer to NC-17. It's very "The Hang Over" in content. Thus, I've never promoted it on my page, even after John's begged me to write up a horrible review and rile all of you fine readers up into a tizzy so you'll buy it and yell about it, too.
*Shakes head* My husband - "No publicity is bad publicity." Ha ha!
Anyway, I've made the conscious choice NOT to promote his movie on this page based on principle. He was feeling slightly unsupported because I didn't want to use this medium to promote what I was already promoting through Facebook, Twitter, etc.
As I pointed out, however, I was supporting him in every other way known to man. I was telling folks about his project, I was linking to the various news articles about it, I cooked for the cast / crew, and I agreed - against better judgement - to take part in it. That's about as supportive as it gets, right?
Then, on top of that, I pointed out that for all the unsolicited support he got from me - publicly - he had yet to link to my jewelry page. So I really shouldn't hear word one about being unsupportive.
(Mind you, pointing this out promptly solicited a "Check out my wife's page" post to his feed; I was quite appreciative).
I go out of my way to support the various projects he or our mutual friends get involved with. I'll re-post teasers, I'll comment on promotions, I'll share tasting / jewelry events. Why? Because that's what friends do, right? Even with stuff I'm not entirely excited about because it's not about my excitement regarding a project - it's my level of excitement regarding the success of a friend.
So I re-post - ad nauseum, I'm sure.
Yet I have not received similar treatment and the answer is always the same. "I'd totally repost your stuff if it weren't so religious."
Now this is not an entry whining about how little my friends repost my store. I'm honestly not looking for that. You fine readers have done a wonderful job of spreading the word, and for that, you have my prayers and appreciation. However, I take offense to the fact that there are those among my group who have the audacity to claim I'm unsupportive or unwilling to help because I'm embarrassed by X, Y or Z when they refuse to help me out because they're embarrassed by God, or who would have no problem reposting my jewelry so long as they're getting something out of it. As Lilly pointed out, she'd "make the sacrifice" of posting about God in order to access my "audience."
Something just doesn't really sit too well with me when you put it like that.
I don't mind coupling up with others who want to reach a broader audience. I've had similar discussions with Dom, a wonderful artist, and even my friend, Mary. I don't mind sharing wonderful items that I think my readers would be interested in.
What I DO mind, however, is being used and then allowing my readership to be used. Looking to ride the coat-tails of the year and a half I've spent churning out entries, battling against mean-spirited trolls, and pouring out my personal life for what I hope will be the benefit of others... it amounts to being used.
Telling me that you'll "make the sacrifice" of sharing my hard work so you're able to make good off the readership I love, appreciate and respect? I'm sorry, but that just seems downright arrogant.
And I explained it in those terms. If my page isn't good enough for you to "like" or share on its own - or even just because you would like to help me find success - your artwork isn't going to make it any better. Your artwork isn't going to somehow change or overshadow the fact that this blog is Catholic, and everything about me and what I do is firmly rooted in that Catholicism.
So again - this isn't a pity party asking folks to share my page. I don't want it shared by those who simply feel guilted or shamed into sharing. I want it shared by those who either enjoy my work (both written and crafted), or who believe others will find value in this calling.
I apologize for the long vent. It's just that I've been approached by so many folks over the last week or so who were interested in utilizing this page either for ad-space, sales or information (and no, I never have and never will allow 3rd parties to take your information).
It just really drove me up a wall and I ended up feeling very frustrated. Since speaking with Lilly, she agreed that she hasn't exactly been the most stellar at recognizing that my work was just as valid and time-consuming as hers. And maybe that's what folks who don't blog / craft tend to forget.
God Bless You Candy
I was tasked with calling priests today. Lots and lots of priests.
It. Was. AWESOME!
I actually thanked my coworker for dropping what everyone else thinks is "crap work" into my lap because it meant that I'd be talking to priests. More specifically, though, I'd be saying "goodbye" to these priests.
This meant they'd also be saying "goodbye" to me.
And I dunno about the rest of you, but in my experience, almost every single priest I've had the pleasure of speaking with has typically ended their goodbye with a "God Bless you."
So I happily began making my calls with the excited knowledge that I was about to be inundated with about 50 priestly blessings!!! One of my coworkers actually shook his head and laughed at my enthusiasm saying, "The strangest things make you happy."
*Grin* He's right. But I don't think being excited about a priestly blessing is strange. It might not be "normal" considering society's current disdain for anything religious, but a priestly blessing is still something incredibly special - even if the priest giving it is passing it along mechanically.
So off I go making my calls. Imagine my surprise when the first, second, third... tenth phone call I make is closed with a simple "goodbye."
I was so confused.
Out of the 50 or so phone calls I made, I got maybe 5 blessings.
I voiced my surprise to one of my coworkers. I mean, if I had the awesome ability to dole out priestly blessings to people, I'd be doing it all the time! I love being able to give something to folks that makes them happy. It's the reason why I keep a well-stocked candy jar on my desk.
I've always got SOMETHING to give in order to brighten another's day. My coworkers all thoroughly enjoy my candy jar. In fact, most swing by my desk at least 5 times a day in order to snag a box of Nerds or a Tootsie midget.
If candy makes us happy, how much MORE happy should a priestly blessing make us? How much more excited should we be to receive such a priceless treasure?
And considering how happy and satisfied offering random candy makes me, how much more so would I be to offer a priestly blessing to people? I really WOULD be handing them out like candy!!!
To be able to offer those blessings is a gift. To be able to receive it is a blessing, too. I have to admit being thoroughly bummed by the lack of blessings doled out over those 50+ calls. I wasn't sad that I didn't get to stock-pile blessings, mind you. I was sad at the knowledge that if these priests weren't doling them out to me, they might not be doling them out to others, either.
And that's a whole lot of wasted opportunity to help Divine Providence along.
Maybe I've just been super spoiled by wonderful priests my entire life. My current pastor always closes every conversation with a blessing. My family's main priest-friend always closes every conversation with a blessing. The random sprinkling of priests I've needed to speak with over the years have always closed conversations with a blessing. Even the wonderful man I went to school with (ordained a few years ago) used to close our conversations with a blessing.
I've either been INCREDIBLY lucky to know priests who know the value of their blessing, or I' was incredibly UNlucky in those 50+ calls I made.
I dunno. I admit being slightly unsettled by the thought. That being said, I was super grateful for all those priests who've given their blessings over the years. I actually wanted to call up a few of them, but I decided against it. I didn't want to call attention to the fact and make them feel self-conscious about it. I'm glad their blessings are second-nature. :)
I Failed Today
This is our friend, Jake, who is always "gelling."
My husband and I were bowling last weekend. He's pretty awesome. Me? I bowl a 66 if I'm lucky and crown myself Queen.
John, though - he's a great bowler. After a particularly awesome strike, he turned around and said, "Before the ball left my hand I knew that was gonna be a perfect strike."
I didn't even question him. Of course he knew. He felt himself line up perfectly with the pins. He felt himself align his body with the lane so as he drew his arm back, the weight of the bowling ball, itself, propelled him forward. He was in-tune with the motions of the game. He was "gelling." He was "in the zone."
I understand the feeling. Maybe not for bowling (okay, DEFINITELY not for bowling) but I've felt confident and sure in other areas of life: pouring just the right amount of pizzelle batter into my iron for the perfect cookies, timing my laundry cycles to coincide perfectly with cleaning the bathrooms and the roasting chicken in my oven, and snipping the perfect amount of wire so I don't waste any for a pair of earrings.
We've all had this feeling. We're so "in tune" with what we're doing that our actions are second nature. We know, before we complete a task, that everything is going to turn out pretty awesome.
This is how I usually feel regarding religion. I gel. I'm "in tune" with God. I have an easy, natural response to confusing or potentially bad situations. When folks ask me questions about Catholicism, I've got an answer. When I'm faced with a severe temptation, I'm pretty quick to call out to St. Michael. That's just what happens when you communicate regularly through prayer and reception of the Sacraments.
Unfortunately, however, I was NOT gelling so much last week at work. I'll be honest... I'd had a pretty terrible weekend. I slipped into mortal sin, decided not to go to Mass, and paid for it on Monday.
Now please don't think I'm using my blog as a confessional. I'll get to that. I think it is important, however, to note just how damaging missing Mass actually is. So many people (my past self included) think that missing Mass is "no big deal." How can missing Mass be a mortal sin? Well, I had learned that lesson the hard way a few years ago, but apparently my soul shamefully decided it needed a refresher.
I missed Mass and intended to seek out Confession and Communion the following weekend. I trusted God not to let me get hit by a bus in between Monday and Confession, but I was definitely looking forward to Confession rolling around.
Anyway, Monday morning comes and all is well with the world. I'm doing my job properly, I'm having laughs with my coworkers, and everything seems perfect. And it was perfect... until my last call on Monday.
It was from a gentlemen who had a lot (and I mean A LOT) of trouble with the Catholic Church as a whole. He called saying he wanted answers to questions, but he wasn't asking questions so much as rambling about the various misconceptions about Catholics that have been strewn across the media.
Typically I'm able to handle those situations with poise and charity. I can usually redirect misconceptions with a firm and gentle explanation of the Truth.
I failed miserably this go around. Absolutely FAILED. I wasn't gelling with God. I wasn't gelling with my faith. I wasn't in communion with the Church I sought to defend, so how in the world did I think I was going to avail myself of the graces I willingly cut myself off from?
Sure I said a prayer to the Holy Spirit, and I have no doubt His answering grace was the only thing that got me through that half-hour call. That being said, I knew by the end of it that I'd failed. This person, though no longer vehemently angry, was still left with a bad taste in his mouth regarding Catholicism.
Usually at the end of such calls I've got people at least agreeing that though they don't like Catholicism's stance on social issues, the Church isn't the evil enterprise they originally thought it was.
This guy, even though he wasn't angrily yelling anymore, probably still thinks that Catholicism is stupid and should be outlawed to protect those who couldn't see it for the shell game he thinks it is.
Since it was my last call of the day, I felt pretty miserable going home. My coworkers all said I did a great job on the call, but no. I could tell I'd messed up. I could feel it, just the same as I could feel when I'd succeeded with a caller. I knew the reason, too - I wasn't in communion.
It's like expecting a master chef to prepare a gourmet meal when he's only given the fry station at McDonald's. Sure he might be able to wrangle up SOMETHING, but it's not going to be as incredible as what he could do in his natural setting.
My natural setting is Communion with the Church. That is when I do my best work. That is when I feel as though I can help the most people in the best way. When I'm not in communion, I feel something missing. I honestly think God dropped that caller in my lap in order to remind me of that.
Of course He wasn't going to let me get smashed by a bus before getting my relationship with Him back on track. But He wasn't going to simply walk away and allow me to be without Him for a full week, either.
Nope. He loves me too much, and quite frankly, I love Him too much, too. I then looked up daily confession and found out we offer them at the Basilica right behind my office. I went during lunch the very next day and reconnected with Him. The rest of the week, though busy, I was back in tune with the world around me. I was gelling.
But God was good to grant me that one caller who would haunt me into never missing Mass again.
Missing Mass isn't just about breaking up my relationship with God. It's selfishly cutting myself off from the graces that could be used to help other people. And I think that is the lesson to be learned here (at least for me, anyway).
Lupus Loop Benefit
So in addition to being the month of the Rosary, October is also Lupus Awareness month.
Now for those of you going "What's Lupus" you are the prime targets of this entry.
Lupus is a chronic, autoimmune disease that can damage any part of the body. At least 1.5 million Americans (that includes men, women and CHILDREN) are victims of this heartless attacker. Sufferers many times have a tell-tale rash in the shape of a butterfly that spreads across their face or other affected area.
Hence, the symbol of Lupus Awareness is the butterfly.
A friend of mine, Aubrey, is doing the Lupus Loop at the end of this month in Philadelphia. She asked me to create a set of earrings that incorporated the butterfly and the color purple - the color of Lupus Awareness.
So I created these earrings for her, her mother, and anyone interested in supporting this important cause. After getting approval from Aubrey, I've made them available publicly in the Jewelry Store. 50% of your money will go to the Lupus Loop fundraising efforts to find a real cure for this widespread disease.
Please help by spreading the word. Purchase a set for yourself or a friend and when folks ask about them, tell them about Lupus. Learn about it and spread the word so that folks who suffer with it know they don't need to suffer alone. Offer your prayers for them and for the doctors who are struggling to better understand and diagnose their condition.
Right now Aubrey's goal is to raise $300. Her husband, Joe, joined his efforts and is also trying to raise $100. Let's help them blow their goal out of the water.
Please repost to Facebook and Twitter using the buttons below!
Our Awesome Weekend
I definitely took this photo illegally.
Where do I begin with the incredibly awesome weekend I just had?
I guess we'll start with Friday.
I was honestly worried that on Friday, the weekend was going to be a bust as I'd been feeling under the weather. Considering I'd been planning this weekend for MONTHS, I was desperately pleading that whatever bug I had would martyr itself via white blood cell for my benefit.
Luckily, that seems to have been the case. After leaving work a half hour early, I spent about 30 minutes steaming myself in the shower. I laid down for 20 more and by the time I got up to pack, I felt a thousand times better. Yay!
I had been debating back and forth about taking Vincent along for the trip. I ended up deciding against it as this was a very rare opportunity for John and I to "recouple" ourselves with the only other married couple we used to spend time with when they lived in our area - Joe and Aubrey.
So we figured it'd be the best move to make this a "couples" weekend. Turns out that was the best decision EVER. :)
Since they now live up in Northern NY, we waited until after 8pm to start the drive. We wanted to bypass as much traffic as possible since we'd be on the road for five hours. In all honesty, the trip went by incredibly fast. We got to talk about all sorts of ridiculous things - most interesting, however, was his decision to talk about God.
Did you hear that, people?
My HUSBAND brought up God.
I have no idea how it happened. I don't really care. The point is, he brought up God and allowed me to lead him on an hour and a half's worth of discussion revolving around random prophecies and actual Church teaching on things like Divine Providence and the gift of Faith.
Sure he heckled me a little bit, but for the most part, he let me run my mouth and asked thoughtful questions that showed he was at least attempting to understand my point of view. I really appreciated that!
I'll be discussing more of that conversation later because the entire end result of it deserves a blog entry itself.
About an hour later, John conked out in his seat for the rest of the trip to their house. We got there around 12:30am, but they were both up and waiting for us!
I got a quick tour of their new house (John had already been up before) and after a brief catch-up conversation in the hallway, we all headed to bed.
The next morning I awoke to John discussing with Aubrey our theological conversation from the car.
WHAT?! He brought it up AGAIN and I wasn't even on the same floor???
I practically leapt out of bed to go running down the stairs to find out what they were talking about.
This time the question was on that scroll some folks are claiming proves Jesus married Mary Magdalene. After a very brief explanation of where us Catholics stand on the issue, Aubrey served up an incredibly delicious breakfast of baked oatmeal, cider donuts, bacon and coffee. YUM!
After breakfast, we settled onto the couch to watch Labyrinth. Why? We're not entirely sure, but it was on, and we were in the mood to poke fun at our childhood nostalgia. That movie is insane, so it was ripe for the ridiculous commentary.
From there, we decided to visit some area staples that Aubrey's been wanting to visit since moving to town. We found what will henceforth be called the "Goat Store" that had blueberry perogies (wha?!), jerky of every sort (alligator, kangaroo, duck) and the most delicious potato chips I've ever tried (Deep River Sweet Maui Onion).
We tried to go to a place called Peanut Principle (which John would've died happily at, I'm sure, considering how much the boy loves peanut butter), but it was unfortunately closed. We did, however, find a great place called Saratoga Sweets. Apparently they're really well known in that area for something called peppermint pigs. Considering how much the owners are obsessed with all things pig-related, that makes sense. Their shop is adorable and full of candy and pig ornamentation. Outside they've even got a little piglet they recently adopted (his name is Willie). Aubrey even got the chance to feed the little guy some cheerios!
Most entertaining part of the trip for me, however, was the excursion we took to Cohoes Falls.
That's right... Joe and Aubrey have a flippin' WATERFALL that exists in their backyard. How cool is that?!
We really enjoyed following the trail and seeing the falls from different heights and angles. Aubrey even spotted a blue heron! Mostly, however, we just had a great time making each other laugh and giving ourselves a workout tackling the steep hills of the trail.
Later on that night (after a glorious nap) we went out to a bar in Albany to celebrate Aubrey's birthday. John and I got to meet some of their new friends and we had a great time! John was thoroughly happy with the amount of craft beers that place offered. I was entertained by the variety of glasses they had with which to serve the beer (I'm not a drinker, so I tend to pay attention to the details more than the beers).
At the end of the dinner, we celebrated with a surprise cake for Aubrey. Joe had asked their favorite bakery to recreate Jonah, Aubrey's kitty, in cake form. The end result was a tearful Aubrey and a fully-satisfied set of adults who devoured half of cake-Jonah's face.
Upon completion of the bar-celebrations, a few of us went bowling as the capstone for the night. We were all relatively terrible (though John, as usual, smoked everyone considering that he's a decent bowler), but we were laughing non-stop. By the time we got to bed, we were exhausted - but happily so.
The next morning we woke up to get ready for breakfast with Joe's parents. They live in a housing development that has a view of Vermont. We were only about an hour away from the Canadian border, I think!
Anyway, breakfast was delicious. It was a great way to relax and savor the festivities of the previous day. When it was time to leave, I didn't want to let Aubrey out of the hug because I knew it'd be a while before we got to physically see each other again. I love those two, and I know John feels the same way.
Considering the four of us married relatively young (early 20s), we were the only ones out of our group of friends to hang out as married couples. Even still, John and I now have two married couples to add to the mix (one recently added two weeks ago). So having another couple who knows the ins-and-outs of the marriage game and being as wonderful as they are... it's great. We appreciate our friendship with them so much, so it's always sucky when it comes time to leave.
But leave them we did and we made our way south for the 5 hour trip home. We made the trip back a little sweeter with the promise of John's favorite sandwich joint. At Rutgers University, there are a series of grease trucks that promote something called "Fat Sandwiches."
These things earned their name for good reason. They're full of every heart-attack inducing food you can think of, and the combinations are endless. John's been trying to get me up there to try one forever, and now that we were driving through, we had a good reason to go!
I ended up getting something called a "Fat Mom." It was made of cheesesteak, egg, french fries, lettuce, tomatoe, and a variety of condiments. I admit... it was DELICIOUS. John got something called a "Fat Nini" which was steak, cheese, fries, mozzerella sticks and chicken fingers.
I don't know how we rolled ourselves to the car to get home, but we did. :) All in all, it was DEFINITELY a worthwhile trip!
There is a new documentary coming out that follows young Jewish men and women who have made the choice to tattoo their bodies with the serial numbers of their Holocaust survivor-relatives.
I admit that upon reading the headline, my first reaction was "Are you INSANE?!"
So I read further in an attempt to understand why someone would want to memorialize such a tragic, terrible life event on purpose when the surviving relative had no say on the degrading tattoo to begin with.
As usual, my first reaction was terribly wrong.
Upon reading these stories, I couldn't help but feel my heart reach out to these individuals who are doing what they can to connect with their loved ones and use their very bodies to teach others about the importance of remembering.
I'm posting it here for others. I find it to be incredibly illuminating and, at its heart, very human. Regardless of your thoughts on tattooing, this is a very interesting, heart-provoking piece.
And yes, I just said "Heart-provoking."
Bible Movies 2013 - Sigh
So we get The Wall Street Journal here in my office. A coworker pointed out one of the Friday headlines:
Hollywood's New Bible Stories
Immediately my heart sank. Oh no, I thought. What are they attempting to muck up now?
They had their radar set on Moses, Noah, Cain and Abel and...
*Takes deep breath*
As soon as I saw Mary's name in the mix, I skimmed the article to figure out what they could possibly want with Our Lady. The only line about the film about her was that it was being billed as a "prequel to 'The Passion of the Christ.'"
What the heck does that even mean?
Since I couldn't find any worthwhile info in the news article (surprise), I took to the Internet to see what was being said about it. It's being distributed by Lionsgate, the same company that took on distribution of my husband's recent production.
However, when you attempt to get information online about this project, all you come up with is snippets like "The prequel involves Mary’s impassioned defiance of the King in order to save her son, Jesus."
Again - WHAT? Mary as DEFIANT?!
I finally tracked down the time-frame they're working with - Mary's young life from when she was about 8 down the line until she's about mid-twenties. The focus will be on the challenges of being a young mother who is constantly running away from Herod as he looks for ways to kill Jesus.
St. Joseph also is portrayed through his youth to his late 20s as Mary's best friend, confidante and "soul-mate."
I'm trying really, REALLY hard to hold out hope that they don't muck this up. I'll be honest, though - I'm not holding my breath.
And in all of their ads and such, they're billing this as a prequel because they've got "a writer" from Gibson's film on this project. When the person is not important enough to name and is simply listed as "a writer" who has some sort of connection to a well-known movie... they're trying to sell you on the connection, not the actual talent of the writer.
I can only hope I'm wrong.
This entire idea makes me very uneasy.
Will Smith is doing the Cain vs. Abel one. I believe it's called "The Redemption of Cain." Now I love Will Smith. I do! I think he's an incredibly talented actor who is a truly decent human being. But I'm still wary of his take on this.
Apparently Russell Crowe will be our next Noah while Steven Spielberg takes another crack at Moses.
This coming year is going to see a lot of confused Christians, I think. God help us.
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