Monday, December 29, 2008
Monday, December 22, 2008
He also pulled out one of these:
A mint condish Transformers TV tray. I found one that sold for ten bucks on eBay. I guess it would be better to keep it and let him use it. And you know he will.
Here's a family Christmas pic in front of the tree. At least Monica is old enough to gaze intently at the lights this year. She's been enjoying that.
Monday, December 15, 2008
The deacon that baptized her was just ordained a few weeks ago, so this was his first baptism. He was so excited and joyful even in the midst of the screaming. God's grace is abundant no matter the circumstances. We can all count on that!
Tuesday, December 9, 2008
Friday, November 28, 2008
Tuesday, November 18, 2008
The Truth: "It was painful."
The wind was blowing, sleety rain was flying sideways through the air while I plodded along with my lungs burning and my heart threatening to pound out of my chest. I was constantly reminding myself: "It takes a good two weeks for running to be fun again."
At that thought, I began to ponder why the heck I run at all. What on earth would possess me to put my body through agony in the worst of weather conditions. I don't have a really good explanation beyond some silly sentiment that doesn't hold water with the majority of the population that would rather just take a walk on a nice sunny afternoon.
The pictures below are from an old Adidas ad campaign from '99 and '00. I think these pictures do more justice to the plight and mindset of a runner than anything I could say.
Sunday, November 9, 2008
Not to be confused with this character and his Precious.
There are a few similarities between Gollum's Precious and Monica's Precious.
1. Monica seeks her Precious with serious voracity.
2. She, like Gollum, is at peace when her Precious is in her possession.
3. Monica's Precious will also be thrown into the fires of Mount Doom some day between now and the end of toddler-dom. (We're going for sooner rather than later.)
(Alright, I'll be honest. I don't think Monica really considers that pacifier her Precious. I think Kevin and I consider it our Precious. I guess we're really the ones going on a "journey" to Mount Doom. She's just along for the ride.)
Wednesday, October 29, 2008
Please watch this video via the link below. It is specifically geared toward Catholics, but it really applies to Christians of all stripes. Many lives at all stages--the embryo, the fetus, the newborn, the suffering, and the dying--are at stake. Holding little Monica in my arms reminds me of how precious life and family really is. Please vote to protect all that we hold dear.
Sunday, October 26, 2008
Name: Monica Kateri
Day: October 22, 6:55pm
Weight: 7 pounds, 3 ounces
Length: 20 inches
It was a harrowing labor, but oh so worth it. This is one beautiful and amazing baby girl! Here are a few of our favorite pics:
I think my favorite moment today was taking our first (short) walk through the neighborhood.
As Kevin said, "I think this is the proudest moment of my life."
Tuesday, October 21, 2008
As Kevin's friend, another Bond afficionado said, "The most frustrating part would be wearing one of these and not having anybody else appreciate it."
I'll save you the frustration, Kev.
Monday, October 20, 2008
Tuesday, October 14, 2008
- The shark-like furniture salesman alerts you to the location of the store's restroom before the fabulous sale and 0% financing on that leather sectional sofa.
- The customer service employee at Lowe's asks if you want to ride one of those motorized scooters around the store "so you don't have to walk".
Thursday, October 9, 2008
However, I don't think it quite fits, since the baby is not lurking around waiting to "screw me over" with the pain of labor. This little one does not have manipulative abilities as of yet.
Check out Despair, Inc for more tongue-in-cheek displays. The "Government" demotivator seems especially pertinent these days.
So, I guess this is a good time to grow in the virtue of patience and enjoy the Andrea Time I have left. Please pray for a timely, safe, and healthy delivery. I look forward to sharing good news and pictures very soon!
Monday, October 6, 2008
The right to life of children in the womb is close to my heart, and has become even more dear during pregnancy. Experiencing a child within me, a life that is separate and yet so intimately connected to mine, has been surreal and challenging, but altogether beautiful and humbling. God saw fit to entrust me with this life that is so vulnerable. Apart from my choice to protect this child, there is no protection for him or her under the law; the child in my womb does not have the rights to life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness.
Father Frank Pavone, the director of Priests for Life stated recently, "...there’s only one group in our society whose right to life has been directly and formally denied, and that is the children in the womb...Deny their right to life, and you undermine the entire moral order." The right to life from conception to natural death is absolutely critical to all social issues from the war in Iraq, to immigration, to health care, to responsible environmentalism. The right to life is at the heart of all issues facing our society.
Please consider the right to life--in regards to abortion, euthanasia, and embryonic stem cell research--in the upcoming elections-presidential and local. Our right to life is the most important and precious gift we have. Please do all you can to protect it for all people in our society.
Voting with a Clear Conscience - Catholic Edition
Voting with a Clear Conscience - Interdenominational Edition
Thursday, October 2, 2008
Kevin: How is NC reacting to the whole Wachovia deal, I know they are big in Charlotte.
Brian: Wachovia still owns a small portion of my car. Now, apparently Citibank will own a small portion of my car. I might as well change my name to “Brian Citibank” and be done with it.
Kevin: The majority of my house is owned by Wells Fargo. I think I have enough in it now that I might own the square footage where my bed is and where the toilet is. I am quite pleased because now I can sleep and take care of business and they can't take that away from me!
Brian: You’ll still need to keep some change on you so that you can pay the toll to travel between the two though!
Sunday, September 28, 2008
In Kevin's words...
"I wasn't Red Wings fan for the first six years of my life. I don't want that to happen to our child."
Friday, September 26, 2008
There is an appointed time for everything,
and a time for every thing under the heavens.
A time to be born, and a time to die;
a time to plant, and a time to uproot the plant.
A time to kill, and a time to heal;
a time to tear down, and a time to build.
A time to weep, and a time to laugh;
a time to mourn, and a time to dance.
A time to scatter stones, and a time to gather them;
a time to embrace, and a time to be far from embraces.
A time to seek, and a time to lose;
a time to keep, and a time to cast away.
A time to rend, and a time to sew;
a time to be silent, and a time to speak.
A time to love, and a time to hate;
a time of war, and a time of peace.
What advantage has the worker from his toil?
I have considered the task that God has appointed
for the sons of men to be busied about.
He has made everything appropriate to its time,
and has put the timeless into their hearts,
without man’s ever discovering,
from beginning to end, the work which God has done.
As Yankees owner Hank Steinbrenner whined in The Sporting News: "It isn't fair. You see it this season, with plenty of people in the media pointing out that Joe Torre and the Dodgers are going to the playoffs while we're not. This is by no means a knock on Torre — let me make that clear — but look at the division they're in ...
"I'm happy for Joe, but you have to compare the divisions and the competition. What if the Yankees finish the season with more wins than the Dodgers but the Dodgers make the playoffs? Does that make the Dodgers a better team? No."
Excuses, excuses, Hank. Better luck next year.
Thursday, September 25, 2008
Tuesday, September 23, 2008
Civic-gate: Part II
Even though the attorney's quip seemed encouraging, it was still a total mystery as to what was said at the bench between the two attorneys and the judge. It was apparent that the judge was annoyed by my attorney's insistence that the trial dates be congruent with my schedule. He was a man who would waste no time.
My mom, sister and I filed out of the courtroom and sat down on molded plastic chairs. I watched my attorney as he spoke ardently with the prosecutor and officer for several minutes. As time went on, the conversation became more relaxed and at the end, he even clasped hands with my two "foes." But still, he gave no answers.
"Alright. We're going back in. When our case is called, go up to the podium and wait. Say nothing."
Once again, I followed him into the courtroom, my mom and sister trailing behind. After a petty theft case and traffic violation, my case was called again. We made our way up to the podium and the judge addressed the city attorney,
"Have you come to a decision?"
"We move to dismiss, Your Honor."
"Agreed, Your Honor. We also move to dismiss."
"Alright then. Case dismissed," the judge announced with a slam of the gavel. "Good luck with your wedding."
I think it would be an understatement to say that I was in complete shock. The happenings of the last half hour were nearly a complete mystery to me. However, once we had filed out of the courthouse and into the bright sunlight, my attorney finally explained the situation. The judge got very impatient when it became apparent there would be a potential delay in the trial proceedings. He invited the attorneys to the bench to explain the situation. My attorney explained that there was a great likelihood of my success at a trial because there was evidence that the officer had not uncovered or reported the case thoroughly or accurately (i.e. the fact that I had driven to work in the dark the day of the call and could have missed the scrape before that afternoon.) In this explanation, it also became apparent that the city attorney was very ignorant of some of the evidence and facts. Here is an excerpt of written correspondence from my lawyer that arrived after the hearing:
"The judge indicated to both parties that...if this was an unlawful and/or improper charge, he was going to be tremendously angry at the city. Also, he indicated that if you were not being truthful, he was going to be tremendously angry at you. With that, the judge suggested that we speak with Officer X, who happened to be in the courtroom for other matters.
I spoke with Officer X in a manner perhaps only I can speak to him. I don't mean to sound conceited. As I told you from the beginning, I have a long-standing history with him. The city attorney also spoke with him. In the end, the city attorney moved to dismiss this case."
Bottom line: The city attorney had walked into the situation with minimal information and only went on Officer X's word. Officer X, according to my attorney, had quite a history of trying to put cases like mine through the system. Among many locals, he was known to be a bully. He walked into my situation, saw all the pieces weren't put together, and immediately decided I had lied. He then tried to intimidate me into admitting his conclusion. And intimidated I was...enough to flee the parking lot in search of help so he would not drag me away!
As the case progressed over two months, it became clear that he knew he did not have all his ducks in a row. He initimidated my mother over the phone and tried to get me to take a polygraph to "prove" my innocence. Fortunately, he did not get his way. Unfortunately, it cost me $1500.
As with all trials and tribulations, this one affirmed truth and led to personal conclusions.
1. Romans 8:28, Proverbs 3:5-6
No matter what happens, God's hand is in the situation. I truly believe there are no coincidences in life. It was uncanny that out of all the lawyers I could have called, I ended up only making only one call to one lawyer who was the self-proclaimed archnemesis of Officer X. He vowed to see this through and see that Officer X would not bully another person into an unjust conviction. Many little things in that hearing came together to bring about my case's dismissal...my wedding date, an impatient judge etc. God is the very definition of justice and the supreme advocate. I don't think any human could have brought all those circumstances together in such a way.
2. Blessed be God in His angels and in His Saints. -The Divine Praises
The day after the incident (October 1st) is St. Therese of Lisieux's feast day. She is my patron saint and I am confident she advocated for me in prayer from heaven. I also learned a lot about and grew close through prayer to St. Thomas More, a man who was also unjustly accused and executed. Last, but not least, friends and family were there for me with listening ears and prayerful hearts. Without all of the support from loved ones, it would have been very difficult for me to make wise decisions and stay sane.
1. If at all possible, do not make a police report alone!
2. Not all officers can be trusted. Before this incident, I had always had a blind trust of police officers...protectors of those who cannot protect themselves, right? This situation showed me that there is corruption everywhere and one must be on their guard.
3. As a rule, do not run away from police officers.
4. Our justice system has flaws i.e. the "good ol' boys network" is still alive and well in many small towns. (I firmly believe the city attorney put that bogus warrant through as a favor to Officer X.)
5. MOST IMPORTANT: Stick to the truth, no matter what. Our conduct has far-reaching and eternal significance.
6. Forgiveness is necessary for peace. I needed to work through the forgiveness process with Officer X. Some may say that forgiveness means saying what the person did was OK. Not at all. Forgiveness acknowledging the wrongful act and releasing this person from anger, bitterness, resentment and contempt, and thereby releasing yourself from those chains as well. Reconciliation was never my intent, but forgiveness and letting go of the anger was essential.
And now, four years later, I am thankful and happy to say I can look back and smile because God worked everything out for my good and the good of the community...Officer X is retired and off the street!
Friday, September 19, 2008
Tuesday, September 16, 2008
The day after the incident, I called the Chief of Police and was able to get more information. Apparently, the scrape on my car's body was not parallel with the scrape on my wheel and hub cap, leading the officer to believe that the tire had rotated and the car had been moved. Therefore, my story about the car not moving at all since being hit made no sense. Very well. However, I had driven to work in the dark that morning and my car was parked on the street, scrape side out, the night before. It is totally feasible that I would have missed the scrape. However, Officer X's investigation did not get that far.
Fast forward one week. Through a family friend, I got a list of three lawyers who may be able to help me. The first one I called was my guy. When I told him my story and the name of the officer involved he told me that he was this man's archnemesis. In his words, "If Officer X is Lex Luther, I'm Superman."
Once the officer got word that I had a lawyer, he communicated that he would be willing to drop the charges if I passed a polygraph. The proposition was tempting. I was three months away from our wedding and a move to New York. The sooner and cheaper I could get out of this mess, the better. However, my lawyer advised against this. The polygraph was sort of a sham because its results did not pertain to the actual charge (Resisting a Police Officer), and they are not even admissable in court. It was really to serve the officer's interests. If I passed, I would be out of his hair. If I failed, he would feel justified in his charge and the way he treated me. In the end, I decided against the polygraph. My lawyer and I went forward with pursuing a trial by jury.
The day of the pretrial hearing dawned sunny and bright. My mom came to town for support and my sister came to the courthouse, since it was close to the campus where she attended college. We all sat in the back of the courtroom, waiting for the gavel to come down, so to speak. When my case came up, the judge got right down to business in setting jury selection...for the day of our wedding. The next day he suggested was in the middle of our honeymoon. My lawyer was insistent that this was not acceptable. The judge became impatient and called both my lawyer and the prosecuting attorney to the bench. After some heated conversation, both lawyers left the bench. As the prosecutor left the courtroom, my lawyer told me to go out to the lobby and wait. His parting words were, "I think we've got 'em."
To Be Continued...
Monday, September 15, 2008
I've told the story of my criminal charge numerous times over the past four years, but just yesterday, I found that my story has been inaccurate. For some reason, I thought that the charge was falsifying a police report. But no. The warrant was issued for my attempt to resist a police officer. Here's the real story.
In September of 2004, I was living and working at a local recreation center as a lifeguard. One particular day, I left for work during the dark hours of the early morning. I parked my car in the rec center lot and went into the building. I did not leave the building until the late afternoon. As I approached my car in the lot, I saw a long scrape, parallel to the ground on the driver's side. I immediately surmised that my car had been hit in the lot and no one reported it. I followed my instincts and went inside to tell my supervisor. She suggested calling the police to file a report. Once the police had been called, I went back out to my car to wait for the officer. Once he arrived, I told him that when I went to work, my car was fine. When I came out, this large scrape was on it. He looked at the car and asked for my license and registration. He then began to question me. Here's a basic idea of how the conversation went:
Police Officer: Did you leave work at all during the day?
PO: Did anyone else have keys to the car?
PO: Did anyone borrow the car?
PO: Was I sure that the car had not been moved at all?
PO: You're a liar.
That was when things started to go awry. I told him that I was not a liar. I did not know what else to say. I had told him all that I knew and I had no other story. He continued to insist that I was a liar and that he was going to put a warrant out for my arrest.
The only contact I had to that point with an on-duty police officer was the D.A.R.E. program in fifth grade and being pulled over for running a red light three years prior. Being told that I was going to be arrested was a whole new experience. I knew I needed help so I ran into the building to get my boss to back me up. I thought, "She's a city employee. Maybe he'll listen to her."
By the time I tracked her down and we went out there, he had snapped photos of the car and left with my license and registration. I ended up having to drive down to the precinct to pick up my paper work. I asked to speak to the officer, but he refused. The only advice/help my boss would give me was, "If I were you, I'd get a lawyer."
I laid awake for a long time that night, waiting for Officer X to bang on my door and haul me away in the Paddy Wagon.
To Be Continued...
Wednesday, September 10, 2008
Tuesday, September 9, 2008
Monday, September 8, 2008
Kevin's parents came to town a couple days later, and Mr. Fix It/Dad in Law made an attemtp to find the part we needed to replace, which is apparently unavailable at most home improvement stores because it's an obscure German make of faucet. So, the hose remained jammed into the drain and liable to pop up and spray any innocent person who so dared to turn on the water...until today.
Kevin and I decided it was time to replace the kitchen sink and all its various entities. We went to Lowe's, picked up everything we needed and scheduled one of their folk to install the sink. The plumber came today, ripped out our old sink and its accoutrements only to find out that the sink we bought will not fit in the hole cut into the Corian counter. We have three options: find a sink that will fit, get someone to cut the Corian hole bigger, or just live with a kitchen in which everything is functional but the kitchen sink. After the recent oven/range installation fiasco (read: delivery guy cutting himself and bleeding on our kitchen floor, new range sitting in the middle of my kitchen for two days, cutting Corian, grinding Corian, knotching wood floors and wiping every spice jar I own because it's covered in Corian and saw dust), the TPL in me was ready to just leave the room like this:
Sane Andrea overode the TPL and I made the trek to two different Lowe's locations to purchase the sink we are pretty sure will fit into the gaping hole. Say a prayer folks. If you see a picture of another gaping hole tomorrow, you'll know the TPL won out...big time.
Thursday, September 4, 2008
One of my favorite parts of the speech was when the camera showed Palin's youngest daughter, Piper, licking the length of her palm and using it to smooth his hair into a modified "comb-over" style. Too cute.
This weekend was a fun one, but oh-so-busy.
Friday: a little bit of birthday picnicking at a friends house with a lot of this.
Saturday: tail-gating and Michigan opening home game viewing at a friend's place close to campus. Here's hoping we'll see some wins this season, even if RichRod doesn't have the arsenal he needs for the spread and appears in this picture to resemble a snake oil salesman.
Sunday: Holy Canning! My mother and grandmothers are expert canners, but this was my first experience with it. 6+ hours of work with great friends yielded a heck of a lot of these:
Monday: Kevin's parents drove down and went to the Detroit Tigers Yankees game with us. It was sweltering, not so easy for the Tired Pregnant Lady, but I'm glad we were able to make it Comerica this summer. We heart the Tigers!
This weekend left me a bit ragged. I realized that it can be hard work having friends and family close by. For 3+ years, Kevin and I were rather isolated and we had abundant time to ourselves. I don't think I'm used to cultivating a balance between time by myself, time with God, time with Kevin, time with family and time with friends. Whereas I used to pray we'd have something fun to do over the weekend, I'm now thinking we need to be jealous with our time, being sure to earmark time for just the two of us and time for solitude.
Activity, whether its getting settled at the house or meeting with friends or running off to a family event are not bad, but I am reminded (by my exhaustion and fraying nerves) of the need to evaluate and say "NO" when necessary. Here's to the need for rest, especially for Tired Pregnant Ladies.
Thursday, August 28, 2008
Here's part of a statement from Archbishop Wuerl of Washingtion D.C.:
“As the Catechism and early Church documents make clear, abortion is always an evil. That is an unchanging teaching. The question on when the soul enters the body was a philosophical question that grew out of a lack of scientific data at the time of St. Augustine. We have the data today which shows the embryo is human. There no longer is any discussion of whether the unborn is human and so the philosophical discussion of St. Augustine’s time is not relevant today.
Wednesday, August 27, 2008
“as an ardent, practicing Catholic, this is an issue that I have studied for a long time. And what I know is over the centuries, the doctors of the church have not been able to make that definition . . . St. Augustine said at three months. We don't know. The point is, is that it shouldn't have an impact on the woman's right to choose.”
In the past 48 hours, the archbishops of Denver, New York, Philadelphia and Washington D.C. and other bishops have made formal statements regarding those of Nancy Pelosi. One of the most ardent was that of Edward Cardinal Egan. Directly from the Archdiocese of New York website:
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: August 26, 2008
STATEMENT OF EDWARD CARDINAL EGAN CONCERNING REMARKS MADE BY THE SPEAKER OF THE HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES
Like many other citizens of this nation, I was shocked to learn that the Speaker of the House of Representatives of the United States of America would make the kind of statements that were made to Mr. Tom Brokaw of NBC-TV on Sunday, August 24, 2008. What the Speaker had to say about theologians and their positions regarding abortion was not only misinformed; it was also, and especially, utterly incredible in this day and age.
We are blessed in the 21st century with crystal-clear photographs and action films of the living realities within their pregnant mothers. No one with the slightest measure of integrity or honor could fail to know what these marvelous beings manifestly, clearly, and obviously are, as they smile and wave into the world outside the womb. In simplest terms, they are human beings with an inalienable right to live, a right that the Speaker of the House of Representatives is bound to defend at all costs for the most basic of ethical reasons. They are not parts of their mothers, and what they are depends not at all upon the opinions of theologians of any faith. Anyone who dares to defend that they may be legitimately killed because another human being “chooses” to do so or for any other equally ridiculous reason should not be providing leadership in a civilized democracy worthy of the name.
Edward Cardinal Egan
Archbishop of New York
August 26, 2008
Cardinal Egan is an outspoken champion for the unborn and the integrity of the Catholic Church's teaching on this abortion. In April, Kevin and I had the opportunity to attend a mass celebrated by Cardinal Egan during Catholic Public Policy Day in Albany. His homily centered on this very issue and was just as strong and poignant as the statement above. In the end, who are Catholics and the American pubblic going to believe? A misinformed politician claiming skills in moral theology, or a faithful, learned man of the church who gives his life for defense of the truth?
God does not promise skies always blue,
Flower strewn pathways all our lives through...
God does not promise sun without rain,
Joy without sorrow, Peace without pain.
But God does promise strength for the day,
Rest for the labor, light for the way...
Grace for the trials, help from above.
Unfailing sympathy. Undying love.
Tuesday, August 26, 2008
What if the birth is like a nightmare?
What if the baby is not healthy?
What if the baby is colicky?
What if the baby never sleeps?
What if I suffer with postpartum depression?
I realize that some of the above "what ifs" are more likely than others, but bottom line, fear had set in. Yesterday, I started to take an inventory of the baby trappings we've accumulated over the past few months. I went through all of the shower cards, looking for gift receipts, gift cards, gift lists, anything important. One particular card's handwritten message rang out some serious truth:
"Ahh...Motherhood...The path to holiness! May [God] take you there. May you grow in great virtue, true fortitude, faithfulness, patience, love. Remember, as you lose your life, you will gain it."
That was not a message promising all that is easy and adorable in children like so many baby cards. It hit on what is real and necessary in motherhood: God's power to grant ever-increasing holiness. And is that not what God has for us in our vocation? No matter what may come, he promises to provide all that we need to become holy: ready to enter heaven to rejoice with the blessed. And apparently, the sufferings and joys of motherhood are part of my journey toward paradise. Mom-dom, even in this pre-birth stage, ain't always rosy, but it is my path to holiness and TRUE JOY. I'll do my best to embrace it.
Thursday, August 21, 2008
Last weekend my mom and sister were kind enough to throw a family baby shower. It was a small shower, and I loved the intimacy of it. We used fabric paint to decorate little white onesies. Here are some fun ones:
...much to the chagrin of my aunt and cousin who painted this little number. But, as Kevin said, I can accept MSU, but an Ohio State onesie would have been a offense on our child's inherent human dignity.
Our sweet pea will be here soon. Eight weeks!
I'm feeling much more excited to meet this little one as my due date approaches. In the months prior to this, I don't think the fact that this child will actually come out into the world seemed very real. Since the baby is currently going through a serious growth spurt and becoming much stronger, I am continually reminded of his/her presence. There are times when my insides get a serious beating. Maybe we have an athlete on the way!
Wednesday, August 20, 2008
Snips and snails, and puppy-dogs' tails,
That's what little boys are made of.
What are little girls made of?
Sugar and spice, and everything nice,
That's what little girls are made of.
Some of my old psychology professors would scoff at the "sage wisdom" of that old rhyme, but a recent article on CNN says otherwise:
Boys will be boys, girls will be girls from birth
On a related note, when I was an undergraduate, I worked at a coffee shop near campus for two years. During my time there, I got to know "the regulars": students, townies, and the homeless. One particular regular still sticks out to me. This person almost always wore dark clothing that could not typically be characterized as feminine or masculine and thick-soled black boots. This person's hair was shorn to about a half inch. While it was, at first glance, difficult to discern this regular's gender, their figure was definitely more feminine in nature. After a few months of seeing this person on a regular basis, I found out through a co worker that this person, though chromosomally female, had decided to abandon her gender and all of the outer trappings associated with femininity. She had and lived out the viewpoint that humans control gender and predetermined genetics had no hold on her identity.
I do not know what caused her to think and live this way, but over and over again, according to research and even my own personal experience, she and others who purport this viewpoint are missing the boat-in terms of cognition, emotion, relationships and spirituality. Having spent time with children, most recently nephews and nieces, I've noticed a distinct difference in behavior in accordance with the gender line in many cases. How is it that my nephew knows how to use his voice to "shift gears" without prior instruction while playing with cars and trukcs? Why is it that my niece was obsessed with Strawberry Ortcake (as she used to say) and pranced about wearing fairy wings with no encouragement from her parents? Granted, every child's genetic predisposition and environment lead to variance in behavior. But for the love of pete, let's let boys be boys and girls be girls!
Friday, August 15, 2008
I think it runs deeper in that. The judgment rendered by the Chinese government that physical beauty is better received than the beautiful voice of this 7 year old girl who competed and won the chance to sing is a reflection of Western culture as well. We see this same behavior in American pop culture all the time-from music to television to movies. We can criticize this Chinese official for being totalitarian, but in the end, we cannot ignore our dominant, consumeristic, "beauty" obsessed culture that leads people the world over to believe that a little girl with a full face and crooked baby teeth is not good enough. The messages received by the singer (your not pretty enough) and the lip syncer (your physical beauty is the better asset) at such a tender age will undoubtedly follow them beyond the Olympics.
When will we put the truth and the dignity of women, especially the littlest women, first?
Wednesday, August 13, 2008
Saintly deeds are always appreciated, especially when the odds of me being able to get up after crouching like that are becoming worse by the day.
Tuesday, August 12, 2008
To my belly!
Yesterday was filled with grocery shopping, painting, laundry, and a late-night baptism class. Where did that leave me at 11pm? Putting sheets on the bed I need to sleep in, while whimpering and tearing up in utter exhaustion.
Growing a person takes a lot out of a woman, but I'm banking on the grace that God provides in the vocation of motherhood, and not on the fleeting feelings of frustration and exhaustion when, at three in the morning, it feels like the babe is dancing on my insides. Being pregnant is absolutely an alternate state of being.
Thursday, August 7, 2008
In the name of liberation from male "domination", women must not appropriate to themselves male characteristics contrary to their own feminine "originality". There is a well-founded fear that if they take this path, women will not "reach fulfilment", but instead will deform and lose what constitutes their essential richness. It is indeed an enormous richness. In the biblical description, the words of the first man at the sight of the woman who had been created are words of admiration and enchantment, words which fill the whole history of man on earth.
--"Mulieres Dignitatem, On the Dignity and Vocation of Women," John Paull II
Wednesday, August 6, 2008
Bishop Daniel Flores, an auxilary bishop for the Archdiocese of Detroit celebrated the mass. He said in his homily that the world has not given up the notion of a single-minded life, but it has given up hope that a single-minded life is actually possible. That really resonated with me. There is so much to choose from and filter in this world overflowing with activity, information and images on the internet, television, in the mall, and in the workplace. Even in my life at home, I feel tugged at by the dishes, unpacked boxes, laundry, painting, the dog, my husband, the phone, and our baby growing inside me that demands food, sleep, and the restroom at some inopportune times. But when I see these women who are willing to give it all, body and soul, to the call to be a religious sister, I am reminded that a single-minded life devoted to Christ IS possible and worth striving for.
Tuesday, August 5, 2008
What's so strange about this picture? The fact that I'm actually ironing? Nope. The dog is laying underneath the ironing board, of which he is definitly afraid. When we bring it out, he normally retreats to another room. However, that evening there was an extended period of lightning and thunder. I guess we found out that he is more afraid of booming thunder than the ironing board, and felt the need to draw near to me, no matter what stood in his way. You've gotta do what you've gotta do.
Here's Pope Benedict XVI in his Popemobile at Yankee Stadium this past April. That was a great day with so many blessings!
A belly picture from the end of April. The baby has grown, along with my belly, by leaps and bounds since then. I think I've nearly forgotten what it feels like to be without the belly!
Monday, August 4, 2008
In the first two years of our marriage, Kevin and I spent a lot of time intensely discussing my desire to go to grad school and cultivate a "successful" career. All of the discussions ended with me coming to the realization that it is not time for grad school and an all out career blitz for many reasons-financial and simply not knowing what I am truly cut out to do in the workplace.
I love to have a plan and I love to be in control. I had my whole career path--from honors high school classes to accomplished physician--planned out by the age of 12. Alas, it was a mere semester into my undergraduate education that I realized I am not cut out to be a physician. My primary reason: I did not want to put myself in a position where I must be divided between career and family. There are many women who do this and do it very well, but I just knew the time commitment and stress of pursuing an MD was not in the cards. I have never regretted the decision. Since that realization, I have made logical plan after logical plan in order to launch a respectable, flexible career. I started to pursue a Masters in Social Work. When it became clear that was not the appropriate path, I began to pursue a special education degree. When Kevin proposed and we found out we would be moving to New York, I put the higher ed plans on hold again, only to find myself feeling disconnected and lost in regards to God's will for my work life.
The fog finally started to lift a bit when we found out about The Babe in January. I had officially become a mother and the journey would only become more intense and demanding as time went on. Though I liked my job in New York, I knew it was not enough to keep me from this child. To be a wife and mother, without a flashy career, is the path that I am trodding. It is a peaceful path. A path I am thankful for because I know that there are many women who would love to stay home with their children but cannot. The moments with young children are so fleeting and precious.
All of my failed plans have worked together to show me that God is in control. Though I may try to go my own way, his Spirit tugs at my heart when its at the brink, and I have had the grace, thus far, to turn back before too much time and money are lost pursuing things that will not bring ultimate satisfaction or happiness. Now, I pray for the grace and discipline to take this quiet time before the baby is born to learn how to listen more closely to the still small voice of Christ that illuminates each day, one moment at a time. In this, I am confident that there will be lasting peace and true purpose.
Wednesday, July 30, 2008
Who will we hang out with on a regular basis? Do we really need a new dishwasher? How often will we see parents and siblings without driving each other up the wall? How will we serve in our parish and community? Do we get the full out cable or the HD rabbit ears? All questions to be answered in the months to follow. The Babe will be out in the world in a good 10 weeks as well, which will only mean MORE transition and more questions to be answered. Or maybe they'll just continue to be unknowns for a while, and we'll wait for the path to be revealed to us.
Last week, a close friend of ours was diagnosed with a rare blood cancer. It's in the early stages and there is much hope that he will live for years to come. The things of life that really matter rise to the surface when you encounter mortality and its seemingly grim realities. Suddenly, which TV channels to pay for or not pay for seems rather ridiculous.
My life is always at risk, but I do not forget your teaching.
The wicked have set snares for me, but from your precepts I do not stray.
Your decrees are my heritage forever; they are the joy of my heart.
My heart is set on fulfilling your laws; they are my reward forever.
Monday, July 28, 2008
Tuesday, July 22, 2008
Here's another beauteous shot:
On that pictoral note, I am really glad to be back near the Great Lakes. I grew up in a small town on Lake Michigan, and now that I am back from being away for a few years, I realize that there is a peace, beauty, and comfort that I experience on her shores that I have not found anywhere else.
During the past week, I was also reminded how different the lake appears every day. There are clear, sunny afternoons when the light bounces off the choppy water like sparkling diamonds, and other days when the haze and clouds make it difficult to discern where the sky ends and the water begins, and still others when thunder clouds roll toward the shore with their lightning bolting into the water. Like all of life, whether you are basking in the sun or under the clouds in the rain, whether you are joyful or in pain, there is always beauty to experience. You just need to have eyes for it.
Thursday, July 10, 2008
As Kevin and I prepare to close on our home in Michigan, we have been discussing many potential improvements. I have become obsesssed new carpet--through the whole house. The current carpet is a neutral color and of high quality, but it is just not the color I prefer. For the last few weeks, I have not been able to stomach living in a house with this carpet. So the quest for new carpet began.
When I had a carpet installer come to the house yesterday to give me an estimate, he mentioned that the current carpet is a thick-pile wool, with 1/2 inch pad. It is definitely nicer than the lower-end nylon carpet I would use to replace it.
A short litany of questions my sister, a penny pincher at heart, used to recite while shopping at the mall when we were kids started to stream through my consciousness:
Do you need it?
Do you want it?
Is it really worth the price?
The catch with my sister's buyer's quiz is if you answer the majority of the questions with "no," then you shouldn't make the purchase. Alas, this was definitely a "majority no" situation. After tearily confirming the results of Beth's Buyer's Quiz with Kevin, my pregnant brain was finally able to let go of the new carpet in favor of a deep cleaning of the current carpet as well as other necessary improvements. Miracles do happen.
Monday, July 7, 2008
Kevin and I spent the weekend at my mother's house. The weather was beautiful and the days relaxing...minus the occasional dog kafuffle. Here's a picture of my mom's dog and Buck in action. They've reached a truce of sorts since then.
Here are some pictures from fireworks at the beach. We got a new camera a few weeks ago and it has a "fireworks" setting which gives you a longer exposure. Kind of interesting, but I missed the first few minutes of the show trying to capture a good picture.
I hope your weekend was fabulous and a celebration of what it means to be truly free!
Thursday, July 3, 2008
Almighty and everliving God, who strengthened your apostle Thomas with sure and certain faith in your Son's resurrection: Grant us so perfectly and without doubt to believe in Jesus Christ, our Lord and our God, that our faith may never be found wanting in your sight; through him who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and for ever.
I must say that the Extended Stay is less than satisfactory these days. We have some "neighbors" that moved in a few days ago. I cannot figure out if they are below us or next to us, but regardless of their location, they are LOUD. At 3:30am. During my frequent trips to the bathroom, I hear loud BANGS. Is someone taking a flying leap off the bed? Attempting to lower the footrest on the ghetto recliner (a frightening experience)? Slamming the bathroom door? Slipping in the tub? These are the things I ponder as I lay awake in bed, listening to the banging and our reactionary dog's barks and growls. If I knew who this person was, I'd thank them for allowing me to share in the insomnia.
In all fairness, one perk of the Extended Stay is "membership" at a fitness club down the street. Kevin and I belonged to the Y back in New York, and it's nice to have a place to go and work out when it's blistering hot or raining. Yesterday was my second trip to the gym and I rode the stationary bike and took advantage of the lap pool. I used to lifeguard at a local recreation center when we lived in Michigan previously, and many of my coworkers would mention that if people wanted the muscle-bound, spandex clad atmosphere, they would get a membership at this particular gym, even though it was at least twice the price of the recreation center. Now that I've been to this place, I don't think it's any nicer. Really. The cardio room and weight rooms are loaded tightly with machines; bad Justin Timberlake and Beyonce music is piped through the whole place, and there's minimal space set aside for stretching. I'm also convinced that the faux-hawked, Under Armour wearing personal trainers outnumber the patrons actually working out. In conclusion, I would never spend the money on this place. But if it's free, it's for me!
Monday, June 30, 2008
The ad is part of a German initiative called A Campaign for More Child Friendliness. I found it refreshing to see a public campaign highlighting the joy of children, even when they require much sacrifice.
Sunday, June 29, 2008
I feel so blessed to be pregnant, but it was not quite as fun to be the designated driver-though I did get all the water and pop I could drink. Needless to say, I spent a significant amount of time making "pit stops".
We are set to close on the house in New York this Thursday. (Fortunately, we are able to have the deed etc. overnighted to us to sign so we don't have to be at the closing.) The closing date for the new house is set for July 25th, though we'd like to close earlier if possible. We are so blessed to have found a house that fits our needs so quickly. The search was short, but emotional. (I'm sure being pregnant didn't help in that regard!)
There are many good deals on houses right now, but buyers in the starter home price range need to act FAST on desirable properties. We put our full price offer in on Monday night and the next day, another agent called with a full price, cash offer from his client. The sellers had already accepted our offer, so the sellers' agent said the property was sold. Good thing we acted quickly! God has totally provided for our needs every step of the way. He is so faithful.
We've still got a few more weeks in the Extended Stay, but we'll manage. My biggest beef with the place is the stinky stairwell. There are a series of garbage cans, and the one on the ground floor has a cigarrette disposal tray. The entry way smells perpetually of stale cigarrettes and garbage. Oy!
Kevin says that if he were a bachelor, he'd stay here indefinitely. The affordable price with all utilities plus housekeeping is too good to be true. I beg to differ, but I'll let him enjoy this while it lasts.
Friday, June 20, 2008
I think this will be my favorite pregnancy picture of all time. This is me in our NY house with two of Kevin's coworkers on move-out day. Keep in mind that only two out of the three people in the picture are pregnant.
"One of these things is not like the others..."
I made it into town last Wednesday evening after a none-too-eventful two-day drive. I think the slide show below shows the aesthetic highlight of the trip from NY to MI. This hotel is next door to the one I stayed at near the Buffalo airport. Wow.
Crossing the border into the Great Lakes State.
We are now living (temporarily!!) in an Extended Stay Hotel. Not fab, but definitely adequate and maintenance free. Buck is obviously making himself at home.
The house hunt is now in full swing. Update coming soon!