Sunday, August 26, 2012

Phenomenological... What?

I have a very general understanding of what Theology of the Body is about. I know it is a long work written by Pope John Paul II. Ephesians 5, and all that. Body and Soul. Sex is both unitive and procreative. It is also good and holy and important. I know who Christopher West is and have heard highly positive things from liberal groups and some negative things from trad circles. Personally, it doesn't offend me that he said "I love Hugh Hefner", in whatever context he said that. But that's it, folks, that about sums up the extent of my knowledge about Theology of the Body. Nobody Catholic close to me or in Church has ever mentioned anything about Theology of the Body, EVER. What little I do know I have heard about from listening to Catholic radio and some light Internet reading.

But my daughter's godfather kindly gave me some Theology of the Body Cd's to listen to when my daughter was baptized in June. I am really getting into them now. And, I'm realizing there is a lot here to delve into and a lot that I do not know.

And, I just learned a new a word. Phenomenological. I have never, ever heard this word in my life. My education is in the technical realm, so I missed out on all the good philosophy. Phenomenology is a 20th Century school of thought using the subjective experiences of a person to understand reality. I'm still trying to grasp exactly what this means, but it is starting to make more sense. (kind of).  JP2 was a phenomenologist. So was Edith Stein. (Whose feast day is my birthday.)  So maybe phenomenology explains why the new Catechism is so darn different from The Baltimore Catechism. (Which I know and love, the right brain side of me just connects with the simple logical easy question/answer format.) Maybe, phenomenology also explains why my husband finds the new Catechism boring to read. (Sorry, honey...) We decided to stop reading it at dinner time, as it is "too much" for the kids. I'll be reading it alone by myself before bed, and hubby will be reading the Baltimore Catechism, with everyone, after dinner.

I consider this a new challenge... deepening my understanding of phenomenology... and Theology of the Body. I just purchased "Man and Woman He created them: A Theology of the Body", and along with my 30 audio Cd's from the Theology of the Body conference, I'm bound to learn some good stuff.

Thursday, August 23, 2012

My First Blog Update

So, I never actually thought I would have a blog. It's been kind of fun. Maybe you are an ego-maniac like me and check your stats all the time to see how many people are coming to your blog and where they are coming from?

In the grand scheme of things... who cares?
But it IS exciting to have traffic!

Here's how things are going:
1584 Blog Hits

My Top 10 Google Search Keywords:
best carseat for chevy cruze
bikini onesie template
cruze back seat 3 kids
3 c sections
catholic tithing gross vs net
catholic breastfeeding blog
feeling envy catholic mom
i am catholic with 5 c sections
crystal rosary on my dashboard

Crazy, isn't it?

Here is one of my favorite comments from another Catholic Working Mom that I received from my post:  The Catholic Mom's Corner: My Blessings as a Working Mother made by Michelle from Endless Strength. You said exactly what I needed to hear, when I needed to hear it! Thank you!

I definitely know where you're coming from on many fronts. If you search my blog from Aug-Sep last year (can't remember exactly) I wrote a series on how we ended up with our kids at our Catholic school. I went through many feelings of inadequacy that were really of my own making. I don't think any of the homeschooling families ever judged us for the fact that we had a different arrangement, but I wanted to be like them so badly, that I figured they probably didn't approve of us or something. It is silly now that I look at it. Also, I have some other WOTHM posts I have written about not really fitting in with people in my work life and not really feeling like I fit in with people at church and even at school. But I think one thing I have learned through the last 12 years is that God calls us to these vocations not so that we can all be the same, but that we can all learn to love through our circumstances. I actually had a SAHM of 6 who I really really admire sit there and say something about how incredible I was that my husband and I accomplished so much with our jobs and our children and our faith life and SHE looked up to ME and I was so floored! Because I really look up to her. So you see...we all have something to teach each other and God works through all of us in so many ways. 
This is a great post and I have found that being thankful for what my role brings to our family has been a great way to grow in my faith and serve my husband and children and the world through my vocation of wife and mother.

Another really interesting comment came from my post:
The Catholic Mom's Corner: Paradise By the Catholic Dashboard Light by Steph who asked the following:
Inspiring post....Which brings me to a scenario that maybe you might have some info on, or anyone else visiting your blog. My Grandmother passed away more than a year ago from cancer. She kept several rosary beads by her bed. I took a blue one, and hung this in my dashboard. In the past week, both myself and my cousin have had very vivid dreams of her. The beads of my Rosary are blue, however, yesterday, I noticed that the first five have changed color to a vivid purple. Have the bottom crystals changed to purple due to the sunlight? Is there a significance to the color purple? Instances like this leave me asking if there is a logical explanation or is this a sign?
I hope I left adequate advice on this one, feel free to add some insight for her.

Anyway, I will conclude with a report on my AdSense earnings, as I promised. I have received a whopping one click since the implementation. (I think it was an accidental click from, non other than, you guessed it, Moi...) The one click has resulted in a 3 cent profit.  (Just in case you thought you were missing out on something... LOL, think again.)

Have an awesome day!

A Rosary Question

Which do you think has more merit?

1) An entire Rosary,  devoutly recited in prayerful solitude


2) One decade of the Rosary, very hastily said, with your husband and kids, while your 2 year old is crying to go downstairs and read books and your 6 year old is asking for 2nds of the left over mashed potatoes?

Thursday, August 16, 2012

Gossip and the 7 Deadly Sins

Sometime I have a real temptation with GOSSIP. Ugh. Don't you hate that word?  This morning I was thinking about this problem and a situation from over 23 years ago that got me into trouble in this department.

I try to overcome this vice by not saying anything to anyone else that I wouldn't say to a person's face. I always keep secrets and usually personal information private. I've gotten pretty good at this.

Sometimes I don't say anything, but I really wish I could.

And then there are the occasional times when I say something "nice" and roll my eyes or insinuate with body language and facial expression that I mean the EXACT OPPOSITE of what is coming out of my mouth. This is a form of gossip and can be very hurtful. I think all forms of gossip are dangerous, and that this is a particularly insidious sin.

I am even trying to figure out which of the "Seven Cardinal Sins" that gossip falls under, and I am not even sure. I think it can apply to ALL of them, except perhaps #1, in a sexual sense and maybe #4, but I will give it a shot:

1. Lust - One can have an intense desire for attention or popularity, which could incite the individual to gossip.

2. Gluttony - Haven't we all known someone who just can't keep their mouth shut and talks about anyone and everyone at all times? The juicier the better? Isn't this a form of gluttony?

3. Greed - An excessive desire for material possession can be an underlying reason for gossip.

4. Sloth - So this one I am struggling to make a connection to gossip, except for stretching a bit and saying that sometimes it is much easier to be a passive participant to gossip and go along with the flow by quietly listening to someone else gossiping away.  (And enjoying the listening.) I am so guilty! By being lazy and not doing the right thing by either leaving or changing the subject or defending the person who isn't there to defend themselves, we are not only guilty of engaging in passive gossip, but perhaps sloth as well.

5. Wrath - If one harbors anger and an intense desire for revenge, this can manifest itself in very ugly gossip.

6. Envy - Some of us struggle with envy, or as St. Thomas Aquinas phrased it "the sorrow for another's good.". To take it a step further, there is even a German word called Schadenfreude which means "pleasure derived by another's misfortune".  I think it hits the nail on the head over the root cause of my gossip.

7. Pride - Wanting to be more important or better than someone else.  I think this is probably why most people gossip, but am not sure. Personally, while I'm sure I have had my moments, I don't think I struggle with pride as much as with envy. At least not at this stage of my life.

Monday, August 13, 2012

Paradise By the Catholic Dashboard Light

Someday I would like to sit down and write about the loneliness I feel after my reversion. My husband and I are the only practicing Catholics in our immediate families.

Sometimes I search for my Faith Family in the most unlikely of places... like in parking lots and on the highway. This may sound desperate, but as I have mentioned before, I spend a lot of time on the road and it is where I spend most of my time praying and listening to Catholic media.

I always get a big goofy smile on my face when I drive by another Catholic. Whether it is a rosary hanging around the rear view mirror, a pro-life bumper sticker, a vanity plate with a Catholic message, or even a mini-van with a more-than-usual-number of those crazy family stickers, I feel an instant connection with you as we pass each other on the way about our daily business. I actually thank God for all of you people. And the coolest thing is, every day, I see more and more of you. It is as if we are multiplying. I like to think of all of us as one big army and we are rallying the troops.

The other day I pulled in at a random rest stop off a major Interstate highway and the car who pulled in next to me happened to be a family of 8. They just kept coming and coming... I smiled as I saw all those kids, and YES, rosary around the mirror. Hello, fellow Catholics! I told my kids to look at that awesome Catholic family. When they left, another car pulled in their place, and I noticed a scapular and a picture of Our Lady of Guadalupe around their mirror. Hello, Friends! And to top this off, as I was pulling out, and exiting the parking lot, there was a nun in full habit getting out of her car! We honked and waved, even though I am not sure that this little old sister knew why we were so excited...

Just a week before this as I was driving down I-75 to work, and I noticed a businessman driving on my right had a simple picture of a rosary silhouette in his rear window. Yeah! Good Morning, Catholic! And it even gets better, just as we were in line with each other, ANOTHER car passed me on the left, and it was a huge white truck with a bumper sticker that said, very boldly, My Favorite Weapon, and had a picture of a rosary. We were all 3 in line at the exact same time on the road. Coincidence? Or God's way of reminding me that I have plenty of like-minded family members, and they are everywhere.

Sunday, August 5, 2012

"Mommy, Who are those people at Chick-Fil-A?"

On Saturday mornings we have swim lessons with our girls and usually eat at Panera afterwards. This past weekend, we were enjoying our normal routine, but on the way back home, we noticed a crowd of people hanging out and holding gay pride signs and protesting at our local Chick-Fil-A. I made my husband do a U-Turn and drive into the parking lot.  No, we were not hungry! We drove right past the small group of people, mostly teenagers and a few adults, holding signs and waving to cars. I wanted to show my support to Chick-Fil-A! We drove through the drive-thru and bought ice cream cones for the kids. They were happy.

I have always loved Chick-Fil-A for these reasons:

#1, They have darn good food! Really, I love their chicken.

#2, They are closed on Sundays, out of respect for "The Lord's Day".

#3, A great Christian environment, they usually are playing Christian music in the background when we visit our local store.

#4, Our Chick-Fil-A has a toddler play area and slide, and my kids LOVE it.

#5, The family nights on Tuesday are great... crafts and fun activities for the kids at our local Chick-Fil-A.

#6, They are always promoting positivity in our neighborhood... they give free chicken sandwiches out on Election Day, if you vote. They are always passing out free chicken coupons for local teachers, and offer children free rewards for accomplishing their "summer reading" challenges at the library, etc.

#7, Their store environment is really clean, and their staff is extremely courteous. I love the "It is My Pleasure", after every "Thank you."...

When I heard that President, Dan Cathy, made a public statement in support of Traditional Marriage between a man and a woman, (reminds me of when John McCain appeared on the Ellen DeGeneres show back in 2008), I was grateful to have another voice speaking out in favor of Traditional Marriage. Chick-Fil-A doesn't have anything against homosexuals... and Cathy is certainly entitled to hold the views that he does. Our Chick-Fil-A was gracious to the protesters and was handing out water and cookies to them.  I heard about the planned "Kiss-Ins" where homosexual couples were planning to "crash" Chick-Fil-A's last Friday and start making out inside the restaurants. Thank goodness that was not going on here and with this particular crowd. It was all pretty civilized.

My 6 year old, of course, wanted to know why they were there, so I took a deep breath and explained that God created the sacrament of marriage to be between a man and a woman. Just like in the Bible. We reminded her that even though we are Catholic Christians, many other people in the world have different view points and they do not necessarily think the way we do or follow what the Bible says. The people standing in the street are not bad people, but they have different views than we do. We follow God's rules. A man and a man can't be married. They can be friends, but they can't make babies together. This simple explanation made sense to her, and she didn't seem phased by it all, thank goodness. This is difficult to talk about when friends and co-workers are gay and are terrific individuals. I try to imagine what it would feel like if I were in their shoes, or if my child was. Maybe I would feel differently. If I were homosexual and Catholic, I would be called to a life of celibacy and chastity, not unlike unmarried heterosexuals are. OK, I know... this is not exactly a popular view point. I struggle when reading Romans 1:18-32 and reconciling the growing trend of society pushing the agenda that Traditional Marriage between a man and a woman is in someway out-dated, unnecessary, un-sacramental, and optional.

Does anyone have any personal thoughts to share on your local Chick-Fil-A in light of recent events?

Thursday, August 2, 2012

The Evolution of 3 C-Sections

I have had 3 Cesarean Section Births.

With my first child I was hoping to experience a vaginal (possibly un-medicated) delivery. I was very excited and nervous. I was also pretty naive... I was a week over due and my baby was showing up apx. 10 pounds on the ultra sound estimation. My doctor wanted to induce me, and was worried that I would have an 11+ pound baby. I didn't think or know to say "No"... and just went with my doctor's recommendations. I figured he knew best, he has delivered thousands of babies. After the induction, and 19 hours of labor, there was not enough progression, the beginnings of fetal distress, and meconium was detected once my water was broken. I had to have a C-Section, my doctor said. I cried, and begged him to let me labor for 2 more hours. He consented, but I heard him say, "Prep Her..." to the nurse as he walked out the door. My worst fear was coming true. (Waiting two more hours didn't do any good, even though I did everything I could to try to further the labor.) I was petrified of undergoing this surgery. I was absolutely terrified!!! When it was time immediately before the birth and the doctor said, "Are you ready for your baby?" I said "No! Please give me something..." I did not want to be crying out of sadness during the birth of my first child. I was given some sort of sedative which made everything kind of fuzzy. My daughter was healthy and beautiful but I felt like a failure and was consumed with guilt and fear over it all. It was rather traumatic. I suffered postpartum depression, and nursing did not go well, probably due in large part to the circumstances of the birth. The recovery was slow, although not nearly as bad as I had anticipated.

With my second child, I wanted very much to try a VBAC. My doctor said there was a 70% chance I could do it and that he would be supportive of my choice and that I would not be induced due to chances of uterine rupture. He also mentioned that there was a risk, a very small risk, that I could experience a rupture. This scared the hell out of me. He said in a worst case scenario, (in the case of a rupture), I might need an emergency hysterectomy, or my baby could end up on a ventilator for the rest of her life. There were many positive stories of wonderful VBACs out there, and I spent hours reading the many positive stories, and a few not-so-happy stories. In the end, I knew my daughter was a big baby (~9 lbs) and I chickened out and opted for an elective c-section. I did not want a repeat of my first experience... the uncertainty, the hours of labor, the disappointment of another failed vaginal delivery. The 2nd time I was mentally prepared. I was calm during the experience, but I was still pretty scared of the operation. The recovery was much easier than I thought.

With my third child, I knew I would be choosing an elective c-section. My doctor would not support a VBA2C (Vaginal Birth after 2 Cesareans). I would probably have to go to a midwife/home birth situation to attempt this (or find a far-away doctor who would take me as a patient), and I was not comfortable with these options. I was very excited to be having this baby, and very ready for the delivery. I enjoyed all of it! The recovery was a breeze.

My husband caught this amazing moment on his camera phone. I wanted to share it with you.  (This is short, and not too graphic.)

If you find yourself in a similar situation, (facing an unplanned c-section, especially if it is the birth of your first child and you are scared out of your mind), please know that it's not the end of the world, or anything to feel guilt over. I am at the point now where I can say without shame that I really loved my Cesarean births (at least the last 2 of them)!