Sunday, April 7, 2013

Blood, Sweat and Tears

I have reached that point in pregnancy where you stop to think "am I done yet?" I actually hate that, because I was very much so enjoying being pregnant. I think the second trimester lulls you into some kind of fantasy land where you get to reap all the rewards of pregnancy (minus the baby, of course-- but all the cute clothes! naps! people being extra nice to you! wearing yoga pants most of your days!), and have none of the drawbacks (I can still tie my shoes! shave my legs! wear low heels! walk upstairs!)

All of this was compounded by the fact that I was diagnosed with gestational diabetes. Not the biggest deal in the world, seeing as how I could have been diagnosed with many other much more perilous pregnancy complications, but it was still devastating to hear nonetheless. I felt like my pregnancy that had been perfect all along was some kind of a sham and I was actually sick and poisoning my baby with all the carbs I had consumed in the past 7 months. It's really not as dramatic as all that, thank goodness. But it's definitely not fun! I, for many reasons, was skeptical of the diagnosis, but I am trying to do what I am asked so that I can continue to see my midwife as well as not be branded as a trouble patient.

The first few days of the diagnosis were the worst, I had almost a week before I could meet with the dietician and I was petrified to eat anything. I had no idea what I really could eat, though I had found some guidelines online, but I was hesitant to trust any of them, since everything I read said the diet would be tailored to me. Once I met with the nurse and learned how to poke my finger and test my sugar, I felt better... for exactly 2 hours. You see, aside from GD, I also have a condition called hyperhidrosis which causes my hands and feet to sweat almost constantly. I couldn't get a reading that first day at all because after poking all my fingers and wasting 5 strips per try (which equals approximately $20 in wasted strips), all the blood was just spreading out on my fingers and I couldn't get a good drop to test. I spent 30 minutes crying to my sister in law, a nurse, on the phone and got some tips and have been okay since. Have I mentioned I hate needles? I hate needles. The diet is pretty easy to follow, but the worst part so far (which I am confident will get easier) is having to plan EVERYTHING regarding food in advance. I have to eat every 2 hours, and I have to test my blood sugar after meals. I always have to know when I am eating and what I am eating. I had to walk out of the Easter Vigil 10 minutes in so I could test my blood and eat a snack. It takes a lot of planning and I have enough stuff to get done.

In any event, that is the update on my pregnancy. I will say that as all of this occurred the week before Easter, I did get to spend some time contemplating suffering and gratitude and openess to God's will. I had a pretty horrible Lent (in that, I feel like it's hard to truly live Lent when you can't fast and you're subject to the whims of your fetus!), but my Easter was truly joyful. I got to see someone who had gone through RCIA 3 times waiting for his annullment to go through be baptized! It was so, so amazing. I also sponsored the female half of a couple who is having their marriage convalidated this month. She told me on Easter that she is having her tubal ligation reversed so they can try for another baby. God really is wonderful and is making things happen in people's lives.

Wednesday, January 30, 2013

I'm Not Dead (Yet!)

I received a very lovely comment from a reader the other day asking if I had moved blogs. Well, I have not. And I apologize, dear readers, for my absensce. I owe you all an explanation (because I know I want one when someone stops blogging for no real reason)!

I had gotten myself into quite a funk with the HHS Mandate and the election cycles and stuff going on in my day-to-day life, that I found myself only wanting to write scathing posts about how stupid the world was and why we (the Catholics, of course) were just oh-so-much smarter and I really couldn't quite get anything out charitably. And I suppose that's what happens when your blog doesn't really have a niche. I like to say I write about the intersection of faith and daily life, but when your daily life has become consumed by chatter that makes you nuts, there's not much to blog about. So... I didn't. And I didn't tell you why. And I'm sorry for that if that upset anyone.
Cooler than you and we know it. 

That being said, I'm having a baby!! So that should distract you from my bitterness for a little bit. S/he's expected to make a debut June 29, but we'll see. My co-workers predict I'll go 10 days late. Because they are jerks. But honestly, for all the fear and anxiety and sleepless nights that went into this, being pregnant is so much better than I thought. I had very little morning sickness with my first trimester, so the worst of it was the bone-crushing fatigue that hits you. And the eating. I literally got tired of eating. Now I'm 18 weeks along, in the second trimester and nesting, which is awesome. The only thing I can really complain about is the horrendous transition between normal clothes and maternity clothes.
I'm also still teaching RCIA, and I'm sponsoring someone this cycle. So there's that.
And make people Catholic!

That's an update on me, and I think I have a few posts up my sleeve. Hope to see you all soon!!

Friday, August 10, 2012

We Interrupt This Catholic Blog For Some Auntie Fodder

My goddaughter's mom, J, and I have a long history together. And we also have a similarly weird habit: we make up songs. About everything. Not off the top of our heads, but from real songs, inserting words to make them fit. Her big achievement was "Puppies in the Dark" (when you come home to your dogs after being out all day) mine was probably something about cats. Until now. Working off of the most annoying song ever written, and one she sings to Miss G, I present to you: Red Sippy Cup. You're welcome.

Now, red sippy cup is the best receptical
For music class, playdates, fairs and festivals
And you, my friend, may be kind of a noob
If you prefer drinkin' from boob

Hey, red sippy cup makes snack time easy
It travels in diaper bags, clean up is breezy
And unlike my diapers, it’s not too skeezy
Those Pampers can be kind of crass, whow

Red sippy cup, I fill you up
Let's have a party, let's have a party
I love you, red sippy cup, I lift you up
Proceed to party, proceed to party

Now, I really love how you're easy to sip
But I really hate how you're easy to drip
'Cause when juice runs down my lower lip
Well, that, my friends, is quite yucky

But I have to admit that mommy gets smitten
Admirin' how happily I can be sippin’
On you so she’s not gettin' bitten
I’ve got teeth- so that’s pretty lucky

Red sippy cup, I fill you up
Let's have a party, let's have a party
I love you, red sippy cup, I lift you up
Proceed to party, proceed to party

Now, I've seen you in blue and I've seen you in yellow
But only you, red, will do for this fellow
'Cause you are the Abbot to my Costello
And you are the fruit to my loom

Red sippy cup, you're more than just plastic
You're more than amazing, you're more than fantastic
And believe me that I am not the least bit sarcastic
When I look at you and say

Red sippy cup, you're not just a cup
(No, no, no, God, no)
You're my, you're my
(Friend, friend, friend, life long)
Thank you for being my friend

Red sippy cup, I fill you up
Let's have a party, let's have a party
I love you, red sippy cup, I lift you up
Proceed to party, proceed to party

Thursday, July 19, 2012

"Tell The Truth Through Whichever Veil Comes to Hand..."

I’m not much of a discerner. First off, I don’t honestly know how to discern (despite my best efforts and trying to buddy up with the Holy Spirit), but also because I tend to be an over-thinker in most things and so when I feel moved to just implusively do something, I kind of just do it. In my experience, when I do something impulsively, it has always, always worked out for me. I think the Holy Spirit knows this (of course He knows this) so, I find when I start to have the desire to know or do something, He puts it everywhere for me and makes me REALLY want to do it.

So it was with veiling. People often ask me why I do it, and I do wish that I was one of those really lovely, holy Catholic women who could say “I had it on my heart and so I prayed on it for a few weeks and I felt a deep calling to do it, discerned that it was a calling from God and not from my own pride and I went along with the call.” (I will admit that I wish I said this because I just really like freaking people out with all the Catholic jargon I know.)  No, with veiling, I heard about it somewhere, read a website or two and I promptly went to the only Catholic store in town at the time—owned by a SSPX parishioner-- and bought a chapel cap. The next time I went to Mass, I pinned it to my hair and never looked back. I actually got quite a few compliments on it- mainly from older ladies in the parish- and so I felt less weird about switching to a full on mantilla when I was given one that belonged to Hubbs’ grandma. I won’t go in to all the stuff about whether it’s required still but no one observes it or no longer required but we should do it. I do it. It’s not not allowed, so I do it.
In my parish, there are only about 5 women who veil that I have seen and they are all under the age of 30. All but one is married. My parish is the most traditional in town (aside from the SSPX one, of course) but it’s by no means stodgy; both of our priests have been priests for fewer than 5 years and we have an elementary school attached to our parish. There are a lot of older people, but there are also a ton of kids. I never felt as if anyone gave me weird looks or scoffed at me or anything like that.

I have heard people say that they don’t want to veil because they feel like they will call attention to themselves because they will be the only one. I have heard people say that being the only one will make them prideful. I understand both of these inclinations. I know, for me, that it has made me less prideful, actually. For me, veiling is a reminder of my submission. This may be surprising to exactly none of you, but I’m sort of rebellious and incorrigible. Wearing the veil, which, to the person I was before I came back to the Church, would have seemed really backwards and patriarchal (“what do you mean I should cover my hair? I will cover my hair when men have to cover their hair!”), is a sign that I am submissive to the Church that Jesus founded on Earth- to the teachings and traditions she gave us by His authority. It’s an outward sign, not to everyone around me but to ME that I said yes to this life; that I chose, against all the “rational” thoughts of a former me, to be authentically feminine, to think of myself as a daughter of God. Standing out in front of people when I would rather have disappeared in some back row is breaking down my pride. It says “yes, I know I look a little silly, but I am a Catholic and this is how I show it.” Because, let’s be honest: without the veil, I could be going to work. Priests wear collars, nuns and brothers wear habits- I wear a veil when I’m at Mass. There are benefits, too. My mantilla blocks my peripheral vision so I can’t see when people dress inappropriately, or read the bulletin through the entire Mass, which allows me to be more focused on what’s going on and less judgmental.
So, if you are thinking of veiling (and you have discerned if that’s how you do things) here are my practical tips for veiling:

Wear what’s comfortable to you.
You can wear any kind of head covering that makes you happy- from a hat to a wide headband to a full-on veil. Since I live in a colder climate, I don’t go for the hat because it would feel more disrespectful to me to leave it on, since I am in the habit of always taking them off when I get inside. However, there is a lady at my parish (who must be either British or Southern) who wears SPECTACULAR vintage style hats and dress suits. She looks great. That would make me prideful, personally, since I’d be trying to match my awesome hat to my awesome outfit.
Start slow!
If you feel a little hesitant at first, that’s okay- try something small like a chapel cap or even just try it out at daily Mass. If you feel really weird after wearing it a few times, maybe it’s not for you.

Remember it’s not required
 If it’s not for you, then no big deal. We all have ways of expressing our devotion. I have never been able to stand a scapular.

Be prepared for questions
Someone somewhere will ask. Even if your answer is as simple as "I just feel like it's a really beautiful tradition" have an answer.

Still interested? Here is a website that I like Mantilla With Me

Friday, July 6, 2012

Captain America and the Catholic Church

I’m not sure, if in all the time I have been writing this blog (admittedly sporadically), that I have ever mentioned that Hubbs is a HUGE comic book nerd. I am not exaggerating either. The top shelves of my closet are full of long-boxes, the office is littered with pages in process for his very own comic book and every month there is a giant box on my doorstep that comes from Discount Comic Book Service. I have lately started to embrace this aspect of his personality more fervently, and it has gone from a mild curiosity about his interests into something that I find somewhat more fascinating. I have seen every XMen movie, every Spiderman movie and all the origin stories for the Avengers (except the Hulk, during which I fell asleep- I don’t think I missed much.) After seeing the most recent Avengers movie, I slightly switched my allegiance from Tony Stark/Iron Man (an allegiance that, to be fair, came just as much from his portrayal by Robert Downey Jr. and a penchant for AC/DC than anything else) to Captain America.

My husband loves to tease me about my overtly girly-ness when I talk about how much I love Captain America. I guess it says something about me that I love BOTH the bad boy (Tony Stark) and the All American Good Guy (Capt. Steve Rogers). Fine. He’s probably right. But hear me out on this one.

In light of the recent Supreme Court decision upholding the health care bill which, in turn, upholds the HHS mandate, I found this little gem from Captain America.
I know, right?!

That’s right, folks. Captain America. And do you know why I like good ol’ Cap so much? Because Captain America is like the Catholic Church! He is full of heroic virtue! As a military man, he obviously knows what it’s like to have to sacrifice for a greater good, a higher ideal. He was chosen to become a super soldier based on his character, not his physique. He has always, always stood up for what he believed in, even in the face of doing something “unpatriotic.” He knows that patriotism goes deeper than just following orders; if the orders are unjust, the best a patriot can do it disobey them. This was apparently the theme of a recent series called Civil War (where that panel comes from) in which he defied a law based on the fact that it was not a just law. These are characteristics that we, as Catholics, should embody. No, we should not be laying down our lives for a secular government (as Cap is essentially doing as a military member), but, we are the Church Militant! This means that we should be fighting to live out a Truth, even if that is made difficult for us.

Saturday, June 23, 2012

It's 2am...

One of the spiritual works of mercy is to admonish the sinner, but we are also supposed to be charitable and loving, right? I know it’s 2am and so I don’t pretend that this post is going to make much sense, but this is something that is really troubling me (hence the 2am.) I hear all the time that we are to speak the Truth even when the Truth is unpopular. Is this whole “don’t be judgmental” thing coming from society? How can I speak the Truth when it is unpopular and admonish the sinner without being “judgmental”? Isn’t just pointing out that they live in sin a judgment, or, again, is that just society that says that?

I have some acquaintances (a couple) who used to be friends. There are personal issues I have with them, but there are also moral ones. I have actually had to cut myself off from them, but Hubbs is still involved. Whenever I bring up something about how they are not living their lives correctly and how that makes me uncomfortable, he always tells me I’m not supposed to judge. I insist I am not judging, I am not saying they are bad people or making any kind of prediction of where they are going in the afterlife. But they are in mortal sin. I can’t just pretend that they are exempt from being in mortal sin just because they aren’t Catholic or because Hubbs likes them. It really… pisses me off that he constantly tells me I’m being judgmental. He says that all I can do is be a good witness, but I have cut myself off so I can’t do that anymore. I do sincerely hope that if I they think I’m a bitch, they attribute it to me and not that I am Catholic.

But again, this brings me to my question: am I being judgmental? My problems with this particular couple are more personal and less moral, but the fact that there are personal problems make the moral ones feel bigger than with other people. I know that I have made mistakes, the very same mistakes that they are making, in fact. I know that I am not above sin. We are fallen and we all sin. I know that. How do we admonish sinners, speak the Truth and still be loving people in a society where no one will take responsibility for anything they do and any kind of questioning of anything is judgmental or intolerant? I don’t want my attitude to reflect badly on my faith (and I know it will) but I also don’t want to be relativist or permissive about things I know are wrong. 

Wednesday, May 30, 2012

Someday You Will Be Loved

In a very dark part of my life, this song was extraordinarily comforting to me. I wanted these words to come off of the lips of the person who did the very same thing as the author of this song. I wanted to know that someday I would be loved, and someday everything that hurt, that made me feel as if I were cheap and used and disgusting and not worth it would go away, like bad dream. But you know what? It didn't. Because that's not how we work no matter what society and mildly romantic emo songs tell us. They don't tell us that we will continue to feel this way even when we ARE loved. In fact, we might even feel worse, and all of those feelings will be amplified, because once you know what you are worth you mourn even more that you didn't believe it enough to be strong. That if we let other people tell us that it's okay to feel hurt when we're used, then that's okay, but buying that we are going to feel fine about it once someone doesn't use us is just buying into yet another one of their lies. This song... this song is just wrong. And while maybe, MAYBE these things do fade to  memories that "seem more like bad dreams" they're still vivid and they still can hurt.  If you buy into the lie that "well this one didn't love me, but someday someone will" you will continually make the same mistake. Hopefully, when anyone who has been in this situation is loved, the person who loves them is themselves. Because until you can love yourself and not get your self-worth from someone else who is likely lying to you, just looking for the "someone" who will love you, you will never be able to truly love. Until that day, you will likely be too broken to give or receive the love needed.

The person who loves you will not ever use you. They will not ever pressure you. They will never make ultimatums. The person who loves you will wait.

I am now going to hug my husband and thank God that we found one another.