Friday Link Love (and some quotes): June 26, 2015

1.  Even children experience His Passion, for our natural age has very little to do with our Christ-age, and the fact of being in Christ at all implies a state of childhood in the soul, a child’s almost infinite capacity for experiencing joy and sorrow completely.

–Caryll Houselander, The Reed of God

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I ordered a copy of Angel in the Waters for the girls.  I read it to them for the first time Tuesday night.  Girl 1 read it to herself multiple times and was weepy and mopey all day Wednesday.

“I just can’t stop thinking about Angel in the Waters. *sniff* “

“Does it make you sad?”

“No, it’s just . . .  *sniff* . . . The baby is just so little and so cute.  *sob*”

 

2. “Fed up with law practice? In about a year, you can be a computer coder, says lawyer who made switch.”  Pat has pretty much the ideal job.  I can’t say switching hasn’t crossed my mind . . . .

3.  We had the perfect family dinner a few weeks ago at my former-new-favorite sushi place (we’ll call it FNFSP).  The girls tried new food–shrimp tempura!  We called it “shrimp nuggets.”  The girls gobbled it down.  They loved using chop sticks.  Pat and I enjoyed delicious sushi.  Taking the girls out to real restaurants has been mostly disastrous for years, and this was like a light at the end of the tunnel.

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And then . . .

  • Both girls puked that night, and all the next day, and most of the next.  And then . . .
  • We felt better Saturday and took an overnight trip to my cousin’s graduation party, and then,
  • I stupidly bought them Happy Meals during the car trip, and then . . .
  • Girl2 puked in the hotel pool . . . multiple french fry filled heaves before Pat could get her out of the water (we tipped the unfortunate lifeguard/ pool cleaner).  And then . . .
  • She fussed and cried all during the pool party the next day.  We let big sister swim but not Girl 2.  I just couldn’t risk doing that to my uncle.  And then . . .
  • Last week we noticed some unauthorized purchases made on our debit cards.  We cancelled the cards, contacted the bank, got the money credited back, etc. etc.

But still . . . .

  • We couldn’t figure out how it happened.  Both of our debit card numbers had been stolen.  The cards were still in our possession, so they must have been skimmed.  But Pat hardly ever uses his debit card for purchases.
  • The only place we’ve both used our debit cards lately has been our own bank’s ATM and, oh yeah . . . .

at FNFSP.

Insult upon injury x 1000000000.

6.   Girl1: [out of the blue] “Man, I like Jesus too.”

       Girl1: “Mom!  Your bum bum is just like your [pregnant] belly!”

Girl 2: “I weally want Jesus to come back. . . . I weally want Uncle John to come back. . . . I weally want Jesus to come back.”  [conflated identities, perhaps?  they both have beards]

Girl 1: “That’s a picture of my mom and dad when they got married.”

LittleFriend: “Your mom looks really different!!!”  [So. I’ve. been. told, kid.]

Girl1 [just now, looking at the photo I posted of our FNFSP trip]:  “Ewwww, yuck.   From now on, I hate FNFSP.”

7. Have a lovely weekend. Click over to This Ain’t the Lyceum for more quick takes.

 

What My Kids Think About Their Daddy

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1. What is something your dad always says to you?

Girl 2: “Clean up.”

Girl 1: “Yes, cheeks?” and “What are you doing?” and “Don’t stick your hands in your bum bum.”



2. What makes your dad happy? 
G2: Draw something

G1: When we’re not doing
anything that makes him mad and when we don’t bug him for stuff.

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3. What makes your dad sad?

G1: When we’re, like, screaming around and messing with his stuff and . . . that’s all.

G2: Hit him.


4. How does your dad make you laugh? 
G1:When he doo-doodle-ees [tickles] us.

G2: Do funny fings.

5. What was your dad like when he was a child?
G1: He had a different kind of face and blonde hair and he was like . . .Mr. Harry and looks like . . .

G2: Play with stuff.

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6. How old is your dad?
G1: 33

G2: I fink . . .  [holds up two fingers]


7. How tall is your dad? 
G1: He’s like . . . all the way up to the door.

G2:[reaches way up]


8. What is his favorite thing to do? 
G1: Tickle us

G2: Read stuff
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9. What does your dad do when you’re not around? 
G1: Look for us

G2: Cwean up . . . daddy awways cwean up . . . and vacuum.


10. If your dad becomes famous, what will it be for? 
G1: Loving

G2: [Gives a thumbs up.]

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11. What is your dad really good at? 
G1: Writing faster

G2: Writing
12. What is your dad not very good at?

G1: Trying to carry something heavier than the couch {NB: Pat is the only one in the house who carries anything heavy at all.}

G2: Dwawing
13. What does your dad do for a job? 
G1:  Try to write something and work something and . . . I don’t know.

G2: Painting stuff

[He did some painting around the house yesterday.]

[He’s a software developer.]

14. What is your dad’s favorite food?

G1: Chicken cake [giggle], soup, macaroni, lasagna, sauce, broccoli, and apples and peanut butter.
G2: Rice and beans [what we had for lunch today] [not his favorite]

15. What makes you proud of your dad? 
G1:When he does something for us like put on us movies.

G2: Give me a kiss.
16. If your dad were a character, who would he be? 
G1: Maybe . . . Larry the cucumber on Veggie Tales ’cause of his green shirt.

G2: A king


17. What do you and your dad do together? 
G1: Draw pictures and turn on the light and eat hot dogs.

G2: Write




18. How are you and your dad the same? 

G1: He was born and . . . I don’t really know!

G2: [Holds hands out ~12 inches apart] This tall like a huge baby like this!

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19. How are you and your dad different? 

G1: I don’t know.

G2: Then we will get eaten by a dragon.



20. How do you know your dad loves you? 

G1: Because he’s my daddy!

G2: Give us a nice hug.
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21. What does your dad like the most about your mom? 

G1: He loves you also and . . . he jokes.

G2: Holding hands.

22: Where is your dad’s favorite place to go?

G1: Library and church and museum and playground . . . mostly playground.

G2: Mass

23. Hold old was your dad when you were born?

G1: 29

G2: [holds up 3 fingers]

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~“

Linking up with Sarah and Diana.  You should too!

What My Kids Think About Me

1. What is something your mom always says to you?
Girl1 (age 6): You call me “cheeks”!

Girl2 (age 3): Don’t make a mess!

2. What makes your mom happy? 
G1: When we love you and try to make you a drawing.

G2: Give you a kiss


3. What makes your mom sad?
G1: When we hurt you and do something bad.

G2: When we be naughty.


4. How does your mom make you laugh? 
G1:When you say something funny and make me a silly drawing.

G2: When you make me a craft.

5. What was your mom like when she was a child?
G1: Long brown hair and glasses and you wore an orange and red tutu.  {True}

G2: . . .

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6. How old is your mom?
G1:32

G2: [Turns around and stretches her arms back, towards me, holding up two index fingers]


7. How tall is your mom? 
G1: As tall as the top of the lamp

G2: This tall [reaches way up]


8. What is her favorite thing to do? 
G1: Give us hugs and kisses and probably sleep together.

G2: Draw

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9. What does your mom do when you’re not around? 
G1: Try to look for us

G2: Don’t kick


10. If your mom becomes famous, what will it be for? 
G1: Me and Girl 2

G2: It will be fwee [3], dus’ like me!

11. What is your mom really good at? 
G1: Writing faster and drawing words.

G2: Dwawing pictures with girls, babies  . .  boys . . . mamas . . . daddies.
12. What is your mom not very good at?

G1: Rollerskating {true}

G2: When you hoed my hand you won’t swip.
13. What does your mom do for a job? 
G1: Chores and clean the floors
{I have no idea how to explain being a lawyer to them.}

G2: Mop and bwooms and paints and dwawings.

14. What is your mom’s favorite food?

G1: Hamburgers and . . . what else? Hmm.  Chicken shrimp and fried soup and . . . that’s all.
G2: [wanders out of the room]

15. What makes you proud of your mom? 
G1: When you [long pause] . . . do something better than the house looked like last year.  [Tangent about how she liked the house better before I redecorated.]

16. If your mom were a character, who would she be? 
G1: Maybe a fairy or a queen.


17. What do you and your mom do together? 
G1: Read a book and do chapters and tractors [???] and probably more toys and stuff.

18. How are you and your mom the same? 
G1: Because you’re my mommy

19. How are you and your mom different? 
G1: Because of my face and your face is not exactly the same.

20. How do you know your mom loves you? 
G1: Because of all the fun things we do.



21. What does your mom like the most about your dad? 
G2: When you wuv him and he’s good at playing the guitar.

G1: . . .

G1: Do you like fried soup Mommy?

Me: I don’t think I’ve ever had fried soup.

G1:  Yes you have!  At that restaurant . . .

Me: Oh!  You mean Sopa Azteca.  Yes, I like that.

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Linking up with Sarah and Diana.  You should too!

Five Favorite Books Lately

I’m going to review them ultra quick.  Blink and you’ll miss it.

State of Wonder by Ann Patchett.  A beautifully written page turner.  So many elements in common with Patchett’s Bel Canto: South America, dramatic beginning, characters stuck waiting in stressful situations and separated from their cell phones, opera.  But still a completely new and original story.  Really enjoyed it.

Popular: Vintage Wisdom for a Modern Geek by Maya Van Wagenen . Middle schooler turns to 1950s teen popularity manual and writers about the results.  Funny and heartwarming.  Anyone else wonder if a fourteen-year-old actually wrote this?  I don’t really doubt it, but this little part of me wonders.

The Blue Zones: Lessons for Living Longer From the People Who’ve Lived the LongestDan Buettner: Investigation of lifestyles in areas with unusually high number of people living to be 100 (topic addressed here).  Easy to read, although I think it could have been written better.  Also, his conclusion is that our life expectancy and quality of life are within our control.  I think his studies suggest the opposite, as most of the centenarians he profiles were just living the life customary to their particular culture.  They aren’t countercultural, as we would have to be to imitate them.

Little House in the Big Woods by Laura Ingalls Wilder, audiobook read by Cherry Jones: We all finally listened to the whole thing on our last car trip.  Really enjoyed it, especially hearing her sing the songs with a fiddle accompaniment.  Only qualm is that Ms. Jones reads Pa’s lines with a Southern accent.  Charles Ingalls was born in New York and spent most of his life in the Midwest.  Seriously?  All the same, looking forward to getting the next in the series.

Ramona’s World by Beverly Cleary: Girl 1 is having us read certain chapters over and over.  I can’t complain.  I just love this series.

Started but not yet finished:

Pioneer Girl, by Laura Ingalls Wilder, the newly released annotated version of Wilder’s original, never-before-published autobiography.  All the footnotes are fascinating but it makes for slow reading.

Reed of God by Caryll Houselander: There are parts I like about this book, but for the most part it’s not my style.  Everyone I know who has read it loves it.  I’m going to persevere.

Daring Greatly: How the Courage to Be Vulnerable Transforms the Way We Live, Love, Parent, and Lead  by Brene Brown: I’m disappointed by this book so far, although I plan to at least skim the rest of it.  It has some great ideas but is written in such generalities that I skim over a lot of it.  Not the page-turner I’d hoped.

Princes at War: The Bitter Battle Inside Britain’s Royal Family in the Darkest Days of WWII by Deborah Cadbury: Well-written look at the English monarchy during WWII.  Previously all I really knew was what I saw from the movie, The King’s Speech (just realized the movie is based on a book by the same name).  I never manage to finish history books, though, and this time it won’t be any different.

I’m linking up with Quick Lit at Modern Mrs. Darcy, and tomorrow with Jenna for Five Favorites.IMG_8474

Friday Link Love June 12, 2015 {Doritos Locos and other edifying subjects}

Some quick links and thoughts on this Friday night.  The first is serious; the rest are light and fluffy.

1. I was touched by Saint* Pope Francis’s recent words about the heroic love of family members who care for sick loved ones.  First I thought–of course– of myself . .. and Pat . . . and how hard it is to care for the girls with their sporadic, cough-variant asthma.  They have so many nights of intermitable coughing during cold and flu season; winter is a cold, cold hell for us.

Then I thought–wow–the pope’s words really really apply to my parents, who are taking care of my aunt as she undergoes cancer treatment.  They, and my uncle, also are caring for my 94-year-old grandmother, who is in a gradual, painful decline and is now bedridden.  We’ve been expecting the end for months now.  My uncle lives with her and takes painstaking care of her full time.  My dad spends many nights over there so my uncle can get some sleep, since my grandmother is restless and needs constant care throughout the night. . . . And this all comes not long after the years my parents cared for my other grandmother; she died in their home three years ago.

They’ve all been on my mind a lot lately.  I’m a thousand miles away and don’t know what I can do.

*So embarrassing.  I have such a hard time catching my own typos.

2. Something else that’s been on my mind is Taco Bell.  Mmm, Baby #3 loves taco bell.  My frequent visits there reminded me of this article, about why food that’s bad for us tastes so good.  [If the link doesn’t work, backdoor your way in by searching Google News for “Taste the Science in Every bite”.]

I’m tasting that science! I’m tasting it in every bite, baby.                                                image credit

The article discussed the Doritos Locos tacos and how popular they are and–let me tell you–that’s no surprise.  They are delicious.  Delicious.  So good.

3. By the way, Girl 1 has taken to being scared to be in her room at night, every night, at any point of the night, starting at bedtime, even with the light on and door open.  I told her tonight about her guardian angel.  We discussed and she pondered for the last hour.  She just now announced she is scared of angels and doesn’t want one in her room.  So much for that.  I told her she could politely ask her angel to leave the room and I’m sure the angel would oblige.

4. My bloggy friend Sarah Isis is such a fashionable pregnant lady, isn’t she?  Next week, I’ll be linking up with her “23 questions” link up, posting my girls’ answers to 23 questions about their mom [me].

~ Ha!  I just realized that the idea is to ask the questions about Daddy and post for father’s day.  Oh well.  I’ll do the one about me for a late mother’s day post and then one where I ask them about Pat in time for Father’s Day. ~

My kids’ answers were quite amusing.  If you’re inclined you should link up too, especially if you’ve already asked your kids the questions (*ahem* Marti Oram, once you’re feeling better).

5. My new bloggy crush is Erica at Thrift Flipper.  She’s paying off her student loans by scouring thrift stores for fashion finds and reselling them on eBay.  I started doing this–on an extremely small scale–about a year ago.  I enjoy cheap retail therapy so much that when I find a great deal, even if my family and I can’t use it, I have to buy it.

My $5-snakeskin-Manolo-Blahnik-find story is one I’ll probably be telling my grandchildren.  Kind of like an old fisherman’s tale. Except they didn’t get away.  Maybe I should have had them stuffed and mounted to hang on the wall.  But then I couldn’t have resold them. For $50.  Anyway . . .

Enter eBay, by which my hobby at least pays for itself and a little more.  So anyway, when I found Erica’s blog I was like, “There’s someone else out there who does this!  And she seems normal!”

6. I had some other links to share with you but I’ve misplaced them now.

7. Have a lovely weekend!  Click over to This Ain’t the Lyceum for more quick takes.

Stitch Fix #2: Maternity Edition {June 2015–early second trimester}

Stitch Fix#2-  Maternity Edition, early 2nd trimester, thisfelicitouslife.wordpress.com

One win and four near misses.

Oh Stitch Fix, it’s not you; it’s me.

I asked for some casual maternity wear for this summer–some tops, plus some shorts, linen pants, or casual skirts.  No jeans.  No dry clean only.

They delivered!  They really did!

It’s just their casual isn’t my casual. And I should have added “no hand-wash only.”  And sometimes things just don’t fit.

stitch fix, Pale Sky blottie Pleated Maternity Blouse, thisfelicitouslife.wordpress.com

Robbie Jogger Pants, Linen/tencel/spandex blend, size large (non maternity), by Level 99 (similar)

Lottie Pleated Maternity Blouse by Pale Sky, size large (similar) (similar in purple)

[ Also: Stefano Furiani ballet flats from Crocs]

Verdict:  Returning both.

Love the look of this outfit, but the blouse is 100% rayon and hand wash only.  I just wasn’t feeling it $68 worth.

Also love the look of the pants.  But they are uncomfortably snug in the legs, don’t stretch much, and are too low in the rise.  Too bad.

stitch fix, LA made maternity Kaitel boyfriend tank and Level 99 Robbie Jogger Pant, thisfelicitouslife.wordpress.com

Kaitel Maternity Boyfriend Tank, by LA Made Maternity, size large

(because this is just exactly what my boyfriend wears when he’s pregnant)

Robbie Jogger Pants, size large (non maternity), by Level 99 (similar)

Verdict:  This looks better in the picture than I thought it did in person.  The colors are too pale for me, and the tank is $58 –too much for this style.  It’s rayon/spandex blend . . . hand wash only.  Wop wop.  Made in the USA though!  Click on my link above to get a similar style from LA Made Maternity, via Amazon, in solid colors, for much less $$.

stitch fix, Daniel Rainn Carrieann crochet detail tie-neck top, thisfelicitouslife.wordpress.com

Carrieann Crochet Detail Tie-Neck Top, size large (non maternity) (similar) (similar . . . even better)

Verdict:  Return.  This top is lovely.  Not my usual style but lovely.  It has an attached cami underneath, though, which is too fussy and hot for the summer everyday for me.  And I don’t need a dressy blouse.  Also . . . hand wash.  :-P

Stitch fix Gilli Alina Geo Print Maxi skirt ~ thisfelicitouslife.wordpress.com

Alina Mixed Geo Print Maxi Skirt by Gilli, size large (non maternity)

Cap sleeve linen tee from LOFT, size large (non maternity)

Necklace from Amazima Ministries, gift from my sister

Verdict: Keep!  It’s weird because, looking at the pictures, I realize this is the least flattering outfit of them all. The loose and flowy thing isn’t my favorite look.  But I feel put together, if not especially attractive.

However, the skirt is versatile and comfortable.  It has a foldover panel that makes it pregnancy-adaptable, even though it’s not a maternity item. It also has an attached half slip, which is nice because the fabric is a little see-through.  . . . I’ve already worn it at least three times in the six days I’ve had it.  And the $58 price tag is reasonable enough.

Takeaway:

When I think casual wear, mentally I always ask, “Will I feel comfortable wearing this at the playground on a hot and muggy day?”  Only the tank top (and, just barely the skirt) passed the test.  But the tank is too expensive and not a great color.

I wish more items worked out, but trying on these pieces helped me clarify what I’m looking for for my summer maternity “uniform”:

I feel an online shopping binge coming on.  Right now, for hot weather wear, I have just a few tops, the maxi skirt and dress, my now-too-snug Athleta skorts, and some yoga pants. . . . I’ve been wearing yoga pants way too much.  And anyway it’s too hot for yoga pants.  So some more shopping is justified right?  That’s right.

I’m thinking when the weather cools down, I might order another Stitch Fix to get some maternity long pants and long-sleeve tops and sweaters.  For now I’m heading to the wilds of internet commerce on my own. Stay tuned.

And thanks to all of you who have ordered through my referral link to Stitch Fix!  The credit I’ve earned has paid for my skirt and will pay for future items.  I truly appreciate it!

Friday Link Love June 5, 2015, Plus More About the Duggars

1. I enjoyed John Janaro’s post about his lovely family and about learning the value of being there for your family, even if you can’t do all the things you’d like to.

2. I’m excited for Ben & Anna Hatke’s summer in Italy, isn’t that picture of Anna and her girls the sweetest?  And I think Anna has her capsule wardrobe down to a science.

3. Also, I appreciated Erica’s post, sharing her experience with postpartum depression, especially her insight that “Looking back, I know that I should’ve talked to my doctor about postpartum depression. But when I was in the thick of it, I couldn’t make proper decisions for myself.”

4.  Pat and I have moving on our minds, and he mentioned a hilarious skit from Portlandia about a pair of movers who use a bicycle instead of a truck.  Ridiculous, right?  Except that, in Portland, it’s actually a thing.

This news clip is almost as funny as the Portlandia sketch (which is not available on YouTube).  At about point 1:07  in the video, a guy says something to the effect of, “When it’s just two guys and a truck, it takes hours, but if you have sixty-nine people with bicycles, it only takes a matter of minutes.”

I mean, yeah, if I had that many people helping me move, it would going pretty quickly even if we did it on foot!

5. Caroline’s post about the Duggars and Gothard Institute got me thinking more on the subject.

My impression is that a lot of Catholics are inclined to support the Duggars.  The Duggars don’t use birth control and they homeschool and they support traditional marriage.  So their belief system seems similar, on the surface, to Catholicism.  I never watched their show much or read their books, but I think I had that general inclination too.

As I’ve read various things about Bill Gothard  and his Institute, and the Duggars’ connections to it, I became more inclined not to think of the Duggars as part of “my team.”  This was the case even before the scandal broke, although I didn’t follow the show much so it wasn’t an important issue for me.

The Duggars are not “my people.”  Well, I can’t say that about them personally because I don’t know them.  But that whole school of thinking, which they seem to subscribe to, is not “my side.”

I think about this because my natural tendency is to rally around people I think of as “my side.” It’s an ISFJ thing, but a lot of people have the same tendency.  Take politics, for example.  It’s easy to think of Republicans as good guys and Democrats as bad guys (or vice versa!).

More and more, though, I see that we’re all just weak and fallen and we all have the potential to be good or bad guys, and to switch from one to the other depending on the choices we make on given day.

It’s normal to rally around and give the benefit of the doubt to someone we have a personal relationship with.  But it’s better to be cautions about doing the same with someone we don’t know, if even they seem to have all the right boxes checked.

And what I’m trying to get at here is that reality t.v. is not a good ministry tool.

The Duggars are poor poster children for Christianity.  (I’m sure they said all sorts of things like, “Oh we’re not perfect.”  But come on.)  For that matter, though, which of us is a poster child for Christianity?  (By which I do not mean to imply, as some have, that sexual abuse is no worse than any other sin.)  It’s dangerous to put ourselves in poster-children shoes.  We should “let our light shine” but keep it on a more personal level.  And we should be careful about putting others on a pedestal.

There’s a good reason the Catholic Church doesn’t canonize people until they’re dead!

6. Oh dear, so much has been written about this poor person already, but I like Pia deSolenni’s post on Caitlyn (nee Bruce) Jenner’s cover photo in Vanity Fair: “[T]he cover photo suggests that a woman’s identity is based on whether she’s able to arouse a man. And it’s not original in that regard.”

7. I enjoyed Rachel’s post about morning sickness, because just the other day, my chiropractor asked me, “Have you tried ginger?” when I told him I’ve been nauseous.  Being the people pleaser I am, I told him I would give ginger yet another try.

And yes, actually, I am pregnant!  I never know how to announce it, so here it is, a little bonus 8th quick take for those who stuck it through my diatribe about the Duggars.  Baby #3 will arrive in early- to mid-December.  We’ll find out in late July whether it’s Girl 3 or Boy 1.  The girls are very excited.  Girl 1 is insistent that it’s a boy, and that we’re naming him Joseph Henken. (??)  She also tells me, “Wow Mommy, your tummy is already just as big as it can be!”

Have a lovely weekend.  If you need to find me, I’ll probably be on the couch.  Click over to This Ain’t the Lyceum for more quick takes.

The Duggar Disaster and What Their Real Tragedy Is

 and why reality t.v. is evilFail

Jim Bob and Michelle, why the hell did you allow your children to become national celebrities when you knew this skeleton was in your family’s closet?  That’s what I can’t wrap my mind around.

A victim of sexual abuse should never have his or her identity as such made public except by her own choice to make it public.  Those girls had no choice in whether they were on that show (I mean, maybe they had a family discussion about it, but does anyone really think they had any real choice?), and now they have no choice about the fact that millions of people know about that terrible, painful, embarrassing** experience in their past.

And Joshua Duggar, if he’s repented and reformed and come clean the way he says he has–he really should be able to move on with his life.  He shouldn’t have his name dragged through the mud now.  But, because of a choice his parents made for him, everyone will know about this shameful sin of his past, no matter where he goes.  And his wife and children will suffer terribly too.

I’ve read a lot of opinions (as much as I try not to) about–oh, is he so bad?  Has he repented?  Should everyone forgive and forget?  “He was young and we all sin and he’s repented.”   Or, “sexual abuse is different from other sin, and he didn’t really have any counseling, and he hasn’t really had to repent.”  My sense is it’s somewhere in the middle–a fourteen-year-old doing incestuous stuff is messed up and needs serious, serious therapy and punishment.  But he’s not necessarily the same as adult pedophiles, who are basically non rehabilitatable.  But confused boys growing up in repressed environments and/or who are perhaps too close with “family friends” who turn out to be child pornographers . . . those boys can turn into non rehabilitatable adult pedophiles.

I don’t know.  It’s none of my business to know what’s really gone on with him.

But what we all do know is that the Duggars’ show started in 2008, and they knew all this had gone down in 2002.  Maybe the media is hypocritical and anti-Christian and the media’s really the party at fault here (I don’t think so) but no one should be surprised that the tabloid press tried to dig up some dirt on the poor, pious Duggars.  They should have seen it coming.  And they shouldn’t have done the show.

Whenever you get more than two moms together, soon enough somebody’s going to throw around the phrase “parenting fail.”  I cringe a bit when I hear my friends say it because whatever little mistake (if that) they’re referring to is never, ever, anything close to failure.

But this: this was a parenting fail by Jim Bob and Michelle.  I can’t imagine what would cause parents to subject their children to this risk other than incredibly stupid naiveté or severe greed, or both.

And another thing: even if a family doesn’t have a skeleton this bad in their closet, there’s no guarantee that they won’t.  There’s no insurance against your children doing terrible things.

That’s the thing with reality t.v.: it seeks out people who are messed up and need a whole lot of outside affirmation.   And even if the people on reality t.v. aren’t messed up to begin with, the fame messes them up, the way fame seems to do, and then they’re already in the public eye for everyone to scrutinize their failings.

I’m not giving up my HGTV any time soon, but for the most part, reality t.v. is evil.  And other ways people make celebrities of themselves are dangerous too.  I feel kind of uncomfortable about this blog.  Not many people read it, but I make it available to everyone.  I even make certain attempts to get more people to read this.

I think, if we make certain parts of our lives public, we need to be sure to keep our private lives private, especially the personal lives of our children, who have no choice in the matter.   I’m pretty sure I’m on the safe side of the line, but . . . it’s something I need to reevaluate often.

If TLC ever comes knocking at my door wanting to make a show about my life, please remind me I wrote this.

(Just don’t hold your breath.  ;-)

** A victim doesn’t have anything to be ashamed of but I’m sure it’s embarrassing nonetheless.

Friday Link Love May 29, 2015: Shoeties and More!

1. Apparently one of the secrets of longevity and health is to . . . eat more beans and walk a lot and live in community. This short article about the living habits of people in areas, like Sardinia, with very high longevity made me want to read the author’s book on the same subject, The Blue Zone Solution: Eating and Living Like the World’s Healthiest People.

It also made me think that our American obsession with diet and exercise is so ridiculous.  Drinking shakes and counting calories and doing workouts are not really hallmarks of a healthy lifestyle.  They’re substitutions that might help–maybe–when we can’t live an actually healthy lifestyle.  (Says me, for whom shakes and the gym would be a huge improvement from the status quo.)

via the Wall Street Journal

2.  This article cracked me up.  The title is No More Ballet Flats: Summer Shoes for Work: Designer Ruthie Davis favors colorful looks but doesn’t sacrifice comfort.  These are the photos attached to the article:

via the Wall Street Journal

via the Wall Street Journal

If there’s a single comfortable anything in either picture, I can’t find it.  Maybe her watch.

Also, the lady in the article is fond of the “shoetie,” a cross between a bootie and a shoe, like the shoe on the bottom right in the second picture.  “She likes that most styles have a zipper in the back of the heel, making the shoe fairly easy to slip on and off. ‘You’ve got some coverage but there’s an open-toe aspect so there is breathability.'”

I can’t think of anything worse than a shootie.

3. The Magnificat recently had this passage written by Saint Philip Neri:

To preserve our cheerfulness amid sickness and troubles is a sign of a right and good spirit.  A man should not ask tribulations of God . . . he who bears what God send him daily does not do a small thing.

I’m thinking about this today, since the girls have been puking all day, and Pat and I are feeling puny too.

I’m just going to have to leave off with three quick takes for this week.  Click over to This Ain’t the Lyceum for more.  Have a happy weekend!

Grace in a Little White Pill

Grace in a Little White Pill ~ thisfelicitouslife.wordpress.com

I’m sharing some of my experience with postpartum anxiety and depression as part of a Blog Hop sponsored by my friend Katherine at Half-Kindled.  I’ve written a little bit about it before (here and here).  It’s a topic that is still hard for many people to talk about, and I’m convinced the more we remove the shame and the taboo of talking about postpartum (and other forms of) depression and anxiety, the more we can help each other.

After I had my first baby, I didn’t experience the typical symptoms you see in literature about postpartum depression.  I wasn’t sad so much as angry and irritable and frustrated all the time.  I was angry at everyone, and then I felt a lot of self-loathing for being such a (seemingly) terrible person.  Thank God, I never came close to harming my child, but my marriage suffered, as did various items around that house that I kicked during angry outbursts.

It took me eight months to talk to my doctor about it.  He actually recognized warning signs of postpartum depression right after I gave birth: I was sobbing–apparently that’s not normal!  “No, no,” I insisted, “I’m just tired.”

And so it went for months of denial.  Two things in particular kept me from seeking treatment:

1. My symptoms weren’t typical of postpartum depression.  In fact, they were symptoms I had dealt with all my life, on and off, to some degree: anger, frustration, and irritability interspersed with self-loathing.  Before having children, I was always able to push through somehow. The hormonal havoc and sleep deprivation that came having a baby just made the symptoms worse.  I wasn’t able to push through and function normally anymore.

2. The second and biggest roadblock to wellness for me was that I felt I didn’t deserve help.  I was never psychotic.  I never lost my reason.  I always had some degree of control of my actions.  Therefore, I thought, I just needed to try harder. Taking medication was the easy route that I didn’t deserve because I hadn’t tried hard enough on my own.

I attribute this to the Act of Contrition I learned growing up.  There really is such a thing as too much Catholic guilt! The line goes, “I firmly resolve, with the help of Thy grace, to sin no more . . . .”  My understanding was, as long as there was some possibility that I could improve in the future, my failing was my fault, and I needed to just try harder.  “With the help of Thy grace,” is in there too of course, but I didn’t think much about how God’s grace could help me.  It just served as a reminder that I needed to pray harder.

The game changer was that now I had a family who suffered every time that (surprise!) my white-knuckling failed.  Thank God it became clear to me that I had to take the “easy route,” even if I didn’t deserve it, because they deserved it.

One form of the “help of God’s grace,” for me, is a little white pill.

Eight months after having my first baby, I started taking an anti-depressant, and it helped almost immediately.  At first I worried it would alter my personality, but now I truly feel that the medication helps me be my true self, the person God made me to be but that I couldn’t be under the weight of anxiety.

Throughout the years, I’ve tried going off antidepressants, but it’s never worked.  Unfortunately, whatever condition I have is not solely a postpartum one.  It just took the strain of having a baby to reveal a problem that hovered below the surface.

I don’t like the idea of taking a pill every day.  It has made me gain weight.  It’s made me sluggish.  I’m not the type-A super achiever I used to be.  I’m sure there’s some underlying hormonal imbalance or other health problem that is affecting my mental state, and I’d like eventually to figure that out.  But for now, medication is the only way I can be the loving, patient, happy wife and mother I need to be.

And that’s been the grace of the little white pill for me: it has forced me to focus on what God really wants me to do and the humility to realize that I can’t do it on my own power.

He isn’t calling me to be a super achiever.  He isn’t asking me to keep a squeaky clean house or volunteer on a dozen committees or work full time or even cook delicious meals.  All he asks me to do is love–love my husband, love my children.

To paraphrase a popular slogan, “I have one job.”

Before taking an antidepressant, I had enough nervous energy to do more things, but I was angry, bitter, and irritable most of the time with my husband and children.

Now, I don’t have as much energy and drive, but I have the underlying peace and calm I need to love my family better. It’s humbling to accept that I need medicine to fulfill the most basic requirements of my life.  That humility, too, is a grace.

Antidepressants are not right for everyone, but if you’re really suffering I’d beg you to consider it.

For all of us though, there’s truth in the saying, “Let go and let God.”  I  want to challenge everyone reading this to be open-minded about the ways you can “let God.”

God probably will not supernaturally transfuse you with peace and patience.

He might offer it to you in a pill.  (I think of Lexapro as my “patience in a pill!”)

He might offer you grace in the form of therapy with a psychologist of other professional counselor.

He might offer you grace through your helpful husband, if you would only overlook the way he loads the dishwasher incorrectly and doesn’t separate darks and whites.

He might offer you grace in the form of a friend’s offer to watch your kids, an offer you normally brush aside.

He might offer you grace when you let go of self-imposed standards for how you keep house or how many hours you work or how busy you keep your schedule.

Our calling is not to try hard and do hard things; our calling is to love.  And often we can’t love the way we ought until we stop trying so hard to do it ourselves.

Hope for the Future 2

For more on this topic, hop over to

Katherine at Half Kindled,

Bonnie at A Knotted Life

Jenna at Call Her Happy

Jenny at Mama Needs Coffee, and

Rosie at Check Out That Sunset.

Grace in a Little White Pill ~ thisfelicitouslife.wordpress.com