Weekend Link Love, July 25, 2015: Death Penalty, Rejection, and Parenting

But not all at the same time . . . .

Hello Friends,  Real quick-like, here are a few choice picks from the internet of the past few weeks:

1. Check out this article on how a Mexican drug lord recently succeeded in a meticulously planned prison escape.  It made me think about the death penalty and Catholic Church teaching on it and whether need for the death penalty is really so rare.  In Mexico anyway?  I dunno.

2. I loved this article from Money Saving Mom.  My daughters already have to deal with feeling rejected by other kids from time to time.  I know what it’s like to feel rejected.  I’d give anything to shield them from it, but I can’t.  Crystal discusses how to handle it constructively.  

Honestly, as a mom, I wanted to rush in and scoop them up and protect them. I wanted to express anger and frustration and say things like, “That was so rude and mean… You can never play with those girls ever again!!”

I hurt for them. But I knew deep down in my heart that trying coddle and bubble wrap my kids is doing them a disservice. I cannot shield them from hard things forever.

. . . .

Because there’s a world out there that will crush you in two if you don’t develop backbone, stand strong, know the truth that you’re enough, and lovingly forgive and believe the best about people.

So part of growing up is learning to love others even when they do unloving things to you. It’s forgiving when you are slighted or skipped over — whether intentional or accidental. It’s not harboring bitterness and anger toward people who don’t treat us fairly.

. . . .

I also told the girls that the best remedy for times when you feel lonely and left out is to do something for someone else. Reach out to someone else. Be interested in other people’s lives. Look for ways to serve. Find opportunities to show love.

3. I learned a lot from this article from this Wall Street Journal about the Confederate battle flag brouhaha in South Carolina.  I’ve been seeing a lot more of those flags flying in our town.  I didn’t have a strong opinion on the flag earlier.  My feeling before was, “Just take it down already.”  I have a soft spot for federalism though (or states rights, but that phrase has a negative connotation), and there seemed to be some connection.  I honestly had no idea that the flag was resurrected in the mid-1900s in reaction to the civil rights movement.  And now . . . yeah, seriously, take it down already.

4. On a lighter note, here’s a good resource showing proportionally how much electricity various household items use, and how much energy-saving strategies actually save. It’s something I’ve been thinking about because it looks like we actually will be moving to a bigger house soon, and I’m not looking forward to those utility bills.

5. Remember that singer, Jewel, and her album Pieces of You?  I know some of you remember it.  And that song “Sensitive,” where she whines in her little girl falsetto,

Please be careful with me/ I’m sensitive and I’d like to stay that wa-ay.

Anyway, that makes me roll my eyes and think, “Just get over yourself already.”  But, as Modern Mrs. Darcy explains well, there really is something to “highly sensitive persons” and parenting one is quite a challenge. It’s not so much an issue of having your feelings hurt easily, a la Jewel, but of having overactive physical senses.

6. Speaking of parenting, this funny article by Rob LaZabnik, a writer for the Simpsons, made me laugh: “They’re Back! How to Cope with Returned College Graduates.”

So the time has come for you to cut the cord. And by that I mean: Take your kid off your Netflix account. He will be confused and upset at first, not understanding why this is happening to him, but it’s a great opportunity for him to sign up for something all by himself.

Which brings us to money. It’s finally time to channel your Angela Merkel and get tough with your young Alexis Tsipras.

It also make me think, “No God, please no.”  Also, who is Alexis Tsipras?  I don’t even know, but I still laughed.

7.  Hope you’re having a lovely weekend. Click over to This Ain’t the Lyceum for more quick takes.

On Virginia Woolf and Maria Goretti

Combining a [not so] Quick Lit post with a Seven [not so] Quick Takes post . . .

Virginia Woolf image via Wikipedia

1. I just finished Virginia Woolf’s, A Room of One’s Own, and it gave me so much to think about; I could go on and on.  Primarily, though I was struck by Woolf’s emphasis on writing for its own sake, with no specific telos*.  Toward the end of the essay, Woolf emphasizes “reality” and that women should focus on reality and not people and relationships.  The implied premise is that women before had been confined to the world of relationships–the drawing room and the nursery and their duties therein–and they hadn’t been encouraged to explore the world as it is.

“So long as you write what you wish to write, that is all that matters; and whether it matters for ages or only for hours, nobody can say.

It is much more important to be oneself than anything else. Do not dream of influencing other people, I would say, if I knew how to make it sound exalted. Think of things in themselves.

See human beings not always in their relation to each other but in relation to reality . . . . Our relation is to the world of reality and not only to the world of men and women.

In other words . . . Ladies, shake off your concerns for other people and any responsibility you have to help other people through your writing.  Focus on being yourself and writing what you want to write and describing the world as you see it.  In other words . . . prioritize work over relationships . . . like men do.

2. And just after reading Ms. Woolf’s essay, I turned to a shorter one by John Cuddeback, in which he proposes that men should prioritize relationships over their work [like women do?].

We need to do more to reimagine and then reinstate a different model of family life. At the center of this model will be a husband and father whose very success in life is fundamentally, though not solely, seen and judged in terms of what he does in the home. Indeed, a central measure of his manhood will be the quality of his presence in the home.

I tend to agree with Dr. Cuddeback.

3. At the same time,when I start mentally criticizing Virginia Woolf, I catch myself and remember that

My life is better than pretty much any woman’s from any other time period or any other part of the globe. 

If I were a man, I might prefer to live in other times or other parts of the world (a [male] taxi driver once extolled North Africa to me as the best place in the world to live), but as a woman, nope.  I think I have it as good as it gets, and possibly as good as it ever will get.

I don’t know how much credit Virginia Woolf deserves for my enviable position, but . . . .  I can take so much for granted that perhaps it skews my understanding?

4.  Virginia Woolf also makes statements like,

“Chastity … has, even now, a religious importance in a woman’s life, and has so wrapped itself round with nerves and instincts that to cut it free and bring it to the light of day demands courage of the rarest.”

After reading Roxanne Gay’s Bad Feminist and (a few months ago) Lena Dunham’s Not That Kind of Girl, and of the horrific sexual assaults both women experienced I think . . . maybe we’ve unwrapped those nerves and instincts too much and thrown out the baby with the bath water?  Nerves and instincts are not virtues, but they can be preemptive self-defense measures.

5. Still it bugs me that the Catholic Church hasn’t done enough to unravel “nerves and instincts” from what is actually the virtue of chastity.  (Consent!  Consent is implicit in the definition’s use of the word “gift.”)  I mean . . . if you’d humor for a moment, please picture a Venn diagram: physical virginity and chastity are two separate circles that overlap a great deal, but are not concentric.

So that brings me to Simcha Fisher’s post on Saint Maria Goretti.  (She also uses the baby-with-the-bathwater-cliche but that’s coincidental.)  I’ve mulled over a post on this saint for almost a year, planning to write something around her feast day.  But July 6 came and went.  Probably I was sleeping/eating/gestating and not much else.

As it turns out, my essay was written for me, in various comments to the post.  (Reading the comments to Simcha’s posts is usually a waste of time, but occasionally I slip back into old habits.)

The objection to how St Maria Goretti’s cult is often presented is the notion that she was canonized because she managed to die before her attacker was able to succeed in raping her. Usually in words to the effect of “die rather than lose her chastity.” Which leads to the horrific implication that she would indeed have lost her chastity if he had succeeded in overpowering her against her will before killing her, and that his action carried out against her will would have been a sin on her part, and that anyone who does NOT fight to the death against a rapist is somehow “accepting” and therefore complicit in the attack and committing a mortal sin themselves.

. . . .

Did he say, “Let me rape you, or I’ll kill you,” and she said, “I’d rather you kill me”? That would give the impression that being raped is sinful, which seems confused. Or did he say, “Let’s have sex,” and she said no, and then he got angry and killed her? If the latter, then she was trying to avoid sexual sin (perhaps indeed for his sake as much as for her own), but there’s no reason, in this version of the story, to think there’s any worrisome implication that she was trying to avoid the pseudo-sin of being raped.

. . . .

She was 11. He had a knife and already heard the word “no” many times without impact. If anyone sees the potential for HER to sin in this situation, get thee to a therapist. Consent was not an option.

. . . .

I am sorry but this is trying to paper over an ugly truth in the Catholic Church.. the Church cared more about little Maria Goretti’s purity than it did her life. Maria Goretti was definitely not canonized for her forgiveness but for her purity. Pius XII mentioned as much in his homily at her canonization. It was all about her purity; she was a symbol used to condemn Italian girls who were sleeping with the American GIs.

These ^ are all other people’s words, not mine, but I’ve had the same back and forth in my head.

6. And I ponder why so many (all?) cultures place more weight on women’s physical purity than on consent, or on actual virtue, or on men’s chastity.  Like Dr. Iannis says in Corelli’s Mandolin,

It’s a fact of life that the honour of a family derives from the conduct of its women.  I don’t know why this is, and possibly matters are different elsewhere.

I do, sort of, understand why this is.  In the grand, sordid, scheme of life men generally have to have some assurance that children are their own before they’ll support them.

Simcha’s description of why Saint Maria G. was canonized is a nice idea but it certainly isn’t the story I’ve been told.  In fact, in his homily during her canonization homily, Pope Pius XII stated,  “With splendid courage she surrendered herself to God and his grace and so gave her life to protect her virginity.”  The Church’s teaching is a lot more nuanced than the crude-if-necessary emphasis on physical purity that so many cultures have.  But you wouldn’t get that impression from Saint Maria Goretti’s story as it’s traditionally been told.

I have no neat, insightful conclusions for you.  Just my thoughts.

7.  Oh phew! I have more links to share, but that’s enough for tonight.

Have a great weekend!

* Telos = secret code word used by conservative-Catholic-liberal-arts majors to identify themselves to one another.

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.

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

Friday link love

Some serious, most not . . . .

I’m coming across news articles and little tidbits I want to discuss with you, but I never remember them. . . . Until now.  I really hope these links work.  Let me know if they don’t work.

1. This article is about a young woman who was diagnosed with autism at age 21. **The Wall Street Journal link isn’t working–here’s another article about the same person**   Because she was “high functioning,” it took until college for someone to figure out what was going on.  She describes feeling relieved at the diagnosis, because she no longer feels a need to strain to be normal.  . . . It’s a tricky thing because of course a parent does want his kid to have autism, but you want your kid to have all the resources she can. . . . AT the same time, with 1 in 68 people having autism, is it really a disorder?  Or, at higher-functioning levels is it more a personality type?  And does that distinction matter?

2.. Ann Taylor is being bought out by the company that owns DressBarn.  Weird.  I like reading the Wall Street Journal business section from time to time because it’s fun to learn what’s going on behind the scenes at stores where I shop.  (The full text of the WSJ article isn’t available online, so I’m linking to a different article.)

3. The percentage of African-Americans in law enforcement has remained flat since 2007.  With this and all the related news about the Baltimore riots, etc. etc. . . . it’s so frustrating . . . It’s like no one cares about black men until they get shot by the police.   So many black young people–males especially–are on a life course that’s fundamentally at odds with the law.  And it happens in childhood and many barely have a choice.   And all the hiring quotas and body cameras and police training and whatnot in the world isn’t going to change that.  There’s going to be a tension between young black men and the law so long as so many of them have no real lawful options in life.  Could someone out there talk about this please?

4. On a lighter note, I’m thinking a lot about moving soon and what I’ll do differently.  When I arrange and set up and decorate whatever our next house is, I’m focusing on furniture and window coverings, then rugs and wall hangings, and only after that all the knickknacks.  With the current house, I’ve constantly moved mantle decorations and pictures around, never getting the result I wanted because my curtains and furniture sucked.  . ..  Anyway, I was thinking about all this and then later that day I read a post from The Nester on the exact same point.  . . .This stuff doesn’t come naturally to me but I’m learning! . . . Still, the Nester decorates with a lot more knickknacks than I prefer.  Her pictures make me feel a little crowded.

5. A year or two ago I polled you guys about flesh-toned pantyhose.  Guess what?  They’re officially “back.” Ellen called it: Princess Kate can do no sartorial wrong.

6. I am loving, loving the Bossa Nova station on Pandora.  It’s soothing and at the same time it makes me feel like I’m in an Audrey Hepburn movie.

7. Click over to Kelly at This Ain’t the Lyceum for more quick takes.  Happy weekend!

P.S.  Girl 1 just informed me, “When I grow up I’m going to have five twins!  . . . Their names are going to be Carlos, Carlos, Peg, and Meg!”

The Tiny Documentary and Unfulfilled Childhood

It’s a little . . . dangerous?  presumptuous?  arrogant? judgmental? . . . yes, judgmental . . . to write about what you think is wrong about someone else.  But if the person made a documentary about himself and publicized it to the world does that make it less bad?  If you think so, you can read my thoughts on the documentary, Tiny: A Story About Living Small over at the Mirror.

7QT Good Friday–serious topics, serious sugar

1. I’ve been reading Interior Freedom by Fr. Jacques Philippe.  It brings up some of the same points that are in Grace for the Good Girl by Emily Freeman. It’s always a good sign when you hear the same message from very different sources (one a French, Roman Catholic priest, the other an American, married, Protestant woman).  I wanted to share some quotes with you–it would make this post at least generally apropos for Good Friday–but then I misplaced the book.

2. I followed the Candida diet for March, the less-restrictive version anyway.  It’s basically–no added sugar whatsoever, no fruit, no refined starches, no alcohol.  The idea is to starve off excess yeast in the body.  I had one major cheat but overall substantial compliance, which was a lot better than my no-sugar attempt in January.

I didn’t lose any weight, nor did I experience any noticeable improvements in health.  Bleh.  I was hoping to lose some weight  because that diet was really really hard.  I am so weak.

On the upside, though, it did loosen sugar’s grip on me.  Even though I had a big binge for a couple days when I ended it, I’ve since gone back to a very low sugar, low carb, way of eating, and it’s not nearly as hard as it used to be.  I eat a bunch of eggs and beef, as many vegetables as I can manage, lots of avocado, some rice and potatoes, limited dairy, and I feel great.

3.  Until this evening, anyway, when the girls and I had an Easter treat-making extravaganza.  Now I’m having heart palpitations from the sugar in all the frosting I sampled:

IMG_8374

IMG_8376

IMG_8377

IMG_8375

IMG_8364

4. We picked up a copy of Family Circle’s March issue

and the girls bamboozled me into making the treats featured on front.  I never do this type of thing but here we are.  I think I’m a softie.

Fortunately, they are thrilled with the results.  Girl 1 doesn’t even mind that little sister couldn’t form flowers on the cake that looked like the picture in the magazine.

5. Just now?

“He’s got the whole wor-rld/ in his hands/ He’s got the whole wor-rld in his hands. . . . Mommy, does God really have the whole world in his hands?”

“Uh, no not really.  But God is bigger than the whole world.  And he’s taking care of the whole world.”

“Where is God.”

“uh . . . in heaven.  But he’s here with us too”

“Does God really get nailed to the cross?”

“Uh, he did, on Good Friday.”

I’m not ready for all this; I’m really not.  I guess I need to buy a catechism book for her?  Catechesis of the Good Shepherd is wonderful but it’s not comprehensive at this stage.  I feel like Girl 1’s conception of God, heaven, earth, death, the afterlife, the universe and everything is very confused.  The education she’s gotten from me has been haphazard, at any rate.

6. Blog posts I’ve thinking about lately: The He/She Generation by Joseph Sciambra

when civilization is in decline there is always a rabid return of superstition; a form of moral panic occurs when society throws off all traditional means of self-regulation and censorship: the Church and the force of public decency are disregarded and silenced.

Currently, the most popular and widely apparent form of this reaction towards a slip into barbarism is the phenomena of tattooing, piercing, and body modification. These forms of self-flagellation are an attempt by the unknowing penitent towards order; a desire to recreate the body in an age when life is becoming more and more anaesthetized and disassociated.  [This reminds me of scenes in the book, Children of Men by P.D. James.]

Crossing gender is the most extreme example of this need to make sense with our bodies out of the present-day senselessness.

and also his post on The Gay Michelangelo: A Portrait of the Artist’s Lifelong Struggle With Same-Sex Attraction (is this historically accurate?  I suspect it’s a debated topic but obviously the author has researched it more than I)–this author has a perspective unlike that of anyone else I’ve read; his writing is clear-sighted and far-reaching and poignant and gets to the heart of things; the subject matter of some posts is extremely explicit and disturbing.

On a lighter note: Would You Like Fries With That? and its follow up What We Have a Right to Expect From College: what is the point of a Catholic higher education?  Does it have to be all liberal arts?  Does everyone need to study the liberal arts?  Lots of good questions here.

7. I hope you all have a blessed Good Friday and a lovely Easter!  Click over to Kelly for more quick takes posts (if she’s doing 7QT on Good Friday?  Perhaps not.  We’ll see.)

thoughts deep and heavy, like the snow . . .

It’s 4:45 on a Friday morning, and I can’t sleep and I’m thinking about . . .

1. This phrase:

Be kind

The tricky thing is when “everyone” includes your husband and his hard battle is living with you.

2. Um, and you with him.

The oatmeal: “why working at home is both awesome and horrible” (rated R)

3. Co-parenting is hard, yo?*  Pat and I recently ‘fessed up to the fact that we each do okay with the kids on our own, and we do okay with each other without the kids, but trying to deal with the kids together drives us up the wall.

4. And in my moods where I tie life the universe and everything together metaphysically while preparing the girls’ fifth snack of the morning, I think . . . marriage and co-parenting are so hard that, no wonder people don’t do it as much, in a society where marriage isn’t required for (a) men to get sex and (b) women to have financial security and children.  At the same time, I mean, I like living at a time when I could support myself and where single mothers aren’t ostracized and marginalized.

Anyway.

5. On a related note, here’s this short article, about the role government played in the crumbling of black families, and how that fits in with the lingering spiritual ramifications of slavery.

Oh yikes, heavy.

6. This article by Dave Barry was funny: The Greatest (Party) Generation.

Dave Barry, “The Greatest (Party) Generation”

I don’t know how accurate it is, but I like his point that

We modern parents. . . rarely pause to celebrate the way our parents did because we’re too busy parenting. We never stop parenting. We are all over our kids’ lives—making sure they get whatever they want, removing obstacles from their path, solving their problems and—above all—worrying about what else will go wrong, so we can fix it for them. . . .

Yes, we’ve gotten really, really good at parenting. This is fortunate, because for some inexplicable reason a lot of our kids seem to have trouble getting a foothold in adult life, which is why so many of them are still living with us at age 37.

They’re lucky they have us around.

7. I dread errands where I have to get the kids bundled up, into the car, then out of the car into a public place with lots of havoc to be wrought, then back in the car again.  Just with two kids, it’s a pain (especially when the process throws my back out), and I love M.T.’s witty post about doing it with four: Dear Navy Federal, Get a Drive-Through.

Click back to This Ain’t the Lyceum for more Quick Takes. Thanks for hosting Kelly!

* I mean in the strictly literal sense, of parenting along with the other parent, not just where the parents are divorced or separated.