7 quick takes: all about women

Aristotle’s thoughts (one of them, anyway) on women, blog posts by women, my two little women:

1. I generally think of all those ancient Greek philosophers dudes sort of like I do C.S. Lewis: lots of good ideas about life in general, but sorely lacking in their understanding of women.  So I was surprised to read this post by John Cuddeback:

[E]ven among those who greatly value childbearing, the good health of the mother can slip from the forefront of attention. Where it belongs. . . . Husbands need to make this the special object of our intention, deliberation, and action.

His essay is based on a text by . . . Aristotle.  Hmm.  I didn’t read enough of that guy I guess.

2.  Reading that just made me doubly grateful for my husband, who takes excellent care of my health, physical, mental, and otherwise.  I’m very blessed.

3. Or should I say I’m very lucky?  Obviously I’ve been blessed to have the great husband and children that I have.  But are others not as blessed?  Or are we all equally blessed in different ways?  Simcha has an interesting post on that idea (haven’t even read it all yet, but I will).  Kind of reminds me of Ann Voskamp’s theme in her book, One Thousand Gifts about how we should see even suffering as a gift  Definitely a concept to gnaw on for, like, the rest of my life!

4. Elizabeth Foss just wrote a post on my most recent read, What Alice Forgot by Liane Moriarty.  I haven’t even read her whole post yet, but I look forward to reading it.  I’m interested to see what another Catholic says of this very secular book.  Part of me, though, wonders if it’ll take the fun out of our book club discussion.  “Aw man, Elizabeth Foss has already thought of everything.”  Nah, there’s always more to talk about.  😉

5. The girls and I had a fun trip to Lowe’s earlier this week.

[Flower] pot heads

[Flower] pot heads

Orchids were half off.  So I bought two.  Natch.

I’ve yet to keep one alive for more than six months but I keep trying.

6. La dee dah.

7. Have I mentioned I’m on Facebook?

Happy weekend!  For more quick takes, click over to Conversion Diary!

In Which I Learn the Danger of Pious Contemplation, Ann Voskamp Style [7QT]

— 1 —

Two statements really have touched me lately.  This:

— 2 —

and this:

— 3 —

I contemplated these phrases as I prepared dinner one recent evening, dinner to feed the four of us and also to feed a family who recently welcomed a baby.

“Everyone you meet is fighting a hard battle.”  Isn’t it true?  I peel potatoes and ponder.  We poor frail humans are so ill-equipped for the struggles of life.  The large tragedies, the catastrophes, the traumas.   The small struggles, the disappointments, the quiet heartaches.  In our pain we break down, we fall, we stray.

At the end of hard days, Pat and I ruefully remind one another, “Life sucks; then you die.”

And as a Christian I know the truth beneath the cynicism.  At the end of this vale of tears, I will meet my maker and He will ask

Were you kind?

 Did you love?

— 4 —

I chop onion, awestruck at the miracle: love can cover my multitude of sins.  With each small act of kindness, with each *thwunk* of frozen chicken against aluminum pan, each shake of garlic powder, I can ease the burden of another’s battle.

I chop potatoes, my own small multiplying of fishes and loaves, changing spuds from one to two to four and eight, doing it in memory of Him.  I marvel: I can show kindness; I can love; I can be the blessing.

Christ said to set the world ablaze.  And doesn’t each blaze start with a small flame?  A small act of love? A small flame of

— 5 —


— 6 —

Fire leaps, soaring, like Spirit Holy from on high.

Fingers trembling, I pull the pin, spray the extinguisher, stifling panic-within and quelling blaze-without.

Dust of fire extinguishing chemicals intertwines with plumes of smoke, wafting through the air.  Smoke alarms, one then two then three, raise their cries.  Young children, too, raise their voices.  Dust floats down, enters open rooms, touches every surface, falls like manna.  The children howl, complain, like Israel in the desert: “What is this?”

Computer Programmer Husband, skin pale from days spent indoors, back hunched from hours at the keyboard, climbs stairs up from the basement office, opens windows and doors; I take the girls outside.  He wipes down tables and chairs; I order Papa John’s.  We break pizza crust together, put girls to bed; we dust and mop and sweep.

Laughing dourly, we remember hours spent spring cleaning only weeks ago, the dusting and mopping and sweeping, once done and now being redone.

Sore of back and cold of head, I call it a day, stumble to bed.  Computer Programmer Husband keeps a lonely vigil.

And as he wipes and scrubs away the film of gray that pollutes the air we breathe, that shrouds our hearth and home . . . .

— 7 —

Surely this kindness–this love–covers the multitude of his sins.


(With apologies to Ann Voskamp)

For more Quick Takes, visit Conversion Diary!

Maybe Pope Francis Will Teach Her To Pray (7QT)

— 1 —

Wednesday was the strangest day of the last 4+ years of my life:  Girl 1 amused herself all day long: playing believe with her dolls, drawing on paper, dancing around the house.  All I did was feed her meals, put on Sesame Street at one point (at her request), and play princesses for a few minutes.  She didn’t even protest when I put the princess doll down.

This is the girl who, since the day she was born, has delighted in nothing half so much as getting all up in my grill.  She never found herself in a situation that wouldn’t be made better by demanding something of her mother.   I can’t tell you the number of times I’ve thought, “Why can’t you go away for a while so I can miss you?”


And suddenly she did.

And I did.

Even though she was just in the next room.

This was the moment I had waited for, the light at the end of the tunnel, blessed peace at last.  And yet, to quote Ruby Gillis on heaven:

Oh Anne, it isn’t what I’ve been used to.

— 2 —

Pat assures me that playing quietly to oneself is a normal part of childhood.  I don’t know.  I can’t help but see it as an omen that one day she will grow up and want to leave me.

— 3 —

In the past few months, Girl 1 has taken to climbing into bed with Pat and me in the middle of the night.  She never slept with us before, even as an infant.  Now I often don’t even notice when she crawls in.   I wake up at some point later to find her next to me, sleeping in 5T footsie pajamas.  5T is the last size in which I easily can find non-ironic footsie pajamas.     I’m so grateful for these footsie pajama moments because . . .

— 4 —

This morning I read this passage in Ann Voskamp‘s One Thousand Gifts:

My baby is five.  She falls asleep in my arms . . .  and I can’t capture it, hold it, this, her life now, me in this moment.  She is leaving me, she’s growing up and moving away from me, and she stirs and I sweep back the crop of the golden ringlets. Stay, Little One, stay. Love’s a deep wound and what is a mother without a child and why can’t I hold on to now forever and her here and me here and why does time snatch away a heart I don’t think mine can beat without?  Why do we all have to grow old?  Why do we have to keep saying good-bye?

Stay, little one, stay.

— 5 —

A few nights ago Girl 1 was struggling to enunciate the last lines of the Lord’s Prayer.  I really stuck my foot in it.

“De-li-ver us from e-vil.”

“Do you know what that means, Girl 1?  It means . . . keep us away from evil.  Evil means . . . bad things.”

” . . . You mean when I was crying yesterday, I was being evil.”

“No! No no, sweets, you are not evil.  You are . . . not evil.   Evil means bad things like . . . scary monsters . . . and bad guys . . . and . . . the big bad wolf.”

“Oh, like scary monsters and bad guys and the big bad wolf?  Scary monsters . . . bad guys . . . the big bad wolf.”

“That’s right.  Good night, Girl 1.  Sweet dreams.”

— 6 —

Next day, after saying Grace:

“Mommy, what does ‘holy’ mean?”

“Err, holy means . . . someone who is close to God.”

“Oh, someone who is close to God? . . . What does ‘spirit’ mean?”

“Uh, ah, er, ah . . . spirit means . . . spirit means . . . spirit means a person . . . apersonthatwecan’t seenowthat’senougheatyourlunch.”

— 7 —

New rule: no lying on the dining table, except when waiting for a new pope to be announced:


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