spirituality


Wednesday was a rough day. I don’t know why, it just was.

By mid-afternoon, I was sitting surrounded by mess, overwhelmed with where to begin, frustrated with a computer problem and nearly in tears. I was about to send out a distress call on twitter. But before I could hit the enter key, there was a knock on the door.

Crap. It was Judy, the Jehovah’s Witness who keeps showing up at my door because she took my politeness for interest the first time she came.

At that point, though, I was willing to talk to anyone. Yeah, I need to get out more. So I let her in, rather than keeping her standing at the door like I had in the past.

And we talked about prayer (again), and it calmed me down. I realized there was no reason to be overwhelmed. I didn’t needed to seek solace from my tweeps, I just needed to ask the Lord for strength.

The rest of the day passed peacefully.

“Ask and it will be given to you; seek and you will find; knock and the door will be opened to you. For everyone who asks receives; he who seeks finds; and to him who knocks, the door will be opened.”
— Matthew 7:7-8

(Photo by OliBac)

Coincidence doesn’t seem a big enough word for this.

Remember that we packed enough food the other night to feed 38 children?

If you read the blog I linked to, you would see that local reporter Trish Van Pilsum has been writing about an orphanage with 38 children in it. It was one of the few buildings in Leogane, Haiti, spared in the earthquake.

After yesterday’s magnitude-5.9 “aftershock,” Trish was told that “Feed My Starving Children in the Twin Cities has agreed to send 38 pallets of food specifically to Leogane.”

If you haven’t read Trish’s posts yet, check them out. They include lots of pictures of the food we packed and the kids who could very well be receiving it.

And if you want more numbers, check out what Liz wrote about our experience.

If that’s not enough, the Star Tribune and Fox9 both have video of the FMSC process, and the Pioneer Press has a story about the increase in volunteers since the earthquake.

This was a modified version of a forward I received on Sept. 11 but it’s a good Sunday reminder that God has a hand in our lives, even when we don’t know it or are unhappy about it.

Several people survived the Sept. 11 attacks because of:

  • A child starting kindergarten; a child dawdling.
  • A faulty alarm clock.
  • Spilled food that required a change of clothes.
  • Car troubles, accidents and late buses.
  • Many other every day and maybe even irritating reasons.

When I’m stuck in traffic, miss an elevator, turn back to answer a phone … all the little things that annoy me … I will try to remember that this is exactly where God wants me to be at this moment. And being here just may save my life.

A friend who is way more crafty than I am made this FABULOUS Advent calendar. And it got me thinking about we will do this year. Though I’m repulsed by all the Christmas decorations already up everywhere, I am prepared to start planning for Advent, which begins a week from tomorrow (Nov. 30).

We have an Advent wreath and maybe we’ll actually remember to light the candles this year. I am looking for something to do at the wreath though, rather than just lighting the candle and walking away. Anyone know of any preschool-age-appropriate prayers or activities to go along with the Advent wreath? Maybe something explaining what each week stands for? Maybe I can do some online searching for that tonight.

We have a Jesse tree set that my aunt gave me a couple of years ago but we’ve never used it. I need to dig that out and figure out what to do with it and when you start using it.

We’ve made attempts in the past to celebrate St. Nick’s day but they weren’t huge successes. This year I plan to get the kids a book about St. Nicholas and a DVD of The Polar Express.

I’ll let you know how many of these things we actually carry through on.

What Advent/pre-Christmas traditions do you all have?

Warning: I’m going to talk politics. (I know. I’m a bit flabbergasted myself, but it’s hard not to think about November’s election with the Republican National Convention — or what’s left of it — happening just blocks from where I now sit.) So if you can’t stand another second of political angst, close the page now.

I came across the Voter’s Guide for Serious Catholics on a friend’s blog. It calls these issues the five NON-NEGOTIABLE ISSUES, because they are intrinsically evil:

  • abortion
  • euthanasia
  • homosexual “marriage”
  • embryonic stem cell research
  • human cloning

(I’d like to know why they did not include the death penalty, by the way. Another blog I came across lists eight non-negotiables, but still not the death penalty.)

The guide urges us to vote based on which candidate falls on the morally correct side of those five issues alone, because they supersede all other issues. I do believe that those items are intrinsically evil, but I don’t think they are the ONLY issues on which a politician’s stance could be considered evil.

According to the five non-negotiable method of selecting a presidential candidate, McCain comes out on top on abortion (Palin helps tip the scale in his favor), euthanasia, homosexual “marriage” and human cloning. Embryonic stem cell research appears to be basically a tie, though McCain hedges it a bit.

So it’s a clear choice, right? If a candidate, such as Obama, is willing to negotiate on the importance of human life, his moral judgment on lesser issues can’t be trusted even if he currently agrees with us. BUT … if I feel a candidate is morally wrong in other venues, why should I trust their moral judgment on these five selected policies, even if they currently agree with me?

If a candidate is willing to throw away, as it were, the poor by way of their economic policy, or throw away our at-risk youth by way of their education policy, or throw away the planet God created by way of their environmental policy, why should I believe when they say they’re not willing to throw away the unborn, the infirm, the old?

Who is willing to protect not only a poor mother’s unborn baby but the mother herself?
Who is willing to continue to protect that baby if:

  • it’s born to an illegal immigrant?
  • it gets into a failing school system?
  • it is confronted by gang members down the street with easily access to weapons?
  • if it’s denied fair working conditions by a company that won’t allow unionization?
  • it’s breathing the noxious chemicals that some administrations would allow to continue spewing into our air?
  • it can’t afford to go to the doctor and therefore dies of a curable disease? (sounds a bit like euthanasia, eh?)

I read a lot of Catholic blogs and a lot of environmental blogs. I’m sure you know what they say. The Catholic bloggers out there think Obama is the anti-Christ and Biden is a fake Catholic. The environmentalists think Palin is out to kill all the animals and soil the earth and McCain a fake environmentalist. I have lots of Republican friends, and a few Democrats. I have a lots of Democratic coworkers, and a few Republican. But despite all I’ve heard them say and all I’ve read, I remain an undecided voter. So if you think you can sway me, comment away!

I don’t have anything specific to talk about but I’ve been scolded for not blogging often enough and since I almost never blog on Monday or Tuesday, I should write something today, eh?

Let’s see, what am I thinking about:

My feet hurt. They hurt a lot, especially when I’m tired. I love to have them massaged. They never got sore like this until I was pregnant with Connor. Darn kid.

My eyes are dry. I should stop trying to wear contacts to work. I got a new kind and they work well outside of work but the computers and dry air are just to hard on them.

No, I’m not neglecting my work. I’m done until the Rev. Jeramiah Wright finishes speaking in Detroit and I can pick up a story on that to put on page 1.

I’m getting a little hungry. Maybe I should eat my apple. I already ate my dinner. I’ve been being very careful to eat well the last two days because my stomach was getting upset from me eating too much junk food and not eating often enough.

I plan to start praying or meditating for 20 minutes before bed each day to help unwind from work. I can’t ever fall asleep right away even when I try so I might as well do something productive to try to calm my mind down and prepare it for sleep. Otherwise I lay in bed with a million thoughts — some serious, some silly, some talking over each other — running through my mind. I don’t know when I’ll watch Top Chef or Supernatural since I used to watch those after work.

Mark and I are going to try to get a regular night out, probably Monday once this semester ends. I suggested finding a regular babysitter — a teenage girl that we pay — but he “feels more comfortable” with family and friends so we’re negotiating. So if you know of a good sitter he might feel comfortable with, or if you are a family or friend who would like to volunteer, let us know. We are (or at least I am) willing to offer to do something for family/friend sitters in exchange, though I’m not sure what it would be since hardly any of you that we know around here have kids (get on that would ya?).

I’ve been editing Mark’s senior thesis over the past week. It’s about the geographical significance of high school nicknames. It’s a good paper but my “dumb butt husband, who is spending tens of thousands of dollars on a college education, can’t edit a paper or write concise sentences and paragraphs to save his life.” (his words, not mine)

That was all really boring, wasn’t it? Oh well, some of you have said you’re interested in the little things too. And that’s about as little as they get — although I guess I could explain my recent medicine cabinet reorganization in detail. 😉

Grace had her first real visit to the dentist yesterday. Didn’t think to take my camera; I could have made a cute scrapbook page. Sad face. But anyway, she did an awesome job.

First, I had an exam (no cleaning) and Grace sat in a kid-sized chair next to me, just watching. I gave her a magazine but she just watched the whole time. Then it was her turn. She got into the chair and leaned back with no hesitation. They give patients big sunglasses to protect eyes from splashing and the bright light. Grace’s had Tigger on it. Not that she ever needs incentives to wear sunglasses.

At first she was hesitant to open her mouth when the dentist was checking her teeth out, but by the time the hygienist got in there to brush and floss, she had warmed to it. She sat still the whole time and never made a peep. She did hold tight to my finger when I put it in her hand though, and she hopped out of the chair the second everything was done, before the hygienist even got the little paper bib off.

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Connor is getting to be quite the little talker. He says:

  • Yes
  • No
  • Bye
  • Hi
  • Mama
  • Dada
  • Diaper
  • Woof-woof
  • Rawr
  • oooooh
  • Uh-oh
  • Pup

Today at mom’s group, the kids were singing a song that ended with “splash” and putting their hands up in the air. Connor spent the rest of the time throwing his hands up and saying something remarkably close to “splash.”

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It was just two of us again at mom’s group but we had another nice chat. Erin is great with the kids and doesn’t seem to mind doing the child care for the time being. We also talked about possibilities for promoting the group. We’re really hoping things pick up once the Mass nursery opens so in the mean time, we’ll just keep hanging out. We talked about kids’ liturgy during Mass (she’s a volunteer), books, TV shows, library trips, working out, our husband’s college careers (both will be done in 2009), praying the rosary and trying to sit in silence without thinking (neither of us can do it yet). That’s a lot in an hour!!

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