23 April 2013

Taking a Break .exe

I've decided to take a blogging break. Besides being busy, I've noticed a tendency to only write when I'm ranting. I also tend to read the rants and then become irritated by people I've never met. Such is hardly healthy for my spiritual life. I am therefore taking a break. In the meantime, enjoy take-a-break.exe.

18 April 2013

Not Why I'm Catholic

Here are various things that don't explain why I'm Catholic:

1) My husband. Once people realise I'm a convert, many ask if i converted because of my husband. While I must admit that dating him was the impetus for me examining Catholicism, I did not convert for him. He never asked me to convert and didn't even know I was considering it. Converting for a person just wouldn't be worth it, in my opinion.

2) The people. As anywhere, the Church is full of all sorts, since She is a "hospital for sinners" - and I thank God for that. Fellowship with other parishioners has varied from one parish to another, but that's tue anywhere, too.

3) The music. Ok, I'm being a bit facetious, but music by Haugen certainly didn't make me run to the Church. Neither did Gregorian chant, for that matter, though I love chant. If I were choosing based solely on aesthetics I might choose high church Anglican. Or maybe I'd go with Byzantine Catholic. I love being Latin Rite Catholic, and I love the Latin, the chant, etc, but aesthetics aren't enough reason to convert.

4) The food. What can I say, Baptists have great potluck dinners. ;)

5) Family. I do have one aunt who is Catholic, which means I also have 5 cousins, her children, who are Catholic. While I grew up playing with them and was exposed to the Rosary through them, I really didn't examine their beliefs or consider becoming Catholic because of them. My immediate family was Southern Baptist, so that certainly didn't contribute to my conversion.

No, the reason I converted has nothing to do with those things and everything to do with the Eucharist. Once I came to realise the truth of that, nothing else mattered. I ran to the Church and I've never looked back. To quote St Peter, “Lord, to whom shall we go? You have words of eternal life." (John 6:68).

Crafty Thursday

This week has flown! I finished another square of the monkey blanket and locked the other two squares. Isn't it amazing how much of a difference blocking makes?!

Then I cut up some old jeans with the intent of making a skirt.  My dad was getting rid of the Hawaiian shirt, but I think it'll make a nice dress for Charlotte.

15 April 2013

Book Nook: The Knight Who Took All Day

When I find an author I like, I tend to look for more books by that author. So when we go to the library, I often look for books by James Mayhew. On our most recent visit, I found a book of his that isn't in the Katie series. Knowing that we like the Katie series, though, I decided to pick it up. It's a very cute book that turns the standard knight/dragon/princess story on its head. The knight wants to fight a dragon to impress a princess, and sends his squire on numerous frivolous errands so he can get ready. In the meantime, the princess takes matters into her own hands . . . It's no Zog, but it's still a nice story.

11 April 2013

Crafty Thursday

The astronaut monkey square is finished! Well, nearly so, as I've not blocked it yet, nor have I done the seed stitch on the sides. I'm really having fun making this.

10 April 2013


Like many, I recently read the article in the Daily Mail where the author stated that she regretted ever having children.

When I saw the headline, I was prepared to be angered and to read of a selfish, narcissistic woman. What I found, however, was different. Instead of a woman who hated motherhood and children and so neglected the children, I found a woman who loved them but resented the loss of freedom and time. While not demonstrative in her affection, she nevertheless ensured they knew they were loved and was a hands-on mother. In fact, she is personally caring for her disabled adult daughter without complaint.

What I noticed, though, was the contradiction between what society says is important and what parenting requires. Se said she regretted and resented the loss of her freedom - the freedom to spontaneously go on holiday, to curl up with a book at will or have alone-time with her husband.

Feeling that way is hardly surprising, and I'm sure we all have our moments like that. After all, society generally tells us we can, and should, have these things and that children get in the way. I well remember chatting with fellow graduate students at a welcome reception when I was heavily pregnant with Kieran and having a colleague tell me he'd never have children because then he couldn't do what he wanted.

I admit I was shocked by the statement. I'd simply taken it for granted that life would change and would cease to be about me. Oh, I'm not perfect, and there are times when resentment can creep in: days when I've not had 10 minutes to myself, for example. Thankfully, he resentment doesn't last. I know this time of extreme neediness isn't forever. Dying to myself isn't easy, though, especially when society says I shouldn't have to do so.

So really, what I see isn't a woman who truly hates being a mother, but the contradiction that arises when our cultural expectations meet the natural demands of parenting. Even though the author said she wished she hadn't had children, I think her love for her children says otherwise.

Sense of the Sacred

This past Sunday I finally made it to my second Traditional Latin Mass after we woke too late for the early Novus Ordo Mass at my parish. It had been nearly two years since I'd last attended the TLM, but I figured we'd do we'll enough. Kieran insisted on sitting in the front, but it went well.

What I noticed most, though, was the sense of being in a sacred place. Before and after Mass, there was near silence. There were no idle conversations, and what was spoken was in a whisper. When I then went to the NO at my parish again yesterday, the loudness after Mass was jarring. I went back to the other parish this morning, only it was a NO this time, and there was a lot of talking after Mass there, too.

Why is there this difference? Jesus is present in the Eucharist at both Masses. The Tabernacle is in a central location behind the altar at both Masses. The only difference in layout is that the moveable altar is moved so only the high altar is there.

While some say they notice a difference in attire between the two Masses, I didn't really. Some women wore mantillas, but not all. Some women even wore trousers (shocker, I know). The men didn't wear suits. In short, there wasn't a substantial difference in dress between those at the TLM and those at the NO.

Even if there had been differences in dress or the layout of the church, there shouldn't be a difference in attitude. After all, Jesus is present in the Eucharist whether the Mass is in Latin, the vernacular, or Greek. While we should feel perfectly comfortable and at home at Mass, shouldn't we also have a sense that we are in a holy place? Shouldn't that affect our deportment in the sanctuary? (Before anyone thinks I'm perfect or judging, I, too, am guilty of talking in the sanctuary. I often tell myself it's ok because everyone else is, but that doesn't make it right. I need to work on this.)

8 April 2013

Enough Already!

There's a measles outbreak in Wales. Even though I live nowhere near Wales now, I feel affected by this. Oh, I'm not affected by the outbreak itself, but by the reporting of said outbreak. See, I refuse the MMR based on moral grounds since the rubella component is made using aborted foetal cells (from an abortion years ago; the cell line used in the vaccines stems from that abortion). But in reading the news you'd get the impression that anyone who refuses the MMR is an ignorant, dangerous person who listens only to Jenny McCarthy and Wakefield and who is single-handedly responsible for killing children.

Think I'm exaggerating? I wish I were. Because this is in the news, it's been showing up in debates on social media sites. I've seen accusations saying those who don't vaccinate are a danger to everyone. I've seen people say those who don't vaccinate should quarantine themselves completely because they might kill another (reminds me a little of leper colonies and how lepers had to say "unclean" so everyone could avoid them). Even when other reasons for refusing vaccinations are listed, such as moral or medical reasons, these reasons seem to be ignored in favour of continuing to say it's because of a fear of autism. While I've no doubt such people exist, none of the people I know who refuse vaccines would fall in that category.

The anti-vaccine crowd can be just as bad. (For the record, I don't consider myself anti-vaccines, as I am not against vaccines at all. I simply have objections to some for moral reasons, must avoid some for medical reasons, and see some as unnecessary for us at this time [eg: influenza or HepB].). I've certainly seen people in the anti-vaccine group insult and demean those who vaccinate as hurting their children. This isn't right.

And what is the result of all the insults, mischaracterisations, and vitriol? Two sides that distrust and even hate each other. Two sides that certainly can't have a reasonable, respectful conversation. Two sides digging in their heels ever deeper instead of trying to truly understand the other side and engage in true dialogue. Well enough already. Having the opposite views on this is fine, but let's remember respect. That person who disagrees with you is still a person worthy of respect.

Book Nook: Princess Chamomile's Garden

Despite us not having anything princess-y or watching such things, Charlotte has decided she is a princess. When we went to the library, she insisted she only wanted princess books, and so I searched for books that had princesses who were strong characters, not just pink and frilly.

I came across Princess Chamomile's Garden by Hiawyn Oram and thought it fit the bill. Princess Chamomile is a mouse princess. While helping Melchior, the palace gardener, she is inspired to design her very own garden. In the process, she not only designs it, but convinces her parents and nanny that she can work on it herself.

7 April 2013

The Next Time

The next time you see a mother openly breastfeeding and wonder why she isn't covered, in another room, at home, or using a bottle or dummy, here are some things to consider.

First, breastfeeding isn't obscene and thus doesn't warrant covering. Even so, maybe the baby has a hard time latching and the mother needs to correct the latch during feeds. Being under a cover would make that more difficult and would not be conducive to successful breastfeeding in that instance.

Or perhaps the baby simply dislikes being covered and won't feed that way. Breastfeeding works by supply and demand, so the mum needs to feed on cue. If the cover is hampering that, ditch the cover. The child may also be going on a nursing strike, and anything that will hinder breastfeeding should be avoided.

Maybe her baby has health issues. Breastfeeding is by far the best choice for all babies, but especially when there are health issues.

Parenting can be isolating, and telling a breastfeeding mum to stay at home adds to that and could lead or contribute to depression. Besides, it isn't practical. She may have older children who need to be chauffeured. She may simply need to run errands, meet with a friend, or be spiritually recharged at daily Mass.

So the next time you see a breastfeeding mother, think of these things. Of course, even if none of these things applied, it shouldn't matter, since a woman should be ale to openly breastfeed her child whenever, wherever. But it is also good to recognise that we rarely know the whole story. (No, I haven't had any negative comments of late, but have had problems with nursing due to Leo's tongue and lip ties and possible nursing strike that started recently.)

Sunday Snippets - a Catholic Carnival

Happy Divine Mercy Sunday! I hope everyone's had a lovely Easter. Here are my posts:

Book Nook: Claire and the Unicorn
Crafty Thursday
My Own Private Triduum
Book Nook: The Highway Rat
What Would I Do?
Crafty Thursday

Be sure to check out the full carnival at RAnn's.

4 April 2013

Crafty Thursday

I've just been working on the afghan for the kids this week. I finished the fist square and have started on the second one: a monkey astronaut. I'm having fun with the pattern and can't wait to finish it. Of course, I'll probably start another project before this one is finished, but we'll see.

3 April 2013

What Would I Do?

There have been many times when I've wondered what on earth I'd do if I couldn't breastfeed Leo. Besides the emotional wreck I'd be, how could I find something he could eat without problems? He can't have bovine protein, which rules out most formulae. He also can't tolerate soy, even soy lecithin, so there go more formula options. Anything really fatty is also out, thanks to the gallstones. Any formula that meets the criteria, if there is one, is bound to be expensive and therefore out of reach for me.

Some give recipes for homemade formula, but I would run into the same problems since most recipes call for raw cow's milk. Others call for goat milk, but he can't tolerate me having that, either.

I don't even know how much donor milk would be an option given the dietary changes I've had to make. That would be my first choice, though, if I couldn't breastfeed. Maybe I'd find someone who was at least avoiding bovine proteins, since those bother him the most.

I know there are some who can't breastfeed for some reason, and I feel for them. I've certainly had problems feeding Leo due to his tongue and lip ties, which have all been clipped. I've had people commend me for sticking with it and changing my diet, but to me it doesn't seem extraordinary. I've simply done what had to be done to continue breastfeeding. What else could I do?

1 April 2013

Book Nook

I don't know about you, but I have fond memories of reading "The Highwayman" in school. Those who know me or read here also know that I'm fond of Julia Donaldson's books for my children. Combine these two things and you get The Highway Rat. It keeps some of the story elements and rhythm from "The Highwayman", and weaves those elements into a captivating tale of the rat thief. As always, Axel Scheffler's illustrations are wonderful (be sure to look out for the Gruffalo, who manages to sneak his way in to most of their books. If your children are like mine, they're sure to love this book.

Easter Monday

It's still Easter! Let the celebration continue. He is risen, Alleluia, alleluia!