Tuesday, April 30, 2013

We DO In Fact Have Our Hands Full, Do We Not?

Back a few years when we lived in Chicago, and I only had three kids, something horrifying happened to me.  The kids and I were in line at the cutting table at the fabric store (which takes a long, long time) behind a young black man with a big pouffy afro.  Jack was three and a half at the time and quite chatty.  The man turned back towards us and Jack announced, loudly, "You have crazy hair." I was mortified.  But before I could even apologize or chastise Jack, the man had asked him, "Do you like it?" Jack looked closely at him and considered, while I squirmed, then he said, "Yeah, I like it." The man said, "Thanks, I teach at a school.  The kids there like it." Jack said, "My hair's yellow.  I think the kids at my school probably like it." The man agreed, and that was it.  He got his fabric cut and so did I and I never saw him again.  But I learned a lesson from him that has been very useful to me as a mother of many, which is: Assume the best of people's comments, ask follow up questions and you just might find that they meant well all along.




Once a week or so in my Facebook feed, a friend will post something about how some person at some place said something to them about how many kids they have and how offended they were.  And I recently read a lovely and impassioned defense of mothers of many against people at the grocery store and what they say and what they probably really mean.


I have been there, for sure.  I have stewed and thought of witty retorts in the car on the way home and vented to the husband (this was before I was on Facebook, so HE got to hear about it).  But now I'm thinking that if my feelings were hurt by an offhanded comment in the grocery store, it was probably because of my own insecurities rather than other people's actual prejudices against my family.

Now, before I bother to get offended, I ask myself, how sure are you that they really meant to insult you?  Did you assume the best?  Did you ask follow up questions?  





I get comments all the time, of course.  Just about every time we go shopping.  Especially since I often have all six kids (10 and under) with me.  We are a spectacle.  There's no denying it.  And yes, I've heard "Are they all yours?" (As if perhaps I swing by a local daycare to pick up some extra kids to bring with me to Target) and "You sure have your hands full," more times than I can count.  And even that most inappropriate of all, "You're done right?" more than a few times.  But perhaps we're the only family of our size that that particular lady has ever seen at Target, and maybe she's just trying to make conversation.

So, instead of getting defensive, I assume the best and ask a follow up question.  I'll say, "Yes, they're all mine.  They're pretty cute through, right?"  Or "Yes I do, but better full than empty, right?" Or, "Goodness, I hope not.  We figure we'll just keep going until we get an ugly one.  So do YOU think we're done?"

And sometimes, that's it.  But MOST of the time, I'd say 80-90% of the time, they'll then tell me how they are one of five or their mom was one of eleven or how they always wished they'd had more themselves.  Then they almost always say something complimentary, even if it's "Well, I could never do that, but good for you." But more often it's how the kids are friendly or well-dressed or well-behaved.





Which brings me to the second aspect of this . . . THIS is my apostolate.  The apostolate of being a big family at Target and Costco and Trader Joe's.  EVERY TIME before we go inside I remind my kids that how we behave inside that store is probably going to determine how this particular group of people view big families.  If my kids are sweet and helpful then all those people will think that big families are sweet and helpful.  But if I look like I just rolled out of bed and my children are unwashed and screechy, then any negative stereotypes about big families that they might have had are now confirmed.  (I don't count Frankie.  I figure if everyone else is good, but he's throwing groceries at me, we're probably still okay.)  And if someone was just trying to make contact with what SHE considered a creative and funny comment and I get defensive or sanctimonious, well I've just lost an opportunity to make a friend, or at least have a conversation.


I am here to tell you that I take my kids out in public.  All of them.  Often.  And I can't think of a single time when someone was genuinely unkind to us (except this time, and that was just me and the baby!), unthinking sometimes, but not unkind.  I think that allowing people to see the beauty of my lifestyle is MY responsibility.  And I think even unthinking people deserve for me to give them the benefit of the doubt, just like the guy with the afro did for me.


P.S. Jack and the husband want everyone to know that Jack is wearing a Cubs hat because that's his little league team this year, not because we are Cubs fans.  We are White Sox fans, and we are just crazy enough to take off our shirts and charge the Kansas City Royals' third base coach, if necessary.


And I almost forgot to announce the winner of the Lilla Rose Giveaway!  Congratulations to Carol, Heather will email you soon with the details. 




SHARE THIS POST - {PINTEREST}

Sunday, April 28, 2013

Mother's Day Gifts for Mothers of Many (you might just want to leave this open on your browser)

Let's face it, as awesome as it is to have all these kids, it does make some things more complicated.  Mealtimes, driving, traveling, okay, most things I guess.  But it's worth it, of course.  All my efforts are rewarded with love and laughter and jewels in my crown in Heaven.  And awesome Mother's Day presents.  Right?  Right?

But there's the rub.  While I was in labor with Frankie,  I got it into my head that I could not possibly give birth to my sixth child without having a necklace that proved that I had all these children.  If you read my blog regularly you will not be surprised to learn that Frankie's was my longest and most unpredictable labor.  So I had plenty of time to look around online and grow more and more dejected at the fact that all the whimsical and stylish Mother's necklaces are only available for two or three kids.  Lame!

However, like I said, I had plenty of time to look (like 36 hours of very cranky and halfhearted contractions) and I continued, undaunted, until I found this little beauty and special ordered it to have six eggs instead of four.  At which point I gave in to the increasingly strong recommendations of the husband and my OB and headed to the hospital, and had the baby almost immediately upon arrival.  My necklace arrived about a week later.



from Blue Dove Studios on Etsy,
a sold one is available to see here
and here is mine:





it's got six eggs,
and an initial each for my husband and me
There aren't any up for sale right now, and I can't remember exactly how much it was, but there are similar ones for sale between $15 and $40.

Since then, I have kept on the lookout for other mother's necklaces that would allow me to show my pride in my thundering herd (as they are affectionately known to my parents) without looking like a total goofball.

Etsy is a great resourse, especially since you can almost always have things customized.


$43 from Charm Accents on Etsy
The necklace below was customized for me by the friendly folks at Personal Creations.  In addition to my Mother's necklace they also offer some really lovely personalized baby gifts.


here's mine!
(it says LOVE on each side!)




You can have up to ten birthstones added, and depending on the metal you choose it is $75-$120.

AND my friend Heather (who you might remember from the Flexi Clip giveaway, still ongoing until tomorrow!) is also a consultant for a company called Origami Owl that makes these amazing customizable necklaces.  Head over to her website to look at all the beautiful combinations you can make, for Mother's Day or any occasion.





Aside from them being super hip, utterly customizable, and pretty affordable (lockets run from $20-$38 and charms are $5 each), the best thing about them is that you can just open it up and add a new charm if any more babies come along!

And since it's Sunday and I have a new necklace to show off, I figured I would link up with the ladies of Fine Linen and Purple for What I Wore Sunday!






Dress with belt: Target

Sweater: Anthropologie
Necklace: Personal Creations
Shoes: Steve Madden

Happy Sunday everyone!  Don't forget to enter the giveaway for a FREE Flexi Hair Clip, it ends tomorrow.  And let me know in the comments if you know about a great Mother's necklace I missed.



SHARE THIS POST - {PINTEREST}

Saturday, April 27, 2013

Lilla Rose Giveaway


I have a giveaway for you!  But it got a little lost yesterday.  As it turns out, if you mention Doctor Who, you really shouldn't try to mention anything else.  Anyway . . . 

Reader Heather sent me this Flexi Hair Clip from Lilla Rose to review and she's offered a free Flexi Clip to one lucky reader.




I've been really impressed with it.  I almost always wear my hair in a pony tail.  My dear Aunt, who is very stylish and has extraordinary hair herself, is forever giving me lovely things to put in my hair other than the standard black elastic I always wear.  But I rarely wear them because they're heavy, and tug at my scalp, and are uncomfortable to lean against.  So back to the elastic for me.

But the Flexi Clip has been different, it's really lightweight, and doesn't tug, and it's comfortable to lean against, even in the car.  They have different sizes available.  I ordered the small and it's perfect for my hair up in a twist.  

If you'd like to be entered in the drawing for the free clip, head over to Heather's website and tell everybody what you'd like if you win in the comments of this blog post (or yesterday's, either is fine).  You can also earn additional entries for any of these:
  • liking Heather's FB page
  • liking Catholic All Year's FB page
  • following Heather's blog (http://mamacre8s.com)
  • following Catholic All Year
  • following Heather on twitter (@mamacre8s)
  • placing an order (5 chances) (must provide order # in order to get chances)
  • booking an online or catalog party (10 chances) (must provide date in order to get the chances)
  • signing up to join Heather's team (25 chances) (can be done via her website, must provide DIW # in order to get the chances)
A winner will be selected at random on Monday evening.  Make sure your comment is linked to an email address so Heather can contact you.  Good luck!  

And here's how you know it's legit:

Eligibility: Open to legal residents of the US and Canada who are 18 years or older. Void where prohibited or restricted by law. Only one person per household may enter. Use of multiple addresses and/or email addresses, logins, or multiple identities will disqualify you. Winner must not be a registered customer of any other Lilla Rose Independent Consultant. Retail value is $16.

Winner Selection: One winner will be selected in a random drawing from among all eligible entries received throughout the promotion period. Odds of winning will vary depending on the number of eligible entries received. Winner will be notified by email within 48 hours of promotion close and will have 48 hours to respond and claim prize. Any winner notification not responded to or returned as undeliverable may result in prize forfeiture. No substitution or transfer of a prize is permitted.

SHARE THIS POST - {PINTEREST}

Thursday, April 25, 2013

In Which I Discover Doctor Who: 7 Quick Takes IX



--- 1 ---

Now that Bobby has had his First Holy Communion, he qualifies to be an Altar Boy at the Old Mission.  I so love it there.  No classes, no sign-ups -- if you've had your First Communion you show up and suit up and the older boys start showing you the ropes. 










--- 2 ---

If you've been wondering whether I really do have a system for everything, I think I can clear that up for you with this:  


My Sack Lunch Numbering System.





It was born over the summer when I send my preschoolers to the neighborhood park day camp near my in-laws' house in Chicago.  They would sometimes come home with half eaten lunches, but always the wrong half was eaten.  They never could seem to remember that sandwiches should be eaten before cookies.


So, I started numbering all the stuff I put in their lunches.  I also do it during the year on our co-op days.







And now they always eat the important stuff first!


--- 3 ---

I walked into my bedroom yesterday to find this:












lined up across my bed.  Bobby had tried to tell me that Frankie was up to something, but I was busy and cut him off with my standard interruption to tattling children, "Is it dangerous or destructive?"  Bobby said he thought it probably wasn't and so Frankie finished what he was doing and I got to find it later.  I asked Bobby about it and he insists that Frankie, all by himself, took all of Anita's shoes out of her closet and then MATCHED THEM UP PROPERLY atop my bed down the hallway.


This is an eighteen month old who barely talks and thinks all toys are for throwing, but somehow managed this task.  I like how he just did his best with the single dress shoes.  They're pretty close.

So I am left wondering: genius or weirdo?  Only time will tell.


--- 4 ---

This is what my desk drawer currently looks like:




Why yes, that IS a used pregnancy test in there.  I always feel uncomfortable throwing away the thing that says I'm pregnant, especially at the very beginning, when it's all I have to prove to myself that it's really true.


Of course, now, I have the all consuming morning all-day-sickness to keep me company.  So probably it's time to get the thing I peed on out of the pencil drawer.



--- 5 ---

Speaking of all-day-sickness . . . I still really can't complain, since it's way better than last time, but I'm feeling pretty lazy, and school is winding down for the year.  We only have two weeks left on our syllabi and then some testing, but the year is broken up a bit top-heavy, so the days go a lot quicker after Easter break than at the beginning of the year.


Which is all to explain how I've been able to spend so much time watching Doctor Who.




I've been meaning to watch it for a while since so many of my fellow bloggers seem to love it.  Honestly though, I just don't usually have time to watch TV.  But I've been sneaking off during the afternoons with my iPad to watch it streaming on Netflix, and it was just what I needed: creative, silly, ridiculous and fun.


I love how unapologically throwback the Brits are.  I decided to start with 2005, Season 1 of the new version, rather than back at the beginning with the classic 1963 episodes (also available on Netflix).  In the US when they bring back an old show it's usually a "reboot" with a new world, a new cast, a new history.  But the Brits say, "This show has a talking robot dog in it, like it or lump it."  I like it.





Now I was assured that I just had to stick it out through the beginning with the Ninth Doctor, until I got to the Tenth Doctor, the best Doctor of them all.

But it just goes to show "to each her own", because I adored the Ninth Doctor.  He was tall, and goofy, and cheerful, and authoritative.  Nineteen year old me would definitely have followed that guy all over space and time.  Fantastic.




I know that British actors don't usually stick with shows very long <still shaking fist at Downton Abbey> but once I started liking him, I figured I'd at least get a couple of seasons, maybe three, and Rose would get rid of Mickey, and . . . then BOOM he's gone, regenerated at the end of Season 1.


But I'm thinking, well maybe the Tenth Doctor really will be better.  But, no, not for me he's not.  I'm only four episodes in to the second season, but he's a bit spazzy and sarcastic for my taste.  Not to mention irresponsible and womanizing.  And what's with all the evil-cat-nuns and evil-ninja-werewolf-monks in season two?  I know they're not really represented as Catholic (or Catholic anymore), but it wasn't my favorite.  It would be nice to see a postive representation of religious characters.  But I'm still feeling poorly enough to stick it out for a few more episodes.



All I know about the Eleventh Doctor are the photos that came up when I was looking for a picture of the Ninth Doctor, so maybe I'm wrong, but it sure looks like they made one of those kids from One Direction into a Time Lord, so I guess I have that to look forward to.





--- 6 ---

So with baby number seven on the way we are about to officially outgrow my Chevy Venture, for which I have a great fondness.  It's an eight-seater, which is hard to find, but that won't be enough.  So we're planning to get a new van before the baby comes.  We're not actively shopping yet, but I've been keeping my eyes open, just hoping to somehow avoid the big ol' white airport shuttle van everyone else at the park drives.  So imagine how excited I was to see this little number pull up to the birthday party we went to last weekend in San Diego:






They've got two car seats strapped into it!

It's a Pinzgauer High-Mobility All-Terrain Vehicle and it seats two up front, twelve in the back.  And you can just hose it out when it gets dirty.  It only goes 55 miles per hour, but, hey, I drive too fast anyway!  The husband is thinking it would perhaps not be the most practical vehicle ever, but I remain partially-smitten with it.  How awesome would we look piling out of that thing?




--- 7 ---

And lastly, to reward you for making it through another one of my epic "quick" takes . . . I have a giveaway for you!

Reader Heather sent me this Flexi Hair Clip from Lilla Rose to review and she's offered a free Flexi Clip to one lucky reader.






I've been really impressed with it.  I almost always wear my hair in a pony tail.  My dear Aunt, who is very stylish and has extraordinary hair herself, is forever giving me lovely things to put in my hair other than the standard black elastic I always wear.  But I rarely wear them because they're heavy, and tug at my scalp, and are uncomfortable to lean against.  So back to the elastic for me.

But the Flexi Clip has been different, it's really lightweight, and doesn't tug, and it's comfortable to lean against, even in the car.  They have different sizes available.  I ordered the small and it's perfect for my hair up in a twist.  

If you'd like to be entered in the drawing for the free clip, head over to Heather's website and tell everybody what your favorite item is in the comments of this blog post.  You can also earn additional entries for any of these:
  • liking Heather's FB page (https://www.facebook.com/OrigamiOwlHeatherGaffneyID)
  • liking Catholic All Year's FB page
  • following Heather's blog (http://mamacre8s.com)
  • following Catholic All Year
  • following Heather on twitter (@mamacre8s)
  • placing an order (couple more chances) (must provide order # in order to get chances)
  • booking an online or catalog party (more chances) (must provide date in order to get the chances)
  • signing up to join Heather's team (most chances) (can be done via her website, must provide DIW # in order to get the chances)
A winner will be selected at random on Monday.  Make sure your comment is linked to an email address so Heather can contact you.  Good luck!  

And here's how you know it's legit:



Eligibility: Open to legal residents of the US and Canada who are 18 years or older. Void where prohibited or restricted by law. Only one person per household may enter. Use of multiple addresses and/or email addresses, logins, or multiple identities will disqualify you. Winner must not be a registered customer of any other Lilla Rose Independent Consultant. Retail value is $16.


Winner Selection: One winner will be selected in a random drawing from among all eligible entries received throughout the promotion period. Odds of winning will vary depending on the number of eligible entries received. Winner will be notified by email within 48 hours of promotion close and will have 48 hours to respond and claim prize. Any winner notification not responded to or returned as undeliverable may result in prize forfeiture. No substitution or transfer of a prize is permitted.

I just found out that they're having a 10% sale on a few styles, Friday only:





For more Quick Takes, visit Conversion Diary!



SHARE THIS POST - {PINTEREST}

The Problem With Me and Pop Music

My children seem to genuinely not much care for pop music, which is a blessing, since if I ever do flip on the radio I can get through one song, maybe two, even on the "soft rock" station before I have to dive for the buttons over something inappropriate (Your sex takes me to paradise?  Seriously, who is okay with that?).  

I guess it's no wonder since we spend most of our time in the car listening to audio books, hymns, or classical music for school (or saying a rosary).  It's quite a jump for them from Brahms to Bruno Mars.  Bobby and Gus, especially, always complain from the way back that this music sounds "weird."

But, alas, I do not share their dislike for pop music.  I really, really like it.  The catchier the better.  No mournfully important indie rock for me.  I like The Lumineers, I like Taylor Swift, I like Maroon 5, I like Fun.


Jack with our shiny new iPod circa 2004.
But I rarely indulge in any of it, and when I do, I pretty much always regret it.  And here's why: I think listening to pop music cuts me off from the people around me while I'm listening to it and for days afterwards.

On longer drives with the kids I almost always put on an audio book, but on short drives and usually before I start the audio book we have time for conversation in the car.  And I have found that it's in the car that my kids are most likely to bring up big issues or things that have been troubling them.  I think it's the combination of my being a captive audience, but unable to look directly at them that facilitates the tough discussions.

That never happens if I turn on pop music.  It seems like we can think and talk over classical music, but never over pop music.  When I turn on the "regular" radio I'm basically cutting off conversation.


We still call these "ear listeners"
because that's what he called them.

And then comes the secondary issue, which is that I absolutely cannot get pop songs out of my head.  I sit down to write, or to pray and all I can think is: I KNEW YOU WERE TROUBLE WHEN YOU WALKED INNNNNNNNNN . . . for days and days and days.  I don't know how other people do it.  It's kind of brain-crippling for me.

It makes me feel that for me, at least, pop music is this anesthetic that numbs my brain and keeps my thoughts away from important things because it's busy thinking over and over and over again: YA BETTER TELL THE GRAVE DIGGER THAT HE BETTER DIG TWO.

And, let's be honest, these are hardly beneficial messages I'm voluntarily drilling into my head.  But at least those are thoughts of something.  This country (myself included) spent an entire summer with a song stuck in our heads that was total gibberish: HEEEEEEEY SEXY LAAADEEEE, OP OP OP OP OP OPPAN GANGNAM STYLE, successfully preventing any thoughts at all, even unimportant ones about whether poor Taylor Swift will ever find love, from entering my consciousness: EH EH EH EH EH OPPAN GANGNAM STYLE.


This photo has nothing to do with this post,
but it was in the same folder as those iPod photos
I was looking for.  Behold the awesomeness.
He put these on UPSTAIRS and came down
to ask for my help . . . with his SHOES.

The pants he was fine with.
So every Advent and every Lent I institute my "nice quiet" policy.  I have a "nice quiet" Advent and a "nice quiet" Lent without my conversations and my thoughts drowned out by pop music and it's really lovely.  And then come Christmas or Easter I get to thinking it couldn't be as bad as all that and surely I can handle it.  But really, I can't: DARLIN' DON'T BE AFRAID AAAYYYEEE HAVE LOVED YOU FOR A THOUUUU-SAND YEARS . . . see?  Wait, where was I?

Oh yeah, nice quiet.  It's time for me to turn off the music and listen to my kids instead.  Anyway, I'm pretty sure my three year old has considerably more profound things to say than any of those former Disney Channel gals I keep hearing on the radio.



SHARE THIS POST - {PINTEREST}

Tuesday, April 23, 2013

What Opus Dei Isn't

A friend asked me to weigh in on this really, REALLY long negative take on Opus Dei, written by an unhappy former member, and the resulting back and forth on her facebook timeline.  But, it got way too long for facebook, so I'm putting it here.

So . . . what Opus Dei isn't:




MOSTLY it isn't albino assassin monks.

I have been involved with Opus Dei for over seven years. I am a cooperator and my husband is a supernumerary and I'm allowed to tell you that because it's NOT a secret.

The people I have met through Opus Dei have been WITHOUT EXCEPTION absolutely lovely. I am friends with people who are cooperators like me, married members like my husband, celibate members (called numeraries) and priests -- from all over the country and all over the world. And they have all been kind and helpful and, most tellingly, well-formed Catholics.

Because that's the point of Opus Dei: Catholic formation. It's really just that: helping people to know and live their faith in whatever life circumstances they find themselves.

I have personally found the formation, spiritual direction, and friendships I have found through Opus Dei to be absolutely invaluable to me as a wife, mother, writer, and Catholic.



According to the internet, there are people who are very unhappy with their experiences with Opus Dei. But, of course, the same could be said about the Catholic Church at large.

Opus Dei is a tool. That's it. You can put a ladder down on the ground and jump up and down on it and say, "This ladder doesn't work. It's stupid." Or you could prop it against the wall like you should, but then start kicking out rungs here and there until you can't go up any farther and say, "Hey, this ladder stinks, and so do all the other people with ladders." But really, in neither of those cases would the ladder be at fault.

Frankly, I'm not going to be all that much help addressing the issues brought up by that article. Because I'm not a numerary, I haven't had many of the life experiences that he has had in that regard, and also because my experience with Opus Dei has been utterly unlike what he describes. Mostly it sounds to me like Opus Dei was never a good fit for this guy (and vice versa) and I wonder why he stuck with it for so many years when he never much seemed to like it. I would generally not recommend that for anyone.

I can, however address the concerns in the Facebook comments, which I hope are not widespread, because they were, to me, very surprising in how far from my reality they were. But just in case they are widespread, here goes . . .

1. It's secretive and exclusive: Opus Dei just isn't organized like, say, the Boy Scouts, where there's a hierarchy and set guidelines, and you can call National HQ and sign up. There is cooperation between members, but each center is run independently, by its own members. St. Josemaria envisioned it as an apostolate of friendship. Meaning that one friend would recommend it to another and word would spread that way. People are generally introduced to what cooperators and members do slowly, for the same reason you'd introduce someone who expressed an interest in math to addition before handing them a calculus book. But I have found the members I know very willing to answer questions. And hey, they let ME in, so how exclusive could it be?

2. It's bossy and time consuming: Opus Dei has only ever made recommendations to my husband or myself. No event is required. No personal practices are mandatory. But that said, it would be pretty silly to say you wanted to be a part of an organization, but not want to take any of its recommendations.

Here are the recommended activities for a cooperator like myself:

1. A daily plan of life (things I try to get to each day, like a Morning Offering, Mass, the Angelus etc.).

2. A monthly mini-retreat lead by a priest called an Evening of Recollection (2-3 hours).

3. A monthly "circle" lead by a supernumerary or numerary member (1 hr).

4. Monthly spiritual direction by a priest or lay member of Opus Dei (People often choose a lay member since then it can be a person who has a more similar life experience to yourself. I have had both, both were great. I see a priest now.).

5. A yearly retreat (1 weekend).
In addition to those things, a supernumerary also usually participates in:
1. A weekly circle (1 hr).

2. A yearly doctrine seminar (1 week).

It can feel like a lot sometimes, but it's all voluntary. And when I realize how much more effective and efficient I am when I am properly focused, it seems silly not to make the time.


Also, what I lose in help around the house and with the kids on the evenings and weekend and week that my husband is gone, I more than make up for in having a husband who is willing to help around the house and with the kids on every other day! I'm still pretty sure I come out on top time-wise over wives whose husbands spend a lot of time golfing, fishing, playing with model trains, or going to Star Trek conventions.

3. The members are "image conscious in the extreme and worldly": I'm not sure what to do with this one. That has not been my experience. I live in LA, so you could pretty easily throw that label around, but the Opus Dei families that I know really run the financial gamut. Some are struggling financially, but have a great perspective on it. And even the ones who are wealthy have a refreshing lack of attachment to their things. It's hard to have that without formation. I do often hear encouragement to dress nicely, which in a world of moms in velour sweat suits is pretty counter-cultural. But I find that looking pulled-together makes me act pulled-together, and maybe even BE pulled-together. But again, an individual is free to disregard that or any other advice.




So that's MY experience of Opus Dei. If you have had a bad experience with Opus Dei, or one of its events or members, please allow me to say that I am honestly very sorry. But know that your experience is not representative of all experiences with Opus Dei.


If you are interested in receiving the formation that Opus Dei provides, your best bet is to ask someone you know who is involved with Opus Dei about going to an Evening of Recollection or a retreat. If you don't think you know anyone involved with Opus Dei, send me an email and I'll see if I can help you figure it out.

Or, the Opus Dei website can be found here.

All centers of Opus Dei are listed with their local diocese, so you could always call your diocese to ask to be referred to someone locally. Information from MY local centers of Opus Dei here in Los Angeles can be found at Walnut Grove Cultural Center (for women) or Tilden Study Center (for men).

If you happen to be in Rome, you can stop by:

Our Lady of Peace Prelatic church of Opus Dei75, Viale Bruno Buozzi

00197 RomeTel. 06-808961

Open daily 8.30 a.m. – 8.25 p.m. (from 2 p.m. to 5 p.m., use entrance at n. 36 Via di Villa Sacchetti).

Mass times: Daily at 8.30, at 12.00 noon and at 19.30

If you are not interested in receiving the formation that Opus Dei provides, I'm totally cool with that too. Just promise me you won't join it anyway, be a member for 17 years, then write constant angry tirades against it on the internet. 'Cause that's just crazy.


Update: Thanks to Claire for the shout out and some love for St. Josemaria over at her blog, Everything is Grace.



SHARE THIS POST - {PINTEREST}

Sunday, April 21, 2013

"Your" Beauty Isn't Yours (anyone who says differently is selling something)

The Dove Real Beauty Sketches took Facebook by storm last week:



filling my newsfeed with passionate comments about how TRUE it was and how all our daughters needed to see this.

I have some thoughts.


Baby Jack posing with some rival soap.

1. This is an ad for soap.  

2. There are things I like about it.  Specifically, that other people are often a lot easier on us than we are on ourselves.  My favorite part was the very end, where the women are embraced by the people who love them no matter what they look like.  

It made me think I'd love to see one where our children describe us.  Not that they'd create lovely sketches of us, I just think it would be funny to watch.  They wouldn't be kind and gentle like the strangers were . . . they'd just be perfectly honest, because our kids DON'T CARE AT ALL if we fit any sort of cookie-cutter definition of beauty.  I'm beautiful to my children not for how I look at all, but just because I'm their mom.

Which brings me to my main concern with it, which is that it seems to me to be a terrible idea to define ourselves or gain our self-worth by what we happen to look like right now.

3. Beauty is a transient thing in general, and YOUR beauty was never for YOU to begin with.

Consider that God did not make us able to see ourselves.  He made it so others can see us, but we can't see ourselves. 

Consider that for thousands of years everywhere and in many places today, most people could see themselves only reflected in water or in some other imperfect way.  And I don't think anyone but Narcissus considered it especially important to happiness. 




Because YOUR beauty is not for you.  And I'm going to talk to women here, because this ad was made for women, but I think it applies to men also.  My beauty is for my husband.  It attracted him to me.  That's what it was FOR.

It was never for me.  It was never intended to be something I would dwell on, or base any sense of self upon, or even think about.  My husband was attracted to ME, for how I looked as well as for my personality and my perceived future ability to tell funny stories about horse meat baby food.

Like sexuality, beauty draws men and women together.  And as with your sexuality, your beauty is for your husband, not for your own use or gratification.  AND like your sexuality, your beauty fades and goes away.  Before your marriage does.  Before your love does.

As husbands are reminded in Proverbs 15:18-19 (before it takes a PG-13 turn!):

Let your fountain be blessed,
    and rejoice in the wife of your youth,
19     a lovely deer, a graceful doe.

No matter how beautiful I ever was . . . God willing, I will live a long life with my husband and children, and my beauty will fade away.  But my husband will remember the girl that he married, who was just the right beautiful for him.  And my children never cared a bit what I looked like to begin with. 

I'm certainly glad to learn that strangers would be less critical of my perceived faults than I would be, but I still think we all have SO MANY more important things to base our self worth on.  And those things are more lasting and more critical to my happiness.

Now, this isn't to say that I don't try to look pretty for my husband and pulled-together for the outside world.  But really, that's what it is.  I try to dress in a way that shows my husband that I'm still trying to impress him every now and again.  And I try to present myself to the world in a way that makes people think, "Well, she managed to brush her hair and put on a bit of makeup and some clothes that are pretty stylish and mostly not covered in spit up . . . so I guess it's okay that she has all those kids."  Because, honestly, I think that's how it works.

But I make an effort NOT to dress in a way that would make it appear that I'm trying to be sexually attractive to people who are not my husband.  If my sense of self-worth were tied up in something as silly as whether *I* think I'm beautiful, I don't see how that could be the case.  Since beauty is utterly subjective and based on personal preference, I would HAVE to constantly be trying to attract people physically.  And I'm not, I'm just trying to look like I'm up to the challenge that is my particular life.

Which is officially the weirdest intro ever to What I Wore Sunday, hosted by the lovely ladies at Fine Linen and Purple.







View: San Diego (we're at my parents' house this weekend)
Dress and sweater: Anthropologie
Espadrilles: Naturalizer
Necklace: Lava beads from Pompeii!

I feel like I "know" most of the people who read my blog, either in real life or because you have a blog of your own, so I've read all about you.  So, allow me to say to you all that maybe you are more beautiful than you say, but you're also better in other ways which are more lasting and important.  You have wonderful children and exciting adventures, you have inspiring successes and cautionary (and hilarious) failures and THOSE things, unlike your beauty, you get to keep right to the end.

Happy Sunday everyone!

p.s. 10 geek points to anyone who "gets" the title of this post . . . 



SHARE THIS POST - {PINTEREST}
 
SITE DESIGN BY DESIGNER BLOGS