Friday, July 31, 2015

Why We Feel Better if We Care About Cecil the Lion

I'm going to start here by saying that I don't feel particularly protective of this particular big game hunting dentist (but I do feel for his wife and kids). There are hunters in my family, bow-hunters even, but they do the hunting themselves, and there's an investment of time, and personal skill, and what they hunt actually gets eaten by their families, and sometimes me.

Maybe this guy was hunting legally, probably he wasn't. I think we can agree that modern trophy-hunting seems a bit, um, off somehow. But that's not what I want to talk about. What I want to talk about is the near-universal outcry of horror over the death of Cecil the lion.

There has been a deep and very genuine sadness and disgust across this country, (at least the social-media-using part of the country) over the death of one particular lion who happened to have a name. And what it tells me is that we as a society are hungry for a moral absolute. We need to be able to recognize and agree upon something, ANYTHING, as actually wrong.

We've all heard the term "moral relativism." What moral relativism means in practice is that there are no such things as moral absolutes. Something is right or wrong because any one person feels it should be, without recourse to outside standards of morality or natural law.

A huge segment of our population has been struggling ever since they reached the age of reason to reconcile a personal disgust with the idea of abortion, with the loudly trumpeted demands that we all must recognize that it's NONE OF OUR BUSINESS and we'd better just pipe down. Choice. My body. Reproductive freedom. It's not really a baby. All of it has been shouted in the streets until two generations now honestly can't tell right from wrong or good from evil.

The same goes for other evils we're supposed to celebrate as choice: like euthanasia, and free love, and conceiving children in such a way as to necessarily deprive them of one or both of their parents.

Moral relativism denies a fundamental part of our Truth-seeking human natures. As human beings, we crave moral absolutes. We know somewhere deep down that there IS such a thing as wrong, such a thing as evil. And we want so badly to be allowed to point a finger at it, finally, that when poor, not-actually-all-that-important-in-the-grand-scheme-of-things Cecil the lion comes along, we can barely contain ourselves.

In many cases, we flat out can NOT contain ourselves, and completely lose perspective. And this guy, who seems like he probably deserves to get fined and ridiculed is instead getting death threats and his livelihood revoked.

But it seems reasonable in the throes of our passion in the moment, because here. finally. is evil.

WE can do something about it.

And here's where the true seductiveness of the Cecil the lion phenomenon comes in: it's all so easy. It requires nothing of me. No real sacrifice. No real assistance. In a hundred and forty characters or less I can prove I'm a person who cares about right and wrong. Then I can post a photo of my lunch and move on.

But. If I recognize that abortion is a great evil that harms women and children, if I recognize that divorce, and sex outside of marriage, and pornography have grave consequences . . . then what? I can't solve that on Facebook. That's going to require commitment. It might require me to offer my financial and prayerful and physical assistance to other people. It might require big changes in my own life.

That's scary. Maybe I don't want to think about that.

Ummm . . . Hey, look! A cute lion!


Thursday, July 30, 2015

When I Didn’t Like My Mother In Law . . . and How I Learned To Get Along Anyway: Mystery Blogger Series

I'm terrible at taking blog breaks, or relaxing in general. But just in case I do happen to feel like relaxing with this new baby when the time comes, I've asked some of my favorite bloggers to guest post for me. But not in the usual way.

Blogging is a great way to share insights and experiences. But, sometimes, as much as we'd like to start a discussion, it's not our story to share, or feelings could be hurt, or relationships damaged. So, for my guest posting series, I asked bloggers to share here, anonymously, posts they felt they couldn't put on their own blogs.

I hope you'll find them as compelling as I have.


I didn’t just dislike my mother-in-law. Sometimes, I actually hated her. It's hard to admit that, because hate is such an ugly word. Such an ugly emotion. However, for several years of our marriage, I actually hated my own mother-in-law.

It wasn’t always that way though. When I first met her, I liked her. I actually liked her.

But then something changed. And the change was mostly on my part. You see, I was young and impressionable when I got married. And I started reading message boards and talking to other wives and mothers, and watching horrid television sitcoms like Everybody Loves Raymond. And I started to think that I was supposed to not get along with her. I started to think that just because she had raised her babies differently than I wanted to raise mine, that we couldn’t get along. I thought that the differences in our parenting philosophies were irreconcilable. In my mind, I turned her into the hypercritical, passive-aggressive, television sitcom mother-in-law.

Oh, how foolish I was. So completely and utterly foolish.

You see . . . I was all into attachment parenting and breastfeeding and gentle discipline. And my mother in law raised her children with cribs and strict bedtimes and crying it out and bottle feeding and lots of spanking. And, I thought those differences in our parenting philosophies were more significant than they actually were. I thought she was judging me, when really I was judging her.

I would take every little thing she said or did and blow it WAY OUT OF PROPORTION in my mind to turn her into a horrible person.

For many years, I lived in dread of seeing her or talking to her on the phone. It’s not a fun way to live.

And, then slowly, slowly something changed in me. It started when I had an imagined near brush with death. And I realized that if I were to die with such hatred in my heart . . . it would not be good for my soul.

I stopped hanging out on forums and message boards where people routinely bashed their in laws. I stopped really talking to people who did the same. And I stopped watching television sitcoms about bad mother in laws.

And, I realized that I’m NOT a perfect mother. I make mistakes . . . mistakes a plenty. For all my parenting philosophy ideals, I’ve messed up. Many, many times. So, I stopped judging other mothers, especially my mother in law. I’m come to realize that she did the best she could, just like I’m doing the best I can.

I also realized that she raised my husband. Without her, HE wouldn’t exist. And I really like HIM. So, I’m grateful to HER for giving me HIM. I realized that she can’t be all bad, if she raised such a wonderful son.

As she’s gotten older, I stopped seeing her as a threat. I stopped seeing her as a threat to my marriage or a threat to my children.

And I’ve stopped caring about things she does differently. Who cares if she has different ideas about gifts and parenting and food? Does it really matter if she thinks aspartame is a health food? She’s old and set in her ways and I’m younger, but still set in my ways. And so what if we are different? So what?? I’ve realized . . . it doesn’t matter. I can get along with people who think differently than me, I really can.

I’ve asked God to help me love her. And slowly, he’s been changing my heart. We’re still not best friends. We still have very different philosophies in many things. I’m probably not going to call her up on the phone just to chat. But, when I do see her, we can now get along. I no longer feel the need to avoid her or hide from her. I no longer dread visits with every core of my being. Slowly, slowly things are changing. And the change has mostly been in me. She hasn’t changed . . . but I have. And sometimes, you really do just need one person to change, to change a relationship.

So, this is this story of how I changed my relationship with my mother in law.

Thanks to Kendra for giving me a forum to share this message.

Here are a few of my favorite blogs (besides this one of course) . . . ones that inspire me, and I hope they will inspire you too.

This Felicitous Life
A Fly on Our Chicken Coop Wall
One Catholic Mama


Monday, July 27, 2015

Four Reasons I'm NOT Boycotting the Forty Companies on that List

Planned Parenthood is yucky. I hate that they exist. I hate that they use lies and doublespeak to prey upon the most vulnerable among us (the women AND their babies). I was not one tiny bit surprised by the latest Planned Parenthood scandal. Sad, yes. But not surprised.

However. Every time there's another of these scandals, my Facebook feed fills up with calls to boycott. This time it's "Forty Companies that Donate Directly to Planned Parenthood." And, while I want Planned Parenthood to die just as much as the next gal about to give birth, (update: birth given, it was a doozy) I won't be participating in this or any other boycotts of this type.

Here's why.

1. The List Isn't Even Accurate

It's Planned Parenthood's fault . . . apparently they lie about what a baby is AND who donates to their organization. But 2nd Vote and the folks circulating their boycott are currently maligning some companies who don't deserve it. I have a problem with that. If we claim to have Truth on our side, we have a greater responsibility to get this kind of thing right.

The Daily Signal has actually contacted the companies on the list and asked them about their corporate support for Planned Parenthood. While certainly in some instances there IS direct support, in a number of cases (Xerox, Coca-Cola, Fannie Mae, American Cancer Society, and Ford Motor Co.) it flat out wasn't true. Then, for many of the companies, donations only occur as part of an employee charitable donation matching program which allows employees to donate to any approved 501(c)(3) organization.

While -again- I abhor Planned Parenthood and everything for which they stand, that seems to me like a reasonable policy for companies to have. Charitable giving is GOOD. We want people to do it. We want companies to encourage it. But if we demand that companies have moral standards for charities to which employees may contribute BEYOND just qualifying as an official charitable organization . . . well, who gets to decide what is offensive?

Frankly, I'm pretty sure that by the moral standards of most folks in most Human Resources Departments, it would be OUR preferred organizations that would get the axe, for being "intolerant."

If *I* want true freedom of conscience and freedom of religion, if *I* want to be allowed to donate to organizations that *I* deem worthy based on my personal morals . . . I have to allow others that same freedom. That's the way freedom works. That's the way free will works. Sometimes it's a stinker.

2. It Seems Hypocritical

I don't get why the personal convictions of the CEO of a major corporation are a part of my business transactions with his company. If I call to hire a guy to come fix my air conditioner, I don't ask him where he stands on gay marriage or abortion. I don't ask him about his personal charitable giving.

I NEVER do that.

But then, somehow, people think that folks who run big companies should be punished for not living out my values.

It seems inconsistent.

I get that it's absolutely horrifying to think of even one cent of my money going to support causes that I am so deeply against. But that's not what's happening here. This is me giving my money to a person or company in exchange for goods or services. Then that person or company is choosing to do as he wishes with his own money.

I'm not going to stand at the truck, giving the ice cream man a list of things on which he may not spend this two dollars I'm about to give him in exchange for a chocotaco. Right?

3. I'm Down With the Golden Rule

What really got me thinking about all of this, was way back when, when folks on the other side called for a boycott of Chick-fil-a and got the CEO of Mozilla fired. It seemed really unjust to me, that people would try to rob someone of his livelihood because they hold different beliefs . . . even on something very, very important.

I don't want to be like those guys.

I want to treat others the way I'd want to be treated.

4. I Don't Think It's the Best Way to Win Hearts and Minds

For me, it comes down to this: we DO NOT live in a culture that lives by our Catholic moral compass. We are the minority. We are missionaries in a pagan land. I honestly can't see how boycotting is our best move here.

We need to meet people who don't understand the truth with friendship. We need to engage them in conversation. We need to be understanding. We need share The Truth with them.

We should absolutely shine a light on evil that wants to hide in the darkness. But once we've done that, wouldn't we be better off fighting the evil with love and compassion, rather than threats and bullying?

This is a personal decision. You've got to inform your conscience and then follow it. I'm not here to say you must have a Pepsi in one hand and a Starbucks in the other, while eating Ben & Jerry's and Tostitos and wearing Levi's and Chuck's or the terrorists win. It's your money. All I want to suggest is that we figure out what our goals are. And then figure out if sweeping, social media-based boycotts are the best way to reach those goals. *I'm* thinking, no.

update: Hastily organized, un-researched, social-media-besed boycotts like this one, I think do more harm than good. But, I don't mean to imply that boycotts are never useful or effective. 

Here are a couple of interesting reads on how successful boycotts are run: 

Do boycotts really work?

Life Decisions International's Comments on 2nd Vote’s List of Corporate Supporters of Planned Parenthood


Sunday, July 26, 2015

Answer Me This: Ice Cream and the End (for now . . .)

Hiya, and welcome to this summer's FINAL edition of Answer Me This, the internet's favorite virtual cocktail party, where we all answer the same six random questions and get to know each other a little better. If you've always want to play along, now's your chance!

1. What's your favorite grocery store splurge?

I FEEL like I'm not super picky about groceries. I used to buy all organic, but I'm no longer convinced that buying organic is worth how much more it costs to buy. Now I just buy lots of whatever fruits and veggies are on sale and mostly remember to rinse them before we eat them. I do still try to buy stuff with real sugar. Except for Dr. Pepper. He gets a free pass.

I guess my main splurge is toilet paper. I really think that's a product where you notice if you buy the really cheap stuff.

2. How's your penmanship?

My penmanship is not great. I love looking at the beautiful hand lettering that folks like Carolyn and Erica do. I do NOT have those skills.

The thing I write out by hand most often is shopping lists, and if I wrote it in a hurry, I'm probably the only one who'll be able to decipher it.

3. Do you have a "Summer Bucket List?"

No. Probably I should have. When I don't put things down on the calendar or a list of some sort, they just really don't get past the nebulous, "Hey we should . . . "stage.

I've had the good excuse of being awfully pregnant this summer.

But aside from getting the kids to camp and going to the beach a couple times (so I could catch up on my correspondence), we've had a mostly just hanging out-type summer.

I could make the case that it's because I want to encourage self-discovery and unstructured playtime for my kids. But, really, it's because I just didn't feel like going any where.

I might be able to handle Kelly's.

4. What's the best thing on the radio right now?

A couple of summers ago, I got what I think we'd have to call "super-ranty" about the inappropriateness of the hit pop songs that year.

THIS year, I'm just . . . I just don't . . . I'm . . . I don't know WHAT to think.

They are SO catchy. They are so fun. They actually have pretty good messages. But those messages are expressed in such a way that my twenty month old's verbal repertoire now includes "Shuh up, dance." "Got baah bluh." and "Hah damn."

But I love them still. Here's why I do . . . and why I maybe shouldn't.

Shut Up and Dance

Pro: The video is hilariously early eighties MTV -- brilliant, and the song itself is very True Love. He's not "up all night to get lucky," like SOME songs, this woman is his "destiny," they were "born to get together." It's all very sweet. AND catchy.
Con: We don't say "shut up" in our family. At least we didn't used to.

Honey I'm Good

Pro: It's the near occasion of sin theme song. It, in the toe-tappingest way you can imagine, reminds us that love is a decision. That monogamy must be guarded. That that one more drink could mean that hearts and vows are broken. Seriously, this song features capital T Truth.
Con: It also features Mr. Grammer calling the young lady from whom he is ostensibly guarding himself "honey" and remarking on her legs and ass. Not very gentlemanly.

Dear Future Husband

Pro: I cannot get enough of the doo-wop vibe Meghan Trainor brings. When girl says she can write a hook, she's not kidding. And this song gets a lot right about commitment, and how a lady should be treated by her beloved. It's even okay with me that she doesn't want to cook, that's not the only way a wife can take care of her husband.
Con: There's a secret inappropriate almost rhyme in there that my kids wouldn't get, thankfully, but *I* do, and Ms. Trainor seems to be under the mistaken impression that wives should barter sex for the good behavior of their husbands. St. JPII would disagree.

5. Ice cream or frozen yogurt?

Yes, please.

I like both.

But my favorite, favorite is "tart" flavor frozen yogurt. The husband does NOT get it. It makes him say this to me:

6. Have you had that baby NOW? (Again, you can skip this one if you want.)


And it was a doozy. Read all about it.

We're back home now, getting to know her!

Here are some more photos . . .

Thanks so much to all of you who linked up and played along in the comments these past two months. So fun! We'll do it again sometime.


Saturday, July 25, 2015

Well, THAT Escalated Quickly . . .

Just going to pop in quickly here to introduce you to the newest member of the family . . . Mary Jane Tierney.

She was born at 3:08am this morning, July 25th, her due date, the Feast of St. James. 8lbs 3oz, 21 inches long, not much hair to speak of. Looks exactly like the rest of them.

And . . . she was accidentally born at home.

I went in for a checkup last Tuesday and was already at a five, and I'd been having a lot of tightness over the course of the week, so I figured things might go quickly. But I had no idea it would go THAT quickly.

I was finishing up some stuff on the computer at 1am when I thought MAYBE that was a contraction, but I wasn't sure so I decided to try to get some sleep and see if it was the real thing. I woke up at 2:19am and knew that was a real one. So I got up, put some chargers and whatnot into my hospital bag. Had another one. Thought maybe I'd curl my hair to have something to do. Had another one. Decided to forgo hair curling.

At about 2:40am, I woke Jim up, and told him that the contractions were really short, but really close together. He got dressed and got Betty up, and we were ready to head for the car at a little before 3am. But by this time, I was walking back and forth in the kitchen having long contractions, close together.

And they were the loud kind. I was thinking back to my other births, especially Lulu's and how we had joked around in the car and sang What Does the Fox Say on the way to the hospital, and I knew I was WAY past that. I had had maybe eight contractions total? But I just knew we weren't going to be able to make the 15 minute drive to the hospital.

I marched back to our room and headed into the bathroom. Jim followed me, and I told him I think we needed to have the baby here. He was pretty shocked, but he's good in a crisis. We were trying to figure out for sure what to do when my water broke, which, for me, means this is happening RIGHT NOW.

I got into the empty tub on my hands and knees, and Jim was there, ready to catch the baby, but I was scared to push with the first contraction. I gave myself a little pep talk, and pushed on the next one, and out came the head. Then, there was a lull of like a minute where I didn't have another contraction, and the baby's head was just there, frowning at Jim. The rest of her was born with one more push on the next contraction. And it was a girl, our Mary Jane.

Jim went to go get Betty, who had been patiently waiting in the kitchen for us to all go to the hospital! The placenta was still in there, and Mary Jane was still attached to it, so I couldn't pass her off to anyone. But we filled up the tub and got ourselves warmed up and cleaned off.

I held her and Betty washed her, while Jim called the OB and my parents.

It was a good forty minutes later that the placenta was birthed, and THAT made a real mess of things. Yuck. Until then, the whole experience had been rather tidy. Anyway, we put the still-attached-to-Mary Jane placenta in a bag, rinsed off again, wrapped up in a robe and a couple towels, and headed over to the hospital.

Betty went back to bed.

My OB met us there, checked me over, and put in a couple of stitches. Mary Jane got checked over and was deemed practically perfect in every way.

My parents and the rest of the kids (except Jack, who is on his way back from Boy Scout Camp on Catalina Island today!) came by to meet her at about 7am, and she was a big hit with everyone.

And now, my folks took the kids home, Jim is meeting our realtor at a house we were supposed to go see this morning, and Mary Jane and I are chillin' all alone in our hospital room and looking forward to a well-earned nap, before we try to get all the tests and paperwork finished so we can sleep at home tonight.

It was a crazy, fast experience, but in retrospect, it really did all go beautifully. I have been praying for your intentions all week. Thank you for entrusting them to me. For now, I'm going to offer my frustration with bossy nurses and dumb hospital policies for you. Dealing with those is much harder for me than giving birth anyway. ;0)


And now . . . the winners of the Baby Pool!

You guys were good. Twenty four people guessed that she would be a girl born on the 25th, and a few of you were REALLY spot on. Many of you guessed her name!

I decided to just randomly select five winners from all the best guesses. And here they are:

1. Rachel of The Hardest Job I'll Ever Love (She got four out of six guesses exactly right!)

2. Amelia of One Catholic Mama (Who I'm almost positive has won a different giveaway on this blog too. But that's allowed.)

3. Abby S. (Who is Lulu's Godmother, but that's also allowed.)

4. Jessica Lambert

5. Betka

Check out the original post for pictures and details, but the fabulous prizes are:

1. From WholeParentingGoods: a pair of completely adorable 0-6m baby leggings. Check out Nell's Etsy shop to see these and more creative, handmade items for babies, toddlers, and moms.

2. From Bison Booties: A $30 gift certificate to spend as you please at Erica's online store. Bison Booties are handmade by stay-at-home-moms, and are Vegan (if you're into that sort of thing). Choose from infant and toddler booties, child and adult slippers, and even bibs and pacifier clips.

3. From Magnificat and Ignatius Press, a collection of three new books, especially for Catholic kids: Catholic Saints for Children , A Missal for Little Ones , and Let's Pray the Rosary .

4. From Michele Chronister, of My Domestic Monastery: A digital copy of the book Rosaries Aren't Just For Teething, featuring reflections by ten of your favorite Catholic mom bloggers on the subject of Mary.

5. And from ME, if I can get my act together to mail it out to you, one of the spare baby blankets . . . so that the baby of your choice can be twinsies with my baby and his or her cousins. And a signed copy of MY book, A Little Book about Confession for Children which now FINALLY has an Imprimatur. (It's a slow church.) I TOLD you guys it wasn't heretical.

To claim your prize, please email me at with your name and mailing address. In the email please put the five available prizes in order of your preference. Hopefully everyone will get something she actually wants!

If I haven't heard from you by Wednesday, I'll award the prize to a new winner.

Thanks to everyone for your love and prayers and support.


Thursday, July 23, 2015

Maybe We CAN'T Talk About NFP Without Giving Offense

It's NFP awareness week. A quick glance at my header will tell you where the husband and I fall on the ol' sliding scale of fertility/NFP competency (but just in case it's: high/low). This is a mommy blog. This is a Catholic blog. This is the PERFECT place to be able to talk about all of this stuff . . . the blessing part and the cross part of ALL of it: NFP and babies and kids and hyperfertility and infertility and miscarriage and everything that goes along with Catholic womanhood.

But it's not easy.

Because some folks (like me) have plenty of babies and can't NFP themselves out of a paper bag, but mostly feel equipped to handle a big family.

Some folks struggle to be successful with NFP but have grave reasons for postponing pregnancy.

Some folks can easily use NFP to space pregnancies.

Some folks celebrate practicing NFP as almost a religion unto itself.

Some folk appreciate NFP because they've used it to successfully become pregnant.

Some folks have an open heart and open arms but fewer children than they'd like or no living babies at all.

And most of these situations are hard. Some are REALLY hard. Some are really really hard and feel exactly opposite of each other. So how can I talk about MY specific struggles while at the same time acknowledging and validating all other possible experiences?

I don't think I can. I don't think it's possible. And I think it would make for really uninspiring and watered-down blog posts.

I actually said this to a fertile friend after Mass last week: "Ya know, I'm not actually feeling all that protective of my uterus anymore. If something happened to it, I don't think it would be the end of the world." If I say that on this blog, it will be seen by folks who could totally relate. But it will also be seen someone who has had procedures and surgeries and medications in the hopes of somehow getting her uterus to hold onto a pregnancy.

Maybe she will be hurt and offended.

So where does my responsibility lie?

Well, in addition to pregnancy and babies and fertility, I've also had the Corporal and Spiritual Works of Mercy on the brain lately. And I THINK therein lies the answer.

The Spiritual Works of Mercy are as follows . . .
  • Admonish the sinner
  • Instruct the ignorant
  • Counsel the doubtful
  • Comfort the sorrowful
  • Bear wrongs patiently
  • Forgive all injuries
  • Pray for the living and the dead
for the corporal works of mercy printable, see this post

As a blog writer and a Facebook-sharer and a person who also sometimes interacts in conversation with real live people, I have a responsibility to "comfort the sorrowful." That means I need to be aware as I share my experiences from my side of the fertility spectrum, that there are folks on the other side. (And, frankly, I'm convinced it's WAY more sorrowful over there.) I can share my perspective (and really that's the ONLY one *I* can share) but I should avoid generalizations and probably try not to be flip.

But. As a blog reader and a social media participator and a conversation-haver, I also have responsibilities. I am required to "bear wrongs patiently" and "forgive all injuries." The way *I* read that, it means it's not the responsibility of people coming from another perspective to not offend me. It's MY responsibility to not BE offended.

There's nothing in there that says "Discuss only what is agreed upon by all," or "Tip toe around the easily offended."

So if I read something from someone else, who has found NFP to be a breeze, or who thinks no one should do NFP ever, or who thinks everyone should do NFP always, I need to understand that HER perspective isn't the same as mine, because her experiences aren't the same as mine.

The fact that I read it . . . and it stings a bit, doesn't mean it shouldn't be allowed to exist in the world. It doesn't mean it's not a valid perspective. It doesn't mean that she shouldn't get to create community around her experience.

It just means that God made us different. And that *I* just got an opportunity to grow in virtue.

Happy NFP Awareness Week, ya'll.

Here are some of my other posts about NFP:



Mailbag: Do I Still Have to do NFP if My Life is at Risk?  

why I DON'T use birth control: an NFP Awareness Week Wrap Up

And another one on a related topic:

Opting Out of Mommy Angst in Three Easy Steps


Tuesday, July 21, 2015

Living the Corporal and Spiritual Works of Mercy in the Home. . . with Frankie

It's easy to sometimes feel like motherhood isn't compatible with true Christian works of mercy. After all, not many of us are able to manage the kind of charitable activities that our sisters called to single life or religious vocations might be able to do.

I have never once visited a prison. I've never brought the gospel to naked savages or pagan Irishmen. I've never handed out sandwiches to hobos from the back entrance to the house. My house doesn't even HAVE a back entrance.

In my Exactly How to be a Good Catholic post, I indicated that those of us who, because of our station in life, weren't really able to perform these acts of mercy ourselves could support those who do financially and with our prayers. That's important. We should TOTALLY do that.

But also . . . I took a closer look at the list. And, I was like . . . hold the phone! I do that stuff in my home . . .  as my job. I hardly do anything BUT that stuff. And I do it . . . with FRANKIE.

Let's take a look, shall we?

First the Corporal Works of Mercy . . .  

Feed the Hungry

Yes. Yes, I do. All day long. Three meals, sometimes snacks, sometimes dessert. Sometimes neighbor kids want to eat too.

And sometimes, Frankie will say something like, "I want beans. But plain. No beans. A soft." And *I* have to figure out that he wants a tortilla.

Give Drink to the Thirsty

Kids also like to drink. At every meal. In between meals. In all cars at all times. At EVERY drinking fountain we happen to pass. But I draw the line at while napping or sleeping. I just can't. So I don't.

Clothe the Naked

I get my kids dressed in the morning. But you wouldn't always know it to look at them. We even have a specific rule meant to address this issue: DON'T TAKE YOUR PANTS OFF WITHOUT A PLAN. It's a good rule. But it has its limitations, and most often those limitations are manifest when we have a repair guy over.

Shelter the Homeless

We let him live here. Rent free. Even though he makes this face. A lot.

Visit the Sick

I visit Frankie when he's sick. But he's not usually interested in a lot of interaction. Mostly I'm useful to him as a means to refill his juice and start up Mater's Tall Tales on Netflix again.

Visit the Imprisoned

Even though Frankie's imprisonments are most often my doing, I do visit him. I check to see if he's STILL wailing over getting the green cup instead of the blue cup, or if he's ready to rejoin the family. I also come to his rescue when he's imprisoned himself up on the top bunk. Again.

Bury the Dead 

Most of our burying of the dead is backyard chicken-related. But also, we bring our kids to funerals, and it turns out they're cool with that sort of thing.

Next the Spiritual Works of Mercy . . . 

Admonish the Sinner

Woo, boy. Do I ever do this one. I'm admonishing all OVER the place. Even at DISNEYLAND. Kick your little sister with your pointy cowboy boot? Boom. Admonished. No ice cream-type admonished. I am MEAN MERCIFUL.

Instruct the Ignorant

Also yes. For instance: Frankie believed this to be a drawing of "a super happy baby who is smiling." I was able to use this opportunity for a little discussion about what SMILING is.

Counsel the Doubtful

Frankie is doubtful about many things. Taking naps and trying new foods are high on the list of things about which he has doubts. Here for instance, he is entertaining doubts about the edibility of Indian food. But I COUNSELthreatened him into trying it. And he liked it just fine.

Comfort the Sorrowful

Frankie is also sorrowful about many things. Having to eat off of the "You are special today" plate on his special day, for instance, will sometimes make him VERY sorrowful. But with some careful COMFORTthreatening he can always be brought back around.

Bear Wrongs Patiently

Oh, Frankie. The things you've said to me.
  • Sitting in church: I want to touch you, I just don't want you to touch me.
  • After I got a manicure: Why do your fingers look like an old lady?
  • Tucking him in at bedtime: You can just give me my Lotso and go out of here.
  • Whenever he's doing anything: I don't need you to talk to me.
  • At all other times: Mom. Mom. Mom. Mom. Mom. Mom. Mom. Mom. Mom. (repeat)
And imma BEAR it. For you, Frankie. Because I love you. And you mostly don't mean it.

Forgive All Injuries

I do. I forgive them all. And honestly, it's not even as hard as I would have thought. Because I love you. And you don't ALWAYS smile, so when you do . . . it all feels worth it.

Pray for the Living and the Dead

Our home is far from perfect. But it IS a place of prayer. And few things are cuter than the things kids come up with to pray about. Some are sweet, "That I would be a good boy and not dwive everyone cwazy." Some are hard, "That mommy would feel better soon and so she doesn't have to shout so much." But both are good prayers. I could use both.

Speaking of . . . After the Corporal and Spiritual Works of Mercy came up in this post, and again in this one, reader Rebecca asked if I would make a printable featuring them.

So I did. Hope you like 'em.

As with all my printables, you are welcome to save the images to your computer for your own personal use. You may print the images and / or upload them and have prints made for your personal use or to give as gifts. (These are sized for 8x10) First click on the image to bring it up in a new window, then right click on the image to save it to your computer. You may use my images on your blog, just please link back to my blog. If you would like to sell my images, please contact me first. To request a custom printable, visit my Etsy shop here.

 For LOTS MORE free printable prayers, check out my Pinterest board.

These images are available for purchase in my Etsy shop, in a higher resolution, without the watermark, in multiple sizes from 5x7 to 16x20, and also as print-at-home two-sided holy cards. You'll find them here. Thanks!

You might also enjoy:

What Cranky Frankie Taught Me About God

Cranky Frankie Went to the Fair


Sunday, July 19, 2015

Answer Me This: the Superhero Edition

Hiya, and welcome to another edition of Answer Me This, the internet's favorite virtual cocktail party, where we all answer the same six random questions and get to know each other a little better.

 And now for THIS WEEK'S questions, to answer THIS WEEK . . .

1. What's currently on your To Do list?

Well, since writing an entire post on this topic, I think I can say that my To Do list is pretty much done. I've finished all the baby stuff, and the yearbook, and I've got guest posts scheduled out through the end of August.

We were hoping to have found a new home before this baby came, but that's not looking like it's going to happen. And I don't want to rush it. If we move, I'd really like it to be into our forever home this time. I want this to be the home our grandkids come to visit. I don't want it to be a crazy pregnant lady impulse buy. (Plus, I'm maybe still not quite over the one that got away.) So, even though it would have been great to move while the husband had time off of work for paternity leave, and it would have been great to be in a different part of town before fall (because of some changes we'll talk about later) . . . we're going to wait for the right one to come along in its own time.

So that just leaves having a baby. And that's going to have to happen in its own time too.

2. Better type of superhero: magic/radioactive powers? Or trauma/gadgets/hard work?

So, you guys know about me and the overdoing right? Well, I've currently been on a kick of watching ALL the superhero shows. While sewing and yearbook-making and blog-post-formatting, I watched Daredevil, (and wrote about it here), then Marvel's Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D., then Arrow . . . because those are all on Netflix. (Clicking on the title will take you to it, if you're signed into your Netflix account.)

Except for season 3 of Arrow, which is NOT. I considered being reasonable and patient and just waiting for Netflix to get it, but then I realized that I'm pregnant, and not AT ALL patient, so I immediately bought Arrow: Season 3 on Amazon streaming. And then there was this whole The Flash spinoff. So, I figured I'd better get that from Amazon too. Ya know, just to be safe. (I haven't finished either of those two seasons yet. Clicking on the title will take you to it via my Amazon Affiliate link.)

I find it very intriguing how they've handled the whole D.C. Comic world. All the supernatural heroes and villains are in Central City with the Flash, where all the supers were created by a particle accelerator explosion (obviously). Meanwhile, the good guys and bad guys in Starling City with Arrow are all non-supernatural. Their heroics and villainy are based on science, fortune, hard work, and childhood trauma.

When I brought up Arrow on social media, people had really strong opinions in favor of Arrow or the Flash.

I never really had a strong preference for Batman or Superman, even though it's a pretty similar comparison. Frankie's going with both. At the same time. Plus a lion.

But I REALLY prefer Arrow to the Flash. I love that he has to work so hard to be able to do what he can do. I appreciate that he is in real danger every time he goes out to fight bad guys. There is a very real-seeming physicality to the show that I like. He actually runs up walls to fire escapes and whatnot, using non-computer generated, real stunts. And the jumping chin up thing is UH-mazing. I'm with Felicity on that. And I really do like me a quiet, confident, brooding superhero.

The Flash, on the other hand, has very little confidence and crazy magic powers. Harry Potter has nothing on this guy. He can run fast, obviously, but he can also use his powers to disguise his voice and appearance, heal quickly, run up buildings and across water and THROUGH solid objects, and lightning-resuscitate dead people. He can also travel through time. Technically he's not impervious to injury or death, but his powers are so overwhelming that it's almost not interesting.

There are random instances in which he claims that he somehow can't save everyone, but most of the time, he just zips about saving everyone, no trouble at all.

Anyway, I've enjoyed watching both shows. And the Flash has considerably less inappropriate behavior between characters. And is much less dark. Neither show has graphic violence or nudity. Both shows have immoral behavior and storylines that feature homosexual characters, but both at a level I was okay with (so far). I've let thirteen year old Jack watch the first few episodes of The Flash . . . with me so we can discuss things that need discussing.

In conclusion: I'm team Arrow, all the way.

3. Finding out if baby is a boy or a girl before birth: Good idea? Bad idea?

We don't find out.

We haven't with any of the kids.

The husband has a much younger sister and brother, and he remembers being surprised when they came along. I have to admit . . . at first, it seemed pretty nuts to me to NOT find out a thing you could find out. I like finding things out.

But it was important to him, so I let him have that one. I've been really glad I did.

Now, we own ALL THE BABY STUFF, so it doesn't matter, but for the first go-round it meant we got non-gender-specific stuff at our baby shower, some of which I'm still using thirteen years later. I find my curiosity to be very motivating during the hard parts of labor. Not that I WOULDN'T want to be done with it if I already knew, but somehow, it helps. And I've found that I really love the old-timeyness of an "It's a boy!" or "It's a girl!" announcement right there in the delivery room.

Better get that photo in now, Dad. Looks like babies are only "shown" until 6:30.

4. Have you ever appeared on a stadium jumbotron?

I have not. And it's not really a goal. I can't think of ever having been shown at a game, or even having my name appear on there with a "special welcome."

But, you don't have to appear on it yourself to appreciate it. The husband took Betty and Gus to a Dodger game last week. Here she is, tearing up a bit at the Kiss Cam.

She's such a romantic.

5. Are you more book smart or more street smart?

If we're talking able to figure stuff out for yourself, I do think I've got that. Writing, blogging, graphic design, photography, sewing, cake decorating . . . all my favorite stuff . . . I'm just kinda winging all of it. Mostly I'll see a picture of something someone else has done, then just by trial and error try to figure out how to do it myself.

But all my "street smarts" are applicable only at home. If we're talking actual STREET street smart, then I'm definitely more book smart. I'm bad at navigating, so if I'm on a street, I'm probably lost. And being able to embroider a very convincing T.A.R.D.I.S. is unlikely to get me out of any jams on the street.

download the free pattern here

6. Have you had that baby yet? (Feel free to skip this one if it's not applicable to you.)

Not yet. But stay tuned to the Catholic All Year Facebook page for updates.

Get your Baby Pool guesses in here. (Either I'm REALLY predictable, or you guys know me really well, or SOMETHING, because the name guesses on there are uncannily accurate.)

And leave your prayer requests here, so I can offer up my labor for your intentions. It's going to hurt anyway. It might as well be for a good cause.

Want to play along? Answer THIS WEEK's questions in the comments, or on your blog and link it up below! Please include a link to this post on your blog. The linkup will be open from now through close of business Tuesday.

Now for NEXT WEEK's questions, to answer NEXT WEEK . . . which will be the LAST week of Answer Me This for this summer. Yes, I know that most people's understanding of "Every Sunday All Summer" would include August. But, I'm not sure I can commit to getting them up on time once there's a new little person in the house. So next week will be the last for this summer, and I'll plan on bringing it back again . . . when you least expect it!

1. What's your favorite grocery store splurge?

2. How's your penmanship?

3. Do you have a "Summer Bucket List?"

4. What's the best thing on the radio right now?

5. Ice cream or frozen yogurt?

6. Have you had that baby NOW? (Again, you can skip this one if you want.)