Friday, July 24, 2015

My experience with NFP, why I don't write about controversial topics and 7 random words


Unlike a lot of other bloggers you might read, I don't struggle with my fertility.  I don't struggle with NFP.  I don't struggle with the church's teaching on contraception. I also don't chart.  Yet, I know when I'm fertile.   And, I seem to have a very small window of fertility (like 2 days) which I have no problems identifying without charting or ever taking my temperature.  I do probably have subfertility, although with perfect timing, we've always managed to conceive in the past after a few months of trying.  Although who knows what will happen in the future?  I'm 37....so since I was never that fertile to begin with, I doubt it's going to improve with age.  

Anyway, I can't relate to all these Catholics talking about surprise pregnancies and babies too close together and hyperfertility.  And, honestly, I also can't relate to those really struggling with infertility.  I've never seen a fertility doctor, I've never had any treatments. Perfect timing and a bit of patience and trying is all it really has taken for me in the past.  I fully realize that could change, and I can't take anything for granted, but for now, I don't worry about it, because I have lots of other stuff to worry about.  

It didn't always used to be that way.  It used to bother me that I would probably never have the prototypical Catholic family with stair-stepped children.  However, I've finally reached the point where...well if we have another baby..great.  If not..that's fine too.  I've got plenty of other things to keep me busy.  As I've gotten older, I've come to know my own limitations.  And, I know that I'm probably not well equipped to handle a super large family or closely spaced children...and that's okay.   God probably knows what he's doing when he doesn't give me baby after baby.  

And that's okay...we're not all the same.   This is my experience and my experience alone.
And it's okay if my experience is quite different from the experiences of others.  And it does seem to be quite different.  Although maybe it's not.  Maybe it's just that that those of us in the middle aren't talking about it or writing about it so much???

Everyone has different struggles.  I've just learned to be thankful for the things I DON'T struggle with.  Because there are PLENTY of things I do.

Which leads me to my next point....why I don't write about controversial topics.  Usually.

There are a lot of controversial topics out there, I have opinions on.  

There are lots of non-controverisal things I have opinions on.

There are a lot of thoughts swirling around this brown (with a bit of gray) haired head.

Most people think I'm all PC and accepting, but I'm actually a fairly opinionated person.  I don't judge people...but I do have opinions about *things and ideas and philosophies.*

I actually have lots of opinions about lots of things.  NFP, gay marriage, parenting philosophies, that Maine diner incident. patterned leggings, diet coke, ice cream stands (yes, I have an opinion about ice cream stands), modesty, breastfeeding in public,  tapioca pudding, crying it out, the word "sucker", beachbody, and paper towels.   

But, I keep all those opinions to myself.

Why? Because I want people to like me.  Because I don't want to offend anyone.  Because I don't want to hurt anyone's feelings.  And because I don't have time to deal with controversy or respond to comments.  It takes a lot of mental energy to write about things in a non-offensive loving manner.  It takes even more energy to deal with disagreement.  Energy I just don't have right now.   Because life...struggles....time limits and my need for sleep. 

So, I keep all my opinionated thoughts to myself.   Unless you really want to know what I think about ice cream stands and paper towels.   I'll gladly answer in the comments if so. 

Until then, I'll try to keep all these swirling thoughts inside my head and just share with you 7 random words, because I want to link up for 7 quick takes Friday.  So, here are 7 random words that I am totally cheating and calling takes as thrown out by anonymous children in this household,

1, melancholy
2. wonderiffic (yes..I know..that's not a word)
3. phobia
4  tragedy
5. irritating
6. antepenultimate  (don't feel bad, I didn't know what it meant either)
7. gelato

Now you know what is on their minds.

What's on your mind? 

And this concludes the most random blog post ever...where I start off talking about NFP and end up with 7 random words.
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Friday, July 17, 2015

Home Decoration for Dummies, 7 Rules with Bad Photos


This is one of the posts I promised you.  Way back when. 

Finally making good on it.

Home decoration,  I'm a dummy.    I have no clue what to do. 

So...what I did, was I found (or maybe I just made them up...not telling) a few simple rules to follow.  

Lo and behold, I ended up with a beautifully decorated home!

If you follow these rules...you TOO can end up with a home as nice as mine.

1.
A home should showcase its owner's achievements.  


Best to do this in a totally random way, in a room with bad lighting.

2.

A home should match the personalities of the people who live in it.

Our home says disorganized, chaotic and we don't care.


 3.

A home should display beautiful artwork.



Someday, this could be worth a lot of money,

4.

A home should take advantage of  natural light, to showcase artwork to its best advantage.



Like so.
5.
A home should display its owner's interests.



Nothing says the One Catholic Mama house like a beautiful wood/glass coffee tabled covered with a pink chess set.

And we can't ignore the cat, who just makes himself right at home, anywhere.


6.

When you walk into a room, the owner's touch should be immediately present,


You can probably guess to whom this room belongs.


7.
  
An antique piece lends a classic air to any room.




Like that beautiful praying girl picture my mom painted back in 1966,  1966 definitely makes it an antique...right? That's a whole 11 years older than me.  Ancient history. 

So..what do you think?

Like it?  If not..totally okay.  You won't hurt our feelings.  Our feelings are unhurtable when it comes to these things.  We know we can't decorate, and we don't care.   

But since I did manage to find  make up 7 rules, I'm going to link up with Kelly for my 7 Quick Takes and call it a night. 

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Tuesday, July 14, 2015

Arsenic and Old Lace - The Oldie but Goodie you HAVE to see.



What sweet old ladies these are!  How kind of them to offer this nice old gentleman a glass of wine. 

Too bad those sweet old ladies are cold-blooded killers and that delicious glass of wine contains just a touch of arsenic, strychnine and cyanide. 

And so goes the storyline of this old gem of a movie. 

A ton of humor, a good deal of suspense and a touch of romance are all ingredients for a great movie.  This is a great movie.

First of all, it has Cary Grant in it.  Swoon.  And of course there is the beautiful girl as well.   And the villain who sorta looks like Frankenstein. 

Lots and lots of insanity too. In fact, if you want to feel especially sane, you should watch this movie.  I promise you, no matter how crazy you are, you are saner than the characters in this old tale.  Except for Cary Grant.  He's a keeper. 

Mostly this movie is just funny.  Very, very funny.  I didn't even fall asleep while watching it...and THAT is saying something. 

If you haven't seen, I suggest you watch it. 

It would make a great date night in movie, or just a movie to watch by yourself.   I don't usually blog about movies, but we enjoyed this one so much, I just couldn't resist sharing how much I loved it with all of you.

Have you seen any good movies lately?  Anything you'd want to recommend?


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Friday, July 10, 2015

Ask a Nun..She Answers in 7 Quick Takes



Sr. Veronica is my blood sister...and she's here on her home visit and graciously offered to answer your questions!

Since there are 7 questions....I'm calling it 7 Takes. 

1.

Hi Amelia, my name is Yasemin. I'm a mom to a toddler and have been enjoying your blog lately. My question is how do you keep inner peace day to day?

Hello, Yasemin!  God's peace to you!   Your question is a big one- how to keep inner peace every day.  I think that the greatest answer to that is to pray every day- and not just an exhausted Hail Mary at the end of the day, but to really take, even just five minutes, of quiet time  ( maybe during nap time?) to discuss life with the Lord and to always practice abandonment to Divine Providence- basically to accept everything that God sends as coming from his hand.  That's really hard to do, but the prayer "Jesus I trust in you" you can say at anytime, even while changing a diaper, and it has tons of power before God.  Actually, to practice the presence of God is one of the greatest ways to keep inner peace.  It's basically just realizing that God is with you at every moment of every day.  So, you do everything as if He were right next to you, in the same room, watching you, holding your hand.  Kind of like your toddler.  They may not always be aware of it, but you're always watching them, and that's what gives them the psychological security that they are safe, loved, and protected.  Yet, they can play freely and don't feel inhibited by your presence. That's the same way as it is with us, but we're Jesus' toddlers and He's always watching us.. That's why Jesus said to become like little children.  Sometimes, it takes a lifetime for us adults to become childlike again,  but stress is greatly diminished when we realize that He has, and always will be, in the drivers' seat anyways, so why do we insist on trying to be backseat drivers?
Sr. Veronica

2.

Ha! I actually was wondering what she was doing in that photo. :) 


I am actually making candles in this photo.  We melt down old wax from stubs of candles in a tin can on our wood burning stove (a winter project only, of course) and then pour them into molds,  like the yellow mold that I'm holding in the picture, and make votive candles.  In the picture I am putting the wicking into the mold before pouring the wax.

3.

Bryan's aunt is a nun with the Sisters of the Humility of Mary, so our experience with nuns is very different than yours. We saw Sister (Aunt) Susan all the time. She was the CEO of a local hospital when Bryan and I got married. I guess I wonder what drew your sister to be a cloistered Sister. It is fascinating to me. The Ohio Catholic bloggers conference spent the first night at a monastery, where we said a rosary with the nuns, who we never got to see. We just heard their beautiful voices. This monastery is only a hop and a skip from the home where I grew up, and I was always in awe of the place. I never went in. Now that I know, I'll be taking my kids. I'm sure they'll have plenty of questions then! 

Thanks for your question!  It's great that you've had the experience of different types of sisters.  I'm actually, not cloistered (otherwise I wouldn't be able to come home and visit my family, because cloistered nuns don't leave their monastery) but we are contemplative, so we don't go out that often to do apostolate.  We do some retreat work and evangelization work, but most of our days are spent in our convent.  I think that main reason that I joined a contemplative community is that, basically, God called me to it.  It's kind of like falling in love-  how did you know that Bryan was the one for you to marry?  The purpose of contemplative orders is to dedicate our lives to praising God and interceding for the world.  Jesus said, "The poor you will always have with you, but you will not always have me "  to Mary who "wasted" the perfumed oil on Jesus rather than selling it to feed the poor.  That is kind of like our lives.  We "waste" our talents and energies on praising God rather than feeding the poor or nursing the sick.. In other words, our apostolate is the spiritual works of mercy rather than the corporeal.  Both are important for our world, but one is more hidden than the other.  The hard part about being a contemplative is that you don't see the results of your work.  You give a poor man a peanut butter and jelly sandwich, and you get a thank you and a feeling of satisfaction that you helped someone today.  You pray for the conversion of sinners, especially the ones that we're asked to pray for, and you don't immediately see results.   However, it is really a joyful, peaceful life, and I think that our daily life is kind of like a stay- at- home Mom's, though, not nearly as hectic!   We cook, clean, work in our garden,  breed our dogs (sometimes), make candles and crafts, can our vegetables, and of course, stop at different times to praise the Lord and "make family"  by having community time.  It's like being in a family that keeps on growing!

It's a good influence for your kids to experience the monastery.  There is definitely a mystery to the chanting and the hiddenness.  Jesus's brides are hidden for love of Him.  Not a bad deal, right?  Honestly,  I would never have chosen any other life.  Remind your children to pray about what God's will is for them.  Believe me, growing up I never even considered a religious vocation.   I always wanted to be an actress and a singer, and was the most active teenager you could imagine!  But, when I finally started to pray about my life,  I felt that call from God, which really shocked me at first.  But it turns out that He was right, after all.   I wouldn't have been happy in any other life.  Remember, He's in the driver's seat, anyway.  The worst we can do is make ourselves crash by tryng to take over the steering wheel.
   Sr. Veronica

4.

Do the members of your order read the news? Online, via newspaper, etc? 

I'm curious as to "how much" you keep in touch with national and/or worldwide events.
May God bless you and your community, and THANK YOU for your profound, hidden service to the Church! 
-TB


Thanks for the question and for the appreciation of religious life.  We receive most of our news from either Catholic newspapers (like our diocesan paper or the National Catholic Register) and through word of mouth.  People call us constantly and ask for prayers, and we have priests who come and celebrate Mass for us every day and we get lots of daily news from them. Sometimes, even without Internet of T.V.., we get more of the important news than most people do!  For example, we found out about the plane crash on September 11 just a few minutes after the first plane crashed into the first tower.  A person called us up to asked for prayers, and then the phone was ringing off the hook all day long with updates.  So, we're pretty well informed!  And the most important thing is, we don't just hear the news, we pray for the world with that information. 
Sr. Veronica

5.
Thank you for your sacrifice on our behalf! 

This question just occurred to me. I suppose I could ask a priest but I'll ask you instead. :) 

If burial of the dead is a corporal work of mercy, why do we have body parts of saints that aren't buried? I understand about relics and wouldn't turn down a first class one if offered, but I don't understand how this fits in with burying the dead. Shouldn't we keep them buried?


Good question!  I think that's sort of a stumper, but let me explain it to you as I've understood it.  First of all, almost all of the saints were initially buried, and only later exhumed when their cause was up for beatification.  We have to look at the purpose for burying the dead, not just the practice itself.  The point is to protect and show reverence for the body as a temple of God, and because in our doctrine of resurrection of the dead we believe that the actual matter of our bodies will somehow be resurrected from the remains of our flesh.  So, does a relic show respect for the body?  I think that we can all say that it does- people will venerate a relic just as much as a tomb of the saints.  A relic is a way for us to actually touch those who we know are in heaven and to ask them to intercede for us.  The ancient monks used to keep the skulls of their spiritual fathers in their cells as a reminder of their own death and a way to keep in touch with them and ask their intercession.  In fact, the Capuchin chapel in Italy that is decorated with the bones of all dead friars is a sign of respect for the holiness of those men (as well as a practical way to reuse the crypt when it gets full-they would place the monks in the slots in the crypt and then open them up in a few years and gather the bones together to save space).  Can  God find our bodies,even if they are martyred and ripped apart, or lost at sea, or torn apart by wild beasts?  Absolutely, but the respect for the body isn't being kept.  This is also why the Church didn't allow until recently cremation and still doesn't allow things like scattering the ashes over the sea.
Another thing we have to look at is tradition.  From the earliest Church days, with the early martyrs, the Church has kept and spread parts of the bodies of the saints who died in holiness.  An example is the blood of St. Januarius and the tradition that altars were always to contain a relic of a martyr.  So, if the Church has allowed and encouraged, and even required these things for all these years, how could it be wrong?  Now, that doesn't mean that you can cut off and keep your husband's arm after he dies-  remember, you have to be recognized by the Church to be in heaven!

6.
Is it too late for me to join?

Well, to put it bluntly, yes.  To put it nicely, there are a few impediments.  A husband is definitely one of them, young children absolutely another.  Age is a third factor- we have a cut off age of thirty, so don't go getting rid of the other impediments to join (ha ha)!  Third order lay communities may be a good option for having a religious sort of way of life.  Maybe you could encourage your children to consider a religious vocation?

7.
Did you make ice cream cake?

Absolutely!  I am not permitted to come on home visit without making my traditional ice cream cake- the family would never allow me to come on home visit again, and my nieces and nephew would revolt!  I have to stay on their good side, you know, or else Amelia will post blackmail stories about my childhood!
Sr. Veronica
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Sunday, July 5, 2015

Questions about the 4th, Suntans and Hot Dogs and What I Wore

Linking up with Kendra for Questions and FLAP for Clothes. 

1. How did you celebrate the 4th of July? (Or, for you international types . . . Do anything fun this weekend?)

My brother, sister-in-law and sister-in-blood who is an actual religious sister are in town, so we had a cook-out at my parent's house with lots of yummy food and charred hamburgers.   Then we had an impromptu show with the kids telling stories and singing.  And the nun performed too...with my other sister (and supposedly me, but I don't sing).   We had the nun's famous ice cream cake (not to be confused with Kendra's kid's ice cream cake).  Then they came back to my house and the adults watched Bourne, while the kids watched a kid movie. and once it was dark enough, we did sparklers and pop-its.  Although to tell you the truth, I was starting to doze off during Bourne..but I woke up for the sparklers. 

Then once it was really dark, we climbed up on the roof, got eaten by mosquitoes and watched fireworks.  People get crazy about fireworks about here, so we don't even know whose we were watching, but in all 4 directions from us, *someone* was setting off fireworks. LATE into the night.  


2. Do you sunburn easily?

No, I will tan and get darker and darker and darker and darker until I look like I'm another ethnicity.

The summer after I graduated from college, I volunteered with Christian Appalachian Project in the mountains of Eastern Kentucky.  I spent the entire summer outdoors and didn't burn, but got super dark.




Then I went to graduate school at the University of Kentucky and at one of those meet and greets, I had the following conversation with someone. 

A graduate student no less.

Other graduate student: Where are you from?
Me:  Rhode Island
Other graduate student  Is that in the Caribbean?
Me: Uh no..it's in New England, right by Massachusetts.
Other Graduate Student: Oh...um...well..I just thought you looked like you might be from someplace exotic. 
Me: No...no place exotic. 

3. Hot dogs. Yay or nay?


Source
I like them okay, but they aren't my favorite or anything.  I would prefer a burger. If I do eat a hot dog, it is plain...no bun. I can't stand hot dog buns (or hamburger buns or cheap, white bread buns of any sort).  And, I only really like the healthy ones...without all the nitrates and junk. 

4. Have you ever personally set off fireworks?

No.  As a general rule, I don't do things that could be considered dangerous.  

5. Have you ever jumped off the high dive?

No. See above answer. Plus, I'm not a great swimmer, and I hate going underwater. 

6. Do you do anything weird in your sleep?

I've been told that I occasionally talk in my sleep, but just occasionally, so usually no. 

And, I haven't done a What I Wore Sunday in a long time..but what the heck.  I'll go for it now. 

Here's what I wore today. (Linking up with Fine Linen and Purple)



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Friday, June 26, 2015

Hey, you want to hear me ramble on about hospitals and medications?


1.  My oldest and I just got back from spending a night in jail...ooops,did I say that out loud? I meant the hospital.  She had to spend a night in the hospital.  It just felt like jail...except after being in the hospital you can get a huge bill.  Thankfully, her visit should be all paid for, but I really, really feel for people who have high deductibles and co-insurance.  Not that I've ever been in jail, but being in a hospital is sorta what I imagined jail to be like....you can't leave until someone says you can and they just poke you and prod you and give you medicine  Although they probably don't do all the poking and prodding in jail.  Anyway, she is fine.  She got sick with a severe headache/fever/sore neck and we worried about meningitis so the poor thing had to have 3 unsuccessful spinal taps, but it turns out to be just a virus (with maybe a migraine on top) and she is much better now.

2. IF (NOT an announcement) we have another baby, I still probably won't do another homebirth.  But my latest experience in the hospital made me remember why I chose homebirth in the first place.  I hate hospitals.  I just hate the "out of control, we will do whatever we want to you, once you walk in here, we own you and you can't leave until we say you can" feeling. 

3.  I'm in the camp of "don't give kids anything for a fever, let the body fight infection naturally" so I had some issues with the hospital giving her about a million different medications.  When I mentioned to the nurse that they were giving her A LOT of medications and "are you sure those are all compatible". she was all "We give a lot of medications here."  Yes, I noticed.   It was frustrating  because I felt like I didn't take her to the hospital to be given a million medications.  I took her to be diagnosed and make sure she wasn't seriously sick and then to get medicine IF she had a diagnosis that needed medical treatment . Not that I'm against all medication, but I'm against being given a ton of them before they even know what is wrong. 

4. I also had a funny conversation with the nurse about narcotics.  Thankfully, they didn't try to give her any, but the nurse was all 'We aren't going to give her narcotics unless she is severe, severe pain because those tend to make people nauseous and vomit."  I was all  "OK...um..that sounds worse than pain to me.".

5. When I told my mom that I was staying at the hospital with the oldest and that Ben was staying home with everyone else, she was all  "Hey, maybe this separation will make Elsa wean"  It didn't.  I was only gone for a little over 24 hours, and she certainly did not forget how to nurse in those 24 hours.   

6.  I started a new job/independent contractor gig that I can do at home.  It's a lot of work and I'm going to have to figure out how to balance that with homeschooling and the house and the kids, etc, etc, etc.  I can't do it all, but I guess I can try.  Or, I'll try to figure out some sort of balance/schedule of some sorts.  I guess that would be the sane thing to do. 

7.Since buying a house just over a month ago, we've had to deal with a slightly flooding basement and a big aluminum siding falling off the front of the house.  Oh...the joys of home ownership.

So, enough of my rambling rants, and go see Kelly for more quick takes.  

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Wednesday, June 24, 2015

Hey.....I'm on a podcast.



Ben says I sound like a chain smoker.  I promise I'm not.  I've never smoked at all.  I just have a gravely voice or something. Or maybe I had a cold when we recorded that, I really don't remember.   

(Then Ben backtracked and tried to say my voice is sultry and sexy. Ha. It's not). 

So, if you want to hear me and my thoughts on homeschooling, head on over to Catholic Homeschool Moms and listen to my voice.


Listen here!



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