Posts Tagged ‘personal’

Be sure to check out more Quick Takes at Conversion Diary!


My sister got married! She is a beautiful, wonderful woman and she married a pretty great guy. They are adorable together and that makes me very happy. Her wedding was beautiful.  We danced a lot. People held my baby so I could party. Philomena was an unstoppable force, getting down with particular zest during Gangam Style.  I love weddings.


I’ve lived in the deep South for a while now, and it has thinned my blood. The aforementioned wedding was during the weekend following the March for Life. Cold. Cold. Cold.  It snowed a lot.  I don’t own nearly enough sweaters. Also, standing outside in nineteen degree weather in a strapless dress is not fun.


Don’t get the norovirus, or, as it is known by the fraternity of those who have had it, the East Coast Martian Stomach Plague. Especially when you are traveling with small children. It makes you violently ill, forcing you to stay the night at a North Carolinian motel and makes an eleven hour road trip last thirty six hours.


If you foolishly succumb to the East Coast Martian Stomach Plague, you will lose the equivalent of a pug dog in weight. There are better ways to do this. You will also not be able to eat anything harder to digest than chicken broth for days, have a bizarre craving for cornbread and no matter how much Gatorade or water you drink, you will always be thirsty.


Also, if you succumb, make sure your spouse does not get the East Coast Martian Stomach Plague at the same time. This will result in untold misery your whole family can enjoy.


The high fevers induced by the plague will make you have bizarre dreams and your least favorite song stuck on a loop in your brain. I had something by Kings of Leon on repeat for twenty four hours. Think about that. Twenty four hours. Kings of Leon. Also, I had been reading my dear friend Colleen Swaim’s new book, Radiate: More Stories of Daring Teen Saints shortly before I became ill and was certain that St. Gabriel Possenti was in the motel room with me. Maybe he was. I definitely needed the prayers.


Colleen got the plague, too.  She was a great comfort to us when she called to let us know that she had lived, and we, in all probability, would to likewise. Many thanks to her and her family for their hospitality in Maryland.


Read Full Post »

I think it’s best to resume blogging without any apologetic fanfare for my lengthy absence. It has been a wild several months. The muse fled early on and pregnancy, weddings, illnesses and school life has been rather too busy to spend time tip tapping away at my laptop.

So, the Pope is abdicating.

I heard this news very early in the morning the day it broke. Will was dutifully checking Facebook while I made Philomena’s breakfast. It went something like this:

Will: WHAT?!?!

Me: Uh oh, what happened?

Will: (choking up) The Pope resigned!

Me: “What? No he didn’t. It’s bad reporting.”

Turns out, it wasn’t  bad reporting.

Oh, I cried. I deeply love this Pope. I’m a card carrying member of the JPII generation, and I loved him, too. He was the Pope when Iwas baptized and when I came back into the Church. He introduced me to the wonderful world of phenomenology, and to the truth of what the Church actually is.  Thinking about it, he was the Pope of my baby Catholic period-full of enthusiasm but not a lot of sense. i could cheerfully get behind his thought explained to me by others and it was grand and beautiful and made me want to  be Catholic. Benedict XVI is different. He’s the Pope of my agonizingly slow maturation in faith and I feel closer to him.

His writing is so clear! It’s not written in philosopher jargon or theologianese. Spes Salvi completely altered my way of believing because he emphasized the present tense of living in hope. Salvation wasn’t something “out there”. Faith wasn’t another thing you tick off your to do list. It was, instead, a mode of being.  Growing up with a muddled view of these things because of the odd churches we attended, I had a very non-Catholic notion of faith and hope and charity. Papa Benedict fixed all of that.

I  got to see him at my alma mater, The Catholic University of America. It was a beautiful day, six weeks after Philomena’s birth. We were right up by the fencing next to the east entrance of the Shrine. A perfect spot. We saw him go in and we waited around for him to come out again. The excitement you could have cut with a knife. When he came out an got into the big car that wasn’t the Pope mobile, he saw Philomena as I stuck her up in the air, and he smiled and blessed her from the car. Two days later, thanks to the awesomeness of the two gents who designed the altar furnishings, I got to go to his mass at the baseball stadium. I was about six rows back, four rows in back of Placido Domingo.  Again, the joy was simply unbelievable. And the funny thing was, I expected to be a bit star struck during mass and I wasn’t at all. I figured I’d forget all about Jesus in the Eucharist and when the time came for the consecration I was kneeling on the ground and I actually forgot who was celebrating mass.

That is how Pope Benedict does things. He turns your focus back to the Lord.

I’m sad to see him go, but I’m so glad he’s been our Pope. The humility is a different kind of humility from Blessed John Paul, but it’s still humility.  John Paul stayed on, an actor with a beautiful voice, living with that great gift slipping away every day, his movements slowly turning to stone. That takes courage, and humility. And if you know an actor, you know how had that must have been. Benedict, amidst all sorts of misunderstanding about motives and accusations from the faithful about how awful it is to quit the papacy, and from the world about how there must be something wicked going on, steps own from an immensely powerful position because he, one of the most brilliant intellects in the world and certainly one of the holiest souls, thinks the Church will be better served by someone stronger. And if you know a brilliant intellectual, you know how much courage and humility it takes to admit weakness.

We love you, Papa! Viva!



Read Full Post »

In the last two weeks I have had a number of  exquisitely irritating things happen to me.  By irritating, I mean maddening, frustrating, hurtful, and downright nasty. Here’s the thing. We are poor. Very, very poor. We have people in our lives who do not like “the poor.”  We have Catholics around here who take their spirituality straight out of Fox News Channel. We have people in our lives who think that my husband is “lazy”, not understanding that it’s really hard for a guy with a J.D. to get a cruddy job at Walmart. Overqualified people don’t get hired as waiters, because the managers rightly think that when a better job comes along, that guy with the J.D. will take that better job. That doesn’t stop my husband from trying for those jobs, though.  Try explaining that to invincibly ignorant people who want to “have a word” with my husband. I tried. It didn’t go well. It’s hard to explain to someone that they are being offensive when they won’t stop talking long enough to give you a fair hearing. It’s harder when they say that “they’re praying for you,” when you know that means “they’re talking about you behind your back in order to criticize and belittle you.” It’s really hard when you live in an oversized small town and you know they know all the people you’ve gotten to know over the last year.

I’ve had it with people. I like people, really. I just don’t like people who know they’re right about the intimate details of my life. I have two options before me.  Either I take this anger and frustration to the cross and nail it down, praying that He will use it somehow for my good, or, I can stew in my juices for another week, getting more and more bitter and distrustful of God’s plan for my life and my marriage because of the idiocy of some people. The latter is more appealing at the moment. Isn’t it funny how what we know is bad for us is so often the most attractive

My little heart is tied up in knots right now. I want an end to this hardship. I want an end to the criticism of my poor husband, who is trying so hard. I want stability.

I think that a novena may be in order, but it’s hard to feel hopeful at this point.

Our Lady, Undoer of Knots, pray for me.

Rant concluded. Thank you for your patience.

Read Full Post »