Friday, March 29, 2013

Kyrie Eleison

Some people believe that religion is about comfort, reassurance--God loves us, we continue on after death, wrongs will be righted, etc.

Those things are true. But it is not about comfort.

Christianity--Christ--confronts us with the reality of our sin. Silently, humbly, meekly. He shows us in His Flesh what our sin has done, what it looks like. He strips away every lie that we tell ourselves. And if we are awake, it will wrench us to our very core.

It is not about comfort. It is about mercy, and Love. And those are very uncomfortable things. They do not deny the ugliness that is in each of us, but seek to redeem it and transform it. Before we can be healed, we must see our disease for what it is.

And from the Cross we learn that transformation hurts; that the only road to beauty leads through suffering.

Tuesday, March 26, 2013


Michael is taking a nap, so I decided to take the opportunity to do some half-hearted spring-cleaning before my mother-in-law comes to visit (ahem) Easter. ;)

Yesterday I dusted the mantel, which involved removing all the veils and statues and so forth.

Our Lenten mantel.
So today I did the same thing with the little table in our eating area.

I set the Blessed Mother on the floor, dusted, then turned around--and knocked her down against a chair. And saw something roll away from her.

It was Baby Jesus' head. :(

Can you see the crack?
It's not as bad as it might have been, but I am really, really sad. I absolutely love this statue. It was given to us as a wedding gift by the brothers at the Oratory. (Well, mostly by Brother Peter, I think; he picked it out for us.) And it is beautiful. I sometimes light-heartedly refer to her as "Our Lady of Homeschooling" since she's teaching Jesus how to read. :) And every night before bed Michael says goodnight to Mama Mary and Baby Jesus and we pray a Hail Mary, and he loves to gently touch her on the head.

I hate being such a klutz. I knocked over statues and broke them all the time as a kid; pretty much all the ones I owned had their heads or hands glued back on, some more than once. And I hate it that we've had this statue for about a year and a half and I've already broken it. I do feel like this is one of our most treasured possessions as a family. 

We will glue His head on at some point. I just hope it looks okay. :( 

Consent isn't enough.

I'm sure most of you know about the rape case in Steubenville, OH. If you don't, a quick google search can tell you all you want to know. I haven't been following it too closely because to be honest, I have a hard time dealing with it emotionally. I don't want to know all the details. I have a pretty active imagination, to the point where empathizing with the victim makes me feel ill.

But it is hard for me for another reason. Namely, that I am the mother of a son. And when I (involuntarily) imagine myself as the mother of those sons, it is pure agony.

We like to think that we're good enough parents for that never to happen, but our children, in the end, are their own beings, free to make choices for good or for evil. I know nothing about those parents; I don't know what good and bad choices they made in raising their sons. But I do know that we live in a culture that wants to shape our boys, if not into rapists, then into men who have no idea of the dignity of women, of themselves, and of sexuality. As a parent trying to raise sons (or daughters), it's a battle to even stand in the checkout line of the grocery store, where magazine covers teach through headlines (and more importantly pictures) that women are objects to be consumed--and by extension, men's bodies are reduced to the tools of that consumption. The desires of men and women are distorted and then exploited by people who want their money.

People want to teach men not to be rapists by emphasizing consent; but rape starts long before that moment when a man decides to violate another's body against their consent. It starts long, long before that, in the way that men, as boys, are taught to view women. If you teach your son to view their own dignity and that of women with respect, then you will never have to even use the word "consent," because rape is something they would never even dream of. "Consent" was not a word that was part of my sexual education, because it was a GIVEN. And frankly, it's not enough, because consent isn't always clear cut. What about the woman who feels pressured, or who doesn't want to have sex but wants to prove she loves her boyfriend and so remains silent?

Simply emphasizing consent is not only inadequate, but exacerbates the problem by presenting a distorted view of sex. If consent is the ONLY requirement for sex to be hunky dory and okay, if everything else is fine from pornography to sadomasochism to whatever ... you are not preventing rape. Rapists are the people who choose to ignore consent, so throwing that word at them over and over does nothing. If we are not teaching our sons that our sexuality MEANS anything beyond base animal instinct and self-gratification and feeling good--if it is only about our bodies and not our souls--if it is only about pleasure--if we are not required to learn virtue and the strength say no to OURSELVES--do you really expect everyone to learn to listen when others say "no"?

I can only hope and pray for the grace to help my son grow into a godly man, one who resists pressure to cave in his beliefs, who has the courage to do hard things and holy things, who knows that his body is a temple and so is that of every woman he will ever meet.

St. Joseph, pray for us.

Thursday, March 7, 2013

Yarn Along--Malabrigo March

I know I'm a day late for the yarn along, but I want to link up anyway. I've been knitting this

for Malabrigo March. The color is Lotus, and it's a bit less purpley than in the picture. I might be able to finish it by the weekend. The book is Greenstone. Keith gave it to me for Valentine's Day; it has a slow, rolling pace which I am enjoying. It's set in New Zealand and has a different flavor than anything I've read before.

Meanwhile these mittens are patiently waiting for me to finish with the shawl so I can give them their thumbs. Since I already knit a pair for myself with these exact same colors (which the camera doesn't capture very well), I am probably going to give them away. Which will make me a little sad. So they need to go to someone who will really appreciate them. ;)

Also I've been knitting hexipuffs. So far I have 78. They are about to outgrow their home; I'm not sure where I'm going to keep them!

Sunday, March 3, 2013

Unquick Takes ...?

I missed 7 Quick Takes because I am fasting from the internet on Fridays (although I may have checked Facebook in the evening. ahem.), but I had some bite-sized thoughts, so I figured I'd go ahead and post them quick-takes style. There aren't seven of them. But they're kind of chunky, so I guess it balances out. ;)

1. The past two nights Michael has "bonded" with an object or toy at bedtime, which he then refuses to be separated from throughout his nighttime routine. He does have a stuffed monkey that he cuddles with when it's time to sleep, but these have been random things. Two nights ago it was a road sign from a Brio set, which I made the mistake of taking from him when we settled down to nurse. Many tears ensued. Last night it was a baby hairbrush I gave him to play with while I changed his diaper. He held onto it throughout the diaper change and as I got him in his pajamas. He chewed it while Keith read his bedtime stories to him, and used it instead of his fingers to stroke the animals in his touch-and-feel book. I didn't take it from him while he nursed; since he couldn't suck on it at the same time, he decided that it should go in my mouth. We said goodnight to Keith, and then Keith was required to nom it. When we said goodnight to the Blessed Mother statue and picture of the Sacred Heart, instead of patting them like he normally does, he tapped them with his hairbrush. I think he would have snuggled up with it in his crib if I hadn't coaxed it away and replaced it with his monkey.

2. Recently one of the secretaries at the Oratory contacted me asking if I wanted to do some basic data entry work for them. I was just thinking that I'm at a point now where I have time to do something extra (especially since Michael STILL isn't moving around ... we're pretty sure at this point he's going to skip crawling altogether), so it's a great way to bring in a little extra money. More than I expected it to, actually. What a blessing. :)

3. I have all these intentions to write posts about Lent, but never sit down to put effort into writing them. I think it's some combination of laziness and lack of confidence. Which about sums up my writing life of late. I am applying to a fellowship, which is an act of faith for me of sorts. I don't expect to get it (although it would be PERFECT; I really admire Greg Wolfe and his work with Image), but if I did? To be honest, I think my first reaction would be sheer terror. Hehe. Anyway, applying is an action that I am taking, and while I do care about whether or not I get accepted, I see the true point of that action being simply to move, to break free at least a little out of this post-grad-school inertia. (I almost typed post-partum. But you know, I think it has much more to do with just feeling burnt out from academia ... and feeling like I am not as amazing as an MFA was supposed to make me.)

4. I missed the yarn along too, so I'm going to ramble about knitting a bit. I had a spare skein of Malabrigo Sock lying around, so I decided to participate in Malabrigo March. Any opportunity to win yarn is one I'm willing to jump at. ;) I'm knitting Poe from Corrina Ferguson's Seven Sonnets collection. I love pattern collections that are built around a theme or concept, and one that's built around poems? Yes!

I've also signed up for a class on triangular shawl design at Natural Stitches in April. I am pretty excited about this class. It cost a little more than I'd anticipated (I think because it's being taught by a well known designer), but luckily I already have all the supplies I need except graph paper. My only concern is that I won't learn anything that I haven't already from the Craftsy course. We'll see.

5. As part of Lent, I've been keeping careful track of how much we spend on groceries, and how much each meal costs us. I know we can spend less than we do and I'm trying to figure out how to do that. This week, we ate out twice--once for a friend's birthday, and once for brunch on Sunday. I knew that eating out cost more than eating at home of course, but I didn't realize how MUCH more. Yikes. It was pretty amazing having a night off from making dinner, but the cost kind of stressed me out.