Wednesday, July 26, 2006

For the Love of a Letter

I'm sure many people remember not so long ago before email and websites when people wrote each other letters. Growing up I was never fond of writing letters. I thought my penmanship was awful. I still don't think it is very good. I have to wonder why truly beautiful and elegant penmanship is not something taught and sought after more, but I digress. I find it interesting how much I enjoy waiting for the mail. I usually forget to get it and James usually ends up doing so, but still. I enjoy looking through the mail and get excited when I receive something. Unfortunately, as no one writes me letters, my hope can only be satiated by a few catalogues and ads (based on their mailings, Lenox must think I worship them). There is something exciting and romantic in receiving letters from friends, acquantences, etc.
But perhaps it is not simply letters. Perhaps it is that anticipation in waiting that makes anything one waits so anxiously for so exhiting and satisfying. My computer has been slowly dying over the past 6 months. Each time it messes up or my screen turns pink or my F key fails to print an F I look forward to a new computer. I figure by the time I get it I will be so happy to have keys that work and a screen that is white they wait will be well worth it.
Perhaps that is a major setback of modern progress. Everything now is so immediate - emails, overnight shipping, cell phone calls, etc. - that it becomes difficult for our natural human desires to fully appreciate the fulfillment of them.
It is a shame we cannot start Letter Circles where people could simply write letters to each other, chit chatting, but simply to experience the joy of receiving a letter in elegant handwriting. (Of course, in my case, once I get down the elegant handwriting part.)
This leads me to another question: Has the speed and immediacy of our current society made us less impatient people in general? I simply look at the way people drive or shop at Christmas or eat and would have to say yes. It makes me wonder how people might be different if we relaxed a bit more and rushed a bit less.

Thursday, July 20, 2006

What do you say when your preschooler asks about homosexuality?

In the June 2006 edition of Parenting there was an article on answering sexual questions little children ask titled "The Birds and the Bees and Curious Kids." It covered topics like when a little girl asks why her little brother is different than her and other such questions. However, among such simple and common circumstances was included the following:

"Your child tells you her classmate has two mommies. 'How can that be?' she asks."

The magazine's response is as follows:

"Homosexuality may seem like a conusing subject--especially for kids who haven't even gotten the concept of heterosexuality down yet. But your explanation doesn't have to be complicated: 'In Ginny's family, her two mommies love each other the way that Daddy and I do. So they live together, and both take care of Ginny.' The topic may also come up after your child hears a homosexual slur. Christi Cole's daughter Caitlyn, 6, said a boy at school had been telling kids in her class, "You're gay"--so of course she wanted to know what that meant. The Augusta, Georgia, mom explained that sometimes boys fall in love with boys and girls fall in love with girls but that the boy in Caitlyn's school probably didn't really understand what he was talking about. Then she reminded her daughter that calling people names isn't nice and might hurt someone's feelings."

Where do I begin with this?
First of all it is a sad testimony to our society that homosexuality is so public and promoted that a small child would be asking about it. However, as we live in a society that often cannot tell dog from God, I can well see such a question arising. (One more reason we are going to homeschool.)

1. I find it ironic that the magazine proposes to explain homosexuality as normal and natural to small children as heterosexuality and yet the author herself, Margaret Renkl, recognizes homosexuality to be much more complicated that heterosexuality. Why? If it is so normal and natural, why is it more complicated? It would seem Mrs. Renkl herself knows there is something unnatural about it even if she propogates parents trying to convince their children it is not. Interestingly enough, in a subsequent question about intercourse, Mrs. Renkl encourages a very frank explanation about eggs and sperm and says, "A penis is made to fit into a vagina sort of like an arm fits into a sleeve." Well, saying first that mommies with mommies is the same as mommies with daddies and then saying that daddy is designed to fit with mommy in order to make babies (including Ginny) would confuse anyone!
2. Secondly, as homosexual acts are the inverse of heterosexual acts, they are quite different from the way that Mommy and Daddy love each other. As Holy Matrimony is a sacrament ordained by God, homosexual acts, regardless of whether intended as such, mock the conjugal union of a man and a woman joined in marriage. I would be outraged and take personal offense at anyone who told any child of mine that any homosexual relationship was the same as my relationship to my husband.
3. It was pointed out in the August edition by a woman who wrote in that not all parents agree with the author. "I was shocked when I read your advice about how to answer a child who has a question about two mommies. A homosexual relationship is not just like the one I share with my husband. There are a number of people who feel homosexuality isn't right, and we would never tell our children that it is." The reader from Kentucky points out that this issue of homosexuality is, generally speaking, a pretty divided one and for the magazine to try to propogate it and pretend it is not divisive is quite narrow-minded and ignorant regarding its readers. When it comes to divided issues like this, a general parenting magazine should know better than to take such a stand or risk losing part of its readers.

Now, if my daughter had asked me the same question, here would have been my reply:

Some people believe that a family doesn't need a mommy and a daddy but God told us that that is not true. Every child should have a mommy and a daddy and it is not good or right to try to replace a mommy with another daddy or a daddy with another mommy. Some people think doing that is okay but it causes confusion and does not make God happy so we should always pray for such people. However, Ginny did not choose to have two mommies so you should not be mean to her but remember that because she does have two mommies, she might think different things than you do.

Of course I would also severely limit any interaction my child might have with Ginny as I cannot in good conscience permit such influences as her "mommies" might have given her.

Maybe in the September issue Mrs. Renkl can come up with a sweet explanation to give children when they ask what an abortion is when mommy went from having a baby in her tummy to not!

Needless to say I will not be resubscribing to Parenting.

Monday, July 17, 2006

Dear Catholic Priests...

James found this on a website and I just had to post part of it here as I couldn't agree with her more...

Dear Catholic Priests,

Let me start by saying – thank you.

Thank you. For hearing the call to priesthood and then for following through to devote your life to god and the Church.

Really, I know I don’t say this nearly enough – Thank you.

I tend to be a Catholic who never interacts with priests (seriously – never). I never talk to priests outside of a confessional (and rarely there), mostly because I am scared of you and unlike some people I know I am not adept at making friends with priests through baked goods. But even so, I really do appreciate all that you do.

However, I do have a request. Can you please, please, please wear clerical clothing?

And no, a golf shirt with the name of your order embroidered on it does not count.

I won’t be greedy and ask for cassocks (though that is what all the cool priests are wearing). Just a Roman Collar would be good.

Now, I understand that everyone needs some time ‘out of uniform’ as it were. Running errands, family social events, and casual time off – perfectly reasonable to not be wearing a collar.

However, is it too much to ask that at Church functions you wear a collar and clearly identify yourself as a priest?

There are certainly benefits to wearing a clerical collar. I know that I am naturally nicer and more automatically respectful to priests. For example, one day at work I saw a slightly bewildered looking priest who was clearly lost in the maze that is O’Hare. I walk past many lost and confused people at O’Hare all the time but that collar ensured that I stopped and helped him to his gate.

Also, if there is an emergency, it would be nice to know if there is a priest around. That Roman Collar is a clear sign to those all around that God is present in his servant the priest. That can be incredibly comforting, even when you as a priest don’t even realize that people around you are taking comfort in that fact.

Priests in clerical garb are also excellent for recruitment - both to the Church and to the priesthood. I mean, if young boys and men never see a priest except at the front of the church then how can they envision living life as a priest. We as lay people need to see and know that there are priests out in society, living with us wherever we are. So often we live in a society that denies the importance of religion and faith. A priest dressed in clerical garb is a bold statement to the world that Yes – the Catholic Church is still here, vibrant and contributing to our society. I really think that is an important statement for a priest to make, and clerical clothing makes it without saying a word.

I can’t quite figure out why priests wouldn’t wear a collar. Are you ashamed of being a priest? Do you want to ‘blend in’ with the group? Or, as my sister in law theorizes, is it to be deceitful and try to trip us up by masquerading as lay people (I don’t think that is the case, but she is adamant).
I will say this to all the priests out there. When I see you in clerical clothing it personally makes me happy. I just feel comforted by the very fact that you are there, in the world. So please, please, please do wear clerical clothing. It really is a good thing.

Sunday, July 16, 2006


Well, I've been pretty busy.

I've primarily been busy with Cecilia. Her naps are anything but regular so it is difficult for me to plan too much.

Unfortunately, the only progress I've made in my Bible reading is that I have finished Joshua and am on Judges. It has gotten more difficult to read now that Cecilia can figure out the book is behind her and never tires of trying to grab it.

We had some car trouble. The Escape kept stalling. Ugh. In fact it was so bad we couldn't drive it anywhere. We did get it fixed but for $800. Talk about expensive carbon build up. I'm sure it would have been cheaper to take it to anywhere but the Ford Dealership that we did, but since it was across the street and we weren't sure how far the Escape could get without stalling, we took it there. We are also currently trying to sell James' Mustang. Say a prayer we do. It is in good condition even if it is 8 years old. It has about 20,000 fewer miles on it than the Escape which is only 5 1/2 years old. It is just silly to keep it and keep paying insurance on it when all three of us cannot fit in it.

At the same time as Bible reading I am also working on putting together a family Recipe book, typing each one's ingredients and directions one page at a time and then printing them and putting them in a binder. Some we haven't even tried yet, but they sure do look good on Food Network. I am also working on sewing a few new patches onto my Bookbag and a few other projects....I do a little here, a little there, between cooking and cleaning while Cecilia naps.

I've also researched doing a couple of day tours into D.C. We were going to do two on Monday and Tuesday but as the highs are supposed to be 98 degrees F. both days, we are postponing it temporarily. We do want to go in July though so we can see the Houses while they are session.

I'll try to update regularly but as Cecilia keeps me busy, I don't seem to get too much done too quickly.

NOTE: I apologize for any missing Fs in my posts....that key on my laptop is fickle.

Tuesday, July 04, 2006

Sooooo Tired...

Well, last night's sleep was an improvement from the previous night. But not by much. Cecilia's sleeping at night has just seemed to get worse and worse the last 2 weeks or so hitting bottom Sunday night. After the 4th or 5th time she woke up I thought it must at least be 3 or 4 am. It was 12 midnight! She let me sleep only in little spurts...not even one hour solid the whole night. I was so tired. And then she was up and ready to go at 5am. Last night was an improvement with her waking no more than once an hour. I'm still catching up though.