Friday, August 31, 2007

Pans Labyrinth

Rent this excellent film on Netflix; I'm not good at describing or reviewing movies so I'll just say it's the most creative movie I've seen in a long time. I'd say it's too violent for anyone under 15.

Monday, August 27, 2007

I Never Tire of Happy Noises

I could be throwing up (morning sickness) & on 2 hours of sleep and their happy noises will breath life into me.

So much else in regard to kids is depleting: toy arbitration, feeding, bathing ... the "bedtime battle."

But watching them play happily. The moments they romp like puppies. When they hug and share toys and chase one another, their laughter just revives my dead old bones.

Wednesday, August 22, 2007

A Few of You Asked So I'll Be Brief

[Note: This post made my husband nervous. He says I'm pontificating. He's right; but I'm only pontificating as much as a simple wife & mother is allowed; while I've read way more People magazines than Aquinas or Augustine, I base my religious understanding on the Bible, the Catechism, a handful of simple apologetics books, and conversations with those who know more than me; I share what's below because it has brought me great happiness & I hope it will spark discussions with other moms about what really matters (I can handle only so many pregnancy and potty training talks ...)] I'm rarely asked about my Catholicism. When I became Catholic, even super close family members never asked "why." Sometimes this hurt my feelings as I'd hear their assumptions after they trickled down the gossip line. Many of them thought I joined a cult. I was surprised then that they didn't yell "stop." No, they didn't yell at all. They were quiet. I don't mean to throw a pity party. Not at all. I simply mean to remark on how off-limits religion is, especially within families.

So when I am asked as I was recently via email by an old friend or when religion comes up naturally and happily as it did in the park today with a new friend (who feels like an old friend) I'm thrilled to jabber.

So I thought I'd cc you all on my response to Shannon when she asked "What led you to Catholicism?" Here goes:

You asked about our communion with the Catholic Church. Whew, what a question ... but one I'm so glad you asked. In a day in age where religion & politics are off limits, I don't usually get a chance to share about my/ our journey. You are so kind to ask. I'll try to be brief & send you a book (Rome Sweet Home by Scott Hahn) that shares a Presbyterian minister’s conversion & deals with the basic claims of the Catholic Church.

I’ll share just the tip of the iceberg: A few years ago, by God's profound grace and mercy, my husband Pete picked up a few books on Catholic apologetics (he's a doctor -- a math, science, numbers guy heavily addicted to information & getting to the bottom of every issue). At the time, we had, like typical Evangelical Gen X'ers, been through about 5 churches in only 3 years of marriage -- always looking for the "perfect fit" -- where our views of "the Church" in Scripture were made manifest in a community that fit our style.

The apologetics material (one book being Rome Sweet Home by Scott Hahn) forced us to deal with many issues but I’ll limit myself to the three tenets of the Protestant Reformation and their failings:

Sola Gratia: "By Grace Alone": Just kidding about failings; no disagreement here. This is the only tenet of the Reformation that Catholics and Protestants agree on. We are saved by grace. This is why we Baptize babies & retarded folk who are not yet able to make an act of faith -- because our Covenant with our Lord begins by Grace).

Sola Fide: "By Faith Alone": Like I said, what about the babies and retarded folk? I mean NO disrespect, but only to make a point. How can we be justified by faith alone if many are unable to have faith. Here, we partly disagree with the Reformers; in that faith is only required for salvation if the person is capable of faith.

Sola Scriptura: "By Scripture Alone": Here we completely disagree with the well-intentioned reformers. Sorry, Martin Luther, but Christ did not ascend and drop a book from the sky (“Clunk!”) and say, “Here you go folks; figure it out for yourselves.” Rather, Jesus established a visible Church (Matthew 16: 18 “I tell you that you are Peter, and on this rock I will build my church, and the gates of Hell will not overcome it.”) This Church, which from early on began calling itself “Catholicos” or “Catholic” meaning worldwide, is the only visible institution that has outlasted every civilization, power & authority for over 2000 years. Its tradition “breathed forth” the cannon of Scripture in its councils in the 3rd and 4th centuries. This point served to be the major unraveling of my Protestantism. I had always been taught that the “Word of God” was the Bible and that it alone was the “final authority” in my life on matters of faith and reason. How could I continue to believe that when I was suddenly confronted by the body who brought forth Scripture (or rather, who decided which books were in fact “Scripture.”) Furthermore, the Bible itself never so much makes such a grand claim. Yes, 2 Timothy 3: 16 asserts “All Scripture is God- breathed and is useful for teaching, rebuking, etc. …” but in 1 Timothy 3: 15, St. Paul refers to the Church as the “pillar and foundation of the truth.” And furthermore, what did folk read before Gutenberg’s printing press made the first print Bible in the 1500’s (not to mention that most of them were illiterate to boot).

So that’s the tip of the iceberg. I call it Sarah leaving Protestantism (this doesn’t mean I’ve given up the beauty of my childhood faith – the personal piety, the worship music, etc -- I take it all with me into and under the authority of the Church). The rest of the iceberg would be called Sarah becoming Catholic. This whole process began in the fall of 2003. It was two years later that I entered the Church with my first Holy Communion and Confession. To this day, however, I’m still becoming Catholic.

The process was and is difficult at times but I can’t imagine where I’d be without the support of the Church and her Sacraments in my life. My marriage is so much fuller and my prayer life has become the focus of my personal “walk.” Through the Church’s teaching I more fully realize what it means to carry one’s cross, but through her graces I’m also given the help to do so.

Much Love and thanks for your interest,


PS: (just one last thing – I can’t resist) You can see that the 3 tenets lead to the next key issue of “authority.” I’ll let you tackle that on your own with one question in mind: if your “final authority” in life is the Bible, whose interpretation of the Bible are you heeding? Your own? Your Pastor’s? Oprah’s? Dr. Phil’s? And if the Bible does not need interpretation or a final arbiter (which for me has become the One, Holy, Catholic and Apostolic body who birthed it) than why are there more than 25,000 (and counting) different Protestant denominations registered with the US government? Jesus said time and again that his people would be “one” and that the world would “know us by our love.” It only makes sense (and there is profound biblical evidence) that Christ established a visible body first on Peter and the Apostles that would grow via apostolic succession, like an acorn into an Oak tree, into what we have today: A Pope, Cardinals, Bishops, Priests and Layman working together to the glory of His Name and His Kingdom.

PSS: AHHHH!! I’m out of control but I promise this is the last one. So where does that leave you in the eyes of the Church, my dear old Protestant friend? You are considered “Separated Brethren” -- “Separate,” yes, but “Brethren” no less. We share a common Baptism. You have the truth but not the fullness of the truth. It would be as if your whole diet consisted of fries and diet coke and I simply pointed out the existence of cheeseburgers. So don’t be annoyed. You like to eat, right? Rome Sweet Home should arrive in a few days. If I haven’t completely annoyed you and if you’re interested it will be a good place to start. Be well & God Bless. Sarah

Tuesday, August 21, 2007

My Kids Are the Cutest Kids in the Whole World

And I have pictures to prove it. These have been stuck on my camera too long. Some are from the day I dressed the boys to match. I timed everything right: fed them, let them fill their daipers, changed them & kept 'em clean long enough to drive them to K-Mart for their portraits. All that effort to find the photo studio was closed for the day. So the blurry shots above will have to suffice.

Thursday, August 16, 2007

I Love Him

My baby is three today
and I know these days of baby teeth, a floppy body and public kisses
are passing quickly
so quickly
but I wish they weren't

I wish I could catch them in a jar like lightening bugs
so I squeeze him in my arms and snuggle him in my bed
and run my fingers through his golden curls again and again
and again and again
He is my Haven

Wednesday, August 15, 2007

This Mom You Know

How's that for a random Wednesday morning? ... My dear dear friend Steph called to let me know there's a post on her blog about the day we met. Check out this accolade to yours truly and Steph's psychedelic writing style.

Monday, August 13, 2007

True Feminism

Dr. Alice Von Hildebrand, alum of Fordham University in New York writes in The Privilege of Being a Woman:

"The new age philosophy of feminism, in waging war on femininity, is in fact waging war on Christianity. For in the divine plan both are intimately linked. Not socialism, as Simone de Beauvoir believed, but Christ is the great ally of women. Modern ideology wages war on the Gospel which teaches humility and that those who lower themselves will be exalted ... Christianity teaches that exterior feats are dust and ashes in God's sight. We shall be judged not according to our "performance" in the secular world, but according to our humility and charity ... One thing is certain: When the time has come [Apocolypse], nothing which is man-made will subsist. One day, all human accomplishments will be reduced to a pile of ashes. But every single child to whom a woman has given birth will live forever, for he has been given an immortal soul,made to God's image and likeness..."

Thursday, August 9, 2007

The Visitation

I was prompted to take the test I mentioned a few days back (see below) after visiting Rose who told me she was expecting. She looked at me with eyes aglow. I could tell she was hoping I had some news myself.

I remember thinking, "Poor girl, I am so not pregnant ..."

The reason I thought that is that my other two pregnancies were wracked with severe nausea and I've been feeling great.

So I came home and took a test in the off chance I was wrong. And I was.

I feel so blessed to share this time with Rose. I always think of her and a few other cherished gals (you know who you are) when I meditate on the Visitation as the fruit of the mystery is friendship. I always ponder how powerful friendship can be. How God uses it again and again to pour His Gospel and his graces in our lives.

God Bless you, Rose. You're throwing up and I'm not (yet) --- hah hah hah! (I don't think Mary and Elizabeth said such things to one another ...)

Monday, August 6, 2007

I Passed My Test!

What's the deal? ... I write a post on the Duggars (see below) and three days later -- bamm -- I pass a test with flying colors -- TWO pink lines!!!

What can I say -- I'm excited, nervous, scared, happy and excited, nervous, scared and happy.

So say a prayer for this little soul. And another for the soul within her.

Friday, August 3, 2007

I Dig You Duggars

I'm not crazy about their 80's waterfall bangs but other than that I think our culture has a thing or two to learn from the Duggars who welcomed baby 17 yesterday.

Did you know they are debt free? Did you know they live in a custom- built, 7,000 square foot home? Did you know dad has been successful enough with his own business to be home a good amount? Did you know mom has raised the kids to be selfless enough to pitch in and even cook a few nights a week?

And yes, did you know that after 4 years of contracepting, they had a child, experienced the miracle of life and decided to "trust God with their family size?"

I scoff. I snicker. I get grossed out. Even though I know all these emotions don't jive with my "beliefs." I still view kids and dependent creatures as a pain (my culture raised me to do so).

Why is it that even we "Christian" folk diss the Duggars (just listen to the moms at the park talk), but then we'll laud the single, divorced mom who fights for her career, throws her kids in daycare and finds herself herself herself again and again?

From what I gather, Michelle and Jim Bob (it has to be "Jim Bob") are doing a better job raising their 17 kids than most are doing with their 1.5.

And while I don't daydream about raising a football team myself, I do concur that the natural state for a happy marriage is one of fertility rather than sterility. I'm purposely not making any major statements on the ethics behind family planning as that is a pandora's box too big for this 2 cents.

I just thought I'd share the scary thought that perhaps in their smiling faces the Duggars have got it all figured out. And while we have better hair -- way better hair -- we're the quacks.

Thursday, August 2, 2007

An R.S.V.P. to Every Annoying "Come to My House and Buy Crap From Me Cause You Feel Guilty" Party

Here's what I said: "I, uh can't cause I uh have a thing at a thing; a place to be somewhere that night cause it's hmm, [cough cough], hmm... a real ... hmm ..."

Here's what I meant: "AAAAAHHHHHH!!!!! I hate that shit!!! No, I don't want to buy a$20 candle in your living room that I could spend $0.50 on at K Mart. Don't rip me off just cause you're a low-cash-flow-stay-at-home-mom trying to make money off low-cash- flow-stay-at-home-moms. I nickle and dime the best deals at ALDI; why are you using our relationship to guilt me into turning over my milk money for Mary Kay, Tupperware, Pampered Chef and AVON???!!! I hate it all -- nay I DESPISE it all.

Feelings hurt? I'm not sorry as all you representatives (and you know who you are) absolutely deserve it. But I do have a great idea for revenge. Get me back by not inviting me to your next sale's event (I think you call them "parties").