Thursday, January 31, 2008

Winter With Babies: An Acquired Gift & Skill

My skin hurts for lack of sun.

And February isn't even here yet. February -- the longest month of the year. Longest. It lasts years in this mountainous, Pennsylvania town. Years and years and years and years.

Am I gloomy? Sounds like it. I'm not and complaining was not the intention of this post. Not at all.

I'm actually doing pretty well as I've been congratulating myself lately on this being my best winter as a stay-at-home mom. I've had three now and the past ones left me scurrying -- "I've got to get out! out! out!; Oh good, I need napkins; lets go to the store; or the laundrymat to watch other peoples dryers dry towels and blankets and socks." (we actually did that last winter when Haven was obsessed with "Elmo's Wash & Dry" -- and yes, I own a washing machine).

Don't get me wrong; I'm still all about coming up with creative winter outings but I sense myself needing less of them and this makes me glad. I can only chalk this up to grace. As, let's face it, coming up with things to do in a town sans a mall, McDonald's playland or a grandma's house is pretty tough.

So we've done alot of dancing. Haven loves Live 365 -- I'm proud to say he's probably the only 3-year-old who demands Rag Time and Bluegrass. We sing. We bake. We play with trains. For hours. We jump on furniture and watch the snow fall.

I'm thinking about some sort of sewing project of sorts but can't really come up with one. I know; I'll save that for February.

Monday, January 21, 2008

Saved Through Childbearing

I'm no theologian. But there's a verse I've grown to love in the past few years. St. Paul writes in I Timothy 2:15 that "women will by saved through childbearing."

I was raised Protestant in many church circles that preached a person was "saved" by grace, by simply "believing" in Christ. This could be a one time thing. Of course it was to one's benefit to "walk with the Lord." That this was proof of truly "being saved." But not completely necessary.

I became Catholic as an adult and the view of salvation here is a bit different. Without delving into catechesis, we're still saved by grace but this salvation must be "worked out with fear and trembling." (also St. Paul -- Philippians 2:12) In short, one's salvation and sanctification begin with Baptism and are carried on in faith throughout one's life. During which, if we live by the laws God has revealed to us through his Church we can have great confidence in "being saved" on that final judgement day. So in short, a Catholic should be saved 3 times -- 1. at Baptism 2. Presently -- walking with the Lord 3. Final Judgement.

My point here is not a Sunday school lesson or to talk about the differences between Protestants and Catholics (or their similarities -- as there are many) but to simply celebrate a verse. A verse that made no sense to me before I learned that salvation and sanctification were one. Not only did the verse not make sense. I found it a bit nasty and strange.

We work out our salvation everyday. In what we suffer. In what we celebrate. In how we unite our lives and bend our wills to our risen Lord. Our Mother Church calls for our participation in this work of salvation through prayer, works of charity, study and acts of penance. However, St. Paul wrote that "women would be saved through childbearing."

I'd like to think he must have been keenly familiar with the demands of motherhood. Unlike some modern priests who seem so clueless to my needs as I storm out of mass searching for a quiet place to nurse, I'd like to think St. Paul felt my pain & that he wrote such a benediction after spending time with a young mom and her chicks - a flutter with their needs. As if to say "that's it, girl. that's more than enough. that diaper changing. those sleepless nights. the teething toddler. those babies are plenty of fodder for sin purging. plenty and then some. and then some more."

I wonder if the verse would not translate better to the vernacular as "child rearing." But then like I said I'm no theologian. So I'll close with a quote from a dad of 10 who attended my old parish: "Don't think of changing diapers as a chore but realize this work is the very salvation of your soul." And it is. And it's my joy. And it's my cross. And I wouldn't trade it for the world.

Saturday, January 12, 2008


My little brother recently shared Improv Everywhere with me (note: scroll down to watch the video). I'm dying to start a chapter in my neighborhood.

Playgroup moms, listen up: Our first mission: Asa Packer Mansion Museum Tour / This Sunday / 2p.m. / Direct all questions to the tour guide in Pig Latin, dress in plaid and spin in slow circular movements every quarter hour ...

Sunday, January 6, 2008


Last night, on the Eve of the Feast of the Epiphany (the day the three wise men came bearing gifts to the Child), Pete and I watched The Nativity Story.

I'd like to think God must have had this in mind for us as the depiction of the three kings is what was most meaningful to me.

They were not God's chosen people -- Jews like Mary and Joseph. But God used them. He worked through them to point man toward Himself.

They were wealthy, yet found themselves worshipping the Baby King beside poor sheppards. Without giving away too much of the film, Mary speaks the blessing, "He is a gift to us all."

I was struck again by how this whole world is God's and how he uses all kinds of people to carry out his plans. He used these wealthy, apparently pagan, astrologers to celebrate his arrival.

And today He still uses all of creation to declare his glory -- sometimes even movies made in Hollywood -- one I highly recommend.