Friday, April 27, 2012

House Hunting Envy

          So there are about 4 of us married couples here who are basically just starting out in our "grown-up lives".  It's been nice, being able to hang out with other young married people, all of whom have been married for 2 years or fewer and just beginning to grow their families.  Most of us wives have been dreaming of houses for a while now, though our searches have been mostly futile, half of us not being in a position to actually buy, and the other half unable to find something which both husband and wife agree upon.  
          That is, up until about a week ago.  Both the couples who were in a spot to buy a house actually found ones they liked, and made offers on:  one was accepted, and the other is waiting for the owner's approval!  Basically all in the same week!  Crazy, but awesome at the same time.  Except it leaves me feeling like we need one too, and why is it we can't have one again?  Oh, yeah, we don't have the money.  Sometimes it is difficult to remember that we are the "young" couple in the group, only been married for 8 months, and that my husband has only been out of school and working for 10 months.  Everyone else has been out of school and working for quite a bit longer than we have.  Remembering our "youth" is kinda hard for me since I have always been one of the older kids:  I'm at least a year older than most all of my friends from home and school, I'm the oldest child in my family, and for the most part one of the oldest amongst the cousins as well.  I'm not used to being "not quite there yet".  
          For the most part, I think I am finally at a place in myself where I am actually quite happy in this apartment.  So it only took me about 7 months to get used to being cooped up and without a yard.  It still happened - I like it here, I am finally content.  So content, in fact, that I'm not sure I really want to move anytime soon, even with the allure of a yard.  I have such a wonderful life here now:  the Church is right across the street, the store is 2 minutes down the road, our friends are all within a 5 minute drive (even the houses they are interested in are that close), we all play soccer right up the street...  My heart is actually feeling at peace, finally.  
          Until I go looking at houses again...  Which I did today.  Minor mistake.  But overall, I don't feel such a pull, need, desire for one as I did in October.  Yes, a house still holds all the freedom I could want, especially the one we both actually decided we could possibly live with (darn money issue), but I no longer feel the wild, illogical need for one anymore.  I can actually say to our friends "Congratulations!" and have it ring with the fullness of joy that such sentiment ought to have, with not even the slightest bit of jealousy or envy bittering the taste.  Our time will come, just as it did with Baby Chick, and will continue to come with every other life decision we face.  

Wednesday, April 18, 2012

Bird Notice, Episode 1: Obtain the Avian

          So we finally did it, broke down and got a pet.  I feel kinda bad about it, since it is mostly for my amusement that we got Michael Weston, but then again I don't.  Though having Michael does make it a little bit more difficult to go away overnight, but thankfully we don't really have much vacation time to spread about this year.  (We are being selfish and taking a whole week for ourselves, then trying to split  3 days between family in OH and NH.)  Anyway, there were some guilt twinges concerning having taken him away from all the other parakeets in the pet store, and listening to him try and call to the outside birds from his cage, but my more callous side is finally winning out, and instead of feeling bad that he wants to escape out the window, I find it incredibly amusing how he runs back and forth on the sill...  Okay, so it is still kinda pitiful to watch.  Mostly I'm just glad to see him doing something other than just sitting there...
Michael Weston - my new companion.
   We got Michael sometime over a month ago.  We agonized over what to name him for a while, and eventually settled on Michael Weston - yes, like the main character from the T.V. series "Burn Notice".  Kinda lame, I know.  But it was cool at the time.  Anyway, we call him Michael, mostly.  For just about the whole first month, he was about as dull to watch as a box of rocks.  What kind of parakeet just sits on that one branch all day long, and never makes a peep?  Not one single chirp?  Guess it just took him a little time to get used to us and the place.  He was never very skittish, though he did and still does much prefer his cage to the great wide world of our little apartment.  Gradually, though, he began to sing - but only when the water was running.  Or when violent computer games were being played.  Or when there was basically any noise going on that prevented us from actually hearing him.  Perhaps he was really shy.  I don't know.  But for a bird that we got specifically so he could liven the place up, he was pretty darn boring.
          To top it all off, the parakeet care suggestions call for at least a half an hour of interaction a day, to keep their "curious minds" satisfied.  Right.  Interact with this bird which doesn't do a thing.  Hah.  Well, I would take him out, and have him help me do the dishes and such little things as that when I could without fear of scalding him to death or something.  One day I decided to put him on the windowsill at an open window, and *ka-BOOM!*  Out came such great noise and activity from this little bird that it was kinda shocking!  He had discovered the outside birds, and was quite desperate to communicate with them, and seeing his desperation broke my heart a tiny bit, but I got over it.  Mostly.  So now he gets to spend quite a bit of time on the windowsill when the weather is nice, and he has figured out how to get back to his cage (which is right by the window) when he wants to, sometimes sings spontaneously (and quietly) to himself now, and actually moves around in his cage of his own volition - major improvements, in my eyes, at least.  Though he still won't play with any of the toys we so thoughtfully picked out for him...
          All in all, I'm really glad we have him.  No, he's no fluffy puppy, and isn't much good for snuggling with, but he is amusing and does give me some distraction during my frequent alone hours.  Theoretically, if I talk to him enough, he might even start talking back, so we could pretend, at least, to hold a conversation.  Though I'm going to try really hard to prevent him from learning his name - a bird constantly telling itself hello and pretty bird is something I find to be annoying.  Anyhow, I'm hungry again, and should go in search of food.  Baby Chick and my second checkup is on Friday, and I don't want to get in trouble for not eating enough....  

Tuesday, April 10, 2012

Tears Fall Where Words Fail

          And Action Needs To Be Taken.  Even if all one can do at the moment is pray and spread the word.  I don't know that there is much more than that that I can do at the moment, but every little bit helps, as they say.
          Leila Miller, over at Little Catholic Bubble, has recently taken upon herself the cause of Reece's Rainbow and bringing orphans with Down's from around the world to good homes.  Many of these children in other countries do not have even slightly respectable care in the orphanages/homes that they are placed in and there is often a very short period during which they are adoptable, and after which they are placed in mental hospitals for the rest of their lives, starting as early as age 5.  Yes, you read that right:  5 year olds must move to an adult mental institution, and once they move they are no longer available for adoption.  You can read about Malcom and his story, and see if it doesn't break your heart.  Leila's second blog, dedicated solely to spreading the word about these children is Orphan Report, and is worth all the heartache of seeing the featured children.  The more people who go and see, the better chance these children have of living in a loving home.
          Further, there is a give-away over at No Greater Joy Mom to help raise money to bring 14 year old Faith home.  Faith is currently in an orphanage in Bulgaria, called Pleven which is currently being investigated for the maltreatment of the children there:  Faith herself only weighs 14 lbs. and her muscles have atrophied due to the neglectful conditions she has been surviving under.  Most all of the prizes have been donated for such a purpose, so you don't have to worry that your contributions aren't going to be making it into Faith's fund.  
          As for the disgrace called Pleven, you can read about it here at The Blessing of Verity.  There isn't much more left to say, other than GO.  LOOK. READ.  PRAY!!!  Then act as you see fit.  

Those Pesky Emotions!

         Yesterday was, overall, a rather physically good day.  Unfortunately, my emotions decided that they were just going to run amok from the get-go, and did their best to ruin things.  There were brief moments when they seemed to be succeeding, but in the end, happiness won out and I went to bed feeling much happier than I had when I got out of it.  
          Waking up crying is most certainly on my list of things not to do, and when one is as good at controlling (read:  bottling) their emotions as I once was, barely-awake tears are rather disconcerting.  Fortunately there weren't too many of them, so I ended up wandering the grocery store in search of ingredients for dinner in a melancholy fog, rather than a melancholy rain.  I managed to do alright throwing supper together (bbq chicken in the crock-pot) and somehow made it to the the lunch meal.  At the end of which I then proceeded to let loose such a flow of unwarranted waterworks it was almost shameful.  Of course, anytime I cry my dear husband becomes concerned and is then loathe to leave me in such a state.   But, as he did have to return to work and the tears were quite irrational, there was nothing much he could do to stem the flow short of staying home, which was not an option.  Life must continue on, whether I am bawling or not.  
          I did manage to dry my eyes a bit, and then my brother was able to call earlier than I had expected, which was a wonderful surprise.  I haven't talked to him for quite a while, and it was a wonderful thing to hear about how his life is progressing, the classes he is taking, and how he is striving to increase his protein intake too.  (In another post, hopefully coming soon, I plan on gushing about my siblings.  I am just so proud of how they are growing up!)  After talking with him, I grabbed some strawberries and blueberries (happy fruit) as a pre-soccer snack, then my husband and I headed off to Monday Night Soccer.  Soccer was great; running and playing sports is one of the better pick-me-ups I know for me.  Though I do have to tone my performance down a little because I am expecting, but since we play on average for about 2 hours straight, I don't mind so much.  It is kinda fun being the only one who hasn't completely worn themselves out by the last half hour - makes me look good playing against the exhausted.  ;)  
         The chicken turned out great, and after the busy and tiring weekend we had, it was nice to just be able to relax at home with my husband.  So, in spite of those pesky emotions, I managed to have quite a wonderful day, which is really nice to be able to say, after seeming to spend the past three months either breaking down in some way, or recovering from something.  I am still tired, but I don't think I will ever recover from that...  Though I have heard that sleep may eventually be mine again, some years after children are grown....  :)

Friday, April 6, 2012

The Passion of the Christ

His the doom
Ours the mirth
when He came down to earth
Flower of Jesse's tree
born on earth to save us
Him the Father gave us.
Taken from a song I know as Cantus, which is actually more of a Christmas carol, 
but I find it to be fitting insofar as it addresses the ultimate purpose of Christ's birth.

          Such was running through my mind as we watched The Passion of the Christ.  There were quite a few things that struck me, though unfortunately most of them are forgotten now.  A few things were given a deeper meaning, thanks to the Lenten bible studies some friends of ours hosted - such as how the 30 pieces of silver was the price of a slave who was impaled; and how the teachings of Christ were really, truly radical in his time, that His listeners had never heard anything like it before.  For our part, we grow up knowing the story, even if we are not all Christians ourselves, but everyone knows the story of Jesus, everyone knows what His most basic teachings were - back then no one did.  No one knew how the story ended, or that they were even in a story at all, let alone a story that would be known by the majority of the world's population in millenia to come.  
          Christ was betrayed by a kiss, a symbol of love that was in this case completely a lie, and it struck me how similarity between this action and the actions of many today, who give away symbols of love never intending for them to signify love at all.  So many people struggle to find love and acceptance in the symbols, only to be deceived and suffer more grief and and heartbreak as a result.
          Judas could have, would have been forgiven, if he only sought to ask.  His betrayal is no more heinous than our betrayals, our sins that we commit now.  Each and every sin is a betrayal of the love and friendship of God, and yet He will forgive all, so long as we come to Him with a penitential and contrite heart.  As far as the movie goes, Judas hung  himself with not only a sin against the New Covenant, despair, on his soul, but also a sin against the Old:  the rope was taken from a dead thing, and to touch a dead thing was considered to make a man himself unclean and unworthy before the sight of God.
          Simon of Cyrene, in the movie, proclaims that he is innocent, and pressed into carrying the cross of the guilty.  Such words are soaked in irony:  it was Christ Himself who was innocent, and took upon Himself the weight and guilt of our sins so that we might not die, that Simon might not die.  Christ was carrying to Calvary Simon's sins, and Simon was blessed, so blessed, to be able to help Christ carry the load.  Simon was literally able to shoulder the Cross and help ease the burden of his sins on the shoulders of Christ.  Every time we, even in our day and age, willingly shoulder our cross we help to ease the suffering of Christ.  How blessed was Simon, to be able to actually see the result!
Is airiu!
Who hangs from yonder passion tree?
Your Son, dear Mother, 
do you not know Me?

Judas, James and John
Have you seen my only Son?
Ochon!  My eyes are blind!
Ochon!  My heart is wrung!
More from Cantus.

          What to say of Mary, and her participation in the Passion of her Son?  Her pain hit a more personal vein this viewing, knowing that I am also a mother, and though my child most likely will not suffer such as Christ did, I know they will have crosses of their own to bear, and there will be nothing I can do to help them.  Mary's own Flesh was most surely crucified that day on Calvary; and she needed the redemption of this sacrifice as well. For if Christ were not to have come into the world, she would not have been immaculately conceived, and would have been born into original sin like the rest of us.  
           For the purposes of the movie, the "devil" is seen across the street during the Way of the Cross by our Blessed Lady, and it occurred to me that she must have been tempted, too.  And, though she was the most perfect human being to walk the earth, she could have fallen, just as Adam and Eve before her fell.  All it would have required was for her to say "No, Lord, I cannot, will not go through this suffering.  Give unto You my only Child?  My Son, whom You have given me?  I cannot; I will not."  For her fiat was not just a "yes" to bearing the Son of God, it was also an affirmation that she would partake of His life and follow it until the end.  In her fiat she said "yes" to raising the Son; "yes" to following His teachings; "yes" to walking with Him wear He went; "yes" to being with Him in His Passion; "yes" to being with Him at His most inhumane death.  There are a couple of times in the movie, when it seems as though Christ might not have the strength to pick Himself up and carry on - then He sees His Mother, willing along with Himself:  "Not my will, but Thine, O Lord."

Ia airiu agus ochon!
Sad I am 'til You return,
to have You at the break of dawn!
Ochon airiu!  Without You!

          There is much suffering, pain, anguish, and loneliness which was experienced that first Good Friday, and many understandably seek to shrink back, run, deny like the Apostles did, away from the Truth that was present that day, and is still present today.  But, as our good Fr. Fasano says:  "You cannot come to Easter Sunday without first passing through Good Friday."  Even in the midst of all their despair, the Apostles were left with a little bit of hope, though perhaps they did not understand fully until the day of the Resurrection.  So, too, are we also left with hope, looking to the rising Son, from whom is all salvation.   

Monday, April 2, 2012

Ugh! Not *That Feeling* Again.....Which Then Turned Into Deep Thoughts

          For the most part, feeling nasty physically seems to be gone.  Though I think it has been replaced with:  coughing too deep (which really isn't deep at all) turns on the gag reflex (which is very difficult to turn off again), and thus in turn becomes a need to evacuate the stomach contents (an impulse which I have so far found impossible to stop, though I do try my best...).  Now, this really isn't so bad, and is quite a huge improvement, but that little part of me that wishes it were all over with still pipes up now and then.
          On the other hand, there is a part of me that is somewhat glad to still be having such physical issues.  That little worrier part of me, that reads "sickness = still pregnant = baby fine".  I know such, um, logic is really not very rational, but for that part of me, it is a comfort.  I'm only at 13 weeks (11 baby weeks), so there are really no other physical signs indicating that I am pregnant - I'm not showing, I haven't gained much weight at all, Baby Chick is still too small for me to feel movement.  "Morning sickness" is the only thing I have that lets me know week by week, day by day, that things are still fine with the baby, that I haven't somehow lost my child and just don't know it yet.  I know it's all rather irrational, and quite possibly downright silly, but I can't help it.    
          I guess it's probably because I really want this, so much more than I had ever thought possible.  I've said before, the whole "being a Mom" thing was never really one of my dreams growing up - I was more of a "let's start a horse ranch out in the middle of nowhere" type.  But the more I babysit, and the more I hang around with friends who have babies, the more I am beginning to realize that this is what I am made for.  I find much fulfillment in helping, teaching, and taking care of people, and that is what raising children is all about:  helping, teaching, and taking care of people!  Guiding, nurturing them as they grow and seeing the amazing people they grow up to be!  How awesome is that?  
          I know I could do great things for the world, if I chose a different life and really put my mind to it.  But I am only one woman, and my reach is extremely limited.  Ah!  If I were to raise 7 children to successful adulthood, how much more vast would be the works which could be done!  7 times the difference I could have made, and I would have the pleasure and satisfaction (yes, I'm a wee bit prideful) of saying:  "Those are my children; I taught them the basics of all they know!"  How enticing it is to do great things, and have renown; but how much better to be the mother of such a person!

Well, that's my thinking, at least.