Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Oh Dear

It's been a while since I've posted last, hasn't it? Lots of stuff going on lately. First of all...

George is going to be a big brother! Sean and I are so excited, and the baby is due on April 15th. Yes, Tax Day. I have been sick the entire 11 weeks so far with 24/7 "morning" sickness and have lost 10 lbs due to not being able to eat. Hopefully it will get better soon.

I am still working at George's daycare, not much to say here except that I'm one of the bus drivers, AND I get to (am forced to?) drive the bus with no A/C and a bad transmission. Yes, the pregnant woman (and they know I'm preggers) is driving the stifling hot bus on the longest run. Oh well, what doesn't kill me makes me stronger, right? Right?

I learned of a job opportunity last week through my mother-in-law that inspired me to send in my resume. They apparently liked the resume and asked for a sample of my work. It's been three business days since I sent it to them, and still haven't heard anything back from the recruiter. I pray that if it is God's will for me to have the job, so be it, but that He give me the grace and strength to accept the outcome.

And in other news, a tree fell into the bedroom of my sister's apartment Monday night. She and her family are okay. Red Cross put them up for the night and they moved into another unit the next day. Please keep her and her family in your prayers, that would be a heck of an experience for anyone.

Thursday, May 13, 2010

Uh Oh

Holy cow it's May and I haven't posted on my blog in over a month! My, how time is fun when you're having flies.

Some new developments to update, I have a job for the summer as a school-age teacher for my son's daycare! Now if I can just find a regular teaching job for next year...

Anyway, I must be getting back to my resume. Hope to post something more substantial soon.

Wednesday, March 31, 2010

My Dog is the Town Slut (and Other Pearls of Wisdom)

Okay, the title doesn't have much to do with the post except to say that although I was guaranteed she was fixed when we adopted her, she turns out to be quite fertile and in heat.

I was driving home today listening to Shop Vac by JoCo, when I began to remember (for some strange unrelated reason) the show Home Improvement. Last year I began to watch the series on DVR mostly in order, and discovered something that I didn't realize when the episodes were was a good show!

Please bear with me for a moment, I'm not talking about the fandom obsession with Jonathon Taylor Thomas that was all the rage when I was a pre-teen, nor am I necessarily talking about the acting or improbable situations. I was instead struck by how down-to-earth and realistic the family dynamics were. In most "family" comedies today the main male character (sometimes the husband but more often than not a live-in boyfriend, ugh) is portrayed as just plain dumb with no redeeming qualities.

Tim Taylor, however, was more. He was a show-off and pulled stupid stunts, sure. I think that's indicative of many guys. But he was first and foremost a husband and strong father. He was involved in his children's lives, stuck with his wife through thick and thin, and wasn't afraid to do what was right for his family. In addition, he was smart and understood quite often what his sage-like neighbor, Wilson, was advising even if he couldn't paraphrase very well. Something else I always liked was that he was portrayed as a "manly-man", not some wimpy effeminate, androgynous, pussy-whipped wanna-be girlie-man.

Besides the strong main male character, the other thing Home Improvement had going for it was the strong family support. Each member worked to build up the family without going overboard (7th Heaven, anyone?), and everyone had a definitive role that was flexible over time. When faced with an outside problem they often banded together in a united front.

Why can't television today have similar qualities?

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

Children In Worship

Below is an excerpt from the website for St. Andrew's Anglican - Grand Prairie:

Why Children in Worship?

John Westerhoff, a leading educator in the Episcopal Church believes that children are necessary in worship.

Westerhoff believes that faith is "caught" not "taught" and what better way for children to know what faith is all about than to be a full part of the community.

When a child is baptized in our midst and made a member of the church of Christ, the adults of the congregation promise to be active in nurturing that child's faith. We need to work together to nurture our children in their faith and to be nurtured by them in return. Children give us the gift of trust and a fresh point of view; adults can share the gift of acceptance, experience and the wisdom of the church through the ages.

May we Suggest:

  • Relax! God put the wiggle in children … don't feel you have to suppress it in God's house.
  • Use a gentle touch: an arm around your child's shoulder, your hand in his/hers to give reassurance and appropriate attention.
  • Explain quietly the parts of the service.
  • Help your child find the pages in the prayer book. It is okay if they stand on the pew to see and sing.
  • Do not be distressed if your child does not find the proper page.
  • Sing the hymns, pray and voice the responses. Children learn good behavior in church by copying yours.
  • Always remember that the way we welcome children in church directly affects the way they respond to church, God and Christ. Let them know that they are at home in this liturgy of praise and thanksgiving.
Ah, what a relief it is to visit a church like this. Almost all of these guidelines can be applied to toddlers, the exception being helping them find the pages in the prayer book since they can't read yet.

The part that struck me the most was the reminder that we ALL vow to be active in nourishing the candidate's faith during a baptism. This goes along with the last of the guidelines that reminds us that "the way we welcome children in church directly affects the way they respond to church."

Involving George in church is one of my biggest concerns right now with his development. Toddlerhood is the perfect age to introduce a child to the wonders of Christ and His church. This is the age where children begin to learn what is appropriate behavior and make associations. For example, just the other night I was reading George his board-book Bible at bedtime when he pointed to the crucifix hanging on his wall. This being Lent, I thought it was an appropriate time to introduce the basic concepts of the Cross, so I got the crucifix down and let him hold it and examine it. First he pointed out where Jesus' feet and hands were, then began to finger the nails. I explained to him that Jesus had a boo-boo where he was nailed to the cross, and George pointed to a scratch on his own leg and said "boo-boo?"
What a wonderful opportunity to explain that Jesus was hurt, nailed to the Cross....and then opening up his picture book to the Resurrection, I showed him that Jesus rose from the dead! Obviously the concept of the Resurrection is a bit much for a two-year old to handle, but a child that young can still begin to understand what I then explained to George...

When we do something bad, it makes Jesus sad. But He died on the Cross and rose from the dead so that when we tell him we're sorry, he forgives us. Just like when you misbehave, I'm sad. But when you tell me you're sorry, it makes me happy and I give you a kiss.

After this, George took the crucifix and rubbed it on his leg saying "no boo-boo." I had to hold my breath to keep from laughing. Hey, he's starting to understand, right?

*On a bit of a side note, St. Andrew's is carpeted which helps a great deal with the acoustic problem of George's naturally loud voice (a gift he inherited from me, I'm afraid).

**The picture is courtesy Fr. Timothy Matkin

Thursday, March 11, 2010

7 Quick Takes Friday

7 Quick Takes is hosted by Jen @ Conversion Diary.

I have discovered that I am at peace with my decision to join the Roman Catholic church.

Corgis are loud. And ferocious. Well, at least that's what they want you to think.

I finally found a mommy group in this area and am so excited about it.

My Lenten rule has helped me to lose 7 lbs so far. Praise God!

Apparently, I have a creepy house. My mother-in-law freaks out every time she stays with us, jumping at every noise. Tonight, our babysitter nearly called the cops because the wind was causing our canopy on the back porch to creak. Of course, I must also admit that the first time I heard the ice maker drop ice in the middle of the night (empty house, tile floor, new fridge, and we were sleeping on air mattresses in the dining room) I thought it was a gunshot.

Speaking of creepy houses, for some reason as I'm typing this I'm getting all sorts of shivers down my spine. And I keep looking towards the window expecting to see a person standing there...2nd story.

The best news of all, I'm subbing for GPISD! I'm finding subbing to be somewhat rewarding, and am looking forward even more to being a permanent teacher. Now if I could only find a job.

Saturday, March 6, 2010

Tiber Swim Team '10

Here I come!

As some of you know, I have been in a period of discernment for the last couple of years to figure out if God is calling me to Rome or if I'm just imagining it. I finally got my answer today. Many things have led up to this decision, and it is not a decision I make lightly. I will happily explain more as time goes on, but suffice it to say that I feel I need to make my decision known.

Also, if anyone in the Grand Prairie area (or nearby cities) could recommend a conservative, child-friendly, non-happy clappy Catholic parish, please let me know!

May the blessing of God be upon you.

Monday, February 22, 2010

Suffer Little Children to Come to Me

Remember back when I was talking about bad experiences with certain people in church and their attitude toward children during Mass? Well, one of those "Church Ladies" is doing it again.

Since it's been a while, let me try to explain what we have been doing in regards to getting George to behave during Mass. First of all, we have been centering our daily routines around God. Every meal we begin with Grace, "God Our Father" sung to the tune of Frère Jacques. Our bedtime routine ends with the Lord's Prayer, a specific family prayer, and Now I Lay Me Down To Sleep. After each prayer he exclaims loudly "NAMEN!" Before prayers we read a children's bible board book and he points to all of the pictures for me to name. Now he knows who Jesus is, and will even say "Jeee-us" when I point to the crucifix that hangs on his wall.

Suffice it to say that I am doing my darndest to get my kid church-oriented. Keep in mind, however, that he is a toddler. He has the attention span of a gnat. We are no longer keeping him in the nursery during the first part of the service, instead I take him to the Children's Liturgy where the parish children go to hear a kid-oriented sermon and are given the ability to participate in discussion. Generally, the liturgy is for 3+, but I feel that if he just stays in the nursery he will begin to think that church is just another place to play.

This last Sunday, I was shocked and amazed. George sat in the small pew with two other preschoolers quietly during most of the Children's Liturgy. After about a month of going, he is starting to get the idea that he is expected to be still and quiet for the most part, although certainly no one will chastise him for wriggling a bit. I thought to myself "Great! My efforts are paying off and George is beginning to understand how important this is!"

Then we went back to the church for the Holy Eucharist. For the most part, he stayed in our pew, playing with a pencil and drawing on a visitor's card. Every time the congregation would respond with "Amen" he would call out "NAMEN!" for the next five seconds or so, much to the obvious delight of the parishioners sitting around us. Who wouldn't enjoy seeing a 2 year old praise God? When our turn came to go up for communion my independent little boy decided he didn't want any "help" and, as he often does, he squealed in protest when I picked him up and carried him to the communion rail. A couple of minor protests that are easily squelched, and a couple of loud "DADDY!"s when he would see Sean (serving as an acolyte).

I was pretty pleased with his behavior because it is a huge step up from how he used to be during church. He follows along to the best of his ability and even sings his heart out during the hymns, not that he's singing what everyone else is singing, but I am constantly seeing grins from others when he does it.

My sweet little boy is praising the Lord, and my heart leaps with joy when he does. I know then that I am doing something right.

Then it happened. I was sitting in the pew waiting for the crowd to clear out after the service and talking with a few friends when the "Church Lady" came by and interrupted us. Quite loudly she "informed" me that she didn't want to hear my kid screaming and hollering during church and that's why there's a 'cry room'. Mind you, the altar candles had not yet been extinguished and there was a throng of people in line behind her, well within earshot. I tried to explain that George is just making a joyful noise for God and singing along with the hymns. She continued to condescendingly berate me for not removing my child from the sanctuary the instant he makes a noise. I was growing visibly upset and feeling quite embarrassed when someone asked me what was wrong. This "Church Lady" turned to them and said "Oh, she's just getting mad because I told her she needs to keep her kid quiet during church."

The whole time, the friends I had been talking to sat there with open mouths completely dumbfounded by her words. I honestly think everyone nearby was too shocked to say anything. I tried every technique I could think of to calm myself and nothing worked. I finally lost it and told her that this was the service that most of the young children of the parish attended and if she didn't like the noise children make then she was more than welcome to attend another service time. Probably not the best response, but I couldn't even think straight and was nearly sick to my stomach I was so upset.

After a while, my hurt and embarrassment turned to anger. What right did this woman have? If I sat in the cry room (which has no working speakers anymore) every time George made a noise, I might as well not come to church. This is the attitude that keeps young people away from the church. I have never seen her act this way to ANY other parents of young children (some of whom are a bit more rambunctious than George). That old bat just hates me and my family!

Then after much more thought, prayer, and an afternoon spent mowing the lawn (yard work is a good time for thinking and talking to God!), I came to the conclusion that this "Church Lady" must have been having a really rough day. I know she has had some bad health problems in the last year, and she probably needs God's grace more than I do right now.

Now I am including her in my (and George's) prayers these next couple of weeks. If you get a chance, please pray for her too. Call her "J" if you need a name.

Thursday, February 4, 2010

A Much Needed Update

Well, it has been a while since my last post, and much has been going on. George is now 2, Sean has a new job, and I have some sad news to report.

My much beloved cat, Lily, passed away on December 30th, 2009. She was approximately 15 years old and had apparently been suffering from renal failure. I made the heartbreaking decision to have her euthanized to end her obvious painful suffering. She had gotten to the point where she refused to eat or drink anything and had lost over half of her body weight. I could graze my fingers lightly over her fur and feel every bone in her back at that point. She slept most of the time but complained when picked up and suffered from major incontinence. Having dealt with her declining health for a while, I knew something had to be done. After much internal struggle with my easily guilted conscience, we took her to the vet's office and I held her as she drifted peacefully into sleep and then death.

I cannot begin to explain how traumatic it is to put your beloved and faithful friend to sleep and then be with them as they die. It has been over a month since she left us and I still tear up over her death. However, I wouldn't have done it any other way. I felt that I needed to be with her, that the last thing she saw was me soothing and loving her. I think most non-pet people don't understand that a pet owner grieves for a lost pet as much as they would grieve over a deceased family member. But if you think of it in the sense that this creature has been a companion for many years (in most cases), has lived with the person, and enjoyed a functional, loving relationship (the human provides food, shelter, and kindness while the animal provides unconditional love, comfort and warmth in return), then it makes sense to grieve for the loss.

Lily had lived with Sean and me for our entire married life and before, she slept on our bed every night, and would often follow me around the house throughout the day, even in the bathroom which I found a bit disturbing. I counted her as one of my best friends, and it was a comfort to know I could get stressful problems off of my chest without having to worry that she would break my confidence.

Now she is gone, and I am in the final stage of grief, acceptance. Her cremated remains currently grace our living room mantle while awaiting their final burial. When the weather warms up, I will plant a tree in the backyard as a memorial and bury her ashes and collar among its roots. A rather ironic end for a very agoraphobic feline.

After Lily died, I had an urgent need to see healthy, vibrant animals, so Sean took me to the city adoption shelter where I became acquainted with an adorable corgi mutt. After making sure that she got along with George, I ended up adopting her that very day. Menschi (named for the Pomeranian in Excel Saga, "Emergency Food Supply" is the rough translation) is now my new friend. She is a very smart 2 year old bundle of love. She is perfectly healthy, and will even protect George if she senses he's in danger or about to be in danger. Likewise, George will play with and mock her. She loves car rides and running around outside, but isn't a fan of the snow, ice, or rain. Welcome to our home, Menschi!