Baby Catholic Answers All the Things, Volume 9 – Purgatory and Limbo

I am working through reading Dante’s Divine Comedy. I just finished Purgatorio, and was thinking about how someone (a couple of Catholic someones, in fact) recently told me that the Catholic Church no longer believes in or teaches the doctrine of Purgatory. I was really confused by this, because we still pray for the dead during every Mass, and we still have a Mass dedicated to our departed souls every November. I wasn’t sure why this would be the case if the Church was now teaching that all those who die as believers go straight to Heaven. If that was the case, they certainly wouldn’t need our prayers, right?

Honestly, I only had a vague understanding of the idea of Purgatory before reading Purgatorio and thinking about the comments I recently heard about it. So, I decided I needed to learn more, and to write this post. Thanks goes out to Super Friend for talking to me about some of my confusion around the issue, too.

Rosary

 

So, what is Purgatory, and what does the Catholic Church say about it?

The Catechism of the Catholic Church says this:

All who die in God’s grace and friendship, but still imperfectly purified, are indeed assured of their eternal salvation; but after death they undergo purification, so as to achieve the holiness to enter the joy of heaven. (CCC 1030).

The Church gives the name Purgatory to this final purification of the elect (CCC 1031).

When I was still an atheist and working in prison, I always thought it was absurd that so many inmates would come to prison, decide to accept Jesus and their personal Lord and Savior, and then feel certain that they would go straight to Heaven when they die, although they continued to obviously live their lives in a criminal way (yes, there is tons of criminal activity in prison). I think plenty of Christians would even agree with this without concern. What I was always taught as a child was that, as long as you believed in Jesus, you got to go to Heaven, no matter what you did while living on Earth. I couldn’t stomach the hypocrisy of that while I was an atheist, and even now, that just doesn’t seem right to me.

The Catholic Church has a solution to this problem I had with Christianity – Purgatory. It makes sense to me that people will need to undergo a process of purification before being allowed to be in the presence of God in Heaven. The Bible even says, “nothing unclean will enter it [Heaven]” (Revelation 22:27).

But where does the idea of Purgatory come from?

The Church formulated the doctrine on Purgatory mostly during the Councils of Florence and Trent. However, this doesn’t mean that the Church invented the idea of Purgatory at that time. There is a reference to the tradition of praying for the dead in the Bible, “Thus [Judas] made atonement for the dead that they might be absolved from their sin” (2Maccabees 12:46). There is also evidence of Christians praying for the dead from the very earliest time of our Faith. In the catacombs where Christians gathered during the persecutions of the first three centuries A.D., prayers for the dead are graffitied on the walls. There are references to prayer for the dead in the earliest Christian writings as well. If the first Christians did not believe in Purgatory (even if they didn’t use that name for it), then why would they pray for the dead? Souls in Heaven don’t need prayers, and those in Hell are beyond the help of prayer.

What about Limbo?

“Limbo” is a theological speculation that has been taught in the history of Catholic tradition to refer to a place where the the souls of some who have died were held. This was thought to be a temporary place for those who died before Christ’s ascension into Heaven, and a permanent place for those who could not go to Heaven because of original sin but were not deserving of Hell because of no personal sin. This would include those who lived virtuous lives but were never exposed to Christian teachings and could therefore not be believers, and also babies who died before they could be baptized.

The Catechism of the Catholic Church does not include any reference to Limbo. The concept of Limbo is not an official doctrine of the Catholic Church and in fact, never has been, even if members of the Church may have mentioned it in ordinary teaching in the past. From what I can tell it certainly isn’t actively taught by anyone (or at least hardly anyone) in the Church now.

It seems that, in reference to the question of babies and children who die without being baptized, the official stance of the Church is sort of, “We don’t know for sure, but we have hope.” At least that how it sounds to me from what the Catechism says:

As regards children who have died without Baptism, the Church can only entrust them to the mercy of God. . . . Indeed, the great mercy of God who desires that all men should be saved, and Jesus’ tenderness toward children. . . allow us to hope that there is a way of salvation for children who have died without Baptism (CCC 1261).

I have read statements from many priests, including Saint John Paul II, that express the belief that babies who die before birth or are unable to be baptized before they die do go to Heaven. I certainly believe that to be the case.

So, contrary to what I have heard, Purgatory is still a part of the  doctrine of the Catholic Church, while Limbo is not, and never has been.

Embrace the Ordinary – One Half Hour

embrace-the-ordinarybutton

 “…there is something holy, something divine hidden in the most ordinary situations, and it is up to each one of you to discover it.” St. Josemaria Escriva, Passionately Loving the World

One half hour in our yard last night.

DSC_0037

After our parish’s fish fry. Before bedtime.

It kind of didn’t feel very ordinary, since one week before, our temperatures were still below freezing, and it was dark at this time of the evening. But playing in the yard with the girls really is quite an ordinary thing, of course.

And last night it was ordinary, and funny, and beautiful, and holy.

DSC_0045

She brought me three rocks and some sticks. Then she drew me a picture.

The big girls couldn’t resist the last bit of snow,

DSC_0051

But they were pretty quick to move on to other things. I think they’re more than ready to be done with winter too.

I could have watched them playing all day.

DSC_0060

DSC_0065

Miss found a ball in the yard that lit up when she threw it. She called it her “Sensor Ball” and insisted that when she threw it, it always sensed and then led her to find things in the yard that were “odd.” Like sticks. And acorns. And rocks. Odd.

She was so excited about it.

DSC_0082

It was the same thing over and over.

The wind up and throw.

DSC_0095

DSC_0096

DSC_0097

The chase.

DSC_0069

DSC_0084

DSC_0068

And the excited announcement of what the “Sensor Ball” led her to.

DSC_0085

In this case, “A bee wing!” AKA a small leaf.

It was the most lovely, magical, ordinary evening. The kind of evening where you can really sense the presence of God if you’re open to it. I did my very best to embrace it thoroughly.

We’re about halfway through Lent, so I still have a few more weeks of hosting this link up for Gina. I’d love to hear what ordinary situations you have been embracing this week. Add your post or Instagram link below!

 Loading InLinkz ...

A Conference, Guilt About a Conference, Cleaning Out, and Second Thoughts (7QT)

It’s been a while since I did Friday quick takes, so I’m linking up with Kelly for seven of them today.

1.

Last weekend, I went to a wonderful Catholic bloggers conference in South Bend.

IMG_4399

IMG_4403

IMG_4397

I was so excited to finally meet in person the lovely Nell, and Bonnie, and Annie, and Jacqui, whom I’ve communicated with in cyberspace for some time now. I was also happy to meet many other ladies whose blogs I have read, and many new people whose blogs I now can read. You’ll notice that I updated my Blogroll in the sidebar, and I’m pretty sure I have all the new blogs I found there. Recommended reading  right there>>>>

2.

Unfortunately for me, I cannot go away from my family without feeling guilty. I drove to South Bend on Friday evening and was planning to stay on Saturday night too. Then I discovered that dinner was planned for early on Saturday, so my guilt led me to decide to cut the weekend short and drive home Saturday evening. It was wonderful to get home, but I do wish I didn’t always feel so guilty about going away for a short time by myself (last weekend was only the second time I’ve done it). Does anyone know a cure for this??

3.

If you know me, you’ll understand what a huge step this is for me:

IMG_4426

My husband and an appliance salesman convinced me (finally) that it’s okay to not rinse my dishes to a gleaming shine before loading them into the dishwasher. I have requested that my husband still rinse dairy products before loading, because dairy+sitting in the open=Ew, but other than that, I’m doing pretty well with leaving the dishes sort of dirty before putting them in. This experiment has been pretty successful too. Other than having to rewash a few bowls and a couple of spoons (note to curious husbands: big globs of peanut butter don’t come off with just the efforts of the dishwasher), I have been pleasantly surprised that our dishes are coming out clean. I can honestly now call myself a recovering compulsive pre-dishwasher-rinser.

4.

Miss had her first rehearsal with the children’s choir at church last night. It was so darned cute. Look how small she looks!

IMG_4433

She loved it, and now wants to sing in church every week. She’ll sing at her first Mass next Sunday.

5.

I met with a realtor about selling our house. She casually mentioned our need to “edit out” some of the stuff we have in our closets and storage. I wonder if she meant this:

IMG_4431

I was really embarrassed to even let her look into that closet (which is why I’m showing it to all of you), but she was intrigued by how big it was and wanted to go on back in there. The part of the closet that is used (I mean not as a dumping ground for outgrown baby clothes) is also quite big, so this stuff is all out of the way and usually I just toss the stuff that is too small for anyone back there, knowing I’ll get around to going through it “someday.”

Someday is now.

6.

On Wednesday, I went in there with trash bags and started mercilessly throwing all of it into the bags to take to St. Vincent’s. It was actually kind of hard, because I have been holding on to all of this stuff thinking I will probably need it again at some point. But I went ahead and bagged it all up.

IMG_4432

I bagged and bagged until I ran out of time and bags (I ended up with about five grocery bags in addition to what is pictured). I kept almost nothing. A few special and personalized things, the pants I made for Miss, the Wonder Woman shirt that is my favorite, and almost nothing else. I loaded it all up in my car, where it still sits.

I don’t think I can do it!

I’m pretty sure this weekend I’ll be bringing the bags back inside and going through them a little more carefully. I’ll still be donating a ton of it, but it would make sense to keep a few things. I think.

7.

I’m feeling a mixture of excitement and terror at the idea of going through and cleaning out other areas in our house. We have so much stuff to purge. I’m so eager to do it, but I don’t want to do it. Know what I mean?

But I must.

IMG_4416

This is happening, whether I’m ready or not!

I hope you have a great weekend. I’m gearing up for fish fry, another in-town conference tomorrow, and lots of game time and outside play with my girls (hubby is out of town). Don’t forget to check back for Embrace the Ordinary tomorrow (and link up!)

And be sure to check out Kelly’s Quick Takes link up too.

seven-quick-takes-friday-2-300x213

Why Fog Reminds Me of Prison

This morning it was foggy. Fog always makes me think of when I used to work in prison. “Why?” you ask. Because every time it was foggy when I drove to the prison where I worked as a psychologist for three years, I knew my day’s schedule would be shot, since I would have to start out the morning on fog watch.

Almost a decade later, and fog still makes me think of fog watch.

IMG_4413

During the first few years of my “time” in prison, fog watch annoyed me, because it threw off my carefully planned (though frequently derailed) schedule for the day. I had appointments to keep. Inmates to meet with. Interviews to conduct. Interns to supervise. Rounds to get done.

I didn’t get overtime, and I had a lot I was supposed to accomplish in a 40-hour week. It was stressful, and fog watch messed with my cram-packed calendar.

But after the first few years, I grew to kind of welcome fog watch. Sometimes anyway. Fog watch meant that for that morning, I didn’t have to meet with the inmate who was going to complain about his housing assignment. I didn’t have to see the inmate who was extra needy or the one who was extra angry or the one who was extra demanding. I’d probably have to find time in my over-planned day to meet with those inmates later, but for the morning, until the fog cleared, I had a reprieve.

Many, many times, I’ve been asked what it was like to be a prison psychologist. I have been asked more times than I can count what a typical day was like when I worked in prison. I never had an answer for that question, because there was no such thing as a “typical” day. When I walked onto the compound every day, regardless of what I had written down in my very detailed daily planner, I never really knew what was going to happen.

I’ll give you some examples of things that did happen, with the disclaimer that these are either composites of events or very vague descriptions, not any one specific event in any detail (so I won’t break confidentiality).

In the four different prisons where I worked, I dealt mostly with medium- and high-security inmates. Most days I spent a lot of time just checking in with mentally ill inmates. I assessed mental status and medication compliance and side effects. I handled lots of complaints and requests for changes in housing or job assignments (which I almost never intervened in). I frequently assessed risk for suicide. I did individual and group therapy. I made attempts to make life better for the inmates I worked with in the small ways that I could.

Lots of people have asked me how and where I met with inmates, assuming I always had bars or a door between myself and the offender. In some cases, I did speak to inmates either through the doors of their cells if they were in segregation (the housing unit where inmates are placed in cells alone and locked in for 23 hours per day) or, with especially high security inmates, in a special divided cell with a barred door between him and me. But the vast majority of the time, I simply scheduled an appointment with the inmate and he came to my office. There was a window in my office door and special, well-known procedures in place for me to call for help if I needed to. I never did (other than on one occasion, described below).

I did, however, fairly frequently have to respond to a fellow staff member’s call for help. Whenever another prison employee was in some sort of trouble or if there was a disturbance, all available people in the prison stopped whatever they were doing and ran to the place of the problem to help. I did this many times.

I was often called to segregation to speak to an inmate who wasn’t cooperating with the correctional staff, either by refusing to “cuff up” (place hands in front of the food-tray opening in the door and submit to being placed in handcuffs), refusing to give up some contraband item, or otherwise wreaking havoc. Sometimes the inmate was threatening to hurt himself. Sometimes he was breaking things or flooding his cell. Sometimes I was able to convince an inmate to comply. Sometimes the correctional staff had to “suit up” and go into an inmate’s cell using force (this was rare in the prison where I spent most of my years, though fairly common in some places I worked).

On more than one occasion, I was contacted and asked to come to the segregated housing unit where there was an inmate who had smeared his own feces on the wall of his cell. Sometimes the inmates who did this were mentally ill. Sometimes they weren’t. Often when they weren’t, they were trying to convince someone that they were. Sometimes I could get the inmates to clean up, or at least to come out of the cell so it could be cleaned. Sometimes I couldn’t, and then the officers had to decide whether they wanted to deal with the smell until the inmate couldn’t stand it anymore, or whether they wanted to go into the mess and pull the inmate out. Ew.

Another common question I get is about whether I was ever afraid. The answer is yes, but rarely. On a few occasions I had to speak with very mentally ill inmates or very angry inmates, without the benefit of a locked door to shield myself. Of course, most mentally ill individuals are not violent, but in a few cases I had to deal with guys I knew did have a history of violence when not taking medication. And a couple of times I came face to face with inmates who were very angry with me and ready to show it. Fortunately I was always able to extricate myself safely, in one case calling on an officer who I knew was standing right outside the door, before the inmate could get to me.

Ugh. It makes me feel a little ill just writing about it.

After the first few years, I was burned out on prison. I had been lied to, cursed at, stolen from, and nearly attacked, all by men whom I had sincerely been trying to help. A job I had initially found to be exciting and challenging was no longer the least bit enjoyable. I developed insomnia and lost a ton of weight from being stressed. I nearly wept every Sunday, knowing I had to go back “inside” the next day. After many months of planning, a fellow psychologist and I left to start a private practice, and it truly felt like we were getting out of prison!

Leaving prison work was one of the best career moves I ever made, second only to leaving work entirely to stay home with my kids. I no longer identify myself as a prison psychologist, or a forensic psychologist, or really even as any kind of psychologist anymore. But lots of people still ask me what it was like to work in prison.

I didn’t intend for my answer to the question to be a big downer! I do have some good memories of my years in the “joint.” I think I did really help some inmates, and I met some good people whom I worked with.

That job obviously wasn’t the most enjoyable one I’ve had. It wasn’t even the hardest one. My current job holds both of those distinctions.

Embrace the Ordinary – Live from South Bend

I’m going to the Catholic Women Bloggers Network Conference (Midwest edition) in South Bend today. I’m super excited and kind of nervous. I met a few of the ladies (Annie, and Sarah, and Mary, and Elizabeth) who will be attending today with me last night at dinner, and it was quite enjoyable. I’m going to embrace all sorts of ordinary today and try hard not to be socially awkward in my introvertedness.

embrace-the-ordinarybutton

 

“…there is something holy, something divine hidden in the most ordinary situations, and it is up to each one of you to discover it.” St. Josemaria Escriva, Passionately Loving the World

The past week I really worked on slowing down and appreciating little things. I find that if I can just stop and look around and savor a moment it makes my days so much brighter. Here’s a peek:

IMG_4363

IMG_4369

IMG_4372

IMG_4377

IMG_4350

IMG_4353

^^ We have recently discovered the song “Shake It Off” ^^

Last night I had a bit of a trial trying to make it to dinner on time. First of all, I forgot about the time change between Wisconsin and Indiana, so even though the drive should have only taken about 5 hours, I lost an hour to the time difference. Then I underestimated the time I would sit in traffic in Chicago at 4:00 on a Friday afternoon. Then, I sent a voice text to Annie to let her know I was going to be late for dinner (as my GPS was telling me while still sitting in Chicago traffic), and while I was doing this I missed an exit and then got lost in a not-so-nice part of Chicago.

I just kept telling myself to enjoy the time in the car. I prayed and listened to several lectures and really did have a peaceful drive, in spite of the stress of being lost in a big and unfamiliar city.

IMG_4391

^^ Don’t worry, I was at a dead stop in traffic when I took this picture ^^

For part of the time I was stuck in Chicago, I was listening to a Lighthouse Catholic Media CD that Super Friend loaned me for the drive about a former Vietnam War POW on the power of prayer. It’s called Walking Through the Valley of the Shadow of Death. It was humbling.

It’s amazing what prayer and perspective can do for me when I’m in a tough spot.

Wish me luck today!

What are you embracing from your week? Link up your post or Instagram photos below. Happy Weekend!

 Loading InLinkz ...

Lent, Two Weeks In

This year is my second Lent. I love Lent.

It helps me learn about myself. It intensifies my faith. It makes me more humble.

DSC_0018

So far his year, I’m doing a lot of reading and reflecting and praying every morning.

DSC_0056

I gave up Facebook, which has been surprisingly not hard. I don’t really miss it, except for the interactions with blog readers. I suspect a lot of people come to this little site from my Facebook page, and I like getting comments over there. I also like seeing other bloggers’ Facebook comments and interacting that way. I miss the occasional fun updates from friends and family, but other than that, I think I just wasted a lot of time on Facebook. I tended to look at it out of habit or boredom more than anything, so I don’t really mind not having it.

That said, I’d like to add that Facebook is a wily temptress. I logged out of my account on Ash Wednesday eve, but I did not think to turn off notifications. So I keep getting emails with subject lines like, “Motherhood and Miscellany fans want to hear from you!” or “You have 39 notifications, 27 friend updates, 12 messages, and 2 pokes.” (What in the world is a “poke”?) I haven’t opened any of the emails, but they keep on coming, almost every day. Dear Facebook, I will not be led astray.

My other big penance is that I am not spending money on things other than food and gas (and babysitting). This seems so simple, but I have learned that I have a tendency to spend way more money than what is necessary, on a regular basis. For example, the first time I went to Target after the start of Lent, I got the things on my list (all grocery/pharmacy items), and then I noticed myself beginning to veer off to something else, probably in the crafting, school supplies, or kid’s clothing sections. I didn’t need anything else, but it is such a habit to just grab other things that would be nice to have or that I might need later. I do the same thing on Amazon and at places like Hobby Lobby. I’m really quite embarrassed about this now that I realize I was doing it (talk about a large dose of humility!).

Another part of my not spending money unnecessarily and trying to simplify things during Lent is that I have been making myself clean out the foods in my pantry and freezer whenever possible, instead of buying other pantry foods at the store. My kids are eating whatever is in the cupboards for snacks and lunch side items. I made chili last week and we were out of saltines. I started to go down the cracker aisle at the grocery store when I remembered that we had lots of other kinds of crackers in the pantry. So I served chili with Cheez-Its, Breton whole grain, and round sesame crackers. No one even seemed to care. Check out the before and two-week shots of my pantry:

Pantry collage (1)

So far Lent has been so beneficial for me. I’m paying more attention to the ways I have tended to spend my time and money, and why. It’s been quite a learning experience, and I’m able to invest my efforts on more important things instead, like prayer and service and almsgiving.

How has Lent been for you??

 

 

 

 

Embrace the Ordinary – A Cure for Righteous Indignation

I tried to do a lot of embracing of ordinary things this week. I love finding the specialness in small moments, and I’m still hosting this link up for Gina all during Lent.

embrace-the-ordinarybutton

 

“…there is something holy, something divine hidden in the most ordinary situations, and it is up to each one of you to discover it.” St. Josemaria Escriva, Passionately Loving the World

I ended up being filled with righteous indignation yesterday after a phone call with the not-helpful people at Sirius XM. Without my authorization, they reactivated the radio on the car I used to own, but because I was still using their service on my current car until this past summer, I didn’t notice it on my credit card statement. My husband caught it on our January statement, and it turns out they’ve been charging me for radio service on a car I don’t even own for three years. I thought I had the refund all taken care of when I called a few weeks ago, but it never happened, so I followed up yesterday. The supervisor I spoke to was rude and condescending and flat out refused to give me a refund of the money they charged me without my consent, which basically means they just stole several hundred dollars from me. So I was aaaaall fired up yesterday afternoon.

I have no intention of backing down from the jerks who stole from me and am determined to get my money back. But in the meantime, it helps keep my frustration at bay to focus on the little happy moments of life in our little world. So, here you go:

 IMG_4323

IMG_4332

IMG_4334

IMG_4336

IMG_2959

IMG_4338

Here’s to a lovely weekend with family. Link up your Embrace the Ordinary posts below (you can also add an Instagram link, as my friend Erika demonstrated last week)!

 Loading InLinkz ...

A Sacramental Blessing – Thoughts on What Was Missing from My Marriage

When my husband and I first got married, we did it in the most secular way possible. We were outside, we had a judge officiating, and I specifically requested no references to religion in the ceremony.

wedding 039

It was really wonderful, and remains one of the best days of my life. At the time, I didn’t think for a moment that there was anything missing.

Indeed! DSC01418

When I decided to convert to Catholicism, I realized that I really wanted for my husband and I to have our marriage validated in the Church. It took us a while to make it happen, but a few weeks ago, we finally had our sacramental blessing. A Catholic wedding, complete with full Mass.

Smith Vows-141 Smith Vows-170 Smith Vows-194

While we were receiving communion, Lass asked the priest, “Why don’t the little people get to have any of the good stuff?”

It wasn’t a big, fancy affair. Just us, our girls, our priest, Super Friend and Super Husband, and The Godmother (plus our babysitter and photographer).

We did the whole thing. We selected readings, and the priest gave a homily. We said vows and had our rings blessed. The priest said a blessing over us and we received communion, all standing around the altar. It was one of the most beautiful things I have ever experienced.

Smith Vows-154

Our first wedding was also beautiful. It was wonderful and meaningful. It was a big celebration of our marriage with most of our friends and family. It wasn’t fussy, and it was fun. It was exactly what I wanted it to be at that time.

This time was so much the same and yet so, so different. Our first wedding was obviously important. But this time, this ceremony, felt sacred. I looked at my husband while saying our vows and there was so much more. We’ve been married over six years and have three children. We’ve experienced wonderful joys and terrible grief. “In good times and bad, in sickness and in health” took on a whole new meaning as I said those words again. It was different, because this time I felt the presence of God watching over us, blessing us, embracing us. I know now that He was there the first time too, but I didn’t bother to notice. This time, He took center stage, and it made everything so. much. more.

Smith Vows-190

There was even more joy. More love. More beauty. More grace.

Smith Vows-199

I used to think I knew a lot about marriage. I thought I was really good at being married. I thought my husband and I had a fabulous marriage. Here’s what I know now: I knew some. I was pretty good. We did have one.

BUT,

Since converting to Catholicism, since beginning to go to church with my husband every week, since instituting prayer in our home and faithful practices in our family, my marriage has improved in so many ways.

I’m a better wife and a better mom. I am less prideful and less selfish. I still have so much to learn. I am still striving and praying to get rid of all the yucky parts of myself: my pride and anger and selfish tendencies. But the love of God helps me to love my husband better. And just as He was the thing missing from our first wedding, God was what was missing from our marriage for the first five years. I didn’t even realize there was anything was missing back then. But now I do. Our marriage is so much better with Jesus.

Embrace the Ordinary – Link Up Here During Lent!

This week, and for the rest of Lent, I will be hosting the link up for Gina’s Embrace the Ordinary series.

embrace-the-ordinarybutton

“…there is something holy, something divine hidden in the most ordinary situations, and it is up to each one of you to discover it.” St. Josemaria Escriva, Passionately Loving the World

I love the idea of trying to really embrace the ordinary moments and the holiness within them, so I’m so excited to be temporarily hosting this series.

This week actually hasn’t been all that ordinary. We had Mardi Gras, and a birthday, and Ash Wednesday, and a road trip, and we’ve been visiting my husband’s family, watching the Iowa high school state wrestling championships. It’s been quite full of things that aren’t part of our ordinary lives. However, there have been plenty of lovely, ordinary moments in there too.

DSC_0005

IMG_4285

^^ Birthday feast on Fat Tuesday

IMG_4290

^^ No-meat road trip meal of pierogis (one of Miss’s favorites, since it was her birthday) and cheese quesadillas, for our travels on Ash Wednesday.

Wrestling:

IMG_4313 IMG_4292 IMG_4294

IMG_4299

^^ A cousin reunion

More cousin time:

IMG_4306

IMG_4314

After a busy day of watching wrestling yesterday:

IMG_4319

We have one more day of wrestling, and then we’re heading home. I have happy girls enjoying big family time.

This is my first ever attempt at a link up. Share one (or more than one!) way you embraced the ordinary this week. 

 Loading InLinkz ...

Musical Reminiscing and Songs to Listen to When Cleaning House (5 Favorites)

A while ago, my husband and I began talking about music and the memories that can be associated with certain songs or artists. It’s a fun topic. I love thinking about how hearing a certain song can instantly transport me to another time and place in my memory.

Ben and I are both big music lovers. I have always been awed by the ability of a song to capture a feeling or experience perfectly, through its lyrics or arrangement, or both. I learned about my husband’s love of music the first time he came to visit me when I was in graduate school. He pulled out his guitar within minutes of his arrival and began playing and singing “Pencil Thin Mustach.” We’ve had a very musical relationship ever since.

DSC01455

A few weeks ago, he and I got to talking about the music of our childhoods: the music our parents listened to, and when we got a little older, the artists we chose and songs we loved.

My mom had an 8-track player. The artists I remember her playing the most were Neil Diamond, Barry Manilow, Barbara Streisand, whom I called Barbara Susanne Stripe because of this album cover (which doesn’t look anything like I remember it):

And Johnny Mathis at Christmas, of course.

My husband has vivid memories of his mom playing the “Beaches” soundtrack. And of course:

As I got older and began making my own musical choices, I grew to love Michael Jackson, Tiffany, Debbie Gibson, and of course, the scandalous Madonna. My mom tried to shelter me from unsavory influences, so I wasn’t allowed to watch MTV or listen to the “hard rock” radio stations. I got a clock radio for Christmas one year that had a “Sleep” button so I could listen to the radio when going to bed at night. It turned off by itself after 30 minutes, which seemed sooo high tech back then. I was only allowed to listen to the “soft hits” station at night. I don’ t think my mom knew that that radio station had a Dr. Ruth talk show on every Sunday night, right at my bedtime, which made for some interesting listening for an eight year old. . .

Anyway, Ben and I were discussing the music from when we were kids and also the music that our daughters will remember, hopefully fondly, from their own childhoods. Now with digital music, and iTunes, and playlists we don’t usually listen to specific albums from one artist straight through. So our girls might have a bit more eclectic experience of music than what we had as kids.

Right now their favorites include “Achy Breaky Heart” (which Lass calls Knacky Bracky Heart), “Yellow Submarine,” “Red Solo Cup,” “Fishin’ In the Dark,” “Sweet Dreams,” and “Love Shack.”

One day last week we rocked to Love Shack in the car, upon request, and they all yelled the “Bang, Bang, Bangs” right on cue. Then Lass said, “Mom, I think in the love shack they make lots of Valentines. And give lots of hugs and kisses, right?” Yes Sweetheart. Yes, that’s what they do.

It makes me smile that my girls love music and dancing as much as their Dad and I do.

IMG_4298

In my opinion, music makes all things better. Especially housework and home improvement projects. I love to put on my headphones, select my playlist of girl songs, and rock out while cleaning or home-improving. My favorite songs are those I can sing at the top of my lungs that lend themselves to dancing with a vacuum or using my paintbrush as a microphone (I’m sorry for the unfortunate visuals). Yes, I do sing at the top of my lungs while wearing headphones. My kids love it. Fortunately with my headphones on I can’t hear them whine-yelling, “Mo-om, stop singing!”

My favorite songs for this purpose? The top five, right here

5. All I Wanna Do – Sheryl Crow

4. Papa Don’t Preach – Madonna

3. Miss You Much – Janet Jackson

2. Love is a Battlefield – Pat Benetar (anyone else love the old shimmy-walk move?)

1. Cool Rider – Michelle Pfieffer

I used to really, really want one of those jackets.

Anyone want to take a guess at how old I am from this list? Haha!

5-favorites1-600x85

I’m linking up with Call Her Happy today for Five Favorites! What are your favorites?