Baby Catholic Answers All the Things, Volume 4 – Confession

I think it’s a fairly common belief of people who are not Catholic (and also some who are) that the sacrament of Reconciliation, or confession, is totally unnecessary. I know that I used to think, “Why do I need to confess my sins to a priest? I can just confess directly to God and ask forgiveness.” I also kind of thought it was creepy and weird that priests would encourage people to tell all of their deepest, darkest, secrets (says the woman who used to be a clinical psychologist) and then give them a penance to complete afterwards.

Of course there is Biblical support for the practice of confessing one’s sins to God.

Blessed is the one whose fault is removed, whose sin is forgiven. Blessed is the man to whom the Lord imputes no guilt, in whose spirit is no deceit. Because I kept silent, my bones wasted away; I groaned all day long. For day and night your hand was heavy upon me; my strength withered as in dry summer heat. Then I declared my sin to you; my guilt I did not hide. I said, “I confess my transgressions to the Lord,” and you took away the guilt of my sin. – Psalm 32:1-7

The Catholic Church does not dismiss the value of making a regular confession of one’s sins directly to God. I do this every day during my daily prayers, and I know a lot of Catholics go through the examination of conscience each day for this same purpose. The examination of conscience is something Catholics (ideally) go over before going to reconciliation, to assist in making a good confession, but many also use it for confessing directly to God in prayer. You can see an example here.

So sure, confessing directly to God is important, and valid, and necessary. But the sacrament of Reconciliation is a whole different ballgame.

Let’s start with the Biblical basis for the practice. In the book of John, when Jesus appears to the apostles in the locked room after His resurrection:

[Jesus] said to them again, “Peace be with you. As the Father has sent me, so I send you.” And when he had said this, he breathed on them and said to them, “Receive the Holy Spirit. Whose sins you forgive are forgiven them, and whose sins you retain are retained.” – John 20:21-23

So, in the Bible, Jesus gave the apostles, the first priests of His Church, the authority to forgive sins. They do this by acting in persona Christi, or in the person of Christ. I mentioned in my post about the priesthood that there are two types of situations in which priests are given the special authority to act in the person of Christ: 1. during the act of transubstantiation in the Mass, or when the priest turns the bread and wine into the body and blood of Christ, and 2. during the sacrament of Reconciliation. So really, priests don’t personally have the authority to forgive sins, but they have the authority to act as Christ during the sacrament of Reconciliation, and as such, forgive sins.

The Catechism of the Catholic Church says, “Only God forgives sins. Since he is the Son of God, Jesus says of himself, ‘The Son of man has authority on earth to forgive sins’ and exercises this divine power: ‘Your sins are forgiven.’ Further, by virtue of his divine authority he gives this power to men to exercise in his name.” (1441)

The sacrament of Reconciliation has been practiced in various forms throughout the centuries, with the very early Church instituting penances that were public and sometimes severe and lengthy in nature. It was during the seventh century that Irish missionaries took the practice of private confession and penance to continental Europe, and the sacrament has been performed in private ever since.

As the Church practices it currently, it goes pretty much like this: Parishioner goes into the confessional (which in our parish is just a little room with comfy chairs to sit on), sits down and says, “Bless me father, for I have sinned. It has been (however long) since my last confession.” Ideally, parishioner will have gone through an examination of conscience beforehand and will then be able to proceed to provide a pretty comprehensive list of sins for the priest. After this is done, the parishioner says the Act of Contrition:

Image credit Prayer Button

Then the priest, acting in persona Christi, gives a penance to the parishioner (perhaps a number of prayers to say or an act of restitution to perform), may say a blessing, and ends with something like, “I absolve you from your sins, in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit. Amen.”

So, now that I’ve given you a little bit of the history of confession and how it works, I’ll tell you about my very limited but powerful experience with the sacrament.

I have only been to confession once, the Wednesday before Holy Saturday. All of my praying life, pre- and post-atheism, I have included confession of my sins to God in my daily prayers (okay, pre-atheism they were rarely daily. . .). So I thought it would be pretty straightforward to do an examination of conscience and go in and confess my sins to our priest. Yes, I was nervous, because I was confessing a whole lifetime of sins, face to face with the man who stands in front of our church pretty much every Sunday. I had a lot of stuff to confess from my whole life. But again, I had confessed most of it directly to God in prayer after my conversion, so it wouldn’t be too hard, right?

Well, first of all, the examination of conscience had me questioning myself about many behaviors, thoughts, and omissions that I never would have thought to confess or even think of as true sins before preparing for confession. So I had to face up to lots of things I had done or failed to do that I hadn’t even realized I needed to confess.

Then I went into the confession room with our priest. I was very nervous, and as I began my confession, I was kind of shocked by how much harder it was to speak my sins out loud to another person than to say them in my head during my prayers. I do truly try to focus on being repentant when I pray about my sins, but somehow saying them out loud to anther person made me so much more so.

I got through all of my fairly distant sins of the past and the more recent ones during my atheist years, and that was hard. But the hardest part by far was confessing my current day to day transgressions. The “smaller” sins that I grapple with in my everyday life, like using an unkind voice with my husband, feeling anger toward my children, being impatient, snapping at my kids, acting selfishly, and so on. I was struggling not to cry when I began telling my priest about some of my ugly behaviors and thoughts, things that I do now, not in the distant past.

When I got to the Act of Contrition, I could barely get the words out. “But most of all because they offend thee my God, who art all-good and deserving of all my love” was nearly impossible to say through the lump in my throat and over the sobs threatening to escape from my mouth. I suddenly felt the full impact of my sins, and how offensive they are to God, and I was appalled.

After I got through the whole prayer and the priest said, “I absolve you from your sins, in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit,” it was a really amazing moment. I truly felt a sense of relief and joy after my time in the confessional, and even more so after completing my penance.

So many people seem to associate the idea of confession with negative emotions, beliefs, and experiences. But here’s what I believe about it: Confession isn’t something the Church created for the purpose of controlling and manipulating people. It is a gift that Jesus gave to us to help us experience His forgiveness more fully. 

And it works.

I haven’t decided on the next topic yet. If you have a question, let me know. 

Posted in Baby Catholic Answers All the Things, Religion | Leave a comment

“I’m Catholic”

The other day I had to go to the hospital to have some blood drawn. I haven’t checked in to a hospital since I was in labor with Sis (almost two-and-a-half years ago!!). I was not near home, so I was at a hospital I’ve never been to before. As part of the (ridiculously loooong for just a lab test) check in process, one of the questions they asked me was if I have a religious preference.

In all previous instances when I’ve been asked this question, my answer has been, “Nope!” This time, I was a little bit taken aback by the question (again, it was just a lab draw), but I was pleased. I wasn’t happy with needing a blood test, but I couldn’t help but smile to myself at being able to say, “I’m Catholic.”

This got me thinking about the roles I’ve claimed in my life. Those I’ve had always, like “daughter” and “sister.” Those that I had for a while and no longer claim, like “psychologist,” “marathon-runner,” and “business-owner.” And those that were at one time new and life-changing and smile-inducing, like “wife” and “mother.”

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When I first got married, it always made me feel so happy and proud to say, “my husband,” and it was a fabulous little jolt each time I said it out loud (I’m still very proud and happy to say it, it’s just not a jolt anymore). The same was true when I first began saying, “my daughter” in reference to Miss after she was born. I had a little flip of excitement in my belly each time I used those phrases to refer to myself, relationally, as a wife and a mom.

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It was the same way on Monday, when I said to that stranger in the small, cluttered hospital office, “I’m Catholic.”

I got a warm, happy, proud feeling, knowing I am now a part of something really special. I felt privileged and a little giddy to say those words. “I’m Catholic.” And it gave me a feeling of strength and protection somehow.

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It might seem silly, but being Catholic is so new and so life changing for me. Very similar to when I first became a wife or a mother. It changes the way I look at the world, the way I act, the way I think of others. All in good ways. It helps me deal with difficult circumstances and makes me more grateful for my many blessings.

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Those two words that I almost never have occasion to say, “I’m Catholic,” when spoken out loud, leave me feeling proud and peaceful.

I love being Catholic.

Posted in Religion | 1 Comment

Dirty and Weird and We Wouldn’t Miss It

I’m not doing 7 Quick Takes today. I really can’t gather my thoughts enough to write seven different things. BUT, I can share some photos with you from our trip to the Dirty Weird Zoo yesterday. The place is still so odd, but definitely a summer tradition I wouldn’t want to miss.

Sis had her first experience with feeding bread to the animals. She was fearless.

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A donkey even nibbled her fingers a little bit. She just yanked her hand back and went on feeding it.

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The big kids were racing all over the place, screaming with delight about all the animals to see.

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No one even freaked out about the inevitable goat attack. Except maybe me and Super Friend.

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Miss and Lass even said the goats were their favorite, because “they were everywhere.”

Miss found a peacock feather, which she insisted on carrying around the whole morning. I know I’m not the only one who has a slightly neurotic terror of bird feathers. They are so dirty. Am I right? Ew. Ew. Ew. Happily she didn’t put up too much of a fuss when I told her she couldn’t bring the feather home.

After depleting at least 10 bags of bread and buns by generously feeding lots of animals, we had our own picnic lunch. I think it was a successful outing.

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I hope you have a lovely weekend.

Posted in Adventure, Outings, Summer, Traditions | Leave a comment

Living on a Prayer

I overheard some interesting comments from my girls today while pushing my two youngers on the swings as Miss swung  by herself on the glider.

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Lass (to Miss): “You’re doing that all by yourself. You can teach me how to swing by myself too.”

Miss: “Yeah. I’ll teach you. I’m a good teacher. I can be your mommy.”

Lass: “Yeah! You can be my mommy!”

Me: “Hey, wait. I’m your mommy.”

Lass: “No, no, no. I mean after you die.”

Oh. Well, that makes me feel better.

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I have to admit though, I can’t blame them for fantasizing about another mommy a little bit. The past week or so I have been so tired and so crabby. I can’t even stand myself when I act like a jerk to my kids for much of the day, so I can understand if they might think an alternative would be enjoyable from time to time.

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I’m sure that being tired in itself has contributed to my yucky attitude, but it’s a bit more than that too, I think.

Usually I wake up at 5:30 in the morning and spend some time praying and reading the Bible. It’s a wonderful way to get my mind and my heart right for the rest of the day. But lately I’ve been so tired, I haven’t wanted to get up early and I’ve been missing out on my usual prayer time. I’ve been trying to squeeze it in at other times, but that is never quite as fulfilling, and some days I’ve even missed it all together. This is not a good thing.

I was so disgusted with myself last night after a few days of just being a grouch, that I vowed to get up early and start my day right. So I did. I didn’t quite make it out of bed at 5:30, but I was downstairs saying my prayers by a few minutes after 6. And it made all the difference. I got some good Jesus time to start my day, and then I had an awesome day with my kids. DSC_0155

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An amazing thing I’ve learned in the past year and a half is that when I feel like a crappy mom, when I’m grumpy and acting like a jerk, when I’m impatient and snappish, I now have an incredible solution. I used to beat myself up and flounder through my difficulties and eventually give myself a pep talk and feel better. Now I know that I can just turn to prayer and pretty quickly get myself back on track. Seriously, it works.

When I’m drowning and feeling like I can’t do anything right, I turn my face to God and say, “Help me!” And He does.

When I’m having a wonderful day and feel like I’m Super Mom and all is going just right, I turn my face to God and say, “Thank you!”

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Today, I said, “Thank you!”

Posted in Funny Sayings, Mommy Moments, Motherhood, Religion | 2 Comments

Baby Catholic Answers All the Things, Volume 3 – The Priesthood

My friend Liz asked:

Do Catholics have a “priesthood?” If so, how is it used and who is given it?

The short answer is this: Yes, Catholicism has a priesthood. Catholic priests are celibate men who experience a calling to a vocation in the priesthood. They attend seminary and are ordained priests, able to administer sacraments and perform other duties involved in ministering to a parish community.

And now the longer answer:

As I understand it, the process of becoming a priest basically begins with a man experiencing a call to serve God in the priesthood. Usually he prays quite a bit about this to discern if this is his true path and may meet with a spiritual or vocations director to assist with this discernment. He obtains a college degree, then goes to seminary. I’m not sure of the sequence of events, exactly, but a candidate for the priesthood also has to at some point undergo quite a bit of interviewing, background checks, and psychological and medical assessments before he can be ordained and assigned to a parish.

There are three levels of ordination in the sacrament of Holy Orders (the sacrament by which a man is ordained). The first level is the episcopate. This is the ordination of a bishop. A bishop is ordained by other bishops and stands in a direct, unbroken line from the apostles. All episcopal ordinations must be approved by the pope.

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The second level of ordination is the priesthood. This is what people typically think of when they think of a Catholic priest. There are not enough bishops to minister to all the people in a diocese, so lay priests carry out this duty. Priests exercise their powers only in communion with their bishop. In fact, during their ordination they vow to maintain obedience to their bishop (there are also priests who are ordained to particular orders such as the Dominicans or Franciscans, and I believe that their vows are a bit different in that they are obligated to obey their order, rather than the bishop of the diocese, and their duties can be quite different too, but I’m less familiar with this type of ordination, so I’m just going to leave it at that).

The third level is the diaconate. A man can be ordained as a transitional deacon while on his way to becoming a priest, or as a permanent deacon. A permanent deacon can be married, but a transitional deacon must remain celibate, as he is preparing to become a fully ordained priest.

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^^ From left to right, a seminarian, a priest, and a deacon ^^

When a man receives the sacrament of Holy Orders, the bishop lays hands on him and says a consecratory prayer asking God for the outpouring of the Holy Spirit and for the gifts to fulfill the duties specific to his ministry. Once a man has been ordained a priest, he is spiritually changed and he is granted special graces according to his level of ordination.

Deacons can read the Gospel during Mass, preach a homily, and perform the sacraments of baptism and marriage.

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Priests can perform all the duties of deacons as well as being given the special ability to act in persona Christi,  or in the person of Christ. This is the way in which priests are able to administer the sacrament of the Eucharist, by consecrating the bread and water and turning them into the real presence of Christ, His body and blood, through transubstantiation during the Mass. Priests are also able to act in the person of Christ when they administer the sacrament of reconciliation. Priests can also administer the sacrament of anointing of the sick and sometimes the sacrament of confirmation, as in cases of adults who are confirmed at the Easter Vigil (like I was).

DSC_0134^^ That’s me with our priest’s hands on my head during part of my confirmation ^^

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^^ Here he’s marking a cross on my forehead with Holy Chrism oil ^^

Bishops usually perform confirmations and they are the only ones who can perform the sacrament of Holy Orders.

This is just a quick summary of what bishops, deacons, and priests have the authority to do. Of course, they have many other duties and responsibilities in their positions as well as administering sacraments and preaching during Mass.

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Some people get upset by the fact that only men can be ordained as priests in the Catholic Church. The reason for this is that priests are acting in the person of Christ, and Christ was a man, obviously. The Catholic Church does not see men and woman as interchangeable, as some may argue they should be. Instead, the Church sees men an women as suited to different, yet complementary roles. Further, the ordination of men is a tradition that goes back to Christ Himself. He chose only men as His apostles.

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The last issue I’ll mention about the priesthood is another thing that people seem to often misunderstand: celibacy. Priests and bishops are required to commit to lifelong celibacy as a prerequisite for ordination. Permanent deacons can be married when they become deacons, but I don’t think they can marry after they are ordained.

In our society, people are so inundated with the idea that it is unnatural to not have sex, whether married or not, that the idea of celibate priests is mocked and debased. People claim it is freakish to be celibate and usually do not bother to try to understand why the Church has this rule.

In fact, celibacy was not an original requirement of the apostles and early Catholic priests. In the early Church there were some problems, however with corruption and nepotism among priests, favoring their offspring and/or passing Church property to their spouses and children upon their death. In 1075, Pope Gregory VII issued a decree which effectively prohibited married priests from acting in the ministry. This was formalized by the First Lateran Council in 1123, and the Roman Catholic Church has required celibacy from priests ever since.

Consecrated celibacy is seen by the Church as a gift that God bestows on those called to the priesthood. It is a way for priests to be more like Jesus, to be more focused on their faith and duties. Saint Paul said, “I should like you to be free of anxieties. An unmarried man is anxious about the things of the Lord, how he may please the Lord. But a married man is anxious about the things of the world, how he may please his wife, and he is divided. An unmarried woman or a virgin is anxious about the things of the Lord, so that she may be holy in both body and spirit. A married woman, on the other hand, is anxious about the things of the world, how she may please her husband.” 1Corinthians 7:32-34

Liz, I hope that answers your question adequately :)

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I’ve had a request to discuss confession, so that will be my next topic. What do you want to know about? The rosary? Saints? The Catholic Church’s stance on birth control?? Keep the questions coming!

 

Posted in Baby Catholic Answers All the Things, Religion, Uncategorized | 3 Comments

7 Quick Takes – Happy 4th of July!

1.

I’ve been practicing singing my songs for the Labor Day party. All the songs are on a playlist in my phone, and I usually play them and sing along in the car. The girls really enjoy most of the music. I’ve had some interesting questions from Miss about some of the songs. For example:

Little Willy – “Mom, why won’t Willy go?” (lyrics, “‘Cause Little Willy Willy won’t, go home. But you can’t push Willy ’round, Willy won’t go“)

You Be Illin’ – “Who’s Ellen?”

500 Miles – “Mom, is he really going to do that?” (lyrics, “But I would walk 500 miles, and I would walk 500 more.

That’s Not My Name – “Why are they calling her that stuff?” (lyrics, “They call me ‘hell’ They call me ‘Stacey’ They call me ‘her’ They call me ‘Jane’ That’s not my name. . .“) and “Did that really happen?”

And my favorite/most awkward of the questions:

Sweet Dreams (by The Eurythmics)- “Mom, why does someone want to be abused?”

2.

Speaking of Miss, I was feeling such warm fuzzies the other day when I heard her and Sis playing together. Miss was pretending to be Sis’s mommy, and was saying such sweet, loving things to her. I was just about to pat myself on the back for obviously providing such a beautiful model of motherhood when I heard, “It’s bedtime. You need to stay in bed. You. stay. in. bed. Go to sleep! Now stay. asleep. Stay asleep! STAY ASLEEP!!”

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Things devolved from there and the “Mommy” ended up chasing the “baby,” yelling, “Get in bed! It’s time for bed!!

Ahem. She might have heard me say something like that before.

3.

I just love this photo:

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Lass woke up extra early one morning and my husband sat and perused this huge animal book with her before he had to get ready for work. They were playing a game that seemed to only make sense to the two of them. Love.

 4.

I am not always quite so engaging when one of the girls wakes up super early with me. Jake and the Neverland Pirates? Yes, please.

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5.

A friend texted me yesterday to invite me to the 4th of July parade today. I had no idea there was a 4th of July parade in our town. Seems logical that there would be, now that I think about it, but it had never occurred to me. I’m so glad we went.

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6.

The parade was lots of fun for all of us, but my natural suspicion and defensiveness sort of put a bit of a damper on it for me. Early on in the the parade, a man came and stood directly behind my stroller, which I had pulled right up to the curb so Sis could see when she was sitting in it.

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We had our sit’n’stand and my purse was sitting on the back seat. The man was disheveled and dirty, and he was totally in my personal space, so my mind immediately went to protection mode. I made sure I was between him and my kids at all times, and I nonchalantly moved my purse to the ground in front of the stroller after rummaging around in it for some chapstick (I didn’t want to be too obvious). I didn’t quite go so far as to plan out in my mind just what self-defense moves I would use on him if necessary (apparently he wasn’t quite as threatening as the young girl who walked next to my car while in the Starbucks drive through line), but I did keep my eye on him the whole time.

7.

We had some friends over for a cookout tonight (same friends we went to the parade with). The girls had so much fun and they did sparklers of the first time. Two of my three girls were not scared at all. One was a bit nervous at first.

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My big girl sometimes just needs a minute to observe. She eventually overcame her fear.

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The grand finale:

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It was a great day, full of fun and friends. I can hear everyone else just getting started with the fireworks outside, and I’m ready for bed :) Happy 4th of July!

See more quick takes at Conversion Diary.

Posted in 7 Quick Takes Friday, Funny Sayings, Miss | 1 Comment

Answer Me This – Guns and Daisies

I’m coming in just under the wire for Kendra’s Answer Me This link up.

1. How often do you take public transportation?

Pretty much never, unless I’m visiting another town. I’ve been on the Metro in DC, and taken a cab plenty of times. I’m not really a fan of buses. I grew up in Detroit, as in, the Motor City, where everyone drives everywhere. So I have very little experience with public transportation.

2. How many cousins do you have?

If I’m counting right I have 15 on my Mom’s side and six on my Dad’s side. I have lots of fond memories of fun with my cousins.

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For many years, I was one of the youngest, and my next younger cousin and I were sort of excluded from the “big kids,” so we became super close.

 

 

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She has been one of my very best friends for my whole life.

I’m so happy that my girls have tons of cousins (four on my side of the family and 13 on my husband’s side) and love spending time with them.

DSC_0188 DSC_0619They are making such great memories of family time, and they absolutely adore their cousins.

3. Have you ever fired a gun?

Yes, quite a bit, though not recently. My Dad first taught me to shoot with a muzzleloader when I was a kid. Then he and my brother taught me to use a handgun when I was getting ready to move out and live by myself for the first time in graduate school. I had a small revolver that I used to keep in the very creative/secure/safe spot of under my mattress, because I was kind of nervous living by myself. I had a very detailed plan of defense in case anyone ever broke into my apartment. It helped me sleep at night.

After graduate school I worked as a psychologist for the Bureau of Prisons for several years. Part of the training for a position with the BOP is to go to the Federal Law Enforcement Training Center for three weeks, in which firearms training is a significant part of the curriculum. So I learned to fire a Glock and a shotgun and an M-10 semi-automatic rifle. I always found target practice to be very fun and challenging. I don’t think I’ve fired a gun since leaving the BOP in 2006 though.

4. Do you ride roller coasters?

I love roller coasters. The last time I rode one was after running the Disney World Marathon in January 2008. We went to the park late at night and there were no lines for Space Mountain, so we rode it over and over and over. Space Mountain barely counts as a roller coaster, but I can’t remember the last time I rode a good big one.

5. What’s your favorite flower?

Gerber Daisies (or Gerbera?). They were the flowers I chose for my wedding.

DSC01379 wedding 034Based on smell alone, lilacs are my favorite.

6. Are you allergic to anything?

The antibiotic erythromycin. I last took it as a child, and it made me feel like something very heavy was pressing on my chest. Also, something that gets in the air around here in the spring, but I don’t know what. Pollen, I guess? It makes my nose and eyes and throat itchy for a few weeks.

See more at Catholic All Year.

 

 

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A Memorable Weekend in Lots of Photos

We had a truly memorable weekend visiting family. Practically all the things of summer, in two days: Pool time, park time, ice cream, bubbles, a sprinkler, a sand box, squirt guns, pajama parties, movie night, a dance party, a cook out, and on, and on. Plus a moms’ night out.

Our hosts were just wonderful. Here’s a bit of a peek (I mean, a ton of photos):

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My kids kept asking why we weren’t staying for a whole week. They didn’t want to come home.

Posted in Family, Memories, Summer | Leave a comment

7QT About Nearly Dying by Getting Run Over by a Plane and/or Taking a Bike Ride

1. I took the girls to have their photos taken on Monday. I was excited because it was the first time for us to have them done outdoors. Our photographer suggested a cool nature preserve behind our small local airport for the setting. It was such a pretty spot. She got photos of the girls under a willow tree and near a pond. Then we walked out behind a little wedding chapel where there was a huge field. As we were walking out further and further into the field, I noticed a man yelling and gesticulating wildly from an area closer to the airport. I looked behind us, thinking he was screaming at someone else “over there.” I gesticulated back “Are. you. yelling. at. us?” He just kept screaming. I was finally able to understand his words:

Get off the runway!!!!! Get back! YOU’RE. ON. THE. RUNWAY!!!!!

It was a field. With pretty little flowers. Behind a little wedding chapel. There were no signs posted saying, “Danger! Stay off this field or you will be run over by a plane” or anything. But we got off the field/”runway” right smartly anyway. Just to be on the safe side, of course.

2. I am not a great fan of the “bike ride.” We’ve gone on two this week. The first was a total mess of complaining and whining and sweat. Some from me, some from my kids. Miss is finally getting really good at riding her bike. Lass is not so good/interested. And Sis of course, is utterly dependent on me to help her pedal/steer her tricycle.

So our first bike ride went something like this: Miss rode mostly independently. Lass stopped pedaling and couldn’t get going again, then steered into the grass after I got her started. Then she stopped and I had to get her started again. Then she steered into the grass again, and so on. I had to repeatedly place Sis’s feet on her pedals so they wouldn’t get stuck under her trike while I pushed her (yes, my plan was to push and steer her the whole way, I’m totally dumb). Each time I stopped pushing her to get Lass started again, she’d climb off the trike and try to push it herself, but of course without steering it, so it just went in circles. I’d get her back in her seat, get her feet on the pedals, and start to push her again right about the time Lass went into the grass again. This was all before we even got to the end of our driveway. It also happened to be on the hottest day of the summer so far. We barely made it to the next house on our street before the constant complaining plus the ridiculously slow movement and profuse sweating prompted me to say, “Great bike ride. Time to turn around!!”

I got less dumb for our second bike ride.

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We made it all the way around to the end of the cul de sac behind our street and back, with no complaining or whining. Mom win.

3. Lass’s birthday is in August. She has declared that she wants to have a rubber ducky/fish-themed birthday party.

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Would it be wrong for me to gently try to persuade her to go with something else? Maybe something like an “Olaf in Summer” party, so I could totally steal all of the ideas from this post? I really want to make a Melted Olaf Snow Globe. I know. It’s not about me. But I’m pretty sure my kids would go nuts over the big ice-blocks-on-a-sled race.

4. I am so excited that the ladies in my Bible study and I are starting a Little Flowers Girls’ Club for our daughters. It’s kind of like Daisies or American Heritage Girls but Catholic.

Between us Bible-study ladies we have a gajillion daughters, and at least 10 of them are of the age to participate in the club right now (5-12). Super Friend and I are teaching/hosting the first meeting a week from Monday. Miss and I are both giddy with anticipation.

5. I’ve been having a bit of a lazy parenting week. Or maybe more of a lazy dinner-making week. We had our photo appointment/near-death experience on Monday in the late afternoon, so I asked my husband to order pizza. Tuesday he had a meeting, so I served up leftover pizza for dinner. Wednesday he had another meeting, so I indulged myself and picked up Taco Bell for myself and the girls. I haven’t had TB in years, and the girls have never eaten it. But it’s one of those things that I just really must eat when I’m in the mood. So, soft tacos all around.

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Except for me. MexiMelt. Yum.

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I just realized that last night my husband ate my last leftover MexiMelt along with most of the rest of the TacoBell leftovers. So. Busted.

6. I have started reading one of my favorite books of all time to my kids.

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Miss is the only one even remotely interested, but I just love sharing this lovely prose with them, even if they don’t get into the story too much yet.

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Reading to a captive audience at lunchtime always helps.

7. We’re going to Minnesota this weekend to visit family and have band practice for the Labor Day Party. There are plans for a park tour and cook out and even a moms’ night out. Plus lots of music of course. It might be epic. Photos may be forthcoming.

For more Quick Takes visit Conversion Diary.

Have a great weekend!

Posted in 7 Quick Takes Friday | 3 Comments

Five Favorites – You Must See This Fabulous Way of Cutting Grapes!

1. I know. That title sounds a little dramatic. But truly, this is my favorite new thing. A new, totally awesome way of cutting grapes in half (The video is only a few seconds long. Watch it. It could change your life):

I tried it today and it really works. BUT, because my grapes were really small, all the plates I have had too much of a lip on them so many of the grapes ended up with just barely the top shaved off. So. I improvised.

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I used two lids of the same size. Same technique. Perfectly cut grapes. Genius. I know this seems sad, but this just made my life so much easier.

2. Caterpillars.

DSC_0130My girls love “raising” butterflies. How awesome is it that you can buy caterpillars on the internet and have them delivered complete with food, ready to grow, metamorphose, and fly away?

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3. These DVDs.

DSC_0138I love Scholastic picture books and these DVDs are great. There are tons of them, and each DVD has four to six stories on it. Many of them are fully animated (not just pictures from the books flashed on the screen), and my girls really enjoy them.

I’ve had a set for a while now, but kind of forgot about them so we haven’t watched them lately. Then I got a “Diary of a Worm” easy reader book for Miss from the library and she asked me to watch the story DVD. We only have “Diary of a Spider,” but I was able to find “Diary of a Worm” at the library. We watched both of them tonight.

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Bonus that I don’t have to read the actual books. They are not my favorite to read.

4. The AbMat

It simultaneously makes sit ups easier and harder. They’re easier because I don’t need to hook my feet under something or struggle at all to complete the move. Plus, since giving birth to Lass (10 lbs, 7 oz), my tailbone sticks out in a weird way and it’s painful to do regular sit ups on the floor. Not with this thing. The sit ups are harder because you extend your stomach muscles farther and work them better. My stomach ends up super sore from doing these. In a good way.

5. This book.

DSC_0139I learned about this book from a friend, and I’m so glad I bought it. Miss (without prompting) composed a morning offering prayer that goes like this:

“Oh my Lord, I love You so much that I could give this day to You. Amen.”

So we say that every morning at breakfast (she’s very proud that we do her prayer every day), and I read the day’s devotion and we talk about it. They remind me if I forget, and they ask me to bring the book when we travel, so I think they like it too.

For more favorites, go here.

Posted in Cool Stuff, Miscellany, Tricks | 6 Comments