Tuesday, January 31, 2012

Worth Every Tear

I recently heard of Rick Santorum's comments regarding his daughter Bella that "She is worth every tear."  And I was also recently introduced to Virginia Ironside's interview last year.

(I was considering stopping right here and hitting "publish post," because they speak for themselves, but I have swirling thoughts and that's what a blog is for, right?)

I had my teenagers read both. They were moved  by the one and shocked by the other (Can you guess which?), but I wanted them to see the ugliness of The Other Side. One boy even asked how God could love someone like that. All I could do was point him to II Peter 3:9  (In word-perfect King James, of course, because that's how I memorized it.):

The Lord is not slack concerning His promise, as some men count slackness; but is longsuffering to usward, not willing that any should perish but that all should come to repentance. 

Then an eavesdropping younger one said this :

I'm glad I'm not God. I wouldn't want to love her.

I thought about launching into "preach mode" but instead weakly stated something like We'll Add Her to Our Morning Lineup of People To Pray for.  The responses included varying levels of eye-rolling, head shaking, and face-wincing but I let it go.

Back to my swirling thoughts and another link:

This story is heartbreaking as well, and with lots of Holy Scripture (Thank you, Simcha.). The crux of the matter here is The Cross.  The cross that we are all called to take up. Too many people are ashamed of it and noone wants to take one up. It's all about my happiness, man. If my cross happens to be a disabled child, then kill the little one in utero (Or smother it.).  f a disabled spouse, then divorce and marry again. Maybe unfulfilled sexual longings. Maybe poverty. But the Church says that we must uphold the Cross of Christ, however it is manifested in our lives. Even glory in it. See the glory in the life of Rick and Karen Santorum as they celebrate Bella and ease her pain?  See the glory in the life of Virginia Ironside?  Mmmm.

Our Church teaches The Truth, which includes the sanctity of life. We don't have to understand it completely; that's what a mystery is. But it makes us better. Those of us with a Diagnosis, especially our child's, do get to that point. We can eventually say, like the Santorums, "Bella makes us better."   Does that mean there are no tears? Does that mean that we hang our heads and do nothing to ease pain and beautify our world? Heavens, no.

Up on the page, Mother's Help, there's a devotional / rosary I wrote, in my quest to be closer to the Blessed Mother. The first point is the calm acceptance of a difficult thing.  n our case, cystic fibrosis.  A genetic, life-shortening condition that casts a 1:4 shadow over every pregnancy. A cross. I don't want it. I don't want to carry it. I don't want my son to carry it. But I'm not going to kill him to "ease his pain," Ms. Ironside. Or mine. I want to be better. I want Heaven. It's worth every tear.

                                                     Rick Santorum and Bella, of course.

                                                    Rees and me  (He's going to kill me when he sees this 4 year old 

Sunday, January 29, 2012

Mass missing and the Magnificat

We missed Mass this morning.

Looks terrible written out like that.

But we stayed up very late last night . . . discussing . . . our current financial mess, brought on by a broken-down vehicle.  Because last month we had to subtract an obscene amount - twice! - from our emergency fund for repairs on our other vehicle  (Yup, right before Christmas.  We had crockpot chicken for Christmas dinner.).   When we decided to give up the discussion and try to sleep, we didn't.  For hours. 

So when I finally roused at 8:30 and saw Ken still sleeping, I left him alone.  Since it's still mostly dark and 20 below zero this time of year, and since there was no noise in the house, the kids remained sleeping as well.  After coaxing the coals to a roaring fire and making an enormous mug of coffee, I curled up with the Magnificat for the Mass readings and devotional.

Here's what I read.  Honest.

"What can free us from being anxious about the things of the world?  The authority of Jesus who commands even the unclean spirits and they obey him.  To Him you shall listen because obeying the authority of Christ makes us more human and fills us with a burning desire for things truly great."

And the Communion antiphon ~

Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the Kingdom of Heaven.  Blessed are the meek, for they shall posses the land.

The Gospel reading was Mark 1:21-28, two stories showcasing Jesus' authority : synagogue teaching and unclean spirit-casting out.

Lesson learned.  Order my interior, for I want "a burning desire for things truly great".   Darn that Magnificat.

Always learning,

Friday, January 27, 2012

Awesome Spartans?

I was reading chapters on ancient Sparta and Athens from Story of the World to Ian, aged 7.  We were curled up under a favorite Auntie's blanket before a roaring fire (It's 20 degrees below zero here.), enjoying one of those this is why we homeschool mornings (Also helped that everyone else was actively engaged in non-shouting, non-running, non-hitting pursuits.  Plus Ken was home to loom as an authority figure.).

So I read about Athens : Plato and democracy and education and laws and homes and games.  Delightful.

Then I read about Sparta : boys sent to military camps at age 7 (Like you, Honey), being half-starved and pummelled in order to produce fearless, silent, obedient warriors.  They proudly told of a hungry young boy who'd gotten his hands on a fox and was preparing to skin and cook it when an instructor appeared.  The boy stuffed the fox into his tunic and turned to answer.  While they conversed, the stuffed, angry fox scratched and bit him all over his torso ; however, he remained silent of the mauling pain, fearing the beating and dishonor more.

I turned to Ian with my eyes wide and a somber look on my face, expecting horror from my sweet boy.

But his wide eyes were absolutely shining.  "Wow," he breathed, "That.  Is.  So.  Awesome."

I give up.  As this post practically wrote itself in my mind, I recalled several other What in the world am I doing with all these boys posts.  So I have added Boys as a label and re-labelled those previous ones just in case there's anyone else wondering or wanting solidarity.

In a few hours, I plan to steep some Tension Tamer tea in my loveliest little cup, sip it slowly, and savor a viewing of Pride and Prejudice.  My husband will join me, but I'm fairly certain he'll doze off or read something on the side (like 1001 Street Fighting Secrets or The Ten Day MBA).

That's fine. 
I love my boys.


Thursday, January 26, 2012

(Only because I skipped yoga this morning . . .)

(Yes, indeed, there's not much prettier than one's children setting up a luncheon tea.  Just because.)


(Big boy is happy being big enough to Push and baby boy is happy being small enough to Be Pushed.  Are you, dear Reader, happy to see the messy room behind them?  Good.)

(Is this acceptable?  Our 4 year old friend is not sure and not taking any chances, thankyouverymuch.)

(Yes, I allow my 4 year old in a dirty shirt two sizes too large to stir stuff on the stove.  And yes, my husband still surprises me with flowers occasionally.  And yes, I keep them until they're slimy.)

Hosted by these these lovely ladies,

Tuesday, January 24, 2012

Pro-life angle

Boy, I have been working on this hideous anniversary post for days and just cannot seem to get a good flow going ; one-liners are all I seem to be able to muster up.  Except for this Facebook posting from Friday :

I'm working on a blog post for Monday's Roe vs. Wade anniversary about our own pro-life journey and came across the worst phrasing ever : "After amniocentisis proved positive for cystic fibrosis, the parents interrupted the pregnancy." INTERRUPTED THE PREGNANCY? How about POISONED AND RIPPED THEIR CHILD LIMB FROM LIMB? Because of CF. That degree of ugly selfishness and arrogance is a much worse disability than CF and lessens their quality of life as well as everyone around them.

Oh, and I did visit Planned Parenthood's SinceRoe.com site and left a message :

Since Roe, millions of people will never have the chance to make the world a better place.
Not the kind of quote they were looking for, of course, but Barbara Curtis had the idea to flood their account.  Felt good to hit Submit.  A little something.

Our pro-life angle is the suffering angle.  The angle of parents faced with a prenatal diagnosis and the quality of life question.  As Catholics, we believe that the proper end of marriage is to welcome the children that marriage creates.  For six pregnancies now, we've been viewed askance for having our babies.  "Why would you bring a child into the world only to suffer and die?"  Here are some of those one-liners :

*Every single person is born to a life of joys and sufferings.  And then death. There have been a few examples of saintly folks who did not technically die, but don't plan on that.

*Life can be difficult and messy and complicated.

*I don't have all the answers and guarantees, but I do know that killing children in the womb is not the answer.

*If my child dies, it will not be by my hand.

*Everyone suffers, not only those with health problems.  Here I would like to add a bit about another one of my children.  One with a defiant streak that would curl your toenails.  And lazy.  And who will not work on school lessons.  Tough life.  No CF.  Could be the kind of life that leads to an early grave.  I think I may beg God more for that life than my CFer...

*People today have issues (Loaded word, aye?).  Demands, even.  COMFORT.  ENTITLEMENTS.  PAINLESS.  GUARANTEES.  PERFECTION.  A little one that requires extra work or forces social embarrassment or causes constricted hearts will just not do. 

*Mother Teresa's famous words : "It is a poverty to decide that a child may die so that you may live as you wish."

*Our Catholic belief of redemptive suffering does not wipe away the pain and tears, but it does soften the sharp edges and allow glimmers of goodness.  From the Catechism :

"Moved by so much suffering, Christ not only allows Himself to be touched by the sick, but He makes their miseries His own : "He took our infirmities and bore our diseases." (Isaiah 53:4).  But He did not heal all the sick.  His healings were signs of the coming of the Kingdom of God. . .By His passion and death on the cross, Christ has given a new meaning to suffering.  It was henceforth to configure us to Him and unite us with His redemptive Passion."  (Section 1505)

"But even the most intense prayers do not always obtain the healing of an illness.  Thus St. Paul must learn from the Lord that "My grace is sufficient for you, for My power is made perfect in weakness" (II Corinthians 12:9) and that "in my flesh I complete what is lacking in Christ's afflictions for the sake of His body, that is, the Church." (Colossians 1:24).  (Section 1508)

"His compassion toward all who suffer goes so far that He identifies Himself with them : "I was sick and you visited me." (Matthew 25:36).  His preferential love for the sick has not ceased through the centuries."  (Section 1503)

So what would I say to a lady who has received a scary prenatal diagnosis?  Choose life  (Then all this other good stuff.) for we are greater than the sum of our parts ~ 

 "We are a soul ; we have a body." ~ C.S. Lewis
 "Luminous beings we are, not just this crude matter." ~ Return of the Jedi book

What a blessing and a gift it is for Ken and me to be able to point our suffering children to these words of truth.  And ourselves.

Love, love, love,

Saturday, January 21, 2012

One year Blogiversary!

January 21, 2011 :  The first day I wrote a little beginning and began.  To celebrate, I updated the family pictures on the sidebar this morning, added a sentence regarding Rees on the About page, and will post Rees' current favorite snack, from this book ~


11 oz can whole kernel corn, drained
5 oz can sliced black olives, drained
4 oz jar chopped mild green chilis, drained
1 oz package ranch dressing
2, 8oz packages cream cheese
1 small red bell pepper, chopped
1 package thick corn chips

Mash the dressing mix into the cream cheese until blended.  Mix in all other ingredients except corn chips.  Cover and refrigerate for at least 1 hour.  Serve with chips  (Our favorite are those large, Frito scoops.).

For those of us who would rather not eat so much cream cheese, I make a second bowl with fat free cream cheese.  Sometimes.


Friday, January 20, 2012

Late for Thursday ~

I'm going to attempt one of these weekly thingies because I really enjoy them on others' blogs and because my dear friend asked . . .


Our favorite family hiking place ~ Akrose Ridge


                                            Clare and Joseph with . . . backsides.


                                                              All of us at a friend's lake.


                                             Rees isn't always Mr. Perfectly Serious.

Hosted by these lovely ladies.


Monday, January 16, 2012

Hospital Mode

Rees spent a week at Providence Hospital and has now been home with a PICC line for IVs almost two weeks.  He learned some important things this time around :

* Pushups with a PICC line results in a misplaced catheter that needs to be shifted away from the clavicle.  The remedy requires a solid eight hours back at the hospital.

* Barn chores at 20 degrees below zero with a med running results in frozen tubing, a red-lit pump, and beeping alarms.  The remedy requires just ten minutes back in the house (Whew.).

And Ken and I were reminded of a few things this time around :

* Pre-adolescents will not accept that hospital admissions are serious and do not inspire happiness.  Some of our smaller set even say things like I hope Rees has to stay at Providence.  This is because they love hospital mode, which involves rotating parents and kids and visits, which involves playroom toys, elevator rides, cafeteria yogurt, and video games.

* We eat a lot of Cheerios and bananas for supper during hospital mode.

But Wednesday will be a Good Day, for the PICC will be removed, the IV pumps returned, and our family will relish dinner with dear friends  (Whose lady is very smart and began a new blog.).


                                            The barn at warmer temps, because it's snowing ...

Saturday, January 14, 2012


For the past few days, I've been slipping a handful of fresh spinach into Rees' mocha shakes and his only remark has been that the Nesquik must be a different formula because the shakes are not as dark brown as usual.  Maybe I'll 'fess up tomorrow . . .