Sunday, March 31, 2013

Easter is Here! Hope lives!

It is Easter Sunday! The biggest day in the Church year! He is Risen!!

Today gives us hope. There is amazing hope in the Resurrection.

Today my family also remembers our very first baby, Casey Marie. It's been five years since we lost her. I find renewed hope in today's celebration that we will be reunited with Casey and our other babies one day in Heaven.

Happy Easter, dear readers.

Thank you, Jesus!

Tuesday, March 26, 2013

Beyond Our Privileged Comprehension

Can you imagine being pregnant, going to have an ultrasound, finding out it's a girl, and then aborting her because she's a girl?

Can you imagine getting pregnant for the first time without a birth permit and going into hiding so that the government doesn't find you and force you to abort your child?

Can you imagine being in hiding and discovering that the government has arrested a family member (your husband, father, brother, etc.) and they are beating him until you turn yourself in for an abortion?

Can you imagine living in a place where any of the above is completely normal?

No matter how much I think about this kind of thing and go over and over it in my head, I still can not comprehend it. I have grown up in a country where I have the freedom to do what I want within the reasonable laws (mostly) of our country, the United States. And many other countries in the world are like ours.

But many are not. And unfortunately, some of the above scenarios even take place in our more "advanced" countries.

I'm not a stranger to China's One-Child Policy. I'm well aware that it has existed for several decades now. And I know that forced abortions happen there all too frequently. It's horrific. But last week I read an article about a woman who narrowly escaped a forced abortion when she was five months pregnant. There was also an accompanying video. Together, the article and the video really bothered me. I shared it on Facebook and it was on my mind all day. And has continued to be on my mind ever since. This woman was able to have her little boy, unlike many of her fellow countrywomen, but that still comes with consequences. Her child is alive, but she and her husband face a $15,000 fine in order for her son to be eligible to register as a citizen. Until then, he doesn't exist as far as the Chinese government is concerned. And as long as he doesn't exist, he can't get an ID or register his own household when he grows up.

And how much exactly is $15,000 in China? I used a currency converter and $15,000 in USD is over 93,000 CNY (the Chinese currency). But what does that mean exactly. According to this website, the average income is $5445 per person per year in 2011 US dollars. That means that this fine is roughly three times what the average person makes in a year. That is ridiculous!

And what really bothered me, was that the couple says this is their first child (the government disagrees). We hear about the one-child policy in China and assume that the horrific crime of forced abortions is done when a woman becomes pregnant with a second child. But that's not the case here. And as I looked into this more I've discovered that abortion only after a first child is not always the case. I read through the cases on the Women's Rights Without Frontiers website and it was clear that first children are also at great risk of abortion (not to mention the mothers as well, many of whom also lose their lives due to the brutality of this practice in China). A family must have a Birth Permit, even for a first child, or they risk being forced into aborting that child.

This is horrifying to me. It completely eats me up inside to think about the fear these families must live with. And the pain throughout this country of the 336 million unborn children who have been murdered since 1971. That's approximately 8 million abortions a year or almost 22,000 abortions a day. A. Day.

My question is: What can I do? It's such a huge problem, though. I could make a donation to WRWF, which will definitely help. But that still feels like a drop in the bucket. A massive bucket! Stop buying anything that was made in China? Probably hard to do, but not impossible. But does that make any difference. My little, teeny-tiny part of the economy won't matter much.

I don't have any answers right now. This has been on my mind and I had to share it somewhere. My brain is swirling with so many thoughts. But so much of what I am reading is leaving me speechless and feeling powerless.

More thoughts later.

Wednesday, March 20, 2013

A Sweetest, Nicest, Beloved, Welcoming Award!

I mentioned a little over a week ago that I was given a blog award. I was stunned, to say the least. But here now, finally, I am getting around to sharing the award and all the things that go with it. So I am pleased to present, the Liebster Award:

I was given this by Nancy who blogs at The Breadbox Letters (among other blogs and places she writes). I love her blog and if it wasn't her granting this award to me, she'd surely be on my list. And I want to quote Nancy in what she said about this award:

What is the "Liebster Award," actually?  The award is given to up and coming bloggers who have fewer than 200 followers.  From what I understand, liebster is German for: "sweetest," "kindest," "nicest," "dearest," "beloved," "valued," "endearing," and "welcoming."

This award is supposed to be fun. So along with receiving it, there are a few things that I have been asked to do. Here are the five "simple" rules for accepting the award:

1. List 11 things about yourself
2. Answer the questions that the nominator has posed for you.
3. Nominate 11 up and coming bloggers who have less than 200 followers
4. Create 11 questions to ask the nominees
5. Go to the page of each nominee and tell her about her award

Simple, right? Hopefully! I always struggle a bit with these kinds of things (listing things about yourself and coming up with questions for others), but I'm going to give it a try. So here are 11 things about me:

1. I almost never wear make-up. I do for special occasions, like a wedding or a formal dinner or something, but generally, no, I don't. The last time I went to use my make-up (in November) my foundation pump was actually clogged up by the dried up make-up. Maybe I should use it a bit more often.
2. I'm shy and very quiet around new people or in large groups. I have to know the person or persons really, really, really well for me to be more open. Or have a glass of wine in hand.
3. I often worry that people find me unfriendly due to #2 above.
4. I am a musician (sort of), BUT ... I do not sing, I don't know much about choral music or Broadway musicals, and my classical listening preferences are usually for instrumental music, not choral music. Why do people always assume I am a singer?
5. When I was a kid I wanted to be famous. Famous at what? No idea. Just famous. I really had no clue when I was a kid.
6. I am in awe of writers who can write about an experience that was difficult, exhausting, traumatic, or demanding and make it sound funny. To all you who can make readers laugh through your difficulties, I tip my hat to you. I admire that kind of witty writing.
7. I love York Peppermint Patties. LOVE! If you ever need to get on my good side, just come by with a bag of those.
8. I find coming up with 11 things about myself very difficult. I wonder if that makes me a boring person or just a person with a horrendous memory?
9. I started writing sometime during elementary school (around 4th grade, maybe) and kept it up until sometime around 10th grade. I always wanted to be a writer, but my focus changed around that time. I guess I've been trying to find my way back the last few years.
10. I tend to write most of my blog posts at night and have them post the next morning. Except for this one. I'm once again home sick, so I'm using my time to do this post.
11. I used to always read fiction, but now I almost never do. These days I prefer to read things that challenge me, make me think, or help me grow as a person. I think that's why I like reading blogs as much as I do.

And now for the questions Nancy asked in her post:
1. If you won a trip to anywhere, where would you go?
I would go to Europe somewhere, not sure where exactly, but it would definitely be in Europe.
2. What is your favorite childhood memory?
One year my dad read James and the Giant Peach to my sister and I, a little bit each night. I always loved that! Years later when the movie came out (and I think we were already adults by then), he gave us each a copy of the newest edition for that Christmas. That was very special because usually my mom handled all our Christmas gifts, but this one he went out and did totally on his own. I'm not sure my mom even knew about it until we opened them Christmas morning.
3. What is your favorite season?
4. Favorite kind of music?
Instrumental chamber music, usually wind instruments. Mozart, Beethoven, Reicha, Danzi, and many others.
5. If you could spend tomorrow with one canonized saint, who would it be?
St. Gianna Beretta Molla. I think I could use the advise and perspective of another faithful Catholic mom who worked outside the home.
6. What is your favorite Scripture? (either chapter or verse, or a whole book)
I did a Bible Study once on the Gospel of John. I don't know it as well as I would like, but I find John fascinating because it has so many layers. Specifically, I love John chapter 6. I don't know how anyone can read John 6 and not see the Eucharist there. Beautiful!
7. If you were dressing up for an elegant evening out, what would you wear? ...
I'd probably have to go shopping if it was something really elegant.
8. ... and where would you like to go?
Oh! Well, if I get to choose ... probably a symphony orchestra concert and a nice dinner out.
9. Who has modeled the Christian life for you, or taught it to you, in an inspiring way?
I think this is hands down my husband who has always left me in awe of his knowledge of the faith and his humble ways.
10. What is your favorite poem?
"I'm nobody, who are you ..." by Emily Dickinson. Thus the title of this blog.
11. How do you like to relax and wind-down?
How I *like* to do this versus how I actually do this are two different things. I tend to veg-out in front of the TV when I am in need of winding down. I wish I could just pick up a book or something instead.

And now, my list of 11 nominees. In some cases I don't know how many followers these blogs have. If they have a widget listing followers it's pretty easy, if not ... it's a bit impossible to tell. So whether these are all "up and coming" blogs or not, I don't know. In any case, these are some blogs, in no particular order, that I enjoy and I'm happy to nominate for the Liebster Award:

Pass the Flu Bug Please


Candid Catholic Living

The Confused Homemaker

Percolating Petals

My Favorite People

Cheerios and Lace (hasn't been updated in over a year, but she writes really well and it's such a pretty blog. Hopefully, she'll come back one day.)

Franciscan Mom

Fear Not Little Flock

Theological Librarian

Lox Populi

Phew!! That was harder than I thought it was going to be! Many of the above blogs are friends of mine, some I discovered through Facebook, and a couple I discovered years and years ago when I first started reading blogs and I still follow them. I'm not sure what the definition of "up and coming" is supposed to be, but all these blogs had less than 200 followers on any sort of Following widget they had up on their blog. If they did not have any sort of follow widget, then I added them anyway. Just because.

So, to my blogging friends who I've nominated for this prestigious Liebster Award, I hope you'll participate. If you don't feel you have the time, to write a post like this, please accept the award anyway. I know I have many busy mamas on the list above. And here are the 11 questions I am asking of you (though I'm stealing a few from Nancy, because she asks good questions), should you choose to participate:

1. What is your favorite prayer?
2. What volunteer activities are you involved in?
3. What do you like most about having a blog?
4. What is your favorite childhood memory?
5. What most makes you smile?
6. What is your favorite religious icon, statue, or other image?
7. If you could spend tomorrow with one canonized saint, who would it be?
8. What is your secret favorite indulgence? ...
9. ... And, do you have to have a hiding spot in your house for it?
10. Who has modeled the Christian life for you, or taught it to you, in an inspiring way?
11. Chili: beans or no beans?

And with that, I am done. Thanks to Nancy for the Liebster Award. This post took a long time but it was kind of fun, too. Now I'm off to let my 11 nominees know that I have bestowed this award on them as well.

Monday, March 18, 2013

Your Mission: Short and Sweet

I feel like I've been neglecting this poor little blog for the last few months. I know I said I was going to be writing less, but I didn't intend to stop writing altogether. Sorry for that, dear readers.

Today I'm home from work so I thought I'd pop in with a short post. Sort of an update. But then I realized that I don't have a lot to say, really. I mean, I do, if I wanted to write a longer post (and I have plenty of things on my mind I could scribble away about), but I don't. Short and sweet was my objective for today.

So, getting to the point ...

The reason I'm home: strep throat. I don't think I've had strep throat since I was a kid. I certainly done recollect the last time and I'm not certain enough to say I've never had it, so let's just say it's been a very long time! This winter has been terrible! I'm generally a healthy person and am not used to being sick this often. I guess this is the result of having kids now, particular kids who spend their days around other kids.

Second, I had an article on Catholic Sistas last Friday: Ignorance Demands Charity and Patience. I was pleased with how it turned out although it's not the article I thought I was writing. The Holy Spirit has a funny way of making that happen. So the end result is not as much my doing as that I allowed the Holy Spirit in to dictate the direction of the post. Hope you like it!

And that's it. Short and sweet. Mission accomplished.

Friday, March 08, 2013

7 Quick Takes Friday, v. 52


I've been a bit slack in writing in this space for the last month. This is usually about the time that I resolve to write on a more regular basis. But I'm not going to do that this time. I'm sticking to my plan of not writing just because I feel like I have to and instead writing because I want to. It's been nice, almost like a vacation, but not really. I actually have a ton of ideas swirling in my head, so I will have to get them out at some point. Or not. What is it about sitting down at the computer to write that makes your brain go completely blank?


Despite my lack of regular writing lately, I somehow managed to get a blog award recently (thanks, Nancy!). I need to write a post to share it and answer a few questions. I learned of this honor just before a trip I was taking, so it's still waiting to be done (one of the many things swirling around in my head). But wanted to at least mention it and share my surprise! More to come.


A trip? Yes! It was a work related trip, all the way out to San Jose, CA. It was so nice. The sun was out the whole time I was there, I could leave the hotel without a coat, there was a ton of stuff in walking distance of the hotel, and I got to visit with so many wonderful people and meet many new people. It was almost a shock to my system to come back and it be so cold. And then it snowed here on Tuesday! Snow!! I was starting to think about spring and got jolted back into winter. So not fair.


While I was away, my heroic husband had to single-parent it for seven days! The whole morning routine on his own, the whole night time routine, including baths, on his own, and everything in between. He's such a great dad. And I could tell he was exhausted by the end of it all.


And yet, he still got them out of the house on Saturday morning and took them to the mall for a walk. While they were there they ran into some unlikely characters. I was sitting in a session in a massive ballroom at my hotel when I got this picture sent to me on my phone:


I'm glad to be home. I don't mind traveling, but the actual days of travel are so tiring. Especially when practically the entire day is spent sitting in airports and on airplanes, which is unavoidable when traveling to the west coast. Oh, so glad to be home!!


I have to share what happened Thursday afternoon that I found kind of funny. I was picking up the boys from daycare and as we headed out the door and down the stairs, another mother and her child were in front of us. Her child seemed a little older than my two since he was able to walk down the stairs on his own without holding her hand. So here I come behind her, carrying one of mine and holding the other by the hand while he starts down the stairs. She looks up at me and offers to let me go in front of them because "it takes us a little while to get down the stairs." I just smiled because her words are the exact same words I use when I'm the one holding other people up with my two children. But the funny thing is, her and her child were moving along much faster than we do. We are the slow ones, I can assure you of that. And of course, her son managed to work his way down the entire flight while we were still only about 3 steps down. They were out the door and she had him in the car by the time we got to the door. So yeah, I had to laugh, I know I'm way slower than everyone else coming in or out of that place. 

To anyone who thinks you're holding me up in any way, please know that you most definitely are not! It takes me at least three times as long as anyone else to get my children in and out of school each day. And that is no exaggeration. Efficiency with twins has so far eluded me.

It's taken me some time to come to terms with that. I used to get frustrated that the parents who showed up after I did were in and out and gone long before me. And it doesn't matter how many children they have and what their ages are, I'm still the slow one. But I'm mostly used to it now (mostly) and have learned to ignore other's abilities to get their children gathered up and in the car so efficiently. One day, though ... one day!

Hope you enjoyed these Quick Takes! For more, go visit Jen at Conversion Diary!