Tuesday, July 30, 2013

Husbands, Love Your Wives, v. 1

I have been thinking a great deal about love and marriage this year, for some reason. And - hey! I have a Masters degree in Theology of Marriage and Family! The least I can do is muse on the subject on my little blog.
Notice the title -"v.1". I hope to write about it from time-to-time. Not that I have a plan. I probably should not be allowed to write anything until I am fully awake (which I suspect I am not, judging by the heinous typos I am making. And hoping I catch. Sorry if I don't.).
And listen, I know it goes both ways, but for now, I am JUST writing about husbands loving wives.

The Gospel reading this past Sunday is one that actually makes me think about marriage:

"What father among you would hand his son a snake
when he asks for a fish?
Or hand him a scorpion when he asks for an egg?"
Luke 11:11-12

Or, as we often hear - "or hand him a stone when he asks for bread".

The same applies to husbands and wives.

What husband among you would give your wife nothing when she asks for more time with you? Or a lecture when she needs your listening ear? Or coldness when she needs more intimacy? Or an argument when she expresses a need?

It is much more appalling to think of handing a child a stone when he is starving, asking for bread, than it is to imagine a husband not meeting the emotional needs of his spouse.. However, many wives "starve" in marriage and receive stones or scorpions in response to their requests for emotionally nourishing bread.

 I know there are many men who seem to understand that their wives may have emotional needs (talking, encouragement, support, attention, affection)  that demand a lot more attention that what they themselves need to feel whole (even if they do not "understand" the reasons for these needs); however, there are also many men out there that are so confused by these needs, or the frequency of these needs, or the depth of these needs that their response to their wives' emotional needs is the exact opposite of what she really needs.

A stone for bread. A scorpion for an egg. A snake for a fish.

The fruit of this is seen in the quality of the relationship. A wife who is emotionally starving is rarely a happy woman.

I like the think (okay,  maybe giggle) that the constantly complaining wife of Proverbs is actually one who just needs her husband to pay her some da$#ed attention! I like to think of this series of statements not as a warning about marrying a grouchy woman, but a warning to husbands to care for their wives in every way. If they do not - even if they believe they do - they will know it. For one, their wives will usually tell them, but if they choose not to believe her, then they will be living with the consequences:

It is better to live in a corner of the housetop than in a house shared with a contentious wife.  - Prov. 21:9

It is better to live in a desert land than with a contentious and fretful wife. Prov. 21:19

It is better to live in a corner of the housetop than in a house shared with a contentious wife. Prov. 25:24

A continual dripping on a rainy day and a contentious wife are alike; Prov. 27:15

It is almost like God is giving wives permission to make their husbands' lives a living hell if they chose to not address their wives' emotional needs! I know, I know  - He isn't. I think.

(Or, I could be watching too many superhero movies, where a kind-of geeky under-dog gets special powers  proceeds to annoy the heck out of those who ignored her before. Or, as previously stated, I could be writing before I am fully awake. Have mercy on me.)

A Christian wife, who look to her husband to love her as Christ loves the church, may even find her relationship with God challenged when her husband - who may be a good man in most ways - neglects her emotional needs.

The danger for women, of course, is to be overly-emotional or overly-demanding of attention and affection. No one likes a leech, girls. Don't suck the life out of your man!

Husbands and wives are called to model Christ's love to one another. They are to be Jesus to one another. We need to think about how we are representing Jesus in our marriage.

And pray. A lot.

Saturday, July 27, 2013

You Know Not the Day Nor the Hour

I was going to post on something light-hearted and fun.VBS (which was awesome) or my silly kids or something clever about homeschooling.

But, this is on my heart right now and so this is what you get.

My friend was riding his bike this morning, a relatively cool morning for late July in Texas. On the trail, he came across an accident that had recently happened. An 8-yr-old girl had wiped out on the trail. She had been out riding with her dad. I understand she was wearing a helmet.
They Careflighted her to the hospital. We have been praying for this unknown little girl today, assuming she was fine, because, hey! she was wearing a helmet.
She was pronounced dead at the hospital.

Just like that. Gone.

My heart breaks for the family. For the dad, who was just out riding bikes with his kids. For what should  have been a normal morning.

Nothing will ever be the same. He will always think, "If only we had . . .", "if only I had . . ".

That is all I know - there could be details I am not aware of, but I know for certain there is a family grieving tonight. What started out as just a normal day ended up as tragedy.

You hug your kids, you send them out the door, but you just never know. There are no guarantees.

Life is precious and sweet.


Friday, July 26, 2013

7 Quick Takes, and day 5 of 7 Posts

Lots of 7's today!

5th day of a week of 7 posts! Whoo hoo!

And, as it is Friday, it is also 7 Quick Takes!

And both are thanks to Jen at Conversion Diary.

here we go:


I have not been writing for a while. I felt like I needed to take time off and relax and pay attention to my kids and not worry about "Will I ever make it as a writer?"
I don't even know how to answer that question anyways. Yes, I am published. No, nothing in the past few years. So, what does that mean? No one is breaking down my door to get me to pen fabulous words that will dazzle and delight, so what does that say? Shouldn't I want to write no matter if anyone ever sees it?
Waiting, seeing, wondering . . .


My boys are arguing about farts downstairs. And cooking and eating fish. I can hear them. Sigh.

Boys are very, very weird. My life as an adult has been totally shaped by them. I never thought I would have all boys, and the fact of having all boys has made my Life of Parenthood very different. No one ever wants to go shopping, get a manicure, watch sappy movies. Like any good human, I have adapted.
My daily ablutions are short and to the point. There is a point-of-no-return with boys - leave 'em alone for too long and you may find very bad things happening, or very weird things. Or nothing. They keep you guessing.


VBS just ended at our church. Well, I suppose it is ending today. We have 2 sessions at St. Gabriel's: a morning session that runs Monday-Friday mornings and an evening session that runs Sunday evening-Thursday evening. You only attend one. We prefer the evening, because it is smaller, close-knit and we have our days free. Only we are very, very tired at the end of the week.

This year was Romeo's first year to volunteer as a teen helper. The Young Adult and Cookie Boy both are seasoned vets, but Romeo was nervous and excited to be a real helper. He had a great time and fell in love with all those little kids. He loved helping, but he also came home with crafts. He is 11, that funny age between little kid and teen. Love it.
That left the Monkey as my only attendee! I remember the days when I would go volunteer with VBS and NONE of my kids were old enough to attend.
I feel old. . .


 . . . which leads me to the contemplation that my birthday is only 3 weeks away. The Big One - 4.0.


Which I will celebrate with my husband's entire family at a beach in Delaware. We have added a gazillion more people to the family since our last beach vacation 8 years ago. It should be very interesting!
Nothing I love better than turning a Big (kind of traumatic) Birthday at a BEACH, which means swimsuits.


My battle with my weight over the past 7 years is ridiculous. No amount of changing my eating habits or exercise seems to make a difference. I lose a little, and it creeps back on. and on. and on.

While going to the beach sounds fun, in theory, having to hang out in my bathing suit is making me cringe. I bought a second one - a swim shirt and shorts - so that helps. But, still.

it will do nothing for my self-esteem.

And before you tell me not to care, let me tell you - I do care. Very much. But I will still have fun.


 August is less than a week away. I am flipping out, I tell you! August may still technically be summer, it is already full! Okay, yes, I get to go to the beach, and that will help. But I have lots of paperwork to finish up for my new preschool music teacher job, plus lesson planning for that, plus regular homeschool lesson planning, plus finishing up paperwork from the last school year (bet that helps make you feel like a better parent now, doesn't it?), plus First Lego League team planning, plus trying to figure out how to haul my kids all over creation for classes and manage to feed us every night (which is kind of hard to do when you are NOT HOME!), plus all the regular stuff.

Have a great weekend!

Thursday, July 25, 2013

7-in-7,day 4: Dirty Little House Secrets

My house is a mess.

I wonder how many blog posts I have begun that way. But it is true, so there it is.

I have analyzed many, many times WHY the house is so messy. The most obvious answer is: my family! Romeo is the only one of my men who shows any concern about cleaning. The Monkey does help, but he is young yet.

I have this dream (nightmare or fantasy? I am not sure.) that I go away for a while - not sure where. Let's imagine Hawaii or Salzburg - somewhere fabulous. Anyway, I am gone for a month or two. I return to a scene of horror.
My men are lounging around the house in dirty clothes. Piles of toys, books, junk and trash litter the living room, stairs and bedrooms. Dirty dishes piled in the sink. Message light blinking frantically on the phone, because either a) no one thought to check and see if there were messages or b) no one remembered how to get them off, in spite of the hand-written instructions I have on the wall. A 5-inch layer of dust coats everything. The kitchen floor has clearly not been mopped and maybe not even swept while I was away. The bathrooms are downright scary.
A look of horror washes over my face. My men jump up to exclaim, "We were were going to clean up! You just got home an hour early! Honest!"

Yeah. This is a very likely scenario of what would happen were I to be gone for a month or two.

I have tried many systems of getting the family clean and/or organized, but to no avail. I have limited cleaning time myself, but I do what I can.

In the process, things get neglected. And that is where we are today. Neglected.

My big summer plan to clean and organize the house has not happened, due to illnesses and fun.

But today, that begins to change. My neighbors have a 16-year-old son who needs money AND likes to organize. He is coming over this afternoon to help me get a handle on the whole thing. Only problem is, he will SEE our dysfunction. It will probably scar him for life!

Wednesday, July 24, 2013

(This) Woman's Best Friend

Over the past several years, I have changed my eating habits substantially.

Brown rice, quinoa, beans, real whole wheat bread stock my pantry. Chocolate Covered Katie and Skinny Ms. are bookmarked on the computer and Kindle. My vegetarian cookbook sits on my counter, because I use it so frequently. Cauliflower - cauliflower, for heaven's sake - sits in my fridge (this, coming from a girl who does not like vegetables, should tell you have far I have come).

Yet, there are times in this woman's life (about once a month) when she just needs chocolate. Ice cream. Ice cream that screams, "This is chocolate"!

That time was recent in our house. I sent my husband out with one mission - "As chocolate as you can get".

This is what he came home with. I did not know this existed. It was Chocolate.

Should just come with the label, "For that special time of the month"!


Tuesday, July 23, 2013

7-in-7, Day 2 - So Much Internet Goodness

My, oh my! This post is late today (see #4 for the reason why)

There is SO MUCH internet goodness today. Friends are posting stuff left and right on fb that has me happy, thoughtful and saying, "coooool"!

1) First up - this cool blog from Hannah at The Art in Life, "My Husband is not my soul mate". We hear lots of things about God and marriage, one of them being, "God has someone out there for you". The truth is, there are probably lots of someones out there for you. God gave us free will and we use it. Every choice we make takes us a different direction (just like a "Choose Your Own Adventure" book, which I LOVE... I mean, LOVED!). Marriage is a choice - one person, for life. And that gets made day after day after day. Love in marriage cannot rest on a feeling, because when the feeling goes, what is the point of the marriage? But when love is a choice - a choice of an exercise of our free will, then love becomes a daily offering.
Ursula Le Guin, a great science fiction writer, said this: "Love doesn't just sit there, like a stone; it has to be made, like bread, remade all the time, made new."
Not that God does not care who we marry. It just is not written in permanent ink from the day of our birth. 

2) Numero dos - this very cool poem called "We Need Saints". On fb today, it is making the rounds as something said by Pope Francis at World Youth Day, and maybe he quoted it. However, it is a poem, apparently inspired by JPII. I am really not sure of the exact origin, but I love the poem. Thanks to Mario St. Francis for this translation from the Portuguese on his site.
We Need Saints
We need saints without veil or cassock.
We need saints who wear jeans and sneakers.
We need saints who go to the movies,
listen to music and hang out with friends.

We need saints who put God in first place,
but who let go of their power.

We need saints who have time everyday to pray
and who know how to date in purity and chastity,
or who consecrate their chastity.
We need modern saints, Saints of the 21st century
with a spirituality that is part of our time.

We need saints committed to the poor
and the necessary social changes.

We need saints who live in the world and who are sanctified in the world,
who are not afraid to live in the world.

We need saints who drink Coke and eat hot dogs, who wear jeans,
who are Internet-savvy, who listen to CDs.

We need saints who passionately love the Eucharist
and who are not ashamed to drink a soda or eat pizza on weekends with friends.

We need saints who like movies, the theater, music, dance, sports.

We need saints who are social, open, normal,
friendly, happy and who are good companions.

We need saints who are in the world
and know how to taste the pure and nice things of the world
but who aren’t of the world.

3. A really cool video celebrating geeky girls! I did not ever think of myself as a geek when I was younger. But now I realize, it was there all along. I have always loved Star Trek NG and I got my first gaming system when I was 9. I learned computer programming on an old TI. As a Big Girl now, I love Avengers, comic books, sci fi movies, video games and I coach robotics and engineering team. I am PROUD to be a geeky girl!

4.  Our first official off-season First Lego League meeting today. This is the 4th season for Storm System, and the boys are super excited over the theme for this year, Nature's Fury. We have the game mat and the pieces, but we do not have building instructions yet. 
Our new parent banner!

The challenge release date is August 27, which seems a long, long time away. However, I know it will get here much faster than I imagine, and before I know it, I will be howling about competition time!
I made them play Pictionary to begin the meeting. That announcement was met with howls of dismay and protest. Sigh. Some had never played it, some did not know how to play it, and some were "really horrible at it - I can't do it - I will really stink at it". Just like a real FLL meeting!
Cruel coach that I am, I made them play anyway. And - gasp! - they had fun. Imagine that! They were much better at it than they thought. Plus, there is teamwork, cooperation and lots of opportunities for encouragement (hence the coach in me went, "Hmmmm, perfect! They will have fun AND learn at the same time. Mwah haaah haaaah haaah!").
"Log Cabin"

"Rain Forest"

The figure in the middle clearly demonstrates that this is a drawing of a pirate! Not sure if he has devil horns or huge ears or what is on his head!
The game came down to the last draw. It was a close one! Good thing we are a robotics and engineering team, and not a fine arts team!

Monday, July 22, 2013

7-in-7, Day 1: Anxiety

So, I am taking on the 7-blogs-in-7-days challenge from Jen over at Conversion Diary. Although it was thanks to Casey at My Love Is Too Little that I decided to tackle this. So, thanks, Casey! (I think. . .)

It is a good challenge, as I have (obviously) not been posting much, at all! So - deep breath - time to flex those writing muscles and dive in!

Yesterday was "Martha Sunday". I kind of dread it every year: the day the gospel reading turns to Luke 10:38-42 - the Martha and Mary story.
We all know it: Jesus visits Martha and Mary. Martha works, Mary listens. Martha=bad, Mary=good. Or so it always seems to go.

I have written about Martha before.

And Mary.

Yesterday I heard three different homilies on these women. Three different perspectives. At least this year each homily pointed out that Martha is not "bad". 

I heard it in a new way this year (and I am pretty sure I know the reason why!). There was one verse that practically leaped out and danced around me, waving its arms and chanting, "hear this".

"Martha, Martha, you are anxious and worried about many things."

We all have different gifts. Martha's was pretty clearly running the household. We never really know what Mary's gifts are, but we know one thing: Mary learned the art of not being anxious or worried.

Jesus did not get on to Martha for her work, but for her attitude in her work. She served, but it was with a burdened heart.  Did Martha enjoy Jesus being there at all? Not, did she like him visiting, but did she have moments of getting to enjoy his visit. Did she sit and listen at all, or was she constantly working, increasingly mad at doing it all herself?

We never hear the whole story. Did Mary help at all? Or was this just a moment when Mary had decided to sit and listen to words of wisdom from the Master, and Martha happened to notice it just when she was feeling most overwhelmed?
I love this about the Bible - there is such a lack of nitty-gritty details, so we get to kind of set the scene, over and over and over. Imagining it in different ways.

Right now, I am about out of my mind with anxiety and worry. My schedule is over-run. I cannot figure out how to fit things together. I am still not caught up on paperwork for the last homeschool year. One child still has not finished his science. I am low on money and need to order books for the next year. I am starting a new part-time job and I am scared to death of how it will affect me and my family, not to mention fear of failure. My constant stress over not losing weight and still gaining it slowly, in spite of eating pretty well and exercising. Running a house without a lot of help, with occupants that will only work when ordered to (multiple times). Life in general.

"You are anxious and worried about many things."

I hear you, Jesus!

This week, I will try to seek the better portion, even in the midst of the craziness.