Friday, July 29, 2011

7 Quick Takes Friday (Take 20)

1.  On Monday, my husband and I decided to take a dip in the apartment pool to cool off from the heat.  About ten minutes after we’d gotten in the pool, David realized that he had BOTH our phones in his swim trunks pocket.  Oops!  Needless to say, they were ruined and we initially were so upset by the thought of having to buy two new phones – they can be so expensive!  In reality, it was probably a blessing in disguise.  Both our phones were pretty old and in bad shape.  We were able to replace mine for free because we had an upgrade and David bought a very basic phone (that was still much nicer than his old one) for only $30. 
2.  My mother-in-law and her sister flew in yesterday and are staying until Tuesday.  They came to help us finish getting settled into our apartment and I certainly can use the help.  I am so ready to get all our boxes unpacked and put away.

3.  I wrote this post earlier this week about Mass last weekend at a church with no kneelers.  CDNowak responded to my post with this great video of Cardinal Arinze answering a woman’s question about churches where the congregation stands instead of kneels during the consecration.  I loved his response that “those who removed the kneelers have done damage to the Catholic community”.
4.   One of the best things about moving here during my pregnancy is the birth center nearby.  We met with one of the midwives yesterday and it was a wonderful and refreshing change from our obstetrician in Indiana.  Instead of five minutes with the doctor, we spent 45 minutes with the nurse midwife.  She talked to us about nutrition, exercise, breastfeeding, and so much more.  I feel much more confident that I will be getting good care and that our healthcare provider actually cares about us personally.  Of course, there are probably some great doctors out there that provide the same level of care and support, but mine certainly wasn’t one of them! 

5.  My brother-in-law flew this weekend to meet the girl he’s been chatting with on Catholic Match for the past five months.  I can’t imagine how nerve-wracking that would be!  My husband and I met on the site too, but we only lived about an hour apart, so if the first date didn’t go well, then we only had a few awkward hours together.  He’s going to be there for several days, so if they don’t click, that would make for a LONG weekend!  She seems like a very sweet girl though, so I’m praying that they hit it off.

6.  If it works out between the two of them, perhaps we’ll have to go on a Catholic Match  commercial – “two brothers both find their wives on Catholic Match”… and I’ll have to convince my brother to join in a couple years when he’s ready to settle down.   
7.  I recently came across Inspired Treasures, the website of a woman selling rosaries to pay off her student loans in order to join the Sisters of Mary, Mother of the Church.  The rosaries are truly beautiful and I encourage you to keep the site in mind for any rosary-buying occasions you may have in the future.  You can also read about Dyna and her vocation story on the site.  I am definitely going to be adding her to my prayers!

Ok, now go visit Jen at Conversion Diary to see more great Quick Takes!

Monday, July 25, 2011

No Kneelers?

Kneeling during our Nuptial Mass
Being in a new city (and state and region of the country), my husband and I simply attended Mass at the church closest to our new apartment yesterday.  I had looked it up online and was very excited to see on its website that it had a large number of family and community ministries.  When we arrived and walked through the door however, I was disappointed.  Immediately, I noticed the lack of kneelers.  On rare occasions, I've been to Mass in churches without kneelers and I knew well enough that this meant the congregation would be standing instead of kneeling during the consecration.  This is something that does not sit well with me, because kneeling before the Lord present in the Eucharist gives Him the adoration which He is due and reminds us of our humility before Him.  Sure enough, there was no kneeling during Mass, which brought me to look up the Church's formal stance on kneeling.  This is what I found on the US Conference of Catholic Bishops website:

...In the Diocese of the United States of America, they should kneel beginning after the singing or recitation of the Sanctus until after the Amen of the Eucharistic Prayer, except when prevented on occasion by reasons of health, lack of space, the large number of people present or some other good reason. Those who do not kneel ought to make a profound bow when the priest genuflects after the consecration. The faithful kneel after the Agnus Dei unless the diocesan Bishop determines otherwise. (General Instruction of the Roman Missal, number 43)
If Catholics are supposed to kneel during Mass, why are churches built without kneelers?  It seems that most churches without kneelers (at least the ones I've been to) have been built in the past ten years or so.  Is this an outright act of defiance against the Church?  It seems like it can't be a simple oversight.  I remember a church near my old home in Colorado had constantly been warned by the Archbishop to install kneelers, and it repeatedly stalled (I do not know if it ever did comply).  Of course, kneelers are not necessary for people to kneel during Mass, but I've never been to a Church without them where people do kneel. 

In reality, I know that this is a small matter.  The congregation was overall very respectful and reverent during Mass.  However, if individual parishes are able to defy some of the Church's commands and teachings, who is to say where this disobedience will end? 

As for me and my husband, we will try a different church next week.  I dislike "shopping for a church" since the Catholic Church is (or should be) One in all things, but our desire to kneel before the Lord requires us to go elsewhere. 

Where do you weigh in on this topic?  Do you believe that kneeling during Mass is important to our Catholic identity?  Can we show proper reverence for the Eucharist without kneeling during consecration? 

Friday, July 22, 2011

7 Quick Takes Friday (Take 19)

1.  I've been more than just a little bit absent recently.  Over the past week, we've moved from Indiana to North Carolina and attempted to get settled into our new apartment.  It is quite a bit smaller than the old one and has many less closets and storage space, so we have been trouble finding space for everything, so our home doesn't look much more unpacked than it did when we moved in on Monday.  Definitely a work in progress.

2.  We aren't newlyweds anymore!  My husband and I celebrated our first anniversary last Sunday (which was also the first day of driving for our move).  Although it probably wasn't the most romantic way to spend an anniversary, at least driving in the car together meant we were able to spend the whole day together.

3.  For our anniversary, my husband got me the greatest gift!  An apostolic blessing from the Pope for our anniversary!  Nothing has been hung in our apartment yet, but that will be the first thing that gets hung when we get to it.  My present to him was a little less exciting (a watch) but I was proud that I was able to find something within the scope of traditional first anniversary presents (paper and clocks) and he needed one anyway.

4. My husband and dad worked for hours last night to put the baby's crib together.  It worked perfectly with my husband's old bedroom furniture from before we were married and I'm so glad we decided to just get a crib to match than try to get a whole new bedroom set.  Of course, we plan to have the baby in the room with us for the first few months, but I feel so much more prepared for my little one now that he or she has a crib.

5.  Moving never goes as planned and this move was even worse than most with it's own scary emergency room visit.  About 15 minutes after we started loading up the moving truck last Saturday, my father accidentally stabbed himself in the wrist with a knife while cutting through some straps. Thankfully, he didn't get the artery and only needed two stitches, but the ER doctor was afraid he may have some nerve or tendon damage so he had to be put in a splint to keep from further damage and then see a hand surgeon as soon as we got to NC.  Thankfully, the hand surgeon didn't detect any damage!  Prayers answered!  So the only real harm was to my dad's ego (he was so embarrassed - he is very safety conscious - and he hated that he couldn't do much to help).

6.  I am so grateful to our amazing friends and family that stepped it up to get us packed in time.  With me and my mom with my dad in the emergency room for over four hours on the day we were packing up the moving truck, I thought we wouldn't be packed in time.  But when we got back to our apartment, the moving truck was 99% packed!  I know my husband was really looking forward to having my dad's help deciding how to pack everything in the truck so it all fit and nothing broke; he was nervous doing it without him.  But he made everything fit and the worst damage was a scratch to a chair!  I am so proud of him. 

7.  I wouldn't ever suggest that someone move while pregnant.  Although I couldn't be much help, perhaps the most aggravating thing was that everybody else wouldn't let me be ANY help.  Everytime I picked up even the lightest box, someone started yelling at me to set it down.  I felt really helpless and lazy while everyone around me was working so hard.  

Hopefully, as I get settled in, I'll have more time to spend reading and writing blogs.  In the meantime, I can't wait to catch up by checking out all the other Quick Takes hosted by Jen at Conversion Diary.

Friday, July 8, 2011

7 Quick Takes Friday (Take 18)

1.  We are only a week and a half from our move and everything has been going really smoothly…until a couple hours ago when our car started making a terrible metal on metal grinding sound.  It makes me very nervous that we only have a week to get our car fixed.  I’ll feel much better tomorrow after we take the car in and know exactly what we are dealing with.   Impeccable timing, huh?

2.  My parents will be here in less than a week!  They are flying out to help us pack up and drive the moving truck.  I am so grateful for their help (and the fact that they have taken vacation time two years in a row to help us move - definitely not a fun vacation!), but more than anything I am just so excited to see them! 

3.  We sold our adorable little stack washer/dryer a few days ago and I miss it already (and not just because it was useful for doing wash).  It was just so cute!  Our new apartment has hookups for a regular sized washer and dryer and we’ll probably be able to buy a really nice used one with the money we got for our stackable (why are tiny little stack washer/dryers so much more expensive?) and I’m sure it will be much more useful to do full size loads with all the diapers we’ll have in a couple months, but I’ll miss the cuteness factor.

4.  Today I realized that the diaper covers we’re planning to use (Thirsties) are from my hometown in Colorado!  What are the odds?  And reading up on them on their website, I noticed that not only are they made in the US, 90% of their materials are made in the US.  We had already decided to use them, and I feel even better about our choice. 

Green Toys Stacking Cups5.  Speaking of baby products made in the US, I recently came across Green Toys.  They are made from recycled milk jugs and really adorable.  I especially like these stacking cups.

6.  We just received these awesome moving announcements (I found them here on Etsy).  I already have them addressed and ready to go.  Aren’t they adorable?  I am really behind the times, because I didn’t realize that you can pay someone to make a design for you and then print them out yourself.  It ended up saving me a ton of money (Snapfish was having a big deal on 5X7s and 50 envelopes were only $6 on sale at JoAnn’s Fabrics).  If only I could learn to design something like this myself!

7.  Today, my husband said to me, “We’re going to confession on Monday.”  I’m so grateful that he takes the lead in faith matters in our family, because I definitely need someone keeping me accountable (and isn’t that one of the main goals of marriage - to get one another to heaven?).

Ok, now that you've read my Quick Takes, go to Conversion Diary to read some other great ones!

Thursday, July 7, 2011

Advice I Wish My Mother Gave Me Before I Got Married

my mom and me on my wedding day
A month after I wed my husband, my parents celebrated their 30th anniversary. Throughout my childhood, they were a wonderful example of a loving married relationship, and much of what I brought into my own marriage was based on their example. However, my mom never sat down with me and explicitly taught me what I would need to know as a wife, something that I know was much more common in past generations. As we quickly approach our first anniversary, I’d like to put to paper some of the things I’d wish my mother had told me so I can refer back to it if I someday need to advise a daughter of my own (or any engaged or newlywed women looking for advice).
In addition to advice about the marital relationship, I was desperately in need of some advice on maintaining a household. Although I lived “on my own” for five years before getting married, it was always with roommates, so the burden (and joy!) of keeping house was spread among many people. College living, at least in my experience, was also very different from family living, so some of the elements of keeping house weren’t present or were ignored (I’m especially thinking about decorating the house and thoroughly cleaning it on a regular basis!). Many women now live alone and even own their own houses before marriage and already had it figured out (though I imagine that a husband - and then children - must change some of the dynamics), but for me, learning to be a wife was inextricably bound with learning to keep house.

I. The first few months of marriage can be awkward, frustrating, and/or difficult: Getting married is a big change for everyone, and it was especially so for me since it also was the first time I moved far from my family and friends. My husband and I had to learn one another’s schedules (he’s a morning person, I certainly am not), who does what housework and what is the proper way to do it (I am very particular about how things are folded), and the other day to day matters of running a household and a life together. I also missed my mom terribly and felt uncomfortable in a new place where I only knew how to get to the grocery store. It was hard. And when it wasn’t the “marital bliss” I thought I was supposed to be experiencing, I thought that we must be doing something wrong. After a few months, we adjusted to life together and the rest of our first year together has been incredibly joyous. I just wish that my mom had prepared me for those first few months, so I would have known that everything was normal and would quickly pass (I’m sure she just didn’t remember her own awkward first months of marriage 30 years ago).

II. The price of groceries: My mom is amazing at saving money and finding deals. From her, I learned to use coupons and look for the best prices. The only problem was, I didn’t know how much groceries should cost, so I didn’t know when I was getting a good deal. Yes, I grocery shopped for myself before I got married, but I tended to only buy certain items, and I didn’t eat meat or diary. I wish my mom had taken me grocery shopping repeatedly and pointed out the average price for a gallon of milk, a carton of eggs, peanut butter, etc. I’m still getting my bearing as to what good price are for common grocery items, but had I known in the first place, I would have saved so much money by noticing that some stores had higher than average prices on everything (and steering clear of those places) and not buy things when their “sale” prices weren’t really a deal.

III. How to support your husband in his career: My husband is still a student, at the very beginning of his career, just as my father was when my parents married (they married at 19!), but I think this is no different for a woman that marries a man already well-established in his career. It is essential that we support our husbands in their jobs, especially since work is still a major way that a man’s value is defined. Our plan is for me to stay at home while my husband is the main breadwinner for the family, but this is just as important (maybe even more so) in households where the woman works or is the main breadwinner. When we first married, I had no idea how important my husband’s work was to his overall happiness, and even now that I realize it, I don’t understand fully how to support him (especially since his field is very specialized and I have trouble understanding the research he does). Just last week, I read a great post by the Modern Mrs. Darcy on how to encourage your man at work - I’m excited to try her suggestions.

IV. Don’t take too much stuff into your marriage: I'm not talking emotional baggage, I'm talking real baggage.  Perhaps my mother didn’t tell me this because she married young and lived with her parents until her wedding day, so she didn’t have the opportunity to accumulate many belongings. I lived on my own (with roommates) for five years before my wedding, giving me plenty of time to accumulate stuff. When I got married, I brought almost all of them with me. I’m grateful for the functional items - furniture, kitchen items, office supplies. But I’ve ended up giving away boxes full of knickknacks and decorations. Although I thought I’d want them to decorate my future home, once I got married, my ideas of what my home would look like changed drastically. I wanted things in our house that represented both of us individually and as a couple. Most of the items I had before didn’t meat that criteria, especially since my husband had very little that could represent him. Of course, there were some pictures and other lovely, sentimental items that were mine that worked wonderfully in our apartment, but the majority of decorations in our apartment we’ve bought together (or received as wedding gifts). Building a life together includes making your home together, not carrying over everything from your former single life.

V. Never assume what your husband knows: When we married, I knew that my husband was raised in a family much different than mine, but I didn’t think about how that would affect his knowledge base. Many of the things I learned in my upbringing, I assumed that he would know too. So I often made the mistake of assuming that my husband had knowledge of things that he didn’t, which never ended up well. This manifested in a variety of ways - I couldn’t fathom that he had never eaten tostadas (a staple in my house growing up) or eggplant. My father is handy and his isn’t, and I’ve embarrassed him by getting upset when he didn’t know how to do something I considered “manly” (how to change the oil, for example). He didn’t have any sisters, so he didn’t understand much about the “lady time” of month, and it frustrated me that he didn’t understand what I was experiencing. Obviously this works both ways, and it’s been much better since we’ve learned not to assume that the other knows what we consider to be “common knowledge”. It’s led to more understanding between us and we’ve enjoyed teaching each other new things (I taught him how to change the oil and now he’s a pro - and very proud!).

These are all that I can think of right now, but I’m sure that there were many other things that I had to teach myself, especially in the first few months of marriage. Can you think of any advice you wish you received before you tied the knot? (Or perhaps any notoriously bad advice you wish you'd never received?)

Tuesday, July 5, 2011

Why I Love My Husband (vol. 4)

The other day while driving through campus, we saw a very pregnant woman waiting in the heat for a bus.  My husband's comment?  "That poor woman, where is her husband and why isn't he here to pick her up?" It was adorable - he's looking out for all expecting ladies, not just me.

He's been painting my toenails for me because he doesn't want me bending over the fumes.  He even told his cousin's little boy, "Real men paint nails!"

Sunday, July 3, 2011


My husband and I feel incredibly blessed that this Independence Day weekend we are visiting a new piece of our great country.  We are spending the weekend in Columbus, Ohio for the wedding of good friends.  For both of us, it is our first time in Ohio and we are having a great time.  I feel grateful that this gave us the opportunity to see more of the midwest before we move on to a new region of the United States.

Columbus, Ohio has an incredible firework show every year called Red, White, and Boom.  We planned to drive here on Friday so we could make the firework show Friday evening, and we were not disappointed.  We were nervous about finding parking and a getting a good spot for the fireworks since we were in a new city with which we were unfamiliar, but somehow everything worked out perfectly.  We found the perfect parking spot in a parking garage without meaning to (in fact, we drove down a street that was closed off to all traffic except people parking in the parking garage, so we were forced to park in the perfect place).  We found a spot on the grass to put down our blankets and without knowing from where the fireworks were being shot off, it was the perfect view.  And it was the greatest way to see the downtown of the city, when it was bustling with activity.   We were impressed by how clean and beautiful the city was.   This is my first year celebrating the Fourth of July in the midwest and I definitely noticed the strong patriotic spirit!  It makes me wish we had more time to live in the midwest to get to know the people and culture.

We had a great experience today at the tiny Catholic church down the road from our hotel.  I don't know if it is just how Ohioans are or if it was due to the small, intimate nature of the church, but everyone was so friendly.  The gentlemen who welcomed people to Mass just before it started asked if there was anyone new that would like to introduce themselves, and he was staring right at us, but we were too shy to say anything.  People came out of their way to shake our hands and welcome us during the sign of peace.  It was so wonderful!  I've never been to a church that welcome and warm before.  I've been told to expect friendliness and warmth from our new church in North Carolina, and now I have high expectations knowing what a welcome should really look like!  I've heard many people criticize the Catholic Church for not being very welcome to new members, and this was a problem my own family had when we moved to Colorado many years ago, but now I'm more inclined to think that's a regional thing and not problem at the Church at all.  There are so many things we could learn from that little church and what it means to be welcoming and accepting.

The aspiring social studies teacher in me won't allow me to close without mentioning Independence Day.  Looking back at the history of the United States, we tend to focus on the large events and the famous historical figures that formed this country, fought for its independence, and guided its development.  However, we can celebrate Independence Day and the continued greatness of this county because of the actions and sacrifices of the common men, women and children who are rarely mentioned in history book, and never by name.  As we celebrate our past, we must also look to the future and decide what role we want to take in charting its course.  We must remember the greatness of America, not just on Independence Day, but every day and in the daily actions we take.  We help to make this country better when we do small acts of service for others, when we exercise our civic rights, and when we protect the rights of others.

Friday, July 1, 2011

Asking For and Accepting Support

I am currently reading The Pregnant Woman’s Comfort Book: A Self-Nurturing Guide to Your Emotional Well-Being During Pregnancy and Early MotherhoodI’m not very far into it and I’m not sure how helpful it’s been to me (partially because the predominant feeling I’ve been experiencing since I found out I was pregnant is happiness, and I haven’t had much of the emotional discomfort and confusion that the author aims at comforting - at least not yet).  However, the last chapter I read really struck a cord with me: “How to Gracefully Ask For and Accept Support.” 

This really has nothing to do with pregnancy, I’ve always had a terrible time asking for and accepting help, much less “gracefully”.  When I sit down and rationalize through it, it doesn’t make much sense.  When others ask me for help, I’m happy to give it.  In fact, I’m often honored that others would ask me to help, because it means that they trust me enough to get something done, that they value my skills, etc.  For most people, doing something nice for others is a blessing.  When I don’t allow others the opportunity to help, not only am I making things much harder on myself, but I’m denying others the benefits of helping me.  I know that makes sense, but doesn’t that just sound so self-absorbed: “I am being charitable by allowing others to help me”? 

I’m sure all of us have had experiences with people who constantly asked for help and never returned it.  These experiences leave you feeling used and perhaps even wary of helping others in the future.  But I think they also have the potential to affect your ability to ask for and accept support from others.  I am afraid of making others feel used or taking advantage of their hospitality.  But I’m forgetting a very important thing, when I ask for help - if someone can’t or doesn’t want to help me, he or she can say no!  And if they offer support, they are only doing so because they are able and willing to provide it.  

As I started thinking about this, my mind kept wandering to a recent interaction with a certain friend of mine.  We had been very close for years, and then suddenly, a few years ago, she had all but disappeared from my life.  We still talked on the phone one in a while, but something was missing.  She is a single mother, and up until that point, I had spent a lot of time with her and her daughter.  It was very hurtful and I eventually asked her about it.  Her response was that as a single mother she felt that she needed to “go it alone”, that she didn’t want to have to rely on help from other people because she needed to know that she would be able to take care of her daughter herself.  She said that she didn’t even want emotional support from others.  While I respected her feelings, hearing that was very hurtful to me for a reason I didn’t quite understand at the time.  Now I believe it was so painful because friendships need to be a balance of give and take. She still wanted to be there for me, to help me when I needed it, but I was inherently uncomfortable to only take from a relationship and not be able to give.  I have a need to care for and help others, a need I believe that all people have, and she was denying me the ability to help her.  Because I care deeply for her, I’ve tried the keep the friendship up as best as possible, but I hope that someday things will change and for both our sakes, she will feel comfortable accepting my support again. 

I think that my generation has a hard time developing true and lasting friendships (a common complaint I’ve heard among my friends and peers).  Perhaps that is because we are urged to be independent and self-sufficient from a young age.  By accepting help, many of us feel that we are admitting that we are weak or incapable.  But trust and intimacy is formed through give and take relationships with others.  In a few weeks, I’m going to be moving to a new place where we know very few people, so we won’t have many opportunities to ask for and accept help right away, but I am determined to practice gracefully accepting support when those situations do arise.

How do you gracefully ask for and accept support?