Sunday, July 29, 2012

Sprucing Up My Domestic Church

I've long had a list of things to do to my little domestic church to make it more "churchy."  For so long I've been afraid of putting anything permanent on our walls or of investing in any big interior decorating projects. Most of the time it has been for lack of time - but as the girls get older and items around the house become a little safer, I may have to really start looking for what I'd like to decorate our home with.  We have the standard crucifixes in the bedrooms above or near our beds and palms under the mattresses. There are Saint prayer cards tucked all over and rosaries for the choosing on every headboard from the plastic glow-in-the dark variety, to wooden beads from Israel (wait, I think that one is missing...), to pretty crystal ones.  Mary is surrounded by flowers in the front yard.  We don't have any kind of large crucifix though.  My sister had ordered one from a little convent in Rome where the sisters take items to the Pope's general audience to have blessed or something.  Try looking up crucifixes online... so many to choose from, I have no idea where to start!  I guess hubby and I will just have to go shopping and see what we like. We usually spy some at antique stores but I'm always wary of it's history - could be good or bad - but it's the unknowing I don't like. 

I think what we need now too is some real art.  The hubby is a big fan of the Renaissance.  I'm more of a Monet girl myself.  We'll have to meet somewhere in the middle for some holy art.  In Pittsburgh, just about every Catholic home has a picture of the Last Supper in the dining room.  I haven't seen that around where I live now, so it must be a Burgh thing. I'd like a few pretty pictures of some kind, ones that I can find that speak to us.  While I was thinking about all of this this morning, I came across an article on one of my favorite sites It's all about the "Sacred Heart Enthronement" for families.  This is going on the to-do list.

For a little background, the Redemporists are big believers in the Sacred Heart enthronement and a family devotion to the Sacred Heart of Jesus. According to them, with the Sacred Heart enthronement, “Jesus is invited to participate in all activities of the family. He then sanctifies all the details of home life. By the Enthronement and under the influence of the Sacred Heart, each member learns intimacy with Jesus. Either as a family or individually, each will grow in confidence and love with the One who longs for our love. Thus, the gift of the Enthronement is an awareness of His Living Presence in the family and a source of grace and blessings for the family.”
What a great idea!  In the meantime, whilst cleaning out our walk-in closet yesterday, an impromptu project that turned into an all-day affair, I came across a wedding gift from my mother-in-law.  I think she actually gave it to us at my bridal shower.  It's a mirrored cross.  I had hung it in our apartment after our wedding, but then it got packed away until we bought a house. Then we had to sell our first house, and when we moved here I guess I just put it on top of the box my wedding dress is in and forgot about it until yesterday.  I handed it down to Sr. MM who promptly stated that it was "stupid" to just have it on a shelf.  She's right - it is stupid.  No, it's not a crucifix - but does it matter?  It's pretty.  It kind of reminds me of my mother-in-law and her faith, that I must admit I envy at times.  She's not Catholic, but she has an unwavering, joyful faith in the Lord that I sometimes cannot grasp at all.  She never protested when my hubby told her that he was converting to Catholicism.  So, a few drywall anchors and some holes in the wall later and ...ta-dah!

I chose to hang it at the top of our stairs.  We have a two-story entryway and the sun comes in the window across from where it hangs and I think it will really light it up on a clear day.  I hope it becomes a reminder for all of us of the light that He is in us and for us if we don't keep Him on a shelf collecting dust. 

Tuesday, July 24, 2012

The bastardization of tolerance continues...

I'm a big fan of people saying everything I want to say about an issue so I don't have to.  Thank you Elizabeth Scalia over at The Anchoress.  

 This is not about being “right” or “wrong” on an issue. This is about menacing and bullying people into conforming or paying the price. It’s about the bastardization of the word “tolerace” in our society, to the point where the word no longer means “live and let live” or “let people be who they are”; the word has become distorted in a very unhealthy way. Someone’s a bigot? Let him be a bigot; like it or not, a man is entitled to his damn bigotry. Someone’s a curmudgeon? Let him be a curmudgeon. Someone’s a misogynist (or, conversely, a male-hater?) let them be! People are entitled to be who they are — just as a church is entitled to be what it is — free of government compulsion to be what they are not. We cannot “make” people be more loving. We cannot “legislate” kindness. A bigot, or a hater (of any sort) will eventually find himself standing alone, will have to figure things out for himself. Or, not.

Brilliant. Read the rest here

Cheers for Christ-Centered Womanhood

Put down the Glamour, the Cosmo, the Star, and please, for the love of all that is holy, the National Enquirer.  Read this instead and see how you feel afterwards.

An excerpt...

"One doesn’t have to look long or hard to see that the dignity and character of women are under assault in our culture. Advertisement agencies consistently resort to using provocative images of women as marketing ploys, while the entertainment industry promote edgy female celebrities as icons of “real womanhood.” Given this cultural climate, is it really any surprise that many young women today battle low self-esteem, or that standards of modesty and chastity are being steadily eroded? Despite the best efforts of even well-formed Catholic women, this cultural onslaught can leave us doubt-ridden and confused about who we are called to be as women of God."

Saturday, July 21, 2012

What happened to training bras?

As the mom of a 10 year old and a 6 year old, I am grateful that we are able to send them both to Catholic school.  The uniform is my favorite part!  Well - maybe not the most favorite, but it's darn close.  I find with the 10 year old, we call her Sr. Mary Margaret (or MM for short) - when we shop for regular clothes for outside of school, she's still in the sparkly panda bear t-shirt phase.  She doesn't really care for the fashion so much as does it sparkle and does she like the color.  I haven't had to fight her too much on picking out clothing.  I'm sure the day is coming. 

One thing I have noticed though - what happened to training bras?  In the store the other day - bras for girls who don't really need them, but all their friends are starting to wear them, or maybe they just need a little extra fabric under t-shirts - are padded!  Yes, padded bras for 10 year olds, well I guess 8-12 year olds are the target consumers based on the sizes offered.  To this I have to say, what the hell?  Now, it's not good enough to patiently wait and yearn and pine for when the good Lord will see fit for your healthy development to begin - it's okay, no waiting necessary - just get some padding! 

I'm sorry, but padding should be reserved for 21 and over and more especially 40 and over after you've had children and gravity begins to take over.  I've had to shop the sports bra section for anything that even resembles a training bra for MM. 

But, for both of the girls, finding clothes that fit and keep them looking like little girls is hard!  Dresses are the biggest challenge.  I find that dresses for any occasion for girls are just miniature (if you can get smaller) versions of the juniors dresses - and those should really be reserved for the over 21 or college crowd, when you wear them because you are away from your parents who would tell you to march your butt right back up the stairs because you are not leaving the house in that!  Can I find a pair of jeans that don't show everything from behind?  Do we need a Trendy-Top for the tween crowd too?  Yes, please. 

Bratz dolls have been banned from our house since they arrived and I'm not particularly fond of Barbie either.  I give her a pass because she does throw Midge a bone every now and then and she seems to have accomplished a lot in her life even without eating and obviously spending most of her time at the plastic surgeon's office. 

Bathing suits are probably where I'm a bit more lenient.  I love a toddler in a bikini.  I love that they have no idea and could care less that their Buddha belly is protruding.  I don't mind the bikini on MM either, just because there isn't anything to reveal - yet.  But I see her watching the older girls at the pool with plenty to reveal, but she does point out how "inappropriate" it is.  Thank God, again, for Catholic school.

I dress pretty modestly - mostly because I hate the way that I look.  Actually, I loathe the way I look and I try to keep those feelings to myself because I don't want the girls to ever know I feel that way.  If I was in better physical shape, I probably would buy nicer clothes, I'd buy lots more clothes, but not revealing clothes.  I'm more of an LL Bean, Talbots, and Lands End girl.  They have great stuff - this year's summer dresses were awesome.  My dear hubby is seriously color blind, so to him, the perfect combination is anything navy, white and khaki, mostly because he can see the contrast of the colors so I have a lot of that.  Forced modesty by the visually impaired spouse.  There aren't too many micro-minis in navy blue.  When I do have the occasion to dress up and put my big girl shoes on, I think the girls know that I'm dressing up for Daddy.  His is the only opinion I care about.  And as the included article sums up - how we Moms feel about our appearance does a lot for how our daughters feel about theirs. Hopefully, I pray I'm on the right track in teaching them what makes them valuable and what can send the message that they are invaluable. 

The one area I'm failing in is make up.  I'm a make up junkie. I have been since I first started using it, which was way too early.  I have to have it perfectly applied and I rarely go without it.  I'm putting Lasix surgery off because you can't wear eye make up for 2 weeks!  2 weeks!  I'm waiting for that time period to be shortened.  I was away for the weekend a bit ago and actually went an entire day, in front of people, without a stitch of make up on.  It was a huge thing for me - sounds pathetic, but for me it was big.  I do notice that the girls are really into make up.  This summer it's almost every day where there is a hint of blush, a request for just a bit of mascara, etc.  I guess it's time for me to step away from the eyeliner, but I won't be leaving the house on those days.

Obviously, I'm not the only Mom with these concerns.  Should 6 year old girls be trying to look sexy?

Thursday, July 19, 2012

A prayer to St. Mary Magdalene...because I need all the help I can get!

Saint Mary Magdalene,
woman of many sins, who by conversion
became the beloved of Jesus,
thank you for your witness
that Jesus forgives
through the miracle of love.
You, who already possess eternal happiness
in His glorious presence,
please intercede for me, so that some day
I may share in the same everlasting joy.