Tuesday, September 11, 2012

I Will Always Remember and Pray: 9/11/01

Year after year, on this day, news reports resurface and re-creations fill the television screen. Year after year, on this day, my chest constricts and my eyes water. No, I didn't lose anyone I loved or knew nor did anyone I know lose someone they loved or knew. Even so, the reminder of the terror of that day is enough to cause me to cry. I also cry for those who did lose someone they loved or knew, those who worked in the building, those who put their lives at risk for others, or those who survived. The terror of that day is constantly replayed throughout the country without regard for the sensitivities of these mourning and suffering people. Re-creating the terror will only serve to gouge out the semi-healed hole in their lives. Yet, even knowing this, I can't seem to ignore the coverage any more than I could that fateful day. 

When I remember that day, I am also reminded of my late-fiancĂ© because he sat beside me as we watched the television coverage in horror. He died less than a year later. As a grievance gift, my uncle later gave me the book, Let's Roll. We were high-school sweethearts who had just realized the dream of attending college together as biology majors. That fateful morning we were sitting at our usual table in the upper-classmen cafeteria eating breakfast before our early morning physic class. Our table faced a small television mounted high up on the wall. For whatever reason, our television was already on a news channel, so we got the first round of coverage. As we all sat there in silent disbelief (yes a room full of college students can silent), the horror continued to unfold. If I recall correctly, we watched the second plane hit. The silence was broken soon by cries of disbelief, anxiety, and terror as some of our far-flung schoolmates wracked their brains for the location of loved ones and even acquaintances. Later, the shock continued as we learned of the almost simultaneous attack on the Pentagon and the aborted attack on DC (the theme of the book mentioned previously).

Slowly, we gathered our things and tore our gaze from the news to walk to our class. I think everyone that saw coverage was late for class that day--even the professors. One of our professors came from NY and we were all concerned for him and his family (they weren't in NYC, but at that time no one knew what was going on)--especially since he immediately started the journey from KY to NY upon hearing the news. Classes that day were incredibly subdued and many were cancelled. Although our school was in the wilds of KY, at the time, it was unknown whether there were other targets throughout the country, so classes were cancelled and those capable were sent home for an indefinite time period. I don't think I've ever seen a college campus so quiet nor so unified. Sadly, the unity did not necessarily extend to our foreign schoolmates once news got out that this terror attack was foreign-based. Some were hidden at undisclosed locations for their safety. Yet, even so, churches were filled to the brim as we prayed for the repose of souls, healing for the injured, comfort for the mourning, and strength for the rescuers. 

Today, my prayers, again, are for the repose of souls, healing for the injured, comfort for the mourning, and strength for the rescuers. I pray that the continued coverage does not cause further harm to those who are healing. As I watch television coverage of that day now, I pray with even greater fervency for those who today must suffer terribly with suvivors guilt, PTSD, and grief. The brave and resourceful individuals that were able to create safety, 


order, and healing amid the shock, chaos, and injury of that day also in my prayers. Continued prayers are also necessary for the protection of other innocents in harms way of terror attacks such as this. Even those responsible need our prayers because such horrific actions can't have been actions of those with sane or kindly regard for human life. Human life is so sacred and all too often too brief. Regardless of appearances every life deserves a chance to live fully. Although it is hard to imagine, especially in the face of so much suffering, God has a plan for each and every life He creates. We should all strive to give God's creation the benefit of the doubt and err on the side of caution when the question of life or death arises. God bless America! 

Friday, September 7, 2012

Copy & Paste: Rockin' It Preschool

My mom has answered my prayers by beginning to homeschool my preschooler, Simon. Of course, Rachel is always present too, so she joins in on some of the more simple work. This afternoon, Simon's 'homework' was to practice cutting to hone more fine motor skills. Initially I was going to print some pages from some of the homeschool websites I've found. Alas, my desktop computer, attached to the printer, is non-functional. So I had to rock it old school. After browsing some homeschool websites earlier this afternoon, I had a few ideas to help with fine motor skills in addition to the 'assigned' work. So, out came the construction paper and markers. 

First, I just cut the construction paper pages in half to make them easier to handle for little hands. Then, I started drawing various shapes. Once I got a few pages drawn, I handed the kids child-safety scissors to let them start cutting on their own. My plan, initially, was for Simon to cut out the shapes, but let's just say his cutting skills aren't very good yet -- at least not for me. So I helped him hold his hands properly and learn to cut long lines instead of short choppy strokes.


Second, I began thinking of what sorts of shapes I needed to create the kids favorite things: tractors and horses. For the tractors, I chose green and yellow as a reflection of Simon's favorite brand. For the horse, I chose purple because that is Rachel's favorite color. I simplified the overall shapes of the favorite things, but still let them be recognizable. I cut the requisite shapes out of the appropriate color. 


Third, I took a fresh sheet of paper, or even paper that had scribbles on it, to be the base for our creations. I outlined the component shapes on the paper in the appropriate arrangement. For Simon's first attempt, I also numbered each outlined shape so he knew the order of application. I helped him with the gluing at first, but gradually faded out of the equation. Rachel's attempts did require a more hand-on approach. 


Fourth, I asked Simon to add either backgrounds or faces to his creation. However, he enjoyed the project so much that he insisted on creating two extra pieces. The beauty of this activity is that the kids didn't know they were learning skills like cutting, gluing, puzzle skills, creative art-work, imagination, following directions, and cooperative play. Here are the finished products. 


Thursday, September 6, 2012

Copy & Paste: Rockin' It Preschool

My mom has answered my prayers by beginning to homeschool my preschooler, Simon. Of course, Rachel is always present too, so she joins in on some of the more simple work. This afternoon, Simon's 'homework' was to practice cutting to hone more fine motor skills. Initially I was going to print some pages from some of the homeschool websites I've found. Alas, my desktop computer, attached to the printer, is non-functional. So I had to rock it old school. After browsing some homeschool websites earlier this afternoon, I had a few ideas to help with fine motor skills in addition to the 'assigned' work. So, out came the construction paper and markers. 

First, I just cut the construction paper pages in half to make them easier to handle for little hands. Then, I started drawing various shapes. Once I got a few pages drawn, I handed the kids child-safety scissors to let them start cutting on their own. My plan, initially, was for Simon to cut out the shapes, but let's just say his cutting skills aren't very good yet -- at least not for me. So I helped him hold his hands properly and learn to cut long lines instead of short choppy strokes.


Second, I began thinking of what sorts of shapes I needed to create the kids favorite things: tractors and horses. For the tractors, I chose green and yellow as a reflection of Simon's favorite brand. For the horse, I chose purple because that is Rachel's favorite color. I simplified the overall shapes of the favorite things, but still let them be recognizable. I cut the requisite shapes out of the appropriate color. 


Third, I took a fresh sheet of paper, or even paper that had scribbles on it, to be the base for our creations. I outlined the component shapes on the paper in the appropriate arrangement. For Simon's first attempt, I also numbered each outlined shape so he knew the order of application. I helped him with the gluing at first, but gradually faded out of the equation. Rachel's attempts did require a more hand-on approach. 


Fourth, I asked Simon to add either backgrounds or faces to his creation. However, he enjoyed the project so much that he insisted on creating two extra pieces. The beauty of this activity is that the kids didn't know they were learning skills like cutting, gluing, puzzle skills, creative art-work, imagination, following directions, and cooperative play. Here are the finished products. 


Thursday, June 21, 2012

A War of Words: Religious Liberty

Unless you've been hiding under a rock, you've heard about the controversy with the HHS Mandate and the Catholic Church. However, the mainstream media portrays the controversy as the Catholic Church against women. The secularist media declares that the Church refuses to let women use contraceptive drugs period. The errors in these statements is obvious to anyone with a working knowledge of the Catholic Catechism. Sadly, many Catholics and most of the US (world?) population refuses to acknowledge this truth. 



First, start with the teaching of the Catholic Church. Direct from the Catechism: (emphasis mine) 




"2370 ... In contrast, "every action which, whether in anticipation of the conjugal act, or in its accomplishment, or in the development of its natural consequences, proposes, whether as an end or as a means, to render procreation impossible" is intrinsically evil:159

Thus the innate language that expresses the total reciprocal self-giving of husband and wife is overlaid, through contraception, by an objectively contradictory language, namely, that of not giving oneself totally to the other. This leads not only to a positive refusal to be open to life but also to a falsification of the inner truth of conjugal love, which is called upon to give itself in personal totality. . . . The difference, both anthropological and moral, between contraception and recourse to the rhythm of the cycle . . . involves in the final analysis two irreconcilable concepts of the human person and of human sexuality.160




The key point in the above passage is that contraception, when used as "family planning", is against the Catholic Church's teaching. Not even just a vaguely, a slap-on-the-wrist offense, but "intrinsically evil". There is some controversy within the Faithful about the use of contraceptive drugs within marriage (or a sexually active relationship, which is a whole other article) as "treatment" for various gynecological ills. However, when the woman using a contraceptive drug is unmarried (and sexually inactive), there is no controversy--the drugs can be used as "treatment". In a perfect world, all Catholics would learn about Fertility Awareness methods (popularly called NFP) that treat the same gynecological ills without contraception, AND with better, healthier results (again, that's a whole 'nother article). Currently, (that is without the HHS Mandate in effect) the Catholic Church likely covers contraceptive drugs for a medical treatment, but not for "family planning", under the protection of a "Conscience clause". 




Next, let me discuss the actual controversy the Church has with the HHS Mandate. The "conscience clause" that allows coverage for medicinal use of contraceptive drugs, but does not allow sterilizations, abortions, or "emergency" contraception, is being disposed of with the HHS Mandate. In other words, the HHS Mandate forces Catholic institutions, charities, etc to fund (through insurance coverage) and provide services that are "intrinsically evil" according to the Catholic Catechism. This would be akin to the government forcing strict vegans to pay for and provide meat products. Unlike the vegans though, religious (moral) ideations are protected by the First Amendment: (emphasis mine)

"Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances."


"Free exercise" of Catholic moral code prohibits abortions, sterilizations, and contraception. Therefore, the HHS Mandate violates the Faithful's ability to freely exercise their religious beliefs. In effect, this would be similar to legislation requiring Jehovah's Witness institutions to provide and cover blood transfusions for their members and employees (I have no idea if they do currently or not). The enactment of this law would be tantamount to legislation forcing an orthodox Jewish deli to provide ham and other pork products to their customers. There are probably countless examples a fertile imagination could create, but suffice it to say that Catholics and non-Catholics alike are recognizing that Obama and his administration has overstepped their bounds. At our local "Stand Up for Religious Freedom" rallies on March 23 and June 8, Catholics were well represented, but our Protestant friends were also present and on the program. If you value your constitutional rights, stand up and say "we are all Catholic now". 




Another event begins today, "A Fortnight for Freedom". This is an effort lead by The United State Conrence of Catholic Bishops (USCCB), but like all other religious freedom rallies, is open and welcoming to all denominations. A cyber event, the only request is that for the two weeks, starting with the vigil for Sts. John Fisher and St. Thomas Moore and ending with July 4, our nations Independence day, is that you pray daily for a resolution to this intense threat to religious freedom. More information about the event can be found on the Facebook page and the USCCB website devoted to this event. Here is a summary of what this event entails:



This is a cyber event - held in your own home, church or parish by way of your prayers. It is open and depends on all people of all walks of faith to come together and petition God our Father to save our nation in its struggle for Religious Freedom for all!



The fourteen days from June 21—the vigil of the Feasts of St. John Fisher and St. Thomas More—to July 4, Independence Day, are dedicated to this “fortnight for freedom”—a great hymn of prayer for our country. Our liturgical calendar celebrates a series of great martyrs who remained faithful in the face of persecution by political power—St. John Fisher and St. Thomas More, St. John the Baptist, SS. Peter and Paul, and the First Martyrs of the Church of Rome. Culminating on Independence Day, this special period of prayer, study, catechesis, and public action will emphasize both our Christian and American heritage of liberty. Dioceses and parishes around the country have scheduled special events that support a great national campaign of teaching and witness for religious liberty. 



THIS IS NOT JUST FOR CATHOLICS...THIS IS FOR ALL CHRISTIANS AND NON CHRISTIANS UNITED IN PRAYER. That means Jewish, Muslim, atheist. This is about our First Amendment. We may well have non Christians here and we welcome ALL as Christ would. ** THIS IS NOT A FORUM FOR DEBATE. **














Thursday, June 14, 2012

Fun Food: Smokey Critters & Mutant Mac

Without fail, the munchkins get hungry at least three times a day... Sometimes in an effort to make eating more fun, I'll snatch ideas from Pintrest. Of course, I'm very similar to my mom in that I can never seem to leave a recipe alone. So here is an adaptation from a Pintrest fun food that I think tastes much better.

First, gather the appropriate number of Lil' Smokies (depending on the number of mouths you're feeding), a box of Mac 'n Cheese, a can or bag of peas, some extra cheese (Parmesan, shredded, velveta, etc in appropriate portions), and your children. First, I set water to boiling (including the liquid from the can of salt-free peas), as per the instructions for the Mac 'n Cheese. While the water heated, I dumped some dry macaroni on the clean counter and handed my children a little smokey. I gathered several in front of me and began pushing pieces of dry macaroni into the smokies. My children and I chose to create bugs with ours. So, three fairly straight pieces on the lower portion either side formed legs, while two others were placed on the arbitrary front for antennae. Simon even requested that at least one be a spider, so I increased the legs to a total of eight for that one. Since we had just found a large stag beetle, we also made one in that design with very curved macaronis being his pinchers. My designs obviously turned out better than the efforts of my 2 and 4 year old, but they were pleased to participate.

Once the water began boiling, the remaining dry macaroni were added to the pot and the critters were gently dropped in the water as well. It is necessary to ensure that the boiling nor the stirring involved not be too vigorous. Even with a modicum of care, some of our critters lost appendages during the boiling process. A few moments prior to the noodles being well-done and too soft, I fished the critters out with a slotted spoon to set aside. Then I drained the noodles as per box instructions. I then continued making the Mac 'n Cheese according to instructions (adding the cheese mixture). I then added the drained peas (if using frozen ones, I'd have boiled them with the noodles) to the pot as I continued to stir the Mac 'n Cheese. I also added a few handfuls of shredded Colby-Jack and grated Parmesan cheeses to the pot. Once the mixture had attained the proper consistency, I laddled out portions for my children, topping with their critters. 

The beauty of this meal is that there is a decent portion of several food groups present: dairy, meat/protein, starch, and vegetable. It also takes less than twenty minutes if using a box of Mac 'n Cheese. Since the critters are present I was able to get my vegetable-only daughter to eat some meat. Also due to the critters, my carnivorous son ate peas and Mac 'n Cheese. What a wonderful compromise! 

Fun Food: Smokey Critters & Mutant Mac

Without fail, the munchkins get hungry at least three times a day... Sometimes in an effort to make eating more fun, I'll snatch ideas from Pintrest. Of course, I'm very similar to my mom in that I can never seem to leave a recipe alone. So here is an adaptation from a Pintrest fun food that I think tastes much better.

First, gather the appropriate number of Lil' Smokies (depending on the number of mouths you're feeding), a box of Mac 'n Cheese, a can or bag of peas, some extra cheese (Parmesan, shredded, velveta, etc in appropriate portions), and your children. First, I set water to boiling (including the liquid from the can of salt-free peas), as per the instructions for the Mac 'n Cheese. While the water heated, I dumped some dry macaroni on the clean counter and handed my children a little smokey. I gathered several in front of me and began pushing pieces of dry macaroni into the smokies. My children and I chose to create bugs with ours. So, three fairly straight pieces on the lower portion either side formed legs, while two others were placed on the arbitrary front for antennae. Simon even requested that at least one be a spider, so I increased the legs to a total of eight for that one. Since we had just found a large stag beetle, we also made one in that design with very curved macaronis being his pinchers. My designs obviously turned out better than the efforts of my 2 and 4 year old, but they were pleased to participate.

Once the water began boiling, the remaining dry macaroni were added to the pot and the critters were gently dropped in the water as well. It is necessary to ensure that the boiling nor the stirring involved not be too vigorous. Even with a modicum of care, some of our critters lost appendages during the boiling process. A few moments prior to the noodles being well-done and too soft, I fished the critters out with a slotted spoon to set aside. Then I drained the noodles as per box instructions. I then continued making the Mac 'n Cheese according to instructions (adding the cheese mixture). I then added the drained peas (if using frozen ones, I'd have boiled them with the noodles) to the pot as I continued to stir the Mac 'n Cheese. I also added a few handfuls of shredded Colby-Jack and grated Parmesan cheeses to the pot. Once the mixture had attained the proper consistency, I laddled out portions for my children, topping with their critters. 

The beauty of this meal is that there is a decent portion of several food groups present: dairy, meat/protein, starch, and vegetable. It also takes less than twenty minutes if using a box of Mac 'n Cheese. Since the critters are present I was able to get my vegetable-only daughter to eat some meat. Also due to the critters, my carnivorous son ate peas and Mac 'n Cheese. What a wonderful compromise! 

Thursday, May 31, 2012

Shades of Grey?

Most people know about the newest craze with the trilogy of Fifty Shades of Grey. FaceBook and the blogosphere, as well as television are constantly tittering about this "revolutionary" book. I haven't read it (nor do I plan to), but I watched an interview with the author on 20/20. The author is a middle aged woman with at least one or two sons. She looked fairly normal, except for her apparent penchant for black leather. During the interview, she was asked if she wanted her boys (now or in the future) to read the book. She laughed nervously and basically said no way. Her answer lacks common sense. Her boys will likely be mercilessly teased and tormented about the contents by others. Even if I hadn't heard anything about the book, that serves as a warning. If a mother is too embarrassed for her children to read her work, then it apparently lacks merit. 

Reading the books, classified as "erotic fiction", is supposed to titillate and improve sex life. I've also heard it classified as "mommy porn". From what I gathered from her interview and various other commentary, the main theme is that of a man basically keeping a woman hostage and using her in sexually deviant ways. Bondage, sadism, and masochistic themes prevail throughout this novel. According to Dictionary.com, sadism, masochism, and bondage are all defined by degradation for sexual gratification. How exactly can degradation of a woman, as in this novel, be good for women? Can degradation of anyone be considered healthy, good, legal, or moral?

To the liberal crowd, there are many (dare I say 50?) shades of grey between right and wrong, depending on circumstances, especially when sexual intercourse is involved. Few or even no shades of grey exist between right and wrong for the morally conscious. Morally, the Church condemns pornography of all sorts -- including written. The Church also condemns sexual deviance. Yet, in today's world, pornography and sexual deviance are the implied norm since homosexual unions, promiscuity, orgies, prostitution, and even statutory rape are accepted by liberals. They argue they aren't in favor of the latter, but time and time again, undercover operations have elucidated complicity with this crime by terminating the after affects (abortions), preventing future after effects (birth control), skirting or even blatantly ignoring legalities, and not reporting instances of abuse. Sadly, the one abortion clinic in my state has even now been identified as promulgating this crime. pro-life advocates are labeled as anti-woman for enlightening the world of the sordid and often illegal events that take place in abortion clinics, while abortion giants like Planned Parenthood tout themselves as pro-woman. This novel also proclaims to be pro-woman, but with my knowledge of it, I cannot fathom how women can triumph when they are essentially being degraded for any reason. 

Lest I come across like a prude, I will admit, with some embarrassment, that I read romance novels, some are even Catholic or Christian. I avoid anything labeled erotic fiction, but the novels I read have romance, including intercourse, scattered throughout. Never have I used a romance novel as a sexual manual, nor have I read them to achieve sexual titillation or gratification. As a matter of fact, when I note that my husband fails to measure up to the chivalry and romance in the novels, I turn to other novels. You see, fictional works are just that -- fiction. Real life seldom measures up to fiction in any realm. Yet, again, today's society blurs the lines between reality and fiction with their numerous shades of grey. True women do not need shades of grey, we need respect, honor, and love.

Shades of Grey?

Most people know about the newest craze with the trilogy of Fifty Shades of Grey. FaceBook and the blogosphere, as well as television are constantly tittering about this "revolutionary" book. I haven't read it (nor do I plan to), but I watched an interview with the author on 20/20. The author is a middle aged woman with at least one or two sons. She looked fairly normal, except for her apparent penchant for black leather. During the interview, she was asked if she wanted her boys (now or in the future) to read the book. She laughed nervously and basically said no way. Her answer lacks common sense. Her boys will likely be mercilessly teased and tormented about the contents by others. Even if I hadn't heard anything about the book, that serves as a warning. If a mother is too embarrassed for her children to read her work, then it apparently lacks merit. 

Reading the books, classified as "erotic fiction", is supposed to titillate and improve sex life. I've also heard it classified as "mommy porn". From what I gathered from her interview and various other commentary, the main theme is that of a man basically keeping a woman hostage and using her in sexually deviant ways. Bondage, sadism, and masochistic themes prevail throughout this novel. According to Dictionary.com, sadism, masochism, and bondage are all defined by degradation for sexual gratification. How exactly can degradation of a woman, as in this novel, be good for women? Can degradation of anyone be considered healthy, good, legal, or moral?

To the liberal crowd, there are many (dare I say 50?) shades of grey between right and wrong, depending on circumstances, especially when sexual intercourse is involved. Few or even no shades of grey exist between right and wrong for the morally conscious. Morally, the Church condemns pornography of all sorts -- including written. The Church also condemns sexual deviance. Yet, in today's world, pornography and sexual deviance are the implied norm since homosexual unions, promiscuity, orgies, prostitution, and even statutory rape are accepted by liberals. They argue they aren't in favor of the latter, but time and time again, undercover operations have elucidated complicity with this crime by terminating the after affects (abortions), preventing future after effects (birth control), skirting or even blatantly ignoring legalities, and not reporting instances of abuse. Sadly, the one abortion clinic in my state has even now been identified as promulgating this crime. pro-life advocates are labeled as anti-woman for enlightening the world of the sordid and often illegal events that take place in abortion clinics, while abortion giants like Planned Parenthood tout themselves as pro-woman. This novel also proclaims to be pro-woman, but with my knowledge of it, I cannot fathom how women can triumph when they are essentially being degraded for any reason. 

Lest I come across like a prude, I will admit, with some embarrassment, that I read romance novels, some are even Catholic or Christian. I avoid anything labeled erotic fiction, but the novels I read have romance, including intercourse, scattered throughout. Never have I used a romance novel as a sexual manual, nor have I read them to achieve sexual titillation or gratification. As a matter of fact, when I note that my husband fails to measure up to the chivalry and romance in the novels, I turn to other novels. You see, fictional works are just that -- fiction. Real life seldom measures up to fiction in any realm. Yet, again, today's society blurs the lines between reality and fiction with their numerous shades of grey. True women do not need shades of grey, we need respect, honor, and love.

Monday, May 21, 2012

Veiled Joy


This morning I woke early to go to 9 am Mass with my parents and the kids. I usually sing upstairs in the choir loft, but speaking loudly is beyond me, much less singing, so I sat with the rest of the congregation. It is really difficult to contain the urge to use my talent to praise God. However, the kids were so excited to see me that I spent most of my time cuddling with them. Initially they fought over sitting by me. They finally settled though. Mom, Rachel, and I sported our hand-made veils. Rachel went so far as getting angry when Mass was over and I removed her veil. 

During the Consecration, I spoke in Simon's ear about what was happening. When I told him the chalice contained Jesus's blood, he was flabbergasted. Since he has seen two of his cousins receive First Holy Communion, I was able to explain that when he gets bigger he'll be able to receive Jesus in his belly to help him be a good boy. I also told him that Jesus is all around us all the time. I think he finally understood that praying is talking to God, not just randomly talking. hopefully this understanding will keep him from praying for "underpants", beds, tables, etc. Lately, he and Rachel have been obsessed with saying "underpants". In any situations that word is apparently appropriate. That is not only annoying, but also embarrassing!! 

After Holy Mass, I spent the morning at my parents' house with the kids. We ate "panny-cakes" and then the kids wanted to play. First, tragedy struck. Simon was vaguely playing outside. By vaguely I mean that he was coming in and out constantly. On one such occasion, I opened the door and told him to stop running in and out, then I shut the door. I immediately opened it again amid Rachel's wails of pain. Simon's darting in and out what actually teasing Rachel. So she stuck her finger in the crack of the door away from the knob. I didn't see that, so I shut the door like normal, until she began crying. I flattened her poor finger. It was very dramatic too because she has gotten to the stage where she doesn't want to show you her boo-boos. Thankfully, it may still be sore, but it looks fine.

That's when the first organizational session happened. During brunch, my parents and I had been talking about a missing toy. After brunch, the kids had gotten some toys out to play with, however, they hadn't stuck to the house-rule of putting away the first set of toys before getting out a new set. So toys were strewn in all corners of the living room. I commandeered the kids into picking up toys, while I helped them put them away. Except I got much more involved in it than even I intended. 

Mom and I subscribe to the OCD mother's method of toy sorting. Toys that are similar are packed in a bag or box together. Then the boxes and bags are out in the toy box (or closet depending). Then when the kids want to play with something, they know to grab the appropriate container. They also know which container to bring for each set of toys. This keeps the house neat and keeps the kids from getting tired of the same toys (we alternate toys in the closet or toy box for play). I can also keep more toys in a smaller space than if they were just thrown haphazard into the toy box. That's my story, and I'm sticking to it!

Sunday, May 6, 2012

NFP =\= Catholic Birth Control

There is a huge misconception about NFP, that it is merely Catholic “birth control”. While NFP can be used to avoid pregnancy, it is also highly effective at tracking and treating women’s health issues without the use of the ‘band-aid’ of birth control. NFP has proven effective at helping women deal with their gynecological issues (endometriosis, PCOD, PMS, pelvic pain, amenorrhea, dysmenorrhea, etc), as well as space their pregnancies, accurately date their pregnancies, and effectively determine any problems with pregnancy. Even when NFP is used to avoid pregnancy, to do so requires great sacrifice and daily planning and acceptance. That essentially prevents most casual “birth control mentality” users from abusing the system.

Not only is NFP a moral alternative to avoiding pregnancy; it is also highly effective at achieving pregnancy. That is yet another reason why NFP is not Catholic birth control -- the exact same system can be used to achieve and maintain pregnancy! No birth control drugs can claim that! Contrary to what many main-stream media outlets (including American Pregnancy, the CDC, WHO, etc) indicate, NFP has been thoroughly reviewed in peer-reviewed journals. Not to mention that NFP has been used with approximately a 100% effectiveness rate for avoiding and a 71% effectiveness rate for achieving pregnancy (the first statistic is true for Third World countries; the second is for couples with primary or secondary infertility in the US). As a matter of fact, NFP is more successful and much less invasive than IVF.

Another misconception the mainstream touts is that NFP is difficult to learn, practice, and understand. Learning NFP is no more difficult (and far less invasive) than being examined by a doctor to be given a prescription for birth control. Most methods have a manual, online information, and face-to-face instructors (complete with email addresses, phone numbers, etc) to guide you through the learning (and practice) issues you may encounter. As a matter of fact, NFP instructors invariably have actually used the system themselves. While having control over your urges for intimacy can be difficult, the benefits far outweigh the deficits. After all, no other method lets you bond as intimately as NFP. Tracking fertility signs literally takes about 3 extra seconds for each use of the toilet. Actually, evaluating the fertility signs is probably something most women do without realizing it on a daily basis. So, all-in-all, the mainstream (yet again) misinforms the public about the best option for family planning.

So from a women's health perspective, NFP has many more benefits (and less deficits) than birth control. From a moral perspective, again, NFP has many more benefits than deficits than birth control. From a financial perspective, once again, NFP has more benefits than deficits. It is hard to believe that it is not more widely taught and practiced. There is no risk of personal harm when NFP is practiced, unlike birth control, abortion, and IVF. So why not investigate NFP instead of blindly following the mainstream?

This is a site claiming no ties to any particular NFP method. http://nfpsite.aldred.org/primer.php

This is a site that embodies care for women as it's purpose. http://www.naprotechnology.com/ncwh.htm

This site has a list of references to NFP, what it does, who it can help, and journal articles about it. http://www.naprotechnology.com/references.htm

This is a page that explains the scientific foundation of the Creighton Model of Fertility Awareness. http://www.unleashingthepower.info/PDFs/IA-SciFoundationCrMS.pdf

This is a page with information on NFP verses IVF. http://www.physiciansforlife.org/index2.php?option=com_content&do_pdf=1&id=2059

Monday, April 16, 2012

Cutting It Close

It seems like everyone is getting haircuts lately. My friend and I cut our hair off to donate for charity (Locks of Love possibly, except I read they aren't very good at using the hair -- they sell it). My big brother practically shaved his head recently after practicing on his 2 year old son. Andrew periodically cuts his hair off too. I decided Simon should get into the club... Mom was my photo journalist for the event. You're the audience! Hopefully the photos appear in the order they happened, but this iPad isn't that great at editing blogs...









Thursday, April 5, 2012

Lent: Luminious Thursdays

The fifth Luminous Mystery is the Institution of the Eucharist. From this mystery we are to gain the fruit of adoration. Here's my take.

The other day, a discussion came up between me and a few of my co-workers. I'm the only practicing Catholic of the group. Our conversation wandered until one of my co-workers brought up Christ's words to "Do this in memory of Me". As a devoted Non-Catholic Christian, his opinion was that he doesn't need to participate in a communion service often because he seldom forgets Jesus. I'm definitely not a quick thinking kind of person, so I didn't say anything. However, the thought stuck in my brain as a refrain.

My non-Catholic Christian friend's comment that he doesn't need communion to remind him of Christ emphasized for me, the rift between our faiths. You see, as Catholics it isn't that we constantly forget Christ. Instead, we know we constantly need the support the Eucharist can give us. We take Jesus's words literally. He offered Himself as our food and drink. To memorialize His great Sacrifice and take Him at His word, we invoke His name each and every time we join for Mass. As the priest says the words of Consecration and the veil of time lifts. The priest is actually a co-celebrant in the Greatest Sacrifice ever made.

Some of our non-Catholic brethren think Catholics are too focused on the death of Christ and we forget about the purpose behind it. In reality, you cannot separate the two. Our salvation was bought for us by the blood of Christ. Without His suffering, death, and subsequent Resurrection we would have no Salvation. Much like Paul said in his letter to Timothy, faith and works are BOTH necessary for salvation. The same is true of Christ's suffering being as necessary to our salvation as His Resurrection.

At each Mass, we call to mind not only Christ's life and teachings (the Liturgy of the Word), but also His suffering and death, prefaced with His gift of His Body and Blood (the Liturgy of the Eucharist). The two are intricately melded together as the readings in the Liturgy of the Word often contain references to Christ's suffering. The words of Consecration are a direct quotation of Christ's words at the Last Supper. Throughout both parts of the Mass we are also reminded of our Salvation through Christ.

This remembrance of Christ is not meant as if we're going to forget Christ. Instead it is meant for us to adore Him through imitation of Him. Remember, imitation is the sincerest form of flattery. Just as thinking about or looking at photos of your friends and family doesn't replace actually seeing them and visiting them, neither does just thinking of Christ replace worshiping Him. Each time we visit with Christ whether at Mass or adoration of the Eucharist, we are getting closer to Him and gaining God's graces to continue with our journey to Him

Wednesday, April 4, 2012

Lent: Glorious Wednesdays

The fifth Glorious Mystery is the Coronation of Mary as Queen of Heaven and Earth. From this mystery were are to gain the fruit of trust in Mary's intercession. Hres my take.

This is another one of those "Mary worshipping" mysteries that Catholics celebrate. Like the previous one, this mystery comes to us because of our belief that Mary was sinless. She was the handmaiden of the Lord. In her "yes" to God she granted Him, with child-like innocence, her permission to do as He wished with her. Since He is God, He already had that power, but as I discussed in a previous post, He desires that we be obedient to Him out of our own will.

The previous discussion of the fourth Glorious mystery involved a bit of explanation about why Catholics believe Mary is so special. However, Revelations also points to a special female figure wearing a crown of stars, clothed with the sun, with the moon under her feet (12:1). Now, what other woman besides Mary in the scriptures brought forth a male child who would ascend into Heaven and vanquish sin? What does the crown upon her head mean, but queenship?

In ancient times, the queen had great power, but was always subjugated to the king. However, the queen almost always had the ear of the king and could sway his decisions if beseeched. Who is the King of Heaven, but God? Who did God raise from the sinful millions to bear His son, but Mary?

Mary is Jesus's mother. In ancient times, when the King or was no longer able to rule, his son would take over. However, if the son's age was still minor, his mother would assume power with advisors. Just as in any family, the mother has a voice above other voices. She can hold sway over her children.

Therefore, we, as Catholics, pray for Mary to intercede for us with the King of Heaven and earth. For though not God, she holds a special place in His heart and life. She nourished and protected His vulnerable son from embryo to full-grown man. Even as an adult Jesus obeyed Mary (as in Hs first miracle, discussed previously). That relationship would only grow as God the Father and Son were joined by Mary in Heaven.

Mary had child-like trust in God. She away greatly exalted for her humility and obedience. She protected Jesus through His life on earth. One of His last utterances was to provide care for her and give her to His beloved disciple. We, as Catholics, believe that in giving Mary to John's care and John to Mary's care, Jesus gave us Mary as our mother. Therefore when we beseech her to intercede for us, we can trust that God will listen to her pleas on our behalf. W can also identify with her a little better because although we hold her in high esteem, we know she was human. Yet, she, without a divine nature that Jesus had, was able to stave off sin for her entire life. Who better to ask for intercession than one so vitally important and obedient to God?

Lent: Glorious Wednesdays

The fourth Glorious mystery is the Assumption of Mary. From this mystery we are to gain the fruit of the grace of a happy death. Here's my take.

Most non-Catholics think we give Mary too much devotion. We've been term Mary worshippers. This mystery and the next are definitely centered on Mary. However, instead of us glorifying Mary for her sake, we glorify God through Mary with these mysteries.

Briefly, as Catholics we believe that Mary was not just another Jewish girl of her time. She was set aside by God even in the womb for this great task. She is the revocation of Eve's "No" by her beautiful "Yes".

There has been much study in the effects of nature verses nature. There are some things that are dictated purely by nature, while other things are learned through nurture. However, even nurturing cannot change the fundamental nature of a person. Since Jesus was truly God, His nature was divine. As God sin is abhorrent to him. That is the basis for the Catholic belief of Mary's sinlessness. Although Jesus was humbled by His incarnation, He would not have desired to be housed in a sinful body.

That is a reason for another of the Catholic beliefs -- Mary's perpetual virginity. Just as a Tabernacle holds nothing but the consecrated Body and Blood of Christ, Mary was a living Tabernacle. To place anything else in her womb would defile it. Not because children are bad, just because other children would have original sin within them.

The prophets spoke of a person who's body would not meet corruption even in death. That is the basis of this mystery. Since Mary did not have sin within her, sin could not reign over her in death. She survived Jesus so He could open the doors of Heaven and prepare a place for Her and His other faithful. The corruption of the dead body is a visible reminder of our sinfulness. Had Adam and Eve not sinned, none of us would have to die. However, since Mary revoked Eve's sin, she was not party to the punishment for that sin. Therefore, when her time on earth was through, God assumed her into Heaven, body and soul intact.

People often speculate about how they'd like to die. Most people envision for themselves a peaceful death in their sleep because they are afraid of the alternatives. Since Mary's death was the easiest of any recorded, she is truly an inspiration for us about death. She experienced no pain, unlike Jesus, and went straight into Heaven, unlike Jesus who descended into hell prior to rising back to life. Since she is the only person recorded to experience this phenomenon, we pray for that our grace is sufficient to give us even a portion of her peaceful end. "...Pray for us sinners now and at the hour of our death. Amen."

Sunday, April 1, 2012

Lent: Palm Sunday

The kids are ready to welcome the Savior with their hearts wide open!!!

Thursday, March 29, 2012

Lent: Luminous Thursdays

the fruit of Desire for Holiness. Here's my take.

The Transfiguration was an awesome sight for Jesus's most beloved disciples. As faithful Jews they revered Moses and Elijiah. This event foreshadowed the coming Rsurrection and Jesus walking the earth again unrecognized. It also emphasized how wise Jesus was in His disciples' eyes.

Peter went a bit out of his head when presented with the sight of these holy men. H was star-struck and uncomprehending. Yet, his first thought was not to gain something for himself. Instead he offered to build tents for the holy men to shelter them from the elements. This is a drastically different reaction than most star-struck individuals of this day and age. Cameras are whipped out of pockets, clothing is torn, booklets or scraps of paper are thrust into the faces of the star. In ancient times, selflessness was highly regarded. Caring for elders, the unfortunate, and the revered was foremost to these people.

Jesus's disciples had also had quite some time to absorb Jesus's teaching of further humbling themselves. Their desire for holiness was not simply for themselves, but firstly in homage to God. The disciples sought to share the knowledge of these holy men with others, but also offer the holy men some rare privacy and accommodations. Wouldn't it be wonderful if the same were true today? I pray to desire holiness for God's sake not my own. Amen.

Tuesday, March 27, 2012

Lent: Sorrowful Tuesdays

The fifth Sorrowful Mystery is the Crucifixion. From this solemn mystery we are to gain the fruit of perseverance. Here's my take.

The path Christ carried the cross-member of Hs cross was arduous. The crowds and soldiers jeered and inflicted insults upon His battered body. Historically, I've learned that carrying the cross-member was somewhat reserved for further humiliating the victim of crucifixion. Although the entire cross was not carried, the cross-member weighed upwards of 100 pounds. Carrying an awkward load like this after being scourged was simply more torture and a means of ensuring a fairly quick, although more excruciating, death once crucified.

Christ knew this was His cup in the Agony in the Garden. Perhaps He thought He fully understood the physical pain, exhaustion, and grief that this cup meant. I can personally say identify with that thought with my breast cancer journey. However, no matter how prepared you think you are, the reality is unbelievably different -- usually worse. However, even if Christ was surprised at the horrible reality of this cup, He persevered in His task.

Christ didn't have to do anything. At any point Jesus could have called the angels to His aid. He is God and all-powerful. However, the other side of God is that He is all-loving as well. John 3:16 is often quoted, "for God so loved the world that He gave His only Son." God's plan for His Son included this excruciating and humiliating death. Jesus willingly accepted that this was the only way to save man-kind. Why were we worth all this grief?

In a way, we aren't worthy of anything. We are sinful, prideful, independent, careless, etc. however, just as God has another side; we too have another side... We were created in His image. God gave us free-will and desired that we use our gifts for His glory. Not because He needs us, but because love is not complete without being returned. The ultimate gift of love was laying down His life to ransom us. It was a huge price to pay, but since God created us out of love, He saved us out of love.

Jesus told the parable about the lost sheep. As a literal (OCD) person, I've always had a little trouble with this parable (kind of like the one about sheep not opening their mouths when they're sheared or slaughtered). In the parable, the shepherd abandons 99 sheep to find one. In my experience, farmers (as close to shepherds as I've experienced) do not abandon the majority of their animals. Perhaps if the lost animal is the only one of its kind or highly prized for some reason, they may look for it. However, realistically, the 99 are worth much more than one.

This is another example of how God's ways are not our ways. Jesus's point, the moral of the story, is that all of His flock are prized. If I try to think like God (impossible I know, but I try) and abandon what little I know of farmers (shepherds), I can reason that having one sinful person return to the flock means more than keeping 99 in the flock. The reason is because the return of the one indicates the depth of love of that one. Initially the lost sheep forsakes its shepherd. Once it is found, the sheep once again obeys its shepherd. This type of devotion is crucial to our relationship with God.

How many times have I been that lost sheep? How many times have I abandoned what I know is right to do what I want? How often do I express my love for God by doing His will and not my own? I pray that the answer to the latter is 'often' and to the former are 'seldom'. In truth, I know that I need to be more like a sheep to God's shepherd.

Lent: Sorrowful Tuesdays

The fourth Sorrowful Mystery is the Carrying of the Cross. From this mystery we are to gain the fruit of patience. Here's my take.



During Lent most Catholics participate at least once in the Way of the Cross. Catholics have elevated this Sorrowful Mystery to it's own prayer. In some opinions, we emphasize the suffering of our Lord more than the celebration of His rising. However, is it possible to do one without the other?

Although He was already suffering greatly, Jesus showed exemplary patience along His death walk. He fell only to fall again and again. He was given unwilling aid from Simon the Cyrene. Yet, He looked upon the women of Jerusalem and spoke to them. However, His words were not ones that are comfortable to hear. Jesus at this time was not all love and joy. No, at this time, Jesus was pretty harsh. He rebukes the women for crying for Him. Instead, He tells them that there are even worse days ahead.

A friend of mine used this scripture in a novel way (to me) in her post on Catholic Sistas. She linked the reference Jesus makes, "blessed are the barren, and the wigs that never bore, and the breasts that never nursed..." to the current contraceptive, anti-child mindset. I thought this was genius, because I'd never really considered that verse before. However, it appears in Luke as well as in some of Jesus's earlier discussions in Matthew.

As I researched this verse I saw commentaries that linked it's meaning to the desolation of Jerusalem. However, I agree with my fellow Sista that it holds true today. It is often implied or even outright said that children are more trouble than they're worth, so don't burden yourself with them... Take this medication or precaution. In Jesus's time, barrenness was a great issue for women. Without offspring they were destined to have no one in their old age to care for them. They were replaced with fertile wives. However, today, barren women (except those fighting infertility) are held in highest esteem. These women have "taken control" of their fertility and are living their dreams.

I also found some modern blogs of infertile women grasping this verse as the theme for their journey. I just browsed a few entries and came away with the thought that these women get it. Children are a blessing given to us by God. Barrenness (childlessness) is not something to be praised or sought. Throughout scripture, God calls us to be fertile. There are occasions where barrenness was used for God's glory, but never was it the intended purpose of womankind.

It takes incredible patience to deal with this sign of sin (not personal sin, but generalized sin of Adam). Jesus displays His patience as do women who fight their infertility within moral limits. Women who "control" their fertility are impatient and shutting God out of their lives. So let us pray that we can all receive some measure of Christ's patience when dealing with our own crosses.

If you're looking to have more "control" over your fertility while maintaining morality, check out this link: http://r1rk9np7bpcsfoeekl0khkd2juj27q3o-a-fc-opensocial.googleusercontent.com/ps/ifr?container=friendconnect&mid=0&nocache=0&view=profile&parent=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.catholicsistas.com%2F&url=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.google.com%2Ffriendconnect%2Fgadgets%2Fmembers.xml&communityId=07392896805747272642&caller=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.catholicsistas.com%2F2012%2F03%2F26%2F6422%2F%3Futm_source%3Dfeedburner%26utm_medium%3Dfeed%26utm_campaign%3DFeed%253A%2BCatholicSistas%2B%2528Catholic%2BSistas%2529&rpctoken=1468124537

Monday, March 26, 2012

Lent: Joyful Mondays

This is the last installment of Joyful Mondays. The mystery for discussion today is Finding the Child Jesus in the Temple. From this mystery we are meant to gain the fruit of joy in finding Jesus. Here's my take.

Luckily, so far in my parenting adventure I have not had a situation quite like Mary and Joseph faced. However, in my own little way, I have experienced some of the anxiety associated with searching for a child. Mine was much less dramatic.

Andrew, Simon, Rachel, and I were lounging around the house one evening. The kids were flitting in and out of the living room. Typically, for our house, if we couldn't see them, we could hear them. I don't remember exactly what we were doing, but suddenly I noticed that I wasn't hearing Rachel. I walked throughout the house calling her name. I looked in all her favorite hiding places: the shower stall, her closet, Simon's room, my closet, even the kitchen cabinets. I thought I had looked every where, so I anxiously went to the back door and peered through the glass. No sign of her.

I finally asked Andrew if he'd seen her. He too began searching throughout the house calling her name. We spoke briefly of our fear that she'd learned to open the doorknob and gone outside. Our search became more frantic. It doesn't take very long to search a 1750 square foot house with an open floor plan.

Finally I heard Andrew exclaim, "I found her!" I rushed from the other end of the house to see him pull a grinning Rachel out from under our bed. I hadn't considered that space because Rachel's pleasantly plump figure dwarfs it. Andrew just then mentioned that she'd hidden under the bed previously. We gently chided her... Ok ok, I admit we were not quite yelling, but not terribly quiet either. I still can't believe that my vocal, extremely active, 2 year old little girl could hide under the bed without making noise or coming out to see what all the fuss was about. That night, Andrew and I discussed how happy we were that our children aren't lost or ill. Our joy in finding Rachel was complete.

So as I think about Mary and Joseph on their way home from Jerusalem finally figuring out they lost Jesus, my heart drops for them. I mean, Rachel is my miracle baby no doubt, but Jesus was entrusted to Mary and Joseph by God because He was God's only begotten Son! As God-fearing Jews, Mary and Joseph probably had fairly strict rules governing their lives, especially for Jesus.

In my mind's eye I can't quite picture Jesus as a child, much less a teenager. Jesus was on the cusp of His teenage years when this event occurred. Yet, I have a hard time imagining Him laughing at His parents or being a smart aleck. However, His recorded response, "Did you not know that I must be about my Father's business?" seems to me to be a little bit defiant. After all, it had been three days since they'd seen Him. God the Father had put Him in their care. They were likely mindless with worry. In Hs wisdom, Jesus would have known they would come looking for Him. He was their Holy child and Savior of the world.

I don't feel as if I've ever lost Jesus in my life. I have definitely had difficult times, but I don't recall ever feeling as if I had lost Jesus. I've lost hope before and I've pondered why my life is so crazy sometimes, but I feel confident that God has a plan for me, I just don't understand. However, there are times when I come to the realization that something clicked into place and the joy I felt when we found Rachel is replicated in my heart and soul. This joy is difficult to describe and sometimes I cannot even pin-point the change in myself. I pray that I can maintain this joy in my life at random times just to be sure I am in close contact with Jesus. I pray that each and everyone who reads my words and about my journey can feel that same joy some day.

Tuesday, March 20, 2012

Horse Hockey...

Rachel

I would normally have composed and scheduled my Lenten Mystery by now, However tonight, God had a different penance/obligation for me.

It all started this morning when both my arms were numbing and tingly as my alarm went sounded. As I rolled over to turn it off and get up, I felt like a knife was stabbing me in the chest. It seems that my ribs don't stay in place like a normal person's, they move and poke out at random causing intense irritation (pain) of the covering muscles. During physical therapy last night, the therapist did "joint mobilizations" to try to decrease the pain although an increase in pain was the immediate side-effect. As the therapist placed a special kind of tape across the offending muscles, we noted that my chest was actually swollen where the irritation had been so severe. With pain this severe, driving to work is not really an option. Not only does this not put my bosses in a good mood; it also reduces my paycheck and increases my tension.

My day was made worse by the cardio-thoracic surgeon telling me today that surgery is basically my only option to relieve the pressure on the arteries in my neck/shoulder (thoracic outlet). He typically recommends physical therapy, but since I've been actively involved in that for almost 6 months, he said if it was going to work, I'd notice a drastic improvement by now. So he's going to access my thoracic outlet via my collar bone to reduce the risk of lymphendema -- especially since my mastectomy scars are already located in my axilla (arm-pit). There is a risk of lymphendema anyway, as well as scar tissue formation and further disruption of the nerves or blood vessels supplying my arm. However, he said he hasn't had any trouble with those kinds of issues, so I should be fine. If the surgery is a success it could actually improve my nerve issues as well as the arterial issues I'm having in my left arm/shoulder. If it is a failure, I can try physical therapy again. Or, if the surgery is *really* a failure I may actually have worse circulation and nerve conduction that cripples my left arm permanently. Great news for a 30 year old with 2 very active children 4 and 2 years old, a full-time job, and a disabled husband. <---- very thick sarcasm

This was not the news I wanted to hear. I do not want to have an 8th surgery. I do not want to have another 2 week (minimal) recovery off from work. I can't afford it. I don't want to risk more complications to the problems I already have. However, unless a second opinion differs exceptionally, I foresee another surgery in my near future. Since I was unhappy with the news I decided, with the kids avid approval, to go visit the horses down the road from us. Mr. Oliver and his herd of gentleman horses (a Belgian with feet at big as my head, a Quarter Horse with a back as bad as Andrew's, and four ponies that barely come to my hip), are always glad to have us visit. The horses enjoy the treats and attention we give them. Mr. Oliver enjoys our enjoyment of his equine friends. Horses have always been my anti-depressant too, do I figured it was a win all the way around.

I am slowly and carefully introducing the kids to the joys of riding. The ponies are so docile and small that it is no strain at all to lead and hold a child upon their backs. Andrew was in charge of leading and I was in the support role of holding onto our kids while they rode one at a time. I deference to the hot weather, both kids were in shorts. By necessity, they sit astride without a saddle (pony saddles are hard to come by and even more expensive to buy). Rachel rode first and she wasn't as enamored with it as she was the last time. I thought it odd, but didn't really think much of it -- she is in her terrible twos. Simon rode as well, but also wasn't feeling it. Andrew noticed that Rachel had begun digging at her legs really badly. I had noticed earlier that her excema seemed flared up, but just figured she needed her generic Zyrtec and a rub down with one of her various creams. So we headed home.

Upon our arrival we noticed Rachel's skin started looking worse and worse. We debated over giving her th generic Zyrtec or the dreaded Benadryl. Since she began having redness and itching all over we chose the Benadryl, but only 1/4 of a teaspoon. Her pediatrician has told me in the past that when her skin really flares up and we think it might be an allergy to give her this medication. We stripped her down to her diaper and washed her legs, hands, and face with luke-warm water. As I applied lotion to her legs, I noticed that the bumps appeared more hive-like than excema-like. I looked at her face and noticed some bumps there as well as some swelling.

Since I've become fairly well-versed at allergic reactions with Andrew, I became convinced that a visit to the ER or at least a convenient care clinic was the best answer. This is not a typical reaction for me; I tend to avoid ER visits at all costs. I called the pediatricians office. The nurse (PA?) advised me to give her another 1/4 of a tsp of Benadryl and slowly make my way into town to be closer to the hospital if things got worse. she recommended we go out to eat and if things got no worse or even better, to just go back home. As I kept observing Rachel I was more and more convinced to just go straight to the ER. So off we went.

We arrived and were immediately seen. The assessment by the nurse showed that even after 1/2 tsp of Benadryl on board, Rachel's throat was slightly swollen, she was still covered in hives, and her entire face was swelling. When the doctor arrived in the room, she was still playing and talking, but her voice was raspy and her actions a bit slowed by her constant scratching. The doctor ordered an oral steroid and an antihistamine shot. Then she was kept in observation for about 2 hours. She sucked down the oral dose and only cried for about 5 seconds for the injection. Then she set to playing. I set about keeping her occupied and watching for signs of improvement or worsening. By the end of the observation period, she was more than ready to go, but still showing some swelling and hives, so the doctor called in a prescription for steroid and antihistamine.

Poor Rachel was very hungry, so while we waited for her prescriptions to be ready, we wandered through Rite Aid. She gobbled down some peanut butter crackers and whole milk. Then about 5 minutes after starting our journey home, she fell into a peaceful sleep. She is even now (as I type it is 11:15pm) tucked into bed beside me. We are making plans for our entire family to visit the allergist in town. I am hopeful that the allergist won't forbid horse-back riding for Rachel. Hopefully we'll even get some better treatment options for her excema. All I know is that today has just not been a very great day. Thank you for all the prayerful support. It really means a lot to us all!!

Total Pageviews

Smiling already at 2 weeks

Smiling already at 2 weeks
Rachel has been smiling as a response to other people since day one.

And two shall become one...

And two shall become one...
In 2006, Andrew & I became one before God and family! Shortly thereafter we became 3 with the birth of Simon in 2008... Then 4 with the addition of Rachel in 2009!

Erika's Miracle Journey Continues's Fan Box