Saturday, May 28, 2011

What would you do? What would Mary do?

"When the time comes, as it surely will, when we face that awesome moment, the final judgment, I've often thought, as Fulton Sheen wrote, that it is a terrible moment of loneliness. You have no advocates, you are there alone standing before God -- and a terror will rip your soul like nothing you can imagine. But I really think that those in the pro-life movement will not be alone. I think there'll be a chorus of voices that have never been heard in this world but are heard beautifully and clearly in the next world -- and they will plead for everyone who has been in this movement. They will say to God, 'Spare him, because he loved us!'"
-- the late pro-life hero, Congressman Henry Hyde

We, as Christians, are called to be counter cultural. I tend to forget this sometimes, surrounded as I am almost entirely by family and friends of the same or very similar beliefs. Most things I watch or read are based in Christianity, or are outright a Christian publication or production. Not everything, of course. I watch the Food Network - and truly you could not find a less controversial network, which is what I LOVE about it. I know I can turn it on and not be confronted with violence, scary commercials for horror movies (I CANNOT HANDLE THOSE COMMERCIALS!) , or any kind of sexual content. I will also watch anything  non-fiction,  Glee, which is my guilty pleasure show, and I have an odd addiction to Friends that has lasted for almost 16 years.  Anyway (sorry, stream of consciousness moment there), as I have mentioned before, I think this tends to leave me truly shocked when I encounter someone who is pro-abort. I honestly am stunned and have to work for a minute or two remember that not everyone shares my beliefs. So, when it does happen, something ticks off in my brain, and it becomes my sworn duty to change their minds, including  if they are misinformed about the Catholic faith or something political. I mean, whether they like flat leaf or Italian parsley isn't going to get my goat, though for the record, Italian parsley is gross - just sayin'.

So, if you have been here this week, you know that I had a run in with someone I talk to on Facebook occasionally. I guess, used to talk to would be more accurate, as I unfriended and unfollowed. It was just too much, and nothing I said was going to change her mind. Her blog got many comments on it, all supporting her, which is pretty typical of the blogging community. It's rare that anyone disagree with a blogger on her actual blog, lest you be labeled a troll, or a hater, even if you have valid points. That's one aspect of blogging - people can turn nasty so, so quickly - the anonymity and knowledge that you are unlikely to ever run into them allows people to be far more hateful than they would dare to be to your face. In any case, I deleted my comments, not because they were wrong, but because I didn't want to be obsessed with countering every argument anyone made. I had already spent a lot of time countering her claims about the church and the church run hospital she went to - (She was mad because she wanted a tubal and they wouldn't do it at the Catholic hospital. To my mind that's a bit like going to a Kosher deli and asking for a ham and swiss on rye - it ain't gonna happen, and why on earth should it?! Private establishments are free to run as they please -and  not go against their dearly held beliefs just because someone demands it).

So anyway, I am sure she thinks I turned chicken and ran. I am trying hard to not go look. I just need to be done - but as i say that - and here's the point of this post - my question to you, dear reader is this...
Is it  my moral obligation to spread the Word in this instance? Am I turning away from something because it's hard, when truly the Holy Spirit wants me to get back in there and fight the good fight? Is HE the reason I can't let it go, or is it just because I am belligerent? Am I possibly ignoring an opportunity to convert this woman? I have been arguing with her for a couple of years now, getting absolutely no where. What should I do? What would you do in my shoes? What would the Blessed Mother do? Somehow I can't see her in a big battle of words, but rather praying for her conversion. Perhaps that's the best thing for now, but I'd love to hear what you think...

Friday, May 27, 2011


I know I can be overly passionate about some topics. Yes, my faith and as an extension, the abortion issue are among the things I feel strongly about. I was raised in a political family, one who feels very strongly about what is happening in the country.

I have been talking to a person from high school on facebook for a couple of years now. She and I tend to disagree rather vehemently on abortion issues and religion. I thought we were having heated, yet respectful arguments. But, I decided  a few months ago that the arguing was taking up too much of my time, and she often had inflammatory posts and statuses, so I just blocked her content. I didn't unfriend, just blocked it so that I would not feel like I had to comment on everything she had to say. I just felt like it was better that way.

I had also been reading her blog - she only had a couple of posts up before she stopped blogging, so it didn't occur to me to take her out of my Google reader. Yesterday she popped up with a truly angry post, directed at Christianity, and pro-lifers. To be fair, she was mad about legislation recently introduced to the Georgia legislature (among other things) by House Republican Bobby Franklin - crazy, nutso legislation. He's been introducing it since 2002, so it's old news. Why it is suddenly making news is beyond me. Anyway, she was very angry, and  criticized Catholic hospitals for not performing abortions or sterilization procedures (this is a whole other post). This of course, got my back up, and I had to respond. I probably over did it, and probably did not sound like the Christian I claim to be (I'm not perfect - a work in progress just like anyone else), but I just can't understand ... Can someone please explain to me how it is okay to kill a baby? Life at the moment of conception is scientifically proven - to me it is a no-brainer. But I want to understand the mindset. She accuses Christians of being brainwashed. I believe she has allowed herself to believe what she wants, hook, line and sinker - and it's all lies. The people who started the pro-abort movement in this country can tell you it's all lies. Why then, is it defended, and people like me, who want to protect the unborn, are mocked? I have posted this several times today, but I will do it again:
“If the world hates you, know that it has hated me before it hated you. If you were of the world, the world would love you as its own; but because you are not of the world, but I chose you out of the world, therefore the world hates you. Re...member the word that I said to you: ‘A servant is not greater than his master.’ If they persecuted me, they will also persecute you. If they kept my word, they will also keep yours."
—John 15:18-20
For some reason, after posting to her blog my apologies for being overly harsh,  I decided to check her Facebook wall. I must be twisted or have some propensity towards self flagellation. She and some of her Facebook friends were mocking me, accusing me of reporting her facebook posts as spam (I didn't even know she had written any, I had blocked her content)  - it's okay, I know they think I am a nut. I didn't even mind when someone commented that she was talented for bringing a "True Believer" out of the woodwork. I took that as a compliment actually, but when she described me as "turning mean" when I couldn't get her to agree, I was actually hurt. I think our discussions have been pretty respectful. I don't use profanity, I try to explain my point as best I can.
I am honestly flabbergasted when people don't know what's behind planned parenthood, abortion, NARAL, and the like. They get so angry when a "woman's right to choose" is threatened, but they think nothing of the child. Please, I am dead serious, someone explain this to me. But please, be factual. Don't spout opinions and invented numbers. Don't tell me a baby is better of dead because of horrible parents or circumstances. I believe that EVERY SINGLE CHILD should get a shot at life. And yes, my faith is enormously wrapped up in this, but if you read my last post, you know it's not only faith, it is my belief in the Constitution of this great nation. It's being abused in so many ways, but honestly, this is the most egregious. When in the WORLD did we get so arrogant as to think we should determine who lives and who dies?!

Please - someone who understands this - please explain it to me. I truly don't get it. I am not sure that I will be able to comprehend, and I know you won't change my mind, but I would like some insight  - truly. And I'm not talking about the rape/incest/health of the mother 1%, I'm talking about the other 99%. Don't get me wrong, I don't agree with abortion under ANY circumstance. But I have heard those arguments, and I have my beliefs in regards to those as well. But how does anyone justify the rest? 

In the end, I went back and deleted all of my comments from her blog. They weren't being heard anyway. I unfriended on Facebook, as I thought that best to keep my thoughts from turning entirely uncharitable. I was spending too much time on it when it wasn't going to win any hearts. I need to learn how to pick my battles. That one was lost. So, I went upstairs, cuddled three smelly, gorgeous little boys. I read books and sang some songs and prayed with them. They will be the ones who win this. Our children will change their minds. I know it. I can feel it happening. So many are starting to understand, finally. They are starting to see. I pray it continues. I know it will - I just hope and pray I am alive the day this country decides it is done killing it's children. Jesus...have mercy on us and on the whole world...Blessed Mother of God, pray for us. Amen.

Thursday, May 26, 2011

Pro-Life or Pro-Choice?

 I've been doing some reading and reacting tonight, and I just really felt this needed re -posting. I apologize if you have read it before~

What does it mean to be pro-life or pro-choice?  It's an interesting question. Katrina from They All Call Me Mom, wrote a post the other day entitled "Am I Pro-Choice?". In it she states that while she is in her heart, staunchly pro-life, she does not know if, given a vote, she could ever vote to outlaw abortion entirely. Katrina cites, as many others do, that she would never want a woman resorting to a back alley abortion, and possibly lose her life as well as her unborn child. When I replied with a few points as to why the procedure should not be legal, she invited me to cross post.
I have a two-fold argument when it comes to the legalization of abortion. The first, to get it out of the way, is the constitutional legality - is it constitutional? And should it be under the state government, or federal? So, the first part of my two fold argument is also two-fold. And no, I don't think that makes it a three fold argument! (Sorry, this discussion does not lend itself to levity.) (For an abortion legalization time line, check
1. I do believe that Roe vs. Wade was an unconstitutional decision by the Supreme Court. The court ruled that  "a constitutional right to privacy exists that protects a woman's decision to have an abortion" and with that, the U.S. Supreme Court legalized abortion on demand.This decision was based on a number of items of false evidence:
A. One being that the majority of the population wanted it to be legal. Founder of NARAL, Dr. Bernard Nathanson has admitted that he inflated many statistics to sway both the public and the courts to allow abortion to be legalized.
B. Secondly, the Court took into consideration when life begins, and it of course, did not have the scientific advances we have now, knowing full well that life begins at conception (not an opinion, scientific fact now admitted to by even pro-abort factions).
C. Because they did not take into consideration that life begins at conception, they did not extend Constitutional rights to the unborn. Because we now know when life begins, those rights are inherent, and make the arguments for Roe V. Wade irrelevant, and the law itself unconstitutional. 

2. Laws regarding every aspect of abortion had up until 1973, been under state law. The Roe V. Wade decision did not change abortion law, per se. It changed privacy laws which allow a woman to procure an abortion with almost no restrictions. If Roe v. Wade were overturned, it would - unfortunately, not immediately make abortion illegal. The laws on the books of each state regarding abortion would then be in effect. Some states, such as Ohio, would immediately go back to illegal abortion, but others, such as California and Colorado,  who were among the very first to legalize abortion, it would remain legal. As a person who believes in States Rights, I do not think that the Supreme Court, or the Federal government should be able to make such sweeping laws, and impose them on states that clearly do not want them.

The second, and really to my mind, the most important part of any argument, is the moral aspect. To define any nation's law, one must consider natural law(here's a  very educational and enlightening run down of natural law and how it pertains to the Constitution). I prefer to think of it as God's law, but in this ever increasingly atheistic society, that doesn't get you real far in an argument. Anyway, Natural law dictates that man has God given rights. And among these are truly, the right to Life, Liberty, and the pursuit of happiness. Now, I know, you are going to say that this is a tired old argument. But, it is so essential in the practice of obtaining and maintaining liberty as a nation, that it must be presented in any argument where a person's liberty is at stake. Of course, for this discussion, I am referring to not just the unborn baby, but the mother as well. God has given each of us these rights, and for any of us to be truly free, to truly have liberty, we must be able to live without the threat of violence, to ourselves, or each other. This is the essence of liberty. Without liberty, and with it, the right to life given to each individual, we are not observing natural law. We are flying in the face of God's law. Abortion is violence. To the baby, and to her mother.

Now, I really don't want this to get too weighty, because you'll get bored and leave. But, this is a weighty topic. I can get so emotional about it, because the idea of it is shocking to me. Truly, truly shocking. It never fails to stun me when someone says they are pro-choice. Especially someone who is truly pro-choice. When they think an abortion could EVER be the best answer. To me, this is shocking in the way that slavery is shocking to all of us now.
But, it wasn't always. When we read historical accounts of what happened in this country during the years that slavery was legal, we are shocked. We, as a nation, cannot fathom one person owning another. We read about children being sold away from their mother's arms, and cry for those children. We read about slaves being whipped for some imagined infraction, and we gasp. We see pictures of slaves on auction blocks and are astounded that this ever happened here. Why are we shocked? Why does this seem so unfathomable?

Because it goes against God. It goes against nature. That one man can own another. That one man can sell another away from his family. That he can beat him, work him, and call him "property". That he can have him killed if he does not work as he should. He can do whatever he wants with him, because it's legal - seems to foreign to our thinking, because we cannot picture ourselves in either place. Not as the owner, and certainly, not as the slave. A war was fought in this country over the right to own slaves. Slavery wasn't new, after all, it had gone on since the beginning of time.  Many thought they could not afford to run their farms and businesses without slaves. Many felt it was their right to do with these slaves as they wished - after all, they weren't really human - they were some form of sub-human. Since they weren't fully human, they were not entitled to the same rights as humans. But, they were. They were human, created in God's image. Entitled to the same rights to life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness as any other human being.

We look back now and are grateful to those who finally saw the truth, and fought for it. They knew that slavery had to be made illegal. Many were willing to fight and die to make it right. So many people worked to smuggle the slaves out of the South, to freedom.

The sarcastic me wants to know if you see any parallels here. The me that wants to make a point wants to know if you can see how abortion is slavery. It is the same issue. The unborn baby has no control over her existence, just as the slave did not. The unborn baby can be killed, if the mother can't afford the child, or doesn't want the child, or if it's a boy, or if it's a girl, or if she is unhealthy. After all, the baby isn't really a baby, she is sub-human. Except that she is fully human, from the moment of conception. And abortion isn't new, it has gone on since the beginning of time  - but that doesn't mean it should be legal in a civilized society. Just as slavery should never be legalized in a civilized society. Certainly not in America.

Every person, black or white, born or unborn, has the right to life. Has the right to liberty (an existence free of the fear of violence) to live in the pursuit of happiness. Someday in this country, and please Dear Lord, let it be soon, someday, people are going to wake up, and see what abortion has done to us as a nation. We don't treasure children. We see them as burdens. We have people in this country that think abortion doesn't go far enough. We have people who think it's okay to partially deliver a child, and then kill her. Or slit her throat on a table if she has the nerve to be born alive. When does it stop? Does it stop with abortion? Infanticide? Euthanasia? Anyone is is burdensome? That' not where we are headed, folks, that's where we ARE. It takes one, just one thing to create an avalanche. If abortion is okay, because of reasons x,y, and z, then those arguments are applied to the disabled, the elderly, the sick and infirm. Don't believe me? Read about Terry Schiavo, Baby Joseph, the huge number of babies with Down Syndrome being aborted.

A baby is a baby, a person, from the moment of conception, until natural death. This is scientifically proven, and it is also Natural Law. God's law.

I have argued from legal and moral standpoints. May I now offer the emotional one? As someone who has experienced a unplanned pregnancy, I honestly do know some of the fear and worry that comes from an crisis pregnancy. I also know, that from the moment I knew I was pregnant I would never, ever let anyone hurt my baby. It was instinctive. It was visceral. I know that most, if not every single woman who has been pregnant has felt the same way. It's part of who we are. God's law, nature's law, whatever - it's how we are made. To obtain an abortion, some part of a woman must be silenced, must be numb, to let it occur. She is lied to, told that her child is not really a baby - that makes it easier to bear. But she knows. And she carries the guilt and the horror with her forever after.

If I could ask for just one thing, it doesn't seem like such a big thing, since lives are at stake, both the mother's and her baby's. If it could be made a law that every woman seeking an abortion had to first see an ultrasound, preferably 3D, of her child, and then make the decision. Could she look at her child, see her face, and still say yes? I am sure there are some who could. Most could not. That instinct to protect, the one she has been trying so hard to ignore, would kick in. I think most mothers would change their minds. Most would have their babies. Is it so much to ask that the abortionist, who probably is using ultra sound to find his wee target, turn the screen first, and show the mother what she is getting rid of, what she is losing? I think not.

And one more thing - prolifers are often accused of talking the talk, but not walking the walk. That is - they want women to keep their babies, but don't want to help them. I want to just say, anyone who contacts me with ANYTHING regarding a crisis pregnancy - I will do anything I can to help her. I will help her get whatever she needs. We would keep a baby for someone who needs time, and let the mom come back for her child. We would get her in touch with whatever services she needed, Pregnancy Support Centers, maternity clothes, whatever. We would help, and I know so, so many others who would help - So if you know someone who needs help, I am here. I am willing. Please, forward this along to anyone who may need it. I will be here, if she needs me.

Wednesday, May 25, 2011

The good, the bad, and the lovely...

I woke up this morning at 7a.m. and got ready for my first whole day in an office in years. I was so nervous, my heart felt like it was trying to claw it's way up my throat. I'm still not sure why I was so nervous, and by the end of the day, I was somewhat relieved. But, by the time I got home I was already starting to worry about Thursday. I know I will get used to this, but it's strange. It's odd to be away from the kids, especially the little ones. They weren't awake yet when I left, and the evening went so fast, by the time we got home, it was time for them to go to bed. I don't know how moms do this every day. Let alone sending their kids to school, then going to work, and then activities?! I honestly can't even imagine it, I don't even want to. At this moment in time, I feel like things will slow down again when they go back to school in the fall. What?! We just finished school! I am SO not ready to start back up again - but when they start up again, I will only be working one day a week. For some bizarre reason my terrified soul thinks that sounds pretty good.

I was never so anxious before Meg was born. I don't know if it is a product of her rather stressful entrance into the world  or just my reaction to parenthood. When I was in college, after Meg was born, every minute of my life was scheduled, practically. That might sound like an exaggeration, but it's not. I always had two jobs, and school, and homework, and her. This amounted to a fairly young mother trying to do so much, I ended up with panic attacks. They've never really gone away, and have gotten so bad at times that I thought I was having a heart attack. They have always been bad postpartum, but they have never lingered this long and with this much intensity before. Makes me feel weak. Like I don't know how to suck it up. If someone else were saying all this to me I would give them a pep talk, and then basically tell them to get over it. I can't seem to take my own advice.

I used to want to go places and see people. I loved to run all over, shopping, eating at my mom and dad's or one of my sisters' or brother's houses. I still enjoy those things, if someone can talk me into leaving my house, or even our little town. I used to be so impatient with being home all the time. I thought I should be running here and there - soaking up whatever life was currently offering. For some reason, I have become complacent. I prefer my own house, and to not leave to go...just about anywhere. I am not really sure when it happened, but I think it has always been there. Even as a teenager, I would make plans to go places, and right up until it was time to actually go, I would think it was a great idea, but when it came right down to actually doing whatever it was, I wasn't really interested. Sometimes I would go just because I had promised someone I would, but if I could get out of it, I would. I think I have been growing slowly agoraphobic for years. I'm not really scared to leave, though, so that doesn't fit. It's just that I'd rather not, thanks. Why go anywhere when I can sit on the floor and toss a baby, or pretend to smell his stinky toes and make him laugh? Why run here and there when I can chase my Benjamin, screeching with giggles through our house?

As for how today went, it was fine. Really fine. Nothing earth shattering. I am not sure what I was so nervous about, and even now, as my nerves tense and my heart pounds when I think about Thursday, I am still not sure WHY. But the day was fine, I think I have a pretty good handle on what needs to be done this summer, and of course there was never anything to really fear. Except the baby wanting to nurse when he woke up, but I wasn't there. Or Kenzie needing help with vocab, but I wasn't there. Or someone just wanting me, but I wasn't there. They all survived. Their dad, though reportedly grumpy all day, was here. Period of adjustment for us all. And lots of  lovely things did happen today. I got to ride into work with my Boo, and that made it SO. MUCH. EASIER. And my mom brought me a little goody bag full of little skin care items and other things I would never in a million years buy for myself. And my Boo (again) brought me a little box of nuts because she thought our family would enjoy them (they did, too!). I got to have lunch in the office with Meg and my mom. And my mom fixed me and all my kiddos her famous spaghetti for dinner - and that just takes the cake, ya'll. And then, to top it all off? My girls went to DQ on the way home (we were all in Canton separately) and brought me a frozen hot chocolate, I think they called it. And that was the cherry on the top of the cake or whatever. Top it all off with American Idol and Glee, and it was actually a pretty good day...I am thankful for all these things, these people. They do whatever they can to make things easier for me, especially because and in spite of my irrational fears. God has blessed me abundantly, I know that, and I am grateful...Blessings all, Goodnight!

Monday, May 23, 2011

Fear and Loathing

Dramatic, I know. Over the top? Sure. Accurate? Not quite, but almost. Have you ever been the new kid? I have been the new kid plenty of times. Some of those times I had some advantage to take the sting of newness away. Some of the time I have felt I was at a disadvantage. I changed schools in 1st grade, in 2nd grade, 6th grade, 9th grade and 10th grade. Then again in college. College doesn't really count, though. Well, I was the new kid, but no one really knew it, because there are so many people in college. But I had a kid - and that was a bit of a disadvantage for me. Or an advantage. I couldn't tell you even one person's name from college. I went to class, went to work, went to other work, or went home to take care of Meg. And that was fine with me, mostly. I really wasn't into parties. I wasn't into making friends or hanging out - there was just too much to do. Plus, events of  my life had shattered shaken my previous self confidence. I never really got it all the way back. I wouldn't take chances on people not liking me, so I just ignored the fact that there were other people in my classes and said as little as possible to them for the 6.5 years I was there.

When I started a new school I usually had my little sister to worry about, to keep me from worrying about myself - and that helped. It was good to worry about her lunch, or pulling up her socks, or her making friends. But, when I started at a new school in 9th grade, she was at a different school. I was going to a high school that several middle schools dumped into, so I didn't seem "new" to anyone, and I sort of just slid right in with a group of pretty cool girls. I had a great time that year. I hadn't learned to be shy or self conscious. 

Back to being the new kid... you know that feeling you get right before the first day at school? That sort of nervous excitement, the level of which depends on what advantage or disadvantage you see for yourself in any given social or classroom situation. Sometimes, depending on the circumstances, I would be happy/excited, other times, just shear dread, like when we moved home from Arizona and I had to start high school as a sophomore in Arizona clothes - you know, clothes are everything in high school, and my clothes were Arizona clothes - Ohio was about 2 years behind Arizona, fashion wise. My clothes looked like I had just landed from Mars. I stuck out. I was odd. I had cropped, printed jeans, weird sandals and sloppy, loopy shirts that hung to one side. I was the weirdo. And everyone already had made their friends. Thankfully, my Boo and I had lunch together, and a big goofball in the form of a soon to be dear friend rode our bus.

Tomorrow I am starting work back in an office again for the first time in a long time ( I have worked from home almost entirely for years). I know some or many of the people there, including my familiar security blanket, my sister, Dana (she probably doesn't realize she served as a security blanket for all those first days of school). Even though this is a "family" business, that almost makes it harder. I have yet to put my finger on why, but I know it has to do with being the oldest, but not in charge. Weird and unnatural, if you ask me. I am used to being in charge and working for my little brother's company has always been off kilter in that respect. But it has offered the blessing of working from home - and what a blessing that has been.

I don't know why this is filling me with so much anxiety, but it is. I have been two heart beats from a panic attack for days. I hate that. I feel like such a wuss. I used to be strong and confident. (I also used thin and pretty, I have a feeling those go hand in hand with confidence.) I now use my kids as a security blanket. I rarely go anywhere without at least a few of them. I don't know who to be without them, and I reeeeaallllly want to tuck the baby into my purse and just take him with me for the day. I don't know what to wear. My mom asked me what I was planning to wear the other day, and I just don't have those kinds of clothes. You know, the ones not stained by breastmilk and peanutbutter. The ones that don't have holes in the back pockets. And I am pretty sure I don't even own a non-nursing bra. Maybe one I bought for a wedding. I do have a couple of pairs of pants I bought a few months ago to wear to church, so I guess I will wear my church pants and my wedding bra, and attempt to find a shirt that covers...everything. Shoes? I have no idea. I have 1 pair of brown sandal deals that are about 10 years old that I consider my "good" shoes... meaning that they are not technically flip flops. I also own a couple questionable pairs of Berkinstock clogs that Doug calls my "pregnant" shoes. I think I'll wear the sandal deals - they are the least gross. I'll check out the other girls and see if I can get away with my favorite brown flip flops from Target.

Why are shoes so important, anyway? I have spent the last 14 years almost entirely at home, and almost entirely barefoot and pregnant. And I liked it. I feel totally out of my element. I am old - the people *mostly in the office are young! So young, some of them were born in the 80's! When I was in high school. I don't know how to be the older person. I don't know how to not be in charge. I don't know how to not be the mom, or the teacher. Or the wife. I don't even know exactly what I'll be doing - so what if I suck at it?

Friday, May 6, 2011

What's in a name? That which we call a rose...

"What's in a name? That which we call a rose
By any other name would smell as sweet."

Romeo and Juliet (II, ii, 1-2)

Origin of the name Megan: Borrowed from the Welsh, Megan is a pet form of Marged,
the Welsh cognate of Margaret (a pearl).

Four generations - four Megans

We have an odd little tradition in my family. The first daughter of the first daughter always carries her mother's name. I am the third in a line of four living Megans. My grandmother is the first - her name is Megan Ellis Probert. She took her maiden name as her middle name. When my mother was born, her name was also Megan Ellis Probert. When my mom got married she changed her name, as most women do, but she also changed her middle name - and she became Megan Probert Karcher. Of course when I was born my name was also Megan Probert Karcher (sometimes I miss the girl whose last name was Karcher, but that is a post for another day. You get the idea. When I got married (we're gonna skip the messy part, for simplicity's sake) I changed my name to Megan Karcher Jeffery, and so Meg's name is Megan Karcher Jeffery.

I kinda hated it when I was little. Anytime anyone asked me what my middle name was, I just didn't want to say. It was weird. All the other girls had regular middle names. Mostly "Marie" - it was the 70's - every other kid I knew was named Jennifer, and many of them and lots of others had the middle name "Marie" - my sister included! So, not only was "Megan" a weird name (it was, I swear!) but I had this odd middle name that no one knew how to pronounce. I even had one school nurse ask me repeatedly what my middle name was, she thought I was being stubborn or stupid and giving her my last name over and over.

When I was pregnant with Meg, I had still not gotten over my dislike of having the same name as my mom. It had caused confusion at school, at doctor's and dentist's offices, just about everywhere I went, it seemed. I knew my mom would want me to name her Megan..., and I just wasn't feeling it - at all. I wanted to name her Jenna Rose. Well, since I was a pregnant teenager living at home with my parents, I decided that I would go with what my mom wanted - and now, I am so glad I did. I am glad I have my name, and that we I gave it to my firstborn daughter. There is something familial and special about being "one of the Megan's". Family members would love it when we all happened to be sitting together; "Oh look! There are three Megans sitting on my couch right now!" There were, of course the names that helped define which Megan a person was looking for. I think I have mentioned the number system, Megan 1, Megan 2, and so on. But there were variations on the theme: Big Megan and Little Megan. I hated being called "Baby Megan". That nickname lasted with all my Karcher cousins until I was nearing puberty. I felt so WRONGED by it all! (Please pause a moment in your reading for pre-pubescent dramatic effect.)

But all in all, I feel an extra little connection to my mother and grandmother by being named for them. And proud to be named after both of these beautiful women. Each with her own strengths and abilities, they both have taught me so, so much.  I think I have shared something lovely with my daughter, and no, I don't mean the crappy credit she will inherit because of my student loans - though she will probably have to deal with that (same name, same address, the credit folks don't bother to look any further).

Rose \r(o)-se\ as a girl's name is pronounced rohz. It is of Latin origin, and the meaning of Rose is "rose". Flower name. The name, which the Normans brought to Britain in the 11th century, can also be traced to the Old German words "hros" meaning "horse", or "hrod" meaning "fame, renown". The flower meaning is possibly more valid, given the Christian symbolic meaning of the rose. The "rosa mystica" is the Virgin Mary.

We have other names that pop up repeatedly in our family, too - this time on the Karcher side of things. My Grandma Karcher's name was Matilda Rose,(and she totally rocked) and so we have a plethora of "Rose"s. Each of her children has at least one child or grandchild named for my grandmother. Tricia Rose, Emily Rose, Leah Rose, Abbey Rose, Rebecca Rose, Mackenzie Rose, Annamarie Rose, am I missing anyone? And I am sure there will be a few more who come along. (I wish I had a picture of all these beautiful girls - making it a goal!)

Thomas \th(o)-mas\ as a boy's name is pronounced TAH-mas. It is of Aramaic origin, and the meaning of Thomas is "twin". Biblical: one of the 12 apostles known as "doubting Thomas" as he has an unusual mixture of pessimism and zealous faith. Some say his full name was Judas Thomas (Judas the Twin), and the nicknamedistinguished him from Judas Iscariot. The name has been popular since the 12th-century martyr Thomas à Becket. Other saints include Thomas Aquinas and Thomas More.

All have sandy hair and blue eyes - just like my dad as a kid!
My dad - my dad is fantastic. He is the kind of person you want your children to emulate. We all stand around and talk about how much this child or that one looks like Dad. Funnily enough, little Sam, who looks just like my dad, is named for his maternal grandfather(who happens to be amazing, so Sam is in good company with both looks and name!). But there are plenty of namesakes. Each of my sisters and brother have named a child after him, and my dad's nephew/godson has as well. And so we have my dad, the original Thomas, Thomas Geoffrey, Kolbe Thomas, Noah Thomas, Liam Thomas and Spencer Thomas.  A bunch of lovely little boys named for the one of the finest men ever born. It's more than fitting, in my opinion.

Thursday, May 5, 2011

Our Blessed Weekend

Last weekend we were blessed with two momentous occasions. First, on Saturday, our daughter, Mackenzie Rose, was confirmed. She chose Saint Gianna as her confirmation saint, because of her decision to save her child's life over her own. She wrote a report about St. Gianna a few years ago, as a homeschool assignment.

Saint Gianna Beretta Molla 
by Mackenzie Rose Jeffery

     Saint Gianna was born in Italy, and she was the tenth of nine children in her family. She was only three years old when her family moved to Bergamo, and then she grew up in Lombardy region of Italy. Gianna began to study medicine in Milan in 1942, and in 1949, she got a medical diploma and opened up her own office near her hometown, were she specialized in pediatrics.
    Gianna wanted to go live with her brother, a missionary priest in Brazil, where she was going to offer her medical experience in gynecology to poor women. But because of her chronic ill health, this was almost impossible to achieve. So she continued in her Practice in Italy.
       In 1954 Gianna met Pietro Molla, and they were soon married in September 1955. The couple had three children from the year 1956-1959. In 1961, Gianna was expecting another child. During the second month, Gianna developed a fibroma on her uterus. The Doctors gave her three choices to cure her:

1. Abortion, 2. A complete hysterectomy 3. Removal of the fibroma

     She chose the removal of the fibroma, and on April 21, 1962, Good Friday of that year, Gianna went to the hospital and gave birth to a happy, healthy Baby. However, Gianna continued to have pain and died 7 days after birth. Gianna was officially canonized as a Saint May 16, 2004. Her husband and last child, Gianna were present at her canonization. Her Feast day is April 28, and she is the patron saint of mothers, physicians, preborn children.

I love it when my kids find a saint who really speaks to their hearts. They are all named for saints, but when they find one whose story really speaks to them, you know it is something special. Mackenzie loves St. Gianna, and Blessed Kateri, as well. Liz has always loved St. Bernadette, and I think the fact that she came into the church at about the same age as Bernadette was when she first saw Our Lady of Lourdes is special to her. Meg has always, always loved St. Joan of Arc. She loved dressing up as Saint Joan for All Saints parties, loves that such a young woman, by the Grace and Hand of God, was able to help save her country. Kolbe has always, always loved the story of St. Maximillian Kolbe, but it will be interesting to see if that is who he chooses when it is time for his Confirmation!

Saturday night, our family assembled at church to watch Mackenzie be confirmed in the Catholic faith, with Meg as her sponsor, and both her godparents present to support her. My sisters and brother and parents were all there to congratulate her and tell her how proud they are of her. We were rushed along to get photos with the Bishop, so this was the only shot I was able to get, Mackenzie with her godparents, cousin Jaimie and Uncle Geoff. (I need some sort of photo editing software! This needs cropped!)
Kenzie and two of her favorite people, Abbey and Becca

Kolbe and his godparents cousin David and cousin Stacy
Jonah (alterboy) lighting Kolbe's candle
Sunday afternoon we all gathered at church once again to celebrate our Kolbe Thomas' First Holy Communion. This is always a big deal in the Catholic faith, but for this child, it was an even bigger deal. He seems to have an understanding and desire for the Eucharist that is uncommon among such young children. He has literally been counting down the days, and he did not take one thing about his preparation for this sacrament lightly. He was so nervous! He wanted everything to be just right, and it was. He did beautifully. He didn't forget a single thing. I am so happy for him!

We were so blessed that family traveled from near and far to celebrate with us. We had a big dinner after Kolbe's Mass for both events. So we ate and opened gifts and had cake. There must always be cake, apparently! 
cookies from Yum!

Kenzie's best friend, Becca was also Confirmed at the same Mass, so our families celebrated together! Becca chose St.Rita as her Confirmation saint. Becca's family has been like our very own family. She and her sisters have grown up with my kids, especially my girls, and they have been friends for years and years. I love that my daughters have such lovely girls to grow up with. It's been a huge blessing to us. 
Our church family has provided dear, dear friends, and for that I have always been very thankful.

So, our weekend was full of many blessings, a little chaos, lots of love, and plenty of cake to go around.  I  won't have any children making sacraments for a couple of years now, and it will be nice to have a break, but when all the planning and food preparation and all of that is taken care of, it is wonderful to look around and see the faces of so many people whom I love so much. I am thankful that they all came and shared the weekend with us!

Wednesday, May 4, 2011

Kid Quirks

Everyone loves to hear about your kids' quirks, right? I mean, they are just as cute and funny to the guy at the desk next to you, as they are to you! Right? Right!
Well,we are raising a pack of little weirdos, this is just the tip of the ice burg, ya'll...

1. Meg (now 20!) never wears matching socks. Ever. This started in second grade when they were having a mismatch day at school, and has never stopped. At first she just liked the silly aspect, but now she does it for the silliness, and sheer laziness. Or maybe she thinks it helps camouflage her strange, tree frog-like toes.
2. Caleb is inconsolable if he is not wearing long pants and long sleeves. He will moan and whine until you put long sleeves on, even if it is warm, but he will NOT tolerate socks or shoes. Weirdo.

3. Benjamin loves graham crackers and milk for a snack. Correction: Benjamin loves graham crackers IN milk for a snack. He crushes them up and puts them in the cup and eats the whole soggy mess like cereal.
4. Jonah sleeps folded up like an accordion. Legs folded up under his belly. When he's in bed he looks like a turtle under the covers.
5. Kolbe spends copious amounts of time perched like a hawk on a chest in our living room flapping his hands and making weird noises. No one knows what he is doing, but I think it is some kind of massive energy release. It's pretty funny, and he can't explain why he does it, but he does it daily.
6. Luke is our  normal child. Except for the fact that he is head over heels in love with his cousin, Lauren. He refuses to believe that he can't marry her someday, and spends a goodly amount of time planning out attempts to sneak kisses from her, "Because I wuv her, Mom, I just wuv her!" And there's the fact that he likes to dress up as super heroes. Not just any superhero, but usually a conglomeration of his current faves. In this photo I think he was CaptainBatTouristAmericanCamperMan. Awesome.
7. Jenna erupts into an evil giggle out of the blue every so often. She never knows why, or won't tell you, but believe me when I say it's weird, and a little creepy.
8. I've been wracking my brain to think of something quirky about Kenzie, but she's pretty normal, which I am sure she will take great offense to, so I will have to come up with something -

Monday, May 2, 2011

To Be Both Catholic and American

Something I've debated in my  own head from time to time. Being both Catholic and American just don't gel sometimes. Osama bin Laden's death has brought this to the forefront of my thinking today. I happened to see it come across Twitter last night, and shocked, wanting to verify, I went to They didn't have any information yet, just the banner at the top of the page announcing that the President was giving a late night television announcement. To be honest, I was terrified that there had been another terrorist attack, or some of our troops had taken such heavy losses that he felt he needed to make a special announcement. That maybe all the buzz on Twitter was just buzz created by some other, awful event.

To be totally truthful, when I heard about bin Laden, I was relieved. Then shocked that they had at last found him. Then proud. Then glad. Then, when seeing some of the people gathering places and actually celebrate, I felt uncomfortable, and had to stop and identify why this predictable reaction would make me uncomfortable.

 I think it's only natural to have mixed emotions about such a huge event. Something that quite frankly, I think needed to happen the way it did. Not one to give props to the president often (he gives himself props often enough, in my opinion), I think it did show some forethought and planning and good handling of the situation. The 24 Navy Seals did attempt to take him alive into custody, he resisted, using his own wife as a shield, which is despicable, and in the end, was killed. He had been brought to justice at that point - and I am glad about that fact. The part I am uncomfortable with is the actual celebrating. Honestly, and I think this is because I am both a Catholic and an American, I am experiencing some culture clash within my own heart.

Because I am an American, and very patriotic, my heart is glad that a monster has been brought to justice. I think the method was just, the mission was just, and it needed to happen. His body was disposed of in a just and proper manner, in accordance with his faith. In my American opinion, perhaps more than he deserved. The burial at sea, where there can be no shrine or pilgrims, was just. I am proud of the way that was handled - it shows Americans understand basic human dignity even for those who showed no mercy for others. This I can wrap my Catholic heart around.

But the dancing in the streets? The chanting and celebrating? It gives me a moment or two of pause. How does this make us better as a nation? I can understand the need to take a moment, even appreciate what the death of Osama bin Laden means - justice. I hope that is what they are celebrating - justice, rather than death. I hope the celebrations would be the same even if he had been captured. I hope it is a sense of relief, rather than joy, that leads people to celebrate. And I hope they understand that he was only one man. There are others more than ready to take up where he left off. There will be calls now to bring our soldiers home. That the war is over, as the leader of Al Qeada is dead. I think this means we are safer. It does not mean we are safe, and for the time being, we may be in even more danger, as his followers have vowed their "revenge", incited even more, I am sure, by the clips of Americans celebrating.

I'm not sure that any of this even makes sense. So often, as a Catholic, I am called to be counter-cultural. I think this is truly one of those times. I am not at all, not one bit sad that bin Laden is dead. I don't think I need to be, as a Catholic. I think he met his just fate, the result of waging an unjust war against the US. He had to know it would happen one day. It has taken me all day, though, to feel as though I need to pray for the repose of his soul. To abandon the "let him rot in the fiery pit of hell" thoughts, and turn instead to what Christ would have wanted. I think, in my belief, at least, that he is in a moment of reckoning. Christ would not want even one of his lost sheep to face hell, though we know the "fall like snow flakes into hell". Does this man's fate burden Him? I am sure it does. His hatred for Christianity not withstanding, I am sure that the Lord wanted him for His Kingdom. Just as He wants all of us.

So, I have waged an internal war within my own heart today. Part of me thinking "Who are you?! Some bleeding heart liberal??!! Sympathy for a mass murderer who hated all you hold dear?!" To the other half of my soul thinking quite simply, "I am called to pray for this soul. I don't have to be sad that he died, but I have to pray for his soul."

You would think by the time I hit 40, I would know how I feel about things, wouldn't you? I have these same questions about capital punishment, of course, just as many Catholics do. I hold to the church's teaching, that it is not for man to decide - but it's hard. I am an American - I think justice should be served. I think it was in this instance, and now, I need to pray for the soul of the man who finally paid for his actions and his hatred.

 From the Vatican, Father Federico Lombardi, said in a brief statement this morning. Here is an English translation of his statement:
Osama bin Laden, as we all know, bore the most serious responsibility for spreading divisions and hatred among populations, causing the deaths of innumerable people, and manipulating religions for this purpose.
In the face of a man’s death, a Christian never rejoices, but reflects on the serious responsibilities of each person before God and before men, and hopes and works so that every event may be the occasion  for the further growth of peace and not of hatred.