Monday, April 30, 2012

You Are Only Christian IF....

You believe that everyone is fine, no one can do any wrong, because that way you are not "judging".
You are fine with whatever choices the people in your life decide to make.
You look the other way when the people you love or care about make decisions that you think could put their soul in jeopardy, that way no one can claim you  are on a high horse, or want to meddle in others' lives, or are doing the worst thing any "Good Christian" could EVER do... judging.

I, quite frankly am tired of it. I am a Catholic Christian. Sometimes I am not all that great at being a Christian, and then I feel as though I am failing. Sometimes I judge others. Sometimes I fail to judge others' actions. Sometimes I feel like arguing a point, and other times (okay, almost never), I just want to let it go.

I am also a Karcher. With that, as some of you know, will come a politically minded soul who will argue a point to the death if necessary. Sometimes making a point overshadows touching  a heart. This is a mess I get myself into regularly. And I can argue, boy can I. As can any of my parents, brothers, sisters, cousins. It's a gift. Except when it's not. I know for a fact there are numerous friends who would slink away from our kitchen table whenever religion or politics was brought up, and that was often. There were a few who thought they could hold their own, sadly/proudly no one can shout down a Karcher when it comes to religion or politics. It might sound like this is a bad thing, or that I feel negatively about it. I don't. Really. It's a good thing. We've always been informed. We've always discussed current events and how they shape our lives. We know our issues - most especially Catholic teaching and the Right to Life issues, inside out and upside down. I kinda dare ya to start an argument with a Karcher over anything falling into one of these areas. A couple of times, with a few friends, we have had to learn new angles, leaving out religion when discussing the Right to Life issue, or learning the bible (tough for us Cradle Catholics, right?) to know what we were talking about with others, because boy o boy, you don't want to get into a theological discussion with a Protestant who knows his bible! He'll smoke you and have you for dinner! So, we've had to learn to accommodate for things here and there.

Lately the thing I have been working on the hardest is to "Keep Calm and Catholic On" (which I love and must have a sign made, by the way). I have had to remember to be charitable and kind in our discussions with those who disagree. Not surprisingly, that has been difficult for me. But, if I want to call myself a Christian, I need to behave as a Christian ought to behave. That means loving the other person, even if they are really ticking me off. Even if they are being unkind and uncharitable. Even if they seem so misguided that I don't know how to reach them, but they are acting as if I am the foolish one who is throwing judgement of others around.A great post on just what I mean from one of our Catholic Network Bloggers...

As a Christian, there are certain things we are taught are wrong right off the bat. Abortion, sex outside of marriage, homosexual acts....this list goes on, and I am sure there are those out there who will say that these are the reasons they cannot be a Christian. There are more who say that Jesus said "love everybody" and therefore, we cannot say that these acts are wrong. This one gets used A LOT. So frustrating. Jesus never said "love everybody" in the context that it means that no wrong is ever committed. I think "Love the sinner, Hate the sin" is a bit more in line with His teaching. So, in that spirit,  I  offer the following:

1. Abortion is wrong, it is killing. No, I will not tolerate the act, and I will judge it as a wrong act. I will love you, though. I will do ANYTHING I can to help. I will do ANYTHING that will help you keep your baby. If you do it anyway, I will find a way to help you heal. If you come with an open heart seeking love, I will offer it. If you come at me and say you are glad you had an abortion, and that you feel no remorse, then I will pray for you, even more.
2. I have been pondering a post called "I'm Christian, Unless You're Gay". This post basically called out Christians for being unkind to the gay people in their lives. This has caused a lot of discussion in our home. My daughters are more able to accept a person with homosexual tendencies. I think this has to do with media, the general world in which we now live. They have these messages pounded into them. It's my job to remind them that we love ALL people. In loving them, we want them to go to heaven. We are ALL called to be chaste. It's not a special commandment just for homosexual or heterosexual people. We are also called to recognize that God created a specific order for humanity. One man and one woman equals a marriage - the perfect place and situation in which to bring forth new life. Homosexuality is disordered. Now, here is where people get angry  - we all have our crosses to bear. We all have tendencies that cannot be fulfilled. It is our calling, as the children of God, to live up to His call as best we are able. If one has homosexual feelings, that is not in and of itself a sin. It is only a sin to act on those tendencies. Christians need to remember this, and if confronted with homosexuality in a loved one, remember that this person is God's child. He or she is deserving of love, and will need to discern just what God is calling them to.
3. IVF, Contraception, and all the "reproductive rights" that people seem to think they have. This one pains me so much. So many women want to control their fertility, or lack thereof. There are good, wonderful ways to do this. Natural Family Planning, Napro Technology. These are gifts that we should be taking full advantage of before coming to the conclusion that poisoning our bodies against their natural functions and making and leaving children to die in petri dishes is even an option.If we can remain calm when discussing these issues, and really make sure the other party understands what is happening when they use IVF or contraception, that innocent lives are lost, and give the alternatives, we will win more hearts. I think the mamas who want babies so badly will truly see that destroying many for the slight possibility of having one is not what the Lord intended.

There are so many issues that get people's dander up. I get mine up pretty darn quickly. Any time people are bashing the Church, usually with incorrect assumptions, I get angry. I have to remember to keep my anger in check. Try and explain the Church's teaching on different matters. I honestly believe that if people would stop and consider the reasons the Church teaches what she does on certain matters, they might let their hearts open a crack or two and see the truth behind it all. But please, don't call me brainwashed, or a sheep. You might be looking for trouble, and I might be willing to give it to you. I have honestly had my own beefs with the Church. Some have taken me years to see the right of it. Mostly because of my own stubborn head or misunderstanding.
So, please in your discourse with others, please be kind. Be Christian. Keep Calm and Catholic On.

Wednesday, April 25, 2012

Some Just Don't Get It...

Every time we announce a new pregnancy, we get mixed reviews. We know this, and often postpone telling certain people because of this. We are over 19 weeks now and the people at my husband's work just found out because I waddled in there yesterday on an errand. After I left he was pulled aside and asked if he was okay, if he needed to talk, as if this were some accidental tragedy.

Okay, okay, I admit it! SOME PEOPLE JUST DON'T GET IT! And for some reason, I continue to be surprised by this. We know ten is a lot. We know that most people these days don't have 10 kids. We know that most people want a boy and a girl, and consider anything more ridiculous, burdensome. (Though it seems to me that Americans ARE having more kids!) But you know what? I think maybe we know something they don't  - and if you are a regular reader of mine, I bet you know it too. Kids are a joy. A blessing. A gift. They make the world go 'round. Quite literally. We as a species, NEED kids to survive.

But, beyond the survival of the species is a basic set of principles that my husband and I follow faithfully, and have since our marriage:

1. God is the Author of Life. It is not for us to reject His gifts of life.
2. Contraception, though so very widely accepted, makes for unhappiness. More about this in a minute.
3. A man and a woman, bound together in holy matrimony are sacramental.

We as a couple have an understanding of this that is limited by our humanity, but accepted as has been taught to us by the Church and cherished it as a Gift of the Holy Spirit. As such, we know that we are to be completely open to each other, and to God's gifts. This has made for a very rich marriage. We have loved and enjoyed each other with a freedom and abandon that really can only happen in a marriage. No fears of pregnancy, no fears or rejection, no fears of a broken heart, no fears of anything other than society's lack of understanding, and that, we are used to and unafraid. Why should we be afraid when we are acting as God intended? When we know that God created us as sexual beings for a purpose, it was meant as a gift to us as man and woman, husband and wife. We are married, we have the perfect setting in which to raise children. They will be provided for in love and faith, and will grow up with knowing they are loved and wanted. Can anyone honestly tell me that any other situation would be so ideal?

As for the whole contraception mentality; it is so pervasive, that even the sweet little nun who was with us in the hospital when we lost our little twins had it wrong. She suggested to us that while children are important and good, it is "our life, too", meaning that she thought it would be appropriate to use some form of birth control. Perhaps she thought we had done our "Catholic duty" and should move on and find some way of preventing future pregnancies. You know it is disheartening when you get this from a nun, and when you know which priests you can ask to get the answer you want... I know what the answer is. The only acceptable way to prevent pregnancy is abstinence through the use of NFP, and only when the couple discerns a serious need to prevent.

Anyway, back to contraception (I know, I tend to be really stream of consciousness - it bugs me, too - sorry!) - Contraception has done so much. Damage. Contraception has taken a woman, and turned her into a toy. No longer do men need to fear getting a woman pregnant, they can use her and toss her aside. No one need know, as no baby will result. Should the contraception fail, well, they can always fall back on abortion, again, no consequences. Contraception has taken a sacred act, that for most of 2000 years has only been acceptable in society through a marriage, and made it a recreational pastime. Contraception has created, to a large degree the culture of death. If it fails, either in preventing pregnancy, or in not allowing the newly conceived baby to implant, then there is always abortion as a back up. Contraception and abortion go against all a woman was made to be.

There is just so much to this topic, and it floats in my head all the time. I feel like I never made any of the points I meant to here, small ones keep interrupting my thought process, reminding me that this kind of post is best left for after bedtime. I guess what I was getting at here, is that we have joyfully welcomed each new life. Aside from Meg, they were all intentional. Even Luke, when I was so tired, was on purpose. We know what we are getting into, and welcome it with open arms. Is our time for parenting infants nearly over? Probably, and we will cross that bridge when we come to it. But, what society at large doesn't seem to understand is that we want these kids...pregnancy doesn't just happen  - no matter what the pro-aborts would like us to think. Nearly 100% of the time it take an act of will. Nearly 100% of the time, people make the choice, and if a pregnancy results...Hallelujah! Praise God, for He has been so generous! I know and understand that many people have sex fully intending to NOT get pregnant, but when you try to divorce the act from it's purpose, you are bound to get surprised, even with contraception. It's nature people. Know it. Accept it. Embrace it in your marriage... but take it from a girl who has learned the hard way - marriage is where it is AT, people! The greatest, best, most wondrous moments await you if you save it for marriage. I promise. And the gifts that it brings will never cease to astound you.
Blessings, Friends.

By the way - great book recommendation! Adam and Eve After the Pill  - Check it out!

Sunday, April 22, 2012

Twizzlers, Processed Meats and Lemonade...

At nearly 19 weeks I am in full swing with all my weird cravings. My sweet husband puts up with them, indulges them a little,  and discourages them when necessary. It's often necessary.

Meg was caramel apples and spaghetti. When I say spaghetti, I mean, three times a week, spaghetti. My mom was very patient with this, and obliged me. The rest of the family still has a hard time choking down spaghetti, over 20 years later, and a family dinner of spaghetti and meatballs never occurs where someone doesn't mention my obsession.

 Kenzie was this peanut butter ice cream that was so good, it made you wanna slap your mama (I have never used that phrase in my life, but that's how good that stuff was!)  and canned Chef Boyardee (gross - but my Grandma Karcher had just died, and it so reminded me of her).

Jonah was all about lemon pie, but my usual need for some sort of pasta left me instead with a severe aversion to anything with red sauce. Jenna was maraschino cherries and barbecued pork ribs. As I have mentioned, we live in an area where there are no stores open late. This meant that any late night cravings, such as the cherries would have to be taken care of by someone who had access to a grocery store. I actually made my sister go buy me maraschino cherries and take them to my husband's work so he could bring them home to me at the end of the night.  I have no idea why.

Ah Kolbe - the Mexican restaurants probably quivered with a mixture of fear and anticipation of a big check when I frequented them... and the cole slaw - still makes me crave it when I think about it.

Luke Christopher wanted raw green peppers and Taco Bell. Prior to this I had never eaten a raw green pepper in my life - didn't like them cooked, either. I still totally love them, though. Thanks, Lukey!

Benjamin, the little darling, had me running to Dairy Queen on a nearly daily basis for a banana cream pie blizzard. I decided that was okay because I also couldn't get enough salad. Caleb - oh my. The bridge mix addiction was BAD. Then I was diagnosed with gestational diabetes and no longer cared what I was craving. I ate mostly salads, with enough protein to keep me from being nauseous, and BANANAS like crazy. Often accompanied by sugar free jello and peanut butter, which usually is one of my aversions.

My sweet little twins, I don't remember if I craved anything with them. I am not sure I was even paying attention to that - I was so nervous and nauseous the whole time, I don't think I had cravings. This baby however, has made his or her preferences loud and clear. This child wants meat. Not lean turkey or anything healthy. He/she wants pepperoni. And pastrami. And capicola. Kielbasa!And any other spicy processed meat you can think of. I was watching Diners, Drive Ins and Dives last night. Guy was eating an all beef hot dog topped with pastrami, sour crout, and swiss cheese. I was salivating. I had to make Doug change the channel before I sent him out (which, here would mean to a whole other town where stores stay open past 9pm) and get me the stuff to make that sandwich. Oh my...I am still thinking about it. How twisted is that, though? Processed meats? I mean, I have nothing against them ordinarily. I certainly would not say I have ever been hungry for any of them before, though.

The other very horrible craving has been apple fritters. Our grocery store makes the BEST APPLE FRITTERS IN THE WORLD. And I am in there almost daily. To my credit (ahem), I have only allowed myself to purchase them twice in nearly 19 weeks of pregnancy. And I can't eat the whole thing - they are huge. But so, so delicious. They have loads of apples and plenty of cinnamon. The outside is all crispy and the inside is all soft and wonderful. You want one now, don't you? They are so good, and I have always loved them, but I have never had dreams about them before.

I just wrote an entire post about food. I am not sure that even pregnancy is enough cause to write and entire post about food, but you will have to forgive me.

Tuesday, April 17, 2012

The End of The School Year, and Other Matters...

I am so not the prolific blogger of late. I have a number of things I have wanted to blog about, but they are hot topics, and I just feel that others say it better sometimes, so why repeat?
For instance, the older I get, the more I hear about this so called "War on Women" the more I am convinced that the Sexual Revolution did far more harm than good. I mean, what was so wrong with the way it was? In my opinion, the Sexual Revolution was the war on women. We had it good, ladies. Really. In most cases, the husband went out into the world, earned money, did the whole protector, hunter/gatherer thing. Women stayed at home with their children, raised them up the best they could. It was a partnership. Women did certain jobs in exchange for the care, provision and protection of their husbands. In exchange they raised the children, cooked the meals and cared for the home. Ahhh. I could go on and on. So many others have. But. It boils down to a systemic problem we are now faced with...the SR lead the way for so many things. Widespread use of birth control, turning women into toys, men into boys. Which lead to widespread abortion. The killing of the innocent inconveniences so that no one had to face any consequences. The direct lack of responsibility for one's actions, the demise of respect of men for women and vice versa, the end of the traditional family for MOST of America. So many homes without a father. So many families with one mom and many fathers, most of them absent. So many divorces, so many abortions. Our nation has lost 50 million people in the last 37 years  - all to abortion. We are losing civility at a rapid rate, in my opinion largely because parents do not parent. They are too busy working or doing other things. This is weighing on my mind, but you've heard it all before, better written and much more articulate, I am sure.

We are nearing the end of the school year. I am wanting to just rush, rush, rush to completion so we can veg out for a while. We've had so many computer problems lately. So many tech issues. I just want to be done with it all for a while. I wanna play! I want just time to hang out with them, read some good books that we actually want to read, and just spend some time together. I have some younger kiddos that need fine tuning with religion, learning the rosary, and some other things I have been pushing to the side, in my rush everyday to just get through. We have re-enrolled for next year in our e-school, OHVA, and I am glad that the decision part is over. The five bigger students will do that next year, and little Benjamin will be in kindergarten, and we will stick, for the first two years, we have decided, with Mother of Divine Grace. I am still contemplating taking Luke out of OHVA and just doing MODG with him, as well. He responds so much better to the phonics and things laid out by MODG than he does with just the basics at OHVA. So, still thinking that one out.

We are most likely going to be putting our house up for sale. We are in an area of the country that is seeing a little boom due to oil and other natural resources. Lots of new folks in town, looking for housing. I think this might be just the opportunity we have been waiting for to move closer to work. We decided we would much rather put more money a house than in a gas tank! So, we have started the process of getting approved for a mortgage and finding a home. Getting this house ready may take a bit of doing. It all needs to be painted, scrubbed and just cleaned up. So much STUFFFFF everywhere! So, I am going to use it as a reason to PURGE big time! I can't wait. I am a natural purger, but my sweet Douglas is a pack rat. We'll let you know who wins!

Lastly, we have been waiting a long time to share this news, mostly because I was scared. We are expecting a baby in September. We've only told close friends and immediate family. It was hard last time having to tell our entire church, and people on facebook, and have people asking occasionally still, as they babies were due to be born at the end of March. I just didn't want to have to deal with all that if something happened. I of course know that nothing is a guarantee, and we have learned the hard way that a pregnancy doesn't always mean you get a baby - sometimes heaven does. But, since we are past the 18 week mark, and will hopefully soon be finding out who this lil one is, I thought it was a good time to spill the beans.

Every time we announce a new pregnancy we get mixed reviews - some are happy for us, my sisters and friends from church. My sweet cousin Suzy. Everyone else just sort of regards us like we are a little nuts. And that's okay. I know some people worry. I know others think we are insane. I happened to mention it the other day to someone who suggested I try a new wine he had gotten for my brother. I had been wanting to sample it. When I told him I would have to wait, as we were expecting, he just rolled his eyes and sighed. He didn't even hide it, as if I shared his exasperation. Believe me when I say I am ECSTATIC! We are so excited, and happy. And relieved and thrilled. And excited. Yes, I know my husband will be 50 this year. Yes, I know I am 41. I know we already have nine. I know that we have bills and troubles and everything else that comes from being a family. BUT, this baby is a gift. Each one of them has been a gift. I am praying for a healthy, happy baby. If that baby happens to be a girl, I think I will be delirious with joy, but if it is a boy, I will laugh, and still be over the moon.

And on the house front? Nothing new, we are still waiting on Father. I have asked three times now. I know he's busy, but how many times do you think is polite to ask before you ask someone else? I really, really want the house blessed. We'll see. I kind of think whatever is here has more to do with us than the house itself. I don't know why, or have an explanation, but it seems so to me. But, what do I know? We have been praying the St. Michael prayer, along with other prayers. We sprinkled the salt, and I have put a scapular under Kolbe's mattress. His is the only new development, and I am not sure it actually is anything. He reported the other day feeling as though someone was pushing him in his bed. That night, he fell out of his bed at 3am. Later, at 4:40am he woke me, saying he had had a very bad nightmare. I don't know that the nightmare is relevant, as it seems to be something he saw on a museum show on tv, mixed with a scary scene of an old lady sitting on the back porch on the second floor of our house. Not sure what to make of all of that. He wears a scapular as a habit, always has, and has added his crusafix. He had only taken that off because they were getting tangled up, the chain and the scapular.

So, that's the news from the Jeffery household. What's new with you?

Monday, April 2, 2012

Update on The Things That Have Gone Bump in Our Nights...

First off, thank you all for all the wonderful suggestions. I went and purchased 10 Saint Benedict medals, and placed one in every room of our house. I obtained some blessed salt from our local Catholic book store, which, I was a little shocked to find out, they keep on hand at all times for this purpose, and do not charge for it, though they are grateful for any donations. My husband and I sprinkled it in every corner of every room, closet and storage area, including the basement of our home, and at all four cornerstones outside. I spoke with our parish priest again on Sunday morning and he assured me he would be over first chance he got. I am hopeful that it will be very soon.

I admit to feeling very unsettled at the recognition of something going on either in our lives or home. As always, I took to the web to do a little research. I found several sources, all Catholic, all legitimate sources, save one that is not sanctioned by the Church, but seems to sincerely adhere to church teachings. If you want or need more information, I would suggest the following sites.

As always, do not engage any evil or spirit or anything. Just adhere to the recommendations here, made by the sweet ladies who commented. I have also been told to recite the St.Michael the Archangel prayer twice daily:

Saint Michael the Archangel,
defend us in battle.
Be our protection against the wickedness and snares of the devil.
May God rebuke him, we humbly pray;
and do Thou, O Prince of the Heavenly Host -
by the Divine Power of God -
cast into hell, satan and all the evil spirits,
who roam throughout the world seeking the ruin of souls.

I have also been advised to attend Mass and receive Communion regularly (we do, but need add a daily Mass. Frequent confession, and a consecration to the Blessed Mother. All powerful weapons against evil.

Please pray for our family as we take the steps to clear up/clean up our home and prayer life in hopes of making whatever this is go away.