Monday, December 24, 2007

Merry Christmas!

Come Lord Jesus!
Wishing you and yours a most blessed Christmas season! Don't forget to keep on celebrating - right to Epiphany!

Thursday, December 20, 2007

A woman's maternity

I recently received the Sisters of Life's Winter 2007 newsletter. The entire thing is about adoption and one of the articles shares their thoughts about adoption.

Despite the fact that they are speaking of women who place their babies with adoptive families, some of their comments struck me as a woman grieving a miscarried baby. Three points in particular were especially affirming and poignant:

Maternity is forever. Once a woman is pregnant, her maternity can never be given away. She will always be a mother. There will never be a day in her life when she is ever, in her mind, someone who does not have a child. She is a mother and that is forever... One lives her motherhood all the days of her life. She knows how old her child is, always. She may not have seen the child in years - it has not affected one iota of her maternity and the reality of her active motherhood, which is real.

This statement describes how I feel about our first child. As Peter Mark's due date approaches (Jan 15th) I think about how big I would be at this point. While most other people do not think of our first, I think of him every day. I wonder about his personality, how he would have looked. I picture his fingers and toes and potbelly. I imagine holding and nursing him. And I wonder how one "mothers" someone who is experiencing life in the fullest.

She needs a lot of support, to be loved, to experience her own goodness. She needs to have others delight in her so that she can draw upon those deep reservoirs of goodness within herself. She needs love and laughter and distractions in her worries. And she needs lots of time. She may need to cry her eyes out for months. And we need to be comfortable with that.

I have found this to be very true. Not that I want to forget the pain, but I definitely do not want to be alone. Working on the house has been a blessing in disguise as it brings friends and family to us every weekend. Seldom do I speak of how I'm really feeling to these people - sometimes because it would be awkward and sometimes because it's just not needed - but it is good to chat, catch up and laugh with people. And it does feel good to be loved and cared about so that people will give up their Saturdays for us.

She will live the long loneliness, really, of experiencing and knowing a love that she cannot express, but it is not the absence of love.
This is probably the worst part of it all. I know how to love my husband, family, friends and the baby in my womb. But I don't know how to love this saint child of mine. At this point, the only thing I can do to communicate my love for him is by crying. Which I suppose is sufficient.

Tuesday, December 18, 2007

Gaudete Sunday

The Third Sunday of Advent is called Gaudete Sunday (gaudete means "rejoice"). During the otherwise penitential season of Advent we rejoice that the Savior is coming. Our soul finally feels its worth after long pining in sin and error. We feel that thrill of hope and out of our gratefulness we rejoice, for yonder breaks a new and glorious morn.

We started Gaudete Sunday with Mass and then brunch and cookie baking at my parents' home with my brothers and the women in their lives.
Next was a trip to the tree farm / country market where my dashing husband cut down our tree.
We decorated the tree and then cleaned the house (I don't know why - I just had to have it clean) while listening to the Christmas records of my youth.
Every year my Grandma F would give us all a keepsake ornament so we have tons of great decorations for our tree. Some are quite beautiful and some are just cute and fun. But my all time favorite is the one below, a mini book of A Christmas Carol. My Great Grandpa W gave it to me when I was in middle school, the year he bought an ornament for all of his grandkids and great-grandkids. (I have 33 first cousins - I have no idea how many ornaments that would have been total but I remember he saying how he bought out two stores.)

Home Improvements - Update

I haven't posted any pics of the house in a long time. But here's some of the stuff we've gotten done:

We took out the two windows that were on this wall (which created a hole big enough to get the tub in) and put one in the middle.

We widened the entrance to the kitchen. We also completely gutted the kitchen and moved the window to the center of the wall. In the picture below you can see our new back door and how the ceiling now slants, which we like much more than the old flat ceiling.

This is Morgan, who made the mistake of messing around with my camera. Morgan is a friend who works with me. She was kind enough to volunteer the service of her boyfriend to help hang drywall in the kitchen.

I'm getting bigger...

This picture was taken last week. 21 weeks on the nose.

Prayers for B & J

A good friend of mine from college fell in love with a Thai man while there with the Peace Corps. After a year of paperwork and governmental loops to jump through, B finally has an interview for his visa on January 7th.
Please pray for B & J that he will get his visa and get over here so they can finally get married!

Yippe for Hector!

The wife of my good friend, Hector, gave birth to their first baby - a daughter named Ana Cecilia.
Congratulations to Lore and Hector and many blessings to the new family.
Te quiero mucho!

Friday, December 14, 2007

Wacked Out Dreams

1 - Travis and I are in the jungles of Africa. All of a sudden a very evil Joaquin Phoenix comes out of the darkness and attacks with a long dagger. Travis, super husband that he is, fights back with his knife. I look on as the two of them are wrestling on the jungle floor trying to kill each other. (Could this be rooted in some guilt I have for crushing on Joaquin? When I told Travis about this dream and how I think Joaquin is a hottie he said that he was glad he killed him.)

2 - My younger brother is building the ultimate igloo for this woman who is homeless, has a baby and is in love with him. The igloo is a two story home made of ice and snow. He's building it in the field behind our house (which is still a field and not filled with poorly built $250,000 homes). He is using a shovel and dad's old wheelbarrow to haul the snow. I make sure he has no interest in this woman, because I really don't like her, and then I go and give her a piece of my mind about her flirting with and taking advantage of my brother.

3 - A man and a woman break into our home while we are sleeping. They are shining their flashlights all about and talking about killing us. I'm awake but pretending to be asleep; Travis is snoring. They really just want to rob us and weren't expecting us to be home. They pretty much decide to not kill us unless we wake up and find them so I try incredibly hard to have normal breathing.

Thursday, December 13, 2007

Baby Pics

This is my baby. She's 19 weeks and 1 day old.
This is her little butt and long legs.
These are her adorable little feet - you can even count the toes!
This is her right hand, waving at me and her daddy.

And this is her from the front, holding her hands to the side of her face. You can see her eyes, legs, umbilical cord and open mouth. I think she's praying.

I know she (or he - we didn't find out the gender) looks a bit like an alien. But I think she's absolutely beautiful.
Travis couldn't be with me at the sonogram. But I cried and laughed my way through it. I kept thinking, "How can science say this is not a life?" which is part of the reason I cried. I truly do not understand mothers who are pro-abortion.
Last night when Trav got home I gave him a big hug and thanked him for the great gift growing in me. I am so thankful for this child.

Tuesday, December 11, 2007

My love / hate relationship with football

The reasons I hate football:

- it fills hours of Travis' time, thus taking him away from me.

The reasons I love football:

- I don't

The reasons I sorta like football, sometimes:

- it makes my husband happy

- it gives my husband something to do to relax

- it's excellent nap time for me on a Sunday afternoon

- it allows for intelligent, educating conversations such as the one that follows:

"If I were a football player, what position would I be?"
"You'd be a linebacker. You've got a bigger, stronger build, speed and you could take someone down if you needed to."
"What about Mia?"
"She'd be a safety because she's small and fast."
"Same with Kim?"
"Same with Kim."
"What about Kate and Ellie?"
"Kate would be a linebacker with you. But Ellie's got more speed so she'd be a running back maybe. No, Michelle would be the running back. She's tall, athletic, fast... Ellie would be a tight end."

Travis with my fellow linebacker and the tight end.

Me with the safeties.

Friday, December 7, 2007

No one in San Francisco calls it "San Fran."

The summer after my junior year in college I spent doing an internship at 826 Valencia, a nonprofit writing center in the Mission District of San Francisco. It truly changed the way I prioritize, think and view life.

I found out about the internship this way: My mom, younger brother and I all read A Heartbreaking Work of Staggering Genius, Dave Eggers Pulitzer nominated memoir. We then drove up to Chicago to hear him speak at the Art Institute. During that talk he spoke a lot about the new writing center he had just founded for kids in the city. He talked about how the interns made it run and all the fun field trips they did. And how there was a store in the front that sold pirate supplies (lard, peg legs, wooden planks, eye patches...). So I went home and started reading about it on their website. And then one day I saw that they needed interns. All you had to do was send an email with your experience, talents and availability.

I still remember coming back from class and checking my answering machine and hearing the message that they wanted me to come out and take on one of the internships. I jumped up and down and screamed with excitement. And then I prayed, "God, if You want me to have this internship You need to make it happen for me."

And before I knew it I had a place to stay for the whole 4 months. My first 2.5 weeks would be spent with my professor's cousin. The rest of the time I would be living with a widow and her 5th grader, who went to school with the daughter of one of my professor's cousin's coworkers. (Did you follow that?) And in a city with incredibly high rent, I was being paid $50/week to cat sit for the woman while she and her daughter were gone. They also left me grocery money and bought my bus pass. And on top of it all, they are two of the kindest people I have ever met in my life.

I spent my summer working with amazing people. I met authors and directors. I worked with adorable children and interesting teens - encouraging them all in their writing skills and trying to foster in them a love for reading. I created programs, helped with fundraisers, worked with grant-writing and grew to love the city. While I was there I learned a great deal about myself: that am smart, hardworking, talented, good with people. I learned that I can be very different from others but still gain their respect and friendship. And I learned that I have a lot more courage than I ever dreamed I did.

The night before I left for SF I told my younger brother and his friend Matt that I just wasn't going to go. I was scared and nervous. I was going to a strange city (me a country girl) where I knew nobody (and I have at least one relative on every page of my high school yearbook). As I was ranting and raving Karl, my brother, told me it was going to be okay, I'd do great, I needed to go. But Matt looked me in the eye and said, "Bonnie, if you don't go to San Francisco you're the stupidest person I know."

He was right. And so I went. And I'm a better person because of it.

This was all inspired by an article I just read about Dave Eggers having just won the TED Prize for his work with education.
Check out 826 National and see all the good work they've done. Maybe there's even a center near you that you can get involved with.

Thursday, December 6, 2007

Jolly Old St. Nicholas

Today is the feast day of St. Nicholas, Bishop of Myra.

I love this man. Patron of virgins, brides and children, it's his story of throwing bags of money into the house of three poor sisters that grew into the legend of Santa Clause. (That money was for the girls dowries so they could marry instead of having to live a more destitute life.) While I'm not a fan of the way Santa has overrun Jesus in Christmas, I do think that the kind, gentle man does represent the best of this Bishop who became Father Christmas.

But my favorite story of St. Nicholas is this:
At the Council of Nicea (250AD) the bishops were gathered to discuss a heresy in the Church - Arianism, a false teaching on the Trinity. As Arius was promoting his views of Christ, Nicholas became so infuriated he got up and punched the man out. The saint and his fellow bishops then confirmed what the Church had always taught about the Trinity and Christ: one in being with the Father; God from God, Light from Light, True God from True God; He was begotten, not made.

So happy feast day to you!

Fr. Ray Blake has a post on St. Nick as well.

Monday, December 3, 2007

My 2 Cents on the Holiday Season

I love this time of the year:
- giving and getting gifts from people I love
- baking cookies
- parties and festivities
- Christmas carols
- decorations
- snow

My one complaint is that the whole Christmas thing starts way too soon. 91.5 WCIC, why do you have to start playing Christmas music the day after Thanksgiving? And why will you come to an almost full stop on December 26th?
I also wish that we would recognize that Jessica Simpson does not sing "Breath of Heaven" as well as Amy Grant and we should not play her version of it. And no one will ever sing "White Christmas" like Bing Crosby so why do we have to listen to others' renditions? (Except, of course, for the Drifters' rendition - ya know the one used in Home Alone. That one is different and a delight.)

Thank you.


Advent has come and I'm thrilled. I love this liturgical season. I love being reminded that Christ has died, Christ is risen and Christ will come again. This is so exciting to me.
Preparing for Christmas - for the gift of a savior - and looking forward to that moment when we can truly REJOICE is thrilling. I'm crazy with anticipation.

Recently I have been thinking a lot about the Second Coming Christ. I have also been thinking about the fact that I do not know when I will die. It could be tonight; who knows.
I'm having these thoughts in part because of the loss of Peter Mark. But also because I have been a much grumpier person since becoming pregnant. Every day I am short with someone or judgemental or impatient. After my moment of frustration or fury has left I feel embarrassed by my rudeness and lack of humility. I am trying to be ready for Him. I'm trying to keep my wicks trimmed. Because when I do meet Him, whether He comes to me or I go to Him, I really don't want Him to ask me about why I didn't take care of such and such. I want a firm,"Well done, good and faithful one."