Friday, January 27, 2012

This is what I do with my Friday nights

I make stuff so I dont have to buy stuff.

Earring Display
So Ive been thinking about making this for awhile, my earrings are all mumble jumble in a box, but the prices of these things can be anywhere from 30$ and upwards for good ones. But who needs to buy when you can make! The frame cost 5$, the fabric and ribbon 3$. Bazinga!


There are many things with Christianity (Catholism and Orthodoxy confounded) that are still huge hurdles to me. I dont understand it, I dont agree with it, and they are quite literally blocking me from becoming the person I want to become. Im very sloooowly working my way through these issues (I havent resolved any but one, yet) and I feel like this is probably going to be a lifelong journey, and I will probably never be rid of these inner demons (faith vs reason, faith vs common sense, faith vs upbringing, faith vs social world).

But, lately, I have 'sat down' with myself, and had a good ole conversation about pro-life vs pro-choice. That nasty debate that has raged within for the last 5 years of my life. I most obviously cannot call myself a Christian were I pro-choice, given the fact that the belief is that life is made as of insemination, a soul within that miniscule tiny speck of a human body, and removing it by any forced means is equal to murder.

That was not something I rebelled against, accepting it as their logic. In the meantime, I was an ardent pro-choice worker who made and signed petitions, showed up at rallys, was very hard to beat in a debate of this topic, and pressured friends to 'wake up and smell the coffee'. Until about three years ago.

Things started to slowly shift from that moment on. This issue was not as black and white as I had initially thought. My feelings on the subject were starting to get mixed. My previous statements were along the lines of it (being the fetus) being less that 5-6 weeks, its heart had not developped and wasnt beating, therefor it was not human yet. Abortion made before those 5-6 weeks was ok. *-But the more I thought about this, the more it didnt make sense. With the previous statement, I obviously believed the fetus was a developing human. How could I decide when or when not the fetus was human? Wasn't it always human, from the moment of conception? When a person passed away and their hearts stilled, did they stop being human? When someone was artifically supported by hospital machines, in a case of coma lets say, did they stop being human? No. So how was a developping fetus not a human? Ever?

Since then, these things have been rolling around in my mind. Rolling and shifting and never settling. I avoided the subject all together, feeling cheap that I couldnt say I believe in this or I believe in that. I didnt know what I believed. Until maybe a few days ago. I had had enough of my wishy washy bs. Time to put words to thoughts.

Abortion is wrong.
Fetus is just an ugly word people use to replace baby to make them feel better.
It is human life that is created as of conception.
Abortion is murder.
I am pro-life, and will do everything that I can to help other women to keep well away from abortion.

Of course, I thought 'what about rapes, incest, terrible cases as such?'. But the answer came easily. I know now that as of the moment of conception, it is a human being with a soul. No matter how terrible the case, I could never sanctify murder.

Since I admitted to myself these facts, I feel like Im settling more. Im more peaceful. I know the rest will come, with time. But this is one feuding war that's at last being put to bed.

Thursday, January 26, 2012

Poem - A Sinner's Plea

Is God still showing me love
As He looks down from above?
He silently sheds a tear
as He longs to be near.
To be His child is my true calling,
So why am I continually falling?
The Sinner's eternally cry,
For their broken wings just cannot fly.
Now I long to change...that's what I say,
But why is it that I won't pray?
What is it going to take
To finally make me break?
Where is that longing fire
That showed my true hearts desire?
What will be the final cost
If I forever am lost?
I still am crying out to be free,
But is this my hearts true plea?
I have it all right in front of me,
Still my covered eyes cannot see.

Allissa Thornburg

Tuesday, January 24, 2012

When I feel closest to God

In the Abraham's Daughters book club meeting I just went to, we read and discussed this audio book called God's Love Languages, where it speaks about the 5 languages we might express our love (and feel most loved with). During the conversation, we started talking about what we do/where are/ who we are with when we feel closest to God. And that got me thinking.

Right off the bat, after hearing some opinions and opinions, I thought, I definetly don't feel closest to God with other people, Im a solitary prayer, all alone and on my own, and thats the way I like it. Really, though? On the drive home, I pondered this question over and over. I just couldnt pinpoint the time/location/surroundings when I felt closest to Him.Oh, there were a multitude of places, but I just couldnt point one out as being superior to the other (and knowing 'my language' just confused me more than helped me).

I felt close to Him when I read my Bible, when I pray the rosary (but ultimately fail at keeping the words up, and end up just running the beads in my hands and being present in my mind). When its dark outside and Jeff is sleeping next to me and I see the reassuring rise and fall of his breathing, and I know how He has blessed me. When a little tiny hand closes hard on my finger in absolute trust. When the snow is falling and its so quiet yet full of noise. And lastly (but not end-ly, because I don't have enough room for a million tiny moments), when I volunteer my time or help someone in need.

So whats the answer to my question? Is there an answer? Since God is everwhere and in everything, shouldn't I be able to feel closest to Him in a multitude of situations, in a literally limitless composition? The easy answer was yes. But I still felt like there was something that escaping me, something I just wasnt getting. And God knows how much I hate that feeling. So my mind kept slowly churning and trying to get the bigger picture. The answer came to me a couple of days later, totally unexpectedly, as it usually happens.

I have been posting on Facebook and talking to my friends about this collection I was starting, taking in any and all non-perishable food and item donations for a co-worker of my mother's who is living through some truly awful times (the kind of situation that makes you repent shamefully of all the complaining you've been doing all your life). Long story short, she is getting major surgery done which is leaving her unable to work for an undetermined amount of time, and she is a single parent of four girls with her elderly father to take care of as well. So I have been shouting it on the rooftops how much she needed as much support as she could from anywhere, and I had a 'friend' contact me and ask me why the hell am I putting up shit like that up every time someone needed any little thing, would I please shut up, and stop bothering everybody by acting better-than-thou. Lovely conversation this started out to be.

A million things went through my brain. I didnt respond to this person in question, but God knows how much I wanted to. Punch her in the face is more like it. But meanwhile, in my head, I was ansering her question. And feeling guilty. Why do I do this? Do I want to look good, or is it just to assuage a feeling of guilt at being in an infinitely better situation than her? But almost right away, the answer popped into my brain.

I do this because, along with a million other reasons, God wants me to.

Ok, pause in the story. I cringed when I thought that. I cringe right now, as Im writing it. Only really creepy people talk about doing what God wants them to do, as well as wearing W.W.J.D. bracelets. SHUDDER. But that thought comes with a lifetime of personally rejecting anything that had to do with faith, and a lifetime of hearing 99.9% of people confirm my previous sentiment. But more on that in another blog post.

So, in the thoughts provoked by a really angsty person, I found the answer to my above dilemna. When do I feel closest to God? Not in church, not walking, not praying. I feel closest to God when I do what He wants me to do, when I do/follow His will, and when I am listening to Him. (Here, some of you must be shuddering to the point of an epileptic attack, and others are going.. I read all that for this?? DUH!)

Talk about an epiphany. A stupid, child-like, slow, it-was-right-in-your-face sort of epiphany, but much progress for such a willful and angry child as I. Now if I could just stop fighting and start listening, the world would probably be a much better place.

Proverbs 3:5-6 “Trust in the LORD with all your heart; and lean not upon your own understanding. In all your ways acknowledge him, and he shall direct your path.”

Sunday, January 22, 2012

Sunday GJE

I have almost reached 100 entries in my journal. 100 gifts of love and peace and joy. There for the taking, and always there waiting for me to notice, if I just stopped expecting for a second.

  1. the tang of fresh lemon curd on my tongue
  2. the satisfaction of seeing a completed, healthy, balanced, and extremely appetizing weekly meal plan (I dont think I will ever get over this)
  3. surprising my husband with the cookies I told him I wasnt going to do because theyre full of sugar (which they are, but which he loves)
  4. the schrch-schrch sound of the food processor as it makes fresh graham crumbs
  5. quiet appartment
  6. quiet music
  7. sleepy puppies
  8. empty sink
  9. clean counter, with just enough clutter to make it Cyn's kitchen
  10. crushed candycanes just begging to be used.
  11. toes peeking out from a blanket at nap time.
  12. still moment, still heart, still breathing.

said toes, sleepy puppies, and the reason why the apt is quiet LOL

Monday, January 16, 2012

Quotes from 1000 Gifts part 1

I mentioned before that I was reading the book '1000 Gifts - A Dare To Live Fully Right Where You Are', and had started my gratitude journal and reading the book at the same time. This book is amazing, although the writer is a bit fluffy in her style, and just like Mother Teresa's No Greater Love, it is chock full of quotes that are worth remembering, or just seem to perfectly resonate with me. I am only through about 50% of 1000 gifts, but I wanted to share the quotes that have especially marked me so far!

~ It takes approximately 20 minutes for your stomach to signal your brain that it is full. How long does it take your soul to understand that your life is full?

~ The single biggest regret? Being in a hurry. (…) I cannot think of a single thing Ive ever gained from that. But a thousand things broken lie in the wake of rushing. In our rushing, bulls in a china shop, we break our own lives. Haste makes waste.
~ God gives us time. And who has time for God? Which makes no sense.
~Learning slowly to not be so reactionary while inserting verbal gratitude into stressful situations is almost like being healed of mental blindness. I have begun to “see” again. 
~The practice of giving thanks…eucharisteo…this is the way we practice the presence of God, stay present to His presence, and it is always a practice of the eyes. We don’t have to change what we see. Only the way we see. Thanks is what builds trust. 
~ Perhaps the opposite of faith is not doubt. Perhaps the opposite of faith is fear. To lack faith perhaps isnt as much an intellectual disbelief in the existence of God as fear and distrust that there is a good God.

 As a side note, I've been meaning to do the same with No Greater Love, but had never gotten around to it. Darn procrastination. I will do it when I read the book again.

Sunday, January 15, 2012

Sunday GJE

  1. Maman's knowing hands, when she wraps a scarf around my head and tells me to stop being silly, what am I thinking, going out with my hair wet in this weather without a hat??
  2. The smell of cooking onions, peppers, and mushrooms to hungry stomachs.
  3. Husband's silly nose kisses.
  4. Fluffy furry little bodies snoring away beside me.
  5. Music as the first thing I hear in a new day.
  6. Hearing the exact song you wanted to hear on the radio when you drive the car.
  7. Baby roses peeking out behind a photo of love.
  8. Extra sharp cheese on peppery crackers.
  9. Leftovers.
  10. Annoying little sisters who call really late to let you know she's getting her bellybutton pierced.

Wednesday, January 11, 2012

Still Angry

' Really, when you bury a child— or when you just simply get up every day and live life raw—you murmur the question soundlessly. No one hears. Can there be a good God? A God who graces with good gifts when a crib lies empty through long nights, and bugs burrow through coffins? Where is God, really? How can He be good when babies die, and marriages implode, and dreams blow away, dust in the wind?  Where is grace bestowed when cancer gnaws and loneliness aches and nameless places in us soundlessly die, break off without reason, erode away? Where hides this joy of the Lord, this God who fills the earth with good things, and how do I fully live when life is full of hurt? How do I wake up to joy and grace and beauty and all that is the fullest life when I must stay numb to losses and crushed dreams and all that empties me out? '

What would he say about all this?

I long to be lost in my faith where I know without a doubt. Those people seem so.. at peace.
Fact: When I was walking up the aisle, I cried my soul out. Of course, part of it was that I was marrying the man that I love and whole loves me (figure that out, if you will), and part was just a surge of emotions. But part of it was also my childish self-pity that the man walking me up (although I love him very much) was not my father. You know, Im pretty sure He's pissed off at me for being so silly and ungrateful, and still being reluctant to give it all up, so to speak. Im pretty sure He's shaking His Head, and going 'Look around you, see what you have, and be content for once!' ... but how else can I feel? And furthermore when will this doubt stop? Will it ever stop? Will I always doubt myself and everything around me?
Wow. I feel like this author summed up in a few phrases my (and I suspect many others) biggest torment in life face to faith, of any kind and for anything. Yes, I am still angry about the death of my father, ridiculously so. Yes, I still, in my moments of intense doubt and dark, blame God for being such an asshole and wonder what the hell I am doing praying to Him that took him away. How am I to trust and love and praise when I don't know when the next coup-de-grace will be? When there is so much to lose?

Sunday, January 8, 2012

Sunday GJE

I wanted to regularly post entries in my grattitude journal on my blog, and I figured what better day to do it than on Sunday?

January 8th, 2012

  1. The light that glints off my needle as I sew my husband's shirt. It reminds me that I am here, that I am capable and that I enjoy mundane tasks. It feels good to know my husband will be wearing a shirt that I patched up for him, like in the older times where people did that all the time because they had to, not because they wanted to. Connections and thoughts through a needle and thread.
  3. The reflection of my grumpy self in the morning mirror. I am alive and well, and I live in a world where I can afford something as silly and frivolous as to be grumpy in the morning.
  5. The mess that my stirring spoon makes on the stove when I make stew. Lovely, bubbling, fragrant, nourishing, delicious, hearty stew. With buns of course.


Thursday, January 5, 2012


1: conscious of benefit received <for what we are about to receive make us truly thankful>
2: expressive of thanks <thankful service>
3: well pleased : glad <was thankful that it didn't rain
I don't have a problem with gratitude per say. Maybe because I lived and witnessed such crap moments that I'm driven to notice those insignificant yet tremendously important moments and express my thankfulness for these moments. I will limit what I own and feel intense flashes of guilt because I know what`s out there, and I know people have so much less than me and I want to just give it all away (not entirely healthy, I know).
Now that being said, I`ve felt frustrated and in a particular dark mood lately, and my gratitude has turned to bitterness, and I feel at times hopeless, useless, stuck in a rut, and a whole bunch of other negative nelly words.   But how could I be, when I compare my life now to my life 5, 10, 12 years ago? But still, for some reason, gratefulness has been escaping me.
That is, until I found this wonderful author: Ann Voskamp. Her book (and blog) is pure poetry, and in it, there is a refreshing and purity of selfless-ness and everyday living that is based on thankfulness. In fact, her book revolves around this wonderful idea of a Gratitude List. In short, you jot down a few things you are grateful for every day. It can be anything, from having enough food to your favorite warm pjs to that sudden epiphany you had while drinking tea. The point is to make the connection between daily mundane events and see how truly blessed each and every one of us is, no matter our situation. She suggests (and Dares You) to aim for 1000 in a year (so roughly 3 a day).

I have decided to do so, and have started my own notebook. As if I wasnt already surrounded by a million things on which to be grateful, she has a monthly calendar sort of thing where she suggests what you can specifically search to be grateful. For example, for today`s date, she suggests you find a grace in your bag, your fridge, and in your heart. I can think of at least 20 different things off the top of my head. I am so looking forward to the positive that this is going to bring in my life. Here is to being grateful, and honestly glad, and thankful.

''Whether a grandmother or not a mother, that’s what changed them: Love. Keeping a list of His love. His Love is the only thing that changes any of us and living loved — wouldn’t this change everything? The fears I’d been feeling, the overwhelmed and uncertain — Is every failure to experience joy because I made an excuse to not give thanks?Taking up the dare all over again — the dare to slow down and wake up and receive all God gives for what it is — a gift. Take the the Joy Dare. Isn’t that what Aristotle said– “We are what we repeatedly do.”

Then Christianity isn’t an act — but our faith is expressed only in our habits. A habit of not complaining, but the habit of giving thanks; the habit of not worrying, but a habit worshipping. The habit of repeatedly giving God praise that our lives might become a prayer. Small is always the leverage of large. It’s one moment after the other, the small moments that turn a life. It’s the small actions that can change a life.It’s habits that can imprison you and it’s habits that can free you and when thanks to God becomes a habit, so joy in God becomes your life. ``