Wednesday, April 23, 2008

This Week's Update - Big News for Those Who Haven't Heard

I am a little busy due to the upcoming board meeting for the executives at my business. I have to make sure all the all the grunt work gets done. I was ahead of the game, but I am not very interested in it, so I have slowed on my progress. I keep thinking that I need to do a stellar job, because well it's the right thing to do. So, here I am taking a little break from it all. For the time being, I am not doing my job.

I have found all things I normally do to be a little more cumbersome lately, because I am amidst the haze of pregnancy (7 1/2 weeks along now). I wanted to keep it a secret, but we had to tell our closest friends and family and it has just exploded from there. I told my boss when we were in a meeting because I kept feeling like I was going to vomit on her. Back to the haze. For almost a week I have had constant nausea, which I did not have when I was pregnant with Alexander. I have not "lost my lunch" yet. It's just been a really annoying constant sickness and gagging. Today, I finally had some relief; it's been short and sporadic, but relief.

I called my mom last week in desperation and gave her a list of things I needed from the local whole food store that I cannot get here. I requested natural, fresh ground peanut butter and ginger candy. Thankfully, my mom put together my care package quickly and sent it priority. I received it Monday. She added some ginger tea and "pregnancy" tea. Surprisingly, what has helped the most is the peanut butter and "pregnancy" tea. The ginger candy and ginger tea were both a bust.

I have also been exhausted and my thoughts have been cloudy. I have been falling asleep very early lately--not too long after Alexander's bedtime. I got home last night and realized the dishes had not been done since Sunday. The kitchen was a disappointing disaster. Fortunately, this will not last long. Exhaustion and nausea should end after the first trimester, which is only six more weeks.

I can't believe we are going to have another child. We definitely feel blessed. We are VERY excited for Alexander to have a sibling. However, we cannot help but worry about finances. We are beginning to drowned with the cost of living skyrocketing. I guess we will just be taking out more student loans. Maybe Andrew can teach on a Indian Reservation and have those loans forgiven.

Wednesday, April 16, 2008

Is the Pope Catholic?

I remember when Pope Benedict XVI was elected, a mere three years ago, there was some outrage from South America. They were disappointed that a South American cardinal had not been chosen, considering the numbers of Roman Catholics on that continent. They wanted a Pope who would represent the beliefs of the South Americans. At this point, I questioned anyone who would listen, “Is the Pope Catholic?”

How could people be outraged at the selection of a person who is known for upholding the tenets of our faith? Once elected, does a Pope have a nationality? No, the Pope stands for the Church. Why do people think that a Pope should change Church beliefs just because a mob of sinners think it should be so?

Matt Lauer cited several statistics, 2/3 of American Catholics do not prescribe to the Church’s teaching on divorce; 3/4 of American Catholics do not agree with the Church’s teachings on birth control; other statistics that were startling, which I did not catch the numbers, views on abortion, homosexuality, ordained women. Matt Lauer then asked, “How can Pope Benedict XVI address these issues with out being labeled a finger wagger? How can he get through to Americans without scaring them away?”

I do not think that Pope Benedict will, nor should he, “dumb-it-down” to be more sympathetic to Americans. To be honest, people like authority. People like to serve a noble cause. People want to hear truth, even if it hurts, even if it angers, because in the end, I think people want better themselves. People want to be good even when they do bad things. We are inherently flawed. It is a continuous journey to perfect ourselves.

The Pope IS Catholic, and the Pope wants us to be Catholic too. I ask you “Are YOU Catholic?” Pray. Confess. Act.

Thursday, April 3, 2008

This Week - A Complete Analysis

To give you some background, Andrew and I have been enjoying the traditions of our faith this Easter season. It makes me so happy that Easter celebrations last as long as Great Fast. After the purging of sin during Great Fast, the celebrations of Easter seem more pure and holy than any other celebration. By Easter Monday, after having blessed celebrations Sunday, Andrew and I were more serious about our faith than we were even during Lent. I guess the procession of Holy Week and Easter Liturgy really awakened our sleeping souls.

By serious, I mean we decided that we were going to start living the faith more in our home. It was time to put our money where our mouth is. We decided we would go into a little debt (pay it off in the next couple of months) for the sake of our faith. We went to the internet and bought a Resurrection icon, so that we could more properly celebrate the season. We want to obtain an icon for every season, since the Roman Catholic church we attend is pretty barren. We also bought an censer and some incense, since this is also one of the things we have been missing. Finally, we bought 33 knot prayer ropes to help us pray without ceasing. We also ordered some icons, a set of theotokos and pantokrator, for our God-daughter, because as Andrew said, he wanted us to be seriously involved God-parents.

We have now received all the items we ordered. Last Friday, we received the icons and prayer
ropes. The prayer rope has definitely changed the level of prayer in my life. It is always there on my wrist to remind me. Whenever I see it I say the Jesus Prayer as many times as I can at that moment, "Lord Jesus Christ, Son of God, have mercy on me, a sinner." When I put Alexander to bed, I nurse him and lay with him a bit and say 100 of the Jesus Prayer. My goal is at least 300 a day.

When we went to New York city, our friend, Zane, took us to a beautiful, Eastern Christian style, Roman Catholic church. The Christos Pantokrator icon, of Jesus, in the apse, behind the altar, was incredibly soul penetrating. I keep thinking about the eyes. It's whole composition really made me think about who Jesus is. Now when I say the Jesus Prayer, I reflect on that icon. This as in depth as I can go at the moment, because I cannot tell you what is in my soul.

We received our censer yesterday and hopefully we can begin prayer with it tonight. It is a longstanding tradition to direct every sense we have toward heaven, toward God. It has been a very exciting and holy Easter season for us. We hope to learn more about the traditions of the Eastern Church over the next year.

God Bless.
(The icon to the side is the one from the church and below is altar. Click on altar images.)