Monday, May 30, 2011

Great & busy weekend!

This weekend was a flurry of activity. The weekend started quite early for me since as a state worker I was furloughed (forced no-pay day off) on Friday, but since Friday's are my normal day's off (4-10s), Thursday was my substitute day.

Thursday mom, Rachel, & I went to the bra store. We went to Perfect Fit first, but the nice lady (owner) told us to go somewhere else because she was closing soon. The lady didn't want me (us) to get started with one person, then have to switch. The place she sent us was ok, but I wasn't terribly impressed. I was also quite disappointed because they didn't have any bras in my size. I understand that I'm an odd size, but since it was a bra store, I was hoping to go home with one that fit. On a whim I call the first lady back to ask if she had my size. She said she did, so I went back to her. She personally fit me with 2 separate bras that immediately lifted a weight off my shoulders (literally) and made my chest feel (and look) better. It was also Rachel's 18 month birthday! :-) 

Friday  Andrew, the kids, & I went to Lowe's and Kroger. Let me repeat that, all four of us - including an 18 month old & a 3 year old - went to Lowe's and Kroger. Can you say workout! ;-)Once we got home dad brought a skid-steer (the actual name for the things called "Bobcats" - smallish front-end loaders) to our house. Andrew & Simon got to unload it & drive it around a bit.

Saturday, Andrew & Simon worked with the skid-steer for dad for most of the morning. My mother-in-law also had a get-together at her house. She was going to have her pool put in, but it was so muddy that she decided we'd just have food & hang out. She & I got the kids an inflatable pool - that was a BIG hit with the kids!

Sunday my brother & his family had a get-together at their house in Waverly. We decided to go to Mass in Morganfield about an hour away, but an hour & 1/2 later than our usual Mass. We were about 10 minutes (or less) from the church when I hear Rachel cry, up-chuck, & cry. The wonderful aroma of the car (it was already about 85 degrees outside) was not pleasant. I called mom to have her help me with the kids before Mass. Luckily I planned ahead & brought clothes for everyone to change into. Rachel's change of clothes wasn't as cute as the original dress, but it was adorable none-the-less. Once we got to my brother's new house I had to take the carseat completely apart. The washable/removable portions went into the washer while the rest was hosed off in the backyard. The best part though was that Rachel was fine the rest of the day - must have been a bad banana or something on the ride to Morganfield. The kids played around. Simon got to drive a 'princess' motorized car, ride a pink bike (complete with pink helmet), & play on the wooden play-set. Rachel rode in the 'princess' motorized car, got run-over by aforementioned car, & played on the smaller plastic playset. The ride home was *much* less eventful than the ride there! :-P

Monday (today) my father-in-law had a get-together at his house. We ate steaks & other yummy foods. The adults talked. Simon got to ride on his motorized John Deere tractor complete with wagon. Rachel rode in the wagon behind him for a little. She had to quit riding when Simon turned too sharply and dumped her out! Then we came home & I let the kids play in the sprinkler. It was so hot that otherwise they were going to have to stay inside. My plants needed water anyway! Rachel LOVED it! Simon thought it was pretty awesome too!
The only bad note was late this afternoon. Someone (1st) called me asking for computer help (or so I thought). Before hanging up, I found out that the computer help I was giving was actually to 'spy' on me. The 1st someone told me in a hurt-tone-of-voice that someone else told them I was bad-mouthing them on FB. The 1st someone wouldn't tell me who said it or what it was. I immediately got that sick-to-my stomach-feeling that comes from being accused - even if innocent. I said I couldn't think of anything I'd said that was bad-mouthing. The 1st someone said they'd see for themselves in that same hurt tone. If I were a stronger person I'd have been confident that I'd done no wrong & not let it bother me. However, instead I'm a weak person that ponders, obsesses, and worries when someone tells me something like this. So later I called to tell that person that I was hurt & upset that they'd think that of me. Later Andrew spoke to that 1st someone. They still won't give us the name of who said these hurtful things. However, the bad-mouthing posts have kind of been elucidated. As I read them - even trying to do so from the other person's perspective - I cannot find anything 'bad-mouthing' about them. Yet, I still cannot let it go because I have pretty constant contact with that 1st someone. I cannot stand that anyone thinks I would maliciously malign them in a public forum like FB. Especially since I'm 'friends' with LOTS of people that are also friends with the 1st someone. I guess that's how I got into this tangled web to begin with - one of these 'friends' of mine/friends of the 1st someone went back several months at minimum to find something slightly negative (about a product given to us by the 1st someone - not about the person) to feed the 1st someone. At least that's the post that the 1st someone mentioned to Andrew.

I'm having a prolonged panic attack about this issue now. I just can't let it go like I know I should. I keep looking for something offensive about this person on FB or even here on my blog, but I CANNOT find anything. Its like a hidden-object game where the hidden object is described as circular in a field of marbles. Its driving me crazy. I want to cry - I NEVER want to cry. I actually feel like someone punched me in the chest. I keep telling myself to be confident that I'm NOT that type of person (to malign someone in a public forum - especially this 1st someone). I just find that I can't take my own advice. :-(

The "J"-word

I have been accused of being the "J"-word more times than I'd like. As an out-spoken, conservative, pro-life, and Catholic woman, I am apparently the epitome of the "J"-word. Since I have strong opinions and am very pedantic, I get labeled by the "J"-word quite frequently. If you're not sure what the "J"-word is, I'll enlighten you. It is judgemental.

For instance, I consider the following statement to be 100% absolutely without a doubt true: The Catholic Church is opposed to abortion and birth control. You may say, "But Erika, there are exceptions. You can't just make that statement without qualification." I would say, "There may be exceptions to birth control (NEVER abortion), but the root of the statement is true." Then usually, the conversation degrades to, "You're so judgemental. You can't tell every woman out there that she cannot be on birth control and follow Catholic teaching." My reply is usually something along the lines of, "I am merely stating that the Church prohibits abortion and birth control. In some instances, the Church may say it is ok for an abstinent woman to take birth control for a medical condition.** However, the Church strongly encourages the aforementioned woman to seek out other means of treating her condition." The discussion usually degrades to more name-calling and me preaching on and on by the book (typically Scripture, the Catechism, and science).

A tidbit I like to throw into the arena, at this point, is that by labeling me as judgemental, you are being judgemental. The bottom-line is that, in my opinion, being pedantic is what we are called to be as Catholics. Rules are rules. Even exceptions are supposed to be just that - exceptions. Tolerance to those outside the guidelines can be just as bad, if not worse, than being judgemental. Moral relativism does not conform to God's command to follow his laws.

Yes, I've read Scripture. I've had numerous bible quotes tossed my direction with the "J"-word. I can typically reply with my own bible quotes. Scripture does tell us, "Judge not lest ye be judged." (Matthew 7:1, Luke 6:37) However, Scripture also tells us to remonstrate the sinner (Ephesians 5:11, 2 Timothy 4:2, Jude 1:15). Actually there is even an instance in Scripture where the initial portion concerns not judging one another, but the second part deals with avoiding putting scandal in front of others (Romans 14:13). Even by the first scripture alone (Matthew 7:1), if someone wants to judge me on the same matter (birth control), then they are free to do so.

Even in the midst of dangerously low iron levels, debilitating menstrual pain, repeated miscarriage, and threats of my death and/or horrible birth defects if I became pregnant too soon after chemotherapy I have never taken birth control. I have stood in front of doctors as they belittled and tried to badger me into taking birth control. Doctors, nurses, and lay-people have laughed at me, given me doom and gloom predictions, and tried to insinuate that I was stupid. I even had one doctor basically tell me that I would never be able to have children if I didn't go on birth control. Even my own husband has, at times, asked me to consider it. However, I have always stood firm in my morality and refused. So, if anyone thinks I'm expecting other women to do what I have not done myself, they are sadly mistaken.

If the above is your definition of judgemental, then I guess you should stop reading my blog & 'un-friend' me on FB. I will not stop my pedantic ways simply to make your life easier. Yes, I may try sweeten my phrasing a bit, but sugar-coating the truth sometimes ends up diluting it all-together. Yes, sometimes after the "J"-word is thrown at me, I react instead of continuing factually. I am human and it does hurt my feelings sometimes to be considered judgemental. Sometimes I may persist in being "judgemental" by pointing out that adherance to the Church's teachings is what makes us Catholic (if you're Catholic). If that hurts your feelings or makes you question your Faith, I'm sorry, but it is still truth. I try very hard not to judge people, only actions. I've been told that saying that is trite and means next to nothing or is infuriating to my audience. Well, I don't know how else to say that I still love and respect the person, but I know the action is wrong. I will never condone immoral behavior simply to make nice. In my opinion, that is part of my personality.

Please know and understand, I do not consider myself better than anyone. I am not holier than thou or perfect by any means. Instead I am just like everyone else, doing my best to live my life according to God's plan. I expect, (more often than not) deserve, and desire to be corrected on certain issues myself. No, I may not always like being corrected, but I try to avoid jumping to conclusions and being hurt. That is one reason why I am so dogged in my explanations. I sincerely want to let others know the Truth (God's), but I don't want them thinking it is my truth verses their truth. Therefore, I use Scripture, the Catechism, and science to offer testimony to my stance. I always try to avoid off-the-cuff answers on topics that I'm not personally familiar with the research and/or Church teaching. However, given my nature, I am likely to try to ferret out the Truth shortly after a conversation. Then I may revisit the discussion with my facts and figures in mind.

**The Church strongly encourages women (and men) to be fully open to life in all phases of their own lives. The Church also recognizes (unlike the secular world) that birth control is almost always a 'band-aid' for women's health issues. Therefore, instead of the woman being cured of whatever ails her, birth control merely gives her some relief from her symptoms while she seeks out moral and ethical means of treating her problem. If a woman is sexually active, due to the abortifacient effects of most birth control, she is called to be abstient while using the birth control drugs - even if the purpose of these drugs in her medical case is not to prevent pregnancy. Birth control drugs, by their own package inserts, "disrupt the lining of the uterus and prevent implantation". Denying that simply because a woman has an underlying problem does not change the fact that those embryos seeking implantation are killed by mechanism of the drug. If you believe life begins at conception then most if not all birth control drugs are abortifacient.

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Smiling already at 2 weeks

Smiling already at 2 weeks
Rachel has been smiling as a response to other people since day one.

And two shall become one...

And two shall become one...
In 2006, Andrew & I became one before God and family! Shortly thereafter we became 3 with the birth of Simon in 2008... Then 4 with the addition of Rachel in 2009!

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