Sunday, June 28, 2015

The Jerks

Fun few days on social media, eh?  (shout out to my Canadian friends)

There are a lot of takeaways from the decision reached on Friday and, more importantly, the response/reaction... For me, the biggest thing I'm taking is jeez, there are some jerks out there and those jerks are loud.  The temptation to allow the jerks to control the dialogue in this country is massive and I'm gonna try to stop falling into it. I'm gonna try to stop reacting to the jerks, I'm gonna try to stop being hurt by the jerks, and, maybe most importantly, I'm gonna start assuming that the majority of people who I interact with aren't the jerks.

On Friday, after the decision was announced by The Supreme Court of the United States of America, I was surprised by my own reaction. I knew this decision was coming. It wasn't ever something I have chosen to campaign heavily against in word or in deed. Yet, even with that, I found myself feeling a little afraid for my children.  I wrote THIS BLOG, which was guest blogged at MAMA NEEDS COFFEE.    For the most part, people read it and enjoyed it.  It led to some interesting virtual discussion.  People of opposing views discussing rationally whether fear is something people who hold the traditional view of marriage need to be feeling after this culture-shifting decision.  I enjoyed that conversation.

But, then again, there were the jerks.

Like the person who commented on my blog that "Catholics are Bigots".

Or my family member who I love (I really do) who's comment I had to delete after he stated that "Catholics should be more concerned about $#%#4 #$%#$ @#$@ priests" (basically a terribly way to describe clergy abuse). 
...to be fair, he apologized for phrasing it that way.

Or, my personal favorite, the person who stated that she will pray for my children, surely I would reject them if they ever came out as gay, being that I am a pearl-clutching Christian!  (can you please, for a moment, imagine a world in which I would be wearing pearls and clutching them?).

Oh, and there are the jerks on the other side too.

Christians, sometimes Catholics, who spoke about this decision with such hatred. 

Christians, sometimes Catholics, who don't understand you don't change people's minds with anger, pride, the righteousness of the pharisees. 

Christians, sometimes Catholics, who have decided it is apparently much better to preach to the choir from their pedestal of moral authority, than to try to understand where the majority of this country is at when it comes to marriage.  

Man, the jerks are annoying, and waaaaaaaaaay too often we have allowed them to set the tone for this conversation.  The jerks who speak for the Church of Fox News or MSNBC, allowing for division to become dangerous in this country.  And social media?  Well, social media just ignites it all!  Perfectly reasonable, kind people (IRL) forget to consider their social media circles and how their memes/quotes/musings might come across to those who feel differently.

And I get it.  Talking about stuff like this is hard.  Because it's personal.  It takes finesse, thoughtfully choosing words, careful examination of opposing opinions, and slow, rational discussion to set foundations of agreement from which to explore different ideas.  Social media doesn't allow for that most of the time.  So, we are instead careless, we speak in sound-bytes, we change our profile pictures to the rainbow or to the vatican flag in order show where we stand and who's side we are on.

Meanwhile, the world just gets grosser and dialogue becomes limited.  Majority opinion isn't challenged and those of us who might have something different to offer are silenced.

It's just, I keep thinking it doesn't have to be this way.

I wrote my blog on Friday to describe some fear I have as a Roman Catholic in today's culture raising my children to embrace the traditional understanding of marriage.  I wrote it completely understanding that the SCOTUS decision was a day of celebration for many in my social media circles.  And because of the blog, I have been able to have some good conversations and dialogue with people who feel differently than me.

Because of the blog some people were able to say. "Geez, you don't have to worry"! But then I  described how this decision is different because it regards a protected class of citizens and it's silly to think it won't be tricky to figure out how to hold on to Catholic identity in Catholic institutions (schools, hospitals, social agencies) when the law of the land is different than the law of the church.  I was able to explain, thoughtfully, that I have friends working hard to see the rights of LGBTQ people recognized even further, who have said to me, "Marriage was already in the bag, we have our eyes on other things, like hospitals right now".

Hopefully some of this will be a bit easier to come together on (like advocacy for the best medical care for the LGBTQ community) but man, judging from how we are letting the jerks own this conversation, I'm not sure.

So I propose the following 5 point system for moving forward in social media discussion on things that are tricky with a wide range of people who don't have any sense of common understanding when it comes to faith and morals.  
*that was an awesome sentence and I should be congratulated for it*
 (assuming it was grammatically correct).

Don't assume people are jerks.
I really do believe, most of us are trying to do the right thing by our family, friends, and our God.  Remember that.

When people are jerks, respond in love
Maxwell, the man who wrote 'Catholics are bigots' on my blog, probably hasn't been treated very nice by some Catholics in the past.  So it was important that I apologized for that. When people are irrationally angry, it's usually because they have been hurt.  An apology is always a good response to that hurt.

Stick up for people being put down by jerks
If you are a Christian and you see another Christian write something inaccurate or hurtful, gently call them out (privately) remind them that we are to be witnesses of love. always.
Perhaps the coolest thing the last couple days, for me, was when one of my friends, who is gay, was able to 'stand up' for me after a critique of who I am as a person.  Her words meant more than my words ever would, and it mattered that she took the time to write them. (shout out to Hailey!).

Stop preaching to the choir because it makes you look like a jerk
Think about what you are posting and why.  I have had to work on this a LOT in the last couple years.  Am I posting something so that those who already agree with me shake their heads vehemently in agreement, even if that means I alienate someone who might feel differently than me?  Gosh, if we could all just STOP playing the game of "social media sensationalism" (I know, I know, I have a long way to go on this too) wouldn't we be able to have better conversations about very real things?

Don't forget, it is about LOVE WINNING
If we want love to win, we must love.  The good love, the steadfast love, the love that goes way beyond warm fuzzy emotions, but instead ends up being about a crucified Christ, willing to empty his whole self in order to show the world just how far he was willing to go to reach the sheep who had wandered off.  

And last...



Friday, June 26, 2015

"LOVE WINS"- they say

This is what my husband wrote on facebook a few moments ago...

"This decision does not affect me personally as an individual. The way that is does affect me is being a Catholic father raising 4 children in the 21st century. What does today's decision mean in terms of the world my 4 children will be raised in, one different than the one I came up in? One of the best things that God gave us is free will, a very powerful gift. However, that gift came with boundaries. To me, I think that the message to my children is that there is the Law of God and the Law of Man. Previously, the two intersected and there wasn't much of a difference. Now, they are farther and farther apart from each other and that gap appears to continually increase. One is static and won't ever change for our benefit and the other is relative and changes with the culture. Today's decision is a large victory for the Law of Man. It allows people to make their own choices as they see fit for them. I don't have a problem with that.
My hope is that the Law of Man stays away from the Law of God. My hope is that people do not try to now go into churches and demand that churches marry same-sex couples. Much like churches respect the legal system, even though they may not agree we need to keep the legal system outside of churches whether they agree or not."
Aaron Wilkerson

My husband is and will probably always be the smartest man I know... and his words perfectly articulate how I and so many others feel about the decision today.  I didn't have a strong opinion on what the Supreme Court should do, if anything, I knew things would swing this way.  But as so many people celebrate, I find myself terribly worried.

I am worried for my children, and hope that so many people who are celebrating today will remember to respect our family's decision to define the Sacrament of Marriage as different from Legal Marriage.  Truth be told, I am not confident that will be the case, and that scares me, for my children, more than I can articulate.

After I heard the Supreme Court decision, my eldest was having a meltdown (someone is always having a meltdown around here).  So I held him in my arms and rocked him, it was a perfect moment.  He was looking up at me and I was looking at him and we were quiet.  It lasted about five minutes, which, at his age, five minutes is a lot.  As I held him, looking into his eyes, I find myself almost moved to tears with anxiety about how I will raise him in this world. Raise him to know his faith, and live his faith.  Raise him to stick to his convictions and to our faith's understanding of marriage, and sexuality... raise him to always treat people with love and respect, even if they see things differently than we do.  But then I see my facebook newsfeed flooded with words like bigot, almost a hysterical frenzy to describe people like me, people who don't really care what the government decides to do, but want to make sure my faith is always allowed to hold it's expression of sexuality as the traditional expression.  And I worry, such very real worry, that even his very life could be at risk for holding those views in a matter of time.  Reactionary?  Maybe.. how I am feeling?  Certainly.

And I do think, in case you are wondering, of my gay friends, some of them with children, who are probably looking at their children today, gazing into their eyes and feeling a hope for them that they have never been able to feel before.  I know that my worry to them seems silly, as they soak in the joy of what they see as an advancement of culture today.

So, I guess, like Aaron, I just have to hope that maybe this country will at this point in history actually live the words of Christ correctly, the words to "Give to Caesar what is Caesar's and to God what is God's"- Mark 12

The fear is that never really works out historically- maybe this time will be different.  And so, today, I will continue to pray for love to be more prevalent in the world, real love, good love, love based on a sacrifice, the denial of self.. the only love that has ever really brought about authentic happiness.

Seven Quick Takes O' Fun

I'm gonna hop back on the bloggin' bandwagon a bit me thinks.  Thought I'd start with the takes, since they are the tried and true weekly commitment. I always love reading others, and it's a good chance to update err'body on the Wilkerson Family.

What up 3rd trimester?  This morning I was reflecting on the pregnancy and although it started out as the most awful pregnancy to date (I mean, it was really awful) at this point and for the last two months or so, it has been BY FAR my easiest pregnancy.  Sure, I have to take anti-nausea medicine four times a day, and had to have some iron infused into the ol' body, but with those two things, I'm in pretty good shape.  Do you know I never enjoyed feeling the babies roll around in my tummy?  Truthfully, it just made me sicker and when your already sick,  getting sicker is not pleasant.  But with the magic of modern medicine, I only throw up a couple times a week now, and so when little Malia Paul decides to engage in gymnastics, for the first time EVER, I really REALLY enjoy feeling her play around.  It's all sorts of neat.

Something really adorable happened yesterday and I'm gonna try to let you imagine it's cuteness, but it might not translate well in written word.  We were watching the odd squad (which, honestly is a little wrapped gift from Jesus at 4:30 pm when I am just about done with life and Aaron is about to come home, all the boys love it).  Lil' A was sitting on the couch, but then decided to move on his belly with his hands holding up his chin. I watched John Paul observe him and then go right up beside him, lay down on his belly and put his hands under his chin just like his big brother.  The cuteness was already on overload, but then John Paul looks over at lil' A to make sure he is doing it right.  Oh my gosh.  I love brothers and my three boys.

Local friends- Funtastic in Woodhaven is the absolutely perfect place for kids under the age of 5.  Seriously. I love bringing the boys there (though it's about $30 a pop for our family, lunch included)-   It is pretty much the best pregnancy break ever because the boys just play and I can sit and watch.  Please check it out!  

I was thinking last night about something.  So on this social media thread on a Catholic Blogger's wall that I love to follow, there was a discussion about how one should never not feed their baby if their baby is hungry. I am sure many of you agree with that.  I, well, I feel a bit different. I'm into putting a baby on a schedule (yikes, the scandal!) at around 2 or 3 months.  I don't generally breastfeed at that point, so it's pretty easy to do.  But, part of the pretty easy is the baby might cry for a couple days as we get the schedule together and it might just be because they are a bit hungry. I want to be very clear before I go on, we are talking about stretching feedings by a half hour to an hour at a time.  So here's the thing. I have decided that I am A-OK with other parents saying that is 'wrong'. I am A-OK with parents saying there are better methods and they, by not putting their kid on a schedule are doing things the RIGHT way.  That's fine.  I think we all make parenting choices because we think they are the right ones, either for our family or in general.  So I think it's okay to give one's opinion of how to parent/raise all them babies and to state it's the best way to do things.

but then there are the crazies. The one's who take it too far.  The ones who use words like abusive, or starvation, and, even worse try to use whack theology to assert their methods are the best.

Anyway, I was thinking about this because I really don't mind when other's parent differently, but I really DO mind when the judgment crosses over the line to crazy talk.

I just thought you should know.

 My brother, his wife and their seven children are coming to visit next week, along with my sister and her crew of five kids and then we are all going to a fancy indoor water park for 24 hours of cousin fun. I am so so so excited, mostly because watching my kids play with their same-aged cousins is the best thing in the world!  Next week is gonna rock.   

There is a lot to do in this house to get ready for another baby. We've got to switch rooms, build bunk beds, make a nursery, buy a bassinet and glider (getting a new one woot-woot), clean, paint, schedule child care, get ready for pre-K for little A, and just so much more.  It's a lot and easily overwhelming if I think about it too much. So I am choosing not to think about it until July.  And that's that.

I missed going the ol' takes :) I'm glad to be back on the bandwagon!

That's it for me.  Check out more Quick Takes at http://thisaintthelyceum.org/


Friday, June 5, 2015

I know what Jesus would do!

... just kidding, I don't.

I've read a lot about how Jesus would respond to the cultural issues of our time- Whenever the traditional understanding of sexual ethics is discussed, particularly when popular culture decides to have a moment, inevitably someone decides to offer an opinion of exactly what Jesus would do. 

How would Jesus respond to Jenner?  I read an article the other day that claimed Jesus would invite Caitlyn over for dinner, calling her by her name and making sure she felt loved.

Would Jesus bake a cake for a gay couple to celebrate their marriage? 

Would Jesus allow for a deeper discussion about how more fully we can invite those with irregular marriages to the Eucharistic Table? 

I've read very certain blogs claiming one ‘side’ or the other. 

“Of course Jesus would sit down with Caitlyn, of course He would call her by her preferred name!”
“Of course Jesus would love Bruce Jenner, even in his gender confusion, but He would certainly not participate in the delusion of pretending he is a she”

“For sure Jesus would bake a couple for a gay couple to celebrate their wedding.  He said He doesn't judge, did he stutter?” (shout out to the meme)
“For sure Jesus would not bake a cake for a gay couple, marriage is reserved between a man and a woman, to participate in the celebration would be to affirm the union”

You know the drill, you've seen the blogs, you've read the opinions...

People, lots of people are very convinced they know exactly what Jesus would do.  And gosh the thing is, I don’t.  I find the times we are living in to be really challenging.  REALLY REALLY challenging.  

I am not confused by what I believe, I know what I believe and, I know it to be True.  That’s the easy part.  I have said before I 100% believe the Teachings of the Roman Catholic Church are the easiest path to truth, happiness and freedom.  I’m not confused by that, I don’t have doubt. I wouldn't be Catholic if I was confused on it, or doubtful if this religion was for me.

But when it comes to how best to share those teachings with others, how best to invite people to a relationship with Christ, how best to tell the world, ‘There’s something so much better for you!’- I don’t know how to do that.  I don’t know how Christ would do that in today’s culture.  And, as I said the other day, I am cautious in agreeing with anyone that seems too certain of how Christ would respond to people, in this historical moment.  We are at a place where relative truth has so affected the general mindset, we aren't even working with common definitions.  When I say love, it means something so very different than when others use the same word.  When I say marriage, it means something so very different than when others use the same word. 

I've even learned that I don't have the same understanding of the word "happiness" that others do. What it mean and how to get there.

The other week, on ‘thefacebook’ I had a back and forth with someone regarding an article shared claiming we are surely on the verge of another great schism.  The conversation was fascinating for so many reasons, but one of the most fascinating parts is when a priest suggested that talking so much about all this ‘welcoming stuff’ was clearly a ‘sales gimmick’.  Right then and there I decided not to continue in discussion with him, because I understood that we must have such different definitions of the word ‘welcome’ a fruitful discussion could not be had. 

I’m not saying Jesus wouldn't know what to do.  I know Jesus would be able to respond to all these current situations perfectly. I know he would figure out a way to eloquently weave deep love and stern teaching into a ‘teachable moment’.  I know it because I watch him do it, particularly in the parables all.the.time.  I know he’d be able to, like with the woman at the well, find a way to be so insanely loving, but so purposefully direct, that people would want to respond to Him.  But I also know a lot of people rejected Christ.  Maybe we could even say the majority of people rejected Him for His message… so maybe it’s not as simple as saying the things people want to hear?

So, anyway, I guess what I'm getting at is what would Jesus do in these situations?  How would Jesus respond?  I don’t know.  And, to be honest, I don’t think you know either.  What I do know is the closer I come to the person of Christ, the more I unite my heart, mind and soul to Him, the better I’ll be at answering those questions.  

Unfortunately, like so many of you, my time is spent wondering or guessing how Jesus would respond to these situations instead of GETTING TO KNOW WHO JESUS IS.  I’m gonna work more on the latter.  Getting to know HIM, because hopefully, it will help me learn better how to be like Him.  And the more I learn how to be like Him, the more I will know how to best LOVE like Him.

Thursday, May 28, 2015

So We Went to Disney World...

20 things about going to Disney with a 4 year old, almost 3 year old, almost 2 year old and pregnant
These are the things we did that made our trip awesome.  They might not work for you but maybe one or two tips will be helpful to someone.  This was one of the better trips/vacations I have ever taken, and that’s saying a lot because I have kind of been all over the world J

GO-If you can
So many people tried to convince us not to go.  Certain we’d have a miserable time because our kids are ‘too young to enjoy the experience’.  FALSE!  They are at the perfect age to be totally taken aback by the magic of the place.  To them, it’s all real.  It’s all so fun.  I am so glad we went ahead despite people’s best intended suggestions not to.  Thankful for all those people who encouraged us to DO IT!!!!
US on the morning we left

I have read all the blogs on budget Disney.  I don’t think it’s a bad idea to do it that way. BUT, I will say, I am certain I can count this vacation as one of the best vacations I have ever been on (and it truly was a vacation) BECAUSE we made it as easy on ourselves as possible.  But, as you’ll see in the rest of the 20 things, some of that easy came with a big ol’ price-tag. 

Can easy and this be used in the same sentence?!?!
We decided when we first put this trip on the table that we would be flying.  Driving with all them babies and a pregnant mama would have really been a bummer.  Getting on a plane and being in Orlando from Detroit In two hours and some change was awesome.  The kids did great on the plane (air-high five to the person who suggested playdough) and we saved 4 days of travel (because let’s not lie, there is no way in hizzo we’d do that drive with the whole crew in one day).  Yes, it was expensive to fly (though we used spirit and only brought one suitcase)- see #2 for thoughts on that.

Play dough, whoever suggested that one gets a gold star!
Again, for us, we saved longer and stayed shorter to be able to stay on the property. It was so essential to our awesome time that we could roll back to the hotel when needed (to escape the heat, nap, take cranky mama home- more on that later).  Next time we go we will be renting a condo, but staying on the property was so awesome.

Le sigh... it only goes downhill from here :)
This one is a tough one because it is very expensive.  There are three hotels on the monorail and none of them are cheap.  All of them are more than I have ever paid for a hotel in my life.  BUT, the extra hundreds of dollars (yes, that expensive) were WELL worth it to us.  We have an insanely big stroller and jumping on/off the bus was as much of a pain as people said it would be the few times we’d have to do it (even though I thought people were crazy #firstworldproblems when they said it).  And yes, it is a crazy #firstworldproblem but being able to roll right on the monorail and show up at the door of magic kingdom was AWESOME. 
The Aarons on the Monorail

The first morning I almost ruined our entire Disney trip.  We entered Magic Kingdom and I had a plan.  That plan was to see certain things.  But it was hot, and there were crowds, and we have three small children, and I threw up (#pregnancy) so by noon I was PISSED OFF.  Aaron was walking too slow, I didn't understand the map (I am slow on map reading), everyone was hungry and I became that crazy person.  The crazy person screaming at her children in Magic Kingdom “YOU BETTER SMILE, DO YOU KNOW HOW MANY CHILDREN WANT TO BE HERE?!?!?!” (and there may have been a bit of swearing at the ol’ husband).  Thankfully after lunch and a rest at the hotel, Big Aaron gently pointed out my crazy, “Do you realize you yelled at me for walking too slow at Disney?”- Right then and there I decided to calm my crazy, I put Big Aaron in charge of all major decisions and decided to manage my expectations.  The next 2 days were awesome, but it was because I let go of control

whew she recovered and became sane
We decided once we knew we were staying on property that we would be choosing to participate in a meal plan.  It was an awesome decision.  We went for the deluxe version, which is an insane amount of food, but only lil’ A was covered under it.  Each meal we’d get an appetizer, meal and dessert, plus 2 snacks a day (water bottles counted for snacks).  We had to share off our plates with Joey and John Paul (who are both boys with hearty appetites).  Though the ‘dessert’ part of the meal plan was too much, we often were able to substitute it for things like ‘fresh fruit’ or a snack to bring back to our hotel.  The good thing about the meal plan was it had healthy/healthier options.  We didn't want our boys eating like crud for three days because their attitudes would stink and they’d get sick.  We were able to have fruit each meal and veggies lots of the time.  The meal plan was SO convenient, we’d do it again in a heartbeat.

If you are using the meal plan or plan on eating at restaurants it is so essential to book reservations right away.  I thought this was crazy talk prior to going, it’s not crazy talk- it’s necessary.  We got into every place we wanted to eat at- and were so thankful for the MYDISNEY app to switch things around last minute.

That bad morning I told you about, part of the problem is that all of us had something ‘quick’ for breakfast (bagel, croissant, ½ an apple) really early, so by 11:00 we were really hungry.  In the heat and walking around, a big breakfast was key (as we discovered the next two days) to keeping our energy up in the heat!  The buffet at 1900 Way right in our hotel was the best! We filled our tummies and it showed by the moods we were in the rest of the day.

Look at them big ol' smiles after full bellies
Um- they are awesome. So cool how the characters came right up to the table. For my Joey, he just knew these guys were his best friend. He gave a Winnie the Pooh a hug that just would not stop.  It was so magical.  He still keeps talking about the mad hatter.

Joey couldn't let him go
Quick rundown of what we rode (you will see we didn’t ride too many for two days, but again, we kept our expectations realistic).  Merry Go Round, Small World, Aladdin’s Carpet, Buzz Lightyear, Pirates of the Caribbean, Carousal of Progress (weirdly one of my favorites), Peter Pan, Dumbo (so freaking scary for me, kids loved it, waiting area was as awesome as they say) and the train.   I think that’s it!  Good stuff
Dumbo, I still had a smile because I didn't realize how terrifying it would be

This part was so cool.  We saw ladies with umbrellas dance, a huge dance party in the town square with all the main characters (total joy), the castle show during the day, Monsters Inc (Big Aaron got to be a character), and Mickey’s Musical Orchestra (none of us liked this).  The show at the castle was awesome, but I’m not gonna lie, it was hard free standing in the sun on such a hot day.  Would you believe we didn’t do any of the major parades or fireworks? As I said, we kept our expectations small.  One night, I almost woke the boys up for the fireworks, but I realized we will be there in future years where it will make more sense to keep our kids up that late- so I resisted the temptation. 

Poor children going to bed with no fireworks
We saw VERY little of this park. It was our day to fly out to come back home.  Man, though, the things we did see were awesome.  We went on the safari.  The boys and I love it, but full disclosure, it got Big Aaron a little sick.  The jerking of the truck didn't work for the old man.  Then, we saw the “Festival of the Lion King”- which was a highlight of the entire trip for me.  SO awesome.  Such wonder for our eyes.  I cried. A lot. 

The boys on the safari they are still talking about
Drink it- lots of it. Always.  We ended up filling our meal plan cups with ice in the morning and just filling them with water throughout the day at the parks. Totally worked out.

Water- drink it, play in it, but stay near it
I loved our afternoon breaks. Remember, we have very small children.  We would go back to the hotel after lunch, nap and play in the pools during the hottest time of the day. Honestly, as much as I loved the parks, the resort was a huge part of our fun as well. The Grand Floridian was so beautiful and the pools were so fun. I am a secret fancy girl who loves fancy things, and the fanciness of this hotel was just awesome for my 35th birthday. It’s funny, the ol’ husband doesn't like swimming and I love it.  As a birthday present, we got to do a family swim.  Swoon….

The water play at The Grand Floridian was AWESOME!!!
It is so awesome to take advantage of not having to travel with school breaks.  Awesome enough that we might do it anyway when kids are in school and just be THOSE parents. 


Here’s where we went. 
TREX- Good, scary, perfect for little boys
GRAND FLORIDIAN CAFE- awesome from breakfast and diner
TONY'S TOWN SQUARE- very much okay
1900 WAY- perfection in a restaurant
NARCOOSSEE- fancy and only happened because the meal plan, but the perfect birthday dinner
RAIN FOREST CAFE- don't judge, our kids ages dictated that one
Our super fancy dinner night at Narcoossee
We packed one suitcase, one carry on and four backpacks.  It was perfect.  We didn’t overpack but we left room for two puddle jumpers. Staying at the Disney Resort, you can check your bags off at your home airport (Detroit) and they get delivered right to your room.  I KNOW RIGHT?!?!!?

Lil A was very proud of his backpack 
I made sure to catch the awesome of what we were doing by being present in every moment.  To me, this whole trip was such a cool thing, I couldn’t believe we were actually doing it.  I tried to be present to the kids wonder and joy. 

We took our own pictures.  For us, this really worked out.  We actually didn't see too many picture taking people.  Yes, the bummer is we didn't get very many good family shots, but Aaron and I both said we were glad we didn't do the picture package when we saw the lack of Disney Photographers.  We really didn't see any around.  That would have been annoying after paying.

The only decent family photo we got :)
We are already planning for next year’s trip which will be totally different (staying in a condo with some friends off site).  So apparently we have become ‘THOSE DISNEY PEOPLE’.  It’s okay, I don’t mind J

Sunday, April 26, 2015

The Thing About that Bruce Jenner Interview...

So, if you live under a rock, lemme fill you in on something.  On Friday, Bruce Jenner gave an interview to Diane Sawyer.  After, he was praised by the press, celebrated by celebrities, and cheered on by my facebook newsfeed.  His courageous move?  He declared to the world although he is a man in the physical sense of the word, he has always kind of felt like a woman 'in his soul'.  And, in a move pop culture is embracing, he has decided to begin transitioning so his soul matches his body, this would be his last interview under the name of ‘Bruce Jenner’.

A lot of people tuned in.  Because he is a reality star, some of us have watched Bruce Jenner as a husband, a father, a so called, 'fame whore’ on the show ‘Keeping up the Kardashians’.  Those a bit older than me will remember him as a gold medalist in the decathlon for the1976 Olympics.  This celebrity who so many of us related to as male, gave an interview to say to the world, ‘you might see me as male, but my truth is I am female- and to say so brings freedom’. 

At first I wasn't going to watch it.  To tell you the truth, I kind of rolled my eyes at the build up to the story.  I often get stuck in the muck that is the cultural wars and things like men ‘becoming’ women and celebrating it on national television?  Well to be honest, things like that, to a person like me, kind of flag why our world is so screwed up.  Things like that scare me.  And so I wasn't going to watch.  Why engage in the insanity that is our world/current culture?

But right before the interview on Friday night. I felt called to hit record.  I felt like the Lord was whispering into my heart that Bruce Jenner’s story is important.  That listening is important.  That walking with the pain, hurt, confusion, and suffocation of other’s stories is important. 

You should know, I believe in a few things.  I believe in the teachings of the Catholic Church.  I believe that God created man out of love, male and female, He created them. I believe freedom offered through the sexual teachings of the Church is desperately needed in today’s culture.  I believe the world would be better off if people listened to the teachings of the Church, and I believe moving away from traditional sexual ethics has a devastating effect on society.

And, I also believe Bruce.

People are complicated.  We have hurts and wounds that are sometimes gaping.  We have within ourselves the ability to be saints, and the ability to be sinners.  The ability to be Peter, and the ability to be Judas.  We have a history and emotions that are unique to only us, and understood fully, only by God. 

I don’t know what to do with Bruce Jenner’s experience, or the thousands of people, young and old who related to it.  I’m not sure the best way to go about ministry with people who have those kind of hurts. I’m not sure the best way to respond in our culture... those questions are hard.  I wish both ‘sides’ of the cultural war would admit how very hard this is. 

There’s so much I don’t know, but one thing I can say with certainty... when it comes to spreading the message of love and freedom which flows from having a relationship with Christ, we must first LISTEN. Listening comes before talking.  Seeking to understand is far more valuable than screaming to be understood. 

“We must lend our ears to the beat of this era and detect the scent of people today, so as to be permeated by their joys and hopes, by their sadness and distress, at which time we will know how to propose the good news of the family with credibility” – Pope Francis

And so I recorded the Bruce Jenner interview. I watched it grounded in what I know to be True about the sexual teachings of the Church, but with a compassionate heart.  One willing to learn from the experience of others.  And I wonder sometimes, if that disposition might be a bit more helpful to us as we seek to introduce people to the goodness and mercy of Christ. I wonder if it might behoove us to follow Christ’s example and be willing to ‘sit at the well’.  Even if it makes us uncomfortable, even if it’s a world we do not know. 

(PS- Ain’t it just like God to move our hearts to do somethin’ right after we declared we wouldn’t be doing somethin’ for awhile…I’m still planning that hiatus, but this one kept stirring, so I wrote it)

Friday, April 24, 2015

The Mellow Dramatic Why I Haven't Been Blogging...

So, I mean, I haven't been blogging.
It's not because I don't have things to say.
And it's not because I don't like blogging.

Truth be told, I think when people make a big 'Hey, I'm on a bloggin hiatus' announcement... it's kind of annoying.

But I'm doing it anyway.

Hey, I'm on a blogging hiatus.  I know it's not like I am the biggest thing on the internets (but I am pretty darn close right?!?!),.. but I figure sometimes people read this, and I haven't posted regularly in a few months, so I 'owed' it to those people to say something'.

And the somethin' is this.

We are having our fourth kid in five years! How fun is that (answer? super fun), but how rough is pregnancy for me (answer? super rough).  Paul passed away in January, and I feel like I'm still moving through that to be honest.  So though I have lots of thoughts, I am having a really rough time stringing them together.  I've tried, I promise, lots of times...to write all the thoughts.  But, they aren't coming out and I am being patient with that.

Do I think I'll blog again?  Gee, I sure hope so. I love having a family record, and I like sharing with a community of people.  But for now, it's just not coming...

When it does, you'll be the first to know! (ha! If I show up in your feeders or whatever fancy people call them).

Till then, things are good, blessings abound, and life continues to roll.

Oh, and don't be afraid to say a prayer for me :)

Blessings on your weekend!