Thursday, February 27, 2014

What’s in a name...

...a lot actually ;)

I read Bonnie’s post about her kid’s names and then Jenny’spost about her kid’s names.  Because Jenny and I have two of our children sharing a first name and one kid sharing a first and middle, it made me want to explain my children’s names.  And so, I am linking up Team Whitaker to talk about my boy’s names.

Aaron Christopher Wilkerson II
Nickname- Monch, or Chi Chi (mine only)
In my family it is VERY common to name a son after a father.  So common in fact, that I was shocked when I found out how ‘controversial’ it could be.  Several people passionately warned against doing it.  We heard horror stories about sons hating fathers and then being strapped forever with the name. I think the stories freaked Big Aaron out enough that until his birth, we were going to name him ‘Aidan Christopher’.  But I was always confident my husband would do exactly what he did, make a game time decision in the operating room to call him Aaron.  Technically, I think, he is supposed to be a junior, but I was terrified of A.J and didn't want him to be called Jr. so, on his birth certificate, we put Aaron Christopher II. 

Nickname- I think I may have shared this before, but when my first was born, he had the cutest hairy shoulders and back.  He was so furry. And his face was so round. And his ears were so perfect.  He reminded me completely of cartoon characters on the show “The Monchhichis”. I started to call him my little monchhichi.  Then I called him chi-chi and now I call him monch (pronounced munch).  When I holler ‘Aaron’ sometimes he doesn’t answer, there are two of them afterall. But when I holler, ‘monch or chi-chi’ he listens right away J

Joseph Michael Wilkerson
Nickname- Josey (me) Joey (everyone else)
I always wanted a son named Michael.  Always.  BUT, in Aaron’s family, there is already a Michael Wilkerson and he felt that was a good enough reason to reject the name.  So sad. However, Aaron really liked the name Joseph.  Here’s the thing, I loved the saint, but I am not a fan of the name ‘Joe’ (sorry Joes).  And one thing I have always said is I am not going to name my kid something and then spend his whole life correcting people who want to nickname him.  If you name a kid a name like Joseph, you’ve got to expect people are going to call him Joe.  And I just couldn’t deal with that.  Until St. Joseph’s feast day.  I can’t really explain it, but after being totally opposed to the name, on St. Joseph’s feast day, I knew with certainty that should be my son’s name.  And as quickly as that, it was done.  Joseph Michael (I got it as a middle name after agreeing to Joseph) has possibly the most fantastic saints interceding for him. I love when we reach St. Joseph’s feast day and I look at my son. I love that so many Churches have statues of St. Joseph and we are able to discuss the importance of him (st. Joseph) interceding for my Joey through his whole life.  I LOVE my Joseph’s name.

Nickname- You guys won’t believe this.  I call him Josey.  As in Josey-Grossy. As in Josey-Grossy from the movie "Never Been Kissed". I am not sure how it happened, but Josey is his nickname from me.  Everyone else calls him Joey, which is the cutest little boy name ever. 
I LOVE Joseph’s name.

John Paul FrancisNickname- Giovanni, Gio, YouGseemo (me)
Pope John Paul II was a significant person in my life. I remember sobbing in Rome after his World Youth Day address, truly understanding that hope can be tangible. I remember him smiling and dancing on several occasions when I was blessed to see him.  His passion for youth shaped the way I view teenagers.  The way he loved, shapes the way I love.  When he died, my heart was broken. I was working at the time, and in the cafeteria.  A teen (who incidentally, I REALLY struggled to see Christ in) told me.  I went to the back of our building and just cried and cried.  I really mourned him.  Which was funny, how do you mourn someone you don’t know?  But, I did know him.  Anyway, when I was pregnant with our 3rd, it was announced that John Paul would be made a saint.  And I knew my child would carry his name.
The problem?  Everyone and their sister’s brother who is Catholic has a John Paul, so Aaron was VERY opposed to naming our kid John Paul. As much as I tried with our two sons before, I was told again and again it was never going to happen.  But John Paul’s pregnancy was tough on me. With two babies at home, being sick every day, gestational diabetes, potential genetic issues, iron infusions for anemia and non-stress tests weekly…by the end I had HAD it.  After a particularly terrible appointment, I made a decision and used a card I had never used until then and will never use again.  I called Aaron and said, ‘Here’s the thing, I’m the one who has to go through all this, I’m the one trying to work in four doctor’s appointments a week with babies at home, I’m the one in constant pain…and my prize is that I am naming this kid, and his name will be John Paul’. I am sure there was more negotiation after that point, but in my head we knew it would be his name. 

In the meantime all this hoopla began with my new best friend, Pope Francis. He truly and really did ‘have me at hello’.  We went through so many middle names, but none of them sounded right. I wanted to make sure to give him a middle name, so people would know his first name was John Paul.  The only thing that sounded right, that made sense was ‘Francis’ for a middle name.
And that is how we got the most righteously Catholic kid’s name ever.  It’s fun to share in talks with very Catholic crowds, because, like, for real…we named our kid John Paul Francis.

Nickname- At World Youth Days, as a teen, the crowd would always chant the Holy Father’s name saying, ‘Giovanni Paulo’.  When we got home from the hospital, that’s what I started calling him. But then I shortened It to ‘Gio’ and then ‘YouGSeeMo’ *????*. I call him variations of all three, so does lil’ Aaron which is adorable.

Those are my kid’s names- cool huh?  Link up with Team Whitaker if you are feelin’ crazy and want to share your kid’s names as well J

 Today, I am continuing to link up with 7 in 7 at Conversion Diary- 7 posts in 7 days!

Wednesday, February 26, 2014

Sometimes, I delight in hell...

Sometimes I am glad there’s a hell.

Isn’t that awful? But it’s true. I understand we have a God of justice, who will not force people to live in heaven with Him if they don’t want to.  But, that’s not why I am glad there’s a hell.

Sometimes I am glad there is a hell because I know that bad people will go there.  When awful things happen, and people seem to be sheer evil, I am so thankful there is a hell they will be doomed to live out eternity in. I actually take comfort in this. And it’s not okay.

I was talking to someone yesterday and ended up sharing this.  Hell brings me great comfort when I don’t know what to do with people who I perceive to be truly evil. In particular, people who hurt children.  And even more specifically, people who hurt children and are never caught people who get away with it. The comfort it brings me is a problem, I said, because I know it isn't right. And I know we have a God who longs desperately for every single one of us.  So, delighting in hell really isn't an option. 

The person I was talking to said, “But we know we know Jesus got angry too, and I think he’d understand why we are so disgusted by some people, people who hurt children”.

And then the Holy Spirit slammed me. 
“Yes, but we know that almost always those who hurt children, were hurt as children, hurt people hurt people”. 

And for some reason it all clicked.

The reason our God is so good is because He knows us.  He has an intimate knowledge of every joy and every hurt.  He has engaged in the movie of our lives. He is passionately in love with each one of us, and when we are hurt and act out because of hurt, He understands.  He doesn't excuse, but he understands in a profound way you and I never could. 

Yes, our God is a God of Justice and his Justice is important, but his mercy flows so freely because, I think, He truly understands the story of our lives. He also gives us the tremendous gift of the Sacrament of Reconciliation, not only so we can reconcile ourselves, but because there is a communal aspect to sin.  Hurt people, hurt people.

Because I am fly like that, I was watching a documentary on Eminem the other night (thanks Netflix).  It was fascinating watching the generational abuse/neglect and pain in his family.  It made me think of this lyric from his song, “Rap God”

They’re asking me to eliminate some of the hate
But if you take into consideration the bitter hatred I had
Then you may be a little patient and more sympathetic to the situation
And understand the discrimination

That lyric made me feel a little sad for Marshall Mathers, for his lived experience and for the pain he was subjected to as a young child.  But it also again helped me connect the dots. 

Jesus' Divine Mercy of Blood and Grace
I guess what I am trying to say, is that when we strive to see with the eyes of God, we have much more mercy and compassion for people.  Even people who do truly awful things.  Even people who seem beyond forgiveness.  It’s easier, when looking through God’s eyes, to know that people are GOOD, even those that partake in truly evil things. 

 I think I’m going to pray with that more, because it will help me understand God’s love for me and the mercy he extends.  And hopefully, it will help me be a more loving and merciful person.

Tuesday, February 25, 2014

Perhaps the most important thing...

...we can do for our children is pray for their future friends.

We’re still sick around these parts. Isn’t that annoying?  And, as typical in life, this winter has been the worst with sickness, right after I was done braggin’ about us barely getting sick.  This week, we are rocking some head colds, last week, we had the flu L  

The flu was terrible…which made Saturday night all the more awesome.

You see, I was suppose to go with a group of girlfriends on Friday night (remember?) but I was a bit too sick to rally and make it out.  Which led us to a Saturday night reschedule. Not everyone could make it, but it was absolutely delightful.  First, two friends and I went out for dinner, then we hit up a bar for some adult beverages.  We had great conversations, and plenty of laughs.  It was a really good time.  After, we got home and hung out for just a little while with one of our favorite couples to hang out with.  We laughed. A lot. And shared stories. And it just felt nice to be with some grown ups.

It’s hard, with the children, to make time to be social.  To be really honest, most of the time I get overwhelmed by social plans.  When I say I cancel 75% of the plans I make, I am not exaggerating (some of you can even verify).  We just have way too many unknown factors to make plans in advance, it’s been so bad with this winter of sickness/freezing temperatures/snow storms etc… that I have actually considered no longer making plans with people. 
 “I’m sorry, I don’t schedule things, because chances are, I will cancel whatever we schedule and it has the potential to make you mad…so- how about we just wait a few years”. I kid, I kid (kind of, not really).  But I digress..

The thing is, on Saturday I was reminded once again, about the value of good friends. I have had really good friends in my life.  I have had really bad friends in my life.  People who have inspired my faith and people who have helped lead me away from God.  I, like most, can think of a handful of friends who, if it wasn't for them, I wouldn't be the person I am today.  If it wasn't for them, I wouldn't know Jesus as I do.  If it wasn't for them, the good things about me, the things that I love, might not be there. 
I continue to be aware of the power of friendships in my life.  

If you have ever heard me speak, you know a theme I often come back to is the role of community in our faith.  Jesus/the Church made it very clear…it is through each other that we come to know him.  Perhaps that is why the Catechism calls community our very deepest vocation. 

The call in our life that has the most depth, is our call to be with one another.  To walk, hopefully beside each other on a pilgrimage towards eternity.
As I grow older, I reflect more and more on the friendships that edify (big word, pretty sure I am using it right…Bern?), challenge me to grow, and most of all, show me Christ.  Those are the ones I hold on to, those are the ones that I must make time for. 
But, more than that, I had this thought…

I pray for my kids all the time. I pray they get to heaven. I pray for their future vocation. I pray they are protected and know Jesus.  But do you know, I have never prayed that the Lord graces them with good friends along the way.  

And when I say along the way, I really mean it. 

Friends now, when they are learning to be friends.  
Friends in elementary school who help their imagination grow and help to protect their innocence rather than destroy it.  
Friends in middle school, when hormones begin to rage and often times young people begin to experience loneliness. 
Friends in high school, who allow them to get into just enough trouble to learn, but not enough to put their souls or lives at risk.  
Friends post high school, who teach them through action how to make their faith real, as mine did while I was in college. 
Friends they can go to Mass with, call to hit up the Sacrament of Reconciliation with, friends they want to pray with.  

For my children, I hope they have friends they can talk to about the big things in life and I hope they know the people who have the ability to harm them, and proceed with caution. I also pray they are good friends.  I pray they are there for their companions, when the going gets tough. I pray they have friends who make them laugh so hard their stomachs hurt. I pray they have friends who go on adventures with them, to the park across the street, road trips across the US of A, or trips across the big pond to discover the world. 

I had never thought of praying for my kid’s future friends before, but now, I will try to do it on a regular basis. 

“Friendship is born at that moment when one man says to another: "What! You too? I thought that no one but myself . . ."”- C.S. Lewis, The Four Loves

Did you like this post?  Wanna read another awesome one?  Check out my friend Erin's thoughts on girlfriends at And the 2 became 1

This is post #2 of a 7 day challenge to post 7 in 7 hosted by Jen at Conversion Diary...head on over there to check out other bloggers :)

Monday, February 24, 2014

7 blog posts in 7 days...Day 1.

Well, I have decided to do something crazy and link up with Jen at Conversion Diary.  The goal is simple...write seven posts in seven days.  And, I'm excited to take on the challenge!  If you get sick of reading me each day, fear not...no one is making you click on the link (ohhh...snap, someone's feeling a bit sassy this morning!).

Today, I want to tell you about something that has been rumbling around in my head since last night. Yesterday, I had the joy of presenting my social media talk at St. Mary's Student Parish in Ann Arbor.  Because the presentation backed right up against the 5:00 pm Mass time, I decided to attend.  OM lowercase g my friends, the priest, Father Ben (I think) gave a fantastic homily. I'm gonna tell you a little about it. Then, I'm gonna go all  Church nerd on you, and then I am going to speculate why a lot of people might hate Catholics. Ready?

During the homily, Father Ben was talking about rules and how they are made for the community.  He compared it to driving and how if we choose to break the 'rules' it might seem okay for us, but it creates danger for others.  He said rules are important.  But that wasn't the part that left me thinkin'.  The part that left me thinking was a quote he shared from the then Cardinal Jorge Mario Bergolio. Of course, I can't find the quote, but the gist of it was this...The Church (Bishops in their teaching authority) tell you WHAT to believe, but the people show you HOW to believe it.   Cardinal Jorge went on to talk about the Blessed Mother, the Church provides us with dogmas and doctrine on her...but the people show you how to love her.  And then, I got to pondering...how are we showing people what we believe?

Witness is essential in our faith, we know this.  I'm about go all Church nerd on you...but one of the most significant line from any Church document to me personally is from Evangelli Nuntiandi...it says
 'Modern man listens more willingly to witnesses than teachers, and if he does listen to teachers, it is only because they are witnesses".  
My question is, how's that working for us?

When people see us, do they see people of joy?  When people look at our families, do they see the warmth and love lived out as it should be?  When people see our relationship with Christ, do they see it as personal and profound, or stale and rigorous? ( I took a risk using a big word there, you can let me know if it worked out).

You see friends I can tell you pretty quickly what the Church teaches and WHY She teaches it. I'm kind of good at that part.  But, that's the easy part.  The part I'm not so good at?  Living it with the fullness that I am called to.  Living it in a way that attracts others.
The 'HOW'.
The part is so essential, I often drop the ball with, and I am guessing I am not the only one.
This morning I woke up and saw this meme shared on many of my facebook friend's walls...
You know, I have always read this quote and thought, 'yeah, people should really learn what we actually teach'.  Or 'yeah, the media's narrative of the Catholic faith is so far from the truth'.  And  that might have some truth to it.  But, this morning I read it a bit differently.  This morning, I wondered if maybe we, through our witness, provide an awful example of our faith and that leads people to mistaken what we are about. This morning, I thought more about HOW I'm living it and the consequences that follow.

So my friends- I'm gonna try harder. I am going to try harder to be joyful. I am going to try harder to be less judgmental of people (ugh, I hate that part!). I am going to try harder to LISTEN rather than always speak. I am going to work to be a bridge builder, to invite others through openness to the love and freedom that Christ wants to offer.

And I think if we all did that- if we all stopped shaking our fists at others and instead looked inward, life will be a bit better. Don't believe me?  Just look at this guy named Pope Francis (or Cardinal Jorge) and the impact he is having.  I think maybe he's showing us all HOW to do it.

Thank God our Church is made for people who are works in progress, otherwise I'd be screwed!

See you tomorrow :)

Friday, February 21, 2014

7 Quick Takes

--- 1 ---
So, fellow bloggers, do you ever have things you want to blog about, but you can't, because you know it would get you in trouble with friends/family?  Or, better yet, do you ever think to yourself, 'um, I can't believe that blogger just wrote that about his/her family member...he/she knows they can see this right?'. Yeah, me too.
--- 2 ---
So, I always think it's funny when my status as a mixed family gets me street cred with my progressive friends. I suppose it is human nature, but it is like, so racist.  
--- 3 ---
This week has been not as awesome as others.  The van got broke and Big A got a ticket in a totally unjust situation, it's five days later and I am still bitter- don't worry, I am trying to let it go.  The flu also circled through our family beginning on Monday and hopefully ending this morning.  I was SO SICK yesterday, and in so much pain.  Thank goodness I feel better this morning, here's hoping I continue to feel well. Tonight is 'girl's night' and man, do I need to have some adult beverages to celebrate Friday. Also, as a side-note, it is AMAZING what a 2.5 year old is capable taking care of while mom is laid out on the couch.  Lil' A was a rockstar yesterday.  
--- 4 ---
My SIL wrote her 7 Quick Takes last week on how she/my brother raise and discipline their kids.  Their kids are like weirdly awesome, so it was fascinating reading.  One of her points was about social/media/gadgets and how they do not allow their kids to use them.  I know a lot of people in the Catholic world/blogging world feel very similar.  While acknowledging that it definitely works for them, I have very different views on it. I am excited to blog about it next week :) SPOILER ALERT- my 2.5 year old kid is sitting next to me right now with his, 'ipad time', whilst I type this!  
--- 5 ---
So, I am into theme'd projects this week. On Wednesday, with my sickos, we made caterpillars, then read 'The Very Hungry Caterpillar", then made butterflies and then watched a netflix recording of the book.  Awesome.  And then, yesterday, when I was so sick, we made fish out of construction paper and watched 'Little Nemo'.  You see, the tiny projects justify the screen time! :)
John Paul was captivated by our butterflies 
nemo shaped apple slices- I know right?!?!
Our fish, that we put on sticks, so we could take them 'swimming' SHUT YOUR MOUTH!
Little Nemo Grilled Cheese Sandwiches for lunch.  As they say, 'Boom, drop the mic'
--- 6 ---
There's this guy named Bryan who I went to college with.  We weren't necessarily 'friends' in college, more like smoking acquaintances.  Anyway, we connect from time to time on social media and share thoughts.  I really wished we lived near each other so we could have a drink or a coffee and solve the world's problems. I think we'd be besties.  It makes me feel thankful for the connections we can make through social media.
--- 7 ---
Sometimes, I want to write my quick takes about my bravo-lebrities....but then, I realize the vast majority of you will have no idea what I am talking about, therefore you will be bored.  OR, if you DO know what I am talking about, you will throw large (deserved) stones at my head.  So, I will make this brief.  I am glad Bethenny's Show was canceled, because I am still not over her leaving Jason. 
Whew, I am glad I got that off my chest. 
Happy Friday!  

For more Quick Takes, visit Conversion Diary!

Wednesday, February 19, 2014

Here's the thing...

Here's the thing.
I am a REALLY selfish person (most of you know that).  Wanna know how bad it is? The ol' husband is home sick today.  AND, the kids have had the flu/low fevers the past couple of days.  So, I know it's just a matter of time before I get sick.  But you know what drives me crazy? When I'm sick...no one's there to take care of me, and I have to still take care of the three boys. WWWAAAAAAAAA.  Here's why I'm selfish though, it actually effects the way I care for my husband, because I do it with a twinge of resentment.  AND, I recognize that as a really bad thing.  But YOU GUYS, I just find it so very difficult to not be selfish.
Work in progress.

Here's the thing.
I really like expectations and consequences for not fulfilling them.  A LOT.  I think a great many things in today's culture could be handled if people were raised with expectations and consequences.  But man, it's so much easier with my kids to give expectations, but not consequences.
Work in progress

Here's the thing.
I get REAL upset over certain things. A young adult from my old youth program was just intentionally given Margaret Sanger for a project in her woman's studies class.  The professor said the following...
You are playing Margaret Higgins Sanger, a nurse and supporter of progressive causes who was a tireless activist for women’s control of their own fertility and eventually founded an organization that became Planned Parenthood. I’m attaching your role sheet and some of the primary documents that are important for your character. Read through it carefully and start thinking about how to make this person a part of you."
The professor assigned this role-playing character to the young adult because the student is pro-life, which clearly makes her anti-woman.  I got so worked up, that I couldn't sleep.  I typically fly off the handle with things like this, and immediately started thinking about how this student could refuse the assignment and contact the St. Thomas Moore Law Group and get them involved. I tend to get a wee passionate about things like this.
Work in Progress.

Here's the thing.
THIS ARTICLE by Matt Walsh regarding the dishonest narrative told by Gay Rights Activists has been on my mind all week. I'd like to hear your thoughts (respectfully, of course). Particularly those that might not share my world view of sexuality.  Because, although I don't like Mr. Walsh's tone, I was blown away by the article.  Particularly the Matthew Shepard part.  Blown away.  And I have a hard time discerning truth in the 'cultural wars' because, I am...you guessed it!
A work in progress

And finally, here's thing thing.
My sister, Theresa, said she wants to write a book titled, 'How to Get People to Heaven Without Being an A## hole'. I would buy that book and I would benefit from reading it. BUT, I can point out a LOT of people who should buy that book that I KNOW would benefit from reading it ;)  That is all.
Work in progress

Friday, February 14, 2014

7 Quick Takes. Too many words, too little pictures.

--- 1 ---
So, my good buddy Michael VW suggested that maybe my number 1 on LAST WEEK’S SEVEN QUICK TAKES was lame.  But here’s the thing. I meant the takes to be a lot sassier than they ended up being BECAUSE Pope Francis told me that I have to be charitable when posting, so I am working on it.  Anyway, Michael, I hope this take is better.
--- 2 ---
My friend SHAUNA posted an article this week about things you swore you wouldn’t do as a parent, that you now do (or something like that) or things you said pre-kids that are now ridiculous.  Well, I could do my own post on that.   I used to get so mad when I would watch little kids give their parents sass, and the parents would laugh. I thought it was just the most inconsistent thing in the world, and really bad for raising well-behaved children.  Now, here’s the thing.  I still think it is a really bad thing to do, and toddler sass should be met with sternness and re-direction.  BUT, I am now realizing how freaking hard it is not to bust up laughing on the spot.  When lil’ A get’s mad, he will do the craziest things. He will say, ‘I’m MAD OKAY? OKAAAY?’ really loud.  It’s HIGH-larious.  Then, he will sometimes  roll his eyes, but he doesn’t know how to roll his eyes, so he just kind of squints.  It is so hard not to bust up laughing on the spot.
--- 3 ---
I haven’t written about my fancy gym in awhile, so I am going to.  It has been SO cold and SO snowy, it’s been really hard to get to the gym. If it’s under 10 degrees, I feel weird about taking the kids out, so I was just going to the gym myself a few weeks back.  But, the gym is really expensive, so I felt weird about spending that kind of money and not even using the daycare.  Then, the last couple of weeks, it's been a fiasco it is to leave the house. It takes so long by the time the kids get in their winter gear, three trips to the car (big boys, baby, stuff) all while fitting in this trip between naps and feedings. I was quite discouraged.  BUT, this week I was determined to go each day I was able!  And, this week, you guys, was awesome. As per usual, it was a total fiasco to get there. TOTAL FIASCO.  But, when I dropped off the boys, I decided to switch it up and swim instead of hitting up the cardio machines.  I swam.  But then after, I went and sat in the hot tub- I actually took the time to pray in total silence! It was fantastic.  Wait! It gets better- then I went into the steam room and relaxed for a few minutes and then ladies and gentleman…I got to take a shower, complete with blow drying my hair.  And there was no rush to quickly shower so the kids won’t kill each other.  And there was no having to be super quiet so as to not wake the kids up from nap. Nope, a nice long shower and blow dry after.  Turns out, it’s totally worth the fiasco to get there.
--- 4 ---
Yesterday morning, I heard a thud. I knew just what it was.  Joey climbed right out of the crib and tumbled to the floor.  It’s funny, lil’ A never even attempted to get out of his crib.  I’m trying to decide how this is going to affect our breakdown of bedrooms. Think we might be switching things up this weekend (did you hear that dear?).
--- 5 ---
Let me tell you about my Monday.  The afternoon was CRAZINESS.  I had a meeting set up with an auxiliary Bishop here in the AoD with my ministry partner Mike (we are trying to discern which way God might be calling us).  Anyway- so afternoon hits and I am changing dirty diaper after dirty diaper.  The sitter came, I ran out of the house (already running a bit late).  Of course, there was an accident on one of the expressways.  THEN, to make matter worse, the location I chose for the meeting didn't exist (true story)- and I was 12 minutes late.   Thankfully, he is a pretty gracious Bishop, but my goodness- sometimes my life is surreal.
--- 6 ---
Life news has been bumming me out lately.  In Belgium, kids can now decide legally that life isn't worth it (as long as they are suffering and death seems inevitable). In Texas a man sued for the right to kill his unborn child growing within the womb of his brain dead wife.  I try not to get all, ‘holy geez, things are terrible in the world’…but this week, it all just seems so bleak.  It seems like we are living in the 'Twilight Zone' or a science fiction movie, but we are not. It’s our reality.  Thank God we are called to be people of joy and people of hope, otherwise I might just choose to be the opposite.
--- 7 ---
Happy St. Valentine's Day!  What are you doing with your beloved tonight?  I am working tonight, presenting very far away at a 'couples dinner'. In theory, our spouses were suppose to come with us, but theory failed- so Mike and I are heading out solo.  I'll celebrate with Aaron tomorrow. I have a really neat surprise for him, cause I rock.  But I can't tell you about it, or it won't be a surprise.  
Don't get scared accountability partners!  This week, I actually turned down a talk because it would break my quota of five talks a month :)   SO, balance is slowly being achieved.  

For more Quick Takes, visit Conversion Diary!

Wednesday, February 12, 2014

Five Favorites

Today, I am linking up with Hallie at MoxieWife to discuss my five favorites of this week :)

Big Boy Beds. I love that lil' A is in a big boy bed.  Why? Because each night, after he calms down and watches a show, I crawl into bed with him. I ask him his favorite part of the day, and his least favorite part of the day.  And then, I tell him that I love being his mom.  Snuggling is the best.  

The Walking Dead.
It's back. And I am re-watching from the beginning.
'nough said

Joey's smile.
I know you guys get sick of me saying it. But his smile lights up my soul, really and truly.  There's nothing quite like it.

John Paul's Laugh
He laughs. so.much. 

Finished basements. 

We are almost there.  I cannot wait!

Have a Happy Wednesday.

Tuesday, February 11, 2014

This is a grumpy post...

I was going to comment on THIS ARTICLE, or write a 'letter to the editor'.  BUT, I decided to take my rage to my blog (fancy eh?).  Now check it, there is a good chance I may say a thing or two that might sit uncomfortably with you, the reader.  So, if you are easily offended...skip this one and come back for quick takes.

Here's the scoop.  There's a teen night club in Canton (my home town and where I worked).  The club is awful, and irresponsible and should disgust every adult.  I actually agreed with much of the article, even wrote some of the same things on my fancy facebook wall.  BUT then, I read the following two paragraphs and lemme tell you, it actually took my breath away.

"Why do they even need these “professional security” people anyway? This is Canton Township for gosh sakes? I've never met a kid in Canton that I was even remotely afraid of. There isn't much crime to speak of in Canton, most certainly not violent crime.
These are not all Canton kids. Or Plymouth kids. Not even close. I have been told that the majority of the kids that come to this place are from other areas. From Ypsilanti, Belleville, Ann Arbor, and Detroit. I understand that I am entering a sensitive area here, but the story needs to be told, and I am told that upwards of 70% of the kids that attend these Hip Hop dance parties are from communities that have a much higher crime rate. There is no other nice way to put it. If it wasn't so, why the need for all the bouncers?"

This article (blog) was written in the Plymouth-Canton Patch.  And the author, editors and anyone associated with the Patch should be ashamed.

The author has never met a Canton kid who he was remotely afraid of? Lemme tell you, I was a Canton kid, and I worked with Canton kids for 10 years...and I have met PLENTY of Canton Kids I have been afraid of.

The author is concerned, 'the majority of kids that come to this place are from other areas'!!!  You know, SCARY places, like Ypsilanti, Belleville, Ann Arbor and, thank God he had the guts to say it... DETROIT!  Can you imagine, these scary kids, from other cities, creeping on such a sacred city as Canton, Michigan?  The SHOCK! the HORROR!

Then, THEN, he has the audacity to say, '70 % of the kids that attend these hip hop dance parities are from communities that have a much higher crime rate'.  And right there, without a doubt, I was clear on what he meant.

Where the hizz would he get a number like 70%?  The reality is, he couldn't possibly know that.  Not looking too far beneath the lines, it's obvious what he meant was 'kids that are poorer than our well to do, well behaved, CANTON kids'.   And I don't think it's too far of a stretch to say, what he meant was black kids.

If you know me, you know that I try very very hard not to cry, 'racism'.  I think it's a term that is used far too often to describe things that might have nothing to do with race.  However, it's hard not to throw out that word right now.

You know, I am blessed to be married to a pretty exceptional guy, who makes a really good living.  When we were getting married, our options were wide open as to where we would live.  Where we would raise our family.  And one thing I said, with certainty, is that I did not want to raise our little mixed family in the Plymouth/Canton Community.  My reasons were intentional and specific.  My reasons were once again affirmed in this article, the editors who allowed it, and the people who commented with statements of support.

We chose Redford for very intentional and specific reasons as well. And some of those reasons, as time went on, I realize were 'idealistic'.  Now that we live here, I do worry about the school system. I do worry about my kids being exposed to a 'rougher' (for lack of better word) crowd. I worry about the friends they will choose, and the things they might be exposed to.    But here's the thing, all of those concerns didn't measure up against my concerns with raising our children in communities like Plymouth/Canton.

As I read the article, I realized the author, Mr. Bryan Bentley was referring to MY KIDS.  Mr. Bentley wouldn't want my kids, 1/2 black 1/2 white, creeping up on his safe and protected Canton, Michigan.  Mr. Bentley wouldn't want kids from 'other areas', with higher crime rates to infect the good/sweet children of Canton, Michigan.  And Mr. Bentley should be ashamed of himself.  He didn't say the club attracts thugs (which it does- from EVERY city), he didn't say we have to help kids make good decisions, what he said was kids like MY KIDS should stay away.

And, I gotta say, in 2014- I am disgusted that Mr. Bentley feels that way.

I realize the majority of people who might read this blog are from Plymouth/Canton. I was raised there, I don't hate the cities and I get why people live there.  So, you needn't blow up comments defending those cities or telling me why they are great.


Friday, February 7, 2014

7 Quick Takes- less sassy than I thought it'd be. :)

--- 1 ---
okay. buckle up, or stop reading...this is your warning.
--- 2 ---
So you know how sometimes in the blogging world, you will run into the occasional post talking about how having 'two kids is easier than one'.  OR, 'the hardest thing I ever did was parent my first child'.  I read those posts when I had just one, and, honestly, they brought me a lot of comfort.  BUT, now that I have three...MAY.I.JUST.SAY. having one was a freaking piece of freaking cake and I don't understand why I thought differently. Having three, four, five, six...that's when sh-- gets real.
--- 3 ---
Also, btw...Downton Abby.  People are all like, 'I don't like what they are doing with my sweet Downton Abby this season'.  And I don't get it.  Well, I kind of do. I am sure people use the show as some kind of escape, so watching a story line that has to do with sexual violence is probably a bit disconcerting...but for me, it gives me a deeper compassion for women who have been abused in any way.  I think they are playing it out in a classy way- and I appreciate the way they are handling the story. I think everyone else should too. So if you don't, please start okay??>
--- 4 ---
And since I am ornery. the cheerio commercial.  I liked MATT WALSH's Take.  I don't think people were really offended by the commercial. I think a very small amount (like, a handful) of unintelligent people troll places like youtube to write awful things.  Don't get me wrong, reading the awful things really sucks when you are a person who they are being awful to.  But, I just don't think it's as big of a deal as people think it is.  A friend sent me this video yesterday. I think the way the kids reacted is the way most people felt about the commercial (and the Pepsi one for that matter).  Aaron and I have been together for almost five years.  In that time, we have experienced weirdness because of our 'interracial status' maybe twice.  We both feel much more negativity from our status as Catholics than we do from our status as a mixed couple.  I've said it before and I'll say it again, our children will identify (hopefully) first as people of faith...that kind of blurs the color lines.  Oh, but when it is time to talk to our kids about race?  We will be playing them THIS SONG (WARNING- It uses a bad word :(  The worst bad word too.  AND, I always mute it, but I can't mute it on here, so you can must it at exactly 1:37-1:40 minutes).

--- 5 ---
I don't iron. ever. I do not think I have ever ironed one piece of clothing since I have been married. I wash/dry and hang up immediately. I have always thought that's okay. BUT, what if people think, 'geez, their clothes are never ironed'.  I don't think about the fact that I don't iron until someone mentions they iron...then, I feel weird.
--- 6 ---
I punched myself in the face this morning. It hurt. I didn't even know you could punch yourself in the face, but you can.  and I did.
--- 7 ---
BOLD MINISTRIES  has been keeping us busy.  I love it!  BUT, I REALLY need to get better at accepting 4 things MAX per month.  Hey, make sure to keep me accountable to that okay?  I remember when I first started in Youth Ministry, I had a parent who would always check with me to make sure I was taking my day off once a week (thanks Vicki). I credit her in a lot of ways for the fact that I was able to stay in Youth Ministry at a parish for close to 10 years (that is a LOOOONG time in parish life).  Breaks and Balance are important, especially for this complicated extrovert.  

Oh, and since this is about to link you to Jen at Conversion Diary, I must add...my heart is broken that I can't attend the fancy Catholic Women Blogger's Conference.  Because of that, would EVERYONE be so kind as to not mention it from here on in?  That way I do not have to deal with jealousy.  Good? Okay!

For more Quick Takes, visit Conversion Diary!