Entering Holy Week

I was all geared up to attend the Easter Vigil Mass this coming Saturday.

Then my pastor last night mentioned that there would be forty baptisms.

WOW!

But, no thanks.  I just don’t have the energy for that this year.

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Last night, I took the 5 youngest kids {five youngest kids: that phrase makes me laugh at the me of 10 years ago who could barely handle 3 little children}…I took the 5 youngest children to the 4 pm vigil Mass.  We arrived about a minute before show time, later than I hoped, and the church was pretty full.  I pushed my way toward the front, even though it would mean we would not have an aisle seat, a risky move when one has an infant.

Side note: why, oh why, does everybody come in and sit on the aisle?  I guess it’s ok if the church isn’t typically full.  But our Masses are all very full.  If you sit on the aisle, people will have to ask you to move, either to the middle or out of their way as they climb over you.  I usually sit in the middle when entering an empty pew.  Unless I have George.  Or unless I’m with my entire family.  We take up the whole row.

I ended up squeezing 6 of us into 4 seats – our church has individual chairs because we are saving to build a real church.  Fortunately, the seats are connected, and George doesn’t need a seat, so it was crowded, but fine.  We were in the middle of elderly couples, all of whom had secured the aisle seats.  I felt a chill in the air, as though I were an interloper sitting in reserved seats.  It was bad enough that I had sat among them, but I had children, too.  Horrors.

Fortunately, God was smiling on me and George fell asleep without much ado.  He stayed sleeping even through being buckled into his seat and driving home.  After Mass, one smiling woman felt moved to tell me how wonderfully my family had behaved.  I hope the other couples felt the same way.  It’d be nice to think we’re spreading a bit of joy to others.

Note to self: do not be a grumpy old person.

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Speaking of spreading joy, I was at stations of the cross two Friday evenings ago, and had to relocate to the rear of the church with a fussy baby.  A woman entered a bit late and sat right next to me as I was nursing him, even though there were plenty of empty seats a bit farther on.  Later I realized she was waiting for someone.  After George was done, I allowed him to crawl around as we alternated between standing and kneeling.  At one point, while kneeling, George crawled over to her, climbed up on her and allowed her to hold him while he smiled and laughed.  It is not at all like him to be that way with strangers, but I think he was fascinated by her glasses which were so much like mine.  It was only for a minute or two, but I could tell she was absolutely delighted.  She seemed about ten years older than I, so likely there are few infants in her daily life.  I was happy to share mine with her, even briefly.

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Since the new year, I’ve been participating in The Year of Faith 90-Day Bible Reading Challenge which takes you through 14 narrative books of the Bible: Genesis, Exodus, Numbers, Joshua, Judges, 1 Samuel, 2 Samuel, 1 Kings, 2 Kings, Ezra, Nehemiah, 1 Maccabees, Luke, and Acts.  I had already read all but Ezra, Nehemiah and 1 Maccabees, but I had not read them straight through in such a condensed time period.  Most days, there were 4 or 5 chapters to read, which took about 15 minutes, sometimes a bit more.  It’s been great.  One new year’s resolution this year was for me to read the whole Bible.  13 down, 60 books to go.

I’ve been using the USCCB’s online Bible for my reading.  (This was fine until my kindle died.)  I have also been reading over the footnotes, which I find very helpful.  I don’t go to all the cross references, but the remarks on the historical/social aspects of the various stories help put things in context.  For example, the many times that Luke portrays Christ’s treatment of women or non-Jews with respect outside the norm is highlighted and is something that a modern reader like myself might not notice – so what? that Martha’s sister Mary sat at His feet, except that was a big deal, apparently.  Also, noted was that big portions of 1 Maccabees are given to lauding the Romans who offered protection to the small kingdom of Judah in that 1st century BC, but since it was the Romans who destroyed the Temple and sought to obliterate Judaism as well in the 1st century AD, the Jews of that era struck Maccabees from their scriptures.

Politics.

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And a great quote for the beginning of Holy Week, especially if you’ve been thinking you did a great job with your Lenten resoutions:

So should it be with you.  When you have done all you have been commanded, say, “We are unprofitable servants; we have done what we are obliged to do.”  Luke 17:10

As my husband always says: nobody gets an award for just doing his job.  Keeping the commandments, loving our neighbor, imitating Christ.  It’s our job.

*******

Have a fruitful, blessed and fulfilling Holy Week.

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Servant-Mother Song

(with apologies to Donna Marie McGargill)


What do you want of me, George? How do you want me to serve you?  How can I stop your crying?  I am your mom.
Georgie, Georgie, you are so sad.  Georgie, Georgie, you need a nap.
I hear you call out for me, George, and I am moved within me.  Your crying stirs my deepest self.  Rest your head on me.
Georgie, Georgie, you are so sad.  Georgie, Georgie, you need a nap.
I nurse you on my left side.  You arch your back, and you wail.  I switch you to the right side.  Please settle down.
Georgie, Georgie, it is so late.  Georgie, Georgie, you need a nap.
I know you need a quiet house, you want some peace when you’re weary.  But you are one of seven kids, learn to sleep with din.
Georgie, Georgie, you are so sad.  Georgie, Georgie, you need a nap.

Public Health Enemy Number One: Babies

I don’t know why I bother to read the news anymore.  Can’t spend 5 minutes online without getting angry.

Bill Gates Worried About Deadlock of Government

Bill Gates is upset because all this arguing over the budget may mean less aid to other countries.  His foundation works alongside the government in helping others.  He’s hoping that extremists in our government move to a more centrist position (apparently “centrist” means “likes to give money away”).  blah blah blah.  I should have stopped reading there.  But, no, I went on.

We need to spend money on “public health,” he believes.  I’m all for that.  Let’s get rid of polio, shall we?  Let’s fix cleft palates and club feet and give these kids more productive lives.  Let’s train midwives in safe and hygienic childbirth procedures.  Better health means less premature death and longer lives, right?

I’m not so sure that’s what Bill Gates means by “public health.”  Let’s look at this quote:

The Microsoft co-founder also views public health spending as necessary for the nation’s security, making it in his opinion a particularly valuable category in terms of federal spending.

“By saving those lives you avoid the kind of population growth and instability that lead to huge national security issues. You know, countries like Nigeria, Yemen — if we let them triple in population because we don’t help out with their health issues, we’re going to have huge costs and instability,” he said.

If we “let them” triple in population?  We have people in this country who think that the U.S. has no right to tell another country that they can’t have nuclear weapons.  We have people in this country who think it is none of our business if another country imposes a death penalty on people who practice something other than the state religion.  We have people in this country who think it’s a violation of national sovereignty to tell another country that imprisoning their citizens for criticizing their government is wrong.  We can’t give arms to rebel troops, we can’t try to influence elections, we can’t import our pop culture, and we certainly can not try to market Christianity as an alternative to radical Islam.

But we will help with their “public health” by making sure that their fertility rates drop.  Let’s not deal with the political or social instability that causes tension and may lead to violent youth.  Let’s ignore the misogynist religion and culture that prevents women from receiving an education or from living independent lives.  We’ll just encourage them to sneak off to the clinic every now and then for birth control or an abortion.

All we really need to do is import fast food, video games and rock and roll. In twenty years, they’ll all be fat and happy and childless.

He fought a tree and the tree won

I mentioned a desperate need to lower the baby’s crib mattress.

We did manage to get that done the very next day.

He wasn’t very happy about it.

And the following weekend, this happened to Billy:

When I picked him up from camping and saw his face, I asked, “What happened to your nose?!?”  The Scoutmaster was right there to give me some details and assure me that my son had been well cared for.

Bill was out of town, and I felt it necessary to email him the picture.  Billy was concerned, saying he didn’t want his dad to “freak out.”  I asked if he thought I had “freaked out” when I saw him.  “Yes,” he said.  Next time, I shall pretend I don’t even notice that my child’s proboscis is twice as big on Sunday morning as it was on Friday night.  I thought my reaction had been rather calm…

We sent the story of the nose along with the photo:

Billy:  We were canoeing down the river.  We had just turned a bend, and we saw a branch sticking out of the water.  I was in the front.  I told Andrew to turn left, and he started to paddle, and it did start to go left, but it wasn’t enough, and the boat went under the log and hit my chest, so I leaned back and it scraped my nose. 

Fritz:  I was in the middle.  After Billy got scraped, I ducked and I grabbed the back of his life jacket and held his head above the water enough that he could get under the branch, and then I lifted him up on top of the branch and held him there because he could not stand.  Then we got him to shore while we got the water-logged boat free.  Matt and Peter brought their canoe over and put Billy in and got him to the end.  We followed.  Once we got to the end, they took off his life jacket, and an adult leader took him to the camp site.

Billy:  There they gave me medical assistance, wiped my nose off, determined it wasn’t broken, and told me to get in dry clothes.  It didn’t hurt that much.

One day, you are lowering their crib mattress so they won’t fall and bust their noses open.  The next day, they’re big kids and off on weekend adventures, busting their noses open.

Double Bonus

If you have ever had a baby, you have likely had that depressing experience where you, positive that the really baggy pants that were your comfy, hanging around the house on Saturday afternoon, go-to comfort item, try to squeeze into them only to stop mid-thigh because they simply aren’t making it up.

If you have never done this, I don’t want to hear about it.

Today’s temps are expected to be in the mid-70’s (don’t hate me because I live in Florida – I didn’t pick it), so I pulled out a pair of black capris that fit me 2 summers ago, but definitely did not work even back in November (when wearing capris was still an everyday thing).  With trepidation, I cloistered myself in the bathroom with another pair of pants so that I could emerge dressed, one way or the other. 

Fortunately for my ego, the smaller size did, in fact, fit.  Not, perhaps as well yet as they did 2 summers ago, but the color is slimming and I feel optimistic that the rest of my pre-baby wardrobe may soon emerge from mothball storage (that’s a figure of speech: I wouldn’t know the first things about mothballs).  So nice to get “new” clothes without spending a dime.

And, for my added enjoyment, I put my hand in the pocket and found a very clean $10 bill. 

Double woohoo.