Friday, January 27, 2012

Happy Birthday, Iain!

Four years ago, today I was lying in a hospital bed, waiting, worrying and wondering. Iain was born the next day, January 28th at 11:11 am.  My water broke a month before my due date and we didn't know what to expect when Iain was born. We were prepared for the worst (NICU time), praying for the best and ended up with a combination of the two. In the end, after we were discharged home, on schedule, he became hypothermic, his temp dropping to 94.7 degrees. Thank you Jesus for homecare nurses who discovered it and helped this first-time-mother get her baby off to the hospital when I didn't know better (I knew his feet felt cold, but assumed that was normal).

Iain, about a week old:

First time motherhood was overwhelming and I dare say traumatic. But, four years later, Iain is the picture of health - minor allergies aside - and I feel like I can safely call myself a seasoned mother (of small children).
  1st birthday:

 2nd birthday:

3rd birthday (was that really already a year ago?!)

Happy 4th Birthday, Iain! I am so very very blessed to be your mother. These 4 years have flown past, and I'm afraid they will only continue to fly by faster. I hope and pray that your coming year is full of growth in joy, wisdom, strengthening of character, deepening of love for God and others, and lots of wonderful experiences. I am so proud of you, my big boy!

Iain (not quite 4 - this was taken a few months ago)

And, just for fun, Mark's 4th birthday:

Wednesday, January 18, 2012

Thoughts and Visions of Heaven

This is one of my favorite paintings. You can find it at the Cathedral of Saint Paul.  Every time we go to Mass there, I try to catch a glimpse of it before I leave.  A couple years ago, an artistic friend who was off to discern Religious Life (now returned), gifted us with a painting she had done of the Crucifixion, from below - from Mary's perspective as seen in the previous painting. I got chills - it was like I was inside the painting at the Cathedral. It now hangs in our bedroom, and it's the first thing I see every morning and the last thing I see at night. I am blessed.

That's my preface to the following - I had reason to contemplate the reason for the prominence of the crucifix in Catholic churches. I publicly thank the anonymous person who prompted this. Not surprisingly, this has brought me to a greater understanding of my faith - as these things often do.

First, God plopped this article in my lap, this morning: The Cross, Altar and the Right Way of Praying by Fr. Stefan Heid. Here are some exerpts:

The cross is the focal point of salvation and of liturgical action...
...the altar is the place of prayer: the cross belongs there, and, indeed, even more so, on the main altar. It is the place of raising one’s hands, mind and eyes to “look upon the one whom they have pierced.” Here, heaven opened up at the moment when darkness covered the earth: the Sun of Righteousness on the cross was raised up at the center of the earth, making our darkness light.

After reading the article, I had the following reflections (please correct me if any of this is incorrect!):

I read somewhere that the snake-on-the-pole that Moses made (so that everyone who looked on it would live) was a "type/foreshadowing" of our crucifix, today.

I suppose also, as Catholics since we believe the Mass is uniting time and space and making us present to, and presenting to us, the sacrifice of Jesus on the cross (rather than simply a memorial), it makes sense that we would have a visual reminder of where we are - present at Calvary. 

On a lighter note, while I was reading/thinking/writing about all that, followed by a shower, apparently Iain had an apparition imagination. He announced to me very excitedly, when I got out of the shower that...

Iain: I saw Mary on top of my bunkbed, so I was throwing a lot presents up there for the little Lord Jesus. ...and Joseph was there and all of Jesus's disciples.
Me: What did Mary look like?
Iain: like a queen and a princess...wearing a was blue. ...and I tried to climb up there to get to the floor of Heaven, but I couldn't reach it.
Me: yes, you're not allowed on top of your bunkbed.

Friday, January 13, 2012

7 quick takes sm1 Your 7 Quick Takes Toolkit!

1. The Way I Tidy

I'm sure this isn't a novel idea, but it has really helped me... I pick one side of a particular room and start my tidying there. I move towards the other side, tidying as I go. 

Leaving a wake of tidiness behind me is very motivating, as is having a room completely tidied before moving on to the next. I usually start in the living room and move from there to the dining room, then to the kitchen. By the time I get to the overwhelming pile of mail on the kitchen counter, there are plenty of tidy areas on which to rest my eyes. 

2. Hats

Does anyone remember the Amy Grant song Hats from her Heart in Motion album, circa early '90s? I was never a fan of the song, at least in part because I actually thought it was about hats and the lyrics seemed so random. You gotta cut me some slack, the early '90s was an era of hats and I was only 10 years old!

I had a good laugh about that when the song randomly popped to mind the other day and my adult-self realized what it was about. I'm still not an Amy Grant fan, but at least now I can understand and relate to what she was singing about. ...definitely wearing a lot of hats around here!

3. No Water

We have no water right now. That's why I'm sitting in my recliner, still in my pajamas, writing a blog post. Not having running water is so unmotivating! 

Apparently there was a "water emergency" on the corner of our block that necessitated the water shut-off. It should be turned on again in the next few hours. Going without running water is rather eye-opening. I can't: drink, wash dishes or clothes, use the toilet, shower, wash my hands after a diaper change (blech!), make cereal for my baby... Certainly, it's no hardship (yet). Like I said, it's just eye-opening.

4. Blog-a-holic

Hi. My name is Betsy. I'm a blog-a-holic. What are some of your favorite blogs or websites? I know, answering this after I've told you I'm a blog-a-holic is like pouring gasoline on a fire, but hey, sometimes that's ok. (Sure, neither you nor I can think of an instance where that would actually be ok, but let's just go with it.)

5. Bosnia and Other Residential War Zones

"Whaaaa? Huh?" Is probably what you're thinking. Let me explain: I think I may have mentioned in the past that my bedroom closet is a catch-all for everything that hasn't been put in its proper place. - Tangent: I have discovered just how important it is to have a place for everything! - Not surprisingly, the act of throwing all sorts of odds and ends into my closet has produced something akin to a rubble pile. Mark started calling it "Bosnia" because it looks like a war zone. He now joins in the fun, throwing things into "Bosnia" with wild abandon. Clearly he doesn't look in there when he does this, or he would notice that I actually cleaned my closet the other day. I'm too kind to mention that he's single-handedly recreating a war zone during peace I just mention it on my blog instead.

Iain just asked to color which reminded me that our craft drawer is in desperate need of attention. I just don't know if I can justify spending time and energy on something that hopeless. Where are those UN peace-keeping forces when you need them?

6. Lydia's Songs

Iain and Lydia love to sing. I love listening to them. I'm especially enjoying Lydia's current repertoire. She sings songs to Jesus, which usually sound something like (yelled to some familiar tune such as bah-bah-black-sheep) "This is for Jesus, hamsters down the drain..."

7. That's all for now

Tuesday, January 10, 2012

In [some] Nutshell[s]

Has anyone on the North American continent not had the stomach flu in the last two weeks? When Lydia started throwing up exactly a day and a half after our visit to the Mall of America, I kicked myself long and hard for thinking it was a wonderful idea to let the kids play at the Lego stations. I soon found out that every family I know has had it run through their house. Shut-in though I may normally be, I don't think this one could've been avoided. At least I can stop imagining my children innocently playing with hot-viral Duplos.

Stomach bugs aside, we had an exciting Christmas season. Just before Christmas, one of my close friends got engaged! Then, on New Year's Day, my sister Kate got engaged! (And speaking of hot viruses, my brother-in-law-to-be's brother works at the CDC! I'd clean stairwells all day too just to be inside that building!) Back to weddings...clearly I have recovered from the trauma of planning my own wedding because I am loving every second of this! Two Minnesota weddings to help with; I don't think I could be happier! It's just like 7 Brides for 7 Brothers...only it's 2 brides and the grooms aren't related. So, nothing like it at all.

During this season of wretching and rejoicing (I'm sorry, I couldn't resist) I've become acutely aware of the Tim Tebow "phenomenon." I'm not sure what else to call it. I gotta say, I'm worried for the guy. Has no one else read a Greek tragedy? May God's grace protect him from the world, the flesh and devil!

So, how 'bout them Republican candidates? I have no idea when the Minnesotans get their turn at voting...I'm assuming we do at some point, yes? Mark is straddling the fence between the Gingrich and Santorum camps (not that he can vote, but he still has opinions). I naturally lean towards Santorum - knowing next to nothing about him except that he strikes me as a good husband and father. But I have to say, I'm always impressed by Gingrich's vocal presence, and how can I not like his defense of Christianity/Catholicism? Sorry Ron Paul fans, I've always thought the guy is too creepy to look at or listen to, so needless to say, I don't know much about him other than that he leans Libertarian - and I don't. Shallow? Of course, but I think there are better candidates, so I'm not losing sleep over it.

I hope your 2012 is kicking off nicely and that you're not spending it like the rest of the country (see first paragraph).