Friday, February 23, 2018

Livin' on love

Listening to country music unfailingly reminds me of all that is good and true in life. It makes me want to get outside, feel the sunshine, wear cowboy boots. I've never worn cowboy boots, but still. And it especially makes me feel more romantic and appreciate my husband more. Which is great, because focusing so much on little children makes me forget that my relationship with my husband is more important and that we need more romance. 

from "Livin' on Love" by Alan Jackson: 
"Living on love, buying on time
Without somebody nothing ain't worth a dime
It's like that old fashioned storybook rhyme
Living on love
It sounds simple that's what you're thinking
Love can walk through fire without blinking
It doesn't take much, when you get enough
Living on love
Two old people, without a thing
Children gone but still they sing
Side by side on that front porch swing
Living on love"

From "Forever and ever amen" by Randy Travis:
"As long as old men sit and talk about the weather
As long as old women sit and talk about old men
If you wonder how long I'll be faithful
Well, just listen to how this song ends
I'm gonna love you forever and ever
Forever and ever, amen"

Wednesday, February 21, 2018

Happy Lent

Still on the "life is bleak" subject... Happy Lent! The word Lent means springtime and I really do look forward to a time of stripping down, rebirth, new life. Warmer weather. This Lent is especially good timing, as I am sure we will come out the other end of it totally different. And with a three-month-old baby, which is a lot better than a one-month-old baby! 

Monday, February 19, 2018

Life is finite, bounded up by mortality, tragic and sometimes unfair

At three weeks
At four weeks
I haven't been taking nearly as many pictures as I'd like. But I can see the difference from one week to another! 

Have you heard of Jordan Peterson? Did you see this interview that has made him super famous as of late? Did you see this really funny meme making fun of the interview? (watch it only after the inteview!)

If you live in the US or Canada, you probably have. He has a new book out which I haven't read, but from what I heard of it I would like to buy it for every person in Portugal. It's about antidotes for the problems of our times, but I think those problems are exacerbated in Portugal. More personal responsibility and not blaming society/God/government/etc for your problems? Yes please! 

I also listened to the latest Patrick Coffin Show podcast featuring Jordan Peterson. This quote really stuck with me...

At 26 minutes:
"The thing about making the bleak case... Let's say that you are fundamentally optimistic and that you fundamentally do have faith and you do believe that truth can prevail, then you can say, look what it has to prevail over. And then the reality that it has to prevail over is the fact that life is finite, and bounded by mortality, and tragic and sometimes unfair. And that all of the suffering that's intended upon that is multiplied almost beyond endurance by malevolence. Everyone knows that, especially people who've been hurt know that. And so then you say, yeah that's right, you're right in your deepest suspicions, you're correct BUT despite that, the power of love, so that would be the desire for things to flourish, and the power of truth is such that it can transcend those bleak realities."

Patrick Coffin said soldiers and abuse victims can relate to Jordan Peterson's message. But I think post-partum women can too. At least I can! Life is rough, rough, rough, rough right now. Luckily I have grace upon grace, sacraments, and glimpses of love and truth prevailing. But yes, life is bleak. And post-partum is not for the faint of heart. 

Friday, February 16, 2018

Praising, reverencing, serving

Watching sleeping beauty, when my mom was still here. And play dough. 

One of the themes I really liked in the book He Leadeth Me was the purpose of our lives here. The author was a Jesuit priest, and he quoted the first principle of the Spiritual Exercises several times throughout the book: 

"Man is created to praise, reverence, and serve God our Lord, and by this means to save his soul.
And the other things on the face of the earth are created for man and that they may help him in prosecuting the end for which he is created.
From this it follows that man is to use them as much as they help him on to his end, and ought to rid himself of them so far as they hinder him as to it."

Even in the most extreme conditions, such as prison or slave labor camps like the author, we are able to praise, reverence and serve the Lord. We are not here on this earth to "be happy" or be comfortable. Look around at the conditions of life on this earth and you'll easily see that's impossible. At least on a physical level and all the time. Instead, we all have deep yearnings and desires for things that are not of this world. 

This quote and the book in general led me to a thought experiment about what is really important for our family and for parenting. And it is freeing. If we are here just to praise, reverence and serve the Lord... we don't have to care about what others think. About fitting in with society. About if our kids will be weird. We just have to love. *Just* as in... that "one thing" the subheading of this blog says. But of course, that is a lifelong lesson. 

Wednesday, February 14, 2018

Beloved and Blessed by Kimberly Hahn

Image result for beloved and blessedI ordered a book by Kimberly Hahn because I suspected I would identify with her mothering and family style and I really did. I was so inspired by this book and am going to order more books by her as soon as I can. It had some really practical advice I appreciated and it also had some deep spiritual truths explained simply. It has a chapter all about Theology of the Body which I skimmed, but thought it was really great for people who aren't so familiar with it. And it has a chapter on homeschooling, which is so simple and well-written I'm going to translate it into Portuguese to give it to people who ask me difficult questions I can't answer! Here are some of my favorite quotes: 

"'You're thinking about love the wrong way, as if it gets divided,' Dad replied. 'Love is muliplied with each new family member. Not only will you have a unique love for this child, but he will bring love to each member of your family.' We need a new term: Let's replace sibling rivalry with sibling revelry." p. 49

"We cannot take anything with us when we die, but we can send a bit of ourselves ahead if our children precede us in death. If the goal of Christian parenting is heaven, we have already succeeded with those children who have died. And I believe we are different parents because of their love and prayers on our behalf." p. 68

"Is there someone for whom you have great respect in financial matters? Seek his or her advice, for 'where there is no guidance, a people falls; but in na abundance of counselors there is safety' (Proverbs 11:14)." p. 99

"Our overall goal is to have happy, healthy, and holy children who obey us and obey God. [...] We are imperfect parents parenting imperfect children imperfectly! This is God's plan." p. 117

"Resist the extremes of hypercontrol of your firstborn and lack of control over your youngest." p. 131

"You have access to the grace you need to overcome your fears about parenting. You are obligated to continue the job you began. And remembre, Jesus is the one who began this good work of parenting through you, and he will be faithful to complete it." p. 142

"Children are spiritually sensitive. They respond when we read Bible stories and sing songs about Jesus. They listen when we hold them at Mass and whisper what each part means. They draw near for a blessing before bed (sometimes with holy water). They know God's love initially through our love for them. As our children mature, we witness God touching their lives directly, guiding and calling them in unique ways." p. 160

"The years are few in which we can decide our children will attend daily mass; I do not want ot miss the opportunity. When complaints are heard - yes, even in the Hahn household - I begin (and they chime in), 'We don't have to go to Mass: We get to!'" p. 162