Wednesday, 23 April 2014

Morning Offering? ... More Like Morning Shortcoming


This morning, I woke up and somehow remembered to say my morning offering. For those of you who aren’t familiar with this prayer, it goes more or less like this:

O Jesus, through the Immaculate Heart of Mary, I offer thee all my prayers, works, joys and sufferings of this day, for all the intentions of thy Sacred Heart in union with the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass throughout the world, in reparation for my sins, and for all the intentions of the Holy Father.  Amen

Yesterday, Kendra at Catholic All Year created some awesome prints of this prayer and I promptly put one up in my cubicle thinking I was once again doing a stand-up job at promoting my catholic faith in the workplace.  

That lasted about half an hour before I started realizing how terrible I am at living my day for Christ. Because the truth is, I’m often forgetful of the fact that Christ is ALWAYS with me. (I’d like to think He only shows up for the good moments, like when I stay for adoration after mass.) Today, He was with me when I text –argued with my husband over the price of a stroller, He was there when I was ungrateful for my job, He was there when I was annoyed by my co-worker and He was there when I thought mean things about a customer while on the phone.

The sad thing is all of that happened before 12 PM and I literally can’t think of one nice thing I did today to glorify Christ. When you get wrapped up in your day to day, it’s easy to forget about Him. But He never leaves you even when you are being the world’s biggest grump and feeling sorry about yourself because you’re 7 months pregnant and wishing you could wear pyjamas to work.  

The morning offering has a way of reminding me that this day does not belong to me and so I should make an extra effort to live it like Jesus was physically standing next to me, possibly whispering encouraging words in my ear. He knows that this pregnancy has been sucky for me, and he knows that I’m sick of work and that I’m stressed out over moving. However, He also knows (and I do too)  that I’m capable of doing better than that and seeing the words of the morning offering reminds me of the promise I made to Him just a few hours ago.

Thankfully, I know Christ doesn’t hold this morning’s failures against me and I can try living out the rest of my day like I had originally intended - without beating myself up or wallowing away in guilt.  He will keep forgiving my shortcomings every day until the day I die, and if I really mess up, I can always go to confession and have the slate wiped clean. How lucky are we that we have a God who loves us so much that He will keep forgiving us regardless of how many sins we commit and how many times we commit them?

Friday, 11 April 2014

7 Quick Takes – Where I Gross Everyone out by Talking about my Night Sweating

--1--
The Palmiest of Sundays
This Sunday will be Palm Sunday and although I LOVE waving around those palms, it always reminds me of the first time I was an altar server. I was 8 or 9 and had just completed my “training” – which let’s be honest, was just a bunch of kids in one room pretending to pay attention. I was scheduled for my first mass on Palm Sunday with an older/ more experienced altar server. Well I showed up, but my trainer never did. I was stuck doing the altar serving all by myself and to add to the confusion, mass started at the back of the church which completely threw me off. Thank God the priest that day was patient, and he guided me through the entire mass, letting me know what to grab and what to do. Other than the “deer in the headlights” look I must have had, I think I came out of it generally unscathed – that is, unless you count the terrible psychological trauma I endured.
--2--
Pregnancy and Night Sweats
 
I’m 27 weeks pregnant today which means that I’m in or almost in my third trimester – some doctors will say 27 weeks, others 29 weeks – I say I feel big enough to be in my third trimester therefore I am in my third trimester. Pregnancy developments this week include the swelling of my hands and feet (Goodbye wedding ring and nice shoes), severe heartburn, shooting pains in my pelvic region and hot flashes. The hot flashes are seriously getting out of hand though. No matter what I wear to bed, I will wake up drenched in sweat. Dane keeps telling I stink in the morning, like I can’t smell or feel how sweaty I am. I would like to see how nice he smells after sleeping with a little furnace strapped to his stomach.
--3--
A Week without my Husband
Last week, Dane went to Lake Louise for his brother’s wedding. Since my pregnancy is borderline high risk ( ok it is high risk… I just hate to say that because it sounds scary) I was told no travel until this baby has vacated my womb.  That left me alone for four days which is the longest I’ve ever been a) without Dane since we started dating and b) home alone.  The first day was hell, I spent most of my time crying, but by day 3 I was starting to enjoy the quiet. Boots was calmer, I watched girly movies and shows, I ate whatever I wanted, whenever I wanted AND the house was clean. But regardless of the all that, I truly missed my husband and I am so glad he is home. However, it seems like the house got messy as soon as he walked through the door so I’m guessing that’s just something I’ll have to live with as long as he’s around.
--4--
A Tale of Two Houses
Since Dane and I are set to move in about 2 weeks and we have the keys to our new house, we’ve slowly been starting to pack up/ move over our belongings. My parents came by last Saturday and we powered through the office, the guest bedroom and most of the basement. After they left I was able to pack up my pre-pregnancy clothes, shoes and some of my purses.  I also got to packing up some of the kitchen appliances that I won’t be using in the next two weeks. All in all, our house in the Bay is slowly emptying out and soon enough, we’ll only have the big stuff to haul over to our new place.  Although it does make me feel like I’m in a house limbo at the moment since we’re not really settled anywhere. I can’t wait for all this to be over so I can start nesting!
 
--5--
Sell, Sell, Buy, Buy
Speaking of the move, I’ve taken to Kijiji once again to try and get rid of some stuff I do not want to bring to the new house. So far I’ve sold my dining room table and the bed in the guestroom (to hopefully be picked up tomorrow). After speaking to the buyers, I’m glad I didn’t over charge ( we sold for way under what they are worth) since both the items are going to people who are having a hard time financially.  Even though Dane and I aren’t exactly wealthy, we can still try to make life easier for others when we are able to. It kind of makes me angry to think of how much Dane and I paid for the dining room table and the bed, since we were very naive and didn’t understand the real value of things. I would hate to do that to someone else.
 

 
And since we’re already talking about good deals, Dane was able to find an awesome used dining room table for me! I can just imagine our family sitting around the table, complaining about how they don’t like supper and asking me why they have to eat [insert food here] when Daddy gets to pick around it.  We also bought an island to put in the kitchen for extra counter space and a cabinet for extra storage. I think that will make our new kitchen a little bit more functional, since right now it has about 5 inches of available counter space and limited storage.
--6--
Cranky Boots
 
Boots is not the most easygoing cat around. Actually, between her mood swings and her constant need for attention, I’d say she’s high maintenance. Over the last couple of weeks though, she has been very cranky with everyone but me. I don’t know if its spring or the male cat that prances in front of the windows every day, but something has got that cat really angry. When my parents came over to pack she was being a complete brat, hissing at my dad and just generally being unpleasant. Dane thinks it’s because she can sense something big is coming (i.e. the baby and the move), my mom thinks she needs to be socialized. Either ways, I’m hoping this recent episode of crankiness will end once we move to the new place and she gets used to her surroundings. In the meantime, I’ll just keep doing my best to ignore her when she’s in a bad mood and give her attention when she’s being a good cat.
--7--
Delivery Confession
Dane and I ended up going to evening mass in Orleans last Sunday since he got home so late on Saturday night. I guess this will be our new parish since it’s closest to our new home.  After mass, they had an hour of adoration and confession for whoever was interested. Since Dane and I had missed our Lenten retreat, I hadn’t had a chance to go to confession and I had promised myself I would go as soon as I got the chance. Well “as soon as I get the chance”, turned into whenever I find a convenient time and a convenient time had turned into me ignoring the fact that I needed to go to confession.  So when they announced that confession would be available, I knew that I needed to go (even though I just wanted to go home).  It was like God was saying, “I’ll make this real simple since you can’t be bothered to come to me, I’ll bring confession to you”.
I told Dane that I needed to go and asked him if he wanted to go and he declined because he wasn’t prepared. I was disappointed but you can’t force someone to go to confession. I then got on my phone and used the confession app. I mean it wasn’t the greatest examination of conscience but it was all I had available.  Once I was done, a little line had formed near the confessional booths, and I went to take a spot.  As I was waiting, I saw Dane get up and join me in line. He told me that he had asked God to make him more humble and while waiting for me he had read that confession is a good way to be more humble. He knew, just as I did that God, was calling him to the sacrament of reconciliation.  Which proves once again just how important it is to be open to the influence of the Holy Spirit, since without it neither Dane nor I would be in a state of grace.
 
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Well that rounds up my week! Now to get back to packing and preparing for Holy Week!

 

 

Wednesday, 9 April 2014

An Open Letter to Mrs. Beyoncé Knowles


 “There is unbelievable power in ownership, and women should own their sexuality.  There is a double standard when it comes to sexuality that still persists. Men are free and women are not. That is crazy. The old lessons of submissiveness and fragility made us victims. Women are so much more than that. You can be a businesswoman, a mother, an artist, and a feminist -- whatever you want to be -- and still be a sexual being. It’s not mutually exclusive.” – Beyoncé Knowles

 

Dear Mrs. Knowles,

I recently came across the above quote from your interview with “Out Magazine”. Although I can appreciate the sentiments expressed, I cannot say that I wholeheartedly agree with your statement. Yes, women should own their sexuality, but not in a way that allows a woman to pose with her breasts exposed in a magazine.

Sexual freedom does not allow me to engage in sexual acts with whoever I want whenever I want. Neither does it allow me to act unchastely whether in word, dress, or deed. Furthermore, sexual freedom does not give me the right to have control over my God-given fertility via unnatural means. Finally, it does not give me the ability to choose to end a life when the repercussions of this so-called “freedom” have surfaced.

When sexual freedom is described to me as such, I can’t help but think that the sexual revolution led all women a step backwards.  Instead of enjoying the benefits of the marital embrace, women are being duped into giving away part of themselves to men who could care less about them. Instead of being respected and cherished for their hearts and minds, they are being lusted after for their body and sexual prowess. Instead of openly accepting the gift of fertility, they are forcing chemicals down their throats and interrupting their natural cycles. Finally, instead of lovingly accepting new life, they “choose” to kill their offspring.

I’d like to know exactly how the above equates to freedom, when to me it sounds a whole lot more like slavery.  Slavery to a society that has tricked women into believing that this type of “feminism” is what we should be working hard to achieve. Women truly are better than that. We are better than the promiscuous, irresponsible, murderers that society is trying to make us become.

When I think of sexual freedom, I think of making love to my husband who truly loves and appreciates all of me. Engaging in the marital embrace with him does not degrade me, hurt me or leave me empty but rather brings us closer together as a couple. Sexual freedom also makes me think of my wedding vows, when I promised that I would honor my husband for the rest of my life. Those vows mean that the things I do, the things I say and the things I wear need to be respectful of our relationship. Finally, sexual freedom means truly accepting the gift of fertility that God has given me. There is nothing more liberating than handing over that aspect of my life to God and lovingly welcoming new life into our family.

Women need to wake up and realize what is going on. They need to stop allowing their true nature to be altered by societal ideals, and get back to who they truly are. I am a woman and I can proudly admit that I am submissive to my husband and that I am fragile. That does not mean I am not free. It means that I trust that my husband will make the best decisions for me because he loves me and that he will take care of me because he realizes just how fragile I am. There is nothing more liberating than knowing that I have someone who loves me so much that he will sacrifice himself to make sure I am well cared for.

To me what is truly crazy is that women would rather be objectified, degraded and used by random men than be submissive to their husband. I’m sorry but I’ll take the kind of love my husband gives me over feeling as though I “own my sexuality”. Especially considering the fact that my sexuality never really belonged to me; it belongs to my husband and to God.

And so Mrs. Knowles, I ask you to reconsider your statement for the sake of all the little girls out there (including my daughter and yours) who will one grow up into women. Because,  I’m not sure about you, but I’d rather have a submissive and fragile daughter that finds a man who loves her for who she is, rather than one who “owns her sexuality” and is used or lusted after by strange men.

Thank you for your time,

Justine