Friday, February 29, 2008

Mrs. or Ms.?

It's funny. Most of the time I don't consider myself a terribly traditional wife. I'm more of a mish-mash of traditional and modern, I think. I like to take care of my husband and cook food for him, even though he doesn't like a lot of what I cook, (but that's a whole other story!) At the same time, I'm not afraid to cuss him out or argue with him if I think I have a right to be cross. This doesn't happen but rarely, thankfully.

I was watching a program the other day called "Joni and Friends". Now this is on one of the myriad of religious channels available through our satellite dish, and I truly do not watch them with the exception of EWTN, which has a number of programs that I enjoy. But I do know who Joni Erickson Tada is, and I'm always interested when I see her name connected with something. This particular show was fairly boring, to be honest, as it concentrated on other people and not on her, but I noticed through the ending credits that she was listed as "Ms. Erickson Tada". It annoyed me to no end when I saw that! Plus it got me to wondering......

What is so shameful nowadays about the title of "Mrs"? I never used a title of either Miss or Ms. when I was still single, and as far as I can recall, I was typically referred to as Miss when a title was necessary. It never bothered me one way or the other. But since the day I was married, I've happily used the title "Mrs." I am both proud and grateful to have the privilege to use that title. I want others to know that I'm married! Being a Mrs. is as natural to me as wearing my wedding rings. I have even been known to refer to myself as Mrs. and my husband's first and last name.

I'll admit that part of it is a sense of superficial pride on my part. I'm one half of one of the more unusual sights in life - a homely woman married to an extremely attractive man. It's not that uncommon to see a beautiful woman married to less attractive guy, but I don't see the reverse situation too often.

But far beyond that is the sense of personal pride that I carry as a wife, as one half of a married couple. I'm not single and I don't want to have a single identity. If I did, I wouldn't have gotten married. Maybe I'm just old-fashioned, but I like being a Mrs.

No "Ms." for me!

Wednesday, February 27, 2008

Are you a block or a brick?

The older I get, the more aware I become of a most sad fact of life: religious people can be incredibly huge stumbling blocks between other people and God. I was raised in an evangelical protestant faith and attended the same conservative private christian school from preschool until I graduated high school. Between the hymns, scripture, and a somewhat biased education, I was also taught (among many other things both good and bad) that people who were of different races from my own should be looked at somewhat suspiciously; Catholics were idol worshippers who were going to hell, in fact, anyone who didn't believe the way I did would be headed there; and the only good christians were non-smoking, non-drinking dull people who didn't dance, barely laughed, and were generally unhappy. Oh, and since I was female, I was also taught to sew. Sadly I bought into this for a long time growing up and well into my teens. I'm ashamed of that now. As I got older, I realized more and more that what I'd been taught was mostly bunk. And even if it wasn't, I certainly didn't want anything to do with a God like that. No thank you.

I ran away as fast as I could and for years had no interest in anything to do with God or religion. Eventually I went back to college and majored in Social Work. My thoughts about Catholics were still very muddy, but the best program in my area was at a small local Catholic college, so that's where I went. While there, I was offered a part time job doing social work at the convent (which doubled as a long term care and assisted living facility) connected to the college.

All of a sudden I was surrounded by these amazing women who laughed, cried, joked, danced, partied, drank alcohol sometimes, smoked sometimes, argued with each other, loved God, and accepted and cared deeply for me. They were also very concerned for my spiritual life, and weren't afraid to ask questions. Nor were they afraid of my honest answers. I so well remember an elderly Sister in her late 80's who went for a walk with me in the outdoor garden one sunny day. She smiled serenely as I outlined what I'd been taught, and how that was why religion just wasn't for me, then just as serenely said "Well, darling, I don't know where they got their information because they're just wrong. Read your New Testament. My Jesus loved a good party. He loved hanging out with his friends. He loved his Mom. He had a special girl. He got mad at people and cried sometimes. Sure he was God, but he was also human. That was the point."

For the first time in my life, I was around people who taught me, through their actions and behavior, that God was benevolent and kind, and loved me no matter what my religion, race, or creed. Oh I wanted more of that!! Daily mass, the rosary, vespers, the Saints, the Blessed Mother. I've heard and read so many appalling stories of growing up Catholic, and the cruelty of Catholic school nuns, and I've always been grateful that I came to the faith as an adult, because I could appreciate the beauty of the faith without the guilt or the distaste.

Many of the Sisters that I knew and loved during my time at the convent are dead now, but their legacy lives on through me, and I'm sure they rejoiced when I joined the Anglican Catholic church near my home here in IL.

The evangelicals that I knew early in my life were blocks that made me turn and run away from God for many years. Those dear Sisters were the bricks that lined my path back to God and to a strong faith that sustains me today.

Are you a block or a brick?

Tuesday, February 26, 2008

St. Joseph - the ultimate step-parent!

Are you a step-parent? I am. Full-time. 24/7/365. When I first met my husband, he was already married with a child. Fate and circumstances intervened in both of our lives, and thankfully the two of us found our way back to each other after a very traumatic separation early in our relationship. When we married, he was sharing equal custody with his son's mother - 4 days at one house, then 4 days at the other house, and so on. It worked very well, and I was very happy with the arrangement. Then circumstances intervened again, and we ended up with full legal and physical custody of his son. Of course I supported the arrangement - I'm a good wife! And I do know in my heart that our home provides stability of all kinds that just cannot be found with his mother. But it's not what I signed up for. Not at all. Over the years there have been more bad times than good times, and I'm sure this will continue as he becomes a teenager. If I could go back, knowing how things would end up, I would still make the same choice. My life is immensely better for having married the man that I did, and my step-son has so many positive qualities - not the least of which is a great love and compassion for animals. If nothing else, I know without question that I am helping to raise a future adult who will love animals and treat them with kindness and respect, and I am so very thankful for this. But I digress.

I watched a program this morning on the History International channel about St. Joseph. Although I am very familar with the traditional knowledge of his life, he isn't one of the Saints to which I have a devotion. I've always been far closer to his wife, our Blessed Mother. The show did a good job of examining the little bit that is known about St. Joseph, and bringing in religious scholars and historical experts to give opinions about the much that is not known about him. If nothing else, what I took away from the show was an appreciation of him as a step-parent to Jesus - a role I never really considered before. Our Blessed Mother is so loved and so venerated around the world and I think St. Joseph is forgotten sometimes. He shouldn't be! I'm a step-parent, just like he was, so I can identify with that role and with him in that aspect, but only in that aspect. I can't even fathom trying to be the step-parent for someone like the Son of God. Whether he knew who Jesus really was, or not, is debatable. There is no question, however, that he knew he wasn't the father of Jesus. Yet he married Mary anyway, he raised Jesus as his own. Taught him and mentored him and loved him. I'm sure it wasn't always easy, but he did his best. St. Thomas More is the patron saint of step-parents, but my money is on St. Joseph as the go-to guy for me for step-parent prayers and intercessions. What an inspirational guy!

Monday, February 25, 2008

My favorite things

Sometimes I feel like the majority of my time is spent worrying about other people, things I need to do, things I am doing, etc... But there are so many things in my life that bring me moments of pure joy or complete comfort. Here are but a few (and in no particular order, mind you!):

  • finding a new item for my Spongebob collection
  • a day when my husband is home from work
  • a shining sink
  • driving around with the stereo playing loudly
  • wandering through a store with no particular things that I need to buy
  • the grocery store
  • watching our cats playing or grooming each other
  • buying something on eBay
  • a cup of coffee or chai tea
  • a new book
  • watching an old episode of "Let's Make a Deal"
  • the way the air smells after it rains
  • watching one of Andy Samberg's Digital Shorts
  • Star Trek Voyager repeats
  • a new Dooney & Bourke handbag
  • a cigarette
  • a purring kitty
  • The Waltons
  • a new DVD
  • my husband's laughter

Sunday, February 24, 2008

Quiet Sunday.

I'm getting ready to do my weekly run to Walgreens pharmacy. One of my guilty pleasures is pouring through the new Walgreens ad every Sunday morning and seeing what new treasures are on sale there. Today I spotted new makeup I wanted to try that is on a buy 1 get one free sale, and a potential new item for my Spongebob Squarepants collection! Which, by the way, got increased by several fold yesterday after I tagged along to Sears Essentials here in town with my husband. Who would have thought that Sears would carry so much SB stuff? I also bought a new toaster oven. Hopefully it's usefulness in my mind will eventually equal it's usefulness in real life, but we'll see. For now I'll have to find a spot for it on my kitchen counter.

Monday, February 11, 2008

Forgot about my blog!

Wow - what a surprise to find this after so long! I'd completely forgotten about it.....

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