Archive | November, 2011

Thank God For Priests

27 Nov

Seriously. Thank you, Jesus, for giving us men who so generously answered your call to donate their whole selves to you and your Church.

A priest at our parish rocked my world today at confession. It had been a little longer than usual since I had been, and that added to the malaise I usually feel before coming before God to admit the times I’ve said “no” to his love for me in the past few weeks. The kindness and joy that greeted me on the other side of the confessional caught me off guard for some reason, and I left with such a renewed trust in God, his mercy, and his providence. Thank you, Father O., for being Christ for me in that moment.

A certain priest that I’m sure many of you also know has been instrumental in my faith formation and the spiritual lives so many of my friends. He gives until he’s spent and then gives some more. He is generous with his life. Thank you, Father B., for your generousity.

And thank you also to my friends in seminary, discerning their vocations. I hope you’re growing in God’s grace and becoming more like Christ. If this is your vocation, I can’t wait to attend your first Mass.

I hope that one day, if any of my boys have a priestly vocation, that they too will be able to say yes to God’s call.

Happy first Sunday of Advent, y’all!

-Erica

Offering it up.

11 Nov

I’ve had pain and suffering on my mind a lot lately. Don’t worry, it isn’t S.A.D.-induced depression; it’s the birth classes Charles and I have been attending. The first half of each class generally involves learning a new relaxation technique, which usually translates into Charles (aka- my birth coach!) giving me a massage for a half hour or so. That part’s great. But the second half of class–that’s the frightening part. That’s when we watch birth videos. Natural birth videos. Videos of naked, sweaty, primal, pregnant women moaning in agony as they progress through labor. It’s like something out of National Geographic.

Ironically, watching these terrifying videos is supposed to help us prepare for and confidently approach our own natural childbirth. The verdict is still out on that front. However, I’m growing more and more attached to the idea of being able to offer up my sufferings for the intentions of others.

The teaching of “redemptive suffering” is one of my favorite parts of Catholicism. It basically says that we who suffer are able to offer up our sufferings in union with Christ’s passion and death, and that our suffering can bring about grace for whomever we’re offering our sufferings for. It is a way of imitating Christ, because he himself offered up his suffering to the Father, for the sake of humanity.

It is carrying the cross.

It is love and suffering intertwined.

So, the next time you find yourself in the midst of suffering, whether it be a migraine headache, a frustrating day at work, or a colicky baby at home, remember that your suffering is a gift. It is a chance to become more like Christ, and to seek the good of those around you. I pray that I might be able to deny myself a little more and to unite my sufferings to Christ.

Love,

Erica

A Birthday Weekend Tribute

5 Nov

I have the best husband in the world. Everyone says the first year of marriage is supposed to be difficult, but I’ve had a blast being married to Charles. Seriously, I’ve had more belly laughs these past 10 months than I’ve had in my whole life.

In honor of Charles’s birthday weekend (actual birthday: Nov 6), I’m honoring seven atributes of Charles, kindergarten acrostic style.

Charming- A waltz in the living room when you get home from work? Yes, please!

Hilarious- If you’ve ever met Charles, you know he’s funny. Charles’s sense of humor is a perfect blend of wit and goof. He can make me laugh with a clever pun, then pretent to slip and fall on a patch of ice. Both will have me in stitches.

Athletic- Even though Charles didn’t grow up playing a ton of sports (his high school made students choose between band and sports. How sad is that?), Charles has a lot of athletic ability. And even though I’ve been an amateur runner for about 10 years, Charles has always been able to kick my butt on a weekend run. And you should see this guy play ultimate frisbee. It’s a joy to behold.

Regal- Charles knows how to get dressed up. His bow ties and pocket squares always perfectly complement his ensemble on Sunday mornings. He also has impeccable manners, the occasional I’m-exhausted-let’s-just-eat-dinner-on-the-couch night, excepted.

Loving- Charles loves me. He tells me that he loves me all the time, in many creative ways. He shows me he loves me, too. On nights that my legs just can’t hold up the pregnant version of me any longer, Charles cooks dinner, does the dishes, and makes our lunches for the next day. Charles is very generous with his love.

Enthusiastic- Charles’s enthusiasm always puts me in a good mood. You should see the excitement he can muster about going to the grocery store on Sunday afternoons, especially if he knows I’m less than thrilled to go. A few hours of errands can become a grand adventure to Charles.

Studious- Poor Charles thought he was done studying when we graduated college. Then, he decided he wanted to be an actuary, and now it’s back to studying! The tests an actuary-to-be must take are filled with math problems that I wouldn’t even begin to know how to solve. Most of Charles’s after-dinner hours and Saturday mornings are taken up by studying for the actuary exams, but he doesn’t complain. That’s partly due to the fact that he’s a nerd and likes math, and partly due to the fact that he wants to be in a position to provide the very best for this baby, and his or her future 9 siblings. 🙂 I am thankful for a husband who works as hard as he does.

So Charles, as I hear you hum along to monk chants while grading papers in the study, know that I love you and am so thankful for you. I would have happily settled for being a casual acquaintance when I first met you. To be married to you is better than anything I could have ever hoped for.

-Erica

Happy birthday, and Go 'Dores!

My latest sewing venture.

2 Nov

When the weather started to cool off here in Nashville, I spent a few weeks searching for the perfect maternity coat. I wanted something cute, affordable, and 100% wool. I soon realized said coat does not exist. So, I decided to take matters into my own hands! Enter: my cape!

Just in case anyone thought I was cool, you

This was a fun project, and I learned a lot in the process of completing it.

For one thing, welted pockets aren’t scary, especially if you take your time making them. Before sewing any major seams (included those welted pockets), I basted!

Our carpet was soon littered with remnants of pink string. Don

This took a considerable amount of time, but I usually did my basting while watching Breaking Bad on Netflix, so it wasn’t terribly boring. Okay, rabbit hole, but I just realized I tend to watch questionable/violent movies and TV shows when I’m sewing. The baby quilt I made a few months ago? Stitched it up while watching An Education (illicit sexual relationships), Pulp Fiction (drugs, lots of swearing), Reservoir Dogs (SO much blood, SO much swearing), and Silence of the Lambs (cannibalism, murder, sewing your victims’ skin into a new set of skin for yourself so you can pretend to be a woman, but don’t worry Jodie Foster kicks some butt and saves the day… spoiler?).

Anyway, I really took my time with this project, and I’m pleased to say it is my favorite piece of apparel I’ve made to date. Allow me to show it off a bit more:

And, as luck would have it, the day after I finally finish my cold-weather cape project, we get hit with a heat wave. Womp, womp.

– Erica