Saturday, November 2, 2013

7 Quick Takes - Vol. 2 - Saints, Materialism, The Pledge, Halloween, and Surgery


Well, I'm a day late and a dollar short (you will understand why after QT#5), but here goes anyway . . .

Happy (belated) All Saints Day! Over the years, I have come across the lives of several saints that have resonated with me, but the first saint I really studied (because, despite 19 years of Catholic education, I would have to say that my exposure to the saints through formal education was pretty lacking) was my confirmation saint, St. Felicity (also known as
St. Felicitas). There are two saints named St. Felicity. One is a martyr usually associated with St. Perpetua. The other one (and the one whose name I chose) watched her seven sons be martyred before she herself was martyred for refusing to worship idols.

St. Felicitas of Rome
Photo credited to Wikipedia
After St. Felicity was arrested,
The governor tried to make her sacrifice to the false gods but she absolutely refused.

They finally threatened to kill her sons one by one if she did not do as she was told. The governor said to her, "Unhappy woman, if you wish to die, die! But do not destroy your sons." And Felicity answered "My sons will live forever if, like me, they scorn the idols and die for their God."

This brave woman was forced to watch her sons being put to death. One was whipped, two were beaten with clubs, three beheaded and another drowned. Four months later, Felicity, too, was beheaded. Her strength came from her great hope that she would be with God and her sons in heaven.

St. Felicity, it could be said, was martyred eight different times as she had to watch each of her sons die. Then she too gave up her life for Jesus.
Excerpt credited to

When I chose her (and, let's be honest, the driving force behind this decision was that I thought she had a cool name --- her name literally means "great happiness" --- yes, I was pretty shallow at 13), I could not truly appreciate her martyrdom, but now I can and her strength and courage blow me away. With three boys of my own, I cannot imagine how hard St. Felicity's last days/hours were. It takes my breath away. I don't think I am that strong. Or ever could be. Even contemplating the helpless sense of horror she must have experienced (and blame . . . how could she not blame herself?) as she watched her children being murdered . . . I shudder to think. While I understand that 'if God takes you to it, he will take you through it', I just don't know . . . Some things are too hard to imagine experiencing. May God never ask that much of me, I pray. She truly deserves to be a saint.

On a very un-saint like note, I have to share my materialistic squeals of delight because we *FINALLY* bought new family room furniture! A beautiful sectional, to be exact. And it was delivered this week!

Isn't it pretty?

I am so happy to have it. Our previous family room furniture was all hand-me-downs. The sofas had been in circulation for probably about two decades (maybe more) and the recliner (made of a fabric that was not kid/traffic-friendly) had been in circulation for about 15 years. The cushions on everything were just shot. It is so nice to have *NEW* furniture. Especially new furniture with built-in cup-holders that RECLINES! Added bonus: It is the first furniture that my husband and I have purchased together besides the boys' bunk beds (if that counts), er, um, and also our office/den furniture (had forgotten about that). Oh well, still nice!

On Halloween, I took the morning off from work to volunteer in my preschooler's classroom for their "Fall Festival." While the kids were not allowed to dress up in Halloween costumes, they were allowed to dress up in "Country Attire" (e.g., cowboys, cowgirls, farmers). Candidly, I can't really say that I understand the philosophy behind that decision (besides forcing parents to stimulate the economy by purchasing essentially two separate Halloween costumes), but as that is really my only complaint to date about his school, I'll just roll with it. Besides, the kids looked so cute:

Anyway, I am *SO GLAD* I volunteered that day! The joy in my son's eyes at seeing me there was worth every lost billable hour. Before the Fall Festival kicked off (which consisted of the parent volunteers escorting small groups of children through various games and other activities -- think "pumpkin bowling" and face-painting), I enjoyed watching the class "morning routine." They prayed, said the Pledge of Allegiance (complete with sign language!), and sang silly songs and danced. It was truly heart-warming to watch. I think my favorite part was the Pledge. Apparently, when my son's teacher was teaching the class to say the Pledge, she had highlighted the importance of the phrase "one nation under God", which, unfortunately, has become very controversial over the past decade in this country. The kids absorbed that lesson so well that they started modifying the Pledge to include it. Meaning that the Pledge went something like this:
I pledge allegiance to the Flag of the United States of America, and to the Republic for which it stands, one Nation under God, you can't take my God away from me, indivisible, with liberty and justice for all.
God, I love Catholic schools!

And, lest my quick takes be complete without showing off the Halloween costumes my adorable young 'uns wore, here they are looking pretty fabulous (if I do say so myself):

Peter Pan, Captain Hook, and Tick Tock Croc

I wish I could say that I spent all week basking in the glory of my beautiful and amazing children and "balanced" my other responsibilities perfectly, but, honestly, it has been a really tough week. In addition to the normal running that is my life (and fitting in the multiple, kiddie/Catholic-friendly Halloween parties that pretty much took over our week), I have been really struggling with how my Catholic faith should influence the cases I handle at work and the clients I assist (much to analyze on this issue, which will likely have its own blog post in the near future). Additionally, as this month has ground to a close, I realized just how bad my billable hours were this month (which was my first full month back to work after my 12-week maternity leave). Sigh . . . where did the time go? And, to add insult to injury, my breast milk supply is starting to wane, which makes me ache for my days on maternity leave when I could just nurse my baby until he was full, every single time. And, hardly surprising, my house is a hot mess. Ugh. Then, my older two boys came down with colds/coughs earlier this week. And, as selfish as it is, I have been deathly afraid of catching their colds and have been washing/sanitizing my hands every other second because I knew I needed to be healthy to spend all day yesterday (Friday) at the hospital. Which brings me to yesterday.

Yesterday, my mother-in-law had major surgery (approximately 10 hours long) to remove a very large brain tumor. We have been so worried about her since the tumor was discovered several weeks ago; the tumor was in a difficult location, she has been struggling with her health, and it was such major surgery. But we stormed heaven and enlisted the help of prayer warriors all around the country, and God brought her through it. She has a long road of recovery ahead of her, but all initial signs indicate that everything went really well and there should not be any permanent nerve damage. Plus, the tumor was benign. God is so Good!!! And my husband and I were both able to be there for the whole day to support the family -- God protected us and we didn't get sick, despite the colds/coughs flourishing in our house. We feel tremendously blessed this morning. If you are reading this, please say a Hail Mary for my mother-in-law's continued recovery. Thank you!

Good Catholic Reading for the Week:

Er, well, ummmmm, sorry, but I don't have any good Catholic reading materials to share this week (per QT#5 above, it's been a tough week!!!). BUT there is an awesome Catholic movie coming out next Spring! Click here to watch the trailer for "God is Not Dead". I am really excited about this movie as its premise is so true to the challenges faced by many young Christians when they first enter "the real world." And, apparently, I'm not the only one who is this excited! It has over 4 million views and has been liked over a million times on Facebook, making it the most successful trailer on Facebook this year! Can't wait for this movie!

Child Quote(s) of the Week:

My oldest (the preschooler)---who has been learning about skeletons because they are plastered everywhere for Halloween---was looking out the window in the car when he turned to ask my husband: "Dada, do trees have bones?"

And another quote by my oldest ---

On Saturday, my husband decided out of the blue that he wanted to take our oldest to a USF football game. Initially, my oldest agreed, so my husband bought two tickets. Then, my oldest decided, "I don't want to go to the football game, Dada. I want to stay home today and be a family." He just melts my heart, that one . . .

Whew! What a week!

For more Quick Takes, visit Conversion Diary!

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