Tagged: Catholicism

Grieving Together: Review and Giveaway

Grieving Together: Catholic miscarriage book for couples

Ten years ago, I lost our sixth and last baby in an early miscarriage, a baby who was planned, wanted, loved.  I’ve never written about it here.  In a very dark period of my life during which I lost first the baby, then my dream home, and finally almost every possession to fire, it was and remains by far the most painful of the losses I suffered.  I don’t like to talk about it and I’ve never wanted to write about it.

But I decided to share just a little today in the hopes of helping ease the burden of others who have lost babies.  There are so many of us, which is something I hadn’t realized until I miscarried and women started whispering words of commiseration: “It happened to me too.  It is hard but it will get better.”

Grieving Together: Catholic miscarriage book for couples

When I was deep in grief–a longer period of time than I would have expected–when all I could do was lie in bed and sob while clutching a board book, the only thing I had bought for the baby, I felt very alone.  I looked online for resources, as one does these days, and found very little.  Eventually my husband and I conducted our own private little ceremony of praying together and naming the baby.  This did bring closure and healing to him, but my grieving process was very different.

Grieving Together: Catholic miscarriage book for couples

I wish that I’d had a copy of Grieving Together: A Couple’s Journey through Miscarriage.  This is the book you never want to need, but are so glad exists if you do.

Reading it even now, I felt affirmed, comforted, accompanied.

Laura and Franco Fanucci have authored a much-needed treasure, a companion and guide to grieving together as a couple.  Having experienced infertility, miscarriage, and infant loss in their own marriage, they know intimately the grief of their readers.  That experience informs the book and their empathy is tangible.  Reading a book from people who have been in your situation is uniquely comforting.

I was impressed by the book’s breadth–it starts with the more practical aspects of miscarriage: what it is, what the experience might be like, considerations of medical treatment and funeral arrangements.  But this section is anything but clinical–it is still animated by Laura and Franco’s love and concern for their readers.  The next section covers grief, including the ways the grieving process may be different for each partner. This is followed by a section of practical suggestions of support from friends, family, the community, and the Church, making this a book that’s valuable to more than those who have suffered loss themselves.  Finally, the last section discusses life after miscarriage, whether your path includes adoption, another pregnancy, or no more babies.

Grieving Together: Catholic miscarriage book for couples

This is a Catholic book, published by Our Sunday Visitor, with Catholic prayers and rites, concrete ways parishes can help, saints to pray to for comfort and guidance, and more.  Other than our pastor’s sincere sympathy, my parish offered no support to us when we lost our baby, and I suspect that is pretty standard.  So this book would make a great gift for your pastor, along with a suggestion for a ministry to serve couples who have suffered miscarriage.  The Catholic Church is well known for concern over unborn babies threatened by abortion, and sponsors ministries for post-abortive women; her concern for babies lost involuntarily and their parents should be a natural outgrowth of these pro-life convictions.

Grieving Together: Catholic miscarriage book for couples

Grieving Together is available now on Amazon. (If you purchase it through links on the blog I will receive a small commission.)  I received the book free in exchange for my honest review.

Or you could enter the giveaway below and win a copy for yourself, a friend, or your parish.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

A Different Image of Catholic Femininity

If you ask someone to choose an illustration of “Catholic femininity” what do you think they might describe?
An aproned Mother in a kitchen surrounded by a small army of well-behaved children?
A traditionally habited nun, eyes downcast in prayer?
A modest school girl with a plaid skirt covering her knees?
An elderly lady kneeling in a pew, clutching her rosary?
A statue of the Blessed Mother?
Read the rest at Everyday Ediths.

See Planned Parenthood Top Doctor Talk Fetal Tissue Harvest over Lunch

The video below is not for the faint of heart–although it contains no graphic images. But there’s something stomach-turning in watching a doctor discuss the harvesting of fetal body parts over lunch as she takes bites of her salad and sips her red wine.

I couldn’t help thinking about this scene from The Return of the King showing Denethor, Steward of Gondor, munching away as his son goes to fight to his (almost) death at this father’s command.

I’ve always been horrified by that scene but this is REAL LIFE, y’all.  Dr. Deborah Nucatola is Planned Parenthood’s Senior Director of Medical Services, and she was caught on tape thanks to an undercover investigation by this organization.
If any of my pro-choice friends are still reading, what do you think about this? If you are a Planned Parenthood fan, does the possibility of their profiting by the donation of fetal tissue affect your opinion? What do you think of “doctors” who would change the way they practice medicine in order to procure the tissue that is most in demand?
If you don’t want to watch the whole thing, here are some choice excerpts:
So then you’re just kind of cognizant of where you put your graspers, you try to intentionally go above and below the thorax, so that, you know, we’ve been very good at getting heart, lung, liver, because we know that, so I’m not gonna crush that part, I’m going to basically crush below, I’m gonna crush above, and I’m gonna see if I can get it all intact.
[A] lot of people want intact hearts these days, they’re looking for specific nodes. AV nodes, yesterday I was like wow, I didn’t even know, good for them. Yesterday was the first time she said people wanted lungs. And then, like I said, always as many intact livers as possible.
And with the calvarium, in general, some people will actually try to change the presentation so that it’s not vertex . . .. So I mean there are certainly steps that can be taken . . . Under ultrasound guidance, they can just change the presentation . . . So the preparation would be exactly the same, it’s just the order of the removal of the products is different.
I don’t have the stomach to read or watch any more, but if you wish to, the links are available here.
UPDATE: America Magazine has published a balanced review of the unedited footage from which the above video came, which I would encourage you to read.  My own outrage is less over the question of the sale of the parts than over the successful dehumanization of the unborn evidenced by the doctor’s demeanor.
UPDATE 2:  While standing by my observations on the dehumanization of the unborn depicted in the video above, I am providing a link into the investigations into the allegations, many of which are complete and did not find any irregularities.  Thank you to Molly McMahon Martin for pointing this out and providing the citation.

Sunday Snippets

Sunday SnippetsIt’s time again for Sunday Snippets, that weekly linkup of Catholic Bloggers from across the web hosted by RAnn of This, That, and the Other Thing.  Sadly, this is the last week for Sunday Snippets but I hope to find some new linkups to join.
Things were pretty busy on the block this week!  I started off the week with a new graveyard post.
I shared some old but still popular posts this week too, of particular interest to Catholic readers. This one was for St. Patrick’s Day.
This one was in honor of St. Joseph.
Do you think fear might be ruining childhood?  I do, and I wrote a post about that.
I participated in the #1000Speak campaign, writing about bullying.
Finally, I shared the exciting news that my daughter had a story published in an online literary journal!
Thanks for visiting!  Please check out the other participants in the linkup.  You might find a new blog to enjoy!

Sunday Snippets

Welcome to Sunday Snippets, a roundup of Catholic bloggers from around the web hosted by RAnn of This, That, and the Other Thing.
My content is not explicitly Catholic this week (unless, of course, you consider celebrating the beauty of God’s Creation to be Catholic!), but at least I do have some content!  Being snowed in all week helped.
So, first up I did a roundup post about all the places my daughter and I walked in the fall that I had not gotten around to writing about yet!
Next, I wrote about our big success in finishing up 42 miles of trails in the South Knoxville Urban Wilderness.
Finally, I shared some of the places we have been walking since then.
That’s a lot of writing about walking in a week in which I have barely set foot off my porch.  I hope that you enjoy them and that they inspire you to get out there to do some walking yourself as soon as it’s safe to do so.  Happy Sunday and please check out the other blogs in the linkup!
mary conceived without sin

Sunday Snippets: A Catholic Carnival

Many thanks to RAnn of This That and the Other Thing who invited me to link up with Sunday Snippets!
This hasn’t been my most prolific week because of 1) William going back to school and 2) Lorelei starting homeschool.  Here’s what I’ve shared:
I started off the week with my contribution to the Answer Me This linkup!
I followed that up with writing about marriage, in honor of my 25th wedding anniversary.
wedding couple 8
I continued the marriage theme with my post in the Five Favorites linkup, where I shared five marriage tips.
Question of the Week: What did you do on your summer vacation?
Not nearly as much as we had planned, I’m sorry to say.  We started off strong with our trip to Georgetown for my 20-year college reunion.   And there was one other trip, this time for a family reunion.  I let myself sleep until 8:30 every morning.  We watched two episodes of The X-Files every night.  The little kids engaged in their favorite pastimes of watching The Disney Channel (Lorelei) and playing on the computer (William).  I feel bad that Emily and I did not take them out to have more adventures, as we had planned to do, but I don’t think the kids minded.  Working at home is hard, is all I can say.
Be sure to check out the linkup above as a way to find more great Catholic blogs!

Homeschooling Win!

I’m not sure I’ve mentioned to y’all that I plan to homeschool Lorelei next year.  She’s going to be in fourth grade, and I’ve done that before, so I already have a lot of resources, and I’ve slowly been gathering others over the last several months.
There was one place I was stuck, though, and it’s kind of an important place!  I couldn’t find a religion book that I liked.
The religion book I used for Jake and Teddy was actually my own religion book from way back in 1976-1977. (Yes, I saved those kinds of things and I’m glad!) While it’s true that catechesis in the 1970s was a mess, this book was pretty good.  St. Joseph’s School switched to a new program the following year–I still have that book–and it was dreadful, practically content-free.  But this one covered all the basic fourth grade stuff–Commandments, Beatitudes, Works of Mercy, and more–that is still being taught in fourth grade today.
And because I was using it for William in 2011, and it was in his backpack in the living room of what we now call “the burned down house,” it’s gone forever.
So you can find anything on the internet, right?  But I couldn’t remember the name of this book.  I knew what it looked like, and roughly when it was published, and what grade it was for, that’s all.  And no book that looked like that EVER appeared, not once, in many, many months of off-and-on searching.  I even asked the school if they had a record of what book we used back then–no dice.  I conducted research on Catholic publishing companies and looked up every book that was published around that time. My head swam with publishing companies (Sadlier, Benziger, Loyola) and their various programs.  Nope.  I spent hours on this, y’all.  I really had my heart set on that book.
Surely, you ask, there are plenty of other fourth grade Catholic religion textbooks out there?  Why, yes, yes, there are.  But I didn’t want to risk an old one that I hadn’t seen before because, as I mention above, many of the ones that were around back then were just bad.  And I don’t like the modern ones I’ve seen which are too jam-packed with information and fill-in-the-blank pages.  (Honestly, I just don’t like modern textbooks.)  What I liked about this one is that it was very simple with short chapters that I could use as a starting point for further discussion.
I finally found one that seemed similar in content (by looking at a screenshot of the Table of Contents) to the one I remembered.  I thought I could maybe try to make do.  But when I went to order it on Amazon it was about $25–kind of a lot to spend for an unknown.  I searched for it again and found some really cheap copies put up by someone who did not even bother to include a picture of the cover.  So that’s what I ordered.
Have you figured out the punchline yet?  We came home from a short vacation yesterday and my package was waiting for me.  As I tore open the bag I saw not the book I was expecting but the ONE I HAD BEEN LOOKING FOR.  Apparently, it was just a different edition of the one I thought I was ordering.  Some of the material has been rearranged, and of course it has a different cover.  And to sweeten the pot, it’s not written in (which of course mine was) AND it’s a teacher edition with all kinds of other good stuff at the end.
religion book
So that’s a propitious omen for my return to homeschooling.  I look forward to sharing my other adventures with you this year!

What We're Reading Wednesday

I’m linking up with Housewifespice for What We’re Reading Wednesday!
what we're reading
Maybe I should call it What I’M Reading Wednesday because I don’t know what else anyone else is reading.  John usually has about five books going at once.  Emily reads about a book a day.  She visits the library regularly, and Young Adult is her favorite genre, especially fantasy.  As far as I can tell, the only thing Jake ever reads is Tolkien.  Teddy has not read for pleasure (to my knowledge) since the last Harry Potter book came out.  William reads all the time, but not books.  The computer provides his information.  Lorelei would rather watch t.v. than read.  Where did I get these children?
So here’s what I am reading!
act of contrition
I finally started reading this (after it was already overdue at the library . . . sigh).  It’s the story of a love affair between an intellectual and sophisticated widow and a divorced devout Catholic man.   This is set (I presume) in the 50s, when annulments were rare and in his case hopeless.  He has just asked her to marry him and as yet she does not know what this means for him.  I don’t see this one headed for a happy ending, folks.  The prose is beautiful and the story is interesting.  It’s told from the woman’s point of view, and her hostility toward the Church, her inability to comprehend it and her lover’s relationship to it, are fascinating for a Catholic to read.  This is a Janice Holt Giles novel, posthumously published because it was considered too controversial at the time it was written.  In these times, it seems quaint.

Yes, I really did read the whole opinion in the Hobby Lobby matter.  I did not want to weigh in on the debate based on either personal belief on the underlying issue or headlines I read on the internet.  It’s about 90 pages long and I encourage you to read it too if you want to have an informed opinion.

I’m still making my way slowly through all the Anne of Green Gables books, in whatever order strikes my fancy.  This is one I did not discover until I was grown up (although some of the events are alluded to in Anne of Ingleside, which was actually written later).  I’m glad I didn’t.  This is a story of the World War I years for those left behind in Canada–the only such account told from a woman’s perspective, or so I read recently.  It’s an interesting bit of history as well as a good story, but of course it’s very sad and I doubt it would have appealed to me as a child when I still believed people could live happily ever after. (It does have a happy ending, however!)
If_Only
Finally, I just finished reading Michelle van Loon’s book on regret.  Please read my reflection on it here, and you can also enter my giveaway for you own copy by commenting on that post.  The giveaway ends tomorrow, and entries have been few so your chances are really good!
Looking for more great reads?  Check out the rest of the linkup here!

Answer Me This

In my constant quest to provide exciting and FREQUENT content on this blog, I am going to participate in more blog-hops and link ups.  The questions below come from Catholic All Year.
 
1. Do you hate happy clappy church music?
 
Clapping I can do without, except for very very VERY rare occasions, mostly involving enthusiastic school children.  At regular Sunday Mass?  Please no.  (An aside:  please don’t clap for the choir or the soloist at Mass. Just don’t.  It’s not a performance, y’all.  It’s prayer.)
 
2. What is your priority: eating or sleeping?
 
Why do I have to choose?  I’d die either way.  Since I sometimes stay up late in order to eat a bedtime snack, I guess that’s my answer.
 
3. What type of milk do you drink in your house?
 
Skim (except for John, who can no longer tolerate milk and drinks whatever almond or coconut or flax concoction that’s on sale).  We drink skim because that’s what they used to say was healthiest, and now I can’t get William (by far the biggest milk drinker) to try anything with more fat in it.
 
4. What is a book that changed your perspective on something?
 
There are many, but The Art of Natural Family Planning was life changing.
 
5. Who is your favorite saint?
 
Peter.  I think he is a wonderful example.  He’s constantly making mistakes, yet his faith was great and Jesus chose him to lead his Church.  To me that says faith is the most important thing, and God can use us in our imperfection to do great works.
 
6. Introvert or extrovert?
 
People are surprised when I say introvert, because I’m friendly and talkative and don’t mind public speaking, but all that wears me out and I love love love to be alone.
 
If anyone else wants to play you can answer in the comments, or on your own blog, if you have one.  Just be sure to go back to the original site to link up if you do!

Roadtripping

Teddy’s first year at Notre Dame is almost over.  He will be home for the summer in less than a month, and back to eating us out of house and home once more.
After we dropped him off, we didn’t hear much from him for a long time.  It was a far cry from the frequent tearful phone calls I remember making home the first few weeks after I started college, which settled to weekly–and tear free–eventually, or even the daily contact I had with Emily when she was at Spring Hill via text, email, and instant message.  Teddy texted a few times–mostly when he had questions about something–and I didn’t call him either, giving him time to settle in and get used to being on his own. He came home for Thanksgiving and Christmas, and dropped by to and from his Spring Break trip to Florida.  He’s always willing to spend his first hour or so back home talking to me and answering my questions, but after that he’s off doing his own thing.
But I got a real treat last weekend!  St. Edward’s Hall (Steds is what the boys call it) hosted a Mothers’ Weekend and I drove up to spend the weekend with Teddy.  Yes, I did, all by myself–about an eight hour drive not counting stops.  Of course it poured down rain, the kind of rain you can’t see to drive through, for the first several hours (why did it have to do that while I was driving in my own hilly state and not where it was flat?) but after that it was smooth sailing, especially since I made sure both ways to time things so I would not be driving in the dark (because I’m not as young as I once was!).
I made it to South Bend right around six and after I checked into my hotel I picked Teddy up and we went for pizza (it being Friday, and Lent, and South Bend not being exactly a place I’d expect to specialize in seafood) and then checked out the weekend’s first event–hors d’ouevres at the Eck Visitors Center.  This was my first chance to meet Teddy’s friends, including the three young men with whom he will be living next year.  They had just chosen their rooms the night before, and will be living in a quad on the fourth floor of St. Ed’s (most people stay in the same dorm all four years)–room 420 to be precise, and if you don’t know why they think that’s a hoot, your teenager can probably tell you.

Jake, Teddy, Kevin, and Phineas

Jake, Teddy, Kevin, and Phineas


Would y’all just LOOK at my son?  When he came home looking like that I thought maybe that was just the new thing, but then I saw all the other boys, who all look like the boys pictured above, and it became clear that Teddy is the only one doing this particular thing.
Anyway, I was tired so I had Teddy drive me back to my hotel so I wouldn’t have to drive in the dark (oh how I love love love staying in a hotel all by myself!) and we arranged for him to pick me up the next morning, when we were all scheduled to attend brunch at South Dining Hall.
After brunch, we had a free day.  I didn’t get to see nearly all the campus when we dropped Teddy off.  Y’all, the place is enormous.  And it was hot then, and the weekend was packed with required events. (Plus I have more energy now but more on that later.)  So we decided to spend the day exploring the campus. It was a glorious day for it–in the upper forties and sunny.  Also have I mentioned it’s flat up there?  I can walk for hours under those circumstances and I did.  We started around noon and kept going until after four.  Teddy calculated we walked around five miles and we both even got a little sunburned! Here are some of the sights we enjoyed.   nd 11 Starting with this, even though it isn’t where we started, because it’s what everyone wants to see, right? nd 26 Here’s a nice shot that gets the Basilica in there too. nd 47 We actually started out in the bookstore, where this was only one of many children’s books designed to indoctrinate them early!  Seriously, it is a really nice (and super expensive) bookstore. After that, Teddy pretty much walked me all the way around the campus, including quick trips inside the library and the student center. nd 49 I showed y’all Touchdown Jesus last time I wrote about Notre Dame.  This guy they call First Down Moses. Did y’all know that Notre Dame du Lac is the school’s official name?  And that two lakes sit right next to it?  Last time John and I walked around the smaller lake, and this time Teddy and I walked around the other one.
nd 28
nd 42
nd 44
Can’t go to Notre Dame without stopping to pray at the Grotto.  There was a wedding party there posing for pictures, and then a rival lacrosse team stopping to pray together after their game.
nd 13
The last thing we went to see, and my favorite thing since y’all already know I’m weird that way, was the enormous cemetery which is practically at the front door of the place.  But that’s going to get a post to itself. 🙂
So moving right along, I barely had time to get back to the hotel and shower and change for the big evening event at the Jordan Hall of Science.  We had hors d’oeuvres and drinks, heard about the latest renovations to St. Ed’s, attempted (Teddy and I did not attempt this seriously) to learn how to two step and line dance, and ate dinner.  We sat with Teddy’s new roommates and their mothers, and it was a real treat to get to meet them and some of the mothers of Teddy’s other friends.  We went back to the dorm afterwards and “chilled” a little longer but I didn’t stay too long because I didn’t want to be tired the next day for the long drive home.
The grand finale to the weekend was Mass on Sunday morning at 10 a.m. (super early for these boys who are used to Mass at 10 p.m.!)  held in the Chapel of Sts. Edward and John, which just happens to be at the end of the hallway where Teddy currently lives.  If y’all are picturing some folding chairs and a wooden altar with a cross sitting on it, you might want to think again.
ND Chapel Window St. Edward
ND Chapel Altar 2
Did I mention that about 100 mothers came for the weekend (and there are around 150 boys in the dorm)?  So all the seats were full and the boys sat on the floor.  I’ve heard people say that Notre Dame isn’t authentically Catholic and I can only assume that those people have never been there.  Father Ralph (who lives right there in the hall) started his homily with these beautiful words of St. Augustine: “You gleamed and shone, and chased away my blindness. You breathed fragrant odors and I drew in my breath; and now I pant for you. I tasted, and now I hunger and thirst. You  touched me, and I burned for your peace.”   And I wish I had taped those boys belting out “Wade in the Water” at the end of Mass!
Then it was time to go home, but not so hard to leave knowing how soon I will be seeing Teddy again.  And it was great to see how at home he is and how much fun he is having, and to be able to picture him there with his friends.

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