Friday, April 29, 2011

Wedding Bells Across The World (Except in my House)

So Wills and Kate have married, the future King & Queen of England. And despite the nonstop coverage for months on this side of the pond, I purposefully skipped the event itself. I was up at 6AM and could have easily flipped on the TV, but instead, I went to take my shower (where I got the crap scared out of me by some type of scary bug with a million legs that darted from behind the toilet to the sink in half a second... I hauled my pregnant self out of there so quickly while yelling that K came scrambling from bed alarmed... and then saved me by flushing the bug down the drain... my Prince!).

But why the ambivalence? I should say I've casually watched the royals my whole life. As a girl, I loved seeing clips from William's parents wedding, which took place the year before I was born. I felt an affinity to William since he was born just four months after me, and his younger brother Harry was born in 1984, like my younger sister. I always thought Diana was beautiful, stunning and charming. When I learned of her passing in 1997, I cried, right along with my mother, who had watched her admiringly since her lavish wedding to Prince Charles. And I'll admit, I've always found William to be very cute, making my short list of hot blonde dudes along with Brad Pitt, Chad Michael Murray and Matthew McConaghey. With all that history, I figured I'd be glued in to watch the dashing Prince wed his beautiful college sweetheart. Instead, I enjoyed a quiet morning before work with my Knight who did his own mad dash. So what gives?

I could say it's partly because of my growing ambivalence towards pop culture, which might be a problem in the future for posts on this blog, which is supposed to be a mix of the secular and sacred. Part of it might be all those dang wedding themed shows on cable these days: crazy brides, million dollar weddings, and saying "yes" to the dress have turned me off. But another theory is what Red Cardigan posted on her blog about the royal wedding, namely, it's lack of climax. Red makes note of the fact the newlyweds have been living together for awhile. And yeah, while that's become the norm, it does take away a lot of the "wow" for the actual wedding. Why? Well, since they've been together for years, their marriage isn't exactly a surprise. It was more expected. And since they already have their house set up, what fun is there in buying houseware (and yeah, I totally know they're rich and don't need a thing, lol)? We've seen them dressed up together, going to church as a couple, even tabloid photos of them away vacationing are spread across the internet. To be honest, I kind of already feel like there's not much to this wedding/reception/honeymoon that we haven't already seen. Red is on to something when she writes that "Romance Requires Mystery". For me, the mystery is long gone.

Please don't think I'm not happy for them, though. I'm actually very excited. Another thing Wills and I have in common is watching our parents go through messy divorces, and I pray our marriages will be very successful. I also hope Kate's gorgeous gown will inspire a number of U.S. brides to ditch the skanky masquerading as sexy dresses for more classic looks.

May God save the future King, Queen and marriage as a whole.

Did you watch the wedding? Share your thoughts.

Thursday, April 28, 2011


... I'm fat. And even checking out my last post about the beauty of motherhood has not helped buoy my sour mood. Well, at first it did. But then, as I read the whole story on MSNBC, I let my eyes wander down to the comment section, and boom, I'm down again. Here's a couple of the worse:

"I can't/won't embrace it. It isn't attractive no matter what anyone says. And it also is not healthy to have all that fat around your middle... Flab is not attractive or something I am willing to die for."

"All i know is my wife is 5-1 and 105lbs, had 2 children, never got a stretch mark and was at her weight in a month after the babies. how did she manage that? well she exercised during her pregnancy, didn't over eat and used lots of lotion on her skin while she was growing her belly... once yoiu do that your going to have a scar and stomach bulge forever. motherhood does not mean you cant keep your bodies as they were but it is work." 

Okay, so let me state, most of the comments were in support of the website and it's mission to help encourage moms. Also, that there are some valid points in the above comments- women should work to take care of themselves by eating right and exercising. BUT... the fact that both commenters could care less that not everyone shrinks back to a size 2 (or might not have been a size 2 to begin with) made me sad. And lest you think it was simply a lack of comprehension, the first comment's writer repeatedly states she "gets the point", but feels the website makes things too easy for women.

 Me, last May.

Which got me thinking- in all honesty- are we fooling ourselves? While in real life, I have had a couple of friends and my husband repeatedly tell me how I look good (thanks Giddel, Clarissa & K). But I've also been told REPEATEDLY how huge I've gotten, how big my belly is, how puffy my face has become. My walk and movements are analyzed, and then I'm told "I'm waddling", "struggling to bend down" and "moving like an old pregnant lady", which confuses me because most pregnant women aren't old. At church, I've been labeled "the girl with the bump" by a few parishioners who find that phrase easier to say than "Alisha".

 Me, yesterday.

I have a sneaking suspicion that honestly, people do hold the amazing shrinking celebrities as realistic standards of how ALL women should look postpartum (well, actually, all of the time, before, during and after giving birth). And in my head, I'm not trying to look like Nicole Ritchie, just trying to cope with not looking like... me. Regular me.

It's funny how cutting off my relaxed hair and going natural have brought out similar feelings of insecurity. They both are forcing me to confront my own standards of what beautiful looks like. And honestly, that's long straight hair and still being able to fit into clothes in the juniors section (even if I don't actually get anything from it). So now, with my hair having shrunken into a crazed afro thanks to the unexpected warm temps and humidity, and my body having put on an extra 20 pounds (!!!), I'm literally fighting the voices in my head that sound like those MSNBC Newsvine commenters. I'm struggling to hold fast to the "see yourself as God sees you" message. But it's hard.

Double sigh.

The Beautiful Scars

A mother shows off her stretchmarks. (Photo Credit)

Looking at this story really boosted my confidence... I've been feeling especially unattractive lately, with my skin a blotchy mess and my walk having become a waddle. From MSNBC:

"Bonnie Crowder’s moment of truth came as she sat in a cafĂ© in Anaheim, Calif. Like many moms, she didn’t like her body: Despite efforts to lose the baby weight, her stomach still looked fat and unattractive to her eyes.
Then a fit-looking mom walked by, and as she hoisted up the infant carrier in her arms, her shirt hiked up to reveal a glimpse of flabby tummy – the same post-baby belly that Crowder had thought was her secret shame.

“I thought, maybe this isn’t my fault,” Crowder says. “Maybe this is normal.”

Then Crowder had a third thought, one that would change her life and change the attitudes of thousands of women: “I thought, more people need to see this.”

At that moment, “Shape of a Mother” was born. Certain that more people needed to see what real women’s bodies look like after pregnancy and birth — not just the air-brushed and creatively lit six-pack abs in glossy magazines – the San Diego mother of two started a website where mothers send in photos of their bodies. Don’t expect artfully shot portraits with strategically placed shadows: These women get real. Stretch marks, C-section scars, dimply thighs and wonky breasts are on display here.

Crowder wasn’t sure whether anyone else would care, but submissions started rolling in almost immediately. She has posted 1,700 entries over the past five years, some anonymous and some with names and faces. The site has been so successful, she recently started a new site called “This is a Woman” to share images of all kinds of real women’s bodies – not just moms. Along with the photos on Shape of a Mother, she gets heartfelt, sometimes achingly confessional posts from women explaining their complicated relationships with their post-baby bodies.

“I feel as if I am disgusting, I look in the mirror and don’t even see myself anymore. Every part of me has changed, everything. I want to love who I am, but I can’t,” one mom of an 8-month-old wrote.
The community of women who comment on the site jump in quickly with encouraging words for new mothers struggling with depression. Other women post photos of their imperfect bodies with notes of defiance, even glee.

“I am 8 months postpartum. I weigh roughly 155 lbs. I get asked if I am pregnant at least once a month. But I wouldn’t trade that for anything, because I got two of the most amazing little girls out of it. My jello-like tummy, silver stripes and C-section scar are my battle wounds. I am an Amazonian warrior. I am a mother,” one mother of twins wrote.

It’s impossible to separate the emotional outpouring from the photos, Crowder explains. “We are told we are only as valuable as what we look like,” she tells “Every scar you get on your body is a scar on your heart and soul as well.”

Crowder is providing a valuable public service for women by creating a safe place to share the reality of post-partum bodies, says Dr. Gail Saltz, psychiatrist and TODAY contributor.

“It gives you a more realistic expectation that counters all the celebrity moms that look fantabulous two weeks later,” Saltz says. Moms may know intellectually that everyone’s body changes with pregnancy, but a picture is worth a thousand words, she says: “It’s one thing to know, another thing to see. Otherwise, you look down and you feel bad.”

Read the rest of the story here.

Wednesday, April 27, 2011

Dead Prez Celebrates Natural Hair

My friend Candace who was featured in part of FAR's "Hair Stories" in "Au Naturale".

Very cool video. Made me smile. :-) H/T Black Girl with Long Hair.

Dead Prez "The Beauty Within" from kinetikcinematix on Vimeo.

Follow Jesus- 21st Century Version

Tuesday, April 26, 2011


This documentary called "Shadeism", by a young Canadian woman of Sri Lankan descent really left me thinking. It's about standards of beauty throughout the world... about how things need to change. Check it out.

The Man With the Mani: Should Straight Dudes Wear Nail Polish?

Singer Seal with nail polish. (Photo Credit)

I was just over on Coco & Creme and saw this story about the trend of straight, metrosexual guys wearing polish on their fingers and toes:

"Traditionally, lacquered nails were considered a female beauty regimen, but over the years more and more men have exposed their love for nail polish to the world. Whether worn on their fingernails or toenails, straight men in Hollywood have been embracing the trend. Seal, music artist and spouse to Heidi Klum, and Mehcad Brooks, male model, have been spotted wearing nail polish. Is the trend too controversial, or is it only a matter of time before we see more men rocking colored manicures?

I will admit when I first saw a straight male friend of mine wearing nail polish I gave him the side-eye. This was the same side-eye my mother gave my male peers when she discovered they were wearing earrings in both ears. In the past, we have seen this same controversy raised about other trends that were considered strictly for women. For instance, ear piercings, long hair, and skinny jeans worn by men were considered too feminine, and to some, a sign of homosexuality."

Quite personally, I'm glad K does not have the slightest interest in ever wearing any kind of makeup. Pretty boys might be cute, but beautiful men are not, IMO. What do you think?

Monday, April 25, 2011

Easter 2011 in Pictures (and a Few Words)

After Easter service ended, the congregation greeted each other. Some, for the first time since last Easter, lol.

The entry to the sanctuary.

The church's former name and the date of it's founding (!).
Flowers decorated the altar.

Leaving church.

Okay, so sometimes, New Jersey can be beautiful.

Nature's colors are amazing. I see this, and I know God's real.

I enjoyed the 80 degree temperature!

And the photographer finally turns the camera on himself- with my insistence. Happy Easter!

An A to Z

At my last doctor's appointment on Thursday, Baby Z got a clean bill of health! The kidney dilation thing is totally gone now. Z also weighs in at a healthy 2 pounds, and continues to make doctors and ultrasound techs alike exclaim, "You have a VERY  active baby!" I know I'm always feeling the movement, but it's nice to see others observe this squiggly One's "Happy Feet" dances.

Thank you to everyone who prayed. I appreciate it. Please continue as I'm starting to feel like a beached whale with legs these days. :-)

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

Did The Last Supper Occur on Wednesday Instead of Thursday?


"Biblical accounts of the Last Supper make more sense if the meal took place on Wednesday rather than on Holy Thursday, a Cambridge professor contends.

In a newly published book titled "The Mystery of the Last Supper," Sir Colin Humphreys explains why he thinks the first eucharistic meal, which most Christian churches will be commemorating on Thursday, actually occurred on the Wednesday night before Easter.

"Many people think the Gospels disagree," Humphreys told me today. "I'm saying they're in remarkable agreement. I've used science and the Bible, hand in hand, to solve this problem."

Humphreys is a materials-science professor at Cambridge University who also casts a scientific eye on the mysteries of the Bible. In 1993, he and a colleague wrote in the journal Nature that Jesus' crucifixion probably took place in the year 33. In 1995, he proposed that the "Star of Bethlehem" was actually a comet that became visible in the year 5 B.C. In his 2003 book, "The Miracles of Exodus," he proposed natural explanations for some of the phenomena described in the biblical story of the Jews' flight from Egypt.

His latest claims are aimed at addressing some of the nagging questions surrounding the Last Supper: First of all, the Gospels of Matthew, Mark and Luke suggest that it was a Passover meal, while the Gospel of John says that it occurred before Passover. Also, so much occurs between the Last Supper and the crucifixion that it's hard to fit everything into the time between Holy Thursday and Good Friday. Jesus' capital trial before the Sanhedrin, for example, would have had to have taken place during the night, which is contrary to Jewish jurisprudence.

Pope Benedict XVI takes note of the Last Supper's loose ends in his own newly published book, "Jesus of Nazareth, Part II," without coming to a firm conclusion on whether the meal occurred on Holy Thursday or earlier in the week.

Humphreys analyzed a variety of religious calendars — Jewish and Egyptian, solar and lunar — and reached his own conclusion that ties up the loose ends. It turns out that Passover began at sunset on Thursday, April 2, in the year 33, according to the calendar adopted during the Jews' Babylonian exile in the sixth century B.C. But a different religious calendar, dating back to the Jews' time in Egypt, would have Passover beginning at sunrise on Wednesday, April 1.

That means Matthew, Mark and Luke could make a case for Wednesday's evening meal being part of Passover (by the pre-Exilic reckoning), while John would be justified in saying it happened before Passover (by the more recent reckoning).

If his timeline is true, the Last Supper would have taken place on April 1. Jesus' main trial before the Sanhedrin would have been on April 2. The confirmation of his sentence and his appearances before Pontius Pilate would have occurred on the morning of Good Friday, April 3, followed by the crucifixion. All this would lead up to the first Easter Sunday on April 5 of the year 33.

Many in the scientific community might see Humphreys' work as an empty exercise. They might even doubt whether Jesus was a historical figure at all. But Humphreys hopes that his analysis will be useful to scriptural scholars as well as rank-and-file believers.

"For biblical scholars, it resolves the discrepancy," he told me. "We now have just the right amount of space that we need for the Gospel events."

To read the whole article, click here.

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

Twenty-One Percent of Atheists Believe in God

Yeah, you read the headline correctly. According to a Pew Research poll, one in five atheists believe in God, and over half of agnostics do. Wow. (H/T Catholic & Enjoying It!)

Monday, April 18, 2011

Music Malaise: Lady Gaga's "Judas"- No 30 Pieces of Silver Needed

 Didn't Madonna do this whole "Christian/Catholic bashing" thing before, like twenty years ago? Just better? (Photo Credit)

Just in time for Easter, the ever controversial and sacrilegious Lady Gaga is releasing "Judas", which she sings from the POV of Mary Magdalene. I think. Or Peter. Or... I don't know. A sampling of the lyrics: "When he comes to me, I am ready/ I'll wash his feet with my hair if he needs/ Forgive him when his tongue lies through his brain/ Even after three times, he betrays me/I'll bring him down, bring him down, down/ A king with no crown, king with no crown".

She continues, "In the most Biblical sense/ I am beyond repentance/ Fame hooker, prostitute wench, vomits her mind". Uh yeah, speaking of vomit, listen to the song yourself and be the judge. Strange and offensive lyrics aside, the musical track is rather bland and her voice, boring. I think Gaga might be relying too much on controversy and allowing the actual music to become stale.

All About Passover

From HuffPo:

"Passover, the Jewish holiday known as Pesach in Hebrew, commemorates the Israelites' escape from Egyptian slavery and is observed with ritualized meals that consist of unleavened bread and many cups of wine.

But there's more to Passover than matzo meal and Manischewitz

At every Passover seder, Orthodox, Reform and secular Jewish families alike recite the story of their ancestors' dramatic redemption from hundreds of years of collective bondage. The haggadah, which is read and sung throughout the meal, tells the tale of the Hebrew enslavement by Pharaoh, the chutzpah of Moses (backed by God, of course) asking the Egyptian ruler to let his people go (Moses' name is not actually mentioned in the haggadah in deference to the ultimate sovereignty of God), the Ten Plagues that inundated Egypt when Pharaoh refused and, finally, the last-second escape of the Israelites through the miraculously parted Red Sea. 

So fast was their exodus, the Hebrews had no time to let their dough rise. Thus, to the chagrin of many young and old Jews, the week-long festival is observed in part by refraining from eating leavened bread aka matzo.
Despite this ubiquitous flat cracker, Passover is one of the most widely observed Jewish holidays, perhaps because it is, like Hanukkah, so family- and children-oriented. The youngest person at the seder traditionally ask the Four Questions, highlighting why Passover is such a special time in the year. And toward the end of the meal, children search high and low for the afikomen, a symbolic bit of matzo that brings out the competitive side of even the shyest of kids. 

But adults get their fill, too. The commandment to drink four cups of wine (each of which represents one of the times God promised to deliver the slaves into freedom) results in lively, festive banter.
Well before the meal begins, Passover brings spring cleaning to a holy different level. In fact, fulfilling the commandment of searching for and destroying chametz in preparation for Pesach has many Jewish households gripped by bread-crumb mania come April. For the more-observant families, this means turning the house inside-out, using special sets of kosher-for-Passover dishes and discarding any and all food in the pantry not marked "OU-P." (That is, of course, if they don't choose to forgo the hassle all together and order take out or, believe it or not, hop on a week-long Passover cruise.)

Today, Passover is used as an opportunity to reflect on the things that plague our world, to seek justice for the still-oppressed and even to bring together multi-faiths family and friends under the common banner of universal freedom

Passover begins at sundown on April 18 and concludes (outside of Israel) on April 26."

Jesus in Every Book of the Bible

Out of the mouths of babes! This eleven year old breaks it down!

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

Posing Naked While Pregnant

Since, maybe my fourth month, I've been questioned repeatedly about when I would be taking the now requisite professional baby belly bump pictures. I kept saying I think my third trimester would be best, and a good representation of my true expectant-mom state.

But after seeing some rather revealing spreads of Mariah Carey lately, I'm reconsidering.

(Photo: Popeater)

I thought the first pic of her painted tummy with a butterfly was actually cute. She's not the first to use an expanding belly as a canvas, and she certainly won't be the last. I've seen shows where women have gone and had a cast made and painted, and then proudly hang it along with pictures and other mementos of their pregnancy. It's not for everyone, but it definitely has a market out there.

(Photo: Life & Style)
Then MC left the tweeting behind and got professional with a covershoot for tabloid Life & Style Weekly. A naked covershoot. Even though her hair covers her breasts, we are still seeing a whole lot of Mariah, which is saying a lot given the songstress' preference for wearing dresses straight from the tween section of Justice. We even get to see that black line thingy that appears during pregnancy which I personally don't understand, even after consulting with a book and a website on pregnancy. All I know is I have it and it looks really weird.

Anyway, today I caught sight of Mrs. Cannon's latest picture, and she has brought the mister along to perform the work of a bra  (maybe her hair was tired?). Now, I don't find the pregnant female form offensive in the least bit (well, maybe just a bit when it comes to my form), but this is a bit much, even for me. So I was curious... what do you think? Is this picture sweet as "Honey" or making you recall the words of the late Biggie Smalls, as in "Mariah Scary"? Do you think pregnant ladies should keep their bellies ensconced in Motherhood gear at all times? Or maybe just keep the photos to the family album?

Is There A Link Between Weaves & Baldness?

From The Root:

"Reuters is reporting today on a new study providing further evidence linking braids and weaves to a permanent type of hair loss that affects many African-American women.

These styles cause prolonged pulling at the hair strands that may cause inflammation of the hair follicle, which has been showed to lead to scarring. This in turn can cause central centrifugal cicatricial alopecia, a type of balding that starts at the top of the scalp and then spreads slowly.

"Our survey results suggest there is a high prevalence of central hair loss among African-American women," wrote study leader Angela Kyei of the Cleveland Clinic in Ohio. Though the findings couldn't prove that hair grooming was at the base of the problem, women might still want to take the results into consideration, she added..."

To read more, click here. And I'm often looked like a crazy maniac for wearing my hair relaxer and weave-free. Hmph.

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

A Farewell to Arms

I'm waiting for it any day now. My lease renewal. It usually comes about now, in the middle of April, a reminder that the current lease on the apartment will expire on June 30th. The notice will contain the increased rent amount and a warning that if I do not agree with it, I should put it in writing immediately and prepare to get out. If I don't respond, that is my nonverbal consent to stay on yet another year. This will be my fourth time receiving such a memo, and for the first time, I'm going to say "no, thank you" to the management. It's time for me to be moving on.

 My first dining room set, purchased in May of 2008, and my color-inspiring Starbucks poster.

In June of 2007, I tearfully left my mother's house, the same little yellow Cape Cod she had brought me to straight from the hospital when I was born. Even though I knew it was time for me to leave, it still hurt my heart to do so, despite the fact I was 25, a college graduate, and gainfully (and painfully) employed. My new place was located in a building called "The Arms" and had a fraternal twin, "The Manor", next door. "The Arms" apartments all boasted more closets than some older home have. My one bedroom has seven!

To help cheer me and my new digs up, a couple of friends and I set to painting the place in shades of cinnamon and gold, inspired by an old Starbucks poster I had literally saved from being thrown in the trash heap. The barista laughed when I said I wanted it. He was busy thinking of the latest latte to care about the PR campaign push for Chai. Playing "HGTV" design stars, my friend Lori and I chose two shades of happy from the picture and headed to Home Depot. With help from Giddel, the apartment was transformed into a warm, cafe-like environment. I went to Wal-Mart and got frames, lamps and shower curtains. A woman I knew moving to another state donated almost all my living room furniture and some other pieces. My uncle gave me his guest room bed, which allowed me to finally be free of a twin bed for the first time in my life.An artist friend of mine gave me a painting he hadn't managed to sell, and I happily hung it above my couch.

A set of dishes from Randy, glasses from Ron, and before I knew it, the apartment felt like home. It was almost home. But with just me and some cool stuff taking up space, it wasn't. So in an attempt to rectify that, I invited friends over.

I was a Charlotte- Carrie hybrid for my "Sex & The City" party in May of 2008.

Some came for video games, others for a glass of wine. I threw a good-bye party for Giddel when she moved to Virginia, and then a "Sex & The City" party when the first movie was released. I had plenty of solo girl fun, but it still wasn't home.

That all changed, of course, just a week after my celebration of single. I went to a local diner with Keiron on our first date. It would be my last first date.

Things were kind of crazy when K first moved in after we were married. We still watch a lot of "Seinfeld" reruns.

Even before we married, K did his part to turn the apartment into a home. Regular bouquets of flowers brought life to the place. Being the computer whiz that he is, he quickly upgraded me from the old 2000 Gateway pictured above to a new, sleek black Dell, with a nice flat screen. He brought lots of little things, too. A shelf/key holder for the hall, a wine bottle opener, an ironing board. He didn't ask me want I needed, he just made a mental note, of say, me taking a knife to a bottle of chardonnay to remove the cork, and the next day, there would be a new little gift.

 K at work in the kitchen.

Once we tied the knot, the apartment became very homey. Pictures of his family mingled with mine on side tables, souvenirs from around the world brightened up shelves. The biggest change was his presence. The smell of his body wash in the bathroom, or curry in the kitchen. Hearing the tapping of his fingers typing away at a keyboard.

K introduced me to the wonders of "green sauce" for cooking meat.

Making things more cozy was the increase in family visits. My sister and her husband and their kids. Sleepovers with my nephews and their cousins. And every year, our hosting Thanksgiving dinner (we'll be passing on that this year, though). Friends visited, too. Giddel, her sister and kids. K's co-workers. The apartment no longer was spic and span neat like when I lived alone, but the random things left behind- my niece's baby bib, my godson's sippy cup, a Tupperware container from a Thanksgiving guest- added character.

Thanksgiving 2008: Pictured, clockwise from left, my brother Joe, me and K, my brother's son, Nate, and my sister's husband, Manny.

Last week, I started going through one of the seven (!) closets, looking for clothes I don't wear anymore that can be donated to our church. It also will help with the massive job of packing we have coming up. It is the beginning of the end. In the coming weeks, books will be placed in boxes, along with games and pictures. The giant Bob Marley print will come down from the hall, one of K's contributions to the decor. The cinnamon and golden hues will be whitewashed. Things will be reset to 2007. What was once my bachelorette pad and became our home will have vanished. Our home at "The Arms" will be just a memory.


Thursday, April 7, 2011

Pretty & Powerful Kicks

An oil painting I did last year... even then, I guess I was expecting to expect...

I'm getting big as a result of my Z's steady growth. My belly sticks out a lot now- in fact, it seems I'm rapidly becoming all belly. From behind, I look pretty much like regular old Li. But I turn sideways, and my profile is like a camel.

It's been hard to feel pretty lately. I know why my body is changing, but I still find myself shocked by my appearance. It's funny how in the weeks before I found out I was pregnant, I felt "fat". Ha. I wish I could go back and smack November me in the face and then her pull up to see April Li. 

But imagining smacking myself silly is not healthy and does not help me feel prettier now (it certainly would not help a November me feel so great, either). But imagination is not a bad thing to put to use, so instead, I've been thinking about Z. How Z kicks constantly. I don't know if our little One is doing the moonwalk or playing soccer in there, but pretty much every day, throughout the day, I feel movement. Usually rapid taps, sometimes a lone jab. But Z's squiggles are constant. So I imagine Z in there getting plenty of exercise, practicing for when he or she will toddle on chubby legs across the living room. Or run for base during a game of tag. Or maybe glide across a court, going for a lay-up. Or triumphantly walking across a stage getting a diploma...

And that little excursion into fantasy does the trick. I'm holding my head up a little higher. Z kicked me right into pretty. :-)

How to Have Hope Through a Double Cancer Diagnosis

Elisa & Nate Bond, with their 18 month old daughter, Sadie.  (Photo: MSNBC)

Promo for The National Day of Prayer 2011

Is it just me, or does it seem the producer of this video has sat through maybe one too many viewings of "Independence Day", "The Day After Tomorrow" or "Inception"?

Tuesday, April 5, 2011

Lent: Halfway Through the Journey

A pic of me taken last September at a beach by K. I was praying, holding a rosary he gave me.

So somehow, we're half way through Lent, and while K is feeling a deeper bond in his relationship with God, I'm feeling... like how did it get to halfway through Lent? Am I totally in a pregnancy fog or something?

So here's an update. On March 18th, I went out to lunch with my brother Joe, and being short on time, we went to the closest fast food joint, Burger King. Now, I'm not a huge fan of this eatery (or McDonald's for that matter), but I wanted a Mocha Joe, since well into my Second Trimester, I have regained a taste for coffee (Even though it has to sweetened and full of milk, and still not daily- what can I say, I love coffee, but Z? Not so much.). As we got to the drive through window to pay, the strangest thing happened. I caught a whiff of grilled beef and onions, and instantly, I HAD TO HAVE A WHOPPER. I've never had a craving like that, and with my stomach grumbling, I pulled over and wound up eating two Whopper Juniors. The problem (besides the fatty fast food & little nutritional value)? The 18th was a Friday, and as part of my Lenten discipline, I've been abstaining from meat on Fridays. Last year, I went the entire 40 day period without eating meat (I even spit out a bite of burrito when I realized the restaurant had given me a beef instead of a bean and went hungry), but this year, I crumbled from the scent of "Have it Your Way" burger. 

As if my failure weren't bad enough, K had actually called to remind right before lunch NOT to eat meat, and of course, he had fish (well, he tried to have it, but gave up) from our workplace cafeteria. When I confessed my slip, he responded (seriously) by saying how disappointed he was in me. After all, I was a huge motivating reason for him to stay on the Lenten straight and narrow. Ouch. I guess I could've blamed it on Baby Z, but instead I took my lumps. I messed up.
As for Facebook, my personal account is still deactivated, and I have received calls from my Uncle Curtis in California to my father-in-law in Trinidad questioning my disappearance. Most people seem to understand (although a few are actually peeved at not being able to gawk at my bulging belly through album updates... it does not appease them when I refer them to this blog because they have no interest in reading about my pregnancy). I have to admit, I've found being off Facebook very helpful to my life all around. I have had more time to read (finished a book, half way through another), have been steadily listening to Christian apologetic shows and praying much more. I'm not involved in silly e-disputes and have not been vicariously keeping up with the Kardashians via friends' links, either. Interestingly, my television watching has nosedived, too. Outside of old sitcoms saved on our computer, I haven't watched TV in weeks. Yeah, that's right. WEEKS.
I've been going to Inquiry classes at the church I've been attending, and K is going, too, and let me tell you, it's a powerful experience to be taking a religious course as a couple, even if the topics have been on The Great Schism and the Book of Common Prayer. K is loving the class more than me, which is making me so proud of him. 

But... I'm not so proud of me. With just a few weeks before the Easter Vigil, I'm feeling a bit stagnant compared to where I thought I'd be on this Lenten journey. Easter Vigil, which is on the 23rd, is the day I'm scheduled to be re-baptized. This occasion holds so much meaning, it will get a separate post from me, along with an explanation because I'm sure all 7 of you reading are like, "WHAT?!?" But for a very big hint, let's go back two years to when I started this blog and I shared my spiritual history. Read carefully, and you might be able to pick up what in my past might be cause for the unusual step of being re-baptized at 29, nearly 23 years after I did it the first time. So, at this point, I figured I'd be feeling extra, I don't know, Christiany, but instead I'm feeling as mixed as my track record for this Lent. 

How are you doing? Share how your Lenten journey is going! 

Padded Bikini Tops... for 7 Year Old Girls

The Abercrombie "Ashley" (Photo: CBS Los Angeles)

What do you think? I personally would NEVER buy a padded bikini top for my second grade daughter.

Is Facebook Leading to More Divorces?

(Photo: AskMen/iStock)

From Crosswalk (H/T Baptist Press):

"Surveys that show Facebook being cited more and more in divorce cases should make spouses think twice before "friending" someone of the opposite sex, experts say.

A 2010 survey by the American Academy of Matrimonial Lawyers showed that 81 percent of "the nation's top divorce attorneys" reported an increase in social networking websites being used as evidence in divorce cases. Facebook is the leader, being cited in 66 percent of cases that involve online evidence.

"We're coming across it more and more," clinical psychologist Steven Kimmons of Loyola University Medical Center in Maywood, Ill., said in a news release. "One spouse connects online with someone they knew from high school. The person is emotionally available and they start communicating through Facebook. Within a short amount of time, the sharing of personal stories can lead to a deepened sense of intimacy, which in turn can point the couple in the direction of physical contact."

The Facebook-divorce link has been discussed widely in the social media realm lately thanks to a survey from the United Kingdom supposedly showing Facebook being at least partially blamed for one in five of all divorces. The data is from a U.K. online divorce service that found the word "Facebook" appearing in 989 of the company's 5,000 divorce petitions, all of which were uncontested, The Wall Street Journal reported. The company's managing director called the survey "unscientific."

Whether or not Facebook is a reason for one in five divorces, it is becoming an increasing problem in marriages, Kimmons and other marriage experts say.

Couples should take common sense safeguards on Facebook, said Michael Martin, vice president for academic affairs and professor of New Testament studies at Golden Gate Baptist Theological Seminary in Mill Valley, Calif.

"People need to manage the beginning of the relationship," Martin told Baptist Press. "If somebody contacts you from your past and wants to strike up a friendship -- somebody that you dated once or somebody that you knew in high school or college, there's nothing necessarily wrong with entering into that relationship. Just do it along with your spouse. Include your spouse into the conversation. If you're willing to do that openly, then it's likely there's nothing at all wrong with the Facebook relationship. If you are being invited into a conversation that you are uncomfortable including your spouse in, then you should not start the relationship."

There "absolutely" are times when a husband or wife should decline a Facebook friend invitation from someone of the opposite sex, Martin said."

To read the whole story, click here.

Picture of The Week

Picture of The Week
K and Z enjoying the Christmas tree.

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"Food & Liquor 2: The Great American Rap Album" by Lupe Fiasco

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"Homicide: A Year on the Killing Streets"


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