Monday, April 29, 2013

That evening after the strangest day of their lives

"Beauty" (Part IV) by B.H. Fairchild

So there they are, as I will always remember them, 
the men who were once fullbacks or tackles or guards 
in their three-point stances knuckling into the mud, 
hungry for high school glory and the pride of their fathers, 
eager to gallop terribly against each other's bodies
each man in his body looking out now at the nakedness 
of a body like his, men who each autumn had followed 
their fathers into the pheasant-rich fields of Kansas 
and as boys had climbed down from the Allis-Chalmers 
after plowing their first straight furrow, licking the dirt 
from their lips, the hand of the father resting lightly 
upon their shoulder, men who in the oven-warm winter 
kitchens of Baptist households saw after a bath the body 
of the father and felt diminished by it, who that same 
winter in the abandoned schoolyard felt the odd intimacy 
of their fist against the larger boy's cheekbone 
but kept hitting, ferociously, and walked away 
feeling for the first time the strength, the abundance
of their own bodies. And I imagine the men 
that evening after the strangest day of their lives, 
after they have left the shop without speaking 
and made the long drive home alone in their pickups,
I see them in their little white frame houses on the edge 
of town adrift in the long silence of the evening turning 
finally to their wives, touching without speaking the hair 
which she has learned to let fall about her shoulders 
at this hour of the night, lifting the white nightgown 
from her body as she in turn unbuttons his work shirt 
heavy with the sweat and grease of the day's labor until 
they stand naked before each other and begin to touch 
in a slow choreography of familiar gestures their bodies, 
she touching his chest, his hand brushing her breasts, 
and he does not say the word "beautiful" because 
he cannot and never has, and she does not say it 
because it would embarrass him or any other man 
she has ever known, though it is precisely the word 
I am thinking now as I stand before Donatello's David

Donatello's David
with my wife touching my sleeve, what are you thinking? 
and I think of the letter from my father years ago 
describing the death of Bobby Sudduth, a single shot 
from a twelve-gauge which he held against his chest, 
the death of the heart, I suppose, a kind of terrible beauty
as someone said of the death of Hart Crane, though that is 
surely a perverse use of the word, and I was stunned then, 
thinking of the damage men will visit upon their bodies, 
what are you thinking? she asks again, and so I begin 
to tell her about a strange afternoon in Kansas, 
about something I have never spoken of, and we walk 
to a window where the shifting light spreads a sheen 
along the casement, and looking out, we see the city 
blazing like miles of uncut wheat, the farthest buildings 
taken in their turn, and the great dome, the way 
the metal roof of the machine shop, I tell her, 
would break into flame late on an autumn day, with such beauty.

((I love, love, love this poem. This is only the fourth - and last - part of the poem, but in its wholeness, it is a real work of beauty. I'm not sure where I first read him -- I perhaps heard him as a visiting poet to Hillsdale? Either way, I was enchanted. This poem is from his book The Art of the Lathe.))

Friday, April 26, 2013

Good Intentions Pave the Road

Yes, it really is Friday. And the last one in April, to boot!

Thanks for hosting Jen!


My awesome editor at Ignitum Today, Stacy "The Boss" Trasancos, is the best. These past few months for me have been trying, especially from the personal stand point that I've hardly had time to edit/ publish my scribblings - particularly ones I've been asked to do, like book reviews.

She's given this piece of advice so many times, it almost hit me in the head once I realized it applied to me too: whenever one of the writers freaks out because deadline is looming and something else has come up, she tells them,
Don't worry. Life and family comes first.
Huh. That certainly isn't rocket science. (Her Ph.D. is in Chemistry, anyways.)

But when I was feeling bogged down by work and pregnancy nausea and trying to support my husband while we lived an hour and a half apart most of the week, I remembered what she said and decided to give my two weeks notice at my part-time job. It's the first time I've put my new family before any sort of job before (in a big way, at least), and it feels really right. Begone stress!


Do you follow Pope Francis on Twitter? WHY NOT?! The man is our spiritual leader, and gives us daily tidbits (in multiple languages too!). Today's tweet is: Dear young people, do not bury your talents, the gifts God has given you! Do not be afraid to dream of great things!

Oh, and THIS: 

Totes does:


Did I say "pregnancy nausea"? Whoops. Nausea so bad I've been on medicine, naps and 64 oz of water a day since February? Okay, yes. I am pregnant!! Here's a picture of me at 17 weeks:

Baby bumpin'.
You can't tell -- as much -- when I'm with all my siblings:

What a good looking bunch!

Looking for a super awesome cookbook to use? I highly recommend Cheap. Fast. Good. by Beverly Mills and Alicia Ross. My mom bought it for me when I was first living on my own as a statehouse reporter, but I've really put it to use in married life. The recipes are delicious, they use every day ingredients plus tell you how much it will cost to make per serving, and the authors give tons of newbie advice, especially great for those new-ish to navigating the grocery store on a budget (but also for people in general!).


I'm also reading Bringing Up Bebe: One American Mother Discovers the Wisdom of French Parenting by Pamela Druckerman. No, I'm not a Francophile - but neither is the author, which is what makes the book work so well. She was a WSJ journalist who met her English husband on assignment, stopped working for the paper, moved to France and married her beau, and - lo and behold! - had herself some bebes. This book is creative nonfiction and a fascinating study of French parenting. The biggest thing I've taken away is that I will also teach my bebe to sleep through the night by four months, and I can eat sushi and brie if I'm really careful. Yes, my stomach is reading this book too. I really recommend it; read with a grain of sea salt... what am I saying. Read it while eating a baguette!


That book is also encouraging my love of cheese.

Oui-oui, s'il vous plait!


Reminder that April is Sexual Assault Awareness Month! I'll be publishing something by the end of the month, and if any of you have a story or post, please share it with us on the Bright Maidens FB page. Four days left!

Have a wonderful Friday, y'all! I'm finishing up my part-time job work and then I start a weekend babysitting job tomorrow at 8 a.m. The fun don't stop!!

Wednesday, April 24, 2013

Sunday, April 14, 2013

Love Revealed

There can be no real love without our free will. In today's Gospel, Jesus asked Simon Peter three times if he, Simon Peter, loved him, Jesus. Of course he does, Peter says. But then again, Peter also denied Jesus three times before the cock crows. We all have our moments of weakness.

Mine came earlier this week, when my alarm to wake-up went off around the time I was carrying a tray upstairs to my Mom with her breakfast. First of all, it's nerve-wracking enough carrying a tall glass of milk with no lid. Secondly, my alarm is annoying. Annoying enough to make me want to snooze it only out of desperation for more sleep because I don't like hearing it go off.
The dogs keep Mom company

The real question you're wondering is why I was carrying breakfast to my Mother when it was
A) not Mother's Day;
B) not her birthday;
C) a regular week day work day.

The story starts thousands of years ago, when Jesus performed miracles and told the people he cured and ordered them not to tell anyone else about it. He was serious, too. DO NOT TELL ANYONE, he said. Off ran the lepers, praising Jesus. Off went the adulteress, praising Jesus. Off went the formerly-dead-and-now-alive + family/ friends/ witnesses, praising Jesus.

Now, if I were Jesus, I would be annoyed. My alarm clock going off annoyed. Mr. Incredible "I feel like the maid! I just cleaned up this mess!" annoyed. I imagine Jesus thinking, I said No! Gah. Now they want to make me their earthly King because I just fed the thousands of people with five loaves of bread and two fish. Gotta re-camp so I can re-think how to talk about the Kingdom of God. So much for making my point!

Perhaps, though, his thoughts are more charitable than mine. After all, Jesus did not do these deeds because he is a "nice guy"; he is God. Jesus is not just a moral guy, following the Golden Rule; he is God. He did not cure the blind and the lame for personal gratification; he is God. Jesus told them to pick up their mat; he had forgiven them their sins. He told them to sin no more. He had opened their hearts by action, freely and out of love.

C'mon guys, let's go evangelize the world!
A little over two weeks ago, my mom and two sisters were in a terrible car crash on the way home from Easter break. In a miraculous way, they walked away. The car is totaled. The youngest only has a few bruises; the middle sprained her ankle, and we'll watch her on crutches at her Shakespeare performance tonight; my mom broke her clavicle, a couple ribs, and has a small puncture in her lung. They're all healing well, physically and emotionally.

That night, my husband had arrived for a long weekend with me - his attending went on vacation and told him to take off the time too. No objections! Our time is so limited together. Instead, as soon as we got the phone calls, he offered to drive down with my father to pick up our three injured family members. Out of love they both acted. Freely, they drove 7+ hours through the night to reach the hospital. Two days later, they were all home.

I've come to better understand Jesus' order to not tell anyone of the miracles he performed after what happened to my mom and sisters. He didn't do it for the attention; he did it as an act of love. We've been asked so many times why we haven't called and told people, why we haven't been more vocal about the accident. It's because it was a miracle, and we're still in awe that three alive and with us today. They're alive because of the Love of Jesus - and how is that quantifiable?

Our cousins gave us this edible fruit-flower basket: gone.
Do you love me? asked Jesus; Yes, and thank you for my sister.
Do you love me? asked Jesus; Yes, and thank you for my sister.
Do you love me? asked Jesus; yes, and thank you for my mom.

Thank you for the meals from family and friends; thank you for our close family, as we take care of and nurture each other; thank you for for the nourishment your Word gives to this life.

When they had finished breakfast, Jesus said to Simon Peter, "Simon, son of John, do you love me more than these?" He said to him, "Yes, Lord; you know that I love you." He said to him, "Feed my lambs." A second time he said to him, "Simon, son of John, do you love me?" He said to him, "Yes, Lord; you know that I love you." He said to him, "Tend my sheep." He said to him the third time, "Simon, son of John, do you love me?" Peter was grieved because he said to him the third time, "Do you love me?" And he said to him, "Lord, you know everything; you know that I love you." Jesus said to him, "Feed my sheep" (John 21: 15-17).

Friday, April 12, 2013

Gosnell and the Reality of Born-Alive Infants

A documentary on the man and the facts of his crimes. If anything, listen to the witness of the women. The testimonies of the African American community are also very moving:

More stories:
The Catholic World Report: When “the Silent Scream” isn’t silent anymore
USA Today: Philadelphia abortion clinic horror: Column
First Things: A Missed Opportunity That Will Still Be There Tomorrow

Pray for Dr. Gosnell, pray for those who worked for him (especially strength and courage for the ones testifying and are also being convicted), pray for those affected, pray for the innocence and innocents taken.

"The steadfast love of the Lord never ceases; his mercies never come to an end; they are new every morning; great is thy faithfulness" (Lamentations 3:22-23).

Friday, April 5, 2013

Keeps Grace

“As Kingfishers Catch Fire” by Gerard Manley Hopkins, SJ
As king fishers catch fire, dragonflies draw flame;
As tumbled over rim in roundy wells
Stones ring; like each tucked string tells, each hung bell’s
Bow swung finds tongue to fling out broad its name;
Each mortal thing does one thing and the same:
Deals out that being indoors each one dwells;
Selves — goes itself; myself it speaks and spells,
Crying What I do is me: for that I came.

I say more: the just man justices;
Keeps grace: that keeps all his goings graces;
Acts in God’s eye what in God’s eye he is —
Christ. For Christ plays in ten thousand places,
Lovely in limbs, and lovely in eyes not his
To the Father through the features of men’s faces.