Monday, November 13, 2006
The Nintendo Wii (pronounced "we") is set to be released in six days and will be the greatest Nintendo console ever released - nay, the greatest console ever released by any company. Period.
I say this in all seriousness as I was raised on the Nintendo Entertainment System (NES) of the 80s and have made video gaming a "hobby" ever since. Unfortunately, I have become terribly bored with video games as of late. Every year the industry is watered down with titles like "Shoot A Lot of Freakin' Aliens 9" or the 300th installment of Madden. Consumers are being asked to shell out $300+ every five years to play the exact same game we've been playing for the past 20 years simply because of graphical enhancements.
I came to fully realize this two weeks ago when I saw the new game Gears of War on an Xbox 360 stand in the mall. Initially, I was in awe of its beauty (the graphics are absolutely outstanding). But, after watching an individual in front of me play the game for several minutes I was bored out of my mind and headed home. I then proceeded to plug in my old NES and have a blast with Super Mario Brothers 3.
The Nintendo Wii will revolutionize the gaming industry for several reasons. It does not possesses the graphical power of the Xbox 360 or that of the mind-boggling, psuedo-thermonuclear-device that is the Playstation 3 but it has one of the greatest innovations in gaming history: a controller that senses a full range of 3-Dimentional motion in space. For example, to play tennis, you simply swing the controller (shaped like a small television remote) just as you would a tennis racket. In fact, you can put spin on the ball by simply twisting the remote as you swing. In the new Zelda, you swing the remote to slash away at enemies and even use the remote as a pointer in shooting games to aim your gun. It may not sound like a big deal, but everyone who has played a game as graphically inept as "Wii Sports" cannot stop talking about how incredibly fun it is to play.
Another exciting feature is the ability to play games from every Nintendo console ever made, as well as some Sega Genesis games. For a minimal fee - like with iTunes - I can download games like Ice Hockey for the original NES, Super Mario World for the Super Nintendo or even Super Mario 64 that was released for the Nintendo 64 and play them on the Wii. In effect, Nintendo is not simply making available to the public their new generation of games, they are releasing their entire catalog of games over the past 20+ years.
While there are still a host of other features yet to be mentioned, the most exciting for me is online connectivity. Games that I have had a blast playing with friends and family when I come to visit, such as Mario Party and Super Smash Brothers, can now be played over the internet, thereby rendering distance constraints irrelevant. This means I could call up Mel, Eric, Yoj, etc. across the country and be like "Hey, you wanna' play Mario Party?" and they'd all be like "Fo' Shizzle!"
Because Mario Party and Smash Bros. are fan favorites within the fam and extended fam (shout out to the D's!), I've included links to some videos of the upcoming renditions of these titles. Some of the mini-games for Mario Party in particular look incredibly fun with the new controller:
Mario Party 8 videos
Super Smash Bros. Brawl
Note: The picture at the top is a photoshopped rendition of Homestar Runner, a web-based comic character, accompanied by a Wii remote and its "nunchuck" attachment. Homestar Runner pronounces the word "Seriously" in the same manner as the phonetic spelling of "Seri-Wii-ously" and it was my lame attempt at wit.
Friday, November 03, 2006
The scene is Bender, Fry, and Leela watching a political debate for the President of Earth.
Johnson: It's time someone had the courage to stand up and say: "I'm against those things that everybody hates".
Jackson: Now I respect my opponent. I think he's a good man but, quite frankly, I agree with everything he just said!
Fry: These are the candidates? They sound like clones. [He looks a little harder.] Wait a minute. They are clones!
Leela: Don't let their identical DNA fool you. They differ on some key issues.
Johnson: I say your three cent titanium tax goes too far.
Jackson: And I say your three cent titanium tax doesn't go too far enough!
Fry: If I were registered to vote, I'd send these clowns a message by staying home on election day and dressing up like a clown.
Ah, subtle satire.
If the age-old axiom that "the more things change, the more they stay the same" is true of life then it is especially true in politics. To further stifle any progress hoped for by our founding fathers, we're stuck with a two-party system that resembles two conglomerates competing for nothing more than greater market share. Unlike a corporation, however, there is virtually no accountability. If a business continually fails to meet its projected revenue forecasts or repeatedly fails to satisfy the needs of the public the corporation will more than likely collapse as a better, more efficient company who can do these things replaces them in the market because there is such a vast and diverse number of corporations competing. Such is not the case in American politics; it is the corporate equivalent of a duopoly.
Currently neither political party lives in the fear of being disbanded or becoming “bankrupt,” nor does sending a “message” by voting out a particular candidate do anything to actually further the cause of progress. Whereas corporations sell us a quantifiable good or service, the political parties sell us rhetoric because they do not have to meet our expectations or accomplish goals; they only have to be a better option than the other guy. The Democrat’s strategy for elections over the past couple elections should be evidence enough. They have not presented an actual, tangible plan for resolving global issues that is better than the Republicans (which is tragic because there are plenty out there) but rather have trumpeted how terrible the current incumbents are and how they, like Jack Johnson, are nothing like John Jackson. After all, who else are you going to vote for? It’s either them or us.
Furthermore, accomplishing goals and finding real solutions to problems is counterproductive to this political model because it would effectively eliminate a means of maintaining power. Where would Republicans be without abortion? Where would Democrats be without the elderly in fear of losing social security? This problem is even further exacerbated by a single political party possessing market share over the whole of Government. That is why I’ll probably be voting Democrat this election year. Until a third party can raise sufficient capital to compete financially with the two existing conglomerates, voting third party or independent will not be a viable solution.
As is, we are stuck with this system of Government and if the two party system is not healthy for America, a single party controlling all facets is the plague. As a conservative, I still believe that a Republican ought to hold the office of the Presidency for this position has far more clout than any other branch – which alone should raise some red-flags for those who think an actual “republic” envisioned by our Founding Fathers was a great idea – but as far as Congress is concerned, things need to be shaken up. The irony of the Republican Party is that they are most effective and most productive when they are the underdogs. Democratic control over the House, or at best Congress, would not be the end of the world for Conservatives. If nothing else, it would re-ignite the passion of the early 90s and remind Republicans of why they were elected in the first place. The Republican Party has become complacent, mediocre, and quite frankly infested with people who are anything but conservative.
Nancy Pelosi as Speaker of the House would be the most pleasant vile I’d ever have to swallow if it would bring true conservatism back.
I should note that voting for Bill Nelson may be an extremely difficult decision to make. If I do go through with this, I'll have to hold my proverbial nose while I vote. I know Republicans hate Katherine Harris, but the more I read and hear her, the more I like her. Ignoring for a moment the fact that Nelson looks like Frankenstein on Botox, there is just nothing I see that validates this particular man being in office. I just don't get it.
Tuesday, July 18, 2006
NBC and YouTube.com are holding a contest to create the best 20 second promo for their hit show: The Office.
Here is my entry, but I have neither heard from YouTube or NBC nor have I seen it listed with the other promos.
I haven't the slightest idea why.
[Originally posted on MSN Spaces July 5, 2006]
So it was March 25th and I was 6 cm dilated and 90% effaced. The doc wanted to give me IV meds and explained that she generally did so 10 hours after the water had broken. We talked and decided that we wanted to wait until closer to the 24 hour mark to have IV meds. The doc also decided we needed to find out if the monitor was picking up my contractions accurately so she attempted to insert an internal monitor. It was the most painful part of the entire experience! Mike couldn't take watching me and lost it when the doc said she had hit the baby's shoulder. It was an unsuccessful attempt. The doc suggested the epidural and I again refused. We agreed with the doc that if things didn't progress by morning we would talk about other options. Our hopes of natural labor continued to press on. It turned out that our dear little girl was posterior and not dropping enough to cause any dilation. Soooo...it was determined around the evening after some very painful contractions that we weren't actually accomplishing anything. My body was working hard, but all for naught. Once I learned that she was posterior I did everything in my power to turn her. I did cat stretches, pelvic tilts, and walked as much as I could. I even spent a significant amount of time in the hospital spa to help relieve the back labor and to relax my back muscles which supposedly could help her turn. This went on all through the night. My mom, Mike and my mother-in-law all took turns walking with me, staying with me in the tub...etc. My dad arrived late that night close to the early AM. While everyone tried to sleep I was unable to even attempt it. I did make a noble effort, but sleep and labor don't walk hand in hand. I had started having bloody show immediately after my water broke and this continued all day and through the night. I knew I was in labor...it just didn't seem to want to take off running!
Sunday March 26th: between 9 and 11 am
In the morning the doc came in to check me and I had only progressed half a cm to a cm. My contractions had basically stopped. They talked to us and explained that although we had done everything in our power to have natural labor, if we had done the same thing in a birthing house we would be sent to the hospital for an induction at this point. We agreed that we had done everything we could to have a natural labor and that it seemed we must try something else. I had an epidural, IV meds and IV fluids. Once the epidural took effect they started a Pitocin drip. Funny side note: The anesthesiologist kept checking on me to make sure I wasn't "in pain" and to ensure I wasn't "feeling anything". He offered me a button that would up my pain meds every time I pushed it. I pretended I was fine...floating, in reality I felt a lot, but I wanted to feel it. After about 2-3 hours of rotating me in bed I began to feel pressure and called out that I thought it might be time to push. The nurse checked me and I was at 10 cm. 0-60 in less than 4 hours after 32 hours of nada. It was sort of amusing how quickly everything went on Sunday. She called out for them to get the room ready. It turned out my doctor was driving back from vacation that morning and he actually arrived in time to deliver the baby! So the nurse began the pushing stage with me and led me through most of it. The funniest memory I have of this stage is Mike running back and forth from my head to my feet to watch the baby's head poke out. He kept leaving my side to go and look until I finally told him to just stay by my feet and watch. He protested saying I needed him and I protested back and said he was driving me crazy and I was fine! So my sister switched with Mike and he held my leg while she fed me ice chips. My mother and mother-in-law also assisted in leg holding. Pushing was exciting and painful. Although I had had the epidural I nonetheless felt a lot of pressure and it was still painful.
After she was born I momentarily felt such relief and joy which was immediately followed by discomfort and tormented anxiety. My baby was born with fluid in her lungs. They briefly placed her on my chest--I tried to comfort her, but was shushed by nurses trying to figure out if she was breathing normally. She quieted down immediately when I spoke and looked right at me...before I could blink they whisked her away to the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit. I only had a small tear requiring 3 stitches. Overall I would say it was a success. Maybe not the success I set out to have, but in the end we had a healthy baby (after 5 horrifyingly difficult days). We love her more than anything and we'd do it all over again if it was to be for her or any other child. What a miracle...what a privilege it is to be a mother.
I guess that's plenty.
[Originally posted on MSN Spaces June 14, 2006]
It appears that I've missed two obvious objections to my position on just war theory - and I thank those who have pointed this out. First, the sixth commandment clearly states "thou shall not kill." Second, Jesus Christ clearly forbids any sort of violence against human beings in the Sermon on the Mount:
Matthew 5:38-39 - "You have heard that it was said, 'An eye for an eye and a tooth for a tooth.' But I say to you, offer no resistance to one who is evil. When someone strikes you on (your) right cheek, turn the other one to him as well"
Regarding the sixth commandment, the command is not nearly as obvious as it may appear. For example, God does not tell us what it is that we are not to kill; He simply says "do not kill." Killing is not just an act exclusive to human beings but can range anywhere from killing an animal to killing a plant. If we are to take the Bible literally, we must assume that any form of killing is in violation of God's commandment. This, of course, is nonsense and in order to clarify what is meant by the commandment we must look at the whole of God's commands throughout the Old Testament. For example, we know that when God says "thou shall not kill" that he is not referring to animals. Why? Because God commands the Israelites to kill animals as a sacrifice to Him. God does not command people to do something contrary to His own will nor does the will of God change. Therefore, it is safe to assume that God does not include plants and animals in the commandment not to kill.
Now, let's apply this reasoning to human beings. If we look at the whole of the Old Testament, we see that God commands the Israelites to go to war. Since it is not God's nature to command someone to act in contradiction to His own will, there must be something fundamentally different about war and that something is justice. When God commands the Israelites to go to war, it is not out of conquest or for their own financial gain, He does so to achieve justice through the hands of the Israelites. Justice is not the same thing as revenge either. While God commands the Israelites to go to war with another race out of justice, He forbids them to go to war out of revenge or mere hatred for another race. The key word here is "justice" and so if we are to understand God in the Old Testament in a way that is not contradictory or void of sense, we must necessarily conclude that the command "thou shall not kill" is meant to be "thou shall not murder" or rather "thou shall not unjustly kill."
My response to the second objection of Christ's command to offer no resistance to anyone who is evil follows the same line of reasoning. In fact, Jesus was not saying anything new to the Jews during this sermon and was simply repeating commands from God that have always been. For example:
Leviticus 19:18 - Thou shalt not avenge, nor bear any grudge against the children of thy people, but thou shalt love thy neighbor as thyself. I am the Lord.
Sirach 28:1-9 - The vengeful will suffer the LORD'S vengeance, for he remembers their sins in detail. Forgive your neighbor's injustice; then when you pray, your own sins will be forgiven. Should a man nourish anger against his fellows and expect healing from the LORD? Should a man refuse mercy to his fellows, yet seek pardon for his own sins? If he who is but flesh cherishes wrath, who will forgive his sins? Remember your last days, set enmity aside; remember death and decay, and cease from sin! Think of the commandments, hate not your neighbor; of the Most High's covenant, and overlook faults. Avoid strife and your sins will be fewer, for a quarrelsome man kindles disputes, commits the sin of disrupting friendship and sows discord among those at peace.
The God of the Old Testament was very clear with the Jews that they were not to deal out vengeance of their own accord. He was also very clear with the Jews
that justice will be had by Him:
Deuteronomy 32:35 - To me belongs vengeance... I will render vengeance to mine enemies.
How does God render vengeance to His enemies?
Romans 13:4 - But if you do evil, be afraid, for it does not bear the sword without purpose; it is the servant of God to inflict wrath on the evildoer.
I bring all of this up because Catholics should understand more than anybody that there are social hierarchies established and ordained by God for our own good. Our role as individuals differs greatly from the role of those in positions of authority and 1900 years of Just War theory understood this well.
Romans 13:1-4 - Let every person be subordinate to the higher authorities, for there is no authority except from God, and those that exist have been established by God. Therefore, whoever resists authority opposes what God has appointed, and those who oppose it will bring judgment upon themselves. For rulers are not a cause of fear to good conduct, but to evil. Do you wish to have no fear of authority? Then do what is good and you will receive approval from it, for it is a servant of God for your good.
Jesus Christ did not come to estalish a world politic or a philosophy of social governance; He came for our personal salvation and redemption. Our society seems to understand this in every other regard except for wars. If Jesus' directive in Matthew 5 is binding to the conduct of civil authorities, then by what authority does our Government lock people in prison? Would it not stand to reason that if Jesus meant to establish norms for a system of Government that the government ought to do no harm to those who do evil? And yet the Government, in their disdain for the message of Christ, continually imprisons people, punishes them, and even issues fines against them for doing evil. Ought the Government to "turn the other cheek?" When terrorists flew planes into the Two Towers, ought the Government to offer Al Qaeda other locations to destroy? Isn't that the message of Christ? Absolutely not and to think so would be complete lunacy. Jesus' command to "turn the other cheek" is setting forth a personal norm. When reading this passage within the context of the whole of Scripture, it cannot be meant as a guiding principle for civil authorities who are rightfully "the servants of God to inflict wrath on the evildoer."
As a closing thought, if war is evil and to be considered murder, why is it that Jesus is so vocal before Jewish authorities and yet so silent before Roman centurians and authorities? When the Roman centurian asks Christ to heal his child, Jesus doesn't say "You hypocrite! You mercilessly take the innocent life of others with your wars and yet you want me to heal one of your own?" Christ wastes no time verbally lambasting the Pharisees and branding them with such vile titles as "hypocrites" and "broods of vipers" but has absolutely nothing to say to Roman authorities. Were the Romans more moral than the Pharisees? Were the sins of the Pharisees that much worse than the sins of the warring Roman Empire?
[Originally posted on MSN Spaces May 25, 2006]
- WARNING: This is a long blog. I mean really long. Cecil B. DeMille long -
Like many Americans, I just cannot seem to let the Iraq War go. However, if we are to believe polling data, I happen to be one of the few still in strong support of our military action both politically and theologically. Perhaps why I spend so much time thinking about it is because as a devout Roman Catholic I am pressured to believe that the Iraq War was unjust or that there is a presumption against war in general. Furthermore, Pope Benedict XVI - who is by all accounts a brilliant theologian - has stated that "the concept of pre-emptive war does not appear in the catechism." But I must admit that this is one issue on which I have to disagree with the Church's leadership. It is not dissent, per se, as contrary to issues like abortion it is not required of me as a Catholic to believe that the Iraq War was unjust, but I must strongly disagree because I am at a loss to understand from where the Church derived this new just war theology.
Church leaders, such as Cardinal Martino, have expressed their opinion that wars and any violence against another human being are evils and must be limited in their application as much as possible. In other words: war is evil but it is a necessary evil. This is in complete contradiction with a fundamental principle of Catholic moral theology which states that the end never justifies the means. Not sometimes, or as circumstances warrant, but never justfies the means. Therefore, to say that war, or violence against any human being, is an inherent evil would be to completely obliterate 1950 years of just war theory altogether. In order for war to be justly waged it must necessarily be a good in some cases, or at the very least not inherently evil. Otherwise, there are no circumstances under which a nation could morally wage war. To say "just war" and "wars are evil" in the same sentence is a logical contradiction. In other words, there is no room in Catholic moral theology for "necessary" evils. No evil is ever "necessary."
Furthermore, Sts. Augustine and Aquinas are very clear that only the leader(s) of a nation possesses the authority to declare war. This is, after all, consistent with Romans 13:4 ""He beareth not the sword in vain: for he is God's minister, an avenger to execute wrath upon him that doth evil" and is also consitent with Christ's consent to the Centurians job as a soldier - who wars - in Luke 3:14 despite His teaching that an "eye for an eye" is immoral.
As explained in Summa Theologica by St. Thomas Aquinas:
"On the contrary, Augustine says in a sermon on the son of the centurion [*Ep.
ad Marcel. cxxxviii]: "If the Christian Religion forbade war altogether, those
who sought salutary advice in the Gospel would rather have been counselled to
cast aside their arms, and to give up soldiering altogether. On the contrary,
they were told: 'Do violence to no man . . . and be content with your pay' [*Lk.
3:14]. If he commanded them to be content with their pay, he did not forbid
They go on to say that it is never within the powers of an individual to take up arms of their own accord to avenge wrongs...with one exception: self-defense. It was understood that if one acts in self-defense no justification is necessary and if people who do not have the authority to go to war do not need justification for acting in self-defense, how much less justification would the leader of a nation need for acting in self-defense? Just war theory does not exist to legitimize something that warrants no justification but rather exists to justify aggressive - or should I say pre-emptive - wars. That seems to be the very point of just war theory and if there is no room in the Catechism for pre-emptive war in just war theory, I question whether there is a point to just war theory at all.
Pacifism, or a presumption against war,also seems entirely inconsistent with the Catholic Church's current push of the social justice movement. The principle motivation of the social justice movement is solidarity; we are all one family regardless of race, age, or creed. We should strive to help those in need around the globe just as we would help our own family members because we are all one in the living God. We are all one in Christ. That's all great and wonderful but it doesn't hold up to scrutiny. We are called to give money to help the poor because surely we would not let our own children starve. But when people are systematicallly tortured, murdered and oppressed by their government there is silence. If my bride or my daughter was being tortured or murdered, you bet I would fight and I hardly think the Church would say I was unjustified for doing so. If we are called to step up to the plight of those without food, how much more are we called to step up to the plight of our brothers and sisters being systematically raped, tortured, and murdered? It seems that when promoting "justice" we emphasize the "comfortable" virtues, or rather those we can resolve from the comfort of our home by either writing a check or electing government officials to tax our income more heavily. But, when the ultimate sacrifice is asked of us, for as Christ says there is no greater gift than to lay down one's life for another, we do nothing but sit on the sidelines and hope that eveything will turn out ok.
The fact of the matter is that God desires justice and above all desires to achieve justice through us. God does not simply let manna fall from heaven upon all those who are starving or let fall t-shirts and jeans from heaven on those who are naked. Does that mean God loves them any less or does not want the poor to eat and the naked to be clothed? Absolutely not. Rather, it is incumbent on us to feed the poor and clothe the naked and it is by our hands that the Lord achieves justice in this world. When it comes to matters of war then, especially in regards to viscious tyrants and brutal dictators such as Saddam Hussein, on what basis do we do nothing and assume that God will take care of it?
The Catechism of the Roman Catholic Church states:
"Peace is not merely the absence of war. Nor can it be reduced solely to the
maintenance of a balance of power between enemies. Nor is it brought about by
dictatorship. Instead, it is richly and appropriately called "an enterprise of
justice" (Is. 32: 17). Peace results from that harmony built into human society
by its divine founder and actualized by men as they thirst after ever greater
If we belive that it is justice that God desires in the world and that it is our responsibly to secure a just and ordered society - especially in regards to poverty or any other common social justice issue - then there is no room for pacifism in this belief system as it is constructed for there is no manner in which pacifism achieves this end and history has shown this. It is an age old axiom that those who do not learn from the past are doomed to repeat it. I am at a lost to identify a single conflict in the world that was resolved by pacifism. In fact, history teaches us that those who resort to pacifism in the midst of evil only allow evil and injustice to thrive and make the situation that much worse. A perfect example is World War II. Weary from the horror of the Great War, many refused to take up arms and in the end it proved to be a monumental failure. Those who thought "it's not our war" in the late 30s realized very quickly how much it became their war after refusing to fight. Pacifism is a luxury for those who have people to fight on their behalf.
I conclude my rambling with the words of St. Augustine:
"We do not seek peace in order to be at war, but we go to war that we may have
peace. Be peaceful, therefore, in warring, so that you may vanquish those whom
you war against, and bring them to the prosperity of peace."
We were not at peace prior to 2003 simply because we did not have any troops on the ground in Iraq. 1.3 million of our brothers and sisters were slaughtered at the hands of Saddam Hussein, he refused to comply with the terms a ceasefire with us written after the Gulf War, and was bribing leading nations of the U.N. with oil to lift sanctions and continue his nuclear and chemical weapons programs. We also know he had weapons of mass destruction, despite how the media tries to distort this fact, because he used them on his own people. The problem was that he could not account for their disappearance, which usually is an indication of either lying, hiding them, or selling them as in the case with the fall of Soviet Russia. There is no definition of "peace" that would include the presence of such evil and I, for one, am glad that America finally decided to do something about it.
Three things are required in order for a war to be just: 1) one must have the authority to declare war, 2) the cause must be just, and 3) there must be right intention. Since Church leaders in vocal opposition to the war cannot seem to identify which of these primary requirements of just war were not met by the United States in their declaration of war against Iraq and since they will say everything but that it was an "unjust" war, it is with good reason that I must respectfully disagree with the opinion of the majority within the Catholic Church. War can be a good and the Iraq war was a just war.
But that's just my opinion and there's plenty more thinking for me to do....
[originally posted on MSN Spaces May 17. 2006]
So to continue...
It was March 25th around 7am:
I was walking the halls trying to get my labor to progress. Somewhere between 7-8am my sister arrived to join the fun. Oh...I forgot to mention that everyone in my family headed to the delivery room once it was confirmed I was in labor. My dad was trapped in MD working that week, but ended up being able to exchange airplane tickets...to drive in from Orlando, and arrive later that night. Mike's mom was also on her way. This was to be a family affair!
8 am: My mom arrived not long after my sister. The doctor popped in to check my progress (not my doc...remember he was out of town). She stated that I was still 5 cm but was now 90% effaced. Her response to this limited progress was that we would wait 3 hours and if my water hadn't broken by then we could go ahead and break it or send me home. Of course I didn't want to go home, but I also did not want my water broken by the doc. So we kept trekking around the L&D floor.
9-10am: Still trekking...somewhere during this time Mike and I talked to a new father who suggested we try bouncing on the labor ball to help break my water. Apparently it had worked for his wife...so that's what we tried and it worked!
10:30am: Less than a half hour until the doc returned to check my progress...My water broke! We were ecstatic! Time to get things moving and have a baby.
11am: The doc came in and checked me. My water had supposedly broken (more on this later), but I was only 6cm and still 90% effaced.
More next time...diaper duty calls!
In the Risen Lord,
[Originally posted on MSN Spaces April 27, 2006]
So...I know it's been awhile since I last blogged, but considering Mike's last entry before recently was in October I think my offense is forgivable! My last entry on pregnancy was exactly 2 days before my labor began.
Here's what happened (by the way this is going to be long, so skip this if you're not interested):
March 24, 2006
5 pm: I started having what I thought were early labor contractions, but since I was still unsure I called my mom and informed her of what "might" be happening. The contractions were 5 minutes apart when I was able to time them (I couldn't always distinguish when they started), they were low and crampy but I didn't have any back pain with them. My mom was ready to throw her bags in the car and drive up, but I was still unsure if "this was it". I told her I'd call her back at 8 pm and we'd see how things were progressing. I was hesitant to get excited in case nothing was happening.
7-8 pm: We ate dinner. I had spinach lasagna...you'll know why this is important later.
8 pm: My mom called me before I could call her. My contractions were still 5 minutes apart and feeling the same. I told her we'd sleep on it and see if things progressed by morning.
March 25, 2006
12 am: I finally fell asleep.
2 am: Mike finally went to bed. I got up feeling awful---stomach flu awful...I was still having contractions and I couldn't tell if that was why I felt sick or if I was just getting a bug. I thought I'd try and have some tea to soothe my stomach so I took my cup of tea and went into the living room with my labor ball (this is one of those big exercise balls that are popular now). I sat on the ball to try and pray a chaplet to pass time, but soon realized that the nausea was too overpowering...
3 am: I headed into the other room, began to feel like I was going to vomit, turned to go to the bathroom; and proceeded to lose my spinach lasagna dinner on the hallway carpet. I then decided I'd better wake Mike up. There was no way I could bend to the floor to clean it up, plus I thought he should know what was going on. By the way, if you ever doubt someone loves you...watch them clean your vomit off of the rug and you'll know just how much they love you. I already knew Mike loved me and seeing what he went through for me just increased my love for him and my understanding of what marriage is meant to be. I vomited a few more times, enough times to empty my body of any food I'd eaten in the last 24 hrs. Mike called the hospital, explained what was happening, and they said we should come on in. So we grabbed everything we thought we needed and headed for TMH Women's Pavilion.
3:30 am: They informed us that I was dilated 5 cm and was 80% effaced. I was having contractions, but they weren't excessively strong. The nurse asked why the contractions weren't bothering me, and I explained that the nausea and vomiting was MUCH worse. They called Dr. Thompson (This happened to be the one weekend my doctor...Dr. Oliver...was out of town), she wanted to keep me in the hospital to watch me for dehydration...also they say that vomiting can cause your labor to progress much faster (HA).
So we were headed to have a baby...lol...little did we know it would be a longer process than we thought.
Between 4 am and 7 am: I eventually stopped vomiting (luckily it was closer to 4 am). I also spent this time being monitored every hour (they monitor contractions/baby's heartbeat) and when I wasn't being monitored I was walking around the corridors to help my labor to progress.
More to come next blog...(baby duty prevents me from doing this all at once)
[Originally posted on MSN Spaces October 15, 2005]
This past Friday the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB) announced the nationwide implementation of "Fishers of Men," a program designed to recruit more young men into the priesthood. So, while I promised to write about what's wrong with men, I felt compelled to take it a step further and combine the two. The entire crisis with the shortage of priests and the significant decline in applicants can be traced to one, simple problem: only men can be priests.
Before I'm branded as a heretic, let me qualify that remark: I am not suggesting that women are to become priests but rather that if the Vatican wants to understand its current dilemma with the priesthood it has to understand the problem with men.
So, what's wrong with men? Everything.
A while back I had a close friend over for a glass of wine. As the night progressed we began to discuss relationships and in particular his own woes with women. He said that the lone barrier between him and a serious relationship with every woman he's ever met is the big "C" - Commitment. As a married man myself I was no stranger to the "four-letter" word and knew that every single man avoids it like the plague. So I began to think of how best to respond when, lo and behold, perhaps the most revolutionary discovery in the history of the world came to my mind: Men really aren't afraid of commitment. Let me repeat: men are not afraid of commitment.
Since we are both history buffs, I referred him to antiquity. In Ancient Rome men not only volunteered to sacrifice their lives for the glory of the empire, they rejoiced in the opportunity. Soldiers in the Roman legions had to recite an oath or a sacramentum - where we get the word "Sacrament" - stating their complete allegiance and service to the Senate and People of Rome (Senatus Populus Que Romanus) and could only leave under pain of death. So it was with great courage and honor that men would march into battle, with "SPQR" tattooed on their arms, ready to die for the glory of Rome.
Now, why on earth would men be willing to face brutal death in the midst of hand to hand combat and yet be so afraid of telling a beautiful, gentle woman two simple words: "I do?" Furthermore, why is it that women desire to hear that from men so much?
It is because commitment is the defining characteristic of men; it was makes a man a man. Inherent to the very nature of a man's being is the desire to commit oneself to the protection of that which he finds most precious in this life even to the point of death. For the Romans, it was the glory and splendor of the Roman Empire. For me, it is the beauty and love that exudes from my bride’s very soul, and for God, incarnate in the male person of Jesus Christ, it was every single person that would ever exist throughout all time.
The problem is that as fallible human beings, men are very reluctant to give their lives for what they do not understand. The power and magnificence of the Roman Empire was obvious and present in a very real way to Roman men, so it was easier to die for it. Contrast this to women, who men don’t really understand at all, and you can see where this reluctance comes from.
Therefore, if the Church wants young men to live in the imitation of Jesus Christ, to stand in persona Christi and sacrifice their lives for the Church, they need to be shown something worth dying for. Men could die for Rome because they believed there was nothing greater. Are men being told today that there is nothing greater than the Catholic Church? If our understanding of Jesus Christ is nothing more than just a fluffy, cuddly teddy bear that loves everyone, what man is going to die for that? Where's the call to evangelize? Where's the call to holiness? Yet, sadly, your typical homily is nothing more than this.
Tell Catholics that there is no greater Truth than Jesus Christ - that He is unquestionably the Alpha and Omega and every human being ought to worship Him. Tell them that without a doubt Jesus Christ demands the whole of our very lives in devotion to Him. Shout from the rooftops that there is nothing more glorious, more powerful, and more magnificent than the Eternal Word Incarnate in the person of Jesus Christ, that His very presence in the Blessed Sacrament should cause us all to tremble with fear, and – like in ancient Rome – men will gladly give their lives for Him again.
(Man, do I love Photoshop!)
Okay, so since my dear beloved husband felt the need to rant about other men I guess I'll take this opportunity to give a much SHORTER rant about women.
In my volunteer work at a womens clinic I'm constantly encountering women who all seem to have the same issues. These issues stem from a lack of understanding of what they are worth. Nowadays we women seem to think that our power stems from our sexuality and that, somehow, flaunting our "assets" is going to give us even more power because of the response this elicits from men.
I am convinced that so much of this mentality is what is destroying feminity in our culture. Feminity is a gift. It is a beautiful part of who we are as women that is best seen in our behavior, in our actions, and in the way treat others. We are MORE feminine when we don't show everyone every part of our body. We are MORE feminine when we are pure of thought and mind. We are MORE feminine when we are kind and loving. How on earth can men learn to be men, protectors and warriors for the beauty and feminity of women when women are no longer presenting themselves as in need of protection...as feminine...as beautiful. Rather, much of our immodesty has led to our being used as objects of lust. It has left us feeling guilty, abused, and alone.
I find that when these women I counsel see themselves as worth more than gold. When they recognize their own beauty and preciousness in the eyes of God and the gift they are to the world, that they are empowered! If a man cannot exercise self control and respect a woman's purity, chastity and modesty then he is not interested in her, but only in fulfilling his own desires and using her to do so. Women are recognizing this fact more and more. Once they see that they are no longer in control of the relationship, but the desires of one person is taking over the two of them, women find the scales removed from their eyes and begin to recognize true freedom. The freedom to say no to being used without a promise of forever. I don't know about you, but I wouldn't give all of myself physically, emotionally, and spiritually to someone who hasn't committed to being with me forever.
Okay. End of rant.
May we as women always remember to glorify God in our bodies. Amen
Monday, July 17, 2006
Seriously, our blog used to be hosted by MSN Spaces and we quickly learned that was a waste of time. With this newfound knowledge fresh in our minds, we have begun the process of transferring our old blog to its new location here on Blogger.com.
So....this is just a test.