Monday, January 26, 2015

Pulling Back the Veil and Exposing Your Genuine Fears: Part 5 of 6

As far back as I can remember, heights have posed an unwelcomed challenge. I was the kid who scaled the jungle-gym only to become paralyzed at the summit and tearfully beg for rescue. Ferris wheels are totally off-limits and even today escalators require a mental strategy. So, I never dreamed of spending my days balancing atop an extension ladder, but the chipped and peeling exterior of our house begged for my attention.

After repainting the easy-to-reach portions, my three-step ladder quickly became insufficient. Lacking the superhero trait of Mr. Fantastic, I had to engage some problem solving skills and a ladder seemed my next best option. It took a little self-hypnosis of sorts to talk myself up that first ladder, but work awaited and time was fleeting. I let go a little and convinced myself that a fall from a standard ladder couldn't inflict too much damage.

Saturday, January 24, 2015

2015 March for Life: Why I Hate Marching But I Must


Thursday morning started out way too early. By the faint light of the moon, we rose at 4am and began the task of getting ten people woken up, bundled up, filled up and buckled up. Spirits were high, though still a bit groggy, when our big van rounded the driveway in route for a long journey.

Friday, January 23, 2015

If Your Food Is Organic, Your Family Planning Should Be Too: The Nitty Gritty of Birth Control Part 4 of 6

We no longer drink diet soda, eat a growing variety of sweets or chew gum because of artificial sweeteners. My husband switched us to tooth polish without fluoride and soap without antibacterial agents. Our eggs come free-ranged, our bread whole grain, and our produce organic. Attending home school functions nowadays, we have to be mindful of gluten, nuts and food dyes in whatever we bring to share.

Tuesday, January 20, 2015

Pope Francis Said What? On Rabbits and Responsible Parenthood

I'm taking a brief detour from my post series on birth control to address the recent comments made by our Holy Father.

Drifting down the aisle at Sam's Club, my brood and I were busy absorbing all the sights as we awaited our pizza. Having just persuaded the seven of them (the baby was in the cart) to leave the books behind, we were absent-mindedly milling about when a man halted our parade. The stranger (an apparent nursery rhyme aficionado) began reciting, “There was an old lady who lived in a shoe, had so many children she didn't know what to do” Seeing as my children were quite well-behaved (thankfully they generally are in public), I was baffled as to the reason for this unwarranted serenade.

Knowledge Is Power: How Doctors and Big Pharma Profit From Ignorance Part 3 of 6



Cramming the pillow I'd brought from home a little more to my left, I attempted to placate the cramp that was forming in my back. After years of slumbering on a waterbed, this rock hard hospital bed felt like a torture rack. There I was trying to create a bit of comfort and counting down the minutes until I could scoop up my newest bundle and check-out when my midwife slid a chair beside me.

Having just given birth to my fourth child several hours prior, I figured she was stopping in to assess my rate of recovery since I'd made it clear that I wouldn't stay a minute longer than the required twenty-four hours. She made a bit of small talk and then she looked me straight in the eyes and asked what kind of birth control prescription I wanted to take home with me so, “I wouldn't have to do this again in nine months.”

Monday, January 19, 2015

I've Been Nominated!

I am excited to say that thanks to YOU my blog has been nominated for the Sheenazing Award in two categories.


Bonnie at A Knotted Life is hosting this award in memory of "Venerable Fulton J. Sheen, who was amazing at using the newest forms of media to communicate the beauty of the Catholic Church and his love of Christ to the world. These awards are a fun way to celebrate the excellence of the Catholic blogosphere and honor Venerable Sheen."


My blog Blessings In Brelinskyville has been nominated under Most Inspiring Blog and 
Best Under-Appreciated Blog.
 

 

The winner and runner-up in each category earn a virtual hand-shake, exposure and the pride in knowing their hard work has affected others on the world-wide web. Additionally, the exposure might just one day lead to a real paying gig as a writer or speaker (fingers crossed, prayers ascending).


So, if you've ever been inspired, confirmed, challenged, educated, entertained or encouraged by my writing, please take a few minutes and
VOTE for
Blessings In Brelinskyville HERE
then simply scroll down to find my blog


For details and rules look HERE


Thank you so very much for your support,
Tara

p.s. if you feel so inclined, be sure to pass this on and encourage others to read my blog and vote. Oh, and be sure to check out some of the other great blogs listed, there's lots of good stuff out there.

Friday, January 16, 2015

Demystified: How the Female Fertility Cycle Works Part 2 of 6

Springtime in my fourth grade year, they lined us up, boys on one side, girls on the other. The boys got shuffled off into one classroom, while we girls got ushered into another. Giddy and curious, we whispered and fidgeted while the teacher set-up her materials. That was the day I first heard about periods. By the end of the lesson, I knew enough to utilize a maxi-pad and understood the general gist of the fact that my body could one day grow a baby.

Over the years, my knowledge pool would grow (I'd graduate to tampons, discover Motrin for cramps and get myself put on contraceptives). But aside from the basic facts of menstruation and the understanding that I was fertile, the extent of my education hadn't increased far beyond that fourth grade lesson. No worries though, my annual trips to the gynecologist were enough to leave me feeling confident that I had it all under control.

Wednesday, January 14, 2015

2015 Sheenazing Awards for Your Favorite Catholic Blogs


Nominations are OPEN for the 2015 Sheenazing Awards


Have you read something inspiring here? Did a post touch your heart, encourage your faith or challenge you to think a little deeper? If so, let the whole of blogosphere know that Blessings In Brelinskyville is a Catholic blog home worth visiting. 









Bonnie over at A Knotted Life just opened nominations for the 2015 Sheenazing Awards. What's that you ask? Well, here's how Bonnie sums it up, "The Sheenazing Blogger Awards are named for Venerable Fulton J. Sheen. Sheen was amazing at using the newest forms of media to communicate the beauty of the Catholic Church and his love of Christ to the world. I'm positive that Sheen would be a blogger were he alive today and that he is in Heaven, totally approving of this award."                                                                                    What's involved, you want to know. Well, it's simple just head on over the A Knotted Life and vote HERE. You can nominate up to two Catholic blogs per category (there's also a category for you favorite Non-Papist blog). All that you need to vote is the title and url of your favorite blog.                                                                                                                                                  Blogging is hard work y'all and this is an easy, fun way to let the bloggers who inspire you know that you appreciate their talent.     











Tuesday, January 13, 2015

Reclaiming Womanhood: Why It's Time to Rethink Your Birth Control Plan Part 1 of 6

The Virgins by Gustav Klimt 1913
 It's happening again, article after article appearing in my news feed. The theme is the same, although each has a slightly different slant to offer. Just as last year, I pour over each one, nodding all the while as my eyes scan the screen. The topic is birth control and each post does a good job at lifting the veil and sparking interest. However, I'm usually left thinking that there are a few more dots to be connected if the author's aim is to cast a wide net.

Wednesday, December 24, 2014

12 Strategies for the 12 Days of Christmas

This Advent season has been full: full of planning, full of preparing, full of hoping. However, I've made a concerted effort to keep “Christmas” at bay. It's not that I'm a grinch, no, quite the contrary. Our annual Christmas letter was sent out, we've been faithfully praying the Christmas novena, and I've been wishing all those helpful store cashiers a “Merry Christmas,” but the focus in our house has been on the anticipation. My plan is to celebrate Christmas and to celebrate it to the fullest (all 12 days of it) when it actually arrives on December 25th.

Here are our 12 strategies for making the most of the 12 Days of Christmas:

  1. Give thanks: Before you rip into all those colorful packages this Christmas morning, stop and give thanks to God. We keep our baby Jesus statues hidden throughout Advent, so on Christmas morning He emerges and takes up His place in our mangers. This is a good visual for all of us, as we recollect the reason for our joy on this morning.





  2.  Break for all of Christmas: While we have taken a few extra days off to accommodate out-of-the-ordinary field trips, we aren't going to start our Christmas break until Christmas Eve. Then, we're going to fill up our break with all good things (play dates, movies, field trips, family game night, etc.) We won't return to schoolwork until January 7th.


  3. Ignite a Christ candle: Don't stuff that Advent wreath away so fast. Instead, leave it on the table and light a white candle in the center as a reminder that Christ's light came into the world on Christmas.

  4. Keep the lights burning bright: Continue to turn on your Christmas lights and keep your tree trimmed. 
     
  5. Pray for 12 intentions: Our family assigns each of the twelve days to a specific group, family or person. So for example, on December 27th we are going to pray for the intentions of the H family. We will offer God the whole day in thanksgiving and petition for them. We mail each prayer recipient a note along with our annual Christmas letter, but it's not too late to pray your way through Christmas. You could email your recipients on their day or give them a call to let them know you're praying for them.

     
  6. Read books: I wrap up 12 holiday themed books and place them under the tree on Christmas Eve. Then my younger children take turns choosing a “gift” each of the 12 evenings. After they've unwrapped the book, we read it as a family.



  7. Kings journey: Our three kings spend Advent in a distant land (sitting on a shelf across the room from the creche). On Christmas day we begin their journey toward the star by moving them a little closer to the manger each day. They will finally arrive on Epiphany. 



  8. 12 Days of Christmas symbols: Learn the song The Twelve Days of Christmas and the Christian meanings behind the symbols. 
     
  9. Resolve to give yourself more fully to Christ: While everyone is making their New Year's resolutions to diet and exercise, commit to a new prayer habit or an hour in adoration each week.


  10. Keep the Holy Day: January 1st isn't just the first day of the New Year, it's a holy day (of obligation) dedicated to the Blessed Mother. Honor your Savior's Mother by going to Mass. I can't think of a better way to begin the new year.

  11. Make a kings cake: Celebrate the feast of the Epiphany with a kings' cake. I found a yummy recipe online or you can purchase one at your local grocery.


  12. Let them adore: Seeing that the three kings have only just arrived on Epiphany, we allow them some added time to adore our Lord. We put away all of our Christmas decorations except the creche. The manger typically stays out until mid-January as a reminder that Christ deserves our attention all year long.

Wednesday, December 17, 2014

Triage In The Confessional: How M.A.S.H. Helped Me to Relate to the Divine Physician



As a kid growing up in the seventies, I watched more than a few episodes of M.A.S.H. Still young and inexperienced, my understanding of the war it portrayed was minimal. But with only a dozen or so channels to choose from, I regularly settled in front of our little screen and watched the hit show (catching just a fraction of the jokes and thankfully even less of the innuendo).

I remember well the regular scenes announcing the incoming choppers. The sweet voice of Radar and the whirr of helicopter blades still resonate in my consciousness. The characters would exit their leisure scenes and make the frenzied dash to the OR. Next came the line-up of hospital gurneys, broken bodies and tension-breaking dialogue as the characters feigned the chore of putting men back together.

Wednesday, December 3, 2014

Thoughts on Michael Brown's Ferguson Legacy: How Our Time in a Wild West Town Shaped My Opinion

Pop, Pop, Pop. Three swift, consecutive pops rang out in the afternoon air. My boys, still little back then, were crouched around the TV watching something on Disney while I plugged away on the computer. Not immediately sure what we'd just heard, I grew suspicious when our dogs, who normally yapped at ev-er-y-thing, sat frozen in silence. I headed over to a window and pushed back the blinds. Like a scene from some action flick I watched a hooded figure, brandishing a handgun, hastily cut through my neighbor's yard.

In a panic, I ducked back and issued my confused kids away from our big, tall windows. We'd known that our neighborhood (the one that less than 50 years prior had been donned the Blue Blood section) was in a downward spiral, but not in my wildest imaginations had I ever conjured up a plan for dealing with gang warfare.

Wednesday, November 26, 2014

5 Easy-Peasy, Inexpensive, Homemade Christmas Gifts


Every year around this time I look for new inspirations for crafty, inexpensive gifts. There's just something appealing to me about handmade gifts. Yes, our budget dictates that we spend wisely, but more than that I like to pour my time and energy (which are generally in limited supply) into making something unique and personal for the ones I love. 


Tuesday, November 11, 2014

Life In a Big Brood: 10 Problems with Living in a Family of 10

When we started out, just the two of us, my husband and I were clueless. He is an only child and my siblings didn't show up until I was 10 years old. We both were accustomed to the limelight, tranquility and praise, but we'd always longed for the joys of sibling companionship. My husband says he actually referred to himself as a lonely only when he was little.

Our heads in the clouds, we envisioned our own family would be a cross between the Von Trapps and the Bradys. Add twenty-two years and eight kids and our eyes have been opened. Oh, we wouldn't trade one of our lovelies for the world (most days), but we concede that our initial plans were unrealistic.
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