Thursday, March 27, 2008

Prayer Request

Okay, friends, it's getting to be that time again. Things are starting to happen. Pieces are starting to fall into place. And perhaps sooner rather than later we'll be announcing a new arrival on the Ark, but...(here's where you all come in) there are still some unknowns, some uncertainties, some questions needing to be answered. While we wait, won't you join us in lifting up these two specific prayers:

  • that in all things, God's will be done (and if He can shed a little light on what His will is that would be alright, too)
  • that for every child who waits, a family waits for them
May I presumptively say, THANKS for your prayers!?! And hopefully, we'll have some answers soon.
What are friends for!?!

These two blog awards from my lovely bloggy friend, Easter are to me the perfect examples of what friends ARE for! I'm humbled by her kind thoughts--twice! And, in my very honest opinion, all of you who take the time to stop by here on the Ark to read, comment or email and encourage me in my family's faith journey are perfect examples of great friends, too. Consider all of yourselves *awarded* these sweet bloggy friendship awards!

Wednesday, March 26, 2008

Caveat Emptor (or more lessons learned from the Brady Bunch)

Just because it walks like a duck and quacks like a duck doesn't mean it's a duck. Sometimes you have to look more closely to make sure it's not a loon.

Last night, after the little ones were in bed, Beulah paged through her bible and suddenly piped up with this "fast fact" from the book of St. James. "James was Jesus' brother?!" she demanded. Surely, I thought, it had gotten too late or her young eyes were failing her. Quickly, I had the book in my hands and seconds later, after having scanned the "fact box" I had shoved the book under the Captain's nose in shock! My family and I have enjoyed many fine Catholic products from the self-proclaimed Catholic store where we purchased not one, but TWO of these bible. Knowing that we were ordering from a company that is faithful to the Church's teaching was and is very important to us. Originally, we purchased two Catholic Youth Bibles, but received a phone call from the company that they were unavailable. However, they offered the only other "kids" bible they had in stock. It was called the Kid's Life Application bible, and in good faith, on the reputation of the company, I accepted the replacement.

I am not certain if you are aware (we certainly weren't), but if you are purchasing bibles for your children, this translation does NOT include all the books of the Catholic bible. It is missing the Deuterocanonical books: Tobias, Judith, the Wisdom of Solomon, Baruch, and Maccabees. In addition, included in one of the "fast facts" boxes in the book of James is information explaining James as Jesus' brother, having the same parents, living in the same house, which would be contrary to the Church's teaching.

This information is not to debate Church teaching about the relationship between James, Joseph and Jesus (but if you are interested in that, you can read about it here), only to make future buyers aware, that even the most reputable of sources can make a mistake now and then. And it's up to us, as buyers, to do our homework.

Tuesday, March 25, 2008

A Special Day

Whenever I stop and think about the significance of today, I am simply overwhelmed. How often is it that you actually see and realize the hand of God at work in your life? I know He's there working all the time, but to get a glimpse...WOW!

So, today as we celebrate Baby T's SECOND birthday (the picture is from our celebration with extended family on Sunday), I can't help but remember that even before we considered adopting from Ethiopia--when we were still planning an adoption from China--even before Baby T was born--God knew he was to be our son.

Monday, March 24, 2008

Happy Easter, Every One of Us!

Are still carrying the joy of the Resurrection in your hearts this morning? We should be. That is the promise of the Easter message, isn't it? We are now a people of joy--not just happy people, for the "feeling" of happiness is fleeting, but people filled with the joy only God can give.

At Easter Mass yesterday, spread between two small pews (and one more on the altar serving!) I gazed upon my family. Big girls led little girls in singing "Jesus Christ is Risen Today!" with loud, deliberate choruses of "Alleluias!" My husband engaged a squirmy toddler with a board book of the Lord's Prayer, while snuggling a sleepy three-year old girl against his side. At one point, the five children sitting with us squealed with delight as their oldest sibling walked alongside our newly minted Monsignor to bless the congregation with Holy Water. Joy was bursting out of every pore on my overly-sentimental mommy face.

But for a moment, my thoughts spun wildly out of control. This moment that I was soaking in every drop of was fleeting and the sudden realization put an instant lump in my throat.

Why do we continue to be open to life after six children? Heck, why after two or four? People ask us this all the time and while it's been something that was always known in my heart, it's been difficult to verbalize. But now, I know. We have been blessed six times over, through births and through adoption, to care for these lives that God has entrusted to us; but at some point it will end--and whether we like the timing or not, won't be a question we'll be asked to answer.

Some day, from our squirmy toddlers to our crying babies, from our sleepy-headed little girls to their helpful big sisters, and right down to our one old enough to serve at our Mass, will all be gone. If we've done things well, hopefully, we won't look back and wish for more time we should have spent with them and more memories we should have made. But in reality, the finiteness of this life--I think-- will always leave us wanting more.

There is a story on the Couple-to-Couple League's website told by a couple while they were engaged and trying to discern if they would be open to life on their honeymoon, knowing that it was a fertile time. They did and nine months later their first--and ONLY--son was born. Ten years later, he's still their only child.

So many times this world tells us WE are in control. WE have choices. WE can have what WE want, when WE want it. But if you've lived long enough, or hard enough, you know that reality can be a cruel mistress. Ask that couple who is "unexpectedly" expecting. Or the couple who waits for news that they'll finally be parents. Talk to the parents waiting for an adoption to finalize. Or the couple who is busy meeting with a funeral director instead of decorating a nursery, attending a soccer game or scheduling college visits.

Our children aren't ours, created from an "add water and mix" packet readily available on every corner. They are gifts, given to us, by God, who lovingly allows us to assist him in co-creating His precious children. Looking among the pews at church Easter morning, my joy was complete, not because of anything I had done, but because of everything God had done for me.

Wednesday, March 19, 2008

Middle Management

The Boy has been requesting a small trash can for the bathroom he uses for several months now. (Oh come on, people, it's not like there aren't other waste baskets in the house. The Boy doesn't need any more reasons to think that he's got his own personal suite here, complete with garbage pick-up. You wouldn't want him getting soft now, would you?) But the Mother-of-the-Boy in me just can't stand the thought of her baby having to ascend an entire flight of stairs to dispose of his trash bag into (heaven forbid!) the shared family trash can.

So, last night, I caved. I spent a whole $2. 49 to bring justice and equality to the waste management situation on the Ark.

Then, I set said can at the top of the stairs thinking that the Boy would a) be thrilled to see his new, white, plastic gem and b) carry it down on the way to his room.

Much to my chagrin, this morning when I walked past the door downstairs, I noticed the now infamous can sitting right where I left it and realized that not a single can-requesting teenager had bothered to thank me for it. Gratitude, schmatitude. So, when the other kids found me in the kitchen fixing breakfasts and lunches and mumbling to myself things like, "didn'tevenhaveownbathroomgrowingupletalonecanhadtoshareONEbathroomwithfivepeopledoesn't knowhowluckyheis..." all but Naomi kept their distance.

Me (to the brave Naomi): Did your brother take his new garbage can downstairs yet?

Naomi scurried off and returned a few moments later boldly announcing: Mama, I took it downstairs for him and I told him that he should have taken it down himself last night.

Me (full of righteous indignation): Good! Nice job *bossing* your brother.

Candace (overhearing the conversation, chimed in): Waaaiiitt a minute! Naomi *bossed* the Boy? But that's my job!

Now if I can only keep the union out.

Monday, March 17, 2008

Portrait of the Artist's Mother

Artist: Naomi, age 3
The World Just Got a Little Brighter

with the arrival of our new cousin, who weighed in at 8lbs 11oz!!! Both Mom and baby are doing well. Thank you all for your prayers. If the new daddy permits, I'll post her picture here later!

Saturday, March 15, 2008

Can You Guess?

Look at the pictures and see if you can guess what we were celebrating yesterday on the Ark?

Hint: Don't forget my use of the Northeastern vernacular in this case.

Cyber-bragging rights to the first one who guesses correctly!

Friday, March 14, 2008

On A Mission From God

Or at least that's what it feels like. Blogging will be short and sweet today on the Ark. My main goal is to run all over town trying to get papers signed and notarized for the dossier. The Captain has taken a few papers as well and is squeezing in a doctor's visit for the packet. Friday is the infamous "Laundry Day" on board--you can just imagine what that might look like. And, to keep things interesting, we have couple's bible study at our house tonight and I need to finish preparing the chapter. Any good recommendations on resources for people who want to know more about the Sacraments--or any of the seven specifically? Oh, and one more thing. I need a St. Joseph prayer for my MIL to use with little mini-loaves of St. Joseph's Day bread she's making for the 19th. I know I've seen some out there, but I can't remember where. If you know of one, do tell! And, speaking of prayers, (I know I said one more thing, but my fingers type faster than my brain can move this early in the morning sometimes) please keep my brother and sister-in-law covered in prayer. Their first baby is coming Monday morning!!!

Thursday, March 13, 2008

Imagine--even after this week!

You Are 65% Peaceful

You are a very peaceful person. All is good in your world, no matter what's going on.

Occasionally you let your problems get to you, but you generally remain upbeat.

Your inner strength is inspirational - much more so than you may realize.

H/T Happy Catholic
Down But Not Out

Q: What's the first thing you should do when starting an adoption?

A: Put your agency's number on speed dial.

What? You don't call and harass your agency's director with a barrage of emails and phone calls as soon as you start your dossier?

But on Monday, since it had been a whole week since we sent in our adoption contract paperwork and payment, it seemed the time was right for a quick checking-in. Little did I know, however, that an entire Pandora's box was there just waiting to be opened. We discovered that our agency's director had spoken directly to the new head of the Children's ministry and that the feeling in the Ethiopian government now is that children do better in small (meaning 5 or less children) families. Apparently that sixth child brings with him some sort of Harry Potteresque wizardry transforming the competent parents of five into knuckleheads who have lost their ability to parent effectively.

This wasn't brand new news to us. The issue of family size has been brewing in Ethiopia for nearly a year now. But prior to this administrative change, our agency felt confident that we would apply for and receive an exemption for the child or children we were referred. We were given a few options:

1. Change agencies. This large family rule doesn't apply to all agencies working in Ethiopia, only a few, but ours (because they bring so many large families to adopt--mostly large sibling sets, special needs and older children) is one of them.

2. Choose a referral containing either a set of three or more siblings (yes, I realize this scenario would only stand to make our unsuitably large family even larger, but apparently the Ethiopian ministry people didn't get that memo).

3. Choose a referral with an HIV-positive or seriously special needs child. Not what we were planning, considering the number of little kids here on the Ark still, and needing more prayer and discernment.

4. Choose a child or children who have waited a long time for a family. The agency could make a case on our behalf that-hey, a large family is better than no family.

There were a few specifics she mentioned to us, but we're holding our cards close to the chest right now until we have things sorted out. In the meanwhile, the Spirit is moving us to persevere, to press on, and to get that dossier packet finished.

Our kids are out there and we won't fall prey to the attempts of the Devil to keep us from them.
I know, I know

Yes, my most observant friends, I did, in fact, omit my own name from the new sidebar list of "Who's on Board?" I debated this for oh, at least several panicky minutes, before deciding I just couldn't come up with an appropriate way to name myself. Everyone else was easy, as the writer (both of the list and of the blog) calling myself "me" seemed an affront to pronouns everywhere and while it's commonplace on the ark to refer to oneself in the third person, I couldn't bring myself to do it. So, once again, I'm blegging for a little assistance. If anyone has any revelations about this, please feel free to let me or Jane or whoever she is know...

Wednesday, March 12, 2008

A Mother's Way

Yesterday, at our parish mom's group, we prayed together Mary's Way of the Cross. If you haven't ever entered into the mystery of the Cross through the eyes of the Mother of Jesus, take a moment this year--before Lent is over--to do so.

One of the meditations struck me as particularly poignant considering a conversation I overheard between Naomi and Candace the other day while we opened boxes overflowing with books telling the Easter story. I'm certain these girls have *heard* the Easter story before, but that day the reality of it all seemed to hit them right between the eyes.

Candace: (pointing to the crown of thorns) What is that thing?

Naomi: That's the pokey thing that the people put on Jesus' head.

Candace: Do you think it hurt?

Naomi: Oh, it hurt. It even made Jesus cry.

Candace: Jesus cried?

Naomi: Jesus cried because He hurt, but Mary held Him because she's His mommy.

As I read through Mary's Way of the Cross yesterday, I kept thinking about the words of my three year old. Did Mary literally "hold" Jesus? I kept waiting to see, but as the stations progressed, Mary only watched and waited, prayed and wept. As we began station number 13-Jesus is Taken From The Cross-I could barely choke out the words on the page in front of me:

"The crowd had gone; the noise had stopped. I stood quietly with one of Jesus' friends and looked up at the dead body of our savior, my son. Then two men took the body from the cross and placed it in my arms. A deep sorrow engulfed my being. Yet, I also felt a deep joy. Life had ended cruelly for my son, but it had also brought life to all of us. I knew this had to be, and I prayed silently."

Sure enough, to the end, Mary was Jesus' mommy. As Mary lived what every mother fears--the loss of a child--she held Him. Do you remember Jesus' words from the cross to his beloved disciple, John? "Behold, Your Mother!" he commanded, knowing that Mary's motherly love, the mommy love that held her son at the beginning and end of His life, is ours, too. She's just waiting to hold us. And it took a three-year old to remind me.
Wordless Wednesday

Tuesday, March 11, 2008

Wise Words

"If you want to make God laugh, tell Him your plans."--Blessed Teresa of Calcutta

According to some information from our agency's director yesterday, when I placed a follow-up email to them, our plans to adopt may look different from what we originally thought. I'm still waiting for some additional information from her, but it seems that God may have different plans for us in this matter. Updates as I get them...
And So It Goes

Well, it seems as though the malicious pop-up attack is over (for the time being I suppose). I'm not sure exactly what item was compromised, but it appeared as if one of the *techie* items in my footer was to blame.

Honestly, I don't know who would go to such lengths to either a) waste their time adding filth-laden spyware to the mediocre blog of a thirtysomething year old mother or b) get their kicks by "re-writting" the code for what was once a nice, normal link and morphing it into the Devil's spawn. Either way, let me be the first to say, "Get a life!"

And to my dear friends, who combated the onslaught of pop-ups to comment or sent a response via email (especially all the emails full of prayers, encouragement and suggestions from Anne!), just to help me cure my ailing blog, let me also say, "You are the best!"

Monday, March 10, 2008

Popping Up

Is anyone else getting these annoying popup ads when they either a) visit my blog or b) on other Blogger blogs? This just started happening over the weekend and I've been into my template's html to seek and destroy any suspicious code, but I just don't see any! I've contacted Blogger's help group, but have no answer as of yet. Anyone? Anyone? Help!
Straight from the horse's mouth

If you heard the news last week about the state of California *outlawing* homeschooling to "uncredentialed" parents, you weren't alone. Fortunately, one of my favorite, most intelligent people also just so happens to be a homeschooling parent in the very same state. I asked for her response on the situation, and with her usual grace and attention to detail she responded. If you want to know the real story (and trust me, it's even more upsetting that homeschooling simply being made illegal) take a moment to read her answer.

Saturday, March 08, 2008

Here's to your health!

Have you ever decided to add something to your daily regimen, make a change to your diet or aim to build a seemingly healthy new habit into your life?

I have. Over the last six months or so. And because I was armed with all but one very small, but very important, piece of information, my plan nearly backfired.

What did I do? Well, it won't seem as exciting as I've built it up to be, but just wait for the punch line. I decided sometime during the early Fall to begin regularly taking a multi-vitamin. Great, right? It's probably written in every primer on nutrition and health on the market, isn't it? And I, with the exception of when I was pregnant or nursing, had been woefully lax in adhering to this simple rule. I was, I assured myself, quite possibly the only adult female in America, NOT taking her Iron, Calcium and other womanly important mineral laden vitamin. So, I started. I selected a very simple vitamin, ensuring that it met the daily requirements for a nearing middle-age (ahem) woman.

After a few weeks, I wasn't noticing any major changes in my health--for good or for bad, but I soldiered on with my health maintenance. But as time went on, I started feeling sluggish. I had a doctor's visit only to find that five additional pounds had found their way onto my new, healthy self--without any of the joy of eating more. Within the last several weeks, however, I was taking tired to a whole new level. I'd go to sleep exhausted and wake up even moreso.

Then, by a stroke of luck, I happened to see the results of a blood test I had done in late October, to check my TSH level (that's thyroid stimulating hormone for you healthy folk). **Ed. Note: I've had hypothyroidism (underactive thyroid) for over a decade and have my blood tested and medication adjusted twice a year.** Why is this important, you might be asking? Why do we care about the results of your blood work, you say? Well, I'll tell you why. Because it just so happens that my TSH level in late October was nearly '5', which is considered in the normal range, but for someone with my thyroid condition, a level between 0 and 2.5 is the ideal. The only time my thyroid levels fluctuate are during pregnancy and since it's already March, I can confirm beyond a shadow of a doubt that I was simply NOT pregnant in late October. What, I then wondered, could have caused this change? When suddenly, it hit me. I had a vague notion about some long forgotten information about thyroid medication and its interaction with multi-vitamins. Sure enough, when I got home I was able to confirm that thyroid medication (Synthroid, et al.) should be taken at least 2 and in some cases 4 hours apart from a multi-vitamin. Why? Because the minerals in the multi-vitamin--specifically the minerals iron and calcium--lower and, even potentially block, the absorption of the thyroid hormone!

No wonder I was tired...and gaining weight...and a host of other hypothyroid-related symptoms...EVEN though I was religiously taking my thyroid medication. Why am I sharing this? Because it occurred to me that it's quite possible that if I, who have been on this medication for over ten years, didn't know immediately about this interaction, there might be someone else who could benefit from hearing my story.

I hope someone does. And, for the record, I'm feeling much better after less than a week of properly spacing these two daily doses! If you're interested, you can read more about this here, here and, regarding TSH levels and prenatal vitamins, here ( specifically the last paragraph).
At least I've still got all my stickers...

You are a Rubik's Cube

You are engaging and popular. People are drawn to your colorful personality.

As much as they try, people can't stay away from you.

And while you seem easy to understand, people can't figure out what direction you're coming from.

H/T Cassel Crew

Thursday, March 06, 2008

On Quiet

toomuchtoomuchtoomuch! has been my cry this Lent.

"Remove me from the noise!" I shouted to God.

And so, for Lent, I contrived scenarios of quiet. Mostly they were times when noise was elusive anyway--like at the break of day or in the quietness of a house wrapped in sleep. And God was there and it were good. And my overly planned silences certainly helped during the times when noise was my constant companion--like during the pre-dinner "witching hour" or the mad dash out the door for school at 7:30 a.m.

But rather than my will, through the courtesy of God's, He took it a step further. He removed the noise from me. It was only for a few hours, but it was in the depths of a valley of musts, shoulds and oughtas that were stealing my joy from what had started out as a pretty decent day. Suddenly, in the midst of the chaos of my mind, we heard a crack...saw a flicker...and then as the dusk settled in around our home--quiet. And in the quiet? There was God.

"Be still," God spontaneously said to me that afternoon, "and know that I AM."

Wednesday, March 05, 2008

And we're off!

After much consideration, we've decided to throw caution to the wind, (or more precisely) place our trust firmly in God's hands when it comes to this next adoption. So--believing that some of the policies and procedures, which caused reasonable doubt in our minds about our *eligibility* to adopt again from Ethiopia, will be well-managed by our agency (with the help of God's grace)--we're starting our dossier paper work for a child (or children--maybe siblings again?)! The referral may take a while to come or it may come swiftly, but whatever His timing, we're open to the life or lives that God is hand-selecting to join our family.

There's a carnival afoot--a Catholic Carnival--and it's being hosted by Sarah at Just Another Day of Catholic Pondering. So grab your slippers and tippy-toe on over for some wonderful reflections this week.
The Favorite Parable Meme

Christine at The Simple and the Ordinary tagged me for this meme. The rules are simple and straightforward:

1. You name your five favorite parables
2. You tag one blogger per parable.
3. It would be nice if you linked back to this post.

I really enjoyed this meme because it caused me to do something I hadn't done for a while. What's that I did, you're wondering? Oh, you aren't wondering? Well, I might come back and read this myself sometime and find myself scratching my head, puzzling over what it was. It presented me with an invitation to sit and consider the parables for no other reason but that. And it was good. Here are my favorites:

1. The Parable of the Lost Sheep (Luke 15: 1-7) This parable holds a very special place in my heart. The image of Jesus, so overjoyed at His single lost sheep's return, hoisting it on His shoulders to carry it home is an integral part of my reversion to the Faith. Maybe someday, I'll share that story here...

2. The Parable of the Mustard Seed (Matthew 13: 31-31) A biblical reminder of how there are no small parts only small actors.

3. The Parable of the Good Samaritan (Luke 10: 25-37) As a parent of children born in a different land and, myself, the ferenge in their homeland. This parable illustrates perfectly that charity and compassion are for all God's people.

4. The Pharisee and the Tax Collector (Luke 18: 9-14) Who among us doesn't need a daily reminder of our tendency to act more like the Pharisee and less like the Tax Collector? Except for me--because, hey, I pray the rosary, go to Mass (sometimes more than once a week), lead bible study, practice the works of mercy...(tongue inserted firmly in cheek here, in case you were wondering)

5. The Widow and the Unjust Judge (Luke 18: 1-8) - I don't think there is any topic more pertinent to a Christian life than that of perseverance. I've written about it before, but each year I grow more and more convicted that the Devil's greatest tool when it comes to snaring souls is to just wait for us to give up. This story reminds us that "failure is not an option". (Except for the Devil!)

I extend this invitation to consider the parables to everyone, but I'd love to hear the five favorites of Easter A., Anne, Cathy, Faith and Kelly.

Monday, March 03, 2008

Next time someone challenges...

that Pl*nned P*renthood is of vital importance to poor, underprivileged, minority women, who otherwise wouldn't receive adequate health care, tell them about this.

Sunday, March 02, 2008


This week, I've been so fortunate to attend not one, but two different inspiring talks at our church. Our entire family (yes, all EIGHT of us) heard Fr. Larry Richard's speak during the Parish Mission and I'm planning to share a little about that this week; but today, I simply must share about the retreat day based upon the story of the Woman at the Well.

As women, we are intimately connected to water. It has been so since time began. We use water in feeding our families, with warm water we bathe our children, we comfort the sick in our homes with compresses soaked in cool water, at the beginnings and ends of lives around us--water is present--it is a necessity, but as women we see the potential gift it offers as well. The story of the Samaritan woman at the well is one of the many gifts the waterbearing women bring to our lives.

The Women of the Scriptures teach and encourage us with their courage and faithfulness to God, strength personified in answering God's call for their role in salvation history.

The Women of the Past teach and encourage us with their wisdom and steadfast examples of what perseverance and endurance looked like at the end of a life lived for Christ.

The Women of the Present teach and encourage us through the sharing of their joys and struggles as we journey alongside one another.

The Women of the Future teach and encourage us with their sweet, innocent love for Christ and their unfailing trust in His promises.

These women,
the waterbearers,
journey together as one
through the waters of Baptism.

Sharing their joys,
their sorrows,
their struggles,
their hopes,
and the knowledge
that the water,
which connects us,

and soul-satisfying--

Poured down on us,
providing for our every need
for all eternity.

Who are your waterbearers? Are there special women who have blessed you on your faith journey?
Stations of the Cross for Children

If you've not yet visited the Holy Heroes website, here's a great reason to check them out now---through this special offer you can get a copy of the powerful CD The Passion for Children along with the new companion coloring book "The Road to Calvary." Both items are bi-lingual--English/Spanish. What a wonderful Lenten resource or addition to a child's Easter basket. They are also running a limited time offer where each order placed receives a free coloring book of your choice! Don't miss it!

Saturday, March 01, 2008

It's All in the Marketing

"How do you get your husband to do everything? He just goes along with whatever you want..."

I shared this comment from a friend with the spouse in question and we both rolled on the floor hysterically chuckled as we considered how the presentation of my *merchandising* strategy might have sounded:

"We've noticed a drop in your marketability among God-fearing, married, women with two or more children in the 29-45 demographic. You can see from these graphs and charts that by presenting your more appealing qualities here, we can expect to see an upswing in your likeability factor within the same test group. With these new "Husband Development Tactics" (HDTs), the fourth quarter should produce our best results ever!"
I mean, seriously, do you all honestly believe that this is how marriage--even the most perfect ones (and by that, of course, I include mine)--work? If so, I've got some oceanfront property in Arizona I'd like to show you.

That being said, I can see why it might appear that way; especially when a husband and wife, given all their faults and shortcomings, attempt to live out the most holy Sacrament of Marriage, using all the graces at their disposal, following the sacrificial example of Christ for his Bride the Church. Why? Because if that's not the example being studied-if the pinnacles of good marriages are coming from Desperate Housewives (Are those women even married? I've never seen the show, but the producers are so bold as to imply marital status with the word "wives" in the title) or John and Kate Plus 8, then, certainly, practicing even the most common courtesies of civilized society would create marriages where the love and respect spouses have for one another seems almost supernatural.

What good does it do our husbands, or our marriages, when we indiscriminately choose to air our disagreements, dissatisfactions or simple pet peeves for all the world to see? Years ago, I read something which cautioned young wives to be very careful in choosing which people and what information was shared during times of marital strife. Why? Because later on, when the argument was over, the confidant(s) might not hear about the change of heart or happy times in between the next verbal slaying they witnessed.

If, for example, my husband's obstacle course of shoes or antibiotic cultivating pile of soggy bath towels frustrates me, is it appropriate to climb to the highest mountain top and shout it to the world? Or what if the frustration is something less frivolous? (not that tripping over shoes or needing a Hazmat suit to clean the bathroom is frivolous--hypothetically speaking, of course...) But what if your husband is struggling more personally--with his work, his weight, or his family? Or perhaps the Devil has your husband in his vice grip, literally, through a serious addiction or crisis in his faith? As the Boy says, "What now?" What's out there on the internet? Lots of garbage. What's out there on television? Even more--as discussed here. Who does it profit to add your own dirty laundry to the pile?

Let's be clear. Don't hear me saying that you should bottle your concerns all up inside until they burst out in an ugly way involving a clock tower and the SWAT team. But, how about starting the conversation at the source--with your spouse--first? (Shocking and revolutionary thinking, right?) And it is important to have a trusted, faithful friend or spiritual adviser for some more difficult situations. Of course. And what about God? Through the sacraments, in personal and couple prayer, He is just waiting to pour out graces and blessings on your marriage. So is it necessary to divulge all of your spouse's faults and misgivings to the world? At the busstop? In the grocery check-out line? During your weekly coffee with friends or family? On internet message boards, emails or blogs?

And if so, at whose expense is it done?

The husband who feels belittled by his wife's demeaning portrayal of him?

The children who learn, by example, from their parents what a *good* marriage looks like?

The wife who exposes the intimate concerns of her soul and her family to everyone--INCLUDING those who don't care where her soul spends eternity?

My husband and I are perfect foils for one another, where I am weak, he is strong and vice-versa (or so he lets me think). He definitely doesn't do "whatever I want". And given some of the harebrained schemes I've proposed over the last decade and a half, we can all thank God for that!

"How great a forest is set ablaze by a small fire! And the tongue is a fire...With it we bless the Lord and Father, and with it we curse those who are made in the likeness of God. From the same mouth comes blessing and cursing. My brothers and sisters, this ought not to be so." James 3: 5-6, 9-10