Saturday, June 16, 2012

7 Quick Takes, Vol. 3!

I am supposed to be concentrating on the Bar. I keep telling myself every time something new pops into my head, "worry about that after July. Worry about that after July." This is successful 85% of the time. Today it lost big time. Have you ever been to Orient Expressed? No, no - not that tacky party/wedding store! It's a children's clothing store out of New Orleans and nearly everything on there makes me swoon. Today I caught myself pleading, "shouldn't she have everything beautiful in the world?" to both my mother AND Mr. Oram. Oy vey.

Is there such a thing as too friendly? Today a gal next to me in Confession asked a question about something and mentioned she was new in town. I asked where she'd come from, and found out her husband is in law school down here. Well, then I decided she was my new best friend and proceeded to chat with her about law, St. John's, Naples, everything. I don't think she appreciated this in line for Confession...but newly married, new-to-town people need friends, amiright? Anyway, lets hope I didn't drive her away from the parish forever. 

I bit the bullet and went to see "For Greater Glory" last night. HOLY MOLY, that film was legit! Seriously, it was an awesome movie and I don't say that very often. Way better than most of the Christian crap they try to call movies, that's really just preaching to the converted set to bad music. Not this one! There's a real story, fabulous acting, good musical score (thanks James Horner), and great characters. I genuinely enjoyed this film, though I cried from beginning to the end, because I could not believe that such atrocities were committed in such recent history against my people. It is a chilling reminder: our freedoms are precious and we must protect them. 

Fr. Francisco Vera, murdered for being a priest in Mexico, 1927

Baby Girl Oram is nameless and it's KILLING ME. I want to drop everything to come up with a name!  I feel so bad just saying "good morning, baby!" or "good kick, baby!" I want to say her name. But I do not have one. I think we have might have to come up with a list and then pick when we see her - because although I love the name Josephine, I would never give it to a redhead! Isn't that funny? I just want to see her to know if it's her name...but my mom keeps pointing out that then we can't monogram ANYTHING until after she's born. The horror! #firstworlproblems for sure 

How was this week for you, spiritually? I certainly hope it was better for you than it was for me. I am leading the teens on a retreat in West Palm Beach next weekend, and Satan knows it! That dude has been GUNNING for me all week and I have been naively walking into every trap. Laziness? Sure! Self-pity? Well, why the hell not! Forget to pray? Darn tootin.' All the things that I really should not be doing before a retreat. So do me a favor and pray for me and the teens who are preparing for this retreat. It shows every promise of being wonderful, if I only I get out of God's way and cooperate with His Holy Spirit! 

It's summer, which is usually my favorite season, even in Florida. I love bright nail polish, days that last forever, and smelling like sunscreen. It's bit harder to get into while preggo, honestly. I find myself wanting new shoes and new jewelry, to try new makeup and get more maternity clothes. But I know that's just not in the budget right now - we need to be saving for house repairs and Lil' Missy Miss. Unfortunately, I seem to only have two speeds: putting in effort and therefore, looking cute and forgetting God gave me a body and looking like butt, erm, yeah butt. So maybe I should fix that, before my husband forgets what my hair looks like washed. 

I eat the same amount, or less, than I did before I was pregnant and I've only gained a pound. This makes me feel oddly proud of my body: recognizing "yes, we are growing a baby, but don't worry - we had TONS of fuel stored for precisely this emergency! we'll just use the stores we have!" I have other friends that are pregnant right now, either farther along or at the same place, and they have gained weight -but  most of them were pretty in shape before they got pregnant. I am actually starting to feel better about myself because I feel like "listening to my body" (gag me, I just said something super lame) is actually working. Usually if I listened to my body, I'd have to be crane lifted out of my house 6 months later (headline: MIDGET GIRL REACHES WEIGHT OF BABY KILLER WHALE). 

Aaah so cute! But in real life, they weigh 3.5 tons and kill everything (whales, not least, not my baby - your baby could be crazy for all I know) 

Wednesday, June 13, 2012

Welcome! More About Sex!

Thanks to all my kind friends linking to my post on facebook yesterday, I got a huge jump in readership...but an inverse drop in comments. You are reading, but are silent! I understand...I can be the "phantom commenter" where I say one thing, and then dash away without subscribing to the comments or coming back to even check - just wanted to chuck my 2 cents and run!

But you might want to say something nice. And people like to read nice things. Pregnant ladies studying for the Bar love to read nice things, especially from strangers. It makes us feel like something other than hormonal freaks of nature, and distracts from our unnaturally large ankles. Just today, I had a nice older woman say to me, "you look so good! so healthy!" and I took it to me I looked trim and fit, and in the sense that I had gained enough weight so that my child could emerge clutching a driver's license and possessing a full set of adult teeth.

If I avoid enough mirrors and keep repeating what that woman said, I will convince myself I look like this...despite the fact that my maxi dresses now look like circus tents and I'm on 5.5 months

Realizing that 50 Shades might bring up a whole host of questions about sex, I wrote a rather long post yesterday on (ahem) "marital aids" (do you get what those are? No? Ok sorry, it's a nice way of saying sex toys) and the morality thereof. But then I thought, is this what my readers want? Do they want me to discuss the moral licitness of sex toys, oral sex, etc.? You let me know if that's something you would be interested in reading: some spicy Catholic sex chat, if you will. Let me be clear I always adhere to Catholic teaching and I try not to be gross, but I don't mind discussing the nitty gritty (in the personal stories here). Blogs are supposed to be interactive - I have given you full room to comment! Anonymously! Please take advantage...of asking me stuff.

I have long wanted to create a website for married Catholic couples about sex. I wanted to write articles on issues people actually have questions or struggles with, especially since I lack the ability to blush and I so enjoy reading my darling prim Mr. Oram whatever I have written, so he can cough irritably and mutter "you are something else, Mrs. Oram." (I got the award for Offending Midwestern sensibilities at pre-Cana classes!) Well anyway, this little dream looks like it's coming true - and this website being headed up by the lovely Ashley Dill over at A Dillightful Adventure! She generously invited Catholic writers to submit articles on various subjects and I naturally dropped a pastrami sandwich to do so (which at this point is a pretty big deal). So stay tuned for that because it promises to be mucho fun!

Thank you also to those of you have sent me such well-wishes about the Bar. It is definitely a dastardly beast, but I shall slay it! (and apparently, I shall do so at a Renaissance Fair!) And please keep your prayers for me coming because lets face it, I'm pretty lazy right now. Thank you!

Tuesday, June 12, 2012

50 Shades of Pornography

Alright, so it was around Mother's Day when I heard about this stupid book. Looked it up, read a few reviews, muttered "aw, hell no" and walked away.

Unfortunately, it is still EVERYWHERE. I can't get away from it! So many people are talking about it - and reading it! The thing is, it combines everything bad in the world: bad writing (actually maybe even worse than Twilight), no creativity (seriously, this book started as Fan Fiction?? give me a flippin' BREAK), portraying a very unhealthy relationship as normal, and oh yeah, it's pornography.

I have actually had to have real conversations with people, Catholic people!, about why that book is wrong. just wrong. This should be obvious. But in case you're sitting out there wondering, "why Santa Claus, why?" let me clue you in: first of all, what goes into our heads is kind of important. You cannot unread a book. The words and scenes stick in your head - so you want to make sure that what you're putting in there are things that you want to have around for a while. "Blessed are the pure in heart," Jesus tells us in Matthew 5:8. How pure do you think your heart is when you're reading about a couple using (pardon my bluntness) anal beads? Seriously - why do you need to have that in your brain? The Word of God has a lot to say about purity, but maybe the best is when Jesus says "But the things that come out of a man come from the heart, and defile him." The fact is that what we read affects how we think, how we speak, how we interact with the world. The best writers are readers - because reading is learning to communicate, and we are learning not only the concepts but the language. There is language in this book, and concepts in this book, that no one needs to communicate.

Secondly, I want to ask you: do you have the time? Do you really have the time to read this book? You have read your Bible, read all the great works of fiction in the world, you've been feeding the poor and volunteering your time, your prayer life is strong, you feel you are fulfilling your duties to God and man perfectly? No? Oh well, then, this book is not worth your time. Simple as that! WE HAVE ONE LIFE, people! No use in wasting it on bad literature that pollutes our hearts and minds. Is God going to say to you, "well done, my good and faithful servant" for spending however many hours of your life reading this book? No. He's going to say, "what the what, people!" Unless you are a sex researcher, you have little reason to read this book. Hell, even I haven't read the book! I have read excerpts, but even me, who loves to talk about sex and be knowledgable about what the young folk are up to, has left this one alone - because I don't want that in my head. I have enough crap rattling around in there that Satan uses to tempt me to think of sex as my own way to gratification; I don't need anything more.

Thirdly, it's porn. Yes that's right -it's pornography. If this were a movie, it would be porn - you get that, right? I mean, if you walked into a theater to see on the big screen a man becoming aroused by whipping a woman with a belt while she's pregnant, you would say "Holy crap, this is some messed up porn" and walk out. Please tell me you would. You wouldn't say "this is such an interesting study about a young woman becoming liberated and discovering who she really is" - no you would say, "they need help, this is sick and should not be available for public consumption." THEN WHY IS READING IT ANY DIFFERENT? Hint isn't! Women are much more susceptible to written erotica, but it is still erotica and therefore, still pornography and should be avoided. If we have to talk about why pornography is bad, well, that's a whole different conversation.

Pornography enslaves thousands of men and women to their lust, frequently because of its ease of access through the internet.

The fact is that a book that glorifies deviant sexual behavior is harmful. It shouldn't be part of mainstream discourse, because it further distorts what sex really is - because what sex really is would blow your mind way more than this stupid book. It takes no talent or creativity to be a dirty book writer; it takes self-mastery, great love, and strength to be a truly authentic lover. The Catholic Church doesn't talk sex down or sell it short - it's books like this that do that! What sex truly is - what sex truly, truly is, is far wider, more vast and beautiful, than many of us ever have the courage to contemplate. Sex is what is given to us as the ultimate gift - the ability to join in God's creative power, the ability to love another person to the point of physical union, it is a foretaste of Heaven. That is how great and amazing sex is! To read material like this, base and small as it is, that wants to say "here, sex is so much more exciting when it's kinky and weird" is the glamour of sin that we all renounce at our Baptism, and renew our renunciation of at Easter time. The priest asks, "do you reject the glamour of evil, and refuse to be mastered by sin?" And THIS is what our Holy Mother Church is talking about - this is the glamour of evil! Because it is evil to be in a co-dependent relationship where you let a person beat you for their sexual pleasure; it is evil to be so consumed by a person that you have no outside life; it is evil for a person to speak of sex in terms of power and dominance instead of love and self-giving; it is evil for a 30-something woman to sleep with a 16-year old boy and introduce him to sadomasochism; it is evil for your husband to become so angry with you for becoming pregnant that he yells "this was your one responsibility!" Yes, these things are evil, and they are in these books.

Repentance and prayer...these tools protect us against evil. Inviting it in doesn't help, in case you were wondering.

So if you're looking for some summer reading, ditch this one. The purity of your heart and soul is worth more than being up on current trends in pornography.

Friday, June 8, 2012

7 Quick Takes, Vol. 2

Hosted by Jen at Conversion Diary! 

Did you hear did you hear? We're having a genuine, sweet, ruffly, little GIRL. Experiencing the sonogram with Tom was so incredible. We held hands as the intern dimmed the lights and our OB showed us our first shot of little missy miss. She was amazing - it was incredible to see how perfectly formed she is, her little rose bud lips showing up clearly and maybe even her mama's pug nose. She wouldn't quit moving around and showing us how active she is. We fell in love immediately - and couldn't stop staring. We didn't want it to end!! 

For some reason, seeing her picture and being able to watch her move, made this all so much more real to me. To my great surprise, I am not now dreaming of dresses or bows, but instead am wondering how I will ever shoulder the responsibility of being mother to this amazing child. My mom was really incredible, and she still is. She has always been my idol, partially because I believe she knows everything (about cleaning, education, government, baking, cooking, history, English...). What do I know? What do I have to offer? I feel so much responsibility for her already, and I love her so much - this has driven me to my knees! 

The bar is also driving me to my knees. Please pray for me as I study and get ready for this. It's all so exhausting. My unfortunate character trait of wanting to avoid things that are difficult is coming out - I just want to say, screw this, and not do it. I am very very freaked out. Please pray for me. 

I wrote a post on rudeness but didn't post it. I find it is still a daily struggle to handle other's general lack of respect for my personal space, my privacy, and my job. I'm still helping parttime with youth ministry, but according to most people, that isn't a real job. I know I ought to offer these things up, but at the same time, I am struck with the desire to enforce some limits. Has society always been so uncivilized?

I am putting off thinking about the demands of a job and a baby. Now that I am studying legal things again, I feel that familiar "fire." I want to do legal work, I want to have a job and make nerdy legal jokes with coworkers. I so enjoyed my time with the State Attorney's Office and with the DV clinic. But what am I ready for now? I couldn't imagine leaving my baby girl, but I would love to have some work to do. I'll have to pray that God shows me a way to live out this calling...because when I start to think about it, it makes me so nervous! 

Don't ask about names cause I don't know!! We have several contenders, but I'm not sure if we'll release them to the general public. Once we make a decision we might tell close friends or family, if only for the sake of monogrammed apparel :D, but maybe we'll keep that to ourselves. She is so special, and thinking of a name for her overwhelms me. How do we give her a name that conveys her singular unique importance in our lives - that she is what we have prayed for, hoped for, for so very long? How do we give her a name that will sound good on the playground and in a courtroom? A name to convict her in how wonderful she is, but is pretty enough to allow her to enjoy it when pairing it with boys' last names? 

Today is the Rally for Religious Freedom. I hate rallies, I hate protests. I like staying at home and thinking about things, and then writing private letters to friends about them. That's me! The consummate political organizer! I am going today because my husband wants me to go. If I get rained on or pass out, it will prove my point: I hate rallies.