Fonticulus Fides

Saturday, September 23, 2006

More on that opportunity we had...

Thanks a million, all ye faithful readers (whose numbers I apparently grossly underestimated), for the prayers!

We are moving to a new house!!!!!

Well, newer, anyway. The one we have was built in 1900 and the one we're getting was built in 1925.

It's a long crazy story, but basically, an acquaintence of mine was selling her house, to no avail. It happens to be a craftsman-style home, the type of architecture we really love. However, we thought it would be out of reach financially...until my husband found out we could get 3.99% financing, which made the mortgage payment just a little higher than what we have right now. Initially, I thought we'd really suffer in 2007, as our belts are pulled pretty tight as it is, but then I was reading about this financial expert who actually suggested that people consider removing money from an IRA to pay off revolving debt because the big credit card companies are buying up your accounts and jacking up interest just because they can, not because you were late or anything, which had already happened to us once. So I had this very small Roth IRA that we hadn't contributed to for a while (in favor of a different plan), and we decided to cash that out so we could just about pay off one of our remaining 2 cards (having paid off one already earlier this year). With some creative eBaying and my husband's willing sacrifice of some musical year, we can get out of enough credit card debt to total the differences in mortages. So, while our budget will still be tight, we'll be done with credit cards and only have a 3.99% mortgage, which is a LOT better situation than we've been in...ever. It's a very complicated answer to prayer, but there it is.

Other boons: We're gaining about 850 sq. ft of living space. The basement has a room that used to be an efficiency apartment, which with some work will be an ideal studio space for my husband. Four bedrooms!!! (Although the girls will continue to share until one hits puberty and they can't live together any more.) An extra half bathroom!!!! A play/recreation/arts&crafts/sewing "great room" up in the finished and sky-lighted attic. We can actually host the family Christmas party this year!!!!!! A fireplace flanked with bookcases that will look marvelous with stockings hung from it for Christmas! A nicer neighborhood. Boiler heat!!! (Great for folks with dust allergies, like my husband and middle child.) A back door!! (I really don't have one, just a side door that is stuck closed, so the kids have to go out the front to get to the back). More closets! A six-foot privacy fence that the dog can't jump over (she hops our 42" chain link like its nothing).

Oddity: Well, it's in a different parish. And I like that other parish just fine, but I like our current parish's school better. We told Zooey and Edyn we're keeping them in the current school for the rest of the year and will reassess. We do plan to visit the other parish's school and go to some events and such, but I already don't want to switch. It's a fine school, to be sure, but I have some stupid issues that I really need to overcome. First, it's not very multi-ethnic, and I'd rather have my kids in a school were more cultures were represented among the student body. Second, that parish includes a chunk of the southern part of town that has more money. Where my kids go to school, they don't look "poor," they look like everybody else. But in that other school, it won't be long before the difference is apparent, and frankly, I hated experiencing that myself in high school and college, and I don't really relish the thought of my kids feeling that way. Thirdly...well, Zooey, to be honest, is kind of a geeky kid. At his school now, everybody appreciates him and loves him for what he is. The upper classmen look out for him and recommend books to him (he is famous for constantly reading), his classmates are fond of him, the teachers know and understand his foibles and seem to think that even his short-comings have silver linings. And okay, MAYBE the other school's upperclassmen would learn to like Zooey, too. And MAYBE his classmates will grow fond of him and not oust him because he's so different from them. And MAYBE the teachers will understand him and find ways to challenge him that are appropriate. But I don't know that and the mommy in me would rather keep a good thing going than change it.

Besides, our current pastor has been asking us to become more involved in leadership. I think he feels like he needs us to help, and I want to respond to that because it's so much harder to get people to be involved in the downtown parish, with lots of renters and lots of elderly people. The new house is only a few blocks off the cut-off line, so it's possible we could get permission to stay registered where we are. The other parish has a very active community and doesn't need us, so it would be no loss to them. It is a great community, and I'm sure I would love becoming part of it, but I love our current parish community too, and I don't necessarily want to move away from that.

Egads, it's late -- I'm rambling, sorry. I need to go to bed.

In the meantime, thanks for praying for us, and if you feel like you could pray for us to quickly get our current house on the market and quickly find a seller, that would be great, too.

Also, many blessings to my friend Dina who was married to a wonderful guy named Damian today in a very lovely ceremony (coincidentally at the parish we will be moving to!). May God bless them with a long and happy marriage.


Tuesday, September 19, 2006

To the Anonymous Commentator:

For the record, I did respond to your comment, almost immediately, and defended my position in the comments box. I left the post up 48 hours, giving you ample time to check back and see whether or not I had responded, and then I deleted both yours and my comments because I don't enjoy publishing inaccurate statements about Catholicism on my blog.

Your last comment on another thread was rejected for foul language.

You are welcome to comment on my blog, as long as you are respectful and pony up your name or a handle that you use elsewhere on the Internet. Anonymity doesn't fly with me, sorry. Give yourself a name and keep it respectful, and I will be happy to dialogue with you as much as you want.

And by the way, I only have like three people who read my blog, so if you're on some sort of a pro-choice campaign, this really isn't the place to do it. There are lots of blogs that have much, much, MUCH higher readership. Or you could start a blog of your own and make whatever statements you like to your heart's content.


Legalized Abortion and Parental Influence

Every single day, teenage women who are unmarried and pregnant are forced into abortions by their parents. This is a true fact, and if you were just to take yourself to an abortion clinic and sit in the waiting room all day, you would see what I am talking about.

A lot of parents simply don't give their daughters the choice. They say, "You're fourteen (or sixteen or seventeen or whatever). You can't have this baby. You are getting an abortion." And the girl, already in trouble up to her eyeballs, fearful her parents will never forgive her no matter what, meekly follows them into the clinic and lays her body down to have her child -- her parent's grandchild -- brutally removed from her body and killed believing she has absolutely no choice in the matter.

The parents might not go as far as this couple, who actually chased down their 19-year-old daughter, tied her up and apparently were prepared to threaten her with a gun if she didn't follow through, but there is coercion and the absence of free choice in every one of these situations.

If they can get their daughters to go along peacefully, where is the crime? I mean, abortion is legal, right? They are taking her to a legally operating clinic to get a legal procedure, so where's the crime?

The crime is in removing the daughter's free will. What if she wants to have the baby? What if she wants to have the baby and give the child up for adoption? What if she wants to have the baby simply because she loves the child already?

What if she wants to have the baby in the hopes that her dad or step-dad will stop raping her every time he gets drunk or smokes pot or simply has a bad day at work? Yeah, that happens, too. Legalized abortion is a great way to keep an incest victim a ready target for her attacker. You just remove the evidence, threaten the girl a little bit more than you already have and get right back to it.

So where, pray, are the feminists? Don't these girls matter? Shouldn't these girls, whose choices are being taken away from them, who are being abused and oppressed -- shouldn't THESE girls enjoy the support and protection of the women in our culture who stand up for the right to choose, the right to escape abuse, the right to be free?

Oh, that's right. Feminists are only concerned about protecting choice if that choice is abortion. If you want to have the baby, then you don't get any help from them at all. Especially if you're 14 or 16 or 17 or whatever. If you're a teen, the best you'll get from a feminist is a lecture about how you can't have this baby and a ride to the abortion clinic.


Monday, September 11, 2006

In Memory of Martha “Marti” Stevens

Martha Jane Stevens — Marti to her family and friends — perished in the World Trade Center on September 11, 2001, at the age 55.

I didn’t know Ms. Stevens personally, and from what little information I gathered from the Internet, I determined she was a rather private person. Or maybe just modest.

After the tragedy of 9/11, there was a sprinkling of comments of her on Internet guest books. Reading them, I have developed an image of Ms. Stevens in my mind: one of those highly intelligent businesswomen who was able to succeed without taking herself so seriously, she loses her sense of humor.

I found her niece’s e-mail address on one of those guest books, and wrote to her asking for more information about Ms. Stevens. Here is what she said:

”It turns out that writing about my Aunt Marti is harder than I thought - words will never do justice to the impact that she had on the lives around her. What I can tell you is this:

“She was the oldest of four children, born to a graceful ballerina & rugged cowboy. I saw her as the perfect blend of both - a determined woman whose strength and kindness I will forever look up to.

“She loved art and enjoyed traveling. One of her favorite paintings bought in Italy now hangs in my parents home, a gift given to my father after her passing. She was cultured, intelligent and her generosity inspiring, always donating to charities in NY. (Kips Bay Boys & Girls Club and Dress for Success were two that I know of). Her heart was genuine, and helping others was never a question for Marti - it was simply part of who she was.

“She is survived by her parents, Martha & James Stevens, her two brothers -- James (my father) and Kenneth Stevens -- her sister, Rose Marie Witt, and her husband, George Gayle.”

When Ms. Stevens died, she was a senior vice president for Aon Corp., a large insurance brokerage firm. Maybe she was sitting at her desk when the planes struck. Maybe she was strolling down the hall, greeting a co-worker. Maybe she was in a staircase heading down to safety. I don’t know. And maybe it doesn’t matter.

What matters is that she was a wonderful woman who had an artistic side that balanced out her work-a-day world. When she was a student at Mount Saint Mary College in Los Angeles, she created illustrations for the school’s literary journal. She had a penchant for sporty little Triumph TR4 motorcars and great wit.

The world suffered on the day Ms. Stevens died. And the people who loved Ms. Stevens and lost her still suffer her absence. I never heard of her before I signed up for the 2,996 Project. I wish I would have had the privilege of knowing her before her death.

The following are some thoughts about Ms. Stevens from the people who knew her, posted on various Books of Remembrance on the Internet. I hope you will read them and get to know Ms. Stevens a little better. And please do, pray for her eternal soul and pray for those who mourn her passing.

“Martha will always be remembered for her wonderful sense of humor,” wrote Marie Van Blaricom Maitrepierre, a close
friend and classmate.

“I liked her and still think of her. A smart, funny and very professional lady indeed!” remembered former colleague Thomas Bentley.

“I will never forget her wonderful sense of humor and irony,” said Alice Bergeron Aurelia

Ms. Stevens’ secretary, who was not in the World Trade Center because her mother had just passed away, wrote, “Martha, was the kindest, down right honest person I ever worked for. When I could not get thru certain projects, Martha would sit at my computer and help me complete it...I love you Martha...”

Another business acquaintance, Chris Fletcher, left this tribute: “When 911 struck, I immediately thought of Martha, whom I originally met when I was a cargo underwriter with MOAC…She and I became fast friends, rapidly building a sizable volume of very profitable biz together…I saw something in Martha that few people took the time to explore - a very wry sense of humor, the willingness to be flexible…I bumped into Martha occasionally…not as often as I would have liked, but regardless of the time elapsed, she always broke into a sly, slightly sideways grin and a ‘Well hello there!’ greeting. Martha - sorely missed, fondly thought of, soaring gently.”

Said another business associate, “I only met Martha once, but I am sure she will be sadly missed, both for her great personality and also her true professionalism.”

Her colleagues were really full of praise for her: “Throughout my years at FBH, RHH, and AON, I respected her for the person she was..a true professional in every sense of the word! Finding out a few minutes ago that Martha was no longer with us came as a complete surprise…Rest In Peace dear Martha.”

Her friend, Jane Madison, wrote, “When I first heard of what happened I immediately thought of Martha, because we often rode the subway together downtown and I knew she was always in the office early, so I knew she was there. I have such wonderful memories of her, her sense on humor, her honor and mostly the way she dealt with people. I will think of her often. My heart goes out to her family, and mostly to George.”

“Martha was my mother's second cousin,” said George Adams. “I can remember visiting Marti’s parents on summer trips to the mountains, seeing family pictures on the walls of their home…She was loved and admired…”

Another classmate from Mount Saint Mary, Francine Johnston, recalled, “…We worked together on a college literary publication, Westwords. Marti was the art editor, and I was the editor. She was incredibly creative in her illustrations of the entries in our anthologies and captured the essence of each poem. She was fun, open, and so very easy to connect with…As I began flipping through the pages of the "Westwords" magazine, I first turned to this poem. I wish I had the technical capability to show her illustration. It very much resembles the Twin Towers; however at the time of the writing, the towers weren’t even built. This poem touched my heart. It was written by a fellow classmate, Linda Caggiano.”

And here is the poem:

As Icarus
We hung ballooned between
The glass and wire-fragile pair of wings.
And that sprawling splat of concrete and
Bumper to bumper people
Spread under --
Valleyed between animal humped and haired ridges
And the lace-edged sea
Lit over by the blue and forever
Endless worst of all wind tunnels
That was calmed now by the yellow grip
Of sun that eyed its way over the world
And into our cocoon
Making it impossible to hide.
And since then this city is forever flatly dulled
And smaller than before --
We escaped the shattered plunge, the fall of life
From that bright globe, that dome,
But perhaps we still flew too near the sun.


Remembrances of the Day

From CNN, what it's like for the children born after their dads died on 9/11. They're all four, almost five years old right now.

From Amy Welborn, here is a link to a story about a baby conceived shortly after 9/11. It evoked a lot of the same emotions I had myself. We also were debating whether or not to try for a second child. It had been very difficult to get pregnant with Zooey, and my husband was completely against taking that painful journey again. I was willing, and so any discussion on the topic would end in disagreement.

Then 9/11 happened. And suddenly, I thought it was a horrible, horrible time to have another baby. I was terrified for Zooey -- I couldn't bear the thought of bringing another child into this mad and godless world.

Somehow, though, the need to draw close to each other in love and an ovulatory pattern than surprised me by starting a couple days earlier than usual amounted to me becoming pregnant with Edyn. Who is, today, a beautiful, compassionate, charming, artistic, insightful child, whom I thank God for. I don't really consider her a 9/11 baby, because she wasn't conceived intentionally. But then again, God certainly intended her, so maybe she is.


Thursday, September 07, 2006

That's what I've been saying!

Contrary to popular opinion, abortion doesn't help rape/incest victims. And actually, abortion can make them feel violated all over again. Particularly the incest victims who have abortion chosen for them by their attackers and then return home to suffer even more abuse.

Speak up for these women, please. Most of them don't have the strength to speak for themselves.