Sunday, March 2, 2014

What I Wore Sunday-vol. 31

Pin It
Phew, it's been a busy week here trying to do 7 posts in 7 days with everyone else, but we've made it.

My brother-in-law came down yesterday afternoon and spent the night so we had a nice mini-Thanksgiving dinner with a turkey breast, stuffing, green beans, and my homemade version of Cheddar Bay biscuits.  Today after Mass we had a nice little brunch (the sausage and cheese croissant breakfast sandwich at the bakery up the street is such a guilty pleasure!) and grabbed some desserts to take home that we all just enjoyed together.  We're so glad to have such a great little spot so close to us.

We're supposed to get another round of snow tonight and into tomorrow so we'll have to see how it goes, but I might be going over to a friend's to watch the Oscars, or at least part.  I'm supposed to work tomorrow and I guess there's a chance that will be affected by the weather.  Just praying for good weather later in the week for my travels to NH for my Creighton training!

And here's what I wore:
Dress: Target
Leggings: Target
Shoes: Target
Necklace & earrings: Kohls'
Bracelet: Somewhere in Jerusalem from Jessa @ Shalom Sweet Home
And Lilly is always a nice accessory!

Thanks for sticking around this week and if you missed some of the posts be sure to check them out now.

For more What I Wore Sunday, click below:

Saturday, March 1, 2014

Why marriage is hard

Pin It
A little while back I wrote a guest post for Patty at A Modern Grace about why I'm like God.  That post came from some brainstorming I did about marriage about a year ago.  (I recommend reading that post before reading this one--it's kind of like "part 2".)

One of the things I felt like I heard a lot in the years before I was married was that marriage was "hard".  I think it's difficult for a non-married person to fully understand what is meant when we say marriage is "hard".  I certainly don't feel like I went into marriage without a lot of examples over many years and a fairly good concept of what marriage should be.  But I still think a lot of the more abstract details of what it is that is challenging about marriage were a bit beyond my ability to imagine.

So some time back I began making a little list about the things that make marriage hard.  I'd be interested to hear what you would say makes marriage hard as well.

It is hard to allow someone to do something differently than you would and just be fine with it.

It is hard to learn to love another family like your own that is weird in ways that are different from the ways your family is weird.  (Because let's face it--all families are weird.)

It is hard to support someone toward your family about decisions that you might actually disagree with in order to "leave and cleave". 

It is hard to not be able to do everything in life on your time table and when and where you want to do it.

It is hard to live with an imperfect person--a person who does not do everything right all the time and sometimes makes you really upset with their inability to act the way you think they should.

It is hard to be really upset about something and not die on that hill over it today because tomorrow they will still be living with you and you will need to find a way to work together.

It is hard to accept that you cannot change every bad habit about a person and some things you will just have to live with.

It is hard to not let too many days go by without being sure to kindle the fires of romance and remember why you love a person.

It is hard to not let the ordinary parts of a shared life overcome a marriage and allow it to become a business partnership or housing plan.

It is hard to always be in agreement about the big decisions; whether or not to pursue something, whether or not to purchase something.

What do you think makes marriage hard?

Friday, February 28, 2014

Quick Takes-vol. 28

Pin It
--- 1 ---
I have to admit--I'm starting to fade on this whole 7 posts in 7 days challenge.  Not that I'm out of posts to write, just that it's more posting than I've done in some time.  Here are the posts for this week so far:
--- 2 ---
I've been under the weather this week so it's a good thing I wasn't scheduled to work much.  I finally bought a humidifier, but I'm not sure it's really making any difference.  I don't feel so bad during the day, but my congestion forces me to sleep with my mouth open so I wake up every hour or so from drying out when I am able to get to sleep.  Hopefully I'm past the worst of it though.
--- 3 ---
Lilly recently started shedding like crazy after being a fairly low-shed dog.  We got a Furminator for her this week and it's been really great.  They're kind of expensive, but I think it'll be worth it once we use it for a few days and get things under control.
--- 4 ---
Staying home sick these past few days has given me a good opportunity to finally try out Call the Midwife.  I figured it was right up my alley and I was write.  I'm on my ninth episode in the past three days.  Obviously I've never been a midwife or worked in the 1950s or in London, but there are a lot of universal nurse themes and good wisdom.  I also love the nuns and the compline singing in ever episode.
--- 5 ---
I'll be leaving next week for my second part of Creighton training.  Between now and then I have one intro and three follow-ups so plenty to do.  I'm praying for no snow storms when I need to travel and to not get stressed out about requirements.
--- 6 ---
This weekend will be a little busy with me working tomorrow and having an intro in the afternoon, plus having company.  Brice's brother is coming in the afternoon and will spend the night.  In case you missed the results of our church bake sale from last week, we had a goal of $300 and ended up raising over $1600!  We're able to adopt 5 children in Haiti for their education for one year.  Amazing!
--- 7 ---
Just one link to share this week, but it's pretty good:
This 4 year-old makes paper dresses

For more Quick Takes, visit Conversion Diary!

Thursday, February 27, 2014

Why the secularization of society doesn't bother me

Pin It
I feel like I very frequently hear religious friends and family lamenting the changing legislation in our country because they feel the US is a Christian nation.  I'm not really of the mind that the US was founded on religious principles.  As best I can tell from history, the US was founded on a lot of common principles and values of the day, with a strong emphasis on freedom.  And I tend to believe, based on the information I have about many of the founding fathers, that if they were alive today they would be quite progressive individuals and mostly agnostics.  I think we tend to overlook the default to Christian religion of the time period and not as much consider that some of these men were not as Christian as many would like to believe.  And that's fine with me, I certainly don't mind.

I also think it can be a bit silly to think certain founding fathers' would be upset by progressive legislation, because who could possibly have been more progressive than the founding fathers?  It's a story we're used to hearing, but when you think about how radical the whole independence process was, it's quite impressive.  Time has made us all lose our appreciation for it.

So no, I don't think of the US as a "Christian nation" and I can't say that I see this as a bad thing.  In fact, I sometimes feel that the secularization of American society is even good.

Because conservative Protestant Christian culture has historically been so pervasive in our society, the hallmark of Sundays in the US used to be (and still is in many places) women and men in their best clothes behaving politely and being social at church.  Just picture a nice Episcopal or Presbyterian church in the 1950s with ladies in pillbox hats and gloves.  Men in suits with slick hair.  In the last year or so I have come to believe that this makes me very uncomfortable.  Why?  Because these people are all too comfortable.  Church and Christianity are so normal in America that it causes most Christians to be totally complacent.  So many Americans self-identify as Christian and while I don't doubt that many of them do believe in God and Jesus, I think the majority have forgotten how radical what we believe is.

We're talking about a God coming to earth in the form of a baby, hanging out for 33 years and then being executed.  Then rising from the dead.  The dead.  A person coming back to life.  That's crazy.

I feel like living as a Christian in an increasingly secular society forces me to not be complacent.  I do have to actually think about what I believe and explain it and having just a touch of a feeling of being counter-cultural actually makes my faith stronger.  Don't get me wrong--I appreciate that I live in a country where I am not persecuted and I'm aware that Christianity being the dominant religion in America makes my life easier than I often realize.

But maybe secularization is the push we all need to be less complacent in our faith.  To stop thinking of going to church as a comfortable, routine, traditional way to spend a Sunday and rather an exercise in something radical.

Wednesday, February 26, 2014

On Birth Order

Pin It
I have always been interested in the dynamics of birth order and how that shapes an individual's personality.  I was first introduced to the idea through a book about siblings put out through the American Girl franchise.  I must have mentioned something to my dad about it because he offered me a birth order book.  While I didn't read it in its entirety, I gleaned a lot that I still carry around with me.

Part of my personality is just geared toward this kind of thing.  I have a tendency to really enjoy analyzing what makes people tick, what experiences have shaped them.  Somewhere around the same time of this interest in birth order I was at a summer camp where girls were really surprised to find I was a youngest child--they pegged me as more of an oldest or a middle child at least.  I think in those group dynamics I had defaulted to my quite common "mother hen" role that is typical of an oldest child, but I found it interesting that their guess on my birth order wasn't correct.

Then I found a new piece of the puzzle:  my parents gave me a newspaper article they had saved from a few months after I was born that wasn't exactly about birth order, but similar.  It was about the differences between a first child and a second child.  Now this explained me.  I never seemed to fit the description of the "baby" of the family--I wasn't dependent on others or disorganized or extremely outgoing or always looking to be the center of attention (youngest children are often in show business).  But this article described a second child as more cautious, quiet, intuitive.  I can't remember everything the article said, but it seemed to fit me to a T.

Then came another situation, in high school, when birth order came up and some lunchmates not in my year who didn't know me well pegged me as a middle child.  I was a peacemaker and laid-back.  Again, shocked to learn I was the youngest.

What I have found in my amateur study of birth order is that the often accurate stereotypes of birth order apply most accurately when there are at least three children in the family.  If there are only two, they often still apply if the children are of the same gender.

Why is that?  Glad you asked.  Individuals tend to form personalities within their families based on needs they have and roles they can fill.  In my family, I have one older brother.  So when I came along, I was fulfilling a completely different role.  We were different genders and it was our genders that tended to define what made us unique in the family over our order of birth.  (Consequently, I don't think my brother is a "typical" oldest child at all.)
Yep, that's me.  On the right.  Doing my best to fulfill the role of "girl".
Another example: My dad likes to lament his particular place in the family growing up saying he didn't have anything that made him "special".  (Though if you know my dad, you realize he's kind of "special"--har har, Dad :-)  The first child born in his family was a girl.  She was special because she was the first child and remains a very standard oldest child to this day.  The second child born was a boy.  He was special because he was the first boy.  Then came my father.  He was not the first child or the first boy.  He was followed by a sister, the baby of the family and a pretty typical youngest child.
Oldest reading, my father ready to create some mischief on the left since he's been displaced by the new baby, outside of the frame.

When there are at least three children in a family there will be an overlap in gender and therefore each child begins to be defined by something that makes them different or special in the family.  These definitions of self, whether formed by the individual or molded by parents and other family, are what set up the dynamics that give us these common birth order personalities.

Oldest children tend to be go-getters; they become doctors, lawyers--someone in charge.
Middle children tend to be more relaxed; they are peacemakers, often shy or quiet.  These people are more likely to describe themselves as introverts; they gravitate to fields like caregiving, education.
Youngest children tend to be social butterflies and love attention.  They are almost always extroverts and as mentioned, many will go into some kind of performance job.

I think birth order stereotypes are magnified in families where the children are all of the same gender and I find a family with four children to be the best case study--more becomes a little difficult.  I've had the good fortune of being able to indulge my little psych hobby over the years with a highly available case study family: my husband and his siblings (did you guys know you were being studied/still are being studied?).
That's #1, #4, #3, and #2 left to right
My husband grew up in a house with three brothers.  (He has an older half-sister, but she was 18 when he was born so the dynamics he grew up with were primarily limited to the four boys.)  I have found that each of them makes a wonderful example of what is typical for their place of birth in the family.  Boy #1 was valedictorian in high school and today is a plastic surgeon.  Boy #4 was student body president, is very outgoing and chatty and teaches high school (a small-scale way to be the center of attention :-).

The two in the middle are also very typical middle children.  They are both introverted and more quiet.  The older middle child also has typical tendencies to lean more to oldest child qualities if he deviates from middle child qualities.  My husband, the younger middle child, is introverted, relaxed, and dislikes conflict.  I'm also told that as a young child he was rather mischievous--a typical tactic of the second-youngest in response to his displacement by the baby of the family.

All of the boys are smart and athletic and being all the same gender, they have had a lot in common which I think is often responsible for more strict adherence to birth order stereotypes.  Again, that quest for uniqueness.  If, perhaps, boy #2 had been the star athlete while the others were mediocre at best, that would have given him his "role".  If my husband as boy #3 had been an exceptional artist, that would have given him a unique "role".  Then there would have perhaps been the academic, the athlete, the artist, and the gregarious one.

Lots of variables can cause the stereotypes to change, of course, like gaps of more than three or four years between children.  Often children more than four to five years apart in age will each function more like an only child if there are only two and if there are more, two separate "families" might be formed.  My mother is one of four as well.  She is the second child and first girl.  The next girl, my aunt, tells me that she often gets pegged as an oldest child.  She thinks this comes from my grandparents always dividing the "younger" ones from the "older" ones even though my aunt is exactly four years younger than my mother and four years older than my other aunt, the "baby".

In families with two children of the same gender, sometimes this second child will end up filling whatever the "opposite" role of the first child is.  For example, a boy with an older brother who is good at sports might pursue arts.  It will be difficult for him to catch up to his older brother in skill until he has grown up a bit and in the meantime he is not able to be as unique--his brother is fulfilling the athlete role.  In a family of two girls, the first girl may be very feminine.  The second girl may see that role fulfilled and be more of a tomboy.  This is sometimes enhanced (unwittingly) by a father who will enjoy having an athletic daughter since he doesn't have a son.

In families where there are a few children of the same gender and then a child of the opposite gender finally arrives, if that child is followed by another they may develop some attributes of an oldest child.  This can be particularly true if the next child to arrive is of the same gender; now we have a pairing with an older and a younger of the same gender and natural tendencies toward an oldest/youngest dynamic will arise.

I could probably go on for a bit longer, but I'll spare all of you this evening.  Hopefully you found this interesting and maybe it will encourage you to read more about birth order.  At the very least it will hopefully help you begin to understand your own family of origin, your spouse's, and new people in your life as you notice how a personality is molded by these factors.

Tuesday, February 25, 2014

Why I eventually came to love Parks & Rec

Pin It
We don't have cable TV.  We have a TV, but we just use it for movies and Netflix so we don't really watch that many shows.  (And when you randomly throw out a line from an extremely pervasive commercial, we have no idea what you are talking about.  Sorry.)  But we like it that way.

Parks and Recreation was not a show we originally watched from the beginning.  We watched a couple of episodes since it came on before or after something we watched back when we had cable, but we never really got into it.  The Office was a show my husband started watching long before it was mainstream and we knew it was made by the same people, but it just didn't seem as good.

Fast forward a few years and I much prefer it.  I know it seems really dumb at first and I definitely didn't think it was funny to begin with (I'm looking at you, Jessica), but it has me now.  It's a common plot device these days--an extremely diverse group of people who really care about each other.  They all work together in a small department of the city, Parks and Recreation.  While some of the plots are kind of ridiculous, I ended up being really won over by the way that everyone on the show really cares for each other and tries to help.  Especially Leslie, the main character.  Whereas Michael Scott was awkwardly funny on The Office, Leslie Knope is awkward and funny and kind.  And her co-workers and friends appreciate it.  She works very hard to do the right thing and while many of her co-workers don't agree with her, at the end of the day they all see how much she cares and reciprocate.

Maybe it's easy to write happy stuff.  My husband pointed out that The Office was more difficult to sustain because there wasn't that redemption and goodness to make you fall in love with the characters.  I guess that's true, but it doesn't change the fact that I still really like and appreciate Parks & Rec.

Monday, February 24, 2014

Why my meat thermometer is amazing

Pin It
Do you have a meat thermometer?
This is mine.  And I. Love. It.

I had a one those that you stick directly into the meat when we first got married.  It had a digital readout, but I think it got a little too wet too many times and really gave out.  It was also plastic so it couldn't be left in the oven.  It required pulling the meat out, stabbing it, realizing it wasn't there yet and then putting meat that had cooled a little bit back into an oven that had just lost some heat from being opened.  Not a good system.

I wanted one of these for a while and finally got it Christmas before last.  This little unit is magnetic and lives on my fridge.  A separate probe plugs into it on the side, like plugging in earphones.  There is a metal probe to stick into the meat connected to a heat-resistant cord that is thin enough to for the oven door to still close.  Then I can set the correct temp (shown here as 122, the default) and it will alarm when it reaches it (current temp displays where it reads "Lo").  There's also a timer, but with a thermometer there is no need to time.

Cooking meat based on temperature is a much better way to go.  Many times for recipes are correct, but variations in your oven or meat can cause you to overcook and dry it out or maybe not cook it to a safe temperature to begin with.

I highly recommend getting this sort of meat thermometer because I am a kitchen gadget nerd :-)

*I received absolutely no compensation for this ridiculously nerdy post.  That's right--I'm THAT girl.  Find my model here.


Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...