Thursday, July 28, 2005

My new motto

"We are afflicted in every way, but not constrained; perplexed, but not driven to despair; persecuted, but not abandoned; struck down, but not destroyed." 2 Cor. 4:8-9

Monday, July 25, 2005

Terrassée mais pas anéantie...

Deuxième lettre de saint Paul Apôtre aux Corinthiens 4,7-15.

Mais ce trésor, nous, les Apôtres, nous le portons en nous comme dans des poteries sans valeur ; ainsi, on voit bien que cette puissance extraordinaire ne vient pas de nous, mais de Dieu. A tout moment, nous subissons l'épreuve, mais nous ne sommes pas écrasés ; nous sommes désorientés, mais non pas désemparés ; nous sommes pourchassés, mais non pas abandonnés ; terrassés, mais non pas anéantis. Partout et toujours, nous subissons dans notre corps la mort de Jésus, afin que la vie de Jésus, elle aussi, soit manifestée dans notre corps. En effet, nous, les vivants, nous sommes continuellement livrés à la mort à cause de Jésus, afin que la vie de Jésus, elle aussi, soit manifestée dans notre existence mortelle. Ainsi la mort fait son oeuvre en nous, et la vie en vous. L'Écriture dit : J'ai cru, c'est pourquoi j'ai parlé. Et nous, les Apôtres, animés de cette même foi, nous croyons, nous aussi, et c'est pourquoi nous parlons. Car, nous le savons, celui qui a ressuscité le Seigneur Jésus nous ressuscitera, nous aussi, avec Jésus, et il nous placera près de lui avec vous. Et tout ce qui nous arrive, c'est pour vous, afin que la grâce plus abondante, en vous rendant plus nombreux, fasse monter une immense action de grâce pour la gloire de Dieu.

C'est la lecture d'aujourd'hui, et cela me parle directement.
Je suis souvent mise à l'épreuve, désorientée, porchassée, terrassée, mais je ne suis jamais écrasée, jamais désemparée, jamais abandonée, jamais anéantie.

Plus on attaque ma foi, plus elle devient forte. Malheureusement, on dirait que plus elle devient forte, plus on l'attaque... Les saints ont tous subis bien des épreuves comme ceci sur terre... Et ils ont vaincu,... je vaincrais moi aussi. Un jour peut-être je serais heureuse dans le ciel.

Je sais bien que je suis loin d'être une sainte, une sainte prierait beaucoup, beaucoup plus que moi, une sainte se préoccuperait pour l'âme de ceux qui attaquent sa foi, une sainte s'occuperait beaucoup plus de la foi de ses enfants, une sainte serait beaucoup moins paresseuse et beaucoup plus patiente...

Sunday, July 24, 2005

Thunderstorm (from Juana la Cubana)

There is a thunderstorm here, rain is coming down in sheets. The grass roof of my hut does not keep out all of the rain, some of it is dripping down. I have a blanket around me to keep myself warm as it has gotten a bit chilly because of the dampness and the wind. The waves are crashing on the beach, and against the rocks, it is almost as loud as the thunder itself. Thunderstorms are usually brief and the sun comes out and dries everything up after. I wonder what the rainy season is like.

The sandcastle I made on the beach has been totally destroyed.

Friday, July 22, 2005

Coucoumelle the Hippie


Me, on a hippie-hair day... Posted by Picasa

Apparently, my glasses are passé, outdated, out of style, old, they have gone the way of big hair and legwarmers. I am aware that my glasses are no longer the latest style, but at least they aren't ugly (yet) not like the huge glasses I had as a teenager back in the eighties... you know, the kind we'd all like to forget any of us ever wore...

A friend of mine wanted me to try on his glasses yesterday (his are so much more IN) the thick square plastic brown glasses that were so avant-gardiste back when I bought these glasses. (Only artists and rebels were wearing them) Had I gone for
avant-gardiste instead of just à la mode I might still be in style today... My friend was trying to convince me I really needed to get a new pair of glasses. Okay, so mine are 10 years old, but I can still see clearly with them, they aren't falling apart, and they go not too badly with my face, do I really need a new pair? Or would that just be vanity?

However, I have to admit, the above picture would probably be more interesting if I had a pair of super-cool glasses on instead of the pair I have there...

Hey, if I wait another 10 years, maybe we'll have come full-circle and my glasses will be avant-gardiste.

Jean-Alexandre


My handsome dude Jean-Alexandre Posted by Picasa

DH'isms

This is the most silly DH'ism I have had the honour of witnessing:

DH does not like to throw things out, I did not either until I realized (1.) how much better the quality of my life is without a whole bunch of useless objects in the way, (more space to put things, less clutter, easy cleaning, etc...) and (2.) with the exception of two letters, (that I am not even sure if I threw out or just lost...) I have not regretted throwing out or giving away any of it.

Earlier this year, DH had just finished putting up some new shelves in our office/computer room/hairsalon. He placed two shelves above the computer and five on the wall to the left of the computer. Two of the shelves on this wall are slightly longer than the other five. DH filled the shelves above the computer with a bunch of computer programming books. I filled one and a half of the slightly longer shelves to the left with my things and the childrens' things that I want to keep (baby souvenirs, report cards, certificates, etc). This left DH with the other half of the slightly longer shelf, and the three slightly shorter shelves below it, which he promptly filled, but still had things to put away. He then studied the shelves intensely for a moment, (remember, his stuff was on five and a half shelves, while our four children and I were sharing one and a half shelves). He finally turned to me asked me: "Do you really need all that stuff?"

Inside all the covers of each of my childrens' baby books, I have written the funny things they have said and done... (which you can read by going to my homepage and going to each child's individual page) maybe I should start a "marriage" book as well and fill it with some DH'isms...

Thursday, July 21, 2005

Has the Pope condemned Harry Potter?

by Dr. Jeff Mirus, special to CatholicCulture.org

July 16, 2005

A LifeSiteNews article from last week, headlined “Pope Opposes Harry Potter Novels”, made it appear that Benedict XVI has read the Potter books and found them dangerous. Given the release a few days later of the sixth novel in J. K. Rowling’s famous series, the timing of the story can only be considered brilliant by those who oppose the Harry Potter phenomenon. This news is already swirling around the Internet.

When contacted by LifeSiteNews, Potter opponent and Catholic novelist Michael O’Brien was quick to state that this judgment “reveals the Holy Father’s depth and wide ranging gifts of spiritual discernment” and that “it is consistent with many of the statements he’s been making since his election to the Chair of Peter, indeed for the past 20 years.” O’Brien concluded that Benedict XVI “is the father of the universal church and we would do well to listen to him.”

Now I’ve made no secret of the fact that I regard the Harry Potter series as a set of rollicking good adventure stories, filled with both humor and moral sense, and in general dangerous to nobody. Of course, there is no telling how a particular individual will respond to any book, and I certainly don’t propose that parents who judge these books potentially dangerous to their children should follow my judgment instead of their own. Indeed, men and women of good will can disagree about Harry Potter.

Keep reading...

Sleepless in St-Jean

Here I am, again, for the umpteenth time in a row, unable to sleep in the middle of the night. I don't know if it is the heat or the pregnancy or a combination of both... I had the same problem a bit earlier in this pregnancy, before it was really all that hot. But it wasn't as bad. There isn't a night that goes by that I sleep all night. Most of the time I lay awake for hours for part of the night. Read in the newspaper yesterday that the heat that we are having is tropical. When the nights don't get colder than 24 degrees celsius, that's tropical, and we've had a couple of nights like that. Most nights don't even go below 20 degrees apparently, and even that is still too high to permit the body to recuperate from the heat. Apparently the norm for a minimum temperature (at night) in July is about 16 degrees. But the others don't seem to be suffering as much as I am. They all seem to be sleeping anyway...

Someone gave me a trick to try, lying on my back for 10 minutes with my legs propped up in the air like in the shape of an L. It's supposed to direct more oxygen to the brain and help me get back to sleep. That was earlier on in my pregnancy when I mentioned my difficulty sleeping to a woman working in a health food store, back before it got so hot.

I don't remember the heat in Paraguay bothering me so much... I think the problem is that here it is so humid. I'm pretty sure it wasn't quite as humid in Luque, where I was. It sure didn't rain as much. Here it rains every three or four days or so, and gets unbearably hot and humid right before...

I also have gas all the time at night, that doesn't help... not painful gas... at least I don't have a sore stomache and cramping or anything,... but it's not the most comfortable thing...

I don't understand how women can MISS being pregnant. I think I would much rather adopt kids at about 16 months or so... Ahh well,... at least it's only nine months and not two years like for an elephant...

Tuesday, July 19, 2005

My Island (from Juana la Cubana)

On my island it is always hot and humid, or warm and humid at the very least, but with the continuous breezes off the ocean, one does not notice the heat so much. There is air here, plenty of it, tinged with the scent of salt, decayed seaweed and marine-life. I walk the beach and listen to the music of the waves rolling in, the gulls shrieking overhead, the breeze blowing in my ears, the sound of my feet on the sand... there is no other music here, except the sound of my own voice.

I do not pretend to sing well, but I sing. There is noone else to hear me anyway. If I had someone else to sing with, I would. There is no instrument more beautiful than the human voice. No orchestra of instruments invented by man sounds more lovely than a choir singing in perfect harmony.

Here, I am close to God. He speaks to me in the breeze, in the thunderstorm, in the butterfly flitting.

Here, there are no controversies, there is no war. There is no injustice, no false idealism, no consumerism, life is simple, I do not worry about the cares of the world. I am on level ground, I have not made it yet to climb the sole hill on this island, the result of an ancient volcano. Life has not taken me there yet. There is much to be done here, where I am.

So hot here...

... it goes from hot, to hot and humid, to hot and unbearably humid, to rain and slightly less hot, to hot, to...

We go in the pool every single day...

I don't like that pool much, I thought it would be neat to have our own pool, it came with the house, most houses for sale in this area have pools,... it seems to be another necessity that quebecers have created for themselves... but it is so much work and actually costs quite a bit to run that I wonder if it is worth it after all. I would much rather have a neighbourhood pool nearby to go to, for social interaction and then I wouldn't have to fuss with taking care of the darn thing.

But I have to say, we'd probably be going to a neighbourhood pool a lot less than we go in our own pool. Especially this summer... Last summer it was barely worthwhile having the thing... we mostly had to force ourselves to go in just by principal... (you have a pool you gotta use it at least once in a summer right) Last year's summer wasn't very hot... But this summer is unbearably hot.

A prostitute is a prostitute is a...

So, there was this big meeting of sexologues on the weekend in Montreal. I read about it in the paper and one of my friends, a sexologue, went to parts of it. Apparently the big topic this year was all about helping handicapped people with thier sexual needs.

Now, I recognize that some handicapped people and their partners probably do need some help with sexuality in their lives, and I am not against helping them out with that. But to go from there and to offer services (as some do in Europe now and some would like to do here) such as helping them masturbate (because they can't do it themselves), well that's pretty much prostitution. Just because you follow some special course to be able to do it better for a handicapped person, and just because you're doing it on a handicapped person doesn't change what it is. Right now, in Québec, apparently we already have the following services available specifically for handicapped people: sensual massage, strip-tease, porn... ummm, excuse me, but sex-trade is sex-trade whether it is for handicapped people or for non-handicapped people...

Plus now in at least one long-term care hospital center they are responding to patients' sexual needs as well as their health and nutritional needs (oh yes, sex is a NEED now, like you could be unhealthy without it) by setting apart a special room where patients can have sex or "cuddle" with their partners. But get this: so far the service is ONLY AVAILABLE FOR COUPLES FORMED AT THE CENTRE ITSELF and they are only thinking about offering the service to those with a partner outside! In other words, if you are married and end up in the center you still don't have access to a room to be with your spouse, however, if you find yourself a new partner at the center you can go and do what you want with them in the special room! Shouldn't that have been done THE OTHER WAY AROUND?

I think this is all just a bunch of crap, we're all told in this society that you can't get by without sex in your life, sex is a need. There is something wrong with you if you aren't getting any. Sex is the new religion. No wonder there's so much perversion, it's become like a drug, people aren't doing it for love, their doing it for all the wrong reasons, for the pleasure it is supposed to give them,... then if what they're doing or who they're doing it with doesn't give them the same "trip" anymore, they move on to something or someone else... always searching, never finding, because they aren't looking for the right thing.

Monday, July 18, 2005

Way to tell'em Avril...

Lyrics to "Don't Tell Me" by Avril Lavigne


You held my hand and walked me home, I know
Why you gave me that kiss
It was something like this and made me go ooh ooh
You wiped my tears, got rid all of my fears
Why did you have to go?
Guess it wasn't enough to take up some of my love
Guys are so hard to trust

Did I not tell you that I'm not like that girl?
The one who gives it all away, yeah..

Did you think that I was gonna give it up to you, this time?
Did you think that it was somethin' I was gonna do and cry?
Don't try to tell me what to do
Don't try to tell me what to say
You're better off that way, yeah

Don't think that you're charmin'
And the fact that your arm is now around my neck
Will get you in my pants, I'll have to kick your ass
And make you never forget
I'm gonna ask you to stop
Thought I liked you a lot
But I'm really upset (really upset)
Get out of my head, get off of my bed
Yeah, that's what I said

Did I not tell you that I'm not like that girl?
The one who throws it all away

Did you think that I was gonna give it up to you, this time?
Did you think that it was somethin' I was gonna do and cry?
Don't try to tell me what to do
Don't try to tell me what to say
You're better off that way, yeah

This guilt trip that you put me on
Won't mess me up, I've done no wrong
Any thoughts of you and me have gone away

Did you think that I was gonna give it up to you, this time?
Did you think that it was somethin' I was gonna do and cry?
Don't try to tell me what to do
Don't try to tell me what to say
You're better off that way, yeah

Better off that way
I'm better off alone anyway

Sunday, July 17, 2005

Against abortion

http://www.wprc.org/22.73.0.0.1.0.phtml

(My note: I especially like the quote she uses at the bottom of this, I like that it is from a "feminist" point of view and that there are only facts here, no religion, religion doesn't make a good reference for atheists and lukewarm people. Feminism is "in" now, these arguments are things our culture can understand.)

Julie's Story
Self-Reflection, Self-Regrets
I was an 18-year-old freshman when I went to UC Santa Barbara's Student Health Services for my pregnancy test. Even though my body was changing, I wanted to deny all the symptoms: nausea, frequent urination, breast tenderness and worst of all, a late period. When they told me I was pregnant, I broke into tears. I couldn't believe it was happening to me.

The counselor wasn't very helpful. She seemed cold and distant. I wanted someone to hold me and tell me it would be alright, but no one did. I was really afraid.

The abortion was done in town. The procedure was worse than I had imagined. I felt like I had no choice -- no one had mentioned any other alternative. Lying on the table I told the doctor I hadn't ever had a pelvic exam before. He said, "Shut up and scoot down." It seemed like it would never end. It felt like my insides were being ripped apart when he said, "The pain is going to increase now." I thought I wouldn't be able to bear anymore. I wanted to scream, but the scream just stuck in my throat.

After the abortion they told me I had 10 minutes to get dressed. I just sobbed and slipped into a fetal position on the table with my bloody hands between my legs.

For about a year I continued in my "pro-choice" position; but I knew that I could never put myself through an abortion again. After a lot of introspection, I had to face the fact that the abortion industry had exploited me while I was in this anguished state. They never told me what would happen to me because of the abortion, they just profited financially at my expense.

I've spoken with many women who have also had abortions and are now suffering from Post Abortion Syndrome (PAS). We've had the haunting experience of remembering the abortion as if it happened yesterday. Nightmares, suicidal thoughts, depression, sexual dysfunction, remorse, anger and low self-esteem are just a few of the psychological complications we've experienced not to mention the physical complications. There are many organizations set up to help us, one of which is Women Exploited by Abortion, which counsels women who have had abortions.

Ever since my abortion it has bothered me to see adoption portrayed as tragic because the mother wonders where the baby is. No one told me that I would frequently remember my abortion date and imagine my aborted child at the age he would be today. How much better would it have been to know I placed that child in the loving arms of an infertile couple (there are on the average 40 infertile couples awaiting each available baby for adoption)?

At the time of my abortion, I didn't consider adoption because I didn't think the fetus was a baby. Should I have? Let's look at the medical standard for determining death -- absence of a heartbeat and brain waves. Should abortion be allowed when electroencephalographic waves and a heartbeat exist? If you've said no, you've eliminated practically all abortions because both exist by the sixth week of pregnancy.

But what about "choice?" This passage excerpted from Fredrica Mathews-Green's recent speech at the College of William and Mary, "Pro-woman, Pro-life: Feminism and Abortion" answers that question:

A woman with an unplanned pregnancy faces more than "inconvenience." Many adversaries, financial and social, at shcool, at work and at home confront her. Our mistake was in looking at these problems and deciding that the fault lay with the woman, that she should be the one to change. We focused on her swelling belly, not the discrimintation that had made her so desperate. We advised her, "Go have this operation and you'll fit right in."

What a choice we made for her! She climbs onto a clinic table and endures a violation deper than rape -- the nurse's hand is wet with her tears -- then is grateful to pay for it, grateful to be adapted to the social machine that rejected her when pregnant. And the machine grinds on, rejecting her pregnant sisters.

It is a cruel joke to call this a woman's "choice." If we refused to choose, if we insisted on keeping both our lives and our bodies intact, what changes would our communities have to make? What would make abortions unnecessary?

Flexible school situations, freedom from stigma, fairness in hiring, more flex-time, part-time jobs, better access to prenatal and obstetric care, attractive adoption opportunites, a whole garden of safe family-planning choices, support in learning how to handle our sex lives responsibly, and help with child care and parenting when we choose to keep our babies, this is a partial list.

"Yet these changes will never come so long as we're lying down on abortion tables. ... For over a hundred years feminists have warned us that abortion is a form of violence and oppresion against women and their children. They called it "child murder" (Susan B. Anthony), "degrading to women" (Elizabeth Cady Stanton) ... and "a disowning of feminine values" (Simone de Beauvoir). How have we lost this wisdom?

Quite a large number of post-abortive women have come into the ranks of the pro-life movement, dispelling the myth that the anti-abortion person is a WASP man. We are women who have had abortions and want to help other women in their time of need.

If you have had an abortion and need to talk, call me. Maybe you've found out the hard way the trauma that abortion brings. Abortion is not the answer. Killing is never a solution to solving a social problem.

Monday, July 11, 2005

Yerba Maté

Ok, so I am walking down the health food isle in the Provigo Grocery store and I stop at the herbal tea section. (I love herbal teas and I love trying new ones out.) What do I see? GUAYAKÍ Yerba Maté. I know Yerba Maté. You don't spend 6 months in Paraguay and not know yerba maté, more specifically, maté when drunk hot and tereré when drunk cold. In Paraguay you fill a cup-like instrument carved out of a horn or some wood, (can't remember the name of it) with your yerba, and you fill up a container of either hot water or cold water, then you sit around with your friends, family or co-workers and one person fills up the cup with water and passes the cup. You drink the maté or tereré out of a straw-like instrument with a small rounded strainer at the bottom called a bombilla. (Just so you don't get all the bits and pieces of yerba along with the drink kind of like the little round strainers some people put their tea leaves in before putting it in hot water to steep, instead of using tea bags, same prinicpal.) Everyone gets a turn. Yes you share the same cup and the same bombilla, not very hygienic but very,... how shall I put it? Community promoting? Paraguayans in general have a much greater sense of community than Canadians.

So, I stop to peer at the GUAYAKÍ Yerba Maté. I figure, it's yerba maté, what are the chances? Well, it happens to be imported by Guayakí Sustainable Rainforest Products, INC. in San Luis Obispo CA but it was grown by Chololo S.R.L. in Paraguay! The thing with this yerba maté is that it comes in tea bags and it also comes in 3 different flavours; Original, Orange Blossom Maté and another one, can't remember, but just as strange-sounding to me as Orange Blossom Maté. I wonder if even Paraguayans have ever heard of Orange Blossom Maté. I got that one though, just because as much as I like to try new teas, I also like to promote, support and use products that are organic and especially, FAIR TRADE, which this seemed to be. It is actually much more palatable (for those not used to drinking maté or tereré) than what is drunk in Paraguay. In fact, I barely recognized it as maté. (Must have been the orange blossoms.) (More specifically; the orange peel, lemon peel, rosehips, cinnamon, orange oil and stevia, all organic of course... but none of which are found in the maté I am used to drinking.)

So this yerba maté is apparently rainforest-grown, but I kind of wonder where they found the rainforest to grow it in in Paraguay since, technically, there isn't really a rainforest in Paraguay... The north of Paraguay is desert and the south is forested but I wouldn't call it rainforest. Not any more than you could call Northern Ontario or Northern Québec a rainforest. Definitely not a jungle. But anyway,...

Go to Guayakí
Get your cow horn mate "cup" here (Or at least look at them) You can also view some wood ones and some gourd ones.

Friday, July 01, 2005

Drowning

Gabriel fell in the pool on Tuesday and almost drowned. Well I guess technically he was drowned, but he didn't die from it.

I left him with my other three children (Jean-Alexandre is 11) and a friend of Jean-Alexandre's and went inside for 2 minutes. Noone noticed that he had fallen in the pool. I came out and saw right away that he wasn't there. The others thought he had gotten down from the deck and wandered off by himself. I didn't think so because he is too small to get down himself. Then Dominic saw him in the water. He was on the other end of the pool. It looked like a kid swimming, he was moving his arms and legs. I thought for a second "Why is there another kid swimming in the pool?" I thought maybe some neighbour kid had joined them, but then it hit home. That is when I jumped up to the deck and into the pool. (the previous owners of the house did not follow the norms of security and had fixed stairs leading up to the deck which we removed because anyone could get up there at anytime, there was nothing to stop them, so I had to jump up.) By the time I got to him, Gabriel was no longer moving. When I lifted him up, he was not breathing either. I got him out. I don't even remember how I got up the ladder with him in my arms or off the deck. I was kind of in a trance, patting him on the back hoping I wouldn't have to do artificial respiration because that would mean things were really bad. As soon as I got onto the deck I noticed the neighbour on her deck and yelled at her to called 911. She just happened to have the phone in her hand and called right away. I was walking towards her, still hoping not to have to do ressuciation, when she yelled at me to do mouth-to-mouth and I knew I had to. I dropped to the ground and started doing that right away. In the movies it always takes a long time for the victim to come around, but I only breathed into Gabriel 4 times before he started breathing again. I knew then he was going to be okay. He regained consciousness not long after. He was breathing and conscious when the police arrived. The ambulance arrived not long after.

He is fine now, he spent just over 24 hours at the hospital and did go into convulsions while there, but he is running around the house now, like nothing happened. While I still have images in my head of my baby suffocating. I can't imagine how horrible that must have been, but he isn't even scared of the water.

We have learned our lesson and are no longer taking any chances.

Marc said I shouldn't blame myself, (but I still know it was fault, although I don't beat myself up over it, thank God he didn't die, I would not be able to forgive myself if he had.) If it had been him, he said, Gabriel would probably be dead. That was supposed to comfort me I guess but all it did was scare me, because it might be true, I am a little more vigilant than he, and he could easily have stayed away longer, although I don't think he would have left him up there. What kept me from sleeping that first night was not so much guilt as the idea that I could have been distracted by something and stayed away even longer, that my baby could be dead now. That, and the image of him struggling to get out of the water and not being able to, being so scared and alone, and the picture I still have in my brain of my baby in my arms, turning blue and so still, as if lifeless.

His guardian angel was certainly with him Tuesday, and I am infinitely grateful for it.