God Was Born Today, Part 1

NativityGod was born today
in the usual way.

The bridge between Heaven and Earth
was too wide.

So God was born today
to put on a face we would recognize.

So we could listen,
understand
and more necessary, change.

God was born today
to become on of us,
walk among us,
and look us in the eye.

The gap from us to God
had felt infinitely long and hidden.

Which way to go?  Who knew the way?
Who was right?

If this way is right, that must be wrong.
And if it’s right, then you must wrong.

So God was born today
and bridged the distance for us.

To become one of us
and lead the way.

And the only way to lead us
out of our beehive of chaos
was for God to be born today.

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Advent Began In the Flash of a Moment

Nine months and a long time ago, a teenage girl became a mom.
(photo from catholicfaithwarriors.blogspot.com)

Mary and Angel

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3 Reasons to Take Your Teen to See ‘The Butler’

Forrest Whitaker and Oprah join an ensemble cast about Cecil Gaines, a man and father who serves eight presidents as a White House butler.  Here are 3 reasons your teenager needs to see it.

1) They think the world revolves around them and civilization began when they became conscious of it.
===> Hate crimes aren’t new and seeing the Ku Klux Klan, burning crosses, and lynchings on the big screen brings our kids’ history books to life; hopefully strengthening their desire for tolerance and justice.

2) Instant gratification has replaced ‘what can you do for your country’.
===> One President (JFK), one clergyman (MLK), and one son (Cecil & Gloria’s) each faced a choice when they came face to face with racial prejudice.  Apathy in this country has become measurable and our teens need to be reminded that change takes people.

3) Broadening the blossoming minds entrusted to our care is part of a mom’s job.
===>  ”A picture’s worth a thousand words” and when a movie brings to life so many values and talking points, we need to get our teens to it because they’ll never listen to our thousand words.

Share your teen’s experience (and yours) with other moms through this blog or our Facebook page (Moms Are God’s Heart and Hands).

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Why I Care So Much About Motherhood

squirrel with nut
My mind works in a funny way.  If I don’t quite know what to make of something someone said, it gets quietly packed away.  And then surprise! the acorn pops out of the stuffed suitcase of my mind to be cracked open and understood.

And so it was with a friend’s recent comment about motherhood being so important to me – the tone of her comment carrying a hue of ‘over the limit’.

That got me wondering - is she right?

Do I care too much? Do I overthink it? Or do I just see things differently because it was years of infertility and a week of NICU before I brought him home?
Rubiks cube1

Being honest with myself, I can tend to mentally overwork things. Wonder..connect…try another angle..look at each piece…put it back together…and then look at it from a cruising altitude of 30,000 feet. (Good engineer or neurotic mother? Only history can tell.)

The B-2 is the shining star of my career, a beautiful integration of design and state of the art technology.  Working on a secret project chartered to protect our country with the hottest engineering concepts conceivable was exhilarating.

B-2 1
Occasionally, the long work hours would be broken up by spontaneous conversations – politics, family, vacations and so on.  On a couple of occasions the chatting led to childhood experiences and, naturally, moms.

Somehow, as if we were in a time warp in the latest Sci Fi hit, a person’s childhood and adulthood appeared side by side and were strikingly similar. The ripple effect of mothering became curiously crystal clear.
Water ripples

Nurturing memories of mom? Calm adult most of the time. Mothering characterized by turbulence? Typically a challenging team member. Mixed experience? Somewhere in between.

As the few women engineers started their families, a hidden prejudice appeared in one of those conversations, ringing through the walls of cubicle city, changing every woman unlucky enough to hear it.

“If you don’t stay home with your kids, you’re a bad mother.  If you do, then why’d we waste the education on you?”

That telling comment stripped us of the objective success we had obtained through college degrees and contributions to our nation’s security, closing us into a “glass box” more confining than the proverbial glass ceiling.

Angry businesswoman
Years of reliving the injustice of this comment combined with the brainless just-met-you question of, “So what do you do all day?” turned me in the direction of being an advocate for motherhood.

Being a mom in other situations over the years (auntie, neighborhood kids, volunteering) strengthened my focus but becoming a mom to my own child was what really ignited my thoughts about it.  Long nights compassionately rocking a colicky baby provided ample opportunity to look from cruising altitude.

Holding this tiny person, my mind recalled that time warp of my former colleagues side by side with the childhood memories of their moms. Now, though, I was seeing the picture from the opposite angle, I was holding a baby that would carry forward his memories of my mothering with him.

And it appeared that he would do so for a very long time.

Bridge2I saw myself as a bridge between this little person and the adult person he would be.  And while I didn’t know the what, where or who of his adulthood, I grasped the depth and breadth of the influence my job of mothering held over him.

This was the tipping point.

Coming through doorways of education and corporate achievement to cross the threshold into motherhood only to find myself faced with the lose-lose bind of this hidden prejudice had pushed me too far.

These experiences served to shape the conviction of my beliefs, giving me clarity and perspective.

While mothering builds the bridge children must cross over to reach their adulthood, society questions what we “do all day” and overshadows our job with the need for an outside job title as well, complicating it all by holding us responsibile for their adult decisions.

Just how can motherhood be so insignificant that it’s not complete without an additional job and, at the same time, be so vital to a human being’s development that society looks to the mother when something goes awry with the adult?

I don’t believe the job of motherhood has been pulled by opposing views and the women in it affected to the extent as is currently the experience.  No matter what they choose, mothers face a combination of guilt and judgment by outsiders.

My friend was right about motherhood being so important to me.  Looking from 30,000 feet, though, I don’t think it’s over the limit.

 

 

 

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Wild Crowd Hits City After US Open of Surfing

Tropical-beach-with-coconut-palmWith an average household income of $99,098/year and corporate employers such as Hilton Waterfront Beach Resort and Quiksilver, Surf City USA seems the most unlikely spot for a riot.  Officially known as Huntington Beach, this riot isn’t linked to a dissatisfactory jury verdict, civil uprising or social injustice of any sort.

After the US Open Surfing competition ended this past weekend, Main Street became engulfed in packs of people overturning portable toilets, looting, and randomly destroying property.
Police carCNBC reported that after calling in other police departments to help, police had to use teargas and rubber bullets to gain control of the mob and ended up arresting 8 people (one for assaulting a police officer).
One of the most peculiar aspects of the video footage is theRaised fists look on people’s faces and their voices.  The anger and injustice that typify a riot were replaced by smiles, air pumping fists, and shouts of excitement.

I had to watch it a couple of times to really take it all in.  This was in Orange County – predominantly beach communities and one of the most sought after places to live in So Cal.  It was after the US Open of Surfing – beach, waves, and ocean air; perfect elements for a summer day. The rioters didn’t appear to be lacking in any way. They weren’t collectively oppressed, angry or vengeful.
Fireworks

They were having fun.
Eric Spillman from local TV KTLA 5 noted the cause was unknown and that a city councilman was reached by phone who noted wanting to reexamine the whole event and  “…maybe it has just gotten too big and too out of hand based on what happened…”.

Wait.

A riot happened when too many people spend a day at the beach so let’s reconsider?  A port-a-potty nightmare took place after hours of watching a premier surfing event so maybe we shouldn’t risk it next time?
Two policemen Tear gas was necessary to control
the US Open of Surfing crowd so maybe this isn’t the kind of event for Surf City USA?

 

Is anybody hearing crazy the way I am?

Beyond the untold resources for clean up and repair, countless hours in city council chambers will be used to sift through copious reports in an effort to understand what happened and wonder if more police should be on hand to control the angry? forgotten? disenfranchised? masses gathered for next year’s surfing event.

Sheesh.

When our kids’ behavior was mystifying, we would take a step back and look at the bigger picture.  Oh, yeah, they had loads of birthday cake at the party. Or, they’re upset about that math test. If there wasn’t a reason apparent in the moment, it was usually uncovered in the larger perspective.

Stepping back from this confusing story of human behavior, a few things come into view.

“Call of Duty”
“Assassin’s Creed”
“Halo”
“Grand Theft Auto”

Waiver: No opinion is being made about your kid playing any of these games. Mine did. LionThis is about looking at a day at the beach being triggered into a pack mentality with various displays of unprovoked destruction and violence.

Women’s brains have been likened to a plate of spaghetti – they see things as being interconnected. I’m just looking for the end of the pasta noodle. (Men’s brains, by the way, have been described as a waffle – they compartmentalize.  Good team between the two of us, I’d say.)
spaghetti-in-a-plateSwallowing hard, I’m just making an observation that most of the rioters were of the age that these video games were commonplace.  And while the debate continues about whether they affect behavior and brain development, it might be beneficial for us to speculate about how many hours we play them (3 billion hours/week globally – yes, billion), how much we spend on them (about $15 billion – yes, again, billion – in 2012 alone), and if it could possibly, potentially, or just maybe affect how we respond to each other.

 

 

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Dear Princess Kate

Dear Princess Kate,

Welcome to motherhood!

Earth from spaceAs a group, we span the globe, speak different languages, and have varied traditions for raising our babies, but we are identical in our love for our children.
New moms have lots of buzz going on around them and it can be overwhelming.  Regardless of country, title, or home life, motherhood is motherhood so here are a few basics to navigate these early days.

MarathonerGiving birth is akin to running a marathon.  Your body needs extra rest so stay in your pajamas so those around you remember that you just gave birth!

 

 

Baby held in handsHe’s been listening to your heartbeat and both of your voices all these months and loves being close.
(photo: David Williamson)

 

 

Mountain WaterfallRoyalty aside, he is your baby.  Trust your instincts about what is best for him.
(photo: fanpop.com)

 

 

We’ll write again. All God’s blessings on your family!

Sincerely,
Jane
(Mom to two – but really mom to all)
www.godsheartandhands.org

 

 

 

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Cougar Town’s Christa Miller About Celebrity Moms

“…we’re telling these women, who have resources most of us can only dream about, that their job as a mom is confined to how they look.”

As if the gods read this snippet from yesterday’s post Celebrities’ Post-Baby Bodies Guilt Pie, today Cougar Town star Christa Miller was on the Daily Shot with Ali Wentworth to talk about “Hollywood Parents Who Got It Right”.

Asked for insight into celebrity family dynamics, Christa gave us a rare look at moms that are also top-tier actresses.  “I know some good Hollywood celebrity parents that are very strict and on it - Jen Garner, Reese Witherspoon.”

Elaborating about what she and other celeb parents do family-to-family in managing their kids’ social media she reflected, “I was so appreciative” of the mutual support.

Christa went on to share one of her hopes as a mom. “In general, I hope the tide sweeps back of people that are spoiling their kids.”

In reply to Ali asking what are you most proud of as a parent? she shared  “I’m most proud of that I really try…I’m not perfect and I make mistakes…And I really try, um, and be better every day…”

Many thanks to Christa Miller for taking the time to let us know that she and her friends view motherhood as not being constrained to how they look.

Now, if only  Celebrities’ Post-Baby Bodies Guilt Pie stars Holly Madison, Snooki, Kristen Bell and the others could hang out with Reese, Jen and Christa…

 

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“Celebrities’ Post-Baby Bodies” Guilt Pie

Beware, the latest serving of “Celebrities’ Post-Baby Bodies” looks more like guilt pie.

Pumpkin Pie

Before and after pics of celebs Jenna Dewan-Tatum, Shakira, Snooki (“All you need is motivation to workout & eat healthy!” Is that all it takes?  Well, then, let’s add a dollop of whipped shame to our guilt pie.),

pastry-chef-preparing-vanilla-cupcake-whipped-cream

Molly Sims, Holly Madison (wore a corset around the clock…Forget the guilt, I remember childbirth hurt – A LOT – and can’t imagine I would have chosen to continue the experience.),

Corset

and Kristen Bell (“I got off my butt and got to the gym”.  Again, thanks for pointing out the obvious.) don’t need words to make us feel bad.

“A picture’s worth a thousand words”  is all it takes to make a woman with ‘Shar Pei tummy’ that’s holding brand new life feel diminished.

Shar Pei

Why, oh why, don’t we ask these women about their hopes and dreams for their children?  Moms have a tendency to script their newborn’s life.  To see who they look like, act like, and wonder who they’ll be when they grow up. ”I hope she plays the guitar like you do. It would be so cool to have a father-daughter duo in the family?” or “I hope he builds like you do.  Can you imagine what the two of you could create together?”

Only asking them how soon they regained their pre-baby waistline, I feel like we’re telling these women, who have resources most of us can only dream about, that their job as a mom is confined to how they look.  With one question, we’re minimizing the contribution that she (and the rest of us, for that matter) makes.  Although motherhood does have a slice of randomness to it, the full measure of how we mold and shape a child can’t be calculated by how soon the Shar Pei tummy disappears.

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Sandra Day O’Connor Started Reaching

Making the historic footprint of being the first woman to serve on the U.S. Supreme Court, Sandra Day O’Connor started reaching that pinnacle as early as hearing The Wall Street Journal, The New Yorker, and the Saturday Evening Post read to her by her mom, Ada Mae.

Living on a 155,000 acre ranch on the Arizona-New Mexico border with no school within driving distance, the determination to “stitch learning” into her children was a priority. And Sandra’s siblings not becoming supreme court justices as well speaks to the randomness – and significant influence – of motherhood. 

While mighty oaks from acorns grow, we just don’t know how that mighty oak is going to look.

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She, Then Me

She loved to cook as the archetypal Italian mom, so I do.

She enjoyed her children, so I have.

She stepped in to manage the wiggliest boys on class field trips, so I did.

She held community service in high esteem, so I do.

She knew her neighbors, so I have.

She valued making a contribution to where she worked, so I did.

She prized being a mom to her children and any other that crossed her path, so I do.

And I thought these things I do were just the way I am.

(Happy Birthday, Mom!)

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