Sunday, November 11, 2012

You Know You're Pregnant When...

Volume 2.

Here are some of my latest and more entertaining telltale signs that there is a little person inside me growing away!!

You Know You're Pregnant When:

1. You cherish the times when you can settle down after eating to feel every crazy kick and flip your baby does upon receiving all that yummy nutrition.

2. You watch 101 Dalmatians for the first time since you were twelve and sob when Perdita says she's so scared Cruella wants to do something bad to her babies, then again when her babies are born and Roger has to revive little Lucky back to life, and then again when the puppies are stolen and Nanny stands in the middle of the street crying "The puppies! The puppies are gone!"

3. You go on a cheddar cheese bender. Followed up by chugging an entire glass of orange juice.

4. You have a super vivid dream about giving birth to a bright purple teddy bear and when you look to your husband for comfort from the horror, he has suddenly transformed into Jeff Daniels, circa Dumb and Dumber, thus compounding the horror which causes you to wake with a start and double check that your husband is indeed still himself, not some version of Harry the doofus dog groomer.

5. You smile secretly to yourself when the baby is moving and no one else around you could possibly know. It's just a quiet shared moment between the two of you.

General pregnancy updates:

I am 20 weeks along at this point, which makes me so excited to be at the halfway mark already! This pregnancy is definitely going by faster than Gemma's did. I am feeling so healthy. I am grateful that I was able to start this pregnancy about 20 pounds lighter than my pregnancy with Gemma. So far I've only gained 11 pounds, which is right on track!

Even though everyone says that subsequent pregnancies show way earlier and even more than your first pregnancy, that has not been my experience whatsoever. Maybe it's because of the difference in pre-pregnancy weight, but my belly is still so small! The most common thing people say to me who know I'm pregnant or who find out I am  is: "Where's the baby?! You don't look pregnant at all!" Which on the one hand is kinda nice, certainly better than "Sure you're not carrying twins!?? That's one big belly!" buuuut, at the same time, I wanna say "But, but, I am pregnant!! I have a little miracle growing in there! Someone please acknowledge my baby's presence!" I guess the conclusion is the only proper thing so say in regards to a pregnant woman's appearance is "You look beautiful!" Come to think of it, that's probably the best thing to say to any woman, pregnant or not!

Here are some belly shots:

I feel tired every afternoon, which is my low energy point of the day, pregnant or not. I'm so grateful for the days when I'm able to catch a nap with Gemma! I'm experiencing lots of round ligament pains this time around, which is new because I had none whatsoever with Gemma's pregnancy. Definitely having the nasal congestion that comes along with most pregnancies. I had this with Gem, so at least it's one thing I'm used to! Nothing terrible, just annoying sometimes.

It's so exciting to imagine a brand new baby! Hair color, eye color, personality, temperament, everything! At a time when I'm still discovering so much about my little Gem and her amazing, hilarious, entertaining personality, it makes feel so blessed that we're welcoming a whole new, totally unique person into the family. My one prayer is that we get a good sleeper this time around! :)

For all those dying to know the gender - we're still not certain we'll find out ahead of time. Rocky definitely wants to, and I'm on the fence. Of course there's a huge part of me that would love to know, to be able to call the baby "he" or "she" instead of "he or she", to be able to prepare the right colored clothing, etc. But there's another huge part of me that wants to have that special moment at birth of "It's a boy!" or "It's a girl!", to be able to share in one of life's last, true surprises.

Rocky really wants to have a gender reveal party, which I agree would be super fun. These are getting more and more popular I think. So we'd have the ultrasound tech write down the gender on a piece of paper, give it to a friend, and they'll plan a party for us with some sort of "big reveal" moment to show us and all the party guests the baby's gender. The idea scares me a bit though. My main issue here is control. It's like... if I'm going to find out  - I want to find out from the tech. I still don't fully trust this technology, despite major advances... I want to be able to say "Look Cool Tech Person, show me the goods that you're seeing. Show me the boy parts or the girl parts. I want to see this for myself!" I'd be so worried if they just wrote it down on a piece of paper that I'd never feel at peace with it being 100% accurate!

Rocky did say if we find out with this one, he'll be okay with being surprised with any future Rhoades babies! I said "Even if this is another girl?" and he promised, "Even if this is another girl." Sooooo.... we shall see! I haven't scheduled an ultrasound yet, but now is the time to do so.

What do you all think? Did you find out the gender with your babies ahead of time? Why or why not? If you've done both, which experience did you like better? Should we try a gender reveal party?

Monday, October 15, 2012

No Foot Too Small

Today is National Pregnancy and Infant Loss Remembrance Day. Back in 1988, when President Reagan declared today as such, he had this to say: "When a child loses a parent, they are called an orphan. When a spouse loses his or her partner, they are called a widower. When parents lose their children, there isn't a word to describe them. This month recognizes the losses that so many parents experience across the United States and world..."

As many of you will remember, this past February, Rocky and I lost our little baby through a miscarriage. He was our second baby, and only with us for a short period of time, but how long does it take for parents to fall in love with their baby? For us, it was the instant we saw that positive pregnancy test. There is no standard by which we can ever measure the depth of our love for baby Benjamin, and thus no standard by which to measure the depth of our grief. 

We are so blessed to be expecting baby #3 right now, and I cannot wait to meet him or her! I am beyond elated to be carrying this child right now, and love him or her infinitely, as I do my other children. But I would be lying if I told you that the joy of this pregnancy has completely wiped out the grief of losing our previous baby. I cannot erase the pain I feel knowing that if all had gone well, I would be holding little Benji right now.. smelling the top of his head, kissing his nose, snuggling him close to nurse. I cannot stop the tears when I think of how much I'll miss him this Christmas, which would have been baby's first Christmas. I cannot sooth the ache in my heart knowing that he never got to run around with Gemma, and she never got to smother him with loving bear hugs. It hurts. It still hurts so much. 

And that's okay. That's my humanity on display. It's okay to cry over a lost child. It's okay to miss them. It's okay to still miss them even if many, many years have passed by. 

So as I sit here writing this, I am filled with glorious humanity. I carry a profound grief in my heart at the loss of my son, while even at the same time, feeling sheer joy at the itty bitty kicks and flips I can feel Baby #3 doing at this very moment. The Scriptures tell us that there is a season for everything. A time to laugh and a time to mourn. Well sometimes... those seasons overlap. Can one possibly laugh while mourning? Or weep while rejoicing? Yes. This is our burdensome, magnificent humanity. This is the nature of life and love.

Today is also the feast day of St. Teresa of Avila. 

It's clear to me that this is a woman who truly understood the human condition, with all its trepidation and joy and sorrow and passion. Despite her place in history, her words speak so relevantly to my heart today, as though she were right in the room with me, holding my hand, resting her forehead against my own..

Let nothing disturb you,
Let nothing frighten you,
All things are passing away:
God never changes.
Patience obtains all things.
Whoever has God lacks nothing;
God alone suffices.

Sunday, September 16, 2012

You Know You're Pregnant When...

I foresee myself writing many installments of my new segment: You Know You're Pregnant When...

I am 12 weeks pregnant as of yesterday, and enough things have already happened, that HPTs and confirmation from the midwife aside... I would know I was pregnant without any shadow of a doubt.

So here we go, Week 12 of YKYPW.
You Know You're Pregnant When...

1. You cry watching a 2 minute video clip of Yo Gabba Gabba Live with your toddler.
     justification: Okay, in my head, it was just such an emotional, beautiful moment because these little children were SO joyful and excited! It was like watching somebody's dreams come true. :)

2. You find yourself eating a bowl of chili for breakfast.
    justification: First off, this chili is RIDICULOUS. We're talking, could probably win a prize, bowl-lickin', slap yo mama good. Second, it's a much wiser choice to eat chili first thing in the morning because it greatly reduces my risk of nighttime heartburn keeping me awake all night.

3. You cry as a funeral procession drives past you on your drive to the grocery store. To buy chocolate syrup and sour cream.
    justification: Alright, here's the thing. I have a weakness for funerals. One time in high school, my dad drove us up to the church so I could run in to grab a church bulletin and when I went inside, there was a funeral going on. I started bawling on the spot. No clue who the person was or anything, just something about that music really got to me... So anyway, fast-forward to a few days ago, and yea, I cried as the hearse, limo and procession drove by, but let me just tell you - this was a LONG procession. Like, tons of cars. And all I could think was "This person was REALLY loved, and all these people are going to miss him/her SO much!" It made me really, really sad! As for the syrup and sour cream... what? Standards for any household, right? One can never risk running low on either...

4. You go to put your toddler to sleep at 8:30pm and fall asleep before she does.
     justification: For real, people? I need to explain this one? Look, building a human being is hard work. Furthermore, parenting a two year-old all day long is hard work. You try doing both at once and see how late you can stay up!

5. You suddenly begin craving all of the EXACT foods you're supposed to avoid during pregnancy. i.e. sushi, deli sandwiches, wine, etc.
    justification: I am truly at a loss here. Maybe it's the whole forbidden fruit complex. Maybe it's that everywhere you look people are enjoying these forbidden fruits and look like they're having SO much fun doing it! Maybe I just really like those foods normally and now that I can't have them, it makes me sadly pine for them until we can once again be reunited.

6. You frequently find yourself saying to your husband "I know I literally just asked you this question two seconds ago, but I can't remember what your answer was..."
    justification: This is a legit issue, people. This one I can be sure is not just me. I know there's probably some fancy scientific explanation behind it, but I just like to call it "pregnancy brain." These little babies, when they're growing inside you... they steal your brain cells. Or something like that. But for reals, you cannot remember anything. You feel like a bimbo, stoner, amnesiac moron. It's torturous.

7. You suddenly feel brave enough to comment to other women in public who look pregnant.
    justification: It's like, you're part of the secret society now too, so you see another prego mama in the store, and you're all like (head nod) "Sup, sista pregs. When you due? Me's be due in March, yo." Except you speak like a normal human being usually. But this is a dangerous courage, because you are still playing with fire. There really should just never be a time when you ask a lady about her however-obvious pregnancy. Because in reality, she might just have a tumor, or cyst, or bowel disorder, or some other condition that makes her look pregnant, and if so, she's probably really, really self-conscious about it and you might have just ruined her day. Yea, not cool.

8. You see families with the same number of kids as you're about to have when your newest baby is born, and you get super excited!
    justification: Of course you get excited to see other families of your imminent size! Not only does it make your pregnancy more real ("Wow, in x months, that's how our family will be!") but it also comforts you to know there are other families around like yours, and helps you to see it being done in practice, not just theory. Like, "Sweet, those people can do it, so can we!"

9. You were trying to make a list of ten things, but could only come up with these nine. And this one shouldn't even count because it's just an excuse to not do ten.
    justification: Dude, it's almost 11pm and I refer you back to #4 and I rest my case. Goin to bed, homies. Peace. Love. Babies. Yea, I have no idea what I'm saying any more...

Night, y'all!! 

Sunday, August 26, 2012

Gemma is Two!!

This post is a few weeks late, but it's been a busy few weeks as always!! I can't believe my baby girl turned two on August 13th!! She's getting so big and smart, daring and darling all at the same time. 

For her actual birthday, we took her out to pizza (her favorite) and ice cream of course! She was so excited to go she was dancing by the door!

Yes, she insisted on wearing her cupcake socks. With her sandals. 

Then last weekend we threw her a little artist party to celebrate her creativity (and get in touch with mine a bit). I seriously had way too much fun with this theme!! 

The inspiration for the whole party :)

Gotta love the  rainbow fruit kabobs!
Colorful veggies!
The spread :)
Okay so there were five kids total including Gemma, ages ranging from about 1-4. I knew I wanted to have some sort of activity for them to do, but it had to be age-appropriate and captivating enough for the age range. After all of ten seconds of thinking - it came to me - Finger Painting!! Perfect. We had one organized part of the craft where they made hand prints on a white foam board, then they got to move to just sheer fun on a big old piece of white paper (secret - it was a roll of wrapping paper I got for 99 cents, flipped over to the white side!) Needless to say, the kids had tons of fun with this!
The foam board handprints!
Those giant handprints are actually mine - oh yes, Momma got in on that action!

Hmm... does it work the same on my arm? Yup!

Annnnd then we had some water fun to get them all clean! Gemma, well, she takes after her daddy. Apparently getting her hands wet was not sufficient. Full immersion was required.

After everyone got all cleaned up and dried off (and changed back into party tutus!), it was present time. Gemma is now FULLY stocked with enough art supplies to last her years!! Thank you everyone for your fun and creative gifts! 

Then it was dessert time!!! Okay, so my original plan for dessert, since we weren't have a million people over, was just the cookie cake and the artist palette cookies (oh yea, they're cool). But then when I was grocery shopping, I saw this tray of cupcakes with the crayon decals for only $8!! Steal!! It fit way too well with the theme to pass them up :)

I don't know if you can read those, but double bonus (I SERIOUSLY could not say no to these!) - the colors are written in English AND Spanish!!! Thank you!!
Homemade cookie cake!! I'm not much of a cake decorator though - please don't judge!! haha

Time for the birthday girl to blow out her candles!!

Kind of scared of the fire...
Bored? Entranced? Unimpressed? :P
She blew them out all by herself!! :):)

All in all, we had an amazing time celebrating two years full of joy, blessings, fun, and love with our precious little Gem. Love you baby!!!

Friday, August 10, 2012

A Good Giveaway

Don't you just love a good giveaway?? I do. Okay, and for reals, y'all, there is a MEGA awesome giveaway going on right now over at the Catholic Sistas blog!
They are celebrating their one year anniversary and million hits milestone (how cool is that?!) by giving away not one, not two, not three, not four, not five, not six ... it just keeps going... not ten, not eleven... fill in the rest...
but EIGHTEEN, as in 18!!!!!, prizes in this giveaway!!

So. Amazing.

Anyway, with so many prizes up for grabs, the chances are good of nabbing something!! So go check it out, follow the CS blog if you don't already because they are amazing, and enter this ultra-maginifcent giveaway!! Here's the link. Good luck! :)

Thursday, July 12, 2012

We Are Toddlers

So often my sweet little child does something so dastardly that really tests my mommy patience to the max. She can be wily, she can be mischievous, she can be downright violent. She can be defiant, and stubborn, and disrespectful, and sometimes temporarily deaf it seems. (If you ever find yourself repeating your child's name more than five times in a row, then it appears your child may also suffer from temporary loss of hearing; my condolences.)

But then there are times when she can be a little angel. Sometimes she does things that make me want to google whether or not there have ever been any reported cases of a mother's heart literally bursting from pride, and if not, I'm certain I will be the first ever recorded case. She can be loving, and silly, and hilarious, and obedient. We share moments together that are filled with so much joy that no smile nor laugh could ever properly express.

But whether she is throwing a shoe at my face or planting a huge smooch on it, my love for her never changes. In any moment of any day, my heart swells with love for her. Her goofiness, her quirks, her wildness, her sweetness, her whole life... fills my whole life with meaning. She enriches my days and teaches me so much about God's love.

The other day, Gemma woke up from her nap in a ridiculously grumpy mood. And I use the word ridiculously very literally here, because what could be more ridiculous that a well-fed, well-loved, well-rested child coming downstairs just whining for absolutely no reason whatsoever? Anyway, here was my little grumpy-poo, wailing and flailing, just being unreasonable in every way. So I dug deep and mustered up some genuine empathy for her because I guess there have been times when I've woken up on the wrong side of the bed too. (Rocky, if you're reading this, the correct answer is "Why no dear, you're always sunshine and butterflies!") I knelt down in front of my little girl and offered her every kind of help I could. I tried to snuggle her, make her laugh, sing to her, hug her, offer her food, read her books, etc. Nothing was working. 

So I changed my tactic. I started talking to her in a very logical, grown-up kind of way. "Everything is okay Gemma. You're safe, I love you, nothing is wrong. If you're hungry, let's go get some food. If you're thirsty, here's your water. Now, please tell me why you're upset and let's try to figure this out together." In my head, I pictured her responding very well to this tactic, cheering right up and speaking in complete, coherent sentences about the full nature of her unhappiness. What happened in reality is she just kept crying and shaking her head and throwing things. And as odd as this may sound, it was in this exact moment, that I saw God. In myself. No narcissism here, dear readers, in fact - quite the contrary.

I realized in that moment that we are like toddlers to our Heavenly father. How many times has God been trying to speak to me and help me, but I was too busy shouting and throwing a tantrum at him to hear his voice? How many times have I ignored his counsel? Disobeyed his commands? Refused his love? I'm ashamed to say, more times than I can count.

And yet through it all, his love for me never wavers. It never decreases. It never changes. His patience never runs out. His forgiveness never ceases. He never abandons me. 

So whenever Gem starts to throw a fit over something trivial (really, is there any non-trivial fit in a toddler's world?) or I see another child screaming at Mass or watch as a mother at the playground consoles her baby who just fell, I'm reminded of God's love. He nurtures us, guides us, forgives us, and loves us through all the seasons of our lives, all our deviant behaviors, all our injuries, all our fears, all our tantrums, all our joys, all our accomplishments. Even when we act like toddlers to him, God loves us as a mother loves her child: unconditionally, unrelenting.

But being a toddler in God's eyes does not have to be a negative thing. For there is a simplicity, a humility, a beautiful dependance that little children have on their parents that we as Christians can learn from. This is how we should approach God always... as children. Let us remember the words of Jesus. "Let the little children come to me, and do not hinder them, for the Kingdom of Heaven belongs to such as these."

And next time your toddler defies you, ignores you, harms you... reflect on times when you have been a less than ideal child, and then recall how God was patient with you, loved you, and forgave you in those times. Let that be the always model for how we parent our little ones.

Thursday, June 28, 2012

Supreme Court's "Ruling" on Obamacare

So as not to incite a full-on Facebook riot, I decided to post about this on my personal blog where I can say anything I want weeeeeee!!!!!

So the Supreme Court ruling about Obamacare just came out and there is still a lot of sorting out to do. Of course nothing can be cut and dry in this great nation anymore. I swear, it's like our government loves to watch us all debate each other until our eyeballs bleed. They also love to tax us apparently.

I'm terrible at understanding legal stuff, and since this is still so early on, I'm not going to be able to speak with much clarity on the issue. But the good news is, so far, it seems like no one can speak with much clarity on the issue! So in order to ensure that you are as confused and enraged as I am, here's a smattering of Twitter, Facebook, and combox snippets I've read for your ruminating pleasure:

"So they decided a tax for all that free care bankrupting the healthcare system is ok. And a credit is provided if you have your own insurance. Sounds like a justified idea."

"So will this now be called the biggest tax in the history of America? So Obama now is the utlimate Tax and Spend Liberal?"

"Dow going down...a vote of NO confidence in the taxes in Obamacare re. the future of the economy."

"So our gov-ment can make us do anything as long as they call it a tax? "

"Wait, can someone please explain just what exactly IS the difference between a "penalty" and a "tax"?? Oh wait... apparently there is no difference anymore..."

"America now knows it was lied to. It is a tax."    

"America has won today. But we still have a long way to go to be the greatest country in the world again."
"Can't wait to hear Obama admit he lied to us. I'm sure he'll come up with some flourished mumbo-jumbo and completely avoid the financial hell-hole he's dug us into like he always does."

 "It is perhaps true that the taxing power is broader than the commerce power...problem there is that the bill supporters denied it was a tax... few if any courts of appeals have considered it to be a tax."

"Bait and switch."

"The court has ruled Obamacare is a tax. Obama can never escape the tax-hiker label now. The biggest tax increase in history." 

"Whoooo's excited to start paying a 2.5%  federal taxation of your Gross Income every year??? Woohoo! I was beginning to wonder what I was going to do with all that extra money I have lying around..."

"Guys, this decision has some redeeming qualities on the commerce clause side."
"Obama Administration: "This is absolutely not a tax!" Supreme Court: "It's not valid if it's not a tax. I'm sure you meant to say that it is." "

"The poor will be given tax-payer money to pay their "tax". " 

"You pay tax. You get service. And so do your fellow citizens. It's called social democratic government. "   

"My family left Cuba for what? To be followed here by socialists? I fear for the future of our nation and our daughter. I'm depressed :( How could they rule this monster constitutional? They've opened Pandora's box. "

"I go to a hospital. No insurance. What happens? Fine? Or is everyone covered regardless? How the heck does this law work?"

"Sure am glad I can rely on the federal government now to tell me what to buy and how to live. Time to go off the grid."

 "I wish people would stop saying that there is some redeeming quality in the commerc clause decision...there is NONE....if they tax you as a penalty for not doing what they deem you should's ok....their power is now unlimited... Thanks Mr. Chief Justice...please resign now."

"Look the problem is not the Decision, but the justification for the decision...its flawed"

"Well I guess we can still secede and try another go at a Constitutional Republic "

"That's it. Consider me the next official expat."


Uh-oh, Supreme Court... looks like you made a boo-boo. 

Thursday, June 14, 2012

Speak It with Love

You've all seen them. Facebook Debates. The rumble in the combox. The deathmatch at the blogosphere. It usually goes a little something like this:

Somebody posts a Facebook status about some moral or theological statement, and then, pardon the pun, all hell breaks loose. Furious debating back and forth, back and forth. You start reading the thread because you're bored. Or procrastinating. Or possibly genuinely interested at the topic. Then it happens... you read something someone said that just wasn't quite right and you're all like:
What did he just say???

So you jump in. You're not gonna let crap like that slide. Oh no. Oh, no. You're really pleased with your incredibly witty, sophisticated, intelligent, in short, perfect, rebuttal. That'll shut him up, you say.
But then.... that little red notification bubble appears. "HE" commented back. You go to read, thinking wonder what this chump came up with. And you find this:

So then you're like:
Oh it is ON!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

You say all kinds of amazingly brilliant things that no one could possible refute but "he" just won't give up! And now you're not alone. Commentators from before have rejoined the debate, some on your side, some on "his" side. Then out of nowhere, this guy jumps in:
Ahhhhh, You! Person A - you're wrong about the elephants!! They don't have hooves, they have large, flabby feet with toes!!! And You! Person B - you're wrong about the elephants too! Their trunks serve as both nose AND upper lip!! And you! Person C - don't even get me started with that comment about the elephant scales. Dude. Scales?! I CAN'T EVEN HANDLE HOW WRONG YOU ALL ARE! 

So now the anger vibe is really flowing. It's a no-holds-barred match, and with every contender safely hidden behind their computer screens, somehow they all feel comfortable enough to throw all kinds of cruel and hurtful insults around like candy at a parade. Before you know it, someone's feelings get hurt and they're all like:
Me no likey that comment. That man NOT nice. Waaaaaahhhhhhhh!

So then someone steps in and is all like:
Alright, break it up, break it up!! Let's just agree to disagree okay?

But at this point, you're still pretty worked up. Who is this guy and why does he have the right to break up my fight before we've finished with me as the clear winner? Sheesh! So you dust yourself off a bit before diving back into the trench, but resolve to be a bit more civilized this time. Not like the other guys. They're raging barbarians, clearly uneducated and partially crazed no doubt. Heartless and bloodthirsty. You picture them looking pretty much like this:
I will eat your soul and kill all your words!!!!!!!!

Meanwhile, you are refined and the sheer definition of intellect and self-restraint. You picture yourself more or less like this:
I am smart, classy and well-dressed. I pretty much know everything.

So how much longer does the brawl go on for? It varies. Sometimes you just grow weary and fizzle out, quietly slipping away from the melee, hoping not to be noticed whilst other debators rage on. Sometimes you're in it for the long haul, determined to be the last typist typing. Sometimes you win, sometimes you lose. Either way, most times you still convince yourself that you won in some way and those other guys are off their rockers. You kind of feel sorry for them and their wayward ways. If only you could civilize them. 
Tsk, 'tis a shame.

Both sides walk away with fatigued fingers, minds still racing, but hearts... unchanged. 


The fact is, people's hearts don't change over Facebook debates. No matter how smart, how well-researched, how perfect your answers may be, it doesn't matter. It's not what changes hearts. Love does. And more specifically, Divine Love.
 I'm not saying we aren't called to share Gospel truths with our friends and relatives when the opportunity arises. But we should be engaging in these conversations from a place of love, humility, and discernment. I know how easy it is to get riled up over something you hold near and dear to your heart. I know how fiery the passion can burn and how urgent the need to defend your beliefs can feel. I know. I've been there. But at the end of the day, what matters more to a person is not what was said to them, but how it was said to them. 

Speak the truth! Yes. But speak it with love. 
Jesus said, "By this all men will know you are my disciples, if you love one another." John 13:35 He didn't say "if you outsmart one another" or "if you out-research one another". I write this post, advising myself just as much as you, dear readers. Let us spread and defend the truth always, as fiercely as we would defend Jesus our Lord, for he also said "I am the Way, the Truth, and the Life." John 14:6 Therefore to defend truth, is to defend Jesus. 

But let us defend Him with all grace and virtue. When Simon Peter cut off the ear of Malchus, the high priest's servant, in the Garden of Gethsemane, he did so with good intention - to defend his Lord. But we know that Jesus admonished him, and bid him to put his sword away. 

Sometimes I am like Simon Peter in the garden - fiery and ready to rage at anyone who speaks against Truth. Righteous anger is understandable, but we cannot unleash fury onto other human beings - other creations whom God loves infinitely and equally as He does you. Above all, we are called to love our neighbors. Above preaching, instructing, correcting - which are all necessary at times as well, but which should never trump our mission to love.

So next time I see that lively debate happening on Facebook about this topic or that, I may or may not jump in. But if I do, I pray I will truly keep my eyes on Christ and attempt share the Truth, only through the lens of Love.

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