Very Up.

I’ve been doing amazingly fantabulously well over the past week or so.  Thank you everyone who has prayed.  Not cured, but enjoying a particularly good run of things.  Got a little bit of gardening done, trimmed smallish limbs and branches, drove a couple places, and slept like a normal person, neither more nor less.  I’m happy.

Went in for preliminary lung-function tests with pulmonologist #2, appointment to follow on a date TBD.  This round was much shorter — exhausting and left me with a mild headache-type thing, but nowhere close to the Pulmonology Circle of Hell.  I like this guy already.  (He’s the one that will, in theory, either dx or rule out exercise-induced pulmonary hypertension.)

***

You know who I like as a patron? Rafael Cordero.  Don’t let the nickname scare you, he’s a cool guy.  I want to learn more about him.

***

In blorging since last I wrote, and I see it’s been a while:

Happy Easter, everyone!

Up-ish Again. Yay!

Spent about a week feeling way, way worse.  As in: Light-headed verging on headache-y if a sat upright.  At all.  So I watched movies, because writing flat on your back is not so fun.  Interestingly (disturbingly?) the one thing I didn’t do was pray any better.  But SuperHusband & I did do some contingency pre-planning, and discuss funeral music, because, well, we’re picky about music.  Last night I pointed him to the Dies Irae, and he was alarmed no one had ever played it in church before. Makes you feel cheated.  I’ve never heard it myself, I just look at in the hymnal and know that I love it.

So whichever one of us dies first, the other one gets to hear good funeral music live, and the early-departer gets the remote version.  (Or, if we’re bad . . . let’s not think about that.  I know there’s suffering in purgatory, but our Lord wouldn’t stoop so low as to open The Gather and . . . we’re not talking about that now.  I’m going with those lines about pleading for mercy.)

So my kids have this weird notion that the way one faces serious illness is to give your spouse dating advice and watch movies all day.

And then I started feeling better again.  I won’t say I feel *normal* sitting upright, but at least I feel normal enough that I keep doing it, because: More interesting.

And definitely not feeling all funeral-planny this week, so that’s good.

Follow-up appt with cardiologist next week, in which we figure out where I should go next.

***

I started back writing stuff, and if you don’t subscribe to the blorg, you can periodically check the archives and click on the interesting stuff.  I’m trying to use titles that more or less tell you what the post is about.  Here you go, I think this is all the interesting bits since last I posted here:

  • March 28, 2014 Students Angry at Catholic School for Teaching Catholic Faith – UPDATED  News item out of Charlotte, NC, w/ prayer request for you to pray for Bishop Jugis, and also I rant a little.
  • March 28, 2014 Do the Ends Justify the Means? Blog catechism class, because some of my readers were unclear on how double-effect and don’t-do-evil-that-good-may-come-of-it work.  Also, now my all time favorite intro to theology book can be purchased on Amazon — that is, there were six copies, used, when earlier I wrote.  They might all be sold now.
  • March 27, 2014 How Can the Spirtually Flabby Be Helped? Link to my New Evangelizers column.  I was irritated by the people who say, “Lent is So Easy! Quit Whining!”, so I wrote about how they could quite whining about the whiners (me), and make themselves useful around their parish.
  • March 27, 2014 How’s that Religious Freedom Thing Working Out These Days? The Constitution.  I’m partial to it.  Blame my upbringing.  Interesting weird arguments going on in the combox.  Someone brought Rastafarians into it, as people will.
  • March 26, 2014 What Makes a Catholic Book Catholic?  Link to my column at the CWG.  Because the day before I said I really really liked Funeral Kings (movie), and I do like it, and you should be briefly scandalized by that that assertion, but I have reasons.  But no, it’s not Catholic  — at least, not the kind of Catholic that gets a CWG Seal of Approval.
  • March 25, 2014 St. Dismas Day, and a Movie to go with: Funeral Kings  More f-bombs in that movie than I think I have ever heard anywhere anytime, and that’s saying something.  And yet weirdly, it’s a good movie, in it’s way.
  • March 23, 2014 On Evangelization: Even People Like You are Missionary Material  Reprint from a few years ago, column from Amazing Catechists that coincided with the day’s Gospel, which was the Samaritan woman at the well.  You may remember it’s the one where we see how she evangelized despite herself.
  • March 21, 2014 Radio Silence = Please Pray  See.  I was sick.  Sick-Er.  Proof.

***

That’s all I know.  Some real life friends and I were thinking we ought to pick a reputable Servant of God (a “venerable”) who’s angling for a promotion to be our next invoked-saint.  Any suggestions?  Favorites?

psst . . . Jen . . . quit mixin’ up your holy-people terms.  “Servant of God” is the step before “Venerable.”  See more here, Thank You, Wikipedia!

Novenas! And other updates.

Larry asked for another novena.  Far be it from me to deny him.  I see the feast of the Annunciation is just around the corner, what perfect timing.  If you’re inclined to pray the for-serious way, EWTN has an annunciation novena here, and the US Bishops have one here (PDF).  I’m grateful for even the tiniest thing offered up, though, so please do not scruple.

I see that the bishop’s have titled theirs, “A Heart Open to God’s Will.” Chuckle chuckle.  I love being Catholic.  We have the punniest spirituality going.

Edited to Add: Please keep Larry D.’s intentions in mind this week.  His family’s going through the wringer.

***

So how’s it going, Jen?  After being silly tired all week, I had a great Saturday daytime.  It turns out the SuperHusband sometimes gets this weird not-quite-right head thing when he’s on a really intense hike in the mountains.  It’s not dizziness, and it’s not lightheadedness like you’re going to faint.  You might say ‘fuzzy-headed’, except that you can think clearly.  But you would be inclined to use one of those words.  Anyway, I did a pile of laundry and cleaning stuff up, paced so that I didn’t cough once, not once.  It turns out that if you persist for enough hours, this unnamed phenomenon turns into a headache.

And then later the shortness of breath was back on the slightest exertion.  Fatigue, huh?  I’m fascinated by all this.  It’s like race training at a microscopic scale.

***

Busy blorging week. A handful of linky-link posts, and a couple serious columns:

  • I really wasn’t trolling for Atheists when I wrote about free will and suffering, but I guess the title doomed me. Second in the suffering series, and the combox discussion is, well, enlightening.  I shut it down because I was tired of moderating and it was starting to degenerate.  I so did not mean to provoke that conversation.  Cringe.
  • Paging Dorian Speed . . . Christian Leblanc wrote a very good, helpful, encouraging column at Patheos in reponse to a struggling catechist.  I ranted and raved.  But every time I think, “Yeah, I was too mean,” I go back and re-read my post, and I think, “Yeah, that needed to be said.”  But I feel for the poor guy who wrote the letter.  I get the frustration.  I do. I really do.

Elsewhere, maybe I was nicer?  At AmazingCatechists.com, a post with thoughts on changing your course to meet the needs of your students.  Don’t hate me because I had smart kids this year, it works both ways.

(What are the Apologetics for Kids students doing while I’m on sick leave? Watching Steve Ray videos, of course.  Footprints of God.  Google it.  You want the whole collection. They are great for kids and grown-ups both.)

And at CatholicMom.com today, I’m the Gospel-reflector.  Once again, my spirituality could be summed up as, “Just like St. Peter, Before Pentecost Edition.”

Happy Sunday!

Post Heart-Cath Update

For those who didn’t see the FB & blorg updates, procedure went fine.  Once the sedative-drip started working, it was fascinating, really.  I had a view of the physician’s display screen, and I totally want the video.  Wow. Also, re: sedatives, I begin to understand why prescription drug abuse is such a problem.  Nurse said I had a smile on my face the whole time.*

DX: Healthiest sick person you know.  Everything was all clear on the heart-cath, with is consistent with the, “I feel perfectly normal as long as I sit here blorging,” symptoms I’m having.  It’s a bit awkward trying to feed the cath through someone’s heart while they fold laundry or potter in the garden.

–> Clarification for all the kind people who’ve told me, upon hearing the results, “I’m glad you’re okay!”.  I know what you mean. I’m glad this test came back normal.  Lots of problems we didn’t find and that I’ve got no interest in having.  (I’m not interested in having the problem I do have, either.)  But I assure you, I am not okay.

Here’s a link with lots of curse words I don’t approve of, that explains the situation.  It’s hilarious and totally true, so we’ll make allowances.  You can thank Julie Davis at Happy Catholic for enlightening you, and I’ll take full credit for partially-corrupting you, since it’s not like she’s making me share the link.

Next step is probably a referral to someone who deals with bizarre cases.  So you just keep praying for that Dx, and/or that miracle, and/or CAWOG, whatever suits.

Meanwhile, thank you to Theresa for the flowers that came today.  I’m pretty sure I know which Theresa it was, but just in case I thank the wrong one in person, I thank you, the other Theresa who really sent the flowers, as well.

How’s it going, Jen?  I’m super tired.  Not taking most phone calls, a bit behind on e-mail, and trying to get through the this-n-that on the to do list.  If I owe you something, may I remind you that praying for patience is rarely a short-term winning strategy?  I’d say my fortitude’s running at about 5%.  But I’m so grateful for that blorging gig, because having something to do that is easy and pleasant and people seem to like is really nice.

 

 

*I’m generally a happy, sociable person, so this is not atypical.  But feeling happy and sociable when it’s noon, there’s a teeny tiny plumbing snake in my arteries, and I haven’t had coffee or breakfast . . . that’s not my usual.  The coffee is the clincher.

Well-Plumbed Hearts

A friend gave me a green scapular last week, about which I was stoked even before I googled and figured out exactly what it was.  It came pre-blessed, which thrilled me to no end, since I’m so shy about bugging priests for stuff.  (Certain priests would not believe this.  But it is true.)  I felt like the people in the pre-blessed foods commercial.

Tomorrow Wed 3/12 is heart cath day.  I find that thinking of it as a teeny tiny plumbing snake being fed through my blood vessels to be oddly comforting.  In a terrifying sort of way*.

I’ve been wicked tired today (Tuesday) and this is, if I guess rightly, a good thing.  But it’s also my excuse for not doing that thing you were hoping I would get to.  Sorry.  I’ll catch up or drop dead or something, and you’ll be happy in the end, it’ll be okay.

Blorging this week:

  1. Papal Economics Book Club: Democracy, Capitalism, and Morality. Julie Davis told me once that she wished I wrote more on economics topics. Now I am. She probably regrets saying that.
  2. Pope Francis on Same Sex Unions and the Case for Regulatory Reform. I didn’t mean to write on this again so soon, but it came up.  It’s my least favorite topic, but there it is.

No telling when I’ll be back at it, but you’ll see me then.  Have a good week!

 

*I am not really terrified. Being a writer, I’m capable of imagining all kinds of gruesome scenarios with cardiac procedures gone wrong. But being a *Catholic* writer, there’s always that happy ending.  Small things with great drama, isn’t that how the saying goes?

Liturgical Living

Went confession last night, and sneaked over to Mass this morning.  Happy happy.

Kids were off here, there, and everywhere, so SuperHusband sneaked me over to a very good (not expensive, just good) restaurant after confession, and I lasted 2/3rds of dinner before I was ready to go lay down or something.  The poor waitress was mortified, because, sure, the service was slow.  But it wasn’t that slow.

A little PSA . . .

Dear Jennifer,

Today at Mass, the lady in front of me just wouldn’t kneel.  She sat through the entire Mass! Leaning against the wall!  And she hardly said anything out loud, at all!  It’s like she was really tired or something.  There was a big open space in my pew, so I could have scooted over, I suppose, if I wanted to kneel. But it seemed like a much better idea to insist on kneeling right up against her — personal space is so, so, contrary to the spirit of the Gospel, isn’t it?

Please tell me I did the right thing.

Sincerely,

Pious but Clueless

 

Dear Pious,

Personal space is not contrary to the Spirit of the Gospel.  Consider scooting over one space in the pew if the person in front of you is not kneeling for some inexplicable reason.

Jennifer.

Meanwhile, over at the blorg . . .

  1. More meat talk. Because even in America, you can do this abstinence from meat thing all year round.
  2. Giving up the Sunday Work Habit. Which is not as simple for Catholics as it is for everyone else, but still, it’s something you are supposed to do, if you can.
  3. Music for your Lenten listening pleasure.

Today’s Blorging: When You Get Called a Hater Because You Oppose Same Sex Unions

The Calling of St. Matthew by Hendrick ter Bruggen

In which we explore the root of the hating action all around:

Want to give up TV fast?  Forget worrying about foul language or sex scenes.  Try watching only programs that glorify kindness, respect, and forgiveness.  Insult-flinging is the new blood sport.  There are whole genres that consist of nothing but showing people how terribly, terribly wrong they are, and thus deserving of mockery.

Not exactly a surprise that people are a tad paranoid, on a diet of that. The solution to the hate-charge is pretty straightforward.  1) Head on straight.  2) Don’t hate.  3) Gospel gospel gospel.  Read the whole thing here.

Now Street Legal: Jennifer Fitz @ Patheos is Fully Furnished.

For your penance today . . . visit me on the blorg.  Okay, it’s not penitential.  FYI since Patheos is ad-funded, if you see an advertisement that is contrary to the Catholic faith, take a screenshot and let me know.  The Patheos folk are actually quite responsive on that point, but they need to see what the problem is in order to fix it.

And tell all your friends!  Thanks.

 

PS: Yes, I’ll continue to post updates here as well.  But go ahead and subscribe to patheos.com/blogs/jenniferfitz, because the machine is faster than me, and more thorough. Do you see how I love you and made your life easier by requesting a simple URL?  You’re welcome.

Mardi Gras, Family Life, Meat Demon

1. CatholicMom.com is back up, and here’s my post: Homeschooling and the Art of Living Together.  In which you hear about how cool my son is, and also that there’s more to this parenting thing than where you send your kids to school.

Let me just say that writing a post while feeling favorably disposed towards your children is like begging for them to do all kinds of crazy stuff for the next 48 hours.  Or more.

(Nothing serious.  Just normal everyday reminders that they do need parents. Sigh.  Everyone needs parents.)

2.  At the blorg today: Thwarting the Meat Demon. We have polished off the bacon, and the chicken is next.  Because basically, yes, my spiritual disciplinary advice consists of “Eat a Cheeseburger on Thursday.” You have to start somewhere.

3.  A friend of mine gave me a bag of these:

Milk Chocolate Peanut Butter Pretzels

Puts the gras in Mardi Gras.  We do it right around here.

So How’s it Going, Jen?

1. CatholicMom.com is temporarily under the weather, but when it comes back up (pray for Lisa Hendey’s sanity), my monthly homeschooling column should be there.  I talk about homeschooling-while-sick, but no handy tips, mostly just, “Yeah, my kids are awesome.”  I’ll link to the article when it recovers.

2. Prayer request for me: I’ve got two kids coughing and sneezing. Ordinary colds.  I’m keeping my distance.  I really, really, would be better off not catching this thing.  Recall: I’m already coughing just laughing or moving around too much.  Not in one of those dramatic, “time for the tear-jerking moment in the musical” ways, but still  . . . I’d just rather not go there. Whereever Me + Cold turns out to be.  Thanks.

(If I seem like I’m on social media a ton, instead of hovering over my children while they do their homework, it’s because yes, I’m trying to be in a different room than them. We’re in communication, yes we are.  School is happening, just more hands off than usual.)

3. Speaking of suffering, here’s a preview of my new blorg outpost:

The blog is still under construction, FYI.  Waiting on the header art, need to learn how disqus works, lots of little jobs. But I’m going ahead and getting a few posts up so that the living room isn’t empty when everyone comes over for the big housewarming party.

And yes, I discussed my assimilation situation with Larry D. and he said he’d pray for me.  (Um, seriously, I loved Larry’s Star Trek piece, which I can’t seem to find right now.  Larry & I are good friends online, and respectfully agree to disagree on the prudence of blorging.  Y’all: Larry’s got a special intention he needs prayed for, so regardless of your level of vexation regarding the blorg, say a prayer for him today?  Yes?  Thank you.)

I’ll announce again once the paint is dry and the curtains are hung.

4. What I do with my free time instead of watching infuriating television shows: I break into the spouse’s video editing software, and mostly don’t botch it that badly.  A few technical errors, but for my first attempt at making a movie without swearing or punching walls, I’m okay with it: Lord Have Mercy, There’s a Baby in my Church.

The artwork is from Wikimedia, and the soundtrack can be downloaded here, for free.  Pick the “Whitbourne Conf. Mass.”  Funny story: St. P’s did this twice, once on the weekend, and once for the Confirmation Mass, recorded with two different setups.  Jon asked me to pick which of the two I liked better.  I liked the sound on this recording better than the other, but I also really, really liked the babies.

St. Peter’s doesn’t usually put babies in their choir, but the bishop came, so they pulled out all the stops.

5.  People want to know how I’m doing. So, sometimes, do I.  What I know:

  • I feel perfectly normal as long as I’m sitting around.  I’m getting a lot of writing done.
  • Animated conversation kills me, but calm conversation is okay.  I thought I needed more boring friends.  I think I just need to not talk so loud, and listen more.
  • I cough when I laugh out loud.  This happens all the time, because of the people I live with.  I think it’s probably pretty safe.
  • I cough if I move around too much. I’m getting better at avoiding this.  I’m not sure if it’s from just breathing too deeply, or if it’s something more nefarious.
  • But a little bit of up and down, in moderation, isn’t a problem.  I’m getting better at figuring out what “in moderation” looks like, so I feel better and am less tired than a week ago.
  • Otherwise I’m totally normal. No problem with speed, balance, snarky comments, etc etc.
  • Actually I’m better than normal, since my other minor signs of decrepitude are all aggravated by walking around too much, and I’m nowhere near that level of activity.  Long term, of course, that’s a good way to die early.  But short term it’s pretty funny that being seriously ill = being not in pain, at all, unlike normal life in which a handful of minor aches are just everyday reality.

To do items for this week: Keeping aiming for that exact right combination of rest and activity, and avoid catching the girls’ colds.  Heart cath next week.

6. I’m not freaked out because, you know, catechist.  Forget the nonsense about facing serious illness with a “we can beat this!” attitude.  I mean sure, I’m all about that, and am doing my share to see it done. I strongly, strongly prefer being alive, thank you.  But sooner or later you’re going to drop dead.  Either you’re okay with that or you’re not.  Probably catechesis is not for you if the prospect of eternal life doesn’t take the edge off.