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Jewellry?

In 1 Timothy 2:9-10 St. Paul writes about what women should adorn themselves with: 9 In like manner also, that women adorn themselves in modest apparel, with shamefacedness and sobriety; not with broided hair, or gold, or pearls, or costly array; 10 But (which becometh women professing godliness) with good works. 

And now some questions arise: does this mean that we are not to use jewellry altogether, or is it only pearls and gold that are not “allowed”? Does this mean that we can use silver jewellry? Or, if a woman has her focus on good works, can she use some jewellry (even in gold), as long as she doesn’t overfocus on it, and keep it modest and simple? And in that case, who’s to draw the line between modest and too much jewellry? And why exactly does St. Paul tell the women to stay away from gold, pearls and costly arrays?

There’s a woman I know that only wear a simple gold cross (like in the picture) around her neck. And that’s all the jewellry I’ve seen her with. I don’t see that as a problem, even though I know what St. Paul wrote about gold and pearls. Her gold cross shows that she’s a Christian, and together with her good behaviour, her compassion for others, it reminds me and inspires me of how a Christian should lead one’s life. To non believers, I’m sure her silent witness mark and her good works combines to give them a good impression of the Christian faith.

My wedding ring is in gold, and I don’t think a gold cross pendant is a wrong thing, because it sort of shows the importance one place on one’s faith. But, I must confess, I’ve used a lot of money on gold and silver jewellry. I’ve had cross pendants in all shapes and materials. Some with and some without the crucifix. (I use past term, because during lent I changed this habit of comfort buying, and instead sold some of my pieces on the Internet.) For now I think I will conclude with a principle of modest and simple/minimalistic jewellry, in gold or silver. A cross pendant as a silent witness of my faith. Keeping in mind the words of St. Paul, trying to focus on good works in stead of what jewellry to wear. But, I’ll do some Bible reading and studying on the subject, so the issue is not closed.

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A day to remember

Today is the year-day for the death of my grandfather. I’m both sad, angry, and thankful. When he died, I lost the positive father figure, he was more than a grandfather to me. And it makes me angry that he was the one to die and not my biological father. I’d much rather see him dead than my grandfather. But I’m also thankful to my grandparents, for all the good times, for all the positive input we received. For their great importance in making our lives better. If it hadn’t been for my grandparents, I don’t know if we (me and my siblings) would’ve made it the way we have. It was of unvaluable importance to have a pair of grandparents telling us how much we meant to them, showing us how happy we made them, and so on. Being with them was like paradise compared to the terror at home.

The most important thing my grandfather thaught me was this: Everytime I packed my bags after visiting, and I was alone in the room, he would enter and talk to me. And he always said that if I did my best (for example at school) no-one could be unsatisified with me. He said it very quietly. Looking back I can see that he said this to strengthen me, because he knew my father. And he was always content with my school results. As opposed to the father I grew up with, who was always unsatisified and asked me what I could have done to make it better next time. Eventhough I got the second best grade!

Hairs everywhere!

Our little princess is currently in the midst of an shedding period, and it’s white dog hairs everywhere! And I mean, everywhere. I vacuumed the entire flat earlier today, and it’s already starting to pile up in the corners. Normally I don’t care about the hairs, but nowadays it’s too much! I’m hoping for her shedding to stop soon!

 

On to something completely different. I feel somewhat sad, is that the feeling…, I think it’s such a distance between my principles and ideals, and my actual everyday life. Will I ever live by my principles? Is there any point in having principles if I’ll never ever get to live by them? Or at least come near? Should I perhaps adjust my principles? I don’t know. There is so many different “truths” and “right ways/guidelines”. Even within the Catholic Church. There’s the official teachings, and there’s peoples’ practice. Who am I to listen to? There’s a number of different ways to read the Bible. Some Christians take all the Biblical guidelines and teachings literally, some say the Bible itself is enough, some interpret the Bible in context of a tradition (like the Catholics), some choose the Biblical teachings and guidelines they feel apply to them, some take all, and some take just a few. And everybody claims to have the “truth” and “the right way”. Everybody claims to know what the Lord wants from us, and expects from us.

How can I interpret some of the Biblical teachings literally as applying to me, and ignore others? Isn’t it correct to take all or none? And does the New Testament overrule the Old? The Catholic church teaches that the Bible is a book written and compiled by humans under the guidance of the Lord. It’s not an historically correct account, and it’s written and compiled within a tradition and context. The early Christians adopted some of the customs from their time and made them Christian. The bread and wine for example. When Jesus ate his last supper with the disciples, he probably didn’t have the small oblates we eat, to hand out, but took a normal bread for his time, and shared it. Does this mean that we have to do exactly the same as Him? Is the oblate bread “wrong”? And what about all the things we meet in our time, not mentioned in the Bible.

For example, people living otherwise plain and simple lives, have a nice looking website. Is this correct or is it wrong? The Bible says nothing about it, because the Internet wasn’t exactly invented at that time. But nowadays the Internet is common, and having a webpage promoting plain and simple life may be somewhat of a missionary thing, telling others about ones life and faith, and encouraging people around the world to stand up for their beliefs.

Just some of my thoughts.

Pains make me afraid… (baby no. 2?)

When in bed with my mucle pains and fever (some sort of flu or infection) last weekend, I began remembering the labour pains. Because the localisation of these pains were largely the same as the pains I head when giving birth. And I thought that I’ll never be able to give birth again, because of the anxitey resulting from having this much pain.

Due to my lack of control over my body when growing up (incest experience) it is very important to me to have control over my body, or at least feel that I have some sort of control. Whenever I experience some sort of pain, ranging from my period to the ultimate pain experience giving birth, I’m filled with anxiety. I’m afraid of the pain in a way I can’t explain. And hence, I don’t understand my reaction.

 

And, in relation to this, I think a lot about having a second baby. Before last weekend I associated having babies with the joy and excitment of being a part of God’s creation will, and looking at the ultrasound pictures, wondering how this little person inside me is going to be. He’s so close, yet so foreign to me!

But, having rekindled the memory of the labour pains, and especially all the anxiety I had after the birth, I’m in doubt as to whether to have a second baby or not… 😕 The question is, am I in a position where I can decide whether to have or not a second baby? There are so many things to consider!

The Church’s teachings

According to the Church’s official teachings, a marriage is a lifelong commitment (it’s actually of such great importance that it’s considered as one of the sacraments) between a man and a women. The marriage is formed to the benefit of the man and the woman, but also to the society. The marriage is the smallest “building cell” of a society. And every marriage must be entered into with an openness to having children. Or receiving the children that God gives the couple, thus taking part in God’s creation will or order. The Church also teaches that the only acceptable form for contraceptives is abstaining. And it is up to the couple to decide the number of children. The children is seen as a gift or blessing from God.

The society’s “teachings”

The main trend in Norway is to have one’s first child at the age of 29-30 (woman) and then having two to three kids. A lot of peoples have their kids fairly close in age, probably because of their starting age and then they want to get done with the kids being small and needy, fairly quickly. Kids are seen as both a good and a blockage thing. It’s seen as normal to have kids, although not everyone’s prepared to make the “sacrifices” one must to cater properly for the kids’ needs. Having been adult without kids for some years (maybe as much as 15 years) one develop certain habits and routines, and a number of new parents find it hard to cut down on clubbing, boys- and girls- outings, and personal fitness programs. It’s not seen as normal to bring one’s children along to all the things the adults does. Going to cafés with a baby is ok, but not if the kid’s passed 1-2 years. Gyms have babysitting facilities, and going to restaurants for dinner, the kid has to be at home or looked after by someone else. In southern Europe this is different, there it is common to see large families having dinner at a restaurant at 20.00 and on, all ages present.

The couple can decide how many kids to have, and the publically correct opinion is that a mother should continue persuing her career and self realisation anyhow. Having children should not block or put one back from these goals. 😐 (NB! Being a mother is not seen as a valid self realisation goal.) Having children is just one of the roles and functions a woman has. Along with being a wife and partner, career woman, friend, and so on. 🙄

My “teachings”

To me, being a mother is the most important thing I can be. It has given me a purpose for living. All my past and my future life will be used in order to be the best mother I can be. It is great to have been chosen by God to participate in his creation will/order. He saw me fit to be a mother, and I’m forever grateful.

I’m first and foremost a mother, and thus, I let the consideration to my son overrule any other consideration. I don’t care for having a career, that doesn’t make me happy. Being a mother does!

Then, if God wants me to have a second baby, and He thinks I’m fit and capable, then I will. But how may I know? I pray for Him to give us a second child if that’s what He wants. I’m very content with having only one, because the one is such a large and valuable gift! He’s all I ever could have wanted! He’s perfect!

I also pray for the Lord to give me the courage and strength needed to give birth to a second child, if I’m having one. My son deserves a sister or brother, and I know we have room in my family (time, love, space etc), both the small one and the more extended one. I mustn’t let my anxiety win, but I need to find out how to overcome and live with the anxiety as well. I think I would regret having only one kid, should it be due to me being afraid of giving birth and worrying too much for the future… none of my worries have been true so far, it’s due time for me trying to worry less!

Mummy, you mustn’t sleep!

Yesterday me and my son went to an evening mass, and when entering the church, after doing the cross mark with the water at the door, my son asked (loud of course) “the priest’s where?”.

Being an evening mass, the church wasn’t full, but everyone was quiet. I told him that the priest would come soon. We brought along some of his small cars to play with and a book for him to look in. He’s only been to Sunday masses earlier, and then the church tends to be more than full, so yesterday he got some space to move around in and to look at the other church-goers.

He walked around a bit, but when we were standing, confessing our sins and praying, everyone was closing their eyes and head down, he said “look mummy, everyone’s sleeping!” 😉 also a bit loud… and then when we’re supposed to kneel and I can’t do that because of knee pains, I sit at the front of the seat and close my eyes and tilt my head down, he said to me “mummy, you mustn’t sleep!” I smiled and told him I wasn’t sleeping, I was talking to God and Jesus quietly inside me. “Oh, talking to Jesus, ‘tly”, he replied. After kneeling for a bit we raise up to pray the Lord’s prayer, and one of the women raised up standing before the rest of us, and my son commented, pointing at the woman, to everyone’s hearing, “she stands, she stands!”

I try not to be stressed about my son making small noises and comments like these, but I must say it’s a struggle. The priest has told me not to be afraid of bringing him along, because it is better for us to come and him to make some noise than us not coming. That helps me. But I’m very conscius about what the other church-goers may think. On the other hand I wish to make him comfortable in the church room, feel somewhat at home in the house of the Lord, and to do that I need to start early. I want him to think of church as a good place to be.

My husband is non-denominal (he doesn’t belong to any church) nor does he believe in God, but he respects my beliefs, and he’s ok with me giving our son a catholic faith. It wouldn’t have worked, had he not been ok with it. So I don’t have him beside me to help me with the boy in church. I’ve never had any other man/boyfriend that my husband, so I don’t know how it is to be married to a person of the same faith, but I think it would be nice if he shared my beliefs and we were able to talk about it as two believers not as one believer and one agnostic. He doesn’t give me any faith input. But he’s good in so many other ways, so I didn’t let the faith issue decide.

A true blessing!

Yesterday I was stuck in bed for the most of the day with muscle pains and fever. Our beautiful son (2,5 yrs old) cared for me, on his own initiative! We are so proud of the boy, showing genuine consideration for others. We haven’t done anything in particular to make him do this. We care very much for him and always try to meet his needs as we find it best. And we acknowledge and appreciate his caring for others, and tells him about it.

When I said to my husband and son that I was going back to bed after finishing breakfast, our boy jumped up and said, I’ll go and prepare the bed for you, mummy. He went to the bedroom and found me several of his “shirts” (he uses his father’s used t-shirts for cuddling, and calls them shirts). He also asked me if I wanted a pacifier. 🙂 I smiled and thanked him no. Not making fun of him for his concern. He likes to have his pacifier when lying in bed, so it is only natural that he thought I would like it as well. Then he rushed downstairs to get some of his books so that he could read for me. He sat beside me in our bed and read (ie talking about the pictures) to me. After finishing one book, he went back downstairs with that and got another one upstairs to read me more. He really is a good boy!

And today, at the parent-teacher talk at his kindergarten (which I couldn’t attend due to my illness), my husband heard only positive things about our son. He’s very much liked by the other kids, helping and sharing.

Of course he can be angry and he’s got some temper when he doesn’t get his will. But, I always remind that it’s ok to be angry, but one should always say one’s sorry and ask for forgiveness when hurting others. Deliberately or not. We are his main examples when growing up, so we try to live by the same standards as we teach him. And I always tells him that I love him no matter how angry he is. Because when he’s angry he’s also crying.

I thank the Lord for blessing us with this precious boy, a real gift for our family. Not only for my husband and me, but also to his grandparents and aunts and uncles. And, it is such a givng task, to have to put my feelings aside and focus on my son. And to be able to guide and comfort him in his journey towards adulthood. It can be hard at times, but it is also very giving.

A day in skirt

Some of the blogs I read have done “a week in modest dress”-things where the blog writer takes a picture of herself everyday in a week. This is Anna in Veiled Glory. That’s one of the most inspiring thing to read about, as this shows ordinary people putting their stand on modest clothing into practise. That’s one of my main current goals. Today I’ve spent the entire day in modest clothes, long sleeved shirt and long black denim skirt. It makes me feel good. My consience is good and I feel like a woman. All my skirts are either knee length or mid calf length. None are shorter. But with the knee lengths, I’m constantly checking to see that it hasn’t slipped over the knee, and when bending down, I’m thinking about how much of my legs are showing. But the most uncomfortable aspect is the need for panty-hose. I really hate wearing panty-hoses, whatever the thickness of it. I never seem to find the right size. It’s either too large or too small, or if it fits my legs, it sure doesn’t fit the rest…

Walking in the city today, I was approached by a woman from the Jehovah’s Witnesses. I got two brochures and a book called “Knowledge”. I thought I might find something inspiring for me in it. I’m not considering changing churches, I’m a convinced catholic, but that doesn’t restrain me from being inspired by other christians’ faith. Imagine the courage this woman has, walking up to complete strangers, starting to talk about God. Think about all the rejection she gets in a day of her mission. I find it sometimes hard to tell people I’m a believer… in fear of the picture they may make of me in their head. But, since becoming a mother and in my 30’s, I’m more confident and doesn’t fear this as much as I used to.

I’ve managed to keep away from chocolate and sweets today. The first days are always the worst. I have to warn my husband… because my temper is not good when quitting comfort-eating. But, it will pass, and I know I can do it, because I’ve done it before (quitting that is). And I visualise the good feeling of internal physical cleanliness I get when not eating the “forbidden” food. I can’t see myself quitting chocolate for life. I think this is the way it could be with me and my comfort-eating. I hope for the periods of non-eating to be longer than the others. And I think about how my son will see me comfort-eating, and perhaps learn from my example. That’s what I did with my mum. The food at home was always very healthy and in the right amounts, but whenever having a good time, eating sweets (chocolate, cakes, etc) was a certainity. And, she has been comfort-eating for years. But, she didn’t admit it until I told her I was doing it…