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December 09, 2005


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You're right - it's not defined. We're free to believe whatever we want about Mary feeling pain during labor. I personally waffle on this one. On the one hand, it seems fitting that she should feel pain because it's fundamental to humanity. On the other hand, she didn't need to be redeemed through childbearing, and she didn't need purification. I'm not sure what I think. But anyway, you're right.

I always thought that concupiscence was related to the sexual only until I starting taking theology courses, so apparently that's a common error. And thanks for reminding me that I need to fight it in my own life as well!

Gladly, I thoroughly enjoyed this post and am delighted to have encountered your site. But I'm sorry about the lost day-in-the-life post...I'd have liked to read that. I'll have to console myself with your archives. Nice to meet you. :)

Gladly, I had a dream with you in it. We were in a green minivan driving to Minnesota. We ended up in a church.

Anyhow, I wanted to say thanks for your thoughts. The last week or so I've been feeling some of the same things you expressed above, and I got a laugh out of the PhD comment. :-)

I have had daydreams all year long of sending the five school aged children to school, and then spending my days reading to the little ones, organizing all my closets and drawers, being caught up on my launry, having a menu plan, etc, etc. Then I think, "Who am I kidding?" The reality is, no matter what, having kids is un.re.lent.ing. No matter who teaches them, no matter how much the dh helps around the house. No matter how wonderful the kiddos are, it requires heroic courage to go to bed, knowing you failed at something, and then get up the next day, resolving to do better, knowing you will fail at something again. This is not to depress you, but to encourage you that YOU ARE NORMAL. And it's not only you that is fighting concupiscence, it is your entire household, and my entire household, and everyone's entire household. Seems to me you are approaching your life just as you should. God WILL fill in the gaps, He promised!

It's true that getting a PhD would be a lot of work, but as the previous post suggests, not really MORE work than what you're already doing--just different. I'd like to hear more about what you'd study and why you want to go. I teach college, though my department doesn't have a PhD, and I think you are well suited to the work and would really enjoy it.

I'm *completely* missing how your realization that doing a Ph.D. sounds like more fun than your current set-up leads you to think you should be more present in your current set-up. To me that sounds like having a kid in a school that's completely unchallenging so he's bored and acting up, and telling him that he should just concentrate more on writing his capital A's and feel the joy there, when what he really needs is a teacher who lets him read in class.

I guess I'm just not getting what the value is in forcing yourself to love pairing socks when you could be feeling true joy in earning a Ph.D. Maybe God would rather have you stretch your wings and use your talents than continue to have to talk yourself into enjoying the minute-by-minute cleanup stuff. Is studying and using the mind and courage and iron butt God gave you concupiscence? Or is it using your talents instead of burying them because you're afraid to come up empty-handed?

Thinking about grad school isn't concupiscence, no. But if I'm thinking it sounds fun to go get a PhD, I've got two problems: first, I'm being unrealistic about the PhD program, and second, there must be a serious fun dearth in my life right now.

That's a separate issue from the concupiscence question. If the socks get paired, it is because I do it or because I help the boys do it. It is not because a sock sprite had mercy on me while the week-old laundry lay in a big pile on the guest bed.

I guess my point is that I need to be where I am right now -- not that I should plan to be here forever, because I do think grad school is in the cards for me at some point in the next decade. But I shouldn't be here grumpily, wishing away the work attached to at-home motherhood. "Content in all circumstances" -- that's my goal.

Um, would concupiscence also cover sitting here at the computer while there are 5 young children roaming the house, dishes in the sink, the contents of an exploded bookshelf amidst several loads of clean laundry in the living room and a playroom that looks like who-did-it-and-ran?

Jamie, please keep plugging A Mother's Rule of Life....another ten plugs and I'll probably get it and read it!

Ok, a poopy diaper calls (loudly!).

OK, I'm with Sandy (at my computer ignoring all manner of things around here). A Mother's Rule is sitting on a tiny book shelf right above my monitor here. I've tried to start it a few times but she is so far ahead of where I am (she prays for HOW long each day?) that I get intimidated. But I'll read it. I will I will I will. I do love the idea of switching off saturdays with Brian and getting to go do what I want -- i think that would go a long way toward adding much needed fun to my life. the lack of fun here has even driven me to consider a job at the mall -- wow, that's bad!

+ All very familiar terrain to this bedraggled mother. I remember the steam coming out of my ears when older women would smile and say, "Little kids, little problems..." Didn't they know my total exasperation?? Well, they were right. My oldest is nearly 20 and I'm still hanging on for dear life. Rather than taking on more intellectually, I gave away what I had in order to do this right. I knew writing, editing, talks, tv show (small, I promise!!) was all an escape to prove I could still string sentences together and do something "more."

What I have learned in the last five or so years is that Life is Long. There are plenty of years to get a PhD, promise. Everything you do now is foundational. I have a house full of sassy teens and precocious wannabees. It's ok. Since I'm not clinging to projects on the side, I don't have a point to make but I neither do I get an escape hatch. Here we are.

Anything worth this much (in this case, five souls) is going to be damned hard. I cry myself to sleep many nights for the frustration and the level of difficulty, but God has made certain promises that I hold Him to. I am beginning to rejoice in the lessons for me, in all of this, which are only learned the hard way.

Hard. Very hard. We're in this together, ladies. These years will prove to be arduous but short in the long run. I'm with you, AD, mucking about in the trenches. No pain, no gain. AMDG.

Hi Gladly

Mother's rule of life sounds to me a depressing do gooding book if it classes giving yourself little pleasures like lying in bed another extra half hour in the dark morning, giving yourself some me time which you must need having young kids etc. The old adage all work and no play makes Jack a dull boy is very apt for mothers with young children. Having time to yourself is hardly hedonism or sin and the world will not grind to a halt is you do that for yourself

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