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The format and inspiration for this post are brought to you by Conversion Diary. Jennifer Fulwiler runs a great blog where she shares her thoughts about motherhood, Catholicism, writing, and the struggles and triumphs that accompany each. I highly recommend her.
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I’m midway through Week 3 of p90x. Along with everyone else in the western hemisphere, I resolved to eat better and work out in the new year. So far, with the help of my fellow X-men (i.e. work out buddies/former housemates, Leroy, Josh, and Brad, and remote support from college roommate Mike) I’ve been sticking to both a high protein/low fat diet and a daily workout that alternately makes me feel like one of the super-ripped Uruk-hai and Steve Urkel.
Mike has been chronicling his X-journey on his blog. It’s witty and challenging, and you should check it out.
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Last night Laurel and I attended our second Preparing for Birth class. So far I’m pleased with the instructors and the information they’ve been giving us. The biggest source of anger and worry I’ve had since we found out we were having a baby has been on account of the general incompetency of doctors. Laurel’s dad, a longtime family physician, told us early on that many doctors lack experience in natural child birth. We’ve heard and seen since that incompetency manifests itself in the manipulation of due dates in order to pressure mothers to induce labor and a the unusually frequent resort to a C-section when any aspect of the process is less than ideal.
The women at Preparing for Birth, however, have been excellent about explaining the physical processes that happen during pregnancy and labor, as well as empowering the expectant mothers (and fathers) with the knowledge that childbirth is a natural process that happens more often than not in the home (worldwide) and should not be treated like a surgery or the removal of a tumor.
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This semester I’ve begun teaching an elective called Lyric Poetry. The class is small and the students are motivated, and so we’ve set out to conquer the Norton Anthology of Poetry. Alongside our reading we’re beginning to memorize and compose poetry with the aid of Sound and Sense, an introduction to the principles and conventions of poetry analysis and composition. This week we read selections from Robert Herrick, Andrew Marvell, and George Herbert. I especially liked returning to Herbert’s poem “Prayer (I)”.
PRAYER the Churches banquet, Angels age,
Gods breath in man returning to his birth,
The soul in paraphrase, heart in pilgrimage,
The Christian plummet sounding heav’n and earth ;
Engine against th’ Almightie, sinner’s towre,
Reversed thunder, Christ-side-piercing spear,
The six daies world-transposing in an houre,
A kinde of tune, which all things heare and fear ;
Softnesse, and peace, and joy, and love, and blisse,
Exalted Manna, gladnesse of the best,
Heaven in ordinarie, man well drest,
The milkie way, the bird of Paradise,
Church-bels beyond the stars heard, the souls bloud,
The land of spices, something understood.
While he’s (in)famous for his oft-anthologized shape-poems, George Herbert’s “Easter Wings” is not representative of his best work. He is a fine theological thinker, and I recommend his work as worthy devotional writing and an excellent aid in grammar instruction (Notice that this poem is a giant series of appositives with no main verb).
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I’d like to share with you a quick snapshot of my son at age 5:
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Does anyone out there have personal experience with aquaponics? Since reading Hilaire Belloc’s The Servile State this summer I’ve been thinking more and more about the possibility of liberty, private property, human dignity, and wealth being coexistent and the means by which such a state might be widely or universally attained. Along with a number of other resources I’ve found the writers and resources gathered at The Distributist Review to be helpful. John Médaille, a regular contributor and instructor at the University of Dallas, posted an intriguing article yesterday called “The Economics of Abundance”. Check it out and while you are there read Dr. Peter Chojnowski’s “Distributism: Economics as if People Mattered,” which provides a general outline of Distributism. Then, let me know what you think.
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Finally, I’d like to close with the most entertaining video I’ve seen so far in 2011. Check out Bryant Gumbel and Katie Couric circa 1994 putting their heads together in order to define “an internet”: