Monday, June 29, 2009

agnostic ~ catholic marriages

When doing a google search to see of the following combination: agnostic, catholic, marriage (I was looking for tips and suggestions to create a balanced ceremony) most of what came up in that search was a great deal of angst about whether an agnostic and a Catholic can actually wed.

Given that I am currently working through my own angst on the issue, I feel like this might be something that I need to consider trying to answer.

I don't have a solid answer for this question because I struggle with it continuously in terms of my own marriage. I can only answer from my perspective and personal experiences. Given how liberal both my partner and I both are and the amount of problems that we still end up facing as we plan a wedding, I don't know that the decision is for everyone.

Before you start thinking that I'm saying break up with your partner, let me clarify: It can be done, it just requires a LOT of compromise, negotiation, and constant communication. It really depends on the couple, how much they want to make it work, how well they work together, and their ability to navigate some rather thorny issues.

For example, I don't believe in the Bible. I just don't. I feel that there are many important life lessons in it and that it is an amazing sociological record of the cultural values of a specific group of individuals in history (which doesn't lessen it's worth), but I don't accept that it is without error. For me the Bible was written by men, at a specific time, with specific agendas and values, for men. Academically, the text is very flawed and full of inconsistencies that have been interpreted and manipulated far too much throughout the course of history. My partner knows this, accepts it, and to some extent, agrees with me. This is important for us as a couple because many of my value systems and his end up being aligned and negotiable because of this. If he took everything in the Bible literally, we wouldn't work. Our views would be too oppositional and there would be no way of reconciling our differences. For another couple this might not be an issue, but for me it is, and by extension becomes a core issue between making it work between the 2 of us.

It is VERY important to him that any children we may have, be baptised. I am ok with doing this provided that they be raised with an awareness of other religions and their merits, or more specifically, with the ability to question religion and explore their spirituality in the ways they need to. If I wasn't willing to negotiate baptism and confirmation, he wouldn't be ok with building a life with me.

I think that a couple with different religious identities can work, but each member of the couple has to be flexible in terms of what their religion means to them and in their acceptance of other beliefs. Personally, I don't think we would have ever worked out if the boy had been a staunch Catholic and I a devout Atheist. My faith that there is something out there and constant search to find it, and his acceptance of other ways of finding God have made all the difference in our relationship. We wouldn't work without them.

The ironies of all ironies behind how we make it work:

Despite my being more liberal in my religious views, he is more flexible in his acceptance of our different paths. Even though I am compromising more in terms of our wedding, he is compromising more in terms of our marriage. I end up navigating the tricky conservative value systems in his family, but he is the one that is changing his relationship with them.

That said, wedding planning has still caused a great deal of turmoil in our relationship as we navigate community, family, and friend expectations. I have compromised a great deal by agreeing to marry within the Catholic church (I can't even begin to emphasize how much in terms of my own beliefs) and he has compromised a great deal by agreeing to marry in a Catholic church that isn't his own in order to find a priest that I felt comfortable with marrying us. I have received an untold amount of flack for compromising my values (gay rights, pro-choice, feminism) and he has experience unending pressure from his parents, family, and religious community for not marrying in his church.

I won't lie, it hasn't been easy. Coming from someone fighting this battle, if your values are non-negotiable and your faith of utmost importance to you, make sure you have these conversations before getting engaged. Figure out what you are willing to negotiate and where your boundaries are before agreeing to spend the rest of your life together.

Because trust me, once family and wedding expectations are involved, it only gets more complicated!

Sunday, June 28, 2009

a quiet sunday afternoon

After a hectic couple of days of stitching and bitching, drinks on the patio, dinner with a friend, swimming in the country, BBQs with the cousins, surprise 30th birthday parties and a farewell party for a friend, it's nice to enjoy a quiet afternoon. My vacation days have been busy... I need a vacation from my vacation!

After a lovely brunch with a friend, bike ride with the boy, mailing of wedding invites and reserving a hotel for Grandma. I'm now sitting here blogging with the cat on my lap thinking: Holy moly: this wedding thing is starting to become a reality.

Ironically, with all the various wedding stresses in the past, I'm actually looking forward to the last leg of planning because for me, the fun is in the extra little details! No I won't reveal them, I can keep some things secret! (not many, but some). Suffice to say, I'm digging the little decor elements that I'm currently planning. Hair and nails, I don't really care, but table seat cards, wedding programs, and ring bearing pillows... NOW we're talking about wedding porn baby!

what comes next: crafts and lists galore!

Throughout the course of wedding planning I've struggled with a great deal of frustration and disappointment. Some of this I know is normal to all brides and all weddings, some of it is situation specific because of the individual pressures we face as a couple from our families, and some of it is directly related to the fact that I'm making some major compromises in terms of this wedding in order to appease his parents.

The thing is, I grew up on the west coast of Canada surrounded by people who tend to have very low key, back yard, beach affair type weddings, which is not to say that elaborate weddings don't happen on the west coast, just that the wedding factory wedding is a little less common in my circle of friends and was never what I envisioned for myself. On top of which, I was raised by a very pragmatic Dutch mother so spending vast amounts of money on one day of my life (instead of putting it towards something practical) kind of goes against the grain.

But all that said, I am working on finding the positive in and amongst all of my various wedding woes, however difficult that may be at times. (From where, to what religion, to having flower girls (seriously even the decision to not have a flower girl has come under attack) to the dress I'm wearing and the food we're serving). Anyways, I feel like we've gotten through the worst of the arguments to be had with family. Or rather, I've just gotten a thicker skin, learned not to talk to parents about it until the decision is made and no longer changeable, or we've just gotten better at saying no as a couple! (This might be the best thing that wedding planning brings into our relationship... who knows!) :)

Whatever, our wedding invites are in the mail and now, with just over 3 months, it's down to the details.

And well, I'm excited about the details. Card boxes, wedding favours, seating chart cards, ceremony programs... these things fill me with excitement. It may be dumb and I may be a total glutton for punishment, but this is the part that I look most forward to! I know that the planning is starting to get down to the wire, but I'm looking forward to all of what comes next. I love lists and planning and arranging, as sick as that may actually sound!

Here are some of the projects I'm sure of doing (I'll post pics of my finished versions when I'm done!):

Seating "cards" (idea from the knot - we're working with an Asian fusion type motif, so these are perfect!)

Wedding ceremony program fans (see previous posts if you're curious)

Ring pillows (I'm leaning towards the book, but something a little simpler, meaning without the flower I find hideous!) Book idea from Once Wed

Other projects:

-making welcome baskets
-buying fortune cookies, wrapping a ribbon and card that says something along the lines of:

Marya and Paul would like to share their good fortune. In lieu of wedding favours they have made a donation to [insert charity here].

Thursday, June 25, 2009

program fan templates

For anyone thinking about DIY wedding program fans, here is an excellent link!

In fact, if you explore the site, you'll find several great templates/ideas for your consideration.

Here's a copy of the outline + floral motif background that I modified (see below for credits/restrictions) from the original template:

Wedding Fan Template

Broken apart for easier printing/image manipulation:

Fan Template Floral

And/Or use this to add text (print over the image or figure out how to adapt the image into the same template). Download it in a word document and it'll be in the right direction!

Fan Template With Text Box

Please note and respect the copyright terms (I am trying my best to give credit where credit is due). The author of the template has generously shared the information.

7 1/4” x 3 1/2”
by Aylee (

This template including all its components are licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-Share Alike 3.0 License.

By receiving and/or using this template, you agree to the following terms:

• You will provide credit to the author or designer and a link to

• You may not use this template for commercial purposes. No form of revenue must result from the use of this template.

• You must keep this page (first page) intact when sharing this template.

• If you alter, transform, or build upon this work, you may share the resulting work only under the same or similar license, and must comply with the previous terms.

For instructions, please visit

Wednesday, June 24, 2009

various crafts on st-jean

So I'm taking some of the soap I made a few weeks back and turning it into liquid soap:

From 2009-06-24 Crafting

I've taken the instructions from here. (It's sort of ironic that this is being sold as an enviro way of making soap, but that's an entirely different topic!) Ultimately I'd like to learn how to make liquid soap from scratch, but I'll save that for another day.

Today I'm to a stitch and bitch gathering with some fine lit ladies. My project, as seen in photo of purple mary-jane slippers (cause I love my mary-janes).

Tuesday, June 23, 2009

ring pillows

I'm still trying to figure out what I want to do for ring pillows. We'll likely have 2 ring bearers (our nephews) and no flower girl (unless we give in to mom's demands...long story, you don't want to know!).

Here is a list of contenders:

Embossed Velvet Pillows (see picture on the right for an idea... I'd probably try something with an asian feel, like bamboo from our invites, or cherry blossoms from our save the dates, or the Chinese symbol for double happiness or love).

Or, with a bit of modification, a ring book, which plays on my earlier idea of a book bouquet instead of flowers.

Monday, June 22, 2009

Environmental Action Step One: Intention

"Water, water, everywhere, Nor any drop to drink" ~ S.T. Coleridge

The ice caps are melting, the earth is getting warmer, and yet the amount of drinkable water is shrinking to the poing that it is being dubbed: blue gold. In fact, by 2030, if we don't reduce our emissions, "hundreds of millions of people are expected to become water stressed by climate change" (John Vidal, the guardian weekly, June 5-11).

I'm not an expert but the impending global water and environmental crisis strikes me as extremely significant and one that we need to address. In fact, when the same article listed above quotes Kofi Annan as saying, "The world is at a crossroads. We can no longer afford to ignore the human impact of climate change. This is a call to the negotiators to come to the most ambitious agreement ever negotiated or to continue to accept mass starvation, mass sickness and mass migration on an ever growing scale," I couldn't agree more.

So what on earth should we (ever so guilty, over-consuming Westerners) do to help? Most people I know want to help, but don't feel like they can afford to make a difference because being green is all about costing more, right? Wrong. And who the hell really knows where to start? I mean, for myself, my green actions are so muddled up that I can't even begin to make heads or tails of them.

One place to start is with David Suzuki's Green Guide or check out his website by clicking on the image on the right.

Need more? Try watching the film HOME by Yann-Arthus Bertrand (don't worry, it's free for all to see on YouTube)

And, because I'm overly ambitious, I am going to propose my very own step by step, Green Action Plan. So without further ado:

Step One: Intention

Start by taking a look at your life and at the products in your kitchen and your bathroom. Look at the food cans stored in your cupboard and the clothes that have been sitting in your closet since forever. Just take some time to look at what you've already bought. Don't buy anything new. Don't immediately go out and buy yourself "green products" because being advertised green doesn't always a green product make. Contrary to what media and companies would like you to believe: green consumerism doesn't solve the problem.

What do you clean with? What do you have stored in your cupboards that you never use? Don't worry, I'm not asking you to throw anything out. Yet. But if it's toxic it, finish it. Use it it up by giving your home a good cleaning. Scrub like you've never scrubbed before. Tilex, Mr Clean, Comet... clean away and be done with it.

Once you've started observing what you have in your home, start looking for areas that you can clean up and reduce your impact. Here are some very simple ways that you can start:

1. Replace dying lightbulbs with energy efficient CFL bulbs. They're not perfect but nobody expects you to live without light! These bulbs are everywhere, and are now available in multiple styles, colours (warm and cold), and sizes. If you don't have them yet, it's time to make the change.
2. Replace your toxic cleaners with more enviro-friendly options. I'm not asking you to make the switch to soap nuts just yet (but don't worry, when you're ready, I'll be here to sell you on the idea), just to start looking at the detergents you are using for things like laundry and make sure they are phosphate free and biodegradable. Look at your laundry, dish, and shower soaps. Does it clearly indicate that it is free of phosphates? That it biodegrades? Cause these features sell, so if it's not on the package then it ain't doing it...
3. You may not like this suggestion but it's worth giving some consideration: reduce your meat intake. (I'm not trying to turn everyone into vegetarians, I swear). Although we technically produce enough grain to feed the entire global population, over 60% of grain produced around the world goes to feeding cattle. And I haven't even touched on the amount of energy that is consumed to produce livestock.... Cutting meat out of your diet 1, 2, or 3 days of the week has a significant impact.
While none of these suggestions will solve the pending environmental crisis, we all have to start somewhere. Taking the time to look at what you use, consume, and store in your closets might surprise you, particularly when the alternative options aren't really any more expensive or time consuming...

Sunday, June 21, 2009

Ode to being domestic

Some days I'm surprisingly domestic. See photo evidence. In fact, sometimes I wonder whether or not I wouldn't be happier being a stay-at-home wife. Of course that would mean doing yoga, crafts, travelling AND taking care of the house. At heart I think I really am a homebody and I'd actually thrive (provided we had enough money), if I was able to quit my day job. I'd make crafts, try to sell them, have an immaculate home (cause I actually clean when I'm alone), and in general be more zen. It's somewhat startling but true... this workaholic would love to never "work" again! Take that for new feminism... me, revalorizing the domestic.

Friday, June 19, 2009

abstinence education

From the Nation:

There was the Virginia Beach teacher who told her ninth graders they could be arrested for having premarital sex. And the abstinence teacher who explained to the young women in his class that women are like wrapped lollipops, and that after having sex they're nothing more than "poorly wrapped, saliva-fouled suckers."

Not only is this just disturbing for the sake that it is disturbing, the last comment upsets me because it teaches boys that once women have sex they are used goods and it continues to glorify and fetishize the "virgin myth." Society is far too fixated on the purity of women and too many men are way too enamoured with virgins, or at least the idea of female virginity.

Sure, maybe teens are sometimes too young for sex (hell they probably all are), but the fact of the matter is, is that they're doing it so telling them shit like you can be arrested is just the most ridiculous way ever to teach safe sex. Seriously. The sheer stupidity of people sometimes just overwhelms me. Whatever happened to making informed choices?
Read more of this uber scary news!

anxiety dreams

Lately I've been having very vivid wedding anxiety dreams. A couple of nights ago I had a dream about our wedding invites and last night about location. I suppose as we approach the 3 month mark, it's only going to get worse... (in dreamland).

Thursday, June 18, 2009

Dirty Admissions

What do you think of my new look?

I have to admit that I stole/copied it from another blog that I love reading. Or, more accurately, I checked out the designer credits, checked out their site, and decided that my fav was the same one that was on the blog I love reading.

So I guess that makes me a sort of cyber copycat. So be it. I just dig the look... if you want one of your own, go here! Though, if you're anywhere near my level of tech savvy, it'll take you a while to figure out how to plug it into your HTML code and make it work. There's a photo plug-in that I completely gave up on because I just don't get it...

swearing to tell the truth

What is the purpose of swearing to tell the truth on the Bible when the person who is being asked to do the swearing doesn’t believe in it?

Last night we met with our priest to discuss wedding related information. Before he began, he asked us both to place our hands on the Bible and swear to tell the truth. Since he knows that I’m not particularly devout and that I don’t go to church, it struck me as odd that he’d ask this. I mean, he knows that I’m baptised but that I have issues with the church, so why even bother asking? I suppose it’s just routine for him but the larger implication of the act struck me as being somewhat redundant.

I mean really, even if I believed, putting my hand on the Bible and pledging to tell the truth doesn’t ensure that I will.
The questions that followed this pledge to tell the truth also struck me as problematic. We were only allowed to answer yes or no. I’m sorry but nothing in life is that black and white. Nothing, not really! (For example, is it wrong to steal when you’re starving and the society you live in fails to support you? You could argue for both sides and be justified in both answers.)

So when you ask an Agnostic if she’s willing to allow her Catholic husband to raise their potential children Catholic the answer is never going to be yes or no. The entire negotiation of 2 belief systems puts us in a grey zone that we’ve agreed to and goes beyond a yes/no answer. Yes, the child can be baptized and yes the child will have some participation in the church, but no, I will not raise my child to be a strict, devout, unquestioning Catholic. To be forced into a yes/no answer is not only unfair, but inaccurate. But of course, in order to go through with the entire process, I have to say yes. So am I lying? Probably. Is he lying? Probably. Does the priest know this? Probably. So what does that say in terms of the honest covenant that we are all entering into together?

Of course, I know we’re not the first, nor the last to engage in such activities but the entire ritual process just strikes me as so redundant and bent on accepting a lie in order to live with the illusion of truth. In this day and age I would gather that many couple are lying, at least a little bit, when they answer these questions. Why, oh why, does the Catholic/Christian church prefer to live a lie than to be open to negotiation and live the truth? It boggles my mind….

Wednesday, June 17, 2009

fruit tarts!

I want to try my hand at making custard fruit tarts. I'm debating between:

Recipe 1
Recipe 2?

Both look pretty yummy!

Wedding musings and LGBTQ rights: the why behind "the big day"

The boy and I are about to meet with the priest tonight to discuss our wedding plans and I find myself contemplating what the consequences of my choice to agree to marry in a Catholic church really are. You know, aside from the fact that I’m not Catholic and am pretty much as anti-Catholic as it gets.

Two events are directly influencing this inner debate:

1. Having just finished reading Rebecca Mead’s One Perfect Day, which leaves readers with the question: “What is a marriage for?”
2. The recent media attention that the house of Obama has been getting in regards to its position on gay marriage rights in America.

Now I know that I don’t live in the U.S. and that LGBTQ rights are somewhat more progressive here across the border (in that same sex couples can marry through civil union) but ultimately marriage rights still have a long way to go, what with Harper continually trying to re-open the debate and all.

So what does all this have to do with me and my big fat Catholic wedding? Just that I’m wondering just how thrilled I am to get married in a church/institution that fails to acknowledge the basic human rights that I hold so dear. I mean, what does it say about me if I’m willing to compromise my dearly held beliefs in order to appease others? While I believe that my marriage should be outside the political purview, how can it truly be when so many others are still fighting for their basic rights? Am I just another hetero-normative individual who takes my right to marry for granted? What are the consequences of perpetuating such a discriminatory system? Does it validate and valorize belief systems that I am fundamentally opposed to?

In the battle between my public self and views, and my private family negotiations, I find myself torn. Do I get up on my soapbox and preach to those who will never be converted in order to sleep with a clear conscience (note the irony: the angst cause by such an action would actually probably prevent sleep) or do I keep quiet, tread water, and maintain the peace in order to smooth over family relations? Are all battles worth fighting when winning them means losing something else? I’ve been raised with the notion that you catch more flies with honey, but when do you say fuck the honey and go straight for the bitter pill of reality?

Mead’s book asked interviewed couples and readers: What is a marriage for, particularly in light of the fact that the western marriage tradition is becoming so inundated with consumerism and lack of spiritual meaning? The divorce statistics are staggering and yet we invest so much time and money on one single day. Our one special, perfect day that is supposed to define who we are, which is particularly ironic when we consider that most people consider a marriage a celebration/party and no longer a spiritual union.

Am I bitter about the big fat Wedding Industry? Yes, absolutely. Do I look at my wedding price tag and want to cry, especially when I think about my student loan and people in need? Without a doubt! And yet here I am, just 3.5 months out, facing the last stretch of a ceremony and tradition that are becoming more and more problematic and controversial to me. Don’t get me wrong: I grew up with a wedding fantasy. I’m all about wedding porn. I wanted the big day and I wanted to be married. For all my artsy, bohemian ways, being married was and still is a very important rite of passage to me.

But given the politics and consumerism surrounding weddings, I no longer know if I can identify the reasons why.

Tuesday, June 16, 2009

Reena Virk and Kelly Ellard: social reintegration and forgiveness

I've had a lot of down time lately because of sick days and pulled wisdom teeth, which has lead to a lot of media consumption on my part (for example: I've watched all of Angel, season 3 in 3 days). In this time I've also caught up a bit on the news. The recent continuation of the Reena Virk case in particular caught my attention.

This particular case was big news way back when I was living in Victoria, BC. I remember being asked to sign a petition about trying Kelly Ellard and Warren Glowatski as adults. At the time, given the horrific nature of the crime, I wasn't against the idea. I was 21 and closer to the ages of the individuals who participated in the act. In my mind at the time, there was no grey area: these individuals were, at the ages 15-17, old enough to know better and their actions were nothing short of criminal.

Ironically, I think time may have mellowed my opinion on the issue. While I still believe that they should have known better, I am also more aware of how stupid teenagers really are and how various pressures, personal crises, etc, can influence our actions at that age. This does not mean that I condone the act in any way, shape, or form, just that over 10 years later I'm not entirely sure if the girl who is still in jail still deserves the punishment she's received. Is she murderer or an accomplice, I don't know, but in either case, her life has been ruined. No, that doesn't make up for the loss of Reena Virk's life. However, when do we draw the line between punishment and social re-integration. The act was malicious and heinous, but who was Kelly Ellard at the time that it was committed and who is she now?

And more importantly: what could she be now if we actually gave her a chance?

today's whining is brought to you by

the dentist.

So I went to the dentist yesterday for a filling and walked out with a pulled wisdom tooth. How that happened, I'll never really know. Let's just say that it wasn't a good day and reconfirmed just how miserable I find going to the dentist is. It's not the actual dentist that I hate, just the work that gets done whenever I go. It's true, I have terrible teeth and the dentist is the bane of my existence. Now that that segment of whining is over....

I just changed Lucy's tire (which I actually popped while parking..) brand freakin new tires and I already destroyed one. Seriously. How shitty is my luck already?

Up next in Lucy land: engine tune-up.

I love my car, I really do, but she doesn't love my wallet. Or rather, she loves my wallet far too much!

Friday, June 12, 2009

greenwashing sins

The Seven Sins of Greenwashing

  • The Sin of the Hidden Trade-Off occurs when one environmental issue is emphasized at the expense of potentially more serious concerns. In other words, when marketing hides a trade-off between environmental issues. Paper, for example, is not necessarily environmentally preferable just because it comes from a sustainably-harvested forest.
  • The Sin of No Proof happens when environmental assertions are not backed up by evidence or third-party certification. One common example is facial tissue products that claim various percentages of post-consumer recycled content without providing any supporting details.
  • The Sin of Vagueness occurs when a marketing claim is so lacking in specifics it becomes meaningless. ‘”All-natural” is an example of this Sin. Arsenic, uranium, mercury, and formaldehyde are all naturally occurring, and poisonous. “All natural” isn’t necessarily“green.”
  • The Sin of Worshiping False Labels is when marketers create a false suggestion or certification-like image to mislead consumers into thinking that a product has been through a legitimate green certification process. One example of this sin is a brand of aluminum foil with certification-like images that show the name of the company’s own in-house environmental program for which there is no explanation. This sin has been added to TerraChoice’s list since it’s previous report in 2007.
  • The Sin of Irrelevance arises when an environmental issue unrelated to the product is emphasized. One example is the claim that a product is “CFC-free,” since CFCs are banned by law.
  • The Sin of Lesser of Two Evils occurs when an environmental claim makes consumersfeel ‘green’ about a product category that is itself lacking in environmental benefits. Organic cigarettes are an example of this phenomenon.
  • The Sin of Fibbing is when environmental claims are outright false. One common example is products falsely claiming to be Energy Star certified.

the wedding countdown

Eek! We have less than 4 months until the wedding! How did that happen? We've finished our invites and RSVP cards, which will be mailed out in the next week. We'll be meeting with the priest on Wed to discuss readings and plan out our ceremony.

Our choices (subject to approval):

First reading

Song of Songs 2:8-10, 14, 16; 8:6-7
A reading from the Song of Songs.

Hark! my lover—here he comes
springing across the mountains,
leaping across the hills.
My lover is like a gazelle
or a young stag.
Here he stands behind our wall,
gazing through the windows,
peering through the lattices.
My lover speaks; he says to me,
"Arise, my beloved, my beautiful one,
and come!

"O my dove in the clefts of the rock,
in the secret recesses of the cliff,
Let me see you,
let me hear your voice,
For your voice is sweet,
and you are lovely."
My lover belongs to me and I to him;
[He said to me:]

Set me as a seal on your heart,
as a seal on your arm;
For stern as death is love,
relentless as the nether world is devotion;
its flames are a blazing fire.
Deep waters cannot quench love,
nor floods sweep it away.

The Word of the Lord.

Response: Thanks be to God.

Responsorial Psalm (I'm actually not to crazy about this particular psalm but have been told that it pairs well with the reading-- we'll see what the priest has to say)

Psalm 128:1-2, 3, 4-5
Response (verse 1): Happy are those who fear the Lord.

Happy are you who fear the Lord,
who walk in his ways!
For you shall eat the fruit of your handiwork;
happy shall you be, and favored.

Response: Happy are those who fear the Lord.

Your wife shall be like a fruitful vine
in the recesses of your home;
Your children like olive plants
around your table.

Response: Happy are those who fear the Lord.

Behold, thus is the man blessed
who fears the Lord.
The Lord bless you from Zion:
may you see the prosperity of Jerusalem
all the days of your life.

Response: Happy are those who fear the Lord.
Or (verse 4): See how the Lord blesses those who fear him.

Second Reading (It's beautiful, but over done so we'll be reading this in my partners mother tongue)

1 Corinthians 12:31-13, 8
A reading from the first letter of Paul to the Corinthians.

Set your hearts on the greater gifts. I will show you the way which surpasses all the others. If I speak with human tongues and angelic as well, but do not have love, I am a noisy gong, a clanging cymbal. If I have the gift of prophecy and, with full knowledge, comprehend all mysteries, if I have faith great enough to move mountains, but have not love, I am nothing. If [ give everything I have to feed the poor and hand over my body to be burned, but have not love, I gain nothing.

Love is patient; love is kind. Love is not jealous, it does not put on airs, it is not snobbish. Love is never rude, it is not self-seeking, it is not prone to anger; neither does it brood over injuries. Love does not rejoice in what is wrong but rejoices with the truth. There is no limit to love's forbearance, to its trust, its hope, its power to endure.

Love never fails.

The Word of the Lord.

Response: Thanks be to God.

Third Reading (I've picked this one because it reminds me of one of my favourite songs from Sunday school)

Matthew 5:13-16
Presider: The Lord be with you.
Response: And also with you.
Presider: A reading from the holy gospel according to Matthew.

Response: Glory to you, Lord.
Jesus said to his disciples: "You are the salt of the earth. But what if salt goes flat? How can you restore its flavor? Then it is good for nothing but to be thrown out and trampled underfoot.

"You are the light of the world. A city set on a hill cannot be hidden. Men do not light a lamp and then put it under a bushel basket. They set it on a stand where it gives light to all in the house. In the same way, your light must shine before men so that they may see goodness in your acts and give praise to your heavenly Father."

This is the gospel of the Lord.

Response: Praise to you, Lord Jesus Christ.

Additional Reading (The priest has already agreed to add this to the ceremony)

On Marriage-- Kahlil Gibran
You were born together, and together you shall be forevermore.
You shall be together when the white wings of death scatter your days.
Ay, you shall be together even in the silent memory of God.
But let there be spaces in your togetherness,
And let the winds of the heavens dance between you.

Love one another, but make not a bond of love:
Let it rather be a moving sea between the shores of your souls.
Fill each other's cup but drink not from one cup.
Give one another of your bread but eat not from the same loaf
Sing and dance together and be joyous, but let each one of you be alone,
Even as the strings of a lute are alone though they quiver with the same music.

Give your hearts, but not into each other's keeping.
For only the hand of Life can contain your hearts.
And stand together yet not too near together:
For the pillars of the temple stand apart,
And the oak tree and the cypress grow not in each other's shadow.

I'm actually a little scared now by how fast everything will happen now. But also really excited!

wedding grief

Obviously the title says it all: I never thought I'd have a big church wedding. I always pictured myself outdoors, at a bbq (vegetarian of course), and casually doing a handfasting type ceremony. Now here I am, planning a big shindig with a 5 course meal.

No one ever tells you when you're a little girl that you're going to have to share your big day. They just don't! And while its obvious that your husband to be will be sharing your big day, it never really factors in until you're actually planning the day together, how much you may have to compromise.

As I read about other weddings and peruse all the wedding porn out there, I occasionally get struck with sadness over the fact that sometimes my wedding feels so much not like me that it drives me bonkers. I know that its just one day and it doesn't define us as a couple, but still, some days I get really bogged down in the details and expectations of others and it just makes me want to scream. Today is one of them. But I'll get over it. I just need to put it out there from time to time. Thank you Internet, for allowing me to unleash my inner angst, anonymously

Tuesday, June 9, 2009

Ken Saro-Wiwa, Shell, and their so-called Reconciliation

Do you have to be famous before someone notices your death? Are martyrs for the cause only worthwhile if they have some acclaim or notoriety?

The recent spin on this BBC article makes me think that the answer to these questions is yes.

After 13 years of litigation, Shell has just agreed pay compensation to individuals in Nigeria, 1 week before they were supposed to go on trial in the US for their abuses in the region.

This move and the article about it strike me as problematic for several reasons. Here are 2 of them:

I realize that fame is a media beast and that newspapers/journalists are vying for attention and popularity (high school never really ends does it?). But to imply that Saro Wiwa's family was compensated negates the suffering of the other families and reduces the significance of the act. It wasn't just 1 individual amongst the nameless crowds. There were many who raised their voices against the human rights violations taking place.

In an age when charities vye for their moment in the spotlight by bringing celebrities into their fold, you sort of have to start wondering, when did our levels of apathy get so large that we needed to be rallied to the cause by a famous face? I know that we are bombarded with information to the point of feeling hopeless and helpless, but maybe if the media took the time to tell the full story, we wouldn't be able to turn our backs and shrug off the ratings game of tabloid media culture.

Monday, June 8, 2009

soap making

This weekend I took a soap making course at Savon Populaire. The results of which you can see in the photo on the left, my orange/clove sented soap. It's only one small batch of soap, but I'll admit it, I'm proud of my little soapies! They smell yummy and look pretty good too! Even better, when I took it out of the mold, there was a shaving that I sampled, and my soap works good too! Woo hoo!

Now I just have to wait 6 weeks for the damn soapies to finish curing before I can actually start using them. Patience has never been my forte!

Friday, June 5, 2009

some things that I've been up to lately...

Learning to crochet
and finishing my first project (no, I'm not trying to tell you something...)
Planting veggies on our balcony

Visiting a train museum with the nephews

Thursday, June 4, 2009

all rosy

I think I've sunburnt my eyelids. Seriously. Is that possible?

Life has been a series of happy events lately:
  • our wedding bands have arrived (I pick them up tonight)
  • I cut my hair and I love it
  • found a very cute new flapper style dress to wear to a friend's wedding next weekend
  • work has been calm and yet busy enough to be good
  • I got to play volleyball and get paid for it today
  • found a great and creative solution to a wedding problem that has been causing me much angst
  • saw a really great movie last night
A friend and I went and saw the Brothers Bloom and I really enjoyed it. In fact, it led me to thinking about how films with this particular aesthetic/surrealism always fill me with a sense of nostalgic longing. Not for a time in the past, but for a vision of a life I once longed for (meaning an ecclectic, boho, nomadic artsy lifestyle). It really left me wondering why films like this (I heart Huckabees, The Royal Tennenbaums, The Darjeeling Limited, Broken Flowers, etc) always fill me with creative drive and energy. Unlike so many movies out there, there's something about this particular type of film that makes me want to rent out a studio space and take up painting, or write a novel while travelling through India and Thailand. I was reminded of an ideal vision that I used to have for myself. I don't know how to put the idea into words, but I'm working on it.
I think there's just something about it that appealed to my nutty, eccentric, arsty character. I sympathesize with the characters, I'm compelled by the beauty of the visual style/art, I love the philosophical undertones...
Whatever, I just really dig it when a movie makes me think and makes me want to bring more art, adventure, and general zaniness back into my life. I need to start roller-skating at midnight in the rain again!

Tuesday, June 2, 2009

Kamala Das

If you don't know her poetry, you should. (click photo for an interesting article)

Kamala Das was an Indian poet who wrote racy, erotic, feminist poetry. She converted to Islam, lived through Partition, and was quite the shit-disturbing, controversial figure!

The Looking Glass
by Kamala Das

Getting a man to love you is easy
Only be honest about your wants as
Woman. Stand nude before the glass with him
So that he sees himself the stronger one
And believes it so, and you so much more
Softer, younger, lovelier. Admit your
Admiration. Notice the perfection
Of his limbs, his eyes reddening under
The shower, the shy walk across the bathroom floor,
Dropping towels, and the jerky way he
Urinates. All the fond details that make
Him male and your only man. Gift him all,
Gift him what makes you woman, the scent of
Long hair, the musk of sweat between the breasts,
The warm shock of menstrual blood, and all your
Endless female hungers. Oh yes, getting
A man to love is easy, but living
Without him afterwards may have to be
Faced. A living without life when you move
Around, meeting strangers, with your eyes that
Gave up their search, with ears that hear only
His last voice calling out your name and your
Body which once under his touch had gleamed
Like burnished brass, now drab and destitute.

Monday, June 1, 2009

a whole new definition of cougar

Too funny!

why is abortion still a dirty word?

Given the recent assassination of an outspoken abortion rights and late term abortion provider Dr George Tiller, I thought it would be a propos to post a few thoughts on abortion today.

Before I begin: I am adamantly pro-choice. Nothing, no-one, never, will ever convince me otherwise. I feel that it is a personal choice, for each individual to make, and I don't pretend to have an answer for someone else. I respect the right to feel differently but not the right to impose personal views on another, regardless of disagreement.

Ironically however, it would seem that although most North Americans are pro-choice, many actually believe that it is a selfish choice and the media routinely avoids discussing it as an option because it is perceived as selfish.

Not only do I believe that abortion is a personal choice, I think it is a women's right to be "selfish" when it comes to her fertility. In many cases, I would argue that not being selfish and having an unwanted baby can be just as selfish or inconsiderate as the act of not carrying a baby to term. Growing up with parents who decided to be foster parents, I have years of first hand experience of children who speak to how unethical having a child can be if you are not prepared to raise it properly. Some may argue that a life is a life and we have no right to play god, but I would counter that statement with the notion that causing a soul to suffer a life of misery is much crueler and more of an act of violence than abortion.

Given how many children out there are unwanted, unloved, and uncared for, I think that it is safe to say that sometimes a little selfishness early in the game is a valid and viable option.
As much as I believe that a fetus is life, I don't believe that a fetus' rights supersede the right of the mother. Maybe this is where the difference lies between pro-choice and pro-life. And perhaps this is where my own personal experience with unwanted children being abandoned, abused, amongst other things, makes me an advocate for pro-choice and planned pregnancy. Whether you're 20 or 40, married or single, rich or poor, if your oops is right for you, all the power to you, but if it isn't, I believe you have the right to choose NOT to re-arrange your entire life when you're not ready, and no one should make you feel guilty for that decision.

Some surprising statistics that aren't generally known about abortion:

24% of viable pregnancies end in abortion
50% of women who have abortions are over 25
60% of women who abort have already had children

We are each responsible for our own life and decisions. No one I've ever known to have an abortion has ever made the decision lightly. and no one has the right to question their decision making process or make them feel guilty about it. Moreover, something in the logic behind abortions being selfish seems linked the idea that choosing to remain childless as a couple is also selfish. Why are children automatically assumed to be our duty once married? Or even our duty at all? Why is choosing to not have children routinely viewed as selfish? How deeply ingrained is our societal sense of procreative duty that we cannot tolerant others' decision to not reproduce? Once again I find myself gobstopped and outraged by the audacity that drives the general sense with which others feel entitled to dump their morals and views onto others. Perhaps this will seem harsh to some, but after a great deal of thought on the matter, I have come to the following conclusion: we may or may not agree with someone's choice to abort their fetus, but ultimately its none of our business and we have no right to tell someone else how to dictate their life.


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