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Sunday, September 30, 2007

Clara is 10 months and 6 days old today.

Well, she did it and as a Dad I scored a major victory, had the camera out (was working on another project) flipped to to video mode and snagged it for posterity.

Under the Mercy,

Matthew S

Oh, and this will be cross posted to my DW's blog, Turning Water into Wine: Vino Per Tutto.

Beginning of the week

Well, the ZooKeeper is all set, homemade hummus, some chips, lesson plan books , school books. Time to go over the plans one last time before the week begins. I just have two worries:

1) I need to rehang the picture of the Guardian Angels.

2) I hope she has enough markers to last the afternoon.

Under the Mercy,
Matthew S

Oh, and you click the above picture and find out what all is in the picture.

Thursday, September 27, 2007

Obscene? Indecent? Scandalous? Nope!

You may or may not have heard about the controversy that was recently a blip in the national news. I was shocked that such a stink was made over someone EATING in a RESTAURANT. Ok, well it wasn't food from the restaurant that was being eaten, that has to be what the stir was about, everyone knows that you don't take your sack lunch into an eatery, plop down at a table and start eating your Peanut Butter and Jelly.

As it turns out, the person that was eating had a good reason to be eating food that was from outside the restaurant, they are on a special diet of mother's milk and their mother was breastfeeding them. Ok, so we have a seven-month old child that is being breastfed in a restaurant at a table while she is being taken out to eat in a state that has legal protection for breastfeeding mothers from interference of their breastfeeding.

A female employee was asked by the manager to ask the mother to cover the head of the child or to cease nursing because someone had complained that it was indecent. The mother responded by providing the restaurant with a copy of the law that shows she has a legal right to the activity free from interference. The conflict ended with the mother leaving upset to nurse her child as her food was being served and being unable to eat the food that was supposed to be a gift from her children.

What disturbs me is that someone could think that the act of feeding a child in the fashion that the body is designed is indecent. Basically, an indecent act is one that is judged by a communal consensus of being inappropriate. However, a generic consensus doesn’t work well for something that would be a criminal matter. Specifically, their would have to be some type of gratification of some party involved or viewing the act that would have to be sought by the actor (by the way, a full tummy is not what is meant by gratification).

Basically, if you consider breastfeeding to be indecent, then you are making the claim that the breast has no other nature or purpose than a sexual one. I would contend that there is a sexual element to the breast that could be demonstrated different ways but that is unnecessary to this issue at hand. The important part of the nature of the breast to the issue at hand is that it is not solely sexual or always sexual. It should be readily evident in a prima facie, on the face, fashion that the female breast has a particular function by its design that allows a mother to provide nourishment to a young child without dependence on exterior sources.

This demonstrates at least a portion of the nature of the female human breast and it is clearly non-sexual. The reality of that part of the breast being non-sexual is what allows a mother to be able to breastfeed in a fashion that is not indecent. This brings us to questions of style; my contention is that as long as a mother is not drawing attention to herself purposefully, let her be.

Now, we are drawing up to the line that comes between indecent and obscene. Before, we talked about indecency and the fact that it would be some type of simple act or exposure for sexual gratification. As we draw up to the line that separates indecency from obscene, respect for nature of the act as it is designed. I would contend that obscenity is when we cross over to changing the nature of an act. For example, a couple that has a right to marital relations that participates in it in the fashion designed but makes sure the windows that face the neighbor house and the lights are on so that the neighbors can see, would be indecent. It is my proposal that a woman who is merely participating in the feeding of her child and is utilizing the breast is no more indecent than a woman using a bottle, she is following the function of the breast and it is commonly accepted that feeding a child is not indecent. Sex on the other hand is meant to be a private union that is specifically always not intended for public viewing.

Obscenity would be when we attempt to change the nature of the act; rape for example is violently obscene. It is violent and violates a person’s right and that would violate the nature of the sexual act as it is intended by design. Now, could breastfeeding pass from normal to obscene? Yes, if we changed the nature of the way that it worked. If the mother sexualized the breastfeeding and tried to gain pleasure from the activity then that would be obscene.


I expect my wife to not to try to draw attention to herself when she is breastfeeding our child out in public (she is also very good at it) but that I would also expect her to do the same if it was just her eating. I would also expect that my wife wouldn’t have to eat with a blanket over her head or in the restroom. As a Catholic I think it is especially important to remember, in keeping with respect of life from conception to death, the dignity of a little baby who can’t eat the Bacon Ranch Cheeseburger and can’t comprehend why they have to wait to eat. If you would like my wife who is breastfeeding our baby to go to the bathroom so that our baby can eat, then why don’t you have your wife or daughter with their low cut or midriff baring top join her with their meal? I could probably say the same thing about your son with his unkempt hair and shirt that has a phrase I don’t want my eight year old to read.

I could probably talk for hours on this subject, but that would have to be done with a few beers and a few other philosophers around for it to make any sense, this may not even make sense to someone outside of my mind because I have forgotten to present a few assumptions that I make or explain a bit of background that is common knowledge to me. If you have further questions, feel free to comment and you can also check out the first two of my wife’s three part series on breastfeeding (part one and part two) that go into some of the ins and outs of breastfeeding from someone who should know about it.

Under the Mercy,
Matthew S

Tuesday, September 25, 2007

Stand up Philosophy time, your thoughts below please!

Ok, recently (past several years anyway) people have been making the argument that homosexuality is a right or that under equal protection of the law its a right. Now, by homosexuality being a right they mean that they get to live life as they wish and living an active lifestyle.

Specifically, the argument is made that under equal protection homosexuals should be allowed to marry each other because hetrosexuals are allowed to marry each other. I would easily make note that any person who self-identifies themselves as homosexual has as much right or ability to marry anyone as someone who self-identifies themselves as hetrosexual. Let me clarify by saying that as a man I can't just go out and marry anyone, I have to get their consent and the consent of the governing authorities over me.

The term consent leads me away from believing that marriage is a right for anyone. A right is something that I can compel someone to allow me, something that is due to me without the permission/consent of anyone else. It would always be so that we would have to have the consent of at least one other person to get married you could never consider it a right. The other thing is that society and governing authorities make sure their is proper disposition. Legally, we make sure you aren't related and a few other facts, you pay a fee and suddenly you have a licencse to allow you to get married.

In some respects the Church's role falls into one of two lines of reasoning. 1) after being assured of proper disposition of the two involved parties they as a collection of two have a right to the sacrement. 2) after being assured of proper disposition of the two involved parties they are given the consent of the Church to be married.

The whole area of the sacrementality of marriage further makes me need to scratch my head as marriage as a sacrement dispenses grace, an unmerited gift of God from God that has to be received by the receiver. At this point my head is starting to spin when I try to put marriage into the context of being a right or not being a right. What I am thinking and trying to define is that their is something that when you meet all of the conditions that are in the order, that it is defined by the nature of the thing that you get it. Is this already defined and called something or can I make up a new word?

Under the Mercy,

Matthew S

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Thursday, September 20, 2007

Why we cook our muffins?

Originally uploaded by
Lucia: "Wwwwhhy did you cook the muffins?"
Dawn: "Because raw muffins don't taste very good!"

And now I know, and knowing is half the battle.

Under the Mercy,
Matthew S

Wednesday, September 19, 2007

Celebrating. . . .

Originally uploaded by
. . . talk like a pirate day! ! ! Shiver me timbers!

Godspeed,: A Swashbuckingly good videocast

Arrrrgh, ye maties, Fr. Roderick of SQPN has struck gold 'gain with his new cast on travelin' the high seas, GodSpeed, Fr. Roderick.

Under the Mercy,
Matthew S

Tuesday, September 18, 2007

It's the Catholic Carnival again. . .

Go check it out at Mommy Monsters.

Under the Mercy,
Matthew S

Monday, September 17, 2007

How many pounds of green beans is that?

I have been working alot lately with how I approach my children after coming to several conclusions about parenting. Those conclusions, to soon potentially be written in book format, are basically that being a bully, jerk or pain in the butt doesn't get you anywhere. Sooooo, I decided to work on relationship and do MORE with my kids, not just quality, but quantity. That is why I had the post about taking the kids to the Zoo, which I did on my own ( I only took the older 3 out of the 4), mowing the lawn and volunteer work.


Here is Mary at Church helping pass out the Angel Food Ministries food. This is a food cooperative, it isn't something you qualify for but you basically buy into and pay a little more than 1/3 of what it would cost at the grocery store. It comes once a month and its a preset menu. We were the 5th highest selling Church of 8 in our first month with 70 baskets sold. You only have two hours to come pick up the food and Mary Beth's responsibility was to pass out the bags of green beans as people went past.


If you look carefully you can see her about dead center in this picture, she is sitting down but she never skipped a beat, got all her work done and never complained.

God love and bless her.

Under the Mercy,
Mathew S

Sunday, September 16, 2007

Why do I homeschool

This is a question that gets brought up around my house from time to time and I feel that I really need to work it out. We have a good parochial school system here in this diocese. Cost isn't much of a factor thanks to a very generous stewardship program that allows those that give of their time, talent and treasure as a family the ability to have their children attend the school. We are also in a for the most part in a faithful diocese that presents the faith well.

However, a long time friend of mine that has studied education thinks that we, as a society, are failing our children. It is not enough to just teach the elements of the faith but the children have to learn a relationship with Jesus. By the time children come into the hallways of a formal school the opening in the relationship doorway is often being pushed closed rapidly by society.

One of the things that we, as a family, have done is to minimize the amount of media that our children are exposed too. The biggest thing we have done is to eliminate (for all practical purposes) television from our daily lives. This is a 'negative' thing we have done by eliminating something that has so much harmful content from my children's being.

The harder things to do are the positive steps that have to be taken to form the relationship between Jesus and my kids. This is the place I am called to grow, having to live my faith in front of and with my children. How I treat my children and relate to them forms their idea of God and how they relate to God. My personal growth is formed in my call to holiness inside my vocation is found here, relating to and with my children.

Here is the place that I really begin to feel my call to homeschool. I am able to form my children and have to work to relate to them better and better. I don't have as much luxury in being able to send them away and avoid dealing with problems when they are small or large. I am forced to deal with them, it can be hard but it is something that I have to do.

As a father I feel that I have to protect my daughters, I am their knight and they need to see me protecting them. It is a role that I didn't understand when I became a father but it is clear that I am the primarily responsible for the education of my children. In and how they are educated is one of the biggest places I can protect my daughters but also treat them with knightly chivalry.

So, why do I want my children taught at home? Simply it has to do with my taking responsibility for being directly responsible for their education in knowledge, wisdom, dealing with society, dealing with relationships and meeting them at the place they are at the moment. I can impart the values that I want them to have without interference and work with them in a way that a teacher that has more students at different places can. In doing all this, I can protect their innocence; I can let them enjoy their childhood.

Under the Mercy,

Matthew S

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Now that Raffi song is stuck in my head. . .

We are going to the zoo, zoo,
how about you, you
we're going to the zoo

I took the older three kids out for fun at the Sedgwick County Zoo before heading into work on Friday. For those that don't know about the zoo, it was founded in 1971 and is a very high end zoo. Very quality exhibits and is an exciting place to visit.

So, first we had to visit the newest exhibt, the Humboldt penguins:


Next, it was time to fly off. . .

. . . to the jungle.


Of, course we had to see what the Mexican wolf was up too. . .


And we will not forget the silly and adorable gorillas

These are the ones for kids to play with, unfortunately the real ones were being shy and all we could see was their backs.

Oh, wait, that is Lucia in the exhibit and not one of the silverbacks. . .
. . . and we made it to see Aslan, who was on a stone table.


We saw a sign that reminded me of my fellow bloggers from around the world:

. . . and I remembered that I am not necessarily on top of the world.

Cross-posted at: Holy Family Home Educators and Catholic-Dads.

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Wednesday, September 12, 2007

Hell in a handbasket. . .

. . . now it's Hell in a internet connected e-mail device.

Web service gives alibis for adulterers

It used to be you didn't fornicate and then we came up with "safe" ways of doing it. Now we are looking for safe ways to cheat. Cheat? Isn't that something that is wrong? Lord Have Mercy!

I guess what really scares me is that my daughter's have to grow up in a world that offers this type of service. Where it is customary to create alibis to have a fling with someone.

The article talks about how this service can help save a marriage, well, I guess it keeps the other spouse from getting mad but the bond is falling apart.

Under the Mercy,
Matthew S

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Tuesday, September 11, 2007

The world stopped turning. . .

If you have little ears around you may want to wait on playing the video or turn down the volume at the beginning because it is unedited and has one vulgar word repeated a few times.
Cross-Posted at Catholic-Dads.

It is hardo imagine that it has been six years since I was sitting in the parking lot before work talking on 147.435 simplex to K9HFX and KCØHFL. Scott, K9HFX, mentioned that the news channell was running a story about a plane crashing into the world trade center. The event was being reported as a small plane. Everyone had conjecture about wht kind of mistake had been made by the pilot. Then the report came in that a second plane had struck the other tower. Immediately we knew something was very wrong, this was not a mistake someone had made.

Lviving the past six years I know have four children, athe time my I only had 1 child and she was two years old. She doesn't remember that day directly. They wanted to know what my wife and I were talking about last night when I mentioned what today was. It was hard to explain it to them, I didn't play the above video for them but some raw footage as it was just so hard to explain exactly what happened. My eight and five year olds took on the mind of their father and begin to ask a million questions as to why this and that wasn't done to save people's lives and how the police could have jumped out of one plane into the bad men's plane and stopped them.

God bless them that they think it is something that is simple like that. I wish it was always that simple. Working in emergency services I have come to know many brave men and women who on a daily basis offer to risk their lives in the service of others. They give so much of themselves for total strangers, they remember the fallen brothers and sisters from New York on that day, the day the world stopped turning. Today we remember them in a special way.

We remember that day because it is a day that I never would have thought of seeing, much like the day the Berlin Wall fell, it was something my father never thought would happen. I remember seeing the Queen of England in Westminster Abbey not only mourning for America's loss but singing an American patriotic hymn. Remember the sacrifice and loss of that day when the world stopped turning. Thank God you have first responders around you.

Tragedies happen everyday, few are on this scale, pray for those that respond to crisises, no matter how small, that is the overlooked lesson from New York. When someone is abused they are hurt just as deeply but it is overlooked by the world. However, just like Sept 11th, it is a moment where that person needs help. I am not, in any way, trying to minimize the horror of September 11th, what I want people to understand is that a small tragedy (relatively speaking) can be just as scary for one person trapped in a house and it can be just as dangerous for someone responding to the call for help.

Under the Mercy,

Matthew S

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Monday, September 10, 2007

Sed Contra,

As St. Thomas Aquinas would say, "Sed Contra" in response to three common popular opinions to demonstrate what was true. So, I have been challenged times three by atheists on my earlier blog about the self-defeating nature of Atheism.

I agree with the Curt Jester, we need a series of Dominican priest murder-mysteries.

Under the Mercy,

Matthew S

Sunday, September 9, 2007

Hard to be mad. . .

Originally uploaded by
. . . when this is the reading material your daughter sneaks to bed with her.

Under the Mercy,

Matthew S

Friday, September 7, 2007

NFP vs. Contraception:Not a grudge match

These guys are getting very creative and demonstrating some good points.

Wednesday, September 5, 2007

A Catholic Mom climbing the Pillars: Catholic Carnival #135

It has returned again for another week, please check out the Catholic Carnival, and special thanks to Ebeth for hosting.
Under the Mercy,
Matthew S

A Catholic Mom climbing the Pillars: Catholic Carnival #135

Tuesday, September 4, 2007

I can almost hear Alvin and his brother's singing. . .

My dad said something to my brother the other day, "It's the last four months of the year, you remember what you aren't supposed to do?"

"Yes, Dad!"

"Just making sure you remembered that it was a bad time of year to buy anything for yourself."

As I get older I can see the wisdom of my college rector's idea that Advent was Advent and a time to prepare for Christmas and not a time to celebrate Christmas. The best way I have to explain it would be pointing out that we don't celebrate Thanksgiving all of November but we wait and have our celebration on one day. It is getting harder and harder to set our focus as a society on what is important, the world is more complicated every year and more commercial. This song reminds me of when I was a child, it was so much easier for things to be simple.

That is one of the advantages of homeschooling, not having a TV and my kids don't get caught up in the cultural/societal hype that can be so inncocently amplified by well-meaning people. I want them to have calm and quiet memories of Christmas, something that we celebrate when it comes and we prepare for before hand.

Under the Mercy,
Matthew S

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