It’s that time of year again. The pumpkin spice errything is flowing, the temperatures are dropping (well, in theory. And only at night around here. 81 sizzling degrees for the projected high today.) I’m doing my best to limp across the second trimester finish line still utilizing as much of my non-maternity wardrobe as possible, and have finally embraced the wonder of the belly band + pretty much any bottoms that I can still shimmy into. I’m wearing maternity jeans and shorts 24/7, but I can still, at 25+ weeks, get away with surprisingly most of my non-maternity tops by using that little black stretchy band of magic, which may not sound impressive to you, but given my 5 foot 4 stature and the pertinent detail of this being my 5th pregnancy in 7 years, I’m pretty pleased with myself.
(Plus, Target’s current maternity offerings are hideous and Old Navy has stopped selling in stores.) After 2 near-misses trying my hand shopping online, I’ve pretty much given up and am resigning myself to friend’s hand-me-downs (she lent met her Blanqi! True love!) and am planning to spend all of December in Dave’s t-shirts, which should look lovely in our Christmas photos.
Before I launch you into this week’s list of assigned reading, please accept my most heartfelt thanks for the overwhelming support you poured out online (and in my inbox) after my most recent post. I’ve been so humbled reading your stories, and I’m so grateful that so many people are feeling more freedom – and finding more support – in speaking out about mental illness. I know I have some new readers as a result of how enthusiastically it has been shared, so I want to welcome you guys and invite you to scroll through the archives, especially the tab at the top of my homepage labeled “PPD,” for more resources and information.
So, without further ado, the list:
First up is this amazing story about Fr. Tom Uzhunnalil, the Salesian priest who was captured during an horrific ISIS raid more than a year ago in a nursing home facility run by the Missionaries of Charity in Yemen. 16 people were brutally murdered that day, including several religious sisters and innocent elderly residents. You may remember hearing threats back during the spring before last that Fr. Tom was going to be crucified on Good Friday in a barbaric act of terrorism which, thankfully, proved to be so much social media bluster. I dare you to read Elise Harris’ emotional recounting of Fr. Tom’s meeting with the Pope upon his release last week and not weep.
I just finished reading Jodi Picoult’s novel, “Small Great Things” and while it was a deeply disturbing read (probably even more so for a pregnant woman) I couldn’t quite turn away, and ended up tearing through it in 3 nights. It contained a decent amount of propaganda that had me rolling my eyes in places, but it also contained some profound and hard-hitting truths that were uncomfortable and necessary for me to confront as a white person raised in the “post-racial” west. Reading this piece just a day after finishing Picoult’s book was eye-opening and uncomfortable.
When I read about so much happening now, in 2017, about eugenics and gene editing and euthanasia, I’m always blown away by how quickly we’ve lost our collective grasp on the historical memory of what actually happened during WWII. It’s easy enough to demonize Nazis because they’ve become synonymous with an evil we can still, even in this vastly divided condition, agree upon, but many people seem unwilling to acknowledge the similarities in ethical practices and world views that many moderns share. It’s not politically correct to say so, but read this and try not to squirm when thinking about the various medical “advancements” and various pieces of so-called compassionate legislation which are gaining traction.
Speaking of euthanasia. Sigh. This is why we can’t have nice things. The lay advisory board of this religious order is like the idiot older brother who gets busted by dad smoking pot and makes a dramatic scene in the living room before storming off because “you can’t tell me how to live my life, old man” before heading down to the 7-11 parking lot with his buddies to roll another joint.
Remember those persecuted Christians in the Middle East? Yeah, me neither, most of the time. It’s hard to keep all the competing narratives of doom straight amidst the constant stream of noisy, curated news narrowly focused on, well, us and our issues. Meanwhile, a genocide is underway, and barely gets mentioned even in global news coverage.
At the risk of ending on too dreary of a note, please peep this sweet write up of one of my favorite professional athletes, Philip Rivers, and his creative solution to the decision between a long commute versus uprooting his family of 10. (And try not to blanch at the price tag; remember, that’s coffee money to most NFL stars.)
Have a lovely weekend, and may your coffee be spiced with all the orangey goodness of autumn’s most desirable gourd.