Okay, so I am no Martha Stewart, but we can dream. Thanks to a stellar showing of Franciscan Sr. Alicia Torres in the Thanksgiving Souper-stars episode on "Chopped" I now have a new rolemodel on making it in the kitchen. Sr. Alicia has no culinary training, just lots of creativity and--boy!--a sweet yet competitive spirit. But she makes her dishes well and effortlessly, thanks to the Holy Spirit "feed", that the judges were teasing her that she had culinary training in her pre-nun life. She even plates when like a pro, having her pancake dessert and whole plate dusted with sugar and paired with fresh berries in the side that was also gustatorily called for, says one judge. So this was my micro-challenge of the day: learn plating.
I once had a classmate who was so immaculate, pristine complexion, radiant smile, neat preppy outfits (pants too). Her hair was glossy and her notes were superb. She was married and had a thin wedding band that was demure in her ring finger like her presence in the whole of our theology class where we were the only youngish girls. For a while, because of her holy nun-like persona I didn't expect her to be married, but there we were toasting our husbands in absentia. I had been so caught up with what the media portrays as one who had "hooked" a man. In fact it was anything but as wholesome as her. In fact I tried to model myself in such Cosmopolitan standards of power dressing, forward talking, brash and boldly ambitious culturati. Maybe my would-be-husband was caught up in worldliness too or overlooked mine, for I was married to a good, wholesome man, one whose tastes compared to mine were, uh, vanilla. I am not bemoaning that now, in fact I was so happy reflecting that I do not have a spouse that would castigate me for not liking, say, the shift of Jhumpa Lahiri to French or the molecular gastronomy restaurants. That would just be fatiguing and also a lot of vain superficiality. But, returning to my friend. I was thinking, why is she attractive? To her husband, for sure, but also to me. For I wanted to talk and be close to her when we have the chance. She was irresistible. Then I remember a couple that I know; she was a worldly girl too, and was serving our church as a missionary after her conversion. She organized the outreach for the poor in Newark and was the youngest of the Eucharistic ministers that inspired me to become one too. When our community pray in the morning the rosary it was she who makes the sign of the cross at the "glory be" and when I found out later that this small action carries an indulgence, I started doing it too. Kim was deemed "irresistible" by her long-time friend who suddenly crashed into falling in love with her after years of being in the same young adult group in a church. Kim's change into being "irresistible" was from her holiness. So indeed, our main source of attraction is really not in the looks or money department , contrary to the glorified celebrity culture. It is deep, enduring spiritual closeness with our God.
If ever somebody tells you gay parenting is okay....IT'S NOT.
Mark Regnerus, "How different are the adult children of parents who have same-sex relationships? Findings from the New Family Structures Study," Social Science Research Vol 41, Issue 4 (July 2012), pp. 752-770; online at: http://www.sciencedirect.com/…/article/pii/S0049089X12000610
Significant for both lesbian mothers (LM) and gay fathers (GF), with & without controls:
Compared with children raised by their married biological parents ("intact biological family," or IBF), children of homosexual parents (LM and GF):
Are much more likely to have received welfare growing up (IBF 17%; LM 69%; GF 57%)
Have lower educational attainment (IBF 3.19; LM 2.39; GF 2.64)
Report less safety and security in their family of origin (IBF 4.13; LM 3.12; GF 3.25)
Report more ongoing "negative impact" from their family of origin (IBF 2.30; LM 3.13; GF 2.90)
Are more likely to suffer from depression (IBF 1.83; LM 2.20; 2.18)
Have been arrested more often (IBF 1.18; LM 1.68; GF 1.75)
If they are female, have had more sexual partners-both male (IBF 2.79; LM 4.02; GF 5.92) and female (IBF 0.22; LM 1.04; GF 1.47)
Significant for lesbian mothers (LM) with & without controls
Compared to children from intact biological families (IBF), children of lesbian mothers:
Are more likely to be currently cohabiting (IBF 9%; LM 24%)
Are almost 4 times more likely to be currently on public assistance (IBF 10%; LM 38%)
Are barely half as likely to be currently employed full-time (IBF 49%; LM 26%)
Are more than 3 times more likely to be unemployed (IBF 8%; LM 28%)
Are nearly 4 times more likely to identify as something other than entirely heterosexual (Identifies as entirely heterosexual: IBF 90%; LM 61%)
Are 3 times as likely to have had an affair while married or cohabiting (IBF 13%; LM 40%)
Are an astonishing 11 times more likely to have been "touched sexually by a parent or other adult caregiver" in childhood (but not necessarily by the homosexual parent; IBF 2%; LM 23%)
Are nearly 4 times as likely to have been "physically forced" to have sex against their will (at some time in their life, not necessarily in childhood; IBF 8%; LM 31%)
Are more likely to have "attachment" problems related to the ability to depend on others (IBF 2.82; LM 3.43)
Use marijuana more frequently (IBF 1.32; LM 1.84)
Smoke more frequently (IBF 1.79; LM 2.76)
Watch TV for long periods more frequently (IBF 3.01; LM 3.70)
Have more often pled guilty to a non-minor offense (IBF 1.10; LM 1.36)
I will just have a go at this. When my then-fiance, the sweetie, came with his parents to my parents' home in Massachusetts for the traditional "pamamanhikan" (engagement/formal proposal), one of our parents, I think his dad, asked us to tell the story of how we met. Most of our friends would know it was during a two-week overlap in the Pediatrics ward at PGH, but specifically in Eric's timeline, it was when he opened the door for me--him coming from one way and me from the other and he had a mental "whoa". He remembers me wearing makeup and then proceeds to tell our parents his first impression of me: I was --- (babe-ish compliment). This surprised me massively for he doesn't usually uses such language, but I guess being with our parents, his best friends for ages, he can be as honest as can be, and now moreso to my parents, because in the seven, almost eight years, of our dating, they have come to love and know him for many wonderful attributes. This came as a surprise because I never was the muse in events growing up and cheered my friends who were feted for the beautiful side of things. I was rather disappointed that I would not be celebrated for my conversation skills, fun planning or culture smarts, which I thought were my best assets. But I just went through the party, smiling and really happy. After all I was marrying the sweetie whom when I first saw months back on day one of internship (before he ever set eyes on me) in the back of the outpatient department, standing and, uh, smoking a cigarette (which was soon banned) but as I tell my friends, as if the heavens opened and the angels sang. The light streamed magnificently that moment--but more so in my minds' eye, these supernatural events were truly happening. It was God-ordained. The sighting of whoever this man is gave me so much bliss that I floated through helping the patients in the cancer ward and filled my year with longing for a formal introduction somewhere somehow in our busy hospital, which happened after that bumping in the same ward door during a party that night for my friend Mia Lou Cantara-Ascalon.
Later I would read from St. Philip Bellarmine in "The Art of Dying" that woman was made beautiful for her husband to love her. Last night, I would hear at Relevant Radio that this giddiness, this worshipful gazing of the beloved especially in one's honeymoon is so natural, because all we want to do with the beloved is is to behold and adore him or her. Hon had done the same on me and that discombobulates yet delights me completely. I never had somebody gaze at me with such love before. I would do the same thing to him too. And still do. This is what we do too, when we do Adoration with Jesus in the Blessed Sacrament because we behold the Beloved who beholds us. It is just astounding and recommends regular practice of it of everyone in an Adoration Chapel or Service.
But back to this morning. Since one key element to married bliss is, well, offering one's self for the happiness and holy well-being of the beloved, it is not too much I think for a girl to look like one for her spouse, makeup and grooming assumed. I mean, I do it when I go to work, why not for the home life? So for this morning, unprecedented in our ten-year married life perhaps, I just did the girlie bit as he does the breakfast prep which being a home chef is his bliss. My gratitude was channeled into looking alive and scrubbed, even presentable, better yet okay, okay, more than okay. This is after all the one set of eyes I want to allure, the one set of ears I want to engage, the one set of lips I want to make regular contact. So in the interests of the Synod of the Family and on behalf of the Vatican encyclicals on marriage, family life and documents on theology of the body and tips from reality show housewife Melissa Gorga, she of the happy marriage, interesting visuals and church-wisdom-for-a-lay-audience-and-she-may-not-even-know-it book "Love Italian Style, The Secrets of My Hot and Happy Marriage", I say, "Feast!" God has planned for us the eternal wedding banquet. Our task is to rehearse it here, in our homes, with our churches and most especially with our spouse. God bless.