Category Archives: Mother Mary

Natural Art: Breastfeeding

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Lost art sculptures of the Mother Mary, destroyed by the Catholic

Church in the 1600’s have become a part of an art study grant by

a University of Dayton Religious Studies assistant professor. As

someone who loves art, I wondered why religious sculptures of

the beloved Mother Mary would be desecrated? It turns out they

were specifically ones where Mother Mary is breast-feeding the

Baby Jesus. This fascinates me, I will look forward to reading her

research and the 2016 release of her book publication.

The assistant professor, Neomi DeAnda is rediscovering the beauty

in the sculptures that are available in the depiction of this natural

act of providing mother’s milk to Jesus. I like this sentence given,

“Mary, the Mother of God, nurtured her Son to be the Redeemer of

Humankind.” (I inserted capital letters, making the words emphasized

where I felt the reader would take notice.)

Ms. DeAnda’s art grant award of $40,000, is to help her in her research

and a gift of time to study the different sources she will need to find

examples. Her book will be titled, “Theology of Breast Milk:  A Latina

Perspective.” The Louisville Foundation would be where you could go

for any future support of writing about art and literature, possibly of

religious content. “She is pulling together publications, art, personal

narratives, and popular devotions to examine the topic of breast-feeding

in the Bible and throughout church history.” (Source, University of

Dayton, “UD Magazine.”)

I like that Neomi DeAnda gives her reasoning for this subject matter

as important and current to our society today,

“My hope is that it will lead to good discussions about women breast-

feeding today and what it means practically and spiritually.”

My experiences with this were varied, depending on which of my three

children I was breast-feeding. My first baby, oldest daughter Carrie,

was a fussy baby. She had ‘colic,’ according to the pediatrician. I tried

to do this, was able to feed her three times a day and twice during the

nights, until I had to go back to teaching. Then, unfortunately, my milk

seemed to ‘seep out’ or leak when I needed to be nursing her, which was

not easily scheduled. I did have my lunch hour to go across the street,

where my babysitter lived. This was probably her ‘best’ and most filling

time that I accomplished daily. She was born on March 29th, so I ‘hung

in there,’ with my mother-in-law supporting me, until summer break.

Then, I really was able to double up, get her more filled up, which helped

my self-esteem. I managed to nurse Carrie, until she was a little over 6

months old. At the incredible age of 6 months, she absolutely ‘floored’

me!

I went to get her out of her crib after a nap and Carrie was standing up,

holding onto her crib rails. I promptly pushed her back onto her bottom,

saying firmly, “No, not yet!” She continued to do this, crawled to the

coffee table and did the same thing. I have photos to prove this, too.

My Mom said it was ‘paybacks’ since she and Dad have photos of my

doing the very same thing, at six months’ old. Anyway, Carrie was not

able to sit still, lie under my shirt, in public places after that. She was

way to ‘hyper’ or curious. She would ‘sip’ for a little bit, then stop, pull

my shirt up and smile at people. My Dad was used to my doing this,

but I was embarrassed when she did this over the holidays with my

father in law. I started weaning her, although I now know I could have

‘pumped’ and given it to her in a sippy cup. She was using her cup,

instead of a bottle with meals. In the ‘old days,’ I would feed her rice

cereal mixed with pasteurized apple juice for breakfast, mashed sweet

potatoes for lunch, and for dinner, I would put our stew, other foods

into  the food processor and make a ‘dinner’ out of it. We still had a

month of my nursing her at bedtime, before it all dried up.

Anyway, hope that the men who are reading this either skipped it,

recognized their wife or daughter in this, or just plain like to know about

what we women go through, all in the name of Love!

I love my Mom, but she was rather negative about breast-feeding. She

was told by her having eczema, that she should not breast-feed. This did

not help me, since she was using the glucose bottles that they gave me

for Carrie, at the hospital to keep her from crying. This made her tummy

full, which meant she did not suck hard enough, did not stay with it long

enough those first few weeks. Once Mom went home, I was able to do

fairly well, as mentioned back to work… I support this natural way of

feeding your baby, but wish to remind you to check any and all sources

of suggested foods. I found out the ‘hard’ way that babies don’t do well

with onions nor spicy foods! My sister-in-law was for years a La Leche

League leader. She still has women calling her, since she has such a positive

story to share. Good pointers. She was not around, my younger brother had

not met her, when I had my babies.

My second baby, my son “Sweet Baby James” otherwise known to this day

as Jamie, was a great nursing baby. My Mom allowed my mother-in-law to

come for his first weeks of life, while she took Carrie off to my parents’ house

for fun and goofy games with my Dad. The pictures from this time include

Carrie in a paper grocery bag, in a box, in a baby swimming pool and the

bath tub. My parents were ‘lucky’ and had retired at 55 and 58 years young!

Jamie continued nursing until 9 months old which I ended when he used

his teeth and I did not have the heart to squeeze his cheeks or give him a

‘tap’ to stop him from biting. My next baby, Felicia, nursed until over a year

old. She was the most laid back, plumpest little ‘punkin’ dunkin’ you ever

could imagine! I had learned not to feed her solids early, also not to allow

sugar or glucose water bottles to come home from the hospital. I was a ‘pro’

at the art of breast-feeding and was one who became a few of my friends’

coach on the subject. I loved eating dairy products, including yogurt, ice

cream and cottage cheese. I ate a wide variety of vegetables and fruits,

plus I did like chicken, fish and some red meat. I continued to take my

pre-natal vitamins, a plus for baby’s brain power. To this day, if you saw

her baby photographs, you would swear Felicia was the Gerber baby!

The sculptural art of Mother Mary nursing her son, Jesus is such a

wonderful testament for motherhood. In the Catholic faith, Mother Mary

is revered and treasured. I know there are some Christian faiths, I used to

belong to one of the evangelical churches that found it to be a ‘sin’ in such

respectful love of Mother Mary. Somehow, I could not stay with this faith,

because it haunts me, truly does, that this Mother knew she was given the

gift of the Son of God, (in some faiths) and had to also know the pain and

suffering he would face, as he grew up and had to lay down his life on the

cross. If you are Jewish, as my nephew in law is, you still know that Mother

Mary existed, that she did have a son and she did lose her son to this painful

death. Jerry knows this, since the Jewish ones were told this story, just the

fact that he is not considered God’s son is part of their religion.

Everyone I have ever met, who has traveled into other countries, enjoys

and photographs the beautiful, magnificent churches around the world.

It doesn’t matter what you believe, it will always be art. The fact that Neomi

DeAnda is looking into the destruction of art, hoping to uncover more than

a few pieces, in paintings, sculptures and written documents of this special

and natural process of feeding a baby is commendable.

Naysayers of the Beatles

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My response to the naysayers (some who are rather close to my

home and heart) of the Beatles is, “Really? Have you watched

their beginnings?” Three short months after the assassination of

United States President, John F. Kennedy, (and its devastating

aftermath) along came the introduction of these four young men.

Musicians, artists and poets known as the Beatles. They were

like a ‘breath of fresh air.’

I have a good male friend and one of my best female friends that

like to yank my chains by saying, “I don’t ‘get’ the Beatles.”

I respond, “Why have they endured?”

Were you there to see the changes and evolution from their

playful selves? As our country was fighting for Civil Rights

and the strife of riots in the streets of the South, church

burnings and other side effects that moved us to action, the

Beatles ‘changed their tune.’ They had started their career,

writing original love songs that had fun and simple themes.

I will always feel one of the best love songs they sang was,

“There’s Something in the Way She Moves Me.”

Then, in the 70’s they moved forward to write and sing “Revolution.”

The Peace movement created, “Let It Be.” “Imagine” and “Give Peace

A Chance.” These songs were John Lennon’s answer to ending wars,

like the Viet Nam ‘skirmish,’ which ended up having casualties of

58,200 of our American soldiers.

Again, I understand if you were too young or are still not

able to “get” the Beatles.” It is sometimes how deeply they

made, some of us, think and feel. How they touched our hearts

and, despite the frantic atmosphere we were growing up, they

were part of a generational movement.

By lighting the candles for us of Hope, Inspiration and Endless

Possibilities, we all endured.

They did not stand still and stay one kind of musician.

The Beatles are known for continuing to move forward and

‘evolving.’ They met the way times were changing head on,

filling their lyrics with the news.

There are plenty of examples of popular musical groups, like

the Herman’s Hermits, The Byrds and others who were similar.

They did have wonderful examples of lyrics and songs that

became part of our popular culture. There are the also more

strident and rollicking songs of the Rolling Stones and harder

driving musical groups that may be more the taste you prefer.

But, to be honest, what makes me respect a lot of these groups

is they came from hard working roots and they overcame them.

They had average families brought up in the Catholic church,

in small towns.

They developed character, through humor, respect, and their

continuing, abiding faith. Some of the members left Catholicism

and chose to embrace a universal faith. They consulted with the

Maharishi Mahesh Yogi. They looked beyond their families’ faith

and sought other levels of enlightenment. They came from England

yet became persons who believed in uniting the world, overcoming

and making it a better place and becoming personally better.

When Linda McCartney chose to eat vegan, that was years before

it became well known or a popular choice, at least among my

friends. The Linda McCartney Foods line is produced by Hain

Celestial, UK Ltd. There have been places on the internet that

focus on ‘voting’ to get this line of meat less meals to the

United States and Canada.

My parents liked and respected the Beatles. We had all of their

albums, while I played Apple 45’s on my little record player.

My father, particularly, liked listening to them. My Mom told us

that in Europe, there wasn’t the same “evils of blacks being

persecuted by whites,” that class structure was different, that

we were not as ‘advanced’ (sometimes she even used the words,

‘less civilized’) as they were. I do know that there was a lot

better examples of inclusion in the musical world, embracing

Motown Sound, starting rock n’ roll with Elvis’ influences.

By adding different styles to make it sound more interesting.

Here are three Beatles’ songs that reflect Motown influences:

“You Really Got A Hold On Me,” “Money” (That’s What I Want), and

“Please Mr. Postman,” all were included in the Beatle’s 2nd album.

There was a professor of Music at University of California,

Berkeley, who recently spoke on CBS Sunday Morning, February 2,

2014 edition.

She was telling the viewers, Berkeley has three Beatle courses,

that have been offered “for over fifteen years.” They are centered

on different aspects of the Beatles’ music.

One college course focuses on using the same chords, different

guitar skills and styles used or emphasized by the Beatles. The

second one deals or analyzes the Beatles’ poetry and writings

in their music. What it was that transferred their words into

becoming legendary songs. This course uses the Beatles as the

impetus to invention of students’ own original lyrics.

The final course is for musicians who wish to learn about the

art of performance. In my mind, the Beatles led others in this

area. Their usage of their natural abilities and personalities

to perform solidly made them popular. They had an innate sense

of how to behave appropriately in their first interviews, showing

humor, lovable and comical characters. They learned to transfer

their lighter weight style by including deeper thoughts, following

their changing beliefs.

This Berkeley Music professor said they recently had a sold

out campus musical performance that played the entire Beatles’

“White Album.” She said their music was able to stand up

against the “Test of Time,” evidenced by the 3 courses filling

up as soon as they are posted at Berkeley for the next semester.

Motown Sound members include “We Can Work It Out,” as one of

their own, using rhythm and blues, with jazz influences.

When a song can be heard years later, performed with a

different dimension of the sound, this is true artistry.

Several of the Beatles’ tunes, as soon as the first notes or

chords are played, I am transferred, taken back in time,

through the years, and my heart strings are again tugged on.

I can be reduced to tears by the beauty of the Beatles’ lyrics.

Fifty years have passed: I still hold the Beatles in high regard.