Friday, October 31, 2014

7 Quick Takes Friday ... October 31st

Well, today is Halloween - my absolute least favorite holiday.  It has nothing to with the devil, religious reasons, calling it 'all hallow's eve' or any like that.  It's actually because I don't like dressing up or acting like someone I'm not.  I can appreciate what Kendra has as a tradition with her children - super scary, super cool saints and Halloween costumes.  I am also excited to see all of the babies in my life dressed up in super cute costumes - Doug, a puppy, and an old man are in the works for today!

This week I had a chance to put some old pictures from CDs onto my computer and upload them up to my google photos ... check out some of these fun ones!

Mike (now Father) and I in Germany for WYD
more here
Yes, that is JPII!!!  A SAINT!
more from WYD here
There are more, but you'll have to wait a few weeks!

Brenda, over at Triple Braided Life, featured me on Tuesday as a Single Woman Making A Difference.  Pretty fun!

Nervously, I posted the link on Facebook to share ... it felt so scrazy (that's scary and crazy together) - really putting myself out there when I usually try to keep this little blog on the DL.  It went well though, there was an overwhelming positive response and I'm super grateful for them - and for you, my faithful but few readers.

Yesterday I decided to take a little trip back on the Bones wagon to the end of Season 1 when Bones found her mom.  It's so interesting to me to see Emily play Bones 9 years ago and today.  I'm always intrigued by the writing for this show.  Nothing more to say about that - except that Bones is always a great tv choice!!!

Over in our NAS Facebook Group we've been discussing Chivalry, Modesty, Sex, and Discernment over the past month.  We always marvel at all of the great articles that get posted surrounding our topics the same weeks we decide to discuss.  A few of the articles have been really great and definitely work checking out.  Matt Walsh on marriage this week, Thought Catalog's catalog of Chivalry, Relevant Magazine on the Church and Sex Teachings (not RC, btw), FOCUS on relaxing about dating, and so many more - but these are some good ones to read for all.

Also this is just fun!  Watch all the way to the end, it's not about what you think it's about!

Told ya! What a laugh!  (if you're reading in a reader, click here for the video)

As I'm writing these quick takes, I see this is what I wrote last week:
I've been trying to eat the things I have in my home rather than going out to the store to buy new stuff - which is a good economical choice except for the fact that I had to pour Soy Milk into my coffee this morning since I'm out of half-and-half.  Hmm.... I prefer half-and-half and the creaminess that it changes a cup of coffee into!!!  Oh the small sacrifices that I can hardly convince my self to do - how will I ever get to Heaven?!
I still don't have half-and-half, but have managed all week by putting soy milk in my coffee.  Not that I love this - but I think I can make it until at least Saturday - maybe longer without any other groceries, so sacrifices in the morning galore over here at Casa Katie.  Until Saturday at least... no guarantees after that!

That's all for now - hope your October was fantastic and you are looking forward to an amazing November!  Hopefully a warm November!!!  Happy Eve of All Saints!!!

For more Quick Takes, visit Conversion Diary!

Tuesday, October 28, 2014

NAS: Discernment Challenges & A Fun Surprise!

This is kind of exciting ... about two months ago Beth Anne posted about Brenda over at Triple Braided Life looking for Single Women who are making a difference to interview.  I reached out to her and now this is happening today!!!

Read the entire interview over at Brenda's place and then come back her for some NAS talk about Discernment, which I might look like I know something about but really - that's all smoke and mirrors, I am clueless!

Now that you're back - unless you never left - some stuff about discernment from the Not Alone Series gals (and me)...

We all agree that discernment is challenging. Figuring out what the Lord is calling you to do with your life can be frustrating and exhausting. But, then add on lack of family support, cultural pressures, and your personal expectations... ugh. And, this isn't just in relation to vocational discernment, but general life discernment, too! How do you keep going? What helps you to push through? How can we encourage one another? What indicators have you experienced that lets you know you're going down the right path?

Each year that I've taught Confirmation we've discussed vocation (small v on purpose) and our overall purpose in life.  This year we broke down one clear phrase - "Universal Call to Holiness."  They had no idea what that meant, so I broke it down like this:  Universal - means ALL; Call - someone rings you up; and Holiness - this they had some trouble with, so I asked them who was in Heaven.  We agreed that the Angels, the Saints, and God were in Heaven.  I told them how human beings can never be angels, there wasn't anything we could do that would make us into God, and so all that's left are for us to be Saints if we want to get into Heaven.  And we want to get into Heaven - because the alternative is pretty darn HOT!  So I asked them what saints were - they said they were holy.  So using our rudimentary math skills - if Saints are in Heaven and Saints are Holy, then what do we need to be to get into Heaven - you got it - BE HOLY!

So basic vocation for all people is holiness.  If not holiness, then no heaven.  There's no way around it, nothing you can do to change it, and no apologies for being so blunt.  If you aren't striving for holiness, then you don't get into Heaven.

So what is our vocation - holiness.  Am I living out that vocation on a daily basis? Um, let me think - no...  unfortunately.

It's more than that though - HOW do we get to be holy?  Through prayer, a sacramental life, penance and sacrifice.
You shall love the Lord, your God, with all your heart, with all your soul, and with all your mind. This is the greatest and the first commandment. The second is like it: You shall love your neighbor as yourself. The whole law and the prophets depend on these two commandments. (Matthew 22)
Basically - but it looks different for us all. Do we do this as married people with many children?  No children? Single? Religious Life? Priesthood? Well, for me, I can say I've discerned not the priesthood ... at least one option off the list!

If we have discerned marriage (which I think I have), then how do we make that happen?  It's not like you can order up a husband to lead, serve, and have children with.  I mean, I guess there probably is a service for that - there appears to be an on-line dating site for almost everyone (thanks to Beth Anne for that link).  However, ordering up a guy (not knocking on-line dating - thanks CM for all the great times) isn't how I see this playing out for me.

I also think the longer we wait as single ladies (and probably the gents too, but can't speak for them) the less and less we think this might actually happen.  I know that I think that sometimes, particularly after a great encounter with an amazing guy - and then NOTHING, not a call, not a hello, not a text, not a like on a Facebook post.  Although those things could be something or most likely nothing - it can be disheartening.

So how do I cope?  Wine, Best Friends, Jesus, and Mary.  Having conversations about this struggle, encouraging friends to stick with it - remembering that our vocation is really to strive for holiness and this time is part of that journey.  I don't know if I'm going to be married or single for the rest of my life.  I know that I'd prefer the former rather than the latter.  I also don't know if I'll have children in my lifetime (although I very much want to) - if I don't get married for 10 more years (please no Lord!) then I will probably not have children.

Do I think that is my vocation?  To desire marriage, but be single my whole life?  I don't know - I sure hope not.  I can only hope that I will be strong in my faith, remembering that my ultimate desire is Heaven.  That means I need to be a Saint.  To do that, I need to be Holy.  How I 'be holy' on this earth - as a wife, a mother, a friend, a sister, a daughter ... only one is for certain - a woman striving for holiness.

Remembering that last one is how I keep my sanity when it's hard being single.  When I go home alone at night to a dark house.  When I've had a rough day at work and need someone to hug me when I walk in the door.  When I make a great meal and want someone to share it with.  When I experience the Lord at Mass and want someone to be joyful with.  Those are the days when it's hard to be single, hard to not be fully living out my vocation to marriage - but those are also the days when I grow most in holiness, fully living out my vocation in the Universal Call to Holiness.

Thanks for reading my ramblings - for some super profound things, check out the rest of the NAS Gals.  Morgan's Hosting, Jen's Hanging out, and the rest of us will be back next week with a discussion about Deal Breakers and Non-Negotiables (was just having this conversation with a friend the other night)!  Have an excellent Tuesday!!!

Sunday, October 26, 2014

7 Quick Takes Friday, I mean Sunday ... October 26th

I have spent the entire week recovering from last Saturday's smashing success at World Feast 2014.  It was a LOT of work, but totally worth it!!!  I posted a few great ones on Instagram on Saturday and was 'live posting' on Facebook all day to get people over to our campus ... and it must have worked because we had at least 1,000 people come to the FEAST.  Everyone had a blast, the food was amazing, and so many smiling faces!!!  That's why my Friday takes are on Sunday - either that or extreme laziness ... one or the other!

Oh, and my parents were here to visit last weekend as well - they brought me this:

I had it tuned yesterday morning and am loving being able to play the piano again whenever I want - which I've never really been able to do, but alas, it's nice having a piano in my house - and the ability to play!  Makes it more of a home!

For about a month now I've been doing yoga every morning - sometimes just 10-12 minutes and sometimes almost 45 minutes.  My fitness partner (who I haven't actually seen in weeks) and I stumbled upon this video and liked it - we continued to a few more days, then at home I signed up for her 30 Day Challenge and they send me a new video every day.  I loved it so much, I signed up for her 2014 30 Day Challenge and now mix the two together for some real variety.  It's been a great workout routine for this failed runner - I want to want to be a runner, but I'm just not that into it.  I feel like a failure saying that, but the truth is that I just don't really want to run around ... so I'm replacing it with yoga and no regret!  If you want to get into yoga, Erin Motz is your gal - oh and she just got engaged to "The Frenchman" - such happiness for them both!!!

via her Facebook Page!

I also started watching this show on Hulu last night - and am strangely intrigued - I want to see where they are going to take Jane, her baby, and all the other complicated story lines they've set up in just two chapters.

When I saw the first preview I was very weary - but now after a few episodes, I think this might be something okay - not necessarily that most amazing religious exposition about a position of chastity - but so far it's not been anti-virginity.  So we will see.

I've also been enjoying a few other new shows - the best one being Red Band Society about kids who live in a hospital.  And there are three other romantic shows I've taken an interest in watching: Manhattan Love Story, A to Z, and Marry Me.  We will see if they go anywhere good.

I've been trying to eat the things I have in my home rather than going out to the store to buy new stuff - which is a good economical choice except for the fact that I had to pour Soy Milk into my coffee this morning since I'm out of half-and-half.  Hmm.... I prefer half-and-half and the creaminess that it changes a cup of coffee into!!!  Oh the small sacrifices that I can hardly convince my self to do - how will I ever get to Heaven?!

Speaking of that - I mentioned last week about how I was speaking to the College Students on Wednesday evening about Baptism and the Baptismal Call.  It actually went very well - I was grateful because I was extraordinarily nervous about saying the right thing.  Being semi-inspirational - which it's not really about me, but about the Holy Spirit.  So he worked - at least a little through me.  I hope I was able to get out of the way enough!

That's all for today - see you on Tuesday for the NAS topic of the week - discernment and a little fun announcement about an interview I did around the interwebs!  Happy Sunday!

For more Quick Takes, visit Conversion Diary!

Wednesday, October 22, 2014

Happy Feast Day of John Paul II!

Some words of wisdom from The Catholic Company on Facebook today:

If you don't follow them on Facebook, Instagram, or Pinterest, they are a great company - posting all kinds of saint quotes, great pictures (many from my parish actually), and their products are awesome too.  The woman who does their social media is a good friend!

And today is the Feast Day for our Beloved John Paul II ... what a blessing!

One of my favorite quotes:

It is Jesus that you seek when you dream of happiness.

In the design of God's Providence, there are no coincidences.

Now there are so many more, with the Theology of the Body, Love and Responsibility, and hundreds of letters, encyclicals, and speeches during his time as Holy Father - but for today, just three!

What would a Feast be without a great little joke!?!

The Pope Visits America

The Pope just finished a tour of the East Coast and was taking a limousine to the airport. Since he'd never driven a limo, he asked the chauffeur if he could drive for a while. The reluctant chauffeur pulled over along the roadside, climbed into the back of the limo, and the Pope took the wheel. The Pope then merged onto the highway and accelerated to over 90 mph to see what the limo could do.
Suddenly, the Pope noticed the blue light of the State Patrol in his side mirror, so he pulled over. The trooper approached the limo, peered in through the windows, then said, "Just a moment please, I need to call in."

The trooper called in and explained to the chief that he had a very important person pulled over for speeding. "How do I handle this, chief?" asked the trooper. "Is it the Governor?" questioned the chief.

"No! This guy is even more important!"

"Is it the President?" asked the chief.

"No! Even more important!"

"Well, who the heck is it?" screamed the chief.

"I don't know, sir," replied the trooper, "but he's got the Pope as his chauffeur."

Have an awesome Wednesday!  Pray for me, please - I am giving a talk tonight on Our Baptismal Call to our college students and I have absolutely no idea what it is that I will say!  Come Holy Spirit!!!

Tuesday, October 21, 2014

NAS: Sex

Our culture is obsessed with sex. With anyone! At anytime! If you want to, just do it! But, the Church teaches that sex was created for the context of marriage. Why do you choose to abstain? Why aren't you going around having sex with just anyone? How would you encourage others to do the same? How do you remain strong when everything in our culture is encouraging you to abandon your convictions?

What a topic this week!  Could be controversial, but how can we not discuss the elephant in the room?  I'm going to quickly answer all of the questions and then dwell a little longer on the last one.  So here we go:

Why do you choose to abstain?  Because I believe the Church knows what will create the best marriage for me.

Why aren't you going around just having sex with anyone?  Because that sounds the least amount of fun ever ... why ... because I know how I become attached to men I am interested in and the random hook-ups sound like a recipe for heartache.

How do you encourage others to do the same?  This I think will be answered in the last question.

How do you remain strong when everything in our culture is encouraging you to abandon your convictions?  Remaining strong - how? It's difficult because we see everyone doing everyone else on television and even in the real lives of people in Hollywood.  Sex has both taken over our culture as almost commonplace and become the most difficult thing to talk about.  How did that happen?

As a culture we want completely different things.  We learned with the HHS Mandate that we want the government and our employers to pay for contraceptives that we use in the bedroom.  We learned with the Hobby Lobby case that we want our employers out of our bedroom.  We learned with the release Humane Vitae that we want the Pope out of our bedrooms.  We have learned in the American Church that old celibate men don't know anything about sex.  We learn on television that sex is just an 'activity' that doesn't mean anything, unless we say it does.  We learn through Cosmo that there seem to be a million things we don't yet know about how to have sex.  I also saw someone write a while ago about how they have made the 'three-date rule' obsolete.  Oh, and if you aren't familiar - the old rule was that you had to wait until the third date to have sex.  That's not the case anymore.  You should feel no shame, no question, no nothing to strip down on the first date.  How can you really know a person after dinner (maybe), a drink, and a movie that you are willing to strip down - let alone be intimate with them?

I stay strong in my conviction because I think that is absurd!  How this came to be a good idea, I will never understand.  When did sex become less intimate than sharing your last name, your birthday, and meeting your family?

We get to know people through conversation, meeting their friends, seeing them more than ONE time - not by getting naked together.

I know that didn't really answer the question - but I remain strong because the other option seems so incredibly difficult emotionally.  The hook-up culture (particularly on the first date) is easy to stay away from because, well - it's so ridiculous ... if you say you are interested in love, true love, there's no way to embrace love and hooking-up.

Speaking about co-habitation seems like a different concept - but it all comes down to true love, refusing to use people for what they can do for me, and sacrificing our own carnal desires for the greater good.  What is the greater good?  What is the best good?  It is salvation, eternal life - no good pleasure in this world is worth sacrificing our stake in salvation.  

At the end of my life, I am more likely to regret abandoning the Love of God than the fact that I didn't go home with that cute guy at the bar that one night.  Even if that means that I'm single my entire life (which would be incredibly difficult).   

So those are my random thoughts on the subject ... maybe not too much Church teaching involved.  Check out the other ladies this week who I'm sure wrote a little more coherently than I did.  Jen's hosting, Morgan's supporting, and we'll be back next week!

Friday, October 17, 2014

7 Quick Takes Friday ... October 17th

On Wednesday, Kendra posted this picture on Facebook:

I thought it was an excellent source for inspiration as I prepare for the festival that is tomorrow at my parish.  There's so much to be done and so many people involved.  I have been having the hardest time keeping it together, being kind and charitable toward others, and making sure that I get the things done that I have to get done.  It's been touch and go, but on Wednesday I was able to actually remember this in those hard moments to prevent me from screaming aloud in my office all day long.

What would I have screamed?  Well, "The Ship is Sinking" would have been the first words out of my lips!

It wouldn't be the first and honestly it probably won't be the last!

A couple of weeks ago the Fathers stopped over my house for a blessing - but the other day as I was coming in to the house during the rain was the first time I noticed the inscription on the door.  It brightened my day!

The other night I went searching in the Hall after Mass for the source of the lights and open doors and was given this great surprise from our Vietnamese community.  Sometimes Church work pays in Heavenly riches, sometimes in food!

Speaking of which, tomorrow is our big Parish Festival with food from these great countries: Austria, Colombia, Germany, Cameroon, Togo, Trinidad & Tobago, Mexico, Dominican Republic, Poland, The Philippines, India, Italy, United States, Ecuador, Eritrea, Peru, Puerto Rico, Liberia, and maybe one more I'm forgetting!  It's going to be absolutely delicious!!!

Sister Edeva and I have been taking weekly afternoon coffee breaks at our local Starbucks!  It's been one of the highlights of my week!  Now we're planning to take a trip to The Philippines the summer of 2016 ... how am I actually going to be able to afford that!  I wish I was playing the lottery more!

Speaking of wishes - and not sure I should actually admit this, but I've been binge watching Sabrina, The Teenage Witch on Hulu.  I've been loving the mindless tv.  Just finishing up - and am glad to see Sabrina through high school, college, and even the beginning of marriage!

Have a great weekend!  And if you're a Charlotte local, check out STA tomorrow!

For more Quick Takes, visit Conversion Diary!

Monday, October 13, 2014

NAS: Modesty

Continuing our reflections about our make-up routines, let's chat about modesty! What does modesty mean to you? Does it just involve the clothes you wear and how you wear them? What about the things you say or do? In what ways can we improve our overall modesty?

What does it mean to be modest? Well, it for sure isn't summed up in the phrase Modest is Hottest.

I've been thinking about this a lot lately and almost turned this post from last week into my modesty post for the link up this week, but alas - I have graced you with multiple posts of my writing!

Back to modesty, I think it's about more than what we wear and how we do our make-up.  Honestly, if we aren't modest in our speech, actions, spending habits, what we eat, how much we work, the amount of time we work out, watch tv, and everything else we do, then our modest dress and make-up doesn't much matter.  Modest is just another form of temperance, self-control, and moderation.

Am I good at this?  Truthfully, sometimes I am good - other times I fail miserably.  I think I am mostly bad at modesty with everything except the dress and make-up (which I truly don't even own).

How can we improve modesty in our culture?  I'm really not sure, I don't have too many words of wisdom regarding this, unfortunately.  I think this is one of the virtues we don't value at all in our culture.  In our culture, we want as much of stuff as we can get even more than we can afford most of the time.  Have enough never seems to be enough.

Modesty is definitely the answer to the question - but how we travel down the path to get there, I'm not really sure.  As individual witnesses, I think we can have an impact - so today I will continue to strive.

As always thanks to Morgan and Jen for hosting - head on over to Follow & Believe (Morgan's place) for this week's link-up!

See you next week for a new topic!  This one is going to be good, you won't want to miss it!