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!

Saturday, October 11, 2014

A First Birthday gift for a Godson

Well, Shepherd turned one on Tuesday - and we are celebrating today with a super cute birthday party!  So what's a godmother to get her godson for his birthday?  Figured I'd share in case others are looking for something to get your super cute god-baby!

Well, I was reading Carrots a few weeks ago and got a brilliant idea from Haley.  So I made this for baby Shep!

It's a homemade canvas bag (complete with his name) to take to Mass filled with the following fun items for great Mass attention for little ones ... hopefully!
A Children's Wooden Rosary
Faith with Letters
Great to read at Mass!
Loving the St Joseph Board Books
Children's Bible I got in a stack
of free books a long time ago.
And this one for his mum mostly - but I love
everything KK writes - so I think D will
really love reading this to Baby Shep
(and future siblings)!

All in a special bag to carry them along to Mass each week!  Happy First Birthday Shepherd!!!

Friday, October 10, 2014

7 Quick Takes Friday ... October 10th

I don't have a lot of thoughts this week for my quick takes since I blogged so much already for one week!  (Don't get too used to it ... although I even have a great post scheduled for tomorrow to celebrate Baby Shep's First Birthday!)

If you missed it, check it out!

So I'm going to post some of my favorite things from around the interwebs for your enjoyment!

Did you see the story about the 29 year old woman who's choosing euthanasia rather than treatment?  Very mixed comments regarding this, but I just finished Matt Walsh's take and really liked what he had to say.  The suicide equates bravery argument has been rolling around for a while, ever since the passing of Robin Williams.  As a society, I'm not sure we know what to do when this happens.  It's a difficult time for the family with a situation we really cannot begin to understand.  Compassion and Forgiveness seem to be two serious themes of the issue - but how do we give them?

On a completely opposite note - if you've been following my godson's blog then super cuteness has been filling your feed!  He turned one on Tuesday (party tomorrow - cutest gift summary to follow).

Although from his mom's FB picture this morning, seems like he's already starting to get around with the ladies!

hmmmm ... maybe a little talk is in order!

Did you see Kendra's post about Mary's use of the iPhone to snap a pic of Baby J?!

Once you 'spy' it, you can't not see it!

About two weeks ago, this happened at work:

Well not to be THAT dramatic - but at my place of employment, people keep eating my meals!!!  It's CRAZYNESS!

I saw this article on ChurchPOP and to say I was fascinated would be an understatement ... the key is defining personhood according to the 14th Amendment of the Constitution!

"An impossible case"

Did you read about the Jennifer Lawrence leak? Probably at least heard something...  Anyway, the Restless Pilgrim had a great response yesterday.  My favorite line:

If women raise the standard, men will typically rise to the challenge. This isn’t about power struggles within relationships, outrageous demands or oneupmanship. Women have the capacity to inspire men to depart from the ranks of mediocrity and drive a man to become the very best version of himself. Now, this doesn’t mean that they’ll never fall short. They are as capable of failure as women. However, a woman’s inspiration can raise a man to greatness.

Check out the whole thing over at his place.

For more Quick Takes, visit Conversion Diary!  See you next week!

Thursday, October 9, 2014

The Bachelor is about Marriage? Or is it?

On Monday I started this book:

Before going to bed on Tuesday evening, I finished it.

Why did I read it?  I think that Grace over at the Camp might have made a mention of it or someone she links to with The Bachelor scoops did.  I don't even watch the show - gave up years ago when the same guy was The Bachelor twice.  I stopped watching it on a matter of principle since I determined that it was less about love and more about money.  I know that most people knew that already, but I had blocked it out of my mind.

So I put the book on my holds requests list for the library and picked it up about two weeks ago.  When I picked it up, I already had a book I hadn't read so when I returned the other in just the nick of time before the fines kicked in, I almost returned this one too.

However, I'm glad I didn't.

The book is ridiculous.  That is my honest assessment of the situation.  However, it did remind me of some very interesting problems we have with modesty in our culture.

Courtney grew up in a pretty conservative family, not religious, but her mother was distrustful of men and passed that along through rules to her daughters.  Even though this quality wasn't Courtney's favorite as a child, her parent's first impression on the Hometown Date were spot on and if she had been able to have a conversation with them before being sent away, she would have had a discussion with them.  They would have shared their reservations and some heartache may have been avoided.

However, this conservative upbringing did the exact opposite of raising a modest young woman.  At the first opportunity she acquired some experience with whoever would help her out.  She doesn't consider herself promiscuous though, she can count the men she's slept with on less than three hands.  What's the number that classifies someone as promiscuous?  I truly do not want to know the answer to the question.

Courtney also discusses how things work on the show.  This is what really got me.  The show is so stressful and competitive that the girls don't become friends with each other and don't have quality time with their date so they can really get to know someone.  Making out with someone is not great preparation for a solid marriage.  Knowing if you want this man to be the father of your children.

Like my new friend Stephanie wrote last week:
Single Girlfriends – marry a good man. Seriously – hold out for a really great guy. Because when you have sons, they will want to be JUST. LIKE. HIM. (source)

To know this you have to talk, get to know each the guy's family (C said she spent less than an hour with his family and he spent about the same amount of time with hers), meet their friends (the only friends they have on the show are the other contestants that they met a few weeks earlier), and have time together to talk alone, without cameras (the only time this happens is in the Fantasy Suit when there are three left).  Additionally, I don't think that when someone is so serious they might be engaged in a week, they shouldn't be sleeping with three different people.  That doesn't seem like the best way to discern marriage, well, not a marriage that you want to last forever.

I don't think that she is a terrible person or that her future relationships aren't redeemable.  I do think that if we want to have successful, healthy, loving marriages we can't approach them like the producers approach The Bachelor.

I did enjoy the 'behind the scenes' look at the show although I won't be tuning in any time soon.