Friday, September 22, 2017

An Open Letter to Lady Gaga

Dear Stefani,

Earlier today, I realized something quite sad: Years ago, I would pray for you on a regular basis, but at some point I grew lax in that practice. Today, as I sat in my living room and thought about this, I said a prayer for you, not knowing what you've been up to (I don't keep up with celebrity news that much). Hours later, I got on social media and saw a post you made about your tour cancellation.  

I am truly, deeply sorry that I have neglected to keep you in my prayers as often as I should.  

Wednesday, September 20, 2017

"La La Land" and the Sacrifices in Marriage

Since I practically live in a hobbit hole in regards to the current culture, I often am unaware of new movies that come out. I'll typically hear about movies once they've been in theaters for a few weeks, when I'm suddenly hearing about them all the time, and friends start recommending them to me (Marvel movies are an exception to this; I try to be somewhat knowledgeable about Marvel movies). La La Land is one of these movies. I began hearing about it after it came out, and had no idea what the plot even was. I just knew that it was a musical, and that I needed to watch it because it had been so highly recommended.

So, finally, I watched La La Land this summer. Actually, I watched it twice, because I figured, Why not watch this amazing movie a second time before taking it back to the library? I called this the "Cultural Enrichment" segment of my toddler's education. I have been aching to discuss La La Land here on the blog, and I finally have a moment to do so. There are many different topics we could discuss regarding this movie's depiction of people aspiring for their dreams in Los Angeles (here's one awesome article that I loved). As I think about the different deep themes I want to delve into, I keep going back to conclusion of this movie. So today, we're going to talk about the ending of La La Land (this is a warning to skip over this post if you don't want the ending spoiled).

Monday, September 18, 2017

We are All Affected by Suicide

I drove down the highway last Friday evening, the memories tumbling through my head. Scenes from that All Soul's Day, November 2, so many years ago. The day when I bounced eagerly into my high school's chapel and was hit with the news that a man in my class had died the day before. If only I had gone to the Dead Theologians Society meeting on Sunday just a few days ago, I thought mournfully. Because this man was one of the few people who attended those meetings; in fact, he was one of the three other people I could always count on seeing at those Sunday night gatherings. While we weren't close friends, it was good to be in his presence. He seemed quirky and interesting, and was a pretty nice guy. We said "hi" in passing, and just a week earlier he and some other guys had been messing with my hat at lunch. 

Even though we weren't close friends, I was crushed by my classmate's death, and two days after his passing, I wrote: 
"...I will never see you in the hallway again. I will never see you in your Argyle sweater vest, or wearing your suspenders and bow tie. I'll never get to tell you how crazy you are for talking about distance running...And it breaks my heart to see so many of my friends who were really close to you. We are all heartbroken, because we all love you." 
This man was my brother in Christ, a classmate, and a fellow parishioner at our church. Even if we didn't talk much or know each other very well, we were still connected in the beautiful Mystical Body of Christ, the Church. In his death, I realized that suicide is not some statistic or distant event; rather, it is an event that affects us all. 

Friday, September 15, 2017

Of Cats and Men: A Review

My relationship to cats has been a journey and a process. Growing up, felines never struck me as that fabulous. As I grew, I befriended many women who happen to be obsessed with cats. So, influenced by my dear friends, I started to appreciate cats more. However, the vast majority of cat-lovers I know are women. Do male lovers of cats exist? Of Cats and Men, by Sam Kalda, shows that there are,in fact, many men who buck the trend of "dogs are man's best friend." Not only that, but these men are notable. Writers, activists, artists, and musicians. For centuries, incredible life-changing work has been done by men as cats roam around their homes and studios. 

Wednesday, September 13, 2017

The Blessing of Window Screens

Over the past couple weeks, a beautiful event has occurred a few times: when the temperature has dipped below 80 degrees, I have been able to enjoy the fresh, cool air and breezes while inside. Our house seems fresher, and I've experienced much joy as I open all the windows each morning to let in the cool air. This may seem like a little, insignificant thing, but to me, getting to open our windows has been a huge blessing of home ownership. 

Saturday, September 2, 2017

The Right to Birth 5k!

Today, I ran my first-ever 5k. As I've noted before, I've always thought that people who run 5ks are a bit odd. Why willingly run more than a couple feet? Why pay to run and put yourself through that torture? Well, I jumped crawled onto the running bandwagon this summer, partially in preparation for an event: The Right to Birth 5k and Womb Walk. 

Hosted by a local doula and a birthing center, this 5k was organized to support the right of parents to choose where to give birth. Last spring, there was anti-midwife legislation being discussed in the state government, and events like this 5k have sought to bring awareness to the importance of midwifery care and birthing options. I gave birth in a hospital last year and had a great experience-but that does not mean that everyone should give birth in a hospital. There are a variety of responsible choices that can be made (and should be available!) for women preparing to give birth. I feel very passionate about this cause, and so I was excited to support this event.

Wednesday, August 30, 2017

Why We Shouldn't "Gloss Over" Marian Devotion (at Ignitum Today)

Happy Wednesday, friends! I hope that y'all are having a great day. It's been pretty exciting over here. In preparation for my first 5k this weekend, I managed to haul myself out of bed and not completely die as I ran a few miles. When I got back from my run, I pattered around the house, getting laundry into the washer and starting breakfast and chatting with my husband as I enjoyed the peacefulness of the morning. I was standing in the kitchen when my husband looked over and pointed out that there were MAGGOTS.

Everywhere.

Slimy, tiny little critters scooching across the floor. I was disgusted. There were at least 20 on the floor, and there were more that were trying to squirm out of the garbage can. We think they were all coming from the trash can (which has since been emptied and thoroughly cleaned), but I mopped the floor anyways. And then we dashed to the library for the toddler activity, chatted with some great people, and made a batch of dough for pizza crust. So it has been a whirlwind of excitement and energy over here! This all has nothing to do with why I'm posting, but I just wanted to give y'all a glimpse into life and the fun that we've been having :)
Anyways, the reason why I'm posting today is that I recently wrote an article for Ignitum Today, and want to share it with y'all: Why We Shouldn't "Gloss Over" Marian Devotion.

Also, that clip from Lord of the Rings where the orc talks about having nothing but maggoty bread to eat for "three stinkin' days" has way more meaning for me now. I hope that your Wednesday is full of joy and maggot-free adventures!

Tuesday, August 29, 2017

On the Bookshelf: The FINAL Summertime Round-Up

Hello, everyone! Happy Feast of the Beheading of St. John the Baptist! I know I did a summertime literature round-up earlier this month, but...I realized that I forgot to include some other books that I've read. And I've read more since then. So, since September is coming soon, I figured that I'd do one more post about books for the month :) As always, there's a selection here of fiction and non-fiction, and while some of them were "meh," there were others that I really enjoyed quite a bit! 

Thursday, August 24, 2017

There's Nothing Like an Eclipse to Bring People Together

A few weeks ago, one of my relatives (who lives in Oregon) mentioned to me that on August 21, there was going to be an eclipse. Apparently, tons of people were even planning to visit Oregon just for this eclipse. Well, I pretty much live in a hobbit hole and hadn't heard of the eclipse until that point, so I started surfing the internet and listening around town. And, lo and behold, there was lots of discussion about the eclipse. So much discussion, in fact, that I started thinking of Avatar: The Last Airbender. Thankfully, other people had similar thoughts, and eclipse memes started hitting social media. Buzzfeed even talked about it! 

In all honesty, though, I thought the eclipse had too much hype. Maybe I was jaded by the fact that eclipse glasses had a going rate of $40+ in some places (though other people were really trying to make a big profit). All the same, I ate my lunch on Monday in front of the computer screen as I eagerly watched NASA's livestream of the eclipse in areas with complete totality. And it was pretty epic. Seriously epic. We have an amazing God who created such incredible beauty! 

Wednesday, August 23, 2017

My Deepest Apologies

There's no non-awkward way to go about this, so I'll just plunge in: Y'all, I am deeply, deeply sorry for not responding to your thoughtful, loving, fabulous comments for the past several months. 

In all honesty, I did not know that people had been commenting on my blog until Laura just mentioned to me that she hadn't seen a recent comment of hers pop up. So I decided to check out my dashboard. A long time ago, I had some spam, so I decided to moderate and approve all blog comments. That way, my posts weren't plastered in spam, and Blogger would also niftily (totally making this a word) flash me a headline in red letters that I had blog comments. I was able to see who was commenting and when, so I could respond and engage in some great conversations with people. 

Tuesday, August 22, 2017

Bridging the Gap: Where we can grow

I've been thinking a lot lately about the division that exists in our world. There's pretty apparent and visible separations, and there's also smaller ones. I know that, since we all have different lifestyles and interests, there will necessarily be some division that follows-we can't all be friends and hang out all the time, you know? As cool as that'd be, it would not be practical. Still, I think we can make improvements and try to heal divisions and build community in different areas that may not have thought of previously. While there are tons of areas where I see this need, here are three areas where I've seen a need for improvement: