Friday, April 28, 2017

The Benedict Option, Eastertime adventures, & Netflixing (7QT)

Friends! I have not joined Kelly for some Friday fun in such a long time, and I figured today would be a great chance to jump back into some delightful updates in the form of seven quick takes. It's a great opportunity to give little snippets that I've been thinking about and what life around here has been looking like lately! 

Wednesday, April 26, 2017

As Easter Zooms By: Thoughts on Lent 2017

The Easter Octave has come and gone, and now I'm settling into the comfortable, joyful pace of the Easter season. On one hand, it feels like the days are stretching out slowly before me, and on the other hand, it feels like we are zooming through this liturgical season. It's a beautiful time in the Church, with many Alleluias, flowers, hymns of praise, and chocolate. So far, I've been praying, bouncing with joyful glee, and devouring Whoppers Robin Eggs that were half off. 

At one point several weeks ago, I was a guest on "Morning Air," a Relevant Radio show hosted by John Harper. In the course of our conversation about Lent, John mentioned the idea of, once Easter arrives, writing down how your Lent/Lenten Plan went. I think this is a brilliant idea, because it's a concrete way to chart progress. To see what worked and what didn't, that kind of a thing. . 

Each year, I like to formulate my "Lenten Plan" under the categories of Prayer, Fasting, and Almsgiving. I like to be flexible with my Lenten Plan, and I also try to be realistic. This includes lowering my expectations for what I may be capable of, since caring for an active child takes a lot of energy. As Lent goes on, if I see areas where I can realistically add a penance, I'll expand my "Plan." It works pretty well with me, at least for now. Anyways, let's look at Lent this year! 

Monday, April 24, 2017

That Time I Wore a $4 Bed Sheet to a Regency Ball

A few weeks ago, we were leaving a friend's house and I mentioned how full our weekend of April 21-23 was looking. Then, she remarked, Oh, well, I was going to invite you to a Jane Austen Regency Ball that weekend.

Um, what??? YES PLEASE! 

Actually, it was quite providential that while Saturday and Sunday were filled with prior commitments, Friday night-the evening of the dance-was open. It was meant to be. But of course, there was just one glaring question at hand: What was I going to wear? My only formal dress though it is not floor-length, is lovely--but it's not "breastfeeding friendly." And since my little guy still nurses quite a big, and he would be accompanying us that evening, I knew that I needed a dress with easy nursing-access. Of course, I could wear a non-formal dress that was Regency-era-ish,but I didn't have one of those, either.

So, a few days before the event, I hunted through 3 different thrift stores. Nothing like procrastination, right?? No formal dresses that I found met my criteria. I couldn't find any dresses that looked like they could pass as "Regency-era-ish," either. On Wednesday evening, in a final attempt to find SOMETHING to wear, we took a trip to a thrift store that I had already visited. 

Saturday, April 22, 2017

House-Hunting is Like Marriage Prep

Part of the "marriage prep experience" for many Catholic couples includes a weekend-long event called Engaged Encounter. It's time and place where starry-eyed couples hold hands and talk about their future and how they will potentially address different issues and topics in their marriage.

I am a big believer in the weekend-long Engaged Encounter, and we loved having this experience during our engagement. We benefited from it a lot, and I'm so grateful that we spent that weekend away, instead of doing a one-day retreat or something similar.

That being said, I think it's interesting to see how different things are once you get married. When we were on Engaged Encounter, all of these different topics for couples to discuss individually-holidays, money, work-were fairly broad and futuristic. We weren't actually going through any of those things at the moment, since we were still engaged, so we just hypothetically talked about how things might happen in the future, and how we would address them.

But let's be real: It's one thing to calmly discuss all these hypothetical scenarios when you're spending a dreamy, prayerful weekend away, and it's another thing to face the reality of dramatic events head-on once you get married. 

I've been finding that this reality holds true when house-hunting, as well.

Wednesday, April 19, 2017

When we idolize the sacrifice in motherhood

I remember one time, when I was about 10 or 11, I was lugging my basket of laundry across the house so that I could go wash it. While I was doing this, one of my mom's friends arrived, and I made a show about heaving and pulling this basket so that I could go wash my clothes. It was one of those moments where I wanted the world to see what a dutiful, hardworking little girl I was just for doing one of my chores. Thankfully, I can look back on this memory and sigh about how silly and vain I was. Yet, I then realize how I often still act like this-and I can't stand it.

Saturday, April 15, 2017

When Holy Week Doesn't Go as Planned

It's a quiet morning over here, which I think is fitting for Holy Saturday. The day when Christ lay in the tomb, silent and still. It is a reflective sort of morning, a chance to pray and think on how God has been at work. It is not Easter yet, so we are holding off from breaking out candy, treats, and festivities until the Vigil Mass tonight, when the bonfire is lit, candles are held aloft, and together we sing the Gloria with our fellow parishioners. 

I look back over this past week, and marvel at how God's plans are always so much better than my own. 

Originally, I had marvelous plans for Holy Week-I was going to finish off 40 Bags in 40 Days and finally take that one bag of items to the crisis pregnancy center. I was going to make special foods to kick off the Triduum. I was going to blog and write articles and clean the apartment thoroughly and spend tons of time reading and reflecting on Scriptures in silence. 

But what actually happened? 

Saturday, April 8, 2017

Courage and the Crown of Thorns

Like many Catholics, I grew up praying the Rosary, murmuring decades of Hail Marys interspersed with Our Fathers and Glory Bes as I thought about the events in Christ's life (or, let's be honest, as I thought about completely different topics when I got distracted). At some point a few years back, I was introduced to the practice of naming a "fruit of the mystery" at the beginning of each decade. According to one article, "Each mystery is commonly associated with a particular virtue or fruit which may be understood more deeply, desired and sought in praying that mystery." 

As I learned what different "fruits" for the mysteries of the Rosary were, and as I started announcing them for each decade, I started to think about some of these fruits in relation to their associated mystery. For example, "The First Joyful Mystery is the Annunciation. The fruit of this mystery is humility." Makes sense, right? Mary's humble fiat and acceptance of God's plan for her life is a shining example of humility. But one "fruit" has kept me thinking long and hard over the past couple of years. 

"The Third Sorrowful Mystery is the Crowning of Jesus with thorns. The fruit of the mystery is courage."


Tuesday, April 4, 2017

On the Bookshelf: Batman, Jane Austen, and How to Live in a Car

Okay, everyone: it happened again. I found myself overloaded with tons of fascinating books. This is what happens when I visit several libraries in the Oklahoma City metro. And, naturally, I have to read these books, because they are interesting and I love books. So, for any of you interested in what has been occupying much of my time, here follow some thoughts on cookbooks, nonfiction, and fiction books of a variety of topics-everything from Jane Austen to "how to live in a car" to Batman!

Monday, April 3, 2017

Why Flannery O’Connor’s Stories are Perfect for Lent

One of my Liturgical New Year’s resolutions was to read all of Flannery O’Connor’s short stories; preferably, to read at least one story a week. Unfortunately, I have not read near as much of her work as I had planned to—so I decided that Lent would be an excellent time to jump back into action. As I’ve read many her stories over the past several weeks, I’ve been thinking about how ideal they are for this liturgical season of penance and mortification. Unsurprisingly, I’ve heard of several other people who are also reading Flannery O’Connor’s stories during. What is it about this Southern writer that fits so well during this time of year? I can’t speak for other people, but here are three reasons why I think that O’Connor’s work is ideal reading material during Lent.

Tuesday, March 28, 2017

Laetare Sunday, Lent, & the Life Lately

Hello, everyone! This past Sunday was Laetarae Sunday, a time when we wear pink (I mean, rose) and rejoice. It's still Lent, but Holy Week is just around the corner. I, for one, cannot believe how this Lent has flown by. As I adjusted my pink scarf on Sunday and listened to the phrase, "Rejoice, O Jerusalem" be sung out, I was in disbelief. 

Seriously, I don't know where the time goes. 

So, in a spirit of rejoicing in God's blessings and taking a look at Lent so far, I thought I'd share some musings with y'all as I munch on my strawberry poptart :) 

Friday, March 24, 2017

3 Benefits to living without a News Feed

Happy Friday, everyone! As I mentioned back in December, I began the year 2017 by deleting the News Feed on my Facebook. I'm just a few months into the year with this aspect of social media gone, and I have to say-I'm loving this new reality. I've realized just how much I got sucked into the noisiness of my Facebook News Feed, and I've experienced just how awesomely peaceful life is without this a News Feed to greet my eyes every time I hop on Facebook. Here are three specific fruits that I have observed from living without a News Feed: