Monday, October 16, 2017

Is busyness normal-and should it be?

It seems like just yesterday that eclairs were made, St. Francis was celebrated, and October was welcomed in with brisk air. Here we are, halfway through the month, and I am wondering where exactly the time has gone (especially as I think about all of the blog posts I meant to write, but didn't even start). 

This donkey's shaggy coat totally made me wonder what it would be like if a donkey
tried to get dredlocks. As you can see, my falltime reflections have been very deep. 
Years ago, I learned an acronym: BUSY-Being Under Satan's Yoke. The idea behind this is that when we are busy and preoccupied with various matters, we do not make time for God, and we may fail to live peacefully in accordance with His will in the present moment. We recall the passage in the Bible when Jesus visited Mary & Martha, and ponder how Martha was "anxious and worried about many things" (Lk 10:41)-and we resolve to be more like Mary, rejecting the busyness and anxiety of Martha. 

Yet, as much as we decry the status of being "busy," we still uphold this as a good thing. How many times have we heard (or taken part of) the following conversation? 

Wednesday, October 4, 2017

(More) Non-Fluffy Ways to Celebrate the Feast of St. Francis

Happy Feast of St. Francis of Assisi! Last year, I wrote about "non-fluffy" ways to celebrate the feast of St. Francis. I thought this was a worthwhile topic to discuss, since most events that I see on or near to the feast day of this friar revolve around animals. While St. Francis loved the animals, he was much more than the dancing hippie that many people envision. So, in honor of St. Francis, I decided to compile a list of even more ways that we can celebrate his feast day that don't simply further the "dancing hippie" image. 

[Not that there's anything wrong with a dancing Catholic hippie-it's just that St. Francis has many other characteristics to learn about and celebrate!] 

Sunday, October 1, 2017

Eclairs & Sunday Night Musings

As I write this sentence, I'm licking chocolate glaze off my lips as I devour eclairs. On October 1, us Catholics celebrate St. Therese of Liseiux, an amazing young woman who lived in 19th century France. She died when she was just 24 years old, and she is beloved by many people for her "little way." Anyways, from her life and writings, we know that she liked eclairs, and now many different articles and lists on "How to celebrate the feast of St. Therese" include eclairs.

Years ago, I thought of making homemade eclairs for her feast, but as I looked at recipes, I became terrified. But, a few weeks ago, I saw an attractive cookbook displayed at the library-a book all about eclairs. Coincidence? I think not.

Tuesday, September 26, 2017

Bubbles in the Rain

People often blow bubbles on bright summertime days, and we are no different. Nearly every weekday of the summer, my son and I would breathe in the hot Oklahoma heat, hear the roar of passing traffic, and blow bubble after bubble. 

It rained all day today.

The sky was a dreary blue-gray color, and cool breezes swept through our house. It was the kind of day that begged for a hot cup of tea and a warm blanket inside of the house, shielded from the elements. And yet, my son and I stood outside, feeling the raindrops imprint themselves on our skin as we blew bubbles. 

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.


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!