Friday, July 31, 2015

On the Bookshelf: Where I discuss a Southerner, an Englishwoman, and a French Convict

Hello, everyone! I think it's time for the occasional discussion of literature around here. This series, "On the Bookshelf," is a place where we can share the books that we've been reading lately! My goal is to give you my brief take on each book that I've read from the library (even the ones I don't like), so if you need any reading ideas, I might have something for you to try! This week's discussion ranges from some Jane Austen adventures to the heartfelt prayers of a beloved author. Sit back with some coffee or tea and join me!

Thursday, July 30, 2015

Let's be real: This is why I need St. Josemaria in my life (In short, I blew it)

I blew it. 

A few weeks ago, I started off on the adventure of trying to break into the freelance writing world and evangelize online, all for the glory of God! I entrusted my work to God, tried to make Him the focus, and did not have lofty dreams of personal glory. God really blessed my work, and although I haven't made any money from my writing, I have the epic opportunity to volunteer for a couple of different websites occasionally. 

Well, within a few weeks, I began to notice a change in myself. I found myself checking the websites I volunteer with multiple times a day, every day, to see if my articles were accepted and published. When I met people at church, I started focusing in a bit too much on myself and my personal accomplishments. I continually asked God to help me become humble, but I kept noticing myself slip into pride. What's wrong with me? I would ask myself. Why can't I learn some humility?

Tuesday, July 28, 2015

7 Strategic Tactics for Winning Mealtimes when you're on a Budget of Time or Money (Or, How I survived college without Ramen)

Mealtimes can be a battle. You want to save money, but you also want to eat delicious food. Your schedule is busy, but you don’t want to eat out all of the time. Whether you have college classes, a job, or volunteer work, we have so many things vying for our attention. How can we win the battle of business and make time for food?

I get the “busy schedule” scene, especially as a recent college graduate. But, meal times are not just about consuming food and rushing off to the next activity; meal times are about nourishment of the body and soul, growing in fellowship and communion with others. My husband and I get to communicate during mealtimes, we love to save money, and we really like delicious food. So, we eat homemade. We eat our meals together when possible. And we continually find ways to save money (in two years, we’ve decreased our weekly food spending, on average, by about $20).

If we have to battle busy schedules, finances, and life in general to have good mealtimes, we need a battle plan. And over the course of our marriage, my husband and I have implemented different tricks and tactics to help us have awesome meals without spending a ridiculous amount of money or time. Everyone has their own kitchen tricks which work for them, and I always love hearing the methods that other people use! So feel free to pipe in with your insights!

7 Strategic Tactics for Winning Mealtimes when you’re on a Budget of Time or Money (Or, How I survived college without Ramen)

Monday, July 27, 2015

Do You Want God to Bless You? Just Let Him!

I hope that you are having a blessed beginning of your week! It is quite peaceful in my corner of the world, and I have been enjoying myself. Over the weekend, my husband and I got to spend some quality time together going on a date, playing games, and watching "Kid Snippets" (which are from the creators of "Kid History," on Youtube). Also, we turned in a parish registration form on Sunday (so hopefully we'll be "official" soon!), filled out a survey for the new Young Adult group at the parish, and met many wonderful people at a reception that day! I also was blessed to picnic with some out-of-town friends, which was quite lovely. And later today, I'll be visiting with a wonderful woman whom I met this weekend. All in all, a fabulous weekend and beginning of the week. 

It really made me ponder how God always provides. 

Friday, July 24, 2015

St. Charbel, Duck watching, and Glorious Garbanzo Beans

Good morning, everyone! I hope that you all are having an amazing end to the work week! If, for some reason, you are not excited that today is Friday, I want to tell you something awesome about today: it is the feast of St. Charbel! (Or Sharbel, I’ve seen both spellings, and I use both)

Now, you might be wondering: What’s so awesome about this guy that I’ve never heard of? And what does he have to do with ducks? Furthermore, what’s with garbanzo beans??

I am so glad you asked J

Wednesday, July 22, 2015

A Young Witness of Eucharistic Devotion (And I mean, VERY young!)

Happy Wednesday! And happy feast of St. Mary Magdalene! She's pretty cool. So, today I offer you another installment of the "Modern Sanctity" series. In this series, I look at modern examples of sanctity so that we can see how holiness is relevant and necessary in our present day! 

Today, I would like to discuss a very epic person. She's not canonized, but she provides a tremendously awesome example of striving for holiness...oh yeah, and she died when she was 4 1/2 years old. 

Tuesday, July 21, 2015

Ladies, do you want to learn about yourselves? Take a look at NFP!

Hello, friends! I'm very excited, because this week is NFP Awareness Week!  For those of you who are new to the blog, let me tell you up front: I am a big-time supporter of NFP, and I think that all women-regardless of their marital state-should highly consider learning NFP. 

Now, I know that some of you might be thinking...
But isn't NFP only for married couples? 

Or, perhaps you're thinking...
Well, if a couple doesn't need to postpone pregnancy, they shouldn't practice NFP, right? 

Monday, July 20, 2015

Have I Ever Appeared on a Jumbotron? My Responses to this week's "Answer Me This"

Happy Monday, friends! Today I'm linking up to Kendra's online cocktail party, Answer Me This, at Catholic All Year. Basically, she posts a group of random questions, and everyone responds. Since this week's topic includes superheroes, I knew I had to join in. 

Saturday, July 18, 2015

12 Reasons Why You Should Consider Attending the Midwest Catholic Family Conference

Folks, it’s that time of year again. The Midwest Catholic Family Conference looms on the horizon, and I’m very, very excited. This is an annual conference that takes place on the first full weekend of August in Wichita, Kansas. This year, the conference is being held from Friday evening, on August 7th, to Sunday, August 9th, in the afternoon. Now why should you consider giving up an entire weekend to be in Kansas? Here are 12 reasons why this conference is worth considering:

Friday, July 17, 2015

On the Bookshelf: Food, Forgiveness, and Austen-style love stories

Happy Friday! I hope that you all are having a wonderful week! It has been a very busy week for me over here in Oklahoma City. A few evenings ago, as my husband and I were driving to Mass, I said "You know when you've been super busy all day long, but your brain is mush and you have no idea what you did? Yeah, I had one of those days."  Actually, my whole week has been a bit like this. You'd think that life would not be as busy, since I do not really travel far from my domain during the work day, but I have been finding myself very, very occupied. From blogging to writing articles to submit at different places (it's been tough finding "the" niche to try and break into), and from reading "helpful" articles to assist me in these areas to household chores, the days have been flying by! Nevertheless, I have made some quality time to read, and I would love to tell y'all about these books! So, let us begin!

Thursday, July 16, 2015

What's with the Veil? (Part 2-In which I take selfies with my headcoverings on)

Happy feast of Our Lady of Mount Carmel! 

Yesterday, I talked about some of the reasons and history behind the practice of veiling in the presence of the Blessed Sacrament. Maybe you knew all about veiling, and maybe you've never heard of it or seen it. But hopefully, now you can understand this devotion a little better. Today, I'd like us to look at the "how to" of veiling. Because, honestly, there are a lot of different ideas and opinions out there to consider. So, without further ado, let us begin this adventure! 

There is a wide range of ways in which you can practice the devotion of covering your head in the presence of the Eucharist. As I discuss a couple of these different ways, I want to address a question that I receive quite frequently:

Wednesday, July 15, 2015

What's with the Veil? Discussing the presence of headcoverings in church

Happy feast of St. Bonaventure! 

When I was young, I would occasionally see old ladies at church wearing cute hats or lace doilies on their heads. I really didn't know why they did this; I figured they couldn't let go of an ancient Catholic practice that had been outlawed by Vatican II. As the years passed, I grew a bit more curious about this practice, especially since one of my good friends in high school wore a white veil to Mass. So, I prayed about it, thought about it, argued with God, and...long story short, I've been veiling my head in the presence of the Eucharist for the past 6-7 years. I've researched into this devotion a lot, had many conversations with men and women about it, and even wrote a major paper on veiling in college. I've found that sometimes, people who aren't interested in veiling want to know about it--and I think this is awesome! I think it is important for all Catholics, regardless of whether or not they want to veil themselves, to understand a little bit about this devotion. So, in case some of you out there want a basic idea behind the "veiling devotion," I'd like to provide you with some information. 

Tuesday, July 14, 2015

How Board Games Help my Marriage (and Pope Francis' Challenge for Us)

Marriage is awesome. It’s so great to be living out the sacrament and vocation each day, experiencing all these awesome graces from God to bring my husband closer to Heaven. But you know what another awesome perk of marriage is? I always have a playmate. Settlers of Catan, Risk, Monopoly, Agricola: All Creatures Great & Small, Legendary, Innovation, and Chess, to name a few, often slide into our free time. We both just really like board games, but these games have a greater meaning for me than their face-value awesomeness.

Many times, it seems that married people just get busy. Whether it is children, college classes, work, or individual activities, spouses can begin to lose intimate time together. We’ve never had kids (and I’m not pregnant), but I’ve been told that children need a lot of time and care. However, it really made an impression on me when, a few years ago, my Christian Marriage instructor told the class that he and his wife reserve a “date night” once a week. Yes, they have about 5-6 kids (many of them young), but he and his wife saw the need to prioritize their relationship. As many of you know, my husband and I were married a couple of weeks before we began our junior year of college. While college classes, homework, extra-curricular activities, households, and volunteering could have easily eaten up chunks of our precious time, I found that married life was so peaceful. Instead of being mega-involved in EVERYTHING (which was how I had previously lived), we took a step back. We volunteered a little bit, were involved in faith-related activities, and we were involved in our households a little.

And we played board games together.

Monday, July 13, 2015

What do we need with genuine virtue? Check out St. Faustina's Diary for the answer!

Happy Monday!!! I hope that you all are having an abundantly epic and blessed start of the week! Life has been very blessed and hitting a nice rhythm over here in Oklahoma. Saturday was a "catch up" day, where my husband and I ran a bunch of errands, buying groceries and whatnot. We finished off the day by having a "Kid History" date. If you haven't seen the "Kid History" videos on youtube, you should really look into them (adults acting out ridiculous stories, as narrated by their children). On Sunday, we attended morning Mass, played games, and then had a relaxing afternoon. I snagged the opportunity to read some of my new library books and plant some seeds for my "porch garden." Maybe the whole "porch garden" is one of my sanguine moments, and will be completely unsuccessful, but I'm giving it a try, and starting slow. I planted some basil and arugula, so if nothing grows, it's not a big loss of time or money. Ah, the glory and adventure of trying out new things! 

As I'm trying to get my life more organized, I'm working on going back through parts of Divine Mercy in My Soul: the Diary of St. Maria Faustina Kowalska. I've read the entire Diary, but it is so good to go back and re-read different passages, and to focus on them more. Our copy is full of bookmarks that my husband and I would slide in when we found passages we really liked! This week's passage for reflection is completely epic, and I'm so excited to share it with all of you! This morning, I was wondering what part of St. Faustina's Diary to put on the blog this week, and then one of my household sisters texted me this passage. God works in wonderfully fabulous ways! 

Friday, July 10, 2015

On the Bookshelf: On the occasion that I read books about vampires and romance (but not Twilight!!!)

Happy Friday! Welcome to the series, "On the Bookshelf." This is a place where we can share the books that we've been reading lately! My goal is to give you my brief take on each book that I've read from the library (even the ones I don't like), so if you need any reading ideas, I might have something for you to try! 

In no particular order, let us begin! Also, I meant to write short blurbs about each book, but as I went down the list, my reviews got longer and longer. But I don't feel like deleting from the longer reviews,'ll have to bear with me : ) 

Thursday, July 9, 2015

How Praying After Mass is Awesome (and It Can Change Our Culture, Too!)

Several weeks back, someone asked me this question: Why stay and pray after Mass? This person had been instructed by a priest that, since the Mass is the greatest prayer Catholics have (and what prayers after Mass could top it?), and we are told to “Go” in the Dismissal, we are supposed to actually leave & not stay to pray afterwards. As I’ve thought about this question, I’ve realized that, in our parishes, we don’t really talk much about Praying after Mass. The people who pray after Mass probably grew up doing it, and the people who don't pray after Mass haven't grown up with it. But the Eucharist is a Big Deal, so I think this conversation is significant. 

I’ve thought more and more about this over the weeks, and I’ve been seeing how hugely important Praying after Mass is. In fact, this simple act can change our culture. I’m not going to get into translations of the Dismissal or the Leonine Prayers or any of that jazz (those topics are fascinating, and there are other articles you can find about them). Instead, plain and simple, I want to outline a few basic reasons why we should pray after Mass.  

Wednesday, July 8, 2015

Modern Sanctity: Venerable Edel Quinn

As I'm trying to get my life, writing, and blogging more organized and back on track, I'm going to restart the occasional "Modern Sanctity" series. In this series, I look at modern examples of sanctity so that we can see how holiness is relevant and necessary in our present day! 

Today, I'd like to talk about Venerable Edel Quinn. I first heard about her via a blog that discussed The Edel Gathering, an annual event for women to kick back, relax, and have fun. I figured that Venerable Edel must have been cool, if they named and dedicated a whole weekend to her! :) I've found, from my sparse research, that Venerable Edel Quinn provides an awesome example of  Marian devotion, perseverance, and dedication to God's work. So, without further ado, here are some cool facts about this woman:

Monday, July 6, 2015

Plunging into the Unknown with Joy and Freedom

Happy Feast of St. Maria Goretti! She's a big favorite of my husband and myself. I love how she, as a young teenager, so strongly wanted to live a life of holiness--and for her murderer to do the same. Today's feast takes me back a couple years, to the time when Jacob and I spent a semester in Europe. We were so blessed with the opportunity to go to the shrine of St. Maria Goretti in Nettuno, Italy.

I hope that you all are doing well, and enjoying your summer! A week ago, my husband and I moved into our new apartment, so this week has been a lot of unpacking, enjoying the final days of vacation time together, and celebrating July 4th (we went to a spectacular fireworks show in Edmond, OK). We've been enjoying unstructured days of games, movies, and conversations.

But today, life has changed.
At 5:45 a.m., bid my husband farewell as he left for his job orientation.
And then I faced it: The Unknown.