Monday, February 29, 2016

Blessed Marcel Callo: the man who was "Too Catholic."

Hello, everyone! Meg, the Hobo Missionary, is doing a Lenten link-up about how different Saints (Blesseds, Venerables, and servants of God) exemplify how we can show or receive the Father's mercy. Well, I love the saints, and I really love mercy, so I am a huge fan of this Lenten series! Today, I want to join in and discuss Blessed Marcel Callo, a young Catholic man who died in 1945 (An awesome modern "blessed"!). 

First off, can we just appreciate how nerdy this guy looks? Seriously, this is great-I legitimately love his glasses :)  
From salt & light.

Friday, February 26, 2016

When Life Gets Hard, Wear a Cloak (7 Tips on How to Cope During a Rough Week)

This week has been pretty rough. Some of the tough stuff was due to my own unfortunate carelessness, and some of it was out of my control. I know that plenty of people are going through much worse trials than my own little concerns. Regardless, I think it's good to acknowledge that we all go through tough times, and that it is important to make it through those! The other day, Christy wrote that she wasn't sure how Lent was going, because she didn't feel extra-burdened. I knew where she was coming from, because I had been thinking something similar. Later on in the day, as I thought about how I was going through some rough patches, I realized how appropriate and perfect God's timing is. This is Lent, and by letting a bunch of non-enjoyable things coincide, God is handing me a great opportunity to grow in humility, trust, and good ol' Franciscan joy! As I've scrambled to pull myself together this week, a few different techniques have helped me focus on God's blessings. So, I'm linking up with Kelly for some 7 Quick Takes to talk about it! 

Friday, February 19, 2016

How I Benefit from Childbirth Classes

I used to think that pregnancy and childbirth were a fairly standard event that didn't require much planning:

Woman gets pregnant. 
After nine months, she goes to the hospital.
The baby comes out (usually while the woman is lying in bed, screaming and red-faced). 

As I learn more and more, I see that childbirth does not necessarily have to be this way, and and that it is important for women (and their husbands) to prepare!  As we prepare for the birth of Baby, I've read tons of books to talk about with my husband. We've also started taking childbirth classes.  Why would we take classes if I've already read loads of books? Why would we even take classes at all? 
Let's look at an interesting analogy for a moment:
" make a blunt comparison, a woman who doesn't know how to swim is given nine month's notice that she will be thrown in deep water. Let's assume that during that nine-month period she does not avail herself of classes where swimming is taught. This is as unreasoning as one who knows she is pregnant, does not know how to act in labor, and then during her nine months does not bother to attend classes in the conduct of labor. The results in both cases would be horrible to behold, particularly by someone who loves the participant." ~Dr. Robert Bradley, Husband-Coached Childbirth
It's one thing to read books on how to swim and to talk with people who swim-but it's another thing to actually take swimming lessons. Similarly, while I have loads of book-knowledge about childbirth, it's another thing to actually learn how to put that knowledge into practice! As I go through the classes with my husband, I've been thinking about a few of the different reasons why I'm spending the time and money to do this, and how the classes have benefited me so far (and I'll list a couple of the well-known classes out there). 

Thursday, February 18, 2016

Essential Oils & Evangelization

Essential oils abound-I know tons of people who sell them, blog about them, and use them. I personally own a small bottle of essential oil that I use occasionally. So many people, even if they don't claim any level of "crunchiness," like using essential oils-with good reason! Essential oils are nice, fragrant, and can have many tremendous benefits. But, in all honesty, there are times when I get a bit sick and tired of essential oils. Not because of the oils themselves, but because of how some people try to pressure me into buying essential oils from them. I don't pretend to be a businesswoman, and I do not have much experience selling things, so I do't know the "tricks of the trade." Still, I can tell you what does and does not work if you want me to buy essential oils-and how this relates to evangelization.

Tuesday, February 16, 2016

Do We Pray for Those Seeking Annulments?

Hello, everyone! Today I'm linking up with the wonderful people of Tuesday Talk to discuss annulments. For those of you unfamiliar with this term, the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops gives a succinct definition
"An annulment is a declaration by a Church tribunal (a Catholic church court) that a marriage thought to be valid according to Church law actually fell short of at least one of the essential elements required for a binding union." 
(so, to clarify, an annulment is not the same thing as a divorce; an annulment declares that a valid marriage in the eyes of the Church wasn't there) I've learned little tidbits about annulments here and there from Theology classes that I've taken, but my knowledge of the process is not that immense. And, I have to confess, the topic has always seemed rather faceless, clear-cut, and simple when drawn out on a classroom white board. I've never thought about the annulment process much, because it doesn't have an effect on me. How wrong and selfish I have been. 

Thursday, February 11, 2016

Let's Not Make Lent About Convenience

I think there should be a special name for today. You know, the day stuck in between Ash Wednesday and the first Friday of Lent. A woman in my due date group (yes, there are social media groups for women with due dates around the same time, and it's awesome!) remarked about how she's eating chocolate and meat all day. It's funny, because I've been planning something similar. I don't have loads of chocolate in the house, but I will be eating a treat or two later, and meat is on the menu for dinner tonight. So, I think today needs a special name; a title that commemorates how we're still in Lent (so it's not as festive as Fat Tuesday), but it's a day with a little less penance, sandwiched in between more-penitential days. Plus, it's the feast/memorial/commemoration of Our Lady of Lourdes, so that adds a tad bit of festivity, too! 
Plump Thursday? 
Pampered Thursday?  
Satisfying Thursday?

I don't know...If you have any grand ideas, I'd love to hear 'em! 
Anyways, it's Lent, and I'm really excited! Yesterday was blessed, hard, and prayerful-a great way to kick off Lent.

Saturday, February 6, 2016

Road Rage & the Year of Mercy

Driving in Oklahoma City can, at times, be a dangerous, unpredictable, terrifying feat of courage. In the months that I have lived here, I have learned a couple of tips for survival on the road.
1. Automatically assume that those cars-on either side of you-are going to suddenly merge into your lane without signaling. It doesn't matter that there's no room for them; just assume that they are going to merge-because oftentimes, they do anyway.
2. Be prepared for cars to merge into your lane while you're driving through an intersection. Should it happen? Nope. Does it happen occasionally? You betcha! So, mentally prepare yourself right now. 
As you can see, I quickly discovered that driving in Oklahoma City would not always be a cute little jaunt, a la Gilbreth.
The original Cheaper by the Dozen is really quite fabulous.

Friday, February 5, 2016

On the Bookshelf: Childbirth Books Everywhere!!!!

Hello there! Last night, my husband and I (and Baby) had our first childbirth class!!! Woohoo!!!! I'm really, really excited. Reading about childbirth is fun, but sitting in a room with other couples and having a cool lady teach about childbirth is even more fun! 

Speaking of baby, since I haven't officially announced it here yet....

We have a boy! The ultrasound from a couple weeks ago had a very clear shot, which is nice-my one reservation about finding out was "what if the ultrasound is wrong? That'd be a little awkward..." But, that didn't happen. We have a little boy, and we are thrilled :) 

In honor of 21 weeks gestation (so Baby is 19 weeks old already!), I'd like to do a special Pregnancy Edition of On the Bookshelf. I have been reading loads of books on childbirth, and I think it'd be nice to sort them out in one place. So, if you are interested in childbirth books, if you're curious to see what I've been reading, or if you have some recommendations, then come right along! 

Wednesday, February 3, 2016

Lent is almost here!!!! (try not to let it scare you)

Happy feast of St. Blaise! I got my throat blessed today, I'm going to spin later (I just found out that St. Blaise was tortured with carding combs, and is thus the patron saint of wool combers. So cool!), and we're only one week away from Lent. How epic is that? Lent used to fill me with terror, but now it is one of my favorite liturgical seasons. And, it's not too early to start preparing for it! In fact, I drew up my "Lenten plan" about a week ago, but today I started adding more stuff (we'll see if that lasts, God may have other plans). I love Lent!!! 

Tuesday, February 2, 2016

Let's Talk About Lindsey Stirling's New Book (which is awesome!!!)

Photo: Lindsey's website
Hello! I'm linking up with Tuesday Talk to discuss an awesome book that I just read. See, Lindsey Stirling just wrote a memoir, The Only Pirate at the Party. It is wonderful for many reasons. Actually, the book is epic, and you should just stop reading this blog and go read the book instead. But, if you don't feel like leaving the house to snatch up a copy of this memoir right now, I'll give you a little teaser. First, if you don't know who Lindsey Stirling is, I think a brief description is in order. She is a young woman, classically trained in the violin, who performs electronic music, dubstep music, and various covers (she has a Lord of the Rings medley! And a Les Miserables medley!) with her violin, often while dancing. She also creates extraordinary music videos. I have many "top favorite" videos and songs done by Lindsey Stirling, so I will just provide you with a couple of them right here: