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: 

Monday, March 20, 2017

The Great Library Adventure: A Journey Down NE 23rd Street!

When I first moved to Oklahoma City, I heard that Northeast 23rd street is not necessarily the best part of town. I have had a fairly grim image of that area of town and I've never made it over there.

Until now.

One of the aspects of The Great Library Adventure which I love is that I've been experiencing the different parts of Oklahoma City (and the surrounding towns). I love discovering the unique cultures, people, and environments that make this city. When I discovered that, on a 20+ mile stretch of NE 23rd street there are four libraries that can easily be accessed, I knew that I needed to make this journey.

Sunday, March 19, 2017

So I Saw "Beauty and the Beast"

Y'all have probably been hearing quite a bit of ruckus about the new Beauty and the Beast film. A while back, there was a fuss about how Disney was giving Belle a backstory and making her an inventor. I was pretty displeased about this-why does she need to be an inventor? She's perfectly fine the way she is! Most recently, there has been all the hype about Le Fou and how Disney is pushing a pro-gay agenda. When I heard about this, I was sad (why would they turn a sweet children's movie into something that's pushing their political agenda?), not at all surprised, and figured that it was mostly a load of hype.

When I read a review which said what the "explicit" content was, I rolled my eyes. So much hype over something that really doesn't seem very drastic. I lived in Kansas for 8ish years, where a lack of partners means that women dance together all the time. I have a photograph from my wedding reception of two of my male friends dancing together, because they're good friends and were being silly. There are other cultures where it's perfectly normal for the men to dance together while the women dance together. So, if you're concerned about your four-year-old seeing anything disturbingly "explicit" in the movie, I just want to reassure you that the director's implications will probably fly right over their heads, and that the content really isn't that disturbing (though I do think there are a couple eye-roll-worthy moments during the "Gaston" song, but there were in the animated film, too). 

Keeping this in mind, and thinking about how it's important, as a Catholic, to engage the good, true, and beautiful elements in the culture, I did not have any qualms about spending money to see it in theaters (but I do respect the decision of those people who do not wish to spend their money on this movie on a basis of principle). While I was spending a couple days with my family recently, my awesome dad agreed to babysit my son so my wonderful mom, my fabulous sister, and myself could have a girls' outing at the movies! So if any of you are interested in seeing a couple of my not-thoroughly-processed, not very-spoilery thoughts on Beauty and the Beast, read on. 

Thursday, March 16, 2017

This is Lent

We're a couple weeks into Lent, and it's very Lent-y over here. I think it's funny/ironic/rough/perfect that once Lent hits, every single year, there are always things that happen that make me go, Yes, it's Lent.

In fact, I in the past couple years I've started giving myself a fairly low bar when it comes to a Lenten plan, because I know that God always throws extra excitement my way--and I want to focus on how I can grow closer to Him, not on how miserable I can make myself. For me, this change in mentality has been extremely beneficial. 

Lent has been really peaceful so far, and even in the rough moments, it's been such a blessed and grace-filled experience. 

Wednesday, March 15, 2017

The Great Library Adventure: We Head Downtown!

I have been thoroughly enjoying The Great Library Adventure, and I am excited that I have been able to visit so many locations! Over the past couple months, I heard that the Downtown library was something grand to behold, and I could not believe that I had not visited it before, so I knew that I needed to visit.

Tuesday, March 14, 2017

The Great Library Adventure Continues: Visiting Del City, Warr Acres, & Bethany!

Happy Pi Day! 

I have been continuing my Great Library Adventure of visiting all of the libraries in the Oklahoma City Metropolitan Library System, and it's been quite lovely! You know how athletes will sometimes talk about "runner's high" after completing a run? Well, I'm pretty sure there's an equivalent for people who visit libraries. "Bookworm's high" would totally explain why I have been experiencing an adrenaline rush when walking up to many of these libraries. It could also explain why, the other night as I drove away from a library, I was singing "I LOVE THE LIBRARY! I LOVE THE LIBRARY!" at the top of my lungs. 

Anyways, please allow me to tell you about some of my latest travels across the Metropolitan Library System. So grab a piece of pie (if you're giving up sweets for Lent, quiche or a meat pie is totally acceptable) and join me! 

Sunday, March 12, 2017

Creating Community One Facebook Group at a Time: A Ministry for Pregnant Moms

Well over a year ago, I started noticing little references on Facebook about special groups for Catholic women who were pregnant. These groups, I learned, were organized by when women were due to give birth--and included such fun activities as "Tummy Tuesday," so everyone could compare baby bumps. I thought it sounded like a fun opportunity to bond with other Catholic women during pregnancy, so when I became pregnant, I joined one of these groups. It's been over a year now, and I am loving my "mom group" more and more. It's an incredibly diverse group of women (some work, some stay at home, some have tons of kids, some have one kid, etc.), and the care and concern that women have for each other is really beautiful (shout out to the ladies of May-June 2016 Catholic Moms! Y'all are the best!).

These Facebook groups are an awesome ministry that is largely operated by one awesome woman, Lauren Fluder. Today, I am so excited to share Lauren's work with all of you, and to learn more about how her ministry began. It is an awesome example of how God can use the smallest things-like making and operating a simple Facebook group-to bring about amazing community and fellowship.

Saturday, March 11, 2017

Nine Months of Adventures!

This week, my little guy turned nine months old! Time is flying by, and it is marvelous to see him change and develop more and more. I think that this stage, particularly from 8 months to now, is my favorite yet. It’s fascinating to see Peter’s personality develop and it’s awesome that he becomes engaged in whatever activity we’re doing—reading, playing, or “talking” to each other. Over the past couple weeks, I have really grown in my deep appreciation and gratitude that I can stay at home with him, because I have really been loving the time we spend together. Over the past few months, he's been growing (he now is 28 1/4 inches long and weighs 19 pounds, 6 ounces) and developing quite a bit. It's so exciting! 

Thursday, March 9, 2017

On the Bookshelf: Books, books, and more books

Friends! Hello! So, it's time for some discussion of literature. I've been meaning to update y'all about what I've been reading for days, but life has been full, blogging time has not come around that often, and our internet is lousy. Oh, and I keep reading books that I then decide I need to include in this post. SO, there's lots of books mentioned on this post. Some tear-jerking nonfiction, some unemotional nonfiction (unless you get emotional about rock gardening? I won't judge if you do!), and some fiction to round things out. Because there are just so many books here, and it would take me a long time to ramble about each one, I'm gonna keep my thoughts about them short and sweet. Anyways, let's talk literature! 

Wednesday, March 8, 2017

Lumiere, John Paul II, and the Meaning of Work

I love the animated Disney film, Beauty and the Beast. It’s a classic, fun, sweet story with a lively (book-loving!) heroine and a large cast of entertaining characters. When I was young, one of my favorite scenes occurred when the castle servants sing, dance, and present luscious dishes for Belle’s enjoyment. By the end of the scene, I would find myself inwardly singing right along with them: “Be our guest! Be our guest!” It was a happy and lighthearted part of the movie, and I enjoyed it immensely on a superficial level. It wasn’t until I began frequently singing this song with my son during our karaoke dance parties that the profundity of the lyrics really jumped out at me:

Monday, March 6, 2017

On Thursdays, We Bake Bread

During my last two years of college, Thursday evenings were dedicated to bread-baking. Since I would fast on bread and water during Fridays with my household (a group of women somewhat like a sorority)—and my husband would fast in solidarity with me—this routine of baking bread would provide our nourishment for Fridays. Not only was it an important ritual in the practical sense, but it became a soothing activity. A step back from classes and homework to knead dough and braid it into loaves. Yes, there were days when we would be pressed for time and crammed in time to make bread dough, but even when our kitchen was a flurry of flour and yeast as we scrambled to finish homework, make bread, and get sleep, there was still a certain peace that came with the baking process.

Recently, I realized how much I miss baking bread. 

Wednesday, March 1, 2017

A Few of My Favorite Things in Lent

 It’s Ash Wednesday, Lent has begun, and I am so excited!! I love Lent; this liturgical season of intense prayer and penance is an incredible time to meditate on Christ in the desert (Lk 4:1-13). Furthermore, we reflect on the sufferings, Passion, and death of the Lord. There are so many elements that I look forward to each year, and today, I’d like to share a few of my favorite Lenten devotions and resources with you!
This post is part of an occasional series where I discuss the
epicness of the Liturgical Year, and how
we can incorporate it into our daily lives.