Vocation Confirmation

I had an Epiphany through Pinterest that had nothing to do with lace doilies, spray paint, low calorie cheese cake, or wedding table runners (per se…).

Last year, Sr. Lisa challenged me to examine my vocation and I did… kind of. Tony called me on my bull you-know-what, correctly so. I spent the next while asking a lot of questions I never wanted to fully explore.

Yes.

Truth be told, I didn’t want to be a nun. I had just celebrated my six-monthaversary with my wonderful beau and I was looking forward to teaching my kids to swim and make perfect rice krispie treats. The best I could do in terms of openness to God’s will was, “I want to want to do God’s will.”

So I wrote this, which almost tore me in half. My beau proved his worth to me and told me he wanted me to follow God’s will, too. We’ve prayed, I’ve prayed, I’ve only really discussed it with him and my sisters for fear of over-thinking instead of over-praying.

I knew what I wanted (marriage) and I was 99% positive I knew God was calling me to marriage. I told God, many times (often in frustration), to just confirm it, already.

Continue reading at Ignitum Today.

A favor from YOU, please!

Hello friends! May I beg you for a favor?
A few months ago, I quietly shared that I am going back to school for a masters in elementary education. Woooohoooo!! 
So now for the favor. There is a (funny, but awesome) scholarship out there linked to how POPULAR I am and how COOL my friends are (that’s you!). The more clicks, the higher my chances of getting the scholarship and the higher the chances of me sneaking Christian messages into public classrooms. 
Yes, I will have a crucifix and prayer cards on my desk. If they let me.
Please click here and then click “sponsor me” to help me become a grade school teacher! Just by clicking on “sponsor me” you essentially vote for me to get this scholarship. That’s all! I appreciate your click!

I also appreciate you pinning this (click to pin), tweeting (click to tweet), Facebook posting, emailing, or ANYTHING you feel willing to do. Again, this costs NOTHING for you or your friends. It’s just about clicks!
God bless you!

UPDATE:

For more scholarships: I highly recommend Fastweb to anyone who is even *considering* going to school to register and check it out.

Awkwardly Tagging Myself

In my vlog the other day, I promised to get back in the swing of things on my blog. Having been out of the swing of things for so long, I’m playing catch up on things like tag-you’re-it blogging catalysts. Here’s one from Katie from NFP and Me and I’m hopping on this wagon!

The idea: 

  1. The first rule is to post these rules.
  2. Post a photo of yourself then write 11 things about you/your life. 
  3. Answer the questions for your set in the original post. 
  4. Create 11 new questions and tag people to answer them. 
  5. Go to their blog/twitter to tell them you have tagged them.
I’m the white girl in teal. So serious.
My facts:
  1. Boring, but way too true to skip: I have an extremely close family. My family is a collective best friend body and it freaks out anyone who sees us hold hands even after the Our Father ends.
  2. Yes, I belong to one of those hand holding parishes and I like it! Yes, I know that it’s not necessary, but you know what? Sometimes it’s nice to feel like a community with those kinds of things figuratively even though we are One Body in Christ literally.
  3. My mushy gushy parish provided the backdrop and method for me to meet my wonderful boyfriend. Before we dated, we had a great friendship wherein I felt a higher level of comfort than I’ve felt with ANYONE. Nuclear family comfort is different and they will always remain in that best friend spot in my heart, but my beau nuzzled perfectly into this huge heart cave that God made for him. How nice of him to think I’m pretty and to kiss me occasionally, too.
  4. I love IMAX movies. My dad is a teacher, so we got him to ourselves for “Daddy School” during the summers and IMAX movies remind me of fond times escaping the heat waves by dipping into the IMAX Dome for a little learnin’. I can’t wait until this IMAX movie on Jerusalem comes out.
  5. I went to Disney World as a 9-year-old and then returned with my family as a 20-year-old. It still felt magical, a decade later. Even though I know it’s expensive and probably a huge headache for parents of young kids, I still want to bring my kids to Disney World at some point.
  6. I laugh out loud every single time I watch an episode of Psych. More often than not, I have to pause the episode because I’m laughing so hard I can’t see what’s going on.
  7. I’m stealing Katie’s first point and confessing that I cannot wink. I blink. I don’t wink. Those muscles are very confused.
  8. My favorite book of the Old Testament is Esther and has been ever since I randomly opened to and read it as a tween. I suppose it didn’t register that she had to sleep with the king when she wasn’t married (which probably would have blown my mind since, at that time, I thought it was UNDERSTOOD that thou shalt not have sex before marriage). I just concentrated on how brave she was to stand up for her entire community of people when some mean guy (probably with a warty nose and parrot on his shoulder) was trying to hurt them. I am woman, hear me roar.
  9. I’m addicted to Pinterest. Need I say more?
  10. Two of my favorite TV shows are completely different than anything I have in my daily life: World’s Toughest Fixes and Holmes Inspection. Gosh, I love those shows.
  11. I have wanderlust, but I’m extremely frugal. I’m also a compulsive planner without a spontaneous bone in my body. Terrible combination if you ask me, but I think this is one of God’s tests.

Questions I must answer: 

  1. Weirdest class you’ve ever taken? I didn’t stray too far from the norm with my classes, so the best I can do is a film studies class. We watched some weirdos in there and one scene from a B movie in particular still haunts my dreams.
  2. If you could only eat 2 foods ever again what would they be? Peanut butter and lasagna. Not together.
  3. What’s your go-to belt it out in the car song? “September” by Earth, Wind & Fire
  4. What’s the most OCD thing you do? I do a lot of OCD things, but one is that I canNOT deal with a piece of paper folded imperfectly. One little wedge of paper hanging off the end and I’m a loon.
  5. Favorite high school memory? Our class won a big traditional contest as juniors. Go Red and Gold!
  6. Won’t you share your opinion on camping? Love it or hate it? Like it! I haven’t done it in a long time. My only hang up on it right now would be fear of snakes. Once I’m in the tent, I’m having a great time.
  7. Weirdest thing you’ve ever eaten? This is relative, but I’m sure I’ve had some questionable meats at a few Chinese restaurants. 
  8. E-reader or real book reader and why? I prefer real books, but I read most of my books with my e-reader because it’s portable and I spent a lot of money on it…
  9. Favorite TV show currently on? I think Holmes Inspection is still on and I just can’t get enough of that show. Many of the “dates” I spend with my boyfriend involve that cheeky Canadian handyman.
  10. What’s your favorite award you’ve won? I won a leadership award from my summer swimming league team and the coach who awarded it to me said it was because I “lead by example with [my] quiet confidence.” Can’t do better than that!
  11. What’s your claim to fame? I invented Post-it notes.

Questions YOU must answer:

  1. Dream job? Forget your practical side. What would you really want to do?
  2. Bikini or Biki-no? ;)
  3. What is a secret weird habit you have?
  4. What is your guilty pleasure movie?
  5. What is your guilty pleasure television show?
  6. What’s your favorite music genre? Be specific, don’t cop out.
  7. If you’re a Pinterestaholic, which kinds of things do you pin most of all?
  8. If you could change your middle name, what would you pick?
  9. Have you ever called in to a radio show and gotten through?
  10. Have you ever won a contest or giveaway? What did you win?
  11. What is your number one travel destination?
I laughed when I saw Katie tagged Pope Benedict and I’m looking forward to reading his contribution. For now I’m going to tag Christine (my sister), Hanna, Trista, Julie, Liesl, Melissa, and also the rest of #CathSorority.
Well, that was fun :)

Bodies and Bikinis

This week, Katie shared with us her post (after passing her big test, YAY!) defending bikinis. I would really love to hear more from the bikini defenders, so if you’re willing to add your voice, please email me!

Elizabeth, who blogs with her husband at The Spark and The Flame, has a contribution for the Bikini or Biki-no series. Please enjoy!
At times, when the topic of modesty comes up in discussion, it quickly becomes a debate over which gender bears the most responsibility. Should the most modest women walk around completely covered? Or, should the most honorable men walk around blind-folded? What about modesty for men? Should they be covered too? I think that this “responsibility debate” both dodges and underplays the real issue at hand, which is the intrinsic value of our bodies. 

Our bodies are intrinsically valuable because we are human persons. The value of our bodies does not come from ourselves or from others. The value of our bodies comes from our creator, in whose own image we are made. To deny the dignity of our body is to deny God. Our dignity is directly derived from God, and without God, there is no source for human dignity.


It is appropriate to consider the proper treatment of our bodies in light of this very fact. Because our bodies have such value, Karol Wojtyla tells us, “the role of … the means to an end determined by a different subject is contrary to the nature of a person.”


This means that the use of one person’s body by another for the purpose of pleasure or gain is contrary to the dignity of the person. We are told in Theology of the Body that the opposite of love is, in fact, not hate, but use. It is our responsibility not to encourage the use of our own body or that of another as a mere object. To do so is a profanation of the human body. Lust is the common name of that act of using the human body as an object.


What does it mean to use the body as an object? “Objectification” is defined (dictionary.com) as “to present as an object, especially of sight, touch, or other physical sense.” In this definition, the first emphasized sense is that of sight. I think one of the easiest and most clear means of presenting one’s body as an object occurs in situations in which that body is scantily clad. Scant clothing automatically sexualizes the body, and invites others, people you don’t even know, to use your body for pleasure. It makes the body into a tool for a purpose, a means to an end. Use is still use, even if it is visual rather than physical. Our bodies are too inherently dignified to be subjected to such a purpose. 
I love how deliciously cheesy this poster is.


Modesty is not about shame. It is not about being ashamed of our bodies, as if they should not be admirable. Modesty is about dignity and reverence. We are created in the image and likeness of God. Our bodies are so very admirable, that they cannot and should not be reduced to common usage as objects. When we clothe our bodies, we need to take this fact into consideration. Are we presenting our bodies in a way that conveys as well as engenders respect, or are we presenting our bodies as objects for use? 


Modesty is not about whose responsibility it is to cover up or not to look. Modesty is a recognition and a declaration of one’s own dignity; the sanctity of one’s own body.  The holiest part of the Jewish temple was always veiled, not because of shame, but because of reverence.  Likewise with our bodies, which we cover, not by reason of shame, but by reason of reverence.  Fulton Sheen called it “reverence for the mystery” and lamented its loss in the modern world.  To present the body in a bikini may risk unveiling what should be hidden and inviting for use and profanation that which should be reverenced.  

So what do you think? Has your position changed on the topic of bikinis?

Holmes is Home!

Katie Holmes is a Bright Maiden once again!

Barring any creeping skepticism about who signed her up to her new parish in New York City, her publicist or herself, we Bright Maidens are glad to once again see a sister in Christ return to His Church!

When I posted this article about Katie’s return to the Church, a few people spoke up and seemed to focus on the description of St. Francis Xavier in NYC, noting that the article mentioned it is “known for inclusive thinking and its welcoming of many gay and lesbian Catholics.”

St. Francis Xavier Catholic Church, NYC

The folks commenting on the Bright Maidens post had good intentions, I’m sure, as the Church teaches against people practicing gay and lesbian lifestyles. The Church does not, however, teach that same sex attraction is a myth. The Church teaches that there may be people with same sex attraction, but just as single people without same sex attraction should practice celibate, chaste lifestyles, so should those with same sex attraction.

As you can probably tell, I was slightly upset by some of the “too bad she picked the wrong church” comments because another BIG FAT teaching of the Church is to be loving and welcoming. If we look at the mission statement from St. Francis Xavier’s website instead of the interpretation from the HuffPo author, we read that the parish “strives to be a prophetic, welcoming community, inclusive witness to the presence of Christ Jesus in our midst.”

Uh, that sounds right to me. Of course, we could choose to read into this and believe the church also affirms same sex attraction-indulging lifestyles, which isn’t beneficial to the whole person trying to follow Christ. That would be wrong. However, it is correct to welcome everyone.

And I argue that jumping to the “well, yes, she joined the Church again, but she picked a liberal one,” is the exact wrong way to welcome anyone back.

Rant over. Carry on.

Glue Gun Ingenuity

I’m cheap.

I have a pair of shoes that fit me perfectly, don’t hurt my feet, and look great with almost anything. I am not a shoe girl, so when I find a pair like that, I have to hang onto them until they’re unsuitable for public use (often times, my mom or sisters have to tell me when this time comes).

Over the last year or so, I’ve noticed the heel of this gem pair of shoes has worn down at an angle due to my funny walking stride and it made me sad to think I might have to toss them. GLUE GUN TO THE RESCUE!!

This idea came to me while I was in line at the craft store, buying my very own glue gun. I have great plans for this glue gun, the first of which was a wreath for my beau’s front door. The Great Shoe Repair of 2012 is project number two.

It may be hard to see, but the dots in the middle of those heels are really the metal filling of the heel structure. Yikes!
It’s difficult to find an angle that adequately shows the worn down rubber (stuff) on the heel. But it’s about to get Elizafixed.
Squirt-ity-squirt squirt squirt the glue on the side with the most wear. Be careful of the heat!
I used an index card that turned out to be accidentally wise. I used the index card to flatten out the glue and hold it in place while it cooled, making sure to keep it level with the sole. The happy accident showed itself when I peeled off the index card (after cooling) and it left a little paper residue. I decided that was a GOOD thing because it gave it a little more friction for walking around.
A little black paint to match the original rubber (stuff) and some scissor trimming of the excess and it’s good as new! It makes SUCH a difference when I stand in these heels now. Before, I would have to concentrate on not letting my heels wobble, but now they stay planted.


Once again, it’s hard to see the difference explicitly, but “before” is on the right and “after is on the left. TA-DA!

Bikini or Biki-no, Door-to-Door

*1*
I wish this was my door

DING DONG

I have never liked door-to-door salesmen, evangelists, or folks pandering for donations. It’s not that I don’t want the product, the religion (but really, you can keep it. I have the Church, thanks), or to help the cause. I just don’t want my hyper-sensitive, people-pleasing, over-active empathizing gland to force me to do whatever it is they need me to buy, convert, or donate.

Today, I finally got something back after years of anxiety. One of these brave few taught me a lesson.

A nice guy came by my apartment on his way through my neighborhood, saying he worked to help inner-city, in-trouble kids train for and find jobs. The gentleman was well-dressed and amiable and my roommate and I enjoyed chatting with him, as we all found something in common (ah, gotta love the human condition!).

*2*

He threw me off when, after a few fun jovial exchanges between me and my roommate, he pointed down at my leg and said, “Is that real?!”

That was my reaction, too. Do people have fake leg muscles they glue to their quad bone like the chicken cutlets some women put in their bras? Not that I know of.

Is that real? Yes, of course it’s real!

“I run a lot,” I laughed. He spent at least a minute more talking about how I could probably kick his butt, how I should go to the Olympics, how I probably make boys cry, etc.

*3*
Strong woman… oh, never mind.

Throughout the rest of our chat with this man, he kept referencing my legs and let me tell you, I was regretting answering the door in my running shorts. They are about an inch above my fingertip length and, yes, they show off my growing runner legs.

I look like a strong woman in my new runner legs and it reminds me of when I was in competition shape. I love the way that feels.

*4*

Until some guy I don’t know points them out, continues to look at them, and talking about how I could crush inanimate objects between them.

*5*

While I can’t control his thoughts and it’s not my responsibility to control them, it brought my attention back to the Great Bikini Debate of 2012. Most people don’t voice thoughts like his out loud, in fact it was quite uncomfortable when I realized a self-identified 45-year-old man was studying my legs.

I think he had innocent intentions. The man wanted us to donate to his cause, so he needed something about which he could laugh with us. However, he made an awkward decision when he decided to talk about my legs.

*6*

We can presume (not EVERY man thinks this way, but there is evidence that most do — Jason Evert video and Young and Catholic’s anecdotal evidence) that men have thoughts about what is under the clothing we wear. Yes, it’s their responsibility to stop those thoughts from progressing.

*7*
This is a popular topic these days

However, had I chosen a pair of jeans, or even a pair of yoga pants (to address the tankini-covered belly vs. skin-covered belly issue), he would not have seen the distinction in my leg muscle. He would have seen that I was a strong, probable athlete, but not in such obvious detail.

Yoga covered legs wouldn’t have been as “in his face” as my bare legs. I doubt it would have occurred to him to mention them as a topic of awkward conversation with the young lady who answered the door on his door-to-door day.

I’d post pictures of my legs in shorts vs. yoga pants, but that would explicitly ignore my point (while potentially proving it).

In conclusion, yes, wear whatever you want to wear. But maybe we could consider what we’d hear if men spoke their thoughts instead of keeping them private. Perhaps we’d sooner want to wear more fabric.

Monday after Mass, Vol 1

Two little blurbs about my Sabbath Day happenings from yesterday:

I got to go back with the kids during Children’s Liturgy of the Word and a girl (who looks EXACTLY like I did as a child) from the CCD class I taught last year ran up to me, put her hand in mine, looked up to me, and said, “I missed you!”

Not my hand, but very sweet

PLUS I went to a second Mass on Sunday afternoon to honor a very *mature* priest who was the campus minister when my parents were in college. He pointed out that everyone needs to stop complaining about the state of their parish and DO SOMETHING ABOUT IT. I LOVE that he was holding all of us accountable.

Resurrection of Our Lord Catholic Church, Saint Louis, MO

I just like that altar backdrop… What cool things did you witness at Mass yesterday?

Follow the Breadcrumbs to the Exciting News

Click to visit Conversion Diary.
*1*

I’m going to give you some clues for the exciting news I introduced a little while ago.

This is the Internet, of course you can just scroll down to the bottom to see the surprise, but what’s the fun in that? Pretend you just received this in a ridiculously long chain email that tells you to avoid scrolling down to the bottom for risk of erasing your happy destiny.

I’ll alternate between clues and non-clues.

*2*

Non-related, non-clue:

A friend posted this great collection of 15 Things You Should Give Up To Be Happy. Among the are some of my worst vices, including: Give up your need to always be right, give up your need for control, give up your self-defeating self-talk, give up the luxury of criticism, and give up living your life to other people’s expectations.

Okay, now to implement…

*3*

Clue:

*4*

Non-related, non-clue:

Andrew and Cristina may be my favorite heroes-whom-I’ve-never-met. They allow the Holy Spirit to RADIATE from them, and all I have to judge that is their blog and a few emails we have exchanged. It is just so clear that God has placed them on an incredible path and they are so willing to let Him guide them through it.

They need our help! Read about it here. All it takes is a few clicks of your mouse and a vote.

Considering they’re spending a lot more money than the young couple expected to spend in their first year of marriage due to an intense surgery to correct their in utero daughter’s spina bifida, they could also use your donations. If you are able to donate and/or you feel called to donate, please visit here.

*5*

Clue:

Can you guess?

*6*

Non-related, non-clue:

The Bikini or Biki-no discussion is heating up. I’m hoping to read a full post or two from the folks who take a more pro-bikini (more accurately, but less succinctly described as “not against bikinis/raising the issue that the modesty talks don’t seem to apply to men/to each her own”) folks. If you haven’t read the contributions thus far, here’s your chance to catch up:

Bikini or Biki-no? Part 1 – The intro. Here you learn how the whole discussion began and we get @Palaminko’s voice on why he would request (if he could) that women avoid wearing bikinis.


Bikini or Biki-no? Part 2 – Chase chimes in and points out protecting the feminine genius doesn’t mean dressing like a nun.


Bikini or Biki-no? Part 3 – I take a whack at it. My opinion shifts often on this topic. Here I take a look at why the bikini option seem so appealing, yet why that also shows me why I should probably avoid them.


Bikini or Biki-no? Part 4 – A Father and Husband’s POV – Val wrote an email to me (just as you are welcome to do) and explained his aversion to bikinis on the women in his life, namely his wife and daughters. As my dad said, “He makes good points!”

So far, the non-bikini-wearers have the loudest voice, measured by number of people commenting for this “camp” of opinions. I would really love to hear from someone who sees a lot of good in bikinis or would like to explain, in a post, why bikinis are a good option.

This has been a great discussion thus far. If you’re game, I’d like to continue it.

*7*

Did you guess?

Will they have nap time in grad school? You know. For practice.

Drum roll…I’m going to grad school! I got accepted into a masters program for elementary education!

In about a year and a half I will be certified to teach elementary schoolers! (note, schooler is not a real word. I suppose I’ll have to stop being so colloquial so I can put sum guud learnin’ on da kids)

I’m so grateful to my family, my wonderful boyfriend, my elementary school teachers, the first graders I taught last year, and GOD for helping me discover this calling! I can’t wait to begin this journey!

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