7 Quick Takes – Vol. 56: Goals, Giving, and School

— 1 —

Hello new school year! This week I road tripped out to school with my brother who will be a freshman here. It was lots of fun to see our beautiful country and rock out to a custom playlist :-)

With the new school year starting, I’m jumping back into my goal posts! I’ve been wanting to work constructively on improving parts of my life, so I divided my goals into five different categories. Welcome to my first goal post of the school year – I hope you’ll stick around for more and we can encourage each other!

Each “take” focuses on an aspect of my life. Since it’s nearly the end of August, these will be my goals until the end of September.

— 2 —

Category 1: Prayer

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After reading this article, I was kind of dumbstruck. Duh. Keep yourself focused, self! So my goal is to eventually increase prayer time by establishing routines. Why? Because it will help keep me focused on what is really important.

1. Find a morning offering to say each morning and/or a good devotional to start my day with

2. Find a night time examination of conscience to say before bed.

3. Sign up for adoration twice a week and start going.

4. Do the Stations of the Cross on Fridays.

— 3 —

Category 2: Fitness & Health

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Because let’s face it: Being in shape feels awesome. At this point in my life, I have no excuse to not be in shape and take care of my body. So, let’s do this!

1. Look for a 5k to do before Christmas.

2. Find two new healthy snacks to keep in my dorm room instead of traditional unhealthy ones

3. Work out three times a week, and find a consistent time that works. (Sub-goal? Get a new MP3 player and music!)

4. Since my commitments start at 9am M-F, set a consistent time to wake up.

— 4 —

Category 3: Academics

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“It’s easy to procrastinate” says the girl who stayed up past 3am to finish a paper due in mere hours. I did it twice. I am not proud of that. But am proud to say I’ve never had to pull an all-nighter! The fact is that I need to be responsible. My classes challenge me enough themselves, so I need to rise to the challenge and take advantage of the opportunities to learn.

1. Write down assignments in my planner when I find out about them.

2. Check planner everyday.

3. Buy a stock of post-it’s to put each assignment on, and write them down. Why? It’s fun to tear it up when it’s done!

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Category 4: Computer Usage

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Being away from technology makes me happy. So why do I compulsively check my email probably 25 times a day? It makes me wonder if people really can become addicted to the internet and social media. My usage has improved quite a bit after cutting back on Facebook time by sorting “friends” into lists. Now I check those instead of my general newsfeed. There’s always room to improve, so here goes!

1. Put my laptop on my desk, and only sit there to be on it (unless I am taking it out of the suite to work on it).

2. Gradually check emails less. By the end of September, be checking them three times a day.

3. Check Facebook only twice a day.

4. Go to my Google Alerts for news instead of social media. Add two new alerts.

— 6 —

Category 5: Reading & Writing

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We all have a lot to learn. I love reading, and it’s something I want to devote time to. Sharing my life and things I learn through writing my own pieces is a great way to develop my thoughts and connect with people. The goals?

1. Find 15 minutes a day to read a non-school book. Focus on one at a time.

2. Write one non-link-up post a week here or for Live Action News.

— 7 —

Have you read The Giver? I remember checking it out from the library a couple times, but never ended up reading it. The trailer looks really interesting, so I definitely want to see it!

 

What do you think? If you’ve read the book, would you recommend reading it before seeing the movie?

And to end these quick takes . . .

I know there’s a lot going on in the world right now, so please remember to pray for peace. Pray for strength for those who are being persecuted. Pray for everyone who is starting their school year too! And don’t forget: We are the Easter people, and alleluia is STILL our song.

For more Quick Takes, visit Conversion Diary!

To Life,

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P.P.S. Did you read about my new approach? Head over and tell me what you think!

Changing my approach

It’s been a long time since I’ve posted an opinion piece for Live Action News, or much of anything of the same genre over here. It’s not because my views have changed. No, I still am serving as president of Ravens Respect Life and had an internship with a life affirming medical pregnancy center this summer.

But it’s true that my view has evolved to some degree.

Looking back on my articles, I’ve written about how some people are kind of crazy, Planned Parenthood doesn’t follow the rules, Obama problems, doing the pro-life thing wrong, and medical standard being all sorts of crazy. While it’s good to be informed, and expose lies while holding the truth high as a torch for all to see, it is not good to do this at the expense of other people.

I don’t know that my writing has ever hurt anyone. It’s something I posted about constantly in the past – and I did notice quite a few people “de-friending” me. Was it because of my beliefs? With the sensitive subject matter, I wouldn’t be surprised. And while I still don’t shy away from confrontation and would be happy to talk about these issue with you anytime, the days of Facebook debates are over. They have been for a while, actually.

If you’ve ever participated in debates (because let’s face it, they’re not usually just a “discussion”) online about sensitive life issues, you know that rush of OWNING the conversation. You know when something is just so dumb, you have the perfect comeback that will have everyone and their mother rushing to find sunglasses because the light o’ truth is just that bright.

Um, wrong. Wrong answer. Please don’t do that.

I have. And I loved it. But it is no longer my approach.

Thinking about this more, I realize that there is no place for inflammatory language in this movement. I’m not a complete hippie, but isn’t love what this is all about? We love women so much that we have to show them that we deserve better than abortion and contraception. We love guys so much that we tell them to man up and take care of us women and stop abandoning their children. We love children so much that we will fight for their lives. We love abortion clinic workers so much that we want to expose the truth of their industry, and lead them to a better life.

But did you ever love someone so much that you shut up about your agenda for a second?

Think about it.

You don’t prove much by holding a sign and posting things on social media about “the abortion holocaust”. Whoohoo. You have hands to hold a sign, and you can copy and past links. Yay you! Well, not really. Did you talk with your family member who lost a baby to miscarriage? Did you offer sincere condolences when a loved one of a friend died? Are you praying for people who hate you? Did you give that homeless person a snack? Do you try to love all the people in your life, even if they disagree with you?

Newsflash: if we can’t love people without saying “But abortion!” “But you use contraception!” then we’re doing love wrong.

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Like Mother Teresa said:

“Each one of them is Jesus in disguise.”

Yup. Even people I disagree with. Even people who are mean. Because you know? I probably have been too. So I’m starting to approach this differently, and I’m starting now. I do want to live my life being that light – the person everyone knows will stand up for the truth. That’s important. I also want to be a person who others know will take you as you are and treat you with love and respect.

So I promise to not shove my burning torch of truth in your face, honestly.

Something Maya Angelou said seems appropriate here:

“People will forget what you said, people will forget what you did, but people will never forget how you made them feel.”

I want you to know in the fiber of your being, no matter who you are, no matter what you’ve done, no matter what you believe, that I believe in you. I believe you are capable of incredible things, and I believe you were made for greatness. My sincere hope is to communicate this better in the way I write.

I don’t want to write about how people are bad anymore. I want to inspire you. I want to use my life to show you how epic our calling to fearlessly pursue a higher purpose is.

This is what I’m doing today to start that. Will you join me?

To Life,

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No, Sam. I won’t stay with you.

The problem with many pop songs is that we listen to and sing them without thinking about what we’re saying. Let’s elaborate with a little story.

“Stay with me” (by Sam Smith” is a song that’s been on a LOT lately, and I have most certainly enjoyed singing it. Some of my favorite parts of the weeks I was still working were belting like crazy on the way home. Windows down, hair down, sunshine, and music blasting . . . much of the time it was country music, but I do listen to pop music. Except for the kind that makes me have a heart attack or is super graphic or gross.

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We were singing this song or talking about it at home here, and my brother was like “Um, did you know that song is about a one night stand?”

WHAT?

No.

I have been singing this song for weeks. How could I not know that?!?!?!

But it’s true. Apparently I never listened real well to the beginning of the song, because here’s what he says:

 

Guess it’s true, I’m not good at a one-night stand
But I still need love ’cause I’m just a man
These nights never seem to go to plan
I don’t want you to leave, will you hold my hand?

[Chorus:]
Oh, won’t you stay with me?
‘Cause you’re all I need
This ain’t love, it’s clear to see
But darling, stay with me

[Verse 2:]
Why am I so emotional?
No, it’s not a good look, gain some self-control
And deep down I know this never works
But you can lay with me so it doesn’t hurt

So basically he’s “just a man” which justifies the one night stand because he “still needs love”. He knows he needs self control, but we all know that never works, so why won’t the girl do him a darned favor and stay with him?

Let me tell you why:

Because smart women who value themselves don’t stay with losers who lack self control.

Of course, smart women shouldn’t get into that kind of a relationship in the first place. Nothing good comes out of one night stands, so it’s honestly quite pointless. We’re made for love, yes. We do need love. And one could argue that love is all we need.

But one night stands are not love. They are, much of the time, the result of drugs or alcohol and other things which inhibit our sense of good judgement.

So, Sam. You do need love. We all do. I would just suggest you start looking for it in other places.

And folks, I would suggest that you take a peek at the lyrics of some of your favorite songs before you start belting them. Just a warning before you start belting awkward lyrics at a stop light :-)

To Life,

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Body Wash: Hippie Style

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My latest hippie adventure has to do with body wash. I’ve been making it for quite some time, but ran out months ago and never made the effort to make more. Until now!

I don’t make body wash because regular stuff makes my skin super dry or because of certain chemicals I’m afraid of. The novelty of it is just fun, and I like making my own things. That’s partly why I’ve made my own laundry detergent too! Here’s how I do body wash:

1. Procure soap.

I don’t know what the name of this one is, but it’s my favorite! It’s Olay brand and comes in a yellowish-orange package with coconuts on it. Smells divine and is wonderfully moisturizing. You can get it for $1/bar, but could get lesser quality bars for cheaper (or this one with coupons).

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2. Grate or cut soap into small chunks.

This is surprisingly easy to do! I grate it until I get to the end then cut it up (see first picture up there) so I don’t grate my hand off.

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3. Add to pot with ~2 cups water, and turn up heat to medium.

Different bar soaps will come to a different consistency, and that’s been the hardest part. This particular bar comes out thin – kind of like a thin cream. Feel free to experiment with water amounts!

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4. Stir until soap chunks have disappeared, then let sit.

A whisk works nicely, but you can use any ol’ spoon. Or an oar. Whatever stirring agent you have lying around that won’t melt. Turn off the heat and let it sit for a while is what I read online, but I haven’t found the point behind that. I strained mine into a heat-proof bowl and let it cool so it wouldn’t melt my container.

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5. Viola! Prepare for storage & use.

I made 6 batches of this at one, so it made about 2.5 liters, or an orange juice container full, however you’d prefer to measure. Since it is somewhat thin, I put some in a spray bottle for regular use. If you want it thicker, I would suggest looking into different types of recipes with glycerin or castile soap.

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Sound super weird? I dare you to try it! This bar is moisturizing and smells heavenly, AND lasts a long time! If you’re into more au natural things, you can use a natural soap or whatever bar fits your preference. Let me know if you have questions or a different hippie project I could try out.

To Life,

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Life Lately

When I last posted, I was on a roll. My latest articles became some of my most popular – very quickly . . . and then I didn’t write for 10 days.

I’m not going to make excuses, because there wasn’t a conscious reason. It just kind of happens sometimes. So what’s been going on?

SFLA flew me out to D.C. for the kick-off training weekend for the Wilberforce Leadership Fellowship. It was rather impressive, and I’m honored to be counted among this year’s fellows. SFLA provides all kinds of resources to campus groups, which I did not know the depth of! It’s wonderful to see an organization committed to giving more than our hearts to the movement. They bring professionalism and best practices to the table, which I absolutely love. As part of the fellowship, they pair you with a mentor for the year, and I was matched with Peggy of Heartbeat International. It will be wonderful to learn from someone so closely involved with the pregnancy help movement!

10533734_10152479599545141_6387888710786783414_nOne of the speakers they brought in, Jeanneane Maxon of Americans United for Life, tweeted what she was doing, and a self-described “hard-core pro-abortion militant” replied asking if it was preschoolers for life meeting. SO! We took a pro-life selfie to share with her :-) She accepted that we are legitimate students.

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My internship with RealOptions comes to a close this week just as soon as I give my final presentation. It’s been a wonderful learning experience. I was responsible for researching data systems and will be presenting my case for support for the best program available. It was also wonderful to be able to shadow their clinic directors and talk with their campus outreach coordinator!

For a while I’ve been saying that my goal is to run a life-affirming pregnancy center, but more and more I keep coming in contact with the rising issue of unity within our movement. Almost every organization I’ve been involved with has had issues with unity, and it’s widely known that the pro-life movement in general has issues with this.

We have people who carry huge bloody signs outside clinics yelling “don’t kill your baby!!” and then people who refuse to do anything but pray. Having direct contact with this outside clinics makes the whole situation so real. And I’m confronted with the fact that our lack of unity stops us from doing the work we’re called to do. I firmly believe our movement needs a greater focus on best practices, with an increased number of professionals. We need to ask the question “What is the best proven and logical way to go about this?” not “Abortion is bad. What is the farthest I’ll go to stop it?”. As you can tell, there’s a whole post coming on this.

Otherwise?

I represented Benedictine while tabling at the NAPA Institute Conference. That was neat!

Books . . . I love you. It’s been so long since I’ve read this much and I can’t wait to share some On My Bookshelf posts about them!

Also, I made cinnamon rolls. Want to come have coffee?

Summer is coming to a close, and I’m looking ahead to the school year. Books are on their way (most expensive ones yet!), and we’re cooking up all sorts of plans for Ravens Respect Life! Time to enjoy time away with extended family, finish a few books, and soak up some sun before the trek back to Kansas.

Thanks for reading!

To Life,

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An open letter to Americans about kids

Did you see this article: “I’m Not Prejudiced, I Just Don’t Like 25% of Humanity”? In it, Haley talks about how (in general) America has become anti-child. People get mad if kids are disruptive in a restaurant. Crying on flights? How thoughtless of the small monster! And if they fail to be silent in Mass? Get. Out. Ya’ll just better stop raining on my parade.

Dear America: You can do better.

Thinking about it, it’s no surprise that people write things like the “26 Important Reminders Why Birth Control Exists” Haley linked to. Kids are just these little tasmanian devils that eat your money and steal your soul, not to mention your sleep. So it would make sense that people don’t like them.

I come from a big family, and I’ve been around big families my entire life. While I’m not a mom, I’ve cared for kids and grown up knowing that while kids can be hard, they are worth it. And doing all the reading I do now has only helped cement that belief.

So when I read that buzzfeed list of why to use birth control, I honestly had to laugh. It’s sad, yes, the comments people made on it. They are so afraid of kids that crayons on the wall bother them? What? I mean, look at that smiling face when kids say “I love you”. Menacing! Artwork on the car? Terrifying! Yes, there’s a limit to where kids should be allowed and how they should behave. But come on. Baby smiles are so precious, even if it’s because they just farted. Yes, I said that. Maybe kids will put oatmeal in their hair and spread bodily fluids all over their bed. Maybe they will scream and you can’t figure out why.

Maybe they will make other people uncomfortable, but that’s okay. We need to get uncomfortable.

We need to realize that while it’s not okay for kids to totally misbehave, we need to cut them some slack. Kids have so much pressure to be perfect. “Sit still” you hiss at them, or “Write your name perfectly 10 times”. Since when did we have so many crazy expectations for kids? Where are the days when kids roamed the neighborhood and made memories with friends? Some of my fondest childhood memories are of getting dirty in the mud in our backyard. We would play restaurant or re-decorate a recycled Christmas tree. I had the freedom to be creative. Yes, that did turn into a big mud fight that got on our house once. We had to clean that one up! My brothers tried to eat snails and worms too. Many of my dolls received haircuts, and my favorite blanket is in shreds. Childhood is just kind of messy.

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But so what?

It’s an absolute shame that when we see kids now, we see only what they take away from us. We have our perfect little sanitized life and if there’s an itty bitty dirty hand involved oh my landa would ya’ll get the Purell STAT?!?!

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What about if we stopped complaining so much, and talked more about how they enrich our families and communities? Tell me about the time the kids surprised you with breakfast in bed. The homemade cards. The messy baby kisses. Honestly, when I read the buzzfeed thing I was cracking up. The kids (for the most part) are being kids! They’re going to be messy. They are not always going to be quiet.

Shame on us if we can’t see the beauty in that.

If you don’t have experience with kids, I can see why you might be afraid of them. From my limited experience, I’ve gathered that it’s a lot of work. If you’ve never seen those precious baby smiles and the laughter of little kids filled with glee, completely oblivious to our messed up world, you’ve missed out on something. And I’m sorry you’ve only seen the bad parts.

But that is not a valid excuse. Just because you don’t have good experiences with kids doesn’t mean you can make sweeping generalizations about them. Hating kids doesn’t say anything about them, but it says a lot about you.

So take some time to get to know families, especially families who openly love their kids and will let you see a glimpse of family life. Help a mom out when she drops something with a baby on her hip. Anonymously pay for a family’s dinner when their kids are behaving. Make dinners. Babysit. Challenge yourself to see the good. Who knows?

You might just fall in love with baby smiles.

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What’s your take on this?

To Life,

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P.P.S. Please don’t get mad at me for giving excuses to parents who are failing to control their kids. That’s a whole different can of worms.

 

Summer Reading List

Hello again NAS ladies! It’s nice to be back with a quick summer post. We’re taking a break from this series for the most part over the summer, but here’s one for ya! Thanks Jen and Morgan for keeping the group alive and thriving.

Summer reading list: Do I have favorites and good recommendations? Oh. Yes. Did you ever do those summer reading things at the library where you got a free (usually lame) book if you read a certain number? I remember those! I also read 100 books just because I wanted to one summer – and I still have that list somewhere!

I love to read. I read mostly fiction when I was younger (Swiss Family Robinson was a favorite and so were those diary-type pioneer day books and the Borrowers). I would stay up into the wee hours of the morning just to finish one more page which turned into the entire book being read in one night.

I still love to read, but I now read a lot of non-fiction. I read a lot about my faith and this summer have been reading about leadership as well. Stories are still nice, but I’ve yet to find a fiction book I really like at this point in my life. Reading is how I learn a lot, so I tend to stick to books I can get something out of.

Without further ado, here are some books I’ve read or plan to read soon!

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1. Something Other Than God: How I Passionately Sought Happiness and Accidentally Found It

This is the story of Jennifer Fulwiler’s atheism to Catholicism conversion. It’s not a standard “Ooooo, I finally found Jesus and now I’m sooo happy!” kind of gig. It took her a long time to come to terms with standard misconceptions, and it was absolutely awesome to see her life be transformed from a high-earning techie to a Catholic mom. I easily finished it in a couple days because I enjoyed it so much, but will probably go back and re-read it sometime.

2.How to Win Friends and Influence People in the Digital Age

Mwahahaha! Here I come world ;-) Just kidding. Though this books sounds somewhat manipulative, it is one of the best books on leadership I’ve read. Seriously. You should read it even if you’re not planning on being a big leader because it has some great points on how to be a good person and friend. It’s a completely secular book, but it brings in principles that I found easily compatible with my faith.

3. St. Peter’s Bones: How the Relics of the First Pope Were Lost and Found . . . and Then Lost and Found Again

This one I’m still in the middle of, but it’s a really interesting historical look at ancient Christianity. An interesting short read!

4. Surprised by Truth: 11 Converts Give the Biblical and Historical Reasons for Becoming Catholic

This book sounded neat online, but when it came, it looked like an old book that might have been written on a typewriter. So I was wary as I started it, but it is SO GOOD! It’s the stories of various people who converted to Catholicism, many of them being Protestant ministers of some type beforehand. It’s so, so cool to see what led to their conversions. This one I highly recommend!

5. Worthy: See Yourself as God Does

I debated getting this book for a while after finding Amanda’s blog, and I’m glad I finally got it! Sometimes I find her writing style to be a little challenging to read, but this book was a great reminder. It had some awesome nuggets to highlight and underline!

6. Viability

This book is required reading for the Wilberforce Leadership Fellowship I was accepted into, and we’ll be discussing it this coming weekend at the training summit. It’s inspiring and thought provoking and begs the question: How viable are we making the life movement? What if it is going to be around for another decade? Have we set it up for the long haul? It asks the tough questions and addresses so many issues I witnessed firsthand. I highly recommend this book and guess what? It’s available as a free PDF with that ink!

For more books I’m planning on reading, check out that picture above! Do you have suggestions?

To Life,

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P.P.S. Most BOOK LINKS ARE AFFILIATE LINKS WHICH MEANS IF YOU BUY STUFF FROM MY LINKS AMAZON WILL GIVE A SMALL PORTION TO ME. THANK YOU!

Male Priests: Why aren’t we all special?

Welcome back to Talking Thursdays – the posts where I write about why the heck Catholics do the things we do!

This week the topic is: Women priests

 

You know how when Pope Francis was newer people were expecting him to approve abortion, gay marriage, birth control, aaaaand the all male priesthood? Huh. Funny thing: none of that happened.

I know. SHOCKER.

It’s not anything new that we hear: the Catholic Church hates and oppresses women because she doesn’t allow them to be priests. And to that I would respond:

Clearly an oppressed woman (because she couldn’t be a priest)

Young, pro-life, and . . . oppressed (because she can’t be a priest)

“Okay, cut it out, Laura.” you say “Those women just accepted the fact that being a Catholic woman means you’re lame and oppressed, so they don’t count.”

Mmmkay.

Let’s move on to why are there only male Catholic priests?

In short, we take it back to the Bible when Jesus gave us the priesthood. He told his apostles:

“Do this in memory of me”

So, they celebrated the Mass in memory of him. Then they passed on this special designation to other men all the way until today when we see the order of the priesthood established as it is. Now men can go through education at a seminary and eventually be ordained a priest after taking vows.

We can look at this further by seeing that “All men who, through the Sacrament of Holy Orders, have become priests (or bishops) participate in Christ’s priesthood. And they participate in it in a very special way: They act in persona Christi Capitis, in the person of Christ, the Head of His Body, the Church.”

Article 1577 in the Catechism of the Catholic Church tells us that:

“Only a baptized man validly receives sacred ordination. The Lord Jesus chose men to form the college of the twelve apostles, and the apostles did the same when they chose collaborators to succeed them in their ministry. The college of bishops, with whom the priests are united in the priesthood, makes the college of the twelve an ever-present and ever-active reality until Christ’s return. The Church recognizes herself to be bound by this choice made by the Lord himself. For this reason the ordination of women is not possible.”

So, that’s pretty much it. We don’t prohibit women from being priests because we hate women or want to hold women back. We’re exercising a deep trust in the choice Jesus himself made.

I could go on and on about gender roles and where women stand in the church, but I’ll save that for another post ;-) For now, may I suggest breaking open your own copy of the Catechism?Start discovering Catholicism like a boss and see what the Catholic Church really says.

Resources & Links for more reading:

Catechism of the Catholic Church (Hardcover)

Catechism of the Catholic Church (Paperback)

Why not women priests? The papal theologian explains

Renewal: How a New Generation of Faithful Priests and Bishops Is Revitalizing the Catholic Church

The Priest Is Not His Own

Happy learning! Feel free to contact me (or comment below) with questions I can research and put into a future post.

To Life,

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P.P.S. All book links are affiliate links which means if you buy stuff from my links Amazon will give a small portion to me. Thank you!

 

Bossy old white guys: why I’m Catholic

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I was homeschooled all the way from elementary school through high school. Now I go to a Catholic college. My faith has always been part of my identity, but I did not truly appreciate it until the past few years when I began reading about why I believe what I do. Thinking about the intricate details of Catholicism could now qualify as one of my pastimes, and I love talking about why I am Catholic.

I am not Catholic because it feels awesome to have old white guys bossing me around.

I am not Catholic because I am a bigot or homophobic.

I am not Catholic because I was raised that way.

I am not Catholic because I want to shame the rest of the world into being Catholic.

I am Catholic and follow the teachings of the church because I believe it is the one, true church Jesus Christ founded which has been given the gift of the truth.

“So.” you say “you’re okay with being bossed around and following archaic pedophile priests around like a dog on a leash?”

“Actually” I say “it sounds like perhaps you’ve heard some misconceptions about my faith. Pull up a seat and a cup of coffee and let’s talk about it!”

You see, just recently I happened upon this article by a young woman named Mia whom I would love to sit and chat with for a while. Why? Because her story makes me sad. She grew up going to Catholic schools, but wrote about her take on Catholicism which really concerns me. It’s all too common to see these stories of people who are Catholic but do not represent church teaching. Unfortunately, this is often due to a severe lack of our doctrine being represented in Catholic education. I want to do my part to dive into what the church really says.

Here are a few points that stood out to me:

She says: “Religion will always be imperfect, because HUMANS created it.” But Jesus started the Catholic Church when he transformed Peter into the first pope. He said “You are Peter, and on this rock I will build my church”. He handed him the keys to his kingdom, which was an ancient way of symbolizing that the master is entrusting his property to someone else while he was away. The pope is kind of like Jesus’ babysitter and with the tools Christ left us, we have carried on since then.

Mia talks about how the church needs to change saying: “So, yes, the Catholic Church needs reformation but it WILL ALWAYS need reformation. This is because the clergy caters to the needs of human parishioners and, being that our race is in a continual state of progression, so too must the Catholic Church.”

It’s absolutely true that the church must work to meet the needs of an ever-changing body of Christ. However, this does not mean that we have to change core teachings, which seems to be what she was hinting at. Changing times doesn’t mean the truth changes.

Next she says “Whether you are carrying a cross up to Calvary towards salvation or trying to traverse the Noble Eightfold Path to reach personal self-awakening, it doesn’t really matter. You are trying to better yourself; you are trying to prescribe meaning to the seemingly incidental nature of life. This can be achieved through Judaism, Islam, Atheism, Hinduism etc.”

Honestly, I’m not sure where this comes from. As a Catholic, it’s strange to hear this because it sounds very Protestant to me. You know, just accept Jesus as your savior and we’re all good, right? I absolutely love the Protestants I know, and have learned so much from them. This point is a major difference in our beliefs though. Jesus said that if we want to follow him to take up our cross and follow him. He didn’t say “be a good person and do whatever the heck you want to do”.

Imagine you were a football player. You’re an AWESOME player if you help score touch downs and win points for your team. You couldn’t be that great player if you didn’t follow the rules, and ran around like a crazy person with the ball. It’s just like the Catholic Church. Jesus gave us guidelines to follow to become the people he created us to be. He gave us referees to call the shots in our bishops and pope. If we don’t follow the rules, we’re not going to be very good at being Catholic. So, yes. It does matter how you climb the mountain.

There’s a lot more detail I could go into with Mia’s post with her note on gay marriage and more. That’s for another day, though!

All this to say, Mia’s story makes me sad because the way she addressed some things makes it obvious that she, like so many people, has a notion of what the church is that isn’t entirely accurate. (Soon to be Saint) Archbishop Fulton Sheen said that “There are not one hundred people in the United States who hate The Catholic Church, but there are millions who hate what they wrongly perceive the Catholic Church to be.” and that couldn’t be more true.

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Mia, and all those reading this: when you delve into the beauty of Catholicism, I promise you will find a deeper appreciation for our church than you ever expected to have (even when it comes to the gay marriage issue). Please, before claiming things about the church, do your due diligence and read what the church teaches, not what you think it says. You can read the Catechism of the Catholic Church here online, which is a great place to start looking at why the church says what she does.

My faith informs every aspect of who I am, and being Catholic gives me the freedom of knowing the truth. I follow what the church teaches because even if I don’t understand a certain teaching, I have faith that as I seek a deeper understanding, I will eventually see the truth behind it. It’s not something fluffy I do because it feels good. I am Catholic because it’s what I’ve examined and found obvious to be true.

Maybe you think differently? Did you agree with Mia? Tell me your story!

To Life,

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Books, Babies, Beliefs: blog swap with Bek!

Once upon a time Bek found my blog through Live Action and started commenting on almost every post. Naturally, I wondered who in the world this person is, so I checked out her blog and started commenting on almost every post (but she’s much better than me at that). We don’t really know how it started, but we’ve been exchanging long emails for months now. And when I say long, I mean we have beaten any previous record for email length which is sayin’ something. It has been so much fun talking about tons of things with a wonderful person who shares many of my passions and beliefs.

We decided to  do a blog swap, so we put together interview questions and both answered them all. Below are Bek’s answers, and mine are over on her blog! Please welcome Bek by commenting and visit her blog to check out my answers!

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1. Introduce yourself! What’s something you want these readers to know about you? What’s your favorite color? Favorite book? Favorite animal? Secret talent?

Hey! I’m Bek, and I’ve been blogging for just over 5 years {wow, I feel old!}. Laura’s readers should know that I am an avid reader of books and blogs, that I’m a WhoLockian {you’ll get it if you get it}, and that I love Jesus a whole lot. My favorite color is hot pink. My favorite book rotates frequently and I usually have at least 4 favorites at any one time {current fiction faves: “The Name of the Wind” by Patrick Rothfuss, “Code Name: Verity” by Elizabeth Wein, and “UnWind” by Neal Shusterman}. My favorite animal is one that I don’t have to clean up after, and I’m definitely a dog fan over cats. A secret talent that you readers may not know is that I can crochet. I’m working on the Doctor Who scarf right now, and if you have requests, please let me know!

2. Bek and Laura are both involved in the pro-life movement. How did that start for you?

My sophomore year of high school, I took a worldview class that studied in-depth abortion and proponents’ arguments, and I learned about the violence being done to babies and their mothers. During that class, I went to a Lou Engle conference and participated in some LIFE sieges. In college, I would wear their bracelets and put the tape on my college laptop. After graduating, I started volunteering at a local crisis pregnancy center. I can see myself directing a center in the future, and I know that the pro-life movement is making great strides for life! Some of my favorite organizations are Save the Storks, And Then There Were None, and Care Net {where I volunteer}.

3. If you could only eat one dessert for the rest of your life, what would it be?

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Ice cream, hands down. That has to include gelato, of course, because reasons. :) My favorite flavor of ice cream is choc chip cookie dough, and gelato is definitely hazelnut {tastes like Nutella!}.

4. Alright, break out the granola! Is there a hippie recipe or idea that you want to try but haven’t because you’re afraid of disaster/body odor/explosions?

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I’ve read of several different “make your own deodorant” recipes, but I am scared to go down that path, not gonna lie.

5. Bek and Laura have been learning about each other’s faith practices. What’s something you learned from the other person that surprised you?

I’ve been surprised by how tightly connected the Catholic community is! Making friends in different parishes, helping each other research theological questions, praying for one another – this is a fantastic community, and I never knew that!

6. If you could have a dinner party with any three guests, living or deceased, who would you invite?

Sir Winston Churchill, Benedict Cumberbatch, and Deborah, the judge from the Old Testament… and probably Jennifer Lawrence + Nicholas Hault, because she is my woman crush and he is my man crush…. I suck at limiting parties!

7. What is one of your favorite quotes?

Humorous: “I’m so happy I could scalp somebody” – Mark Twain, when his wife agreed to marry him
Inspirational: “Do one thing every day that scares you.” – Eleanor Roosevelt

8. If you could have a super power for a day, what would it be?

Probably flying, so I could go visit all my friends around the world really easily.

9. What’s something really hard you’ve done?

I did ballet for 15 years, and pointe was really, really hard. Also, sharing a room with all three of my sisters was an adventure that was difficult at the time.

10. What’s something you’ve learned recently?

I’ve recently learned that friendships can be strong even over email :) I’ve learned that it never hurts to ask. I’ve learned that Birdy’s albums are both incredible and can be listened to over and over.

11. If you had a choice, what would you want to be remembered for 250 years from now?

I’d want to be remembered for helping end abortion by offering practical solutions to crisis pregnancies.

12. What are some of your hopes & dreams for your future?

Just some? Okay, I’ll try and just share some: I want to live in a house with a wrap-around porch. I want to adopt children, both domestically and internationally. I want to see abortion outlawed in my nation and state {Washington state’s laws are stricter and older than Roe v. Wade}. I want to finish my doula certification and support laboring women have the birth they want. I want my future children to know and follow the Lord.

13. What would an awesome day consist of for you?

Sleeping in, reading, a chai latte, hanging with my friends and sisters, walking to the beach, a bonfire, and then no alarm set for the next morning!

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Bek is a 25-year-old Washingtonian who loves Jesus, family and friends, chai lattes, books, and blogging {obviously!}. She writes about her faith, her funny life stories, and the fantastic adventures of becoming a certified doula. When Bek is not blogging, she’s reading, watching Doctor Who, and thinking up alliterations for blog posts.

Thanks for swapping blogs, Bek! It’s been so fun to chat with you.

To Life,

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P.S. One last reminder to check out her blog!