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!

Maybe she isn’t transgender: tomboys and kids in America

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You’ve seen the stories: a little boy, born completely male, likes pink and Barbies. Upon questioning from his parents, they come to the revelation that he feels like a girl so they decide that he’s actually a girl. And viola! The child’s identity has been completely changed.

I recently read a story just like that. They’ve always kind of rubbed me the wrong way.

While I know it’s true that there are people who are hermaphrodites and are born tansgendered, these stories seem different. The child seems to prefer things stereotypical of the opposite gender, and that leads the parents to believe they are identifying the child as the wrong gender.

Recently I read this story about a woman who grew up loving football, playing with sticks, hunting with her dad, and desperately wanting to be a boy. In every sense of gender norms in America, she was the son her father never had, like she jokes about. She loved the things many boys do but “[h]ad they told me that liking these things made me a boy, I would have concluded that I was a boy.” And now she a happily married mom.

Reading this article helped me articulate something about these stories. It’s not the family’s struggles that bother me. I’m sure many of their struggles are real, and am not here to tell them they were wrong. What I do want to say is this:

If your child was born a girl and likes “boy things”, that does not mean she is a boy. If your child was born a boy and likes “girl things”, that does not mean he is a girl. It just means they are their own person with unique preferences that may or may not meet the expectations we assign to their gender.

It’s funny to me because America is all about smashing gender norms nowadays. But if a child seems to step outside what we judge as normal gender boundaries, BAM! They are obviously supposed to be the other gender.

Well, that just doesn’t make sense.

We want girls to be CEO’s, and for men to stop hating on women. We want the phrase “like a girl” to be more positive, and for us to identify bossy girls as future leaders. We want to stop playing Russian Roulette with our children’s lives by assigning them a gender at birth. Basically, we want girls to be just like guys and for them to do the same exact things.

How are we doing that if a girl who likes sticks is automatically considered a boy?

America, we are failing our daughters if liking fishing makes them boys. And we are failing our sons if liking the color pink instead of blue makes them girls. Like Lindsay wrote:

“They just let me be me. They let me be a girl who wore jeans more often than skirts. They let me play with slingshots rather than princess wands. They didn’t conclude that I was gay, or transgender. They didn’t put me in a box that would shape my future, at the expense of my own free will.”

That’s pretty powerful. If we want to stop kids from being bullied and judged for their gender identity, then stop labeling them. Let’s play with kids no matter what their preferences are. Stop telling them “liking sticks makes you a boy” or “liking pink makes you a girl”, because it doesn’t.  It’s what makes them the unique person they were created as.

What do you think?

To Life,

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7 Quick Takes – Vol. 55

Well hello folks! It’s been a while since I’ve done one of these! I was working on redesigning this space :-) Do you like it? Danielle and Mary were wonderful help getting it all together. Take a look around and welcome!

— 1 —

Summer is lovely. It’s my favorite time of year! I’ve been enjoying listening to the local Catholic radio station and country music on the way to/from work. It’s so fun to just jam on the way home with my hair down after a day of work. Bare feet, sunshine, ice cream, and so much more make summer so joyful :-)

— 2 —

It’s been so nice to have time to sleep enough and read. It’s really weird not being tired because I got used to it at school, but I’m definitely liking this! Recently I finished Something Other Than God: How I Passionately Sought Happiness and Accidentally Found It. It was so good that I finished it in 2 days. I highly recommend it for your summer list!

— 3 —

This. is. happening.

Chick-Fil-A Sauce - come to momma

— 4 —

I would also like to make this happen:

Hahahaha - who knows where to get giant googly eyes?

— 5 —

Looking for some cool Catholic stuff? Check out this site I found to get free holy cards!

— 6 —

I’ve been reading a lot about leadership, inspiring people, etc. lately and though this was rather poignant. It makes such a difference to just learn from people and not worry about getting your two cents in all the time.

Listen

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With more time lately, I’m planning to write more! There are all sorts of ideas brewing about hippie projects to try, open letters to people I disagree with, book reviews, an interview with Bek, and all sorts of stuff coming up! Let me know if you have any ideas too :-)

P.S. Did you see my recent response post? Share away! Have a happy weekend and for more Quick Takes, visit Conversion Diary!

Yes, you ARE beautiful

““You are beautiful, whether you know it or not.”

“We are all beautiful.”

“Everyone is beautiful to somebody.”

It’s cheerful stuff. It builds the self-esteem, makes people feel valued, and spreads joy and happiness across the internet.

It’s also b**ls**t.”

Have you seen this article making its waves around social media? I’ve seen lots of girls post it online saying things like “Read to the end. I think this is really important.” “Someone speaks the truth!” and things of that nature.

And I think it’s a bunch of baloney.

The author assumes that by “beautiful” we mean physically appealing. He says that the world owns the term and we need to let go of it – that it’s useless and only has to do with our physical make-up. By that judgement, people with tumors (like he said) and the guy making a weird face in the article would not be beautiful.

But I challenge that view.

Are you telling me that neither of these people are beautiful?

The definition of beautiful tells us that it means:  possessing qualities that give great pleasure or satisfaction to see, hear, think about, etc., excellent of its kind, wonderful; very pleasing or satisfying. It’s true that many people today use the term beautiful to indicate curb appeal. Yes, that’s dumb. And I agree with how the article ended:

“I want to tell you something, whoever you are. I don’t know if you’re beautiful, funny, smart, friendly, musical, caring, diligent, athletic, or anything else about you. All I know is this:

You are valuable.

You are important.

You are interesting.

You are worth loving.

So forget about “beautiful”. It’s become an ugly word anyway.”

But as I read the article and saw people talking about it online, I simply don’t agree with what they are saying: that telling someone they are beautiful is lame because it’s just saying how sexy they are or how visually appealing their body is.

Enter the document “The Feeling of Things, the Contemplation of Beauty“.

In this document I read for my Christian Moral Life class last semester, Pope Emeritus Benedict wrote about how beauty has something to do with pain. Plato explained the encounter with beauty as the “salutary emotional shock that makes man leave his shell and sparks his enthusiasm by attracting him to what is other than himself”.

Gosh, let that sink in. It makes me think about sunsets and the moment when you stare into the night sky and only stars stare back at you. When you’re holding a content baby and they just smile at you. When you see an athlete finally accomplish something amazing they had worked toward for a long time. When a person who has a handicap walks or does something society said they would never be able to do. You know what? Those are beautiful moments. And there is not another word that describes them so well.

Did any of those moments have to do with a visually appealing person?

Um, nope. Not really. Athletes are pretty sweaty. And babies give a tangible meaning to all types of bodily exports.

There are all kinds of situations and people who attract you to something bigger than yourself – to truth and beauty Himself. Some of those people might have bodily deformities (like the above pictures). Some of those people are normal people with bumps and lumps and pimples and freckles.

So yes. You are interesting and important and valuable and worth a whole lot. Really, you are. I could write a whole post on it (and sort of already did).

You have the ability connect your fellow human beings to something bigger than yourself – to pierce our hearts so deeply that we cannot help but be drawn to this deep sense of something awesome.

And that, my friends, is beautiful.

 

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We Bow Down

Welcome back to the “why do they do that?” series (known as Talking Thursdays) where I attempt to explain why the heck Catholics do some of the things we do. I do the research. You start the talking! Last week we talked about salvation through grace (not faith alone) and this week the topic is:

Adoration9osjx

So, what is this whole thing with adoration? Let’s start off with what it is: adoration is when the Blessed Sacrament is exposed and people come and “adore” Jesus in the real presence of the Holy Eucharist. Of course, this might not make sense to people who don’t believe in the real presence. But Jesus told us “this is my body . . . do this in memory of me” and we Catholics take that literally when we say that the Eucharist becomes Jesus’ body during the consecration of each Mass.

Adoration is when we go and just be with Jesus.

At college many girls will say they’re going on a date with Jesus. And guys will say it’s their “bro time”.

You know, you can sing and preach all you want, but those activities are not Jesus himself. You sing to Jesus or about him. You preach about him. But there is nothing in the world like adoration where you are actually with Jesus. How insane is that?!?! It makes me realize how much more we Catholics should take advantage of this opportunity. After all, there’s this saying:

Not to mention that the Eucharist is a constant reminder of Jesus’ love for us:

The Catechism of the Catholic Church says in paragraph 2268 that “Adoration is the first attitude of man acknowledging that he is a creature before his Creator. It exalts the greatness of the Lord who made us and the almighty power of the Savior who sets us free from evil. Adoration is homage of the spirit to the “King of Glory,” respectful silence in the presence of the “ever greater” God.”

So what do you do in adoration?

  • Pray (I know, shocker)
  • Stare at Jesus and be amazed at his awesomeness
  • Look at him on the alter under the cross and give thanks
  • Talk with him: unload whatever is going on in your life, he can take it
  • Read the Bible or other spiritual writings

Being in adoration is the most peaceful and content I have ever felt. It’s nice at school because we have a perpetual adoration chapel where Jesus is exposed 24/7 and adoration in one of the student chapels during the week.You know how it doesn’t matter what you do with your friends and the people you love, as long as you are together? That’s kind of like adoration. Just hanging out with Jesus.

Give it a try, won’t you?

Further Reading:

What Catholic Girls Are Like in the Chapel (Funny One!)

No Wonder They Call It the Real Presence: Lives Changed by Christ In Eucharistic Adoration

Eucharistic Adoration: Drawing Closer to Jesus By: Kathleen M. Carroll

A Prayer Book for Eucharistic Adoration

Praying In The Presence Of Our Lord: Prayers For Eucharistic Adoration

Eucharistic Adoration: Reflections in the Franciscan Tradition

 

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