I'm linking up with This Ain't the Lyceum to bring you seven quick takes from my world this week.
Our parish is using Symbolon as a video series to provide discussion for high school students, young adults, and even adult converts. We have been watching videos at our young adult group. While some of them seemed really elementary and like it was attempting to be another version of Fr. Barron's Catholicism series, it seems like the discussions about Catholic morality and love were much better, more in depth. Has anyone else used this series? I think it might be okay for a younger crowd or people who have no idea about the Catholic faith. It works for our group only because we discuss afterwards and go to a deeper level.
I've been trying to ease into the low-carb, high-protein diet this week without any real guidance to go on. So, I ordered yet another book on the topic of Why We Get Fat, which contained more recipes and practical suggestions. (I'll talk about the book by name once I read it and form an opinion.) I don't own a scale, so I can't tell you if I've lost weight this week. (That wasn't really the goal, even though my doctor has so lovingly told me to lose weight every time I've seen her this year...I'm a size 8-10 and put on a few pounds after our wedding, but all my clothes still fit. I'm not obese by any standard, and yet, these "friendly" reminders basically make me feel like crap.)
The goal with all of this is to find a way of eating in which I feel good generally, in which I step off the roller-coaster of blood sugar highs and lows, and in which I feel less lost in the world of the grocery store, the kitchen, eating out, etc. Just based on the reading I've done, I'm fairly confident that going carb-free or low-carb will accomplish this. I just need to do it correctly, or in a way that is sustainable. Right now I'm kind of shooting in the dark. If I lose weight, great. But, again, that's not the point.
I think for many women, weight is a constant struggle and battle. I'm short, so 5-10 pounds on me is noticeable, no matter if those pounds are coming or going. I was raised in a family that said women should be beautiful, but seen and not heard. I was also fat-shamed by my calorie-obsessed mother. Looking back, I was never fat. I was about the size I am now. It was the '90s. Wearing baggy flannel and grungy outfits didn't do anyone any favors. But, my mom has always treated us girls as if we were morbidly obese, mocking certain body parts specifically or chiding us for eating snacks, counting our every calorie for us with a huge dose of judgment. My parents are not overweight. To them, they'd rather be thin than healthy. Being "fat" is a moral judgment in their world, and women are more at fault than men if they're fat.
Needless to say, along with the way my body actually processes sugar, I have some psychological food issues to overcome too. I'm hopeful that this way of eating is the answer. Something I don't have to think about constantly, but a new normal.
The past several weeks at work have been so stressful that I am really really looking forward to the weekend.
~4~Stranger Danger Update.
I posted last week about an event I was going to that brought together Catholic women. So, I went. It was nice to meet everyone. We had a good time. While we all added each other on Facebook and other social media, I'm not yet sure if I have a "new best friend" out of the deal yet. I didn't have that 100% "click" with anyone there, but several moments of connection with several people that could be developed. I was the only married person there without children. There were some unmarried ladies with no children. It didn't make me feel too out of place. We all connected on just what God is doing in our lives, and how we fit into this culture while trying to live the faith. I was glad I went, even though it required putting myself out there, as all social situations do. Still taking applications for BFF.
So, I have discerned that my vocation is to be married. Maybe someday, I will add mother to that list, although I have one godchild and several nieces and nephews that I could be a "spiritual mother" to. However, I am discerning how best to use my gifts and where I am called. I want to be open, but sometimes I need God to write something in the sky before I pick up on what I'm supposed to do. My husband told me this week that the things I know I need to do that are pressing (such as clean out the study, organize the kitchen) is the place where I should start. If that is continually bothering me (and it is) as an unfinished piece of business, then I should start there and resolve it. In some senses, work in the home is never done, but the big projects that stress me out even to think about (ahem, guest bedroom closet)...that's where I should start. Then I will be more free to consider bigger calls or vocations. That guidance helped give me peace for this week.
I didn't meet my summer goals for finishing some projects, but I did make progress. Progress, not perfection, I remind myself. But, I hope to get my daily life and practical elements of it more under control. Right now, they are a constant source of stress (the morning routine, the commute, meal planning, mail, etc.) I think I mentally consider those things as "unimportant," but because I have not dealt with them properly, they are actually holding a place of more importance than they should because of the disproportional stress. Is this how being an adult is? Did everyone else learn how to clean, run a household, form a morning routine, etc., besides me? Or, is this all just because I'd rather be sleeping, reading a book, or doing a host of other things? God, help me in the little things.
I had two dreams this week that turned out to be prophetic, in the sense that I had a dream about a friend who turned out to be in need and called me the next day. Then I had a dream about a real life situation (not profound, but an unusual "situation") that ended up happening just as I had dreamed the very next day.
Maybe I'm getting a tad more sleep and can remember my dreams now. Maybe I'm listening to God more,... or maybe it was that cumin in the tacos.
I don't want to be a doomsday Negative Nelly, but it does seem as if this world is getting darker. Maybe I am just more aware of the darkness than before. Maybe I just see the darkness for what it is. I feel a deep concern for many loved ones - those who are seeking God, those who are interested in Catholicism, those who are openly living in sin for a multitude of reasons (some repentant/struggling and some not), those who may be in abusive relationships, those living in war zones or captivity...There is so much pain, and I feel called to pray.
I know that Christ is our answer. We must prefer him to all else. And, I know that only in the one, holy, Catholic, and apostolic Church is the fullness of God's grace available to us. The pain of disunity with our Christian brothers and sisters is so disheartening to me. And the absolute rejoicing and reveling in the culture of death and sin that our world is experiencing is so scary. It has gotten worse in my lifetime.
Catholics are often misunderstood and lumped into groups or labels that aren't quite accurate. We often agree with Evangelicals on certain moral issues, but usually based on very different reasoning. We sometimes overlap with one political party or another, but our view of the human person is comprehensive and incomparable to a political system. We are the universal Church. The universal salve to all that ails us. I wish more would seek the truth, and come home.
Lately, as more news or personal situations bother me on a deep level, I feel a call, not to start a debate, comment, or form an opinion...but a call to pray. Sincerely and deeply. These are deep wounds, and Christ is the answer. I know that he is my only hope, and I know that I found Him in the Catholic Church more assuredly than in any other place. I cannot separate Christ from his Church.
What about you? Do you feel this deep call to prayer as you look around the world?
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"Let them prefer nothing whatever to Christ." ~ St. Benedict