Tagged: Catholic

Miscellany

Since I missed last week’s Friday Quick Takes (and all the weeks prior for ages), I’m compiling my own list here, link up free.

I’m not trying to brag or anything… but you’re welcome.
Just kidding.
 
Here in Wisconsin it’s typical November weather… oops, I mean April. Right, it’s the same thing.
One day I’m running in shorts and a T-shirt, and the next I’m back to wearing my fleece tights to work (and bed, honestly).
 
On skirts.
I gave this a try a while ago, and I couldn’t do it.
But now, without any official announcement or decision, I am pants-free during the work week for three+ weeks. This is my the beginning of my fourth week.
I think I just did it, and kept doing it, and not having a goal to check in on actually helped. I just wore skirts. It was actually quite simple.
 
On the man.
We have both talked (repeatedly) about how to remain pure in our relationship. It’s… kind of… working.
OK, it’s not working as well as I want, but we have drawn some lines, and we haven’t crossed those lines, and we’re working on ways to avoid being close to those lines (meaning, we’re working on not putting our selves in a situation that would allow us to do things we don’t want to do).
We have been official (“I guess”) for a few days past three weeks, but it feels way longer. In a good way. And I’m glad I still feel this crazy attraction to him – I want to be with him and hold his hand as much as when we started dating (I know, it hasn’t been a long time at all), and I want to talk to him about everything in my life.
I’m still holding some things back, protecting my heart and working on trusting God with my future.
When I think about my past, I think about that story of the little girl whose father bought her the fake pearls. And she loves them so dearly that he buys her a real pair, but he doesn’t tell her that until he’s begged her to trust him with her fake set. I love that story. So beautiful.
And so true, it’s so hard to let go of something “OK” because… what if there isn’t anything better?
Oh, but there is. God is better.
 
On the 28 by 28.
May 3 is fishing (if it doesn’t rain).
May 10 is Latin Mass 1 of 10.
May 17 is the 10K.
June 20 is the hot air balloon ride.
So I’m slowly but surely getting there.
The man said he’d take dance classes with me. 🙂
 
On prayer.
In March, I started saying the St. Joseph novena, and I haven’t stopped. I love it.
I immediately roll out of bed in the morning and say it. I added the Guardian Angel prayer about a week ago. I love that, too.
At night, last week, I started saying the St. Michael the Archangel prayer before I go to bed. That’s great. I don’t have it memorized yet, but I’m working on it.
I also bought a little notebook to right my prayer intentions in and to take to Mass. It’s a cute little thing. I also stuff some of my saint cards in there.
How awesome was yesterday… 4 popes! Enough people have written about that. It was fantastic.
 
On money.
Lord, help me.
 
On charity.
Lord, help me.
 
On forgiveness.
Lord, help me.
 
God bless, y’all.

5 ways to carry Lent into Easter

Yes, you read that headline right. Carry LENT into EASTER.

But why? It’s a celebration! A Feast! Our Savior is Resurrected!
All true…
BUT.
Check out the Code of Canon Law for a second.
(OK, more than a second.)
Canon 1250: All Fridays through the year and the time of Lent are penitential days and times throughout the entire Church.
Canon 1251: Abstinence from eating meat or another food according to the prescriptions of the conference of bishops is to be observed on Fridays throughout the year unless they are solemnities; abstinence and fast are to be observed on Ash Wednesday and on the Friday of the Passion and Death of Our Lord Jesus Christ.
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So here are the strategies I use to keep Fridays penitential.

1. Avoid meat and going out on Fridays.

This used to be SO EASY when I was dating. Friday nights are now date nights (typically). Going out, regardless of what I’m eating, just doesn’t seem penitential at all. I mean, someone brings the food to me!

     If I do end up going out on a Friday night (or for lunch), I try to get a simple, cheap meal. A salad. No soda or drink. Just water.
     It’s nice to enjoy the company, instead of the meal (not that salads are bad!).
     And of course, no meat. I really got into the no-meat Fridays last year, and I love it. It’s nice to know that I just don’t eat meat on Fridays, and I don’t have to think of something to abstain from instead.
     If I stay home, I like to make a simple meal, and eat it without distractions… meaning, no reading, no cell phone while I’m eating. Just a simple meal at my dining room table.

2. Spend some extra time in prayer on Fridays, particularly at 3 p.m.

     After Divine Mercy Sunday (the Sunday after Resurrection Sunday), I like to re-add a chaplet to my day around 3 p.m. I can’t do it every day, and I can’t even do it every Friday… but I try extra hard on Fridays to at least say the Divine Mercy prayer at 3 p.m. This helps me remember, every Friday, that Christ died for MY sins.
     If you don’t have time for the prayer, don’t have it memorized, just say “Jesus, I trust in you!” Go for three times. 🙂

3. Go to daily Mass.

   I already try to go as often as possible. I’m lucky that my work schedule and the Mass schedule at my local parish works out.
     Starting a Friday morning with a Mass just makes the whole day go better (and really this works for any day).

4. Can’t make it to Mass? Liturgy of the Hours!

     Yes, the Divine Office. Say it. Say the morning prayers, say the vespers. Say them all. Say what you can.
     They’re online, I think there are apps for smartphones. I don’t know. This is something I want to start doing this Easter season (and ordinary time!).
     I don’t go to  Mass on Thursday mornings… my parish only has Liturgy of the Word with Communion. So I usually sleep in (if I can), and spend some time enjoying a cup of coffee before I go to work.
     So I plan to start saying the Divine Office on Thursdays. Well, I want to try.

5. Examination of conscience.

     I do the examen from the Jesuits every night, but Fridays are a great day to review the past week and see what keeps popping up.
     Lust? Greed? Worry? Fear? Am I getting hit with the same sins? Have I done what I planned to do to avoid those sins? To work on them? Fridays are a great review day, and new plans can start on Saturday.
     For example, I’ve been feeling very fearful about my financial situation the past few weeks. I got hit with double electric bills after moving, and the money was just a little bit short.
     But of course, God provided… through my mom. She gave me some cash when I helped her with her taxes, and I was able to buy some groceries. Praise God.
     So while I know I still need to budget my money, I know that God isn’t going to leave me starving. It will work out, if I use my money wisely.
     I recently started tithing a full 10 percent, and the first paycheck, it really hit me, but I can already see the blessings coming back to me. God provides.
Those are just some of the ways I do… or plan to make sure every Friday is a penitential Friday.
God bless.

Slow and steady

I am a runner.

I have worked really hard to be able to call myself that.

I am not the fastest runner or the longest-running runner, but I am a runner. I lace up my shoes and map my routes like the best of ’em.race bib 6
In return, I get a ridiculously-low resting heart rate and big calves (hills). My resting heart rate is so low that whenever I give blood, the tech asks me if anything is wrong with me. It’s quite funny to see their reaction when I say that I run… I don’t look like a runner (besides the calves). I look like I eat too many cookies and too much ice cream.
But I am also learning to be patient (Lent, anyone?) while I run. I know that I can’t make my watch (or GPS) go any faster. I can only go as fast as I can talk my legs (and brain) into running. The corner won’t come any closer to me. I have to RUN to it. And that hill won’t get any smaller by complaining or by walking up it.
Running is the only answer.

Slow and steady. Easy pace. Keep going. Don’t quit.

These are the mantras that run through my head as I run. I also turn around (just my head) sometimes and look at how far I’ve come. Wow. I impress myself.
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So, I know slow, I know how to move slow on a running route.
But when it comes to the men in my life… I don’t know how to go slow.
So another mantra I use, in the rest of my life, is:
“Wait for the Lord with courage; be stouthearted and wait for the Lord.”
Psalm 27:14

Last Thursday, the man in my life gave me a book.

It blew my mind. We had only gone on three dates – coffee to meet, dinner, dinner again – and he gave me a book.
A book, first of all, goes straight to my heart. I mean, you can’t buy a book without being thoughtful about the person you’re giving it to. You have to think about what they like, about who they are, about how they think.
When I saw it was a book, without knowing what book it was, he won my heart. Already!
Then I realized it was a book about Croatia! What?!
A travel book about Croatia…
let me give you some back story. His parents were both born in Croatia. He’s a first generation American, and he still goes to a Croatian Mass and is a member of a folk lore group.
When we met and he told me this, I was fascinated. He’s actually passionate about something.
So I asked him all sorts of questions about it when we met for the first time.
I gave him a hug when he gave me the book. One of those hugs where you don’t want to let go and just lay your head on his shoulder, right? One of those.
He told me later that he bought the book before we had gone out the second time.
He bought it after we had that awkward coffee date? Mind blown again. Wow.
I devoured most of the history and culture sections of the book the night he gave it to me. I am just amazed by the beauty of this country.
I am also amazed at my ability to put him and I there in a few years. Together. Married. Thinking about our kids back home, or having them with us.

WAIT. WHAT?

Married. Kids. A home. Vacation together.
Slow down, lady. What are you trying to do?
Just what I know how to do, go fast and ruin things.
In my last relationship, as I’ve shared before, I didn’t go slow. We slept together right away. We didn’t date. We didn’t get to know each other.
With Robert, I want to date. I like dating, I’ve found out after the last few weeks. I like talking to him on the phone. I like getting his “good morning” text message every day… or beating him to it.
I like thinking of date ideas and organizing our schedules. I like learning about his friends and talking about running plans. I like this. I like where we are right now.
For our most recent date, we were going into the restaurant and he reached in front of me to open the door and put his other hand on my back.
I don’t think I’ve ever felt like I did for those few seconds. I imagine that he’ll be the kind of guy that waits for me at the end of the pew so I can go through the Communion line in front of him.
THAT’S WHAT I THOUGHT OF. COMMUNION. Of going to Mass with him.
Not of how his hands would feel on my bare skin, but of Communion. I can’t really chastise myself for thinking about that, can I? He and I have talked about going to Mass together soon, probably after Easter.
I think that most of the time my head and heart are in the right place with this relationship, I know that he wants to take it slow to and see what happens.
But there are just some things, some moments that shoot me way ahead of where we are.

He asked me, yesterday morning, if I had read any more of the Croatia book.

I told him no, because I couldn’t afford to go and I didn’t want to get excited about a place I couldn’t go to for a while… AND I told him I felt like I was getting ahead of myself with “us.”
I think he knows what I mean.
We talked about a road trip I’m planning for myself in July. I told him I was thinking about inviting him but that it might not be a good idea.
It’s NOT a good idea for a lot of reasons:
1.  the car ride is six hours.
2. we’d be sharing a hotel room.
3. I don’t want to give up my goals for his goals.
I know that in my last relationship, I was so READY and willing to give up my goals to help with his goals.
I forgot about what I wanted to make sure he got what he wanted.
And while in a marriage, goals become “ours,” right now, I’m only a week into dating the man, and these need to stay my goals.
I’m going on a road trip in July, by myself, to see the Apostle Islands and to run a 10K. It’ll be great.
By myself.

So how am I going slowly?

I have to constantly remind myself that we are DATING. We are not engaged.
I remind myself to be STOUTHEARTED and to WAIT FOR THE LORD.
I still don’t know this man THAT WELL.
And I can enjoy this time. I get to learn more about him, I get to learn about his family and his past. I get to hold his hand and be happy when he texts me good morning.
It’s all new and happy and I want to enjoy it NOW instead of enjoying the FUTURE now.
I am also planning on weekends, sometimes, maybe once a month, that we don’t get together.
Planning retreats, more of my bucket list goals, going out with my friends.
Gardening.
Any advice on taking time to fall in love is much appreciated.
God bless.

On dating

If you’re been around this here blog for longer than a minute, you know about my previous attempt at a relationship that failed. If you want to re-live it, check out the post here.

If not, stay tuned for an update on my Catholic dating life.
First, let me tell you how I met this guy.
Online.

Shocking. Embarrassing. Crazy. Foolish.

Sure all of those things.
But also the only want I figured I could meet guys who were honestly Catholic … and in my age range. I love the old men I see at daily Mass, but they are not in my age range.
I thought online dating would be an OK way to find guys that fit my standards.
And after my last attempt at a relationship, I think it’s good to have standards. It’s good to know what I NEED a guy to have (be Catholic, be family orientated, be open to marriage and life), and it’s good to know what I’d LIKE a guy to have (college education, travel goals, limited debt or working on getting debt free).
The needs are non-negotiable. The likes are negotiable if the guy is good enough.

Contrary to what we like to tell ourselves, a lot of dating is superficial.

But that’s OK, too. We need to be physically attracted to our mates. It just makes sense.
So I set up an online dating profile on one of the free sites.
Which is scary itself. It’s free… what kind of guys are on it?
While, just like me. The guys that don’t think they should have to pay to meet people.
That’s where I was coming from, that’s how I look at it.
I screened potential candidates throughly. If they didn’t list their religion on their profile, I didn’t respond to a message they sent me.
If they answered one of the questions in a suspicious way, I wouldn’t return a message.
I also didn’t respond to people who called themselves Christian.

This may have been a too-high-standard, but I love being Catholic. I want to raise my kids Catholic.

I don’t want to have to pray for the conversion of my significant other’s soul for my whole life (or relationship like I did with my ex-boyfriend).
I know this can make a person very pious, and those prayers are heard.
BUT I want a family. A Catholic family, and so I want someone who has my back on those issues. (I’m looking at your Natural Family Planning and birth control.)
I also screened based on photos.
Guys can pick which photos they put on their profiles. Why would they choose photos of them half-naked in their bathroom? Why would they choose photos of them drunk?
I wanted photos of guys who looked like they were out doing things.
There are a surprising lot of selfies taken in cars. I don’t know why. I avoided those guys too.

How the guy answered questions was important as well.

Sex before marriage? No thanks.
Drugs? No way.
Smoking? Nope.
Why even bother? I want someone who is serious about dating to see if we’re right for marriage and then getting married.
After talking to a guy for about a week (well, texting), we met for coffee. I liked him!
He texted me the next day… and we met again for dinner Friday night.
He is all my NEEDS and LIKES: Catholic, family-orientated, open to marriage; college-educated, likes traveling, school’s getting paid for by employer).
While I haven’t gotten deep into all these topics with him, I know at least on the surface that we agree on these issues. The whole six years I was in my prior relationship, I knew that he and I didn’t not agree on these things. I thought I could pray it away. And I tried to.
News flash: it didn’t work.

So Friday night, you’re wondering, how did it go?

Well, first let me tell you that I was so nervous. And it’s not like me to get nervous. Yes, I’m shy, but I know how to handle myself in most situations.
I don’t know how to handle myself on dates because I never dated. It’s so weird. I have usually just “been in relationships.”
I thought about what I was going to wear for hours. I dreamed about the date. I didn’t stop thinking about the date.
…All things that aren’t that healthy.
But while I was doing that, I was also planning trips that I want to take, things I want to do, projects I need to finish up at home.
It’s like my whole life is re-starting right now. Which is weird.
I was also trolling dumb sites that profess how to snag a guy and have a successful second date and stressing myself out.
I can’t believe how many of those sites exist. It’s really startling to realize how much time we spend thinking about stuff like that.
I tired to put myself in the mindset that we’re just getting to know each other and see if we connect at all.
There’s already a physical connection there. No we didn’t kiss after we got coffee the prior weekend. But we hugged. Scandalous.

The date details

He made reservations for us. I was just blown away by this. Reservations.
And when he told me he made reservations the Thursday before the date, I freaked out a little bit. Reservations!? Yikes.
I honestly don’t even know if I’ve ever been to a restaurant with reservations…
So while I stressed about what I should wear, I really didn’t need to. The restaurant was pretty empty.
He was wearing jeans. Oh well. I had a summery dress on with a cardigan and boots. It’s not the worst thing to look nice.
So we ate. He told me he was a social liberal and fiscal conservative. What does that mean, I asked.
He said he was OK with gay marriage because he has gay friends.
Besides that being completely against Church teaching, I don’t really… care, honestly. Does that say more about me or him? I don’t know.
I agree with what the Church teaches: a marriage is a man and a woman united with Christ for life. It can’t be anything else.
But I also believe the government should be out of the “marriage game.” It makes a mockery of what should be a religious institution.

After eating, we went for a walk. It was nice out. It was nice to walk and talk.

We looped around somewhere, and then on the way back, we kissed.
After we kissed, he told me he had never kissed anyone before.
Part of me is thinking at that moment: OH NO! HE’S GOING TO BE ATTACHED TO ME FOREVER LIKE IN WEDDING CRASHERS.
The other part of me is thinking: Wow, that is so sweet. Here’s this nice, Catholic guy who does sweet things like hold doors and text me and ask nice questions and just act like a gentleman, and he’s never kissed anyone before? Wow. Lord, has he been waiting for me?
Those thoughts besides, we were not synced at all when we kissed. I don’t remember if my first kisses were like that, but I tried to help him out.
But really I just took the lead when I should have let him take the lead.
One time, we were kissing, and I reached up and grabbed his shirt. He jumped. Clear out jumped. I laughed.
I laughed a lot actually that night. He makes me want to laugh. I feel so light and happy when I’m around him.
I told him I wasn’t laughing at him. We kept kissing every block or so as we walked back to our cars. We started getting more synced.
It was great.
He walked me over to my car, where we kissed some more, just kissing, and then he asked to see me on Sunday.
Yes.

Sunday’s “date”

We talked on Saturday night (on the phone), and I asked him about abortion and birth control. Those are two issues that (among other things) came up in my last relationship.
He said he didn’t know.
OK. Then we just decided to see what we wanted to do on Sunday. It was nice having just “we’re going to do something” plans with him.
I called him after I dropped off one of my friends, around 4:30 and asked him to come over.
An hour later, he shows up at my apartment for the first time, and we leave for dinner. We eat, walk around my town for a while and go back to my apartment.
We were waiting for it to get dark so we could do some star gazing. Which I think is super romantic.
Anyway, we hung out on my couch for a while, reading my newspaper and talking. He met my cat which was nice.
We kissed a little bit, but not excessive. I don’t want it to get out of hand, and neither does he.
We went down to the lake. Looked at stars. Kissed a lot.
Found some constellations. Kissed some more. Then we went to the beach. It was nice there. So quiet.
Couldn’t really see stars because of the city lights. He started kissing me and I leaned back against a wall, and we just kept kissing… for a long time.

It was good.

He is a great kisser.
And the way we were angled, I could tell we were both… well. Turned on. So I pushed him a way a little bit and just laid my head on his chest. We were both breathing really hard.
I had no idea kissing could be like that. I told him, even though I wasn’t a virgin, I wanted to wait until I get married… and he wants to wait, too.
And he said he’d tell me if we move too fast. And he did. While I had my head on his chest, he said we should slow down a little bit.
Which is just great, that we’re on the same page.
I told him that we should end the night, and when he drove me home he couldn’t come inside again.

He still walked me to the door.

It was late, but I perused some blogs about chastity and dating, and I think I’m going to talk to him about it when we meet up next weekend.

I definitely don’t think we should be spending so much time kissing, even if it is just kissing. That doesn’t mean I think we should give it up entirely, but if we hug and kiss when we meet for the date, and then when we say goodbye, I think that will be OK.
On to more dating adventures… I’m not sure when we’re getting together again. He’s going to call this week. Can’t wait.
God bless.

Friday Quick Takes, on life

— 1 — 

I have fallen from posting on this blog again. I’m not here with this list to make any promises, either.
I just want you to know that I think about it… sometimes… and I think about posts to write… sometimes. Mostly I’m focusing on getting out of debt (student loans!) and checking off some of those things on my 28 by 28 list.

— 2 —

Lent has been going OK for me. I don’t know if I’m more patient or not.
I know I got super frustrated at work earlier this week, and now the coworker that frustrated was geared to is mostly not talking to me. I said ‘God bless you’ after he sneezed yesterday and he said ‘Sure.’ OK…
I have been keeping the meat free Friday fast, but I do that all year.
I get get to Mass on Monday morning. I need to get to confession soon.

— 3 —

This weekend one of my friends is hosting a ‘chat and chew’ cookie exchange. Except we’re not exchanging cookies. We’re just bringing 2 dozen to the nursing home in town and keeping 1 dozen for the party.
She’s setting me up with a guy there…which relates to my next Quick Take.

— 4 —

Tonight is my second date with someone new!
We met last weekend for coffee. It was great. Besides being awkward because we were just meeting, it went great. I’ve never done anything like this before, so I’m excited.
Tonight should be great, too. At least I hope.
He’s Catholic, and when we were setting the plans for dinner, he said the restaurant has an “extensive seafood selection” or something cute. It just makes me happy that he’s serious about his faith.
I don’t know if we’re going to keep dating or what, but it’s fun to be out there.

— 5 —

My car is going to the repair shop next Friday morning… $160 later I’ll have a new wheel hub bearing or something.
Also, yesterday when I was walking around my car I saw one of my tires was ridiciously low on air. I put the gage on it…. 7 PSI. I’m not joking. 7. They’re supposed to be at 30 or so. 7.
Jeez. No wonder I’ve been getting pretty poor gas mileage. I guess I need to be more diligent about checking them. The rest of the tires were in the low 20s, but 7.

— 6 —

Back to the date.
I’m both nervous and excited. I have no idea what I’m doing.
Before this, I’ve just kind of “fallen into” relationships and never dated. I know that I need to take this slow… but how?
I’ve had a friend tell me to just make it a conscious decision about everything involving the guy. Meaning, don’t text him constantly, don’t think about him constantly, don’t wait for him to text me.
Basically, keep the rest of my life full of things to do.
But I’m just so excited!

— 7 —

Lastly, a skirt update.
I haven’t been doing it like I wanted to. At best, I get 2 skirts a week.
As the weather warms up, I’m going to re-dedicate myself to this “cause,” and even start looking for more skirts. With my car repair bill and other stuff coming up, I can’t afford a wardrobe overhaul right now. Soon, though.
At least when it’s summer, I won’t have to worry about matching my tights to my skirt and boots or whatever.
Speaking of boots. I think this is the summer I’m finally going to buy a pair of cowboy boots. I’ve wanted a pair for a long time. Now’s the time to do it. If the budget works out.
 

Have a great weekend!
God bless.

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