1) Waiting on a job change
My season of waiting started at the beginning of this year. My company was struggling financially. We started seeing some changes: cuts in benefits, attrition, spending freezes.
I began praying to God asking what I should do. He told me to wait until the fall.
At first, it was easy to wait: I enjoy my job, love my company, and have a fantastic manager. As the year progressed and worse announcements were made, doubt grew and I started looking for new jobs.
Though logically, seeking a new job seemed like the right choice, I felt uneasy. It went beyond dissatisfaction with the available jobs or frustration when I was outright rejected for jobs I was qualified for; something was unsettling me.
After (finally) really listening to God, I realized I just needed to trust Him and wait. I stopped applying for jobs and turned down interviews. The logical part of me was panicking, but I knew this was the right thing to do.
1. Unplanned: The Dramatic True Story of a Former Planned Parenthood Leader’s Eye-Opening Journey across the Life Line
If you’ve already heard of her, Abby Johnson’s story can sound almost like a fairy-tale conversion: Pro-choice Abortion clinic worker becomes a Catholic Pro-Life Leader. Classic. But that story didn’t happen overnight; it unfolded moment by moment, in Abby’s very real, very human life. Unplanned takes you along for the ride, through the tension, the uncertainty, and the encounters that in hindsight, form a cohesive story, much like many of our own lives.
If you’re Pro-Life, a Feminist, or both – this book is one you need to read.
You can get the book here.
Warning: Some Wonder Woman movie spoilers below.
I know I’m a bit late to the game. A lot of the hype around Wonder Woman seems to have died down. But the mark of a good story is that it endures. It’s not just fun and new, but it’s also compelling because it speaks truths to us. It draws you back again and again, and it’s always relevant.
Just a little background and recap before I dive right in: Diana, princess and warrior of the Amazon women, has been training (and dreaming) for the day when she would fight Ares, the god of war. Ares has made it his mission to corrupt mankind, sowing discord and hatred. One day, an American soldier named Steve Trevor essentially crashlands off the coast of her home, bringing news of the Great War (World War I) that has been raging for the past several years. Diana realizes that this Great War must be the work of Ares, and she sets off with Steve, intent on defeating Ares once and for all.
Now, Diana has been raised by women her whole life. Not only that, she had never even met a man until Steve shows up. So when he brings her to London, to the war, it’s quite a culture shock for her – and not just because the clothing is different, or because she’s never tried ice cream before, or because people don’t carry swords. She is thrown into a society that is dominated by men. Dominated politically, yes, but in so many other subtle ways that even the most self-aware feminists are still trying to discern.
It’s a cold, gray morning and I’ve just put the baby down for his nap. I’m sitting in my favorite chair in the sunroom watching the rain fall and sipping the cup of coffee I’ve been thinking about since I woke up two hours ago. It’s quiet and peaceful, and I think for a moment about opening up my bible and praying. But before I know it, I’ve got my phone in hand as I scroll through my Instagram feed, curious about what I’ve missed since last night. This is the story of so many mornings, and although I hate to admit it, I’ve wasted far too many nap times in the last 7 months.
I am a 25 year-old stay-at-home mom living on a quiet 2 acre lot in the suburbs. Our sweet son arrived less than a year into our marriage and turned our world upside down (as new babies have a way of doing). Most of my close friends are unmarried and without kids, working normal 9-to-5 jobs and going out on the weekends; and although I graduated from college with them just two years ago, I feel more like a decade removed. I can’t remember the last time I went out to dinner with my girlfriends, or spent the afternoon in a cozy coffee shop with a good book. Despite that, however, I am living the life I always wanted as a young wife and mother, blazing a new trail that I am learning to navigate day by day. I chose a clear path right out of college that is transforming my heart as I am constantly refined by love. But, though I love my particular vocation, my life at 25 is not “the norm.”
For me, feeling connected to the “outside world” and staying in the know is important. I want to keep up with my friends who are living entirely different lifestyles than me. I want to be engaged in social discussions and aware of cultural trends and patterns. I want to feel connected to my peers who are living different vocations just as I want to feel connected to my few friends who are also young mothers.
In my experience, social media can often be that bridge. It feels relevant, current, new. It can make me feel less isolated and provides a level of interaction with other people that I can appreciate as someone who is chained to her house most of the day for consistent nap times—which, by the way, often means 5+ hours of alone time each day (a gift and a cross).
Outrage rang loudly through the internet with the announcement that the classic film “Ghostbusters” would be remade with all-female leads. While many of those complaints could be dismissed as sexist, there is a valid reason to complain when remakes put women in roles formerly held by men: it’s lazy writing at best, and more concerning, it is a huge disservice to women.
As Catholics, we know that men and women are distinct – and in certain ways, that makes us different. When we take a well-known movie and just switch out a man for a woman, we are acting like men and women are merely interchangeable. Rather than developing a strong female character based on the unique traits of women, we are acting as though there is nothing distinctive about being a woman. Though equal in dignity, men and women have different strengths, weaknesses, and traits that make them uniquely masculine or feminine. A strong female character should emphasize these gifts; she shouldn’t just be a pretty man.
When we take a well-known movie and just switch out a man for a woman, we are acting like men and women are merely interchangeable.
Though many movies fail to even pass the infamous feminist “Bechdel test” -let alone present strong female leads- there are also movies that present strong women who draw their strength from their femininity, not in spite of it. What do specifically feminine strengths look like? Inspired by these four Feminine Gifts scholars say were identified by Pope Saint John Paul II, I sought out movies that presented strong women – as women. Here’s what I found.
I could not believe my eyes when I sat on my bed, on a typical Saturday morning in Charlottesville, scrolling through my newsfeed on Facebook.
All that I saw were videos of protesters, carrying torches and marching in a line, down the lawn of the University of Virginia, my university, in the dead of night.
I knew that the Unite the Right white supremacist rally was going to take place in Emancipation Park later in the day, but I had no idea that this evil would be marching less than one mile away from my apartment in the dead of night.
I had no idea that this evil would be marching less than one mile away from my apartment in the dead of night.
The next twenty-four hours were spent on lockdown alone in my apartment, with my eyes glued to a livestream of the news on my laptop while all of Virginia was in a state of emergency. A white supremacy rally had turned into large scale riots, violence had out-broken between the supremacists and protesters, policemen were struggling to clear the crowd, and a car was driven by a white supremacist down a crowded street, killing a woman and injuring others. The places where I had the past three years laughing with my friends was full of carnage, evil, and terrorism.
The following day I walked straight into my university parish and asked the chaplain, “What happened and what now?”
I first heard the term “fast fashion” two years ago.
I took in the scene immediately: the quickly changing trends, the insatiable consumerism, the disregard for waste, the rock-bottom prices and consequent rock-bottom wages.
The phrase itself validated my lifelong sense of being a step behind the fashion curve. By the time I pondered a new trend long enough to decide whether I liked it, then decided whether it was worth a purchase, and THEN got around to actually shopping – the trend was stale, more often than not.
The phrase also convicted. How often have I bought an item, only to barely use it or find I didn’t like it as much when I got home?
I knew in a vague sense about the connection between fast fashion, sweatshops, and garment workers’ rights. I could name a brand or two that claimed to be ethically made.
But I was horrified to learn what I hadn’t known.