It's a Love Story: Tobit Bible Study Day 6

Tobit Love Story

From Heart of Mary Women’s Fellowship:

It’s good to have expectations and standards when it comes to dating, but don’t demand more than what your significant other can give. Don’t try to push things too far just because you want intimacy or marriage. Be relaxed and give the person you’re dating the benefit of the doubt. And don’t be too disappointed when things don’t work out because it means that there’s a good chance the next guy you date will be better. 

Read the rest here!

Match Made In Heaven: Tobit Bible Study Day 5

tobit match made in heaven

From Heart of Mary Women’s Fellowship:

In these days when we can find a date with the quickness of a swipe or a tap or a click, it seems like finding a genuine relationship is next to impossible. I think we can relate to the fear that Tobias has about entering into marriage with Sarah. Although most of us aren’t exactly afraid of dying on our wedding night, we always carry a small fear whenever we enter into a new relationship that something will go wrong. This can often lead to us sabotaging ourselves without even realizing it.

Read the rest here!

Angels Anonymous/Catch and Release: Tobit Bible Study Day 4

tobit day 4

From Heart of Mary Women’s Fellowship:

Raphael poses as a distant relative of Tobit’s family and offers to be Tobias’s traveling companion since he knows the way to get to Media. Tobit is more assured that Tobias will be safe, knowing that he’s traveling with someone the family can trust. The name that Raphael assumes, Azariah, means “God has helped,” which means that Sarah and Tobit will end up being saved, but not in the way that they expected.

Read the rest here!

 

But wait! There’s more!

 

catch and release

 

 

Check out Part 2 of today’s reflections here!

To Thine Own Self Be True: Tobit Bible Study Day 3

tobit day 3

 

From Heart of Mary Women’s Fellowship:

And so the journey is about to begin for Tobias. One interesting thing about my favorite movies is that things start out badly for the heroes, but when they begin the journey to try and change the bad situation, there’s that first glimmer of hope that tells everyone that things are gonna start to get better.

But before the hero begins the journey, the mentor gives him advice for the road ahead. In The Wizard of Oz, Dorothy is told to follow the yellow brick road. In Star Wars, Luke learns how to use the Force. For Tobias, his father gives him advice that isn’t just about the journey but about life as a whole.

Read the rest here!

 

Going Dark With Despair and Death Wishes: Tobit Bible Study Day 2

tobit day 2 part 1

From Heart of Mary Women’s Fellowship:

It’s the same question asked time and time again: “Why do bad things happen to good people?” This question is often called “The Problem of Evil.” It’s one thing when you get sick with a cold or you break a bone. But how do you make sense of the suffering that happens in the world? 

There are no easy answers, but I give my two cents on “The Problem of Evil” here.

Tobit day 2 part 2

Part two dives deeper into the darkness and despair.

This isn’t an easy thing to talk about, sisters in Christ. You probably know someone who has gone through this kind of despair or have experienced this yourself. The first thing to do when you or someone you know feel like drowning is to call for help. 

Read more here.

And by the way, if you or someone you know is contemplating suicide, check out this list of hotlines. Call any of those numbers. Call a friend. But please remember: YOU ARE NOT ALONE

 

 

Seven Quick Takes on The March For Life

7_quick_takes_sm1

In case you haven’t heard, a serious winter storm advisory has been put out throughout the DC Metropolitan area. In spite of that, the March For Life is still going to happen. I know that I haven’t lived in the Mid-Atlantic for over a decade, but I hope that everyone who’s in the Washington DC area stays safe! So for my Seven Quick Takes, I want to look into the March For Life and the Pro-Life movement in general.

 

— 1 —

Many people are cautioning people to think before travelling to the DC area. Deacon Greg Kandra and Joe Grabowski give their two cents on why it’s better to be safe than frozen and sorry. Granted, I only marched at a Pro-Life rally once. And it was during a time when it was seriously hot in Houston. While I applaud those who are going, I don’t want anyone getting hurt or injured in the name of the unborn.

That being said, for those who are already in the DC area, my prayers are going out to you. 

I expect to see a lot of this going around:

Or this:

brace yourselves

— 2 —

So for those who aren’t going to DC or a March for Life in general, what the heck can we at home do? Marge Fenelon and other Catholics are promoting #FastFriday. Taking on an old Catholic tradition, be willing to fast in some way in solidarity with the unborn and those marching for life this weekend. If you have dietary issues like me, figure out a way to fast if you seriously feel like you can’t go one day without meat. You can fast from snacking or from sweets. Other things you can fast from today include, but aren’t limited to: texting, social media, Pinterest, television, gossiping, pornography, smoking, talking about politics, etc. For more ideas on what to fast on, check out this post! (It’s also a great thing to read if you want to get a head start on figuring out your Lenten resolution. Remember, y’all, Lent’s coming early this year!)

— 3 —

If you want to know what kind of prayers you can pray for today in particular, Divine Office has a list of prayer intentions for all the mysteries of the Rosary. Have a bit of reluctance when it comes to praying the Rosary? Read up on 10 Ways You Can Pray The Rosary from my archives! Other prayers you can offer is the Angelus, usually prayed at noon, or the Chaplet of Divine Mercy, usually prayed at 3PM. I highly suggest praying throughout the day. 1 Thessalonians 5:17 says “Pray without ceasing.” This website lists off a lot of good short prayers, but remember, don’t rush through them. Pray with your heart as well as with your mind and lips.

— 4 —

Being pro-life isn’t just a thing for old, Republican white men. LifeTeen has a funny guide on How to Be Bro-Life on Youtube targeted towards young men:

Fellow brothers in Christ, be more involved in the Pro-Life movement!

Same goes for teenagers and young adults: Check out the Prolife Youth website.

— 5 —

Never overlook opportunities to evangelize. Check out this article from Aleteia which shows someone having a pro-life conversation with someone who is decisively pro-choice. The ending might surprise you.

Speaking of surprises, check out these videos from a pro-life feminist YouTube channel called Consistently Quirky. These ladies are not your typical pro-lifers–their crazy hair being the first indicator! There’s also an interview on Aleteia with the president of Feminists for Life.

So yes, there is such a thing as a pro-life feminist. We seriously need to redefine what feminism means. I hope being pro-life can be one step in changing that definition.

— 6 —

Don’t forget to reach out to those who have suffered from the trauma of abortion. I’m not just talking about the abortion survivors like Claire Culwell. I’m talking about the women who had abortions and the families who suffered the aftermath of it. Lysa Terkurst recently opened up about her own abortion on her website. I also have a friend who has a blog dedicated to the siblings of aborted children called Surviving Sibling which I highly recommend you check out. Finally, if you or someone you know used to work in the abortion industry or is seriously considering leaving said industry, check out And Then There Were None. It’s a nonprofit founded by former abortion leader Abby Johnson.

— 7 —

While I was gathering stories for this post, I saw that while #MarchForLife is trending, some pro-choice hashtags are also trending such as #Roe43 and #reclaimroe. If you’re not going to fast from social media today, make #whywemarch a trending hashtag. Post on Instagram and Facebook about why you’re pro-life. However, I would caution against using graphic abortion images. Read this article from Simca Fischer to find out why.

#ThrowbackThursday: Has It REALLY Been 10 Years, High School Musical?

HighSchoolMusical_Jewel

I’m pretty sure that at 26, I’m probably too young to be saying this but…I’m getting old! There is no way that High School Musical happened ten years ago. Granted, I started college by the time the third movie came out, but it doesn’t feel like High School Musical came out ten years ago.

I mean, ten years ago, I was 16 years old. And I loved this musical. I had no idea that it would be the sensation that everyone would either love or hate. By the time I got to college, I stopped talking about it. Nowadays, I consider it (and the sequels) to be guilty pleasures. I occasionally listen to the songs and watching the 10th Anniversary Special last night made me feel majorly nostalgic.

It’s hard to believe that it’s been 10 years,though. 10 years ago, I was still in California, blissfully unaware that over the summer I would end up living in an entirely different state. I had my first kiss at 16. I still have the shirt I wore back then and yes, it still fits.

Even though nostalgia has become a major trend, hindsight reminds me that my past wasn’t all rainbows and puppies. While I remember being kissed at 16, I’d rather forget the guy who kissed me! I never thought, at 16, that I would be living in Texas and still trying to make a name for myself through my writing.

In reality, high school is not as fun or musical as TV likes to make it look. It’s less like High School Musical or Glee and more like The Hunger Games.  I was somewhat popular in my high school because I did the morning announcements. I had a boyfriend. Sort of. But I wasn’t as happy as you’d think. By the time I got to my senior year, I felt less like High School Musical and more like this song by Paramore:

I didn’t realize it at the time, but the thing I was missing most was God and the richness of my Catholic faith. When I became part of the community at the University of St. Thomas, God slowly came back into my life. I discovered Adoration, Daily Mass, remembered how to pray the Rosary again, and went to Confession more often. I eventually broke up with my high school boyfriend after being on and off for about 3 years and found better things to love.

In this stage of my life, I often get frustrated when I see my friends and relatives getting married, having babies, living on their own, while I’m seemingly stuck in the same place that I’ve been ever since I got out of college. But I have to remind myself that the only person I can compare myself to is myself. Am I better than the person I was yesterday? If the answer is yes, then I made progress.

Am I a better person than I was 10 years ago?

Most definitely. I no longer want the guy who gave me my first kiss. I’m a much better writer than I was back then. I have somewhat better taste in music and in musicals. But more importantly, I’ve allowed God to be part of my life. I’m honestly happier than I was at 16 because even though I don’t have all the status symbols that people associate with success, the interior change that I’ve gone through is much more significant.

But for old time’s sake, I’m just gonna yell this one more time…

WHAT TEAM?

WILDCATS!

WHAT TEAM?

WILDCATS!

WHAT TEAM?

WILDCATS!

WILDCATS!

GET’CHA HEAD IN THE GAME!

Picture copyright to Disney and is used for editorial purposes only.

An Open Letter To Rowan Blanchard

Rowan_Blanchard

Dear Rowan Blanchard,

You don’t know me. I’m a huge fan of Girl Meets World and I love your character. I also love that you’re using your status as a celebrity to promote gender equality with He For She.

However, there are some things I want to talk to you about. I am really, really glad that you came out as questioning your sexuality and that you were honest about how you see yourself now. I’m sure it wasn’t easy for you. I know right now there are a lot of parents who are probably concerned about you questioning your sexuality. What concerns me more, however, are the people who want you to just pick a label.

You said “In my life – only ever liked boys. However I personally don’t wanna label myself as straight, gay or whateva so I am not gonna give myself labels to stick with just existing.”

The problem is that we live in a world of labels. There is nothing wrong with being a woman or being of a certain race or ethnicity or even being attracted to the same gender. The problem is when we choose to define ourselves by just these things. The things that are in our lives are just parts of who we are and not the sum or the whole of who we are. So while you are in the process of defining yourself, you need to find something that’s constant. I’m not talking about the culture that you’re in now, though. I’m not even talking about believing in yourself.

I know that the people you hang around with aren’t exactly keen on the idea of God, let alone religion. But God is the one constant in life that you’ll find that you can always count on. He never changes. He is a merciful God and he loves you as you are right now, questioning sexuality and all. So if you’re trying to figure out who you are, look to God. See how He sees you. You might be surprised at how your life will change when He is at the center of your life.

Sincerely,

Monique

And The Oscar Goes To…

Oscars_for_sale_(6952722855)

There’s been a hashtag going around you might’ve seen called #OscarsSoWhite. This hashtag was made in response to the lack of diversity in this year’s batch of Oscar nominees. Directors such as Spike Lee and actors like Jada Pinkett Smith are calling for an Oscar Boycott.

While I agree that there are movies out there that may not have deserved the Oscars they were nominated for (Looking at you, Birdman), it’s not like movies with diverse leads have never been nominated before. Last year, Selma was nominated for Best Picture. The year before that, 12 Years a Slave won 3 Oscars.

Straight Outta Compton may not be nominated for Best Picture, but it’s still up for Best Original Screenplay, which is saying a lot because it’s competing against Bridge of Spies, Ex MachinaInside Out, and Spotlight, all of which are really good movies.

So it’s not like the Oscars have never considered films with diversity before.  So my first question is “Is this proof of an issue or projecting?”

We have seen evidence that diversity in media can work on its own merits. Biggest example being Hamilton, which is universally appealing, but doesn’t shove its messages of diversity and feminism down the audience’s throat. What makes Hamilton work is the characters, the music, the familiar tragic storyline, and the real message: Legacy depends on your actions and those you leave behind to tell your story. You can’t just go around complaining that people are being unfair and say “Screw you guys, I’ma going home.” I’m not completely sure if boycotts work, but last time I checked, the African-American acting community has their own awards going on.

Not to mention that there’s also this question: What about other ethnicities? America Ferrera and and Eva Longoria made a joke about how Latina actresses get mistaken for other Latina actresses. There are people out there making independent short films and diversity in television, so the constant laments about the lack of diversity in Hollywood aren’t always well-founded.

Hollywood (or at the very least the people of Twitter and Tumblr) can never be satisfied when it comes to representation. It’s crazy enough that a movie like The Danish Girl and Carol are even getting the attention that they’re getting, but according to social media, it’s not enough because the leads aren’t played by trangender/lesbian actors. Mad Max: Fury Road is actually nominated, whereas most of the time, action movies would probably get the snub or just get the token “Special Effects and Sound” nominations. Jennifer Lawrence is nominated for being the lead in a movie about a female entrepreneur and yet it’s not enough. I am mad that Charlize Theron isn’t nominated for Best Actress, though.

You know what I’m actually more angry about when it comes to the Oscars? The fact that Fifty Shades of Grey  is still getting attention through one of the songs from the movie getting a Best Original Song nomination. I’m also not a big fan of Chris Rock and I’m already cringing at the jokes that might come from him. I’m also mad that Star Wars: The Force Awakens got the token “Sound Editing/Mixing” and “Best Visual Effects” nominations. Highest grossing movie of the year and you’re just gonna give it those awards? At least give a nod to the actors who played Finn and Rey and Kylo Ren.

If you want to give voice to issues relating to diversity, there are bigger issues to deal with such as why is more attention being given to Donald Trump rather than the more sane presidential nominees? How can we balance out violence caused by the police and the retaliations that happen because of police killing innocent kids? What about abortion and the fact that most abortion clinics are in poor communities and that most babies who are aborted are black?

I’m not completely sure if I’m gonna watch the Oscars. I am rooting for a good number of movies to win. But given the bad taste in my mouth from Neil Patrick Harris’s hosting and the fact that the award show goes on forever, I might just find better uses for my time.