My First 50 Reads of 2019

I’ve been sharing my reading life book by book on Instagram and thought I would catalog them here as well. So here are my 1st 50 reads of the year. You can see pictures of each book in my highlights over there if you want.

Book #1: And Then There Were None
A fascinating who done it, and without the epilogue I would never have figured it out!
⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️

Book #2: Before the Fall
I listened to this on audio beginning my long drive from PA to NC after Christmas. It’s a mystery with a twist of a plane crash. Anne Bogel says not to listen while flying, but while driving it kept my attention. The narrator was great and until the final character’s life “before the fall” was described in almost full detail, I had NO IDEA the story behind the crash!
⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️

Book #3: The Secret Book, and Scone Society
A huge thanks to my work/book friend Sarah for this recommendation. A cozy mystery, four firefly female leads, a bookstore, and amazing comfort scones … it does not disappoint.
⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️

Book #4: 11 Birthdays
Nothing like a sweet middle grade dystopian novel to start the weekend off right. It’s Groundhog’s Day, but instead of celebrating a rodent, they’re 11 and there’s nothing like a day on repeat to fix a broken friendship.
⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️

Book #5: Angry Housewives Eating Bon Bons
this is our January read for my IRL book club and I really enjoyed it. It’s a book about a book club and how the women get to know one another, learn to trust each other, and work through the messiness of their life. A delightful read with multiple narrators and lots of books discussed!
⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️

Book #6: The Thrill of the Chaste
This has been my before Mass book since the middle of advent and was amazing. Dawn writes so beautifully about chastity, virtue, and the single life. I’ve needed this encouragement as I was through the current dating scene, which is awful, awful, and just more awfulness!
⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️

Book #7: The Catholic Table
Emily Stimpson Chapman writes beautifully about food and Faith! I think more sentences are underlined than not after my reading. Rethinking how I think about food, my struggle with weight, and the virtue of what I eat and who I am because of how I eat. Had no idea what we were getting into when I chose this as Lisa and I’s buddy read … so glad she agreed to come along with me.
⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️

Book #8: The Diary of a Bookseller
After reading an Instagrammer’s review of this book and seeing Anne Bogel’s pictures from her visit to Wigtown, I promptly set out to read this book. The ordinariness of life and the strangeness of people are present on every page. What a delight to read!
⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️

Book #9: The Noel Stranger
Starting this one night, finished at the mechanic the next morning. A sweet, rom-com book where no one sleeps with anybody (that’s the highlight of this book though, the bar was LOW). Predictable (except for just one part that was rather confusing but what the whole story hinged) on) which is fine, but there are only SO many stories to tell.
⭐️⭐️⭐️

Book #10: Winter in Paradise
This is my first Elon Hilderbrand book and I think I liked it. Read it super quick (started one night and finished final 50 pages before work the next day). It ends with a LOT of unanswered questions, so good thing it’s a planned trilogy.
⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️

Book #11: The Whispered Word
Elderly Adams did it again in the second book in the Secret, Book, and Scone Society series. Filled with my favorite things: strong female leads, book references and quotes I understand, books scones, other baked goods, mystery, and romance.
⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️

Book #12: Dear Fahrenheit 451
I heard about this book on an episode of What Should I Read Next a while ago and it was on the cart right out front in the library last week so I grabbed it right up. Delightful letters to books from a librarian. Although I only put 1 book on my hold list from those mentioned, I had read a number of them already.
⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️

Book #13: Something in the Water
Throughout this whole psychological thriller I couldn’t help but think “why are you so stupid?” Erin gets into a giant mess with her husband on their honeymoon in Bora Bora and it all goes downhill from there. She survives because of another criminal proving that proper preparation is the key to being a criminal mastermind.
⭐️⭐️⭐️

Book #14: The Saturday Night Supper Club
A sweet romance filled with great food and a strong female lead … be still my heart. I want more Alex and Rachel! Their story feels ready, pure, and Christian without being over the top, no one talks like that. Can’t wait for the next book in this series!
⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️

Book #15: Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children
It’s peculiar all right … and a book that wasn’t for me. If it weren’t our February book club pick that I’m hosting, not sure I would have finished it. Just peculiar. (Also people in our book club loved it!)
⭐️⭐️

Book #16: All We Ever Wanted
This book was so good and though provoking, especially on audio. What are the consequences of foolish actions? Who pays the price when kids do stupid things that have lasting consequences? It ends with more questions than answers.
⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️

Book #17: Sprint
Read this to prep for a big project with a diocese for work. Wanted to make sure we were all speaking the same language for the big meeting coming up. Already took a big idea from this book and put it into action! Great for people who want to solve problems at work or at home! Plus Jake and co-authors are quite witty!
⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️

Book #18: Great Catholic Parishes
Another book for work, trying to glean as many ideas about what my parishes can do as possible. This was well researched, not preachy, not formulaic, and inspiring!
⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️

Book #19: Made for Love
A truth filled book about all of the dynamics of sexual relationships and the moral teachings of the Church. Fr. Mike does a great job walking through the Church’s teachings, human experiences, and how we are all called to more and we were made for love.
⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️

Book #20: Holy Ghost
Virgil Flowers is one of my favorite fictional detective stories. Love reading about MN and no nonsense crime solving!
⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️

Book #21: Fire Sermon
I’m not sure what prompted me to pick this book up, maybe I didn’t quite hear what it was about when it was mentioned on the From the Front Porch podcast. It’s praised as what’s a Christian woman to do when she falls in love with a man who isn’t her husband, why does her God and her guilt force her to stay and prevent her to leave. This is not a study of the hardships of Christian sexual ethics … she has no idea what those are. Christianity and sexual ethics are so grossly misrepresented in this book. Not recommending anyone read it.
⭐️ (if even that)

Book #22: My Sister, the Serial Killer
How many murders make you a “serial” killer? 3. Her sister has always been the more beautiful one, the one men wanted, the one who could do no wrong. Now she’s tied to her sister’s murders so if she takes her sister down, she goes down too. Then the man she’s been in love with for a year falls for her sister, and she knows her sister will just try to kill him. What should she do?
⭐️⭐️⭐️

Book #23: Attachments
Work email filters make for a delightful love story. If this were the story of my life Sarah R would play Jennifer, I’d be Beth, and now we just need to cast Lincoln!
⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️

Book #24: The Bookshop on the Corner
This is one of my favorite reads of 2019! So delightful and bookish and amazing!! Thanks Jenny Colgan for an amazing devotion to a reader who loves books!
⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️

Book #25: Kingdom of the Blind
Can’t believe it was only a little more than a year ago that Stephanie W. Told me about Louise Penny’s Armand Gamache. 14 books later and each one is better than the last. My only fear is that this one ends a bit “happily ever after” and that there will be no #15 in the series! Read this! BUT start at the beginning with Still Life, you won’t be sorry.
⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️

Book #26: Charlotte Walsh Likes to Win
What costs do ambitious women pay for pursuing their dreams? This book explores all of that including the media, what people think, politics, marriage, and motherhood. Excellent!! This was a buddy read with my friend Lisa.
⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️

Book #27: The Proposal
I started this book one night at 10pm and got sucked into Nikole and Carlos’ quick romance. Although this was a light-hearted fast romance the last 50 pages were filled with recovery from an emotional abusive relationship and some attachment disorders. So delightful!
⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️

Book #28: The Rosie Project
I avoided this book for years because for some reason I thought it was non-fiction about Rosie O’Donnell, which it is NOT. I fell in love with Don and Rosie and couldn’t help but to laugh out loud during the evening I spent reading this! What a delightful read!
⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️

Book #29: The Rosie Effect
Oh Don! What a sweet heart who just needs a little help sometimes. This is the perfect sequel to their love story. And who doesn’t love a baby!
⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️

Book #30: The Art of Forming Young Disciples
As a former youth minister I’m glad I got out of the game before reading this because I’m not sure I’m up to the task. This book is excellent and lays out a how along with a why. Youth Ministry is failing teens more often than not, so let’s do something about it.
⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️

Book #31: Brunch at the Bitter Sweet Cafe
Another home run in this series where we see Melody and Rachel pursue their dream and Mel finds love. Sweet romance with a dash of good Christian ladies inserted. My favorite kind of book! Oh and this includes a baked goods and books Instagram that I wish I was following!
⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️

Book #32: Dietland
I heard about this book on the Unladylike podcast interview about dieting and the culture surrounding it. Very intriguing and it’s so important to think about the way we tell women they should think about their bodies. We’ve got some work to do in this area, lots of work!
⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️

Book #33: Hip to be Square
I heard about this title on a back episode of What Should I Read Next where the guest wanted sweet, Christian love stories. This and teh 2nd one in the series were some of her favorites so when the library didn’t carry them I found used copies on amazon. A sweet love story where the characters were actually seeking what God wanted for them … LOVELY!!
⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️

Book #34: Altar Call
This sequel was delightful except for all of the times I wanted to yell at the lead to “just dump that man he’s not for you and also he’s a jerk” … the only thing is that is ends at the beginning of the most beautiful love story of the whole series, is there another book for Mari & Marcus’ adventures?
⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️

Book #35: To All the Boys I Loved Before
Just as sweet and delightful as the movie and I can’t wait to start book #2 to see more of Lara Jean and Peter!
⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️

Book #36: P.S. I Still Love You
Another installment in the Lara Jean and Peter Kavinski love story. What a sweet read! Ready for book #3!
⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️

Book #37: Blueprints
What a fun audio listen while driving. I may have taken the long way a few times and also sat in the car at stores and home just to finish! I want to find my Chip/Charlie and purchase a home designed by Jamie!!
⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️

Book #38: Always and Forever Lara Jean
This 3rd and final in the series was a little too teen angsty for me. Glad to have a conclusion but glad the series is over. Now I just want to rewatch the Netflix movie.
⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️

Book #39: Close to You
What a love story! I imagine if I knew more about Tolkien and Lord of the Rings I would have enjoyed this even more. Can not wait to read the sequel!!
⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️

Book #40: Now a Major Motion Picture
A super cute YA love story with some amazing family drama mixed in and a feminist fantasty movie all set in Ireland. Delightful!!
⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️

Book #41: Commonwealth
Compelling, plot drive, weird timeline … all excellent. Started this one night and finished on the plan the next morning. Such a good book club read (although most everyone else disliked it)!!
⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️

Book #42: The Kiss Quotient
Stella and Michael are hard not to love. A great (although not PG) love story that truly sees the other person for who they are!
⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️

Book #43: How to Find Love in a Bookshop
A few weeks ago Anne Bogel shared a list of books about books, and I couldn’t resist putting this little gem on my hold list. What a delightful story about a girl, the bookshop she inherited, and the people who fall in love all throughout the village because of it!
⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️

Book #44: One Thing I Know
Did I stay up way too late reading this book even though I had just 5 hours of sleep the night before? Yes I did. Lucas & Rachel are a delight of a couple and couldn’t be more perfect for a great love story. It’s a good thing they have people in their lives telling them ‘how it is’ even when they don’t ask, otherwise they would mess everything up with their own insecurities. Go read this book!!
⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️

Book #45: Then There Was You
Did I start an amazon kindle unlimited trial just to read this book? Yes, I did. Did I stay up late reading? Yup. Did I read this instead of working this morning? You betcha! My birthday present to myself!! Kara Isaac is my new favorite author and the only bad part is that she only has two more books that I haven’t read!
⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️

Book #46: Eat, Pray, Love Made Me Do It
I’ve got my own Eat, Pray, Love story so I was intrigued by the premise of this book. It was okay on audio. If you don’t like Gilbert’s original work this isn’t for you. It also won’t make you want to read that book.
⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️

Book #47: All Made Up
The only negative thing about Kara Isaac is that she’s only written 5 books, and I just finished the 4th one. Love stories about women of faith who find everything they’ve always dreamed of. A little like my own dreams. Kara meets the love of her life at 35, I juts turned 34 … so maybe the Lord has a great love story in mind yet.
⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️

Book #48: Girl, Arise
Did I devour this book in one sitting while stuck in steerage on a 4.5 cross country flight with a very tall man practically sitting in my lap? Why, yes Clare, I did! It’s the perfect companion to The Catholic Feminist Podcast and I can’t wait to discuss it with Lisa for our buddy read this month. Can you be Catholic and a Feminist? Yes, and I would argue (& Clare might too) that it’s really the only authentic living out of feminism and Catholicism that Jesus and the Scriptures offer. Too far? Maybe, but I can make big claims because “Jesus, y’all”!
⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️

Book #49: God Is Not Nice
Thanks to my friend Sarah for passing this book along. Challenging, informative, and big … changing how I see who God is and what He’s out to do in my life. He’s not “nice” but He’s good.
⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️

Book #50: Matchmaking for Beginners: A Novel
A little magical realism, some love, a couple of weddings, a feisty old lady, and a Park Slope building all make this book a delight. I felt like I was on a visit to my brother and Amy which made this even a more delightful read. Time for a trip to Brooklyn’s small-town of Park Slope to live out a little magic.
⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️

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My Own Eat, Pray, Love Story

I recently listened to the book Eat, Pray, Love Made Me Do It. Years ago I read Elizabeth Gilbert’s book and loved the first 2/3rds of it. I read it in the summer or fall of 2007 after I had graduated with my degree in Theology but before I got a job I was interested in. My friend Elisabeth had suggested it to me and I loved the part before she even embarks on her journey, the time in Italy for Eat, and then I stopped reading for some reason. I think I read the 2nd part on Pray … but it just wasn’t my thing so I put it down for years.

Even though I didn’t finish the book doesn’t mean that it didn’t have an impact on me. Her book begins when she is in a failed marriage waiting for her divorce to be finalized. Her ex-husband was withholding his final signature because he didn’t want her to leave. So she and her friend went on a cross country road trip.

While on the drive she was talking about signing petitions to get things done and her friend said “Let’s petition for this divorce to be finalized.” Elizabeth was confused as most would be, but they created a petition and threw it out into the universe and claimed particular people signed it. Elizabeth took a nap and was later awoken by her phone ringing. It was her lawyer calling to tell her that he signed the papers, her petition was granted.

I was living at home, working at the county jail, and just waiting for my life to begin. I needed a job that I loved or that was at least not literally going to jail every morning and wasn’t Thursday through Monday without vacation days. So my friend Elisabeth, one of our mentors Aaron, and I created a petition. I needed a new job. I wanted it by July 1st of the following summer. I marked the date on the calendar with a giant yellow star. One year at home was enough.

Within a few months I got an opportunity to work at a group home near where I had gone to college. I took the job, found an apartment, packed up, and completely forgot I had ever created that petition. I hung up my calendar and thought life was grand.

Life was not grand. This job was worse than my job at the prison. I did learn to live on my own, enjoyed being in my own space, and went a whole 4 months without having the internet at home. I also used the local laundry-mat (which I’ve never had to do again, thankfully). I thought, “this is it for a while, maybe I’ll go into social work full-time.”

But this job was awful. During my 3rd week I was in a restraint with a girl in the house who wanted to literally kill another girl who was about 1/3 her size. I went home with a giant bruise on my calf (bigger than two hands) because she kicked me instead. I should have quit that night, but instead I stayed another 3 months. This was not the job for me. I might be able to do it now, but as a 23 year old recent college grad who had pretty thin skin, this job was not for me.

So after about 3 months I applied for every job in the country related to youth ministry. Someone was bound to hire me. Either that or I needed to completely change my future career path. I got an interview in Huntersville, flew down, and was offered the job the next day. I flew home, called my landlord to see if I could break my lease, and then walked into work the next day and said “today’s my last day, I’m done at 9pm.”

I took a month off, moved my stuff back home, and prepared to move to North Carolina. On July 1st I packed my car up with as much as I could fit and drove south. When I got my own apartment two months later I put up my calendar and realized the mark on July 1st I’d made 6 months earlier. That was the day I was going to be living my dream … and it was.

Did that petition make that job happen? I don’t know. Would I have had the courage to move to a city where I knew no one if I hadn’t read that book? Maybe not. Would I have met the amazing friends I have? Definitely not. I wouldn’t be who I am today. It definitely wasn’t “all the book” … there was a lot of prayer and discernment in the midst of it, but it all started with her encouragement to take on the reins of your life and start going!

Assuming Judgment

Photo by Artem Kovalev on Unsplash

I will preface this with the fact that I do not have any tiny humans that I’m being charged to raise into fully functioning adults. I am only a 30 something single woman who has wanted to be a mom her whole life, but has instead been given the opportunity to read lots of self-help books & articles before spending a year in therapy. Also all of my friends have kids from pre-born to teenagers to young adults, so I’ve been doing a lot of observing and thinking as of late. So take this for what it’s worth with that in mind, but these are some things I’ve been wrestling with lately, so I’m going to share.

We create our own situations of ‘not being enough’ when we think we might actually be handling it.

We make things more complicated than they actually are, I think, subconsciously, to prove how many complicated things we can do (mostly to ourselves).

We even feel guilty for not feeling mom/wife/sister/friend/daughter guilt. We say, “I feel guilty that I don’t feel guilty right now.”

When we hear someone say they make bread from scratch or read a lot of books or works out each morning, we feel compelled to give all the reasons why we don’t do that. [I don’t do those things in order to make you feel inadequate, they fit into my lifestyle right now. There’s no judgement. Why do we presume judgement?]

I think that’s what it comes down to: We presume people are judging us. ALL OF THE TIME. We say “I don’t judge other people,” but in the same breath we act like the opinions of other people are all we care about for ourselves.

The fact of the matter is that anyone’s who opinion about your that matters is not sitting around judging you and what you’re doing with your spouse, kids, work, yard, car care, cooking, driving, tv watching, book reading, exercise doing, etc., etc., etc. Anyone who is judging you isn’t someone who’s opinion about your matters. Period.

We focus on other people’s opinions way too much. And I know, here’s a classic example of the pot calling the kettle black. I can dive into this as well … but the truth of the matter is that we are all just doing the best that we can with the tools that we have. That’s all that matters. You doing the best you can with the tools you have today. Could you get better tools? Maybe, but right now might not be the season for you to cook everything from scratch, read all the books, or wake up an hour earlier to work out.

I know it’s not as simple as me saying “stop feeling guilty” and then you’ll magically stop feeling guilty. However, we can work on this though, one step at a time.

We can stop worrying about what other people think of us.

We can stop comparing our lives to those depicted on Instagram.

We can stop asking what other people think if the only reason we’re doing that is to measure ourselves as less than them or show someone else how great we’re doing.

We can stop letting guilt take over our lives.

We need to figure out how to transform our inner critic into our inner champion. The truth is that we are doing the best we can right now and shaming ourselves doesn’t do anything useful.

How? Some of my favorite books about this are: Dare to Lead, Daring Greatly, I Thought It Was Just Me (but it isn’t), Unworried, Girl, Wash Your Face, It’s Okay To Start With You, Why Her?, Uninvited, The Biggest Lie in the History of Christianity, One Beautiful Dream, and The Catholic Table. Those are the best self-help, be a better Christian, silence the inner critic books I read in recent memory.

If this sounds crazy, too overwhelming, or impossible, carve out some time to talk to a counselor. You’re worth more than the judgments and opinions of other people. You’re worth more than your anxiety and just ‘deciding to do something different’ might not be the best way for you to work through this. Taking time to work on you is a very valuable way to spend time and money. If we aren’t our best, then we can’t give our best. We’ll spend our time making ourselves and others miserable, not on purpose, but because we can’t get out of the rock we’re under.

*p.s. I started typing this post with the title “the one where everyone gets mad at me” … because I really just want to yell from the mountaintop “stop making mom guilt a thing that we celebrate” but I decided this was a bigger issue than just one thing.

Blessings from the Lord

Today’s Reading: Genesis 4:1-15, 25

Photo by Element5 Digital on Unsplash

Cain gets jealous, and then he kills Abel. He believes he was completely and utterly justified because Abel showed him up to the Lord. Cain brought an offering and Abel brought a better offering.

What made Abel’s offering better? He gave to the Lord before he took for himself. He gave from his first fruits instead of his leftovers. Cain saw that the Lord was pleased with his brother and that the Lord showed favor on Abel instead of Cain.

This question always comes to my mind when I read this: Was there only ‘so much favor’ to be given out that Abel got it instead of Cain? NO, there is no limit to the Lord’s favor. It was there for everyone who gave their first fruits to the Lord.

Is there only ‘so much favor’ when it comes to the Lord blessing others over blessing me? No. There is no limit to the love of God and His blessings upon us. Just because someone else got a great blessing doesn’t mean that there won’t be a blessing for you.

As most of parents have told us over and over when we were children, “don’t worry about what someone else has, just worry about what you’re doing.” That applies here too. Don’t worry about the blessings someone else has … that leads to destruction like Cain … roaming the wilderness restlessly.

Keep your eyes on your own paper, if you will. Concern yourself only about giving to the Lord what He has asking of you. Concern yourself only about how much of your life you are giving to Him. This is a lot easier said than done, but you will not be unsatisfied with your blessings from the Lord if you give Him your first fruits every day.

This reflection first appeared on carpeverbum.org.

Be Satisfied*

Photo by Fischer Twins on Unsplash

A few years ago I read this post on David’s blog with a long prayer attributed to St. Anthony of Padua called Be Satisfied With Me. On its surface I don’t disagree with the concept. He writes:

Everyone longs to give themselves completely to someone,
To have a deep soul relationship with another,
To be loved thoroughly and exclusively.

But to a Christian, God says, “No, not until you are satisfied,
Fulfilled and content with being loved by Me alone,
With giving yourself totally and unreservedly to Me.”

It is true that we should all be satisfied with God alone before we need other people.

I was reminded of this poem/prayer by a coworker when I was having a particularly rough day being okay with my singleness. The women in our chat were a mix of married people, dating people, and single people. One remarked that this prayer was always a comfort to her. I said that I had seen it before, but it’d been a while since I read through it again.

Discovering that only in Me is your satisfaction to be found,
Will you be capable of the perfect human relationship,
That I have planned for you.
You will never be united to another
Until you are united with Me.
Exclusive of anyone or anything else.
Exclusive of any other desires or longings.
I want you to stop planning, to stop wishing, and allow Me to give you
The most thrilling plan existing . . . one you cannot imagine.
I want you to have the best. Please allow Me to bring it to you.

As I read through it though, I found myself only becoming upset rather an comforted. I was reminded of my inadequacies, my unworthiness, and how I’m not enough yet. I know that wasn’t St. Anthony’s intention. I believe the intention of the poem/prayer is for us to be reminded that the Lord comes first in our lives. Additional human love is gravy. If we aren’t satisfied with the Lord’s love, then we won’t be satisfied with another person’s love. Only God can fill the “God shaped hole in our hearts.”

That is something that I believe.

However, this poem/prayer lays out a condition on the Lord’s goodness. It doesn’t say, “wait on me, I’ve got great things for you.” Instead it says, “You’re waiting for these great things because you haven’t trusted in me enough yet, you aren’t holy enough yet, you aren’t fully satisfied.”

And then, when you’re ready, I’ll surprise you with a love
Far more wonderful than you could dream of.

You see, until you are ready, and until the one I have for you is ready,
I am working even at this moment
To have both of you ready at the same time.
Until you are both satisfied exclusively with Me
And the life I prepared for you,
You won’t be able to experience the love that exemplified your relationship with Me.
And this is perfect love.

It reminds me that there’s something wrong with me today, that’s why I’m not married. I’m alone because there’s something missing from the love I have to give to another person, not because it’s just dumb luck. I don’t think that’s the intention of the poem/prayer, but words have meaning, they create worlds.

This poem/prayer is saying that daily Mass, the regular reading of Scripture, earnest novenas, a devotion to the Rosary, honest praise and heartfelt prayer time each morning and evening just isn’t enough. Believing that I am satisfied with His love just isn’t enough. I’m still missing something, some magic pill that no one’s told me about and no one who has found it (ie: married people who have found their love) will share about. It implies that something is lacking in me and that is why I’m unmarried while all of my friends are married. It implies that once you have found that special love that the Lord has in store for you, you won’t doubt Him again, struggle with prayer time, or have any struggles in your life. Because you’re fully satisfied with Him, how could you ever struggle? And every married person I know will assure me that’s not true … even if they don’t say it, I can see it plain as day.

The poem/prayer isn’t helpful for me. I dare say that it’s harmful and is someone’s odd attempt at explaining why there are so many great Catholic single women. [I know there have got to be some great Catholic single men out there longing for a spouse, but I don’t know them … if I did I might not be in this current waiting state. Okay, there probably are some out there, just not in my general vicinity. If you’re out there, give a shout … I know a lot of amazing single women you might be interested in knowing.]

When the truth is the reason for all of this waiting is that we live in a broken world, not that we are individually the only ones broken. Our world is broken.

And the long and short of why I’m still single, or you are still single, is that “we haven’t met the right person at the right time” not that “we aren’t satisfied with the Lord.” No one on earth is fully satisfied with the Lord, that’s a condition of our humanity, our brokenness. We are all longing for more because this world will never satisfy. Terrible things will happen, suffering will be presented, and we will wonder where is God in all of this. We might turn to him directly, but we will still be longing for something more. Longing for a world that isn’t this one. Longing for the time in Heaven when all will be revealed and nothing will be in the way of fully experiencing the love the Lord has in store for us.

*or the post in which I say that a Saint got it wrong. This might not help my canonization for sainthood. Maybe the internet will erase all markings of me after I die so this can’t be entered into evidence.

I Found the Perfect One

I’m not talking about a man today (unfortunately) … instead it’s a pew at my parish. (I talked about why I love them before.) Changing the topic from husbands and singleness over here to talk about church pews. I mean, the things cradle Catholics think about during all that time at Church! So what makes a pew the perfect one?

I can see both the priest and the tabernacle!
The best seat of this pew is in the middle, not the end, so there’s room for someone to join me! I wrote about this before.
We have super long pews at my parish, but this spot has a short kneeler!
There’s a special spot for my purse in the corner!
There’s enough room to stand!
It has a clear marker to signal that it’s ‘my pew’ when I’m coming back from communion (we’ve got a lot of long pews at my parish, so this is pretty key! It’s the last ‘long pew’ before the spot for a wheel chair.

So, I’ve found it. It took me 8 years and a sanctuary renovation, but I did it. It might be the only perfect thing I find in my life that works all of the time! Sometimes there’s even a nice boy who sits right to the left of me who doesn’t wear a wedding ring … so time will tell if this pew choice is good for more than just seeing everything for the whole Mass!

What Men Are Looking For

Stuff like this is what drives me crazy about online dating … Dave, what was your intention with this photo? What am I supposed to this of you?

Last week I wrote about what I’m really looking for in a husband. I’ve started saving what these men I’ve been matched with are looking for. So here we go. Here are a few gems from just today’s matches!

James is looking for: “I am looking for someone who can complete my existence a soul mate, confidant, and lover.” So no pressure there, just ‘complete his entire existence’ … that seems pretty realistic.

William is looking for: “I am looking for that right person who has a big heart, loves, cares, happiness, emotional, cuddles, and has that wild nympho side that I have.” I don’t even know what a ‘wild nympho side’ is! I’m thinking I don’t have that…

James is looking for: “Honestly and Excitement.” Good at grammar must not be high on his list…

Ben is looking for: “I am looking for a real woman to be open with me about everything, enjoy laughing with me and enjoy lots of laughs.” A good sense of humor is pretty important…

Mario is looking for: “How harmony we could have….the smile, eyes, goals….” What does that even mean?

Most profiles are pretty generic about what they’re looking for. I’ll admit that’s a hard question to answer in just 650 characters because most of this is really about getting to know the other person and finding out who they really are. Can we really do that online? I don’t think so, I know I don’t.

Sam was a little more verbose: “A Christian woman who is, kind, caring, creative and adventurous. A woman who can encourage me as I do the same for them as we build a relationship on our shared faith in God. A woman who, looks to see people for who they really are, has her own ideas and opinions, and is open to trying new things as well as sharing new things with me. I’m Looking for someone to share my life with, someone who can appreciate the simple things in life, is up for spontaneous road trips, enjoys going to flea markets and antique shops and loves to learn and explore!”

It’s the nature of the platform though, that’s the real issue. If the platform doesn’t get us talking on the phone so we can set up a time to meet, I don’t think it is worthwhile. I don’t think I’m the only one who dislikes this platform, but are we in too deep to change anything? It’s really all just a numbers game. There’s no secret except to “be in the right place (or website) at the right time (ie: same time as a guy who’s also interested).”

I feel like if I do meet a spouse on eHarmony it will be in spite of the platform rather than because of it.