A Day for Forever

only a dream

only a dream

Getting married is an absolute dream. It’s only been nine days since the start of our married life and I am ever so slowly leaving the memories and feelings to fade into the background of our photographs.

As I recall, it was a perfect night.

The imperfections made it all the more perfect – at least for me.

To name them: In the middle of the day, the rain poured HEAVILY. When I was walking down the aisle, my wedding gown snagged at the bottom and hit the points of my stilettos that I had to kick my dress to be able to walk steadily down the long aisle of our parish church. I didn’t read our vows well that I went onto saying “Yes, I do” before I should have and it was caught on video… See our on the day video by the great Bob Nicolas here.The reception program was already delayed and it was delayed even more because of a MAJOR glitch in the lights and sounds system.

It may sound like any bride’s horror story but the bounty of love and happiness overshadowed and covered all of the pains of the day’s apparent mishaps.

To continue: When our photographers saw my worried gaze at the intense rain, all they said was “This will work for you.” I put my trust in them and now that the photographs are out (by the uber talented team of Toto Villaruel), the day looked beyond beautiful in the photos. It looked as if it didn’t rain at all.

The dew drops sparkled for us.

In the bridal car while I was waiting for my turn to march, guests saw me and greeted me. One of them took time to whisper that this weather couldn’t have been more perfect. While I was tripping through the aisle, all I saw was Lance’s look wanting to give me a bear hug.

After making our vows and our priest declaring our marriage, Lance and I looked behind to see the parish almost full with our family and friends hooting and cheering. It was the most spectacular sight I have ever seen.

Finally, the major glitch in the lights and sounds system turned out to be a moment for intimate conversations between our guests and the roving bride and groom. After around thirty minutes, the lights and sounds miraculously went back on.

The program was knotted with the feeling that I wanted to bring to our guests – filled tummies, happy tipsiness and unending laughter. Most of all, I wanted the guests – even if they have never sat and chatted with us – to feel like they have gotten to  know Lance and I in our celebration! All thanks to Lance, his best man and my maid of honor who dedicated their time and effort to surprise me with the spectacular reception program.

Until now, I still cannot get the wedding out of my head. All the more since I wake up with the man I got married to everyday now. I am filled with boundless gratitude. I even told Lance that one of the best things about being married is the relief that it’s done and we can move on with married life! Call me traumatized but with all the crazy natural calamities and wars around the world, I now have such peace that I’m married to this man.

I know the high will fade into the oblivion of married life. Lance reminded me yesterday of this when we were talking about the unsexy topic of finances, he said: “Let me look into the future for us, my love…” While he does that, I’m still flipping through our wedding photos and repeatedly watch our wedding videos until both websites hit its fifteen thousand view.

Sharing with you my man’s ultimate surprise video during the reception that I cannot get enough of.

I don’t know how I will tread through married life but I’ll probably take from our wedding day – do my best and have a lot of trust in my husband, most especially in God who made His presence felt in the Sacrament of Marriage and who allowed the imperfections to happen for the beauty of real love to shine.

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The Glamour of Weddings and the “Tipid” Bride

The glamour of weddings is in the bride being the center of attention.

She dictates the mood and decorations from what hangs on the ceiling to the mini donuts that will be served after the reception proper – oh, and the little flag with their monogram that will adorn the donuts. Admittedly, it’s exciting to get emails from suppliers about the bouquets or the mock set-ups and to attend bridal showers.  Yes, that pinterest board gets the limelight too.

Unfortunately, most pinterest boards, if followed photo by photo into an actual wedding will cost millions and maybe a billion Philippine pesos. I’ve heard of a couple who delayed their wedding for two years just because they wanted to save up for the best suppliers in the business. You can already guess that weddings around the world – including the Philippines – is an incredibly lucrative business. A friend of mine described most bridal blog features to be weddings that have no budget.

I want to be really honest. In the wedding industry, I’ll be exposing the unspoken categorization of the kinds of suppliers based on pricing. You have the High-End – a la Louis Vuitton and Prada kind of pricing, the Mid-Range – a la Kate Spade, Kenneth Cole and Lacoste pricing and the Low-End – a la fast fashion pricing: Zara, Promod and even Forever 21 brands. This is merely based on experience upon checking supplier prices and comparing bridal fair price listings. 

I might start to sound pretentious and even jealous of those who bag the high-end wedding suppliers because they can but… there is NO NEED. Getting them is not the point of having the perfect wedding. No matter what wedding blog supplies you with that kind of information is NOT TRUE and even if you can, it shouldn’t even be the point. I truly believe that anyone can have a beautiful wedding without drilling a hole into their wallet just by being very creative, resourceful and practical and sticking by those three values that will undoubtedly be brought to married life (which is the most important thing.)

I also see why most wedding blogs only feature the best wedding suppliers around.  Maybe it’s to set the standard for suppliers to have an excellent quality wedding and to set a standard of refinement and elegance for the brides-to-be of what a wedding should look and feel like. But let’s face it…

The best weddings are the ones you know were so well thought-out to the point that each person who attends feels like they’re truly part of a love story. 

Besides that, in the Philippine context, most complaints I get involve comfort of the attendants such as how the height of the decoration piece shouldn’t block the view of the other tablemates, shorten the program of the wedding (including the length of the speeches) and MAKE SURE THERE ARE COCKTAILS (I don’t know how many times I got this piece of advice.) Wedding blogs don’t talk about that that much.

Being from a country where we come across the less fortunate everyday in all its forms, I consider it unfair that more than a fraction of our yearly hard-earned salaries should go to a one-day event that will hardly support our forever or our future children or let alone, insurance.

It’s a far dream of mine… but I someday hope to put up that wedding blog that teaches brides how to be very creative, resourceful and practical and even to some extent philanthropic. I want a blog that will help brides focus on what is truly important – their life to come with their husband. A blog that isn’t so much about the fanfare but more about the values and virtues that can be learned by the couple from preparing a wedding sort of how to use this wedding as a fertile training ground for married life. A blog that will guide readers through the different suppliers and how to speak and deal with them. I want to still be able to talk about the trends of blogs but also how to get them at a discounted price and how other brides were able to stay practical. I hope to have an advice portion where brides can talk to other brides about their special circumstances and get an answer from a warm columnist.

And I will call it the Tipid (Thrifty) bride.

UPDATE: Here’s a link to How Much Do Weddings Cost in the Philippines just for you to have an idea of the range of how much a wedding would cost.

Confessions of a Shopaholic: Rehab

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Now that it’s sale season, I am possessed by all the shops with markdown prices. Is there a woman magnet in there or something? I make up dumb excuses just to enter the same shop I’ve been entering everyday for 3 days in a row. My eyes have some sort of “shopping mode” so when it detects something cute and cheap – the information suddenly registers into my “shopping thoughts” until it consumes my day and all I think about is that pair of shoes until I’ve come up with absolute every excuse to buy it and then I’m convinced.

The next memory is me walking out of the shop, I am also breathing normally because I’ve finally freed myself from the torment of that item. Then I go back home with a brand new item to pair with all my existing clothes. I try them on. Dance in them and sing in them and feel like I’m new!

Sounds familiar? You can bet that when I watched the Confessions of a Shopaholic, I was able to relate with her immediately. It was the way that the mannequins gestured for her to buy and the sparkle in Rebecca Bloomwood’s (Isla Fisher) eyes when she got her hands on a deal. I wanted to be her friend so bad because I knew in days like these… she would be the only one to understand me.

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Admission into Shopaholic Rehab

I am a shopaholic. I knew I had a problem when all I could think about was that thing I pined for for weeks until I finally bought it. It never came to a point that I overused my credit cards to their limits. Never. But other signs showed that I needed this rehab: when I would give myself reasons to buy things when my closet doesn’t need anything new anyway, when I would buy something that I would end up never wearing because it didn’t match anything in my closet until one day it would break and when I would buy the wrong size just because it was the last piece (and it was just the cutest).

Awareness: the reason for these mishaps can be summarized in 3 (technically 4) words: whims, peer pressure and SALE.

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Shopaholic Rehab

There is a way out of this and it involves really thinking before purchasing anything and believing that you don’t need anything new.

In the days of my rehabilitation, I’ve come up with this:

Prudent Shopping Tips

Although I wanted to call this the “No Shopping Tips,” shopping can never be removed from our human actions until there are still businesses around. These tips are to help the shopaholic rub off the crazy voice in her mind and ease her into creating intelligent spending habits.

Guideline Questions when face-to-face with a super cute item

Note: The relevance of the questions differs from person to person.

  1. Is it a need or a want?
  2. Can you afford it with your current budget or will it delay any savings you are planning to make for future travel or investments?
  3. Is it worth the price tag? Do a quality check.
  4. Is it a versatile piece that you can wear with many other item in your closet?
  5. Do you think you will be using it repeatedly?
  6. Do you have something like that in your closet already?
  7. Does it look and feel better than the item you’re currently wearing or have in your closet?
  8. Think about donating.

Some Specifics

On Online Shopping: Always try on clothes before you buy them. Yes, buying online is a gamble. View items in physical stores first before taking the plunge.

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On Outlets: Most outlets carry items that are so old. If the outlet itself is very dusty (that you notice yourself sneezing), chances are, anything you buy from there will be broken in an instant.

On Sales:

  • STOP ALLOWING SALES TO DECEIVE YOU.
  • NEVER HAUL.
  • Not buying on sale doesn’t mean you’ve lost everything – your closet didn’t have a major meltdown, it will stay wonderfully the same. It’s OK.
  • Only buy ONE THING of something (that you need and want) – no matter how ridiculously awesome the promo is.

On making new purchases:

  • Buying the same style or color that you know flatters you is not always the case.
  • If you’re buying to replace an old favorite – try buying on trend to challenge your current wardrobe.

 

 

Our Mysterious Sexuality

Experience bears out the definition of purity as reverence for mystery.

No one is scandalized at seeing people eat in public, or read in buses, or listen to music on the street, but they are shocked at dirty shows, foul books, or undue manifestations of affection in public. It is not because we are prudes, nor because we were educated in Catholic schools nor because we have not yet come under the liberating influence of a Freud, but because these aspects of a mystery so deep, so personal, so incommunicable, that we do not want to see it vulgarized or made common.

You heard it from our dear Bishop Fulton Sheen, it’s clear as day. This wondrous virtue of purity (that no one seems to care about anymore) is that one thing that reveres mystery. Our sexuality which is so personal and intimate when revealed to the world as if it were for show is a cause for scandal because we know from the depths of our souls that we don’t want this beautiful mystery to be bastardized!

Because our sexuality is  so inexplicably mysterious every person can be awe-stunned by the mystery revealed. It’s no wonder that our sexuality is the easiest marketing tool.

What can we do about it?

Allow me to quote my fiance’s Facebook post realization which he composed after we watched Jason and Crystalina Evert speak to us in the Philippines last 7 September 2013 (which incidentally is exactly a year and a day away from our upcoming wedding on 8 September 2014):

What is a great deception for our sexuality?

Our sexual desire and passion is a call to action, a call to real love, a call to service and self-giving, but instead because of our weakness and Satan’s cunning deceptions, it leads us back to ourselves, only to find it empty, dry, and lifeless. Then it becomes a downward spiral as men and women continue to search for real love only to get imitations and fakes.

What we should do is not to repress this sexual desire…this “call to action”, but to channel it to the right direction, to spur us on to real love, service, self-giving, and life. It is only then that we can truly find real and lasting joy, pleasure, and happiness through our sexuality.

Jason Evert: Being passive is wrong, for a man is an initiator and the one to take action, while a woman does not become passive as well but receive actively as man gives.

This simple quote from Jason Evert is echoed by Bishop Fulton Sheen when he commented ironically about the youth, about man and woman:

In youth, this awesomeness before the mystery (of sex) manifests itself in a woman’s timidity, which makes her shrink from precocious or too ready to surrender of her secret. In a man, the mystery is revealed in chivalry to women, not because he believes that woman is physically weaker but because of the awe he feels in the presence of mystery.

Let’s zero-in on man and woman respectively:

Men are meant to be chivalrous to women to respect to the mystery of sexuality. On behalf of the women all over the world, I hear you, bro! We’re begging you to have a lot of respect for us women. Feminism is asking for respect in the form of this “equality.” When there is chivalry, there is respect for the differences of men and women.

Women are asked to be “timid from the precocious” or to be timid in surrendering her secret. To clarify, using the word “timid” is not to emphasize the woman’s lack of power.

On the contrary, women HOLD that secret which asks men for chivalry from. Women need to safeguard this secret with all of their being! This incredible secret is the intermingling of love and life. There are no synonyms to this secret. A thick book series couldn’t possibly be enough to describe and study this secret. It’s so completely beyond us, mere human beings, that  the explanation of the mystery is in the bearing of new life in the mother’s womb. It’s the actuality of bringing to this world a new and unique human being.

Women are meant to value the grand power that they have in their entire makeup. Women are meant to thrive in what makes their secret a part of them. Women are meant to hold onto their secret and never reveal it to anyone, to any man, until she reveals it to just one man in the name of God.

It's better when we work together

It’s better when we work together

with the inspiring Everts

with the inspiring Everts

How “You Just Know” You’re Ready to Get Married

I’m engaged to get married on the onset of the -ber months next year. *Insert unceasing silent squealing*

I count by the months and can’t wait to count by the weeks and eventually by the days – not just because I’m marrying my best friend, the man of my dreams and all other cheesy things people would describe their fiances but because I genuinely want to begin this surely challenging yet fulfilling rest of our lives together. I can’t wait to pepper our lives with cheer and hope and have children and just… give. But before I came to this conclusion I was asked several questions – from my friends and my personal mulling over the new chapter I’m about to step into.

I recently read an article about the Five Things Every Newly-Engaged Girl Will Get Asked on the Brides Blog.

Due to cultural and moral reasons, only three to four of these questions that are applicable to me.

They are the following in order:

1. When’s the Wedding Date?

2. How did he propose?

and probably when me and the asker seem like we’re getting close enough…

3. Are you going to have kids soon?

I would include another question in between 2 and 3 and it would be “How did you meet?”

Only occasionally do I get a: “Can I see the ring?” (as in the article)

Out of all the questions that I receive, there is one that I believe takes time and a lot of reflecting to answer and that’s:

How do you know you’re ready?” 

Usually, I would hear this certain question asked to couples who have been together for years. Surprisingly, they always answer with a stern and confused “You just know.”

If you’re a frustrated person who desires to know the exact details of this three worded sentence, you would forcefully shake that couple into telling you the real answer. But we too have to understand… they’ve been married for so long that after decisively jumping that bridge to the Merryland of Marriage, Singledom became way too far for them to even describe its silhouette.

Since I’m a few steps closer to that bridge (and I can opt not to cross it), I always feel like I have to defend myself to everyone who asks this question. In a sense, I still need to.

Every time, I’m asked this question, I’m forced to dig deeper and deeper into the recesses of my soul and refine my thoughts through examining my very little experiences and each time I answer… these are the common trails that I see.

Him

Like many couples, we’ve been through a lot in that meager two years together. There was a lot of adjusting, a good number of fights and even more laughter and excitement. Since we got together, he made it known to me that breaking up was not an option (even if secretly, that was my fallback.) But when he said those words, I knew I was in good hands. I was with a man who was not willing to give up and is more than willing to fight for us.

When I was proposed to, I was shaking uncontrollably and couldn’t utter a single word out of shock and thoughtlessness. The only person I saw in that moment was him. That gesture of my boyfriend proposing was when I realized he decided on me for his forever. That very gesture of wanting the commitment impressed me because I know that nowadays commitment is such a feared realm to dwell in.

There was really only one way our relationship was going… It was up to me to decide whether I was willing to take that leap of Faith or doubted our forever together.

Me

Now that I can tick the “Man of my dreams” box from the imaginary list of ‘Things to have before you get married,’ what about… me? Am I really ready to get out of the mother nest and be my own mother in my own nest?

This is when I usually feel like that the belief that those who do get married later in life are justified to be more capable of running a home.

But I beg to differ.

I am a firm believer that while young, it’s a lot easier to adjust and to learn new ways of doing things better everyday. I’ve realized that I’m going to learn mountings of things along the way,  I’m going to have lots of questions and I’m also going to screw up… a whole lot! That’s all ok! Like a good friend once told me… you don’t have to have all your ducks in a row. That saying especially goes for marital adjustments, home skills, child rearing and personal achievements.

Ok, so maybe there is no list of prerequisites for an engaged gentleman or a lady to be “ready” for marriage but I believe thoroughly in the desire to learn, that loving foresight of what marriage entails for the gentleman or lady and the willingness to sacrifice.

Even though things can be learned, an environment I desire for my home begins with me. Everyday, I make it a point to reflect and work on some habits or attitudes I have that may be bothersome to my future husband.

It’s only fair. Besides, I love the guy more than myself.

When

Why is NOW the right time?

Oh gosh, they say that the timing is always just right. Well I can’t say I wholeheartedly believed that saying to begin with.

I definitely didn’t think I was ready at all.

Just imagine, you’re a 23-year-old not a girl not yet a woman. You’re only wading in the pond of the professional world and only getting tastes of the ‘real world.’ You’ve got your dreams of studying this and that and wanting to get to know this and that hobby. You’re traveling with your friends and just enjoying. You’re in a great relationship with a wonderful man and one fine day, he went down on one knee with his starry eyes looking at you. He presented this sparkly ring. With all the beauty of that moment, it was just that, THAT moment.

After all that…  I was on my own.

I was angry that nobody gave me a heads up that I would be all alone on this. It translated to that real sinking feeling of “Now, what?” – a confusion of many if not all engaged girls.

Thankfully, I don’t look to myself to find the answer to that question. I leave it up to God.

Soon enough, this was answered by many essential life experiences that just happened one after the other. I don’t mean to put too much meaning to the happenings but these have been very personal experiences that are both terrifying and struggling. But I know each one of them has and is shaping me and my fiance to become the people we should be for marriage.

To summarize the answer to the question: “How do you know you’re ready for marriage?” – everyday, I’m made to be more ready for marriage.

…withlot of guidance from above and a dash of loving willingness.

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The Profundity of Fashion

Fashion Weeks in the four major cities: London, New York, Paris and Milan, these amazing cities are great fashion homes that every designer dreams to be a member of. I’m not even a designer of any sort and I would love to be a part of it – even as a runner to attend to the glamorous items and the glorious models and designers.

I’m a bit late to comment about the fashion weeks that have transpired.

InStyle, a personal favorite fashion magazine, gave a short description and “how to wear” a trend they coined “restraint” in 2012, for their Fall Fashion Trends

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I just love the description about it:

So why does primness evoke such intriguing allure? Because a curvaceous silhouette in a pliantly elegant, deeply textured, or appliquéd fabric holds our attention while proving that withholding is powerfully stylish.

How to wear it

Though small buttoned collars appear young, and jewel or boatnecks enhance the more mature, this demure attitude is appropriate for all, in clothes with strong shoulders, a defined waist, and below-the-knee hemlines. Bonus points for princess heels and long gloves to underscore its decorous demeanor.

While breezing through the Fashion and Design October 2013 Issue of the Philippine Tatler, I am happy to say that this was one of its features:

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It reads:

Gone are the days when “less is more.” (Note: Less meaning less clothes on) – designers at Valentino, Stella McCartney and Alexander McQueen prove that being sexy doesn’t mean showing off all your assets

(How to wear it)

Balance the conservative look with a structured bag and a pair of modern pumps.

I’m not a big fan of the word “conservative.” Conservative connotes traditionalism in style and manner and can also be an adjective to refer to avoiding novelty or showiness.

Conservative should be a word reserved to describe the strict suits pressed upon by corporations to their employees.

With fashion, beauty is the first word we think of

Let’s zero in on the above-mentioned trend that I believe is revolutionary in our day and age.

It actually has several names: some call it restraint or minimalist and then there’s modest.

Allow me to expose the extreme depth of these wonderful words just be reiterating their dictionary definitions:

Restraint can be defined as a measure or condition that keeps someone or something (from personal liberty or freedom of movement) under control.

Minimalist is characteristic of a design or style in which the simplest and fewest elements are used to create the maximum effect

Modest as an adjective mean: not ostentatious or pretentious, not extreme or excessive; moderate, decorous or decent.

To summarize: the exposition of true beauty

Let’s see how these world famous fashion designers interpreted this particular trend in the recent Paris and Milan Spring 2014 fashion shows. (These are so beautiful!! I’m drooling!!!)

Valentino Spring 2014

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Rochas Spring Ready-To-Wear Collection 2014

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Oscar dela Renta Spring Ready-to-Wear Collection 2014

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Burberry Prorsum Ready-To-Wear Collection 2014

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There is something about these polished looks that demonstrate their wondrous ideas  exposed by their beautiful and intricate details. These looks are made to move for and with a woman.

I feel like if I buy and wear (I only wish) any of these pieces, I’m sharing in their feminine ideas that I take as my own.

For me, a great gauge to detect the modest and unique style of a woman is when I look at her face first and slowly see what she has thought of wearing that day. Another gauge is I don’t feel like cringing at the sight of something that should be concealed. I don’t feel like wanting to throw a blanket over her. I don’t feel like commenting anything bad. I would just feel like wanting to compliment her on her great outfit and just feeling happy inside.

The Trend: Restraint/ Modest can be the beginning of the noble search and thrust for the exposition of the beautiful and femininity of woman – whether for ourselves as women or our mothers, sisters and daughters.

It can be done.

Photo Credit: Style.com

News about the Feminine Genius: A Seminar and A Film

NEWS: EXPERTS MEET TO CONSIDER WOMEN IN THE CHURCH, THE WORLD

St. Edith Stein is probably rocking out to the tune of this headline.

I was first enchanted by St. Edith Stein’s phenomenal essay on the Woman’s soul where she compares three important and yet very different female characters in pieces of literature written in different periods of time.

It was St. Edith Stein and Bl. Pope John Paul II who influenced my interest in the “Feminine Genius.”

I’m thrilled to know that these 100 experts met from October 10 and ended the seminar on my birthday, October 12 (which is also the date of St. Edith Stein’s canonization!)

With the theme “God entrusts the human being to the woman,” they discussed woman’s perceived role and desired role in their respective workplace, society and the world.

They found that (not that it was ever any doubt) that women are more often than not called to the nurturing profession – teachers, nurses, caretakers etc. a lot of women are called to be wives and mothers.

On that note, I just want to insert a really wonderful read from Matt Walsh about the Stay at Home Mom and their hidden but beautiful and dignified work.

This quote just hits home:

It’s true — being a mom isn’t a “job.” A job is something you do for part of the day and then stop doing. You get a paycheck. You have unions and benefits and break rooms. I’ve had many jobs; it’s nothing spectacular or mystical. I don’t quite understand why we’ve elevated “the workforce” to this hallowed status. Where do we get our idea of it? The Communist Manifesto? Having a job is necessary for some — it is for me — but it isn’t liberating or empowering. Whatever your job is — you are expendable. You are a number. You are a calculation. You are a servant. You can be replaced, and you will be replaced eventually. Am I being harsh? No, I’m being someone who has a job. I’m being real.

If your mother quit her role as mother, entire lives would be turned upside down; society would suffer greatly. The ripples of that tragedy would be felt for generations. If she quit her job as a computer analyst, she’d be replaced in four days and nobody would care. Same goes for you and me. We have freedom and power in the home, not the office. But we are zombies, so we can not see that.

Going back…

The discussion left the participants resounding this quote: “Women seem naturally suited to communicate Pope Francis’ stunning calls to re-energize the Church’s mission to serve the dispossessed of this world” with their shared experiences and experiences of other women.

Looks like it’s time to brush up on that apostolic letter: Mulieris Dignitatem (The Dignity and Vocation of Woman)  of Bl. Pope John Paul II as a little commemoration to these initiatives as well as his upcoming canonization on April 27, 2014! Wuhoo!

To read the original news article, click here

For regular updates from the “God entrusts the human being to the woman” seminar, click here.

ALISSA JUNG OVERWHELMS IN MARY OF NAZARETH

To further celebrate woman, who better to acknowledge than Our Blessed Virgin Mary?

I’m insanely excited for this film, Mary of Nazareth. I have no idea how I’m going to get my hands on it. The reason why I’m flipping out to watch this film is because a friend recommended for me to see and imagine the very real depiction of Our Lady by Alissa Jung.

She was given a rave review for her wonderful portrayal as written in this article. 

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exactly

Exactly.

Excuse me as I jump for joy.