Friday, November 30, 2012

7 Quick Takes, Volume 9

{story of a soul, condensed}

Visit Conversion Diary for other bloggers' Quick Takes!



{1} Since I didn't write Quick Takes last Friday, today's when you get a taste of my Thanksgiving!  These photos are of the Mediterranean feast Andrew's grandmother prepared, the cute little clementines she served alongside our baklava and pumpkin pie, the rosemary rolls we baked with my family for a second turkey dinner (so, so blessed to have celebrated two Thanksgivings in two days this year), and a little slice of winter sunshine.

{2} My sweet husband turned a quarter-century old this week!  To celebrate, I left work early and gifted him with a hefty, embossed-cover copy of One Hundred Years of Solitude to replace our battered secondhand one, and made a cheesecake and at-home version of his favorite Olive Garden pasta.  We both agreed that this recipe was better than the original!  I love the feeling of preparing something special for my husband and putting so much care and time into a meal.  I know people are always talking about The 5 Love Languages, but I seriously think we all need to add cooking as the sixth.

{3} Have you caught my latest writing outside of this blog lately?  You can read my Ignitum Today post on embarrassment and evangelization here, and my guest column on contraception for Arleen Spencely's blog here.  For better or worse, I'd so welcome your thoughts!

{4} On a similar enough note, last Sunday I gave a talk to the high school girls in our youth group on femininity, dignity, beauty, chastity, and the media--my favorite things to talk about, and I was happy with how we responded to each other.  Birth control is something I feel so passionately against.  When I was a chastity speaker, I'd bring in a Pill information packet and read off the side effects--the sheer size of the packet when it's unfolded, coupled with the extensive amount of warnings and effects, speaks for itself.  I used to count on the element of surprise, but I don't know; only two years later, it doesn't seem like as much of a shock to an audience, maybe because girls are being prescribed birth control at younger and younger ages.  I don't just want to scare people, I want to share my heart and my reasoning with them, too.  Anyway, we did a Q+A session afterwards, and so many were geared towards medical "needs" for the Pill.  I never want to call things out unlovingly, of course, or cause these girls to worry about sin, but I also want to make it clear to them that there are so many better ways to correct their cycles.  So, I'm asking you: what do you think is the best response to questions like these?  How do you answer a friend's question of what to do if a doctor tells you that birth control is the only solution to a reproductive issue?

{5} Have you ever revisited a book for pleasure that was once required reading, and come away with a completely different understanding?  I read The Great Gatsby my junior year of high school and am currently making my way through it for the second time.  It's amazing to consider all of the subtleties of relationships, social classes, and even simple dialogue that I would've missed as a 16-year-old.  There's nothing like a second, more mature reading, it seems, to show me the ways I've grown up.  Am I even making sense?  What's your favorite classic read?  I'd love to add your suggestions to my ever-growing list!

{6} I know, I know, Christmas isn't here just yet.  But if you're a gift-giving early bird like me, do yourself a favor and check out these free printable gift tags!  Adorable.  You know, now that I think of it, I'm early when it comes picking out and buying presents, but horrible about wrapping them in time for Christmas morning.  For the past six years, I have been up far into the night, clumsily cutting and taping yards of wrapping paper (gift-wrapping has never been one of my natural talents) on Christmas Eve while drinking tea and watching movies.  Maybe accessories like these, which need to be printed ahead of time, will be the motivation I need...

{7} Please, please listen to this, Ben Harper and Jennifer Nettles from Sugarland singing Bruce Springsteen's I'm On Fire, and tell me if you don't get chills.  They both sing with such longing.  I die.

Have a fantastic weekend; I'd love to know what you're up to!

18 comments:

  1. #4 First, WOW, bless you! You are doing such amazing things! I tell people about Napro technology, how it works WITH your body to correct it and help it to function the way it should, where BC masks what's going on and stops a natural process. I look at it this way: would you rather fix the issue now, or make a bit worse and then fix it later?

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    1. Thanks so much! I've said similar things before about the idea of actually fixing the root problem, rather than covering it up, but I'll have to mention NaPro next time. I should actually go learn more about it--I didn't learn the Creighton method of NFP and all of the accompanying NaPro stuff, so maybe this is a good time to do it!

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  2. Sounds like you are doing so many impactful things! I'm with you on wrapping presents! It has never been one of my best talents to say the least! I probably use gift bags too much!

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    1. Aah, me too! I hoard all the bags I'm given so I can reuse them =)

      Thanks for stopping by, Stefanie!

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  3. You are awesome with those posts! And being a speaker! Wow! And I just say that the pill makes it worse for my medical problems and I'm sure that other medical problems there are better solutions for.
    And happy birthday to Andrew!

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    1. Stop it! I'm so humbled by your nice words, Emily--thank you so much. Hope you are having a wonderful weekend!

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  4. You are so inspiring Stephanie - I love that you spoke to the girls on those topics! A Mediterranean Thanksgiving? That sounds so amazing! My husband's birthday was this week too! :) My favorite classic book is To Kill a Mockingbird - not a lighthearted book, but very good! Have a wonderful weekend!

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    1. To Kill a Mockingbird is one of my favorites, too! It's been a while; maybe I'll revisit that one next! You have a great weekend, too, Caitlin!

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  5. Hey :) It can be scary to help women understand how their cycles can be fixed otherwise, especially when most doctors only offer the Pill as an option. Sadly, the Pill does not actually correct these things and there are far safer options. Our NFP learned to teach from Paul Carpentier. This is one of his videos. You will see other great ones on this site. http://vimeo.com/5008882

    I would also recommend the following book: http://www.amazon.com/Fertility-Cycles-Nutrition-4th-Edition/dp/0926412345/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1354291390&sr=8-1&keywords=fertility+natural+cycles+nutrition

    Praise God I have never struggled with true difficulties, but multiple friends have and have successfully fixed their cycles!

    I think it's really important to understand these things. After the Fall, humankind experienced a darkening of the mind. These days, I feel as though many women are victims of this with regard to their bodies. Our Lord wants to teach us!

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    1. So, so true--I never thought of the darkening of the mind as a result of the Fall! Thanks for the recommendation, love =)

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  6. There aren't many books from my high school days that I like to re-read (except Shakespeare, Midsummer Night's Dream is my fave!), though I love "Daughter of Fortune" by Isabel Allende. Not sure that qualifies at all as a classic, but whenever I re-read it I see and understand things in a different way than I did before. You totally make sense when you talk about reading the Great Gatsby!

    I'm the dork that LOVES wrapping presents. I love wrapping things so much (I think it is the OCD person in me) that my mom *lets* me wrap all of her presents at Christmas time (she usually just puts my presents in a bag so I don't know ahead of time what I'm getting). Maybe I should start a Christmas present wrapping business, LOL!

    p.s. Jennifer Nettles voice is awesome! I got chills =)

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    1. Yes, isn't that such a funny feeling when a book shows you how you've changed?! I majored in Spanish and read Daughter of Fortune and a few other Allende books then. I only skimmed the English versions to help me do my homework, though; maybe I should give them a try for real!

      A present-wrapping business...I would totally be a paying customer!

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  7. Stephanie, I just came from Ignitum. Love, love, love your article and the way you write. I've been toying with the idea of submitting to them thanks to you. Have you thought of submitting to catholiclane.com? I'm sure your talent & wisdom will be appreciated there, too.

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    1. Anabelle! Thank you so much! Off to go check out Catholic Lane now!

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  8. I read Gatsby again recently and I also was astonished at how much more depth there was than I remembered. Slow motion train wreck. Can't look away.

    As for evangelizing on the PIll--here's something to keep in mind. CCL now has all its witness couples prepare with a focus on their own experience: Here's how *I* have experienced NFP, here's how *I* have been changed for the better because I went away from the cultural standard of hormonal birth control. This is more effective, even though we feel so passionately about it that we want to shake everyone and say, "Wake up! Don't you SEE??????" But that doesn't work; what works is personal invitations, filtered through the lens of our own experience. Talking sin, talking side effects, talking natural law just doesn't do as good a job; it doesn't resonate, and people tend to close us out, get defensive. Doing the experiential talk feels less hard-hitting because it is, but that's also what gives it the ability to weave its way into the listener's own experience, to internalize it. The seed may not germinate for a while, but your job is just to lay the seeds down.

    Hope that's helpful.

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    1. Hi Kathleen,

      Yes, that is absolutely helpful! My husband and I got trained to teach NFP back in the Spring (it's a diocesan program that's modeled after the CCL classes, for the most part), but we haven't gotten to actually teach a class yet. So far, in my limited experience speaking to adults rather than high schoolers, you're so right that experience and acknowledging that you've been in some of the places where your audience has been goes so far in building a bridge. Your advice is something that really will influence our teaching and my speaking, I think--thank you so much!

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