Friday Link Love

Happy Meatfare Friday! I’m back with five more links that I love.

Why I Love St. Francis de Sales: A great reflection of the influence and power of one of my favorite Saints

The Health Benefits of Knitting: I’m doing something that helps me with more than just improving my wardrobe and my fine motor skills!

Love in the Time of Zika: Why being pro-life means caring about the environment

To the Woman Who Won’t Date a Man Who Makes Less than Six Figures: What really matters in serious relationships? Personally, I’d rather be poor and happy than rich and miserable.

Celebrity Deaths: A Christian perspective on why we mourn the passing of celebrities whom we’ve never met


Friday Link Love

Here are five more links that I love.

I Can’t: Jenny Lawson’s response to Alan Rickman’s passing. Farewell, dear friend.

A Small Moment Captures the Big Picture: A look at a beautiful moment from Pope Francis’s recent visit to Rome’s Great Synagogue

A Common Date for Easter/Pascha?: Oh, let it be! Please!

Mayim Bialik Got “Modesty Shamed”: An interesting discussion about modesty

Empathy, Photography, and Perception: Thoughts about the public display of images of the corpses of aborted babies by those opposed to abortion; on the 43rd anniversary of Roe v. Wade, this is a timely reminder that we are called to love both our friends and our enemies. Also, it once again raises the question of whether or not the use of these images is effective. (I don’t believe that it is.) We need to respect all humans. The gratuitous use of these images of these poor, sweet, dead children of God is not acceptable.

Also, on the 43rd anniversary of Roe v. Wade, I’d like to leave you with three thoughts/quotations from minds that are far wiser than me.

“I feel that the greatest destroyer of peace today is abortion, because it is a war against the child – a direct killing of the innocent child – murder by the mother herself. And if we accept that a mother can kill even her own child, how can we tell other people not to kill one another? How do we persuade a woman not to have an abortion? As always, we must persuade her with love, and we remind ourselves that love means to be willing to give until it hurts.”
-Blessed Teresa of Calcutta

“Since the Church did not make either of these laws, she cannot be their arbiter—only their guardian and interpreter. It could never be right for her to declare lawful what is in fact unlawful, since that, by its very nature, is always opposed to the true good of man.”

– Blessed Paul VI Humanae Vitae

Thus says the LORD, “A voice is heard in Ramah, Lamentation and bitter weeping. Rachel is weeping for her children; She refuses to be comforted for her children, Because they are no more.”

-Jeremiah 31:15

Father God, forgive us our sins and grant eternal memory and blessed repose to the soul of each and every child who has lost his or her life to abortion. Give them a place where the just repose, a place where there is no pain, sorrow, or mourning. And Father, give hope and peace to the hearts and minds of each person who has been in any way impacted by this sin or any other abuse of human life. Help them to know Your love and kindness for You alone love us all.

Dear Barnes and Noble…

Dear Barnes and Noble,

We need to talk. Something has been bothering me for a while, and I feel like it’s time for us to discuss our differences. I’m becoming increasingly disinterested in shopping in your stores, and I’d like to try to explain myself. I want you to understand why a bibliophile hates your store.

I love books. Anyone who knows me can tell you that I adore books, and I love to read. I love nothing better than curling up with a good mug of tea and a wonderful book. You do sell books; I’ll admit that. And you do sell some good books too. I visited one of your locations this past weekend, and I noticed some lovely books on your shelves.

But there are some things about your stores that bother me. First of all, I do not like that i have to go upstairs to find the proper literature. I have nothing against maps or journals or cafes or movies or music. (I might have a problem with candles and such however…) However, it bothers me that I have to go upstairs to find the real books…you know, the fiction books and the nonfiction books. I want to buy the books about history and religion and sci-fi and poetry. I like those books. Those are the books that I want to buy.

If I wanted to buy a puzzle, I’d go to a toy store. Actually, that’s true of many of your products. If I wanted to buy toys or games, I’d go to a toy store or a place like Target. I go to a bookstore to buy books. When I walked into your store this past weekend, I was looking for Fury by Salman Rushdie, but you didn’t have it. I wanted to buy all three books of C.S. Lewis’s Space Triology, but you only had Perelandra, which is the second book. The second book is useless without the first and the third books. I wanted to buy books, but you didn’t have them. However, you did have PLENTY of Star Wars paraphernalia. It seems to me that you care more the people who want to buy a Darth Vader cookie jar than people like me who want to buy a Sue Monk Kidd book in paperback. (I prefer paperbacks to hardcovers because they’re easier to throw in my purse.)

I’m getting sick of finding toys and games and things that aren’t worthy of a bookstore. Bookstores are happy places. They are supposed to protect our souls. Cookie jars do not protect our souls no matter how delightfully nerdy they may be.

We are what we read. If we can’t access good books, then how are we supposed to become good people? I like puzzles and board games; don’t get me wrong. But I don’t want those things in the sacred temples of the bibliophiles. I want my sacred temples to be safe havens, places where I can escape a consumeristic society and just focus on becoming a more perfect version of myself. I want to find my sacred temples as warm, welcoming places, place that are quirky. They should be places where children can discover new worlds and adults can escape into old familiar havens or new adventures.

That is not how Barnes and Noble makes me feel. It feels like a store, not a shop. It is not a temple or a haven; it is just a place where people go to buy stuff. It feels frenzied. It feels busy. It feels money-oriented. It doesn’t feel like a place where I could curl up with a book and rediscover my childhood or conquer an unknown world.

Oh, Barnes and Noble, these days, I only visit you with a gift card in hand, and I suspect that trend will endure in my life. You are not a shelter or a haven or a temple for me. You are a gateway to a sacred world, but you are a gateway that is cluttered with many distractions from the sacred world. A bookstore should not distract us from the books in any way. Instead, the sacred temples should do nothing but point us to the holy objects-the books.

It is for this reason that I will give my custom to the small, locally-owned stores. They may also have to order the Space Trilogy for me, but they are focused on the sacred objects. They know what matters in the world of literature.


One who worships at the altar of literature

Dear Readers,

Please patronize the locally owned book stores, the proper bookshops. They are owned or perhaps more rightly curated by those who also worship at the altar of literature with us. They understand the world of literature, and they will support us in our quest for the best literature that life has to offer us.


Friday Link Love

Here are my latest links that I love.

5 Things that Pride and Prejudice Can Teach Us about Men: I love this. It was a really good set of things to think about.

Carson the Butler on True Marriage: A beautiful explanation of marriage in the context of faith and Downton Abbey

Why the British Tell Better Children’s Stories: An interesting look both at the literary landscape of each nation and at what elements of children’s stories are most important

Who am I?: This is a Hank Green video that I found to be a really insightful commentary about the modern, secular perception of selfhood. Considering that it’s not even four minutes long, it’s a pretty good analysis and raises some really interesting points and ideas.

6 Facts People Should Know About Teachers: We’re human and you should know that.

Lessons of Theoden

On a recent revisit to The Lord of the Rings, I was particularly struck by Theoden, the King of Rohan. When we meet him early in The Two Towers, he is an older gentleman, and his mind has been contaminated by evil. However, after an exorcism from Gandalf, he returns to his right mind and leads his people to battle.

But he goes into battle knowing that he will not see the end result. He is fighting for the freedom and preservation of Rohan, Gondor, and all Middle Earth really. However, he knows that he will not see the liberated Rohan (and Gondor) in his lifetime. In all likelihood, he will die in this war or soon after its end. He knows this. He is not fighting for himself. The young men around him-Faramir, Eomer, and Aragorn-fight with the hope that they will see their goal accomplished. They will live in the free Rohan, the free Gondor, the free Middle Earth. Theoden does not go to war with this hope. Theoden goes to war with the mentality that he will not see the end of the war. If his side wins the war, he is unlikely to see the end. He does not fight for himself. He fights for others.

I was struck by this in the context of Christianity. I teach middle school religion, and at times I wonder why I’m doing this. Why am I teaching other people’s children about the history and the faith of the Catholic Church? Why do I as a childless woman pour an hour of my day every school day (and more time preparing myself outside the building) into teaching children about the importance of having a relationship with Jesus Christ? I will probably never really see or know these kids after they graduate from middle school. I am unlikely to see them as adults or to see what becomes of their faith. Why am I fighting for a something that I will never actually see?

Theoden fights because he believes in the cause. He wants his people-especially his niece and nephew-to see better days, to live in a better world. While he may not live to see a free Middle Earth, a Middle Earth free from Sauron’s evil, he wants others to live in this world. He wants to make a better world for others even if he does not have the opportunity to see that world for himself.

Forth, and fear no darkness!

Similarly, I want a better world for my students. I want them to know and understand their faith. I want to share Jesus Christ with them. Even if I never see the end and I never know what happens to them, I want to share Jesus with them. I want them to hear about a Jesus who loves them. I fight to pass down the faith of our fathers. I may not know if they come to a full and deep relationship with Jesus. But I fight to give them that opportunity. Like Theoden, I have hope for their future, for them to find a future full of hope, joy, and goodness.

Friday Link Love

I’m back with five more links that I love.

A Letter to the Lady Annoyed by My Kids at Mass: I’ll be the first to admit that I get annoyed by kids’ behavior in church. This was useful for me.

Let the Grouchy Lady Come to Me: Simcha Fisher’s Thoughts on the issue…very useful for me, your resident cranky lady

18 Children’s Book with Female Characters: I’ll need this for definitely professional and possibly personal use someday.

We Had More Kids Than We Planned: What do they say about the best laid plans of mice and men?

Tolkien on Marriage: I love this article. I love this perspective on marriage. If I should ever be blessed to be married, I want a marriage modeled on this idea.


Friday Link Love

As we begin 2016, here are five links that I’m loving from the past week.

How should we think about the Bible as history?: I’ve only discovered Fr. Stephen Freeman in the past few weeks, but I love the man already. He’s providing me with some great food for thought, and I really love learning more about Orthodox faith and thinking.

Dave Barry’s Year in Review: An absolute hoot!

Pope Francis Inspired New Year’s Resolutions: All of these are worthwhile. Which ones should you try out for 2016?

Life on Another Level: Why Monasticism appeals to young Christians…so beautiful!

Celebrating Christmas in a World that Still Needs the Prince of Peace: A beautiful reflection on what it means to be Jesus in today’s world

Bonus: Saint’s Name Generator: Are you looking for a patron saint for your 2016? Check this out-prayerfully, please! I got St. Luke.