Weekend Links 8.19.17

No fewer than fourteen links to fuel your weekend frenzy.

Family First

  1. The answer people have looked for! How to adapt the KonMari Method of tidying to fit a life with children. We so often look for a clear-cut answer: do this and your life will be better. True enough, we have been worked over by advertising campaigns since the 50’s simplifying our needs to this message. The KonMari Method fit my approach (keep what I love, get rid of what I do not love). Her methods improved my housekeeping (keep all cleaners in one place, use cardboard boxes for storage, fold clothes and store upright instead of stacked). I never felt trapped by the method. She said herself, do not do it for others. I could fold my husband’s clothes but did not worry about his possessions. Same for my children. We just do our best. Where it was not practical, the method need not apply (maternity clothes). Still, many seem invested in getting the advice of so-called experts. Better we learned to take it as recommendations, and learn to listen to our own voice, to develop our homes as best fits those who live in it.
  2. I think our society does very little to support mothers. The American value of independence and individualism infiltrated family life. While it was perfectly natural for multiple generations to support young mothers, as families members became more spread out, this became more difficult. Add to it, the lifelong goal of retirement. With our working mothers who tried to have it all, when retirement comes, many grandmothers may not have anticipated their daughters’ or sons’ hopes they would be involved in some way. Liberal government wants to help be reducing the number of babies born, providing free childcare and free preschools. How about some ideas that allow the mothers to be with their babies? France has some ideas.
  3. Loved this soulful post from Julie Walsh. Motherhood is nothing, if not a paradox.
  4. For all these reasons, I’m grateful “to have my hands full,” “to be busy,” “to be crazy,” to have embraced life to the fullest.
  5. For some theology and motherhood, an article from last year on how Microchimerism defends the doctrine of the Assumption of Mary.
  6. Simple advice from Edith Stein, the best kind, the kind we need to learn again and again: to grow in empathy (1) get out of your own head, (2) notice others, (3) practice love and (4) see persons, not labels.

On the Faith

  1. While I have never desired to get a tattoo, I find the symbolism it holds for the individual who has it fascinating. Reading these motivations, of declaring oneself for God is just beautiful: a tattoo as a way of expressing who one is in the Lord.
  2. This analysis by R.R. Reno (one of my favorite writers) is a subject I will keep my eye on.
  3. This advice how to rest on the Sabbath was a breath of fresh air to my soul. In my family of origin, like many families, the weekends were for catching up on things around the house. In our home, we try not to do housework more than the necessary garbage bag to the bin, some dishes). I am aware of a weakness in my mental approach to the Sabbath. We may rest and spend the day together, but my thoughts are little more spent on God than other days. It is a work in progress.
  4. Catholic liturgy, architecture, and music can be breathtaking. Why do people not only practice but insist on the banal and hokey? If we want to transmit the faith, let us fight the good fight to not only defend the capability of the masses to enjoy quality, but to give God our absolute best.
  5. George Weigel puts it succinctly about how passing on the faith will take effort, an effort, he remarks, is taking place in Detroit.
  6. As Weigel will tell you, we are in a generational shift in the Catholic Church. Maybe your parish is forming a committee to revamp the interior of the church building. Check out these painted interiors in Texas for inspiration. For many of our ugly modern churches, referencing Eastern European traditions may be just what they need to work with the architecture, but bring back beauty.

In the News

  1. I find Google News searches useless now, ever since Trump was elected. Most of the news relates to Trump, or racism, or ISIS. Would you have read there about the terrible flooding in Sierra Leone? No, you would not. News bias.
  2. A moving post making real for those of us with lives that feel far removed from Charlottesville. Better than anything I have seen in the news trying to use this tragedy as another political weapon.

Weekend Links: July 22-23

It seems I cannot get enough of this topic. This article from First Things compares books to screens. In my opinion, nothing beats the real, tactile, “existed before you and could exist after you” feel of a real book. Of course, children’s books in my house do not last that long. We try.

My time off Facebook has been positive. I go on in the morning to scan for news and stay involved my the “meaningful groups.” Glad to know I am fulfilling Mark Zuckerberg’s vision, except for the staying off Facebook part. Now that I have time away when I do go on, the whole thing feels like a lot of visual noise. Between the Newsfeed, the adds and the menus, it is all too much. If I can find a way to keep up with my favorite sources, and a way to maintain online groups without Facebook, I would be up for that! Any suggestions?

As I was citing sources for an article, I thought some readers might be interested in knowing more about where my views on the human person come from. We cannot know man only through science, or faith without science, or faith without philosophy. A view of man that brings all this together is the Catholic Christian Meta-Model of the Person (CCMMP). This model was foundational in my graduate education on considering the whole person in psychological practice.

The model accounts for our need for relationships are our inclination to sin (and possibility redemption). Here is a good piece from Verily pointing out some red flags in relationships. These can be taken and generalized to identify any toxic relationship, and personality types that are generally good to avoid. The desire to save a person through relationship is as old as time. We love people while still protecting ourselves by maintaining space.

In this encyclical,  Pope Pius predicted three outcomes from widespread contraception use. He predicted increased infidelity and lowering of moral standards (check), increased disregard on the part of men towards women and their bodies, reducing women to an object for his own desire (check), the third was public officials attempting to coerce contraception on individuals. This is very clear in China, and here it is in the US. Worth noting, I think.

Politically, it is hard to keep up with the real news because the media has not yet recovered from its Trump meltdown. I grew up with a sensitivity to the evils of Communism because my grandmother is Chinese and the stories I heard about what happened to her family members who were left behind. In school, we learned a smidgeon of bad regarding the USSR. That fell, but there is much to be concerned about in Russia. I always appreciate a piece from George Weigel on Eastern Europe and Russian news. I hope you do as well. As a birthday present, he will be speaking at Star of the Sea parish in San Francisco on July 27. I will be there.

If you avoid the downtown, San Francisco is a breathtaking city (downtown will also take your breath away because of the smell). On the topic of beauty, Two great pieces from Aleteia this week on why angels are portrayed with wings and why we have stained glass windows in Catholic Churches. In the Medieval days, these windows were instrumental in teaching illiterate Church-goers the faith.




Words matter. Ask my husband who often has to spend the next 15 minutes telling me what he really meant because there was an accidental error in his choice of words. N.M. Gwynne, authors of Gwynne’s Grammer convinced me with his logic of the greatness of grammar. This article is an example of that work at play.

I do not care to dwell on the conversation about the status of the university system. I follow it but cannot verify it. That said, one section in this article makes a good case for the power of words. Chronic exposure to hostile speech increases stress which can lead to adverse physical effects (this would fall under verbal abuse). Short term exposure to hostile speech can strengthen us, leading to all kind of cognitive and emotional benefits like resilience.

Earlier in the week, my reflection on the meaning of on The Giving Tree was shared by a former graduate school classmate. Check out her blog. For me, her writing is just stunning: peaceful, clear, paced to be a great companion.

Those are my thoughts. I would love to hear yours in the comment section!