Friday, May 23, 2014

A Radical Feminist?

Yesterday, a man I've never met or spoken to before told me that I've advocated for radical feminism before.

Now, between my adamant stances against women's ordination, abortion, and the LWCR nuns, I'm not really sure where this impression came from.  I'm here to clarify a few things.

First of all, I have nothing against a patriarchal structure in our society.  I am a housewife in a traditional family structure.  I make sure my husband is the respected head of our household.  I do not want to be his boss, but rather, his partner.  We are equal in dignity, but not the same.  He excels in a different role than I do.  I trust him enough to defer to him when he feels strongly about a problem we are facing together.  I look to him for his love and protection.  I need him.  I need this man.

Women, however, well, I've always had a hard time trusting women, due to the experiences in my life.  I understand men better, so I have always more easily made friends with men rather than women.  Most of my readers are male, probably because I of this natural ease that I have with the opposite gender.  Anyway, my hesitancy with women is so deep, it affects even my faith; I even have to struggle to form a relationship with Mary.

I by no means think the world would be a better place if women were the ones in charge.  I have no delusions that all the problems of the world are caused by male oppression.  I simply want the unique and complimentary relationship between male and female to be more fully realized.  (Ex: Saying that men cannot control their sexual urges is bad for both sexes and their relationship.)  I also notice that, with the way we present chastity and "purity," we are driving women away from God.  I know from experience the pain of failing to remain a virgin until married and feeling like there was nothing I could do to get my purity or God's love back.  As much as I don't naturally get along with other women, I also don't want well meaning Christians to accidentally turn women away by unintentionally making them feel worthless and dirty.  Left and right, women are being told that we aren't beautiful enough, smart enough, make enough money, thrifty enough, crafty enough, etc...  God is the One Who affirms our dignity.  I want that to be known to all women.  I don't want the message to get lost lost with all of the noise of everything else we don't do right.

There are also many reasons women should be able to be educated and work.  First of all, since there is a vocation to the single life, women need to have the opportunity to support themselves.  Also, we are generally getting married later in life, and sometimes the economy forces us to work even after we are married. Even though I think that a woman staying home with her children is ideal, I don't even for a second presume that I know anything about another mother's situation.  Maybe, for one reason or another, God doesn't think it is ideal for her to stay at home.  Maybe it is not financially or emotionally viable for her.  In any case, I don't presume to know what is actually best for each family in the real world.  Therefore, it is important for women to have the option to have an education and a career.

So, I am no radical feminist.  I actually refused to call myself even remotely close to feminist until very recently.  I've noted a few issues with how the world currently is, and I simply want to bring awareness to these things so that we can better evangelize women.

That's really it.

If Catholic men think that makes me a radical feminist, then maybe we had more problems than I originally thought....

Sunday, May 18, 2014

Win an 8x10 Fine Art Print!

This is my newest work called, "Our Lady of the Green Meadows." Would you like a free 8x10 fine art print of this? If so, then please read on to enter my give away for it. Please read all instructions and follow them exactly, or else your entry(ies) won't count!

First of all, to win, you must "like" my page Facebook page and share this image from it. This will earn you 1 entry.

You can earn one more entry (each) for doing each of the following.

1) Follow me on Pinterest (if you already do, that counts)

2) Pin one of my PINs on Pinterest

3) Follow Me on Twitter (If you already do, that counts)

4) Tweet about this giveaway

5) Invite your friends to like my Facebook page

When you are all done with your entries (up to 6 total), please comment on *this picture* on my  Facebook page with a list of everything you did. Ex:

1) I like your page and I shared the image
2) I started following you on Pinterest
3) I pinned your WIWS post
4) I follow you on Twitter
5) I tweeted about this giveaway
6) I invited 10 friends to like your page

I'm going by the honor system here. Just remember not to cheat or lie! It's a sin!

This is open internationally, it'll just cost me a lot of money to ship the print first to me then to you (lol). Not open to family members (sorry Laura).

I understand that the economy is tough and it is hard to support an artist. I don't want my pieces just sitting around for me to stare at. I'd prefer if at least some fine art prints are out there for others to enjoy.

The original piece was done in oil pastel. It depicts Mary and Jesus relaxing in a field of red poppies. The print will be on a somerset velvet fine art print, professionally printed.

The giveaway goes until Thursday, May 22, 2014 12:00 PM EST. I will announce the winner sometime on Friday. I will be drawing names out of a hat old school style.

Good luck, and I hope you like this piece. I'm going to try to paint the next one with acrylic. Don't expect it to be done for awhile, haha. I do hope to do a give away every month or two if this one is successful, though

Again, good luck!

Saturday, May 17, 2014

I Am Thankful for the Failed Black Mass Reenactment

Yeah, I know, it sounds strange.  When I heard about the plans of the Satanic Temple to have a Black Mass (first with a consecrated host, then without), I was appalled.  I was extremely unsettled and upset that someone would even pretend to desecrate my Lord for some sort of publicity stunt.  Hearing that the group intending on doing this didn't even believe in God and Satan made it all the more heart-breaking.  I was hurt and furious and disgusted that someone would even for a moment think that this was okay.  I nearly cried.

And I am so, so, so thankful for all that pain.

Confused?  I guess I need to give some background.

I've had a rough year.  Both my grandparents passed away, and I am reeling from it.  I have good days and bad days.  Slowly the good days are starting to outnumber the bad ones.  I am no longer getting pangs of heartbreak when I remember that my grandfather is gone.  Still, though, mourning is difficult, especially with three small children to care for.

Being a mom is also tiring.  I love it, but sometimes I feel like my brain is being wasted by never getting time to write or teach people who don't need assistance with their bodily functions.  Then I remember working outside the home and how I had even less time and emotional ability to create and function outside of my job.  I remind myself to accept that I will never feel like I am fulfilled or living to my fullest potential in this life.  I can't say that I'm always okay with this knowledge.  I honestly usually only am directly after receiving the Eucharist.

Ever since adolescence, I've been a bit of a rebel.  I need to do my own thing.  I hate it when other people copy me.  I value my individuality in a way that borders on unhealthy.  I need to feel that I am expressing myself through clothes, art, and hobbies.  I need to create (more than just children, although, that is fun, too).  As a young adult, I was into alternative fashion.  In the years since then, I've slowly just started wearing hand-me-downs and trying to force myself to not feel like I needed the self-expression.  Truth be told, though, I'm not very good at rules or fitting in.  As much as I love to have others love me, if I change myself to get them to love me, I die a little inside.  I've been trying to just be a sensible, thrifty mother who doesn't care about all those things I used to.

Which leads me to two weeks ago when I had a bit of a mental snap.  Essentially, I've been tired, mourning, and feeling weighed down by too many forces.  I haven't felt enough of my own self.  I've been trying to figure out what in the world to do with my art.  Now I know that it will be hard to discern if I suppress every part of myself.  Anyway, I felt very constricted, and after a discussion on modesty, which felt like more RULES weighing on me, I felt like I could not continue being Catholic.  I just needed room to breathe, and in the sleep-deprived insanity of the moment, it felt just getting rid of some of the rules might finally give me some peace.  I had years of feeling like I'd lost part of myself to the monotony of life just explode in a single afternoon.  Since "Catholic" is the only role I can shed right now, I looked atheism square in the face and gave it a consideration. 

I have many days where I feel like Catholicism is just too wonderful to be true.  How could there be a God that loves someone like me unconditionally?  How could someone want to spend an eternity with me?  Why would someone create me as I am (stubborn, head-strong, impatient, selfish) just to spend eternity with me?  How could someone like me possibly deserve that?

So I cried and felt like I had to just let it go.  I needed to not pretend like I believed something that great could happen.

My husband, after a very long couple days of talking, managed to convince me that we should just take life one day at a time and not abandon our faith, no matter how tired we are.

Then came the news about the Black Mass reenactment at Harvard, and the pain went right through my heart.

How could I, who only finds peace in the Eucharist, who believes fully in the Real Presence, ever not be Catholic, or somehow be an atheist?

And further, I realized...

What atheist would die to keep someone from desecrating the Eucharist?  How insane am I really?  How did I even think for one moment that I don't believe that this is true?

I must be onto what I'm meant to do with my gifts with all these spiritual attacks.  Please pray for me.  Many days it gets very difficult.

In an effort to keep myself from taking out the feeling of being confined on Catholicism, I've started to make small changes in my life.  I'm only wearing clothes that I love.  My cowboy boots from Mother's Day that I put in my last post?  I'm wearing them all the time because they are what I like.  I started carrying my purses instead of a diaper bag (for the first time in over 4.5 years).  I've been making the effort to do my hair every day.  I know it sounds superficial, but I need to remember who I am.  I am almost 30, I can't lose sight of myself in the chaos that is having 3 children.  I also don't know how to be centered enough as an artist to figure out how to serve God with my art if I don't have a solid grasp of who I am and a feeling of a strong identity.  How can I create something with a strong identity if I don't have one myself?  This is, of course, creating even less time for this blog.  I hope you don't mind if I only post once or twice per month with things that I really feel are necessary to say.

So there you have it.  That failed attempt at a Black Mass Reenactment came at a time that felt almost like it was just for me.  I haven't felt so close to God and such a burning in my heart for Him outside of Mass in years.

I think I'm onto something.  I just need time to do it and a bit more direction.

I promise I'll start writing again more someday.  I don't really know how other bloggers with children do it.  I have to say, though, they have my respect for it.

I hope my honesty has touched you in some way.  I suspect I'm not the only one who feels like this.  I hope that, if you ever find yourself feeling like this, then you just remember to meditate on the Eucharist and the wonderful gift He gave us.

Sunday, May 11, 2014

What I Wore Sunday

Apparently Catholic bloggers do something called What I Wore Sunday (WIWS).  Even though most of my followers are dudes, I figured I would try it out.

Today I learned that 7-month-olds and veils don't get along, which is sad because I really love this eternity veil that I made from the lace leftover from my wedding gown.  It also just makes a really pretty scarf.

Here is a full view without the veil.  I am wearing my new boots (Shada by Ariat), which are my Mother's Day present (Happy Mother's Day!)

With the veil up.

And then a few more (featuring our trash can and training potty) to show y'all how vain and desperately in need of prayers I am:

Oh, and here is the braid I put in my hair this morning:

I promise to have a real blog post soon.  Spring is busy here.  I also am planning a drawing and a Give Away soon, so bear with me, please!