Thursday, January 23, 2014

7QT: Saint Agnes, March for Life, and Nerd Girl Problems Edition

Thanks to Jennifer at Conversiondiary.com for hosting the weekly 7 Quick Takes



#1 January 21 - Feast Day of Saint Agnes - my Patron Saint!


 
I have this fancy little encyclopedia of Catholic Saints that I bought at Borders back in the day. I'm pretty sure it was on clearance. I forgot about the book until this past week when I decided to check to see if Saint Agnes, my patroness, was in there. And she is! In a few different spots actually! She's in the "Child Saints" section as well as the "Earliest Martyrs of the Church" section. (Here I am referring to Saint Agnes of Rome, which is the more popular St. Agnes that everyone refers to...and it is her feast day on January 21. There is also a less known St. Agnes of Bohemia, FYI)


According to a mini bio of Saint Agnes in the above book, Agnes is "probably the best known child Saint." She was 13 when she died in Rome, because she refused to marry the son of a Roman prefect for the reason that she dedicated herself completely to Christ. After Agnes refused the marriage, she was dragged naked through the streets to a brothel, but as the legend says, her hair grew long to cover her body. One man who tried to rape Agnes was blinded, but she prayed and his sight was returned. When they tried to set her on fire, flames would not burn her, so the Romans ended up killing her by piercing her throat with a sword. She is always portrayed with a lamb to symbolize her purity.                                 

The name Agnes, when translated from Greek, means "The Pure One." I once had a key chain that had this Greek origin of my name written on it. I loved that key chain but it since broke. It reminded me that I was created to be pure! 

When translated from Latin, Agnes comes from the word "Agnus" which means "lamb". This always makes me feel proud at mass because I actually know what they're singing when they  sing "Agnus Dei" or "Lamb of God" in Latin before communion.

I love this Saint and I ask her for intercession for me and for the purity of our marriage all the time! You should too!
                                              

 

 

#2 Gimme Shelter

Oh, so you know what else is cool? You know how 'Agnes' is a pretty rare name nowadays... (everybody tells me their grandma's or great-grandma's or great-aunt's name is/was Agnes and they have not seen that name forever) Well, have you heard about the movie "Gimme Shelter" coming out this weekend? I've been hearing about it on Relevant Radio (Catholic Radio) for a while now and about how US Catholic bishops are recommending it because of its pro-life message.  Well guess what the name of the main character is??? You got it, Agnes! See the trailer here. The movie is based on a true story and based on what I have heard about it, I am definitely going to see it...hopefully this weekend. Go Agnes! Maybe we can bring the name back. But then again, I like my name being a little bit unique yet traditional at the same time.

#3 Just wondering....

Why is it that when I post a cute picture of my husband and I or of a tasty dish I made or just a random update about work or pharmacy school or our marriage on facebook, I automatically get 30, 40, 50...even up to a 100 likes...but when I post something that defends life...or traditinal marriage....or something related to my Catholic faith... I get like 2 likes (one of them being a priest) or **Silence**
 
 What what?!?! Oh, this is too controversial for you to like...to have anything to do with??? I get it, what if someone sees that you have a slight bit of interest in defending Your Catholic faith, or worse yet, what IF they get offended by you expressing your faith/values/opinion??? And what if your reputation is ruined??? Puuuuhlease!!!Stand up for something for once, darnit! Who's gonna be the voice for the voiceless if we're all scared of sharing and standing up for what is right??? Who's gonna stand up for you when you're the only one left standing because they have already devoured us, the devout Catholics that were too unafraid of speaking up and ticked off too many people ???



#4 Nerd Girl Problems

All the ones that apply or have applied to me:

Nerd Girl Problem #245234 
Being a assigned a 3-5 page essay, having 12 pages of material.
(This happened to me so many times)


I'm eventually going to try to come up with my own Nerd Girl Problems, 
because I think I might have some funny ones in store.


#5 What happens when I try to cook



But good stuff comes out anyways!


This is a recipe for loaded baked potatoes that I found on pinterest, 
except I added my own person touch to it. My husband loved them. 
And he loved my barbeque ribs too! And the red cabbage slaw.




#6  And you know there has to be an update on the kitty

 Tiger is doing well. I still have to bring her in to get her belly checked out though, because it has been big for a while and the swelling or whatever it is, is not going down. She tested negative for pregnancy and negative for worms. So it might be something more serious...like a hairball, maybe? Haha. She's cuddly and loves her new home but she still displays a lot of mean behaviors she learned while trying to survive out on the streetz! But we ain't scared of her....still shower her with kisses even if she growls and hisses! Somebody's gotta show this kitty what love and affection are...and that she no longer need to have her survival skills on... 
Relax kitty, you're home now. And we ain't gonna hurt ya!



#7 Pharm School

This is what happens when you try to fit 50 pages of important information on one piece of paper! 


This was me on Tuesday morning, cramming for my Chemical Principles of Drug Action exam on cancer chemotherapy...part 1. Yes, I love colors when studying. I learn by writing...so I extensively highlight, and write, and re-write...and color-coordinate sections and subsections of my notes. And I like having everything in one place. Studying cancer chemotherapy is somewhat like learning a new language though....probably even worse. It was just not sticking. 
But good news! I aced the exam. 
Bad news? Now I feel like I don't remember a single thing anymore (2 days later). 
The beauty of cramming - it all goes into your short-term memory - only to come right out as soon as you walk out of that exam. But don't worry folks, I will know my cancer chemotherapy really well once we cover it in pharmacotherapeutics. This was more like an intro.....as it was in a med chem class. It will be easier to learn it when we get lectures on it in therapeutics...which is always a good thing!


#7.5 And of course you get the bonus quick take: 

A pic of me trying to drive home in the storm Wednesday evening. 
Don't worry,  I wasn't playing with my phone while driving (prohibited in Illinois since Jan 2014). Traffic was stopped completely, as you would expect in Chicago in blizzard-y, below zero conditions. My cousin, who studies at University of Alaska at Fairbanks, posted on facebook Wednesday morning: "+35 in Alaska, 0 in Chicago." Keep teasing us. 
We'll eventually dig ourselves outta this snow.



And how about reading some of my late posts for lots of fun? 

I recommend the following, but I may be biased :-D






P.S. I have a new marriage tab/page. Just look at the top of my blog!  

Love and blessings!

Agnes

Wednesday, January 22, 2014

My Analysis of Satan's Soliloquy from John Milton's "Paradise Lost"

One of my all time favorite books is John Milton's Paradise Lost. Yes, it is a book from the 17th century (1667) and yes, it consists of 12 books with over 10 thousands lines of verse. It's an epic poem written in blank verse, so it does not read like a regular novel. It's one, huge poem. But it's a classic. And it deserves to be.

We had to read this book in my Advanced Placement (AP) Literature class in my senior year of high school...but back then, I was in all AP and Honors classes and had an insane amount of school work to complete every day...so I skimmed or spark-noted a lot of the readings in the book, struggling to keep up with my school work. But I am now re-reading the book, just for the sake of pleasure and appreciation of real, classic literature on a worthy topic.

The book contains the story of the Fall of Man - primarily how Adam and Eve fell to the temptation of the fallen angel Lucifer aka Satan, how God expelled them from the Garden of Eden aka Paradise, and their lamentation over all that they lost. However, throughout the books are also dispersed the internal struggles of Satan - the fallen angel....struggles between good and evil. As an assignment in my AP Lit class, we had to analyze Satan's famous Soliloquy. (A Soliloquy is a part in a play where a character is by himself on stage, expressing his thoughts/struggles aloud).



This is the actual cover of the edition of Paradise Lost that I read.

And here is my essay on Satan's Soliloquy and the analysis of his character
as John Milton presents it, from when I read it for the first time (at 18 years old).

 “The Foundations of Satan’s Character”
Through presenting Satan’s thoughts upon first seeing the beauty of Paradise in the form of a soliloquy, John Milton reveals for the first time the most sincere reflections and inner conflicts of the greatest fallen angel of the epic Paradise Lost.   Milton uses Satan’s soliloquy to illustrate and explain thoroughly the devil’s malicious intentions, motives, as well as his mentality.  Even at the opening of the soliloquy, Satan expresses his anguish and suffering as he looks upon the glorious sun and speaks to it in apostrophe: “O Sun, to tell thee how I hate thy beams / That bring to my remembrance from what state / I fell, how glorious once above thy Sphere” (IV.37-9).   Not only has Satan once held a place above the sun physically, but also his power and glory overshadowed those of the sun.  Throughout the soliloquy, Satan continues arguing with himself and even develops a new definition of hell as a spiritual state of separation from God.  He proves the magnitude and complexity of his circumstance through his attempt to accuse his creator of causing his fall and the resulting malice as well as his abrupt realization that he possessed the “free Will and Power to stand,” but chose to fall (IV.66).  Through the use of rhetorical question, paradox, and apostrophe within his soliloquy, Milton depicts Satan not as an absolute embodiment of evil, but rather as a contemplative, intelligent, and appealing character who utilizes his eloquence and deceptive nature in order to create sympathy and establish credibility among the readers, the world’s first parents, and ultimately among the entire human race.
In Satan’s soliloquy, Milton portrays the fallen angel as an individual characterized by human psychology and emotions as well as very noble characteristics that cause Satan to appear as a tragic character that deserves sympathy and understanding.  The human emotions of envy, lust, pride, and despair that describe Satan cause humans to have the ability to relate to him and the flaws of his nature.  On the contrary, humans cannot relate to God since he symbolizes pure good, righteousness, and flawlessness.  As all humans have at one point in their lives experienced anguish, envy, and despair, they identify with Satan and understand the faults that led to his fall and the reasons that prevent his repentance.  Milton depicts Satan behaving and speaking in a very imperfect and human-like manner, and he shows that even the greatest of the devils feels shame and regret about the irrationality of his past actions.  Satan evokes respect when he admits, “my dread of shame / Among the Spirits beneath, whom I seduc’d / With other promises…/ Than to submit, boasting I could subdue / Th’Omnipotent” (IV.82-6).  In this manner, Satan demonstrates that he cannot submit and repent since he preached against the two in hell.  Milton’s usage of rhetorical question reveals Satan’s state of hopelessness when he questions, “is there no place / Left for Repentance, none for Pardon Left? / None left but by submission” (IV.79-81).  Consideration and understanding for Satan arise when Satan admits that false repentance would lead to an even greater downfall.  Moreover, the hell and evil that exist in Satan’s mind torment him endlessly; therefore, he has no hope for repentance.  Although Satan despairs and regrets his rebellion, his anguish only stimulates his rising pride and evil instead of laying the foundations for remorse and repentance.  Milton uses paradox to illustrate Satan’s ultimate resolve to sin. Satan fearlessly exclaims, “Farewell Remorse: all Good to me is lost; / Evil be thou my Good” (IV.109-10).  Satan’s intelligence, his clever but deceitful words, as well as his seemingly tragic downfall evoke sympathy and respect, and also conceal his purely evil nature.
Satan’s numerous rhetorical questions, his argument with himself, as well as his accusation of God for causing his downfall further reveal his agony and the enormity of his inner conflict.  When he realizes that his detachment from God and the hell within him will always torture him, Satan raises a rhetorical question, “Me Miserable! Which way shall I fly, / Infinite Wrath, and infinite Despair? / Which way I fly is Hell: myself am Hell” (IV.73-74).  Milton establishes Satan’s state of helplessness and suffering by having him address both wrath and despair in an apostrophe.  Furthermore, within the soliloquy, Satan discovers the source of his hatred but quickly recognizes his flawed reasoning.  He blames his banishment from heaven and his evil nature on God, but almost immediately reevaluates his false accusation and admits that his own free will caused his rebellion.  This sudden acknowledgment and acceptance of the truth portrays Satan as a reasonable and intelligent character, but simultaneously arouses in the reader feelings of pity at the extent of his devastation as well as the loss of his residence in heaven.  Satan, yet again, raises a rhetorical question after reflecting upon God’s goodness, “Forgetful what from him I still receiv’d, / And understood not that a grateful mind / By owing owes not, but still pays, at once / Indebted and discharg’d: What burden then?” (IV.54-58). Satan comprehends the immense debt he owes God for creating him and finally realizes that in a simple understanding of the magnitude of this debt, one is released from it.  In addition, Satan acknowledges the ease and beauty of life in heaven.  Milton uses paradox to demonstrate that although Satan admits God’s equal distribution of love in heaven, he is torn between love and hate because both yield the same outcome to him.  Satan suffers for he has no alternative but evil and hatred; he laments, “Since love or hate, / To me alike, it deals eternal woe” (IV.69-70). Paradoxically, he claims that both love and hate bring woe as neither love and submission nor hate and evil delight him.  No matter which path he chooses, Satan will encounter endless suffering.  Satan’s continuous argument with himself in his soliloquy reveals the complexity of his character and the depth of his misery.
Although Milton’s suggestion contradicts completely the common belief that Satan represents pure evil and sin, the author nonetheless presents Satan as a clever but tragic character who comes particularly close to repenting yet realizes that he cannot escape the hell and torment that follows him wherever he goes. Satan’s very compelling soliloquy reveals the complexity and craftiness of his character and it also demonstrates that Milton employed Satan’s emotional appeal in order to establish Satan as a suffering figure deserving of pity and sympathy. Satan’s disgraceful human characteristics and flaws give his own prey the ability to relate to him and understand his motives.  Milton sets deception as a foundation upon which he constructs the character of Satan. As a result, Satan deceives both the reader as well as man in the epic—his misleading lies convince Adam and Eve  that sin does not go against God’s will and that it will raise them up to become equivalents of God. Milton’s contradictory depiction of Satan as an alluring and philosophical creature allows Satan to furtively tempt and mislead the human race without revealing his vile and repulsive intentions.

I will be sharing some more of my writing with you in the days/weeks to come. I figured why not. I have some great writing, which I spent hours and hours and hours to write, only for one person (the Literature professor) to read them and give me an A. (Not to boast, but I did get A's on all of my essays in all of my Honors / AP English and Lit classes....and I'm proud of it!!! haha)

God bless
Agnes

Saturday, January 18, 2014

"You Just Don't Understand" -Differences between Men and Women in Communication


 So back when I was working on my pre-pharmacy undergraduate program at Illinois Institute of Technology in Chicago, I wrote an assignment in my sociology class on the differences in communication styles of men and women. The assignment was based on the Deborah Tannen's book "You Just Don't Understand: Women and Men in Conversation." The book was a bestseller for 4 years, so I guess it's worth a read! It was overall a pretty good book and was right-on on a lot of the differences between the way males and females communicate and interact and what they mean by the certain words they say or behaviors they display. Below is the actual assignment that I submitted to our sociology professor. You can kind of treat this as a book review, I guess, to help you get an idea of what the books is about and what I thought about it.





Agnes Xxxxx
Soc 208
April 18, 2011

TANNEN: YOU JUST DON’T UNDERSTAND



1) WHAT IS THE BOOK'S BASIC MESSAGE, ACCORDING TO YOU?

I think Tannen wants to point out that there are PROVEN differences in the way men and women listen and communicate, due to both biology and environment. Tannen’s aim is not for us to radically change our behaviors or conversational styles, but simply to be aware of the existing differences. The book’s basic message, then, is for men and women to understand and ACCEPT each other for who we are. If both of the sexes were the same, marriage would be boring! The book also tells us that conflict between man and woman CAN be healthy, only if approached with mutual understanding.


2) IS SHE TALKING ABOUT MEN AND WOMEN, OR ABOUT CONVERSATIONAL STYLES, OR BOTH? SORT THIS OUT AND GIVE EXAMPLES TO PAGES TO BACK UP YOU ARGUMENT.

Although Tannen mentions throughout the book that there are many factors that influence the development and thus behavior of men and women, she emphasizes over and over, that it is really the distinct conversational styles that cause trouble and conflict in relationships. I do not completely agree with Tannen on this aspect. I believe that conversational styles are only one, small part of what creates dissimilarity and conflict between men and women. (see question # 10). So, it seems that Tannen does mention all of these other factors that influence men and women as people, however, she keeps going back to her argument of conversational styles. The reason why I say that Tannen bases her argument on conversational style differences is due to the following evidence from the book. The quotes below show that Tannen placed emphasis on conversational styles rather than men and women, as individuals.
  • Page 27: “Women expect decisions to be discussed first and made by consensus...But many men feel oppressed by lengthy discussions about what they see as minor decisions”
  • Page 42: “If women speak and hear a language of connection and intimacy, while men speak and hear a language of status and independence, then communication between men and women can be like cross-cultural communication, prey to a clash of conversational styles.”
  • Page 61: “When men and women talk to each other, the problem is that each expects a different kind of response.”
  • Page 81: “To him, talk is for information…but to her, talk is for interaction.”
  • Page 215: “Women see steering the conversation in an different direction not as a move in a game, but as a violation of the rule of the game.”

3) HOW WELL DOES SHE SUCCEED IN PRESENTING HER INFORMATION? WHAT ARE SOME OF HER METHODS OF PRESENTATION/PERSUASION?

Tannen has definitely persuaded me successfully—although in some areas more than in others.
  • She uses a lot of personal examples from her life. Being married gives her credibility, because the reader knows she’s been through the conflicts that she’s writing about.
  • Before she makes an important point, she precedes it with a good anecdote or example—so that the reader is convinced that the point she is making is, in fact, true.
  • The new concepts that she introduces are not only used once in the book—but she keeps referring back to them in later chapters, in order to continuously prove to the reader that these concepts are applicable to almost any situation.

4) WHAT ARE HER METHODS OF RESEARCH? LIST AT LEAST FIVE DIFFERENT ONES

  • Watching boys and girls interact and play
    • Observation of all boy and all girls groups
    • Observation of mixed boy/girl groups
  • Real stories and conversations of her friends, acquaintances, etc
  • She borrows some concepts and statistics from previously done research
  • Attending a women’s group during meetings they held about communication between men and women (men were also present, so she made observations about how they engaged in conversation)
  • Making observations in the classroom, during the lectures she gave

5) WHAT NEW CONCEPTS DOES SHE INTRODUCE? (EX METAMESSAGE). LIST THEM AND BRIEFLY EXPLAIN WHAT THEY MEAN. (AT LEAST 7)

  • Framing (p. 33)
    • The things you say frame you—they describe who you are as a speaker. For example, if you are gently explaining, your message frames you as a teacher with good intentions.

  • Assymetry in conversation (p. 28, 49, 288)
    • Men usually speak with asymmetry, always trying to be a “one-up.” Even if a woman is trying to explain or teach a man something as a means of establishing connection, the man thinks she is trying to be above him in the hierarchy. (Her, being his teacher, and him, being her student—or subordinate)

  • Messages vs. Metamessages (p 31, 174)
    • Message is the literal meaning of the words spoken, but a message can convey different metamessages to different people. For example, a man offering to help a woman sends her a metamessage that the man wants to be involved and connected; but a woman offering help to a man might send a metamessage that the woman thinks she is smarter than he.

  • Rapport-Talk (p. 76)
    • This is a kind of private, subjective speaking that women use most often. They exchange their opinions and feelings about their family life and relationships.

  • Report Talk (p. 76)
    • This is more like public speaking—a simple exchange of objective information either about the world, about work, or about some news. It is most often used among men.

  • Cooperative Overlapping (p. 197)
    • When having a conversation, interrupting the other person or speaking before the other person finishes can be often constructive, and not destructive. As long as the interruption doesn’t go off topic, but just continues smoothly the flow of the conversation, it is called successful cooperative overlapping.

  • Talking-about vs. Talking-against (Gossip) (p. 119)
    • Gossip can be both valuable, but it can also be destructive to relationships. The kind of gossip that simply discusses people without any judgment can help women establish connection. The kind of gossip that criticizes people or even exaggerates facts about them is unhealthy to a relationship.

8) WHAT IN HER BOOK IS PARTICULARLY BELIEVABLE? EXPLAIN.

What I found very believable was Tannen’s insight on the different ways that men and women signal that they are listening. I think the reason why I found this to seem so true is because I have experienced frustrations in my own life with the well-known stereotypical claim that “men never listen.” When a woman talks to a man, she often thinks he is ignoring her because he either does not say anything at all or if he does, he usually challenges her views instead of expressing agreement. Tannen explains that this is men are not doing this to hurt their partners or because they really are disinterested in what they partner is talking about, but simply because they have a different style of listening. Whereas women give a lot of response (“uhuh” “sure”), feedback, and ask a lot of questions to let the other person know they are listening, men only say “yes” or “uhuh” when they agree, not to let the other person know they are listening. Men also tend to make statements instead of asking questions, which may seem like they’re trying to challenge everything women say.  I have experienced this in my conversations, so to me, this sounded very true.

9) WHICH PARTICULAR INSIGHTS ARE IMPORTANT TO YOU? WHY?

I was very relieved by reading this book. I am in a long term relationship and will most likely be getting married within the next 2-3 years, so Tannen’s insights about how a man’s mind works were very insightful to me. Like most women, when we had an argument that ended in a “stalemate,” I did not know what to do, what to think, or what to say. I didn’t know why we would always throw in each other’s faults into our arguments and each person would blame the other. Now I know that neither of us understood how different we really are, and instead of making things worse by pointing each other’s flaws, we should understand and accept each other’s differences. Tannen made me understand that men and women are not only different biologically, but that they were raised and nurtured in totally different environments, which caused these differences to develop even further. Now I know that instead of being against each other, we need to be for each other—because the way we talk and the way we listen will never be the same. Although there is no, single way to fix disagreements, small adjustments can be made by both sides in order to thrive in love and mutual understanding.

10) IS SHE DEAD WRONG ABOUT SOMETHING? EXPLAIN.

She is oversimplifying both the woman and the man, as individuals, and the relationship / love between man and woman. It seems silly to argue that simply the different ways that men and women talk is the main factor behind fights and divorces. A lot of the studies/experiments as well as the many interactions between boys and girls presented throughout the book demonstrate that the two genders display different behaviors and place importance in distinct values. However, Tannen often emphasizes only the findings that underline the difference in how the two genders communicate in different manners. Tannen definitely defends her standpoint a few times throughout by mentioning that it is not always so “black and white.” So, she is not “dead wrong” about men and woman relations because she does say that oftentimes, the success of a relationships depends on many other, situational factors.

11) WHY DO YOU THINK THE BOOK BECAME A BESTSELLER FOR 4 YEARS? WHO BOUGHT IT AND WHY?

The book is easy to understand but at the same time, it is supported by extensive research. It’s a great educational tool for the average person. I think it was mostly bought by boyfriend-girlfriend couples and married couples. I would predict that women were the largest consumer, since women are known to ruminate on their problems. So, when women have difficulty understanding certain behaviors of men, it often brings them down emotionally and they think the relationship is not working. (They do not know that it is simply because men and women have different expectations in a relationship and different ways of communicating). Many women, as well as some men, are puzzled by the behaviors and words of their loved ones, and this book solves this puzzle for them.

12) COULD PART OF THE APPEAL BE DUE TO THE FACT THAT SHE PLAYS ON OUR PSYCHOLOGICAL BIASES, OR USES VARIOUS PERSUASIVE TRICKS? OR DOES SHE USE LARGELY RATIONAL KIND OF ARGUMENTS? OR BOTH?

I think the book mostly includes rational arguments, however, there are a few biases that the audience may fall for throughout. First of all, Tannen uses a lot of anecdotal evidence. Much of the proof for her arguments comes from single conversations of some couples she knows. We tend to believe strong, powerful anecdotes, especially if they somehow may relate to us, instead of believing statistics or scientific evidence. As readers, we may also experience hindsight bias. Tannen points out the reasons for the basic differences between men and women, and we think that this is so obvious that “we knew it all along,” when in fact, we just learnt it. Also, as I was reading the book, I noticed that I was undergoing confirmation bias. I underlined only those ideas that matched my original views, but tended to ignore the findings that didn’t agree with my opinions. However, this is not a bias that Tannen tries to play on the reader, but one that the reader undergoes by himself.


Despite our differences, in the end....

Wednesday, January 15, 2014

Really ?!?!?!?! (On same-sex so-called marriage)

Just saw this on my facebook wall. Posted by a friend from high school. And it made my blood boil! 
I still can't get over it. She's a Cradle Catholic. In fact, she's getting married in the Catholic Church this year. She probably goes to regular mass and receives communion.

Well then, why don't you understand that GOD created marriage??? Not YOU!!! So you don't get to decide what it is! You have no idea what marriage is if you think two men or two women 
can get "married" just the same as a man and a woman. 

 This is what she posted:




Seriously??? 
What does one have to do with the other?????  
Tell me, because I do not understand.
























Disclaimer: We Catholics are not homophobic, just because we don't agree with it or believe in it!!!  Phobia = being scared of something! If you don't believe in God, you're not deemed Theophobic, are you? We do understand some people are born with a homosexual orientation/tendencies and we tolerate these people and we love them just the same - but that does not mean we support their marriage to a same-sex partner! That's not what marriage is! That's not what the Creator of Marriage created it to be. You cannot change the definition/meaning of something if you are not the creator of it. Sure, you can go to court and have a "civil union" and pretend it's a marriage - but it will NEVER BE a marriage - according to its definition and creation. Period.

Sorry, but hearing all these illogical arguments and seeing stuff posted on facebook that is pro same-sex so-called marriage, especially by Catholics who go to church, really makes my blood pressure go up and makes me hyperventilate, just a bit.

God help our nation!

Wednesday, January 8, 2014

5 Favorites: Christmas Break Memories

Thanks to Hallie for hosting 5 Favorites


1. Christmas Eve & Christmas Day in Michigan

My parents just recently sold their house in the suburbs of Chicago and moved to rural Michigan! Not too far from the lake so I'm sure it will be fun in the summer. We went there for Christmas Eve. We have a traditional Polish Christmas Eve dinner called Wigilia (aka Vigil)...which is composed of 12 meals and the traditional sharing of Christmas wafers and well-wishing for the New Year. We arrived on Monday (before Christmas Eve) and took the chance to chop down and load up on some wood for our fireplace. We stayed until mid-day Christmas, after which we went to see the in-laws. 
  



Wigilia Table all set....with Baby Jesus in the middle, laying in hay.

 
2. Nights spent by the fireplace

My new favorite spot to study!

Tiger was sleeping next to his head, but was just not caught in the picture. It was too cute. 

When my wedding prints came and I was trying to sort them and frame them.

3. Tiger's  company
Glad we rescued her before the crazy arctic chills overtook Chicago. She might not have survived on the streets with the -20F temp with a Real Feel of -52F .
 




4. Getting a guitar for Christmas

I still have to learn how to play though. But it was like my dream from childhood to have a guitar...and finally!!!! I took one basic lesson on you tube already...but so far only tuned the guitar. Now to learn to play! I hope to learn some songs so that when we go to our parents' house in Michigan and sit around a bonfire on summer nights, we can all sing.


And giving my hubby this card...which kinda rings true!


5. Having time to cook and bake

Homemade Polish Cauliflower soup!

Homemade Polish Tomato Soup! 
(my husband's absolute favorite dish made by me)





  
On the left is this cole-slaw like salad except made with red cabbage. It's delicious. 
And below is just some garlic chicken with onions and green peppers.


  

 Kolaczki making for New Year's Eve party! 
My hubby really wanted to show me how to properly roll out dough....so I said fine, have at it!!! He was great at it but not so great at cutting the dough into uniformly sized squares. My first batch looked perfect. His batch went all the way from giant cookies to little tiny baby cookies.
 It was funny as heck!


Picture of the ones that came out pretty

If you want recipes for anything else above, let me know and I'll post them!


And bonus:
View from our house yesterday at approximately 4:30pm. After the Chicago area froze over! It was -19F on Monday morning and the drive to school was literally dangerous because the roads were pure ice in some areas. But at least it looks pretty, especially at sunset :-)


Sunday, January 5, 2014

An Attempt to Change my Introvert Self for 2014



God said:
"Love your God.....
And love your neighbor as yourself..."


Sometimes I feel like I act like I'm too holy, too cool for people...if you know what I mean.
Like everyone who is not a devout Catholic is not even worth my attention.
Like they must just be plain dumb to not see all the evidence that points to the Truth.
But what I don't think about is how difficult it is to be a Catholic.
To even become a believer in the first place -
- a believer of an apparently extremist, oppressive, fairy tale religion.
And what it took for me to get to where I am today spiritually.

Yet I judge everyone as being"brainwashed by the culture and by the media" and thus not even worth my time. I'd rather spend my time delving deeper into my beautiful faith and spending time with God.

That has been my general attitude in 2013.

Yup, I am a big introvert...which I know is part of my nature and I can't really change that, but I can still work on being more social and more loving.


I have been just a little too selfish and too comfortable in my own little world. In our own little world. Just the hubby and I...comfortable in our beautiful and cozy little house. Too comfortable to be by myself...with just my books..and my studying...and the golden silence and peace of our home. Too comfortable in the sphere of my Catholic books, blogs, and pouring my feelings into the pages of my journal.

As an introvert, I don't need very much to be happy. I don't need fancy dates or wild parties. In fact, my perfect weekend is spent in our home, on the couch, cuddled up with my husband under a blanket, watching a movie and enjoying some good food. I have been so, so overwhelmingly happy with my new life situation. My heart has literally been overflowing with joy and gratitude about my new husband, house, and being a newlywed. I see God in every part of our life together and I don't need much beyond that - therefore - I have not really been relying on people very much...or being a very good friend to people...or a good family member, even.

Don't get me wrong.
I would consider myself as a very kind person.
I like to help people out, I like to talk to people about significant things (just can't stand meaningless mouth yapping and excessive noise - I need to be able to hear my own thoughts and hear God in my heart).
But I have been keeping people at a distance for some reason.
I have not been the best daughter, sister, or friend. I have been just a little bit too focused on myself, on my own little world of comfort, just a little bit too unloving toward some of the closest people to me that deserve to be loved and paid attention to just a bit more on my part. Sometimes I feel like I can be nicer and more compassionate toward a random stranger (ex: a patient that comes to our pharmacy) than a family member or a friend.

It probably seems to everyone like I am antisocial or that I don't like them.

So how can I evangelize if I'm  perceived as antisocial???
What's the point of acquiring so much knowledge about the church and the faith and the world...putting as much time as I do into reading Catholic books, blogs, articles, news... if I can't share all of this to make an impact in someone's life???

In 2014 therefore, my resolution is to embrace people.
Like Pope Francis has been asking us to do. And Pope Benedict. And Pope John Paul II.




All I have been doing is receiving from God.
Now I must GIVE back.
I must let His love shine through me and touch the hearts of other people, especially those people that are already so close to me, within my reach.

I am ready to begin this new work in my life.
So help me God.

Amen.

Agnes