Walking on Sunshine

Posts tagged ‘lifestyle’

Sunday Links: Make Week Wrap-Up

Sunday Links: Make Week Wrap-Up.

I nearly did it.

I watched no TV – not even the news – for one week.  I made an exception for the Leaders’ Debate on Thursday night, not realising until too late that it was available on the radio.  But that’s OK as I wasn’t exactly watching for pleasure.  And then, yesterday, I completely forgot.  I had a headache, my joints hurt, my plans for a night out were cancelled because a friend was ill, I was tired – too tired to read – and I switched on.  I feel a bit like an addict confession to an illicit drink or cigarette.  I actually forgot it was Make Week – probably because I’ve not kept my promise to keep people updated, sorry guys.  Anyway, I had William snuggled up with me and spent a nice hour watching a recorded episode of Ballykissangel.

Today is the last day of Make Week.  I’m still tired.  My head aches.  My joints hurt.  I don’t have plans for today beyond going to Mass tonight.  My friend and I are not going to Stitch’n Bitch as she’s the one who was ill last night.  I’m undecided on whether to call it a day and spend some time snuggling with Sam (for variety) and watching whatever or to gird my loins and go for one final day.  I quite happily don’t watch TV but this prohibition has been a bit like being on a diet – if one is told not to each chocolate then one instantly wants it.  And, having ‘slipped’ last night, I feel a bit like my diet’s ‘broken’ and can only be restarted on Monday.  So we’ll see.

On the whole, however, I’m pleased with the experiment.  I’ve learned that I’m more TV-dependant than I thought and I’ve enjoyed having more time to read without the procrastinations of ‘too tired’ and ‘it’s been a long day …’

How did your Make Week go?

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How Tossing Out My Husband List Taught Me About Trust | Singles

How Tossing Out My Husband List Taught Me About Trust | Singles.

For surely I know the plans I have for you, says the Lord, plans for your welfare and not for harm, to give you a future with hope. Jeremiah 29:11 – NRSV

I never had a husband list.  I was never really sure I wanted to be married and I’ve always known I don’t want children.  One of my mother’s friends has a signed statement from Laura-aged-10 stating that I’ll never have kids.  She said she’d wave it in front of me the first time I waddled my 8-months-pregnant self past her but she’s never had the pleasure.  I’ve had a couple of episodes of ‘baby rabies’ and I’m trying to learn to love babies and children because God does but I want to be blessed with one of my own the same way I want to be blessed with an opportunity to suffer for Christ.  They’re both blessings from God but I’ll be at the back of the queue when he’s handing them out.  Bless me with something else, please, God, I’ll say.  And God is good – no children and only the same amount of suffering as everyone else gets.

Husbands are a different matter.  I’ve never had one of those and I did, desperately, want one.  I’ve had boyfriends and friends who were boys.  I’ve been engaged (I was sixteen and it’s a long story) and I’ve had one other proposal (I turned it down and don’t regret it).

When I started taking my faith seriously I read a lot of books and a read a lot of blogs.  And it looked like God’s intention was for women to marry.  So I labelled myself a ‘wife in training’ and tried to become the Proverbs 31 woman.  Every man I met was a potential husband.

And then my faith developed and I realised I belonged in the Catholic Church.  So, if God was going to bless me with a husband, he’d expect me to be open to babies.  In fact, for a Catholic, a marriage isn’t ‘valid’ if one of the partners enters it with the intention of remaining childless (just to be clear, if they’re open to having children but none come then that’s fine).  So it seemed I had a problem.  And I did a lot of reading and thinking and praying.

I thought God would change me so I’d want children and I’d then convert, marry a nice, Catholic bloke and pop out a couple of babies before hitting the menopause.  I had it all planned out.  But that’s not what happened.

I started noticing the good things about being single.  And the less good things about being married.  And I started thinking that, really, I liked my life fine the way it is.  I like being single.  There – I’d finally said it.  I don’t really want to be married.  So God did change me but not in the way I expected.

I like being single.  And I love being Catholic.  And now I know why the relationships of my youth failed.  I’m not made to be married.  And I’m looking forward to the next adventure God has planned for me.

Shepherding My Sheep: Father’s homily on March 7, 2010

Shepherding My Sheep: Father’s homily on March 7, 2010.

I read this post today and thought ‘Uhuh.’  In a good way – not a bad way.

Since coming across that passage in Acts, I’ve been thinking a lot about what being Catholic means – and what it means in a practical way.  Being Catholic means that I’m a little different and that difference should show in my life.  So, in what way is my life different now compared to what it looked like before the Easter Vigil?

I’m conscious that I’m resting on my laurels.  I’m Catholic.  I’ve arrived.  But am I praying?  Am I making little sacrifices?  Am I going to Mass as often as I can?  I’m not very happy at my answers to these questions or the way I measure up to the picture painted in Acts.

It’s progress I need, not perfection.  And I was reminded at RCIA to leave the guilt behind and just do my best to make small, sustainable changes.  So my goal is to spend some time tomorrow thinking and praying about what I can do to live out what I believe.  I’m going to make a list and then choose one item to work on at a time.  Watch this space.

Make Week: 19 – 25 April 2010

Here’s something to think about:  What would happen if you turned off the TV for just one week?  Would you go outside more?  Would you read more?  Take up a new sport?  Have some great conversations?  Smell the roses?  Well, next week people are getting the chance to find out by switching off the box in something called ‘Make Week’ – that is ‘Make Life Happen Week’, according the the guys at SimpleOrganic.

I think it’s a great idea.  I used to have no TV and learned not to miss it.  And then I bought a Sky subscription and watched way too much.  Today I watch a bit and am happy with the level of my consumption.  Mostly I watch News 24 and EWTN but, every now and again, I buy a TV paper and put things I fancy into Sky+ to watch on a rainy day.  Doing without it for a week isn’t that big of a deal.  I think.  If we were talking radio – well, that would be a problem.  But I can live without TV for a week.  How about you?

Is Dowdiness Next to Godliness?

I mentioned the other day that I’ve been reading Woman Alive magazine.  The other article that really struck me was entitled ‘Is Dowdiness Next to Godliness?’ and promoted the author’s book.  The book is now on my wishlist but hopefully I’ll get lucky and win the prize draw for a copy.

I’ve been interested in the way women dress, make-up and do their hair for a long time.  Which does not mean I look like a fashion model – at the moment, I’m wearing crocs, leggings and sweater, no make-up and sad hair.  I do have to point out that I wasn’t intending to go out today when I got dressed this morning!  I will possibly be running down to the shop later on but I’ll probably get changed – leggings aren’t the best thing to wear if you’re overweight and your sweater doesn’t cover your … well, anyway.

My appearance has gone through many incarnations.  As a little girl I wasn’t bothered about what I wore although I did like dresses and liked to dress up ‘like a bride’ with my mother’s net curtains.  Please don’t let the photographs survive, Lord. But it wasn’t until I hit my mid-teens that I started to care about how I looked.  And then it was with the intent of attracting male attention.  I got very into make-up and happily got up at 6am every morning to wash my hair.  That pattern really persisted until I fell ill with depression in my late twenties and getting dressed at all was a major achievement.  Today, I think I scrub up not badly but I’m a low-maintenance girl and, generally, don’t bother too much beyond making sure I’m generally hygienic.

There seem to be a lot of Christian writers talking about the way women present themselves.  And some of those authors are women.  The first school of thought I was attracted to was definitely dowdy.  Heads are covered.  Hair is long but in a bun.  Dresses (and only dresses, mind) go up to the neck and down to the feet with long arms in between.  Aprons are probably worn.  There is no make-up on that, freshly scrubbed, face.  As I understand it, this is Godly because the woman is not encouraging men towards impurity (of body or thought).

The opposite extreme sees women squeezing themselves into the latest trends and ‘making the most’ of whatever God’s blessed them with.  Perhaps they argue that, since God made bodies and God made sex, there’s nothing wrong with displaying their bodies and sexuality.  Men should, after all, be responsible for controlling their own bodies and minds.

Now, most women – Christian or otherwise – will fall somewhere in the middle of the spectrum I’ve described.  And, I have to say, I’m probably over at the dowdy end.  My youth left on the last train out of here (although it’s only been gone five minutes, honest!) and I no longer want to attract the kind of man I did in my 20s.  I like comfort more than I like displaying myself and, as I’m fundamentally lazy, this is probably just as well.

However, I am wondering if I shouldn’t begin making somewhat more of an effort.  We all have a certain beauty about us (male or female) and it no longer sits well with me to hide it all the time.  I’m not sure if it honours God, other people or myself.  I worked out a while ago that following the dowdy path, complete with apron, was really a lie – I’m not that kind of woman even if I do like wearing long skirts and comfy shoes.  I think, perhaps, this is the next stage of my self-discovery.  I don’t mean the kind of navel-gazing that’s totally self-obsessed and selfish.  But I want to find out who God intends me to be because that is who I truly am.

I went into town this afternoon and I changed out of the leggings and sweater I was wearing when I began work on this post.  I had a shower, did my hair, wore perfume.  I wore jeans and trainers with an old, comfortable top.  And it felt good.

The Beautiful Gate: Wrinkles! Flab! Gray Hair!

The Beautiful Gate: Wrinkles! Flab! Gray Hair!.

I really like this blogger’s take on growing older.

I didn’t bother much with my appearance until I discovered boys when I was about 13.  And then I embraced sexual allure with alacrity.  In truth, I think my mother was right when she said I looked like a prostitute.  But I got lots of male attention and, as that was what I wanted, I was happy.

Today, I’m very different.  I wear comfortable shoes.  I don’t wash my hair every day.  I rarely wear make-up.  I don’t seek or receive male attention.  And, you know what?  I’m a whole lot happier now than I was at 16.

I got my first grey hair (it’s actually silver) a couple of years ago.  And I have wrinkles round my eyes – mostly when I smile but I can see them getting deeper and more permanent.  I wouldn’t say that these are badges of honour – more signs of a mis-spent youth, I think.  But they’re me.  And I don’t desire to change them.  I use a moisturiser because I have dry skin and it gets sore if I don’t but it’s not a fancy ‘Look 10 years younger in 10 minutes’ one.  I don’t plan on colouring my hair.

This isn’t to say I don’t make some kind of effort to look nice.  And personal hygiene is a must.  But spending an hour or more every day in front of the mirror, trying to change my appearance?  No, thank you.

I’m small and round.  I wear glasses.  I work with animals.  And, at 36, I’m accepting that I’m middle-aged.  Why would any of that require me to look like a mannequin?  Sure, it’s nice to dress up once in a while but I’d rather be comfy 99% of the time.  And, you know what?  Where I am now feels pretty good 🙂