Friday, 28 February 2014

7 Quick Takes Friday #56

--- 1 ---
I'm writing 7 posts in 7 days along with our host Jen. It's day 5 and I'm still writing or something looking like it so I may survive this.

--- 2 ---
It's Carnival weekend here in Trinidad so I get to leave work early today and I have a super long weekend to chill, relax and recuperate. Catch up on my reading, my blogs and anything else that gets backburnered in the hustle of everyday life.

--- 3 ---
I also got to leave early yesterday and when I got home I had a totally unplanned and much needed nap. One of the side effects of Carnival is traffic, especially where I work horrible traffic. I try my best to entertain myself but sitting in traffic is physically draining. All you with toddlers who refuse to nap send them my way. The naps not the toddlers. A nap that late means I have not gone to bed yet but it has already crossed over into Friday for a while now.

--- 4 ---
Lent starts next week. I think I'm ready

--- 5 ---
The Not Alone Series this week was about masculinity. Everyone talks about the examples of masculinity in their live. There are some really sweet accounts. We also have more new bloggers joining which is so great. Come check out the link up.

--- 6 ---
It's the last day in February, the months feel like they are just flying by which could be a good thing when you are really looking forward to the second 6 months of the year. However when you have deadlines up the ying yang in the first 3 months of the year you fell like time needs to slow down.

--- 7 ---
A song to end the week.

For more Quick Takes, visit Conversion Diary!

Thursday, 27 February 2014


Since the beginning of the year and for some since Christmas, tourists have been flocking to Trinidad for "The Greatest Show on Earth", Carnival. Trinidad carnival is I believe the largest street party in the world. Street party being a bit of a misnomer since it is more of a take over everything party. It is also not isolated to just this coming weekend but is preceded by various fetes and events that have been taking place since the beginning of the year.

No Trinidadian (trini) will ever not know when Ash Wednesday is because it is the day after Carnival is over. Many will see Carnival as hedonistic, and in many ways it is, but it does have it roots in Catholic culture. The roots are just deeply buried these days.

Carnival or carne vale aka farewell to flesh or meat was the fete (there's that word again) that French colonials threw to get rid of all the alcohol, meat and fats before the start of Lent. The fete or big party was scandalous even in those days because they were considered hidden days where anything could happen. People wore masks and engaged in what was considered risqué in those days. The servants and the slave meanwhile mimicked and mocked their bosses by dressing and moving liked them as they enjoyed their own Carnival in the background.

Carnival is my culture. It has many beautiful faces besides the nakedness that some people love. The steelpan (invented here), calypso and soca. The kiddies carnival that takes place this weekend before the adults on Monday and Tuesday showcase the talent of our mas men. The adults have a great artistry to their costumes as well but most bands just fall back on "bikinis and beads".

J'ouvert, Dimanche Gras and two days off fron work. I'm in.

Wednesday, 26 February 2014

My Lenten Plans

Ash Wednesday is just a week away.

Everyone has already started talking about what they are giving up for Lent. A friend even asked me two weeks ago what my plans were for Lent.

So what are my plans?

My goal is to emerge at Easter looking more like Christ. To grow in love for God. To grow in love for neighbour. That last one is going to be hard because I know a few "neighbours" who get on my last nerve but I need to figure out how to act and react in a loving way.

I need to figure out and work on what hinders me from looking more like Christ. What keeps people from seeing Christ in me. Also what keeps me from loving God more.

With that being said how I am going to achieve that. First by not getting myself over committed. I am going to start seeing what everyone else is doing and it's going to sound great and I'm going to think maybe I should try that or this and just maybe I can fit that in somewhere. I'm letting myself know right now that I can't. Don't get me wrong there just might be something that I discover that I would love and be able to do but I have to let myself be okay right now that it's okay if I can't.

The only thing I ever really give up for Lent is meat, I don't eat it on Fridays anyhow. I do not eat meat throughout the whole of the Lenten season, not even on Sundays. Even though I do it every year it's hard, I am a carnivore so beans do not cut it. I don't really like to cook fish so I'm bored and irritated before the end of week two.

I'm still giving up meat but I am also giving up the bad attitude I have about it. Every time I feel the "I need meat" bad attitude coming on I am going offer up a prayer for someone. I'm going to be praying a lot. I am also going to pray for someone with every meal I prepare. Baking is my joy, preparing fish and vegetarian meals are not.

I'm not big on giving up stuff for Lent because I prefer to add things to my life. It has work out in the past that some of these things stick beyond Easter Sunday. I attend Daily Mass, I prayed the Liturgy of the Hours for years, I listen to Catholic radio and I don't eat meat on Fridays.

This year I want to pray the Angelus at least once a day, preferably at noon but sometimes that may not always work so 6 in the evenings if I miss noon.

I want to start going to confession every 2 weeks. I go monthly now and every two weeks is going to mean going on a Saturday which I have always hated. However my goal is to work on what hinders me from looking like Christ so I got to suck it up, besides I went last Saturday and it wasn't that bad. I just need to always get there early.

Station of The Cross on Fridays. My friend's parish has it in the evenings with Mass to follow, so a group of us usually go then go out to dinner after. Great way to encourage each other and to be encouraged.

I'm going to do a daily challenge jar. I use the Magnificat Lenten Companion every year and they usually have a daily penance or activity but I want something that is specific and personal to me. In that jar I will also be adding prayer requests so feel free to leave a comment with your name or request if you would like me to pray for you.

The only thing I am still up in the air about is what book am I going to read. I have a few suggestions Dating God: Live and Love the Way of St Francis, Change Our Hearts: Daily Meditations for Lent, Stories of Jesus: 40 Days of Prayer and Reflection, My Sisters the Saints: A Spiritual Memoir. I have a week to choose a book but I'm the person who goes into a bookstore, spends 2 hours trying to decide between two books and leaves with six.

So what are everyone else's Lenten plans?

Tuesday, 25 February 2014

Not Alone Series: Masculinity

Who is a great example of masculinity in your life (father, brother, uncle, priest, etc)? What is it about them that you love?

As far back as I can remember I have always heard little boys being told that men don't cry. If boys got upset about something they were called sissy and a host of other unflattering names. Boys and girls alike were thought that real men didn't express emotions probably didn't have them either. Men aren't as emotional as women they suck it up.

My uncle is a fireman. Big, strong, tough. There was a picture of him on the front page of the newspaper once a fire blazing behind him,  he's in full uniform and in his arms he's carrying an old lady out of the burning building. The caption for the picture was "Granny's Hero" the word hero was huge. He's my favourite uncle and has always been a hero to me. He rode a motorcycle when I was younger. He is a man of few words. A man's man. I have seen him cry.

I was 11 or 12 and it scared me a little. I knew he had a gentle side, this is the guy who took me to the dentist and held my hand when everyone before him had already thrown up their hands. I always felt brave with him. So to see him him that broken was hard. His wife and unborn child had died from complications. I can look back now and see how strong he actually was. He didn't suck in his grief and pretend away his pain. He didn't choose a destructive path abandoning the 2 year old who had just lost his mother. He stepped up even when I'm sure he would have rather disappeared for a while.

What re your examples of masculinity, see what everyone else has to say. Visit Morgan for the link-up.

Monday, 24 February 2014

7 Posts in 7 Days

I must be crazy.

I have not been much of a blogger since the year started, writing just one post a week most of the time yet I have committed myself to writing 7 posts in 7 days this week.

Jen of conversion diary threw out the challenge and I decided to take it up. I did manage the last time she had this challenge and it was what I needed at that time to shake me up a little so maybe I need it this time too.

I have a few drafts that need to be finished, I have some ideas that I have been thinking about writing. I have a mini plan and I still have no idea how I want this to go.

I am a perfectionist (a little more than a little anal) about some things but I am going to try to let go of that for this week. Gonna see where this week takes me.

Any new readers this week, welcome. Hope you stick around.

Tuesday, 18 February 2014

Not Alone Series: Valentine's Day

What are you thought's about Valentine's day? Do you enjoy? Loathe it? Not even realize it's a special day? Do you celebrate it in any way?

I love Valentine's Day!!!!

Growing up the day has always been preceded, included or proceeded by birthday parties because I have friends who were kind enough to be born on and around February 14th. I went to an all girls Catholic primary school, we were not forced to make Valentine's for each other and no one fretted about whether anyone liked them or not. We had great art projects but nothing more. Growing up Valentine's Day had other significance to me and was a happy day of treats.

I went to a co-ed secondary school but I didn't date in school so once again the day was about getting together with friends and celebrating their day. In fact I have never dated anyone around Valentine's so the day has always been about getting together with friends (not as easy as adults) and enjoying each other's company.

As I told some single friends last week, just because we don't have an earthly love we shouldn't forget our heavenly love who is madly in love with us and would be very happy to spend time with us. I went to Mass in the morning and Adoration after work.

I got treated to cake and some other goodies that a few people brought to the office and I had Godiva chocolates waiting for me at home.

You can call Valentine's Day whatever you want, a made-up holiday, a greeting card marketing ploy,etc but it's a day meant to celebrate love. Love isn't some singular thing between a man and a woman, it's bigger than that. It's between family who drive you crazy, friends who send you silly texts, and it's between our Saviour and us.I don't have a boyfriend, a fiancé or a husband but I have love so I celebrate it.

What are your thoughts on Valentine's Day. See what everyone else has to say, visit Jen for the link-up.

Tuesday, 11 February 2014

Not Alone Series: If Only

If only I knew then what I know now...
What would you tell your former self about being single if given the chance? What have you learned that you wish you could tell your younger self?

Dear 15 year old,

It's okay that you're not interested in boys yet, there is nothing wrong with you. Take your time, enjoy them as friends it will be very helpful to you in the future.

Dear 16 year old,

Everything will happen in time, be patient. You are beautiful, don't ever forget that. If some guy doesn't like you for who you are then he probably is the guy for you, no mater how sweet, cute, popular or smart.

Dear 18 year old,

Being single is not a fatal disease. Never being kissed isn't so bad either because you don't really want to be kissing a whole lot of frogs just the right prince. Your standards are not to high, in fact you can probably raise them just a little. Yes you are that special.

Dear 19 year old,

If you give a guy your number and he doesn't call you, a chance meeting two weeks later is not fate. If you can't see yourself marrying a guy then you probably shouldn't date that guy.

Dear 21 year old,

Being single is not a fatal disease. If you're not the kind of girl he dates then he's probably not the kind of guy you'll marry and that's okay.

Dear 22 year old and beyond,

Trust God. Be patient. Build those friendship, real friendships with girls who will walk before you up the isle or cry with you from a pew. Live your life, the guy for you will probably meet you in the everyday you don't have to stop and wait for him. You standards are not to high. No you do not expect to much of people. Yes there is a guy out there who is like that.

There are so many things I doubted, questioned or let other people influence or try to influence over the years. What are some things you wish you could tell your younger self.

Visit Jen and Morgan for the link up.

Tuesday, 4 February 2014

Not Alone Series: Chastity A Choice

Living chastely (not just abstinence) is a choice. Have you ever had to defend your choice to live out chastity? If not, why do you choose chastity?

Let's start with why I choose chastity - Love

I love God. As someone explained to me once, sin isn't just doing what is wrong, it's turning your back on God. I have a friend who makes a big joke of "living in sin" with her boyfriend (yes she proudly says it like that) and it breaks my heart everytime I hear her. Imagine how much more it hurts God. I cannot purposely hurt someone I love like that.

I love my future husband. Chastity is not something that is for before marriage only. Chastity is continued into marriage and beyond. Chastity is training me to be faithful to my husband, to have self-control. If I can't control myself now how will I be in marriage if my husband is in the military deployed months at a time, a doctor on call for long stretches, a business man who travels a lot.

I love myself. I respect myself. Also STDs are not my biggest reason for choosing chastity but let's face it they are very real. In Trinidad we are gearing up for Carnival and the slogan "respect your partner, respect yourself" is showing up again to promote "safe sex". The only safe sex is sex saved for marriage. I'm not going to quote statistics but "safer sex" as they are calling it now is a myth.

I have let go of fear and I'm learning to trust. In past situations after a guy has lost interest I would sometimes think "if only I had" maybe he was supposed to be... However I am learning to trust God that the person He has for me is not someone who loses interest because I don't do x,y or z.

"for God did not give us a spirit of cowardice but rather a spirit of power and love and self-discipline." 2 Tim 1:7.

I have never had to defend my choice to live chastely but I have gotten other people's opinion on it generally I'll be alone for the rest of my life. While I don't think that is true, and I don't really want to be single indefinitely, I'm okay with that (or at least getting there).

I choose chastity everytime with my decisions to how I act, what I read and what I view because I am more than a body that has no self-control.

Check out what everyone has to say about their choice of chastity. Visit Jen for the link.