A Young Lady’s Daybook, October 26th, 2018

Today…

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Friday, October 26th, 2018. Commemoration of St. Evaristus, Pope and Martyr. From the Epistle for the common Si diligis me, of a Pope:

“But the God of all grace, Who hath called us unto His eternal glory in Christ Jesus, after you have suffered a little, will Himself perfect you, and confirm you, and establish you. To Him be glory and empire for ever and ever. Amen.”

Outside my window…

It finally feels like October!!! Although the leaves have taken their time catching on to the fact that it’s Fall and they’re supposed to be changing colors, I think that glory of color is just around the corner. It will just be a little later than usual this year! But I’m really so happy it’s cool outside. We’ve been pulling out sweaters and all sorts of fun, warm clothes that haven’t been seen for a long time. Of course I managed to already pick up a touch of some kind of seasonal cold…but I think I’ve about kicked it.

Today is gray–but that kind of Autumnal gray that is somehow more beautiful than gray at any other time of year. Last night I fell asleep to the gentle sound of rain plunking down on the roof…there’s no cozier feeling! Except for that magical moment the first time Dad turns the heat on and it begins to steam through the vents with that unique smell that has thrilled me as long as I can remember (for us that happened just the other day).

Home around me…

Dad is working from home today…which always makes a day brighter…no plans to go out today as far as I know, especially for me as I’m trying to shake this cold and the weather could be more clement for my immune system. My younger sister and brother are, I’m sure, glad it’s Friday. I’m so proud of how hard they’ve been working this school year, as well as of all the effort and patience Mom has put into teaching them. Our homeschool really is very blessed, even on the challenging days.

Being at home and not in school anymore, it’s a walk down memory lane to watch them both doing what I was doing not too very long ago. I feel very blessed to have been given the education I was, to have the chance to learn and develop the skills I am acquiring now, and to have such a great example if it is God’s will that one day I have a homeschool of my own.

Thoughts on my career…

On the note of what I am learning now, as of late I’ve been mulling over the best way to respond to those scenarios that inevitably happen: you run into a friend at a party/dance/annual event that you only ever see at that party/dance/annual event. A conversation is struck up with the question: “Are you still in school?”
“No, I graduated a while ago.”
“Oh, that’s right. Are you in college then?”
“No. I’m still at home.”
“Oh. What do you do?”
And it never fails–although I know perfectly well what I do with myself during the day, that I spend my time productively (or at least strive to) and am quite affirmed in all the reasons I’m doing what I’m doing (and, by extension, not doing what I’m not)–I scramble for something to say. Maybe because I know that whatever answer I come up with probably won’t sound impressive to whoever it is, because it’s probably going to be a short conversation without the time or attention span required to delve deep enough into my convictions for them to fully resonate. Maybe because we’re dancing and it’s extremely difficult sometimes to speak intelligently when I’m dancing. Maybe because I spend my time not doing one very impressive, concrete thing, but rather a bunch of small things. Maybe most of all because this time of life boils down to a waiting for God to work, which requires a constant internal faceoff between trust and insecurity; and in the mindset of the world, “security” is the most important thing a young person can strive after.

I sometimes feel as I stammer through, “Um–I help around the house–and help my siblings with school–and do little things…”,  I can just hear the opposite mindset blaring in the back of my mind, making whatever I say sound somehow pathetic, insignificant, or insufficient.

Sometimes I weakly fall back at last on the most impressive-sounding thing I do, which is, “I do a lot of creative writing.” But that leads to… “Oh, that’s cool. Do you want to be a writer?”

Thinking back on the many conversations I’ve had like this–all with well-meaning and loving people, of course–I can see how that default of my vanity can lead in a direction I’m not trying to go. Because, sure I love writing, but no. I don’t want a career in writing. That is not the goal I have in mind in this time of my life. I want the career of getting married and raising kids that will be saints. I don’t want to be famous; I want a husband that will love me. I don’t want to spend my time chasing false security; I want to rest in God’s hands, to be a homemaker and stay-at-home mother with tons of kids who relies on my husband as provider, God willing, as it was meant to be. I want to make the sacrifices that requires. I want to be part of the solution to our broken culture and backwards line of thinking.

Yes, I’m a writer. Yes, I find great joy and meaning in writing. But how I could ever think that could be more meaningful or fulfilling–that any worldly career sought after for “security” could be more meaningful and fulfilling than a life of service and sacrifice, of love and learning, of holy joys and holy sorrows with a husband and children–that is beyond me. How empty anything less that I could seek for myself would be. How infinitely insecure.

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(This is from Unbroken: Path to Redemption…a movie that stole my heart and I personally found amazing. Maybe I should just carry this picture in my pocket to show people…”this is what I want!”)

One thing that I’ve identified in myself that has made those conversations so difficult for me at times is that I’ve let myself fall into the trap of feeling ashamed of my dreams. Shouldn’t I be proud that I am aiming for, praying for, waiting and preparing myself for the most noble and beautiful career any laywoman could achieve? If a given college student is happy to announce, “I’m in medical school,” “I want to be an interior designer,” “I’m aiming for a culinary degree,” “I’m studying to be a teacher,”, then shouldn’t I be insanely proud to announce that I’m hoping, when the time comes, to take on all of those things at once?

So, as of late, I’m thinking that the next time I get that question, “What are you doing?” or “What are your plans?”, I might playfully say, “I’m taking courses in medicine, interior deign, culinary arts, and teaching. What are you doing?” Or simply, with the glow of confidence with which an idealistic young lady should announce her hopes, “I hope to be a wife and mother one day, if that is God’s plan.” Because isn’t God’s plan the ultimate–the only–real security?

Wow. That was a ramble, wasn’t it?

From the bakery…

Lately it’s been oatmeal cookies every Wednesday for our local Fraternus chapter’s weekly meetings. I’ve been informed that they are a favorite for more than one fella there…the only thing that’s hard about them is keeping my own dad and brother out of them during the day!

Also, my younger sis and I made a Hershey’s chocolate cake last Friday when we had some friends over for desert and music. It turned out amazing because she was involved–she is so much better with cake than I am!

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This is actually a different cake, but the same recipe. It’s like my dad’s favorite thing in the world.

I’m reminded of a quote…

“Mr. Biddle is on a chocolate cake diet. He says it’s the perfect food, containing every essential element.”

(From The Happiest Millionaire)

At my desk…

Currently, my desk is, I will admit, a bit of a mess. But that’s okay. There is a rather precarious stack of notebooks near one elbow, a cooling cup of coffee near the other, and a couple of really quite amazing drawings of birds (one of hummingbirds, the other of a blue heron) on printer paper, waiting to be taped up as promised above my computer (they were done for me by the two oldest of the family of seven kids I’ve been so blessed to be able to spend some time helping out–but mostly learning from–over these past weeks. They are just the most adorable kids ever!) On Spotify, my soundtrack for my current novel (right now, the song Leaving the Compound from the soundtrack for Hostiles [which I’m never going to watch because I’ve confiscated the music for my story!]) is being slightly eclipsed by my younger sister practicing piano in our music room, directly below me.

Speaking of my current novel, I just realized that the last (and only, I fear) time I made one of these daybook posts, back in June, I was on Chapter Three. I’m about to start Chapter Eleven! Yesterday I realized this will probably mark the midpoint of the story–or at least, as far as someone who neither plots nor structures her novel can predict! It’s really going so well. Slower than Paint Everything Blue (I’ve already spent more time on West of Yesterday than it took to write the whole first draft of P.E.B.!), but that’s okay. To me it’s worth it. I didn’t think I would ever be as in-love with another novel as I was with my first. But here I am. I’ve never loved a story like I love West of Yesterday.

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Yes, I’m kind of hoping that it won’t take as long to write the second half of the story as it has the first, mainly because of one friend who is quite ready to read it (and because I do want all my characters to be happy and fulfilled!). But really, this stage of being in the middle of a book is so much more fun than trying to get one started, trying to settle on an idea, or just having finished one (incredibly bittersweet!) that I wouldn’t trade it for anything.

Movies…

Last night I managed to get in a Laramie night because some of the family was out, but I was home with a cold, with Mom (who is my Laramie buddy) and my younger sister. We watched The Lost Dutchman. Poor Jess had another rough day. And another bullet in the arm. It’s really kind of ridiculous how much I love this show…but it makes me so happy (I’m sure it has nothing at all to do with Jess…My mom keeps telling me that I’m going to end up marrying a cowboy!)

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“Can I interrupt you long enough to ask one question? What in the foggy blue mornin’ are you talking about?”

Earlier this week Mom, my younger sis and I happened to catch the second half of Crimson Tide (the language-edited-for-TV version) on TV. None of us had ever seen it before but my sisters and I have been enjoying Hans Zimmer’s magnificent soundtrack for the film for years. It was amazing! So cool. Some truly awesome, noble men and tons of morality-testing, conscience-crunching situations that had me kneading the hand my younger sister generously gave me to hold onto (as melancholics need to do when watching emotionally pressing movies. I’d better limit the emotional movie intake beside my fella when I’m in a courtship!)

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At least in the portion of the movie we saw, Viggo Mortenson was a seriously awesome character!

We also watched one of our favorites, The Winter Soldier, not long ago. That film is by far my favorite super hero movie, and probably my favorite action film I’ve ever seen. It has some seriously well-done cinematographic moments.

I’ve been mentally concocting a long post comparing the underlying messages that make two classics, Little Women (which drives me insane) and Anne of Green Gables (which I will love forever!), fundamentally different. I’m pretty excited about it. Hopefully it won’t be long in the making!

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She should have been Jo Laurence!!!

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Thank goodness someone got it right!

Prayerfully…

As I look back on this week which contained both the feast of Blessed Karl of Austria (the 21st), and of St. Raphael the Archangel (24th), I pray in gratitude for the protection and aid of my patron Saints, and for their continual intercession. I pray to them for my future husband, for their guidance in my own vocational journey, for, if God wants me to marry, the man I am meant for to pursue me as soon as God’s will permits and it pleases Him. And then, it’s a matter of trusting Our Lord, our Lady, and these dear patrons of mine to take care of it all–and to be willing to wait for God’s perfect timing. A daily exercise, an ongoing battle; but a beautiful thing.

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I’m also just about to finish my novena to Blessed Chiara Badano, whose feast would be this coming Sunday…and before I know it, it will be All Saints’ Day, All Souls’ Day, and the month of the Holy Souls. Inevitably, the older you grow, the more you experience the loss of people you know and love. As time goes on I realize more and more that prayer for the souls of those I’ve lost is the real and concrete way in which I can continue to love them. I’m looking forward to the special graces and special focus of November to help me to remember to pray more for the faithful departed.

Wow, it’s been nice to catch up here! I just realized I wrote enough words in this post to equal two average scenes in my story 😉 If only it were that easy to write fiction sometimes!

A parting thought…

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“I am sure that God keeps no one waiting unless He sees that it is good for him to wait.”
-C. S. Lewis

God bless, and St. Evaristus pray for, you!
In our Loving Lady,
Lena

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