Tuesday, July 31, 2012

All the Single Ladies

I'm single!

I don't say that to inform all the men out there that I'm available... (although, hey, I wouldn't complain! Call me, maybe!)

I say it because I want all the single ladies out there to know that I know what it feels like. I've been there, done that, and I'm still here, doing that.

Being single is not fun sometimes. Really not fun. At all. It's a unique cross to bear, what feels like a lonely cross to bear, and it only seems to get a little bit heavier each time another friend gets married or someone you know has a baby or another birthday passes you by.

But this post is also a reminder to all of us - especially me! - that our singleness is a choice. Yes, that's right. We are choosing to be single right now.

We could choose to let go of our morals and standards, and start running along with society's idea of love and marriage. We could choose to sleep around, get our hearts broken, and maybe even end up in a bad relationship or marriage. But we choose to be single and wait.

I don't know about you, but I choose to be single because I choose to wait for the man that loves me, for all the good in me and for all my flaws. I choose to wait for the man who loves my heart and my soul, and loves that I care about his soul too. I choose to wait for the man who will help lead me to Heaven.

I choose to wait for the man who will tell our daughters that they are the most beautiful girls in the world, and who will teach our sons how to be chaste and respectful to others. I choose to wait for the man who is proud to hold crying babies at Mass, and still sings along with the choir anyway.  I choose to wait for the man who will work hard to provide for the good of our family, even when it means coming home to a house of screaming kids and a cranky wife after a long day at work. I choose to wait for the man who willingly makes a lot of sacrifices for our family.

I choose to wait for the man who will tell me that I'm beautiful, hold me when I cry, make me laugh in the good times and the bad, forgive me when I do something wrong, and apologize when he's made a mistake. I choose to wait for the man who will pray for me everyday, and pray with me every day. I choose to wait for the man who will love me - freely, totally, faithfully, and fruitfully - from the day we say, "I do." until the day I die.

This is what I choose, as difficult as it is to wait sometimes. Because I know that in the end, who I choose to wait for is worth it.

What will you choose?

Tuesday, July 24, 2012

The Skirt Experiment

Last week, I performed a little experiment. I am a chemist, after all, it's kind of what I do (well, at least before I got my job where I sit and read about other people's experiments...).

I wore a skirt or dress every day to work.

(P.S. Friday was my flex day off which is why I'm rocking the casual skirt look. That's right, I could see you judging my idea of work wear!)
Exhibits A thru E, wherein I make a different awkward pose every day of the week.
I know. This is an experiment that no one in the entire world has ever thought of ever ever ever EVAH! My mind amazes me sometimes.

So let me start off by saying why I decided to do this.

My work has a very lax dress code. We spend 10+ hours a day sitting in front of a computer clicking through patents and reading until our eyes bleed and knowing that we're way cooler than lawyers, and so most people don't really worry about their attire. I've actually seen people wearing t-shirts and jeans on a regular basis.

Thus, I went from wearing business formal attire every day when I first started my job to now wearing nice khakis or jeans, some sort of blouse, and a cardigan or jacket.

It's not because I don't like skirts and dresses, because that would be false. I love skirts and dresses. I think I own more skirts and dresses than I do pants. Really. Really really.

But, when the pesky alarm goes off at 6 am every day, and I see that 10 hour work day looming ahead of me, the laziness kicks in and I pull out the comfortable pants. After all, I'm sitting at a desk all day and I barely see the light of day much less other people, so why does it matter?

I discovered that it does though. Here are the top 5 things I learned from my skirt experiment:

#5: I was less lazy

This is my numero uno fault now (and, well, ever...) that I am a full-time working woman. How on earth can you expect me to come home from work every day and do things like unload the dishwasher and vacuum the carpet, all while getting everything ready for the next work day like packing my lunch and remembering to shave my legs and making sure my hair dries in something other than a frizzed mess? That's right, you can't. (God bless the man who is lucky enough to marry me someday...)

But wearing a skirt every day forced me to put some advanced thought into my actions for the whole week. I actually had to plan to shave my legs more than once in the last week (just laughable!) and I actually did something more than just throw my hair up into a messy ponytail every day. I even took the time to put in earrings every day. Whoa.

I found this less bit of laziness pervade other parts of my life too. I was much more focused at work, getting less distracted by chatting with my office mate or fun conversations with my office neighbor or my crossword puzzle. I came home and did more work or some chores instead of plopping right on the couch to veg in front of the TV. I even went out a couple of nights after work to spend time with friends. And, if the simple action of putting on a skirt can help keep me from hitting the snooze three times every morning, then I think it's a change I can make!

#4: I was more conscientious of how I acted

If anyone discovers a lady-like way to do the bend and snap,
let me know!
Wearing a skirt forced me to think more about what I do in the simplest daily actions. I had to walk more carefully, sit more carefully, bend (and snap!) to get a pen off the floor more carefully! It was a bit annoying at first - oh, how I longed for the comfort of my pants so I could just sit like a man! - but I realized that by wearing a skirt, I was forcing myself to act more like a lady.

Which brings me to...

#3: I felt more feminine

Blahby blahby blah - feminine genius - I know. We've all heard it time and time again, but there is so much truth and beauty to the feminine genius!

Our perfect model for the true
feminine genius!
Ladies, we are made in the image and likeness of God! We hold His beauty, we are His way of serving others in the world, we are His compassion to the suffering, we are His modest gift to our fellow man. We embody these things in our souls and, yes, our bodies! This is one of many reasons the lads are so mesmerized by us!

Wearing a skirt every day forced me to think more about living the feminine genius. Have you ever had a "I hate my body so much!!!" kind of day, only to put on a pencil skirt and think - "Wow, I've got some nice curves!" or "Man! I feel like a woman!" - ? OK, maybe that's just me. But the point is, wearing a skirt helped me to remember that I am a woman! I'm shaped like a woman, I (should) act like a woman, and I have the soul of a woman, and all of that should be reflected in the way I present myself to others. Sometimes, it can be as simple as putting on a skirt, but it can also be a kind smile to a stranger, a helping hand to someone in need, or bringing some delicious baked goods to your co-workers (guilty!). Letting this true femininity shine forth through your appearance also translates to my next point...

#2: I had more confidence in myself and my appearance

Like I said before, have you ever had those days (weeks? months? years? lifetimes?) where you just really haven't liked how you look or who you are?

At all?

Not even a little bit?

I have those days a lot (which is a whole other blog post!), and while a great pair of jeans and a nice top can give me a confidence boost, I've found that putting on a cute, feminine skirt can be a huge confidence boost for me.

I think a big part of this is that it can be a dog-eat-dog kind of world as a lady, especially in a society that puts so much emphasis on how skinny we are and a career field that seems to be immersed in men and women in power suits (OK, so the people at my job wear jeans or nice slacks... but a figurative power suit!). There can be a lot of pressure to fit these molds - to be skinny and gorgeous and tan and have men fawning over you (and your beauty) and to be successful in your job and know exactly what you want and not worry about dating and marriage because you are an independent woman, gosh darnit!

This is not empowering. Period.
And this is what we deal with on a daily basis.
All of this pressure doesn't do anything to empower us as women, but really just tears us down. And so, for me, putting on a skirt that flatters both my shape and who I am as a person helps me to look in the mirror and be able to say to myself, "You don't need to be the kind of woman society is dictating. You can be independent while still needing others, it's alright to still be searching for what you want, and it's ok that you're not a size 2! You are a confident and successful woman in God's eyes, and that's what matters." And so, I walked into work each day with my head held a little bit higher.

Of course, all of this leads to...

#1: I felt beautiful

Like I said above, the world seems to be bearing down on us women a lot, and so it can be tough to feel beautiful. I wrote about this a bit for my guest post for Christina, but we have to remember that God is Beauty and so if we are radiating the femininity that God blessed us with, then we are beautiful. Putting on a skirt every day helped me to remember that in God's eyes, I am beautiful - no matter what I think or society says - because I am a daughter of our Heavenly Father, a sister to Christ, and a temple of the Holy Spirit. Of course, I should be reminded of this every day, no matter what I'm wearing, but I've found that putting on a skirt or even taking a little bit more time for myself helps me to see and feel the Beauty that God has given me.


So, I'd like to challenge you to try to make a change in your life, even for a week! It doesn't have to be putting on a skirt, but it can be any small change in your daily routine to help change your outlook - to give you confidence, to help you feel beautiful, to make you feel like a woman. I'd love to hear how your experiment turns out!

Friday, July 20, 2012

7 Quick Takes Friday (#35)


This week, I did a little experiment (what can I say, I'm a chemist!)... I wore a skirt (and earrings!) every day this week. That's quite a feat for me! There's a post coming about why I did it and what I learned, but here is a sneak peek:
We'll just ignore how messy my apartment is...

I went to another Washington Nationals game this week with one of my friends, Amy. We had a blast! The weather looked like it was going to storm like crazy, but it stayed clear all night. We got to cheer on the Nats to a win, and we both do love some men in uniforms. It was a fun night out!


For some reason, I associate summer with reading good books. I just finished An American Heiress, recommended by Elizabeth. I have a couple of books from the library that are next on my to-read list, although I haven't decided what to read first. Do you have any good book recommendations to share?


Guess what I did today on my wonderful day off?

Did you guess thrifting, because that's the right answer!! *Ding ding ding*

I hadn't planned on going crazy, but I did... and I got some great deals! I got 12 pieces of clothing for $52 (I wish I was as cool as Katie and knew the retail price for everything, but alas, I will just bathe in the beauty of knowing that I got amazing deals).

And, because it is a universal truth that women love to show-and-tell their purchases, I'm going to share them all with you.

I know, you're so excited! I can see your excitement shining through the interwebs.

... and I just lost any man who was reading this post... which is probably good, because this was turning into a very girly post.


(Top left, going clockwise): Dana Buchman shorts, Eddie Bauer shorts (they're actually light blue, silly picture),
J. Crew shorts, The Loft skirt, fun scarf, and The Loft skirt!
Aren't they cute?! The shorts are classy and comfy, and the skirts look brand new. I love the print on the scarf, it's very me!


(Top left, going clockwise): Coldwater Creek fitted jacket, Macy's blouse, Talbot's blazer, Sonoma blouse, Worthington blazer, and tagless (but cute) blouse!
It's OK if you're jealin' like a felon.


Following the end of my last Quick Takes, here's my next craft project:

Last time I went thrifting, I picked up an old edition of Scrabble that I plan to use for fun craft projects.  This is the first on my list! The only thing I have to do is decide what words/themes I want for my coasters... do you all have any suggestions?  I'm shooting for 4 letter words... but the clean kind ;)

Thanks to Jen as always for hosting!

Monday, July 16, 2012

Why did they leave?

This post is for all the non-Catholic Christians (if there are any that actually read my blog).

I have one question that I am truly curious to find an answer (or two or three!), and the question is this:

Why did they leave?

I am, of course, talking about in John 6 after the Bread of Life Discourse:
As a result of this, many his disciples returned to their former way of life and no longer accompanied him. (John 6:66)
As I learned more about my Catholic faith a few years ago, I constantly meditated on this passage, until it clicked with me why they left - and since then, I've never been able to waver from (even when I've thought I wanted to!) the beautiful teaching on the Real Presence.
The Jews quarreled among themselves, saying, “How can this man give us his flesh to eat?” Jesus said to them, “Amen, amen, I say to you, unless you eat the flesh of the Son of Man and drink his blood, you do not have life within you. Whoever eats my flesh and drinks my blood has eternal life, and I will raise him on the last day. For my flesh is true food, and my blood is true drink. Whoever eats my flesh and drinks my blood remains in me and I in him. Just as the living Father sent me and I have life because of the Father, so also the one who feeds on me will have life because of me. This is the bread that came down from heaven. Unlike your ancestors who ate and still died, whoever eats this bread will live forever.” (John 6:52-58)
So I am truly curious. I really do want to know how non-Catholic Christians read this passage of Scripture and interpret this situation where many of Christ's disciples completely abandoned him. Why did they choose to leave right then?

Catholics can feel free to chime in with your thoughts - especially if you didn't always believe in the Real Presence - but I'd love to hear a lot of insight from non-Catholics too.

I am looking for an open, honest, and respectful discussion, so please be kind to each other. :)
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