Emily M. DeArdo

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Welcome, 2018

links, inspirationEmily DeArdoComment
HaveANoFearNewYear.jpg

Every year, I like to start with Ann Voskamp. Her book, 1000 Gifts, is one of my favorites. And every New Year, I re-read it, and watch the corresponding video series. And I re-read some of my favorite essays she's put on her blog. 

So, maybe you need some good things to start your new year? Here's some Ann: 

A Life Plan When You're Overwhelmed

How to Cultivate the Habit of Focus in a Age of Distraction

Three Words to Keep the Comparison Thief from Robbing All Joy

Why Everyone Needs to Make Art Every Day

 

Want more inspiration? My 2018 pin board has all these essays, and more bits of inspiration I find along the way. 

Welcome, 2018. 

Seven Quick Takes No. 129: Happy birthday, Jane!

7 Quick Takes, Jane Austen, books, holidays, history, linksEmily DeArdo3 Comments

I. 
Today is Jane Austen's 241st birthday!!! Yay!

This is definitely something to celebrate. So here's some links to help you celebrate, too! 

II. 

Here is one of my series on Jane's writing, if you want to catch up: 

Jane, Aristotle, and Aquinas

Also, Jane's characters figured prominently in my Seven Characters post! 

III. 

A wonderful way to celebrate today is to watch Pride and Prejudice. The ONLY Pride and Prejudice. As in, the one featuring Colin F as Mr. Darcy. Because I do not acknowledge any others. :-P Keira Knightly is not Lizzie in my world. 

IV.

If you would like to watch a Jane biopic, there is Becoming Jane, which I recommend. Anne Hathaway and James McAvoy are fantastic. 

Anne Hathaway as Jane in  Becoming Jane

Anne Hathaway as Jane in Becoming Jane

V. 

You could also practice your instruments if you play any. Be like Marianne and play a "powerful concerto".  Or just listen to the Sense and Sensibility movie soundtrack, which is perfection. 

And since it's Christmastime (well, almost), we might wonder what carols would Jane have known? Here's a piece about Regency Christmas carols, and here's one from the Jane Austen Center. Also, Messiah was composed in 1741, thirty-four years before Jane was born, so she might have been familiar with some of the pieces. (It was first performed in Dublin, but had its London premiere in March 1743).  Her father was a clergyman, and the piece was performed in cathedrals around the country after the London premiere, so it might have been possible for Jane, or members of her family, to have heard it. 

Not familiar with some of the regency carols? I've provided some audio for your listening pleasure. 

VI. 

A little bit about Jane's family: her father, George Austen, was a clergyman who married Cassandra Leigh on April 26, 1764. Jane was the seventh of eight children and the second (and last) daughter--her sister, Cassandra, who was her best friend, was two years older than she was, and outlived Jane by twenty-eight years. 

The rest of the siblings were: Rev. James Austen; George Austen (who was severely disabled--either with epilepsy or cerebral palsy, we're not quite sure); Edward Austen-Knight (he was adopted by the Knight family as their heir, thus his last name); Henry Austen, Jane's favorite brother; Francis (Frank), who became a vice-admiral in the British Navy (giving Jane plenty of knowledge about the navy for her novels, especially Mansfield Park and Persuasion); and her younger brother, and youngest sibling, Charles, who also joined the Navy. 

Edward ended up being instrumental in the care of his widowed mother and unmarried sisters after their father died in 1805; he provided them with Chawton Cottage, where Jane did most of her writing, and where she died on July 18, 1817 at the age of forty-two.  (All of the brothers, though, helped support the women in the family after the reverend's death, with money and offerings of housing, etc.) 

VII. 

And finally, we must have tea! if you really want to drink tea like Jane did, get some Twinings, which was the brand she and her family drank! From the Twinings website: 

A century later, writer Jane Austen was a devoted customer because, at a time when tea leaves were sometimes mixed with tree leaves by unscrupulous vendors and smugglers, Austen could be sure of buying unadulterated leaves at Twinings. In an 1814 letter to her sister Cassandra, she mentions: “I am sorry to hear that there has been a rise in tea. I do not mean to pay Twining til later in the day, when we may order a fresh supply.” 

She visited the shop to buy tea for herself and her family when she was in town (meaning London) visiting her brother, Henry.  So, we must have tea on Jane's birthday. Their Lady Grey tea is an excellent choice for afternoon tea drinking.

 Here's a piece on tea in the Regency Era , and one on tea in her novels. 

There is also the delightful book Tea with Jane Austen as well as At Home With Jane Austen.  One day I WILL get to England and do the Jane Austen tour. My entire bucket list is basically that. 

Happy birthday, dear Jane!

Daybook No. 112

behind the scenes, books, Catholicism, current events, current projects, Daybook, Dominicans, fiction, knitting, links, Tidying Up, writingEmily DeArdoComment

Outside my window::

Cloudy, a marked contrast from yesterday's blue skies and sun, but since It's going to be in the 60s, I'll take it. Especially since....gulp.....snow might in the future! 

Wearing::

My PJs--I just got up (it's 8 AM as I'm writing this) 

Reading::

North and South, Mockingjay, Rising Strong,  and The Betrothed. I really like North and South--Margaret Hale is a great character. I'm late to the Rising Strong party, but better late than never, and I also have Daring Greatly to read.

In the CD player::

Fun Home and Hamilton. No Christmas music until at least after Thanksgiving!

Living the Liturgy::

Today is Lucy Pevensie's feast day! And since she's my Dominican patron, I get to party all day. 

 

Around the House::

Doing the deep cleaning to get ready for decorating> I don't have much to do--the tree, a few baubles, and my Fontanini creche (one of the best Christmas gifts I have ever received, ever). The Baby Jesus doesn't go in the creche until Christmas Eve, and the Magi make their way into the set proper by Epiphany. If you're looking for a Nativity set, I highly recommend this one. The figures are made of a type of plastic that means kids can chew on them, play with them, etc., and they won't break!

Speaking of Catholic households, this is a good article from Our Sunday Visitor that's worth a ponder. 

I'm also in the last stages of Tidying Up. I took three bags of books to Half Price books yesterday, so I'm still looking for the book/CD/DVD "click point" that Kondo talks about. I'm sure I'll find it--eventually. :) Until then, I just keep taking books to HPB. 


Creativity::

I have "won" NaNo--but the book's not done. Oh no. I'm going to write a sequel. (I can't believe it either!) Nothing about this book has gone the way I thought it would, but it's been in a great way. My friend Andrea says the "muse has inhabited me", and while that may or may not be true, it sure is fun. I will officially "win" NaNo on the 20th, when you can start verifying word counts. 

So I have to put an ending on this guy (a cliff-hanger, of course), and then start the new document for book two, maybe do some outlining--and then touch nothing until January. This is what usually happens with my NaNo books--I finish them in November and then don't touch them until January. That gives them, and me, a nice break before I begin revising/editing. 

And I can purl! You'll see the proof tomorrow in the Yarn Along. 

 

Pondering::

In light of the attacks on Paris, this is an excellent read. It's long, but it's well-worth the time it takes. 

There are so many problems in our world that are new, and all colliding at once--fighting a war against an enemy we can't see (as Judi Dench said in Skyfall), the Syrian refugees, elections, earthquakes in Mexico and Japan....

The only solution I can see to it is to pray more intensely. 

 

Plans for the week::

Not much, which is nice. CCD on Sunday, when we'll talk about Jesus' birthday (we talked about Advent last week). And then it's Thanksgiving week, and then we're into December! Holy cow!

 

This Week's Question: How do you celebrate Thanksgiving in your family? 

 

 

 

 

 

Daybook No. 100

books, Catholicism, Daybook, dominican saints series, drawing, knitting, links, Sketchbook Skool, writingEmily DeArdo1 Comment

(yes, I need to change the photo. I'll do that soon. :-P)

Outside my window::

Sunny, cloudy, and breezy. By "cloudy", I Mean we've got a few clouds floating around. So I guess that means partly sunny? I have no idea. 

Wearing::

My blue and white stripped breton top (short-sleeved) and my Boden skirt with the seaside print. I get more compliments on this skirt than anything else I own, so basically I have to keep it safe forever and ever. :) I'm also wearing my Charleston goldbug bee earrings. 

In the CD player::

Sterling Road, by Cassie and Maggie. 

Praying::

Today's the 11th, so I'm off to do Holy Hour as soon as I finish this. I'm part of the Summit Dominican's adoring rosary, so that means on the 11th of every month, I have a Holy Hour. (I chose the 11th because that's the date of my transplant) Last month, my holy hour was in Charleston. :) I'm taking a lot of intentions with me. 

Today is also the feast day of St. Clare, follower of St. Francis and foundress of the Poor Clares--Mother Angelica's order. 

Reading::

Middlemarch, Persuasion, The Seduction of the Crimson Rose

Creativity::

Working on my Sketchbook Skool classes--I have to draw a piece of toast later today. :) I'm also working on a colored pencil drawing that I did in pen a few weeks ago. I'm adding the color now and trying some new techniques. We'll see what comes of it. 

Also, I'm starting a new knitting project, but more on that tomorrow. Sorry guys, it's not anything exciting....yes. That purl stitch! :) 

Around the House::

It's the master bath's week for deep cleaning so I"m working up there. It always amazes me how many dishes I manage to go through as one person. Really! 

Writing::

This week I'm doing a series on Dominican saints, and tomorrow St. Thomas Aquinas is up. So far I've done St. Dominic and St. Catherine of Siena. It came to my attention over the weekend that not too many people are familiar with the Dominican saints, so I'm going to try to rectify that. 

I've also got two September Real Housekeeping pieces being edited. We haven't come up with our October topic yet, so I'm waiting to see what it is before I start brainstorming ideas. 

I'm also playing around with a new idea for a novel that will be my 2015 NaNo piece. In the brainstorming stage now. 

Fitness:

Yoga yesterday, gym today--after Holy Hour. I'm sad that this summer has mostly been too cool to go swimming. 

 

 

Catholicism in the Culture: Sin, Crime, and the Duggars

Catholicism, current events, linksEmily DeArdoComment

Catholicism in the culture: Sin and Crime @emily_m_deardo Earlier this week, I read this article in the Washington Post about Josh Duggar's inappropriate (and quite frankly, gross) actions against several of his sisters and another family friend. That alone isn't worth blogging about, though. What is worth writing about are are similarities and difference between sin and crime--something that the author of this piece doesn't seem to understand. The author seems to think that "repentance" is equal to getting off scot-free, and that there isn't any sort of price to be paid for committing sin, whereas with a crime, there is a cost--jail, usually, or a fine of some sort.

When you treat this as a sin instead of a crime, you let everyone down...The behavior alleged was a crime, not a sin.

Actually, it's both. If I commit murder, I have sinned and committed a crime. Same with theft, abuse, using illegal drugs, etc. There are some things that are sins but aren't crimes, like adultery. You can't go to jail for sleeping with your co-worker's wife. No one's going to lock me up for not observing the sabbath or for taking God's name in vain (at least in the United States).

Let's look at a few terms, here, because the author didn't, and that's a big problem.

First off, what is sin? Here's how the Catechism defines it:

1849 Sin is an offense against reason, truth, and right conscience; it is failure in genuine love for God and neighbor caused by a perverse attachment to certain goods. It wounds the nature of man and injures human solidarity. It has been defined as "an utterance, a deed, or a desire contrary to the eternal law."121

1850 Sin is an offense against God: "Against you, you alone, have I sinned, and done that which is evil in your sight."122 Sin sets itself against God's love for us and turns our hearts away from it. Like the first sin, it is disobedience, a revolt against God through the will to become "like gods,"123 knowing and determining good and evil. Sin is thus "love of oneself even to contempt of God."124 In this proud self- exaltation, sin is diametrically opposed to the obedience of Jesus, which achieves our salvation

There are also different types of sin. 

We see, in this definition of sin, that no sin only hurts one person. Sin is an offense against God. It is opposed to grace. Sin removes grace from your soul, and places you farther from God.

Now, what is crime? According to Merriam-Webster, crime is:

: an illegal act for which someone can be punished by the government

: activity that is against the law : illegal acts in general

: an act that is foolish or wrong

So both sin and crime are about doing things that are wrong, whether by God's law, the law of the state/country/county, or by Natural Moral Law.  Essentially, Natural Moral Law states that even if you never met a Christian, read the Bible, or ever heard of Jesus Christ, there are some things that humans know are intuitively wrong. As Catholicism for Dummies puts it:

Moral law is natural because it’s known by reason — not written in stone or on paper, like the Commandments or the Bible. It’s moral because it applies only to moral acts — actions of human beings that involve a free act of the will. (It doesn’t apply to animals, because they don’t have the use of reason.)

What Josh Duggar did (and he confessed to doing it, so this isn't alleged behavior) is both a sin and a crime. He committed a sin by violating one of God's commandments--sexual acts outside of marriage are wrong. (While the Duggars have some pretty extreme courtship measures, the general message of "no sexual activity until you're married" is a tenant of Catholicism, as well. But full-frontal hugs are allowed, and I never dated with my siblings as a chaperone, etc. The Duggars embrace a pretty hard-core version of purity, which the article discusses.) So that's sin. However, it's also illegal to perform sexual activities on others without their consent, so that's the crime portion of the situation. Both require confession and punishment/penance, but they go about it differently.

If the Duggars were Catholic, they would have strongly suggested that Josh confess this sin (you can't compel a confession. The penitent has to come to it of his own free will and with a proper spirit of contrition), and he would have received a penance.  After the penance was completed, Josh would have been fully absolved from the sin, thus returning to a state of grace and a state of friendship with God. The Catechism says (my emphases)

1468 "The whole power of the sacrament of Penance consists in restoring us to God's grace and joining us with him in an intimate friendship."73 Reconciliation with God is thus the purpose and effect of this sacrament. For those who receive the sacrament of Penance with contrite heart and religious disposition, reconciliation "is usually followed by peace and serenity of conscience with strong spiritual consolation."74 Indeed the sacrament of Reconciliation with God brings about a true "spiritual resurrection," restoration of the dignity and blessings of the life of the children of God, of which the most precious is friendship with God.75

1469 This sacrament reconciles us with the Church. Sin damages or even breaks fraternal communion. The sacrament of Penance repairs or restores it. In this sense it does not simply heal the one restored to ecclesial communion, but has also a revitalizing effect on the life of the Church which suffered from the sin of one of her members.76 Re-established or strengthened in the communion of saints, the sinner is made stronger by the exchange of spiritual goods among all the living members of the Body of Christ, whether still on pilgrimage or already in the heavenly homeland:77

It must be recalled that . . . this reconciliation with God leads, as it were, to other reconciliations, which repair the other breaches caused by sin. The forgiven penitent is reconciled with himself in his inmost being, where he regains his innermost truth. He is reconciled with his brethren whom he has in some way offended and wounded. He is reconciled with the Church. He is reconciled with all creation.78

(The entire section on confession is worth a read, if you're interested, or this post)

So, not only would Josh's sins have been forgiven after confession, but he also would've received grace to strengthen him against committing sin again. (as I tell my first graders--GRACE IS AWESOME.)

Now, that being said--confession heals the person's relationship with God. When criminal activity occurs, the Church believes that the process of law and due process has to happen for the common good of society. For example, if a murderer comes and confesses his sin, the priest will strongly urge that person to confess to the authorities, as well. It's part and parcel of justice, which is a virtue. If you steal, you not only confess it--you have to pay back what you stole.

So, yes, Josh's parents would've had to turn him in to the authorities. What happens after the crime has been admitted is a different thing in different localities, and thus outside the realm of this discussion.

However, the thing to remember is that sin hurts everyone. When you sin, you don't just confess and get off scot free. There has to be penance, there has to be contrition and yes, you have to do your penance. The author of this piece is wrong when she suggests that sin and crime are different things, and that one is more or less serious than the other. Sin and crime are both offenses against other people, and both must be dealt with accordingly, whether sacramentally or judicially.