Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Bright Maidens Calendar

Hello folks! I'm alive... for now. I'm just popping in to share with you an exciting development...

The Bright Maidens have created a Google Calendar! We're posting our topics ahead of time, so those who like to plan ahead (my peeps) can be in the know. To receive these calendar updates and to view the calendar in your own calendar, email us here!

Update: Chloe tells me that she clicked on the "+Google Calendar" button at the bottom of this and it added itself to her calendar. Don't you love technology?:


Friday, September 23, 2011

Facebook Days of Yore - 7QT, Volume 46

Click here to read the original post at

I'm here to complain about all of the complaining for a second...

This is how I feel about the changes:

Thanks for letting me get that off of my chest. In exchange, I'll offer a few new Facebook tips I've figured out in the last few days:

It's possible I'm the only one who utilized the old lists format on Facebook. If I'm not and you're worried what happened to those hours you slaved away categorizing your friends (first world problem of mine, I know), Facebook kept your lists here

They hide your old ones until you click on them from this page, then they will be readily available on your left sidebar.


The only "complaint" I can file to Facebook for the new change is bittersweet for me... it makes it a lot harder for organizations, companies, and other non-people to show up on my newsfeed. 

It takes me back to the days of yore (2005, when I first joined) when I only saw my friends, acquaintances, and people-I-barely-know-and-friended-after-one-meeting on my newsfeed. However, I work with social media as my profession... I want you people to be gobbling up what I'm feeding you on Facebook!

I can only imagine what kinds of complaints we'll hear from the big fish in the form of lawsuits (I sure hope they see the irony in suing a company that provides access to millions of consumers for free), but for now it is making my day job more difficult.

In case you don't see our Bright Maidens or posts very often after the new format, don't forget about us!

"Am I doing this right?"

Speaking of

It's an "intro piece" because I don't think I did an effective job of covering my original intent. So you get to enjoy more of my musings later on.


Ladies and gentlemen, please direct your attention to two marvelous women and their marvelous announcements. Ahem, Emily and Kendra. Thank you for your attention.


Happy, happy birthday sister o'mine!! I love you!


The Bright Maidens (and manly man, Tony) concentrated on the distinction between "sexy" and "desirable." As always, we had some great responses and a breadth of perspectives!

Trista, "Sensible, Courageous, and Very Beautiful" - Trista is not Megan Fox because she is worth seeking and far more than the shell of sexiness that Megan Fox represents.

Julie, "I have confidence in confidence alone!" - Sexiness and desirability overlap, but to make "being sexy" one's purpose, and with a disregard for love or the other human beings who are present, is a distortion of a person's inherent goodness..

Elizabeth, "Revealing" - Make sure you don't overcorrect and start punishing yourself for being an attractive woman of feminine genius.

Liesl, "Bringing Sexy Back" The sexual revolution stole the definition of the word sexy and is holding it ransom. We need to get it back for the chaste health of our people!

Tony, "Should we be 'desirable' ... or "sexy?'" - Tony, in his unabashed bravery, tackles the concept that the traits which make a woman a desirable wife, or a man a desirable husband, don’t always make him/her a desirable sexual partner (and vice-versa).

Clare, "Cherished" -  Clare took on the perspective of how women perceive men's desirability and sexiness. Very pertinent!

Thursday, September 22, 2011

Dating with an Audience

Imagine you’re sitting next to the man or woman who makes your heart audible through your shirt. This person sits with hands in lap, playing hopscotch with his or her gaze, directing and redirecting them from the floor to your eyes.

You speak in nervous, hushed tones, asking one another about your days and about church on Sunday. The way this person speaks with one side of the mouth, unknowingly giggles, or swallows the letter “L” are some of the favorite discoveries you’ve found in these last few meetings.
Casa Batlló - Love seat for two, opposite this chaperone spot

This could be it. The woman in the linen dress, with dark silk hair to her shoulders might one day be your wife. The gallant man who wrings his strong hands, but looks at you with his hazel eyes could one day be your husband.

You’re breathing in steam and the excitement builds as you reach for the hands you’ve been staring at for twenty minutes.

A dry cough erupts with intention from the far corner.

A young man’s dating style has morphed into the pattern of liking a girl, being attracted to her, asking her out (though, I think a lot of young ladies would beg to differ on this point), and taking her out somewhere — typically out of parental glancing range.

Chaperones? The idea has become laughable in our affluent society, especially when a teenager passes a driver’s test.

Teens feel entitled to this alone time and it sure feels like they’re right when one of the two American teens is probably lucky enough to have use of a car.

Who could blame them? They can have a private conversation and be goofy without extra ears around. Sitting alone at a restaurant (or in a basement) fosters an environment for flirting, inside jokes, and ample time looking at all of the loveliness of your date.

Oh and then there’s smooching. That too.


Tuesday, September 20, 2011


Sexy vs. Desirable
Elizabeth at Startling the Day

The "Bright Maidens" were originally three from the oft-mentioned, widely-speculated upon demographic of young, twenty-something Catholic women. Now, we all take up the cross to dispel the myths and misconceptions. Welcome!

I own a dozen cardigans.

My fashion sense has remained unrefined throughout my life, but it has wiggled in and out of levels of modesty.

Let's face it, my mother dressed me for the first ten years. In fifth grade, I struck out for the sake of independence and wore a lot of vests. In high school, I wore a uniform during the day and a swimsuit in the afternoon at practice.

At the beginning of college, I wore a lot of t-shirts and exercise bottoms to class and to the movies with my sober friends. After I began partying, on "going out nights," I wore more revealing, tighter clothing.

"Don't show them everything you've got. Leave some for the imagination," my late grandmother would preach to her granddaughters.

There's some irony here. No, my belly button isn't pierced.
When my sisters, cousins, or I wore a shirt cut too low, my 5'2" grandmother would pace over to us, poke her finger down any cleavage, and chirp, "Woooop!" If this happens, she said, it was time to rethink the clothing choice.

My spunky, slightly inappropriate grandmother wanted others to see her granddaughters for who they are first, not for their packaging.

My woooop-worthy wardrobe progressed like this until I got tired of partying, stopped going out often, and started wearing "adult" clothing to class.

To me, this meant unnecessary layers of drooping fabric, no matter how unflattering. Vague cardigans became my staple.

They say when the economy starts to tank, it takes the skirts down with it. When the economy recovers, mini skirts are all the rage. My clothing choices mirrored my emotional economy directly.

I wanted to become entirely undesirable and unsexy so as not to accidentally use my body for attention.

Rather than placing my worth on my body by revealing more of it, I overcorrected and placed my worth on my body by excessively covering it up. It was a form of punishment for my past by lowering the confidence of my present self.

My earlier begging of "look at me" switched tracks to "look away from me."

As we explored with "The Dress" and "The Interior" posts, God didn't give women gifts unique to our femininity to be ashamed of them. We mustn't disparage the gifts God gave us as dirty and lust-inciting. We are women for a reason and those of us who are called to marriage were made with our husbands in mind.

There is always going to be someone who finds something desirable about you. There is always going to be a characteristic that someone is going to find sexy or desirable. It could be the way you wear your neckline down to your belly button, or it could be the way your glasses flatter your face.

Desirability and sexiness overlap; the distinction is respect for person.

The trick is to avoid letting what you put on your body distract others from your feminine genius. It is also important to avoid letting your clothing distract you from your own feminine genius.

When you're staring at your closet, err on the side of classy rather than sexy. Think refined instead of revealing. Flatter your feminine genius without thinking it resides in your body.


Friday, September 16, 2011

Pie-Crust Promises - 7QT, Volume 45

Click here to read the original post at

Pie-crust promises.
Part delicious, part dangerous.

It's been about three weeks since I used my first "Sorry, I'll be back in full throttle soon, just hang in there," excuse card. Here is some "proof" that I really will be back in full throttle after my GRE. These are a few of the posts I'm working on right now:

Women, body image, and Christianity. In our pursuit of confronting major spiritual obstacles affecting Catholic women, we forgot about the things that affect us everyday! I know this has been a major tool in the Devil's toolbox against ME, so I'm writing about it.

Neither parties will do our job. Yeah, that's right, I'm going political for a second.

My Mt. Ranier epiphany.
I forgot to ask permission from his FACE.

Church facts I learned this year. This was fun to create and I'm still working on it for my one-year blogaversary.

A fresh take on NFP. No, really. I think it will be interesting, but I can't reveal the topic.

"Choose Life" vanity plates in Virginia. I see yellow everywhere.

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

Fulminations and stymies

No, I have not been prevaricating, but I agree it is onerous that I have been unaccounted for on my blog that is supposed to bring forth nascent ideas. Believe me, I am voracious for the free time to write....

I don't even have the energy to pump that sentence with more GRE words. That is the idea, I'm studying for the GRE that I have to take in two weeks. I apologize for the silence, but unfortunately, it's going to continue for a little longer.

Pray for me. I studied English literature in college, but I have always been a terrible test-taker. I need all of the vocab studying time I can get.

Friday, September 9, 2011

IdiOH-What? - 7QT, Volume 44

Click here to read the original post at

I'm going to dedicate the next few quick takes to the funniest, most random idioms I've ever heard:

"It's as slick as a mole's belly."

My co-worker said this during an icy winter. Do you have an image in your head?

"I'm so mad I could spit!"

My mom says this pretty frequently.

An Italian one, for flavor: 

"Capita a Fagiolo" = "It is understood by the bean"

My sister tells me this originates from when beans were a staple food, so this translates roughly into "Duh!"


Yesterday was Mother Mary's birthday and today is the birthday of the mother who changed my diapers, taught me how to sew, and continues to teach me to Love. What a great week!

Here is a fun piece of code (fun code?). YES fun code! If you ever want to embed only PART of a video add "#t=XXmXXs" to the end of the YouTube link's random list of numbers and letters. The Xs, are obviously numbers for the time at which you want the video to begin. You may have to delete some, beginning with "&" from the end of the link -- for example, "&feature=related."

I may have just confused everyone because I think I just got lost myself. Take a looksee at this example: -- for giggles, go watch that.

After you have the altered link, embed it as you normally would.

Sometimes I just want readers to see a video several seconds in and this is a great help!


We missed y'all this week! I was late to post (what's new?), but I finished my post about "Feminine Genius: The Interior" during my lunch break. The diligent and wonderful Trista and Julie finished theirs the night before...

But unfortunately we didn't get to see anymore explanations of the elusive Feminine Genius. If you have time to write one this week, post it to our wall!! We want to hear from you!!

Thursday, September 8, 2011

Happy Birthday, Mary!

As it turns out, Mary is one of my favorite writing topics.
I have always been fascinated by her, for obvious reasons. Suspend reality for a minute: if anyone ever “proved” Christianity was not the Truth, then billions of people would have been duped by a 13-year-old pregnant girl. That’s pretty heavy.
Fortunately, not only is that unlikely, but we don’t believe it after centuries and countless hours of faith, prayer, and study. Mary remains in our hearts, the most ever-present mother we could ever hope to know.
Mother Mary, I know I can’t exchange a mere “Happy Birthday” for your prayers, but I need you now as I did when I was a child. We need you now.

Mary's statue from my home
I picture Mary in heaven cleaning up toys, dislodging tiny G.I. Joes from the toughening pad of her foot, slowly acquiring a nursing/psych/spiritual guide degree, with stretch marks to match her under eye circles, like mothers around the world. If I could pick anyone to give me vapor rub for my soul, it would be her.
The world is the toy room, bruises, scrapes, and boo-boos show up on her children’s souls, and her children around the world cry to her at night, stirring her awake.
Her soul magnifies the Lord for centuries so that He can reach more of those who notice her motherly influence on their lives.  She is our mother, our comforter, and God’s message deliverer.

Tuesday, September 6, 2011

She reigns

Feminine Genius: The Interior
"She reigns" by Elizabeth at Startling the Day

The "Bright Maidens" were originally three from the oft-mentioned, widely-speculated upon demographic of young, twenty-something Catholic women. Now, we all take up the cross to dispel the myths and misconceptions. Welcome!

The original Bright Maidens chose this topic to follow last month's topic (Feminine Genius: The Dress) because of the unexpected blow-up in [uncharitable] comments on Julie's blog post. We happen to think some of those who commented were misunderstanding her post's objective, but in an effort to "listen first to understand, then to be understood," we want to explain our full understanding of the Feminine Genius.

"You ain't all that, honey, and all the dresses in the world aren't going to fix what's wrong with you." 
-Anonymous Commenter 2

I still laugh when I reread the comments on Julie's last Bright Maidens post. This offending concluding sentence came at the end of a ramble about good tailoring, an insult to Julie's friend's wardrobe choice, and more random explanations about what makes a woman look her best.
Our Patron

The consensus is this commenter was a female. Comments like the above quote prove that she missed the boat on how to make a woman appear in the best light, ie, not eternally insulting and provocative.

We're all called to serve in Christ's mission. Our mission is to serve for His mission.

Some have God-given musical talents or use humor to serve Him, while others must assume a role through sportsmanship or writing. We use what He gave us, including the gifts of our femininity and masculinity, depending on our sex. The roles of men and women are simply different, not one better or worse than the other.

One major hang up for non-Catholic onlookers (and for some within the Church), is the concept of the woman in the body of the Church. I've heard the lament many times that the Church doesn't treat women well, the stand out reasoning stemming from the ordination of male-only priests.

Have they forgotten our reverence for the Holy Mother of God? Have they forgotten that we refer to the Church as a female body?

Christ died for the Church, just as men "die" (either literally or figuratively) for those they are called to protect. This doesn't mean a man is greater just because he is the same sex as Jesus. It means we have different roles with different service opportunities.

As Bl. John Paul II once wrote, God entrusts people to each and every other person. However, the woman is entrusted with the ability to bear human beings "precisely by reason of their femininity" in a special way.

He went on to explain that the "feminine genius" is the effect of the strength drawn from this awareness and this entrusting. It has been this way since the beginning of time, throughout the Old Testament, especially during the Annunciation, and continues today.
"A woman is strong because of her awareness of this entrusting, strong because of the fact that God 'entrusts the human being to her', always and in every way, even in the situations of social discrimination in which she may find herself. This awareness and this fundamental vocation speak to women of the dignity which they receive from God himself, and this makes them 'strong' and strengthens their vocation." -Bl. John Paul II, "On the Dignity and Vocation of Women on the Occasion of the Marian Year"
The genius of femininity does not take away from the masculine genius anymore than the masculine genius strips power from the feminine genius. The two work in tandem, ideally filling the roles we human beings can possibly fill on Earth. The power is God's.

Let's look at the feminine genius of three very different women in my life: My mother, my confirmation sponsor, and my cousin.

For more by Elaine Golden, visit her site!
My mother utilized the gift of her fertility to bring three daughters into the world, furthering her own genius as well as bringing more of it to light! She constantly serves us, especially in her sacrifice with her job, which she has held for more than twenty years.

Her avocation was to provide for her family and she sacrificed some of her career happiness for us in that regard. On top of that, she offers each of us tailored emotional support and counsel.

My confirmation sponsor has been a family friend and true role model for me all of my life. My sisters and I are her spiritually adopted children, whom she serves with deep love and devotion, for whatever purpose we may need.

This woman is the one who cleans up the table when she's a guest at your house, but will wrestle you to the ground to prevent you from doing the same at her house. She is a humble servant of God through the sacrifices she makes for others.

My cousin is only a few weeks younger than me and, likewise, is unmarried. When my grandmother died in April, she was at the starting gate with a tray of sandwich meats in one hand and a hug waiting on the other arm.

She didn't share blood with my grandmother, but she had grown up with her always present at family events. Her selflessness, helpfulness, sacrifice, and servitude for us during that grieving period was poignantly impressive and a true show of her love for God through us.

As I mentioned in my "Month of the Dress" post, it doesn't matter how feminine we look, whether or not we have borne children, or how good we look doing it. Our "dress" is our service.

It's the consolation of a friend in a time when words won't do the trick. It's the casserole we made when our co-worker loses a family member. It's the laughter we share in with those we love.

It's the glance we posses as we look at the man we love in a way that communicates to him how important he is to our life. It's the softness of our skin when we sit in a nursing home, 40 years beyond the hustle of motherhood.

Through Mary's example, let us pray that we women gain the strength to recognize that which God has entrusted in us.

"For her, 'to reign' is to serve! Her service is 'to reign'!" - Bl. John Paul II about Our Mother Mary in Letter of Pope John Paul II to Women.

Thursday, September 1, 2011

Yo, yo, yo homeskilletz - 7QT, Volume 43

Click here to read the original post at

Back on the safe east coast... oh wait. We had an earthquake in Virginia when I was on the west coast. Irene spared Florida and then pummeled the northeast. Yikes! Hopefully my plane flew back fast enough to turn the world back to the way it was before my Seattle trip.

I am not asking you for money.

I'm asking you to consider giving money to this nice young man, Steven, and his FOCUS mission. I randomly picked Steven from the FOCUS list of missionaries and I've been happy to receive his newsletters explaining how his work has effected young people at college!
How can you say no?
Now, like many of us, he's looking to use Fr. Robert Barron's Word on Fire "CATHOLICISM Study Program Leader's Kit" to evangelize, enlighten, and energize the students at Florida Gulf Coast University. Also like many of us, it's too expensive for his missionary budget.

If you're willing to spare $5 to send this great resource to Steven, please do! His FOCUS page is here (look for the lime green button on the right side of the page) and the Florida Gulf Coast University FOCUS page is here.


Don't YOU want a copy for yourself?

I bet Steven and his FOCUS team would be happy to let you travel down to Fort Meyers, FL and participate. Just let him know in advance, so he can save you a seat.

To explain my less-than-Elizabeth title...

Yo, yo, yo homeskilletz. The LIZ-I-E is in the hizzouse... So I'm not hip or with it, but I do know about Twitter. Learn more here.

I met two lovely ladies on Twitter yesterday! Leah Jacobson with the Guiding Star Project and Kristin Detloff at Living the Sacrament (also on Twitter here).

Yay for the Feminine Genius and the New Feminism!!

From Brandon Vogt's Facebook feed:

"Commentary on today's Gospel from Archbishop Fulton Sheen:

'Do you think that the reason St. Peter denied Our Blessed Lord is because He healed St. Peter's Mother-in-Law?'"

Make sure you check out his new book, The Church and the New Media.

More info

Thank you for your patience, Bright Maidens (and Gentlemen)!

We switched the "Feminine Genius: The Interior" from last Tuesday, to this Tuesday, September 6, 2011. We'll see you on our Facebook page with your own interpretation, right?

How to Cath-Tweet

First of all, please excuse me as I recite the Blogger's Lament:

I'm sorry I've been out of touch lately. I have been traveling and "suffering" from Quarterfinishitis. I have about 25 posts that have ideas and outlines, some with intros and body paragraphs, but none of which are finished. I'll settle back in soon enough.

For your learning pleasure, I'm at today, offering a professional's beginner tips and tricks for tweeting with a Catholic edge. I doctored two photos for this and I hope you enjoy them:
Friends, we have come to a crossroad. To tweet or not to tweet?

For those of you grumbling and threatening to move your cursor over to Stumbleupon or Catholic Answers, hang on a second. I have been on Twitter for two and a half years now and I’m convinced it is a valuable idea sharing tool.

Yes, it is also valuable for telling the world about the fly you found in your water glass and your bite-sized review of the Winnie the Pooh movie. Believe it or not, it can go deeper. The Pope is on Twitter (and he uses an iPad to tweet). Twitter had a hand in getting the three original Bright Maidens together. It scrolls article after Catholic article in front of my face, daily.

In short, it is a giant Facebook newsfeed with each status limited to 140 characters.

If you’re on Twitter already and want some tips, I hope you can find some new ones below. If you’re considering joining the conversation on Twitter, read on, my friends, read on!

1. Love your neighbor. Even if they’re antagonizing you and picking a fight. Many anti-Catholics and/or anti-theists use certain hashtags to “bring to the light” their criticisms of that which involves the Church. Don’t bite. If they reach out to you directly, gauge your patience and either respond up to two times or none at all.
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