NAS: Let's talk about SEX, bay-bee!

I meeeeean, not all those deets. I am going to safely assume that we all know what sex is, and have a general idea on how it goes down. :)

What we are going to chat about is this: Our culture is obsessed with sex. With anyone! At anytime! If you want to, just do it! But, the Church teaches that sex was created for the context of marriage. Why do you choose to abstain? Why aren't you going around having sex with just anyone? How would you encourage others to do the same? How do you remain strong when everything in our culture is encouraging you to abandon your convictions?


I don't have sex. I haven't had sex. And, I won't be having sex unless I make some wedding vows with my future beloved, God-willing.

There, I said it.

Are you surprised?! Of course not! :)  Annnnnd, didn't we talk about this already?! Well, no. We have talked about chastity (and here)... which includes sex, but is much bigger. Sex can be talked about alll on it's own. :)

There are many people around the world who have chosen to not have sex for a variety of reasons. For me... growing up, I was not tempted. It was never really a struggle for me. I didn't date much. This is not to say that I was living a completely chaste life, or was curious about sex, but I found that it was not as much of a struggle for me as it was my peers, especially in high school.

When I first chose to join the "True Love Waits" campaign when I was in high school, it was because of this: I did not want to get STDs nor did I want to get pregnant.

The smaller outside rings are a recent
addition from my momma!
That's it. Honestly. I saw those things as a huge stress for a teenager. Some first hand, others from stories my mom would tell me of the kids she worked with. Both of those things seemed so daunting to me, that I would never want to tempt them. I loved kids and babies, but I didn't need them right then. Nor did I want to seek medical attention for something that was so easily avoidable.

Even though my Aunt Marie set up this beautiful God-centered ceremony with my parents, grandparents, Godparents and gave me my beautiful ring (that I still wear every.single.day.), and had everyone sign a paper that stated they would all help me live out my choice of not having sex until I was married... I didn't see it as anything more than just choosing to not have sex.

I didn't understand sexuality in the context of faith and God. At that time, I didn't understand God at all in my life. That wouldn't happen until my sophomore year in college.

Once I was in college and started understanding and seeking the answers to those big life questions: what is my purpose? What's the point of life? How did we all get here?  You know the ones.  I found comfort and Truth in the Catholic faith.  And thus, Truth and understanding of our sexuality, as women. As humans. As children of God.

The Theology of the Body is an amazing thing that Saint Pope John Paul II gave to the world. He allowed us to explore the similarities of men and women, on all levels. And you know what, us women are different from men. It's a plain fact. We see the world differently. We love differently. We think differently.  But, God created men and women to compliment one another. "This is why man and woman attract each other sexually and intellectually. When a husband and wife express their love for each other in bodily union, their love finds its deepest sensual expression. Just as God is creative in his love, so too man can be creative in love and give life to children" (Youcat #400).

I am not an expert in TOB nor do I plan on diving in right now... but I am trying to give a little context into why I choose to not have sex. It's more than just avoiding STDs and pregnancies. Sex is serious. Sex is important. Sex is beautiful. Sex is a big flipping deal! I respect it's purpose too much to just have it, just because I want it. It's not about what I want.

It's a gift. A gift of love.

Human love is reflective of divine love. The more a person loves and gives of himself, the more he resembles the love of God. The highest form of self-giving love between a man and a woman is by having sex. When there is sex, but no love a lie results "because the closeness of their bodies does not correspond to the closeness of their hearts.... sex then becomes inhuman; it is degraded to a means of obtaining pleasure and degenerates into a commodity" (Youcat #403).

To be able to share such a special gift adds weight to the seriousness of sex. To the relationship you are in: do I love this person so much that I am doing this for them, or is this only for my own pleasure? Our call to love should be all about the other person and not about you. Not about your wants or desires or pleasures. Our call to love requires a dying to oneself and to sacrifice for the other person. If I am choosing to go around having sex all the time, what is it is about? What is the focus? You and your desires?  Quite possibly. I wouldn't want to take away from the unifying, self-gift that sex is designed to be.

I don't want to do something that jeopardizes the love that I have and will give to my future husband, and that of God.

Ok, Jen, I'm not going around having sex with everyone! I know it's important and I am in a committed relationship. Yes! I am sure you are. And there are so many wonderful people that are in your same boat. What do I say to you? Hmm... I heard Pam Stenzel speak last year and the story of her priest friend counseling couples for marriage really stuck with me. He always asks them if they are having sex and/or living together, if so, he says, "I want you to look at each other and realize that your future spouse has already proven to you that they are comfortable having a relationship with a person outside of marriage." Bam! That is intense, huh? And while you may not agree with that statement, I think it's worth pondering.

Part of the self-giving, unifying love that sex offers is when the two become "one flesh" (Gen. 2:24). That one flesh is the beautiful and amazing gift of a child. It's a natural, normal consequence of having sex. Our culture wants us to think that it's something we can control. We have contraception. Abortions. Fertility treatments that allow us to have babies, basically whenever we want. There is a huge disconnect in our world today that sex = babies. But, only sex when we want it. Babies when we are ready. And more often now, sex isn't even in the equation of baby-making. We have taken the entire thing and turned it around: sex isn't seen as a unifying, complete self-gift anymore, it's just a means of pleasure.  Ideally, when you have sex, you are telling the other person, "I am giving you all of me, including the possibility of having a child with you." If you are having sex outside of the context of marriage, but are not open to having the one thing that can naturally happen when you partake in the fun, you are in an essence not giving yourself completely to the other person. You are holding back part of the entire design of sex and relationships and marriage.

And basically... that's why I am not having sex. Yes, it's true... I don't want to get any STDs or get pregnant right now. But, I also respect the sacredness of sex and it's purposes: to unite with my future husband in the highest expression of love and bear fruit from that amazing love.

Apparently I had a lot more to say about this than I thought. :) And went in a slightly different direction than I was anticipating. Even though I am pretty adamant in what I believe here, please understand that I realize everyone is in a different place in life. I am not in the place to judge anyone who is having sex outside of marriage or using contraception or any of the other situations that don't fall into "not having sex before marriage and being open to life always." This is my perspective on sex and relationships and marriage... one in which I believe brings the fullness of life and love together. These are the reasons I choose to not have sex, and maybe they have resonated with you to take a different look at your life, no matter your state in it! :)

I know I'm no Arleen Spenceley (who undoubtedly has LOTS to say on this topic. Don't believe me?? Check out her website!), but I am passionate about this. How about YOU?  What do you all have to say?? Why do you choose to not have sex? Let us know, and linkup below!



Next Week!
Discernment Challenges
We all agree that discernment is challenging. Figuring out what the Lord is calling you to do with your life can be frustrating and exhausting. But, then add on lack of family support, cultural pressures, and your personal expectations... ugh. And, this isn't just in relation to vocational discernment, but general life discernment, too! How do you keep going? What helps you to push through? How can we encourage one another? What indicators have you experienced that lets you know you're going down the right path?

November (already?!) 4
Still have those deal breakers?
We have chatted about our deal breakers/non-negotiables before, but how do you keep from letting your standards fall? What prevents you from just dating any guy out there? What keeps you going?

November 11
Feeling Down
What ways do you run to implore the Lord's help when you are struggling? Do you always spend time in Adoration? Do you dive into the bible? Automatically go to Confession? Could you be better? And what about those times when things are good and you are joyous? Do you still give the Lord your time?

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How sweet my life really is.


Man. Bad days suck.

They can extend into weeks, and unfortunately for some, seasons of our lives. It's just part of life, they say. Things will work out, they say. Trust God, they say, even more.

Yes... I know. But it still flipping sucks sometimes.

When you have a crappy workday.

When you drop your less-than-three-week phone and shatter the screen.

When you wanted something so much (and thought you'd get it), but it wasn't in the cards.

When you realize you need to tighten up your spending, like yesterday... and realize even more how much life costs sometimes. And how embarrassing it is to admit it.

When you wish your family was closer so that you could go eat dinner with them.

When you have more crappy, crappy workdays. And question what you are doing there.

When you neglect your blog, when it's usually an outlet for you.

Ugh.

Things have seemed to just drop on top of one another. I mean... it overwhelms me all over again just thinking about it (so, why are you writing about it, Jen?!).  But, it's a different kind of overwhelming- if there are even different kinds.

It is overwhelming. But, it hasn't seemed to bring me so far down. Why is that? Is it the work with my therapist? Is it the Holy Spirit keeping me afloat? Is it finally realizing there is so much more to life, even when you have bad days?

Honestly... I am sure it's a combo of all that.  And probably because I will be 30 in January... and that's how 30 year olds respond to things. ;) Obviously.

Even amongst all the crazy and frustrations, I am more keenly aware of the many blessings in my life. It was so easy for me to see them this time, as opposed to being so clouded before and only seeing the bad.

The number one thing that I noticed... the amazing support system I have in my family and friends. This is one of those things that I would say 'til I was blue in the face, but never really understood. Now I do. My family and friends will support and sacrifice for me. I am seriously so blessed. So, so blessed. And thankful.

And this TWO YEAR OLD:


Her smile gets me every time. 
Her, "Aunt En"'s and stories and laughs and "I bein' silly!"'s just melt my heart.
The amount of times this girl brings me back to life is an amazing thing.
Oh, and those pigtails.

Even the simple things have brought me so much joy recently, like pulling up to my house and seeing my lit pumpkin!! :) It's amazing how a fake pumpkin can make your house feel more homey.


Um, also... how beautiful "Fall" can be here. It's been SUCH a blessing to finally be rid of some of the humidity and heat, and not die every time you walk outside:


 See??? Look at the blue sky. It's crazy that I live in FL. I mean... seriously.

And then your friends (Mart, Tom and the babe) take you to CPK to celebrate your TWO years in Florida. What?! How did that even happen. I came down the day after Zuz was born and haven't left. It's easier for me to grasp Zuz being 2 than it is for me to grasp being down here for two years. It's been a wonderful, sometimes difficult, 2 years, but I wouldn't change a thing. :)


One of the best things.... I have started to find a community down here. I have friends. I mean, I have always had friends, but not in my area. I love the Orams, but sometimes you need to hang out with other people. It has been a constant prayer, basically for the last two years, for which I have not seen the fruits. I was not (*ahem*) patient and put myself out there a bit... and have actually begun to develop some relationships with some great ladies. And meeting more and more people through the young adult stuff I help with. I wasn't sure it was possible for me to find that down here... but, of course, anything is possible when you seek the Lord's will. And we need to go through this life with people. It's so, so important.

So, yes. I have had a sucky couple of weeks. I wish they could have been different. And while I am still bummed (maybe seem a bit more bummed to my mom and Mart), I am fine.  I am so thankful my perspective has changed somehow and I am able to see the sweet side of my life, through the crazy.  Because I do, indeed, live a very, very sweet life.

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NAS: Modesty


Surprisingly, not many people entered to win the CatholicTV swag! But, that's ok, we still have a WINNER!!!

MARIA!!!!!

Congrats, lady! You won!! Please email me so I can get your address and you can enjoy your swag. :) :)



Alllllrighty... we are talking about modesty this week! Continuing our reflections about our make-up routines, let's chat about modesty! What does modesty mean to you? Does it just involve the clothes you wear and how you wear them? What about the things you say or do? In what ways can we improve our overall modesty?


**You guys, I have had a long week and it's only Monday (advanced post writer over here). I did so much running around, I feel like it should be the weekend already! Because of that, I am hitting the sack early, and will hopefully get my post done by Wednesday. I just wanted to make sure the winner was announced!!

Be sure to head over to Morgan's to get your link-up on!! :)

Next Week!
Sex!
Our culture is obsessed with sex. With anyone! At anytime! If you want to, just do it! But, the Church teaches that sex was created for the context of marriage. Why do you choose to abstain? Why aren't you going around having sex with just anyone? How would you encourage others to do the same? How do you remain strong when everything in our culture is encouraging you to abandon your convictions?

October 28
Discernment Challenges
We all agree that discernment is challenging. Figuring out what the Lord is calling you to do with your life can be frustrating and exhausting. But, then add on lack of family support, cultural pressures, and your personal expectations... ugh. And, this isn't just in relation to vocational discernment, but general life discernment, too! How do you keep going? What helps you to push through? How can we encourage one another? What indicators have you experienced that lets you know you're going down the right path?

November (already?!) 4
Still have those deal breakers?
We have chatted about our deal breakers/non-negotiables before, but how do you keep from letting your standards fall? What prevents you from just dating any guy out there? What keeps you going?

November 11
Feeling Down
What ways do you run to implore the Lord's help when you are struggling? Do you always spend time in Adoration? Do you dive into the bible? Automatically go to Confession? Could you be better? And what about those times when things are good and you are joyous? Do you still give the Lord your time?


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NAS: Rosary + Single Life





October is dedicated to the Holy Rosary, so we wanted to honor Mary and reflect on her help during this time of singleness. How have you called on her intercession before? What is your relationship with our Blessed Mother like? If you don't know much about Mary or the Rosary, is there something keeping you from getting to know her?





I love, love, LOVE collecting rosaries. I love finding the perfect one that represents a new place I visit. Especially countries. Every time I buy one, I get this renewed energy to pray the rosary. THIS is the time I will integrate it more into my life.

And then, a month later... not so much.

It's a sad reality, really. It's not as if I don't enjoy praying the rosary. I do. Even after all of these years, it's not a habit that has taken hold.

I desire to have a strong relationship with the Blessed Mother... I really do. One that is reflective of my relationship with my momma. Where we can talk about anything, I can cry, she offers advice, and just loves me.

I still hold out hope. Every time I do pray a rosary and ask for her intercession, I feel as though it's a hug from my mom. I learn more about our Father, and the lives of holiness they both lived.

What the rosary helps us to reflect on the most, though, is her fiat. Her yes, to the Lord.  She never said no. And she is an incredible example for us, as single ladies.  Most of us are waiting patiently (sometimes not so much) for our YES to our vocations. That moment when we have met our future hubbies or found our community.

But, our YES is more than that.

Our YES is to living life according to Him.

Our YES is to serving all those we know and meet in love.

Our YES is to embracing our singleness right now!

Our YES is to love Him with all your strength and all your mind and with all your heart.

Mary said YES when the Angel Gabriel came to her. She said YES to raising God in human form. She said YES to loving him. She said YES to the pain of watching her son die a horrific death.

She could have said no. How different would our world be if Mary said no?  And, how different would your world be if you said no to God?

What are your thoughts about the rosary? Mary? Her intercession? Tell us and link-up below!! :) And don't forget about the...........



GIVEAWAY!!!!!!

I am giving some CatholicTV swag away today! We want to ride our awesome NASBoston wave as looooong as we can!!


What you get: 
August CatholicTV magazine (where NAS is featured)
One mug
2 Car Magnets
2 containers with candy
One pen

How to enter:
Browse the CatholicTV website and comment below with what show you would most want to watch.
Also, please sign up to get CatholicTV in your area, too! (This is on the honor system, people!)
The order you comment, is the number you will be given, which will be put into Random.org, and the winner will be chosen!

Dates:
Enter NOW (midnight on Tuesday, October 7) to 11:59pm Sunday, October 12.
I will announce the winner on next week's NAS post. :)



Next Week!
Modesty
Continuing our reflections about our make-up routines, let's chat about modesty! What does modesty mean to you? Does it just involve the clothes you wear and how you wear them? What about the things you say or do? In what ways can we improve our overall modesty?

October 21
Sex!
Our culture is obsessed with sex. With anyone! At anytime! If you want to, just do it! But, the Church teaches that sex was created for the context of marriage. Why do you choose to abstain? Why aren't you going around having sex with just anyone? How would you encourage others to do the same? How do you remain strong when everything in our culture is encouraging you to abandon your convictions?

October 28
Discernment Challenges
We all agree that discernment is challenging. Figuring out what the Lord is calling you to do with your life can be frustrating and exhausting. But, then add on lack of family support, cultural pressures, and your personal expectations... ugh. And, this isn't just in relation to vocational discernment, but general life discernment, too! How do you keep going? What helps you to push through? How can we encourage one another? What indicators have you experienced that lets you know you're going down the right path?

November (already?!) 4
We have chatted about our deal breakers/non-negotiables before, but how do you keep from letting your standards fall? What prevents you from just dating any guy out there? What keeps you going?

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Can you commit an hour??


“The Eucharist is the point where God and the soul meet — God with all His graces, and the soul with all its wants.”
Archbishop Fulton J. Sheen

A few years ago when I was still living in Northern VA and attended Queen of Apostles (guh, I miss that place!), I was among the first group to commit to an hour of Eucharistic Adoration. The church had gone through some renovations, and one of the added areas was a space for perpetual adoration. :)  I signed up: Mondays at 9pm.

It was such an amazing experience. I loved it. That is not to say that there were plenty of moments when I was exhausted, annoyed even, that I had to leave my comfy home or felt as if I had nothing to talk to God about. Because it happened. I am not perfect. But, God was there. Always. Met me where I was at. Interestingly, it was in those moments when I didn't want to be there that I felt him the closest.

And I miss it. I miss the closeness.

I am so blessed to have perpetual adoration at my current parish.  And I'm embarrassed to admit how infrequently I go.  Months. I go MONTHS without so much as a quick hello.


I have had on my heart to change that. To commit to a weekly hour.  I keep making excuses... so many other evening things going on. I need time at home. blah blah.

Hush, Jen. You also need time with Jesus.

So, here I am making a public declaration to you, dear readers, that I am going to commit to an hour. But, I am wondering if you would like to join me?! We can hold each other accountable, pray for one another, and, obviously, grow closer to the Lord.

I have already asked the ladies in our Facebook group, along with Twitter, to see who would be interested.  I would love it if we could all commit to the same day (ideally time, but that is hard!), so we are praying together, in a sense. If you would like to join me, please comment below with the days that would work for you. Once I have a consensus, I will let you know. :) :)

(I am thinking Wednesdays or Thursdays would be best for me!)

Even if you can't commit to the same day, still commit to another time! The whole point is to spend time with Jesus in adoration. He just wants to be with you. :)

Eeep! Just writing this out is getting me excited!


“From the time we started having adoration every day, our love for Jesus became more intimate, our love for each other more understanding, our love for the poor more compassionate, and we have doubled the number of vocations.”
Blessed Mother Theresa of Calcutta

“Visit the Lord in that ‘heart to heart’ contact that is Eucharistic Adoration. Day after day, you will receive new energy to help you to bring comfort to the suffering and peace to the world.”
Pope Saint John Paul II, World Youth Day 2002
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