Happy Friday, friends! Today Rachel returns to FIAT to chat with Kristi about the ideas & principles of the Benedict Option including their insights on its application & practicality.
For those of you who don’t know, the Benedict Option has come up recently because of the release of a book of the same name by Rod Dreher. It’s set Catholic social media ablaze big time. Full disclosure: we haven’t read the book, but as we are researchers, we’ve read plenty of reviews and feel that we understand the basic idea.
For some of those reviews, check out the following takes:
It was so polarizing that we, as mothers (did you hear that Rachel is EXPECTING?!), decided we needed to look into it; we as Catholic Christians decided to really analyze it; and we as Hail Marry decided we needed to have a conversation.
So grab your coffee or tea (or Sonic drink of choice if driving!) and enjoy!
Have a great weekend!
Kristi & Rachel
We (in general) tend to take on more than we can handle with ideas of grandeur for how our Lent will go. Here’s our Lenten reality check of where we are with our Lenten goals.
Reality Check: Fasting: No-Spend Lent
We both committed to this aspect of Lent, and we came in with different experience levels. Kristi was a rookie and Rachel was our pro, but now we’re both pros!
We will say that the temptation to spend (just a complicated coffee order here, a quick jaunt to the movies, an impromptu date night…) is real. We got through it with games and conversation…and prayer.
Ultimately, it showed us how to be better stewards of what we’ve been given by God, and to be truly thankful for it all.
Reality Check: Almsgiving
40 Bags in 40 days didn’t happen. Life sure did, though. We did give more than our usual, reached out to the community, and actively participated in our church life more so than our usual active. We also reached out to family to create more memories.
This wasn’t what we were going for, nor were we thrilled about its lackluster ending. What we did appreciate, though, was that we were united as a family in approach. We’ll take that little victory; because as we grow as a family, we grow in vocation, and we grow closer to God.
Reality Check: Prayer
Prayer is probably our more successful aspect of Lent this year. While we haven’t made reading the daily readings and Magnificat reflections an every single day thing, we have incorporated it.
My sweet, super supportive husband agreed to let me add things to my schedule such as joining the retreat team for a retreat this summer as well as attending a retreat with our mom’s group.
Because of that, my prayer life has blossomed and I’ve delved deeply into self-guided Bible study (see Sometimes You Just Need Coffee and Jesus) and my prayers with my family have become even more meaningful. Win-win.
Reality Check: A Call to Action
Sometimes Lent takes us by surprise and turns out to be our best. Sometimes life happens and we struggle to recall that it’s Friday until we’re four bites into a burger. God uses us, broken and imperfect as we are; thus, he can use even our roughest Lents to deepen our relationship with him.
Challenge: Lent is nearing a close, and Holy Week approaches. Rather than feeling disappointment from mourning the loss of the Lent you could have had, embrace what remains in this Lent and go out with your best efforts.
I just got back from an excellent weekend women’s retreat with our mom’s group. We studied the book of Philippians, which is relatively short in length but loooong in depth of what’s being said. My conclusion? Sometimes, you just need coffee and Jesus.
On this retreat, we had a LOT of quiet and reflective time where I was able to look inward; at myself, my role as wife and mom, and my life in general. I realized that my entire approach to life in this season is to be rushed. Everything is a series of checklists, including my time spent in relationships (with Little Miss, with Superman, and with God). I’m doing it wrong. I need to be still.
I Call Redo
In January, I committed to praying every morning. We’ve even outlined how we do it in a podcast on morning offerings and a post about routines. Like we sometimes do with Lent, I was trying to be this person with a perfect, grand transformation, but I didn’t seriously apply it to my mornings in practice: it was predominantly theoretical.
Coffee and Jesus
The plan is simple. I get up and make the coffee to ease into the world of demands. It acclimates my body to the morning. Then I do what’s basically the coffee for my soul: I spend time in the Word of God.
I log onto my Gmail and read my Blessed is She daily devotional email (sign up here to receive it, too!). It’s got the daily readings as well as a reflection. I could stop there, but that’s not what happens.
We’re called to have a relationship with our Savior, where prayer is a conversation.
So, I open my Bible and look over these readings again, delving into the footnotes and cross-references where I can find similar things repeated in other books of the Bible. This is one way God talks to us.
Then I write my thoughts in my prayer journal. My questions, my comments, my joys and frustrations, and my petitions. And then I sip my coffee, and I’m energized in body and mind, soul and spirit.
My prayer for you today, dear friends, is that you take some time to be still, and spend time with Jesus. Coffee optional.
Rachel is back! Yesterday, we were fortunate enough to hang out with #CoolCatholicWomen list-maker Allison Gingras of Reconciled to You, who also hosts a radio show on Breadbox Media called A Seeking Heart with Allison Gingras. We had some technical difficulties, but were able to chat for nearly an hour and get to know her a little bit better.
This week’s FIAT podcast will be replaced by a podcast of our time on the radio show. You can check it out here. We’ll be back next week to discuss the Benedict Option on FIAT.
Kristi & Rachel
Today marks five whole months! since Superman and I said “I do.” It totally snuck up on the both of us, but it’s exciting! In these five months, we’ve made some things “our own.” In addition to our Wednesday night tradition of flocking to our bed to watch the most recent episode of This is Us on Hulu, we usually cuddle up nightly to enjoy The Goldbergs, also on Hulu.
The Goldbergs is an ABC show, based on the real-life family of creator Adam Goldberg. It’s set in the 1980s (much to my husband’s delight) and focuses on the Goldberg family: parents Murray and Beverly and three adolescent children Erica, Barry, and Adam. A frequent visitor to their family home is Beverly’s dad, Albert, as well. There’s all the hubbub you’d expect from that kind of a family situation, but the characters are just hilarious.
Beverly is a textbook Mama Bear and a textbook Helicopter Mom. We’ll call her a Helicopter Mama Bear. All of the Goldbergs could probably be described as schemers, too, which is why it’s so entertaining to watch their interactions. Please, do yourself a favor and watch it. You’ll laugh constantly and be hooked near immediately. Guys, there’s a Goonies episode. If that doesn’t convince you, I’m not sure what will…
Beverly is a stay-at-home mom. She cooks, she cleans, she taxis, she helps with homework, she does the shopping, and she busts the kids when they’re up to something. She’s also a volunteer at the school and all the teachers know her (for better or worse). She’s an advocate for her kids (sometimes a little too much) and they all know that she’s got their back. She’s rocking the Mom gig, and she truly loves her children.
In one episode, she’s pushing her daughter to go to college and helps her study for the SAT. When Erica scores really high on a practice before the real deal, Beverly tries to sabotage her so she won’t get into her preferred college and will have to stay local. Perhaps a little over-involved for comedic effect? Maybe. But I am a mom, and I am freaking out at the fact that my child is going to be entering third grade in the fall and will be eight on her next birthday, so the feelings are real.
While there are some jokes made at her expense in every episode, that’s true of my experience growing up. We made mom jokes. I’m now a mom, and trust me; mom jokes are alive and well in our house.
What I love about it, is that her role as SAHM is never belittled or looked down upon. She is the glue that holds the family together and it’s highlighted in a positive light (despite her crazier antics in some) in each episode.
Warning: both soapbox and mini-rant ahead. But seriously; is anyone else tired of the way dads in the media are portrayed?
I’ll admit that we’ve watched the entire series of Good Luck, Charlie at least twice and that I am a big fan and I enjoy Bob Duncan. But he’s clueless about his kids and cannot make decisions unless Amy okays them. Does it make him a fun, comic relief character? Sure, but he’s basically one step above an oaf.
Even Cory’s grown-up portrayal as Mr. Topanga and father-of-two in Girl Meets World paints him as immature, having not really grown up (although in the classroom, he’s got that profound Feeny-ness that the show necessitates). For the adult continuation of a show that I literally grew up with, that is sorely disappointing.
That is not accurate of my house growing up, nor is it accurate for my household now, or the households of any of Little Miss’s friends. Dads are solid. Dads are our confidants and playmates. They’ve got better jokes than Mom and are less rule-oriented and tend to embrace mess more. They’re fun. But dads are also who we go to for wisdom. It bugs me that so many shows don’t honor that.
The Goldbergs does. Murray works hard at the furniture store he runs and co-owns with his father-in-law, comes home, takes his shoes and pants off at the door, and parks it in his recliner to unwind with some TV. He’s always seen eating at the table with the family at dinner. Even though his daily routine is nothing if not predictable and he usually asks his kids to leave him alone, he is there when they need him. He rescues them. The kids feel safe knowing that he’s going to be there for them (just like their mom).
I adore that this sitcom honors dads by being real about the near-immediate change into comfy clothes (my dad changes into “lounge pants” upon arriving home for the evening and Superman changes into a T-shirt and pajama pants pretty immediately, too) and desire to relax while also presenting the truth that dads are reliable.
Murray also goes out of his way to connect with his kids. He needs some daddy-daughter time, so he takes his teenaged-daughter to the place they went when she was a little girl: it goes horribly, but then they talk and their bond is deepened. He goes to Sam Goody and gets tips on “cool” music in an effort to bond with his teenaged-son. He has no love of film like his youngest child, but he makes home movies with him and takes him to the movies. You go, Murray Goldberg.
Beverly and Murray were high school sweethearts. In one episode, it’s suggested that Beverly became pregnant with Erica just prior to the wedding. This means that Murray and Beverly have literally grown up with one another. They are familiar, but not complacent in their relationship.
For example, Murray is not a fan of change. So much so, that Beverly buys multiple pairs of shoes of the same brand at a time, breaks them in, and replaces them, unbeknownst to Murray. She changes out his recliner one time and he freaks out. She not only tracks it down to a frat house, but she cooks for the frat brothers and cleans the entire frat house (including laundry) just to get the chair back. Have you met college boys? Let alone college frat boys? That’s some serious love right there.
In another episode, Beverly finds out that some friends renewed their wedding vows. Her response: “You can do that?!” She immediately begins planning her renewal service. They’re to write their own vows, but Murray is avoiding it. When pressed on the situation, he quotes the theme song from one of his favorite TV shows, Family Ties. She finds out, is hurt, and cancels the ceremony. He un-cancels the ceremony and speaks from his heart about her, even though he considers himself ineloquent and beneath his wife (not to mention, uncomfortable), because he loves her.
Sacrificial spousal love is all over this show.
Have you seen it? What do you think about the way their marriage (and their parenting, too) is presented in the show? Who are some other small-screen couples whose marriages you enjoy seeing? Check out our podcast on Lessons We Can Learn from This Is Us to hear some of our other favorite marriages on TV.