In Which I Continue This Mailbag Thing: Lightning Round-Style

by | Aug 1, 2014 | 7 Quick Takes, Mailbag | 29 comments

All this week, I’ve been sharing my replies to reader emails and Facebook messages. Today is the Lightning Round! Seven questions, seven answers. These are questions I’ve chosen because they are seven of the topics about which I get asked most frequently.

Let’s do this.

1. My Images

Question: Hi! My name is Rebecca and I am a Catholic teacher down in Texas. I wanted to let you know that I love the graphics on your blog (and your blog in general). I was wanting to make some prayer and quote posters myself. Do you have any tips on how to make them?

Answer: Thanks! I really enjoy making them.

I make my images for posts, and the quotes and memes I share on the Facebook page on Picmonkey. There is a free version that I used for a while, but you get more options for fonts and overlays if you pay for the Royale membership, so I have. As much as I use it, it seems appropriate to pay for it.
I also sometimes use the Rhonna App, if I’m using the iPad.

I get the images I use from my own photos, from Wikimedia Commons, and from Public Domain Pictures.

I am pretty much making it up as I go along, unless you count trying to copy Lauren’s general style.

My personal image-style rules are:

1. Pick an image that goes with the quote, but hopefully in a clever, non-obvious way, like this:

See, get it? ‘Cause sea glass? Gets tumbled from dangerous trash into something pretty?
And below, those are fire buckets. For extinguishing.
2. Make the text visible. That’s the hardest and most important part. If people can’t read it, then what’s the point? So I use overlays like this:

Or I adjust the contrast on the photo or use I filters like these:
3. Use different but complimentary fonts. I keep clean edged fonts with clean edged fonts, like above, and messy edged fonts with messy edged fonts, like below:
And mostly, I just fiddle around with it until I think it looks good. Then I hit post and don’t second guess myself, because Picmonkey doesn’t let you come back and edit it. So when it’s done, that’s what it is.

2. Travel

Question: When you have traveled to Europe if I may be so nosy to ask – what type of accommodations do you stay in?  I have 5 kids and it can be a little hard in the states to find hotels for us, I cannot image in Europe how it would be.  Do you get 2 hotel rooms if you are staying in a hotel?  Or do they have apartments/houses for rent there as they do in the US?
Answer: We stay in apartments whenever possible. I think apartments are far superior to hotels becuase they give us access to laundry and the ability to cook for ourselves. Rental apartments are pretty
widely available, the only thing is there’s usually a minimum stay of 3 days or
so. TripAdvisor and VRBO are good resources for apartments. When we are
going from town to town, like we did on our most recent trip, we stay in bed
and breakfasts or hotels. Most European hotels have triple and quad rooms. We
do usually end up in two or three rooms (with my parents along too) and end up splitting grownups between rooms, whcih isn’t ideal. So, I like
B&Bs and apartments better, but hotels work!

3. The BIG Van

Question: I think you mentioned that you had a Nissan NV, is this true or am I mixing you up with someone else? If it is you, do you like it? We are going out this weekend to try out vans since we are out growing our mini-van. I like this one on paper, but Hubby prefers used vans so Chevy and Dodge are high on his list since you can’t find very many used Nissans. I thought if I can say “well, Kendra said…” he will at least let me test drive one or he will just stare at me and say “who in the world is Kendra?”


Answer: Yes I do! And we really like it. I think I should do a
follow up post now that we’ve had it for seven months, but my introduction to
it is hidden at the bottom of this post.

We ARE happy with it. It is huge, obviously, but still feels like a family car. I don’t remember what package we have, but it’s leather seats (good in case of barfing, which, yes, has already happened), and the bigger engine (so it drives great, lots of pickup, but NOT fuel efficient). It has family type features like seat heat, a backup camera, a USB port so we can listen to music or books on the iPad, and cup holders that pull out under each row of seats.

The only thing that has been a little odd are the headrests. They are great for comfort and safety, but they go up so high and there are so many of them that you can’t see out the back using the rear view mirror. We ended up taking two of them off from the back row, so now we can see out the back. The windows are low enough that the kids can see out, whether or not they are in a car seat. The door is light enough for my six year old to close it, but too heavy for the four year old. There are a total of five car seat latches, two in each of the front rows and one in the very back row. So, it would work even for the five-under-six clubbers.

I should admit that we ended up keeping our minivan as well. The husband crunched the numbers and the cost of insuring it was offset by the savings in gas for only using the big van when we are traveling as a whole family. I really don’t mind driving the Nissan, but it’s almost impossible to park at Trader Joe’s in that thing, and the Peppermint Jojos aren’t going to walk here themselves.

My favorite thing about it is how much like a regular (if
giant) car it is. The Chevy and Dodge made me feel a little industrial. The NV
feels like a family car, even though it’s got twelve good-sized seats, plus a small storage area in the back there that fits our folding chairs and the stroller.

And we’re loving the usb port. Besides the, it fits all of my children in it thing, the usb port is my favorite part of the car. I can finally play our
homeschool audio stuff on the iPad in the car!

4. Sex

Question: Dear Kendra,
My sister turned me on to your blog a few days ago. Two words: Thank you! Thank you for being a sign of God’s presence and love in the world, and especially for being an advocate for children and families! You are doing important work. May God bless you abundantly!!!

I feel somewhat silly doing this, but here I am doing it; I saw on your blog that I could write you at this address. The reason I feel somewhat silly is b/c I feel like I already know the answer to the question I’m about to ask you, but that doubting part of me wants affirmation from another Catholic. Question: If I know that I’m pregnant, is it a sin/selfish to continue to have sex/make love with my husband?

Now here I go answering the question: Silly, right?! Of course it’s not! It’s ok to feel good and enjoy our bodies and praise God through the act and to share love with each other! Right?!!!!!

I’m interested to know your thoughts on this “Is it a sin to have sex even though I know I’m already pregnant” question. Thanks for reading. I think I’ll go consult my catechism now. 🙂

In the Love and Peace of Christ Jesus,

Answer:Thanks Jennifer,
You are absolutely right to think that the Church supports intimacy between spouses even if you are already pregnant. Being open to life doesn’t mean that the sole goal of each marital act is pregnancy. The Catholic Church has always taught that sex between spouses is for the begetting of children AND for bonding and for pleasure. Spouses who are already pregnant or who are knowingly infertile can still enjoy the other aspects of marital love, even if a new pregnancy won’t result. 
God made sex enjoyable and good for spouses. The Catholic Church fully supports that!
From the Catechism: 

2362 “The acts in marriage by which the intimate and chaste union of the spouses takes place are noble and honorable; the truly human performance of these acts fosters the self-giving they signify and enriches the spouses in joy and gratitude.” Sexuality is a source of joy and pleasure:
The Creator himself . . . established that in the [generative] function, spouses should experience pleasure and enjoyment of body and spirit. Therefore, the spouses do nothing evil in seeking this pleasure and enjoyment. They accept what the Creator has intended for them. At the same time, spouses should know how to keep themselves within the limits of just moderation.

So, your gut was right! Congratulations to you on your baby!


5. Birth Control

1.       Question: Hi Kendra,
I left the most recent comment on your post addressing the comments on Blythe Fike’s YouTube video. Thanks for replying and I would love
to hear your thoughts on the church’s 
widespread stance against contraceptives. I really do understand the
appeal of a big family raising, NFP practicing lifestyle, but I can also see
how that is not the best practice for everyone. I can’t help but feel grateful
that people who want birth control can access it.
I have to admit, I feel like a total fool trying to talk
about this. It’s not a subject I discuss with my family or friends, but I’d
love to have a more developed opinion on it.
I am a new reader of your blog and I’m so glad to have
discovered it. I really admire your bravery in tackling these kinds of issues
so openly.
Answer: Laura,
I’m home and wanted to finally respond to your question. I
know that the Catholic teaching on contraception can seem crazy. It seemed
crazy to me when I heard about it (for the FIRST TIME, even though I was raised
Catholic!) as my husband and I were doing our marriage prep.
We listened to a talk called “Contraception, Why Not?” by Janet Smith, and I just became convinced that I needed to take a
leap of faith on this one and trust the church. I now point to that one moment
as a decisive one in my life. I believe that much of my deep faith and happy
home life can be traced to that decision my now husband and I made.
But I think your question is more, why do I think women not
in my position as a happily married, educated, financially well off,
healthy, happy person should also not contracept? And the answer, is that I
think that the story contraception sells to women is a lie.
I bought the story
that I should “be comfortable” with my sexuality. I was put on the
pill in high school for irregular periods, but really because all the adults in my life seemed to think that being sexually active was a
forgone conclusion, but all that mattered was not getting pregnant.
I can tell you that, having lived our culture’s view of
female sexuality and the Catholic church’s view of female sexuality . . . I was
devastated by the first and empowered by the second. I think contraception is
damaging to women. It’s bad for their bodies and it’s bad for their
relationships and it’s bad for their self-esteem. Even if there were no God and
no religion, I would be against contraception. I think it hurts everything
about us to try to separate our fertility from our sexuality.
I think the Catholic Church sees that. I think she’s just
about the only organization that does.
I’d be very happy to discuss this or other points with you.
Especially if I’ve missed your point on this question. I really do appreciate
how crazy this must seem. I just keep coming back to the fact that the people I
know who don’t contracept, seem so much happier and more fulfilled than the general
6. Etiquette

 Question: Hi Kendra,
I love your new mailbag series! Here’s a question for you!
My family has been invited to a celebration of a same sex union. Our not attending really isn’t the issue. Due to travel expenses, we wouldn’t be attending even if it was a traditional marriage in a Catholic church. I guess I’m just not sure how to respond. If it were a traditional marriage, I would send a present. I don’t want to do that but feel like it needs to be acknowledged in some way (because to ignore it would be rude.) I’d maybe like to send a card or letter or at least an email that doesn’t express any type of “congratulations” but also stays away from any “you’re going to Hell” type of message. (Hallmark makes those, right?) There has to be something in between the two. But what would that be? Do I say I’m sorry I can’t attend? Should I mention that I pray for them? Trying really hard to hate the sin, love the sinner, and practice good etiquette here! (but mostly love the sinner.) I’d really appreciate any ideas you have!

personalize it here!
Answer: It seems to me that you have just the right perspective on it. There isn’t an official teaching of the Catholic Church on this issue, but since it would be so likely to cause confusion and scandal, our family wouldn’t attend a same sex wedding either.

We have, however, chosen to attend a wedding that I thought probably wasn’t valid, but I couldn’t know for sure and wanted to keep a relationship with the people involved. It’s always a hard call, but I think that if we are honestly, prayerfully trying to choose rightly, God will forgive us if we chose wrong.

As for how to acknowledge it, yes, also hard. I always feel like I want to err on the side of truth on broad philosophical matters, but err on the side of compassion when dealing with individuals, if that makes any sense. I think I wouldn’t send a wedding gift, since there’s no question of this being able to be a valid marriage. But I would send a carefully worded very short note. I’d send my sincere wishes for a happy and fulfilled life and (unless I thought it would offend them) tell them they will be in my prayers. I *would* say I’m sorry I can’t attend, because it would be true. I’d be so sad that wasn’t possible. I just wouldn’t mention WHY it wasn’t possible.

I hope this helps a little. It’s a tough situation!

7. Gift Ideas

Question: Hi!  I’m a new reader
of your blog – and have loved every bit of it – thank you!  We have a 1st communion coming up in the
next  few weeks and I was just looking on
your blog for gift ideas.  I didn’t have any
luck, so I’m wondering if you can share some ideas if you have any.  I did find a couple trips to Rome for 1st Communions – is that a tradition for your family?  It’s amazing (and scary – you have set the
standard for the younger ones)!  At first
glance I thought maybe it was a special trip for the kid and parents, but you
took everyone!

Any advice you have on less grand 1st communion gifts would
be appreciated. I don’t know about 1st
communions other places and if everyone in the country does them around the
same time – so maybe other people would be interested in the info too?

Answer: Thanks! Yes, with the blessing of our pastor, we have done destination First Communions. It’s been possible for our first four kids, thanks to the generosity of my parents. If it stops being possible, we’ll just stop doing it. No biggie.

As for gift ideas . . . well, I’m partial to the confession book I wrote.

Hopefully anyone receiving his First Communion plans to go
to confession regularly!
We also like to give a You Are Special Today Plate
to kids
for Baptism or First Communion, along with the story of how we use it to help our kids celebrate three times per year.
If you’re crafty, you could also make one yourself.

Disclaimer: I am not a theologian, nor am I an official spokesperson for the Catholic Church. (You’re thinking of this guy.) If you read anything on this blog that is contrary to Church teaching, please consider it my error (and let me know!). I’m not a doctor or an expert on anything in particular. I’m just one person with a lot of experience parenting little kids and a desire to share my joy in marriage, mothering, and my faith.

If you’ve got a question, please send it along to catholicallyear @ gmail . com . Please let me know if you prefer that I change your name if I use your question on the blog.

Linking up my never ever quick Quick Takes with back-from-Edel Jen at Conversion Diary.


  1. The Nem's!!

    Not sure if you heard of this family with the loss of their young, beautiful mother (and the baby girl in her belly), so I thought I'd share so we can all (as one big Catholic family) pray for her, baby Cecilia, her 4 other children, husband, parents and siblings. She apparently died after being stung by wasps in her backyard, had an allergic reaction and then suffered a brain aneurysm which burst.
    Sarah Harkin's Obituary

    Sarah Harkin's Blog

    A tragic loss.

    • Kendra

      Yes, I've been thinking about her and praying for her family. Thanks for linking it.

  2. Trish

    Back to Question #6 — how would you handle this if it was an immediate family member? My sister came out and is now "married to" and has a child with her partner (who the family had assumed was her best friend for the last 15 years.) I've been to hell and back trying to explain all this to my children, while trying to retain a semblance of a civil relationship with them. Horribly difficult situation. They are as adamant about their lifestyle choices as I am about our faith.

    • Athena Carson

      My brother-in-law is gay, as well has a handful of his friends that always come join us for Thanksgiving. (As a side note, the gay adults usually outnumber the straight adults and I think it's oh-so-hilarious to answer the standard "How was your Thanksgiving?" by saying that it was "literally gay.") To my relief and delight every year, the kids are friendly and well-behaved, and the adults seem to genuinely enjoy the company of all of us, even the kids.

      Anyway, the way I look at this is –

      Life offers us many, MANY opportunities to teach the kids that just because everyone is created in the image of God and we ought to treat them with that in mind, that doesn't mean that they are perfect or that we agree with everything they choose to do. There always is a standard even if we all fall short. For example, my other brother-in-law is living with his fiance, my mother-in-law has some abortions in her past, many of our friends lived together for years before getting married, and I myself lived with my husband before marriage just to get our family set up sooner. (Also, logistically we didn't really have many options, which is increasingly becoming the financial reality for a lot of people.) Lastly, of all the people we know, only me and my husband's grandmother are practicing Catholics. (My husband is an agnostic and we have a non-aggression pact when it comes to me raising the kids Catholic.)

      On top of that, the unfortunate reality is that at this point in time, there really is no way to speak the truth in love without being perceived as an anti-gay bigot. Plus there's a case to be made that a family holiday really isn't the time or the place.

      My kids are young enough that only the older one has been taught the biological realities of puberty and sex, but not much more than that. As we get in to more complex topics, I plan to tackle this issue by simply teaching them right and wrong and why things are right and wrong. I don't believe it will be traumatizing for them to understand that the adults in their lives aren't perfect but we love them anyway.

    • Kendra

      Well, Trish, I'm going to tell you what I tell my kids: I don't know, but I'll find out.

      I have a call in to my friend Fr. Paul and I'm going to get his take on it, but I would be very surprised if he says that Catechism 1868 would REQUIRE a rupture of the relationship. I interpret that passage as admonishing against giving people advice and encouragement specifically to behave in immoral ways, which isn't what you're asking about.

      Sin makes everything complicated and messy, our sins and other people's sins. The answer to: should I have my sister and her same sex partner over for Christmas dinner? should be the same as the answer to: should I have my brother who is committing adultery or my aunt and her fourth husband or my cousin the unrepentant alcoholic over to Christmas Dinner? I would think.

      But I've never dealt with your specific situation, so I'll get back to you. Your comment profile isn't hooked up to an email address, but if you send me an email I will send you the response there. And I'll put it here too.

    • Amanda

      My sister is also gay, and my priest advised that we could maintain a relationship and I should pray over attending her wedding. We just went on vacation with them, but it is crazy hard sometimes.

  3. Anabelle Hazard

    Hi Kendra, on question #6, there is a blanket Catechism that covers situations like those: Catechism 1868 states: We have a a responsibility for the sins committed by others when we cooperate in them by participating directly and voluntarily in them, by ordering, advising, praising or approving them…" We face a similar situation (not homosexual union, just an invalid wedding of a Catholic), consulted our pastor and he said we can't go because it would be condoning it (and certainly can't bring the children because of scandal). However, there are exceptions such as if it would force a complete rupture in the relationship. Suggest your reader sees her pastor. I wrote about this topic on Catholic Stand and a commentator eloquently upstaged me. He explains it so well, I wish I could get him to write an article on that topic alone. Here is the link to his comment if you are interested. (Scroll down to the bottom, I won't take offense if you don't read my article).

  4. Elizabeth@SuperSwellTimes

    The idea that one should cease having sex with their spouse if they're pregnant/no longer in a position to become pregnant is one of the silly things that people ask me about all the time. I feel like it's become one of those culturally accepted myths about Catholicism that is used when "they" talk about how ill-informed/uneducated/sexually repressed we are.

    It's just – ugh. You handled the question way better than I would have.

  5. Trish

    Thank you for letting me get this out here! The rupture in the familial relationship, unfortunately, is on their side as they demanded complete acceptance and approval of their lifestyle and that we immediately tell our kids (who were 3 and 7 at the time.) We were quite willing, especially for the sake of my kids who were close to their aunt, to simply don't ask, don't tell until my kids were a bit older. When we asked why we had to accept and approve, couldn't we just learn to stand in our own corners without demanding things of each other, we were told no, we were promoting hate (?) and that's not how things would be done. Then they proceeded, without our permission, to explain to our kids how they were truly married, etc. Massive confusion ensued. We were angry. They were insulted we were angry. Things were said. Fast forward a few years and we have reached a very uncomfortable stand-off, mostly for the sake of my parents who still host family holidays, etc. Their kid (my kids' cousin) will probably never have a relationship with us because they can't agree to not agree. I miss my sis, but they won't communicate with us. (p/s – I'm sure they think it's all OUR fault.)

    • Athena Carson

      Oh wow. Well, that's quite a bit different than my situation, then, so my advice is probably not much help. On my end, my brother-in-law and his friends don't feel the need to point out to everyone that they are gay; a casual observer wouldn't be able to look at us in a group and pick out who's gay and who's straight.

      But I have had the misfortune of dealing with people for whom every little thing is all my fault, and really all you can do is distance yourself enough to limit the damage to your own sanity, which it sounds like you are doing.

    • Kendra

      Trish, I talked to Fr. Paul and he said pretty much just what you've said here. He counsels people to continue the relationship, but within set guidelines so that they can show their love for their gay family member (or living together outside of marriage family member etc.), but also not give blanket approval to habitual sin. For instance, meeting at a restaurant instead of going to their home, or having a relationship with the family member but not their significant other. But, like you experienced, he says very often anything less than complete acceptance isn't acceptable and they are not able to reach a compromise.

      For better or worse, there isn't a rule book. We have doctrine on things like the Eucharist and Purgatory and artificial birth control. But there's a whole wide world of situations out there that aren't covered, and God and the Magisterium (the teaching authority) of the Catholic Church are trusting us to make the hard decisions. It would seem easier if we could just turn to rule 764 on this and get the answer, but somehow that doesn't seem to work out well for us. In the Bible, we see Jesus admonishing the Pharisees who follow the letter of every single law, but have no love in their hearts for God or their fellow man.

      It sounds like you, and everyone else commenting so far, are doing as good a job as you can do with a very complicated situation. I put myself in your shoes and I'm in absolute agony, because every option available kinda stinks. I think I would see the best option for dealing with it with my kids would be to present them with an age-appropriate truthful picture of the situation and the church teaching, but presented with a lot of love and compassion. Hopefully my kids would end up with a compassionate understanding of how sin complicates our lives.

  6. Amanda

    Just curious: would you attend or send a gift to a non Catholic wedding where one party had a previous wedding?

    • Kendra

      That's a good question, Amanda. We accept as valid and supernatural the marriages between non-Catholic baptized Christians, so unless like Trish says below, the first spouse has died, the second marriage could NOT be valid and supernatural. That said, we are not prohibited from attending a marriage we know to be invalid, we are just cautioned against causing scandal.

      If it were a completely non-Christian wedding, I would feel more leeway to be able to attend, because really, that's just a party.

      As I said in my response to Trish above, there no rule book, even if we wish there were. I would have to assess the particular situation, how close we are to the person, whether it's a religious ceremony, if the kids would be coming etc. and I'd call Fr. Paul again and ask him or ask another priest I trust.

      In a situation where there is really no perfect solution and there are arguments to be made for both sides, I like to ask advice from ONE person I really trust, and be obedient to that advice. I figure even if I made the wrong decision, I'd have grown in virtue a bit with the obedience part.

  7. Trish

    I attended and brought gifts to two second non-Catholic weddings, but both involved the untimely death of a first spouse.

  8. Heather

    I've struggled with the question of balancing my own faith with the numerous homosexual folks that are in my life. I worked in the Atlanta theatre scene for a few years and my brother (who is straight) is a pro ballet dancer and thus my boys all took ballet and we were exposed to a lot of gay folks through that. My kids' bio dad was very much an absentee father (except for when he was homeless and I took him in … long story) and the gay men in my life were very present. My children (now grown) will tell you that they have a gay father because my gay friend was the guy who was there for them most consistently. Homosexuality doesn't square up with my faith. It just doesn't. I wish it did. I get really touchy about biblical speech being called "hate" speech because hate is the last word to describe my feelings for my gay friends. I am protective of the men who were my foundation as a single mom but I'm uncomfortable doing anything that promotes the gay lifestyle. To be honest, with my kids, I just didn't make a big deal about the gay thing. I wouldn't talk to my kids about my own sexual preferences so why would I go out of my way to discuss my friend's sex life? They knew which guys were gay… they knew what gay meant but we just left it there. And as a result my kids are all really cultured, used to get mani/pedi's on a regular basis and know a lot of showtunes. My oldest son got a really good job far away from us and was able to rent a room from a gay friend of mine who lived near there and that's where he lived for five years. Anyways… I'm just rambling. It's always been a delicate balance for me, one that I've never really sorted out.

    • Liz Szilagyi

      "I wouldn't talk to my kids about my own sexual preferences so why would I go out of my way to discuss my friend's sex life?"

      Yes! Thank You! Such a wonderful and valid point.

  9. annemcd

    If I can add a comment for Elena re: the Nissan– not only does Kendra say she should get one, but Anne does, too 😉

    If I may offer one of the best reasons to get one that Kendra hasn't covered:

    While they are more expensive on the front end, I think they are easier to keep up, because the engine is not up and under the seats like the other vans, its all up front like a truck. It drives like an SUV, too, and I was amazed at how easy it is to ride. It took me a little time to get used to parking it in a regular parking space (for the first couple of weeks, I took up two spaces and just parked far away so I wasn't "that" person), but its a lot easier now. Haven't brought it to Trader Joe's yet, but if I remember, those parking spaces were designed for Smart cars and Priuses, right? 🙂

  10. Nanacamille

    We love the destination 1st CK. Communion with all of the kids. Exhausting but unforgettable. I plan on continuing them as long as we are able to do so. A blessing beyond words.

  11. Laura

    I'm glad my question made the list, even though I'm embarrassed by my naïveté. Thanks again for such a thoughtful response to my email.

  12. Jennifer

    We have the Nissan NV3500 too. I can't get over how easy it is to drive. Plenty of room for the kids. We take out one seat for extra room to haul stuff. That's a nice feature. The seats come out in singles or pairs (never a whole row), so you can arrange the space how you want and still keep maximum seating.

    We have had it for a year and, not kidding, about once a week someone asks me about it. I had a hip highschool kid tell me it was awesome. People have told me it is snazzy. Everyone is impressed. It definitely does NOT have the "church bus" feel. I call it my tank 🙂

  13. Liz Szilagyi

    So, I'm not Catholic and I just recently learned of NFP. I'm curious, as part of NFP are Catholics commanded to abstain from sex before marriage? Sorry if that is super blunt, but this feels like a safe place to ask that. My intent is true curiosity (and laziness — since I'm too lazy to try and figure it out myself).

    • Jennifer

      As Catholics, we are to live chaste, according to our state in life. If that that is not married, then yes, that is abstinence. Physical intimacy is a gift from God, reserved for marriage, open to life, and a beautiful way for a husband and wife to unite. There are many terrific resources on Theology of the Body that discuss it in depth. I have known non-Catholics who have read Theology of the Body and finally understood the beauty in the Church's stance on sexual intimacy. So many people think it is just the Church saying no to something. But it is based on the philosophy of the human person, and stems from the understanding that physical intimacy is a complete giving of yourself to another that can only truly happen when the two have committed themselves to each other before God in the Sacrament of Marriage. In this complete giving, you understand that the consequence could be a new life, and because of the unity of marriage, this procreative element is the beautiful fruit of your union.

    • Liz Szilagyi

      Thanks Jennifer. I was raised with the same understanding, given to me through The Church of Jesus Christ of Later-day Saints. It's always nice to know we aren't the only Christian faith that believes intimacy is the giving of ones self to another person after a sacred and Christ focused marriage ceremony has been performed. I have had other non-Catholic, non-LDS friends wait until marriage as well. We may feel like a minority, so I think it is important we raise our voices as one and let people know it really isn't that rare!

  14. Kayla @ Number One Petersons

    I am *loving* this series, Kendra! Well, actually I'm pretty sure I've loved just about everything you've posted here, even the stuff I disagree with. I know I've read your "day in the life" post before, but it still baffles me how you manage to get all this done – the homeschooling, the blogging, the images, the mothering, the cooking. I have one baby and I always feel so guilty when I'm on the computer when she's awake, but then her naps right now are so inconsistent and by the time nighttime rolls around I'm trying to cram an entire day's worth of "things I can't do when the baby is awake" in a few hours. So I rarely blog anymore. I rarely do much of anything anymore it seems.

    • Kendra

      I was exactly where you were when I had one baby. I considered the day a success if I got ONE thing done. Like, "the laundry" OR "grocery shopping." But not both. No way. I didn't start my writing career until after I had a ten year old and things got a little easier, and more figured out.

      Don't put too much pressure on yourself during this part. If you're a person who feels a need to create and that's not being fulfilled right now (I was like that) you might try taking up something that can be accomplished or worked on in short bursts. I love sewing but it takes lots of time and the whole dining room table, so now I do more embroidery. I can do it a little at a time, no mess and it's portable. I love writing, but with a new baby I haven't felt like I could work on a book right now, but I can do blogging. When I don't have time for that, I work on an image for Facebook. I get to make something and feel that sense of accomplishment, but it's quick and free and not messy.

      Hang in there!

  15. Jenny

    Where did Betty go for her first communion trip?
    I really like the idea and wish I had done something similar. Maybe I will do a first communion or baptism anniversary trip some day.

    • Kendra

      Betty's trip was to the Shrine of Our Lady of Fatima in Portugal.

  16. Lauren @ Breaking the Mold

    I love all of these, but I'm especially grateful for #6. As a millennial , I'm certain the day will come when I receive an invitation to the celebration of a same-sex union. I've even thought about instances where cohabitating couples chose to marry and we were invited. This is definitely a difficult situation, and one I think you offered fair suggestions for which to respond. Thank you!

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Hi! I’m Kendra.

For twenty years now, I’ve been using food, prayer, and conversation based around the liturgical calendar to share the lives of the saints and the beautiful truths and traditions of our Catholic faith. My own ten children, our friends and neighbors, and people just like you have been on this journey with me.

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