Sunday, 30 September 2018

Blog Post Categories

I've realized I have written a LOT over the last six years. Some blog posts deserve to be retrieved and re-shared, and some don't. Click on each category title to see all the articles with that tag. I've selected a few articles to give you a taste, but there are a lot more under each category. If you like my blog, please like, share and comment on the posts that strike a chord. And also consider becoming a patron!

-----Being Single----

9QT: 9 Things Christian Singles Are Secretly Afraid Of

1. That if we are too 'content to be single', God might take us at our word, and decide to leave us that way. Someone actually said that to me once when I said "I'm pretty happy being single.""Noooo!"she shouted, "Don't say that! God will never send you anyone!" We KNOW that's not how God works, but it's a little superstitious fear. Or maybe we think if there are not enough eligible guys going around, then God will choose the girls who are more needy. And since I'm independent and strong, I CAN survive, so I don't get picked. 

The Questions You Always Had about Christian Women’s Households

Many people in India are shocked to hear that I do not live with my parents even though we live in the same city. I live in a flat with three other women (at the moment, it changes), down the road from the school at which my team serves. There are usually amazed questions that we have all faced from people who think only college students would choose a life like that, and can’t imagine what our life looks like. So here you go, some common questions (plus some we made up) and our honest answers.

Dr. Beth on the Chronic Singleness Disorder

Dr. Beth, 8 (pad and pen in hand): Can you tell me your name and the sickness that you have?

Me: My name is Humility and I suffer from chronic singleness. What can you do for me, Dr. Beth?

Dr. Beth: Well.. I need to ask you. When you watch shows about couples, do you feel sad for yourself, or good for the other person?

Me: I feel good for them, but I also feel bad for myself

Life Begins when You Meet the Man of Your Dreams

Just kidding! Of course it doesn't! (Sorry, this is not a relationship or engagement announcement.)

REAL life begins when you die.

So I was just thinking about how my early life plans were to marry early and have a bunch of kids (just to be counter-cultural, plus it sounded romantic). If I had to think about my life at almost 28 when I was 14, I would have been horrified to think that I was still single with no prospects of marriage in sight. Pretty much all my dreams of a future involved a Special Someone.

A 27 Year Old Atypical Indian Girl's Thoughts on Marriage (The Post You Were Waiting For) 

In urban India, 27 is pretty much your last chance for people to consider you marriageable (at least if you're a girl.) After that, you've moved to the Desperate and I Wonder What's Wrong With Her shelf. Also, in India, marriage is not considered an option, or a good thing that happens if it happens. In fact, 'if it happens', is just not an acceptable phrase. One MAKES it happen. You're of marriageable age? Then get married, beta! Of course I come from the Great Land of Arranged Marriages, or Glorified Set-Ups, whichever degree of control or involvement your family exerts.

How (and Why) Not To Fall in Love

On my FB newsfeed (aka my reading list) appeared a New York Times article called 'To Fall in Love with Anyone, Do This'. It is about a study basically saying that you can make men and women fall in love by using a set method. In the study, 'a heterosexual man and woman enter the lab through separate doors. They sit face to face and answer a series of increasingly personal questions. Then they stare silently into each other’s eyes for four minutes.' And apparently that's enough to fall in love.

Where's MY Person?

A couple of months ago I was going through one of those self-pity days, where it seems as if being single was the single most unfair fact of any person's existence (never mind terminal illnesses, deaths of loved ones, mental illness, or financial struggles).

I started complaining to the Lord, which is what I do, when I'm in a bad mood. "I have to do so much of travelling, up and down, dragging my heavy bags along, ALL ALONE. Couples are always looking out for each other. One can watch the bags while the other one goes to the loo. I have to drag all my bags into the stall with me."

----- Romance and Relationships -----

A Real-Life Catholic Love Story 

Genevieve and Thomas came from very different worlds. Growing up in DC in a divorced Catholic family, Genevieve had spent most of her teenage and young adult years constantly in a relationship and living the party lifestyle. The strict judgmental God she knew had no place in her life except for Sunday mornings. “Maybe one day in my thirties or forties I will prioritize my faith. But I’m young now!”

Meanwhile Thomas, a young seminarian from Kansas, was struggling with his desire for marriage and family. He had always had this desire, but he also had a deeply wounded perspective of God as a demanding God who wanted him to sacrifice everything he desired in order to win His love. 

What Not To Look For in an Indian Spouse 

I recently achieved the heights of my ambition a few months ago when someone texted me to ask if I could ‘look for someone for his brother’. I don’t know what I did to deserve this honour. I was under the impression that you had to be a middle-aged auntie with an opinion about everything to have that kind of know-how. Then again I’m practically 32 and I definitely have an opinion about everything, so I suppose it makes sense. Not to mention, I’m kind of a church lady. 

On Vocations, Discernment and Asking Girls on Dates

I came across a couple of interesting articles: Two Hard-Won Tips For Your DiscernmentThe whole discernment anxiety thing is largely a Catholic problem- what is God calling me to? Priesthood or Married Life? Consecrated Single Life or Religious Life? Diocesan Priesthood or Religious Priesthood? Religious Life or Married Life? Pick one! Quick!

Hand-Holding and Other Such Indecent Behaviour

I remember as a little kid companiably holding my cousin's hand as we walked home from Sunday School. Through most of my childhood, my parents would go on walks with one or more of their kids, and we often held hands as we walked. We're not a super physically affectionate kind of family, but that was one form of affection that was normal to us.

-----Introvert Life----- 

How an Introvert Socializes

First of all, introverts don’t hate people. We just need to plan when, where, how, and for how long we want to be with them. So, here’s a list of what works and what doesn't for this particular introvert.

The Strange Effect Weddings Have on Me

Since last July I have been in the Age of Weddings. One of my closest friends married my cousin, another friend married another cousin, and then another cousin got hitched, and an uncle and now a brother... You get the idea. I used to think weddings were super fascinating, with all their details- bridesmaids' dresses and choice of hymns, first dance, colour schemes, bridal entourage photo shoots, etc. Partly coloured by watching too many Hollywood rom-coms at a young age, no doubt (Runaway Bride, 27 Dresses, The Wedding Planner... for all the broken marriages, looks like Hollywood is still pretty obsessed with weddings). 

Thoughts of an Introvert at a Party

"A party that starts at 8.30 pm? That's almost bedtime! Why would any party START at 8.30?"
"I'm so tired. So tired. Sooo tiiired."
"Didn't I just read an article about introverts that said introverts can survive on two to three social occasions per week.. I've been in four social situations JUST TODAY!"

An INTJ's Guide to Praise and Worship

As an INTJ who grew up in the Charismatic Renewal, I have faced and battled with many of the natural clashes of this personality with a very demonstrative and uninhibited style of prayer. My theory is that 'T' (thinking) type personalities gravitate more towards more structured, less demonstrative and intellectual forms of prayer like Adoration, the Rosary, Lectio Divina (reflect and share about bible passages.. yes, please!), etc, and 'F' (feeling) type personalities gravitate towards more ‘touchy-feely’ forms of prayer.

-----The Funnies-----


Are you sure you are ready for this?

I’m not sure I am. Perhaps it is too soon.

A Tale of a Mouse in da House

There comes a time in every woman's existence where she looks deep into herself, searches her soul and asks:

'Which is worse- a live mouse or a dead mouse?'

How to Lose a Guy in 10 Minutes: The Christian Version

I love to tell people what is wrong with them, how to live their lives and how to achieve true happiness. In other words, be bossy, condescending and overall annoying. People say guys can’t listen to a problem without immediately jumping in and giving advice.

Childhood Memories that Turn out to be Hilarious

When we were kids, our family used to go up to close by hill station every summer for a couple of weeks. We would pack our bags, be up super early, stumble around, and gagging, force the bitter Avomine pill down our throats. All five kids would go down to the car, half asleep… and then we would wait for about 20 minutes while my dad set up our security system.

-----God Stuff----

The Tale of the Free Wedding Dress

“Let’s go wedding dress shopping!” A normal statement for a maid of honour to make to a bride-to-be. But this wasn’t a normal situation. Kristi* and Annie* were Americans, working as full-time Catholic volunteers in Taiwan and India, respectively, and the conversation was happening in the Philippines. And the bride wanted a free wedding dress.

13 Ways Parents Can Help Their Kids Choose Christ

Most of us who had religious parents have semi-funny and semi-frustrated stories of how our parents made us do religious stuff against our will when we were kids. Remember when we HAD to say the rosary every time we travelled on family holidays, only all the kids had strong motion sickness medicine so everyone would start slurring and fall asleep between the Hail Mary and Holy Mary EVERY TIME? 

Broken Phones and Unknown Futures

A couple of days ago I broke my phone. Again. It just slipped out of my hand… Okay, let’s be honest, I was juggling too many things, didn’t want to bother putting them down, and trying to open a door that was stuck, so of course I dropped it. I’ve dropped it several times over the past two years that I’ve owned it, but the case always seemed to protect it. Not this time. This time the screen turned to white. The phrase that flashed across my mind was one I had seen the last time I googled broken iPhones. It’s an ominous phrase….

The White Screen of Death. (shudder)

Jesus Knows My Love Language

I went for Confession two weeks ago, and my penance was unexpected. "Ask God to let you experience His love more. Maybe you are turning to some of your sins, because you don't fully believe God's love can satisfy."

Where was God when the Earthquake hit Nepal?

Inevitably when it comes to death and suffering or anything out of our control, our thoughts also turn to God. And we wrestle with some difficult questions.

"Why did God allow this? Was he not ABLE to stop it? Was he not MERCIFUL enough to prevent such suffering if He could? Or did He not KNOW?"


A Glimpse into the World of Siblings

People who don't have siblings might assume that siblings fight over toys or possessions. But the reality is much stranger. These are some of the things my siblings and I fought over:
  • Who got the chipped plate- the Chipped Plate was the Plate of Shame. No one wanted to land up with the Chipped Plate. So the sibling whose job it was to lay the table, would carefully place it at the seat of the sibling they were most mad at.
Small Family = Happy Family... Really?

Or the root of all India’s problems is TOO MANY CHILDREN. Or the population. Overpopulation, population control, population problems, we never heard the end of it. To the point that, any family that had more than two kids is considered unpatriotic, anti-progress, and probably kinda uneducated.

The other day my sister said to me, "I can't think of a good reason to tell people they should have children. I mean, I think they should, but rationally, why?" I thought about it. From a secular perspective, saying 'God said go forth and multiply' didn't sound very convincing. Besides again, why DID He?Biologically, to carry on the human race, but hey, there are plenty of people who exist already, so doesn't look like the human race is going to die out any time soon. Carrying on the family name? Maybe that's important to some people... like European royalty, maybe?


How Not To React to the Sex Abuse Scandal in the Church

If you follow American Catholic media at all, and even if you don’t, you’ve probably heard some shocking news in the past few weeks – specifically revelations in a Pennsylvania grand jury report about decades of abuse and cover-up by predator priests and church official as well as credible sex abuse allegations against now-ex-Cardinal Theodore McCarrick. Euggh. How do we even react to this news?

Rad-Trads, Liberals, and Finding Balance in the Catholic Church

I once wrote a tongue-in-cheek blog post about Catholic Camps, people who identify themselves as liberals or traditionalists. My views haven't changed, but once again I've been thinking more about this topic. It seems like most Catholics fall into one or other extreme, and lose track of the holy balance God is calling us to. Why does it worry me? Because both sides can lead others astray, and both have loud voices and influence on the faith of simple uncatechized Catholics, and people joining the Church, who don't know what to think. And it seems like leaders of both extremes are leading their flocks astray.

When I Get Tired of Being Catholic

Sometimes (especially when I am sleep-deprived and am feeling swamped by negativity), I get so tired of the Catholic Church. Okay, that's not totally true. I get tired of the local branch of the Catholic Church- my parish, and everything involved with it.

One of the homilies Catholics hear a lot is the 'We are the Church' homily. It goes something like this- 'Look at the letters CH_ _CH. What is missing? U R! The Church is nothing without the people! The Church is not just the priests and the sisters! You are the Church!' Every time I hear that I have mixed feelings, because we ARE the Church, but... the Church is not us.


Where do I even start with this one? First of all, I really am Indian. I promise. I may have some Portuguese and French-Lebanese blood (don't ask), but I'm still mostly Indian. (Definitely not pure-blood though.) However, my excuse for the following is of course the fact that India was a British colony for about three hundred years. Somewhere in my ancestry, my family became more British than Indian, and my very strange family culture is the result.

Fluency in English is the White Privilege of India

English privilege. We grew up with it. With a much-coveted Convent education, jokes mocking those who spoke ‘broken’ English were too common. ‘On the light’ Ha ha! That’s ‘PUT on the light, or SWITCH on the light!’ ‘I’ll tell to Miss that you are teasing me!” “That’s ‘I’ll TELL Miss’, not ‘tell TO’! Gosh!” But practically everyone in school spoke ‘broken’ English at the beginning, because it was their second language. They came as little four year olds from homes where Marathi or Hindi was spoken, and were whipped (not literally) into English fluency through twelve years at an English medium school.

A Catholic Perspective on Arranged Marriages 

The concept of arranged marriages is as fascinating and repulsive to the Western world, as it is natural and normal to most of India. Most of my friends’ parents had arranged marriages, most likely all of their ancestors before them. Some of my schoolmates, and many of the students I’ve given talks to have shared that arranged marriages are a normal part of their family culture, and expected of them as well. Surprisingly, many Catholics from more traditionally Indian cultures have also retained this custom.

Save Us from Social Embarrassment

I once heard a priest make an ad-lib prayer at the end of Mass, and I just remember the phrase, “Save your people from social embarrassment”. “What the heck is that supposed to mean?” was my immediate holy thought. 

The Great Indian Road Race

Like most young (I use the term loosely) middle class adults in big Indian cities, I spend a lot of time zooming around the streets on my two-wheeler (aka moped by non-Indians). I have often found myself thinking how well Indian roads would lend themselves to an excellent video game.

All of us in India know that ‘conversions’ are a very controversial and sensitive issue. Maybe because religion is a very integral part of how most Indians identify themselves, a change of religion can cause a lot of emotional reactions. The religion you are born into is almost seen as your identity, quite apart from your personal beliefs.


My Experiences with Anxiety and Peace

A couple of days ago, I had a vivid dream. In it, I was hurtling forward in a plane that was trying to land, but couldn't find a place to stop, towards... wait for it... the end of the world.

Yes. Subtle, my dreams are not.

The Antidotes to Anxiety

A small problem – someone mad at me about something, a plan that goes awry, an unpleasant task that I’m avoiding, news about Trump, or hearing about reasonable people who are suspicious of Pope Francis – suddenly begins to feel like a huge problem, a symptom of a larger disease, a doomsday scenario, with everything crashing and burning and pointing to the truth that there is no hope and things are never going to change.


The Poison We All Breathe

I live in a big Indian city, surrounded by pollution-saturated air. We breathe it in as a matter of course, and consider it normal life to regularly get sick, to have skin break outs and  grimy hair after being out in the traffic for a while, to have breathing problems, especially in the winter. But a couple times a year, my family heads to the hills, and suddenly everything feels different. Our bodies start feeling healthy and energetic again, we breathe deeply of the fresh, clean, pure, cool air, and our sleep is sounder, deeper and more refreshing.

When You Are in a Dark Place and Can’t Get Out

I’m so confused. I’m so annoyed with myself. Everything seems hazy. I feel like there’s something wrong with me, and I don’t know what it is. I don’t know what I’m supposed to be doing. I feel like I wasted the whole day, and yet I don’t know what I should have been doing… 

...I feel lost and empty. I’ve been trying to fill myself with food... I feel so unhappy. And I don’t know what to do with this feeling. I feel like there’s nothing I can do to change this feeling.

-----Learning To Love-----

How To Love Well - Some Practical Tips

One thing that the world in general seems to agree about is that love is important. Love your kids, love your family, love your spouse, love your neighbour, love the poor, love your enemies, (okay, perhaps that one isn’t as popular). But what we often don’t seem to know is HOW to love, and how to help someone FEEL loved.

But here's the thing. We NEED hugs. I need hugs.

Well, we need whatever a hug really is. What is a hug? What's happens when one person envelops another in their arms?

Avoiding Eye Contact and Other Ways to Kill Your Soul

Are you a good person? Yeah, me too. I’m basically a good person. Aren’t we all? Most people think of themselves as good, as their particular sins as somewhat excusable and insignificant, and everyone else’s as shocking and reprehensible.  But in my walk with Christ, I have learned a life-changing truth. And that is, that each of us is capable of becoming either a monster or a saint by the little choices we make each day.

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