Just wanted to post a little update saying that for the past few months I’ve been blogging over at my new location: Constantly Catholic. That blog was started with the purpose of accompanying me through the wedding planning process, but I’ve since changed the name to encompass a more broad topic. So there are wedding posts, and there are general Catholic posts, and there are completely irrelevant posts. So, since it serves as a general blog now, I’m going to be shutting this one down soon. For anyone who still wants to follow along with me, you can find me over there! And of course, thanks for being readers here.
I always look forward to coming to Attitash! It’s a quiet and woodsy area, with spacious rooms, easy enough access to North Conway (Attitash is in Bartlett), and a walking path to one of my favorite places: the Saco River. And of course, it has the standard things that you’d expect: pools, game room, etc.
When we arrived there on Sunday, the first thing we did was immediately order lunch from the restaurant that’s right on sight at Attitash: Matty B’s. We ordered two different pizzas – the Mt. Stanton (chicken, bbq sauce, onions, bacon) for Andy and I, and The Jackson (pepperoni and cheese) for everyone else. Our pizza was great! Was it the best ever? I don’t know, there are approximately 12 billion pizza places in my town, so I’ve had a lot of pizza, but I liked Matty B’s enough to recommend it.
Surprisingly, during out week at Attitash I think the place we frequented the most was the playground! And I say that’s surprising because I was vacationing with people whose ages range from 26 to 80-something – so no kids! But between the basketball hoop, the swing set, and the teeter totter, we definitely acted like kids.
As for the rooms, ours included a fully-equipped kitchen, two bathrooms, closets, a pull-down bed, a pull-out couch, separate bedroom, two TVs, washer and dryer, and for the first time since I’ve been vacationing there, free wifi. The rooms were nice, pretty standard as far as decor goes, but gave us so much more room than we had at the Residence Inn, which I wrote about before. Not all rooms are the same, though. My stepfather has a second room across the hall from the main one, which is basically just a studio – no extra bedroom (so no second TV or bathroom). Our room had a sliding door in each room (main area and bedroom) with two chairs outside. There was a picnic table (I think just one for our building? It was in front of another room but we just moved it when we needed it), and a few grills, but once again they’re shared.
Overall, it’s a great place to stay and had all the amenities we needed. The game room could use an update, but I have no legitimate complaints.
Well, maybe just one. Not exactly about Attitash itself, though. The Conway Scenic Railroad runs through the area, and it. is. LOUD. Of course, this could mostly be because out little back yard area was the only thing separating us from the tracks, and it may have been slightly less loud at other locations. The train goes by several times during the afternoon, but never too early or late to affect sleeping or other quiet times.
I’ll leave you with some photos from the village, and will happily answer any questions anyone may have about staying there!
My Mountain Escape is a series of post recapping my most recent vacation, and talking about places in Maine and New Hampshire for the purpose of both sharing my experiences and possibly giving some ideas to people who may be visiting that area themselves.
My Mountain Escape is a series of posts recapping my most recent vacation, and talking about places in Maine and New Hampshire for the purpose of both sharing my experiences and possibly giving some ideas to people who may be visiting that area themselves.
If you read this post, you know that one of the things I was most looking forward to this summer was what I called my mountain escape – my vacation to the White Mountains. Well I went, and I’m home, and parts of it surpassed any expectation I could have had!
Let me preface this by saying that in my last post, which was a reflection of some things going on in my life right now and not the most optimistic thing I’ve ever written, I mentioned how some people create a vision of their life that may not be entirely accurate, and how I wished I could just do that and pretend like things are okay. Let me be clear, this vacation really was an escape in every sense of the word, and the things I’ll be talking about in my vacation recaps are genuine moments. Honestly happy moments.
Now that that’s out of the way…
July 20 was my family’s first full day in the North Conway area of New Hampshire after a weekend stop in Maine. Years ago, Maine used to be an annual day trip for us that we’d take in the summer. We’d head up to Kittery for the afternoon, and then go back home to RI. When we started coming to North Conway more regularly than we used to, Maine started to become our first stop: we’d spend the afternoon in Kittery and then head right to our timeshare where we’d stay for the rest of the week.
This year, though, things were a bit different. A family friend from church has a room at the Residence Inn in Portsmouth, NH, which is just about ten minutes away from Kittery, and he offered it to us for the weekend so we could avoid all that driving (RI to ME and then ME to NH) all in one day.
The only issue was shoving five adults in a room that was meant for probably no more than one or two, but it was… interesting? If nothing else, it forced us to get creative with our sleeping arrangements.
The Residence Inn is a really nice place to stay, if you were wondering. The pool was quiet (Andrew and I were the only ones in it for 90% of our time there), the hot tub was pretty standard but still relaxing, and they have free breakfast. We unknowingly showed up after breakfast was technically supposed to be over, so I can’t really judge the food because by that point I’m sure it was there for a while. I didn’t love it, but it was free and we did show up late, so overall it wasn’t bad.
And we were even treated to a wedding! Outside our window we could see photographers getting ready, and as we were leaving to head to Kittery we saw the wedding in process. When Andrew and I came back from our solo excursion which I’ll write about in my next post (I’m breaking these up to avoid one humungous post), we passed by the reception. I’m not sure why you’d want your wedding on the lawn of a Residence Inn, but hey, it’s not like it’s a bad-looking place.
So, about Kittery, if you haven’t been there before I can recommend it for two reasons: Bob’s Clam Hut, and Yummies.
And I mean, if you like shopping there’s a whole stretch of road with a bunch of outlets, but I’m not much of a shopper, so being dragged through most of those areas was more of a chore than anything else, but knowing that Bob’s and Yummies were coming up made it bearable.
If you have a sweet tooth (which I mostly don’t, but there’s pretty much something there for everyone), you’re definitely going to want to stop at Yummies. Out of all the things to do in Kittery, Maine, this is probably Andrew’s favorite. On our 2013 trip I don’t even think we had fully parked the car before he bolted out of it and toward the door. It’s a store with floor to ceiling candy. To a kid, it’d be pure heaven. There’s a little section with souvenirs and such, but other than that it’s all kinds of candy, nuts, etc. They also sell fudge, which is amazing. I may not have a sweet tooth but I can make an exception for fudge.
I bought wax bottles, white chocolate nonpareils, french vanilla fudge, candied pecans, butter mints, and jolly rancher sticks. If there’s anything else, I can’t remember. Andrew bought a bunch, as well, and we spent a few nights using our candy to bet with during poker. I lost a lot of candy those nights…
They have some unique candy as well, some old kinds they we haven’t been able to find locally, and they have online ordering as well. So if you want some special candy but have no plans to visit Kittery any time soon, definitely check their website.
Bob’s Clam Hut:
I will not go to Kittery if it doesn’t involve a stop at Bob’s. There’s just no point. Bob’s has always been a favorite stop of mine – the food is beyond good. They’re just a little pricey, but it’s worth it. We only go there once a year, so it’s definitely worth spending the money to get what you want. But good luck actually choosing something. Lobster rolls, soups and stews and chowders, whole belly clams… and all of it is delicious.
I love their clam chowder. In my opinion it’s a bit of a mix between Rhode Island and New England chowder (let’s not even talk about Manhattan – it doesn’t exist to me). It’s thin like Rhode Island chowder, but milky like New England. It’s hard to describe – it just GOOD. Last year when we came home from our trip to Maine (due to the death of my grandmother’s cousin we weren’t able to spend the week in NH because Grandma needed to be home for the funeral, so we just took a day trip to Maine like we used to), I found a recipe for their chowder and made it myself. If I can find it, I’ll post it here at some point.
The night before we went to Bob’s we were all hanging around in our room at the Residence Inn, watching Diners Drive-Ins and Dives (the Food Network show with Guy Fieri). Coincidentally, the show was actually about Bob’s that night! It was a repeat, but it was still pretty coincidental that that particular episode was airing. And of course, after watching them talk about lobster stew I knew I’d have to abandon my chowder the next day and try the stew. It was delicious! I also had a crab cake and I stole some clams from both my mom and Andy’s plates. Unsurprisingly, it all tasted great, and I recommend Bob’s to anyone who’s going to be in that area.
The only downside was the parking situation. At one point we were going to stop for lunch but there was someone blocking the parking lot saying that it was full and we’d have to go to another one, so we just skipped it and came back the next day for an early dinner, when it was much less busy. So if you go at the right time, Bob’s is definitely something worth trying!
*Note: I don’t know for sure if Bob’s has some sort of indoor dining, but we go up to the window and order, then wait for our number to be called before we pick up our food to be eaten at the picnic table’s outside. So if you’re looking for indoor dining, I’m not 100% positive that it’s available there.*
Kittery is a great town, and if I had even the slightest interest in shopping then I may have had more that interested me there (oh! I did get a shirt at the Kittery Trading Post that says “Peace, Love, and Jeeps”!) but if you’re a fan of seafood and candy, Bob’s and Yummies is enough of a draw!
My next post will be about my night in Portsmouth, where I fell in love with a city.
Hope. Sometimes it’s all we have. Sometimes it’s the absolute last thing we can hold onto, the only thing that can brighten the darkest days. And there are times when that blind hope is rewarded, when your patience pays off. But there are also those times when it doesn’t. When, try as you might, nothing seems to be changing. Nothing seems to be improving. And if anything, things continue to fall into a downward spiral. How long can we hold on to hope? At what point do we throw in the towel and accept the hand we’ve been dealt?
And if the answer is that we should never lose hope, then how long is that acceptable until it becomes nothing more than simply naive?
This would be the part when, after that intro, I offer my answers and opinions. I just don’t have any. In fact, I’m practically begging for answers. My questions aren’t rhetorical. And I hesitate to even post this, because being in such a cloudy, barren, dark, lost place right now feels borderline shameful. I don’t want to admit it. I want to be like any typical person on the internet who can craft this appearance of a fantastic life for themself.
But there are things right now that I can’t hide, I can’t get past, and I can’t even stomach. I’ve reached the expiration date on my hope, and I’m not sure where to go from here.
So Facebook is a bit of a headache, huh?
If I’m not bombarded with posts from my “friends” that are usually complaints, really tacky graphics that usually involve the Despicable Me minions and some attempt at humor, or baby pictures upon baby pictures; then I’m caught up browsing the always-intruiging (for better or worse) trending topics.
Now, sometimes they’re actually pretty interesting. Philae finding potential alien life? Very cool. That was a good read yesterday, regardless of whether or not it was entirely accurate. But then there are the topics that make my eyes roll so far back in my head that I’m actually grateful to not be able to see the headlines anymore. Let’s take today for example:
Meg Ryan: Actress attends couture fashion week show in Paris.
Can someone inform me why it’s important that a celebrity attended an event that celebrities normally attend?
Nick Kyrgios: Tennis player fined for unsportsmanlike conduct and an audible obscenity.
So some guy lost a match, reacted like a toddler, and *gasp* swore?
I don’t know, I realize that I sound really pessimistic (maybe even miserable, I don’t know), but I look at what people are interested in these days and I just don’t get it. I like entertainment, I really do. I don’t sit around all day watching hard news. I think the news can be really depressing, and it’s nice to have something lighthearted to combat it and have some fun. But sometimes I just don’t get it. And those two examples from today aren’t even the greatest – unfortunately there isn’t a Kardashian trending for a better example.
Please ignore the fact that I just said “unfortunately there isn’t a Kardashian trending” – it was not a proud moment for me.
Anyway, so as I was browsing through these trending topics I see “Christian Flag.” Of course, my first thought was that I had no idea that a Christian flag even exists. If I’m going to display a symbol of Christianity it’s going to be the cross, not a flag, but okay. And I started reading comments from all of these people who are up in arms that this Christian flag is flying higher than the United States flag (at a church, by the way).
It’s a debate that I’m not entirely sure which side I fall on, to be honest. I get the whole #GodBeforeGovernment thing. For Christians there’s nothing above God. But I also get how sacred our flag is in this country.
So on one hand, it’s a church – what do people expect? On the other hand, if I had seen that church’s display without reading the article I wouldn’t have had much of an idea what was even going on. Like I said, I wasn’t aware of the flag (is that a failure on my part as a Christian?). But no matter what the correct opinion is, if there even is one, the most alarming thing to me was how much effort people were putting forth in debating this topic.
I know this gets said a lot for many different reasons surrounding many different trending “news” topics, but there is so much else going on in the world. SO much else. That you’re really taking a chunk out of your day to argue with people about the order of flags on a pole?
And of course no one ever really adheres to the topic, so it obviously doesn’t take long before it’s just a Christian vs atheist debate. Complete with the expected disrespect from atheists and some not-exactly-Christ-like behavior from the Christians. I’ve literally never seen one of these end well.
So while people are debating flags and tennis players who swear and celebrities who do things that celebrities do, can we just take a moment and remember some people who I haven’t seen a single mention of in any trending topic today?
Or listen to John Green explain the financial crisis in Greece.
Let me be clear, I don’t think sensational news is all bad. Like I said, entertainment is a necessity at times. But I wonder sometimes if most of the people who have all the time in the world to stand on their Facebook soap-box and debate things that, in the grand scheme of things, are so trivial, really know what’s going on in the world.
Don’t even get me STARTED on Twitter, where #ExciteYourPartnerInFourWords and #CANCELYOURENGEGEMENTZAYN are currently trending as I write this. Oh my God.
I write this post with so many conflicting feelings. On one hand, there are some changes coming up in my parish that I am anxiously awaiting. On the other hand, I feel as though it’s not entirely appropriate for me to feel this way. But I’m just going to bite the bullet and say it:
This weekend is my pastor’s final mass before retirement. And I can’t wait for him to go.
I know I know – it’s horrible of me. But let me be honest… I’ve been going to this church my entire life. All 26 years of my life it’s been home. And not until this pastor came in a couple years ago did I ever feel like I was unwelcome there. In my opinion, he just isn’t someone who is fit to represent God. He’s cold, he’s distant, he makes no effort with the parishioners, and he has said countless things about us behind our backs. It’s shameful.
I remember one day my grandmother and my aunt walked into church for adoration. The priest was there, but didn’t acknowledge them. He later told someone that people are to speak to him first, not vice versa. On another occasion my stepfather and I walked into church and he asked the priest if he could go to confession. Father1 (I’ll refrain from using his name) said no. The reason being that my stepfather was three minutes late. There was still a half hour before mass started and no one else in the church, but he was denied the opportunity to confess.
To sit here and rag on this guy feels wrong, but I feel like these are thoughts that I just need to get out of my system as I try to reconcile how I could possibly be made to feel like going to church turned into a bad thing. And through all of this I do stop and wonder what happened to Father1 in his life that could make him so cold, so I try not to judge him. But after these years of being afraid to step into church because if you do something wrong he will take pride in publicly humiliating you (it’s true… he even managed to make my mother cry during mass for doing something that was entirely not her fault), I just can’t help but rejoice at the fact that new opportunities are coming.
I wish him well in whatever he chooses to do in his retirement, but I look forward to meeting Father2, who at 40 years old is the youngest priest my parish has had in decades. I hope this means he can breathe some new life into it. Because right now we’re losing it, we really are.
I can’t wait to meet him in just under two weeks as I look forward to finally feeling comfortable in my own church again.
All I can do is pray that he’ll be different from Father1, and I hope others will as well, because we’ve lost too many parishioners since Father1 came here. It’s gotten to the point where we weren’t even sure if we’d be getting a new priest or if our church would simply become a mission church because our attendance has gotten so low. It comes as no surprise that Father1 was placed in our church because his previous parish closed.
There are so many adults (here I go again about to rag on him – I’mSorryI’mSorry I just have so much to get out) that I’ve known from church my whole life, who have never previously done anything like this, who have tried to fight back against him. “I can’t wait to get out of here,” Father1 said one day, and one of these adults got up and held the door open for him. Another one, an usher in our church, said “one day it’s going to come to blows between us.” And on one occasion, with another parishioner, it almost did. Except it was Father1 that grabbed the man by the shirt and pushed him against a wall. And for what reason? For daring to disagree with something he said.
Is this the kind of community that a parish priest should be creating?? My grandmother, my little Italian grandmother who has more angels and saints in her house than anything else, who I see every day with a pair of rosary beads in her hand, had actually been counting down the days that Father1 has left. Every few days I’d get my update on how many more days we’d have to endure with him. (If you’re wondering, we’re at seven or so days now).
Like I said before, I’m aware of how this must reflect on me, but looking at my church with such disdain has been disheartening and I needed this outlet to purge everything that Father1 has made me feel and become open to the fact that with Father2, things have the chance to finally get better.
Thanks for letting me get this out without being judged to harshly for it. I’ll give an update on 1’s departure and 2’s arrival when it happens!
I just wanted to make a really quick post today to follow up on a previous post of mine. I was lucky enough to get to preview Edmond Sanganyado’s new book before it came out, and I’m happy to say that it’s now available for purchase on Amazon in either a Kindle version or paperback.
If you missed my initial review, you can go back and read it here. It was a fantastic book when I read it initially, and it seems as though it’s only gotten better from there. Here’s a message I received from the author a while back:
After reading the draft, I realized I forgot one of the most important petitions, hallowed be your name. It is so important that I ended up adding two chapters exploring that facet of the Lord’s prayer.
I can’t wait to read the final version! There are so many good things to say about this book, but I have to focus on one excerpt in particular that has constantly stuck with me and has gotten me through many moments of confusion. You may recognize this graphic that I made for my initial book review, it’s my absolute favorite line from this book:
Amazing. And that’s just a tiny glimpse of the great insights that come from this book, so absolutely check it out!
Yes, I’ve been absent for a while, but I haven’t forgotten about this blog. Things have been very up and down for me lately, and every time I think about coming to this I realize that I just don’t have much to say about anything right now.
But I did just want to post really quickly to say that this blog hasn’t been forgotten about, and I’m looking forward to getting back to it!
Thanks for your patience :).
I first heard of EFT – Emotional Freedom Technique, or tapping – a long time ago, and was immediately met with both curiosity and skepticism. The idea of it – that you can repeat certain affirmations while tapping on specific points on your body, and somehow benefit from it – piqued my interest, but something about it just seemed strange. Seemed a little too New Age for me. A quick Google search convinced me to steer clear, and I did just that until a few days ago. I was looking up natural ways to deal with a certain disorder that I believed a friend of mine is suffering with, and along the way EFT popped up as a solution that came highly recommended.
So once again I did my research, and it seemed like I was reading the polar opposite of what I found so long ago. I was actually a little surprised to see so many Christians not only in favor of it, but having such great results. Some went so far as to call it a gift from God, but I still wasn’t convinced. So I set out to dissect what exactly this technique is, and if I may even be comfortable using it in my own life.
My initial thought was that it is what you make it. You can approach it as some mystical technique that deals with energy and such, or you can see it as just a physical thing. I, of course, would choose the latter. In my mind I likened it to yoga. There are plenty of people who are adamant that yoga isn’t something that Christians should be participating in. To be honest, I’m not entirely sure why, but that’s probably because I just know nothing about the part of yoga that’s so apparently un-Christian (if someone wants to enlighten me, please do). I don’t even know what namaste means, nor do I care.
To me, yoga is just exercise. Just physical movements. Every now and then I’ll go to YouTube and look up some simple videos to follow along with before bed. It stretches my muscles, helping me relax more easily, and that’s it. There’s nothing else involved for me. I assumed that you could possibly look at EFT the same way – as something with physical benefits.
So how does it physically work? Let me start by saying that I’m not 100% sure that I’m right about this. I spent an afternoon reading up on it and taking notes, and these are just the conclusions I came to – correct or otherwise.
The points on your body (most of which seem to be on the face), are acupuncture points. This Huffington Post article suggests that those points send signals to the amygdala. I also read (I lost the exact link, but here’s another one that basically says the same thing) that an fMRI has detected brain changes when those points were stimulated. After reading that, I kind of mentally checked that concern off. Okay, it’s just a physical reaction then, medical even, I thought. As long as you consciously separate any spiritual beliefs (I believe acupuncture has ties to Taoism?) from it and see it as something physical, which the fMRI proves it is, I don’t interpret that part of it – the tapping part – as being necessarily wrong.
There are a few other explanations of the tapping aspect (it’s a comforting, self-soothing touch – especially on places that we instinctively massage when stressed, etc.) but I think the fMRI is explanation enough. For me, at least.
So what about the affirmations? EFT starts with a setup phrase at the beginning of each session, and it usually involves the idea of “completely loving and accepting yourself.” I mean, that doesn’t seem like a particularly bad message to give yourself. Love and acceptance? That’s not harmful. Some Christians have taken these affirmations a step further and have incorporated their faith into it, whether it’s by including scripture or just meditating on how whatever issue you may be facing (and tapping about), that God is in control. They’ve taken the worldly view of it and replaced it with Christian spirituality.
In putting this all together, the bottom line to me seems to be that normal, un-harmful affirmations, plus tapping on certain points that have scientifically proven to interact with the brain, doesn’t seem to be a particularly dangerous thing to involve yourself with as it is, but when you alter those affirmations to include Jesus or scripture, or to acknowledge that God is in control of your life, it seems acceptable to participate in.
Of course, the responsibility is on you to separate it from anything non-Christian that you believe could be dangerous. There’s talk about some sort of “life force energy” that I don’t bother to think about or involve myself with. Anything about this particular technique that detracts from God I would think should be avoided.
And yet I still haven’t come to a solid opinion on whether or not this is a good idea. I would really love to hear some other takes on it, I know there are Christians who are adamantly against it and Christians who are all for it, and so it’d be great to read some of your opinions before I try to figure out which side I fall on!