August 27, 2015
 The following is a post written by Alexa, a monthly contributor to The Feminine Gift.


I am an avid old movie watcher - as in, I scan TCM when I’m at my parents house and nine times out of ten I will have seen at least two movies that they are airing that day. I love old romantic comedies especially those starring Jimmy Stewart. The classics were great at capturing that sweet and wonderful movement of two people getting to know each other. I don’t see many of today’s chick flicks because they are all about jumping into bed together, and then maybe - just maybe - asking for a name.  And then it comes...after months of sleeping together the guy says he loves the girl and it’s such a big moment!  Really? They have been living and sleeping together but they were still unsure of their love for each other? Our society has problems.

I recently saw an older chick flick for the first time that piqued my interest and made me think.  Lake House starring Sandra Bullock and Keanu Reeves.  Now I know Keanu Reeves' acting skills leave much to be desired but he was decent in this film.  The movie quotes Jane Austen's Persuasion several times and also has Christopher Plummer (aka Captain Von Trapp from The Sound of Music) so you can bet it’s going to be an okay movie. The premise of the movie surrounds Reeves' character who is living in this lake house two years in the past, and Bullock's character is two years in the future and they somehow communicate to each other by putting letters in the lake house mailbox.  Don’t think too hard about it, just let the chick flick magic do it’s thing. After some sweet letter exchanging, Reeves realizes he is living in 2004 (I think?) and Bullock is in 2006. Reeves tries to meet Bullock in the past but she is with another guy. 

Fast forward through many a cute moment, another couple of letters and you arrive at Bullock asking Reeves to meet her in two years at this fancy restaurant. Reeves agrees because after meeting Bullock in the past he is head over heels in love with her. So Bullock gets all glam up and goes to meet Reeves, and (SPOILER ALERT)...he does not show. This is the moment that I think is so eye opening to all women, but especially to single women. Bullock gives up hope then and there. “You didn’t show up", she writes to him.  "It’s not meant to be.” It’s one of those moments where you catch your breath (at least I did) because it hits so close to home. I think I may have yelled at the screen, (thank goodness I was alone in my apartment).  I said, “Really Bullock, you have got to know this guy.  Does he really seem like the kind of guy that would stand you up? There must have been a reason!”

And yet I can’t blame Bullock.  How many moments in my own life have I said, "okay God, that’s it.  It’s not going to work.  You did not answer this one prayer so I am giving up on you."  I hate to say it but it happens so very often. I cry, and ask God why.  "Why did you not show up?" And like Bullock in the movie, instead of waiting for an answer I give my own answer.  I say, "I don’t want to hear it, I don’t want to try. I am done.  I am going to do it my own way."  In my silliness, I sometimes think God needs to prove his Love to me. But really I know he's already done that.  I’m the one who needs to prove my love to Him.

Anyways, Bullock decides to stop writing Reeves and get back together with her boyfriend who she was dating two years ago, who happens to be moving to Chicago…yadda yadda the perfect coincidence. Cue semi-sad music, a shot of sad Reeves, and falling leaves. Reeves is understandably upset, he does not know why his future self did not show up but he also feels sure it was not because he stopped loving Bullock.  


A theme running throughout the film is Austen's Persuasion.  Reeves and Bullock have been talking about the book and why Bullock likes it. She says she likes how two people can find love again, and likes how the hero and heroine wait for each other. The idea of waiting on love is nothing foreign to Catholic thought.  In fact almost every saint has spoken of their longing for God and their waiting on His timing, waiting on His love, and never being disappointed in the results. Some even say the act of waiting brings them into a deeper knowledge and love of God.  So this time on earth becomes one long and glorious love letter between ourselves and our Creator, if we let Him in.

I don’t want to ruin the twists of the movie, but let’s just say Bullock finds out the reason why Reeves did not show up.  She finds out it was not his fault that he did not make it that night. Bullock runs to the lake house and asks Reeves to just wait for her, and wait with her.  It's a glorious moment! Bullock asks Reeves to wait two years, to wait for her because she will be there at the Lake House. Reeves waits and is well rewarded in finding the woman he has fallen in love with waiting for him at the Lake House.


Why do we, especially us women, love romances where there is waiting? I think of Pride and Prejudice, Persuasion, Anne of Green Gables, Jane Eyre and now the Lake House. All these stories have the same thing in common: they are about a love that is so good, so pure, so perfect it’s worth waiting for.  Every one of these stories have the man or woman waiting for their love without any hope of their love being returned.  And yet they still love - and love truly.  It’s not the love that Phillip Phillips sings about in Gone, Gone, Gone (Give me reasons to believe you would do the same for me and I would do it for you).  That is not true love.  It’s not a clause that says, "as long as you are pretty/handsome all the time and don’t get on my nerves I will love you."  No true love, is just that, it’s true, it never stops, it just gives.

I think of Anne in Austen's Persuasion saying, “All the privilege I claim for my own sex (it is not a very enviable one: you need not covet it), is that of loving longest, when existence or when hope is gone!”

I think people feel such strong connections with love stories about waiting because that is what we are wired for. This life is about waiting for that great and eternal love which is God. I think we love stories where the hero or heroine loves, when all existence or all hope is gone. Because that is how God loves us - he never ever gives up on us.  He holds out love for us to the bitter end.

So if you are waiting on love from someone in your life or you're waiting on love/help from God, remember the best love story had to wait three days to see completion. I think the virtues of patience and hope go together - at least I have found that to have hope, you must also have patience in God and what he is trying to do with or show you in life. So have hope, the one thing we can always rely on is God’s love for us, no matter what is happening in our lives.

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Alexa is passionate about living her Catholic faith and fascinated by her femininity. "I have always been enthralled by the classic women of old like St. Therese, Katherine of Aragon, Edith Stein, to Grace Kelly, Audrey Hepburn and Rita Hayworth. I never liked the ideas of many radical feminists. I never saw the home as a prison for a woman, rather it was her canvas for creativity, where she was queen; free to rule with a gentle and kind heart. Saints like Joan of Arc and St. Theresa of the Cross showed the valour and strength of a woman yet they never rejected their femininity. Rather they showed that their strength, dignity , and gifts came from their femininity and to deny their feminine gifts was a disservice to their personhood. My thesis for my undergrad was all about what it means to be a woman of God and why God made women and men different. Other than an interest in femininity, I am working towards becoming a glamourous administrative assistant ;) I enjoy old movies, opera, good books, lots of coffee, and a good glass of wine. I also strive to live up to the title of Awesome Aunt to my five nieces and nephews."
August 20, 2015

We have some happy-sad news to share with you!  Tess, our dear co-founder and seasoned blogger here at The Feminine Gift, has decided to step down from her role here to pursue other challenges. While I am sad for myself, I am very happy for her as she begins a new and exciting chapter of her life.

Thank you Tess, for all your hard work and dedication to this ministry.  And thank you for sharing your authentically feminine voice with us.  You will be missed.  Good luck and many blessings to you in all your new adventures!

August 1, 2015


Two weeks ago I walked into my favourite second-hand store and found a certified icon, in mint condish, for $4.99.  (I KNOW, RIGHT?  $4.99!!!!)  In it is pictured Abraham and Sarah serving the three visitors, often portrayed as angels in iconography, who represent the three persons of the Trinity: Father, Son and Holy Spirit.  I was so utterly thrilled I didn't want to leave my cart for a second, worrying that someone would take it.  So I quickly bought it, eyeing the cashier when she didn't treat it with as much love and respect I felt it deserved.  Since then I have researched the icon a bit more.  The scene is based on Genesis 18 where Abraham and Sarah are old - like really old:

"The Lord appeared to Abraham by the oaks of Mamre, as he sat at the entrance of his tent in the heat of the day. 2 He looked up and saw three men standing near him. When he saw them, he ran from the tent entrance to meet them, and bowed down to the ground.3 He said, “My lord, if I find favor with you, do not pass by your servant. 4 Let a little water be brought, and wash your feet, and rest yourselves under the tree. 5 Let me bring a little bread, that you may refresh yourselves, and after that you may pass on—since you have come to your servant.” So they said, “Do as you have said.” 6 And Abraham hastened into the tent to Sarah, and said, “Make ready quickly three measures of choice flour, knead it, and make cakes.” 7 Abraham ran to the herd, and took a calf, tender and good, and gave it to the servant, who hastened to prepare it. 8 Then he took curds and milk and the calf that he had prepared, and set it before them; and he stood by them under the tree while they ate.
9 They said to him, “Where is your wife Sarah?” And he said, “There, in the tent.” 10 Then one said, “I will surely return to you in due season, and your wife Sarah shall have a son.” And Sarah was listening at the tent entrance behind him. 11 Now Abraham and Sarah were old, advanced in age; it had ceased to be with Sarah after the manner of women. 12 So Sarah laughed to herself, saying, “After I have grown old, and my husband is old, shall I have pleasure?” 13 The Lord said to Abraham, “Why did Sarah laugh, and say, ‘Shall I indeed bear a child, now that I am old?’ 14 Is anything too wonderful for the Lord? At the set time I will return to you, in due season, and Sarah shall have a son.” 15 But Sarah denied, saying, “I did not laugh”; for she was afraid. He said, “Oh yes, you did laugh.”

I've always thought this exchange was funny…"you laughed, no I didn't, yes you did…"  And I've always felt an affinity for Sarah (or Sarai) in Genesis because we share the same name, and apparently, the same fate:  Childlessness. 

I've written about aspects of my infertility/subfertility before - like here where I wrote about a few things I've learned over the years we've been married, I touched on our life situation in the post about me, and here where I list out a few saints that women can turn to in times of trouble (infertility included).  But for the most part, I keep to myself about our struggles with trying to conceive.  It's a highly personal subject, and I'm a fairly introverted person, so that's all there is to be said about that.



But last night I got an email from Conceiving Hope saying that I'd been chosen to be the blogger to garner all the prayers in the month of August, for her "Adopt-a-Blogger" monthly prayer ministry.  Talk about being honoured and flattered and honoured some more, and then just plain grateful!  Part of being blogger of the month entails writing a post about your own struggles, so while I will continue to be private about the specific details, I will elaborate a little - if only to encourage other ladies out there with similar burdens, to help them know they are not alone!  

My name is Sarah and I've been married 11 years as of last May.  We have no children.  Several years ago we embarked on testing - found a NaPro doctor, started charting through Creighton, etc. but had no success in getting answers.  Thoroughly wrung out from that experience, we stopped everything for several years. Recently though, having been given some new information, we found out that I've got issues with my thyroid, and we've been given good news in regards to the state of my health.  We have reason to cautiously hope that my body will be able to do what it is supposed to do at some point, so we continue to move forward, trying to heal and work through the issues that have popped up.  

I want you to know that I am deeply moved by your prayers - by every single one of your novenas and rosaries and anything else, big or small that you offer up for me.  Know that I will also pray in turn for all of you and your intentions.  We really are all connected in the Body of Christ, aren't we?   

One more thing - if any of our readers want to get in on all the action, by all means, email me!  I will be prayerfully considering who to recommend for next month so if you are struggling with in- or sub fertility, please let me know.  

I will leave you with Josemaria Escriva - something that he said many years ago, that still resonates with me today:

“God in his providence has two ways of blessing marriages: one by giving them children; and the other, sometimes, because he loves them so much, by not giving them children. I don’t know which is the better blessing.  In any event, let one accept his own.” ~Bl. Josemaria Escriva
July 23, 2015
As The Feminine Gift grows and changes, we will be welcoming new writers to our little community.  The following is a post written by Alexa. 


Dear Married Women,


Your single friends don’t want to hear comments like “I don’t know what I would have I done if I did not get married young?” Or “You must be so sad on Saturday nights, I mean you have to go on dates and they will probably be horrible?” I don’t think it takes a big imagination to see how these comments are hurtful.

Being single is not always easy I grant you, it comes with it’s own set of trials, but I did not ask for pity so please don’t pity me.  It sounds as if you have no compassion and no imagination, never mind the vulgarity of saying something so rude. I don’t go around saying “It must be so awful to change poop all day” or “It’s sad you can’t do whatever you want whenever you want.”

July 16, 2015
As The Feminine Gift grows and changes, we will be welcoming new writers to our little community.  The following is a post written by Dr. Christine Schingten, a Catholic wife and mother of three who teaches literature at Our Lady Seat of Wisdom in Barry's Bay, Ontario.  


This morning as I was hanging clothes on the line in our backyard, I was struck by the fact that what I was doing was environmentally friendly work. These days I don’t always get the clothes on the line to dry (something to do with son #1 who insists on wearing the same black outfit, which he calls his cassock, every day, which necessitates my doing laundry in the evening when he’s no longer wearing it), but when I do, I know I’m saving our home a lot of money, and the earth a lot of energy. That got me thinking about how many things homemakers do that are good for the environment.

About



What is a woman? What does it mean to be feminine? There is softness and hardness, compassion and ferocity. There is contentment and adventure, freedom and service. We're conundrums, especially to ourselves, but we all, in some way, possess beauty, creativity, intuition and love. We were made for love, and we are loved, cellulite and all. Here at The Feminine Gift we aim to show every woman the richness and beauty of her own femininity and explore current issues relating to women in our world. We also wish to share our own experiences - exploring the joys and challenges of stay-at-home moms and single professionals and everyone in between. So welcome! Grab a cup of something hot and stay a while.

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