history · lifestyle · religion · Uncategorized

Living our calling

This may come out as word vomit, but I have been pondering a topic ever since I found the documentaries on nuns I spoke about last time.  It has taken me this long to write, so bear with me.

Something annoyed me when watching these documentaries – the comments.

Now I know that we live in a world where everyone is spewing out their thoughts and feelings all over the place.  We now know how all our neighbours feel about Trump, gay rights, and we all know what we ate for dinner.  So it shouldn’t have annoyed me as much as it did, but I have been annoyed for weeks.

Most of the comments went something like this:  “their beliefs are stupid”, “they should be doing more with their lives instead of sitting inside praying all day”, or “they are wasting their lives”.

You catch the drift.

But the thing is – does it really matter what these nuns are doing?  The solitude, the prayer and communion with their god?  People have been doing this for thousands of years or more.  Many some people may have thought it was stupid even then, thousands of years ago, but I suppose we didn’t have the internet to tell us so.

We as a society, especially in the Western world, have been taught a set of beliefs that we are to live our lives by.  We all know them.  But these ladies aren’t getting married, aren’t having children.  They are praying.  They are taking care of each other.  They are learning about themselves and about the god they took vows to serve.

But we need to look at the bigger picture – this isn’t just about the nuns.  It’s about conforming to the standard mould we have been given.  Why are we as a culture so concerned about the lives of others?  I am not saying I am blameless.  I have definitely shared my opinions on things others were doing that I believed to be stupid or useless.  But is anything useless?  If you receive a calling in life, why not take it?  Why not use every bit of your energy to work on that thing?

Most of the humans I know are unhappy because they believe they need to be doing the opposite of what brings them joy.  And they then point out all the things wrong with the people doing things they love.  Lack of money, specifically.

In my opinion, these women – these nuns, they are brave.  They have stripped themselves from all possessions, from all pacifiers.  They sit in prayer and contemplation for hours every day.  They probably have seen the darkest places of their souls.  They can be who they are.  No makeup, no frills, no outside rules of conformity.

Perhaps we are to take a lesson from them.  Let’s strip away the superfluous in our lives and decide to live the life we want.  To play by our own rules.  To stop letting these invisible guidelines dictate who we are.  No one is you, no one can live your life for you.

And to those who leave silly comments on nun documentaries, maybe you could be doing better things with your time. 😉

Thanks for reading.

Jacqueline

books · history · Uncategorized

Recently Purchased Books – 1

Here are some books I’ve purchased recently.  I have been quite picky about the things I have been bringing into my life and was supposed to be on a “consumables only” shopping diet, however, these books slid through (how could I resist?).  And one could say that you do in fact consume books.

all bookshow to be a victorian

lunch in paris
I read this book before going to Paris for the first time and I own it on my e-reader, but since it has recipes I thought I should pick up the hard copy one day.  I found it on sale for only $6.  This book made me see Paris differently, I think. If you love food (and France), this is a lovely book.

suffragettes

The witches
I have started reading this book and the writing is beautiful and descriptive.  I already recommend it if you are interested in history and witches, of course.

What have you been reading recently?  What are your recently purchased books?  I’d love to know.

Thanks for stopping by.

Jacqueline

Historical Research · history · religion · Uncategorized

An Update – Research, Nuns, Jesus Camp

I have wanted to write here for a long time.  I pay for this blog and I have been neglecting it.  It seems an odd thing to do for someone like me – I have a lot of things to say.

I have been working on my writing in private and I have also been doing a lot of research primarily on the history of women, women’s lives, and religion.  Most recently, I have been fascinated by the lives of nuns.  The concept of faith has rung loudly in my ears.  Nuns seem to have this faith and I can’t put my finger on it.  Is it the joy, the simplicity, the trust in god?  So more research ensues.

I know it’s an odd topic but I love it.  Religion fascinates me because it is so ugly and so beautiful simutaneously.  It creates odd feelings inside of me.  I recently found this paper I wrote in my old bible case.  It was a page with a list of questions discussing my being “saved” and “accepting” of Christ.  It was weird reading it now.  I haven’t thought about god that way in a very long time – the concept of god changed for me before I hit my 20s and I have never really discussed to anyone except for my husband since.  I am not sure if I will dive deeper on that topic in a public space, but I may someday.

If you wan to watch something interesting (and not about nuns), I recommend watching Jesus Camp which is currently on Canadian Netflix.  This documentary gives insight into a christian (pentecostal) summer camp.  Basically, children are taught to be soldiers of god (political soliders) and they discuss faith, sin, evolution, and abortion issues.  There is a lot of fear feeding to children and I admit, it is a bit frightening.  Let me know if you have watched this documentary and how you felt about it.

I have a few essays regarding my research I hope to post soon. Until then, please leave me a comment if you have any suggestions on books, articles, or documentaries to watch pertaining to religion, women, nuns, or anything interesting!  I would be most grateful.

Jacqueline

lifestyle · minimalism · self-help · Uncategorized

The Measure of Success

I want to continue being crazy; living my life the way I dream it, and not the way other people want it to be.

-Paulo Coelho

Five years ago, I thought I had made it.  I graduated from college.  I was 21 years old and engaged.  I moved from a small town to a small city.  I had a term position at a large law firm as a legal assistant.  I remember taking the ferry to work the first day, and my building came into view.  It was a picture of the epitome of success.  Men in suits, women in heels, pressing the button to go up the elevator on a double digit floor.  It smelled like prestige.

Two weeks in, I knew this isn’t where I wanted to be, but I had to be here, you know, for the money.  And everyone else told me I was successful, so I should be happy, right?  I had a great opportunity.  This was supposed to be success.

That job ended.  I got another.  I left that job because I went home crying more times than not.  There was a lot of pressure.  I didn’t fit in.  I sewed up my cardigans when they ripped because I couldn’t afford a new one.  I pretended I had more than I did.  I had created a false self to survive.  But I was successful.  I should have been happy.

I got another job.  This job was busier than both of the other jobs combined.  I needed help and management didn’t listen.  I started having panic attacks in the toilets at work.  I started waking up in the middle of the night, worrying about the next day at work.  Wondering if I had forgotten to do something.  I gained more weight.  I started having health issues.  I created another pretend me to survive.  But I should have been happy. I was successful.  I worked for a big accounting firm now.

I left that job one day with two weeks notice and the next week I had another job.  I started as a temp, making next to no money, doing odds and ends.  I worked for the government now.  People were sure to tell me I made it.  I got a term, and then another.  I made more money.  My friends made comments about it, my parents were so happy.  I still work there now, but the thing is, the story has never changed.  Anxiety, panic, overworking.  Crying almost every day.  But I am successful – because other people decided I am.

The point of this tale is to say that societal definitions of success aren’t necessarily true.  Climbing the economic latter has very little to do with happiness and everything to do with social acceptance.  The more money you make, the easier it is to be accepted, the easier it is to be loved.

It is a harsh reality but we are judged based on what we make.  When we meet someone, the first question we ask is “what do you do?”.  This is not the question of what do you do for fun.  It is the question of what do you do for money so I can decide how much you will mean to me based on your income only.

I have judged people by what they make, I still do subconsciously.  But I have now decided this means nothing about a person, the money they have in the bank. People are all valuable irrespective of money in the bank.  My life has just as much worth as Bill Gates.  My life has just as much worth as that homeless man hustling for money on the street.  The worth of human life does not increase or decrease.  It just is.

This is the year of change.  Let’s all remember to not judge one another.  Let’s make positive changes to move forward, through the discomfort into our own version of success. Your parents, your grandparents, your neighbours, your spouse, your kids – their opinions are not yours.  Own your success, own your vision of your life.

It’s time to live life for ourselves.

Jacqueline

Recipes · Soup · Uncategorized

Warming Minestrone Soup

Hello friends:

I wanted to share this gorgeous minestrone recipe I whipped up yesterday for work lunches.  It just requires a few simple ingredients and a bit of chopping time.  It makes approximately 4-5 generous servings.

Warming Minestrone Soup

minestrone-soup
Ingredients

Olive oil
1/2 onion, finely chopped
2 carrots, chopped
1 potato, chopped into small pieces
1 clove of garlic, minced
1 small zucchini, chopped into small pieces
1 can red kidney beans, drained and rinsed
1-540ml can of diced tomatoes
3 cups vegetable stock
1/2 cup soup pasta
1 tbsp dried Herbes de Provence
1 tbsp dried basil/and or basil pesto
1 bay leaf
Salt & Pepper

Method

Soften onion and carrot in olive oil for 5-7 minutes or so.
Once onions are translucent and a lovely colour, add the potato pieces and garlic.
Add in the stock and diced tomatoes.  Give a good stir.
Now add in the bay leaf and cook until potatoes and carrots are cooked through.
Add the zucchini and kidney beans, as well as the Herbes de Provence and basil and simmer until zucchini is softened.
Then add the dried pasta and simmered for a further 4 minutes until pasta is tender.
Season with salt and pepper to taste and serve.
If you are cooking this ahead, allow to cool before storing in the fridge.

Let me know if you gave this soup a go!

Thank you so much for reading.

Jacqueline

Uncategorized

Ernest Hemingway.

Try to learn to breathe deeply, really taste food when you eat, and when you sleep, really to sleep.  Try as much as possible to be wholly alive with all your might, and when you laugh, laugh like hell.  And when you get angry, get good and angry.  Try to be alive.  You will be dead soon enough.

-Ernest Hemingway

lifestyle · minimalism · motivation · self-help · Uncategorized

Living an intentional life

The price of anything is the amount of life you exchange for it.

What does living an intentional life mean to you?

I have been asking myself this question for a while now.  I have also made a few observations.

We currently live in a world where other people’s opinions of us hold a greater weight than our own opinion of ourselves.  Facebook likes, Instagram hearts, twitter retweets, snap chats.  All these things can be constructive, can help us keep contact with people, can help businesses grow.  But realistically it is a drug – the new crack.

I am guilty of scrolling and scrolling through my social media feeds.  I am guilty of ignoring my spouse because I choose to read about other people’s lives instead of focusing on my own.  And I am not sure if that’s okay with me anymore.  At what point do we realize that social media is becoming a hindrance, rather than a benefit to our lives.

I have decided to remove myself from Facebook for a month, maybe even forever.  I prefer blogging or Instagram over the constant complaints and rants that Facebook holds.  I challenge all of you to remove one form of social media for your life for a month to see what happens.  To see if your life changes at all.

For now, I intend to live my life more intentionally.  Purging the excess of my life and using only what is necessary and what creates positive growth.  This includes more reading, more cooking, more time with my husband, more time in nature, more exercise, more meditation.  Less comparison, less negativity, less stuff.

This sounds like a great plan to me.

Thanks for reading.

Jacqueline