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Cocoe Voci Trunk Show at White Dresses Boutique

Wednesday, July 31, 2013

Don't miss the opportunity to see the beautiful Fall 2013 collection by Cocoe Voci for the first time it's being shown in Alabama, Georgia, Mississippi and Tennessee! White Dresses Boutique in Huntsville, AL is hosting a trunk show for the designer next weekend, August 10th - 12th, including some of Cocoe Voci's most adored designs! Call to schedule your appointment today for this fantastic event!!
Cocoe Voci Trunk Show
White Dresses Boutique
August 10th - 12th, 2013
By Appointment Only
500 Providence Main Street, Suite 3 
Huntsville, AL 35806 

Francesca Miranda Trunk Show at White Dresses Boutique

Join White Dresses Boutique in Huntsville, AL this weekend to see the beautiful Fall 2013 Collection by Francesca Miranda! This is the first time the collection has been shown in Alabama, Georgia, Mississippi, or Tennessee and the trunk show will also feature some of the designer's most beloved designs! Call today to schedule your appointment for this amazing trunk show!
Francesca Miranda Trunk Show
August 2nd -- 4th
By Appointment Only
500 Providence Main Street, Suite 3 
Huntsville, AL 35806 

Eavesdroppers & Are Confirmed Bachelors Allowed?

Dear Auntie Seraphic, 

As someone who now lives in the UK, can you illumine me on the seeming paradox of the confirmed bachelor, or at least the seeming paradox of the Catholic confirmed bachelor? This phenomenon is  associated with British men, though I'm sure there are no shortage of American men living as Confirmed Bachelors. As I approach 30 (aged 28), I'm puzzled by men in their 40s who, faithful to all the teachings of the Church they strive to be, seem to show no inclination toward marriage, Holy Orders, or religious life. 

I'm sometimes on the defensive against those who think I'm odd for not being married or in the convent by now, since I'm firmly in the camp of "vocation is a vowed way of loving, either consecrated solely to God or vowed to one's spouse," and as such I don't view unconsecrated single-life as a vocation but rather a state in life. I feel vague pressure about finding a husband, to which I usually respond with a sometimes-witty comment about waiting on God's will and it being the job of men to seek wives rather than the job of women to seek husbands. 

But for men, how do they spin this? I suppose if a man really doesn't want to bother with women, it's best if he doesn't seek a spouse who might indeed make him miserable and interrupt his predictable solitude, but does that jive with the Church's emphasis on finding a particular vocation in which to live out the universal vocation to holiness? The natural end of the human person is marriage, and while some forgo that for the Kingdom, it's usually as priests, religious, or consecrated virgins/celibates, not men who like their empty apartments and don't want to bother with the complications of women.

I don't know if that makes sense or not....

Are Confirmed Bachelors Allowed?

Well, I wrote a reply to this (several, actually), but I am not happy with them, so I will ask the Eavesdroppers to reply. 

It's the last day of the month, and that's a good day for Eavesdroppers to drop in. (Eavesdroppers, in case you are new, means men. Men, especially the ones I go to Mass with, aren't supposed to read my blog, but a lot of them do anyway because men love to do stuff women tell them not to do. Wickedly, some of them will read this post but then not comment just because I asked them to.) 

Wildcard Wednesday!

Tuesday, July 30, 2013
 I am so excited to be able to join these fabulous ladies as a co-host this week for
Wildcard Wednesday!!
Make sure you go follow all of your hosts and co-host and we will follow you back! 
Plus there is a awesome PRIZE at stake!
I have been a bit M.I.A. this week because we switched our internet/cable carrier and now we don't have the appropiate router.  I offered to go pick one up while he was out of town, but apparently I would not get the right one.  Ok my Sam. 
I'll let you think that you are in charge of the technological purchase decisions.
I did order some Bridesmaid gift last week from Brickyard Buffalo and they came in yesterday!  I can't wait to give them to my girls when I officially ask them to stand beside me on our day!  
They are so fun and I think they are going to really love them!
Be on the lookout for that update soon!
Hope everyone has a Happy Hump Day!

this guy cracks me up!

Welcome to Wildcard Wednesday!


The name of the game is #wildcard 
Stakes: A special PRIZE will be up for grabs the last week of each month
 Your link ups each week are your entries
Example: If you link up your blog, bloglovin and twitter you will have 3 entries each week
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Winner of the June #wildcard {Won A $20 Giftcard of Choice + Ad Space}:

Rules of the Game: 
1. Follow all your hosts

Simply Clarke: Blog / Bloglovin / Twitter
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All That Glitters: Blog / Bloglovin / Twitter

and co-hosts
 Lobster Lovefest: Blog / Bloglovin / Twitter
Mama Whimsy: Blog / Bloglovin / Twitter
But First, Coffee: Blog / Bloglovin / Twitter

2. Grab our button for your post so that others can join in the fun
3. Link up using your Blog URL, Bloglovin' URL & Twitter
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5.  TWEET about Wildcard Wednesday using #wildcard 

Now make some new friends :) 

Auntie Seraphic & Wondering About Guys from Other Cultures

Dear Auntie Seraphic

Do you know what advice to give women contemplating relationships with men from other countries and cultures? Obviously, there might be a language barrier to contend with, but I'm wondering if there might be other things to consider.  

Wondering about Guys from Other Cultures

Dear Wondering,

I am married to a man from a different country and culture, and although I rolled my eyes around after a priest told us (a Scot and a Canadian of mixed, but largely Scottish, background) we might experience serious cultural difference, he was to a certain extent correct. 

The most important things to consider when contemplating romance with a man not of your culture are whether he or his family are racist against your ethnic group and/or nationality, his culture's attitude towards women and his culture's attitude toward marriage. The only way you can find these things out is to read up on the subject, keep your eyes peeled and your ears open, and ask.

What many women who are brought up to be anti-racist don't understand is that most other people in the world are NOT brought up to be anti-racist. (Asia and Africa are intensely racist continents.) Possibly the vast majority of men in the world find women of other races and cultures sexual curiosities, either to be used or to be ignored, but certainly not to be brought home to mom and dad. Of course, a minority of men are the exception to this, and indeed a man of mixed heritage may certainly be drawn to a woman of his mother's ethnic group.

If you are a white American with a mixed, Anglo-Saxon or just plumb forgotten ethnic background, you have to be wary of those individuals who explicitly blame white Americans for their or their ancestors' suffering, no matter how justified that might be.  (If you have to apologize all the time for stuff you never did, it's not going to be a good relationship.) You have to be strong enough to stand up to people who think they have the right to disrespect you just because you are are a white American who did not share in their (or their ancestors') experience. 
I hope this is helpful.

Grace and peace,

But I should have added to this that if my reader is a white American, she should also examine any notions she may have grown up with about the culture of her suitor/crush object and ponder her family's ideas, too, and whether they all need a good mental clearing-out and restocking.

She should also determine if she is uncomfortable with any real, not imaginary or extinct, aspect of the man's culture. In some cultures, for example, son's wives are directly subordinate to their mothers-in-law; in others, sons' wives are indirectly subordinate. 

She should also admit if she finds him hot just because he is "different" or because women of her culture habitually turn men of his culture into sex objects. There's a reason why the surviving Boston Bomber has a swooning teenage fan club and the Oklahoma Bomber did not. I am sure Edward Said* would have had something to say.

If you are a white girl who found it hilarious that on The Big Bang Theory, Raj's parents threatened to disown him if he kept dating a white girl, you have never dated a South Asian guy. And I once knew a heartbroken divorced WASP whose parents walked out of My Big Fat Greek Wedding because of its portrayal of a WASP groom's parents. And there is a saying (and song) "Shiksas are for practice" which is supposed to be hilarious but isn't if you're Catholic and grew up where I did. 

Seraphic's Dad: You should marry a dentist.

Seraphic (saying the unsayable after 20 years): You always say that, and yet we live at X and Y. 

On the other hand, I also know a variety of immigrants who suffered from nasty names and stereotypes when they emigrated to the USA and Canada, even as late as the 1990s. This experience has left some of them protective of their primary ethnic identity and a few very resentful of anyone who reminds them of their petty persecutors. Meanwhile, there are any number of people who hold it as a primary value to marry someone of their own ethnic group, in part because of the history of that group. As I've mentioned before, I was once quietly and tastefully discouraged by a handsome Armenian who quite frankly said he needed to marry another Armenian. Well, having grown up at X and Y, I totally understood the concept. And knowing how difficult mixed marriages can be, I respect it, too.

Racism and racist sexism are real. However, profound cultural differences are real, too. If you don't like your boyfriend's mother, and she doesn't like you, but she and your boyfriend are from a culture where wives are subordinate to mothers-in-law, it would not be a good idea to marry your boyfriend. Or, if your boyfriend comes from a culture where language trumps every other consideration (e.g. French-Canadian), it might be a very good idea to learn that language as well as you possibly can.

Update: For the record, Scotland constantly surprises me, and I am glad I didn't have many preconceived notions of Scotland because I feel a sense of loss every time one gets overturned. For example, Scottish republicanism blows my mind because my 75% Scottish mother is a monarchist and Scottish-Canadians of the 20th century were all very rah-rah King and Empire. Fortunately, my husband is not a republican. But he is definitely not Canadian either.

*By the way, I do not take Said's ideas without a spoonful of salt. The Ottoman Empire was very nasty and imperialist, as is Wahaabism today, and in a Turkish restaurant in Edinburgh, Calvinist Cath and I discovered a painting celebrating the Ottoman conquest of Constantinople in which the slain Christians were depicted as apes. Don't talk to me about "otherness", Edward, unless you are willing to admit it cuts both ways.

Nicole & Patrick's Engagement Photos!

Monday, July 29, 2013

 So excited to share these photos from our August couple's engagement photos, Nicole & Patrick! 

If I were to show you the notes from when Nicole & I first met, I scribbled  a note in the corner of my notepad that said, "WOW" with a smiley face...she is stunning. A few months ago, she emailed me saying she wanted to do something different with her engagement photos....and I am so glad she did! I love typical engagement photos, but why not do something a little out of the box. And that dress, I am going to have to beg her to borrow! Gorgeous photos by the lovely Love by Serena.

Boys Bludgeoned into Making Dates By Their Friends' Moms

I'm having difficulty rewriting an Auntie Seraphic letter in such a way as to protect the innocent, so I'll just give you the story.

Mary (not her real name) is going to Bigtown, and her mother's friend Anne (not her real name) says something like, "Oh, you should meet Joe (not his real name), my son's friend. He's living there currently and he's such a good guy, a real NCB. You should meet up. I'll give him your phone number"

Mary quite naturally thinks that it would be nice to meet a real NCB in Bigtown, so she hands over her phone number. She is taken aback when Anne tells her Mom, who tells her, that Anne said Joe was such a good guy, he was thinking of becoming a priest. However, Mary figures she and Joe could still hang out, if Joe bothered to call her, which she now doubted he would do. 

Mary wisely forgets all about it.  Not so, Anne. After Mary has been in Bigtown for awhile, she gets a call from Joe who says, "Hi, Mary. Anne gave me your number. She told me to contact you, so I'm contacting you. Do you want to get coffee sometime? I'll be leaving Bigtown at the end of the week."

Mary is so pleased Joe has the guts to phone a stranger instead of  texting her that I'm wondering if our standards for male courage have fallen that low. They decide to meet that evening, and have a great chat. She asks him what he wants to do after college, and he says, "Help people." He doesn't say "Become a priest," as Mary thinks a Discerner would. (Ha!) It occurs to her that this feels more like a blind date than anything else.  However, that little thought gets nipped in the bud when she says "See you later" to Mr Joseph Leaving At the End of the Week, Esq., and he says, "Well, probably not, actually."

Fair enough. Mary's okay with that. But that very same night Joe sends her a text (no brave phone call this time) to ask if she'll be free two days later.

Mary says she is free two days later, so they meet again. They have a great time. Joe walks her home. They hug. Joe leaves. Mary texts Joe soon after to thank him for a great time. Joe texts back that he had a great time too. She texts it's a pity they didn't meet sooner. Joe texts back he'd really like to hang out with her more. "Me too," texts Mary. Text, text, text, and then they text goodnight. 

Since then they've exchanged a few texts "but nothing much." And so Mary emails your Auntie S to ask what I think. And what I think is that we ladies of 39++ can be a meddlesome bunch. Who calls up a young male acquaintance and says, "You should call this girl, she's so nice! Call her. CALL HER!"? 

Actually, I think I did something like that once or twice. But what I said was, "You could have gone out with X if you had just asked her to dinner" and "Why did you not make more of an effort to talk to that cute guy I introduced you to?"  I'm more of the post-possibility eye-rolling type. But oh dear. How humiliating. This on-the-spot examination of conscience has turned up evidence that I, too, am a meddlesome 39++ lady. Wah. Mea culpa. Generally I try to sit on my opinion until asked for it, but I too am weak. Blah.

Meanwhile, obviously that first date was not a date. It was a way of pacifying Meddlesome Anne. The second date, however, was a date. And what did Joe think he was doing, making a date with a NCG when he was just about to leave Bigtown forever?     

I don't know. But I do know that Joe did want to see Mary again. And that Mary made it easy for him, by being free the very night he proposed they meet--two days later. And that Joe was not slated to leave for another three days after that, so he could have texted, "This may sound crazy, but listen. How about Saturday? Or Friday? Or Sunday-for-Mass-and-brunch? I promise I'm not a weirdo." But he did not. Why not?

I don't know that either. I wonder if Joe does. And I wonder if Joe is a Discerner because, although you starry-eyed romantic types may have forgotten this detail, Anne told Mary's Mom that she thought Joe was thinking of becoming a priest. And this is such a red flag, Mary should have waved it at Joe on (Non-)Date 1. "Isn't Anne great? Such a character. By the way, she told my mom you're thinking of becoming a priest." Then a flaming-faced Joe would have had to admit it, and not be tempted to ask her out later.  (Here's my most famous post on Discerners.) 

My overall opinion is that Mary was very level-headed about everything until Joe asked her out on his own steam and not at gunpoint. She answered his text right away instead of letting him sweat until the next day, which would have created anticipation rewarded with relief. She said yes to a Xday date on Xday, which is somewhat understandable as he was leaving Saturday or Sunday, but she could have delayed it a bit, with the polite equivalent to "Oh I am so busy and in demand as so many other people are interested in me and I have an amazing interesting high-status life anyone would want a piece of." And most definitely she did not need to text him first and immediately afterwards. 

Girls should never text a man first after a date. Argh! 

I am not saying Mary turned off Joe in any way. Obviously he was smart enough to see on their non-date how cool she is, for he asked her out on a real date. However, as Joe's career plans are so vague, I am wondering if Joe himself is not rather vague, open to this possibility and that, without wanting to make firm decisions on anything.  And because she said "yes" to a real date with a guy she was unlikely to see again for a very long time, Mary opened herself to the possibility of hurt.  

The thing about guys and long distance is if a guy is crazy enough about a girl, he will do long distance--or do anything to bridge that distance. I get sad and angry letters from girls who were told by their erstwhile admirers that they don't do long distance, only to discover later that the admirers have met girls while on vacation in Europe and are now moving to Europe.  

Catriona's Debut

Saturday, July 27, 2013
Well, this is a happy day for me. I have seen the revised cover for my novel Ceremony of Innocence, and it is great. It gets across so much! Meanwhile, the book is coming out in September. I'm terribly sorry for the delay, all you people who pre-ordered and wondering where it is.

As you can see on, there are blurbs by my fellow Canadians Michael Coren (Why Catholics are Right) and Richard Greene (Edith Sitwell: Avante Garde Poet, British Genius), by rising star Fiorella Maria Nash and elder statesman Piers Paul Read.

Piers Paul Read, people.  I really hoped Ignatius would send him my book and they did.

Meanwhile, I am terribly pleased by all the blurbs, and I am thinking, "If they all came to dinner, what an amazing dinner party that would be!"

Once again, I feel I should mention that this is going to be a controversial book and not okay for Sunday School. Brilliant for Book Club and Theology on Tap and anywhere brainy young Catholic adults congregate to chatter, but not for les petits enfants.

Update: Here's a great article by Piers Paul Read about being a Catholic author. His Death of a Pope was published by Ignatius Press because it was deemed "too Catholic" by his agent for British publishers.

That said, I don't want any of you  Catholic artists getting bogged down with "I'll never get anywhere because I'm a Catholic"-type thinking. That is not true. You just have to keep doing your thing and trying and failing and trying and failing and trying and failing again. Basically, you cannot give up because, unlike falling in love and getting married, learning your craft and getting it out there is something that does indeed depend entirely on you.

Oh, and you must be careful not to write Catholic propaganda. I know it is a terrific temptation, but really you must write as though everybody is Catholic and you don't need to convert anyone. We anglophones are at a disadvantage because we are a minority. Imagine how nice it would be to be a Polish writer (or painter, et alia): they just assume 90% of their readers are Catholics, so there is no temptation to explain or to make their church-going characters all so incredibly good.

Sudden Rant Towards Moronic Sexist Headlines

The Duchess of Cambridge, whom the media prefers to call "Kate", as if she were a child personally known to them, not a 31 year old woman and mother of one, did not "show off" her "baby belly." She gave birth and--holy Toledo!--her stomach did not return to its pre-pregnancy flatness by the next day.

I get so angry when the media prints photographs of women looking the way it is normal for women to look, or wearing the kind of clothes it is normal for women to wear, with text claiming that the women are "showing off" in some way.

It makes be particularly angry when the women are said to be "showing off their baby bump." Actually, no. The women just HAVE "baby bumps." It is not the 19th century; pregnant women do not modestly hide themselves at home so that no one has to see for their own eyes that they had have sex. Most women do not cover their abdomens with handbags 24/7.

And it makes me very angry that the media talks about women "showing off" as though it were echoing the Taliban. Women simply ARE, and having bodies is a prerequisite of being human. Unless we are pulling up, or pulling down, pieces of clothing while shouting "Looky here," we are not showing off our bodies. Showing off our bodies is not the same thing as having them.  

Is there any way to disable "Yahoo News" so  I can check my email without having to read their STUPID, IQ-reducing headlines?

It's Better to Love a Good Man than a Bad

Apropos of yesterday's letter about passion--oh dear, the Romantics, so irresponsible, so damaging to the lives of the simple, poor and generally unprotected--I thought I would riff on reason.

A lot of us are in love with love. I want to say "especially when we are young" but I have to admit that I was in love with love long after I felt I was too old for World Youth Day.

There are many problems with being in love with love. First of all, we think of love as a feeling when love is actually an act of will, governed by reason, helped along by feeling. It is very dangerous to invest so much of ourselves in a feeling because feelings, although strong, are erratic. They are laughably influenced by brain chemistry. Second, we may use men as a means to an end, sources of "love", rather than getting to know them as actual people just as complex as ourselves.  Third, this leads to ignoring all kinds of inconvenient truths about individual men because too much meditation on those inconvenient truths might kill our love-buzz.

Thomas Aquinas writes in the Summa Theologiae about properly ordered love. If you are of a romantic cast of mind, I recommend reading the whole section on Charity, because it will interest you and yet blow your mind. Love, for Thomas, is totally rational, and he ponders such questions as to whether you ought to love your father more than your mother, or your spouse more than your parents. And he thinks you ought to love people not just according to natural law but insofar as they are good. In fact, Thomas seems to work himself into a corner when he ponders whether or not you should love your family more than the saints. (If I remember correctly, he encourages you to pray that your family become saints.)

Hang onto this idea about loving people because they are good while I say something about the French.

The French--France French, not Canadian French--have a reputation for romantic love. But at the same time, they are extremely serious about marriage as something quite apart from romantic love. Honestly, French romantic love is HERE, and French marriage is THERE, which is probably why the French, secular and Catholic, have taken to the streets in their hundreds of thousands to protest the current assault against traditional marriage. Romance is fun. Marriage is serious.

The French have a number of awesome proverbs about romantic love. My current favourite, as I am studying Polish, is "L'amour sans jalousie, c'est comme un polonais sans moustache." Ah ha ha! But a more telling one is "L'amour dure trois ans," which is what the French say (or said) to remind themselves not to go crazy in their choice of a spouse, since a spouse dure á mort and determines your social standing. To paraphrase a French character in a Nancy Mitford novel, "Two years of completely blissful happiness do not compensate for a lifetime at the wrong end of the [dinner party] table." *

Nor would it compensate for a lifetime with a man who is so crashingly boring or nasty that your friends stop inviting him to parties or even drop you because they can't take the pain of seeing wonderful you with such a character. But the interesting thing is that women fall madly in love with crashingly boring or nasty men all the time and insist upon marrying them, and the scales fall from their eyes only later.

Classical Catholic anthropology places the flourishing of human beings in properly ordered reason. It divides the human mind into intellect, will, passions and connations. (Feeling like a goose walked over your grave is a connation.) Your intellect is supposed to inform your will, and most definitely be in charge of your passions and connations. Intellect and will work together like a king and queen (or queen and prince consort), and the passions are their trusty courtiers, adding dash and panache to their royal lives. For the passions to be in charge is all wrong.

Now, I am a westerner, so of course I think romantic passion is necessary to marriage, especially the beginning. However, I think even romantic passion should be ruled by King Intellect (or Queen Intellect) and Queen Will (or Prince Will, no pun intended). Because if you fall in love willy-nilly, and end up marrying some guy just because he turns your knees to water, in three years you may find yourself, to your great surprise and disappointment, married to the Wrong Man. Except he's not the Wrong Man, if you are sacramentally married to him. Unless the Church says otherwise, he's your man, and you're stuck with him--to pray for and be faithful to, if you really can't live with him.

But the thing is, if you marry a man not just because he turns your knees to water, but because you sincerely admire him--and your friends and family get why you admire him, and perhaps they greatly admire him, too--in three years, when your brain is defogged of irrational passion, you think, "Hey! This is great! I am married to this great guy. Okay, he's not perfect, but I have to admit, I really respect the dude. He's smart. He's hardworking. He's funny. He's [X] with the kids. He looks great in a suit. I can take him anywhere--well, almost anywhere, maybe not to Aunt Martha's place--and feel proud, plus have a pretty decent chat about it afterwards."

This state of affairs is not an accident. It is not something beyond your control. It depends on your faith in your reason and learning to love men not because they are handsome, dashing, the life of the party, a sexy rebel, etc.,  but because they are good.

*Mitford fans will be delighted to know that the sort of ancestor-conscious, society-worshiping, place-in-the-country Frenchmen and Frenchwomen Nancy wrote into her novels still exist.

Auntie Seraphic & the Reader Who Dreams of Happiness in Marriage

Friday, July 26, 2013
Poppets! Never forget that I am not an expert on marriage. I am rather more well-known for having been Single for a long time and not having forgotten what it's like. I'm kind of new on marriage stuff. Meanwhile, I can't just write whatever I think about marriage because (A) if I write that it is absolute bliss, I risk rubbing my Single readers noses in it and (B) if I write that I want to wallop my husband with a frying pan, he (and his friends) will read it and feel sad.

MEANWHILE, whenever I write about how fabulous female friendships are, and how girls rule, and how life is not worth living without female companionship, consider that I live four thousand miles away from most of my female friends and relations. I work from home, and I go to the Extraordinary Form of the Mass which is, incidentally, where all the boys are. I have no children. My only pet is a basil plant named Paweł, and he's looking rather peaky.

ALSO, I have been married for 4.5 years, and therefore see marriage rather differently than Single readers, or readers who have been married for 6 months, or readers who have been married for 45 years, or Alice von Hildebrand and other widows.

You must keep all these things in mind, and if you ever feel really lousy after reading one of my posts, I recommend snorting, "Ah! What does she know?" and finding a cute kitten video at once.

Dear Auntie Seraphic, 

Thank you for running this blog. It has a lot of good advice. This email originally started out as a comment, but once I realized that it was turning into a depressing monologue, I decided to Ctrl + C and post it into a good old-fashioned e-mail. :-)

May I say that I become increasingly sad (I am usually sad to begin with) whenever I read one of your posts on men & women, ESPECIALLY in marriage?

Frankly speaking, I have never witnessed a happy marriage. However, the little fairy-tale loving section of my soul just will not die, and I continue to hope that there IS such a thing as a happy, passionate, understanding marriage. 

I don't think you *intend* to do this, but you are slowly but surely convincing me that there is not such a thing.  To clarify, I know that love is not the way it's portrayed in Taylor Swift songs. I know that emotions come and go.  But you have shown me that: The passionate feelings experienced within the first couple years of a relationship will go away - and not come back.  A man will never understand you. This one BREAKS. MY. HEART. As an emotionally abandoned/abused child, all I've ever wanted in my life is to be understood. Also, I watched my parents "misunderstand" each other for 25 years. 

I do not know what to think. I am so sad. :-(

Reader Who Dreams of Happiness in Marriage

Dear Reader Who Dreams of Happiness in Marriage,

Don't be sad. Well, you can be sad, but there is no real NEED to be sad. The complete and total joyful understanding that you long for is available. 

The thing is, it comes from God. Your heart will be restless until it rests in Him, i.e. after you die. [Actually, some saints manage to be perfectly content with Him in this life, too.]

A good husband is a wonderful creature and a very great gift from God, but at the end of the day he is just another fallible human being and no husband (or wife) can fill the God-shaped hole in any human heart. Still, there's a reason we use "husband" as an analogy for God and "bride" as the analogy for Church, although I have to admit that these are problematic from a woman's point of view. (It helps that male mystics talk about even their souls being female.)

There are happy marriages, indeed! And as for understanding, understanding is built over time. But this understanding is not just "a feeling"or an understanding of a spouse's good points, but a deep understanding of his or her faults, too, and ultimately a coming to peace with the faults, or a noticing that the faults have gone away with work or time. Honestly, this takes TIME [and patience, humility, courage, patience, humility and courage. And patience. Also humility. And patience.]

As for "passion", the honeymoon craziness does wear off, but it flares up here and there, and anyway, it usually [with God's Grace, I should have said] leaves behind a kind of spiritual glue. The spiritual glue gets stronger and stronger. I think the reason why sometimes widows or widowers just turn over and die a week or so after their spouses die is this spiritual glue. Don't think this spiritual glue is less important than "passion." No way, Hosea. 

Meanwhile, if B.A. still acted and felt the way he did when we were engaged, he would probably starve to death: every time I went away on a trip, he would stop eating. And every time I went on a trip, I would cry and live for his phone calls and get nose bleeds, etc. Although that may sound romantic, eight months [actually, two years] of that was really enough. 

Crying for the passion of the early years of a marriage is like crying because it is June, not the first gloriously sunny day in April. For everything there is a season, even the passion of newlyweds. And in fact it is dangerous to think that passion is the be-all and end-all of a happy marriage because people who do tend to get divorced or run around until they realize that it is not. It is necessary to kick-start a marriage (a western marriage, anyway), including the sexual side of marriage, which continues with enjoyment, good-will and jokes, even if without the breathless passion everyone writes about in songs.  

I hope this is helpful. I like marriage very much, and I love my husband very much. I still think he is the perfect man for me, although I know that he is not perfect, and he most definitely knows I am not perfect either. If I sound rather more cranky than I should about the inadequacy of men to be more than just "a part of this complete breakfast", it may be because most of my female friends and relations are far, far away most of the time. 

Grace and peace,

I hope I got across the "spiritual glue" part. Passion is like a basil plant; it springs up and it dies (and you can get more). But love is like in the Song of Solomon: "strong as death." That's the spiritual glue.

Leanne Marshall Trunk Show at The Sentimentalist

Don't miss Leanne Marshall, Project Runway winner Season 5 at The Sentimentalist in Atlanta this Saturday!

While the Leanne Marshall trunk show will last all weekend, Leanne herself is only in town for the day from NYC. RSVP, ASAP (too many acronyms?) -- the cocktail meet-and-greet with the designer from 5:30-6:30pm on Saturday is almost full.

Leanne Marshall Trunk Show
The Sentimentalist
1655 Defoor Ave. NW
Atlanta, GA 30318
July 26th-28th
Call or email for appointments.

Fridays are always such a relief

Happy Birthday to my girl Brooke from Babbling Brookelyn!
I always love finding her comments in my inbox! 
You guys should go check her out!
 I am one of those horrible birthday people that can't ever rememeber the actual day or remembers like three months ahead of time, finds the perfect card, then forgets about it and never gives it to you. 
Well today, I remembered!
and figured that since Brooke loves music as much as I do
that I would give her a good, fun song that I know that she hasn't heard yet!

These guys are my cousin's good friends and are some of the sweetest boys!
They opened for The Band Perry during their UK tour. 
How awesome is that?!
Are you loving their voices or what?!
They write and arrange all of their own music!  Singer/Songwriters are always my favorites.  Plus they grew up in Alabama.  Further proof that there is talent here.
You can go download/buy their EP here John and Jacob or from iTunes.
Every song is amazing!
I don't know about #backthatazzup 
but you can definitely grab your honey and twirl around in your kitchen...Oh is that just us?
Here's to another wedding weekend! And me hopefully not having to go alone...womp.womp.

A Man is Not a Substitute for All Women

Thursday, July 25, 2013
Last night I watched a made-for-TV movie called Housewife, 49. It was sweet but predictable. A plump, ground-down middle-aged married woman with a grouchy carpenter husband is recruited in the early days of the Second World War to the Women's Volunteer Services, even though her husband tells her she won't fit in. And indeed at first she does not, because the other women are all madly middle-class, and one or two are snooty, but then the most patriotic social maven takes her under her wing, and our heroine feels she can ignore both her disapproving husband and the the norms of the class system.

So at 49 she begins to blossom and when the Germans bomb the Lake District and her grey-moustached husband admits, from the uncertain shelter of their Morrison (which turns out to be a big cage you set up in your house), that she is "everything" to him, she looks as bored and irritated as you can look when Jerry is dropping jolly big bombs on you.

In short, the happier Housewife, 49 gets, and the more she enjoys the company of her women friends, the more contemptuous she is of her husband. (I have to admit, I didn't much fancy him myself.) There's a sense that she is feeling rather a cut above him, now that... Hmm, now I see why he told her she wouldn't fit in. It might have been because he was afraid she would.

I don't think this sent a good message to the men of Britain, so I hope they didn't watch it. Frankly, I was quite relieved that Housewife didn't leave her husband. Almost completely demoralized, the poor old ex-king of his bombed working-class castle says he hopes she'll continue "to put up with" him. She says, "Well, why not? You have to put up with me." A very good point. All the same, it's quite clear that she doesn't realize that men are scarce and many a war widow wouldn't scoff at a nice carpenter with a home of his own, even if he had to pay alimony to his social-climbing frump of a first wife.

Oooh la la. That is not 1945 thinking! Is even Auntie Seraphic a product of post-1963 decadence? No doubt. Because divorce is just too easy these days, and therefore you must not be  contemptuous of your husband, if you have one and want to keep him. Possibly you can be rude occasionally if you apologize within a reasonable time frame. But you may not be contemptuous.

One way not to be contemptuous of your husband or, indeed, of any man whose company you enjoy, is not to think he is a substitute for all women friends. Demanding that your husband be both a man and a woman is really too much. You can remind him that you yourself are not a man and therefore should not be expected to deny your feminine genius (e.g. crying when there's something worth crying about), but you cannot expect him to be a genius at listening and commiserating the way women are. You can ask him to try, of course, but you cannot expect him to be just like your female friends.  

I think this follows for boyfriend and other men friends, too. And this is why it is such a good idea, among other reasons, not to neglect your female pals when you fall in love or "start a [romantic] relationship" with a man. You'll need them.

What I am reading...

HELLO new blog design!! Loving it! 
Thank you Shannon for the leading me to Vaida and her designs! 
 Check out Vaida's etsy shop if you are in the market for an affordable new design!
I had created everything myself for the most part but with everything going on in our lives right now, I really just did not have the time to sit down and figure everything out for myself.  So Shannon to the rescue!  Maybe in couple of months I will be able to design it all myself. 
 Right now I am just overwhelmed.
Currently on my Kindle...
This woman.  Hilarious. 
I love funny women. 
That and she has three adorable children that are pretty insightful too.
We will just overlook the fact that she is Canadian. Minor detail.
Her writing and humor inspires me.
Her writing is not as bed ridden as Chelsea Handler, yet still is up there on the same level.
Mrs. Oxford gets two thumbs up from me!
You should probably go follow her on Twitter too.

Helene in Between

Wedding Wednesday: Photographer Edition

Wednesday, July 24, 2013
I found our photographer!
 And I am obsessed!
Her photos are exactly what I have been looking for!
Finding the perfect photographer was a HUGE deal for me
and the one element that I was really willing to splurge on.
She is a pro at natural lighting, her photos are journalistic, natural and very organic.  
None of that cheesy nonsense.
I met with her last Sunday and knew right away that I was going to LOVE working with her!
Anyone that suggests we meet for drinks is going to be an instant fave with me.
Leslie that has been around the wedding industry for years and is able to be real with brides. 
She is one of those people that has a calming effect, 
which can be especially handy when we Brides get a little ridiculous.
You know cause it can happen...
she recommends having a mimosa in hand for times like those.
Leslie has some of the best packages and price options that I have found!  
and she travels all of the time! If any of you girls are interested!
Check out her work! HERE. It's stunningly beautiful! 
and I am really loving the style of the bridesmaid dresses from her last two weddings.
I cannot wait until we get to work with her for our engagement photos!
On emore thing to officially mark off of the To-Do List!

Any Guy is Not Better Than No Guy

I still don't have internet at home, so I have to pack all internet business into a few hours in the center of town.  This doesn't make for deep and reflective thought, or easy cutting-and-pasting of letters and responses. The tables are too high for comfortable typing. Grump, grump, grump.

But I wanted to talk about an email I got from a depressed young woman in that transitional phase between college graduation and a decent job--mine (in 1995) was simply ghastly--who wanted to know if she should go for coffee with a young man again.

I suspect this young man is conventionally good-looking, for she said he was attractive. However he regaled my reader with his negative thoughts about people who don't think just like him about gay rights and women's issues and admitted to not understanding why people convert to Catholicism. (My reader did not say he asked her, a Catholic, for a serious explanation of this. His remark seems to have been based in wonder at the stupidity of mankind) In short, he revealed through his preoccupations that he was not a good match for my Catholic reader.

It's not that he was a Lefty, in my opinion. It's that he was an unthinking and unimaginative Lefty, the kind that assumes all attractive women are Lefties because they are women and attractive. The kind of Lefty who is as narrow-minded as he thinks Righties are. Naturally, my own Lefty friends are rather broad-minded, or they wouldn't be friends with madly retro me.

But what really put the cherry on the cake of my feeling that this boy was All Wrong for my reader, was that he made a crack about her having to go home from their "hanging-out" because she had a curfew. (Yeah, nothing says "male feminist super-hero" like a guy pretending a grown woman is in high school.)

Meanwhile, my reader, who nevertheless finds the man attractive, asked if she should see him again. And I said, "No."

When you're depressed, you like a bit of excitement, even if it is negative excitement. The idea of going out with a guy who says unpleasant stuff but is nevertheless sexually attractive is mighty tempting. We hear "opposites attract," and when watching movies, we enjoy the friction between male and female enemies in the films and their struggle to maintain loyal to their ideals or their friends or their families in the face of overwhelming sexual attraction to guy/girls who might not be so bad.

And, no, sometimes the guys might not be so bad (sometimes they may be really bad ), but they may be bad FOR YOU. Cracks about how babyish you are for being a Nice Catholic Girl are among the biggest and reddest big red flags there are.

Basin Images

Please enjoy these views from the neighborhood.  The blog will be a bit quiet for a while, but we will get things rolling again in August.

Bar Remodel

Tuesday, July 23, 2013
We are working fast and furiously on the bar remodel.  Tearing into an old building is no small task.  It has been quite a challenge to pull the whole project together.  Many people, architects, contractors, engineers, designers, building inspectors and many of us at The Basin have been working to make it happen.

As the project progresses, I will keep you posted on its development, including photos.  While this is going to be a big change, we are going to keep the culture and vibe the same.  The old 6th Alley was certainly colorful (you should have seen what it replaced).  The new bar is going to fix a lot of the challenges with the old place. Some highlights of the new 6th Alley include:

-The new bar space will be double the size including the Coffee Corner room
-A much more open and higher ceiling
-Bigger and more windows with more complete mountain views
-Fewer, but better placed doors
-The physical bar top (what you lean on) will be twice as big and we will be able serve people much more effectively and efficiently
-New windows and insulation will be weather tight, being both greener and warmer
-It will much easier to move around and interact with your friends and soon to be friends
-Better stage for live music
-20 beers on tap
-Getting rid of the clutter
-And maybe a few funky surprises

So, stay tuned.  If you are afraid of this change, take a deep breath.  This is going to be a beautiful space that allows of us to serve guests much better and it will be an even more open and welcoming place to enjoy time with friends and family.  I think you will like it.

A Stunning and Stylish Wedding in Barcelona by Reviva


Jennifer and Mike contacted us this time last year to help them plan their destination wedding here in Barcelona.  

Carla flew to Barcelona last autumn to meet Jennifer and Mike to start to organise the venue and details with them.

 Jennifer and Mike chose the beautiful historical setting of La Baronia overlooking the town of Sant Feliu de Codines to host their wedding day and the breathtaking 14th century Gothic Santa Maria del Mar church for their wedding ceremony set in the Ribera district of Barcelona.

With the venues booked Carla worked closely with Jennifer and Mike over the winter months and leading up to their wedding day here at the beginning of July.

The style was a black tie affair combined with blush pinks as accents for florals and details.  The smart, neutral colours softened with the blush pinks worked perfectly with the historical backdrops of the Santa Maria del Mar and La Baronia.

We love Jennifer´s dress and her combination of her bridesmaids in black with blush florals and how handsome did the men look in their bowties, albeit they had the instruction manual out :)

Little did we know how many fabulous dance moves Jennifer and Mike´s friends were capable of!  I was very impressed when we received these gorgeous photos from Cesc Giralt.

Our thanks to the amazing suppliers that worked with Reviva.

whom without these stunning photos we could not share this wedding with you.