The Crusade to Claim Back Chivalry

It seems like left and right not only has women's dignity been undermined in movies, music, tv shows, advertisement, but now, in the most recent trend is men's as well! It's ridiculous what some of prime-time TV shows nowadays feature!  Traditional male-female roles are undermined or just simply done away with, and it seems like the the newest target is true masculinity. Rather than celebrate the pivotal and sacred differences between men and women, the man is the butt of most of the jokes! Something is seriously wrong here, and we really need to not only be aware of this, but fight this.

Back to the Best's GUEST POST

Here is an amazing article that my friend, Ashley Crouch, who works for the Love & Fidelity Network, wrote and had published by the Clare Boothe Luce Policy Institute on the subject.

The Crusade to Claim Back Chivalry: Guys Speak

Who says guys can’t communicate? 
A recent poll suggests that guys are quite ready to give their opinion, if we girls will only listen.  Unfortunately, when the opinion refers to the almost extinct idea of “chivalry” and the now too popular presence of radical feminism, many women are quick to turn a blind eye and a deaf ear to men
We rarely hear about chivalry anymore.  Yet many women spend their days lamenting its loss and wondering what went wrong as they face broken relationships and marriages, or the invariable outcry– “Where have all the good guys gone?” 
According to a poll taken on guys across the country and abroad, 93% of guys say that chivalry has decreased in current times, and 84% of that group attributes this decline primarily or at least partly influenced by the rise of radical feminism in society. One man stated that feminism “devalued chivalry and made it seem sexist.” Another man eloquently proposed that the “‘I don’t need a man’ culture has crippled chivalry in the public sphere.”  A third man said that “it is now difficult to show true chivalry to some women who misrepresent some honest efforts to value women by portraying chivalry as subordinating, disrespecting, and devaluing women.” 
It seems that the men are confused and left wondering how to proceed.  They are lodged between a rock and a hard place.  If they try to be chivalrous, they come across as sexist to the feminists, yet if they do not and treat us the way the feminists say we want to be treated, as equals, then women will get no extra respect.  If guys try to stand up to feminists, they will be labeled as “chauvinistic pigs” or “patriarchal oppressors.” 
Guys say “when women start to act like men themselves, ... this reduces chivalry shown by most men.” Without extra respect, women are treated in the same rough and tumble ways in which guys treat each other.  Guys have arm wrestling matches with each other for fun.  They slap each other on the back and wrestle and get into fights and try to compete with one another.  For fun. 
So I ask the radical feminists, the members of NOW, the leaders of Women’s Studies classes and groups across the country-- if we want to be treated as equals, is this the kind of treatment we are asking for? What options has we left them with?  What are these men to do?
I propose to the ladies who do not want to be treated in this way, those conservative girls who secretly make up the majority of our society, to take a stand and try to help reclaim chivalry for the guys’ sake, and for their own sake.  Interestingly, the majority of guys agreed that chivalry would be easier to practice if girls would acknowledge it and show appreciation when it is expressed towards them: “Women can point out men who are behaving chivalrously and compliment that behavior.  In each ‘chauvinistic pig’ is a D’Artanian waiting to break out.  Help him!” Guys say they would behave more chivalrously if women would thank them and appreciate them for being that way: “Let me know that (you) are thankful of my respect and appreciate my efforts.
The radical leftist women would cry out in horror at the prospect of thanking a guy for standing up to give her his seat, or opening her door.   Rather, they fight for the complete freedom of women from oppression– it is now within our reach as women quickly rise to positions of power and status in society! These radical feminist women are champions of independence, equality, ambition!  But are they?
Being ambitious and competitive in our own right does not mean crushing the competition into oblivion.  That’s called playing dirty.  If men are our competition in our business lives, this does not mean that we as women have to hate them and belittle them in our personal lives.  Rather, we should be grateful for the challenges at work and rise to meet it and surpass it maybe!  But we have to play fair And in our personal lives, we should see these guys as an invaluable source of comfort, support, and friendship.  
So be an independent woman.  Get the great job, run clubs and businesses, be ambitious and live your dreams! But do not forget that part of what it takes to be a good leader is to know when to follow–  to listen to the feedback from our teammates and colleagues, our friends and those close to us.  Many of these people are men.  This is their feedback. 
In the end, we women are stabbing ourselves in the back by discouraging chivalrous behavior in men.  Chivalrous behavior promotes respect and gentle treatment of women!  In the poll, the question “What is chivalry?”, 3 out of 4 men responded that it had to do with respect, honor, and courtesy towards women.  One man spoke openly: “Chivalry is the notion that a man has the duty to respect and serve women.”  Another man affirmed: “It is a set of manners and respect a man should show to a woman as a demonstration of respect towards her.”  Or again, “It is doing respectful deeds for ladies.”  Another guy said women “need to understand that chivalry isn’t being put down like feminism would like you to believe, but rather is a way a woman can command respect from a man.”  Many guys described respectful deeds such as the traditional gestures like opening doors, getting women a drink, etc.  But so often, these same men lamented that their efforts to be chivalrous were met with scorn. 
Why has opening a door for a women become a bad thing?  Why is this idea of chivalry discouraged? 
Radical feminist groups are quick to call it “sexist” and “oppressive”.  In reality, gentle treatment and respect is what we all desire.  Here’s a thought: women often get more when they surrender control– what might work in the workplace, will not in your personal life or on a date.
One man said “If women date unchivalrous men, then we see that we don’t need to be chivalrous to be with a girl.  Also, women should be conscious of how they act– if they don’t act like a lady, they won’t be treated like one.” 
Interestingly, most of the men said that it would be easier to behave chivalrously if women would demand it in the respect she has for herself and expect it – “Expect men to rise to the occasion.”
Maybe, girls, if we stopped playing the victim card long enough to take a good look at reality, we would see that by helping men to bring back chivalry, we could encourage more fulfilling relationships, better business partnerships, and longer marriages.  The long string of empty hook-ups that women have chosen as chivalry declines and men try less and less to pursue us, support us, and respect us, leaves us broken and depressed. 
Dr. Grossman, campus psychologist Senior Fellow at the Clare Boothe Luce Policy Institute in VA, talks candidly about the medical hazards that befall women when they participate in the rampant hook-up culture in society today.  Her latest work just produced by the Luce Institute, Sense and Sexuality, cuts right to the heart of the matter with crucial live-saving facts and information for women about the hook-up culture.  Hard science portrays that hook-ups are bad for women, both psychologically and physically, and that a stable relationship– with a chivalrous man maybe?-- is more beneficial.  Her message is one that will never be heard at a NOW convention. 
So if chivalry is respect for women, it is necessary that we as women help men claim back chivalry from the feminists who are robbing us of it.  Guys do communicate, and their message is clear: “Remind men why they fall in love with women”.  Guys are tired of the victim attitude which women adopt in the name of saving themselves from some sort of patriarchal oppression. Women are tired of unfulfilling hook-ups, being treated disrespectfully, or ignored.  For our good, and the good of our men, let us work to bring back chivalry.  The guys are begging us– “It’d be great to bring sexy back!”  We need to respond.  

Ashley Crouch works and writes for the Love & Fidelity Network. Visit their website to read more related articles. You may contact Ashley by e-mail at ashie1010@gmail.com.


The Lost Art of Letter Writing*

I want to revisit the beautiful medium of communication that is letter writing. It seems like so much of today is so fast-paced. We want everything instantaneously- I don't think I even need to go into much detail of the countless examples we have in our lives. . . 

It's great that we have the means to be more connected to one another, but at what expense? It's easy to lose the personal aspect of communication when even the messages we send back and forth through texting, facebook, and email end up so short and sometimes undecipherable because we stop using actual words to speed up the process! I know that I often find myself doing this, and so in order to counter the fast, fast, and often impersonal pace of everything, I wanted to go back to what I used to do when I was younger- before e-mail, facebook and texting! 

A few months ago, when I was moving, I came across a little box full of stationary of all shapes, sizes, styles, and even some that were scented! I remember when I used to collect and trade with other girls at school when I was in first grade! (It was funny to see so many Disney-themed ones, and so many with cute little footers in Spanish!) Even better was finding a pile of letters all tied up with a ribbon that I'd received over the years from friends and cousins in Argentina. It brought back so many memories!

I'd been wanting to get back to letter writing especially since the summer I shared with a friend, Chelsea, who was determined to write a letter a day for the entire summer! (She ended up being inspired to do her Senior Art Show* on this very theme! Check it out here & make sure you read her statement!).

At the time I thought, awesome! I wish I had time to do something like that. 
Thinking back, I see how silly I was. Time? Of course I have time! Why wouldn't I have 10 minutes to spare and write a letter to someone? I know it'd make my day to receive REAL mail in my mailbox, not just the usual bunch of advertisements, or worse- bills!

It's a great way to show that you're truly thinking about them because you're acting on it. Anyone can text or "poke," but how many take more than just a few seconds out of their time to do more

 Pssst! It really improves your writing skills and it's such a nice gesture: picking out some stationary, the pre-thinking, the composing structured sentences, asking meaningful questions, sharing more private events or thoughts. . . and then there's the research! Where is this person living right now? Will they be at this location to receive my letter? - It really helps you see their lives and what's going on with them in a more real way. It helps you not be so self-centered as well, because you're definitely more aware when you're writing only about yourself for ten minutes and not commenting on what they've shared with you last.
"Think before you speak write"
 It's been so much fun! Letter-writing eliminates the stress of having so many phone calls to make. Many of us don't have time for half hour conversations with each and every friend every few weeks! Letters are not expected to be instantaneous by either the writer or the receiver. There's a time for mailing, receiving, reading, re-reading, thinking, and after a few days or weeks writing back! It's always a surprise when a letter does arrive! 

Try it! I promise you'll not only love it, but will see how many wonders it does for your relationships- especially the ones that maybe didn't have the time you would have liked to develop further before a natural separation! 

The same goes for thank you notes! There's no authentic substitution for a handwritten, personally addressed thank you note! I'm not talking about the generic kind that could have been sent to anybody and hopefully (!) at least had the recipient's name! 

Psssst! I know it's a huge bonus after an interview- a great reminder that will be looked at again when it's sitting right there on your future employer's desk, not on a minimized or closed window!

Final note: check out this awesome "Tips of the Trade" mini article from the Wall Street Journal on The Art of the Thank You Note! I read it a few months back and cut it out and keep it in my desk.
Time well spent, I say!


You are cordially invited to a tea party!

Remember my post about the girls' club that a couple of moms and I started here? Well, like I mentioned for May, we were going to do a mother-daughter tea as the last event before the break for summer. It turns out that my little sister also has been going to a similar type of club also started by some moms! I'm visiting my family in California and had the opportunity to attend the tea party yesterday with her and it was so much fun! Honestly, I think it would be a lovely thing to do even if you aren't involved in a club, especially for the month of May when we celebrate Mother's Day and honor Our Mother, Mary. You could try it with friends and their daughters, mothers, and grandmothers,!

The set-up was very cute and simple (the best kind!) and I'm sorry I didn't take pictures! Tables were covered in pretty toile tablecloths, and different china teacups and saucers set up. Tea bags or caddies were already set up in the tables along with the hot water and coffee. There was also a  bowl with little sugar cubes, silverware wrapped in a napkin with a ribbon tied around it, and of course, fresh flowers. The desserts included mini cucumber sandwiches, cookies, lemon bars, (you could also make petit fours!), muffins, etc! They were arranged in the kitchen, and the nicest part was that the girls would serve the mothers the tea and bring them a little plate with food!

One of my favorite things which I am definitely going to copy was using a teapot as a flower vase on one of the tables! I think tea pots are so cute and I always see all kinds at garage sales. It works well because of the theme, and the fact that the hot water would last longer if it's actually in a canter instead of a ceramic tea pot. The hostess had the white tea pot full of small roses sitting on top of a smaller white cake stand!   So cute!

The girls received a virtue talk given by the counselors (who were all high school girls), while the moms received a separate virtue talk about cardinal virtues and applying them in raising one's children and in the home life. After that the tea party began and time to enjoy all the goodies and good conversation!

It was such an enjoyable afternoon!


The Most Important Space in My Home

This is our little altar, that is, our designated space where we can direct ourselves when we pray, and since it happends to be in the quasi "hall" of our appartment, it's hard to walk by without giving " loving glances" at Our Lady.  It's a reminder to us to keep the presence of God throughout the day.

"We never give more honour to Jesus than when we honour his Mother, and we honour her simply and solely to honour him all the more perfectly. We go to her only as a way leading to the goal we seek - Jesus, her Son." 

-Saint Louis Marie de Montfort

"In our relationship with our mother in heaven, we should act in very much the same way. Many Christians have the custom of wearing the scapular; or they have acquired the habit of greeting those pictures — a glance is enough — which are found in every Christian home and in many public places; or they recall the central events in Christ's life by saying the rosary, never getting tired of repeating its words, just like people in love; or they mark out a day of the week for her — Saturday, which is today — doing some special little thing for her and thinking particularly about her motherhood. "

-St. Josemaría Escrivá


St. Joseph's Feast Day Dinner

Happy feast day of St. Joseph, the Worker!

Our inspired dinner menu: sloppy joes! - Except ignore the "sloppy" part of the allusion!

So I was being a busy, productive wife running around all day lost track of time on the internet again (grr!) and realized it was getting late and my husband would be home in half an hour very hungry and I didn't have anything ready for dinner! Dilemma! No thawed meat- just fresh vegetables! So since ground beef was the only thing I could cook fast while still frozen, I thought, why not sloppy joes? It's quick, it's yummy and it's St. Joseph's feast day! Perfect!

Sloppy Joes from scratch! (SKIP the can and all those chemicals and preservatives and use this quick, easy and wholesome recipe!)

2 lb. ground beef
1 chopped onion.
1 c. Ketchup (NO high fructose corn syrup!)
3/4 c. water
2 Tbsp vinegar, lemon juice, & brown sugar
1 Tbsp. dry mustard
1 tsp. salt
1/4 tsp pepper

Brown the beef and onions. Add rest of the ingredients. Simmer for 1/2 hour. Enjoy!

We served our meal on our china to elevate the dignity of our meal and of St. Joseph's hard, holy work which we remember especially today.  Pheeew! Turned out great and definitely all looked like I had it planned all along!


I Found a Bread Machine!

Got a new bread machine!
It cost $3
Never used one before!
Need recipes!
Let's make some magic!

*update* Tried it out! Read about it here.
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