Tuesday, June 23, 2015

My old family home

My parents bought this home brand new in 1963. I can still remember how I felt seeing this house for the first time -- I was in love! I thought it was the most beautiful home I had ever seen. Now, 52 years later with my parents both gone, it will become someone else's home. My parents took care of six kids, several dogs and cats, not to mention my brother's snakes and lizards, numerous neighbor children, visiting aunts, uncles, cousins, and friends by serving up heapfuls of food, good conversation, and lots of love. Oh, there were fights and disagreements to be sure, but there was always the making up, the "I'm sorry" and I love you. Not a night went by that my parents wouldn't say, "Sweet dreams". It always made me feel safe, secure, and loved.

When I think of this house, I think of my Mom and Dad; their warm and inviting manner; their love and concern for all. I miss this house because of them. I walked away the day my Mom died last December and have never returned leaving the cleaning and repairing to others.

I pray that the next family who owns this home will enjoy and love it making new memories of their family, pets, and friends that they will cherish in later years.

Guys cannot change the way they're wired.....

Guest blogger post:(annonymous)
Guys cannot change the way they're wired -- we're talking biology here, and it isn't really fair to expect them to do so....they, of course, can pray for God to change their hearts and ask for the grace to change and not see women as "objects". The natural response to stimulus, e.g. women's breasts or tight pants; they may try to avert their eyes, say a prayer for grace, but their bodies, due to natural instinct, still respond to this visual stimulation. That is why I think women should dress modestly. God has asked us not to be a stumbling block to others in their walk, and so we should take this into consideration.
Here is a further explanation of what I mean:
If this is the Abbey-Roads blog, then yes I read the post. I have a book on this topic called Dressing with Dignity that explains the position better and has lots of wonderful quotes from saints and the popes. I think while the Marylike standards are appropriate in most cases, there are good exceptions. Doing any sort of cooking, cleaning or manual labor can make sleeves hazardous, which is why people rolled them up.

First, we come to climate. What you wear in the majority of Europe is different than what you might wear in Central America. Heat exhaustion is very real and much of our dress habits revolve around safety as much as fashion. Finding clothing that is socially appropriate is as much a concern. Fabrics are different now. Most fabric manufacturers cheat in the weaving, adding slubs and thinning out the weave. Finding good material at an affordable price is challenging. I think many would be quite scandalized at the cost of good material. Add to that the cost of having the clothing made, either by your time or by paid labor, and many would see it as flaunting wealth (very common problem in the 1800s and before).

In the bible there are warnings to men to not wear women's clothing. Today, we would interpret that as wearing a dress, but at the time the bible was written and for 1500 years afterwards, men did not wear slacks. That is largely a Victorian invention that took about 100 years before women were able to adopt them. Before that men wore breeches if they were poor and hose if they had wealth. Their tunics and dublets were long to cover. Italian Renaissance painting are good examples of common dress for men, essentially what we would consider a dress. Robes were typical of all people for thousands of years. Many in the middle east still embrace this style. It's a good style too since it keeps the people protected from the hot sun and prevents a lot of moisture loss.

So, what were the differences between men and women at the time those letters were written? Today we would say they all dressed alike. Really, it comes down to fashion. Women would wear color more. Men would be in earthier tones or black. Material for most women of any status would be lighter and more delicate. Cut of clothing would also be different too. Status was seen in clothes. The more material you wore the more money you had. Trim, jewels, adornments were all seen as a display of wealth. Women often wore layers and layers of fine fabrics. Veil materials were so thin you could see through them, we can't replicate this today as it's a lost art. Look at paintings from the Renaissance and before to see the sheerness of those veils.

In all times, women always did something to help support the breasts. Linen binding was the most common. In the Renaissance, they turned to the corset to help with support and provide a cleaner line for the fabric to be draped on. That developed into different styles ending in our modern bra.

Veils are specifically mentioned in the bible. Women are to veil in the presence of God and men are to bear their heads. This comes down to psychology. Woman's hair was considered her glory. To cover it was to hide her beauty like the veiling of the Holy of Holies in the Temple. It is a muting of beauty to prevent distractions and vanity. Wearing a veil, when everyone wears one, becomes like blinders on a horse. You cannot see around you without turning your head. Your focus is on what is in front of you. It also covers your hair which was often elaborately braided or coifed. Men on the other hand are known for balding. Their hair is not their beauty. To take off their hat is an act of humility because they must bare their heads. Think of all the hair loss treatments for men. No longer is veiling required at church, although that is a lament, because it was deemed more fashion than soul altering. I think they would change their minds now but find the challenge too great to deal with. It is strongly recommend in the TLM and many places will offer a spare veil to wear if you don't have one, I saw this at one of the missions we went to on our honeymoon.

It's going to come down to some common sense (educated).

We want to avoid cleavage displays, so the top needs to be high enough so that if you were to bend over you don't display everything you have. Some sort of undergarment support is needed.

Clothing shouldn't cling but skim or be fitted (clinging is more in reference to the bias cut dresses of the 1930s). Fitted clothing can be very appropriate. Bodices often helped in supporting the bust. We don't dress like this anymore but it is an example where the purpose of the clothing must be understood.

Pants will typically look sloppy. Because we stretch the material when we sit down, the resulting effect on the fabric when you stand up is for it to bag. Most women solve this unflattering look by wearing material that has elastic in it so it molds to the buttocks and legs. This is well documented that it has a strong psychological effect on men. They see "tool" when they look, not person. Wearing a skirt is more appropriate because you don't end up with the same fabric distortions when you move from sitting to standing. In our culture, wearing a skirt from below the knee to the floor is completely modest. When you sit, all of those lengths will appropriately cover your legs. Any shorter and you risk exposure to a great degree to include people seeing up your skirt and to your crotch (this is why so many women cross their legs when they sit down).

Undergarments should be worn, either for avoiding see through material exposure, protection from chafing, or decency if the skirt rides up.

Fullness of skirt should be considered. The tighter the skirt the more fabric distortions you will encounter. Also, mobility is greatly effected. Hobbling was common in later Victorian skirts. This forced the wearer to make small steps.

Length of skirt depends on what you will be doing. The longer the skirt, the more formal. It you are working and climbing stairs, a shorter skirt is recommended so you don't get hurt tripping on it. If you do need to go upstairs in a long skirt, you need to pull up the hem to avoid tripping (very hard if your hands are full). Going down has its own hazards. You might either catch your foot on the hem if it's too long or someone behind you may tread on your skirt resulting in many unfortunate endings, the best being a halt in your progress and the worse being a disrobing.

Sleeves should be worn, no one wants to see your armpits, or smell them. The fit of the sleeve (tight, fitted, or loose) will depend on your activity and climate along with the sleeve length. Much like skirt length, sleeve length is tied in with formality. If you were to meet the Pope, the length of your sleeves would be to your wrist. If you were doing any sort of work, sleeves would be higher. This is for both safety and to prevent damaging the clothes.

In shoes, open toe and closed toe is as much on preference as it is on climate. In bible times, everyone wore sandals in the Middle East. It's arid and hot. In Europe, most Christians wore closed toe shoes because it was cold and wet. I tend to wear closed toe shoes with longer skirts in winter. I wear sandals with shorter skirts in summer. I can't wear tights or pantyhose so I generally wear socks with my shoes, which is why I pair them with longer skirts.

I have clothes specifically for church. They are about the nicest clothes I have. My shoes (sandals and closed toe) are leather so they can be polished if they get scuffed. I wear dresses or skirts. Very occasionally will I wear pants but that has more to do with weather and it being cold. I'm also usually nursing at the time and my skirts are too short for the temps. I never wear shorts, not even to confession. Nor will I wear flip flops as the sound of shoes clacking is distracting in a sacred space.

Sinfulness comes down to awareness of the effect your clothing has on those around you and what you are doing about it. If you know your clothing is producing a sinful response and you do nothing but tell yourself it is their fault, that would be considered sinful (that falls under leading others into sin). If you do something to mute or mitigate the sinful response, like put on a cardigan or a shawl, then you have done what you can to help those around you and even if you were still indecent, it would not be considered sinful.

Something to think on: Adam and Eve sewed fig leaves to cover themselves but God reclothed them because it wasn't enough.

Monday, June 22, 2015

Am I a coward?

I just finished reading a very interesting article from abbeyroads blog about Catholic women dressing modestly. Here is a list of Marylike standards of dress from the Catholic League:

1. "Marylike" means modesty without compromise -- "like Mary," Christ's pure and spotless Mother.
2. Marylike dresses have sleeves extending to the wrists; and skirts reaching the ankles.
3. Marylike dresses require full and loose coverage for the bodice, chest, shoulders, and back; the cut-out about the neck must not exceed "two fingers breadth under the pit of the throat" and a similar breadth around the back of the neck.
4. Marylike dresses also do not admit as modest coverage transparent fabrics -- laces, nets, organdy, nylons, etc. -- unless sufficient backing is added. Fabrics such as laces, nets, organdy may be moderately used as trimmings only.
5. Marylike dresses avoid the improper use of flesh-colored fabrics.
6. Marylike dresses conceal rather than reveal the figure of the wearer; they do not emphasize, unduly, parts of the body.
7. Marylike dresses provide full coverage, even after jacket, cape or stole are removed.
8. Marylike fashions are designed to conceal as much of the body as possible, rather than reveal. This would automatically eliminate such fashions as slacks, jeans, shorts, culottes, tight sweaters, sheer blouses, and sleeveless dresses; etc. The Marylike standards are a guide to instill a "sense of modesty." A girl or woman who follows these, and looks up to Mary as her ideal and model, will have no problem with modesty in dress. She will not be an occasion of sin or source of embarrassment or shame to others. - Catholic League

In my opinion, to "dress" in Marylike clothing would take enormous courage.

Friday, June 5, 2015

What would happen if I wasn't Catholic....

"You have no idea how much nastier I would be if I was NOT Catholic. Without supernatural aid, I would hardly be a human being." - Evelyn Waugh.