Here we are at the end of the year again! It’s been another fun year of writing for this community that I adore. Did you know Carrots readers are the best readers? Well, you are. No contest.
It’s a tradition for me to compile a list of some of the most popular posts written in the past calendar year. I didn’t do it last year because I was in fetal position trying not to throw up for all of December (HG pregnancy!)
This year in addition to Carrots posts, I’m gonna share some of my favorite things I wrote as a freelancer just in case you missed them since they didn’t run on this site.
Let’s start with the freelance stuff, shall we?
- On Jane Austen, Fainting Fits, and Alasdair MacIntyre for Notre Dame Church Life Journal
“You must hear this story,” a friend told me. “As a devoted Janeite, you will love it!” Apparently, renowned philosopher Alasdair MacIntyre was attending a panel on Jane Austen’s novels at the Notre Dame Fall Conference. MacIntyre asked a quaking undergraduate panelist, “Who is the best of all Austen’s heroines?” The panelist shuffled her papers nervously and, in her hesitation, MacIntyre stood and bellowed “Fanny Price!” The shocked panelist fell to the floor in a faint worthy of Marianne Dashwood.”…
“As one of the great festivals of Christianity approaches, the malls are decked with holly, sales, and “Santa Baby.” Human beings are wired for festivity but could most of us even define what a festival truly is? And does our commercialized bastardization of Christmas still qualify as one?…”
“There is nothing worse than a film adaptation of a beloved book that loses the heart of the treasured story. That is why congratulations are due to Heidi Thomas, who has beautifully adapted a new “Little Women” series for the BBC and PBS. Thomas’s work avoids both of the blunders common to film adaptations: a heavy-handed modernized agenda (think the recent “Anne with an E” series) or a misunderstanding of the story and characters (think 2008’s “Brideshead Revisited”—or don’t, if, like me, you would rather forget it exists)…”
“Since its publication 150 years ago, Little Women, Louisa May Alcott’s coming-of-age novel, continues to inspire generations of readers as well as new film adaptations. Sandwiched between two major releases (Heidi Thomas’s acclaimed 2017 BBC series and the highly anticipated feature film directed by Greta Gerwig), the March sisters are getting a modern makeover in a new movie, which was released in theatres on Sept. 28. Unfortunately, lazy storytelling, a confusing timeline and major casting missteps in this “Little Women” leave viewers with a muddled mess rather than an imaginative update to the classic tale…”
“Is this your last pregnancy?”
I’ve been asked this after each one of my pregnancies. And until this one (my 4th), I have always responded with a resounding “no!” (with the caveat that none of us are entitled to a baby and we can’t always predict secondary infertility). But keep the babies coming! No plans to stop! Enough for a quidditch team!
But this time my answer is different. “Yes. Maybe. I don’t know. I can’t imagine doing this again…”
“I was staring up at the crucifix during Mass. I was too sick to kneel, so I was just sitting in the pew while everyone knelt around me. I was desperately trying not to throw up, the pregnancy nausea coming in waves, impossible to ignore…”
“Any woman who knows she will have an HG pregnancy and chooses to get pregnant again is nothing but selfish. If she knows she can’t take care of herself and will burden others, she has no right to put her family and friends through that.”
I blinked at the words on the screen…”
“My 9yo son asked me yesterday if it was easier having a baby in the house with big kid helpers or if it’s easier to just have one baby in the house and no other kids to care for. (We just had our fourth little one in August.) I had to think about it for a minute. Having big kid helpers is so different than having only toddlers! It’s downright dreamy. But life is certainly pretty busy over here, and messy…”
“One of the worst things about modern life is the push to live at high speed. Most of us are rushing around trying to keep our heads above water. Not only do we not have time for self-care, we don’t have time to even figure out what we would do for self-care if we did!
I think “self-care” is a tricky phrase. It can be interpreted as selfishness or putting our own needs before the needs of those we love. But I think practicing self-care is crucial if we adhere to a certain definition: doing things that remind us that we are human beings…”
“A few weeks ago I was contacted about doing a freelance piece for a publication on a topic I love. I was excited and after I signed on, I looked up the journal to get more information. The style of the publication is more academic than I’m used to these days and I felt….intimidated.
Other contributors were writers I really admire and who are way out of my league. And I don’t say that out of false humility–like, they’re truly out of my league. REAL academics with many letters after their names.
I got really scared…”
“The thought has crossed my mind lately that while I love the idea of pregnancy, the practical aspects feel nightmarish right now.
At 36 weeks pregnant with my fourth baby, all the pregnancy discomforts are here in full force: the aches, extreme fatigue, pressure, acid reflux, feeling that I can’t take a real breath because baby is pushing up against my lungs, lightheadedness in the July Texas heat index of 105+, and a return of the nausea that was so severe during the first half of the pregnancy that I barely left my bed for months…”
“Having a book published has meant a lot of radio and podcast interviews in my life lately. And most of them I conduct in a HIGHLY PROFESSIONAL MANNER in my pajamas from my daughters’ bedroom, sitting on their bunk bed.
If the interview is just audio than no one’s the wiser about the baby spit up stain on my shoulder or my bunk bed home recording studio. But video interviews give me away. “Are you sitting in a…bunk bed?” they ask. “Ah, yes. Indeed I am.” Indeed, I am, reader…”
“When my husband and I were received into the Catholic Church it was 2009. The news of the sexual abuse scandals and cover ups had broken in 2002 when we were in high school.
We knew before converting that the Church was full of sinners and that what makes it holy is not the behavior of its priests and bishops. We entered the Church with eyes wide open…”
“Anne of Green Gables is the first and most famous book in the series of L.M. Montgomery’s beloved Anne books. And it is marvelous. But it’s not the best in the series. In fact, two books easily beat it out: Anne of the Island which follows Anne Shirley’s college years and Anne’s House of Dreams which sees her enter newlywed life and young motherhood.
These two installments in the series are each so wonderful that it’s nearly impossible to choose a favorite between the two. House of Dreams has the finest story arch and most complicated characters, but Anne of the Island is the one I always pick up for cozy re-reads so it has first place in my heart…”
“his week my husband Daniel and I celebrated 12 years of marriage. I know we’re not coming up on our golden anniversary or anything but 12 years, 10 moves (2 cross country), and almost 4 kids (she’s due late July), have taught us a few things. And one thing that I’ve been reflecting on lately is that it’s the little things that really matter…”
“Meg, Jo, Beth, and Amy. One of these March sisters is not like the others. While we all want to believe we’re Jo (because she’s the greatest), some of us admit to ourselves that we’re actually more of a Beth or a Meg. Nobody wants to confess that deep down they’re an Amy. Because Amy is the worst….”
“Before I had any “big kids” and life at home was just babies and toddlers, it was difficult for me. As an extrovert I really thrive on adult interaction and I wasn’t getting it. Making connections of any kind, whether meeting up with friends or just connecting with people on the internet helped keep me afloat.
But in the past couple of years, I’ve felt an inward shift. I’ve been increasingly overwhelmed by people. I’ve needed more ALONE time, more time to read, more time to binge watch a costume drama about a British monarch, more time to just sit and be and not interact with anyone at all….”
“I read an interesting but heartbreaking article about the growing number of women speaking out about regretting that they ever had children. The article claimed that feelings of regret surged after the Pill made motherhood a choice rather than just an inevitable season of married life and also highlighted the stories of several women who have experienced regret over having become mothers.
It’s easy to malign women when they express regret over motherhood. “How can she say that?!” we think. But while one’s first gut reaction might be horror, after reading the stories in this article I noticed something that made me really sad for these women….”
What was your favorite this year? Any favorites that didn’t make this list?
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Merry Christmas!!! (It’s still Christmastide until January 6th!)