Monthly Archives: July, 2006

When Good Organization Goes Bad

You all know how addicted I am to organization. If you have to have an addiction, that is among the best. When I was working on this site, I had lots of related bits and pieces that I needed to remember to add or post. I just now found parts of an entry I meant to put up about a week ago. So I’m going to post it now.


In reading HP4GU, a very prolific poster, Astarte, mentioned a theory that’s come up before. I always chalked CapsLock!Harry up to being a fifteen-year-old boy. Having never been one, that’s almost entirely conjecture, but it was good enough for me. As Astarte said, someone on the list suggested his irrationality might have been due to Voldemort’s infringing on his mind throughout the book. It also explains why he suddenly got his grip on reality back in HBP without much transition. That makes perfect sense. Darnit, I need to start on my reread soon before school starts strangling me again.

At BustedHalo this week [edit: last week] is an interview with Cathleen Falsani, a Chicago Sun Times religion columnist. She recently wrote a book full of interviews with celebrities about faith and religion, the culmination of her reporter’s work that earned her the nickname “God Girl.” BustedHalo did an interview worth reading. The point of her book, as she explained, is to show that celebrities, like ordinary people, have their own relationships and struggles with God. What’s more, all of them have dealt with the God question at some point in their lives. It’s a new take on the fact that celebrities are just famous regular people.

You know you have close friends when two of them start IM conversations with cryptic queries. Maura said, “There are string babies,” meaning two string quartet members have new babies. (I was thinking very small instruments or babies playing normal-sized ones.) And Kat said, “I took my boards today,” meaning her nursing exams. That one just took a second of thought.

I just remembered [edit: last week] that I never told you all when you could read my Keystone project. I was concerned about publishing rights if I put it online, and then I’d have to code the whole thing. I have a problem with overuse of italics (and the words “so” and “just”), so that would be a task. But no more of that. I’ve sent it out to several people whom I knew would be interested, but if you didn’t get it, just let me know.

Contrariwise v.8

Welcome to the eighth version of Contrariwise, my personal site and blog. This is the first time I’ve used someone else’s layout in over two years. So, in honor of my upcoming fourth blogiversary, I chose this one: a combination of butterflies (like a layout I made for myself) and purple (like the last predesigned layout I used). Plus, it’s really pretty.

blue butterfly layout, version 5purple layout, version 2

So why didn’t I design my own layout? I switched blogging tools (technically “content management systems”). After four years, it was time to leave Blogger, so I looked for a host and a new CMS. I found Burned Bridges and WordPress. So show my hostess some love. I’ve been posting here for a while already, so read some of other entries if you want to catch up. Take advantage of all the spiffy features WP has: way better comments, better organization, an RSS feed, and the potential for me to have a real site, instead of a blog with other pages hanging around the Internet.

Oh, and if anything goes wrong, just let me know. I may be new at this, but I am not above consulting Lord Google for help.

Not the Answer I Expected

Fr. Bill wrote an article for the Catholic Standard! It’s about Sister Veronica of the Immaculate Heart of Mary, formerly Elizabeth Hartley. She’s a former Terp, and the last female religious vocation to come out of the CSC. The print article included a picture of Sr. Veronica in her Carmelite habit, with Justin the seminarian and Fr. Bill. It was even well-written. Yay for Father Bill.

The article, of course, gets me thinking about vocations. I’ve mentioned a few times that I’m discerning, but most people don’t know that. After Sunday’s Shrine and Dine, I had a small revelation. There was no slip into religious ecstasy or anything like that. I was just thinking, like I always do, and I remembered that, during our conversation at Plato’s, someone mentioned the lack of girls with vocations at the CSC. I was going to mention my own discernment, but then I stopped. So while making my bed that afternoon, I wondered why. All of a sudden, I thought, “Because you wouldn’t be able to explain why.” And that’s the truth: I don’t know why, exactly, I’ve been storming heaven with prayers for discernment.

Part of it is my “someone has to do it” attitude. It’s not a spirit that comes naturally; I have to cultivate it. At one Fiat Dinner, we joked about who among us would “take one for the team” by becoming a sister. Some part of me thinks that I might have to be that girl. So, since Fiat Dinners started in the fall, I’ve been praying about discerning my vocation. If you haven’t noticed, ShoreLines is a vocation newsletter. I learned what it’s like to pray for something for a long time without feeling like you’re getting an answer. (Perhaps I should have also petitioned St. Monica.)

I think I got my answer on Sunday. It was, “You’re not ready to hear the answer yet.” I decided that, instead of focusing so much on discerning, I’m going to focus on growing in faith. That is why I started praying part of the LOTH. (I also chose that because religious are bound to pray it, so I’m getting a head start if that’s my vocation.) That is why I took up my daily Rosary again. That is why I started a 54-day Rosary novena. And someday, I hope that my spiritual growth will mean that I will be able to hear God when He calls to me.

My Catechetical History

The USCCB is publishing an adult catechism! It sounds like such a great book. I wish it weren’t so expensive, though. I think a decade of The Baby-sitters Club and other mass market paperbacks makes me anti-softcover. If I’m paying $15+ for a book, I feel like it should at least be hardcover. Then again, it’s only a matter of time before I cave and buy Catholicism for Dummies. There’s so much basic info that I missed out on when my mom let me quit CCD. To be fair to her, I really was always difficult to wake up. We never regularly attended Mass until I was in eighth grade, so as far as my late-sleeping seven-year-old self was concerned, she was just being a meanie.

Why did we suddenly start going to Mass? We were living on Spangdahlem AFB, Germany, at the time, and I was approaching Confirmation age. On that particular base, at least (it might have been the whole military archdiocese), you couldn’t be confirmed unless you’d completed the eighth-grade level CCD. My sister was also preparing for First Communion, so it was time for us to start showing up for Mass as well as CCD. It worked out well, though. I had enough experience with Catholicism (and lack of experience with anything else) that I came back to the Catholic Church instead of seeking a new church entirely when I reverted. It was a relatively easy reversion; I didn’t have to renounce anything I’d taken up in the interim. I haven’t looked back since.

From the Missionaries of the Eucharist blog: “The only emergency about Emergency Contraception is the fact that it exists and is able to be accessed to [sic] easily.” Smart bunch, those MOE’s.

“Mom” Is a Job, Too

I’m finally caught up on Boundless and ShoreLines! Woo-hoo! It’s a good feeling to be able to pay attention to the number of unread emails in my inbox again; I’ve been largely ignoring it for months. (I was, for example, only able to notice the spam email dated 1980 (before I was born!) because it was the only unread message there.)

So one of this week’s articles (and really this week, not just the ones I read this week) addressed the issue of stay-at-home moms. A similar issue came up for one of the CDA sisters during Shrine and Dine. Roberto Rivera y Carlos writes the article “Get to Work or Else?” to discuss Linda Hirshman’s essay-turned-book on why the “best educated females” are staying home with their babies, and why that’s unacceptable. To her, I say, “Why?”
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On Covering Up and “Coming Out”

This week’s Catholic Carnival is hosted at Alabama Improper. I enjoyed “They Have Become Spotted by the World” at Modestly Yours. When I read at Mass before the CSC cookout this summer, I felt really weird about being on the altar in flip-flops. That may be my scrupulosity rising, but it’s something to think about. Weekdays at a college chapel seem to be an acceptably lax time for dress. I stopped wearing jeans to church on Sundays last summer, but I do it on weekdays all the time. It’s either skip Mass or go in jeans. However, I dress up for Sunday Mass, with few exceptions. As a commenter points out, if I were going to dinner at someone’s house, I’d dress more nicely than I do for everyday activities. Why should going to visit God for His supper be any different? I think tube tops are definitely inappropriate for church, and maybe in general. Courtney was wearing one last week, and I was uncomfortable. Am I going hyper-traditional? I’m not so sure I am. If I start rejecting the Novus Ordo and Vatican II, however, please stage an intervention.

I’ve been behind on issues of Boundless and ShoreLines for a long time, but with some determination and the free time afforded me by my summer work, I’m just about caught up now. So I went to read an “issue” of Boundless today and came across an article that I find intriguing. First, some background. I started reading Boundless knowing that it’s sponsored by Focus on the Family, and therefore I could expect some articles to contradict what I believe as a Catholic. Protestants and Catholics have so much in common, though, that I have no problem admitting I read Boundless and praising its excellent writers. Somewhere along the way, I discovered that at least one of the writers, Roberto Rivera y Carlos, is Catholic. I was a bit surprised that it was so clear; instead of writing in a Catholic-friendly Protestant manner, his was distinctly Catholic.
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He Took Off the Hat

The Shrine and Dine on Sunday was a lot of fun. I had to get up ridiculously early, but I was happy to do it because I’d get to see people. When I got to the CSC just before 11am, I suddenly remembered that people would probably still be there from 10am Mass. Sure enough, I got a lot of odd looks as I walked in while everyone else walked out. Tim was just coming out of the chapel, so I stopped to say hi while I waited for more Daughters to show up. Christina S. got there first, then Laura M. came. Lisa came in around 11:15 to say that she had to pick up Cathy, who said Megan would meet us there. Kaitlyn and Laura F. never showed up, even though we waited until 11:35. It very quickly became evident that (a) planning summertime events is hard and (b) I’ve never planned a Shrine and Dine before. It also ocurred to me that I’ve never been an officer in anything before. Finally, we all piled into Lisa’s car to drive to the Shrine.

We got to Mass right on time. It was lovely. The Knights of Columbus ushers gave out little brochures that had the outline of the Mass, including all the scores for the songs. It was so useful. Archbishop Wuerl celebrated, which was super cool. We were in the back half of the Upper Church, and I had only skimmed the brochure, so I didn’t recognize him at first. When Megan arrived, she asked, “Is that the new bishop?”

“Well, I feel like if he was celebrating, they would have mentioned it on here,” I said, indicating the brochure. Then she pointed to his name right on the front.

“He’s not wearing the hat, though,” she said.

“He took off the hat.” Ladies and gentlemen, the officers of Court St. Maria Goretti can only identify their bishop by his big hat. We’re so smart.
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