Monthly Archives: October, 2014

Booking Through Thursday: Scary

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What’s the scariest book you’ve ever read?

I don’t really read scary books (or watch scary movies) because I don’t like being scared on purpose. I get scared accidentally plenty. There’s no need to exacerbate the fear!

The Man Who Was Thursday is subtitled “A Nightmare,” but it’s not the scary kind. I’m convinced it’s just the weird kind where nothing makes sense. That is also the only kind I ever have.

Looking through my Goodreads shelves, I realize that I did both read and see I Know What You Did Last Summer. The stories were very different, but they both left me unsettled. (See the aforementioned scary movie resolution.)

The Necromancer books were definitely unsettling, too, but they were so funny at the same time that I almost forgot about the scary parts. Reading them was like when I watched Shaun of the Dead and got caught up in the rom-com and forgot about the zom(bies).

Well, now that I look at it, I guess I have read some scary books after all. How about you?


Check out other responses at Booking Through Thursday.

Not Alone Series: Discernment

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Last week was a heavy topic. I’m glad for one that is not quite as personal… or at least not nearly as private.

We all agree that discernment is challenging. Figuring out what the Lord is calling you to do with your life can be frustrating and exhausting. Add on lack of family support, cultural pressures, and your personal expectations… ugh. This isn’t just in relation to vocational discernment, but general life discernment, too! How do you keep going? What helps you to push through? How can we encourage one another? What indicators have you experienced that lets you know you’re going down the right path?

I reviewed a Christian book about discernment for Austin CNM just two weeks ago. The big takeaway that I applied to my Catholic understanding of discernment was that God has given us the wisdom to follow him, but he generally does not give specific instructions. We have the foundations of morality and the Church to help us hold fast to those same principles in a changing world, but like an earthly parent, God the Father doesn’t make our decisions for us. He trusts us to make them ourselves.

I came across this spectacular article by Peter Kreeft about discernment recently. It echoes much of what I read in Decision-Making and the Will of God, but it has the added bonus of being a source whose authority I trust rather more (because we belong to the same religion). It will take you some time to read, but I highly recommend it. The takeaway there is that God wants us to live freely and make decisions for ourselves. He gives us various signs and abilities that helps us in our discernment, but ultimately, it’s up to us. Give God your reassurance that you desire what he desires for you, and then move on.

That is reassuring, but it brings up the paradox of choice. When we don’t have any choices, we feel trapped. We don’t feel free. God has freed us from death, so of course he has given us free will, too. On the other hand, when we have too many choices, we are paralyzed by the thought of choosing wrong. At least I am. With great power comes great responsibility. (Even Spider-man has wisdom!)

I’ve long since broadened my view of discernment beyond just my vocation to marriage or religious life, but whom to marry (a specific man or Christ) remains one of the greatest decisions I’ll ever make. This might be contentious among the ladies of the Not Alone Series, but I don’t think single life is a vocation. You can’t be born into a vocation. You don’t need confirmation from anyone to be single (as opposed to your spouse or your religious community). I think people can discern that they should be single for now or for life, but that’s not the same kind of vocation. That’s more like a professional vocation than a marriage vocation.

Having that broadened view of vocation hasn’t helped much on a practical level, though. These days, I have no idea what is in store for my life. I thought I would be a lifelong classroom teacher. Nope. Then I was convinced that full-time ministry was my calling. Nope—and that was never going to be compatible with the marriage and family I long for anyway. So I find myself stuck without anything special driving my life. I’m maintaining the status quo and trying to keep my eyes, ears, and heart open for whatever is next.

Sometimes that’s awful. I see 30 approaching and feel entirely unaccomplished. My mother had been married for several years (and I was a year old) by the time she was my age. My dad is younger than she is. Neither of them are religious; they never really have been. They don’t have degrees, but they have done very well for themselves. I’m proud of them. I just wish I could have that kind of direction in my life.

None of this is very encouraging, but it is completely real. My primary consolation is twofold. First, I encounter plenty of young people in my exact position. There aren’t as many career wanderers, but there are more single adults living outside of their parents’ homes now than ever. That includes the very religious, and you’d think that if anyone would be marrying young, it’d be us! I know that, in this respect, I am absolutely not alone. Second, I have had so many incredible changes in my life that part of me is just waiting to see what crazy/beautiful life change God has coming up next.

Will you wait with me?


Thanks to Jen and Morgan for hosting! Check out other responses on their blogs.

Choosing My Dream Wedding Look with Loverly

I don’t have cable. That is the main reason I don’t watch Say Yes to the Dress. But I totally have before. I like to imagine what it would be like to be engaged, to have a budget in the thousands, and to go shopping for the dress I’ll wear on one of the most important days of my life. So, naturally, when I discovered Loverly, I decided to plan my dream wedding using the gallery there.

For this task, I have chosen Italy as my dream location. How could I not be swept up in the romance of my new husband, my triumphant return to Europe, and that kind of proximity to Rome?

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Photo courtesy of Lover.ly.

Then I had to select a dress.

My first task was to narrow down the hundreds of dresses available. I decided to pretend that my dress budget is unlimited; I’m pretending I’m choosing my dress for a wedding in Italy, so why not pretend all the way?

I chose formal attire and a long length. In this imaginary wedding, we’ll be heading out for the sposi novelli blessing soon afterwards, so I will need something classy and Vatican-appropriate. I’ve never liked short wedding dresses, so I passed on those easily. I have no opinion on material.

Although I love my empire-waist dresses, I’ve realized that I need to branch out. Since I started embracing my body type and my personal style, I’ve figured out what looks good on me and what I like. I am pear-shaped, so I look best in A-line skirts with boat, crew, or square necklines. Sweetheart necklines and V-necks draw too much attention down. Boat necks are the best, really, because they make my neck look a million miles long and balance out the width of my hips.

Ah, the sleeves. I must have sleeves. I believe in having my shoulders covered in church. I will be having a church wedding, even if it’s not really in Italy, and the sposi novelli blessing (and any Vatican visit) requires covered shoulders. I’m open to a variety of interpretations of “sleeve,” but I do not think straps are the same as sleeves.

Once I had those decisions made, I used Loverly’s simple checkboxes to make my selections. I liked that it was easy to select all the variations of sleeve length and neckline, but I found it frustrating that the entire page reloaded with each additional selection. I also tested deselecting an option, and I found myself scrolling back down the page yet again.

Eventually, the checkboxes narrowed my selections to 24, and when I saw the one I liked best, I just knew.

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Photo courtesy of Lover.ly.

I loved this gown the moment I saw it. “Dress” is not a rich enough word. The sleeves plus the boat neck look so elegant, and the A-line is not accentuated at the waist, which I like. The lace over the whole surface is luxurious and delicate at the same time. I will not be wearing a tiara, but I’d still feel like a queen in this gown. I would wear it in white and with joy.

The shoes were much easier to narrow down. I would want to wear heels, for dancing, but I have no desire (and no muscles) for anything over 2 inches. These are perfect because I love peep toes and the lace picks up the luxurious feel of the lacy gown.

paradoxpeeptoeshoes

Photo courtesy of Lover.ly.

That was fun! I haven’t done much wedding digging through Pinterest (mostly because I do not have an actual wedding to plan for, but I can see Loverly being a great resource for sifting through all the possibilities and ideas to find the one collection that makes your heart sing on the day when your whole life will change forever.

Many thanks to Loverly for the featured images. All opinions are my own.

Behold the Face of God with a Pure Heart (Review: “Bought with a Price”)

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Much has been said regarding the celebrity nude photo leak involving Jennifer Lawrence, among others. Lawrence partly explained having such photos at all by saying her long-distance boyfriend would either look at porn or look at her.

Wrong. No one should look at pornography. Reflecting on Lawrence’s statement and reading a post by Bishop Paul S. Loverde at First Things, I mentally traveled back to good and not-so-good times.

In my search for ammunition against pornography and the ruin it brings to so many people’s lives, I encountered Bishop Loverde’s pastoral letter for the Diocese of Arlington, Virginia, “Bought with a Price” (también disponible en español en forma PDF como “Comprados a gran precio”). At the time, my Catholic world wasn’t much larger than my campus ministry. Finding such wisdom in the next diocese over was a thrill! Eight years later, this incredible letter has been revised, illustrated, and reissued.

Read the rest at Austin CNM.

What I Wore Sunday: Starting with the Shoes

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I posted for the Not Alone Series on Saturday, and I finished my 7 Quick Takes late last night, so it seems appropriate that I should do my Sunday post today. Take that, day-specific link-ups! I do what I want!

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Dress: Old Navy
Undershirt: Mossimo (so soft…)
Shoes: Payless
Necklace: gift

I started selecting this outfit with the shoes. I didn’t have to volunteer, so I knew I could wear what I wanted. Dance lessons switched to salsa, though, so I needed heels for that. The shoes I destroyed two weeks ago would have been perfect, but now they’re in the trash, and I don’t want to spend money on new shoes right now. I can’t drive in my heels anyway, so I opted to wear the ones I think go best with this dress and to change for class.

The dress itself was due for a repeat. One of the benefits of taking a photo every Sunday is that I know exactly when and how I wore it last: in July, with a purple undershirt. That’s a long enough break. I’m a regular person; I repeat outfits.

Was anyone else disconcerted by “molested” in the reading from Exodus? This was one of those times when I was most eager for the language from revised edition of the New American Bible to be applied to the lectionary. (I’d like it based on the RSV, but I also try to be realistic.) “Alien” is not the same as “resident alien,” which calls immigration to mind, triggering a contemporary social issue. How’s that for applying the Bible to our lives today? Even “resident alien” isn’t the same as “foreigner,” which ZENIT translates from Pope Francis’s Angelus address. “Foreigner” wouldn’t be quite as politically contentious, which could be a good thing or a bad thing.

I was also struck today by a tweet from Marcel LeJeune, a campus ministry colleague here in Texas.

God always asks for more than just “enough.”

What I heard in my pastor’s homily was a reminder that it is difficult to truly love God. The commandments were given for our benefit precisely because there are at least a few we would rather avoid if possible. If we hadn’t been commanded not to lie, it would be even easier to do it. But we shouldn’t; that’s why there is a commandment. Further, it is difficult to love our neighbors, period, let alone to love them the way we love ourselves. Jesus doesn’t give those as suggestions, though. They’re instructions. They’re requirements. Dealbreakers. You can’t just love when it’s convenient and the people who love you back. What kind of easy, lazy Christianity would that be?

I was glad to see our pastor again, and that was among my favorite of his homilies so far. He did make kind of a rude comment about the altar servers who did not show up, but I think everyone appreciated his commendation of the servers that did show up. He’s expanded their responsibilities a lot, so they’re working hard, and they deserved that recognition. I just wish it hadn’t been overshadowed by an insult.

What did you wear on Sunday? Fine Linen and Purple seems to be on a bit of a hiatus. Swing by there anyway for encouragement and style advice.

7 Quick Takes on Weddings, Dancing, and Pure Fashion

— 1 —

I was doing well with all my weekly theme posts. Then I stopped doing so well. I haven’t given up, though (and it’s not my fault Booking Through Thursday wasn’t posted two weeks ago)! One of my central qualities is that I don’t give up. I’m also very stubborn. Thus, I will charge on with these theme posts and these quick takes. Huzzah!

— 2 —

I went to another wedding of friends last weekend. It was my first time being inside St. Mary Cathedral, if you can believe it. I never went there for work. Our big diocesan events are always held in larger churches; there’s only such much room downtown. I’d never been invited to a wedding there (until this one). As it was, I was just barely on time (curse you, Austin traffic!), and we were squeezed in between an earlier wedding and confessions, so I didn’t have much time to look around.

I did look around some, though. Our cathedral is super small! I’ve seen photos, of course, but it seemed much, much bigger. This wedding had around 250 guests, by the bride’s statement, and the church was nearly full. It’s the TARDIS of cathedrals, basically.

— 3 —

Dance classes have continued to go well. I didn’t get to practice at the wedding, though. I don’t know if any of my friends can salsa. I was waiting in line to have my silhouette done for the favors/guestbook when the country songs came on, and I was wearing heels, so I couldn’t practice two-step, either.

Overall, I’m just glad I’ve found a casual, free (except for donations) opportunity to learn to dance with other single people. I don’t have a built-in partner, but it’s nice to know that I will be able to follow when I get one!

— 4 —

Also related to the wedding, I think that’s the largest one I’ve ever attended. The reception hall was a great size, and the food was delicious (I think they sprinkled magic on the broccoli), but I didn’t get to see anyone!

I’ve lived in Austin long enough that my friends are all getting married and inviting me to their weddings, so I usually see the same people at every one I go to. This is good because it’s an excuse to buy a new (budget-friendly) dress every time. This was bad this time because there are people I remember seeing only once or twice during the several hours of the reception. It’s such an odd problem to have: I’m so popular that I can’t get around to seeing everyone I know!

— 5 —

In addition to dance lessons on Sunday, I volunteered at this month’s Pure Fashion event. I was running late there, too. (I’m getting good at putting on my pearls at stoplights.)

This session was Dessert with Dad, so we went to a fancy country club resort and had yummy cakes while learning about chastity and the importance of family relationships in being a lady of grace. I manned the boutonnière station, mostly because I was the only volunteer who knew how to do that part. And I didn’t even stick the dads (and brothers, and one mom). I call that a win.

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Me with my fellow Young Professionals volunteers. Photo by Anastasia Curtis.

— 6 —

Since Sunday night has rolled around before I managed to get this posted, dance classes have switched to salsa. I’ve had a few salsa lessons before, so it was good to get a refresher of the basics. I’m nervous about learning something new next week, but I was nervous about two-step, and that turned out well.

I even got used to moving in high heels tonight. It felt so natural that when class was over and I walked back to change into driving-friendly flats, walking felt lame. Dancing was much more exciting. Then, my flats made my feet feel weird! I’ve always enjoyed dancing, and now I think my body is getting with the program my brain’s been pushing already.

— 7 —

When I was in undergrad, some friends of mine formed a traveling Theology of the Body evangelization group. As they walked from Maine to Maryland, they gave presentations in parishes along the way. One of their regular presentations involved teaching swing dancing. In partner dancing, there is a lead and a follow. Both must do their part and not do the other’s part for the dance to work.

Recently, I stumbled across Theology of Dance, which is the direct version of that presentation.

I realized tonight that there’s more to the dance than just leading and following, though. As a follow, I have to trust my lead. There is one particular lead in my class who I just don’t trust. Our paths have crossed off the dance floor, and I try to be encouraging, but I struggle with letting him lead. Maybe it’s just me, but I get the feeling that he’s actually not a very good lead. Dancing with him goes best when I completely ignore the music, don’t chat with him, and just try to follow.

That’s not much fun, though. With every other lead, I have fun. I even got called out as an example of a good right turn tonight!

Any advice for how to follow when you don’t trust your leader? (Only on the dance floor, not in life.)

For more Quick Takes, visit Conversion Diary!

Not Alone Series: Why I Don’t Have Sex

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Well! This link-up is clearly the place that will encourage me to write about topics I have never covered here at Lindsay Loves. My tagline does start with “Jesus,” though, and I review books about chastity and sexuality over at Austin CNM all the time, so I suppose it was time to get really real.

Our culture is obsessed with sex. With anyone! At any time! If you want to, just do it! But the Church teaches that sex was created for the context of marriage. Why do you choose to abstain? Why aren’t you going around having sex with just anyone? How would you encourage others to do the same? How do you remain strong when everything in our culture is encouraging you to abandon your convictions?

The first commitment to abstinence I ever remember making was during my Confirmation prep year: ninth grade. I wrote in my journal for class that I wanted to stay a virgin until I graduated from high school.

Yep. Mission accomplished.

Conveniently, it was during my first semester of college that I started opening up my heart to God, and by the spring of that year, I was in for life. I made my first official pledge of abstinence until marriage (using wording I found at Ignite Your Faith, the youth branch of Christianity Today, and then another from Lifeteen). I always keep my promises, so God reached out to draw me in right when I could have gone so far astray.

As I wrote in my post about modesty, I believe in modest behavior and speech. Suffice it to say that I was not Miss Chastity USA when I was in high school. I knew I wanted to wait until marriage to have sex, though. I knew it would be difficult, but what truly good thing is ever really easy?

The simple reason I don’t have sex is that I’m not married.
I believe sex is meant for marriage. My choice has the added benefit of helping me avoid unwanted pregnancy, random STI’s, and being used for sex, but those are just temporal benefits. The spiritual benefits far outweigh those.

On the spiritual side, I know that my choice to practice abstinence is a mark of respect to those around me: the other single people who are abstinent, the married couples that waited, and even the married couples who are abstaining temporarily (for whatever reason). It shows that I practice what I preach. I do as I say. My abstinence is in recognition of the ultimate union of body and soul: the Church with her groom, Jesus Christ. Vowed celibates are a foreshadowing of that relationship, and we’ll all get to experience that union in heaven. How we live it out here on Earth varies person by person. For me, for now, I wait.

I stay strong by surrounding myself with support. My friends are mostly my age and mostly churchgoing Catholics, so even if they’re not 100% on board with 100% abstinence outside of marriage, they support me in my decision. I pray for the grace to remain true to The Truth about sex and marriage, and I pray for forgiveness when I fail (and I do fail; I’m not a saint…yet).

Mostly, I have hope. I believe that, if I don’t get married, I will still be able to remain abstinent. It will not be easy, but it will be right. I’ll take “right” over “easy” any day.


Thanks to Jen and Morgan for hosting! Check out other responses on their blogs.

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