Monthly Archives: November, 2014

What I Wore Sunday: Liturgical Dress FTW

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Today was a pretty good day. It was enhanced by my most excellent outfit choice, which I am still wearing as I type this.

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My full-length decided to grab all the shadows tonight, so I tossed an Instagram filter on this collage.

Dress, sweater, leggings, and belt: Target
Shoes: Old Navy

I have worn this exact outfit before, but to a friend’s baby shower and then to another friend’s birthday party; not to church. It is one of my favorites, though. It’s so comfortable that I decided to just keep wearing it while I took care of business around the house after church tonight. I love it when I can dress liturgically, stylishly, and comfortably all at the same time!

I struggled with this belt, though. It was my very first skinny belt, so I bought it in a size that I can buckle. The problem is that, since I expanded my skinny belt collection, I’ve gotten used to wearing them pulled to the correct size, not buckled into it. The notches in this belt come to two sizes on me: “ouch, that’s squeezing my ribs” and “must fold hands carefully so I can subtly hold this up with my forearms.” I initially dressed in the former size, but I switched to the latter before I went inside the church. It didn’t fall during Mass, though, so I call that a win.

One of my favorite things about special liturgical seasons is that the Sunday readings align to a single, clear theme. I lectored tonight for the last time until February (unless I sub), and I think I managed to successfully say “Jesus Christ” four times and “Christ Jesus” once without sounding monotonous. That was a tough one.

Fr. Associate Pastor touched on the two meanings of Advent, which is a topic very dear to my heart. As the readings hammered into us, this is not just a season of cooing over baby Jesus and gathering gifts for the people we love in commemoration of the great gift of the Savior. It’s also about recognizing that Christ the King (we talked about him last Sunday, remember?) will return in all his majesty to judge us and whether we will be saved.

Scary? A little. That’s why this season is about watching, waiting, and preparing. Baby Jesus is coming (supernaturally) on December 25, but Jesus the Judge could actually come tomorrow. Are you ready?

7 Quick Takes on Catholic Calendars, a Wedding, and Discussions on Twitter

— 1 —

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Well, NaBloPoMo is almost over. I think I did pretty well with my modified goal, but trying not to fail brings you this third post today(-ish, since it’s after midnight). You’re welcome.

— 2 —

My second post today was critical, though. I’ve always gotten a ridiculous amount of traffic to my Catholic Calendar posts. Since Wunderlist has helped me stay on top of long-term to-do items, I realized that today was the perfect day to post it. People are focused on year-end holidays now, and I imagine calendars are already available in stores. The least I can do is a little data dump to aid the Catholic masses.

I used a different set of instructions for this year’s post. If you try it and it doesn’t work, please let me know: in the comments, using the contact form, or via Twitter. Thanks, and enjoy!

— 3 —

My Thanksgiving was uneventful, as my Not Alone Series Thanksgiving post indicated. I ate some turkey chili I’d made the night before because it felt un-American to not eat turkey at all on Thanksgiving Day. Then, I went off to work at the UT vs. TCU game. I spent most of the day on my feet and kind of cold (due to the required attire), but I had some good conversations and made some extra money.

I’ve been on the lookout for good side hustles since I started my financial revolution. I think it was a wise way to spend the day if not the warmest (relationally or environmentally!)

— 4 —

I went to a delightful wedding last weekend. It was my first Friday evening wedding, although I was in one on a Sunday morning, so I’ve done non-Saturdays before.

My original plan was to leave work early so I could change clothes and beat traffic. I don’t have many meetings for my job, but I had one scheduled midday, so I couldn’t take the whole day off. The day before, though, when I went to confirm the meeting with the organizer, I discovered that I had somehow fabricated the whole thing! I’m so glad I thought to double-check. My supervisor kindly let me take the rest of Friday off.

That turned out to be a double blessing, because the weather was awful. It was another of those rare rainy days in Austin, and I was grateful to not have to drive across town to work and then back for the wedding. I even managed not to let my surprise free time get away from me, and I arrived on time for Mass.

The wedding was beautiful. The couple nailed their memorized vows. That’s a plus for using the standard Catholic vows: they’re so short that they’re easy to memorize. The reception was forest-themed and held in a venue with actual trees inside it (all the time, not just for the wedding). The food was honestly delicious. I don’t usually eat meat on Fridays, so I substituted another penance earlier and was free to indulge. A friend of mine pointed out that drinking wine freely at a wedding is very Scriptural. That fit my sentiments and behavior. I danced basically the whole time. I didn’t even feel as glum about being single as usual. It was a great night!

— 5 —

Kudos to Verily magazine for responding to the “Computer Engineer” Barbie by pointing out that whether girls can work in STEM fields is missing the question. Perhaps that was a terrible book, but if we don’t let women actually pursue any occupation they want, we’re still holding them/us back. I won’t be able to call myself a feminist until choosing to stay home and care for children full-time is just as empowering and acceptable as working outside the home. You can feel forced into full-time childcare, but you can feel forced into the workplace, too.

— 6 —

If you’re into novenas, tomorrow (Saturday) is the day to begin your Immaculate Conception novena. I especially like this one because nine days corresponds nicely with nine months of pregnancy.

If you’d like a reminder, Pray More Novenas was inspired by this novena. Their version isn’t the one I usually pray, but in this case, which prayer you offer is less important than offering any prayer at all.

— 7 —

I got involved in an unexpectedly long discussion with a reader of my Austin CNM post this week. (At least I think he read it; he might have just read the title in the automatic tweet!) It made me realize, primarily, that Twitter is not a good venue for the kind of discussions I like to have. It’s too dependent on immediate responses, as though I don’t have a life beyond screens. The messages have to be so short that you can never quite get your point across. It’s too far removed from the original material.

I like Twitter, but blog comment areas are still my favorite. I’ve been blogging since before blog posts had comment sections or even titles, so I’ll stick with my old-school ways, thanks.

For more Quick Takes, visit Conversion Diary!

Catholic Calendar 2015

Welcome, Googlers! My Catholic Calendar posts remain some of my most popular since 2011, so I am glad you are here. If you like reading Catholic lifestyle blogging, stick around!

It’s good to see you, too, regular readers. The Catholic liturgical year begins tomorrow evening with the First Sunday of Advent, so it seems like the perfect time to post these instructions.

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Photo by Joe Lanman at Flickr.

On to the good stuff.

If you subscribed to the Catholic Calendar in 2011, 2012, 2013, or 2014, you should be set for 2015 now. I added those dates today. Each event lasts all day and has the liturgical color and the rank of the day in the description.

If you want to know more about ranking, see the Table of Liturgical Days.

If you are not subscribed and you use Google Calendar (or another program that accepts the iCal format), you can subscribe using this method:

  1. Copy this link: https://www.google.com/calendar/ical/mmc0sisckm9lduf8722ihsn3us%40group.calendar.google.com/public/basic.ics
  2. Log in to Google Calendar.
  3. On the left-hand side of the screen, click the small arrow to the right of “Other calendars” and choose “Add by URL.” Paste in the URL you copied above.
  4. All the U.S. Catholic holidays since 2011 should be visible now as all-day events. If you open the event, you can see the liturgical color and the rank in the description. (I only use Google Calendar, so I don’t know if those details transfer to other programs. If you use it elsewhere and can verify that, please comment to let us know!)

If you don’t use Google Calendar or an .ics-friendly program, you can bookmark the single-page, fullscreen online version. (This is not same URL as the one above.)

Some special notes for this year:

  • We have a fairly early Easter, right at the beginning of April.
  • All Saints Day is on a Sunday. That means it is a holy day of obligation. All Sundays are holy days of obligation, though, so you don’t have to do anything different.
  • The Memorial of the Immaculate Heart of Mary would fall on June 13 this year, but since that is usually St. Anthony’s obligatory memorial, both the Immaculate Heart and St. Anthony are optional memorials.

For more information about the U.S. dates for the 2015 liturgical year (and the rest of the 2015 calendar year), you can read this very helpful PDF published by the USCCB. They have kindly released this information for free before the year it covers is over (which was not true in the past). We can now all appreciate their generosity!

If you have trouble, please comment or use my contact form. I will do my best to help. I also appreciate comments letting me know that it worked.

Thanks to Romcal for the original idea and the backend data!

Booking Through Thursday: Quantity

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How much do you actually read? Few of us get as much time as we’d really like for reading, but we all do as much as we can, so how many books do you read? How many hours a day?

My prime time for reading is lunchtime at work. I bring my lunch every day and use lunchtime as my time to be alone in my personal bubble. No email or coworkers, even when I can’t sit outside because it’s too cold or raining. Conveniently, the weather is Austin is beautiful (or at least not cold or rainy) about 90% of the time, so I usually sit outside.

I spend the first 30 minutes or so of my hour just eating, and then I read while I eat my apple. (I literally eat an apple a day. When they’re in season, like now, I even get a bonus apple for Saturday!)

I do so much online that I don’t do much reading at home. On weekend mornings, though, I like to get in a few pages during and immediately after breakfast. It keeps me from turning to my computer immediately upon waking.

I use Goodreads, and I post progress updates sometimes, so you can see all my actual stats if you want. I set a bold goal for this year’s challenge: 30 books. In 2013, I was still reviewing a book every two weeks for Austin CNM, so I managed 29. This year, I cut that frequency to one book a month, so I am six books behind my goal. That’s okay, though. The only person holding me to my challenge is myself, and if I’m satisfied, then so am I!

How much do you read? Do you finish fewer books because they’re all super long? Do you only read online?


For more short queries about books and the reading life, visit Booking Through Thursday.

Not Alone Series: Thanksgiving

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Short weeks are always odd. My supervisor let us go early today. I didn’t need to travel, so I enjoyed having some extra downtime to just be. I thought I might cross paths with my roommates, and I did for a few minutes, but I’ve mostly been alone… which leads me to the Not Alone Series.

In what ways are you thankful? Write about anything you want under this theme! Do you have any family traditions that help you to be mindful of the blessings in your life?

I have not gone home for Thanksgiving in seven years. We don’t have any traditions other than eating in the early afternoon and praying grace (for show; most of my family is not religious), so I’m not missing anything super special.

My first Thanksgiving away from home was spent with my grandfather and his wife in Mississippi. I was living in Alabama at the time, so it was quite convenient, and I don’t get to see them very often, so I liked spending the holiday with them. I don’t remember what I did the second year in Alabama. Similarly, I spent my first Thanksgiving in Austin with one of my oldest friends and her husband in a nearby Texas city. Every other year, I have been alone. That’s just the way it is.

The worst part is not being alone. It’s the explaining. It would only make people uncomfortable if I said face-to-face that part of the reason I don’t go all the way home is money. That’s true; it’s not cheap to fly for Thanksgiving (or ever). Furthermore, the time and stress are ridiculous. I will be going home for Christmas. I’ve already bought my plane ticket (with cash), and I will be flying on a Wednesday and a Saturday because they are less expensive (and lower volume) travel days. But not going home for Thanksgiving invites pity. I don’t want to be pitied. I am satisfied with my choices, and I am thankful.

2013 vies with my first year of teaching for Most Difficult Year of My Life. I left my job, I was unemployed for so long that I got scared, and I was still pretty broke even after I found work. I ended the year with the hope that the next couldn’t possibly be that bad.

And I was right! This year has been distinctly better. Some parts of my life are actually much better than they ever were before.

A few things I am particularly thankful for this year are:

  • a home that is not an apartment
  • the roommates that help me afford that home
  • the Church
  • getting control of my money
  • my book review relationship with Ave Maria Press
  • knowing without a doubt that my coworkers appreciate me
  • perseverance
  • hope

That last one is the kicker. After a good year that followed a tough one, my hope is renewed. That will carry me into 2015 and beyond!


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

The Church’s Teaching on Marriage Hasn’t Changed (#Synod14 and Humanum)

I think it’s safe to say that the synod was a media fiasco. The last time Catholics looked quite that bad was during the U.S. clerical sex abuse scandal, but that was twelve years ago, and the Church has come so far since then (thanks be to God). We might never recover our damaged reputation after that disaster, though.

The recent extraordinary synod of bishops on marriage and the family in the context of evangelization (a.k.a. #Synod14) had the potential to be so beautiful, but it was essentially a hot mess. My immediate reaction was to stop reading any articles or even headlines about it. I’ve been an involved Catholic long enough to understand that the Church does nothing quickly and therefore generally gets things right the first time. I take a “wait and see” attitude. Your reaction might have been different.

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Photo by Nick Losacco.

Read my conclusions and find out what the Humanum Colloquium was all about at Austin CNM.

What I Wore Sunday: Grab & Go

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This was an event-filled weekend. I was off work on Friday, went to a wedding Friday evening, got my hair done on Saturday, and cleaned the house today. I got plenty of sleep, but due to being everywhere all the time (relatively speaking), I needed an outfit for church today that I could basically grab and run.

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This entire outfit is from Old Navy! I didn’t realize that until I started to describe it here. I mostly chose this combo because I needed something easy, something with pieces that I could just throw on and go. It was indeed easy, which was perfect because I underestimated the time I would need to clean half the house and eat, so I had about ten minutes to put on makeup and clothes before I rushed out the door. I don’t recommend that plan. (I cleaned the other half of the house after dinner.)

The shoddy plan worked, though, because I was on time for church. I was even earlier than a friend of mine who lives closer and was an extraordinary minister tonight (necessitating an early arrival). In retrospect, with the sweater, it looks a little too tentlike. It’s a little too A-line. I actually look like a capital A. The silhouette is better without the sweater, but I didn’t want to risk being too cold. After several days of extreme cold, we’ve got mild temperatures again, and I don’t want to get sick. I do prefer the color combination with the sweater, though. Oh, well. It’s over and in the hamper now.

At Mass, Fr. Associate Pastor spoke about the necessity of staying close to Christ the way sheep would to a shepherd. When he’s out defeating enemies, like St. Paul wrote, we need to be right beside him if we want to reap the rewards. It was a solid homily.

On the less solid side, I’m still pretty sure “Shepherd Me, O God” is not an acceptable substitute for Psalm 23. Furthermore, the Christmas outreach project coordinator gave a ridiculously long announcement after Communion. I watched her turn four pages while she was speaking. Four! I was already tired of listening and ready for the point before the first page was over. (I wasn’t as tired as last week.)

If you’re making an announcement, you get three sentences: one to identify yourself and what you’re pitching, one to elaborate on the pitch, and one to direct us to more information. I used to work in ministry, and I made all my announcements like that. I got many compliments on my ruthless efficiency.

Do you detest long announcements like I do? Are you ready for Advent to start next Sunday?


Check out more Mass fashion and commentary at Fine Linen and Purple.

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