7 Quick Takes on Faith, Writing, and Hairspray


— 1 —

I got another referral for YNAB! I don’t know who it’s from, but whoever you are, thank you. I’m so glad that you’re embarking on your journey toward real budget management.

If you haven’t read my YNAB love story, please go check it out. My referral link will get you a 10% discount—and if your situation is anything like mine when I started, you will need that discount.

— 2 —

I subscribe to the USCCB People of Life Newsletter, which is the once-a-month version of 9 Days for Life. It includes suggestions for acts of reparation, so I always choose one. (That’s a really great concept, by the way: to make reparation instead of just wringing our hands.)

The act of reparation I chose for July was, “Read a few passages from a papal encyclical you have never read before, and meditate on the words that move you.” I chose Lumen Fidei because, despite my general affinity for encyclicals and my having read the hope and love encyclicals (Spe Salvi and Deus Caritas Est, respectively), I’d never gotten around to that one.

Wow! I only read the first 3 paragraphs, and I’m already convinced of its beauty. It’s so realistic and honest, especially considering the world’s opinion of the subject matter.

— 3 —

As case in point, here is paragraph 3:

There were those who tried to save faith by making room for it alongside the light of reason. Such room would open up wherever the light of reason could not penetrate, wherever certainty was no longer possible. Faith was thus understood either as a leap in the dark, to be taken in the absence of light, driven by blind emotion, or as a subjective light, capable perhaps of warming the heart and bringing personal consolation, but not something which could be proposed to others as an objective and shared light which points the way. Slowly but surely, however, it would become evident that the light of autonomous reason is not enough to illumine the future; ultimately the future remains shadowy and fraught with fear of the unknown. As a result, humanity renounced the search for a great light, Truth itself, in order to be content with smaller lights which illumine the fleeting moment yet prove incapable of showing the way. Yet in the absence of light everything becomes confused; it is impossible to tell good from evil, or the road to our destination from other roads which take us in endless circles, going nowhere.

Yep. Sounds about right to me. I’m excited to keep reading and learning!

— 4 —

A dear friend of mine from college just received word that the manuscript he wrote this summer is going to be published! It will be from Ave Maria Press, a publisher I have a great relationship with through my writing for Austin CNM. I’m so excited for him!

Now, he managed to write this entire book (and it’s a long one) while on break from teaching high school theology full-time, yet while teaching in a summer program and raising baby #3. So now I, who have nothing holding me back except student loans and my one job, have to figure out where my book is going to come from. #challengeaccepted

— 5 —

Sometimes I read blog posts that just speak to me. Morgan posted one this week that almost spoke for me—in a good way, I promise! She shared her thoughts on how to respond when jealousy threatens joy. Specifically, we both struggle to watch our friends enter the happiness of married life one by one as we remain single and patient (and sometimes impatient, frustrated, and upset). It’s so difficult to balance the genuine joy we feel for others who have found their vocations with the discontentedness of waiting for our own. Go read what she has to say. Maybe it will speak to your heart, too.

— 6 —

I went to see Hairspray at Zilker Park with a few friends on Saturday. It was ridiculously hot, and two hours wasn’t quite early enough(!) to arrive for a good spot. We had an okay spot, though, and I wore one of my new sweat-wicking tops to help with the heat. One little tank top made a world of difference as we waited. It stays hot well into the night, but I was grossness-free right through the 11 p.m. curtain call.

The actual show was delightful. I had only seen the musical movie before (not the stage musical or the original, non-musical movie), so there were plenty of surprises left. “Mama, I’m a Big Girl Now” is a super catchy song. I still have it stuck in my head! It must have been really tough to leave that out of the musical movie. On the other hand, I loved the “New Girl in Town” sequence from the movie. The acting/singing was lovely, as always. I especially enjoyed the costumes. The all-gray outfits during the black-and-white TV show scenes were fun, and I could only wish to pull off wearing a petticoat.

— 7 —

I don’t write much fiction anymore, but I do still read it. I had to stop participating in Top Ten Tuesday after a while because I realized I just listed the same few titles every week. Booking Through Thursday has a much broader prompt base. It was through my personal “visit the post before mine and try to comment” link-up rule that I came across a brilliant post by writer PekoeBlaze about the role of inspiration in creative writing.

[Writing an annotated bibliography of reasonable length for every short story meant] that you couldn’t just be “heavily inspired” by one or two things (which would just lead to derivative and unoriginal writing, which might even border on plagiarism), but that you had to be inspired by a lot of different things.
In other words, you had to find a way to turn lots of different things into something entirely new and original. The more influences you had and the more different they were, the better your coursework would be and the higher marks you would get.

Ultimately, that means that although there’s no such thing as a completely original story, your combination of inspiration and experiences can create an original product. Beautiful. Maybe that’s why I’ve struggled so much with fiction. Maybe I just need a broader inspiration base.

For more Quick Takes, visit This Ain’t the Lyceum.

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